Summer Of Soul: Reflecting On A Year

 

I’ve doubted my abilities. I’ve felt worthless. I’ve been in dark moments mentally. Support has been my saving grace. A man, a father and a friend is knowing when you yourself need help. When asked for, it was received.

Having lost my best friends to death, accidents and beyond my control. It shook my world. My husband Sean was there right by my side to offer what I needed. We are approaching our 14 year anniversary. Wow! Love abounds. Our journey is still being written. Let’s keep the ink in stock.

One thing the universe gave me was a new best friend. See I believe destiny takes you so far and then you do the rest. It takes work, just like anything else, to make it work. Along the way entered Kathy King. I was blessed with someone that understood my crazy. She left me laughing at myself when I needed to laugh. She offered insight when I asked of it. Her care was in actions and not just in words. Love isn’t something I throw around lightly nor is friendship. So when I say I love my best friend. It is meant with all sincerity.

A year ago I was on a summer of firsts. What I would truly call my #SummerOfSoul Part 1. How was that possible? Well first I attended Dad 2.0 Summit in D.C. with the help of a scholarship. Humbly I went. It was enriching and led me to meet John Dominguez & Joshua Hicks which led to my first few Kia Motors America events. Talking about cars, driving cars and being immersed in car facts was wonderful.

Why SO wonderful? It was clear to me that despite all my success, education and character there was one distinct fact about me that would be judged. I learned to ignore adversity. That was a struggle and sometimes still a struggle. I fight a battle everyday against discouragement and fear. The fighting keeps my spirit strong.

My hustle. My diligence. My tenacity. Things I’ve also learned about myself. All of that has helped lead me to now. Looking back, my first adventure into social media content creation was spent with quality groups, events, organizations such as L.A. Dads Group City Dads, Mom 2.0 Summit, Life of Dad, Dads 4 Change, and now to being a panelist speaker for the upcoming LatinoDad Summit next month.

On a third #KiaMotorsAmerica event, it solidified friendships in Alice Chase & Jeff Bogle. I drove us around in Las Vegas, we went off-road in the #KiaSorento and ventured to the #SevenMagicMountains for the first time. Silence, the wind and the sun. Nothing but land, desert and mountains. Memories made.

Now I’m in my 2nd #SummerOfSoul. I’ve adventured to some of the same places. Enjoyed the company of many familiar faces, encored many events and deepened friendships. Driving around in the #KiaSoulTurbo has led to family firsts, business firsts and pure utter enjoyment of automobiles. I’m a #kiadad.

What is that to me? I’m leading my journey with my voice. My crazy. Myself. It is all me. True to the core. You get all Joël. I’m Just Obviously Enjoying Life. Coincidentally it spells out J.O.Ë.L. A new tag line. This was a natural progression. One brand that has supported me through and through has been Kia. I am able to be my funky-fresh dressed to impress ready to party self. Always.

Adversity was there which took a lot strength, fortitude, decorum, and self introspection to achieve my goals. As a gay man who is a father, a husband and of Mexican/Native American decent. Prejudice is stacked against me. Society today has a lot of issues with race, sexual identity and political views.

I’m here to share my story. I’m here to be heard. Fighting for what is right is what I believe in. In sharing myself, my journey and my family I’m able to educate and mitigate the ignorance out there. Make myself known. All of the people mentioned above helped support me and my voice.

Stand firm in yourself. Be proud of yourself. Listen to that inner voice. It is okay to ask for help. Surround yourself with quality. Work hard. Today I’m happy in my world. It has taken time to get there.

Follow along. There will be more Summer of Soul moments. Vlogs and blogs. Live posts and more. Welcome to my world.

It Can Be Amaze-ing

Parenting has various milestones or moments in life that you may or may not be prepared for. Middle school and elementary school I was prepared for. Discussing sex and sexuality was slightly forced upon me to discuss with my own children. Typical responses and or books were my first go-to resources. Then I came to know Amaze.

How was this topic ‘slightly’ forced upon me? It came to my attention that classmates of my children had brought up these topics. (Gulp) That was my first reaction. Then to find out there were more uncomfortable scenarios that my children experienced. Gasp! What was going on?! My goal was to have myself and my husband be the main point of reference for our children. Time to get my resources together. Let’s have the talk,  in this case many talks.

Find a book…look up resources. How to best discuss it with my daughter? What did my son know? Questions and thoughts permeated my mind. Maybe some panic. It wasn’t like I hadn’t planned this conversation out before. It came about suddenly versus my own natural progression into it. There had been a few conversations prior in the general form.

Well I utilized Amaze videos to help guide me with some key talking points. Little did I know that they produce engaging sex education videos for 10-14 year olds. These videos cover the “mechanics” of sex, puberty and more complex topics. Also covered are relationships, gender identity and consent. I utilized these two videos with my own children.

Learning that Amaze is a collaboration between three expert organizations in the field of sex education: Advocates for Youth, Answer, and Youth Tech Health. It helped me feel confident in having open dialog with my children. I was well prepared to engage the necessary and the needed information. Did I want to have this conversation? Yes I did. Part of my own desire as a parent is to be the resource for my children. As Julie Metzger states the ‘conversation‘ is what children need.

Amaze is a great resource for families to help educate, inform and then discuss with their children. Being a dad myself it offered some new learning for myself too. It was great to learn how best to express something to my daughter that would help her understand sexuality. In addition my son felt comfortable to discuss with me puberty experiences he is having.

If you are seeking to start having these conversations with your own children I would refer to the Amaze website. As a dad-squared family, with a son and daughter, having a resource readily available to help with these discussions and other topics is essential. Talking with my children is a must with myself and my husband. Proudly we are now #AmazeParents with new learning and new dialog. Also be sure to follow them on Facebook for more at the ready information, link is below.

https://www.facebook.com/amazeparents

 

*This is a sponsored post with Amaze. All story, opinion and expressed sentiment is my own.

Unforgettable Arrives on Blu-Ray/DVD: July 25th

 

As you know I was fortunate to attend the red carpet premiere of Unforgettable from Warner Bros. Pictures back in April of this year. Now the DVD arrives on July 25th for purchase. Own it early on Digital HD on July 18th. I’m excited to announce a partnership with Warner Bros. Entertainment in hosting a giveaway for 3 lucky winners. If you haven’t heard about the movie here is a brief synopsis.

 

Tessa Connover ( Katherine Heigl) is barely coping with the end of her marriage when her ex-husband, David (Geoff Stults), becomes happily engaged to Julia Banks (Rosario Dawson)—not only bringing Julia into the home they once shared but also into the life of their daughter, Lily. Trying to settle into her new life, Julia believes she has finally met the man of her dreams, the man who can help her put her own troubled past behind her. But Tessa’s jealousy soon takes a pathological turn until she will stop at nothing to turn Julia’s dream into her ultimate nightmare.

It’s a thriller of a movie with twists, turns, goosebump moments and more. So if you want to own your own copy of it then click on my link below to try your luck at winner 1 of the 3 copies in my giveaway. Winners will be announced on July 25th, which is the same day the hard-copy DVD is available for purchase.

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*This is a sponsored post with Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. to host a giveway for the Unforgettable movie DVD release from Warner Bros. Pictures. All opinions expressed are my own.

 

Retreat Roadtrip Relax

I took a trip to Northern California with some fellow father friends. It was a retreat of sorts for LA Dads Group leaders & San Francisco Dads Group leaders. Mike Heenan, Trevor Mulligan, Juan Pablo Delgado and I packed up and headed to the Stanislaus National Forest. It was time to cabin, camp, retreat, roadtrip and relax. This is what happens when you leave the kids alone with dad.

An opportunity to take another travel trip was all my children could talk about. Summer break was upon us. Yes many other plans had transpired already. This one was a first for all of us. None of us had ever been there. Mike had offered up his cabin to us to stay in. So I packed up the Kia Soul, which fit all of what my family and I needed. Away we went.


It was an early m

orning caravan with Trevor and Juan Pablo. We left Los Angeles early morning. 6:45am to be exact. Being that I had the car packed to the gills we all sat comfortably with plenty of room. I even took on Juan Pablo’s daughter for most of the drive up north. Mike didn’t have as long of a drive as we did. Nonetheless what a gret roadtrip. Seeing California this way was memory making.

At the cabin we hiked along a river, witnessed rushing water from the previous wet winter that California needed and more. Day 2 we ventured to a lake to lounge, swim, get in an inflatable row boat (which I did not do so well in) and had more fun. Yes it was triple digit heat up there which was shielded by the canopy of large trees surrounding trees. I think we all felt disconnected from the world. Well we kind of had no choice in that as cellphone reception was very spotty. Wi-Fi worked at night in the cabin or at local businesses in town.

Being so far removed from everyday city life proved to be the kind of rejuvenation and relaxation that I needed. I am sure that sentiment is mirrored by my fellow travel companions. Laughter, fun and more was had by all. I took it upon myself to cook the majority of the meals. It is what I enjoy. Plus Milk & Eggs had donated groceries for this trip. That was an added welcome bonus. Thank you.

My favorite part of the trip was when we all ventured to Lake Alpine. We were at 7000 ft. Elevation and what sights we saw. Mountain ranges and forest as far as the eye could see. A hail storm came through with lightning and thunder. It was so bright when it flashed across the sky. Oh we also saw some snow/ice still speckled across the land. We had to stop and gander at it. It’s not often that it can be seen up close in California.

Now what I also learned on this trip is my love for nature. This is where I often ventured to as a child and young adult. Growing up I had camped with my father, hiked with my aunt and friends. Basically one of the usual outdoorsy things I do. Plus having the Kia Soul Turbo to take me everywhere I wanted to go made me rethink this compact car. It is one tough compact car without the compact car storage space. It handled the drive and weather well. An all season trooper if you will.

Mike, Trevor and Juan Pablo helped make this trip something my children and I will remember always. Many new adventures were had. I can’t wait for our next adventure. It is great to also have had City Dads Group be the catalyst that led to me meeting theses fathers and then to want to have a trip as such. Mike had mentioned he always wanted to host families there and make memories. That my friend happened threefold. Tears of joy were all I could experience when driving home. Until next time.

Rediscovering My City: Los Angeles

Have you ventured out to discover more of what your own city has to offer? Recently I did just that. Along the way I capatured some great photos from different landmarks, parks and beach cities. Much of this rediscovery was spent in the Kia Soul Turbo utilizing the Eco Mode. That makes a difference in gas mileage. Okay on to the city tour I took.

My first stop was at my favorite place to get coffee and breakfast. Dialog Cafe has been my usual spot since my eldest son started elementary school. It still remains as my go-to place for a chai latte, avocado toast or the vegetable omelette. Plus I get to practice my French with the owner Todd. His father speaks Italian which I also get to practice as well. Supporting local business owners serves my community. Nothing beats the atmosphere here.

To check off a bucket list item of mine I ventured to a typical landmark. The Hollywood sign. Now it can be seen in a plethora of movies, photos and beyond. Having lived in Los Angeles since 1999 I hadn’t ever been this close to it. So off I drove in #StanfordSoul and snapped the photo you see here. The view was spectacular.

From there it was the Silverlake reservoir which I’ve seen many times. Walked dogs along, ran, walked/hiked and even had a flat tires along this route. Funny thing is why hasn’t I ever taken a photo. This time around I filmed it. My son helped me do that. He was shocked to learn what I just mentioned.

There were a few other stops. A movie studios lot. Venice Beach was a serene sight. Griffith Park showcased the wild orange color of the Kia Soul. Oh and did I mention how in a parking garage I was next to another Kia. I mean really cool! Coincidence, yes. I was very excited.

​What this all meant for me was to stop, look up and take notice of what is around you. There is so much beauty to observe. Your own city has so much to be discovered and rediscovered. Thank you to Kia for sending me the right kind of Soul. Go and bask in your surroundings.

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions, reviews and story content is my own.

Body Worlds:Pulse Giveaway

 

An exciting new exhibition is at The California Science Center welcoming adults and children. Be sure to visit their website Body Worlds:Pulse to gauge if it is appropriate for them. My family and I are invited to a special preview and we are hosting a giveaway for any local resident for passes to the exhibit. Read on about the exhibit and click the giveaway link at the end.

Here is a brief synopsis of the exhibit:

Be Moved!

Come experience the West Coast debut of inventor Dr. Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS: Pulse — a convergence of aesthetic anatomy, health and wellness.

This special exhibition presents the body in health and distress, its vulnerabilities and potential, and many of the challenges the human body faces as it navigates the 21st Century. Through interactive multimedia, guests will learn about the wonders of the real human body, and marvel at its elegance and complexity.

 

More than 200 plastinated specimens — including whole bodies, body configurations, translucent slices, and organs – are curated and presented in galleries that feature the various systems of the body.  The locomotive, nervous, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and reproductive systems are revealed through Dr. von Hagen’s invention of Plastination, in ways previously familiar only to medical practitioners. Featured plastinates include an obese body slice, a smoker’s black lung and hardened arteries that show the impact of ill health. In contrast, dancers, sports figures, and a woman bearing life illustrate how bodies function when lifestyles support good health and well-being.

Discover what makes you move, what makes you tick, and what makes you unique in the largest BODY WORLDS exhibition in a decade.

 

So if you are interested in an event like this then click my giveaway link below. The giveaway ends on June 17th, 2017 @ 12:00am PST. One lucky winner will receive 4 Tickets to the event. Stay tuned as I give my audience a sneak-peek at this event via my social media platforms. Find me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @joel1leoj. Ciao for now and bon chance to anyone entering my giveaway for the Body Worlds:Pulse exhibit.

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*This blog is sponsored by Body Worlds:Pulse. As an invited guest to preview this exhibit my site was authorized to host a giveaway for passes to one lucky local resident winner. All opinion expressed is my own.

Milk & Eggs: Not Just Grocery Basics


Have you ever heard of an online grocery ordering service? There are a few of those out there. I’m here to tell you about a new partnership with Milk & Eggs that will be featured on my site in regular rotation. These gifted grocery items made for a wonderful 12th birthday party for my son. 

Now having food allergies myself limits where the household groceries come from. At the age of 22 was when it became a new way of life for me. Having a nut and seed allergy as well as an adverse reaction to food preservatives led to homemade food making and organic options. At least this was a service that had just what I needed. 


A great fact about Milk & Eggs is their farm to table operations. Many of their items are freshly harvested, made with simple ingredients and are super fresh. So it was great to know I would be providing healthy quality food for my invited guests and family. Here is a quick step by step look at how ordering works: 

  • You place order online
  • Farms deliver to Milk & Eggs Sorting & Aggregation Warehouse (SAW) at night
  • Driver (Emissary) heads to the SAW (Sorting & Aggregation Warehouse) in the morning
  • Picks up deliveries
  • Drops off deliveries in the morning (delivery as soon as 24 hours)
  • Happy customer with Better Foods for Better Health! And saved a trip to the store!

It is that simple. If you’re a foodie like me then perusing the food categories is so enjoyable. You see what it is you want, the pricing, the ability to have certain items on a consistent restocking schedule and even ‘sale’ items too. Woah! 

For my son’s bday party my shopping list was as follows: 

  • Brothers Products: avocado hummus, chipotle black bean hummus & pita bread 
  • Califia Farms: lemonade and tangerine juice (my family’s new favorites) 
  • Cucumbers 
  • Watermelons
  • Ciabatta bread 

I paired these items with carrots, fruit and salami. An appetizer splendor. That is what it looked like. All of it was delicous. So much so that I didn’t even get a photo of the ciabatta bread, it was consumed quickly within the first hour of the party. 


If you are seeking a new grocery service then Milk & Eggs is the place I would highly recommend. Most of their delivery area coves Los Angeles and some of Orange County. See the map here. My next grocery list is already completed. Can’t wait to share more of my food recipes and other farm fresh delights. Visit Milk & Eggs at www.milkandeggs.com, create an account and enjoy. 


Take a look at their video giving a further detailed look at their service. 

Milk & Eggs Video

*Disclosure: This was a sponsored post by Milk & Eggs. All opinion is my own. 

Weekend Of Fun

Part of my new editorial calendar is themed content. For example, the weekends are now titled ‘Weekend Of Fun.’ Here is my first blog post featuring  #WeekendOfFun. A lot can happen in one weekend. Usually it is fun. Anything with my children or as a whole family is always enjoyable. More driving around in the Kia Soul Turbo ensued. Check out all the exciting things that went on.

​ As I am not able to discuss, my family and I were interviewed for a Father’s Day segment on the Today Show Parents. Many other fellow father friend’s of mine were in it too. What a great opportunity to represent fathers, fatherhood and family. Doyin Richards of DaddyDoinWork  put together some lines spoken that day. My favorite was the last segment where the fathers and children came together. Our spoken line was, “We’re all dads and this is what we do.” Yes. We are dads and we are all parenting our children. No matter the makeup of our family each of us are there to care for our children.

Next was Chris Pegula’s second event that I was in attendance for. Diaper Dude founder and author was onsight at The Grove L.A. in the Nordstrom Children’s Department. He was there to sign his second book ‘Diaper Dude: The Ultimate Dad’s Guide to Surviving the First Two Years’ and showcase an assortment of diaper bags. Father’s Day was approaching and what better way to engage fathers and mothers. A stylish diaper bag with versatility.

Part of the #WeekendOfFun was driving the Kia Soul Turbo. As a family it has offered so much to us all already. I had forgotten what it was like to not have to hunt for the ideal parking spot. This compact car fit wonderfully in every single type of spot that I encountered. Parking garages are not my enemy. Ha! Plenty of space for all of us to exit and enter the car comfortably. This Kia is letting its soul truly glow.

 

There will be more adventuring, daily life and surprises. I hope you enjoyed my new editorial blog theme #WeekendOfFun. Now let me get back to riding along in the Kia Soul Turbo. Funky fresh and fun!

 

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions, review and story content is my own.

 

A B-Day Extravaganza

Photo Credit: Danyelle Smith Little of thecubiclechick.com ‘Thank you for this amazing shot.’

Another road trip adventure came about with the Kia Soul Turbo. My son’s 12th birthday was here. That meant a roadtrip and a birthday party was scheduled. Oh there was a lot to be done, fun to be had and some surprises along the way. Read on and see what my family and I did.

My inlaws were hosting a lunch gathering for my son. We all piled in the car ready to hit the road. Time to take the Kia Soul Turbo, A.K.A. Stanford Soul, on a little jaunt. One fact is that my husband, who is 6 ft. tall, fit very comfortably in the passenger seat. Visually the car may seem small. However there is ample space, elbow room and leg room even for the backseat passengers. Away we went.

 

Lunch was fun and filled with laugther. On our drive the satellite radio played many 70’s jams that we all enjoyed. This is when I noticed how crisp and resonating the sound system was in the car. A surprising punch. Music filled the interior space. That is attributed to the smart placement of the speakers throughout the interior.

 

Part of the birthday festivities for my son entailed a party. That cargo space in the trunk I spoke of was utilized for sure. Stanford Soul was filled to capacity. You can see some of that footage here. Many guests attended. It was a plethora of friends, family and fun. Much of my tasks to coordinate and plan this party had help from the Kia Soul I had on loan. Oh I also have two surprise guests that I interviewed. Stay tuned for that.

Overall my son’s birthday was great. Many new memories were made and I now know more about the Kia Soul Turbo and how it’s a perfect car for a family of 4. It accomodates well, offers plenty of comfort and entertainment. Again what fun we all had.

Look at the color gleaming in the sunlight. #KiaSoulTurbo

 

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions, review and story is my own.

Foster Farms Giveaway & Mrs. Kathy King

It’s a Giveaway Announcement. So exciting. Be sure to read all the information so you don’t miss this a thing.

I’ve teamed up with Mrs. Kathy King give 1 lucky fans a chance to win a prize pack worth $100 from Foster Farms to celebrate the launch of their NEW Baked Chicken products.

If looking for healthier meal ideas for the kids. Then you should try Foster Farms NEW Baked Chicken Breast Tenders, Nuggets and Fillets! What is awesome about Foster Farms NEW Baked Chicken product line they are BAKED not FRIED and have 50% less fat and 25% fewer calories.

Concerned if your kids will go for a healthier Chicken Nugget?

Check out of the cute video below of Mrs. Kathy King daughter Joy trying their Chicken Nuggets for the first time.

Jump In & Win

Prize: $100 in Foster Farms Baked Chicken Coupons. (10 Foster Farms Baked Never Fried Chicken coupons worth $9.99 each)

Please Note: (The Foster Farms Baked Chicken products are currently only available on the West Coast at participating retailers.)

Ends: 06/09/2017 @ 11:59pm PST 

How do you enter? Simply fill out the form below.

#FFBAKEDISBETTER #Mrsk4Fosterfarms

Disclaimer: The Prize is being provided by Foster Farms and is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or associated with Facebook or Twitter. Giveaway will end on 06/09/2017 at 11:59 pm PST. You will be contacted via email via a congratulation letter and have 24 hours to claim your prize. This Giveaway is open to USA . Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for prize shipment. click the link to subscribe to the giveaway lounge newsletter https://goo.gl/xz6qnw