Monday, August 21, 2017

Waiting for Eliza

As many of you have probably heard, American Girl debuted their Create Your Own doll feature early this month.  This is an online program that allows kids (of any age...) to design their own dolls and clothing from a wide range of options.  It's similar to My Twinn's old BFF customization tool, but it offers more variety.  I think the addition of this option to the American Girl lineup is a brilliant move by Mattel.  Not only is the website super-fun and easy to use (I spent the better part of a day playing around with it) but it allows kids (and doll reviewers) to have pretty much exactly the doll they want.  This is great because it will eliminate the inevitable disappointment that accompanies each year's new doll releases.  This year, if you don't see the doll you want, you can design him or her yourself!

I designed a custom doll who I've named Eliza.  Eliza has a few backordered features, and so she won't arrive until mid November.  I figured that while I'm waiting for Eliza to arrive, I could walk you through some of my experiences with the Create Your Own program.  That way, we can all wait together to see if the final product lives up to our expectations.

I didn't want to publish a post filled with nothing but screenshots, though, so I decided that I'd also use this opportunity to share an American Girl doll that I purchased back in April; the new 1960s BeForever character, Melody Ellison:

review
BeForever Melody Ellison by American Girl, $115.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Enchantimals by Mattel

Today I'm going to review Mattel's newest sensation, the six-inch tall, animal-like Enchantimals.  I came across these little dolls almost by accident a few weeks ago while I was researching the new Monster High Family line (which also includes several six-inch animal-like characters).

Instead of leaping right in and introducing the Enchantimals, I though maybe I'd change things up and try to describe what it's like here in my house as I type up these reviews.  First of all, there are animals everywhere.  I usually have my chronically flatulent mini poodle, Zelda, curled up on my right side and my mutt, Pants, cuddled as close as Zelda will let him get.  A parakeet cage sits immediately to my left, and this houses our two male birds: Bundy and Griffin.  Griffin is always very interested in what I'm doing.  His favorite activity is to "help" me type (in other words, to sit on the keyboard and pull up on the computer's keys with his beak...pooping on my track pad as he works) but when I don't let him do this, he sits in his cage and looks over my shoulder, offering helpful chirps (or squawks) when he feels they're necessary.

While all of this is going on, my youngest son (now 17) is practicing the piano about ten feet away from me.  I say this like it's always happening...because it is.  In fact, a few of you might have noticed him in the background sound of my WuvLuv videos.  I enjoy listening to the piano while I work, I do, but the problem is that my ancient dog, Padawan, imagines himself an excellent jazz singer.  So, he's often accompanying my son's practice with his geriatric howl.  Better still, all three of the parakeets tend to sing (or squawk, depending on whether or not they like the song...) to the music as well.

So, basically, everything I do is set against a background of piano music, animal noises, and pet interference companionship.  This can be distracting some days, sure, but today--as I review an animal-themed doll line--it feels totally natural.  Speaking of nature, I'll start things off by showing you one of my Enchantimals (Felicity Fox) outside enjoying the brilliant colors of summer:

review
Enchantimals Felicity Fox by Mattel, $7.99.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday Surprise: WuvLuvs by Trendmasters!

In the comments section of my recent Hatchimal Colleggtibles review, Caroline mentioned a beloved surprise-themed toy from her childhood.  The toy was called a WuvLuv.  Caroline described this vintage toy as having "eggs and surprises," which was more than enough to get my attention.  I love vintage toys...especially ones with surprises.  I read Caroline's comment and went immediately to eBay, where I found a mint-in-box yellow WuvLuv for under $50.  That's a hefty price, but it's more reasonable than many of the surprise-themed vintage toys I've encountered--especially considering that this WuvLuv's box had never even been opened.  Needless to say, I bought it instantly.

So today, thanks to Caroline, we get to hatch a secret egg and see a mystery baby that's been hidden for almost 18 years!

A WuvLuv (1999) by Trendmaster.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Shibajuku Girls Mini Dolls: Shiba-Cuties!

Today I'm going to review several 6-inch Shiba-Cuties, the newest offering from Hunter Products' Shibajuku Girls collection.  I could declare that this review was part of the mini doll mini series I was talking about back in May, although I'll confess that I didn't even know about these particular minis when I had the idea to start that series.  And speaking of that series, I haven't forgotten about all of the other mini dolls that I want to review, but these Shibajuku newcomers stole the spotlight when they came into the house, probably because I've had this style of doll on my mind lately with the release of Gwen Stefani's Kuu Kuu Harajuku line.

I've been stalled in my mini doll reviews mostly because it's been too brutally hot and humid to take decent outdoor pictures.  In fact, it was brutally hot and humid the day I took the Shiba-Cuties outside for their photo shoot, but I managed to capture a few quick shots before I was attacked by mosquitoes of unusual size.  More on that later.  For now, I'll start things off by showing you one of the better pictures from that session.  It seems so calm and pleasant:

Shiba-Cuties doll, Namika ($9.90).

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

L.O.L. Surprise Series 2: Let's Be Friends Lil Sisters!

As promised, I'm back with another surprise post...and it's not even Sunday!  Today I'm going to look at the Lil Sisters balls from the new series of Lil Outrageous Littles (L.O.L.).

I reviewed a first wave L.O.L. Surprise doll back in December....actually, I opened two dolls during that review, but they ended up being duplicates of the same character, Hoops MVP.  Since that time, I've opened a few more balls on my own and they've all been different, which is great.  I have to say though, that I'm growing tired of opening this particular surprise toy.  Once the multi-layered packaging loses its novelty, the balls just become tedious to deal with.  I got to the point where I was ripping open the balls; completely ignoring the stickers and picture phrases, leaving bottle accessories unopened, and immediately pitching the plastic balls into the trash.  I only wanted to see the doll.  That's way too much waste for a $10 toy.

However, just as I lost enthusiasm for purchasing more of these dolls, the new series--Let's Be Friends--hit the shelves.  Series 2 includes regular-sized L.O.L. dolls, but also a whole collection of Lil Sisters.  Lil Sisters are smaller (and cheaper!) balls that contain surprise baby dolls.  The Lil Sister babies coordinate with the larger L.O.L. dolls from both Series 1 and Series 2, so it's possible to get matching big and little dolls.  Fun!  Of course I had to buy a few:

Series 1 L.O.L. Surprise doll, "Center Stage" ($9.99), and a Series 2 Li'l Sisters ball ($6.99).

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sunday Surprise: Hatchimal Colleggtibles by Spin Master!

July has been a bit hectic so far.  My youngest son is off in another state doing a summer program, and so last week and next week will be mostly consumed by transporting him to and fro and visiting family along the way.  I always bring a few dolls along on these trips, in the hopes that there will be an outdoor photo opportunity, but the frequent (and exciting!) summery thunderstorm downpours have kept the dolls under cover.

I decided to tackle a smaller review in between all of this traveling and raining, but couldn't decide between the super-popular Hatchimal Colleggtible miniatures and the new L.O.L. Li'l Sisters surprise balls.  So, I've been working on both posts at the same time.  The Hatchimal review ended up being a little faster to photograph, so I'll share that today as this week's official Sunday Surprise.  However, the L.O.L. sisters will probably make an appearance well before next Sunday.

A hatching Hatchimal Colleggtible figure ($9.88 for 5).