Authors Posts by Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education. is a passionate writer, educator, social media ninja, speaker, global citizen and founder of We Said Go Travel who has traveled to over one hundred countries and six continents. You might find her underwater, traveling to an exotic location, teaching in the classroom or in print about social media, science education, lifelong learning, books, and travel. Recently, in print in Prevention Magazine’s “Go For It” section about setting goals and achieving them, her weight loss was also highlighted in print in First for Women Magazine. On National Television as a science teacher on the show Career Day, she was a 2012 nominee for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. Niver was a 2014 nominee for the humanitarian award, the Charles Bronfman Prize. Niver writes for many online and offline publications including Wharton Business Magazine, USA Today, National Geographic, the Huffington Post, the Guardian and the Jewish Journal.

Lisa Oscars Red Carpet 2015

Lisa Oscars Red Carpet 2015Exciting March 2015 updates from Lisa & We Said Go Travel:

“Lisa runs the wildly popular and stupid prolific blog We Said Go Travel.

Every time I turn around I am being besieged with updates from said blog through my Triberr feed. I almost feel like a speed bag. But this is in a good way.

The content is wonderful, the stories are emotional, and Lisa’s ultimate goal is to spread global awareness.

She shares the platform with many up and coming travelers who cover all corners of the globe.

Super inspired blog and a great person to connect with.”

  • Lisa Niver Ireland green landsend clothesAND I am going to DUBLIN for St. Patrick’s Day. See my new green clothes from Lands End below. This is my very FIRST trip to Ireland and I cannot wait to share it with you! Thanks for all your support. Lisa

THE WINNERS from the 2014 Gratitude Writing Contest:

10best march 2015 lisa niver usa todayRecent Articles for USA TODAY 10Best:

​ Connect with me on Facebook,  Google+InstagramLinkedInPinterest,  SlideShare,  Twitter, and YouTube.

Happy March! Lisa (Click here to sign up for this newsletter. )

Thank you for watching my WSGT YouTube channel which is now over 303,000 views! Enjoy movies from Los AngelesBermuda,  Puerto Rico, Palau, Guam, Hawaii, India as well as Bali and Lombok  Indonesia,  Southern Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), and Nepal.  To find all 347 Videos: click here for the WSGT YouTube Channel. I am over 1000 followers on Pinterest, and up to 640+ subscribers on YouTube!

Lisa Niver Thailand Koh Lipe Sunset Beach 2014

Thank you to all the writers who participated in the 2014 Gratitude Writing Contest! I hope you will choose to share your stories. The 2015 Independence Writing Contest will open in May 2015 and close on July 4, 2015.  The 2015 Inspiration Writing Contest entries are being published and the winners will be announced in June. Over sixteen hundred writers from over seventy-five countries have written about their experiences and transformations all over our planet in the last six contests.

Lisa Niver Thailand Koh Lipe Sunset Beach 2014


First Place Winner:  



Second Place Winner:



Third Place Winner:



WSGT Writer Credly

The We Said Go Travel Team thanks everyone who shared, tweeted, promoted and participated in our Travel Writing Contests. We hope you will join in our next  Travel Writing Contest.

Thank you to our esteemed judges!

Richard Bangs, the father of modern adventure travel, is a pioneer in travel that makes a difference, travel with a purpose. He has spent 30 years as an explorer and communicator, and along the way led first descents of 35 rivers around the globe, he is currently producing and hosting the new PBS series, Richard Bangs: Adventure Without End

AnneLise Sorensen is a travel writer, editor, photographer, and TV/radio host who has penned – and wine-tasted – her way across four continents, reporting for multiple media outlets, including New York Magazine, MSN, Time Out, Yahoo Travel, Rough Guides, Gourmet, and Galavante. AnneLise regularly appears as a travel expert on NBC and CNN and she teaches popular travel writing classes and workshops at Mediabistro and travel events and shows.

Thank you for your participation in creating a growing global community of engaged travelers and concerned citizens.

 Other Contests, Courses and Books about Travel Writing



Embassy Suites Anaheim South #PrettyGreat Lisa Niver

Embassy Suites Anaheim South #PrettyGreat Lisa Niver Experience Embassy Suites Anaheim South February 2015:

What a great place to stay! Two room suites, free made-to-order breakfast and complimentary drinks!

The Embassy Suites Anaheim South is literally walking distance to Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney as it is only one mile away. There is a frequent and inexpensive shuttle every thirty minutes to Disneyland. You can get tickets and information in the lobby of the hotel about Disney, and “the Southern California CityPass (a low-price ticket to Southern California attractions, including Disneyland® Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood™, SeaWorld® Adventure Park, the world-famous San Diego Zoo® and San Diego’s Wild Animal Park®).”


Experience Embassy Suites Anaheim South


  The atrium is open all the way up the twelve levels. Enjoy complimentary cocktails at the Evening reception and the outdoor pool and hot top. The fitness and business centers are open all day and night. I stayed at the Embassy Suites South Anaheim for two nights. I walked from the hotel to The Anaheim Gardenwalk for lunch. Google maps said it was a 6minute drive by car and only just over a miile to walk. I had a lovely sunny stroll. After lunch at Cheesecake Factory, I wandered over to Downtown Disney. I had no idea that Elsa & Anna have their own store! The LEGO store creations were a real highlight! WOW! I am impressed what people can do with Legos! VideoWalking in Anaheim: The GardenWalk, Downtown Disney, Fountains at Anaheim Convention Center I like the sound of the waterfall and sitting next to the Koi Pond at breakfast. The chef made my omelet perfectly. Free Made-to-Order Breakfast at Embassy Suites is #PrettyGreat! What can you have for breakfast at Embassy Suites? Made to order eggs and omelets Potatoes and breakfast meats Cereals and oatmeal Fruit and Yogurt Bakery items: muffins, doughnuts, toast, bagel pancakes or french toast (depends on the day) Juice, milk, coffee VideoFree Made to Order Breakfast at Embassy Suites is #PrettyGreat

Lisa Niver compelling women awards premier traveler event 2014

Did you see the Always commercial from the Superbowl  and wonder: “Do I throw #LikeAGirl?

What does it mean to do something #LikeAGirl?  Today, on International Women’s Day during Women’s History Month, I ask you: “Do you travel #LikeAGirl?”

The questions and issues of traveling as a woman are endless. People often contact me and ask, “Will I be safe if… I travel to this country, if I travel alone, …?” When I was traveling in India by public bus for months in the Fall of 2012, a 23 year-old woman was gang-raped on a moving bus and bystanders watched as her boyfriend was killed and she was thrown off the bus after her assault. Protests and riots around the subcontinent made the news in every country. I thought of all the women who were in the daily newspaper who were maimed by relatives throwing acid at them or touched inappropriately on crowded train cars. I asked myself if I was safe as I counted more than 150 hours on the crowded public buses.

Lisa Niver compelling women awards premier traveler event 2014 #LikeAGirl
Photo Credit: Kurtew Photography

At Premier Traveler’s Most Compelling Women in Travel Awards, many women were honored for their “perseverance, talent and outstanding accomplishments.” After hearing their engaging stories of life on the road and in the office, I wanted to share their advice, leadership and how they travel #LikeAGirl.

Alison Wright, photographer and writer, told me: “I am an ambassador for our country. I can open other people’s eyes with my photographs. I can change other people’s perspectives.” She lived in Nepal for five years and has been to 150 countries. Her memoir, “Learning to Breathe; One Woman’s Journey of Spirit and Survival,” shares her story of survival and the kindness of strangers when she nearly died in a bus accident in Laos. As she said, “We all have the same universal desires and concerns. We want to love and be loved. We want a fulfilling life with education and health and safety. We want the freedom to be ourselves.”

Judy Reeves, Director of Public Relations, The Americas for Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts told me that  “Travel is a broadening experience because we seek something unknown to us.” At the event celebrating the most compelling women in travel, she said, ‘That is the beauty of travel. It takes you beyond yourself.”


Awards from @premiertraveler “Most compelling Woman in the travel industry” Judy Reeves @shangrilahotels

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

 Rahel Assefa, Vice President, Marketing – Ethiopian Airlines, flew to Los Angeles from Ethiopia to accept her compelling women in travel award. She told me how proud she is of all the women aircraft technicians and the amazing female pilots at Ethiopian Airlines. She said: “Even the men say women are the best technicians in the company as they are very detail oriented.” Personally, I am excited about Ethiopian Airlines starting direct flights from Los Angeles. I cannot wait to see the ancient holy city of Lalibella which is often called the 8th wonder of the world and is a UNESCO site. That night, I learned my first Ethiopian phrase: “Yichalal:” which means “Yes we can!” I keep thinking yes I can go to Ethiopia this year!   Stacey Stegman, Senior Vice President of Communications and Customer Service – Denver International Airport, told me that to travel #LikeAGirl means “go where you want but to have a higher level of awareness.” She is “aware of her surroundings, aware of situations, attracts people who are appropriate, aware of other cultures, and travels to different cities to see good and not so good areas. It is necessary to balance experiencing local culture with the sense to know what is safe. And to not be afraid to try new things and travel to new places.”  She recently celebrated as Denver International Airport was twenty years old on Feb 28, 2105. Denver is a city “that has transformed itself. The 18th largest metro area in America is thriving and has the 3rd largest domestic network so it’s connected to just about anywhere.” I cannot wait to go visit Denver again and see how it is “safe, cool and hip” (as described by Stacey’s husband, Lieutenant Edling. I promise to share the video of my police ride-along!).

  Listening to amazing women @premiertraveler #awards: Rahel Assefa @ethiopianairlines #travel transforms us!   A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Rosemarie Andolino, Commissioner – Chicago Department of Aviation, inspired me to go visit Chicago. She is a resource in understanding how travel impacts our entire economy.  Chicago welcomed over 50 million people in 2014 and she says, “we need to continue to welcome all nations. As the Chinese amass more wealth and more middle class, we want them to choose to use their travel dollars to come to American. We need there to be ease of travel and connectivity by improving roadways and access to national parks. In America, we do not have Xi’an or the Great Wall but we do have national parks and our people. We need access to be fun, easy and efficient or tourists will choose somewhere else to travel. As we connect modes of transport so visitors can travel with ease we need to consider how to compete globally to put our best foot forward and get people to choose to come here. Every 33 visitors creates one job. Tourism feeds businesses!”

The Honorees:

  • Rosmarie Andolino

Commissioner – Chicago Department of Aviation

  • Rahel Assefa

Vice President, Marketing – Ethiopian Airlines

  • Aileen Furlong Cafrey

Managing Director, MileagePlus – United Airlines

  • Captain Kathi Durst

B737 Fleet Captain, DFW Airport – American Airlines

  • Patricia Gallardo-Dwyer

Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability – Shangri-La International

  • Joanna Geraghty

Executive Vice President, Customer Experience – JetBlue

  • Fatma Yuceler

General Manager, Western USA – Turkish Airlines

  • Gail Grimmett

Senior Vice President, New York – Delta Air Lines

  • Christie Hicks

Senior Vice President, Starwood Sales Organization – Starwood Hotels & Resorts

  • Pam M. Nicholson

Chief Executive Officer – Enterprise Holdings

  • Judy Reeves

Director of Public Relations, The Americas – Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

  • Maria C. Sebastian

Director, Worldwide Sales and Marketing – Virgin Atlantic Airways

  • Sinead El Sibai

Vice President, Marketing – Dubai Duty Free

  • Stacey Stegman

Global Communications Director – Denver International Airport

  • Aubrey Tiedt

Vice President of Guest Services – Etihad Airways

  • Anne C. Toulouse

Vice President, Global Brand Management and Advertising – Boeing

  • Alison Wright


How do you travel #LikeAGirl?

pali school charter elementary school palisadesPalisades Elementary Charter School

Writing and Arithmetic.  More likely, the child will talk about computer lab, music class, or time spent in their school’s garden…the FUN stuff that integrates their core curriculum into real life experiences, and enriches their education and learning ability. Like any public charter school in LAUSD, Palisades Elementary is highly resource constrained.  Without fundraiser events like the school’s upcoming Online Auction, Palisades Elementary students would not have access to any of the FUN, enriching programs that kids love and remember, and help to prepare them for the changing world.

This year, the school’s Auction has more than 800 incredible items.  In a historic move , Palisades Elementary Charter School in Pacific Palisades is opening its treasured Online Auction with hundreds of items to surrounding communities and beyond.

Anyone can bid and buy one-of-kind travel opportunities under market-value.

thai 2Do you want a Seven Night stay in Private Luxury Villa with Staff at the Amanpuri in Thailand?

It truly is a trip of a lifetime! Spend a luxurious week in a fabulous villa at the glorious beachfront Amanpuri resort.  The Amanpuri is Thailand’s most spectacular resort, which has 40 pavilion rooms and 30 private villa homes interspersed throughout a secluded coconut plantation. Surrounded by the Andaman Sea, this beachfront resort offers the ultimate in resort facilities, including full water sports, two yachts available for charter, spa facilities and gym, executive services, tennis (including tennis partners), and world-class gold courses nearby.

Amanpuri resort, Thailand
Amanpuri resort, Thailand

The villa consists of 10 bedrooms with different configurations, 2 separate dining pavilions, 2 separate living pavilions, a private gym in the villa, a private swimming pool, several outdoor living areas, and is fully staffed with a gourmet cook and 3 housekeepers.


Video: The Compound at Amanpuri



Palisades Elementary Charter School opens its Online Auction For First Time To its Community and the Country

Pacific Palisades, CA —

In a historic move, Palisades Elementary Charter School in Pacific Palisades is

opening its treasured Online Auction with hundreds of items to surrounding communities and beyond.

Traditionally, the opportunity to nab “Deals and Steals” from the school’s diverse compendium of

Auction items has been open to Palisades Elementary families only. However, the Auction’s quality

offerings have become so voluminous, that the Auction will now be open to shoppers everywhere at from March 6-16.


Categories for the Palisades Elementary Online Auction range from Worldwide Travel; to Fitness &

Fashion; to Children’s Classes, Camps, and Parties. Opportunities include Seven Nights in a Luxurious

Private Villa at the Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand; Two VIP tickets to Taylor Swift’s August concert at the

Staples Center; VIP Behind-the-Scenes Experience for Two to the NFL on Fox; and a Limited Edition

Lithograph “A Sky Full of Stars” signed by Coldplay are all fair game to the highest bidder. A “Buy It

Now” option will be available for many items.


In addition to Auction items, raffle tickets will be available for purchase online at

This year’s raffle offers three amazing prizes:

One-of-a-kind 61 carat Tourmaline Necklace by Jaimie Geller ($10,500)

Own a complete original! This amazing necklace was designed by Jaimie and

Michael Geller, and is truly unique. A beautiful one-of-a-kind 61.44 carat tourmaline

is surrounded by .78 carats of pave diamonds, with a setting and chain made of

brilliant 18 carat white gold. Perfect for any occasion!


Four Night Stay at the Grand Wailea, Maui ($2,800)

A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the Grand Wailea is situated on 40 lush acres, captivates

the senses, and boasts some of the best pools and water activities in Maui.


A Bicycle Built for YOU ($1,700)

The Brompton Folding Bike, from AIKA for urban cycling in Santa Monica, folds to a

compact package a little larger than its wheels in less than 20 seconds. It is the

smallest and coolest folding bike out there. Designed and manufactured in London.

Proceeds from the Palisades Elementary Auction support public education by providing funds to hire

teachers, reduce class size, purchase books, and provide access to computers, music, and physical education.

Online Auction begins Friday, March 6, 2015
and runs through Monday, March 16, 2015


Lisa Niver 10 best usa today 3 articles march 2015

Barton G. in Los Angeles: Play with Your Food

Bring your celebration here for incredible edible creations with top service and style

Los Angeles Local Expert

Barton G. is fine dining joined with fun dining. After years of success on South Beach in Florida, the restaurant created by Barton G. Weiss is now also on La Cienega in Los Angeles .

Each meal is a memorable experience, meeting all the senses with enticing fragrances, extraordinary food and over-the-top presentations. Barton G. Weiss pushes the boundary of what is possible, bringing unseen artistry to every aspect of the dining experience. The delicious culinary delights are paired with unbelievable presentation and top service.

You can play with your food at Barton G. in Los Angeles
Photo courtesy of Barton G.

This whimsical restaurant will surprise and delight every guest, with Lobster Pop Tarts served in a giant blue toaster, Blooming Sea Bass with flowering potatoes and popcorn shrimp in a popcorn machine.

Guests are clearly delighted, and conversation springs from table to table.

“Everything at the restaurant is calculated to inspire, tickling one’s intellect and appealing to all the senses,” says Barton G. Weiss. “We are bringing out the spirited side of fine dining — color, sound, texture, aroma and the stimulation of feeling as if transported far from anywhere you have ever been — to create an awe-inspiring style of eating and drinking unlike any other. It’s something that Los Angeles has yet to see.”

Inside Barton G on La Cienega
Photo courtesy of Lisa Ellen Niver

Barton G. Los Angeles offers an ever-evolving menu, including signature eye-catching creations such as the Bucket of Bones, which includes Korean barbecued short ribs, slow cooked Niman Ranch pork ribs, grilled lamb lollipops, honey barbecued chicken drumettes, crisp baby carrots, housemade pickles and honey gorgonzola dipping sauce.

Other inventions include the Mouse Trap Mac & Cheese, served on an over-sized wooden mouse trap; Say Ahhhh Surf ‘n’ Turf, with charbroiled Certified Angus filet mignon and crispy Santa Barbara spot prawns, roasted marrow, roots and local vegetables, chile béarnaise and black pepper bordelaise; and South Side Short Ribs, slow braised Wagyu beef short ribs with forest mushrooms, Dutch potatoes, asparagus and garlic-spiced Vidalia onion rings.

Your dessert is a chocolate treasure of indulgence
Photo courtesy of Lisa Ellen Niver

Completing the dining experience are dessert masterpieces by Corporate Executive Chef Luis Vasquez. Sweet creations range from Marshmallow Pizza, piped meringue “crust,” strawberry jelly sauce, agar onion rings and white chocolate “cheese” to Sweet Garden Pots, with potted cupcakes filled with crumbled brownie “soil” and green velvet cake “moss” topped with seasonal fruit.

The chocolate indulgence comes with a shovel and what appears to be a chocolate treasure chest with Warm Valrhona Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Ganache and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. The 24-carat gold dust spoons can be eaten, and there are gold coins inside as well.

High-octane liquid nitrogen cocktails add to the exuberant meal, with selections such as the “Sin-Sation,” made with vanilla vodka and rose petal nectar, topped with Champagne and served with a housemade nitrogen popsicle. And “Diamonds are Forever” features citrus vodka, triple sec and lemonade alongside a citrus vodka popsicle and sugar stick.

oscars 2015 united Lisa Niver

From Row A on the Red Carpet with United #FilmFriendly Bloggers 2015 the 87th Academy Awards #LosAngeles

Video: From Row A on the Red Carpet

Our day started at 10:30am with check-in at security. We had all had criminal background checks in order to be on the list. Maybelline offered makeovers and manicures during the day. We had People magazines to read and box lunches to eat.

By 2pm we were in our bleacher seats ready to record the long walk down the red carpet (partially in the rain!). I never realized how many people walk the carpet or how many times the stars get asked the same questions over and over again with a giant SMILE! At 6pm, we went to El Capitan to enjoy the 87th Academy Awards on the big screen. A dinner buffet, popcorn and drinks were given to us as we sat in our comfy seats to see who won which OSCAR.

oscars 2015 united Lisa NiverThank you United Airlines for hand-selecting me as one of your five #OscarBloggers for 2015!

Team #OscarBloggers:

Spencer from Whisky Tango Globetrot

Arnette from Round The World Girl

Monica from Run Eat Repeat

Diana from LA by Diana

and ME! Lisa from We Said Go Travel

Lisa Niver Brittany oscars  2015 United AirlinesThanks to

Red Carpet Experience 2015 posts:
from Monica at Run Eat Repeat

from Arnette at RTWGirl

from Spencer Spellman at Whisky Tango Globetrot

from Lisa Niver at We Said Go Travel

Photo by United Airlines. Oscars Red Carpet 2014
Photo credit: United Airlines. Oscars Red Carpet 2014

Thank you to United Airlines for inviting me to see the glamour of the OSCARS tomorrow!
I will be sharing from the bleachers with FIVE other amazing writers! Follow these accounts below to enjoy what we will be seeing!

United Airlines is the official airline sponsor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the 2015 Oscars. 

Oscar is resting up for his big day. #Oscars #OscarsCreators (Video by @asenseofhuber)

A video posted by The Academy (@theacademy) on





ARNETTE RTW of Round the World Girl



MONICA OLIVAS of Run Eat Repeat


This mug is not messing around. #RunEatRepeat #boom #love #fitfluential #runchat #fitfam #friday #runaddiction #tiuteam #fun

A photo posted by Run Eat Repeat / Monica Olivas (@runeatrepeat) on

SPENCER SPELLMAN of  Whiskey Tango Globetrot 


Home sweet Southern California. #mydayinLA #home #california_igers #California #instagood A photo posted by Spencer Spellman (@spencerspellman) on




and Me —Lisa Niver of We Said Go Travel


Mayor @ericgarcetti shares what citizens can do to make #LosAngeles better @wiselosangeles

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Jack English/Weinstein CompanyFrom left, Keira Knightley, Matthew Beard, Matthew Goode, Benedict Cumberbatch and Allen Leech in “The Imitation Game.”


Martin Scali/Fox Searchlight Pictures

  •  Wes AndersonThe Grand Budapest Hotel
  •  Alejandro G. IñárrituBirdman
  •  Richard LinklaterBoyhood
  •  Bennett MillerFoxcatcher
  •  Morten TyldumThe Imitation Game
Actor in a Leading Role

Warner Bros. Pictures

  •  Steve CarellFoxcatcher
  •  Bradley CooperAmerican Sniper
  •  Benedict CumberbatchThe Imitation Game
  •  Michael KeatonBirdman
  •  Eddie RedmayneThe Theory of Everything
Actress in a Leading Role

Liam Daniel/Focus Features

  •  Marion CotillardTwo Days, One Night
  •  Felicity JonesThe Theory of Everything
  •  Julianne MooreStill Alice
  •  Rosamund PikeGone Girl
  •  Reese WitherspoonWild
Actor in a Supporting Role

Matt Lankes/IFC Films

  •  Robert DuvallThe Judge
  •  Ethan HawkeBoyhood
  •  Edward NortonBirdman
  •  Mark RuffaloFoxcatcher
  •  J.K. SimmonsWhiplash
Actress in a Supporting Role

Fox Searchlight Pictures

  •  Patricia ArquetteBoyhood
  •  Laura DernWild
  •  Keira KnightleyThe Imitation Game
  •  Emma StoneBirdman
  •  Meryl StreepInto the Woods
Original Screenplay
  •  Birdman
  •  Boyhood
  •  Foxcatcher
  •  The Grand Budapest Hotel
  •  Nightcrawler
Adapted Screenplay
  •  American Sniper
  •  The Imitation Game
  •  Inherent Vice
  •  The Theory of Everything
  •  Whiplash
Foreign Language Film
  •  IdaPoland
  •  LeviathanRussia
  •  TangerinesEstonia
  •  TimbuktuMauritania
  •  Wild TalesArgentina
Animated Feature
  •  Big Hero 6
  •  The Boxtrolls
  •  How to Train Your Dragon 2
  •  Song of the Sea
  •  The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Sound Editing
  •  American Sniper
  •  Birdman
  •  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  •  Interstellar
  •  Unbroken
Visual Effects
  •  Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  •  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  •  Guardians of the Galaxy
  •  Interstellar
  •  X-Men: Days of Future Past
Film Editing
  •  American Sniper
  •  Boyhood
  •  The Grand Budapest Hotel
  •  The Imitation Game
  •  Whiplash
Short Film, Animated
  •  A Single Life
  •  The Bigger Picture
  •  The Dam Keeper
  •  Feast
  •  Me and My Moulton
Short Film, Live Action
  •  Aya
  •  Boogaloo and Graham
  •  Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)
  •  Parvaneh
  •  The Phone Call
Documentary Short Subject
  •  Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
  •  Joanna
  •  Our Curse
  •  The Reaper (La Parka)
  •  White Earth
Original Score
  •  The Grand Budapest Hotel
  •  The Imitation Game
  •  Interstellar
  •  Mr. Turner
  •  The Theory of Everything
Original Song
  •  Begin Again
  •  Beyond the Lights
  •  Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
  •  The Lego Movie
  •  Selma
Production Design
  •  The Grand Budapest Hotel
  •  The Imitation Game
  •  Interstellar
  •  Into the Woods
  •  Mr. Turner
  •  Birdman
  •  The Grand Budapest Hotel
  •  Ida
  •  Mr. Turner
  •  Unbroken
Costume Design
  •  The Grand Budapest Hotel
  •  Inherent Vice
  •  Into the Woods
  •  Maleficent
  •  Mr. Turner
  •  Foxcatcher
  •  The Grand Budapest Hotel
  •  Guardians of the Galaxy
Documentary Feature
  •  Citizenfour
  •  Finding Vivian Maier
  •  Last Days in Vietnam
  •  The Salt of the Earth
  •  Virunga
Sound Mixing
  •  American Sniper
  •  Birdman
  •  Interstellar
  •  Unbroken
  •  Whiplash

krista chef Yousef Ghalaini Lisa Niver Fairmont Miramar Fig Restaurant

krista chef Yousef Ghalaini Lisa Niver Fairmont Miramar Fig RestaurantThe Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica is fantastic!

I loved my stay in the Presidential Suite Bungalow One. Enjoy these photos and videos and make a plan to see it yourself very soon.

From theFairmont Miramar website: “The moment you arrive at Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows you will notice the magical transformation that has taken place. From the exquisitely manicured grounds to the casual elegance of our guest rooms and suites, our luxury Santa Monica oceanfront hotel will challenge your senses and provide you with an unforgettable experience.

For over a century, Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows has welcomed guests seeking privacy and pampering. Today, the tradition continues in our Santa Monica oceanfront hotel.

The @FairmontMiramar is an incredible location in #SantaMonica. I look forward to returning #WhereWilshireMeetsTheSea

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Eat at Fig Restaurant

“Turning moments into memories” @FairmontMiramar the Presidential suite Bungalow One. #Luxury #experience

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Bungalow One is INCREDIBLE!


  I wanted to share a second photo of this 127 year old #Australian Morton Bay Fig Tree. #WhereWilshireMeetsTheSea @FairmontMiramar   A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

WIDE-OPEN WORLD by John Marshall

WIDE-OPEN WORLD by John MarshallEnjoy this excerpt from the Prologue of the book WIDE-OPEN WORLD by John Marshall. Copyright © 2015 by John Marshall. Reprinted by arrangement with Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

From inside the Human Kitchen, I watched the spider monkeys begin to arrive. They don’t look so tough—or so I told myself as they climbed onto the bars that separated me from them. They were docile, for one thing, hanging out like bored visitors at a human zoo, not baring their teeth or trying to get in. One, two, then three monkeys; they all just scratched their red belly hair with their long black fingers, searched for the right grip with their wandering prehensile tails, looked at us—at me—with their black unfathomable eyes, and waited. Soaking wet and full grown, spider monkeys weigh around fifteen pounds, but they have ten times more muscle mass per body weight than your average human, which makes them incredibly strong. A spider monkey, hanging only by her tail, can pick up a sixty-pound bag of ice and swing it playfully around like a loaf of bread. One monkey at the sanctuary even broke into a bathroom, ripped a ninety-pound toilet off its bolts, and threw it out the door! Plus they have sharp teeth and lightning-quick reflexes, and they can be unpredictable and territorial and jealous. Especially with guys like me.

Several months before we left home, before we bought our tickets to Costa Rica, I received an email warning. Carol, one of the sanctuary founders, was writing with some advice about volunteering. Along with suggestions on what to bring and descriptions of what we would be doing, she slipped in a couple of lines that caught me by surprise. She wrote, and I quote:

Sweetie is growing out of her propensity to attack white males, but Winkie seems to be the culprit now. John: there are a few special guidelines that you will have to follow until they realize you are not a threat to The Troop.

sweetie WIDE-OPEN WORLD by John MarshallNow, several words jumped out at me right away, the first being “attack,” the second being “white,” and the third being “male,” two of which describe me pretty well. My wife, Traca (pronounced tray-sa), laughed the warning off, as white women on the non-attack list are prone to do, but I was a little freaked out. It didn’t help that I received this email right after seeing the interview Oprah Winfrey did with Charla Nash (the woman who had her face chewed off by a chimpanzee in 2009); and though I knew spider monkeys are much smaller than chimps (especially the two-hundred-pound male chimp that got Charla), I suspected they were still capable of peeling me like a big white male banana should the desire arise.

As I watched the monkeys at the window, wondering which one was Sweetie and which one was Winkie (or whether it mattered), I noticed two scarlet macaws fly from above the Human Kitchen, screeching like show-offs, as if their spectacular red and blue plumage wasn’t attention-grabbing enough. They soared across the grounds, through the dense jungle growth, landing together in a palm tree that curved out across the Golfo Dulce. Beside me, Traca looked awestruck, as if witnessing a miracle, and our two kids—Logan, our seventeen-year-old son, and Jackson, our fourteen-year-old daughter—were as focused as I’ve ever seen them. If they were still harboring any reservations about this trip, they weren’t letting on. They looked enchanted, alive, overloaded by the sheer density of wildlife, the potential for danger, and the pure novelty that surrounded us all.

Our home for the next month would be the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary, a little orphanage/rehab center for all kinds of abandoned or injured rainforest animals. Creatures like kinkajous, peccaries, coatis, tayras . . . though I was focused strictly on the spider monkeys. While all the other sanctuary residents were being cared for in cages, the spider monkeys were the only animals allowed to roam free. Which meant one very critical thing for me and my family: For the next thirty days, we would be living in cages. Whenever we stepped outside, we’d just be part of the monkey troop.

“Well, let’s see how this goes,” Carol barked in her usual forceful voice. She reached for the security latch on the kitchen door, then turned to me. “Just don’t show any fear or it’s all over,” she warned, clearly not paying attention.

Short of holding an i am afraid sign, I’m not sure how I could have exhibited any more fear signals than I was exhibiting at that moment. I was sweating liquid fear. My legs were weak. My heart was racing like a rabbit’s heart in Coyote Canyon. I knew this sensation. When I was a kid, I had an irrational fear of dogs; not just big scary dogs but all dogs. Even friendly golden retrievers could get my blood pumping in a panic, and as Carol opened the door, I had that same reaction: pure, instinctual fear.

“You okay, Dad?” Logan asked me, a white male himself but, according to Carol, too young to be perceived as a threat by the monkeys.

“I guess so,” I said. “If they go to eat me, save yourself.” I hoped he knew I was joking.

“They’re not going to attack you,” Jackson said, rolling her eyes as if she was annoyed. But I could tell she was a little worried, too.

Then, right before we stepped outside, I caught Traca’s eye. She flashed a big excited smile and I knew exactly what it meant. This was her dream. She’d wanted to take a trip like this ever since we first met, and now here we were, at the threshold of our first big adventure.

Click. The latch opened and out we went.

day one WIDE-OPEN WORLD by John MarshallLeaving the safety of the Human Kitchen, I felt unprotected, but I wasn’t—not really. Surrounding me like bodyguards, moving as a single unit, was my family: my wife of nearly twenty years, my son, and my daughter. I knew that we wouldn’t always be together, that life and change would pull us inevitably apart. But as Sweetie (or was it Winkie?) casually dropped from the cage bars and made her way toward us, toward me, there was no future. There was only this moment, the whole world narrowing to a single small, hairy shape. No matter what happened next, one thought stood out in my mind like a red macaw against a blue tropical sky:

We’re doing it.

After years of talking about it, we’re actually doing it.

From the book WIDE-OPEN WORLD by John Marshall. Copyright © 2015 by John Marshall. Reprinted by arrangement with Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.