Tuesday, September 27, 2016

10-inch Miraculous "Marinette" and "Adrien" Dolls by Bandai

I suspect that for normal people, enthusiasm over a television show is what prompts interest in any dolls or toys related to that show.  For me, though, things are often backwards: I see a doll I like, and then (maybe) I watch the television show associated with that line.  That's what happened with the Miraculous dolls, anyway.

I was doing some college shopping at Target with my husband, and we, you know, just happened to pass through the toy aisle.  He was geeking out over Project Mc2 Bryden's coding shirt while I wandered further down the aisle and discovered some highly-articulated dolls from Bandai that showed real promise: they had appealing anime faces, visible wrist and elbow joints (yay!), and only cost $14.99 each.  There was even an intriguing ladybug theme...which I didn't quite understand.  The only problem was that I had no idea who the characters--"Miraculous" Marinette and Adrien--were.  Remember, I don't have cable television in my house, nor do I have any children under the age of sixteen.

I left these two in the store that day, but they were never far from my mind.  A few weeks later, when life settled down a little, I finally watched the Miraculous show...and then quickly went back to the store and bought the dolls.  This show is great--I love it!  I think I even binge-watched it, although my kids tell me that I don't understand the true intensity associated with that term.  I watched nine episodes in one day.  Does that count?  Regardless, the only question I had after watching the show was; are the dolls worthy?  Today, I'll answer that question by taking a close look at both the Marinette and the Adrien doll from this series:

Marienette (left) and Adrien (right) from the Miraculous television series. $14.99 each.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Surprise: Bratz Lil' Angelz!

Happy Sunday!  Today's post was originally going to be short, but it's morphed into something a bit more substantial.  I'll explain.  What started me on this path was the discovery of a Bratz Lil' Angelz "Secret Surprise" set a few weeks ago.  I flipped out.  I mean, any toy that has both the words "secret" and "surprise" in the same sentence has got to be good.  And this toy looks amazing: it has a small baby doll with a secret gender, a hidden eye color and a hidden hair color.  The set also includes two shrouded pets of unknown species!  Doesn't that sound like fun??  But the other thing that makes this set so great is the fact that I knew nothing about the Bratz Lil' Angelz dolls before I saw it.  I have no idea how these babies escaped my radar, but I absolutely love discovering a new kind of doll.

Immediately after purchasing the Secret Surprise set, I made it my mission to learn more about the Bratz Lil' Angelz.  In doing so, I realized that surprises are a bit of a theme with this line.  I found two other sets (Pet Shop Surprise and Surprise Litter) that involve some kind of hidden feature.  I bought an example of each of these toys to show you today.  So, this post will feature three Bratz Lil' Angelz surprise toys, not just the set I originally bought.

The Bratz Lil' Angelz are all discontinued, but the silver lining is that none of the toys I'll show you today seem particularly expensive or hard to find at the moment.  I have to say, though, I think I got really lucky with the Secret Surprise set.  I found it for $10.24 on eBay, which is close to the original price.  The only other example I've been able to find is a blue version on Amazon for $83.  Yikes.  Of course I'm going to save the Secret Surprise for the very end of the post, but here's a preview of the wonderfully mysterious baby from that set...who looks like he/she might have red hair!

Bratz Lil' Angelz Secret Surprise baby (discontinued).

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The My Twinn Project Conclusion

Here, at long last, is the finale of the My Twinn Project!  Amidst back-to-school pandemonium, an emergency bathroom renovation and adventures with a sick parakeet, I finally found a free morning to take the My Twinn crew to a nearby state park for their final photo shoot.

My original intention was to re-publish all of the installments of this project as one big post--so you wouldn't have to click back and forth.  However, since the installments ended up being longer than I intended (big surprise), I will just link back to part one and part two for those who would like to see all of the details.  For anyone who has been following along, I'll simply supplement today's post with little reminders of what I've already done.

This project has been an incredible amount of fun. I gained a new appreciation for the My Twinn brand of dolls (at least the older ones) and learned a lot of restoration and cleaning skills along the way.  I feel like I had varied success with my results, though, and I'll talk about that in some detail today.  Are you ready?  I certainly am!  I'll jump right in with a sneak peek of my favorite (and the most dramatically improved) doll, Miss Tasha:

Restored Denver era My Twinn Tasha doll.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sunday Surprise: Toy Box Monthly Subscription!

I'm sure many of you have heard of subscription boxes like Loot Crate and Birchbox.  The idea is that you sign up to receive a mystery box of stuff every month.  These subscriptions have become so popular, it's now possible to get boxes with just about any theme you can imagine: pet supplies, books, cosmetics, food, crafts...and toys.

My son and I tried a subscription a few months ago called The Mystery Experiences Company.  This company sends out a detailed mystery to be solved every month--each with little puzzles, artifacts and clues to help with the solution.  This was fun, but we discovered quickly that we didn't have the time or patience to dig into a complex new mystery every month.  When I was canceling the mystery subscription, I spotted Toy Box Monthly.  For $20 ($15 plus shipping), this company sends a little box of mystery toys every month.  This sounded like the perfect thing for the Sunday Surprise!

I should mention right off the bat that the Shopkins Lil' Shoppie shown below did not come in the subscription box.  So why am I showing you a picture of her?  Well, I didn't want to give away what was in the subscription box (that would ruin the surprise!) but also, these Shopkins items will make an appearance at the end of the post.  That's all I'll say for now.

Shopkins Rainbow Kate ($5.49) and a Happy Places blind box ($2.99).