Meet Z Yang: American Girl’s Korean-American Filmmaker Doll + Giveaway

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Introducing Z Yang: American Girl’s first Korean-American doll!  Z (short for Suzie) launched today as part of American Girl’s new line of contemporary characters – representing more diverse backgrounds and creative interests. This adorable doll is an imaginative young filmmaker from Seattle who loves to make stop-motion videos. She’s already racked up a ton of fans (hello, millions of views!) via her “Z’s Crew” web series on American Girl’s YouTube page.

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Z’s stop-motion vlogging adventures are told in a two-book series, The Real Z, and Z on location. She also has a line of fun accessories available for purchase including video making supplies and a cute accessory set with glasses.

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Z loves staying connected with friends and sharing stories through her stop-motion videos.  And to celebrate Z’s launch, American Girl is hosting Z debut events at its retail locations nationwide the weekend of April 28th (this weekend!).  On May 6th, American Girl’s stores in NYC, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, and DC will host meet-up events to introduce fans to real girls who, like Z, have gained a strong online following based on their creative passion for photography and stop motion videos. They are:

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Inspired by Z, my kids gave stop-motion video making a go.  Check out their first video below!

Win It! American Girl is kindly sending a Z Yang doll + book to one lucky winner. Enter this giveaway via the below widget.  Best of luck and thanks for visiting!
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My Everything Bag + Giveaway

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When life seems to be in disarray – there are a few things that I try to keep organized – my bedroom, my work space, and my go-to bag.  Now and then, I connect with a band that meshes perfectly with my life. I’m currently on year four of packing my days into Lily Jade designer diaper bags, and I’m absolutely a loyalist.  Even though I no longer have tiny babies, I love how the bags have proven to evolve along with the changing shape of motherhood – making them suitable for anyone who craves functionality, quality and versatile style in her bag.

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The backpack carry option is among the features that I love most about Lily Jade – taking the strain off of my shoulders and neck on days when I’m traveling all over the city.  All of  Lily Jade’s backpack diaper bags convert to a handbag or messenger carry option, and the removable baby bag (with 12 pockets!) keeps things organized and secure.  My current new favorite is Lily Jade’s Rosie. The beautiful structure, super luxe leather, and multiple carry options set it apart from any bag that I’ve every owned.

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Once packed with sippy cups and pull ups – my Lily Jade bags now safely carry cameras, delicate lenses, my laptop, (sometimes kid’s stuff!) and more – making it suitable for the baby years and beyond.

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Lily Jade is generously giving away a $350 credit to cover the cost of one lucky winner’s diaper bag of choice! Just leave a comment on this blog post and then enter the giveaway over on our Instagram (post below!). xo

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Ditch That Bra! + VISA Gift Card Giveaway

While waiting for the snow to dissipate and the flowers to bloom – I can’t seem to spring clean fast enough.  Along with scheduling donations – there is plenty of purging that needs to be done – including a reevaluation of that underwear and bra drawer.

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From the dreaded uni-boob – to spilling out of a bra’s top, sides, or bottom (hello quadruple-boob!) – your bra should not be an ani-breathing device –  and it should not be unflattering in any way.

Solution? Ditch that ill-fitting bra that you’ve been hanging onto for wAAAAAy too long and replace it with a comfortable, supportive bra that won’t cost a wasteful small fortune.

I had a revelation, two years ago, when I had a proper bra-fitting with Hanes – a sponsor at Disney’s Social Media Mom’s Conference.  I left with several comfortable bras that made me ditch the ill-fitting underwire, push-up nonsense that I had a been purchasing for over a decade.  Having experienced a wide range of bra sizes (from breast reduction surgery – to nursing, weight changes and more) – I’m at a point where I want my bra to be comfortable and flattering.

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Since the past year was my first year wearing Hanes, I looked forward to hearing about their latest innovations while meeting with them again this year at DisneySMMC (more on that later!).  I found a new favorite in their new Oh So Light Comfort Wirefree Bra. It really is so light that I don’t even have to think about the fact that I’m wearing a bra. And the super soft fabrics, flexible light foam cups with comfort band, work in all the right ways. Available in sizes S-3X, it’s only $15.99 at Hanes.com, Target, and Walmart.

Hanes-oh-so-light-bra-wirelessWin It: Enter to win a $50 Visa Gift Card along with a Hanes Oh So Light Bra! Enter via the below widget.

Use Code: HappyInHanes20 through April15th for $20 off and free standard shipping with purchase of $100 more at Hanes.com.OFFER DETAILS: $20 off and free standard shipping with purchase of $100 or more (offer excludes the Champion Life Collection and all clearance items. Promotion may not be combined with other promotions. U.S. delivery addresses only.)
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This post is sponsored by Hanes. Thanks for your support of Marino Bambinos.

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Logan Everett: American Girl’s First Boy Doll + Giveaway!

Did you all hear the exciting news from American Girl?  Along with a diverse set of new dolls for 2017, American Girl recently introduced their first-ever boy doll, named Logan Everett. Logan-Everett-American-Girl-Boy-doll.jpgWe’re so excited about this adorable boy character and the opportunities for all children to creatively play with dolls.  We love toys that give our boy the chance to explore nurturing roles and relationship-building through play – and parents have been requesting a boy character from the iconic brand for decades.  American Girl’s inclusion of a new boy character is simply wonderful, and it’s no surprise that Logan has been flying off of store shelves!

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With an un-tucked plaid shirt, cool jeans and sneakers, Logan Everett is a fun drum-playing boy, with unique hand positioning to help him hold his instruments (rhythmic drum set sold separately).  Like the other American girl dolls, his gray eyes open and close – and he has adorable short brown hair.  Logan is also the buddy and band mate of Tenney Grant, another new doll character from Nashville. As a singer and songwriter, Tenney has her own book series and original music available for purchase.

We’re so excited to partner with American Girl again, to giveaway their first-ever boy doll, Logan Everett to one lucky winner! In addition to the Logan doll, the generous team at American Girl is also including the first two books in Teeney Grant’s series! To enter visit the widget below. Please note that all entries are verified.  Best of luck and thanks for visiting!
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Gabriela McBride: American Girl’s 2017 Girl of the Year + Giveaway!

We’re so excited to share American Girl’s 2017 girl of the year! Meet Gabriela McBride, a spoken word poet, and dancer who turns to her favorite creative art forms to help break down barriers and overcome personal challenges, including her own struggle with stuttering.

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A doll with a speech impediment? Yes! We can’t get enough – and adore the ways in which American Girl continues to help young girls see themselves in their diverse collection of dolls and accompanying stories.

With a fun sporty outfit and beautiful dark brown curls, Gabriela is certainly adorable, and her story of resiliency, creativity, and determination is set to inspire, as her poetry helps to save her local community arts center from collapsing.

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Alongside the doll’s release, American Girl is partnering with Scholastic to release Express Yourself, a free curriculum program to teach poetry and self-expression to kids.  The program will even feature a poetry contest to encourage children to celebrate National Poetry Month in April.

Gabriela McBride hit the shelves on January 1st of this year.  Look out for her fun products (including a D.J. setup!) and books in the spring of 2017.  Best of all, she’s the first girl of the year to be available beyond 2017.

Win It!  We’re so excited to partner with American Girl, to giveaway one Gabriela McBride doll and book to a lucky winner! Enter via the widget below. U.S. only please, and all entries are verified. Best of luck! Love American Girl? Check out our other American Girl features here.

Update: Giveaway closed.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2016 + AMEX Giveaway!

Looking for the perfect holiday gift? From gifts for kids (both big and little) to presents for her and him too – our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide has gift suggestions for everyone on your list.  Check out our pre-tested favorites for Christmas and Hanukkah gifting and scroll down to enter to win an American Express gift card giveaway to purchase something special from our curated lists. Happy gifting!

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  • For Kids

WowWee CHiP: Want to wow your kid this holiday?  This intelligent, and trainable robotic toy dog responds via touch, the included SmartBand, and the free ChiP app. Just like a real dog, he’ll follow his owner around and even play fetch and automatically return to his SmartBed when he needs to recharge.

Yvolution Y Glider Deluxe Scooter: This fun three-wheeled scooter is perfect for beginners. Suitable for ages three and up – little kids will love zipping around on this fun scooter – and the “learn to steer” design will help younger children master riding in no time.

IncrediBuilds Deluxe Books and Model Sets: Fuel their creativity with a 3D wood model set and thrilling hardcover books.  Kids will love the building and reading combo, available in favorite themes like Harry Potter, Star Wars, Fantastic Beasts and more

BOSEbuild Speaker Cube: Big Kids now have the chance to build their own blue tooth speaker with fun, vibrant lights, and customization covers. They’ll learn all about speaker components (like, coil, magnet, and paper) while making the adults in the family jealous with Bose-quality sound.

Razor RipStik Electric Caster Board: Thrill-seeking big kids (ages 9 and up) will enjoy cruising around on Razor’s RipStik Electric featuring powerful 100-watt technology and a kick start in-wheel hub driven motor that pushes speeds up to 10 mph.  Just remember to include a helmet!

LeapFrog Count Along Cash Register: Packed with tons of learning fun for little kids – this cute singing cash register has plenty of numbers, counting and role play skills in store.

WowWee COJI: This incredible, intuitive coding robot toy helps to develop STEM skills through emoji language (that kids love!).  Kids will have fun playing games that reinforce memory and problem-solving skills while having their own cool robotic toy.

Lakeshore Slot & Build Texture Shapes: You can never go wrong with a gift from Lakeshore, and these flexible, imagination-igniting building shapes are ideal for little hands.  Tots will have endless fun while exploring and creating with unique textured shapes.

Yo-kai Model Zero: Yo-kai fans will have fun projecting short character animations onto surfaces while rocking this fun, bright watch that plays tribes songs, summoning sounds, and Yo-kai names.

Kamik Boots: Give them the gift of staying warm and dry for snow play and sledding!  Kamik always has high quality, stylish, durable options to keep kids feet toasty while having fun.

Skylanders Imaginators: This fun toy-to-life video game allows players to create their own characters, called Imaginators.  This gift is sure to be a hit for the gaming kid and is available for PlayStation 5, Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Xbox One.

Thames & Kosmos Crystal Growing: Gift the gift of growing dozens of dazzling crystals while learning all about their structure and geometry. This great kit allows kids to mold plaster shapes and use dyes to grow a rainbow of custom colors.

LeapFrog Lean & Groove Musical MatImpress the toddler in your life with this fun interactive musical mat that encourages movement and play – while reinforcing gross motor skills, music, rhythm, and numbers.

Lakeshore Young Scientist Chemistry Lab: Encourage your budding scientist with this incredible hands-on lab that allows children to brew up mind-blowing projects –  like glowing ice spheres, jelly worms and more. Kids will learn all about chemical reactions with over 20 chemistry tools and detailed instructions.

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  • For Her

Citizen L Circle Of Time: Give her the gift of time-keeping with this stunning, timeless watch powered by Ec0-Drive technology (light!) which never requires a battery change.

Adidas Superstar 80s Shoes: Nearly every outfit can be styled with Adidas Superstar sneakers, and these are elevated with a flashy, textured metal shell toe.

May Designs Custom Planner: Give her the gift of organization with a lovely paper planner that can be personalized in every way.

Luminara Flameless Candles: She’ll love having a bunch of real flame effect candles in her home without the hazard and hassle of having to light real candles. Luminara’s battery operated flameless candles will bring coziness, glamor, and comfort to any space.

Nerium AD Skincare: Nerium AD Age Defying Night and Day Creams are back on our list this year because they continue to provide visible results!

  • For Him

Wolverine Boots: For they guy who needs serious durability – Wolverine dura shocks provide serious comfort with every step to power through any job.

Hanes FreshIQ:  Tuck favorite everyday basics like socks, T-shirts, and underwear into his stocking with built-in advanced odor protection technology that attacks odor-causing bacteria in clothing  – to help him feel fresh all day.

Tifosi Optics Sunglasses: The sports enthusiast will love the functionality, comfort, and fit of Tifosi’s sleek and lightweight frame styles made from polycarbonate materials providing 100 percent UVA/UVB protection.

The Real Deal Brazil Gravata Tablet Case: He’ll appreciate the Eco-friendliness and cool look of this durable tablet case handmade in a remote small town in rural equatorial Brazil from recycled tarps.

WIN IT! Enter to win a $100 American Express Gift Card for your holiday shopping! Simple entry via the Rafflecopter below – U.S. only. Best of luck and Happy gifting! 

Update: Giveaway closed.

Special thank you to Time To Play Magazine, The Toy Insider, and all of the companies partnering with Marino Bambinos. Some affiliate links are included.  

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