9JKL: Make Thanksgiving Great Again

The sun rises and sets differently at this time of year. Seasons change. Our weather becomes cool & cold. Foliage changes to beautiful shades of orange, burgundy and yellow. As I think of this I remember my recent set visit and interview with the cast of the CBS tv show 9JKL. What a great time.

Meeting Mark Feuerstein, David Walton, Elliot Gould, Linda Lavin, Liza Lapira, Matt Murray & Albert Tsai was an honor. I grew up watching the majority of the cast in many other shows, movies and now 9JKL. Plus Albert Tsai is such a great young actor. Overall a wonderful cast. Not at all brown nosing here. When you meet those performers you respect and admire for their craft, it can be surreal.

I remember talking to David Walton, Mark Feuerstein and Liza Lapira about how I have seen their body of work. I was like, Wow! I’m here taking photos and laughing. Uh huh. Yep. I even blushes a few times. I had to contain my inner #fandad from manifesting.

Watching the tv show come to life as the production crew was filming gave me goosebumps as Lina Lavin was delivering a variety of scene takes. Between her and Elliott Gould, I was in awe. Such talent and vivaciousness within their craft.

Now tonight is the Thanksgiving episode. If you want to hear some fun family antics and watch it all happen. Tune in at 9:30pm on CBS for another 9JKL masterpiece. That’s my opinion. Here is a little synopsis of the episode:

“Make Thanksgiving Great Again” – Josh asks Nick to retrieve Nana Roberts from her nursing home for the family’s Thanksgiving gathering, but when Nick arrives with the wrong nana, the family is forced to deal with a stranger who antagonizes everyone. Also, Judy begins to realize her own critical tendencies, and Andrew prepares for a sexy calendar photoshoot.

Lois Smith guest stars as the wrong Nana.

Didn’t you have a Thanksgiving like the 9JKL folks? Maybe or maybe not. Nonetheless you can be reminded of the fun, family memories and food that will be present on this holiday. Tune in at 9:30pm on Monday via CBS. 9JKL is taking over your turkey day laughs.

*This is a sponsored post with CBS. All story and opinion is my own.

Daddy’s Home 2 Holiday Ha Ha Ha

As you may have noticed it is the holiday season. It is here. The year is drawing to a close. Now coming to theaters on Nov. 10th is Daddy’s Home 2. Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. What a better way to get in the Christmas mood right after being stuffed from dinner and dessert. The movie gave me three different family situations that resonated with me which I will cover.

One of those family situations is family schedules. It is a balance of getting to school, events, homework, get togethers, work and the unexpected things. During the holidays that list gets longer or maybe that is what we all do during this time of year. Maybe? Maybe! Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell both are portraying dads that have all of that under control. Even right down to the snacks for an event. Reminded me of all those times I did or didn’t remember something.

A real parenting moment was the tween dynamic of modesty and clothing. My daughter has matured and developed. She also dresses herself and chooses a lot of her clothing now. I am not ready for the fights about showing mid-drift or a too ‘sexy’ of a look. Gasp! Didi Costine’s character is moody and wears her clothing her way. I definitely will be exposed to that moody mode with my son during the holidays. It is coming with my own daughter and her clothing choices. I am not ready……

Now what truly resonated with me was the message that family is what you make of it. My family came together in a manner that isn’t unique by any means. However, when the various families all end up together at the end it does remind the audience that there is always time to work out kinks or issues. Communication and understanding are also helpful. Even Kurt (Mel Gibson’s) character realizes his own father/son dynamic isn’t lost.

To say I suggest this movie is an understatement. Get together and see this movie to laugh, be reminded of yourself and get holiday inspired. Maybe you may want your own cellphone tower Christmas tree. You gotta go and see Daddy’s Home 2 opening in theaters on Nov. 10th.

 

*This is a sponsored post with Paramount Pictures. All opinion and story is my own.

 

Daddy’s Home 2 Decorate Cookies

Upon arrival for the L.A. Mamacitas event I was pondering the many facets of fatherhood and my journey as a parent. My husband and I are parenting. We mingle our family and relatives. There are many things that are similar for us that are similar to the characters in the movie. Interesting right? Plus today we were going to decorate cookies. Like what!

Sugarcraft provided sprinkles, frosting and other cookie decorating delights to get right into the holiday spirit. No cookie is complete without a little of this or that when it comes to the holidays. My son was focused on making his snowflake cookie just right. It came out very festive. Put me in the holly jolly mood of Christmas.

Being outdoors enjoying other families and friends is a luxury often afforded Southern California. Residents of Los Angeles get a lot of sunshine. That day was one of them. The With Love Cafe, event space host, has a lovely outdoor patio garden. Rustic touches are the brick building walls and then the durable faux grass. I loved the shade panels stretched above. Helps keep you out there longer.

Often times I’m not the holiday spirited type. Mostly in the aspect of decor. Being at the Daddy’s Home 2 cookie decorating event with L.A. Mamacitas gave me the inspiration to be more festive. I want to decorate cookies with my entire family. I want to have a holiday filled win glitter, reindeer, elf on a shelf and more.

I highly suggest you get into the holiday spirit. One way to do that is to go and see Daddy’s Home 2 on Nov. 10th. That way you get to see Dads/Moms co-parent, families come together and holiday shenanigans. Being amongst other parents, talking and decorating cookies with other families made for a lovely Sunday. Thank you to L.A. Mamacitas, Sugarcraft & With Love Cafe.

*This is a sponsored post with L.A. Mamacitas. All story & opinion is my own.

Linda Cardellini Talks Daddy’s Home 2

 

Gleaming blue skies. Sunshine abounds. It is hot even in November. That is what the weather is like here in Los Angeles. I attended a press junket for Daddy’s Home 2 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. I met and talked with Linda Cardellini, who plays Sara Whitaker. Oh how exciting. Let me tell you what I learned about myself from this interview. I was quite surprised.

Okay so most would think that I am the holiday festive all out kind of guy. I am not. I am the one that purchases ready to assemble holiday arts and crafts. There are very few decorations around my home. Plus my husband is the one that makes sure that a Christmas tree is erected. I think I wouldn’t even have one if it wasn’t for my husband’s efforts. So when Linda Cardellini spoke about taking ‘drinks’ to holiday parties. That is something that I always did. My cooking skills weren’t always great.

Another thing I remember from the interview was how Linda spoke about family. The family you create and the family you work with are two different things. I sat back at and it was as if I was watching all of that interview take place. An out of body moment. She was right. I have my core family at home and then the work family that I was sitting with in that room. Next to me was someone I have befriended. Another that I call all the time to thank for her kind encouraging words. Realizing you have a lot to be thankful for was not what I was expecting from meeting Linda Cardellini.

 

One final thing I want to touch on is everyone has their own holiday cherished memories. Linda was asked about traditions and holiday memories. So I guess I was feeling very sentimental. Linda spoke and all my memories of time spent with my friends, family and colleagues popped in to my mind. When I had that lemon jello bundt cake recipe shared. The time my favorite boss came to my home for a fun gathering. Linda Cardellini was like a friend that I once had that is no longer with us. That is truly what was going on.

Overall, I am like the families portrayed in Daddy’s Home 2. I am going through changes always. I have had to co-family many times for the holidays. I was not the one to bring food to holiday parties. At the core of it all though I have family at home, at work and even spread across the land. It is about what fits for you and your world. We all adjust, learn and grow together. My #fandad moment was when I was next to Linda Cardellini doing a #boomerang clip. She looked at me, said lets be silly and we did. Laughs ensued. Go and see Daddy’s Home 2 on Nov. 10th.

Here is a preview link: Daddy’s Home 2

*This is a sponsored post with Paramount Pictures. All story and opinion is my own.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Zoya

One thing that I am so happy to start is my Holiday Gift Guide series. The first one to be announced is from Zoya Nail Polish. I have recently partnered with their brand to feature their non-toxic polishes and other products. I have used their brand since 2005. It is my go to brand for all occasions.

Now fast forward to my husband and my daughter who use the brand too. So many color choices, finishes and treatments. One of my favorites is their Pixie Dust products. It’s a textured matte-like polish that has dimension. What I noticed about that type of polish is that in the daytime it has one look. At night the look is a seductive dramatic chic headturner. Yes yes yes! Okay I know I am talking nail polish here….I just love it.

If you are looking to improve the appearance of damaged and or discolored nails then the Naked Manicure line is just for that. There is even a Men’s kit too. Bam what! Some long term benefits to using these products is an improved condition, strength and flexibility of the nails. Vitamins, proteins, and botanicals over time produce these benefits. Great for overall nail health and for those that want to showoff their natural nails.

 

The list could go on and on. Well I have been given somethig special to offer to you all. My very own unique discount code.  Yes you read that right. What do you get? To help you check off one thing from your holiday shopping list, Zoya is letting me gift you all with the following:

JoelXZoya17

Valid on 1 Free Nail Polish + Free Shipping

Expires 11/16 

(11:59pm ET/ 8:59pm PST)

*Must add the color to your cart, apply the code and should be good to go! Let me know if you run into any issues.

Don’t hesitate! Head on over to zoya.com before it’s too late.

 

*This is a sponsored post with Zoya Nail Polish. All opinion and story is my own.

Tech Tuesday: Moto Z2 Force & Moto Mods

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Welcome to my first Tech Tuesday. This is where I will share about various new technology gadgets and gizmos. First up is the Moto Z2 Force & the Moto Mods. A unique smartphone experience. See how it transformed to a big screen projector for entertainment, work and more. Also see the vivid pictures and video that can be created all on the phone. Take a journey with me as I showcase all of how I put this to excellent use.

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Now one thing I’d like to mention is the Moto Z2 Force Edition from AT&T is the 1st device (yes you read that correctly) to come ready with the DIRECTV NOW app. It provides AT&T Unlimited Plus and AT&T Unlimited Choice customers instant access to their favorite shows for as little as $10 more a month, after a $25/mo. video credit. So yes I was enjoying all of that right from my smartphone. All the time! No really. Experiencing a recent power outage in my home area lent to using the Moto Mods Insta-Share Projector. My children and I enjoyed some movies to the ambiance of a candlelit living room. Popcorn, drinks and snuggled together we enjoyed an almost movie drive-in experience.

 

Some facts about the Moto Z2 Force are as follows. There is a guaranteed shatterproof display titled a Moto ShatterShield. That beautifully crafted phone with its tough aluminum is sturdy. I know this firsthand. When your son bumps into you and knocks your phone out of your hand. You PANIC! It is going to break, crack and smash. Wait for it, wait for the sound….. I didn’t hear a thing. Well the screen didn’t crack. Awesome!!  Now I also did have the projector mod attached to the smartphone, which makes the phone a little heavier. A much heavier item will travel faster as it falls increasing impact force. Still the phone screen didn’t crack, chip or scratch.

You can order the Moto Z2 Force Edition smartphone by visiting online or an AT&T store near you. There are so many other Moto Mods that transform the experience in a magnegtic snap. Be it a battery powerhouse or a big screen projector which projects up to 70 inches diagonally on flat surfaces. A boombox. The choice is yours. Let me list a few more key features:

  1. Dual 12 MP camera sensors
  2. All-Day Battery that lasts up to 1 day, with TurboPower charging hours of battery power in minutes
  3. Moto Mods I.E.) Moto Smart Speaker w/ Amazon Alexa, Moto 360 camera, Moto Gamepad, Hasselblad True Zoom & more

 

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Overall the Moto Z2 Force is a smartphone that transitions from work to play for everyday usage. Setup is super fast with little to no hassle. Having the Moto Mod Insta-Share Projector helped with presentations and entertainment. I would also get several more of the Moto Mods. Thank you for reading along my  first Tech Tuesday blog. Stay tuned as more is to come.

  • This post was sponsored by AT&t. All opinions are 100% my own.

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*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.