Driving The 2018 Buick Enclave Premium | That's A Buick

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This past weekend we were invited by Buick to attend the Houston Art Car Parade. Back in my high school years, I had the chance to decorate an art car but never got to go to the actual parade. I wasn’t sure what I was going to expect but I left the parade a very impressed person. We were inspired by the creative minds that come together to build these amazing cars and Mila was having a blast. She was so joyful when she saw a triceratops car and that was easily her favorite one. Buick has redesigned their line-up and wanted us to see how their designers got some of their inspiration from events like this one. It’s an interesting way to do it but it’s working and they’re doing a great job. To see and experience this, Buick sent us the new Buick Enclave Premium to drive around. This vehicle is beautiful. From the way it’s designed inside & out to the way it drives. Keep in mind, we don’t get paid by the manufacturers to write these posts: I was truly impressed.





For many years I always saw Buick as the brand that was wedged in between Chevrolet and Cadillac. It was the brand for the elderly. At least that’s what everyone else was saying. That is no more. Take a look at Buick’s line-up today and you will see a whole new fleet. Don’t believe me, take a quick peek at their social media channels like Instagram and you will see comments like “Buick really knows how to get rid of elderly people”. This comment simply shows the way many in society perceived the brand before the redesign and new models. In the case of the Enclave, the last major update was back in 2007. That’s 10 years that a vehicle went mostly untouched by the manufacturer. There was a need for a new marketing plan and brand image and they have done a great job of doing so!






We had family visiting from out of town and they were all impressed by the offerings of the Enclave. Seating for 7, heating and cooling seats, the interior trim and how quiet the cabin was. The Enclave has sound deadening glass at the front and they really do a great job of keeping the noise levels down. There are a lot of chrome accents throughout the inside and outside which adds to the luxury feel. Looking at the Enclave from a parents point of view, there are some great features that can make everyday life easier. You have access to 4G LTE WiFi that would come in really handy on road trips with kids or simply staying connected on the road. One thing our entire family can agree on while on the road or stuck in traffic are the bad smells that come from the outside. With the neew Ionizer, the Enclave adds an extra level of filtration for a healthier cab! No more stinky odors and all the clean air!



Comfort is a commodity we can all enjoy, and the smooth ride and quiet interior make for a great ride. Thanks to the QuietTuning found in the SUV, you get a really quiet interior cancels out a lot of exterior noise. The Enclave has sound deadening glass on the windshield and front driver adn passenger windows!  I particularly like the captain seats which allow passengers to easily access the 3rd row. Even though we only have 2 kids, we always have family over and going places, so an SUV like this Enclave would be justifiable. I love to drive and our family really enjoys riding around town in comfort. After experiencing this and seeing what Buick has been doing lately, I am looking forward to what the other vehicles in their line-up have to offer. 













What are your thoughts on Buick's new design and direction??

A Fast And Easy Way To File Your Taxes | Filing With TurboTax

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The deadline to file taxes is coming up soon so don’t wait until the last minute to file taxes, especially if you’re missing out on your big refund! TurboTax is my go-to for tax filing because it is fast, easy, and gives you the biggest refund. Best of all, with TurboTax Live you can have a CPA review your taxes for even greater peace of mind! There are many great things about this service that make tax season a breeze. Taxes shouldn’t be time-consuming and most definitely not be something that you are afraid of. Finances are not always a topic of discussion in the household and when it comes down to being in control of our finances, we aren’t sure where to start. A great way to start is by keeping up with your taxes! When it comes to filing, it’s always a great bet to have TurboTax in your corner!



As I was growing up, finances would always excite me because it was something that correlated with happiness, to a certain extent. Seeing money and tangible value was cool, but I had no idea what the true value of those things were as a kid. There was a lot that went on that my parents always kept in order, and one thing they always did every year, almost religiously, prepared all their documents to file their taxes. I’m thankful for the little glimpses of financial control that have helped me in the long run and the importance of being financially smart.

Many have heard the saying, “work smarter not harder” right?! And that saying could not be more fitting than with TurboTax! Whether you’ve learned about finances with your parents or at school or you’re filing taxes for the first time, be sure to work smarter and save time with this award-winning service and always stay on top of your finances. One cool feature that TurboTax offers is the W2 Snap and AutoFill. You simply snap a photo of your W2 and the information will automatically be imported into the forms! That alone will save you a lot of time and mistakes, allowing you to get back to enjoying your favorite things in life. 



There are many features that TurboTax has to offer and my favorite one of all is TurboTax Live! Through this platform, you get access to bilingual CPAs and Enrolled Agents who can review your tax forms for accuracy or even file for you! Long gone are the days when you had to leave the comfort of your own home to file taxes. I feel confident in filing my taxes now and want my children to feel the same way when it comes to being financially smart and filing their own taxes. So not only am I knocking out my taxes but with the time saved, we are spending more time with the family and maybe even sitting down to talk about finances; something that is hard to do when you’re short on time. So for the remainder of this tax season and those to come, always remember that #conturbotaxpuedes 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Intuit. The opinions and text are all mine.

A Gentle Body Wash For The Whole Family

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This is a sponsored post by IVORY, however, these are my own words and true opinions on this product. #Ivorysoap #ad

There comes a time in our lives where we start to pay of attention to every small detail around us. When I became a parent it made me pay attention to details that I would have never thought of. I have always been a very observant person and that has come in handy in fatherhood, like being picky about what kind of diapers of formula to buy for baby, and actually doing research on products.  When I found out that Ivory had a new line of pure and gentle soaps I knew I had to give it a try. Ivory has launched its new Free & Gentle Body Wash with a gentle, pure formula free of parabens, dyes, harsh cleansers and excessive fragrances.




We often overlook the everyday items we use in the home and pay little to no attention to them, you know, because most of the times we’ve been using them since we were little. Bath time for the kids is a great way to bond with your kids and play with them and worrying about harsh cleaners or parabens shouldn’t be something that robs your peace of mind. In fact, Ivory has been a trusted brand for over 130 years and the new Free & Gentle Body Wash is specially formulated to match your skins pH - offering a nourishing, moisturizing clean that is gentle for the whole family.




We tried 3 different Free & Gentle body washes in the scents Chamomile, Sweet Pea & Lily, and Pear & Sandalwood. These are all great smells we all love here at home and it was a hard choice deciding which one we would try first. We’ve ended up using all of them by now and  they do feel gentle and clean. I can see why Ivory is a reputable and proven brand ever since they started with their bar of soap 138 years ago. They are made with essential oils and use pure and purposeful ingredients in their products. Even Mila’s dinosaurs loved taking a bath with the new Ivory Free & Gentle Body Wash!


Have you tried Ivory’s Free & Gentle Body Wash? Which scent is your favorite?

Technology and Parenting | #DadTalkThursday

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I lost track of days and completely didn't realize that today was Friday, so here is #DadTalkThursday !! I've been thinking a lot about different things over the last couple of weeks and wanted to share some thoughts with you all. As a dad, I want to be of positive impact in my kid's life and with the many changes in our society happening, we have to slightly adjust the way we parent. Would you agree?

A few months back I was doing some research on what shapes a generation and the effects it had on our children. I came across three main points: Parenting, Economics, and Technology. No wonder everyone talks about millennials and always find a way to blame the following generation. We can only do so much as parents. It's the truth. We can't create a world where we as parents control everything our children are exposed to. We need to understand that the advancement in technology and it's integration into the education system has vastly increased in the last decade, along with the many changes in the economy and financial status of each household. The one thing we can do that has the most impact on our kids' lives is very simple; parenting. This is why involved and caring parents, in my book, is one of the greatest ways we can shape the future generations.



Parenting is different in every household and we as parents raise our children to the best of our ability. There is no standard or correct way, but we must always do our best. The way I see it, our parenting can and could be taken over by technology, and in some ways, it kind of already has. Take some time out of the week to take the kids out, make crafts, build paper airplanes, start a project together. If your kids don't like the outdoors, you can take them out to a children's museum, library, or other places where they can interact with their surroundings or other people. Simply being there for your kids has a huge impact on your kids. As a kid, one of my favorite things to do was going on a picnic with my mom and I now as an adult I can truly appreciate the time my mom made for me out of her busy schedule. The time you spend with your kids is what you can control our of the three variables. Technology will keep progressing and us parents can only partially decide how much our kids are exposed to and have access to. Economics vary across different household in different countries. We can personally change some of those situations. 



I love seeing videos I come across on Facebook that show parents, but mainly, dads that show them being there 100% for your kids. By 100% I don't mean being there 24/7, I refer to us parents fully being there in time and energy when we do spend time with our kids or when they need us. I hope these thoughts helped you reflect on how we can shape the future generations, starting with the parenting of our children. I think about this a lot, and quite often am moved by the amount of technology that has taken over our lives. As easy as some tasks have become, I personally believe that technology should not take our place as parents. Let me know your thoughts down in the comment section below! Would love to hear from you!


Switch Up Your Rodeo Wardrobe With Reliant's Rodeo Plan!

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I’m a sponsored blog partner of Reliant but all opinions contained in this post are my own. Please see below for additional disclosures.


After the holidays, there is no greater time in the City of Houston that rodeo season. As a born and raised Houstonian, Rodeo Houston is part of your lifestyle. Everyone has been to the rodeo, whether it's a yearly tradition or a once in a lifetime experience. One thing that never changes is taking out our boots, dusting them off and pairing them with our western wear. At least those of us that just dress up for Rodeo Houston. So let's switch up our wardrobe to our favorite western wear with the help of Reliant's Rodeo Plan! How?! When you sign up with a Reliant Rodeo Plan, you will receive a $100 Cavender's gift card as well as a fixed rate on your electricity!




Reliant sent me 2 $100 gift cards, one to switch up my wardrobe for rodeo season, and another one to give way to you all! So let's take a look at what I found and you can comment down below which is your favorite outfit from Cavender's ! This was my first time actually dressing up in western wear for Rodeo Houston and it was about time. It's a family tradition for us to go to the rodeo and I usually wore comfortable casual clothes and boots. The experience is that much more immersive when you become part of the rodeo and not just another carnival goer. It's part of our culture and tradition as Texas and for many, a part of life. So I was excited to finally get a good pair of boots on and some western wear to go along with that thanks to the $100 gift card which you can receive too when you sign up with the Reliant Rodeo Plan!





I've been wanting a pair of boots for a while and Cavender's had the largest selection of boots I've ever seen. I took a look at those first before deciding what I was going to be wearing later that evening to the rodeo and concert. I eyed a few and made my way to select a pair of pants and some shirts. The budget was $100, so I picked out one pair of pants, fitting through the thigh and wide enough at the bottom to fit over the boots, then made my way to pick a couple of shirts that switch up the outfits. I went with a pearl snap long sleeved shirt for a more dressed up look and two t-shirts to keep it casual during the summer months. I did a little better than I thought and since we were at Boot City, I finally made the inevitable purchase of my first pair of boots. This wasn't part of the budget, obviously, but it's what brought the whole look together and the $100 gift card covered the outfits picked out!

I was ready for the rodeo and as I mentioned earlier, you become part of the rodeo and its part of who we are as Texans. Our kids have boots and I was missing out all along, now we can all match and make our way to the rodeo and besides, my wardrobe has not only been switched on but also complete, for now.

Check out our Rodeo Houston 2017 experience!




Don't forget that you can win a $100 Cavender's Gift card by commenting down in the comment section! If you want to win twice, just call 1-866- RELIANT and mention promo code XADW3P to switch to the Reliant Rodeo plan today, or sign up online. 

Giveway will run for 1 week and the winner will be announced on Instagram Friday March 16th 2018 at 5pm CST!! 





Reliant partnered with influencers such as me for its Rodeo Plan influencer campaign. As part of this Program, I received compensation for my time. Reliant believes that consumers and influencers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Ensure policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and social media engagement
recommendations.

Exploring The Outdoors With The 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road

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It is hard to make rugged vehicles give off a more modern look and that is one of the things that kept drawing me back to the 4Runner. It is one of the most capable SUV's on the market today and that is what makes it such an attractive vehicle. Not for its looks, but what it can do off-road. I've been wanting to drive one of these for a long time and had the opportunity to drive one just over a week ago. This is the 2017 Toyota 4runner TRD Off-Road Premium and out of all the Toyota vehicles I've had the chance to drive, this one has been my favorite.

Growing up we would spend a lot of time outdoors. Whether that was going to the beach, hiking, going fishing, or camping. Along went family and close family friends. Soon a 4Runner joined the mix and as a kid, I thought that was the coolest vehicle.This was back in the late 90's through early 2000's. There are a lot of memories attached to that and that may lead me to be somewhat biased here, but I do want to share with you my experience with this 4runner and what I honestly think of it from a young adventurous dad's point of view. 



I specifically requested this one since it was around the area where we live and it was a vehicle that I was considering to purchase. Driving it through its paces and living through real-life moments with it is a great way to experience a vehicle and find out if it is really for you or not. Right off the bat, is it for me? Yes. For my family? No. At least not at the moment.

I would buy this right now if it was a vehicle for myself, and/or if the kids were older and out of their car seats. They just wouldn't fit. We are always with 2 toddlers and soon a newborn baby so this was out of the picture. So will I buy this in the future? It's very likely 

One of the first things I did after it was dropped off in our driveway and just like every other vehicle before it, we all go out and take a first look.Kids loved it and the sliding rear cargo deck is cool and very useful. I had planned to go ride the bike trails with my brother at Brazos Bend State Park soon after. We packed up and made our way over to one of our favorite state parks. Unfortunately, Ashley decided to stay behind with the kids so it was somewhat of a solo trip. 





We saw lots of wildlife out and about this time and saw more alligators than other visits with a total of 23. We even saw a snake which we couldn't properly identify. There are many trails and even though we have visited many times, there were a few places we had not explored yet. Since we were both on bikes, we planned to cover lots of new trails and see the places that are a little farther than most would walk to.

This is something that I love to do. Spending time outdoors and appreciating the world around me. I have also become more aware of the things we can all do to preserve these places and protect the wildlife that call these places home. 

We tried to go on as many trails as possible, at least the open ones since some were closed off. We took off and ran into a local who talked to us about the flooding that happened at the park during Harvey. We came across lots of wildlife photographers and had most of the park to ourselves since we arrived early. It is a really nice place to get away from the city and I feel that it lives up to Toyota's hashtag: #letsgoplaces .


Prairie Trail Platform

Live Oak Trail




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 The end of our ride was met by the mighty Brazos River. We had always wanted to see this river up close and this was a nice moment to just admire it and take some quick pictures before it started to rain. We did not stay for long and at this point, we were only thinking of getting back on the 4Runner and heading home.

It had been a while since we rode bikes so it was a long ride back home. Thankfully we did take along snacks and had water in our backpacks that kept us constantly on the move.

It felt so good to get back to the 4runner and we sat around before packing back up. The rear cargo area is very spacious and even more so with the rear seats folded down. This truck is very practical and would make for an awesome camping trip with family and friends.




My wife and the kids loved it, but we did come to the conclusion that it is not the best truck for a family with 3 or more children using car seats, just like most cars. We wouldn't be able to use the truck until one of them left a booster seat. Besides this, I love how rugged it looks and performs. The ride quality is nice, and the KDSS system works great on and off road. KDSS is Toyota's Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that hydraulically unlocks the sway bars when off road to give each wheel more articulation. On the road, it keeps the sway bars locked to reduce sway by up to 50%. It's a cool system that the TRD Pro does not have and I think it performs better. 

The KDSS system is one advantage the Off-Road has over the TRD Pro, but another one that I really enjoyed was that this model has a sunroof which the Pro does not have available. I think this is pretty cool and I really enjoyed driving it off the road. Over the course of the week, I ended up with 17.8 miles per gallon which is not great nor bad, at least in my book. The 4.0L V6 makes 270 horsepower which many think makes it sluggish, but it's not too bad. I feel that adding a turbo would improve mileage but adds more parts that could break down when off-roading. Supercharge it? I think we can go that route. Maybe a V8 option on the TRD pro? I still love this SUV and I would take this over a Wrangler for the comfort, mileage, less cabin noise, reliability, and off road capabilities.

Maybe in a few years, we can travel around Texas and beyond in one of these and take the family on new adventures!

#letsgoplaces








When You Absolutely Need The Best Tax Return | Absolute Zero - TurboTax

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From January 30th through April 17th, 2018, taxes are on most peoples minds. This doesn't have to be a bad thing though. In case you didn't know, TurboTax, for the fourth year, is offering Absolute Zero. Turbo Tax was the first tax preparation company to ever provide totally free federal and state tax filing and millions of taxpayers have already benefitted from Absolute Zero! That means you can file your federal and state taxed absolutely free this tax season and at no cost! Life moves on too fast and taxes is just one of those things that I simply won't let take time away from me or my family. It's easy now and done in a snap! You also have peace of mind and all from the comfort of home.



As I was growing up, adult responsibilities scared me and were somewhat intimidating. Even though my parents did their best to teach my siblings and me about financial responsibilities, the topic of taxes was something I wanted to leave for last. Time flies by before our eyes and I soon found myself with a job and a 1099 and W2 to file taxes for the first time. As I mentioned in the previous Turbo Tax Post, my first time filing, was with TurboTax. From the comfort of home and with peace of mind that this best-selling tax preparation software had me covered and worry-free. Being on top of your finances is a great way to put your best foot forward in all that you do and TurboTax helps do just that!



Thanks to technology and innovation, we have more time to do what we love and be more efficient in everything we do. We can get most of our essentials via mobile nowadays and that's a huge improvement from just a decade ago. If you can save time and money would you do what you have to do, online? You wouldn't have to tell me twice! I can't imagine going out of my way to get simple errand and responsibilities done.

A majority of filers are early filers, driven by a real need for their refund. This is why Absolute Zero is awesome! It's free to file! Don't wait too long for your refund! Get the most out of your hard earned money and file ASAP! After all, it's free and you can do it while the kids nap, during your lunch hour, or while the kids watch their favorite show. Just remember that #conturbotaxpuedes and you can breeze through the tax season and enjoy your refund!





This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Intuit. The opinions and text are all mine.

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