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.

By Jason, Harriet & Gene Will and Lisa Niver

The Minnesota State Fair is the second largest State Fair in the United States! The Will family who were once fair booth owners themselves, shared their top food hacks with me. These six best food hacks are the iconic staples of the Fair. It is easy to get overwhelmed with hundreds of thousands of people in attendance every day and hundreds of booths with new ones appearing every year. Make sure to taste the best of the best, the must haves whether you have been at the fair year after year or you are a first timer.

Photo by Jason Will
Photo by Jason Will
lisa sweet marthaSweet Martha’s Cookie Jar:

In 1979, Martha Olson started her Sweet Martha chocolate chip cookie booth hoping to make $1000. She made $10,000 and now has two booths and 450 employees at the Fair. She is a former school teacher who now runs a cookie empire with 12 huge ovens that crank out 2,000 cookies a minute. Cookies are served by the cone full or the bucket full with over four dozen cookies.

Two locations: South side of Carnes Ave. between Nelson & Underwood streets and North side of West Dan Patch Ave. between Liggett St. & Chambers St.

Lisa CornThe Corn Roast

Stop here for fresh corn roasted in the husk. This is the perfect summer vegetable and possibly the healthiest thing we ate all day!

Location: Southeast corner of Dan Patch Ave. & Nelson St.

Photo by Jason Will
Photo by Jason Will
Wild Rice Specialties: Wild Rice Gourmet Cheeseburger:

Adding wild rice to a burger makes for an incredible texture and taste. One person in our group had been coming to the Fair for twenty years but today was his first time eating this fair specialty. We all give this a thumbs up! Definitely have the sautéed onions!

Location:  In the Food Building, northeast section

cheese curds
Photo by Jason Will
The Original Deep Fried Cheese Curds

Come to Minnesota, you have to eat deep fried cheese curds! Over 120,000 pounds of the cheese fritters are sold and people love them!

Location: In the Food Building, center section

Dairy Goodness Bar: Malt

In the Dairy building, do not worry if the line looks long, it moves rapidly and is worth any wait for the best malts on the planet. Test out chocolate or the new for 2015 Salted Caramel Puff malts. Scott Eddy and I proclaimed it fantastic!

Location: In the Dairy Building

Jason and Gene at Fresh French Fries
Jason & Gene, Fresh French Fries
Fresh French Fries

Make one thing and make it very very well. These fries are AMAZING! Since 1973 but only at the Fair, find these fries voted “Best French Fries in America” by Gourmet Magazine.

Seven semi-trailers of potatoes (about 400,000 pounds) need 3000 gallons of oil to create twelve days of tasty treats. They use approximately 25,000 pounds of ketchup.

Location: North side of Judson Ave. between Nelson & Underwood streets

VIDEO: Best Day at Minnesota State Fair 2015: Eat these six best food hacks! 

mn state fair mapDuring the twelve days, more than two million people are anticipated to enjoy food, drinks and entertainment from all around the state. This fair is so large they have to have their own police presence for this twelve day annual event. There are all types of food fried and on a stick as well as concerts, live music, arts, and shopping.

The first Fair was held in 1855 in Minneapolis. Statehood was granted in 1858, and the MINNESOTA STATE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY held its first State Fair in 1859, also in Minneapolis.  The current location began in 1885 with 210 acres and is now on 320 acres which includes the Fine Arts Center, Progress Center, Grandstand, Warner Coliseum and Agriculture Horticulture Building


Remember the Minnesota State Fair is twelve days long and closes this year on Labor Day, September 7, 2105. Wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated and enjoy!
Fair Recycling Facts:

• Grease from the fair is recycled and turned into biodiesel fuel.

• The fair’s recycled meat scraps go through a rendering process that separates the protein and fat. The protein is then used as an ingredient in animal feed. Fat later goes into cosmetics and soap.

• 60 tons of food waste were collected during the 2014 fair and recycled.

• More than 400 bottle-recycling receptacles were placed around the fairgrounds in 2014.

• 34 tons of glass, plastic and aluminum were collected and recycled during last year’s fair.

Fair Trivia:
  • At the 1859 Minnesota State Fair, what was the prize money awarded for “best horse”? ($4)
  • Which biggest boar was the biggest of them all? (In 2010, crossbred swine Reggie weighed in at 1,450 lbs.
  • How many tons of potatoes do the three largest French fry vendors [Fresh French Fries’ two locations and World’s Greatest French Fries] use each year? (about 145 tons of potatoes or the weight of 290 cows)
  • The first 12-day State Fair was held in what year? (1975. Prior to this, the fair lasted anywhere between three and 11 days.)
  • How many acres of corn are sold at the Corn Roast booth each year? (25 acres)
  • How many food concessions are located throughout the fairgrounds? (About 300 food concessions dish up nearly 500 different delectable delights.)
Where to Stay?

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Minneapolis welcomed me with warm chocolate chip cookies and an all suite full service property. Located in downtown near the Convention Center, it was a perfect location to explore the twin cities. My spacious room had a separate sleeping and living area with comfortable seating, an ergonomic work desk and two flat-screen HDTVs. The hotel is located one block from Nicollet Mall, St. Thomas University campus and the Minneapolis skyway.

During my first visit to Minnesota, I enjoyed summer fun in the twin cities from kayaking near Boom Island with Above the Falls Sports, to Teppanyaki on Grand Avenue at Saji Ya and a day at the Minneapolis State Fair. Thank you to the Will family for welcoming me and sharing their knowledge about the Fair and Minnesota!

From the Zipkick Road trip, kayaking in Minneapolis, Scott Eddy, Jason Will and Lisa Niver August 29, 2015

wharton zipkick

Being a Social Influencer Means … a Road Trip?

Jason Will’s years of experience as a consultant at Accenture and Slalom gave him the knowledge to launch his new travel app Zipkick, but he partnered with a social media influencer, Scott Eddy, for the marketing fuel to power the app’s trajectory.

The two have begun an epic road trip with partners in all spheres of travel and transportation. Their efforts epitomize the new paradigm in which a new company no longer needs to wait around to be recognized by print publications to break news or break down walls. Brands realize that traditional marketing efforts are not leading to the desired level of direct user engagement, and they are reallocating their funding toward digital and social media. Facebook, Periscope, SnapChat and Twitter are the millennials The New York Times.

Market intelligence and consulting firm Strategy Analytics published its latest advertising spend figures in the U.S., estimating total expenditure at nearly $187 billion and digital accounts at $52.8 billion of that. That is nearly $30 billion less than TV ad spending. However, digital remains the fastest growing of any category, increasing at a rate of 13 percent this year and up 2.5 percent versus 2014. TV’s number continues to decline annually; it is down 0.6 percent versus 2014). Print, by the way, is substantially less in third place at 15 percent of total ad spend ($28 billion). Meanwhile, social media ad spending is expected to reach $8.3 billion in 2015, up from $2.1 billion in 2014.

This shift to digital media means an opportunity for social media influencers who are able to create real time engagement with their followers at the fraction of the cost. The queen of the phenomena, Kim Kardashian, has built an empire on this principle.

One negative experience with a brand can catch fire on social media, though, and destroy the best efforts of said brand through TV and print media. This denotes the difference between “audience” and “influence.” Just because you have a large following doesn’t necessarily mean you have influence. The content and audience can determine what catches fire and what is background noise on social media platforms.

In Will’s case, he made the choice to bring Eddy, a social media influencer in the travel industry, on board as his brand ambassador. Eddy has worked with Starwood and Marriot in the hotel industry, as well as with other travel brands in assisting them in creating strong audience engagement on social media platforms. Will recruited Eddy off of Twitter. They immediately connected as they are both believers in the dramatic shift occurring in brand marketing, which leverages an influencer’s existing audience and community online and offline to build a brand’s following.

As Eddy has an audience of 671,000+ Twitter followers and growing, Will believes Eddy has the relevance he needs to share his app, the reach as Eddy’s audience is largely interested in travel and resonance as Eddy shares daily content.

The Zipkick roadtrip team (with Scott Eddy on far left and Jason Will in the driver's seat). Photo credit: Larry Wong.

The Zipkick road trip team (with Scott Eddy far left and Jason Will in the driver’s seat). Photo credit: Larry Wong.

“People follow me on Twitter because sometimes they just want to escape their daily grind of life, they have the opportunity to live my experiences, which for many reasons they might not be able to do,” says Eddy, perhaps echoing the sentiment of many influencers. “But because of their interest and following, when they do have the ability and resources to go to the places I’ve been, they need the tools to make this happen, which is why Will made the decision to leverage my audience to market his app.”

So far it’s worked. Through this engagement, Zipkick has built up over 16,000 followers on Twitter and growing daily, with many travel professionals and travel business reaching out to the company to see how they can be involved in the app. This is prior to the app’s launch, which is scheduled for the last quarter of 2015. (The app will provide personalized, mobile travel search and booking.)

To add some more fuel to their partnership, Will and Eddy are wrapping a KIA Sedona with their new Zipkick logo and driving 6,500 miles in 50 days. For some, that may be more about craziness than about influence, but stay tuned!

This article was first published at Wharton Business Magazine on August 24, 2015

Wharton Editor’s note: A bit of an influencer herself, Lisa Niver has been invited to join Eddy and Will on part of their Zipkick journey. She will spend one week traveling with them across Utah, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore and Minneapolis.


Incredible day in a Hot Air Balloon Park City, Utah

Hello from Park City Utah! Yesterday I flew for the first time in a hot air balloon with Park City Balloon Adventures! That was an amazing bucket list way to start the day. I am driving with ZipKick to Yellowstone National Park. I have always wanted to go and am so excited to be going today. There are 58 National Parks in the USA. Looking at the whole list, I realize I have been more than I thought. Our National Parks are a treasure and the National Park service is nearly 100 years old!

Many people have written to me asking about how can they visit our National Parks especially with their families. I have an idea for you!

Participate right away in the EveryDay Park Moments Photo Contest for a chance to win a trip for four to one of three iconic National Parks: National Mall and Memorial Parks (Washington, DC), Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona) or Yosemite National Park (California) where the ZipKick road trip began. You need to enter between July 30th and August 31st so get your photos ready and caption with #EveryDayMoments


To enter,  share a “selfie” or other snapshot that captures special #EveryDayMoments at local and national parks with family or friends – along with a caption. Submissions will be accepted from July 30 to August 31, 2015. Each of the winners can bring up to three guests to join them at one of three (1 of 3) National Parks packages:

  • A trip for four (4) to Yosemite National Park, including round-trip airfare to Fresno, CA, three (3) nights’ accommodations at Tenaya Lodge, an America the Beautiful Pass a choice of two (2) activities from a list provided to the winner, and a $1000 activity and spending allowance awarded to the winner.
  • A trip for four (4) to Grand Canyon National Park, including round-trip airfare to Phoenix, AZ, three (3) nights’ accommodations at The Grand Canyon Lodge, an America the Beautiful Pass, and a $2000 activity and spending allowance awarded to the winner.
  • A trip for four (4) to the National Mall and Memorial Parks of Washington, DC, including round-trip airfare to Washington D.C., three (3) nights’ accommodations at The Grand Hyatt, a Monuments and Memorials half-day photo shoot, and a dinner cruise, and a $1,500 spending allowance awarded to the winner.

ENTER HERE (see site for all contest rules and details contest closes August 31, 2015)

5 Must-haves for your family road trip


bre lisa kellee snorkelingAugust 2015 News from Lisa & We Said Go Travel:


Thank you to everyone who participated in the Winter 2015 Inspiration contest. The winners can be seen here. I am currently publishing the entries from the Summer 2015 Independence Writing Contest. I expect to announce the winners in early October.
The Fall Gratitude Travel Writing Contest will begin on September 11, 2015. More details: click here. Many updates are coming to We Said Go Travel and there will be a few changes to the contest. Stay tuned!
Thank you for watching my WSGT YouTube channel which is now over 351,609  views! Enjoy movies from Los Angeles, Bermuda,  Puerto Rico, Palau, Guam, Hawaii, India as well as Bali and Lombok  Indonesia,  Southern Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), and Nepal.  To find all 370 Videos: click here for the WSGT YouTube Channel. I am over 1000 followers on Pinterest, and up to 700+ subscribers on YouTube!
From Seth Godin: Because it has always been this wayThat’s a pretty bad answer to a series of common questions.Why is the format of the board meeting like this? Why do we always structure our annual conference like this? Why is this our policy? Why do we let him decide these issues? Why is this the price?The real answer is, “Because if someone changes it, that someone will be responsible for what happens.”

Are you okay with that being the reason things are the way they are?

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Late night st kittsMy time in St. Kitts went too quickly. I loved participating in the first ever restaurant week and exploring parts of the island. For our final morning, I woke up to see the sunrise and to catch our early morning flight. Relaxing in the tranquility of the YU Lounge was a relief after the early wake up call and traveling by Porsche Cayenne to the tarmac was a treat. I loved all the super luxury experiences on this island from Belle Mont Farm, to Christophe Harbour, the Pavilion and Salt Plage! I cannot wait to return!

Read more about our adventures in St. Kitts:

Day One: St. Kitts Arrival at YU Lounge and the St. Kitts Marriott

Day Two: From over the rails to beneath the sea: St. Kitts Restaurant Week

Day Three:  A taste of history to complement local treats: St. Kitts Restaurant Week Day 3

Day Four:  Upscale eats and the writing is on the… tree! St. Kitts Restaurant Week Day 4

Enjoy this video of Sunrise over St. Kitts on our last day and the second video from Sunset at Salt Plage.

Leaving #StKitts @yu_lounge by @Porsche & @Americanair This is #luxury #sknrestaurantwk #lgg4

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Thanks #StKitts for a wonderful visit! Flight by @Americanair Photos by @lgusamobile #lgg4 #sknrestaurantwk A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Great fun #StKitts snorkel with @breannajwilson & @kelleesetgo. Thx to Bre for @Gopro photo

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

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View from Belle Mont Farm
View from Belle Mont Farm
View at lunch, Belle Mont Farm, St. Kitts

For our fourth day in St. Kitts, we were treated to an incredible meal at the luxurious mountain retreat, Belle Mont Farm. Situated on Kittian Hill, this working farm of 400 acres has stunning views of the Ocean as well Mount Liamuiga, the highest point on the island at 3792 feet.

The property was designed by Bill Bensley, who also created the Four Seasons Tented Camp in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Every detail is perfect and the stone was quarried locally and the team trained local residents to become stone carvers. Community involvement is key whether the people working on site or the guests. Everyone can become a food forager learning about whatever fruit and vegetables are in season as well as picking them and eating them! I want to return for the famous farm dinner, hopefully on a full moon!

Our lunch included farm grown Tomato Salad with coconut mozzarella, Dasheen Risotto and fresh from the sea Mahi Mahi with Lime and coconut foam, and farm chicken jambonette with breadfruit chowder. Not only was it an incredible meal, but we also sat outside which was a gallery of views of the mountain and of Bill Bensley’s paintings.

I loved the pool, the villas and all the amenities. In your upscale villa, you do not have a television but a large screen that drops down movie style and is controlled by your personal iPad. You can choose to completely detach from busy city life and be drawn into the farm. I drew my name on a leaf when I left, when you return they will find your leaf for you!

After our views from Kittian Hill, we were treated to a stunning vista from the seventh floor of the St. Kitts Marriott. I really enjoyed staying at the Marriott with my large balcony facing the three pools and the ocean. For our last night on the island, we returned to Salt Plage to enjoy the music, food and happening vibe. What an amazing first visit to St. Kitts!

Video: St. Kitts Restaurant Week Day 4 Signature Luxury July 25 2015

Thank you #StKitts @Marriotthotels for a welcoming and wonderful stay #sknrestaurantwk #lgg4 A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Wow! #StKitts is gorgeous @Marriotthotels view at night #sknrestaurantwk #lgg4

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Liming around Frigate Bay, #StKitts @vibesbeachbar #sknrestaurantwk #lgg4

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Go to @SaltPlage #StKitts for stunning sunsets, delicious food and Jumbies. #sknrestaurantwk #lgg4 A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Moonlight nights @SaltPlage #StKitts Thank you #sknrestaurantwk #lgg4 Dress by #INC @Macys

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

The Sky Ultra Lounge #StKitts @Marriotthotels has great music and dancing! #sknrestaurantwk #lgg4 A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

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Sunset St Kitts salt plageOur third day of adventures during St. Kitts Restaurant Week included historical sites and revelations. We began our day at the Wingfield Estate which was the first sugar cane planation. Recent excavations uncovered more of the rum processing on the estate. I wonder what else is hiding under the ground?

The Poinciana is the National Tree of St. Kitts and the giant trees with vibrant orange flowers were a favorite of our entire group. Many things grew well on the island including cotton, tobacco and sugar cane which was grown until 2005!

Saint Chrisopher Island now known as St. Kitts was called the “Mother Colony” as this was the first place the British took up residence in the West Indies. In 1623, the Brits settled in Sandy Bay. Samuel Jefferson who was in charge of this estate was Thomas Jefferson’s great great great grandfather and sold the property to the Earl of Romney and know it is known as Romney Manor. We also visited Caribelle Batik, where you can buy batiks made on the island.

Brimstone Hill is a giant fortress 750 feet above sea level. The views at this UNESCO site are truly incredible. It took 107 years to build starting from 1690. I enjoyed wandering around the windy upper levels and wondering what it was like to build and watch for the French from here.

As we drove the gorgeous coastline, we could see where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. We stopped at Black rocks to enjoy the views as a preamble to our lunch at Ottley’s Plantation Inn. Select Ottley’s Planation Inn for a relaxing stay at the edge of the rainforest. Our tour showed us the secrets of the fan palms and the rubber tree.

I absolutely loved sunset at Salt Plage! Watching the sun set from this spot was like a wonderful show. The colors, the boats, the music and the drinks were fantastic. I loved the light boxes that changed colors. It was so perfect–we went back again another night!

For our fine dining experience, we ate at Carambola Beach Club and Restaurant on South Friar’s Bay, South East Peninsula, St. Kitts. They can seat 128 and they have sushi as well as international cuisine with a Caribbean flair. Everyone loved their meals and wine here!

Enjoy all my videos from our St. Kitts’ adventures!

VIDEO: Day 3 A taste of history to complement local treats

Brimstone Hill fortress #StKitts from 1690. 107 years to build, 750 feet above sea level #sknrestaurantwk #lgg4 A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

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st kitts railwayFor our second day in St. Kitts, we were treated to a tour around the island by Scenic Railway. This is the last railway in the West Indies. I was surprised that there was an a capella choir on the train! I loved the views and the entertainment. I would like to go back and explore the bat caves and the St. Kitts Eco park which reminds me– the airport on the island is run on solar power!

Definitely plan to stop at Timothy Hill and take in the view–you can see where the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea meet. Afterwards we explored the site for the Park Hyatt, the buildings will be three stories and you enter on level two and go up or down one flight of stairs–no elevator needed. There are many green energy choices being made on St. Kitts.

After arriving into St. Kitts by the YU Lounge, we were aware that this was an island for Signature Luxury Experiences. Christophe Harbour will be home to 24 slips for super yachts. The Pavilion Beach Club is stunning and definitely matches the levels of elegance that we came to expect after the YU Lounge. I think we could have simply decided to never leave! But we managed to leave.

We spent the afternoon snorkeling and swimming at Shipwreck Beach. We watched mongoose and monkeys, ate fresh fish and relaxed. You can also paddleboard here. It was great fun to swim with Kellee, Cathy and Bre and have a Go Pro/LGG4 photo shoot!

Outdoor drinks at Ocean Terrace Inn were superb especially because of the gorgeous Caribbean sky. We loved dining at The Verandah. The Asian fusion cuisine included conch, lobster, shrimp, and beef. Chef Joemar is from the Philippines and he creates a magic chocolate cake that makes wishes come true! We finished our night at Vibes Beach Bar with drinks, dancing and a gathering of new friends.

VIDEO: St. Kitts Day two:

More about the St. Kitts Scenic Railway: “The narrow gauge St. Kitts Scenic Railway is one of the most beautiful train rides in the world.  Originally built between 1912 and 1926 to deliver sugar cane from the fields to the sugar mill in Basseterre, the “Last Railway in the West Indies” now provides a fascinating way for visitors to see the island from the comfort of modern passenger train cars and sightseeing buses. The 18 miles by rail and 12 miles by bus make a complete 30-mile circle around the island. Duration: Approximately 2 hours by Rail and 45 minutes by Bus.

Complimentary drinks (rum punch, frozen daiquiris, soft drinks, fruit juices, and bottled water) are served throughout the trip. Guests are treated to a colorful narration of the history of the Caribbean and St. Kitts by the Tour Director, and are entertained by the three–voice a cappella St. Kitts Railway Choir singing Caribbean folk songs, children’s songs, and familiar hymns.”


I loved the view at Timothy’s Hill #StKitts #lgg4

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Amazing day #StKitts #lgg4

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Amazing day #StKitts #lgg4

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Chef Joemar’s magic 🍫 #chocolate cake makes wishes come true! #sknrestaurantwk #lgg4 #StKitts

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Photo shoot #sknrestaurantwk Shipwreck Beach #lgg4 #StKitts Thanks to @catbug71 & @kelleesetgo for the photos

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

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St. Kitts Nevis first ever Restaurant Week was this July 2015! I loved being invited and have many photos, videos and articles to share from our adventures on the island. This was my very first visit to the beautiful island of St. Kitts. I did spend years floating around the Caribbean with Princess Cruises, and I loved seeing one of the islands that I had missed!

KelleeSetGo and I left Los Angeles by American Airlines and met up with Cathy Preece and Breanna J Wilson of Scoot Scoot Luggage in Miami.

Upon arrival in St. Kitts, we were whisked away by Porsche Cayenne to the YU Lounge where we relaxed in air conditioning on comfortable couches and sipped champagne. Our arrival treats included pumpkin spinach fritters, meatballs and chicken pate. Our luggage was collected and both customs and immigration were handled for us. This service costs $150 in either direction and is amazing. It seems like it would be for private jet clients only but you can fly commercial and take advantage of this luxurious first class treat.

At the St. Kitts Marriott, we were welcomed with Ting without the Sting (a local grapefruit soda drink). My room was very comfortable with plenty of room not only to relax but also hula hoop in the mornings. From the balcony, I could see the welcoming pool and went for a stroll on the beach. After flying all night, I had to pass on the happy hour by the pool or I might have slept through our musical evening events.

Sprat Net is a jamming jumping lively dinner choice. On Wednesdays, there is live music and it is the place to be on the island. I loved my fresh fish and everyone else was thrilled with the recently caught lobster.

All the photos and video from this trip were taken on my LGG4. I am thrilled with the media quality of this phone. I highly recommend it! Let me know what you think of our adventures and the phone photos and video!

VIDEO: Day One Restaurant Week 2015

Welcome to Miami. Thanks @americanair #americanairlines for a great flight. #lgg4 #sknrestaurantwk @stkittstourim

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Flying into St. Kitts. Thanks to @americanair for a great flight and Jeff for the window seat. #lgg4 #sknrestaurantwk

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Poolside and on the beach #StKitts @Marriott this afternoon @breannajwilson #lgg4

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on

Lisa Niver Sid Tracey drinks Red O aug 2015Red O Restaurant opened last week at 1541 Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica and is ready for you! The distinguished and delightful Mexican cuisine by Chef Rick Bayless was outstanding. It was a marvelous meal with stellar service and fantastic friends.

You may be familiar with the restaurant’s other locations on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood and Fashion Island in Newport Beach. The menu has authentic sauces from the southern Mexican states of Oaxaca, Yucatan, and Baja. Master Chef Rick Bayless is a James Beard Chef of the year, part of PBS Mexico one plate at a time and one of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters.

I feel grateful that I was invited to try out this new restaurant in a gorgeous location and was able to do it with wonderful people. I wanted to share this week’s message from Stephen Wise Temple which happens to be about food and gratitude from Rabbi Joshua Knobel.

You will eat and be satisfied, and bless Adonai your God for the good land that God has given to you…

This week’s Torah portion introduces the mitzvah of enjoying and giving thanks for our sustenance. Our sages took this message quite literally, using it as inspiration for the birkat hamazon, the blessing after meals. Less common in practice than the hamotzi, a blessing that precedes meals, the birkat hamazon reflects an ideology that places satisfaction and gratitude ahead of anticipation. Rather than focus upon what comes next, the blessing challenges us to consider what has already transpired and give thanks.

Such a practice seems at odds with the frenetic pace of our 21st century lives. After all, how often do we halt our hectic schedules to acknowledge our daily blessings? Rather, our invigorating experiences often seem to merely whet our appetite for the next, as we spend so much of our lives in anticipation that we have little or no time for satisfaction and the gratitude that accompanies it.

The Torah reminds us of our responsibility to pause and remember: that milk does not come from supermarkets, that phones do not come from the Apple store, that every material and spiritual morsel that nourishes our daily lives, whether large or small, is the result of a grand labor of Divine and human hands.

As such, we are not simply encouraged – but commanded – to pause… to enjoy and express gratitude for the vast multitude of wonders that sustain us.

– Rabbi Joshua Knobel

I cannot wait to go back to Red O Restaurant to enjoy the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean as well as the lovely ambiance, service and food. I am glad to have this moment to pause and appreciate all that I have been given to enjoy and share. Enjoy this video from our meal August 6, 2015 and photos from our night at Red O Restaurant.

VIDEORed O Restaurant on Ocean Ave in Santa Monica


Excited to dine @redorestaurant tonight! #santamonica #lgg4

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Amazing appetizer @redorestaurant Fresh corn and goat cheese tamales with @sidlipsey & @traceylorensteinberg

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Live entertainment @redorestaurant Thursday, Friday and Saturday! Amazing food, service and music

A photo posted by Lisa Niver (@wesaidgotravel) on