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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*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

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales


It is time for the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie Dead Men Tell No Tales. Earlier this week I was able to screen the movie from Disney at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. A lobby decorated with a life size Lego built Jack Sparrow and a set backdrop for photo taking set the mood. Let me share with you how this adventure packed movie showcases familial bond, loyalty and hope. 


At the opening you are shown how at a young age Henry Turner is seeking something that is missing from his life. Come to find out that the boy is unable to do anything about this curse on his father. This will lead to more of the story later which you will have to see it to understand. Also another character in the movie that maintains a quest influenced by her own father is Carina. She utilizes her knowledge to help along the many twists and turns the adventure takes. At the core of it, these two characters are motivated by their love for their fathers.   


Loyalty plays a great role in this movie. From the ruthless and determined Armando Salazar to Jack Sparrow’s crew. Armando remains loyal to his crew that were also trapped in a curse that holds them still. He will not stop until he is able to break the curse and obtain his revenge against Jack Sparrow. The unwaivering diligence takes him to the very end. Is it his end though? Jack has his crew leave him only to return when it is pertinent to his own survival. They take on many situations only to help each other and those along the journey. 


Hope is a constant sentiment felt in the movie. The hope that Carina has to solve the map that no man can read. Henry maintains his hope by asking Carina to come along and help. Upon meeting his hero Jack Sparrow, Henry can find hope within himself to reach his goal. Even Armando has hope that once and for all he will be free of this curse. He utilizes another ship to lead him to Jack. Hope floats throughout the movie. 


As I’ve stated in this post. You will see the familiar Pirates adventures, ships, magical quest and familial bond. The movie is out in theaters today May 26th. It is a movie for family, friends and even worth seeing twice. Action, adventure, laughs and heartfelt reunions are all in this movie. Hope is a powerful thing. 

Here’s a featurette of Johnny Depp talking about the movie: 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
*This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own. 

A Soul-ful First

 

It was a Monday when I received the Kia Soul Turbo that would be on loan to me for various events and projects that I have. What surprised me most about this particular car was the color. Wild Orange. For a compact car this Kia has way more to offer. Let me tell you all about it.

Now one feature about the Kia Soul is how sinuous the Apple Carplay is. Simply plug in your USB cable and then your phone. Once that is completed the car display mirrors some of you phone app display such as Maps, Messages, the Kia app and more. It is easy breezy. Simple, fast and instruction free. That is some awesome technology. It works with Android phones as well.

On this particular day I had a potential job interview in an area of downtown Los Angeles that I wasn’t familiar with. The map on my own phone was my guide with a turn by turn route. With the Carplay technology the display screen lent a visual to the roads with traffic conditions and an ETA. A great convenience for any trip or drive. This was such a simple intergration of my phone in the vehicle.

Wherever I went that day people noticed the color of the Kia Soul. Several occasions I was approached and asked about this car. That is when I discovered the extra storage compartment of the trunk space. A divided 3 section storage space sits below the trunk floor. With the pull of a built in handle one may store items in there to prevent it from shifting back and forth while driving. It was used a lot that day to keep fragile items from breaking and banging together.

 

Another thing that I want to point out is how smooth the drive is. Being that my day was all over L.A. the roads have many bumps, potholes and more. You know usual city streets. The Kia Soul has great suspension, steering/handling and a clear view of the road. I attribute the view to how much higher the car sits and where the line of sight is for the driver. Something not typical of vehicles of this class size.

Now one thing I’d like to share is I did land that job I interviewed for. Bam what! On the first day I had the Kia Soul Turbo. How exciting! Based off that I nicknamed the car Stanford Soul. If you remember Sex and the City, the character Stanford Blatch was a fashion icon in the show. Coincidentally I interviewed for a fashion job. The outfit inspiration for my day was drawn from Stanford and the metallic wild orange color. I needed to compliment the car. Most if not all my friends and family stated this car suits me well.

It’s funky, fresh, has many surprises like Eco Mode and a Sport Mode on top of the Turbo. There are many cupholders to faciliate up to 5 passengers. Having multiple USB ports aided in my family’s need for charging. All in all, dare I say it, this is truly the car that fits my personality. Stay tuned as I will showcase more about this car. Visit the Kia website to learn more about this car and other versions of it. There is an Electric Vehicle option too.

 

*This is a sponsored post. The opinions, reviews and story is all my own.

 

 

Showpads Is Ready 


A new opportunity has presented itself. Showpads and I are in a brand ambassadorship relationship. Today I will be with them at the Apartment Owners Association of California Inc.’s convention in Long Beach, CA. Here are some details about Showpads and what their brand is about. 


Founder/CEO/Owner, Nick Cates, of Showpads has described his business as the Uber for filling rentals. Services provided are 2 weekly open houses and On
Demand Showings every week, so Rental Owners and Managers fill vacancies faster and cheaper than ever. It’s a new service which will help apartment seekers and apartment listers/owners. 

On Showpads website is a 6 point break down of how the services provided is essential for retail owners and managers. Here there are: 
1. GET UNLIMITED EXPOSURE

We blast your listing to the hottest rental sites like: Zillow, Apartments.com, Westside Rentals, Craigslist, Hotpads, Trulia, and more!

2. ALWAYS BE OPEN

We host a mid-week and a weekend Open House, so your rental is always available for prospects.


3. NEVER MISS A PROSPECT
We provide On Demand Showings for pre-screened and truly motivated prospects who want to tour your rental NOW!

4. GET REAL-TIME FEEDBACK

After each showing, Prospects get a quick survey to rate your property on six key points, so you know what renters think.

5. GET EVERYTHING IN ONE PLACE

We provide applications with credit and criminal history reports, proof of income, and ID, so you can make decisions quickly.


6. GET PROFESSIONAL BACKUP

Too busy to verify tenant info, or need a Pro to prepare your lease? Our preferred Realtors will get it done for an additional Low Flat Fee!

Now what you may also like to know about Nick Cates is he has more than 17 years experience as an Agent and landlord. His savvy knowledge and prior experience will further assist anyone seeking Showpads for services.  He’s eager to help you with all your real estate needs. Learn more about his company by visiting the website here. Stay tuned for more as I serve as one of their brand ambassadors today. 

*This is a sponsored post. I’ve partnered with Showpads as a Brand Ambassador. All opinions express are solely my own. All images provided by ShowPads. 

A Stay-cation Vacation with GoRVing & KOA

Moments in life are meant to be made, remembered and reflected back upon. When my family and I were invited to be hosted at the Ventura Ranch KOA by Go RVing this event would end up being a stay-cation weekend to do just that. It was a family first.

The day was Jan. 3rd, 2017 when I received the invitation. KOA and Go RVing sent a great vacation weekend opportunity my way. In that moment of reading the invite many images of ‘what would be’ filled my head. The cabin type was a Park Model RV style. It greeted my family with splendor on ‘Arrival Day’ in quiet solitude. Lovely schrubbery and foliage surrounded the cabin making it a secluded hideaway. The rooms were cool from the A/C units and several lovely gifts awaited opening. There wasn’t ample time just yet. Scheduled to transpire in only 15 minutes was the welcome evening event.

 

Showered, dressed and ready we drove up to the Penthouse Villas. Now what awaited us was a serene grassy area overlooking the Santa Paula hills. Splendid view. It was a meet & greet accompanied with drinks to then be followed by dinner. There was also an opportunity to tour one of the penthouse villas which affords home-like decor and amenities. So here I was with my children at a campsite nestled in the hills above Santa Paula California on the edge of the Topatopa Mountains. Wow!

Dinner was catered with tacos, rice, beans and all the sides/toppings. Plus margaritas helped keep the adults cool while my children played and explored the Club House area overlooking more of the campsite. Later that evening after mingling with my best friend Kathy King and other invited guests it was s’mores making time. What fun to toast marshmallows on the campfire and make this classic dessert. Yummy, fresh and warmth in every single bite.

A culinary masterpiece…..

 

 

 

Day two’s itinerary left my children and I overly excited. After breakfast there was rocket making & launching for the children. Following that was Tie Dye t-shirt making, lunch and zip lining too. I conquered my fear of heights thanks to my children who braved the entire ride for the very first time in their life. That was a proud father moment coupled with inspiration witnessing my children living life to the fullest.

Here is more of what awaited our day & other amenities (campsite map):

  • Gem & Fossil Mining

  • Rock Wall Climbing
  • Jumping Pillow
  • Playground Area

  • Bigfoot Adventure Walk

  • Poolside BBQ Dinner

It was a very active engaging camping trip to say the least. A welcome addition to the trip was having my friend Andy join us. He made sure my children and I enjoyed the firepit right outside the cabin. It was only the fire flames and the plethora of stars that dotted the night sky keeping us all company that final night. Nature is beautiful.

Sunday morning came with clear sunshine rays illuminating the cabin sleeping loft areas with shadows cast by the leaves of the surrounding trees. A make-your-own waffle breakfast and fresh orange juice (pressed by you) helped make this camping trip that much more memorable. A hayride around the campsite was the final activity. It was then time to reminisce on all that transpired on this camping adventure.

Little did anyone know that I grew up in Ventura County. I frequented Santa Paula many times as a child with my father, my aunt and high school friends. Attending this event made for a full circle moment in my parenting journey. To be able to do this with my own family created many first-time experiences like the night-time Bigfoot Adventure Walk, seeing many peacocks roaming and observing a male peacock with his tail in full view.

If you are seeking a camping trip for the enitre family I highly recommend Ventura Ranch KOA. The 77 acre park offers 148 sites, varying from tents, cabins & luxury penthouse accommodations with breathtaking views. RVs are available as well. Other park amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi through most sites, a propane filling station, a campground store, large pool (open during summer months), a pavilion, coin operated laundry, RV storage, and activities for the whole family every weekend.

For more information visit gorving.com & KOA

Here are a few links to videos showcasing more of the awesome camping trip.

Cabin Tour & Gift Basket Opening:

https://www.facebook.com/joel1leoj/posts/1392436674148198

Cabin Leisure Time & Virtual Reality:

https://www.facebook.com/joel1leoj/posts/1394092293982636