Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day: This Is The Part of Me

It is Father's Day today. It is going to be a very hot day here in Los Angeles. I can feel the heat already. What does all of that have to do with anything? I am not entirely sure. I know that I want to share something with you all. I am doing my first giveaway and have partnered with Lego® for a Dad Giveaway.  Let me tell you a story so it all makes sense. 

I did a Lego Dad Truth back when I attended Dad 2.0 Summit, which I blogged about here Dad 2.0. My dad truth was about how I have a back plan for dinner should I spill it on the floor. It is totally true because it has happened to me before once, a lot. I have included the picture. Now this did get me thinking about fathers and fatherhood. I am parenting how I feel it best supports my children. I also listen to my husband's input even when I don't want to hear it or like it. It isn't about me. 

Well for the giveaway, I am asking you to share your nostalgia story from your childhood relationship with dad(s). You may enter the giveaway via the link on my website. Then once you are done please tag me on Twitter @3jsand1s using the hashtag #LegoDad, my desire is to inspire memories of how fatherhood impacted you as a child. Plus I want to encourage fatherhood support in general. Fathers are here. Fathers are there. The movement hasn't begun, it is here already. 

My story down memory lane is I remember my father taking me camping. True camping. Tents, rivers, bonfires and early morning breakfast. How did my dad manage to have sausage or bacon......he would get up early to get it and cook it up. He enjoyed this a lot! We would hike trails and make our own too. If we had to cross a river, we would hold our clothes in our hands and trudge through it. Swimming around was how we would cool off. We were among nature. Just doing whatever. 

It was from my father that I learned how to be gentle when you fall and hurt your knee. He would tenderly dab and swipe the blood and mend it with ointment. He would place a band-aid so cleverly that it covered everything. I learned from my father how to make a nice dry rub for tri-tip that I still use. I learned from my father responsibility. As a young man in his early 20s with 3 sons he took care of his children. He made sure we were safe. I learned a lot from him. 

I want to share with you all that so much can be taken from us without our desire and some things we must choose to let go of. There are also things that you will have forever. I have learned that this is the part of me that you're never gonna ever take away from me. Not 'you' specifically but I mean it in general. All the great qualities I learned from my father I will hold onto. It is all I have of him. I cherish that. It is what I need. Plain and simple. 

So now, as a parent,  a father, a husband, a friend and more. I am being a father that I need to be and what I have learned as well. I am there for my daughter and my son. I bask in what opportunities are there to create wonderful memories with them. I am on this parenting journey with my husband and I am happy. Just wow! Please enter the raffle so that I may be able to have someone win some cool products from Lego. I'm honored to have partnered with them. Having the ability to discuss fatherhood, share my parenting journey and meet more fathers is the best Father's Day gift I can receive this year. 

*I have partnered with Lego. The opinions expressed are all mine. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Me & Credit Karma

I've recently partnered with Credit Karma®. I didn't really ever think about my credit reports or scores but it has come to forefront on my mind. So now I have a new way of staying on top of that. Let me tell you how it applies to me.
I know that credit is a buy it now and pay later or in installments (that's my simple take on it as I can be long-winded so I will spare you all the mumbo jumbo of what would be a novel). I also know it isn't smart to over spend either. Well I know I have credit and credit history. I needed to know this as my finances are jointly tied with my husband. I am married and I have to be aware of my scores and report. Well now I can add that to my 'done' list of my tasks. Yes I do make a 'to-do' list and sometimes I get to the tasks at hand. (I move at a glacial pace sometimes.)
So what is Credit Karma. Well it offers services such as a financial assistant. I know, a financial assistant, sounds complicated. Here is what that means. Credit Karma helps you see your credit, loans and other pertinent information surrounding that. The main goal is to keep you, the consumer, aware of what is going on. It's a peace of mind knowing how your credit report stands. Think of it as a secure way to keep that information at your fingertips.
Here are other services provided by Credit Karma. It provides access to credit reports from two major bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax, that can update weekly. Their credit monitoring will allow users to be notified about changes to their credit report – a valuable tool for catching fraud early. Which is helpful when a credit card gets lost, or loss of wallet or purse. You can have peace of mind knowing things are right there via your phone on the Credit Karma app or their website.
A few other features I find advantageous is Credit Karma’s Credit Score Simulator which will enable users to see what kind of impact hypothetical financial scenarios could have on their credit score. That is something that you would think isn't helpful but say you are aware of your work situation changing or other unforeseen life situations. This is a way to pre-plan and prepare for what may need to be done or adjusted. A failure to plan is a plan for failure. That's my motto. I really like this feature a lot.
Another one of my favorite things about this app is Credit Karma’s Direct Dispute™. It allows consumers to easily notify TransUnion of errors or mistakes on their credit reports. With just a few clicks, these can submitted for removal. As many as 1 out of 4 credit reports contain errors! So knowing the mistakes, errors or any other details is easily disputable directly from the app or website. The control of your credit report is right there. I know I feel much better about my credit report. I am able to monitor it myself. Simple and readily available.
One thing I'm excited about is Credit Karma will have a booth at LA PRIDE on June 10th-12th and I will be onsite with them on June 12th. I'm looking forward to learning more from the representatives there. Plus if you are in the area of Los Angeles/West Hollywood, then come stop by and check out their booth. I encourage you to come mingle and learn about this cool service and app. I know you will want to see me too, I will be there.

*This is a sponsored post. I am working with Credit Karma. All opinions are my own.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Buzz

I have something on repeat to inspire me. It has been part of my soundtrack to my life for the past 3 years now. Each song has different meanings to me. Coincidentally the song contents apply to my life. I take inspiration, reflection, hope and fortitude from these songs. Here is one of them with some of the lyrics typed out for you to read. 

"I fight a battle everyday against discouragement and fear. Some foe stand always in my way. The path ahead is never clear. I must forever be on guard against the doubts skulk along. I get ahead by fighting hard but fighting keeps my spirit strong. If a mirror shows your heart pieces would fall from your guard. No more hiding in the dark. I see you for who you are, I can rearrange the parts take the temper of the gods. Won't surrender to your arms. No more peace sound the alarm. No more reasons to hold on. Now who's in your army who's gonna shield you from flame. Now you're crying. Wanted you to love me but you never seemed to care. Warfare. All Good, right here what'cha wanna do. Warfare I'm good, I'm right here." - Dawn Richard 'Warfaire' (that's how the song title is spelled)

I listen to that daily. I apply it to myself on a daily basis. I trudged, I battled, I fought and I won't give up. I struggle beyond and I'm quiet about it but I feel it is important to share that I've overcome it. I'm happy to announce that I accepted my first ever paid campaign as a blogger/brand influencer as a lifestyle blogger. The best part is it is during L.A. Gay Pride 2017. Bam what!  Wow! 

That right there let's me know that I am doing something right. As a Latino and Native American decent gay male father I'm very aware of how I'm showing/sharing an all inclusive representation of family, marriage and love. The power of my social media voice has led to me impacting people. My recent BuzzFeed Parents video interview has also proved that. I graciously had friends state their sentiment and share the interview about me and my family. That also recently happened as I type/edit this blog post. I am continually amazed. As of June 3rd, it currently has 420k views on YouTube and 1.5 million views via Facebook. It was even shared in a London Dad's Group, a dad friend let me know that. Wow! 

I get to tell my children and my husband that our story I'm telling is making a difference. That we matter, we are a family (not that I feel we aren't one - more of an affirmation) and look at what I've accomplished all on my own. I've had so many wonderful opportunities that has led me to this destination. The rest was up to me. I had to do the work. I did it! I am humbly proud of that. 

I didn't give up. I remained diligent. I fought hard and kept going. It is possible. You can do it. I'm not trying to sound preachy or manifesto-ish about this. I am simply stating that I kept working hard. So keep going. Be yourself always. Stand strong, fight the fight and don't be afraid to ask for help. I asked for help. I leaned on those that let me lean. I kept myself and my family in my mind always. I had fortitude and determination. That did take practice. I felt moments of weakness. I overcame. I am here. I am still standing. I am still smiling. I am me! 

I will link the video here for you all to see. Thank you to everyone that is still here. My mind is blown

*My opinions are my own. I was not compensated for any of this post. This is not an ad.