Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Macy's Heart of Haiti Holiday

Holiday time is about spending time with family, loved ones and making memories. Yes there is gift giving, gatherings and more. One way that Macy's is helping spread opportunities for local artists of Haiti is by providing a sustainable income for those in need. Let me tell you what this all means and how you are able to 'give back' this holiday season.

Recently Haiti experienced a hurricane this year and a devastating earthquake in 2010. Macy's made the bold decision to carry a product line made by local artisans of Haiti. Again that was in 2010, it wasn't easygoing back then. Today, seven years later, the products are still being sold. That is just wonderful. I was gifted a Heart of Haiti product. A lovely snowflake ornament. It is a handcrafted product which makes it that much more unique.

If you didn't know, Haiti is a country rich in the arts. The product line offers home décor with many decorative options. I put the ornament right atop my Christmas tree. It resembles a star to me. It makes the Macy's Heart of Haiti idea stay fresh in my mind every time I see it. The trade-not-aid concept is an opportunity to make a difference. So when purchasing gifts this holiday season consider giving something from the product line. With Macy's Heart of Haiti, people are employed and can make a livelihood.

Here is where to purchase from the Gifts That Give Hope Collection, simply click the link Also this video tells the story of the Macy's Heart of Haiti link so give it a view as well. I now have a new piece to add to my ornament collection. A yearly tradition is born as the snowflake ornament will be my tree topper. Happy Holidays to all.

*I was gifted a product from the Macy's Heart of Haiti line however all the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Know Me First

What anyone may think of me is none of my business. How I am perceived is none of my business. Any personal feelings about me is none of my business.

Anyone picking up a theme here? Well the theme is what is unknown to me is truly none of my business. If someone chooses to let me know their feelings, sentiment, personal belief of judgement of me or anything to do with me on my social media platforms - then it becomes my business.

The act of posting the comment has made that person known. Even if anonymous. It is easier said than done to ignore the comments. Sure let it roll off my back. Keep my head held high. Don't acknowledge it. Let it alone. Keep decorum and ignore adversity. Let good thoughts be my sword and shield.

Well that isn't what happens all the time. I've experienced verbal abuse at a very young age. At 3 years I remember an uncle saying something mean to me and locked me in a room. I was horrified not at being locked in the room but at the sound of hearing 'no one will love you if you're like that!' and all I thought was 'like what?'

Words have played a huge part in my relationship even with my own father. He has said some very detrimental consistent statements to me during my tween, teen and young adulthood. Even when I wasn't living at home I still had suffered his abuse. That realization to me was a strong knock me off my feet moment. It truly did happen when I allowed my mind to open up to the thoughts I had closed off.

Abuse even verbally has had a lasting effect on me which I have broken. Yes the words that are used on my social media platforms are very hurtful, rude and vulgar. Not every moment bothers me. There are times when it does. C'est la vie, right!?

How am I proceeding now? Well my journey is still moving ahead. You will see that my posts are still going. The blogs are coming for sure and my YouTube channel is ready. The new era of Joël is here.

What I've learned is I'm much more valuable than I ever gave myself credit for. People want to see me and hear my story. I've inspired people, that was a very 'Wow' moment. Recently learned too. My children benefit from my fearlessness. The support that is around is unmatched.

Lastly, all of what you've read thus far is a daily process of what I work against and through to be productive. My work begins in my mind first. Then my heart and then in the actual 'action' of it all. Constantly tending, mending and adjusting to make it all happen.

Surrendering to myself allows the best me to come forth. Accepting of it all helps me identify, target and focus. It's taken time but the best part is I'm so happy with myself.
That's the most important thing. I LOVE me. Self love has paved the way for me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Reindeer Romp at The L.A. Zoo

Another adventure occurred right before the holidays. I was invited to cover the Reindeer Romp at the L.A. Zoo on Nov. 20th. Such a treat to go and see a reindeer family with two babies in their Reindeer Village. Anyone is able to see these new babies and more until January 8th, 2017. That means plan your trip now before the Reindeer Romp is gone. 

Soft velvety hide and smooth antlers
Well first off my son and I entered the Reindeer Village home to get up close and personal with the two baby reindeer. They were quite big for babies but docile and shy when moving. I remember the zoo attendant that was on sight mentioned the reindeer being several months old. My son and I were able to touch an antler too. A new fact we learned about the reindeer is female reindeer retain their antlers until they give birth to their young. Male reindeer shed their antlers each winter. 

Now that's a groovy pink flamingo....yes!
Now what else can you expect on a weekend visit to the L.A. Zoo. A lot. Their is the reindeer keeper talks twice daily. My son and I experienced one of those. Hence the new antler fact we learned. There was also holiday crafts which our antler headbands did get wet from the light rain so I don't have any proof that we did them. The memory of it will suffice. Some more activities to experience are the Swazzle Holiday Extravaganza puppet shows, seasonal music entertainment by the Beverly Belles and a rotating schedule of animals unwrapping gifts of their own. 

One of the baby reindeer eating
Lions like to cuddle...
It did rain a lot more toward the end of our visit to the zoo. However that didn't stop my son and I from really taking in all the zoo had to offer. We saw a trio of hippopotamus in their area. Plus it was feeding time. Boy that was a sight. The male hippo was treated to 3 heaping amounts of veggies and watermelon. That mouth of his was very large. That was a very special treat as it was a first time, in real life, to witness the feeding of a hippo. 

Again we meandered around the zoo. Elephants, lions, giraffes, a slew of various monkeys, gorillas and birds too. My son took a great amount of photos with his phone so some of those photos made it into this blog post. His perspective was a bonus. I enjoyed all the various facial expressions he had throughout the day. Before we left we did go back to the Reindeer Village home to see the two reindeer babies again. Such curious creatures that walk unsteady here and there but so big to be so young. 

Both baby reindeer laying cute! 
I highly recommend visiting the L.A. Zoo before January 8th, 2017 which then the Reindeer Romp rides back to the north pole. It isn't often you get to see them, experience them and learn new facts about them. My son and I learned a few things. For more information visit their website and go experience the romping and more. 

*This is a sponsored post. Any opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

KODO Design: A New Mazda CX-5

One aspect of the LA Auto Show that I was able to experience thanks to was the new KODO designed Mazda CX-5. This is a car that has a new stance, newly formulated paint and more. Another insider aspect was meeting Julian, part of the design team for the new CX-5. His perspective and recount of the car's design process allowed for a better understanding of this particular car. So let me get to it.

A sales detail about this model is it accounts for 25% of their annual sales in around 120 countries. An aspect that Julian shared about Mazda is the emotional connection with customers that they dream of creating. So there is a lot of work put into making that dream come to fruition. There were a few key points he touched on about the invigoration of the body and also the joy of driving. Like focusing on the 'stance' of the car as Julian stated at their brand press event.

The all new CX-5 refines every aspect of Mazda's technology, design and it is the first step of that journey. Mazda is determined to break through traditional trade-off between driving pleasure and passenger comfort. An indicator of that is how the new color creation and process led to a rich red that at various angles has a different hue and catches light to these varying shade notions. That color was named Soul Red Crystal which combines vivd highlights and crystalline depths which in turn accentuates the new design.

I will mention some new features both on the exterior and interior of this new design. For the exterior there is a lower center of gravity and a 10mm wider front and rear tread giving the CX-5 a more powerful stance. A front grille has a mesh section that has a three-dimensional pattern. So sporty looking. Now for some interior features the instrumentation cluster has an outward flow from the center steering wheel giving an ambience of roomy width in the cabin space. One feature that stood out to me was the natural wood and metal combination giving it a fresh depth expression.

Overall I see Mazda put time into their re-design process and kept their eye on design, though out appointments with instrumentation and focused on a new color process as well. Their traditional and long held design process is a labor intensive process. It was great to see, hear and experience. Thank you again to She Buys Cars and Mazda for getting a more in depth look at their newly designed CX-5.

*This blog post is in partnership with The content and photos are all created by me. This is a sponsored blog post.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The LA Auto Show

Kia Optima EX - what I'm driving it! 
So do you like to drive fast or slow? Are you into sporty or luxury accoutrements? Does it matter if it is a small or large sized vehicle? Is there concern for the environment associated when thinking about cars? Hopefully one or more of things will be answered for me when I attend the LA Auto Show on Nov. 16th & 17th with

This will be my first time attending this event. I'm going to all the advance press/media events as a 'dad' blogger. It is a dream come true to be able to see and experience the auto show up close and early! I am a car guy. Cars are like my oxygen. I live and breathe them. One example of that is here and here. Oh and did I mention that Kia sent me a car too!
Kia Sportage EX and my son

Kia Sedona XL 
Driving in style and luxury all around Los Angeles enjoying the California sun. What did I get sent?! A 2016 Optima EX in a rich burgundy with touches of deep purple plum. The interior is a nice grey leather with comfort and luxury in one. Okay I digress right. Can you tell I love the car?! Cars are one of my things, my joy and passion. I dig them. Yes I do. Oh and one thing is there is a giveaway for some tickets to the LA Auto Show. Click on the link below and enter for a chance to get tickets to go and enjoy all the refinements and advances in the many car brands out there.

I included some pics of various Kia cars I've experienced already. The first thing up for me with the LA Auto Show is the new Mazda CX-5 Reveal Party. Stay tuned for all the wheels, technology and more.

Kia Sorento V6 AWD with 3rd Row Seat

*I've partnered with She Buys Cars for this event. My opinion and content are mine alone and not influenced in any shape or form by any party. This is a sponsored post.

Dressed for Succes

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Stefan King: The Goldbergs Halloween

Get ready for the fun laughs and nostalgia of Halloween and a little 'Stefan King' which is the tile of tonight's show.

This episode of The Goldbergs has Adam contemplating horror writing which stems from his love & adoration of Stephen King. So Adam writes his own story. Something more close to home comes out of his creative thinking. It sends his mother into a 'proud of her son' frenzy and she wants to share it with her neighborhood book club. Lots of laughs on that part.

Another story arc is Erica who needs a date for her costume dance and ends up taking her brother Barry. A lot more laughs, embarrassment and heartfelt family support ensue. I won't give away too much of the story and supply a preview of a scene from tonight's show. Now as for the set visit and interview let me impart some of those details.


Sean Giambrone led the tour of the set and mentioned the details associated with The Goldbergs. It is clear that in order to capture the decade of the show many small fine details need to be present. Executive Producer (real life Adam) Adam F. Goldberg stated, "...the wig wasn't even set for Beverly's character..." That wig has now become one of the many important pieces of the show. It was also mentioned how costly some of the 'toys' in
Adam's bedroom set have been. Those are packed up daily so as to avoid anything going missing.

One key take away from the interview was that Adam wanted to make sure the moments or the memories he captured are present in the tv show. At the root of it all, the show is
about family, support and being able to give each other what they need at any moment in their lives. Family will be there to help cheer you up, showcase your talents to those around them as Beverly did with her son's writing and keep your best interest at heart.

The Goldbergs will make you laugh. It will definitely make you remember the Halloween spirit and above all else at the core of the show will be family. Be sure to watch the show tonight on ABC. Check your local listings for time.

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions and content in this blog are my own.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Halloween With Dr. Ken

Is it a tale that has been told many times over? How about a typical Halloween show? Are there going  to be the usual jokes and references to Halloween in general? Well if you want to learn about the story of the Korean ghost named a 'gwishin' then tune-in to Dr. Ken tonight to see it on ABC. Read along for some details from my set visit and interview with the cast of the show.

So the start of the set visit for the Dr. Ken show gave a 'real life' home feeling. The
home layout and separate rooms are as any typical home may be. Details are evident here. Suzy Nakamura, who plays Allison Park on the show, stated that the various show departments pay attention to detail so much that a 'story board' of character outfits, inspiration and thematic references are always at the ready. This episode's 'story board was shown.

Now how can a ghost story be funny scary and folk tale-like all at the same time? You will need to tune in to Dr. Ken to find out. The show is more about family, life, growth and learning. A journey with this family with different cultural references with a lot of family and life situations. I'll let you in on a show topic before you see it. It pertains to learning to let go, to be present when needed and accept the maturation process.

If you want to see Ken Jeong play a role that is about family, fatherhood, work and more then tune in tonight on ABC for Dr. Ken. This Halloween episode will have many aspects to it so pay attention. I hope you enjoy the show as much as I did. Here is a sneak peek link just in case:

*This blog post is sponsored by Role Mommy. All opinions and story are my own. Show and network links were provided. #Sponsored #DrKen

Dana Lee, plays D.K. and tells the 'gwishin' story
Krista Marie Yu (Molly) & Albert Tsai (Dave) The Park Family Children
Me (Joël) on set of Dr. Ken - The Park Family living room

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Kia Ride and Drive San Diego 2016

I began blogging to tell my story. I needed to let folks know what it was like to be me. How a latino male who is a stay at home dad was navigating parenting and also trying to find support. I have many passions and cars is one of them. I didn't ever think that my blogging would lead to me getting invited to an influencer event and for Kia. Like wow!!! 

The Kia Ride & Drive Discover The New Kia Event in San Diego at the Hard Rock Hotel is where I recently was at. The theme was 'Rockin'! A guitar pic was the branded logo that Kia used for their marketing and what a red carpet welcome for all these influencers. The room was filled with new faces and familiar ones. My journey there was shorter than most as I drove down from Los Angeles with my friend Joshua Hicks and Monique Frausto. So these content creators, people, dads, moms, story tellers, writers, photographers, editors, videographers and then me. Me. All in a wonderfully catered event. 

The arrival to the event offered a large 3 room Hospitality Suite. It was decked out to the finest detail. I am all about the details. Snake skin leather lounge chairs, leather modern sofas, with sleek modern furnishings and more. Did I mention there was 4 player Pac-Man, two pinball machines, a dart board and a Harman Kardon sound display. Also thank you to Harman Kardon for their gracious gift of an Esquire Mini wireless portable speaker. Their sound systems are also equipped in the Kia Sportage 2017 that I drove. 

Now what fun this adventure was. A scenic drive with some fun and tasty delights at Krispy Kreme and then back for some fish and chips or whatever else at Tin Fish. I know there was other great food but I can really only remember the cars and the fun. The Kia Optima was the car of choice for my lip sync contest entry, you can view Cars That Go Boom which showcases one part of the fun. Boy did the car go boom! LoL! Myself and Danyelle won 4th place and thank you to Joshua Hicks for the help with out video. You may also read about Danyelle’s experience at The Cubicle Chic

I had a lovely king suite with a shower that I wanted to take home. I met Joe of Joe's Daily, you can find him here. Also my new friend Africa Miranda killed the live band karaoke on the closing night dinner. There was plenty to eat. Nobu sushi, tacos, green chicken curry, donuts, ice cream, libations and more. One cool thing was a prize for every time you sang a karaoke song. 

definitely got up there and did some thangs and broke some thangs. Hahaha, lol! I felt one of the best parts was deepening the friendships I had made prior to this event. 

I just want to say that on the near anniversary of my best friend’s death I have something to cerebrate. I have something to be proud of. I am living my dream. I am telling my story. I am going on. I am here. I am enjoying what I have been afforded. I will still rise. Whether in a Kia Sportage or an Optima or their upcoming Niro HUV. A cool hybrid utility vehicle which I will be exploring soon. My friend gave me the advice to let my big flame shine bright. Let all of me radiate. I am doing that and people are taking notice. I am being accepted and I am doing what I love. Another person I'm happy to call friend is John Dominguez and he told me to 'never stop being me and let my voice be heard' just as my best friend had. 

Coincidence, I think not. More like the wisdom of those around me is just reassurance that I am doing the right thing. I am living authentically. I am me. Thank you to The Kia Team, John Dominguez, my friends, the new ones made and more for all the support. I am basking in all of what I experienced. I look forward to more. So I leave you all with this, share some soul. It has been shared with me and I share it wherever I go. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Fashion Friday: Kids Graphic Tees

It is another Fashion Friday post. Yes yes! My affiliate Cents of Style has a new featured item just in time for back to school shopping or whatever the occasion need you may have. Like a birthday gift or a 'just because' gift. Little trite kid's graphic tees are that hot item.

As you know a graphic tee is perfect for a night out and or part of a causal outfit. The same can be applied to these cute and sassy kid's graphic tees. Pick the saying that best matches your child's personality. I definitely see some that I want to have for my son and daughter. The 'Let It Go' one is perfect for Ja and Jo would definitely choose the 'Rad' tee. Funny thing is my children do wear uniforms to school but I would have them in these which allows them to show their individual personalities.

Cents of Style folks have given me my own personal affiliate link. The benefit of that is each sale tee becomes $4.99 and each regular price tee is $11.99. Plus free shipping. Bam What! All you gotta do is use code BACK2. Isn't that great. Now that is incentive to go and purchase more than one to send to friends, family and your own children. Great thing to share with aunts, uncles, dads, moms, extended family and friends too! The sale is good until Sunday 7/31/16 midnight MST/11pm PST.

Here is the link:

Fashion Friday - 7/29/16 - Kid's Graphic Tees (Starting at $5!) + FREE SHIPPING w/code BACK2

So the back to school celebrations are in full swing. Find something unique, fun and at a great price point. Kids can arrive in style when school resumes. Lastly, check out my last post here for other products I've featured from Cents of Style. (Note: The promo code for that product has ended but those items are still available for purchase.)

*This blog is sponsored by Cents of Style. All opinion and content is my own.