Wednesday, March 11, 2009

America's Favorite Cities 2008

"The results are in!

For our 2008 America's Favorite Cities survey, Travel + Leisure teamed up with CNN Headline News and asked travelers to rank 25 top U.S. cities in 45 categories, ranging from food and shopping to people, culture, nightlife, and more. More than 125,000 opinionated travelers voted—find out how your favorite city fared!"

No surprise, New York scored No. 1 for "people-watching," and received high honors for shopping, classical music and theater, stunning sights and skylines and its well-dressed, diverse people. Downside? Well, they don't say "the city never sleeps" for no reason. New Yorkers don't expect peace and quiet, and did I mention it's expensive?

As far as farmers' markets go, San Francisco is the one to beat. Foodies, take note: San Francisco is abundant with cafes and coffee shops, as well as a smorgasbord of restaurants, including ethnic/cheap eats. San Franciscans were ranked No. 5 in the "Intelligent" category. Plus, the city is environmentally active. But again, San Francisco (and California in general) is not the most affordable place to live.

While Los Angeles has some pretty good-looking people, its traffic is still the worst. At least the sunny weather compensates for it somewhat, eh?

Of course, I take CNN reports with a grain of salt, but this was still an entertaining read, if nothing else.

How did your hometown fare?

Imbibe Magazine

I can't believe I discovered this just now. For fans of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, Imbibe Magazine's got you covered with the latest in liquid culture. There's an in-depth article on the "Anatomy of a Leaf" that's a handy manual for all things tea-related, with a cursory overview of tea made in Asia, from Japan to Sri Lanka.

There's also fun summer recipes, like the refreshing Shady Creek Cooler, made with white peony tea, blueberries and lavender syrup (yes, lavender syrup). And Imbibe Unfiltered, a blog celebrating "wine, spirits and beer to coffee, tea and beyond."

Alice would approve.

Photo by CoffeeGeek.

Silver Anniversary

Happy 25th Anniversary, Momma & Papa I.! (Sorry, I'm a day late.)

March 10, 1984.

I remember those pictures well.

Snapshot one: Mom's blushing moon-shaped face emerging from the black Lincoln bridal pick-up car, her petite frame swathed in layers of white tulle and lace. In fact, she is wearing long sleeves because it's still in the heart of winter, 30-something degrees with snowy flakes falling all around.

Snapshot two: Family portrait at the church. Dad's summoning up the most un-Chandler smile ever (a first). Grandma's got her purple cat-eyed glasses on, looking smart. The bridal train spreads out over the steps. The groomsmen stand in height order, the bridesmaids clutching their small bouquets.

Snapshot three: Cake-feeding time. Dad goofily picks a huge slice and Mom has difficulty getting it in her mouth. A wad of white frosting smudges her rose lipstick. She is still beautiful.