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

 

L.A. Zoo’s Wild For The Planet

 

One of our staff writers, Juan Pablo Delgado was able to attend the L.A. Zoo to celebrate the WILD FOR THE PLANET.  It was also the 50th anniversary of connecting people and wildlife. That’s right, L.A. Zoo’s 50th anniversary! It was titled ZooLAbrate, you can check it out at #ZooLAbrate, www.ZooLAbrate50.org

The heart of this celebration is to promote their conservation achievements. Did you know that the L.A. Zoo is committed to saving species worldwide? They are involved in 30 conservation projects. Your visit helps save species!!

Our first stop was to meet the one month Pronghorn calves. They are so beautiful. It was wonderful to learn that they are the second fastest animals in the world, after the cheetah. But, the fastest in the western hemisphere. They are endemic to Baja California, specifically to the Vizcaino Desert. Unfortunately, they are losing their habitat and as of today, only 200 live in the wild. L.A. Zoo is one of the conservation habitats for this beautiful animals.

My kids were so excited to see the babies and their mommies! We took tons of pictures, my kids drew them and we loved watching them nurse and walk.

After that, we went to see different animals like the gorillas, chimpanzees, zebras, elephants. We even saw a snow leopard getting fed! It is so interesting to see their behaviors. But the very best is to see the smile of my children while learning about different animals and their habitats.

After touring for a little while, we went to the Carrousel ….. for an Expo Party prepared for us bloggers. I did not know that kids could celebrate their birthday at the zoo. Can you imagine having a “wild” party? Believe me when I tell it is such a great idea! In the Expo they showed us the different options of menus. From a sandwich, fruit bar to a western bbq with pulled pork or chicken, corn bread, cole slaw. They also had a pizza bar and an all American bar with hamburgers and hot dogs. There was so much food that we didn’t know what to eat first! We also had perks for the kids.

Everything was delicious. They arranged the tables really nicely and each one had a different plush wild animal on top of the table. You can check on www.lazoo.org/events

After the meal and the big choices we headed to the dessert bar with different type of cookies and sweets. Again, it was difficult to decide which treat to choose. All of them looked yummy!

My kids had face and arms painting and all the girls received a colorful flower crown.

After that, 2 keepers brought 2 animals for us to meet. One was a suger glider and another one was a snake. Look at the pictures, aren’t they awesome?!

So, next time you are preparing a party for your kids think different, think wild, think fun… think L.A. Zoo.

We had a delightful Sunday, full of laughter, joy, education and pretty little faces of all the fascinating animals we got to see. Thank you to our hosts for this unforgettable day! This spring and summer, visit L.A. Zoo and create happy memories with your family. #ZooLAbrate

*This is a sponsored post. L.A. Zoo hosted one of our staff writers to this event. All story, opinion, and sentiment expressed is our own. 

 

PopTv Red Carpet Event


Is it a 90s nostalgia night? Is it a comeback? What is it exactly? Those were some of the questions swirling around my head the evening of the PopTv red carpet premiere event for Hollywood Darlings and Return of the Mac. Both shows debut today April 12th. Visit PopTv‘s website to find your local channel and time listing. 


There were camera flashes and microphones a plenty. My bow tie was on and I was ready. Joey McIntyre helped me feel comfortable about being a parent and also juggling a career. In the red carpet interview, he shared his family’s new installment of artificial grass (astro turf) which I know all too well about that product. I shared how my son played soccer on fields with the same material. Joey spoke of his new show and how it is a tongue and cheek look at trying to be a serious actor in Hollywood. His wife supports his career and they both juggle family life and work well. 


Jodie Sweetin (Full House, Fuller House) offered up that Hollywood Darlings is a fun look at her and her best friends Beverly Mitchell (7th Heaven) and Christine Lakin (Step By Step). In this improvised comedy, the three actresses play exaggerated versions of themselves in their current Hollywood lives. While they each made their way down the red carpet one detail remained the same in their interviews. Friendship is what holds these three women together. Yes they are moms, performers and career focused. Among all that they focus on each other. 

Two different new shows and an array of cast members for both. Others you will see are Joey Lawrence, Andrew Keegan, Panum Patel, Jordan Black and Katie Wee. If you want a firsthand look at the red carpet coverage check out the live Facebook links below. 

Red Carpet Live Interview 1
Red Carpet Live Interview 2
Red Carpet Live Interview 3

Remember to tune in today/tonight for the  debut of Hollywood Darlings and Return Of The Mac from PopTv. Click the link to find your local listing time and channel. I left the event having talked to and met some of my favorite stars. I hope you tune in for both shows. 

 

Jodie Sweetin held my phone to take this selfie. She was fierce from head to toe.

How I’m A Beard Boss


*This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® & Remington but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #RemBeardBoss http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

Recently I started to show my beard who is the boss. I was sent The Perfecter: Beard Boss Stubble & Detail Kit by Remington available at Walmart and on Walmart.com. It is something that I needed to add to my grooming regime. I’m embracing my facial hair. So read along and learn what makes me a Beard Boss with this new product.

There are many attachments that come with The Perfecter. You will see comb attachments to achieve the desired stubble or beard length you seek. It has 5 snap on combs so I let my beard bossing fun loose these last two weeks. Having more than one attachment makes this a great universal tool. What is surprising is that these tools were included in the box. Wow! No need for me to buy other items or tools to be the beard-boss that I want to be of my facial hair.

Now having the Foil Shaver attachment will help with my sensitive areas such as the neck, jawline and making my facial hair styles more precise and unique to me. So daily use of that helps with maintenance. The Premium T-Blade provides me the ability to achieve close trimming and pinpoint precision. That way when I want to control the edges they will be clean and my stubble will be perfect. It will benefit me to look super sharp and dapper so I see that my facial hair is all in order, that’s one thing less I have to worry about.

A few more key features of The Perfecter: Beard Boss Stubble & Detail Kit by Remington is bullet pointed down below:

  • Powerhouse lithium battery gives 5 hours of cordless runtime, for months of trimming between charges
  • 100% waterproof – easy to clean and use wet or dry with non-slip grip
  • Precision Metal Comb – adjustable metal comb locks in the exact length for a perfectly groomed beard
  • Turbo Mode – power boost for thick beards and fast trimming

Since I’m attending a red carpet event tonight I am ready for it after using The Remington Beard Boss Perfecter Stubble and Detail Kit. It makes a great gift for that special someone in your life. I’ve made my own signature beard look with this product. You can too. It is available at Walmart and on Walmart.com Go out and become a #RemBeardBoss . 

Thank You For Forgetting 

Someone said to me I have great alacrity and effulgence. I knew what that meant too. Thank you to the person I had only met once to talk to me, ask about me and want to hear my take on various topics. 
Over a month ago this was the scenario and how the above exchange occurred. Music wasn’t playing. The sound of silence was clear and audible in the room. It made the sound of cars and horns seem that much more excruciating in sound to the eardrum. 
Not a joyous sound came from the walls, calls or halls. The smell of dust and dirt overcame the olfactory senses. Even the sight of papers on the floor still weren’t picked up. They remained in unorganized chaos. Wind from the window didn’t even stir them. 
In a quiet moment of desperation the sunlight was allowed in. Smells from outside made many memories flood and permeate. Was it chaos? Is there something wrong? How is it so quiet? 
The sky filled with more shades of mauve and midnight. Colors of orange red and yellow mixed together and then faded with the sun. Stars became visible. The cool air flowed quicker than it had during the day. 
More than a month ago it was the day I was born. It was the day after that I actually smiled Why? I learned how important I was. 

As I sat alone celebrating alone I saw my reflection. My father stares back at me. He despises me. The mother I never knew stares back at me. Well I know the drug addict she was and that’s it. 

Knowing that my parents don’t know me. Knowing that many forgot about me. I still sat smiling from ear to ear. Life is far greater for me now that I spend more of my time alone. 

All my mind was focused on was the many things I’m happy to have happened to me since 2013 to now. Welcome to my new beginning. 

Thank you to those that forgot. It helped make things that much more easier for me. 

Dad 2.0 Summit 2017 Part 2: An Ode to Kia

Yes I’m still having adventures with the Kia Motors America Kia Cadenza. Dad 2.0 Summit was where I first met and became aware of the hashtag #KiaDad . I met John Dominguez as a first time attendee of Dad 2.0 Summit last year. He and I spoke about our children, family and our careers. We didn’t speak about cars. We spoke as men and our fatherhood journey. Yes they helped me get to my destination at my first #Dad2Summit which made me feel like a ‘prince for a moment.’ I mean who gets personally shuttled to an event for the very first time. I was new to this group of fathers, mothers too, the summit and new to it all.

First time meeting Kia & John Dominguez

I’ve been able to learn from a multitude of men, women and beyond from Dad 2.0 Summit. Many friendships have come of it. Some men have cheered me on daily. Seriously. Recently, post this year’s summit I’ve had some overwhelming hate directed at me. Such vacuous thoughts. Rather caustic assumptions. Even threats of harm.

I’m posting this as every voice should be heard. There is a manner in which to express ideas, thoughts and opinions. Unifying humanity is the goal. That is how I best am able to express my desired goal and to be part of my obituary. My purpose. Why I’m here.

The journey and life’s peaks and valleys are the commonalities that I share and express in my social media platforms. There will be times I share something that is my opinion, my beliefs or my views. I will  let my voice be heard. John Dominguez said that to me when I first met him. To be me.

At other event trips I’ve been on, John has expressed that same sentiment. It hasn’t ever changed. He has reinforced in me to really truly be me. It is clear via this blog that I am truly letting you all see/know me, Joël. I’m flawed. I’m a work in progress always, as life doesn’t ever stop letting you learn and grow. I’m many things.

 

That time I matched the Kia red leather interior….

The summit let me know that I’m not alone in this world. There are places and faces that desire to see little ‘ol me. Many of y’all came up to me and made it a point for us to engage in conversation. You made sure I was aware of who you were. That was a ‘whoop-tee-tah’ moment that kept occurring. Bam what!

This is not a boasting post or self-aggrandizing message. I’m letting you all know that I too am a fragile being. I’m dealing with depression. I’ve been taking on a lot for my family alone. Literally alone. There has been struggle and success. What last year and this year so far has taught me is that I truly do have support out there.

 

The Kia Cadenza chocolate leather is giving me life!

My world isn’t just what is here in my city in my daily modus operandi. It is sprinkled across the land and even in the UK. I met him in real life too. What a laugh! Totally a moment that I will have in my mind until my last breath has left my body.

The amalgamation of love, support, openness and growth that is ALIVE in Dad 2.0 Summit helped change and educate me beyond a writer, a blogger and a man. It was often I felt like I didn’t belong somewhere where I could make a difference. Being a first time panelist speaker talking about my perspective as a gay man, father and now a social media influencer has helped me make a difference.

Someone wanted to meet me and they made that happen at the event. They had heard of me by word of mouth. Yes it’s the thing on your body that makes sounds that are commonly known as words, sentences if you will and that is audible and the other human hears it. Then they respond. So technology isn’t fully taking over human interactions but it helps those conversations, ideas and beyond be spread across the world.

So in this meeting of someone I did not know at all. There was a moment of how I am making it known that life is just the same for me as it is for them. There is a plethora of differences but it’s the similarities that brought this person to want to sit next to ‘me’ and talk. They put a face, in real life, to the name they had heard about.

Always sleek even in the rain

 

My takeaway from this, my work with Kia, Dad 2.0 Summit and beyond is that I’m just glad that I’m still here. Even with my current woes I find that letting it all flow and to just be ‘me’ that I still will make a difference. It is beyond the nay-sayers, haters, those that want to cause me harm or wish it upon me.

Plus Kia has been a brand that has been supportive of many endeavors of mine. I’ve been invited to many events, experienced their awesome cars and even a recent event with B.R.A.K.E.S. that changed the way I drive forever. Here is a clip of that and stay tuned as more is to come.

Attitude of gratitude toward Kia Motors USA, John Dominguez and last but not least Dad 2.0 Summit.

Preparing My Children for Academic Success With TestingMom.com

*This post has been sponsored by TestingMom.com.  The opinions and ideas expressed here are solely my own.  The content and story are my own.  It was not in any way shape or form influenced by the brand.

Preparing My Children for Academic Success With TestingMom.com

What I am going to share with you all is that my children both have struggled with their academics.  It has become part of my everyday life and modus operandi.  My son and my daughter have made significant strides while utilizing tools from TestingMom.com .  Let me share with you all how I have utilized the TestingMom.com site.  It has really helped me to foster a new academic approach with both of my children.

Part of the TestingMom.com site that caught my attention was the various tools available to help my children.  I both like and used the 100 Free Skill Building Practice Questions for Pre-K to 8th Graders.  It has some great ways to really build on your child’s thought processing and understanding.  When using it with my son, I didn’t think that I was making him feel like it was practice.  It was definitely a more natural approach to supporting him and my daughter too.  I encourage my readers to get started with TestingMom.com & download the 100 Practice Questions.

Another asset I enjoyed was the continual email tips sent to my inbox.  I remember President’s Day being observed which meant no school for my children, so how was I going to help them keep up the academic support and engagement?  Well on that day, an email from TestingMom.com arrived and it had President’s Day themed practice questions designed to assess a child’s knowledge of general information.  I used all of them with my son and most with my daughter.  That made learning fun, even on a day when most would take a day off from academics.  It didn’t feel like study time at all.  More of a new family time moment and a new memory made.

I received a very informational email about TestingMom.com that had me asking myself if this program was right for me and my children.  I will outline it below.  I am after educational success for my kids. That’s what I want.

TestingMom.com is NOT for you if:

  • * You want to outsource your child’s educational support to tutors and after-school programs
  • * You’re too busy or believe you don’t have the expertise to help your child build needed skills
  • * You really don’t want to know what’s on the test – you are confident your child can do well on their own

TestingMom.com IS for you if:

  • * You believe you are your child’s first and most important teacher
  • * You want to understand what your child can do and how he/she learns so you can help
  • * You want to know what’s on the test so you can guide your child on how to master the material

Yes, TestingMom.com was right for me.  It has helped me to learn new engaging methods for nurturing and supporting my children’s academic and educational success.  My son has improved his critical thinking,  efforts and confidence.  My daughter is a better speaker and researcher when completing school projects.  Their analysis of their own work and areas of improvement show me that they understand what they are doing.  TestingMom.com has helped me improve the educational success my children needed.

 

Overall, this is a great site with many tools, email support and other academic resources.   Here are some links to testimonials & reviews of TestingMom.com.  The 100 Practice Questions are Free.  Simply sign up to get started on preparing your children for educational success.  It was and still is a great help to my family.