Blog Posts by Sofi Papamarko

  • Are we more attracted to those that others find attractive?

    Is Jessica Alba the type of woman men are really attracted to? (Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

    Does it matter to you if your friends think your partner is attractive?

    As the old saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But could our standards of what is attractive be less influenced by our personal preferences than by what is considered attractive to those who surround us?

    See more: Can you be 'just friends' with a guy?

    In a recent Jezebel piece, Hugo Schwyzer writes:

    …it's not that all men — or even most straight white men — genuinely prefer skinny women. It's that for a great many men, having a thin, conventionally pretty girlfriend is a way to win status in the eyes of other men. It's not actually about what they themselves want. Put simply, men and women alike confuse what it is that men are attracted to with what it is that men imagine will win them approval.

    Our culture may very well dictate whom we find attractive; consider how very different the wives of Manhattan millionaires look from the wives of Zulu kings.

    See more: 10 mistakes couples make that destroy

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  • Interactive music lessons for babies improves brain development: study

    Canadian research shows that music games for very young babies is good for their brain development. (Thinkstock)Music may be doing so much more than just soothing your savage little beasts.

    Canadian researchers at Hamilton's McMaster University have concluded that exposure to music training at a very young age -- even before babies are able to talk or walk -- can have some pretty amazing benefits for developing brains.

    According to a study published in Developmental Science and Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences and funded by the Grammy foundation, one-year-olds who participated in interactive music classes tended to communicate better, have a more sophisticated ear and smile more often than their peers.

    Also see: Dads more stressed by work-life balance than moms

    "Many past studies of musical training have focused on older children," Laurel Trainor, director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind, tells Science Daily. "Our results suggest that the infant brain might be particularly plastic with regard to musical exposure."

    Along with music educator and grad student David Gerry,

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  • Is the lunch break becoming obsolete?

    How important do you think it is to take a lunch break at work? (Thinkstock)How are you spending your lunch breaks? Are you meeting a friend for a bite and then taking a leisurely stroll? Or are you more likely to grab something from the cafeteria and ram the contents of a polystyrene food container into your face while wrestling with the contents of a spreadsheet?

    According to a recent American study conducted by career management firm Rights Management, 65% of workers eat their lunch at their desks or don't even bother to take a break.

    But is this habit helping productivity…or hindering it?

    Also see: Is boredom the new workplace stress?

    In a recent Slate article entitled "Let's Do Lunch," Rachael Levy urges too-busy-to-eat North Americans to embrace a European-style reverence for an established mealtime break, citing its positive health and networking benefits:

    The lunch break is a chance to refresh the mind and socialize with friends and co-workers. You've already been in class or work all morning, and you're about to do it again all afternoon. By taking

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  • Caviar potato chips? Pepsi Cappuccino? Companies cater to unusual flavours overseas

    How would you feel about eating caviar-flavoured potato chips? (Credit: Thinkstock)What would you say to chowing down on caviar-flavoured chips? Or drowning your usual morning bowl of All-Bran in coffee instead of 2% milk?

    For many North Americans, these international flavour variations on a familiar product can be an acquired taste.

    A recent story by the Associated Press reports on how snack makers are trying to increase sales overseas as North American sales slow down, likely because of increased health awareness. Simultaneously, consumers in developing nations such as China and India are leaning towards quick snacks, as their pace of life speeds up, matching those in the west.

    Related: Chocolate bacon muffins: recipe and video

    Kraft Food Inc., Kellogg Co., and PepsiCo. Inc. have all touted company success in China, Spain and Russia with changes to their products and advertising. Green tea flavoured Oreo cookies were put on the market in China, ads in Spain featured All-Bran floating in coffee, and red caviar flavoured Lays chips were offered in Russia.

    In yet

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  • ‘Plus Ones’ at weddings: New rules have emerged and not everyone’s following them

    It is now common “Plus One” etiquette to invite both partners who live together to your wedding. (Credit: Thinkstock)"Plus One" situations at weddings can be tricky, setting the tone for friendships after the wedding and even ending them.

    According to an article written by bridal blogger Xochitl Gonzalez from the Huffington Post, brides and grooms should always invite both halves of a couple who are living together and not married. As well, guests should adhere to the name on the wedding invitation for whether or not they can bring a guest -- if only your name appears, only you are invited. 

    Also, letting the couple know that you are going to be bringing a "Plus One" well in advance is an absolute must. This may not be obvious to all, as the following example reveals.

    Also: Men who paid for 'Pick-Up Artist' services lash out against unfulfilled promises

    Recent Toronto bride Laura, 31, has distanced herself from a few friends after they breached some pretty basic rules of "Plus One" etiquette.

    "A few people showed up to our small reception without RSVP-ing," she says. "One guest emailed literally the

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  • British bride gives birth on wedding day, still makes it to evening reception

    Bride attends her wedding, goes to hospital to give birth, yet makes it back to her reception. (Thinkstock)Some say the best day of their life was the day they married their one true love. Others declare the best day of their life was the day their child was born.

    Danielle and Aaron Clewlow managed to combine those two joyous events in one single day. Oh, and by the way, they also returned to their evening wedding reception, with their freshly baked bun in tow.

    "'I had such a big bump that friends and family joked I could give birth on my wedding day," 19-year-old Danielle tells the Daily Mail.

    Also see: Failed 'Pick-Up Artists' lash out online

    "But even when just before the evening party began I nipped to the hospital, I don't think anyone thought I would actually give birth on my wedding day."

    Although the baby's due date hadn't quite arrived, 19-year-old Danielle began experiencing contractions on the morning of her wedding day.

    "At times it was difficult to sit still while my hair was being done," she tells the Daily Mail.

    Also see: U.S. company to sell marriage insurance to Canadians

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  • When it comes to workplace discrimination, body size matters — but is this news?

    Recent Australian research shows that obese women receive lower starting salaries. (Credit: Thinkstock)Those who claim that size doesn't matter have probably never been discriminated against for being overweight.

    According to a new study out of Australia's Monash University published in the International Journal of Obesity, obese women receive lower starting salaries than their non-overweight colleagues.

    "Participants viewed a series of resumes that had a small photo of the job applicant attached, and were asked to make ratings of the applicants suitability, starting salary, and employability," says lead researcher Dr. Kerry O'Brien in a press release.

    Related: Is boredom the new workplace stress?

    "We found that strong obesity discrimination was displayed across all job selection criteria, such as starting salary, leadership potential, and likelihood of selecting an obese candidate for the job."

    But are these findings really surprising to anyone? One less obvious finding was that employers who thought highly of their own physical attributes were more likely to discriminate.

    "It's a

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  • BBC ‘Play School’ hosts stoned during 1970′s children’s show

    Former "Play School" host Johnny Ball reveals the cast used to enjoy joints before going on air. (Getty)Dancing bears. Fuzzy pink monsters. Humpty Dumpty's tragic fall. A description of a children's television show? Or a drug-induced hallucination?

    In the case of the BBC children's show "Play School", it has been revealed they combined both in the 1970s. According to an upcoming documentary entitled Tales of Television Centre, "Play School" presenters in the 1970s would sometimes get "stoned out of their minds" before going on camera.

    Former "Play School" host Johnny Ball reveals the going-ons to the Telegraph.

    "There was Rick Jones, Lionel Morton and myself. They got stoned on the biggest joint you've ever seen — in the studio…we were in silhouette as the three shepherds with our crooks. Lionel purposely held his crook so the crook didn't show."

    Related: Mom takes 5-year-old to tanning salon, makes court appearance

    "Play School" featured adult hosts singing songs, telling stories, and participating in arts and crafts and imagination games. In its format, it was not unlike the popular

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  • Uggs awarded $686M in lawsuits against Chinese counterfeit boots

    Uggs won a lawsuit against counterfeit Chinese boots. Do think they are stylish or ugly? (Credit: Thinkstock)Uggs are like the Nickelback of footwear — they rake in obscene amounts of cash, but no one admits to wearing their product (or listening to their music).

    Deckers Outdoor Corp., the parent company of the ubiquitous sheepskin footwear, was awarded $686 million in lawsuits from over 3000 China-based websites selling cheap knock-offs of the product.

    "Websites selling counterfeit Ugg products look very convincing because they use Deckers images and offer products at believable sale prices," Leah Evert-Burks, director of brand protection at Deckers, tells Fashionista.com.

    Related: Mom takes 5-year-old to tanning salon, makes court appearance

    According to the Daily Mail, this pay-out is more than half of the brand's sales last year, which totaled $1.2 billion. Having said that, the company only realistically expects to collect a fraction of the damages.

    Some of the illicit sites selling the knock-off products had names like Uggs-forsale.com and Sparkleuggboots.com.

    Deckers' spokeswoman Errin

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  • Mom takes 5-year-old to tanning salon, makes court appearance

    A New Jersey mother and tanning salon aficionado is in hot water after her 5-year-old daughter showed up at school with a severe sunburn.

    Patricia Krentcil, 44, has been arrested for allegedly allowing her kindergartener to utilize the tanning booth at the tanning salon where Krentcil is a long-time customer.

    She pleaded not guilty to charges of child endangerment in court on Wednesday.

    Watch the news video below about her court appearance:

    A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

    But Krentcil, who appears disturbingly over-tanned, says that the matter is simply a misunderstanding. She says that her young daughter accompanied her to the salon but did not enter the tanning booth.

    "It's like taking your daughter to go food shopping," she tells MSNBC. "There's tons of moms that bring their children in."

    She says that her daughter acquired the sunburn simply by playing outside.

    "It was 85 degrees outside, she got sunburned. That's it. That's all that happened," says Rick Krentcil, the child's father.

    Related: Pacifiers don't

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