February 22, 2019

Who is #5 on the Top 1000+ Travel Blogs? #Travel1K

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Lisa Niver is #5 on the Top 1000 Travel Blog List

Lisa Niver is #5 on the Top 1000 Travel Blog List


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pinterest 200K

YouTube 1.4 million impressions in 2018

We Said Go Travel YouTube 1.4 million impressions 2018

We Said Go Travel was read in 212 countries in 2018!

We Said Go Travel was read in 212 countries in 2018

We Said GO Travel is verified on both Twitter and Facebook.

See Lisa talking about TRAVEL on KTLA TV!

Lisa Niver at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills on KTLA TV


Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a television host, travel journalist as well as a passionate artist, educator,   and writer who has explored 101 countries, 6 continents and sailed for seven years on the high seas. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which was read in 212 countries in 2018 and named #4 on the top 1000 Travel Blogs. Find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with nearly 900,000 views on her YouTube channel. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on both Twitter and Facebook, has over 140,000 followers across social media and ran fifteen travel competitions publishing over 2300 writers and photographers from 75 countries.
She has been a finalist for five Southern California Journalism Awards in the past two years and won an award for her Jewish Journal article. Niver has written for AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres (United Airlines), Jewish Journal, Luxury Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Myanmar Times, National Geographic, POPSUGAR, Robb Report, Saturday Evening Post, Scuba Diver Life, Sierra Club, Ski Utah, Smithsonian, Trivago,  USA Today 10best, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave Rebel: 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and challenges.
Lisa Niver is a Travel Expert on KTLA TV in Los Angeles

Dating 101: Curse of the Blog

Last night I met a man after work for a drink. We met online, emailed once, exchanged numbers, and spoke yesterday. It was a fun conversation and I found him to be very entertaining. In the interest of not overthinking and being spontaneous, we decided to meet for a drink. He came to my neighborhood, which I always appreciate. I arrived first, found us a spot at the bar, and waited.

He arrived and any interest I had going into the date disappeared. Oh dear. He looked like his pictures, and was clear on how tall he was, but the issue was that he arrived from the gym. Not a big deal, unless he opts not to shower or change clothes. He was soaked with sweat, smelled like a pig, and had the balls to go in for a hug. I extended my hand and cringed when he went in for cheek kiss.

He smelled horrible and I was truly surprised he thought this was an acceptable way to turn up to a first meeting with a woman. The weird thing was he never mentioned it at all. He simply asked what I wanted to drink, placed an order, and jumped into casual first date conversation. I was grossed out, but slightly amused, so I asked him how his work out was. He said he had run to our date. Literally.

He ran the 9.5 miles from his place to the bar. He said he ran to me thinking if we hit it off I could drive him home. He then proceeded to tell me he is an avid reader of my blog and was sorry I had been dating so many losers. He told me I was funny, smart, pretty, and worthy of a nice Jewish guy. He said perhaps he was the one to turn it around for me. He said timing is everything and this was our time.

I sat looking at a man who was literally dripping in sweat, marveling at his chutzpah, when he asked me if I wanted another drink. As I contemplated whether I could manage one more round with this strange man, he told me my hair was beautiful and he looks forwad to “pulling it while we make love”.  I was shocked by what he said and he took my moment of silence to mean I wanted another round and ordered.

I pulled myself together and told him I didn’t think we were a match, but appreciated him coming out for a drink. He then gave me a passionate speech about my blogs and what he thought about my dating life. He mentioned men by name, told me what was wrong with them, what I did wrong on my dates, and concluded by telling me I’d be a better dater if I was having sex as it would make me free.

I sat in wonder as he rattled off his opinion of the last year of my life. It was as fascinating as it was creepy. It was interesting to hear a man’s perspective on my life, until I snapped out of it and realized I was not listening to man as much as I was listening to a pig. He concluded his lengthy speech by saying if I didn’t want to date him, we could just sleep together so I’d be more attractive to others.

I thanked him for the insight and told him that while I appreciated the offer of sex, I would have to pass. I wished him well, payed for my own drinks, and told him I needed to go. He then said he was going to pop into the restroom and would be right back so I could drive him home. I think I actually laughed out loud at that point and told him I would be gone when he got out of the bathroom.

The most interesting thing about this date is that is was the most interesting date I have had in a long time. It is not every day a man offers to have sex with you in order to make you more attractive to others. This is the curse of the blog. As I approach my tenth year of Keeping the Faith, for the first time I see an end in sight. I’m not sure if it will be the end of the blog or the end of my dating, but change is coming. For now I will keep dating, keep writing, and keep the faith.

My New Reality

Last week was the first time in as long as I can remember when my schedule was not dictated by reality television. As someone who has blogged about reality TV between 2 and 5 times a week for years and years, it was liberating and brought me real peace and happiness. I did not rush home to watch a show, I did not interview a reality celebrity, and I did not spend any time with Jose Cuervo.

I went out for dinner with friends, I went on a couple of dates, I spent quality time with my son, and I wrote about my own reality. It has truly been life altering and I found myself wondering why I didn’t retire Keeping it Real sooner. I did not realize how it had consumed my life until I stopped doing it. I watched a couple of the shows I used to write about, and enjoyed them more as a regular viewer.

The most interesting discovery is that while I enjoyed watching, I did not feel invested, or have any great need to watch them again. It is fascinating how important I thought these shows were. Not only are they not important, they are not particularly entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking reality television, I am just viewing it differently now that it is not part of my job.

It turns out my reality is much more interesting than what I was watching. From my dating life, to exploring my faith, to my newly empty nest, to wanting to spend uninterrupted time with my son, my life is reality television worthy. I would never do a reality show of course, even though I have been asked, because some crazy blogger would come and share her unsolicited opinion of me, so no thanks.

Last night instead of watching Real Housewives of Atlanta, I watched 60 Minutes, and I must tell you it feels better. I have not engaged in social media other than to post pictures of sunrises, sunsets, cocktails, and food. It is a whole new world and I am happy. Instead of waking up and checking my Twitter to see the reaction to my blog, I woke up and celebrated the announcement of a new princess.

Keeping the Faith has been a very important part of my life, and she has been neglected due to the demands of reality television. That stops today. I look forward to posting often and welcoming you back into my life in a bigger way. My longtime readers have been through a lot with me, and I take comfort in knowing you are out there, wishing and praying for good things to come for me.

You carry me through. I went back to read Keeping the Faith over the years and it is wonderful to see how many people have come into my life through this blog. People who matter to me in profound ways. I’ve made friends, dated readers, battled hate, embraced love, and defined who I am as a Jew, mother, friend, daughter, and partner.  My life is truly blessed because I am keeping the faith.


Keeping it Real is Going to Bed

I have been writing this blog for longer than I ever thought I would. It was started out of a need for some escape from the stresses of life. It was fun to suspend my own reality, watch reality TV, and write about it. Many opportunities came my way because of this blog, and I will always look back at this work with pride. I was honest, funny, harsh, opinionated, and fair.

I met a lot of interesting people along the way. By interesting, of course I mean mentally unstable. Reality television is a crazy world and after having a front row seat for many years, I am writing to share that after much consideration, and with the blessing of my new editor, this will be my last Keeping it Real blog. I am putting this baby to bed and walking away from the madness.

Watching hours of reality TV a week is exhausting. Having to then write about it, can occasionally be soul crushing. I have been praised and attacked endlessly. I have been invited to fabulous parties, and received death threats. I have made lifelong friendships with reality stars, and alienated others. I have attended weddings and interventions. It has been a fascinating ride.

I have been wanting to end this blog for months. I felt the last season of Real Housewives of New York City was perfect reality TV. I loved every second and wish I had ended this blog with that season. I kept going however and started blogging New Jersey and Atlanta. Oy vey. A few weeks in and I’m sucked back into the hole. I tried to blog both shows this week, but simply couldn’t do it.

For the trolls who will spin this in their own ridiculous way, good luck with that. It is mind boggling how many people hide behind their computers and spread hate. I use my real picture, and real name, and stand by my words. I’ve made mistakes along the way, apologized when needed, and moved on. I have never been as invested as some would like to think I am, because it is just TV.

Yesterday I met with my editor to let him know I decided it was time to end this blog. He was supportive, and actually quite happy because reality TV is strange and often doesn’t quite fit in with the Journal. I also spoke to my son who gave me permission to walk away from something so successful if it meant it would bring peace into my life. It has been a big decision and I have not taken it lightly.

I am a writer. A talented and successful writer. My Keeping the Faith blog is a piece of my heart and a love letter to my son. I will continue to write that blog with a new sense of joy and purpose. I will contribute more to The Jewish Journal, and I will watch reality television because I want to, not because I have to. It is a big decision, but I am walking away with absolutely no regrets.

It was fun, until it wasn’t, and so a new chapter begins. To the millions of people who came to The Jewish Journal to read Keeping it Real, I thank you. Thank you for not only reading, but for inviting me into your homes and engaging in a dialogue. I appreciate you. To the haters, you’ll find someone else to pester from the shadows, so I hope for their sake you remember to take your meds.

To my liver, you are a champion and I thank you for the sacrifices you made to this blog. As you all know,  I love a cocktail and my enjoyment of shots grew with the popularity of this blog. That is how Jose Cuervo actually became my boyfriend. Occasionally we would invite in a certain Grey Goose and have a threesome, which was magical. My liver is exhausted and looking forward to the break.

This is the first Friday in a long time I am going into Shabbat with actual peace and quiet. I’ve been on this rollercoaster for 9 years and I’m tired. I will still watch these shows on occasion, because let’s face it they are as addictive as crack. I won’t however engage in drama or read blogs. I may tweet as I watch to stay connected with you, so on behalf of me, Jose, and my liver, thank you for keeping it real.

Friendship Goals

I am blessed to have wonderful friendships. People I care about in profound ways, who have become family. Some I’ve known for decades, and others for a short time, but they are all people I love, admire, respect, value, and depend on. They are an eclectic group and truly matter to me. They know who they are, and what they mean to me. This blog is about one woman in particular, who will be beside me for the rest of my life. I am blessed by my friendship with Gamble Breaux.

I met Gamble online about three years ago. She read my blog and sent me an email. We started corresponding, and a friendship began. In the beginning I was dealing with cancer, and Gamble was going through some stress at work. For some reason we found each other and without having met in person, became a support system to each other. I was sad, and sick, and Gamble saved me. With no hesitation, reservation, or exaggeration, I can tell you she swept into my life and saved me.

We had been writing for a few months when Gamble got engaged and was planning her wedding. I had been through surgery, was feeling nervous, and had lost my way a little bit, but Gamble would not let me feel sorry for myself and insisted I come to her wedding. It was a big decision not only because I was dealing with medical stuff, but because I live in Los Angeles and Gamble lives in Melbourne, Australia. It was a long way to travel and I wasn’t sure I could make the trip, but Gamble was.

She kicked me in the ass and would not allow me to miss it, so in an attempt to be brave, I agreed to go. I was going to fly to the other side of the world, to the wedding of a woman I had never met before. I got the blessing of my son and my oncologist, and I was going. I have never done something so spontaneous, but I felt inspired and supported by Gamble, so it was happening. From the moment I met Gamble in person and we embraced, it made sense. We were bashert.

I don’t know how it happened, but our connection was instant and our friendship goes deep. We spent five days together celebrating her wedding, then I went back to Australia to celebrate her son’s 21st birthday. When I was nominated for Blog of the Year by the LA Press Club, she came to LA to be my date to the awards ceremony. Then when my son was moving out, she came back to LA to hold my hand and wipe my tears. She is one of my best friends and I love her.

She eases my sorrow. She makes me feel better. She makes me laugh. She gives me clarity. She believes in me. She nurtures our friendship. She is like a sister to me. There is no time of day that I could not call her and she would not pick up the phone. She is my knight in shining armor and my hero. She is the kind of friend everyone deserves to a have. Thank you for always making things better Gamble. I love you very much. You are the kind of blessing that comes from keeping the faith.



I Love You Rob Eshman

It was announced today that Rob Eshman is stepping down from his post as editor-in-chief and publisher of the Jewish Journal. When I read the news my heart paused, then I sighed, then I was sad for me, then I was happy for him, then I stared at the picture accompanying the announcement and thought about how much I love this wonderful man, and will miss him as my boss.

Important to note that my remarkable Rabbi, Naomi Levy, is married to Rob and I love her just as much, so there is no shame in professing my love for this great man. As I begin my ninth year as a writer at the Jewish Journal, I owe everything to Rob. He not only heard my voice through my writing, but fought for others to hear it, even when some wanted me to be quiet. I have built a wonderful life as a writer and I will forever be grateful to the man who started it all for me.

Rob Eshman is my hero for a lot of reasons. He loves his family in a way that makes me believe in love. He comments on my writing in a way that makes me want to do better. He inspires me to be a more informed Jew. He makes me laugh, and think, and hope, and pray. I am a better writer for having worked alongside him and will forever been honored to have been taken under his wing.

To the divine Rob Eshman, you are amazing and I am happy for you. I wish you nothing but good things on your new adventure. I look forward to buying your cookbook and seeing you in temple. You are a wonderful journalist, an exceptional human being, and I love you. Always have, and always will. Mazel Tov Mr. Eshman. Be happy, be safe, and always keep the faith.



L.A.’s newest rookie transplant: Elaine Soloway

Next time you move cross-country to Los Angeles, do it the Elaine Soloway way. (The SoloWay?) Pack whatever you can into flat-rate Priority Mail boxes from the post office and mail them over a period of six months. Get a place on airbnb.com in a hip L.A. neighborhood, close to shops, restaurants and the Upright Citizens Brigade, an improv comedy theater that reminds one of their connections to Chicago’s Annoyance Theater. Don’t bother with the expense and hassle of a car; use your own two feet, a public transit pass, Uber and Lyft. Arrive in L.A. on a Friday, and find community by Saturday morning at Temple Israel of Hollywood’s weekly Torah study. Live close enough to your daughter and grandsons to be in their lives regularly, but never underfoot. And don’t worry about that bookstore reading of your new book, “Green Nails and Other Acts of Rebellion: A Life After Loss” … you may be new in town, but it will be standing room only.

“Be sure to mention my age,” the petite 76-year-old writer/blogger, PR and social media consultant urged me. “I don’t ever want people to see their age as a deterrent.” After one conversation with Soloway, there’s no chance you will.

After a lifetime in Chicago, Soloway uprooted herself to be closer to her daughter, Jill Soloway — the creator of the wildly popular Amazon dramedy “Transparent”— and two grandsons. Those of us who are familiar (or obsessed) with the show already know the Pfeffeman family, and that Shelly, the matriarch (played by Judith Light), endures two major life shifts: her first husband comes out as transgender and her second one suffers from a debilitating illness. 

Although “Transparent” is a work of fiction, it has some biographical elements. When the show won best television series,  comedy, at the Golden Globes, Jill Soloway thanked “my own ‘trans parent,’ my Moppa,” referring to Elaine’s first husband, who came out as transgender. And, as Elaine’s second husband, Tommy, fought a little-known dementia called frontotemporal degeneration, she was his primary caregiver. As she watched her strong, independent husband’s decline, becoming someone who was unable to speak and who needed round-the-clock care, Soloway wrote about it in her blog, The Rookie Caregiver, which, after Tommy’s passing, became The Rookie Widow. Those two blogs served as foundation for “Green Nails,” which brings the author’s book total to three (in addition to “Green Nails,” she’s written a memoir, “The Division Street Princess,” which started as a blog, and a novel, “She’s Not the Type”). She also contributes to the blog Never Too Old to Talk Tech — Soloway used to work at the Apple store in Chicago and helps people learn how to use their tech devices. Some Internet digging reveals some additional blogging efforts, including Soloway Stories, and a professional website, elainesolowayconsulting.com, offering services in public relations, coaching and technology.

Shortly after the book reading, Soloway launched another blog, The Rookie Transplant, chronicling her experiences as a newbie making her way as she always has — independently, taking L.A.’s roads less traveled, specifically, bipedal locomotion and public transit over the expense (and convenience, some might argue) of a car. One recent Facebook post chronicled her trip to the Apple Store: “My visit to Mecca at the Grove. Took the 780 from Hollywood and Vine. 30 minutes.”

“Because I walked so much in Chicago, I walk here.” She explained how she has mapped her neighborhood by walking it, using trips to Ralphs or to the bank as an excuse for what she calls “functional exercise.” When she’s not on foot, she’s on a bus, watching the landscape go by and listening to people’s conversations. “You miss the world if you’re in a car.” 

While her most recent move happened after Tommy’s death, Soloway has been charting her own path for decades. At 51, yearning to learn more about Jewish life, tradition and Hebrew, she organized her own course of adult bat mitzvah study, performing the traditional bat mitzvah tasks and planning her own party. At 60, “to proclaim a new me … an audacious me,” according to her blog account, she got a tattoo on her left biceps — “a wildly-colored, 5-inch picture of a chubby heart, musical notes, rays of sun and roses, intersected by banners bearing the names of my two cheeky daughters, Faith and Jill.”

Soloway also doesn’t let mortality get in the way of regularly conversing with those who have passed on — primarily her husband Tommy and her parents — using them as characters in her essays and blog posts. One recent post was about her deceased mother wanting the new iPad. “It’s all a way into conversation,” Soloway observes. “The main thing about people who die is that we shouldn’t forget them — this way, they’ll never fade away.”

As someone who had been in Los Angeles only a few months, Soloway had expected 10 people to show up at Skylight Books in support of “Green Nails,” but the reading drew more than 60, including a few from the “Transparent” crew, among them actor Lawrence Pressman, who played Shelly’s ailing husband, Ed. Although her daughter’s network undoubtedly was responsible for a few of the folks in the room, the packed house had more than a little to do with the auteur herself, a master marketer who expanded her skill set as technology developed, incorporating her insatiable curiosity for computers into decades of solid public relations and marketing experience. 

“I love pens and spiral notebooks, but I also love the mystery of computers,” she said. “Social media saved my PR business; I hated calling people on the phone to pitch, but by following journalists on Twitter and sharing columns with them, I built relationships. These days, you have to know all the bloggers.” When it came to the book, she again blended classic and modern methods: running a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign to get the book made, mailing personal notes to backers, and sending promotional postcards about book readings to ensure her message reached everyone. 

Now the septuagenarian Soloway is looking ahead and hoping for companionship. “I’ve been widowed for two years; I am interested in meeting a man my age who is seeking a companion, not marriage. He should be healthy and able to drive — at night would be a bonus. But, at the top of this list is: He should make me laugh.” Until that man comes along, Soloway is counting her blessings for the Los Angeles friends and family who have made her feel at home.

“This crowd is funny as hell, and it’s wonderful to laugh,” Soloway said. “I’m so grateful for this brand-new adventure.”

Esther D. Kustanowitz was once a carless rookie transplant to L.A. Now she blogs at myurbankvetch.com and writes about social media and communications at her professional site, EstherK.com.

Virtual, viral fundraising brings real donations

Hoping to raise money for a three-day bike ride over Labor Day to benefit the Jewish environmental organization Hazon, Ariela Pelaia turned to her blog.

Pelaia, 26, thought she could find donors by raffling off books on her personal Web site, “>Facebook.com and