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This fall, Mattel's iconic Barbie became the star of an all-new mobile app based on the popular Netflix series, Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse. From Budge Studios, Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures brings the toys and characters to life in new ways. Kids can create their own Dreamhouse, get to know Barbie's friends, join a band (I still have a lot of love for Barbie and the Rockers), take care of the pets and so much more. And now there's a big holiday update that features tree decorating, gift wrapping, holiday decorating and even baking (gingerbread, anyone?). Available for download on iOS and Google Play, Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures is a lot of fun, and in the spirit of the season, Mattel & Budge have teamed-up with The Rock Father™ for a little reader giveaway for a fun Barbie prize pack that includes a Barbie Water Play Doll and Barbie Scooter!

It's a sad statistic, but research from studies conducted at New York University, the University of Illinois and Princeton University has identified that girls as young as age five start to lose confidence in themselves, and even more disheartening than the research is that I've seen elements of that here at home. Despite the opportunities that my wife and I are tirelessly working to provide for our girls, the questions of self-confidence and self-worth have begun, and we see it often, particularly in our nine-year-old. There's many factors at play, and today a familiar name is taking a big step toward addressing them as Barbie announces the Dream Gap Project: a multi-year global initiative to raise awareness around limiting factors that prevent girls from reaching their full potential.

The X-Files has now been around for 25 years, and when it was at its peak, I was a massive fan. I was that back in 1998, I was that guy that had to have The X-Files Movie on "letterbox" VHS to preserve the widescreen cinematic format in the time before DVD and flat screen TVs. At that same time, I distinctly recall purchasing a set of X-Files Barbie dolls by Mattel - Ken and Barbie as Mulder and Scully. Fast-forward two decades and I believe our set is long gone (sold at some point along the way, or stashed in a box somewhere), but now it's happening again... but this time it's not Ken and Barbie doing cosplay, but new X-Files Barbie dolls crafted to resemble Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). The duo are available to order right now.

This morning I woke up to an email from Mattel with news that I knew would be just around the corner - the reveal of American Girl's 2018 Girl of the Year. What I didn't expect was that 2018's GOTY, Luciana Vega, would be perhaps the most perfect doll ever... at least in our house. As our girls often look to and reach for the stars, Luciana becomes a new example for them - the latest in American Girl's long line of inspiring characters that encourage girls to think about who they want to be and how they want to make their mark in the world—no matter the challenges they may face. Vega is described as "a creative, confident 11-year-old girl and aspiring astronaut who dreams of being the first person to go to Mars. And, while she has the skills and smarts to achieve her goals, she also learns that being a good leader and team player right here on Earth is the best first step." This sounds very, very familiar...

Netflix #StreamTeamOn Friday, December 22, there's a new Netflix Original Series making its debut that's a perfect binge for the holiday break. THE TOYS THAT MADE US is an all-new look at some of the most iconic toy lines of all-time, and they're rolling out the first season with some heavy hitters. While it's not embeddable (yet), a full trailer just launched on Netflix (see it here), and in honor of the release of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, a special sneak-preview of the Star Wars episode was released as well (see that below). In fact, amid all that vintage Kenner glory, you just might see a shot of yours-truly when the episode streams this Friday. I provided them with something that may be in there, but that's just a tiny piece of the overall puzzle. From Hasbro's G.I. Joe & Transformers to Mattel's Barbie and He-Man and The Masters of the Universe, there's a lot of history about to be told, with additional season one episodes set to focus on Hello Kitty, Star Trek and LEGO.

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While I'm still waiting for Mattel to finally create a "Rock Father - Friend of Barbie" doll (and keep in mind, Mattel & Step2 did make "The Rock Daughter Edition Hot Wheels Bed" for our youngest), Ken has finally gotten a bit of a makeover. Expanding upon last year's update to the Barbie Fashionistas line, 15 new and diverse Ken dolls, featuring three body types – slim, broad and original – and a variety of skin tones, eye colors, hairstyles and modern fashion looks. One of them has my camo shorts (Yes! Take that wife who hates them!) which I totally approve of, but can we all agree that the "man bun" is a bad thing unless you're a wrestler?

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