Sunday Stories for April 27th, 2014

It’s been a week of playing catch up and getting things back to normal, but I’m still thinking fondly of my time in Athens, Greece. I’m looking forward to spending more time there in the fall (in conjunction with TBEX Europe 2014). If you’ve thought about learning more about travel blogging, you may want to consider attending as well.

Fads Aside, the Perfect Macaron Is Timeless

I didn’t have time to do any shopping while I was in Athens, but I couldn’t go home empty handed. Thankfully, I had about 15 minutes to spare when making my connection in Paris, giving me time to stop and pick up a box of macarons. These lighter than air gems are as packaged as beautifully as they look and, somehow, I managed not to open (and eat) them until I got home. Delicious! I enjoyed this story that told me a little bit more about these French confections.

This macaron — round, unadorned, with rough fissures in its crisp golden crust — is made from a centuries-old recipe. In 1792, two Benedictine nuns, driven from their convent after France’s postrevolutionary government banned religious orders, took refuge with a local doctor and made a living making macarons. Their recipe has been passed down in secret ever since.

Read original article here: Fads Aside, the Perfect Macaron Is Timeless

Sightsmap plots most photographed places on planet

The Eiffel Tower in Paris. The Colliseum in Rome. The Duomo in Florence. A sunset over the Pacific Ocean. These are some of my favorite places to take photographs; perhaps they are some of your favorites as well. Spend some time exploring this site to see of the most photographed locations on the planet. Warning:  Be prepared to spend some time here, it’s sort of addictive.

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but aesthetics and scenic vistas also figure prominently in things like environmental impact statements. Is there a way to quantify how photogenic or beautiful a spot is?

After 131 Years, ‘Ladies’ Home Journal’ To Fold

While I wasn’t an avid reader of LHJ, I can’t help but mourn the demise of yet another legacy publication.

It’s the end of an era: on Thursday Meredith Corp. announced that Ladies’ Home Journal will cease publication as a regular standalone magazine after 131 years, during which time it attained iconic status as a guide and reference for all domestic topics.

America’s Coolest City Playgrounds

Whether you’re traveling and looking for a playground to let the kids burn off some steam or trying to find a city’s best kid friendly neighborhood, you’ll want to take a look at this list of seven playgrounds worth their salt. (Spoiler alert:  Seattle’s Powell Barnett Park,352 Martin Luther King Jr Way) makes the grade.

After all, a good ol’ playground can be a welcome sight to travel-weary kids, and one of the nicest — and cheapest — ways to experience a city like a local. Indeed, some city playgrounds have such fabulous features — with hands-on construction, musical instruments or cool old-school features — that they are destinations in themselves.

Which Airline Has the Rudest (or Nicest) Flight Attendants?

Let the mudslinging wars begin.

The truth is, at least in my experience, most flight attendants are “nice” at least if you’re nice to them. Pour on the charm, and they’ll respond.

The Best Places to Eat in Florence

Full of history, art, and shopping, don’t overlook the food when you visit Florence. This article will help.

Pasta, olive oil, cheese and wine are what most people think of when they imagine eating in Florence (or Firenze for Italians). Except that those ingredients are just the beginning when it comes to food in this Tuscan mecca.

Large numbers of non-members in TSA Precheck lines reveal TSA humbug

I filled out the form, paid my money, went to the interview, and was approved for Global Entry (which includes TSA Pre-Check). And usually it all works fine. Lately, though, I’ve seen a lot of what appears to be “first timers” going through the Pre-Check line. Have you had this experience?

If you’ve been at the airport recently, I’m sure you’ve seen TSA officers direct many air travelers to the Pre-Check line who don’t have a Precheck authorization stamped on their boarding pass, mostly because the regular security lines are overburdened and the Precheck lines are under-utilized.

20 Utterly Ridiculous Travel Gadgets You Probably (Definitely) Don’t Need

It’s always fun to look at the inane, but c’mon, fess up. Isn’t there maybe one thing on this list that you’d like to have?

It’s clear that manufacturers are working harder than ever to create gadgets that you probably (definitely) don’t need. Here are twenty of our favorites.


Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

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