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navigator stairs

Autonomous may be the hot topic in automobiles these days, but flashy and funky are also taking center stage at auto shows this year, with concept cars that will thrill the kid in you.

From a VW van that truly deserves the nickname Dream Machine (ala’ Scooby Doo and Shaggy), to a Lincoln Navigator tailor-made for James Bond’s lifestyle, the cars of the future make it clear we have plenty to be excited about.

These photos show just a few of the cars of the future recently highlighted at the Detroit Auto Show.

Some of the changes are minor–like the mesh metal look you see in the mirror or roof of the car below…other changes are bigger, like the thinner, less rubber looking wheels and tires.  And the doors. Don’t get me started on how different all the doors are. Some changes can already be seen in vehicles (the tablet type dashboard), and others are at least a decade away.  Take a look and let me know what you think is the most fun (or flashy or funky).


audi q8 concept

id buzz interior



zf dash

navigator back

lexus ux concept

idbuzz vw

zf side

vlf automotive metal


metal mirror

subaru viziv-7

mercedes electric grill

Here’s a video recap from the Detroit Auto Show (North American International Auto Show) of some of the new autos you will see on the roads.


mlk resting place

No visit to Atlanta should be considered complete without a stop at the historic National Site that includes Martin Luther King’s birth home, Ebenezer Baptist Church and his final resting place, the Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

world peace rose garden

The first thing most people come across is the International World Peace Rose Garden. It’s located in front of the Visitor’s Center.  It’s worth taking the time to walk all the way around, reading the various poems written by Atlanta children and put on plaques at the base of the roses. It is one of five major World Peace Rose Gardens established around the world and has 185 varieties of roses. The graves of Dr. and Mrs. King can be seen directly across the street if you stand at the Peace Plaza, facing the rose garden. The Peace Plaza includes the final resting place of Dr. King, Jr. and exhibits on him, Coretta Scott King, and Mahatma Gandhi.

Inside the Visitor’s Center you can learn about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s story. There are displays outlining the struggle he faced and the changes he helped create. The featured exhibit is called “Courage To Lead” and follows the parallel paths of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement. Then join in with the marchers on their journey up “Freedom Road”.

mlk stained glass

As you cross the street to Ebenezer Baptist Church, you can’t help but notice the monument built in his honor. The Behold Monument was unveiled by Mrs. Coretta Scott King in 1990 as a tribute to her late husband and as an enduring inspiration to those who fight for dignity, social justice, and human rights. It depicts a heroic-sized, bronze figure of a father raising his infant child to the heavens, looking toward Ebenezer Baptist.

The church is significant to the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was baptized in this church and his father gave many powerful and inspirational sermons from the pulpit there (MLK was ordained as a minister there at just 19 years of age). Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s funeral was held in this same church and services are still held there to this day.

Just a few doors down, you’ll find the home where he was born. Built in 1895, the two-story home on Auburn Avenue was the home of MLK’s grandparents, and his parents joined them. Ultimately, three children were born in the home, including the future civil rights leader. He lived there until he was 12 years old. It was recently closed for refurbishments, but re-opened in time for MLK Day of 2017.


Want another way to learn about the late Civil Rights leader? Try a walking food tour that stops in at many of his favorite places. 



As autonomous (self-driving) cars take center stage at all the auto shows around the nation, kicking off with the Detroit Auto Show this week, one automaker is taking the wheel on what many other brands have ignored to this point: how we, as riders in those cars, will react to taking a back seat, so to speak.

Volvo Cars is launching a test of sorts, putting a Swedish family, the Hain’s (seen in the photo below), in a Volvo XC90 that they’ll be driving on the roads of Gotherburg in Sweden (where Volvo is based). The goal is to gather feedback that Volvo can then incorporate into future developments.

volvo family

It’s part of the Drive Me project—a collaborative research program involving people in the public, private and academic fields. The point is to get real-life experience from this family while using the autonomous vehicle.

Volvo plans to have about 100 autonomous vehicles on the road this year as part of this project. The intention is to expand to other cities around the world in the near future.

Volvo—which is mounting cameras in the vehicle the Hain’s will be driving (no sound, just video)—appears to be the only automaker considering this part of the equation. Everyone else is looking at other variables, but nobody else is looking at HOW we will hand off control of the car for an autonomous experience, and what kind of things we will do in the car when it’s driving us.

The project certainly has me thinking. I’m not sure how I would handle being in a car that, for all intents and purposes, drives itself. The control freak in me says I’d never relax, always feeling like I need to be at the ready in case that car has to go off autopilot for some crazy reason (and I’m not even sure what that reason would be at this point—a bird flying through its field of vision, an ambulance needing to pass by, expecting me to head to the shoulder of the road, who knows?). But there’s another part of me who is a major multi-tasker. That gal adores the idea of being able to tackle some work, enjoying a meal, maybe even putting on makeup—all those things we see distracted drivers doing behind the wheel already (never me, though, wink, wink). And, of course, there are others who will find even more creative uses for all that free time they’ll now have in a car that they previously had to park to enjoy. But that’s an entirely different story.

So, tell me, how do you think you’d react to being in a car driving itself? Are you ready for what many say will be reality in under a decade? Let me know in comments below.

Meantime, if you want to see the entire announcement about this project, made at the Detroit Auto Show, you can watch in the video below.


Detroit Auto Show: Buckle Up for the Ride

by Desiree Miller on January 8, 2017


I’ll be spending the next couple of days in an auto lover’s dream…getting a front row seat at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. This is the Super Bowl of car shows, so to speak, and even though I can’t quote you engine size or years and styles of all the classics, I can tell you my heart starts racing at the idea of what I’m going to be part of over the next few days.

I’m the daughter of an auto mechanic. He’s gone now, but my dad loved his cars, and he was a genius when it came to fixing them. I’m channeling all of his brainpower into what I’m about to soak up over the next few days. His, and Mr. Dave’s, the grandpa-like neighbor of ours who became my stand-in dad when my father passed away. Dave was an exec with Ford for years, and loved to tease when we bought anything but a Ford. He made the Detroit area home for decades, so seeing this area for the first time feels a little like visiting with him again (he also left the world too soon, passing away just a year after my dad).

I know a lot of guys have the notion that a girl with so little knowledge of cars is probably a wasted ticket to this prized event, but I have to tell you women like their wheels, too.  Personally, I like them for very different reasons than most guys. I’m an emotional car buyer. My favorite car was a Camara with t-tops I bought right after a divorce. I can still remember how it felt to take that for a spin in my single days…top off, wind in my hair, a wild world in front of me. I’ve also bought cars for other reasons, especially the kids. They take a lot of room, you know, especially when they start playing football or tennis or marching band…all the kids, all the gear…it means bigger cars like a Suburban take over the driveway.  Now, it’s a Hyundai getting me from point A to point B, a super fancy Sonata with a moon roof from the front of the car to the back, with great gas mileage, and more safety features than you’d think for an affordably priced vehicle (yep, blind spot and rear view cameras are part of the package). We want safe cars, and these days, we want them to keep up with our chaotic lives with some very high-end technology. If we can lock (or unlock) the car doors from another city, you’re putting smiles on our faces. If we can limit the area where our teenager can take the car, or the speed they can drive it, we’re downright giddy.

The fact is, women are the ones in the cars the most, and we dominate the car-buying decisions. So, it should make perfect sense that we’d fill the halls of the Cobo Center, where the NAIAS is happening.

So, it’s with pride that I’ll be sharing all the news from Motor City over the next few days. You let me know if there’s something interesting you want to see or hear about and I’ll do my best to cover it for you.  Buckle up, kids. This is going to be a fun ride.


Greeting 2017 by ‘Celebrating Simple’

by Desiree Miller on December 23, 2016


The New Year always has me looking at my life, taking stock of where things stand and where I want them to be. I can’t help but acknowledge life’s wins and losses, especially as my age now hovers closer to 50 than 40. My body and mind still think I’m 27, but my real age says otherwise.

The last couple years have been rough ones. After six years, I’m only now coming to terms with the loss of my dad and the changes I see in my mom. I’ve accepted that my beach house will most likely never be replaced after the fire that destroyed it. I don’t need to build another. I’ll visit new places now. I’m ok with the fact that what I want for my children isn’t really what they want. I know they have to live their own lives and my job is to make sure they know I love them. They’re mostly at the age now where they are ok pointing out my downfalls, too, and I’m even accepting of that. I know I made the best decisions I could for them at the time those choices were made, with the information I was given. No, I don’t have nearly enough money saved to retire any time soon, but luckily, I love what I do and don’t really want to stop doing it any time soon. The paycheck pays the bills, but the work is something I’d want to be doing even if I wasn’t paid to do it (just don’t tell my boss). I’m fortunate in that way. I carry more weight than I’d like (physically), but that’s because I still have a hard time saying no to a cookie and really don’t enjoy exercise the way I wish I did. All in all, I’m good. Life is good.

Sure, I’m a mess when it comes to love. I blame part of this on my dad, who pretty much adored my mom, setting me up to look for men who would do the same for me, not realizing just how rare it was and how much work it would require to make love last. They made it seem so easy. That’s just not been the case with me. I’ve struggled in relationships…still do. I used to say I blame my picker, thinking I chose the wrong guys, but I know I play just as big a role in the failures as they do. However, I am still in the game, still full of hope that one day things will be easier in the love department. Until then, I’ll work on loving myself a little more.

That’s a hard lesson to learn. I know so many people these days seem to be the other extreme—very selfish and wrapped up in their own dramas, but I’ve had more than a few friends share with me that they’re exactly where I am. Struggling to put themselves first after years of being last on their own lists.

For so many years—decades even—they’ve taken care of everyone else. While no one was taking care of them. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be, and my friends—and I—are waking up. Like little Sleeping Beauties all around the globe (who, ironically, for many years got very little sleep because of our penchant for putting others first) are now staring in the mirror and saying ‘it’s my turn’.

Sure, life is good. Good enough.

But it’s not what we thought it would be and many of us want another chance. We want our second act, our next chapter, our do-over, if you will.

And I want to help make it happen for all of us.

So, part of my new year plans include a new project. Something that will fill my soul, and hopefully, your soul, too.

It’s called Celebrating Simple, and it’s a movement, if you will.

A movement among moms who have always taken care of everyone else, now eager to take care of themselves.

Nope, we’re not ignoring our other responsibilities. That’s not who we are.

Now, we are just looking for our identities to be less about being mom, and more about being ‘me’.

We’ve learned so much as moms. Now, we get to learn about just being us again.

I want to ignite the movement because I believe deep down in my gut that this is not all there is. We are more than a mom, more than our kids, and more than a wife. I think finding out who we are again starts with the simple things. Remembering what makes us smile—beyond our families. Whether that’s a piece of dark chocolate or a great glass of Prosecco… a walk in the park or a great session of yoga…small things that make us smile when we take the time to enjoy them.

I want to find these things—and help you find them, too– and celebrate all of them together.

Look for more information on Celebrating Simple in the coming weeks. In the meantime, start thinking now about the little things that make you happy. Let’s make this the year you reconnect with the good stuff, the year you fill your soul with your version of happy.



Chinese Lantern Festival at Centennial Olympic Park (Ice Skating, Too)

December 14, 2016

If you want a different way to celebrate the holidays in Atlanta, head down to the Chinese Lantern Festival at Centennial Olympic Park. It’s the first event of its kind and ties into the park’s 20th anniversary. The event runs from December 9th until January 15th, from 6pm until 11pm tonight, and tickets are $18 for adults and $14 for kids (with special discounts available for students and seniors). Combo packages are also an option. The Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) is behind this bright new tradition. The South […]

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#RogueOne: A Star Wars Story Review (No Spoilers)

December 13, 2016

  Before you read this entire review, you should go into it knowing I’m not what many consider a ‘hardcore Star Wars freak’. Sure, I have a thing for Han Solo, like the rest of the gals around the world, and I know who Luke’s father is. I’ve watched all the movies, but not over and over the way many do. I just happen to be lucky enough to be included in an early showing for media and thought others might like my takeaways of the film. I worried going […]

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Behind the Scenes with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall

December 11, 2016

Seeing the Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular is, well, spectacular, but equally impressive is the opportunity to peek behind the curtain, so to speak, to see how it all gets done behind the scenes. My lucky family was given that opportunity on a recent trip to New York City for the holidays. A friend of a friend happens to work on the technical side of the show, and when she heard seeing the performance was part of my mom’s bucket list trip, she offered to show us around. We already knew a […]

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Springfree Trampoline: Perfect Gift for the Kids and YOU! (Review)

December 5, 2016

(Note to readers: The East Cobb Springfree Trampoline store is having a Family Holiday Party on Saturday, 12/10, that you’ll want to be sure to check out. You can find out details at the event invite here. As part of my partnership with them, I was given a trampoline to put to the test, but not compensated otherwise. As always, my opinion remains my own. My daughter says it passes the test with flying colors. My thoughts on the product are in the review below).  Springfree Trampoline. This is not your […]

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You Never Outgrow a Need for Family: Adoption in the US

December 1, 2016

(Note to readers: This is a guest post I’ve agreed to share with readers on a topic very close to my heart. I come from a family of 10 children–5 biological and 5 adopted. I can tell you firsthand the difference you can make in a child’s life.)   When you think about children what is the first thing that comes to mind? Smiling, laughing, hugs, happiness? Those are all great words to describe the way that kids make us feel. They make us feel loved, appreciated and needed. But what […]

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