Sunday, April 29, 2012

Calico Critters vs. Li'l Woodzeez Comparison Review

I have always secretly wanted to buy a Calico Critters set.  Given my reckless abandon in buying dolls of all kinds, it's a bit strange that I have never taken the plunge and ordered some of these enticing woodland fuzzies for myself.  When I fell in love with the Tickle Your Taste Buds Bakery and had my first introduction to the Li'l Woodzees, I knew there would be a comparison review at some point in my near future.  That time has come.

Calico Critters are articulated, flocked plastic woodland creatures with human attributes.  Li'l Woodzeez are essentially a less expensive version of the same idea.  Both lines have characters who come with roughly sketched-out personalities and/or occupations.  Calico Critters live in Cloverleaf Corners, Li'l Woodzeez live in Honeysuckle Hollow.  Here's a picture of them:

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Calico Critters Furbanks Squirrel Family (L) and Li'l Woodzeez Waterwaggles Beaver Family (R)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Guilt-Free Goodies from D-Lightful Designs

Because I am always talking about packaging, in particular about how recyclable it is (or isn't), I have to share something with you really quick.

I love the clay food made by Deborah of D-Lightful Designs.  Deborah is the artist behind the amazing cake slice that Sybarite Swallow is gazing at in my earlier post.  Here's a little reminder:


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Quick Look at Li'L Ones by Ty

Last night I was at a local toy shop buying something for an upcoming review and I discovered this appealing little doll who I had never seen before:

Hello Kitty "Li'l One" doll by Ty

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Monster High Review: Rochelle Goyle and Roux

The newest lineup of Monster High characters is fantastic.  Rochelle Goyle, who is the daughter of the gargoyles, was just released, and in the next few months we should see Venus McFlytrap (there's so much awesome in that name, I don't know where to start) and Robecca Steam.  I am probably the most excited about Robecca (she is a steampunk robot), but all three dolls have great themes, interesting skin tones and fun accessories.  I hope I will be able to find them all at some point, but for now, here's Rochelle Goyle:
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Rochelle Goyle and Roux

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Quick Review of Fab Faces Kennedy from My Scene Barbie

Oh, man.  I am still giggling over this doll.  This is a very bizarre toy.  Fab Faces dolls are versions of My Scene Barbie that have rubbery faces with changeable expressions.  Their faces actually bend and twist into new shapes.  Sounds pretty interesting, right?   I first learned about the Fab Faces line when they were mentioned in the comments discussion of my Barbie Fashionista review.  The other week, I got an email that reminded me of these dolls and so I went to Amazon.com to see if I could find one for sale.  Indeed, Amazon still has many (if not all) of this line in stock, and there was a Kennedy on clearance for $11.  Sold.  Several of these dolls are expensive on Amazon (Chelsea is $80!), but they can also be found on eBay at more reasonable prices.

My Scene Barbie was introduced by Mattel in 2002 and the Fab Faces line came out in 2006.  I have wanted a My Scene Barbie ever since I saw the episode of Project Runway where the challenge was to design clothes for these dolls (see the winning doll and design here).

Fab Faces Kennedy is not a doll I would have picked for her looks, and she's not anywhere near the prettiest of the My Scene dolls, but she's got significant entertainment value:

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My Scene Fab Faces Kennedy

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Review of JAMIEshow Winter Grace from Angelic Dreamz

Ever since I saw the Winter Grace prototype at Angelic Dreamz in February, I have been waiting for this glorious girl to arrive.  Whenever I have to wait a long time for something, I tend to worry that it won't live up to my expectations.  I needn't have wasted any time worrying about this doll.  If anything, she is more beautiful than I remember.  Grace is a 16" resin ball jointed fashion doll who is part of the 2012 JAMIEshow collection.  She is limited to only 50 pieces.  You can read more about JAMIEshow dolls in my Lee post, and you can see Grace and all of the other dolls in the Winter line at Angelic Dreamz.

I feel like Grace was made for me.  She is the most lovely thing I have seen for a long time. Instead of chatting away as a I often do, I am going to let her pictures do most of the talking.

JAMIEshow Winter Grace
*As with many of these resin art dolls, some of the nude photos of Grace might not be work appropriate.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Barbie Basic vs. Integrity Toys Basic Edition (I.T.B.E.) Comparison Review

Mattel and Integrity Toys both offer (or have offered) basic edition 12" fashion dolls in the $20 price range.  While Integrity looks like it might have phased out the ITBE dolls (there were no new releases in 2011 or 2102), there are still a few of the older dolls to be found at various doll shops, and I thought it would be fun to do a comparison review of these two very similar dolls.

Barbie Basics were first released in spring of 2010.  The original line included 12 dolls, all wearing a different simple black dress.  I thought the promotional pictures for this line were awesome.  Subsequent releases have included some dolls wearing red dresses (exclusive to Target), dolls modeling jeans and tee shirts, and, most recently, a small collection of dolls sporting swimsuits.

Integrity released their ITBE line in 2009.  The original collection had 6 dolls modeling a diversity of dress styles in an array of colors with no apparent unifying theme.  The second collection, "Roma 2010," has only 5 dolls and features fashions inspired by friends traveling together to Rome.

I wanted to compare two dolls that resembled each other in terms of hair, coloring and outfit, so rather than choosing my favorite dolls from these lines, I selected Barbie Basic Model 09 (from the first collection) and the ITBE Roma doll "Desirable" from 2010.  Both dolls are caucasian with blonde hair and bangs, and both are wearing little black dresses.

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ITBE Desirable and Barbie Basic Model 09

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Review of the Lalaloopsy Marina Anchors Doll by MGA Entertainment

I feel like I have been talking about MGA Entertainment a lot lately.  This is the company that produces BFC Ink dolls, Bratz, Moxie Teenz and Lalaloopsy.  I have spent a fair amount of time over the last year pacing the toy aisle in front of the Lalaloopsy display, eyeing these adorable candy-colored dolls and their enticingly decorated boxes and trying to figure out why they are so popular.  Until recently, the $26.99 price tag was enough to scare me off an actual purchase, but a recent sale gave me an opportunity to get my hands on one.

Lalaloopsy dolls were introduced in 2010 under a different name.  They were originally (and briefly) called Bitty Buttons dolls.  I like the name Lalaloopsy much more--it is memorable, and a bit like a tongue twister.  When I first saw these dolls at Toys R Us, I assumed that they were plastic versions of cloth characters from a hit TV show--a show that featured animated rag dolls with cool toy background scenes (in my head, it was sort-of like The Wombles).  I made this assumption because I didn't understand why else there would be a rag doll made out of plastic.  I have since learned that, in reality, Lalaloopsy characters are stand-alone dolls, and aren't based on a TV show at all.

The concept behind the Lalaloopsy dolls is that they are animated cloth dolls who take on a personality determined by the type of fabric they are made out of.  Oh, and they magically come to life when the last stitch is put in.  I guess I have a fundamental problem with a character whose entire personality is based on cloth, and who is brought to life with thread, but who is actually made completely out of plastic.  I'm guessing that the younger, more open-minded members of the population might be able to look past this glaring inconsistency and appreciate the cuteness of the Lalaloopsy dolls...because they are pretty cute:
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Marina Anchors Lalaloopsy

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Review of Rapunzel from the Tonner Doll Disney Showcase Collection

I love the Disney movie Tangled.  To put that in some perspective, I should mention that I am not a die-hard Disney movie enthusiast in general.  I love Cinderella (of course) and Beauty and the Beast, but I never cared much for Snow White (she's too whiny) and I couldn't make it through the frantic Frog Princess movie, but I love Tangled.  I usually cry the whole way through the movie, even now that I've seen it about eight times.  Maybe especially now that I've seen it eight times.  I cry when the queen is sick in the beginning.  I cry when baby Rapunzel is born.  I cry when baby Rapunzel is stolen.  I cry every time there is a lantern anywhere on the screen, and then in the middle when they release thousands of lanterns and Rapunzel and Flynn are singing about seeing the light...well, by then I am sobbing and gasping and there are tears streaming down my face.  It's good crying, of course (the kind that goes well with chocolate) but it's hard to explain that to my boys.  I think they are uncomfortable watching that movie with me because of all the crying.  They worry that there's something really wrong with me...which I guess there might be.

Anyway, I have been on a bit of a Disney kick lately because of the availability of the Tangled: Ever After short film.  You can watch it free online as many times as you want (4 for me so far).  There's been a huge selection of Rapunzel dolls on the market for a while now, but with the release of Ever After, a whole new crop has been introduced.  I decided I should review a few of these dolls--old and new.  I am going to start with a unique Rapunzel doll made by the Tonner Doll company:

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Tonner Doll's Rapunzel from Tangled

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

MiM (Make it Mine) Doll Update: Centaurs and Cents

You can read my full review of the relatively new and highly creative MiM dolls here, or visit the fun website here, but I want to tell you a few quick things that have happened in the last couple of weeks regarding MiM.  First of all, I got my replacement centaur body very quickly, as promised, and was able to finish my photo shoot (they gave me that blue halter top as a free gift!):

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Centaur MiM

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Review of BFC Ink Pen Pal Doll "Britt" by MGA Entertainment

I have paused in my shopping to look at the BFC (Best Friends Club) Ink dolls on a number of occasions.  I even bought one of the extra outfits to see if it would fit my Lorifina doll (it did...kind-of). It wasn't until I started thinking about the charitable doll series of posts (here and here) that I considered reviewing one of the BFC Ink dolls.  Pondering the questions surrounding how charitable donations might impact a doll's price and quality made me brainstorm a list of 14"-22" play dolls that don't have an association with a charity to use as an outgroup in my investigation.  BFC Ink dolls made this list and appeal to me in particular because of their high level of articulation. The original BFC Ink dolls cost about $30, which would have been comparable to the Hearts 4 Hearts dolls, but I was happy to discover a newer and less expensive version of these dolls to examine.

The Pen Pal line of BFC Ink dolls were released late last year.  These dolls retail for $19.99.  In theory, they can be found at Target, Walmart, K-Mart and Toys R Us, however, as far as I can tell all BFC Ink dolls have disappeared from Toys R Us.  I actually haven't seen any of the Pen Pal dolls at my local Target or Walmart, either, but they can be purchased at Target.com (where they are called "Moxie Pen Pals" for some reason).  *Update 8/26/13: these dolls have been discontinued.

The Pen Pal dolls each represent a different country.  These dolls are meant to be the pen pals of the original club dolls.  There are 5 Pen Pal dolls: Britt (England), Carmen (Mexico), Nicolette (France), Elsa (Sweden) and Lily (South Africa).  I like Britt's combination of dark hair and blue eyes, so I ordered her.

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BFC Ink Pen Pal Britt