Maria Niles

Black History Month: Living American History Through My Family Tree

Like many, I grew up hearing stories about my family's history. I have a few ancestors whose stories live in history books and who are studied by scholars to this day. There are institutions and organizations named for them. These family stories provide a perfect example of how African American history is American history and another reason why Black History Month still matters. ...more
I loved reading this, Maria.  I'm always impressed when people know their family's stories and ...more

Camping For People Who Don’t Camp: My Airstream Adventure

As much as I love the beauty of nature, I have no love of roughing it in the great outdoors. As a child my mother would jokingly mention the idea of sending me on a “wilderness adventure” in order to toughen me up and help get me over my irrational fear of insects. One year in college, my roommates gifted me with a t-shirt that read: My idea of camping is when room service is late. Despite what I like to think is my relatively laid back, down-to-earth personality, when it comes to travel and vacationing I can be very much the princess and the pea....more
Diane Lang I now totally grok your dream. It took me all of about 10 minutes to decide it is the ...more

Hated the Commercial, Loved The Car: 2014 Cadillac ELR Plug-In Electric Hybrid Review

You remember the car commercial that aired during the Winter Olympics and the Oscars? The one with (Neal McDonough extolling the virtues of workaholic Americans accepting luxury cars as our reward in place of vacations like those lazy French bastards? You might have passionately argued for or against this commercial's message, but I bet you don't remember the actual car being advertised. And that's a shame, because the Cadillac ELR is a terrific car that, despite being a super-niche offering, more people should know about....more

I Loved Guest Host Kerry Washington but not Saturday Night Live

I watched Saturday Night Live this past weekend, eager to see the star of Scandal, Kerry Washington host. Though, on the heels of the conversation around the lack of Black women in the cast, it was entirely possible that expectations would be too high to make the show anything but a disappointment. The diversity discussion was addressed immediately in the cold open: ...more
Elisa Camahort Thanks for weighing in Elisa (and for thinking of me :) I cringed at that ...more

Why You Should Ditch Your Camera And Get THIS One!

This camera is perfect for anyone just jumping off the point and shoot boat because it teaches you how to use it without using all that photographer lingo. You know what I mean ... f stop, iso, blah, blah, blah. With this camera you don’t need to know the jargon, and you can still get great shots. The camera gives you as much, or as little control as you want. ...more

Sandy in FL (and a new camera)

For me, the following pictures put some perspective on the damage Sandy did up north considering the storm was smaller when it passed FL and it really didn’t even “hit” us. The storm + full moon caused significant damage, even here in Fort Lauderdale. ...more

Seeing Things In A New Light With The Panasonic Lumix G5 Camera

I love this camera and, even though I never thought I’d do it, I’m moving on from my trusty little point-and-shoot. The Panasonic Lumix G5 is just so, so much better. ...more

This Camera Blew Me Away!

If you're a hands-on learner that's totally fine too. The G5 is extra user-friendly straight out of the box. No steep learning curve involved which is convenient especially around the holiday season. Unpack and get shooting. Whether you're the occasional photographer or a professional looking for a practical addition to your gear lineup you're bound to fall in love with some of the features. ...more

Panasonic Lumix G-5 Review (and a Giveaway!)

I have really enjoyed getting to explore the Panasonic Lumix G-5. I would never call myself a photographer, but I happen to take thousands of photos for the blog--and I enjoy it. There is so much I could learn to manually adjust things based on certain lighting or situations, but it's nice when the camera does a lot of that for you. ...more

I'm 59!

No, I didn't celebrate a birthday recently, but I am happy to "shout out my age" and be proud of it! Olay is proudly turning 60 years old this year and asked bloggers if they were also daring enough to shout out their age to the world. I recently changed my social media profile picture to this photo, as I feel it shows I'm truly happy to be the age I am. I am excited to be alive and on the cusp of a new decade and I look forward to the next chapter of my life. ...more