Dad 2.0 Summit: A Journey Explained

How do I express something that often left me speechless? Even when someone approached me to talk, I would flub my words and stutter too. My excitement would overwhelm my mind and then my mouth would sputter something out that sounded like words and sentences. Was it though? My hearing was a bit hazy too.

Throughout my journey as a parent and a stay at home dad I spent alone. No really…alone. I was the only parent and then stay at home parent. How would I socialize? Who would mingle with me about puréed food and little bite sized snacks for my children? When did I see other adults? I saw them and they saw me.

Ostracized from many groups is what I experienced a lot. Mommy groups wanted ‘moms’ only. I was a man and then on top of that a gay man and now a father. A stay at home father. I was a young father at 28 years of age. I’m still young and virile, at least that’s how I feel. That is not up for debate here.

So I searched for someplace to have commonality. A group to support my parenting questions or to help entertain and engage my children. And me too. Again time was often spent with just us 3 during the week. I needed and craved for a play date. Was I ever going to have one?

I did eventually find a group. L.A. Dads Group which is a part of City Dads Group and then to find that Dad 2.0 Summit is connected. Well I found my home. A place where I can thrive. A place where other dads are trailblazers in their everyday life. A place to learn and grow. To nurture and rejuvenate. A place to have many hugs and many new experiences. A place of support and love.

My voice was heard at the convention this year. I had the opportunity to be on a panel. A first time panelist speaker position for me was a full circle moment. I was telling my story and perspective as a father, a social media influencer and a gay man. It allowed for many other wonderful opportunities too. Two fans/followers of mine came up to me and said hello. I was so engrossed in them I didn’t take a photo. Why? I was basking in them and being attentive.

I have been suffering from depression for some time. I have been taking care of my family too. My focus has been on taking care of me. Over several years before I found my true home and tribe of father I lost 5 of my closest friends, they passed away. I also had to edit out friends. Again lonely and without my support system.

So as a child I had been a loner. At the start of my parenthood journey I was a loner. In my life that has occurred twice. In my time of need as an adult I was fortunate to have met fathers online and moms too. Then I experienced them in real life, IRL! We actually spoke and hugs and laughed. There were many memories made.

The convention is my home of my support system. The dads and moms and friends who welcome me with open arms and embrace me completely. If you didn’t see me, I’m sure you heard my name. Many of the brands mentioned hearing my name before I even spoke to them. I’m not a celebrity…I’m just telling my story.

Having lost my previous husband to cancer and many other life experiences has made me strong. I too am fragile still. So when I speak of my depression it’s from having to still process the years of consistent death and loss I experienced. Even as recent as of last year before the holidays. I’m healing my heart still.

All of what I was able to experience at Dad 2.0 Summit was utter bliss and joy. My little brown self worked and worked hard. I’m still working hard. Many friends and new acquaintances inspire me still. I fell more invigorated and rejuvenated. I’m beaming with pride as the summit was exceptional. Just what I needed.

I’m sitting here typing this and all that is happening is a big huge smile on my face. My soul was touched. My heart was mended a little. My tears wiped a little too. My pride was made stronger. My world has been changed. That is amazing.

J.O.Ë.L. – Just Obviously Enjoying Life

Welcome to my new website brand launch. It is time you get to know me a little bit better. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Joël Lëoj. Take a moment to read a few tidbits that I’m sharing with you all.

People want to know who I am and what I’m all about. My journey as a parent has had a lot of peaks and valleys. Faces weren’t always smiling. Fun was not the main focus. It was a challenge to witness and experience life and how society felt about me being a stay at home parent.

Many focus on another aspect of myself. A battle in my mind raged on. I fight it daily. More than ever I’m proud of myself. Proud of my family and proud of my friend family. Support was here for me when I needed.

If you wanted to know something about me. Truly a mind blowing detail. I love and I love hard. Family is very important to me. My true loving friends. If you’re in you’re in. Won’t ever let go.

Many have passed on in my life recently. Many new faces have come in to my life. I feel blessed. My work ethic and fortitude kept on. I worked myself and I still work myself.

My indomitable spirit and outrageous outlook have always been one thing I pride myself on. When I smile, I smile from ear to ear. When I laugh, I laugh with a bellow and a strength. My heart and body sing when music is on. I know myself.

Join me on my journey and let me share with you what made me who I am and how I proceed. See how I became Just Obviously Enjoying Life.

J.O.Ë.L.

A SmartyPants Pants

Recently I partnered with SmartyPants Vitamins and was sent some of their products. I met them at Dad 2.0 Summit last year. It was great interacting with their brand. What transpired out of that meeting was a lot of new changes to my life and health journey. Let me share that with you.

First I am not a super active guy as I once was. My activity level was to endure 8-10 hours of dance rehearsals, dance training and musical rehearsals. Not to mention college work and life. Then I remained active in my post-college days with the gym, hiking, recreational sports and being an adult. Life took me to marriage and then to start a family. Well life did change and so did my health.

I did put on some weight when I started my stay at home dad journey. Activity was not the issue. It was the choices I was making outside of the lessened activity. Soon I canceled my gym membership. Inactivity then became part of the domino effect. A focused father is what the modus operandi became. It is funny though because I remained active with my children. Dance class and practice for my daughter. Head soccer coach for my son. I was breaking a sweat folks.

Well my habits were the problem. The food intake and what types of food I was eating. Just too much fatty food. A lot of soda….I was on a binge of sorts. Luckily I came across SmartyPants Vitamins which helped me think about my health. I started taking the Men’s Complete multi-vitamin. Then came the addition of Kids Complete to my children. My new direction began. An ah-ha moment set off in my head. Bam what!

So come to now. I have added the new Adult Probiotic Complete and the Kids Probiotic Complete to the mix. It has been very great to be taking a probiotic that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Now to let you all know my eating habits have changed. Just last night I cooked roasted boneless skinless chicken breast with sautéed broccoli alongside some whipped parsnips. Super healthy.

SmartyPants Vitamins helped me think about my SmartyHeath and my family’s health. Over the coarse of a year I am now 35 lbs. lighter than I was a year ago. That is attributed to consistent exercising, new healthy food choices/meals and the incorporation of the multi-vitamins. Plus the new probiotic products. All in all significant progress has been made. Visit smartypantsvitamins.com for more information about their products. Their vitamins are gummy powered.


*This is a sponsored post in partner with SmartyPants Vitamins. All ideas, content and opinions are my own.

Kia: Built With Steel

Kia: Built With Steel

As many of you know I’ve interacted with Kia Motors USA at many events last year. Some of which were ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities to me. It was a lot and looking back on it brought some new details I remember to mind. Let me share that with you all.

Now remember the first car that arrived on the scene was the Kia Optima SX T-GDI. A sporty rugged sedan that had red leather interior and a sleek dashboard. It was a sleek sedan with many bells and whistles. For such a fast car it was light. A detail about the 2016 Kia I learned is more than 50% of the car’s frame is made up of advanced high-strength steel. So it provides crash protection, better dynamics and a quieter ride. I can attest to that quiet ride. I like to be enveloped by the music playing while in the car, so no other sound interruption is taking away from that.

 

A new car that debuted from Kia is the Niro. The Niro is offering what I feel to be the best combination of mpg gas mileage and an engaging driving journey. A cool design that doesn’t scream ‘hybrid’ plus utility usage too. Send one my way. This car is built with 53% advanced high-strength steel and an estimated 50 mpg. Kia Niro, a crossover hybrid that is making a category splash.

Many other Kia car models have been built using steel. Strength, design and improvements continue to add value to the design and safety. Why is steel important? Through greater formability and manufacturability, engineers and automakers are now able to make lighter, stronger and more fuel-efficient and affordable vehicle structures with the next generation of advanced high-strength steels. Many brands are doing just that. If you would like to read up on more information about steel then click on this link.
https://driveusingsteel.com

 

 

Kia Motors USA sent me many vehicles to experience. The Optima SX T-GDI, the Kia Sedona EX, the Kia Sorento SXL v6, the Kia Sportage EX and then the Kia Optima EX. All very different vehicles with quality, safety and comfort in mind. Knowing that the strength of the steel is not just a benefit but also an attribute. Steel matters.

 

 

*This is a sponsored post with SheBuysCars.com & driveusingsteel.com. Any opinion or statements expressed are my own. All photos are taken by me.

Hello World…Just Add Magic

Hello World! Here it is. A new season for this show. How did that happen? Well that entailed receiving an invite to the screening of Just Add Magic Season 2 Episode 2. A top notch executed event hosted by BuzzFeed and Amazon Prime Video. An event with so many details. I will only cover a few.

So my children and I enter the event and receive a stamped canvas bag with the show logo on it. Inside is a Tasty and show logo printed apron. Crafting supplies were on hand to make your apron unique with your own flair. Also skillet cooked brownies were in cute paper brown take-away boxes and a plethora of sweet toppings. I mean you have to decorate a brownie if it is in the shape of a flower or a star. Right!? My daughter did.

Now what had the attention of my son(me too). It was the Tasty brand, they

make great short recipe videos, turkey tacos that were served. If that wasn’t enough then get some baked chicken atop a kale carrot potato diced medley. Uh huh! Tasty, no pun intended. We ate! Well it was a touch of magic. Even in the upstairs photo booth. That was silly fun with some fellow friends I wont ever forget.

If you’re wondering what the show is about well here is a short synopsis of what Season 2 entails. Kelly, Hannah and Darbie’s Last-Ditch Layer Cake broke every spell in town which brought Grandma Quinn back to her normal self, however it also brought back an old enemy… Chuck Hankins, a teenage boy who has been missing for 50 years. As the girls begin to investigate Chuck they learn that he isn’t just an ordinary troublemaker, in fact, he’s capable of much more than they could ever imagine.

My children and I are hooked on the show. On January 13th, when Season 2 Episode 2 becomes available to all. We are going to tune in to Just Add Magic. We are going to snuggle up in our living room. We are going to have popcorn at the ready. We are going to watch this magical, recipe, spell, potion and magical show together as a family. Amazon Prime Video will be our spot for this show. Thank you to them and BuzzFeed for hosting a great event.

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts are my own.