The All New 2015 Cadillac Escalade: Family Friendly Review

Last week for my wife’s birthday, I sent in a special request to review “something special” as one of my gifts to her.

The All New 2015 Cadillac Escalade: Family Friendly Review

I was sent the all new 2015 Cadillac Escalade!

So in addition to the flowers (hydrangeas, my wife’s favorite kind), licorice, perfume, a subscription to Do It Yourself magazine, and a private family birthday featuring vegan cake and cupcakes purchased from Whole Foods so my wife didn’t have to make them herself like she normally does…

The All New 2015 Cadillac Escalade: Family Friendly Review

As well as a special homemade “birthday card” from our son, which was a rainbow colored page from a Batman coloring book in which he appropriately entitled “Beautiful Batman”…

vegan cupcakes

We had the privilege of driving the ever-impressive Cadillac Escalade around Nashville for the week.

After driving it to work, she texted me, “I really like my birthday ride! I feel like I am in Beverly Hills!”

Needless to say, the Escalade was a hit. Not to mention, my son and I loved it too!

I was really surprised with the visibility in it. I had no issues whatsover seeing out of it. It actually had some of the best visibility for medium to full-size SUVs I have driven.

2015 Cadillac Escalade

As if I needed to say it, driving the 2015 Escalade means you get to be king of the road. You feel the power: A V-8 with 420 horsepower, to be exact.

The All New 2015 Cadillac Escalade: Family Friendly Review

And as you can see from the Arlington Assembly “built with pride” sticker, the 2015 Escalade is made right here in ‘Murica!

2015 Cadillac Escalade

Excuse me… I mean, America.

Granted, this thing is huge. It commands all other cars on the road. Therefore, there is a feature which causes the driver’s seat to vibrate any time you cross over the painted lines of the road; because as wide as the Escalade is, it’s not difficult to do so.

2015 Cadillac Escalade

Another really cool feature about the 2015 is how easily the seats fold down. You just press the button!

2015 Cadillac Escalade

Also, check out this other cool feature that I accidentally discovered: The face of the audio system has a hidden storage compartment. Who would have thought?

2015 Cadillac Escalade

Nice wheels, right?

The price of the model I drove was $79,290.00. So if that works for your budget, and you like being large in charge, with plenty of class and style, I assure you that you will not be let down with the 2015 Cadillac Escalade.

This is the fourth generation Escalade; the first being introduced in 1999; the year I graduated high school.

How To Turn Off/On AC, Change Radio Station, & Sync Phone On New Luxury Vehicles

It just so happens that one of the first Hot Wheels cars my son ever got was a 2007 Escalade; which he proudly displays along the real 2015 version.

Well, I have to turn in the Escalade in the morning. I will say that even though it averages 16 miles a gallon (14 city, 21 highway), I’ve just now cracked the halfway mark on the fuel gauge.

Granted, it holds 26 gallons. Still, if you’re in the market for a Cadillac, I assume the price tag and the MPG aren’t going to hold you back.

2015 Cadillac Escalade

You get what you pay for, and the moment I stepped inside, I felt like I was sitting in an $80,000 vehicle; if not $100,000.

That’s it for this week’s family friendly car review. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I know I have!

2015 Cadillac Escalade

I wonder which vehicle I’ll review next?

How To Turn Off/On AC, Change Radio Station, & Sync Phone On New Luxury Vehicles

I should start off by saying that I am not a very high-tech kind of guy…

How To Turn Off/On AC, Change Radio Station, & Sync Phone On New Luxury Vehicles

The proof? I don’t own a smart phone. I have never used Instagram. I have to wait until I get home from work each day before I can check my personal email and social media; including this blog.

So it would make sense why when reviewing the all new 2015 Cadillac Escalade I might have trouble turning off and on the air conditioner, changing the radio station, and syncing up my phone.

(I’ve had the same issues while reviewing many Lexus vehicles in the past 9 months.)

But with a quick call to OnStar, as well as a little bit of YouTube research, I was able to learn “the tricks.”

Sure, it’s extremely simple and quick once you know how to do it; but until you do, you’re lost. (You are lost, if you’re me, at least.)

It all begins with you pressing the Home button.

From there, you can navigate through several options, including Climate, Audio, and Phone.

First let’s talk about how to turn off and on the AC:

Click home, click climate, then press off or on the AC button.

how to turn off/on AC on luxury vehicles

Old-fashioned guys like me (I’m saying that ironically because I was born in 1981) are used to an obvious “AC” button sticking out from the dashboard.

Instead, you now have to press 3 buttons to turn off and on the AC.

To scroll the radio station, click Home, click Audio, then place your finger to the left or right arrow to scroll through all the stations; not simply the ones saved in favorites.

How To Turn Off/On AC, Change Radio Station, & Sync Phone On New Luxury Vehicles

Again, an old-fashioned guy like me is used to an obvious knob sticking out that I can turn.

Lastly, to sync your phone up to the vehicle, so that you can easily speak to people through the vehicle’s speakers, go to your phone’s main menu and look for an option that says something like “Setting & Tools.”

From there, look for “Bluetooth Menu.” Choose “Add New Device.”

Next, shift your focus back on your vehicle’s screen. Click on Home, then Phone, then Sync.

From there, you will be easily prompted by the screen. It should only take a few seconds to sync up.

Hopefully that helps. If not, let me know. I’ll try to further help you.

Thanks for reading, and be on the look out for my upcoming review of the all the 2015 Cadillac Escalade!

Dear Jack: “Camping In” At The End Of The Summer

3 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack: "Camping In" At The End Of The Summer

Dear Jack,

The theme at your school (KinderCare) this month has been “Discovering Summer: Wilderness 101.” In other words, you’ve been learning about camping.

Friday you and all your friends got to come to school in pajamas and take your naps in sleeping bags. Your teacher Ms. Michelle was telling me how, without being prompted, you “caught a fish” at Lake Nemo and immediately took it over to the “campfire” to cook it.

sharing with friends KinderCare

(Hey, I thought you were a vegetarian? How’d you know how to do that?)

So after seeing how you’ve enjoyed the camping theme so much, Mommy and I decided for our family to “camp in” this weekend…

strawberry juice camp

We started things off with some of Mommy’s vegan french toast (made with fresh orange juice and Ezekiel bread), plus, I juiced you some fresh organic strawberry juice in our juicer as well.

While Mommy and I prepared breakfast, you were busy doing self-directed, campy arts and crafts. That not only included finger painting, but making ghosts out of construction paper.

Mommy cut out the shapes for the ghosts, letting you name the them: Marker, Boo, Circle, and Blue were a few of the names you came up with.

camping in

Then you dedided you wanted to write the names on the ghosts yourself.

That’s when I learned how well you can write.

You named one of the ghosts “Fire”. You asked me how to spell it, then correctly wrote it down, letter for letter. I was so amazed! I had no idea you could do that!

With the abundance of ghosts appearing in our camp in, I figured it’s our way of paying tribute to the concept of telling ghost stories around the campfire.

You also drew “shadows” next to a house. I think that was to further the campfire story feel.

vegetarian smores

We finished off the day with some smores. (Made from the vegan marshmallows I reviewed a few weeks ago.)

Hey, who needs the great outdoors?

We “camped in” and we liked it!




Review Of “This powerful video may change the way you think about healthy eating” (With New Infographic: Food Isn’t Food Anymore- The Frightening World Of Fillers)

There is currently a video going viral which shows in reverse, how a 32 year-old man got to the point of having a heart attack.

This powerful video may change the way you think about healthy eating

Most likely you have seen about 4 or 5 of your Facebook friends share it this week; you’ll probably recognize it by this picture to the left along with the caption:

This video may change the way you think about healthy eating.

While it apparently is not yet on YouTube, you can watch the one minute and 41 second video here.

It shows all the lifestyle choices that led to his condition; like choosing not to get out and exercise, as well as regularly eating fast food and processed food.

Ultimately, this man’s unhealthy/inactive lifestyle began with his parents when he was just a baby; as the “twist ending” reveals. Therefore, this video is targeting parents.

I feel it was very well done.

Something I really appreciate about the video is that it ends with an offer to actually help anyone who is interested in learning how to make healthier choices, by directing them to the

The website helps educuate viewers on how to make healthy decisions and changes in life. I respect that.

Sure, we all know fast food is a poor choice, but what should we eat instead? The website addresses that.

I think there might be a public misconception about families like mine, who shun fast food and eat a plant-based diet instead: that we are secretly going hungry or are even unhealthy.

Well, I can assure you we are not hungry, nor passing out because of weakness, nor in the hospital due to lack of nutrients, including protein.

Instead of focusing on dairy, we focus on nuts and seeds. Avocados make a great plant-based cheese substitute for many meals.

Nor are we lacking protein because of the beans and dark leafy vegetables we eat.

Granted, it doesn’t take being a vegan or vegetarian to recognize the importance of dramatically cutting back on animal-based food products and replacing them with plant-based foods.

My perception is that we live in a “paradoxed” society.

As a whole, we choose convenience and taste over health.

To make matters worse, the media that so much of America subconsciously pays attention to (beauty magazines, commercials, headline-making celebrities etc.) sends a mixed message:

“Beauty is on the inside…but you have to be thin to get people to like you, so buy this product to become like this thin person. But remember, all sizes are beautiful.”

Nowhere in that mixed message does it mention actually being healthy. Instead, the focus is on size and beauty.

Or at best, the focus is on calories- which is, in my opinion, illegitimate.

It’s actually good thing to eat a banana (despite the sugar) and cashews (despite the fat), because calories don’t account for the difference between good fat (from plants) and bad fat (from animals), as well as good sugar (from unprocessed fruit) and bad sugar (from processed foods).

That’s why I am passionate to educate open-minded people on what actually makes them healthy.

Feel free to contact me personally and privately with any questions about this. I know what I am talking about:

I used to be 35 pounds heavier, suffering from constant sinus issues and eczema.

Then I changed the way I think, eat, and live.

I began questioning where my food comes from, what’s in it, and what affect it has on my health.

Thanks for reading my blog today. I hope you found it interesting, unique, and relevant. Here is an infographic that shows some of the garbage that is in processed foods these days:

Food Fillers

Food Isn’t Food Anymore: The Frightening World of Fillers

The cost of food is lower than it ever has been before.

Food fillers are lowering the cost of meat — a cheeseburger now costs less than produce. But are these fillers helping us or hurting us?

What are food fillers?


    • Additives: Fillers help bulk up the weight of food. This helps lower food prices.


    • Fillers are mostly found in processed meats.


    • Meat fillers can lower the cost of meats by 10-30%


    • The average national cost for 1lb of 100% ground beef, which likely contains filler, is $3.808


  • The cost of organic ground beef is approximately $4.25/lb

While lowering the cost of food sounds like a great idea, what we’re putting in the food may be costing us.



    • Cellulose is a natural component found in corn and many plants used in the production of paper


    • Much of the cellulose used in food is derived from wood pulp
      Used in cereal, shredded cheese, salad dressing and ice cream


    • Humans can’t digest cellulose. Adding it to food makes for a no-calorie, nonfat filler


    • Cellulose appears in many high-fiber snacks and eating organic won’t help you avoid it.


  • Watch out for ingredients like microcrystalline cellulose (MCC), cellulose gel, cellulose gum or carboxymethyl cellulose



    • Soy derivatives can be found filling a variety of foods, from frozen yogurt to ground beef


    • “Vegetable proteins”


    • Soy can be found in almost 60% of the food sold in supermarkets


    • In ground meats, soy acts as a cheap filler, lowering both the price and quality of the meat


  • Soy contains high levels of phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that steals and eliminates important vitamins and minerals from the body



    • Olestra is a fat substitute synthesized by Procter and Gamble


    • The human body can’t digest the big molecules it is made of, so the fat substitute contributes 0 calories when consumed


    • Introduced in the late 90′s by Frito-Lay and included in Fat Free Pringles


    • Products containing Olestra were originally required to warn customers of the risk of “loose stools”


    • Within 4 years of introduction, 15,000 people had called a hotline set up specifically to take adverse-reaction complaints


    • In 2003, the FDA removed the warning label requirement


  • Olestra appears to interfere with the body’s absorption of critical nutrients such as beta-carotene and lycopene



    • Carrageenan is a gel extracted from seaweed


    • It’s used as a thickening agent and emulsifier


    • You can find it in dairy many dairy products such as cottage cheese, ice cream and chocolate milk, where it is used to keep the component from separating


    • It is also injected into raw chicken and other meat to make them retain water, making your meat appear bigger and better than it is


  • Seaweed doesn’t generally have adverse health effects, but carrageenan is widely used in meats as a way to trick the consumer

Potassium Bromate


    • Potassium bromate is a component that helps bread to rise quickly and puff up during baking


    • Bread dough is bound together by gluten molecules


    • In order for gluten to join to other gluten, it requires oxidation


    • Potassium bromate speeds up the oxidation process considerably


    • Bread made with potassium bromate ends up being fluffy, soft and unnaturally white


    • In 1982, Japanese researchers published the first study linking potassium bromate to thyroid and kidney cancer in mice


    • If bread is not baked long enough, or too much potassium bromate is added before baking, the amount in the end product can be much higher than recommended


    • The likelihood of consuming potassium bromate is increased in fast food


  • Potassium bromate is illegal in China, the European Union, Canada, Brazil and many other countries. It is legal in the U.S.

Even eating organic won’t eliminate these unwanted fillers from your diet.

Educate yourself on what you’re eating.
A good rule of thumb — the more ingredients are in a product, the less natural it is likely to be













Williamson County Fair: Family Friendly Review

For the past couple of years now, our family has attended the Williamson County Fair in Franklin, Tennessee (near Nashville). We always have a great time!

Williamson County Fair: Family Friendly Review by Nick Shell

If for no other reason, it’s because it exposes our now nearly 4 year-old son to farm life that we “surburbians” would not normally be exposed to.

Williamson County Fair: Family Friendly Review by Nick Shell

Especially for a little boy, the kind of stuff they have at the Williamson County Fair is pure, easy, and cheap entertainment.

I divide the events into 3 main categories: science, heavy equipment, and livestock.

Williamson County Fair: Family Friendly Review by Nick Shell

There is a section of the building where dozens of hands-on science demonstrations are on display.

The rest of the floor is mostly dedicated the heavy equipment, including a fire engine, which families are welcome to sit in.

Williamson County Fair: Family Friendly Review by Nick Shell

Also on the floor is a magic show and talent contest.

Outside is where all the animals are: Llamas, goats, bulls, cows, pigs, chickens, and more!


There is a unique “farm walk-through” in which children get to simulate harvesting produce, milking cows, feeding chickens, and fishing; then sell their products to the market in exchange for a snack.

Williamson County Fair: Family Friendly Review by Nick Shell


On the way out, there is an old-fashioned carnival, with all the classic rides you would expect, including one of those rocking pirate ships.

Williamson County Fair: Family Friendly Review by Nick Shell

On the drive home, when I asked my son what his favorite part of the fair was, he responded, “The goats and the pirate ship.”

Williamson County Fair: Family Friendly Review by Nick Shell

I thought that was pretty funny since he seemed slightly afraid of them both when we walked past them.

It’s a solid, fun family event. Just go early, though! Otherwise, it might take an hour just to get off the Interstate exit.

Williamson County Fair: Family Friendly Review by Nick Shell

Also, there is free parking courtesy of Nissan. (I wrote a car review on the Nissan Versa Note not too long ago.). Plus, volunteers will drive your family from the parking lot to the main door in golf carts; also free.

Williamson County Fair: Family Friendly Review by Nick Shell

If you end up going, let me know what you think of it. I’m sure you’ll have a great time!

New Infographic: How You Can Prevent Hot Car Deaths

As I’ve mentioned several times already, there are certain things that went unquestioned back in the Eighties when I was a kid, but these days, they are now taboo.

Like letting a kid ride in the back of a pick-up truck or on a riding lawn mower with an adult.

Today’s topic: Leaving your child for any (!) amount of time unattended.

This past weekend, my wife and I watched ABC’s 20/20 segment, “Is It Ever OK To Leave Your Child In The Car?”  featuring the topic, “Parents Become Subject To Hot Car Witch Hunt.”

What actually worried me more than the possibility of forgetting about my son in the car and exposing him to the heat is getting arrested and losing custody of him; even if just run to the store in for a minute, with the temperature safe.

After watching that episode, I officially decided I will never leave my son in a vehicle for any amount of time, no matter how close I am to the car, because for some reasons legitimate, others exaggerated, there is currently a witch hunt to find parents who might potentially leave their children in hot vehicles.

Here’s a new infographic from Instant Checkmate showing the legitimate side of the story. It shares some interesting findings, like how the older the child, the less likely the child will be forgotten by the parent in the car.

See below, courtesy of Instant Checkmate:

hot-car-deaths- inforgraphic

2015 Lexus NX: A Flickr Link To Professional Photos

For the past 2 weeks, I have been publishing posts on the Lexus NX, after having attended its Press Preview…

2015 Lexus NX: A Shutterfly Link To Professional Photos

This makes the 8th and final story I plan to publish on the preview of the 2015 Lexus NX.

To make it convenient for anyone out there who is interested in info and/or professional photos on the NX, my goal today is to provide a sort of table of contents of the other 7 Lexus NX posts I’ve done; as well as share the link to the Lexus NX Press Release Flickr page.

Nick Shell 2015 Lexus NX: A Shutterfly Link To Professional Photos

I sort of feel it’s my duty as a car reviewer to release these pictures onto the Internet, as I am sure there are thousands are curious car fans across the world who would like to see professional shots of the Lexus NX, months before its release.

Natchez Trace Bridge Nashville 2015 Lexus NX: A Flickr Link To Professional Photos

2015 Lexus NX: A Flickr Link To Professional Photos dashboard

Lexus NX Nashville

There’s plenty more where those came from…

So I again invite you to view the Lexus NX Press Release Flickr page, as well as the completely library of posts I’ve published on the 2015 Lexus RX:

The “True Grit, Pure Grace” Lexus NX Press Preview In Nashville, TN

2015 Lexus NX Review/Preview Across The Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge

Vegan Review Of The Farm House In Downtown Nashville

2015 Lexus NX 200t: 10 Professional Photos

2015 Lexus NX 300h: 11 Professional Photos

2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport: 13 Professional Photos

Luxury Package of 2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport: 7 Professional Photos

2015 Lexus NX: A Flickr Link To Professional Photos

Thanks for stopping by. Be on the look-out for more of my reviews on the Lexus/Toyota/Scion family!

Nick Shell car reviewer Lexus NX Press Release Flickr page