Sunday, May 6, 2018

Sunday Surprise: Secret Central Dolls by Hasbro!

This week I'm going to look at an older surprise-themed line of dolls that Yumi recommended a few weeks ago (Thank you, Yumi!) but before I do that, I want to mention a new tab at the top of the page called What Happened?  I'm shifting gears with the blog for various reasons, and this new tab holds an explanation.

I don't want any of that to take away from the fascinating mini dolls that I'm investigating today, though!  The brand is called Secret Central and includes a collection of 3.5 inch dolls depicting high school students.  As the name suggests, each doll has a secret!  All of the dolls come with a secret note (revealing something about the relationships within their high school class) but some of the sets have a concealed character (a whole extra doll!)--who also has a secret note.  I could not resist this concept.  Here's one of the girls to start things off:

Secret Central doll Rachel Ruff (Hasbro, 2003).

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fan Girl Black Panther and Black Widow by Madame Alexander

During my final shopping trips to Toys 'R' Us a few weeks ago, I purchased a few things to review in depth, including two of Madame Alexander's Marvel Fan Girl dolls: Black Panther and Black Widow.  The Black Panther character was sold out at my local store, but she was still in stock online (and even on sale!).  So, I purchased Black Widow in person and ordered Black Panther online.  Black Panther took forever to ship, but I feel fortunate to have ordered her before the Toys 'R' Us website shut down.  These dolls were Toys 'R' Us exclusives.

One interesting thing about the Fan Girl line is that each character has a variant that's harder to find than the standard-release version.  These variants are called Fan Girl Finds and have specially-marked boxes.  The Fan Girl Finds cost the same as the other versions of the same doll.  For reasons I don't completely understand (movie popularity?), both of the Black Panther variants cost considerably more than the other dolls.  Toys 'R' Us sent me the Fan Girl Find variant of Black Panther ($79.99) and I purchased the regular version of Black Widow ($49.99).

In this review, I will take a close look at my Black Panther doll and do a quick overview of Black Widow.

Black Panther Fan Girl, gold variant ($79.99).

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sunday Surprise: Surprizamal Mama and Baby Jamie!

As promised, Sunday has arrived and so it's time to see what's inside of my Surprizamal unicorn's baby balls!  Ok, saying "unicorn baby balls" sounds wrong, I know, but I don't know what else to call them!  As an extra treat, I found another kind of Surprizamal Mama and Baby toy that I want to share with you today, too.

Since I just posted yesterday (and I'm in the middle of working on that Madame Alexander Fan Girl review) I'll keep this short and sweet.

Here's Jamie, my Surprizamal unicorn mama, who I introduced back in February:

Surprizamal Mama and Baby unicorn, Jamie ($19.99).

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Goodbye, Toys Я Us

For a while I thought that my beloved Toys 'R' Us store in South Portland would stay open while other branches around the nation closed...but it looks like all Toys 'R' Us locations are closing or being sold, and even the website has been shut down to future orders.  It's officially the end of an era.

I didn't want the occasion to pass without doing something, so I decided to take a few trips to the store and bask in the feeling of being in such a large space, entirely surrounded by toys.  I don't know when I might get that feeling again.

I visited two weeks ago (before the closeouts started) and then again this Friday.  I bought a few things that I'll review really quickly today, and a few other things that will get bigger reviews in the near future.  I'll mostly just pretend that you were there shopping with me, and show you what caught my eye as I wandered through the familiar aisles for the last time.

I'll start with a picture that I took last summer.  This is the temporary Toys 'R' Us that was set up in Times Square for the holidays:

Temporary Toys 'R' Us branch in Times Square, 2017.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Kruselings

Thanks to Gabby and Stephanie's recommendations, I have a real treat to share with you!  Today I'm reviewing the Kruselings, a collection of nine-inch play dolls that depict a magical group of friends who fly around and use special powers to protect the world from bad dreams.

I love the charming story behind this line, and thought the promotional pictures were beautiful, so I bought two Kruseling dolls.  After I saw those two dolls in person, I bought two more!  These cuties remind me of collector dolls in many ways (probably because of the artistic inspiration of their namesake, Käthe Kruse) but they're actually play dolls aimed at kids between the ages of four and seven.

The overall concept of the Kruselings was conceived by Donaji Ayala Hernandez and the dolls themselves were designed by Sonja Hartman (of Kidz 'n' Cats fame).  The dolls are easy to find overseas and just now starting to show up in some U.S. stores.  I purchased my girls from both eBay and My Doll Best Friend, a wonderful shop in London. There are six Kruseling characters (five girls and a boy) and all of the girls come in two varieties, deluxe and standard. The deluxe sets cost £35.99 and include two outfits, the standard dolls are a little cheaper (£23.99) and do not have an extra outfit.

It's taken me forever to finish this review because I got greedy with the dolls and then took tons of pictures.  This review will feature the first Kruseling I chose, deluxe Sofia, but I'll also show you some pictures of deluxe Chloe, standard Vera, and standard Joy.  Here's Sofia:

Kruselings deluxe Sofia doll, £35.99 (~$50).

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday Surprise: FlipaZoo Flip Box Surprise by Jay at Play!

I feel like my Sunday Surprise options are always at an extreme: either in short supply or overflowing.  Currently I'm experiencing the overflowing scenario!  I already have two things that I want to review, and another great reader suggestion that I'm in the process of tracking down.  But despite all of this, I couldn't resist something new I saw at Walmart!  I don't actually think it's super-new–as in just released–but it's new to me.

I don't go to Walmart much anymore, mostly because the toy department seems to be shrinking. That might be the only reason I noticed these surprise toys, though.  They were in the stuffed animal aisle, which I don't usually spend much time in, but last week I wandered through because I'd quickly run out of other things to look at.

The toy I found is called a FlipaZoo.  There are many varieties of these "flippable" stuffed toys, but the ones that caught my eye are called Flip Box Surprise:

Flip Box Surprise dog from FlipaZoo.