Sunday, August 14, 2022

Glamour Girlz by New York Doll Collection

Today's post is the third in a series of six short-ish reviews that will compare some of the 14-inch dolls that are on the market right now.  You can find the other two reviews here and here, or you can click the "14-inch comparisons" label to see all of them together.  After this review, I'm going to take a quick break from the series before returning with the final three brands.

Today's doll is from the New York Doll Collection, which is not a company I'd even heard of until a few months ago.  I was looking at the I'm a Girly dolls on Amazon, and the answer to a clothes-sharing question mentioned this brand.  I immediately did a search to learn more, and the first New York Doll Collection dolls I found were the 14-inch Glamour Girlz.  This company also makes 18-inch dolls, which I may or may not review at some point in the future; I saw them in person recently and was not completely sold on the faces.  But I was eager to buy one of the 14-inch girls because I knew I was going to do this series, and the Glamour Girlz offer one of the less-expensive 14-inch options.

It might shock you to learn that this doll, who I've named Ellery, is the only redheaded character in my 14-inch series!  She represents redheads well, though, with lovely copper hair that--spoilers--is easily her best feature:

Glamour Girlz doll by New York Doll Collection, $30.99.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Kindness Club Emmi by Madame Alexander

I mentioned in my Gwynn Tan review that I've gotten a little obsessed with 14-inch dolls lately, and so I decided to write a series of short (for me) reviews featuring this appealing size.  The reviews will be cumulatively comparative...meaning that I'll compare each new doll to all of the ones that came before her.  So I suppose the reviews will get slightly longer as I go.  In any case, my intention is to review six dolls in this series (it was five, but I've already found another brand that looks great).  I might take a few breaks to review some other things, too, otherwise we could be talking about nothing but 14-inch dolls for months!

Today I'm going to review a 14-inch Kindness Club doll by Madame Alexander.  I'm especially excited about her because, as I've mentioned in some of my older reviews, I have a soft spot for the Madame Alexander company.  I didn't have a huge collection of dolls when I was growing up, but many of the ones that I did have were made by this company--including my most cherished childhood companion, Baby Victoria.

The funny thing is, despite my affection for Madame Alexander products, I didn't even realize that they have a line of 14-inch play dolls until about a month ago.  I stumbled upon the Kindness Club girls by chance during an online search for a completely different brand.  I thought the dolls looked lovely in their promotional photos, and this girl (who has a very similar name to mine!) was an early favorite:

Kindness Club Emmi by Madame Alexander, $59.95.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Gwynn Tan by American Girl

I got a little nostalgic about the blog this week.  As I was writing today's review, which features Gywnn Tan, a 14-inch American Girl doll, I thought to myself, "I should reference the WellieWishers review I wrote not so long ago."  Well, "not so long ago" turns out to be six years ago.  I was struck by my commentary at that time; I mentioned being caught up in our town's high school musical, which was, indeed, a big part of my life back then.  But both of my kids were in high school six years ago...and now they're done with college and interviewing for jobs.  Ack!  And I know from the wonderful letters that I've gotten over the years that many of you were little when you first started reading this blog (some of you even wrote guest reviews!) and are now in college or working at jobs of your own.  It's crazy.  The doll world can slow time in funny ways (the WellieWisher kids are the same age they were six years ago, after all) but real life forges ahead.

Enough about that, though.  Let me tell you a little bit about why I'm bothering to revisit this style of doll six years later.  The first reason is simply that I'm excited about Corinne, American Girl's Girl of the Year for 2022.  I'm excited about Corinne because she's the first Chinese Girl of the Year, and I'm also excited because she has doll siblings--like Gwynn!  Corinne herself will make an appearance on the blog at some point in the future, but for now I'm focusing my attention on her little sister.

I'm focused on Gwynn because of the larger purpose of this review.  I've noticed a variety of 14-inch dolls on the market over the past few months, and, because I tend to get obsessive about certain ideas or styles of doll, I bought five of those different varieties.  These five dolls aren't different enough to each need long, complicated reviews, so I had the idea to run a series of shorter, interconnected reviews that will take a more comparative look at the five brands.  Every comparison series needs to start somewhere, and with some benchmark, so I figured where better to start than with one of America's most popular doll brands?  With all of that in mind, here's Miss Gwynn Tan to kick off this 14-inch doll extravaganza:

Gwynn Tan by American Girl, $65.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Freestylin' Fashion Lay Lay by Just Play

I'll confess that these days I do most of my doll shopping online.  This is mostly because of the pandemic, of course, but also because there are many enticing doll brands that I can only find online...or that I find through random online searches.  However, I try really hard to visit an actual store every now and then, because that's when I find things that I never would have learned about otherwise.

Case in point is the doll I'm sharing with you today: Freestylin' Fashion Lay Lay.  That's a series of words that I never would have known to search out on the internet, but as I cruised around Target back in May, preparing for my mermaid-themed reviews, there she was, sitting on a shelf right next to Mermaze Mermaidz Orra.  As I dallied in the aisle, her broad smile drew me in.  She was completely different from any of the other dolls on the shelf, with relatively normal proportions and a lot of personality in her face.  When I peered into the box, I could see that she looked well articulated, too.  So, knowing absolutely nothing about who Lay Lay is or why there's a doll that looks like her, I popped this charmer into my cart and took her home:

Freestylin' Fashion Lay Lay by Just Play, $19.99.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Revisiting Paola Reina's Las Amigas...and a knockoff

Today's review grew out of two different things that have been kicking around in my head recently.  First of all, Paola Reina added new joints to some of their Las Amigas dolls and, as you can imagine, I got really excited about this development.  As soon as I heard the news, I purchased a beautiful-looking redheaded Las Amigas doll with the new articulation.  However, I ended up being disappointed by that doll, so I did a quick review on Patreon and then sold her.  The upside is that in the process of researching that doll, I discovered about six other traditional Las Amigas girls that I love!  I bought two of those six, and they'll appear in this post. 

The second thing that happened was that my friend Arin drew my attention to a collection of Las Amigas lookalikes that are being sold on Amazon.  For some reason I'm always fascinated by knockoffs, even though I should probably be offended by them.  I was eager to see what these imposters look like up close, and so I purchased one...and then purchased another authentic Las Amigas doll who I thought would offer a good comparison.  Both of these girls will appear in this review, too.

I've written about Paola Reina dolls many times before (including a review of a Ruth Treffeisen doll who is equivalent to a Las Amigas), but I couldn't resist the chance to revisit this charming brand.  And there's even more going on in the Paola Reina world than I have time or resources to write about today.  For example, there are now 8-inch Mini Amigas that are completely adorable and will have to make an appearance here at some point in the future, and also a lot of boy characters who melt my heart.  For now, though, let's start with this standard-size Las Amigas girl, Dasha, and her gorgeously freckled face:

Las Amigas Dasha by Paola Reina, $71.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Sunday Surprise: Mini Fashion and Real Littles!

I was disappointed that I couldn't quite get last week's review done in time for a Sunday Surprise, so I decided to try really hard to get a quick surprise-themed review done for you today!  

My progress was slowed down a little bit this weekend because I finally hit a breaking point with my work space.  I've been writing reviews almost non-stop since October, and I forgot that if I don't take a day or two every now and then to stop and clean up my mess...well, things can get very out-of-control!  On Friday, when fetching the doll for my next review felt like an obstacle course, a death trap, and a game of hide and seek all wrapped into one, I realized that it was time to pause and clean up.  But now my room is beautiful and clean again and it's such an amazing feeling!

As I was tidying and sorting through my stash, I realized that I'd accumulated two different surprise-themed toys that involve purses or bags of some kind: Mini Fashion by Zuru and Real Littles by Moose Toys.  I thought that these two brands might be fun to compare and contrast.  Lena was excited about this idea because she's been pestering me for months to de-box the Mini Fashion sets.  She knows that they contain high-end purses that might be just her size!

Barbie Lena with a Surprise Mini Fashion ball (Zuru, $9.99).

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Mischa's Toy Jewels (now with answers!)

I'm traveling a bit this weekend, so today's review will be pretty short, and very different from what I normally write.  Anyone who's read any of my Sunday Surprise posts, especially recent ones, will know that I often comment on how the expense of surprise-themed dolls, particularly those that cost over $10, is risky because of the chance of getting a repeat.  And what happens to all of those duplicate dolls?  Some end up on eBay or at Goodwill, I'm sure, but many probably land in the garbage.  As if the packaging waste from this type of toy wasn't bad enough.

Knowing how I feel about all of this, my friend Ariel messaged me the other day and showed me a cool Instagram page called Mischa's Toy Jewels.  Mischa gathers up unwanted mini toys and turns them into children's jewelry!  How cool is that?  What's even better is that she donates half of the profits from her sales to a local food bank.  I wanted to showcase this neat project, so I purchased several bracelets and necklaces to share with you.

I had so much fun looking through Mischa's selection, not just because the jewelry is colorful and attractive, but because of the variety of mini toys on display.  I could identify some of the brands right away, but not all of them.  The unidentified mini toys were irresistible little mysteries to me, and I had a great time trying to figure out what all of them are.  And I'll confess--Mischa had to come to my rescue a few times!  I thought some of you might be similarly amused by identifying these small toys, and so today's post will have two goals: one is to simply showcase Mischa's fun jewelry, but the other is to play a little guessing game!  I'll show you what I bought, with no labels, and then in a day or two I'll post the answers and a little follow-up review.  Be warned, though, that there's one mini toy in the mix that neither Mischa nor I could identify.  Bonus points to anyone who knows what it is!

A necklace from Mischa's Toy Jewels, $10.00.