Friday, September 25, 2015

Ever After High's Dexter Charming and Adora's 18-inch Kayla--A Joint Review!

I feel especially fortunate to have such a fun mix of guest reviews this week because I seem to have come down with my first nasty cold of the season.  Blah.  That's the only thing I don't like about fall--the return of sickness.  But the timing really worked out perfectly.  My two guests, Grace and Dot, have put together wonderful, complimentary reviews that required practically no effort on my part.  These two have also lifted my spirits with their contagious enthusiasm, energy and humor.  So, a big thank-you to Grace for sharing her handsome Dexter Charming with us, and to Dot for her very special review of Adora's 18-inch Kayla doll.

To start things off, I'd like to introduce Grace, a fellow doll enthusiast and accomplished seamstress.  Grace's creativity shines on her own blog, Doll Dimensions. Grace designed her blog to be a place where people can find tutorials for doll items that will expand their play and collecting dimensions.  This blog features makeovers, sewing ideas, reviews and even (my personal favorite) a showcase of Grace's own version of Cinderella (Ginger Ella).  I think this Dexter Charming review captures the spirit of the Doll Dimensions blog really well.  Tell us more about your handsome guy, Grace!

Hey everyone!!!  I'm super, super excited to be doing this guest review!!  I love Emily's blog, and her reviews and photos are my absolute favorites.  Today I'll be reviewing a very handsome fellow by the name of Dexter Charming!  I absolutely LOVE Dexter (don't tell anyone, but I think that I like him better than Ken ;) )!  Unfortunately, I was only able to get my hands on the second edition (re-release) of Dexter, so he is missing some of his accessories.  However, I was able to replicate some of the missing ones, and I'll share how I did it at the end of this post.

When they heard that Dexter's review was today, several of the girls stopped by to say hello:

Hey, everyone!
Dexter promptly forgot about his "enchanting eyes," and removed his glasses.  The consequence:

What happened?
Seriously, what?
I had to rush in some Ken EMTs...they were all okay after a few minutes. ;) Anyhow, let's get down to business (to defeat the Huns):

Here's Dexter! (with everything that comes in his box):

Not much....
I deboxed Dexter right away because I was so excited, but here's the box itself (it's the newer style):

It kind of bothers me that the box art (which is extremely adorable, by the way), shows Dexter with his makes it even more obvious that he's missing items in this edition. I think that they should have updated the box art in order to keep people from noticing.

Like I said earlier, this is the version of Dexter that has missing accessories, (if you want to see an in-depth comparison between the first and second editions, Mansell Ireland has a great video on this topic). So unfortunately he does not have his backpack, scarf, lapel pin, or keychain.  He's still super cute, though, and considering that this is the only Dexter I could find (without ordering on ebay), I'm okay with the fact that he's missing some parts.  The backpack, as I understand it, didn't open or anything, and was just solid black plastic, so like I said, I don't really mind, though it would have been cool to have it.  I do, however, miss his scarf, so you can scroll down to the bottom of this post to see Dexter in my homemade replica of his scarf.

Here's Dexter's jacket:

From Mansell's video, I can see that the old jacket had better sleeves...I wouldn't have known otherwise, and I still think that it's super cute!  The lapels have just a plain, white, vinyl tablecloth-like texture on the back (that I'm not too fond of), but I'm not sure if the old jacket had this, too.

Underneath, Dexter has on a muscle shirt.  I find this extremely hilarious, and I have a feeling that I will need to build my Dexter, Hunter, and Alistair a workout room so that they will have a reason to wear their muscle shirts.  I understand why Mattel made him this way, because two layers of long sleeves would have made it extremely hard for Dexter to move his arms.  Even with only one layer, my Dexter's jacket was really stiff at first and made it hard for him to move his arms for a while (it loosened up after a day or two).  In fact, I adore the muscle shirt!

Here's Dexter ready to go lift some weights!!

Let's go pump some iron!
It also has his Charming family logo on it (because when you go to Ever After High, you put your family logo on a muscle shirt).

Dexter wears these cool, versatile gray pants (which are, unfortunately, missing their keychain):

Dexter has his pants tucked into these super cool Converse/high top sneakers!  Mine don't have the best painting job, but I don't care, because these are so cute!  I think that they totally match his character of a cute/awkward prince of a guy/hipster. :)

Under those shoes, however, Dexter's hiding a secret--articulated ankles!!!!!

Next, let's go over Dexter's accessories.

I'm SO glad that the re-release still has Dexter's most important accessories: his glasses and crown!

His glasses are plain black plastic, and they fit on his face quite nicely.  I simply adore these glasses!  I also think that it's super cute that he wears them so that he doesn't make girls faint with his gorgeous eyes. :)  Somehow, I get the feeling that we'll have a lot of fainting Barbies around here.

Here he is without his glasses:

Dexter and Ginger couldn't resist doing a glasses swap:

His crown is super-cool, but it does have holes on each side where it has been tied to his head with those super-annoying plastic tabby thingies.  :(  I actually haven't cut them off yet, mainly because I haven't made him any new outfits yet.  I probably will eventually, however, because even though Dexter's a prince, I don't think that he'll want to wear a crown everywhere he goes.  ;)  I  might eventually try to fill in the holes with spackling or gold polymer clay.

Dexter's hair is rock hard, and fortunately, it does not have the ultra-weird swoop thing that all of his stock photos have.  It has, lately, however, been getting these annoying little flyaways...I don't mind at this time, because the are easy to smooth back, but they seem to come out the more I remove his glasses.  I hope that they won't become an issue over time.

He also comes with a solid gold stand (no brush, because no one could get a brush through THIS head of hair!)  It has a wider clip than the girls' stands, because Dexter is slightly bigger around than the girls.  Like I said, it comes in solid gold, but I painted it using this tutorial by It's a Doll World After All.  I used blue nail polish, and sealed it with a layer of clear polish.

Here's also the clip compared to a girl's clip:

And last, his storybook/bookmark/diary.  I've taken a photo of the last paragraph, because it's absolutely my favorite part of any Ever After High diary, and part of why I love Dexter and Raven together.

Finally, I'd like to show you the replica accessories that I made for Dexter.  First, I knit him this scarf, because his outfit looked pretty bare without any accessories:

I used white size 3 crochet thread, and I split some light blue worsted weight yarn so that it had two plies.  Then, I cast on about 5 or 6 stitches to a pair of U.S. size 2 knitting needles, and knit in stockinette stitch, alternating two rows of blue with four rows of white.

It may not drape as nicely as the original, but I think that it's pretty darn close, at least enough to satisfy me. :)

Also, I made him this keychain using gold jump rings and a super tiny picture of Raven that I printed out and glued to a flat bead.

I also found this Ken doll sword lying around that looked PERFECT for Dexter, so I officially made it part of his look. :)  I really wish that all of the Dexters came with something like this!

When I first got Dexter, there was a box coming in the mail that had Raven in it (whose review is coming soon), and Dexter ran around the house yelling, "RAVEN'S COMING!!!!!!!" ;)

Ooops, I did make it sound like that was the last thing, didn't I?  Well, I forgot that I wanted to compare the articulation on Dexter with my "Ultimate Boyfriend Talking Ken".

Dexter has 13 points of articulation, while Ken has 5...I think that this statement speaks for itself. Here are some pictures of Dexter and Ken trying to do some poses.



Hey, buddy, don't you think you could be a bit more discreet?
Hugging their girlfriends:

While I still think that Ken is a timeless and adorable classic, and there are probably more articulated Kens out there somewhere, I much prefer Dexter (at this time).  Dexter was, however, about $20, while I have seen some super-cute Kens on clearance at Target recently for around $5.  If you need a boy doll for posing and photographing, Dexter is by far the best choice, but for a constant companion for Barbie, Ken is hard to beat, and is perfect for younger children.

I'll leave you with this picture of two of my EAH guys getting ready to arm wrestle while sporting their muscle shirts. :)

Thanks again so much to Emily for letting me review Dexter!  :)


This next review is extra special because there's never been anything like it on The Toy Box Philosopher.  Dot emailed me a few weeks ago with an already-made video review of her new Adora doll, Kayla!  I've never even considered doing video reviews myself, but I think it's incredibly exciting to host one here on the blog.

This is Dot's very first doll review (video or otherwise), but she's been blogging for several years and just launched a new site called The Incognito Elephant (you'll have to read her blog to discover the explanation for that awesome name!).  In addition to filming this review, Dot snapped a few beautiful pictures of her Kayla.  I've been tempted to purchase Kayla myself a few times, and Dot's pictures certainly don't help my self control!  But I should turn things over to Dot now so that she can (literally) tell you all of the details.

Hi, I'm Dot from The Incognito Elephant. I have been reading this blog for quite a while, and am excited to finally review something of my own. Thanks Emily! As I will state in the video, this is my FIRST time reviewing something, and will probably make a lot of mistakes. Feel free to correct me in the comments.

First, a bit of background on Adora. They are a company dedicated to producing high quality dolls, and are most famous for their 20" toddler dolls:

They also created the Designed by Kids For Kids contest, that is now in it's third year, and was recently won by Clara H. from Hendersonville, NC.  You can see Clara's design here.

Now, on to the review (watching on YouTube will give you a nice, big screen!):

I wanted to add a few things that I didn't notice until I was done filming:
  • First, does anyone have tips for dealing with curly doll hair? I'm trying to find some braid spray (thanks for the tip, Neth!) but I don't want to screw it up. Help?
  • The chemical odor disappeared a couple hours after opening, but it was very unpleasant in the beginning.
  • The hair extension works really well and it even looks cute in my (short) human hair. I've had people stop me and tell me that the pink in my hair looked cute.
  • My Dad said that she looks like Troy Polamalu, and I can't get the image out of my head. My parents now call the doll "the Troy Polamalu doll."
  • Am I pronouncing Rahel correctly? I'm unsure of the pronunciation.
  • She has the standard 18 inch doll articulation. I forgot to go over that.
She is a truly beautiful doll, and I recommend her completely. Hugs from both Kayla and me from the Incognito Elephant's secret lair!



  1. Hi emily dexter is nice love your reviews

    1. Hi emily I love groovy girl dolls could you do a review on one? I'd love to see a review?

  2. I've had Dexter hiding in a box for two months under the stairs in which time our EAH collection has unintentionally exploded.
    Thanks to this review methinks we might have to bust him out sharpish.

  3. SQUEEEEE!!! Thanks so much for letting me do this....I loved it so much!

  4. Hi emily! Ive been a fan of your blog for a while now, and i was looking on etsy and I found a picture that looked a bit like yours on a listing. Here is the link: I'm not sure if you allowed this person to use your picture, or if it isn't your picture, I'm sorry, but I just thought you should know.

  5. Great reviews. I'm glad I got the Dexter Charming doll with all the accessories. I painted the laces on his shoes. They look so much better. I also painted the backpack several different colors to make the different parts stand out. It looks amazing. Dexter is never without it. It's one of my favorite doll accessories. I don't know why Mattel is getting so cheap with the EAH boy dolls.

  6. Nice to see Kayla up close, Dot. I think you did a great job. I found Jasmine a couple of years ago on my birthday by chance at a steeply discounted price. It was too good to pass up and after getting her out of the box I found I liked her more and more. I agree the Adora dolls are well made and their unique face sculpts have a lot of personality. I've been considering getting Emily or Abigail based on my experience in owning Jasmine. As for caring for Kayla's hair I would recommend parting it and combing it piece by piece to avoid tangling.. The web site has a downy dunk tutorial that will help if the hair becomes frizzy, but I think the quality of Adora doll hair should hold up and prevent that from happening quickly.

  7. Super cute! I've never seen some of these dolls before! My Mom & I make beds and bunk beds for my dolls - check us out here:

  8. Using nail polish for customizing is generally a bad idea. Nail polish tends to yellow and crack over time. You are better off using cheap acrylic paint and mod podge to seal it. You can get small bottles of both for under a buck each.

  9. It really bothers me that Mattel is re-releasing dolls without accessories or paint apps for the same price as the original - at least here in Canada. I bought a Cedar Wood off (which showed the original's picture) when the price was not 3x as much as it should be as they weren't available where I am. It was the box art that made me question what I had, and as I thought it may just be yet another doll not looking anything like the art/ webisode version I Googled and saw that I had been ripped off. I contacted Mattel Customer Service and had to convince them that the doll was indeed missing accessories (I'm not sure if I really had paid attention the paint apps at the time). The customer service representative issued me a gift certificate for the price of the doll. It bugged me that I didn't have the "real" one, but there wasn't any alternative, and finally I decided "whatevs" (I finally found an original release doll in the store and I almost bought it but decided it wasn't worth wasting money just over those. Anyway, I was excited to find Dexter in stores and quickly bought him, only realizing when I came home that he was missing accessories and had to return him (I'm unable to drive and in a rural setting, so it meant I had to have someone drive into town (on the other side of town) to be taken back to Walmart. I couldn't believe he was missing so many things. I went onto the fan site of Ever After High on Facebook and no one (at the time) could explain why Mattel is doing this. I think customers need to hold Mattel accountable as they are putting these dolls out for the same price but for less quality. People are being misled because it should be made clear in artwork and/ or in text stating that from now on releases of these characters will not have what they did before. Mattel is doing this with Monster High. "The Originals" being re-released have altered clothes and accessories. It suggests that this isn't about keeping the price down so much as that people so thrilled with getting a HTF character will quickly buy them up despite their alterations and Mattel still gets the same price as the originals.

    1. I totally agree with you on this. I have actually been thinking about purchasing the re-release version of the "original" Clawdeen Wolf to see how she compares to my actual original Clawdeen. I think if there are significant differences, these should be described. All of the reviews on Amazon, etc., for the re-releases are extremely positive, so I assumed that everyone was happy with them. Maybe not?? Thank you for your honest thoughts on this--and sorry for your disappointments. I have been there myself and know how discouraging it can be.