Victoria Gray

The Heart of the Issue: Mattel’s Forgotten Family

Over the years, Barbie has had countless competitors, including Jem and the Holograms, the Disney Princesses, and even Spectra, the chic pink-haired gal from outer space with metallic limbs and eye makeup rivaling the likes of David Bowie. Among the many contenders, none have challenged Barbie quite like the Heart Family, who—ironically—appeared to be the complete opposite of all that Barbie represented.

Constructing Creativity

What is it about construction toys that continues to entertain us as both children and adults? Is it the satisfying “click” we hear as pieces come together? Is it the towering structures we create? Or is it the tactile nature of the medium, allowing us to bring imaginative play to life, creating something that, moments before, only existed in our minds?

The Mighty Miniature

As children, many of us assume that the larger the package, the better the present, right? I believed this until my eighth birthday, when the largest gift box contained… a cat litter pan. (A relative thought it an appropriate gift, as my parents had recently allowed me to adopt a kitten.) It was then and there I realized a bigger box doesn’t always indicate a better gift.

The Weather May Be Frightful, But Snow Play Is Delightful!

The presents have been unwrapped, the new year celebrated, and the holiday treats devoured. Now what? For many folks, the post-holiday season appears bleak, with only frigid weather and sunless days stretching out over the weeks ahead. But for some, the fun has only begun. If you’re an avid skier, snowboarder, or snowmobiler, you’ve just started enjoying the season and delighting in fresh white blankets of snow.

Tasteful Amusement

Anyone who knows me—family, friends, coworkers—will tell you that I have a playful perspective on food. I love talking about it or even singing—yes, singing—about it, making up original little ditties when something is particularly delicious. I enjoy cooking, perusing magazines for new recipes, and watching television chefs expertly combine flavors to create mouthwatering dishes. Some of my friends have suggested that I would be ideally suited to a job title of “Snacks Coordinator” because I almost always have a stash of snacks close at hand.

Gypsies, Cards, and Tea Leaves: Foretelling the Future

What will your life look like a year from now? Most of us are intrigued—just a bit—to know what the future holds for us, curious about how our careers, relationships, or finances will go.  We’re certainly not the first to wonder about such things, nor will we be the last. For centuries, people of all cultures have pondered the same questions and devised a variety of ways to predict the answers. Some scholars believe the origins of fortune telling can be traced to 14th-century gypsies, while others believe the roots of divination and prophecy run much deeper.

Don’t Call It a Comeback: The Return of Iconic 1980s Characters

Do you ever find yourself wishing that you could be a child again, just for a few hours? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy adulthood, but I freely admit that every once in a while I find myself wanting to be a kid again, having a snack in my parents’ living room while watching Duck Tales.

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