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“A word I use over and over again is tenacity. I think it’s important to remember that it’s never going to be easy the first time out, so you just have to keep going at it again and again, especially if you firmly believe in what you do.” -- Kathleen Kennedy, President, Lucasfilm

It's incredible what a difference a few years can make. Upon the birth of our first daughter back in 2009, my wife and I were almost instantly inundated with information and opinions on the "Princess Complex" - what many felt was negative influence from the Disney Princesses and the like.  The Walt Disney Company was completely aware, and in recent years there's been a real effort to reinvent the Disney Princess brand to be something meaningful and empowering, and since the 2016 launch of Dream Big, Princess, kids everywhere have been presented with new ideas on just what a "Princess" could be. Now,  ahead of the United Nations International Day of the Girl (October 11), Disney has launched a new global video series offering advice and inspiration on achieving success for the next generation of young leaders around the globe. The #DreamBigPrincess video series, produced and directed by young women from the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up initiative, shares the stories of 20 trailblazing women across technology, entertainment, medicine, law, sports, arts, science, fashion and politics to show the next generation what’s possible if you dream big.

Wednesday, October 10 2018 07:59

Toy Review: PJ Masks Super Moon Adventure HQ Rocket

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When I paid a visit to the Just Play showroom at the 115th North American Toy Fair back in February, one of the most exciting offerings was the expansion of their PJ Masks collection. Over the past few years, eOne's animated superhero adventure series has been a big hit on Disney Junior, and likewise the toys have done well for Just Play. The new season has brought forth some new adventures, new villains - and an all-new location: space. In fact, from the moment the first teaser arrived, our youngest daughter was asking when "the PJ Masks spaceship" would be a toy. Featured in my 2018 Holiday Wish Guide, the PJ Masks Super Moon Adventure HQ Rocket answers the call, setting kids up for an out-of-this-world adventure packed with fun features.

It's been an incredible (and unusual) year for toys, and as I happened to come across a small selection of FAO Schwarz-branded toys at Kohl's this past weekend, I was reminded that one piece of news that many have been waiting for is the full details on the opening of the new FAO Schwarz flagship store in New York City. Today, we know that November 16, 2018 will be the official opening date of the NYC store located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The new store will feature over 20,000 square feet of FAO Schwarz signature toys and items from partners such as Melissa & Doug, Marvin's Magic and Build-A-Bear as well as FAO Schweetz in partnership with IT'SUGAR. But that's not all...

In the midst of the always-unfolding saga of Toys "R" Us here in the U.S., this little bit of awesome flew under my radar until this morning. In a beautiful, 12-minute video that was published just as news was coming in that Geoffrey, LLC was cancelling the IP auction for Toys "R" Us and plotting some sort of return, Sculpture_Geek (Chris Vierra) pays tribute to Charles Lazarus' iconic mascot, Geoffrey Giraffe by sculpting him in Chavant, oil-based clay. After 70 years, was the story really over, or was it just beginning? Check out Chris' impressive work in the video below!

Tuesday, October 09 2018 09:06

BAKUGAN is Back: Will You Answer the Call to Brawl?

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"Imagine if you can, that you are a proud and powerful Gargonoid..."

The 10th anniversary of the original BAKUGAN series is approaching, and now there's news that it's primed for a relaunch. Spin Master, TMS Entertainment Co., Ltd., and Nelvana Ltd., have announced a coordinated project to bring BAKUGAN Battle Planet to the masses. Originally launched in 2008, BAKUGAN was an immediate hit and named "Toy of the Year" and "License Property of the Year" in 2009. Now, a new animated series and all the toys fans could want are on the way...

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.

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