A Week with the 2018 Lincoln Navigator

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Lincoln (Ford) invited me into the lap of luxury for a week with the redesigned 2018 Lincoln Navigator Black Label. Boyz II Men said it best – it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday. I’m going to miss driving this sporty beast with a V-6 cranking 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque, the same engine you’ll find in Ford’s fire-breathing Raptor. This near three-ton blue chrome ship will spank most cars on the road with your family in the back waving through the tinted windows.


After living in our home nearly three years I got a leather recliner. It’s one of the joys of my life. My wife loves taking pictures of me laying in it and she doesn’t understand my fascination. I’d throw this chair into a dumpster fire if I could unbolt the 30-way front seats of the Navigator and have those instead. Those seats take the old “captain’s chairs” moniker to a whole new level by providing the opportunity to adjust the headrest, upper back, lower back, extended leg support, lumbar and flank support both at the thighs, with a back massage thrown in to really mix it up. I’ve never experienced more customizable seats than this. The one feature not mentioned in the seats, but most exciting for me? Air conditioning. When you leave work in the summer afternoon and the asphalt is punishing you on the walk through the parking lot, the air conditioned seats deliver a respite that cannot be achieved by mere a/c set to max alone. (Lincoln, please make air conditioned leather recliners.)

The seating for the second and third row is spacious and accommodating. There’s a center console for the second row with a digital screen in the arm rest in case you want to give the passengers some control to play their favorite Cardi B track.

If you’ve got an extra large haul from Costco, double press the key fob to open the back hatch, large enough to cover a Midwest family reunion during a summer downpour, and press the buttons inside the cab to fold down the second and/or third row seats.

You can also select the left or right side or both sides from either row. Once both rows of seats are folded down, you can pack anything you want inside the cab – it’s bigger than the storage unit you swear you’re going to clean out.


Remember when you bought your car, they gave you an instruction manual and you ignored it because you’re grown and you know how to figure things out? This Navigator has so much technology that if I had the time and owned the vehicle, I’d likely read the manual because the number of menus, buttons, knobs and features available will make your head spin. Ford/Lincoln’s SYNC is part of the package delivering both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, depending upon your life choices. There are high speed USB outlets everywhere, wireless charging in the center console (works with the iPhone X), interior lighting color options to suit your mood and more. The menu and navigation information is pumped through an Apple iPad Pro-sized 12″ screen. The people in the third row and in outer space (through the pano sunroof) can see what’s going on. It’s that big. Traditional gauges are also a thing of the past with a fully digital display. The display minimizes what’s not important, so you’ll find the digital needle pointing to your speed and RPMs and the surrounding numbers are fading away like Marty McFly in good ol’ 1955 at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.

Lincoln helps keep you properly on the road with a ton of safety features. The Navigator has cameras all over it so you get a simulated overhead view when you’re backing up, a fantastic rearview camera, sensors abound, a heads-up display showing that the lane keeping assistant is active, speed, cruise control information and also speed limits. I found speed limit information wasn’t always accurate, so instead of reading signs like some vehicles, it must be pulling the information from a database. If I had the vehicle permanently, I’d have read the manual to find out how to provide feedback for speed limits to update the databasae.

Lincoln also took the audio in the Navigator seriously. Packed with 20 speakers, the Revel audio system will knock your socks off. There will be socks everywhere and you’ll likely lose one, like you do in the dryer. Revel is part of the Harman brand, which is part of Samsung after they dropped $8 billion on them. Harman has been producing killer audio hardware for years and with the acquisition by Samsung, it will continue for many years to come. The sound insulation from the road is excellent in the Navigator, leaving your favorite tracks sounding amazing.


Hands down, this is the finest looking Navigator yet. Lincoln designers crafted the grille with a fine polish to make it look particularly expensive. The Black Label version of this Navigator smells like a high-end leather shop, with most surfaces covered in proper hide. The trim pieces inside are done in a tasteful and expensive-feeling whitewashed wood, to go with the yacht theme. The 22″ wheels, while lovely and understated, still provide a supple but sporty ride. You’ll find LED lights all over the vehicle for bright, instant-on illumination, as well as tasteful puddle lights that shine out of the door handles.


This beautiful school bus moves! The Raptor-borrowed engine, tuned for Lincoln, has a V6 rasp at idle, but turn the dial to Excite mode, stomp on the gas and tell the fam to hold on because you’re about to show the streets who’s boss. Lincoln has body roll control to keep you upright and feeling confident in the process even when you need to take a curve a little faster to get the kids to swim practice on time. The Navigator can be as much fun to drive as you want it to be. Otherwise, put it in Eco mode and just cruise the block like you should be doing anyway. All the neighbors will stare, nod approvingly and give you two thumbs up.

Disclosure: Lincoln provided this vehicle for testing for a week with full tank of gas for my enjoyment. The wife felt fancy in it, too.

How to Determine the Sale Price of an Item for Ebay and Craigslist

Learn step-by-step instructions on how to price items for ebay, craigslist, nextdoor and facebook marketplace.

Photo by Denis Barthel, CC

If you’ve ever wanted to sell an item but you didn’t know how to price it on ebay, this blog post will help you determine the going rate on ebay. We will need to assume that your product is not a one-of-a-kind collector’s item. For this example, we’ll use a Zeiss Batis 25mm lens for a Sony camera.

Step 1: Determine the condition of your item. Does it have any scratches, scuffs or damage that could reduce the value of the item? Do you still have the original box and instruction manual and all the accessories? People tend to believe that items have more value if you have the original box and accessories, except for my wife, who is sick of closets overflowing with them.

Step 2: Search for this item on ebay to see if others are selling your exact item right now. If you see a Buy It Now for an item that is identical to your item, with the similar wear, packaging and details, it will be difficult to sell your item at a higher price. If you like the price you see, try to undercut your competitor by a few bucks, choose to accept a Best Offer or provide a faster shipping experience. If you have no competitive edge over the existing competition and you don’t like the price, wait for the existing listing to end and then list your item.

Step 3: If you search for your item and there are no competitors selling the same product or others have listed an auction-style listing with the same product and you’re ready to list today, you can also select an auction-style listing and the high bidder wins or this research will help you determine a Buy It Now price. Once you’ve searched, you need to see what prior items have sold for on ebay.

On mobile: search for your item, select “Filter” then choose “Sold Items.”

On desktop: search for your item, scroll down, then choose “Sold Items” on the left menu.

Step 4: Now that you know what an item sold for on ebay, you still want to know how much money you are going to make after the ebay, PayPal, and shipping fees. Shipping fees will be the most variable, so try to figure those out or ball park them by checking FedEx, USPS or UPS. Order some boxes from the carriers for free if you plan to sell a lot. I like to use finalfeecalc.com to see what I’m going to get in the end and see if it’s worth it for me to sell the item on ebay. If I see the average sale price of the Zeiss Batis 25mm is $900, I can enter that into finalfeecalc.com. Then I’ll guess that shipping is going to cost me around $25. If I provide free shipping for the item, finalfeecalc.com tells me ebay gets $90, PayPal takes $26.40 and I end up with $758.60.

Step 5: We now have a clear picture that the lens will net me $758.60 on ebay. Not bad. How do I price it locally? Remember, Craigslist, Facebook Market and Nextdoor don’t take a cut if you sell an item locally (at least at the time this post was written). Now you know that anyone looking to buy this item on ebay will also likely see that the lens is worth about $900, but you know you’ll get $758.60, leaving a split of $141.40. Any price you choose to sell it locally is both a windfall for you and for the buyer. You’ll make more money if you sell it for $800 locally, for example, and your buyer saves $100.

In the end, I typically will list an item for the higher price on ebay and a lower price locally. Good luck!

Thirteen Photos from Budapest, Hungary

Growing up, I loved playing Where in Europe is Carmen Sandiego? That elusive Carmen Sandiego would always end up in far away lands, frequently found in the Soviet Bloc, eluding Interpol. I loved finding her. Later on, with the Bourne movie series, my love for Eastern Europe was rekindled. Prague remains one of the most beautiful cities I’ve visited and I dreamed of seeing Budapest. Well boys and girls, dreams come true. After the Amalfi Coast, we made it to Budapest. A city that Deya repeatedly called “grand.” A fitting adjective for this historic place. The Hungarian Parliament Building is not only larger than the US Capitol Building but more than 88 pounds of gold were used in its construction. Hotel Rum was HQ during our stay and we highly recommend it, especially due to the breathtaking rooftop breakfast. Be sure to not miss the street art and ruin bar tour, it’s awesome. The Szechenyi and Gellert thermal baths are unique and you’ve got to photograph the city from Gellert Hill at night. Find my top thirteen photos below plus the gallery.

Szechenyi Spa Baths

Gellért Thermal Baths and Swimming Pool

Tram Transport at the Great Market Hall (Nagycsarnok)

Deya at For Sale Bar Budapest

Mirror Image at the Aria Hotel

Hungarian Parliament Building

Budapest Stumble Stones

Szimpla Kert Ruin Bar Trabant

Hungarian Parliament Building Interior

Mazel Tov Ruin Bar

Budapest Panorama from Gellert Hill

Hungarian Parliament Building at Night in Budapest

Shoes on the Danube River

Check out the full album below:

Budapest | June 2018

Thirteen Photos from the Amalfi Coast, Italy

Deya has been dreaming of going to the Amalfi Coast for years and years. After Portugal, we decided that staying in Positano at La Fenice, recommended by my sister, would be a good idea to relax. In the Bible, it says that creation groans for the restoration of this world. When I looked around in Positano and the absolute rugged beauty of mountains meeting the Tyrrhenian Sea, I find my imagination is too small to comprehend what the infinite beauty of heaven must be. Positano is the jewel of the Amalfi Coast. When you head there, visit Amalfi for the day, but stay in Positano. It’s a polished version of the famous city. Below, enjoy thirteen photos from the Amalfi Coast and the gallery from our visit.

Positano Beach

Beach Umbrellas in Positano

Yachts and Boats on the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Cathedral

De Cape 'E Ciucci Fountain

Amalfi Coast at Night

Private Beach at La Fenice Amalfi Coast

Fontana Sant'Andrea

Boat in Positano

Mediterranean Sea from La Fenice

Deya in Positano

Balloons at Positano Beach

Deya at the Amalfi Cathedral

See the entire album below:

Amalfi Coast, Italy - June 2018

Thirteen Photos from Lisbon and Porto, Portugal

Deya and I knew we had to go to Portugal in the summer of 2018 but we were undecided exactly where other than Lisbon and Porto. Both of these cities offer a rich and cultural history that span centuries. The food, people and scenes in Portugal cannot be beat. Below, find my favorite thirteen photos from Lisbon and Porto. I hope you’ll add these spots to your places to travel. When you go to Lisbon, be sure to head across the river to eat at Ponto Final. Take a jacket, the wind is cold! If you want to see the rooftop from Santa Justa Lift, skip the line and take the stairs behind the lift. It’s free and fast. Try a ginjinha drink, it’s a Lisbon classic. Be sure to eat at O Asiático, it’s fantastic. Visit Porto Cruz in Porto and have some tapas with their spicy porto cocktail. The teleferico is touristy, but so what? It’s a beautiful way to see the river and the city. Here are the thirteen photos from the trip and the gallery below.

Restaurante Ponto Final

Nan and Deya at the Carmo Convent

Deya at

Scooter in Lisbon

Santa Justa Lift at Night

Teatro Nacional D. Maria II from Rossio Square

Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology - MAAT

Restaurante Ponto Final

Porto and the Duoro River

Boat on the Duoro River in Porto

Teleférico de Gaia with the Dom Luís I Bridge

Man and Cat Looking Out the Window in Porto

Deya at Livraria Lello Bookshop Porto

Check out the rest of the album below:

Lisbon and Porto, Portugal | May 2018

Thirteen Photos from Mexico City

Mexico City was one of those places I never thought about, like say, Iowa. Sure, I knew it existed but nothing about the city ever called to me. Deya and my SIL, Viole, told me that we needed to go. They promised me it was the New York City of Mexico. In recent years, the city has undergone a rebrand from DF to CDMX. Though it sounds like an illicit synthetic drug, CDMX was a vibrant and fantastic city. It’s a quick two hour direct flight from San Antonio and I encourage anyone that’s considering going to Vegas for a long weekend to head to Mexico City instead. One of our Uber drivers put it best when he said that there is a budget for every wallet in CDMX. The food, culture and people were a joy and I was so thankful to have visited. Below, enjoy thirteen photos from CDMX with a bonus of the entire album.

Palacio de Bellas Artes Mexico City

Iguana Man

Museo Soumaya

Deya at Museo Jumex Pure Joy

Camel Passing Through the Eye of a Needle at Museo Jumex

Corn in a Gourd at Pujol

Chapultepec Castle

Deya at Gran Hotel

Plant Truck

Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

Aztec Dancers at Catedral Metropolitan

Palacio Postal

Cafebrería El Péndulo Second Floor

Mexico City | February 2018

Thirteen Photos from New York City

Ah, New York City, the center of the universe. It had been a few years since I’d visited the city, but when my dad sprung the opportunity to visit the New York Auto Show with him for a few days, I couldn’t pass it up. We stayed in the absolutely enormous Marriott Times Square and bounced around town. These photos were taken with the mind-boggling Sony A7RIII. Enjoy my thirteen photos from NYC.

Brooklyn Bridge at Night

Sonos Store New York City Greene Street

Grand Central Station

Panorama from the Top of the Rock New York City
This photo is huge and is best seen on a big screen.

Oculus Manhattan

Times Square Fisheye

Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Atlas at 30 Rock


Ballet Dancers at Columbus Circle

Leo at the Washington Square Arch

New York Public Library Rose Reading Room

Dancers at Times Square

Check out the album below:

NYC | April 2018

Thirteen Photos from Paris, Versailles and Rheims, France

Deya’s lifelong dream was to visit Paris, France. She dreamed about it, pinned photos on Pinterest and simply could not wait to go. Thankfully, we had the opportunity to not only visit Paris but we also toured Versailles and Rheims, where proper champagne is made. It was a delight to see Deya light up in having a dream fulfilled. If you’re traveling soon, I highly recommend the Headout app. It’s available in a handful of major cities and it let’s you book tours at a discount with many featuring a “skip the line” option. If you’ve never signed up before, here’s my referral link for $10 off your first booking. We used the app to skip the line into the Paris catacombs, which was especially timely as it started to rain and hail. Below are my favorite thirteen photos from those three cities in France, with a focus on my favorite model.

Deya with a Red Vespa in Paris

Nan and Deya at Daroco Paris

Deya at Centre Georges Pompidou

Louvre Glass Pyramid

Sacre Coeur

Eiffel Tower - Tour Eiffel

Louvre Pyramid

Arc de Triomphe


Deya at Versailles


Veuve Clicqout Reims France

Champagne Mumm Reims France

Enjoy the entire set:

Paris, France | June 2017

Thirteen Photos from Kutna Hora and Sedlec, Czechia

When you visit Prague, plan a day trip to Kutna Hora and Sedlec to see some beautiful cathedrals and the UNESCO recognized Sedlec Ossuary or Bone Church. We stopped first in Sedlec and visited the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist, then the Sedlec Ossuary. Since it’s over a mile from Sedlec to Kutna Hoar, we grabbed a beer at a pub while waiting for an Uber to shuttle us. Sedlec Ossuary is simply stunning. The craftsmanship of the art pieces made of bones is like nothing we had ever seen. Don’t miss the family crest of the House of Schwarzenberg, with the raven picking out the eye of a Turk. Oddly, it’s not as macabre as it appears in photos. Check out the My Czech Republic site on traveling to the villages and buy your tickets directly from the train line. Below are my favorite thirteen photos from Sedlec and Kutna Hora.

Sedlec Ossuary Bone Church

The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist at Sedlec, Kutna Hora

The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist at Sedlec, Kutna Hora

Cemetery of the Sedlec Ossuary

Sedlec Ossuary Bone Church Kutna Hora

Train Attendant Woman

Kutna Hora hlavní nádraží

Statues Near St. Barbara Kutna Hora

St. Barbara Kutna Hora

Deya at St. Barbara Kutna Hora

Sedlec Ossuary Bone Church Kutna Hora

St. Barbara Kutna Hora

Stone Fountain Kutna Hora

Enjoy the entire set:

Prague, CZ | May 2017

Thirteen Photos from Prague, Czechia

In October 2009 I made my first trip to gorgeous Prague, CZ. I had no idea the impact this trip would have on my life. During the visit, I saw cathedrals, Old Town Square, spires and buildings of the like that I’d never experienced. It was breathtaking and I was angry. My photography was abysmal. Utter frustration. When I returned home I was determined to suck less at photography. For Christmas that year I received my first camera with manual functions-a Canon Powershot S90. I knew that anything larger than that pocket-sized camera would be left at home. The S90 looked like a plain point and shoot camera, but it was groundbreaking at the time. A fast f/2.0 lens, an oversized sensor, full manual controls in a pint size prevented me from excuses. Watching YouTube videos, reading online and practicing, I started to suck less. I memorized the technical aspects of photography when it came to aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Knowing these basics allows anyone to use nearly any camera. In 2012 I made a crazy request to Olympus to send me a camera and lenses, which they did after a humorous call. Then in 2013, I was invited into a group of wonderful photography influencers, much more skilled than me, to participate as a Samsung Imagelogger. An incredible gift! I met photographers and new friends from all over the world and we shot photos in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and Marbella, Spain. I still can’t believe it. The Imagelogger program has since been disbanded after Samsung left the camera market, but I’m still shooting with the gear. Speeding forward to 2017, lovely Deya and I planned a two week trip to Europe that had special meaning for both of us. I needed to go back to Prague for unfinished business – photograph this beautiful place with her and she needed to get to Paris, a lifelong dream. I hope you enjoy my thirteen photos from Prague, Czechia.

Deya at Charles Bridge at Sunset

Prague Castle from Charles Bridge

Church of Our Lady before Týn

Tram Near Wenceslas Square

Memorial to the Victims of Communism

Strahov Monastery Library

Deya with Bubbles in Old Town Square Prague

St. Vitus at Sunset

French Bulldog - Stitch the Frenchie

Charles Bridge at Sunset

Jan Hus Memorial in Old Town Square Prague

Old Town Hall Prague


Enjoy the entire set:

Prague, CZ | May 2017