31 Days of Happiness Countdown: a Barbie inspired by love. (Day 29)

Thanks for stopping by Day 29 of Upworthy's 31 Days of Happiness Countdown! If this is your first visit, here's the gist: Each day between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, we're sharing stories specifically designed to bring joy, smiles, and laughter into our lives and yours. It's been a challenging year, so why not end it on a high note, with a bit of laughter? Check back tomorrow (or click the links at the bottom) for another installment!

Spread the news, y'all: Barbie backs marriage equality!

In a few adorable Instagram posts, Mattel shared photos of two dolls of the same gender staring lovingly into each other's (plastic, painted) eyes. In the pics, the Barbies are wearing "Love Wins" shirts. ❤️ 💜 💛 💚 💙

"Proud to wear this 'Love Wins' shirt with @songofstyle!" one caption reads. (Can we talk about how cute that little plastic pup is too? Can I have one?!)


A post shared by Barbie® (@barbiestyle) on

The Barbie on the left was inspired by interior designer and fashion blogger Aimee Song.

"When I knew I was getting my own Barbie doll, it was super important for me to have the Barbie represent who I was and what I believe in, and obviously dress like me!" Song wrote, explaining that the "Love Wins" shirts featured in the pic are available for purchase, with 50% of the proceeds benefiting The Trevor Project — a life-saving nonprofit committed to suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth.

Mattel said it was “proud to partner” with Song in launching her Barbie and, in doing so, helping The Trevor Project.

A post shared by Aimee Song (@songofstyle) on

“We are an inclusive brand that celebrates diversity, kindness, and acceptance.”

Right on, Mattel!

A post shared by Barbie® (@barbiestyle) on

No, Barbie's endorsement of marriage equality isn't shocking or groundbreaking — Mattel's made efforts to be more inclusive with its toys in recent years, after all — but it is big-hearted branding that matters.

If even one little kid feels like their favorite toy has their back, it's an endorsement that makes a big difference.

More days of happiness here: DAY 1 / DAY 2 / DAY 3 / DAY 4 / DAY 5/ DAY 6 / DAY 7 / DAY 8 / DAY 9 / DAY 10 / DAY 11 / DAY 12 / DAY 13 / DAY 14 / DAY 15 / DAY 16 / DAY 17/ DAY 18 / DAY 19 / DAY 20 / DAY 21 / DAY 22 / DAY 23 / DAY 24 / DAY 25 / DAY 26 / DAY 27 / DAY 28 / [DAY 29] / DAY 30 / DAY 31
Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."