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Pop Secret, Star Wars and the Battle of the Bag

June 11, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE

Let me drop some Jedi Master-level parenting knowledge on you: Just because you grow up an epic Star Wars fan, then became a dad and go into hyperdrive raising your child in the ways of The Force, things might not turn out exactly as you’d imagined. With the passing of time and the expansion of Mr. Lucas’ universe, stark differences have emerged between generations of Star Wars enthusiasts…

  • When I was a kid, Darth Vader scared the bejeezus out of me — as was intended. Upon his first viewing of Episode IV, my then 4-year-old son squealed with glee at Vader’s debut.
  • When I was a kid, we called it STAR WARS, not A New Hope. Not Episode IV.
  • When I was a kid, you could easily find t-shirts with Luke, Han or the droids on them. Nowadays, the majority of Star Wars clothing for kids is adorned by the Dark Side — Vader, Boba Fett, Stormtroopers, etc.
  • When I was a kid, we collected action figures. Today? After six films and multiple animated series, there are hordes of figures in every size, not to mention headphones, watches, bike helmets, lingerie, pet costumes, snowboards, wedding rings, toilet seat covers, bathrobes, chopsticks, sleeping bags, and oh yeah, LEGO. SO. MANY. LEGO.
  • When I was a kid, there was no Jar Jar Binks.

Despite all these differences, there are two things that bind my son and I together like The Force: We both love a good light saber battle, and we both love to eat popcorn when we’re watching the Star Wars films. So when I signed on to help promote the #PopWars Video Contest for Pop Secret’s Pre-popped Popcorn, I knew my video had to include copious amounts of popcorn AND an epic light saber battle.

Pop Secret, Star Wars and the Battle of the Bag

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Similac’s Formula to End the Mommy Wars Falls a Bit Flat

January 26, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE

A new video from Similac does a near-flawless job of illustrating — and then defusing — the so-called “Mommy Wars.” Yet by excluding half of all parents from the name of their campaign, they undo much of the goodwill built up during the ad.

Take a look, and be sure and watch all the way to the end.

Founded in human nature and fueled by the Internet, the Mommy Wars have been raging in full force for quite a few years. Mothers, physicians, psychologists, educators and all manner of experts and amateurs weigh in on all manner of parenting-related topics: circumcision, vaccinations, diet, working or homemaking, spanking or time-outs, “cry it out” or co-sleeping, attachment parenting, Tiger Moms, helicopter parents, etc., ad nauseam, ad infinitum. Often perched atop the list: breastfeeding vs. formula.

Similac, a primary purveyor of formula, tackles this titular issue (and several others from the list above) in their new spot, set within an initially humorous gang war between multiple parent posses. In addition to the bottle- vs. breast-feeders, you see baby carriers & stroller-pushers, stay-at-home-moms & corporate office moms, disposable & cloth diaperers – all posturing on the playground. A bunch of dads can even be found rocking baby carriers and (natch) manning the grill.

SIMILAC - MOMMY WARS - DADS

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Tylenol Recreates Norman Rockwell Painting with Lesbian Moms

December 16, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF, POP CULTURE

A new campaign from Tylenol brings an iconic Norman Rockwell painting to life with more diverse depictions of family – including an Asian family, an African American family, and a family with lesbian mothers.

Tylenol Norman Rockwell Lesbian Moms

Few would associate the word “modern” with Norman Rockwell. Many of his most recognized paintings are full of sentiment and nostalgia, rendered in an ultra realistic style — none of which earned him the respect of art critics. Yet as a young artist, I was fascinated not only by the detail of Rockwell’s work, but also how he portrayed America in the 40s and 50s. This was the world of my parents and grandparents, so I always felt a connection – as if I was looking through an old family photo album.

“Freedom From Want” is arguably Rockwell’s most well-known work. Part of a series for The Saturday Evening Post originally intended to promote patriotism, it has since become synonymous with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays; epitomizing The American Family. Yet, like most of Rockwell’s early work, it focuses only on white (and straight) America — something that causes a decided disconnection for many today.

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Old Spice and the Horrors of Adolescence

December 15, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

I grew up the son and grandson of Baptist ministers — men not historically well-versed in the art of scented body sprays. While I learned many valuable lessons from my father, his knowledge of man fragrances was not something he passed down to me. I recall in 9th grade wondering why my dad’s new aftershave smelled so familiar. Upon investigating his medicine cabinet, I discovered he was slathering himself with Charlie every morning. The smell was familiar because my most recent (and much more experienced) girlfriend had worn it. I was horrified. Disgusted. Confused. Now I understood why every time my dad walked by I had flashbacks of being cornered in the church kitchen during Vacation Bible School. The combined memories of her ample bosom and the cloying amounts of perfume she wore still causes me to gasp for air.

Thus, I was left to learn how to “Scent Responsibly” on my own, experimenting with all manner of colognes and deodorants, with varying degrees of success. But my son will never have to endure what I went through. Nor will any other young man, ever. Thanks to Old Spice and their line of Re-Fresh Body Sprays.

Originally launched in January with the viral video “Mom Song,” Old Spice introduces new scents and products via the fatherly response, “Dad Song.” Check out this new masterpiece below…

As you can see, “Dad Song” illustrates in song (weird, weird song) the contrast between the long-held notions that moms want their boys to never leave home, while dads can’t wait for them to grow up and get out. I was the oldest of 4 boys, yet I found the portrayals in the ad did not mirror my experience. While both my parents were understandably forlorn when their eldest (and best) flew the coop, the couldn’t wait for the other three to pack it up and move on with their lives. I guess I’m just special that way.

In any event, your dear old Designer Daddy and his new best friends at Old Spice have got a mountain of manly merch to stuff the stocking of every man in your life. Poor phrasing aside, every man needs to smell good and this is some seriously bounteous booty.

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FREE FAMILY EVENT! Tysons Microsoft Store 10/30 #FitnessDayDC

October 29, 2014 | By Brent Almond | THINGS DAD DIGS

Microsoft Store #FitnessDayDC

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TYSONS MICROSOFT STORE #FitnessDayDC EVENT

Thursday, October 30, 2014  12:00 PM to 6:00 PM (EST)

DETAILS

This Thursday, October 30, visit the Microsoft Store at Tysons Corner Center to jump start your health and fitness goals before the biggest candy-eating holiday of the year! It’ll be a day of fun activities — Kinect and Xbox sessions, Zumba and yoga classes, and more — all designed to keep you and your kids moving. You can also enter to win prizes, some of which will be “big-ticket” items. Which is code for “expensive.”

[Tysons Corner Microsoft Store Info]    [Tysons Corner Center Map]
The Microsoft Store is located on Level 2 of Tysons Corner Center, next to Banana Republic and across from Restoration Hardware.

Designer Daddy will be there to help host!

If you come between 1:00 – 2:00 pm, you’ll have a chance to meet me in real life! Okay, that’s not much of a draw, but I’d love to see/meet/re-meet you and snap a co-selfie (an “ussie?”) before you run off to take a Zumba class, kick butt on Xbox, or enter to win some prizes.

CAN’T MAKE THE MAGICAL HOUR I’M HOSTING?

Want to attend the event but can’t make it from 1-2pm? No worries — but please be sure to take a selfie at the event and send it to me via Twitter or Instagram (@DesignerDaddy or use the hashtag #FitnessDayDC) so I can say hello and get brownie points for getting you to the event!

WHO CAN ATTEND?

The event is open to the public so invite/bring/drag all your friends, family and kids. RSVP’s are not necessary, but it does let me know who’ll be attending so I can keep a lookout for you. RSVP to the event on Facebook.

SCHEDULE & PRIZES (UPDATED)

 10am-6pm: In-store giveaways to first 150 consumers. Other (bigger!) prizes announced throughout the day.
 10am-6pm: Product demos happening all day long!
 12-1pm: Yoga class or store-provided fitness activity
 1-5pm: In-store workouts in Xbox Fitness Area. Optional fitness tests available. Xbox Fitness workout options to include Gillian Michaels, P90X, and Insanity. Trainers in-store to help  with all workouts.
 5pm: Evening snacks provided (see!)
 6-6:45pm: Zumba class or store-provided fitness activity

I will be adding more info about prizes and class times as I receive them.

QUESTIONS ABOUT #FitnessDayDC?

Shoot me an email: Brent (at) DesignerDaddy (dot) com. Hope to see you there!

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Disclosure: I partnered with XYMedia for the #FitnessDayDC event, and was compensated for my involvement.

Super Dad: Zach Rosenberg!

June 23, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Riffing off SuperLunchNotes, and inspired by requests from friends and readers of “Will you make MY lunch?!?” this summer I’m doodling a series of notes featuring some of my favorite dad bloggers… re-imagined as superheroes. Why? Because it’s fun. And because you should be reading these guys. And because I’ve gotten so much support from my community of blogging dad pals, I wanted to toss some good karma their way.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MEET SUPER DAD ZACH ROSENBERG, A.K.A.

ZACHNEATO!

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super dad: zach rosenberg

About ZACHNEATO:
Origin:
When a bottle of Coke and a packet of Pop Rocks spilled onto a Ms. Pac-Man machine, ZACHNEATO emerged fully-formed, robed in pink, and ready to rule to world!
Powers: The ability to manipulate bits, bytes & blogs into anything he chooses. His hot pink robe and helmet make him impervious to Internet trolls and Twitter crashes.
Weaknesses: Without his fluffy pink armor, ZACHNEATO is susceptible to attack from his arch-nemesis, MR. A!

About ZACH ROSENBERG:
ZACH is the more vocal (and more pink) half of the blog 8BitDad. He and co-founder Bryan Ferguson have been making the blogosphere crackle with smarts and silliness since 2011(ish). They’ve got the comics/sci-fi/gamer beat covered, and do their fair share of reporting on all things fatherhood — particularly how it’s portrayed in the media. He is also a father and husband, and his favorite superhero really is Magneto. Or maybe Batman.

8BitDad 101:
The Ugly Truths Behind Caillou, Curious George and Max & Ruby
25 Reasons Kids Should Be Left Alone With Their Dads (I’m at #17. This list inspired my own)
Observations On Dad-Bias In 140 Commercials From 2013
BONUS: Their archive of hilarious video podcasts

 

 

SuperLunchNotes: The Power Of Dad…and Oral Hygiene

June 9, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, DESIGN STUFF

Some of my favorite moments as a dad are ones I don’t even see. Like my son’s face when he finds the note I put in his lunch every day. I make them either the night prior or before he gets up the next morning; I then sneak them into his lunch bag, and send him off to preschool with Papa. I’ve heard plenty of compliments about them — from Jon’s teachers, his classmates, his classmates’ parents. And every afternoon when I pick him up, I ask Jon if he liked his note — you know, as a way to strengthen his memory recall and attention to detail…

So even though I don’t observe my son’s daily discovery, or get to see his friends huddled in anticipation of each new character, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve been doing this for nearly a year now, and while it’s sometimes a chore to keep coming up with new ideas, it also forces me to think of something positive to say as I send him out into the world each day. It’s my little way of staying connected. A way to pass down my vast and vital knowledge of superheroes and pop culture. And it’s a way to use my powers as a Dad for good!

For this Father’s Day, I was included in a campaign for Oral-B called Power of Dad. One of the components was to post photos illustrating my paternal powers or other special fathering moments. I decided instead to dedicate a week’s worth of SuperLunchNotes to the campaign, while offering some much-needed reminders to my son regarding oral hygiene. I’m setting my #PowerOfDad to stealth mode.

Below are the notes, each captioned with a feature of Oral-B’s newest toothbrush, the Oral-B 7000 Black…and also a plug for their awesome floss.

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WEEK 43: June 2 – June 6, 2014 (Oral Hygiene Week)

Hulk  |  The Count  |  Wonder Woman  |   Venom  |  Princess Leia

hulk
Indicator® bristles remind you to replace your brush head every 3 months (sooner, if you’re a Hulk), or once they’ve faded halfway (or turned green, if you’re a Hulk).
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Honey Maid Combats Trash Talk with #WholesomeQuotes

May 12, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

The Internet isn’t known for its wholesomeness. Sure, there are bright spots here and there — but it’s also ground zero for crazy people to hurl their unfiltered opinions. These come in all flavors, with the most popular being racism, homophobia, misogyny and the always-popular hatred.

Recently I praised Honey Maid’s “This Is Wholesome” campaign for including same-sex parents in their TV ad. While I had many positive comments, I also received more negative, hateful and idiotic responses than any other time prior. Who knew graham crackers were such a hot button issue?

Here are just a few of the “greatest hits”…

honeymaid - comments - homophobia

honeymaid - comments - homophobia

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Barilla Wants to Share the Table, Even with Same-Sex Parents

April 14, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, LGBT STUFF

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Barilla, but opinions are my own.

In September of last year, the chairman of Barilla made the following statements in a radio interview:

“I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect
but because we don’t agree with them. Ours is a classic family where the woman plays
a fundamental role. … If [gays] don’t like it, they can go eat another brand.” 1

“I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who
is not able to choose.” 2

Like many others, I found Guido Barilla’s comments ignorant, insulting and infuriating. Our family is made up of two gay dads (one of whom is Italian) and an adopted son, all of us consumers of large amounts of pasta. I’m not sure there were any ways left to offend us. So like many others, our family made a conscious decision not to buy their products again.

While I’d heard of efforts on the part of Barilla to make amends, I paid them little mind. I was skeptical they could do anything to salvage a relationship with the LGBT community and our allies.

But then I was asked to take part in Barilla’s Share the Table campaign. And I was approached specifically because I’m a gay father. I learned they’d also enlisted other LGBT bloggers, including fellow parents Polly Pagenhart and Vikki Reich.

According to the materials I was given and my own research, Barilla has been making changes ever since the interview and subsequent boycott. They met with and received counsel from GLAAD; established a Diversity & Inclusion Board and appointed a Chief Diversity Officer; participated in HRC’s Corporate Equality Index; and as evidenced by this post, they want to partner with influencers in the LGBT community as part of Share the Table, to ensure families of all kinds are included.

We’ve all heard plenty of corporate apologies, yet this invitation resonated because it was made directly to me. And as I read more about Barilla’s inclusiveness in regards to the importance of family meal time, I was immediately reminded of our trip to Italy two years ago.

Barilla #ShareTheTable Italy family dinner

One of many long and wonderful meals around Nonna’s table

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Honey Maid Redefines “Wholesome” to Include Gay Dads

March 13, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, THINGS DAD DIGS

Looks like the gay agenda is continuing to blaze its flaming path into more and more homes, this time via a commercial for…DAH DAH DUM!!! graham crackers.

But seriously, this is a seriously sweet ad. Not only does it depict doting, gay dads, but also a mixed race family, a single father, and a tattooed dad banging the drums as his little girl dances around the living room. The ad, the campaign and the company have gotten quite a bit of coverage, but I wanted to get the scoop on some of the thought behind the spot.

A representative from Honey Maid was kind enough to answer a few questions in the midst of what I’m sure is an extremely busy time for them.

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