When I was a girl, I’d ordered the American Girl catalogue, hoping my mum would surprise me with my own Addy doll. This was many of my out-of-the-box fantasies from childhood that I look back on now. Her idea of a surprise is calling you to tell you she’s coming for a visit, then showing up, and saying “SURPRISE!” Hahahah…. It’s such a funny and markstone moment of my life, that when I was invited to tour the American Girl store at Rockefeller Center, it was almost like part of my fantasy did come true. Rather than just Addy, all the dolls, both old and new, surrounded me.

The store is grander and more evolved than I could ever imagine. Think, 40,000 square-foot (this is a 40,000 square foot home, just to give you an idea of size) overflowing with dolls and accessories from their signature American Girl doll collection, their best-selling fiction and advice book, an exclusive Girl-and-Doll Salon, a café, and a Content Hub with the company’s award-winning movies and videos. I know, I know, it’s a lot to digest, but we’re not done (laughs manically). This flagship location even has a “Create Your Own Design Studio” where girls can design their own dolls in an experience that takes personalization and customization to another level, through over a million possible combinations as well as creating one of a kind doll outfits and girl-sized products at the design studio. Outfits that can be taken home that day!

“Our new store celebrates the joy of girlhood—a place that nourishes a girl’s spirit and fosters her strength of character. We look forward to American Girl Place New York remaining a treasured place where girls can simply be girls, while creating unforgettable memories with their families and friends for decades to come,” says Katy Dickson, president of American Girl.

This passed December, I worked with American Girl to surprise two young sisters with their own gear. I believe receiving a doll is a very personal experience, so we opted for a couple of outfits and accessories to prep them for whenever. The girls, Riley and Olivia were so excited they did a little shoot at home in Arizona. Olivia is sporting the Nifty Striped Tee and Polka Dot Skirt, while Riley wears the Confetti Cutie Outfit. Both accessorized the look with Gabriela McBride’s Case.

Gabriela McBride passed the “Girl of the Year” torch onto Luciana Vega. Luciana is an 11-year-old who dreams of being the first person on Mars. American Girl worked with NASA — including Dr. Ellen Stofan, former NASA Chief Scientist, Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Maureen O’Brien, Manager of Strategic alliances at NASA, and Dr. Megan McArthur Behnken, NASA Astronaut —  to ensure her narrative’s authenticity.

For more information on American Girl, visit them online at AmericanGirl.com or to find a retail location nearest you.