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
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via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

RELATED: This sneaky guide dog is too pure for this world. A hilarious video proves it.

The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

Inclusivity

15 'habits' of people who grew up with an 'emotionally fragile' parent

Having an emotionally fragile parent can leave lasting damage.

via The Mighty

If you grew up with an "emotionally fragile" parent, chances are, you didn't have the typical, idyllic childhood you often see in movies.

Maybe your parent lived with debilitating depression that thrust you into the role of caregiver from a very young age.

Maybe your parent was always teetering on the edge of absolute rage, so you learned to tiptoe around them to avoid an explosion. Or maybe your parent went through a divorce or separation, and leaned on you for more emotional support than was appropriate to expect of a child.

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Family
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Jasmine has been used as a natural treatment for depression, anxiety, and stress for thousands of years. Oil from the plant has also been used to treat insomnia and PMS, and is considered a natural aphrodisiac. It turns out, our ancestor's instincts to slather on the oil when they wanted a little R&R were correct.

A study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, and according to Professor Hanns Hatt of the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, revealed that jasmine can calm you down when you're feeling anxious.The results can "be seen as evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy."

"Instead of a sleeping pill or a mood enhancer, a nose full of jasmine from Gardenia jasminoides could also help, according to researchers in Germany. They have discovered that the two fragrances Vertacetal-coeur (VC) and the chemical variation (PI24513) have the same molecular mechanism of action and are as strong as the commonly prescribed barbiturates or propofol," says the study.

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Nature