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James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, a writer for the Netflix #StreamTeam, and serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. Current special projects include promotional campaigns for PJ Masks (eOne/Disney Junior) and Beat Bugs (Netflix). 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for Napalm Records' PRODUCT OF HATE.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

Learn more here

Connect with James on Facebook or Twitter.

Since 1964, the Hess Toy Truck has been an annual tradition of collectible holiday toys. For years, families on the east coast would look forward to the reveal of the annual Hess Toy Truck - which hasn't always been "a truck," but a high-quality vehicle offered at a great price and wrapped-up in signature green giftwrap, ready to roll for the holidays. Because it was an east coast thing, we'd missed out on it since we didn't have Hess Express gas stations here in the Midwest, but we really started getting into these around five years ago - ironically, just a year or so before Hess sold-off their gas stations. While the stores may be gone, the tradition of the truck lives on, and every year on November 1, a new Hess Toy Truck becomes available exclusively on HessToyTruck.com. We recently got our hands on the 2017 Hess Dump Truck and Loader (sent to us for review), and after seeing the girls eagerly crack it open, it's easy to see why it's a top pick in my annual Holiday Wish Guide™!

We've been fans of Playmonster's My Fairy Garden collection since we first discovered them a year or so ago. Having placed a fairy garden outside as part of our landscape every year, The Rock Daughters™ always have a habit of playing with the statues out there, and they're not really made for that since they're not toys. My Fairy Garden solves that problem by providing a real garden environment that kids can play with inside. Each kit comes with everything you need to build and grown the perfect spot for your fairy figures, and there's always room to expand, with a wide array of accessories and additional fairies available. Our original garden, the Magical Cottage, is still going strong, and this fall we added a new one to the mix - the Bean Blossom.

There is no question that in this house, our oldest daughter knows exactly what she wants to be when she grows up: a doctor. Addie is eight right now, and ever since she started watching Doc McStuffins a few years back, she's been obsessed with the medical profession - something that I hope sticks with her until adulthood. It's not often that young kids grow up to be exactly what they intended, but Addie seems destined for that path, and we watch her care for her dolls and toys each and every day. For other kids with a similar mindset, Little Medical School offers a selection of Play Medical Kits and accessories, all with the intention of "inspiring tomorrow's healthcare providers today." We recently received the Little Pediatrician Kit for review, and the reaction was immediate...

As the micro collectibles movement continues to grow, one recent entrant owes a lot to the past. Back in the early 80s, a decade or so before Micro Machines did plastic miniature figures, Kenner toys released the Star Wars Micro Collection - small, diecast figures and playsets. The figures weren't articulated, and the line never caught on, but there were other diecast figures out there, and they became more appealing to collectors as time went on. This year, Jada Toys expanded their METALS Diecast series by shrinking it down. Nano MetalFigs are tiny diecast figurines from a variety of pop culture licensees. There's Harry Potter, DC Comics (perfect for Justice League), Disney/Pixar, Marvel, WWE and more - and the individual figures start at just 99 cents, making them a perfect stocking stuffer!

Wednesday, November 22 2017 00:12

Stocking Stuffers: The Original Whiffer Sniffers

It was in the fall of 2016 that Whiffer Sniffers first hit my radar - scented, collectible backpack clips in fun character shapes. Taking their design cues from the scratch-n-sniff craze of the 1980s (they even released some stickers to go along with that), Whiffer Sniffers are still going strong and their fanbase is growing. With their Series 5 in stores now for holiday 2017, families can be on the hunt for a fresh assortment of awesome characters that make perfect stocking stuffers!

The holiday season is all about spending time with family, and what better way to do that than watching a movie together? From Illumination, the studio that brought you Sing, The Secret Life of Pets and the Despicable Me franchise, continues the adventures of Gru and his family in Despicable Me 3 - which is coming home for the holidays! Own it today on Digital HD, and look for it on Blu-ray & DVD on December 5! In celebration of the in-home release, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and The Rock Father™ have teamed-up to give you a shot at winning it on Digital HD - redeemable at Vudu!

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