Two OC cities rank among happiest towns in USA

For those who live in Orange County, CA as I do, I was happy to see that according to a survey conducted by the  Vermont Complex Systems Center at thecropped-familyeatingphoto1.jpg

University of Vermont, two nearby cities ranked in the top five happiest American destintions in the nation. But before I reveal what those cities are (don’t peek), let me tell you how they determined which cities made the list.

University researchers looked at the geo-tagged Twitter messages of people who lived in 373 urban cities—about 10 million messages to be exact. They analyzed these messages and gave scores to 80 million words in the tweets and were looking for those that pertained to levels of happiness. They focused on how often people used positive and negative words in their tweets. Words like wine, food, cheers, gift and beach were considered positive while words like boo, ugh and hate were more prominent in the unhappier locales.

Okay, did I give it away when I said wine? Yes, wine country Napa, CA ranked number one as the happiest town in America based on this research study. But coming in fourth place on the list was a tie between Mission Viejo and San Clemente—two in my own backyard! Idaho Falls ranked second and Longmont, Colorado third and fifth was Simi Valley, CA.

The researchers decided to look only at the actual words themselves and not the words in context to come up with their results. They also did not separate tourists from residents, again focusing only on the actual words used in the tweets. Since only a portion of Americans use Twitter—this is only a slice of the research pie. However, it gives a look into what cities people are in when they have the happiest tweets. What American city do you either live in or visit that makes you feel the happiest?

 

Ideas for Saint Valentine’s “Day” Month

Anyone who knows me well knows I absolutely love to plan parties, celebrations and to have fun with holidays. I am so happy to be able to share that passion with you through my new blog.

I am a huge fan of Valentine’s Day and month so the moment the calendar says we are farenough from the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays and close enough to February, I start putting up my pink and red twinkle lights, a festive heart door wreath and some Valentine-theme photo frames around the home (ones I received through the years).

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Ink in Fun Annual Events–in Memory of Sue

Losing a cherished girlfriend to cancer is never easy but thanks to a close group of her friends who invited me to gather with them each year on the anniversary of our friend Sue Dailey’s passing, it lessens the pain a bit and turns that difficult anniversary date into an evening of celebration and wonderful memory sharing!

DSC05980Thanks to our event coordinator Seema, we meet at our friend’s favorite local restaurant and we laugh, cry and share all of the many reasons we felt so lucky to have had her in our lives. Seema with help from friend Sara, created beautiful friendship bracelets to give out at our dinner this year. She featured her bracelets on one of her recent posts from her fun blog Confessions of a Creative Junkie. Our group, pictured above, consists of friends who met Sue at different points in her life –from early to mid career to when she started having children later in life– we are all connected by our love for Sue.

In fact, our friend Sue was all about carving time out of our busy schedules to spend time with those we love and to always, always bring a camera to capture those special moments.

Our friend Sue had a vacation condo in Palm Desert and those who were close to her got to spend relaxing times there on occasion getting away from everyday stresses and family responsibilities to just hang around together and talk about everything! It was always relaxed and casual and the emphasis was on just being together…really together with no interruptions!

In the photo pictured below is our beloved friend Sue, pretty in pink,  Deb and myself enjoying our last trip to her condo together. After a fun stop at the outlet stores, Sue shared with us one of her favorite restaurants in the area –it is a weekend Deb and I will never forget! Sue was the gold standard when it came to friendship and unconditional love!                                     Sue Dailey

Annual events we plan with friends and family is a great way to make sure we have time automatically scheduled on the calendar so it doesn’t get gobbled up by other events that get in the way. We always tried to plan a Palm Desert getaway the first weekend in June the years we could swing it. Others like my extended family  in the Bay Area,  plan an annual camping trip to Lake Tahoe around the beginning of August and everyone adjusts their schedules around it.

Do you have an annual gathering or getaway you plan to stay connected to friends, family and other loved ones? If so, what is it and what is the best part of the event that you look forward to each year?