Showing posts with label MGA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MGA. Show all posts

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Here's the Poop

How does one introduce a review about poop-themed toys?  I mean, I refuse to just dump such a steaming topic on you with no preamble.  That would eliminate all of the suspense and waste this valuable writing space.  And I don't want to soil my reputation by pinching off my prose or plopping down any old thing.  Expelling words is the whole point of a blog, after all.  But on the other hand, why muck about with a long, constipated introduction when I could just let 'er rip?

Today is gonna be all about poop.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Mermaze Mermaidz by MGA Entertainment

Whew!  My husband and I are finally finished with our whirlwind graduation tour of the East coast.  We had some absolutely incredible moments with our kids, but now I'm glad to be back in something that resembles a routine.  As usual, I have a billion things on my mind and in my review queue, and my slow self can't work fast enough to keep up.  The other problem is that I often get distracted by new and shiny things; today's review is a good example of that.

I was happily at work on a review that features a doll from a few years ago (there are a lot of those that I need to get caught up with!), but then a mundane trip to Target threw me completely off course.  I was doing a quick sweep of the doll aisles on my way to get some hand lotion, and was stopped in my tracks by a doll with hypnotic inset eyes.  She's one of the new Mermaze Mermaidz dolls from MGA Entertainment, and her name is Orra:

Mermaze Mermaidz Orra doll by MGA Entertainment, $44.99.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Boombox Battle! L.O.L. Surprise vs. American Girl

Is anyone in the mood to go back to the 1980s for a toy boombox battle?  I hope so!  During my research for Part One of the L.O.L. Surprise catch-up review series, I got irrationally intrigued by the L.O.L. Remix dolls that have packaging which combines to make a plastic boombox.  I'm a huge fan of the 80s and have really fond memories of boomboxes, so I'm always tempted by this type of vintage, nostalgia toy.  I was shocked, however, to discover that in order to assemble the three sets necessary to make the L.O.L. boombox, you have to shell out around $50 ($44.97, ~$51 with batteries).

Most of us would think hard about a $50 purchase, but it's so easy to spend that much (or more) on a few smaller items.  Blind bag toys are especially good at tempting people to buy more, because there's always a collection to complete or a highly-desirable but hard-to-find toy in the mix.  But if you know ahead of time that you're going to end up spending $50 on a specific assortment of blind bag toys, you have options.  Maybe there's something else for that price that you or your kids would rather have.  But what is comparable to a freakin' L.O.L. boombox? 

It just so happens that for the last few months I've been drooling over another boombox toy that costs $50: Courtney's Sleepover Accessory Set from American Girl.  This toy doesn't offer a perfect comparison because, unlike L.O.L. Surprise, there are no dolls included in the set.  But it offers an excellent way to put the Remix toys into some context.  It also pits the two biggest toy companies in the country (MGA Entertainment and Mattel) against each other.  What could be more fun?  

So let's check out these two popular $50 boombox-themed toys and see which one comes out on top!

L.O.L. Surprise Remix assortment ($44.97) and Courtney's Sleepover Accessories ($50).

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Sunday Surprise: Baby Born Surprise Mini Babies (and more)!

Happy Sunday!  I have officially lived in New Jersey for one year today!  And I'm so much happier than I was on this day last year.  Last year I drove seven hours from Maine in my tiny Prius packed full with all of the remaining belongings from our old house, plus four stressed-out dogs and two small cats.  It was a long journey!  But here I am sitting on my couch typing up a surprise review, which, if you'd asked me a year ago, is not something I ever thought would happen again.

I really like surprise toys, and I especially like surprise mini babies.  I don't collect baby dolls in general anymore, so I'm not sure why babies are so appealing to me in a small scale--and especially with a surprise theme.  Maybe it's because babies bring several surprises with them in real life?  Or perhaps it's just because mini babies are great little toys, either on their own as something to nurture, or as a fun new addition to a doll family.

In any case, I've reviewed a few different surprise babies over the years, including Zapf Jolly Dollies and the unrivaled Cabbage Patch Babyland Mini Kids--which are still probably my favorite surprise mini of all.  But I wanted to see what kinds of mini babies are available on the market today, so I focused on this theme during one of my Target missions.  The first surprise baby toy I found was this one, by Zapf and MGA Entertainment:

Baby Born Surprise Mini Babies, $9.99.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Rainbow High Dolls, Part Two: Vanessa Tempo

I'm back, as promised, to follow up on my previous review of Rainbow High dolls.  It's been really fun to read through the comments on the last post.  I love hearing about everyone's personal reactions and interactions with these dolls!  It's also neat to learn that many of the Rainbow High fashions are based on iconic outfits from the real fashion world.  Thank you for this revelation, WigglyWogglyWaffles, I had no idea!  Although Sheryl's outfit did look familiar (Sév filled me in that it's one of Cher's outfits in the movie Clueless).  It'll be fun to look at the dolls through this lens from now on--to see if I can identify any of their copycat fashions.

I'm reviewing a second Rainbow High doll in this post because it's always nice to look at two examples from a certain doll line, just to make sure any flaws or highlights aren't flukes.  I chose one of the newest dolls I could find for this addendum because I figured there'd be some interest in her, and also because she's presumably a good representation of the current level of quality.

Meet Vanessa Tempo:

Rainbow High's Vanessa Tempo, $49.99.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Rainbow High Dolls by MGA Entertainment

One of the things I'm doing over on Patreon is giving my Patrons a chance to weigh in on what review they want to see next.  Two weeks ago, they picked this Rainbow High girl over a different play doll.  The vote was extremely close, though, so the other doll will probably get her review soon.  I'm happy that this review won, because I've been extremely curious about the Rainbow High brand for several months now.

When I was taking a break from doll reviews and putting all of my energy into My Twinn restorations, I rarely visited any kind of toy store.  This is highly unusual for me, since I get a huge amount of happiness from just being around toys.  But something happened about a month before I started writing here again: I was at Target looking for a game in the electronics section, and I found myself wandering into the adjacent toy aisles, unable to resist the pull.

I didn't give all of the toys the scrutiny they deserved on that day, but I did a broad sweep of the doll sections to see what was new.  The one thing I saw that stuck in my head was the Rainbow High collection.  The Rainbow High dolls were displayed opposite the L.O.L. toys, and I found the cohesive color schemes of the Rainbow High characters to be a soothing and attractive contrast to the neon chaos of the L.O.L. shelves.  Each Rainbow High character has clothing and hair that match, and so looking at all of the dolls together is like looking at a big rainbow.  It's very seductive.  And of course I'm always roped in by dolls with interesting eyes and nice articulation.  I almost bought a doll on the spot--I really wanted to see what the articulation was like--but told myself it was silly since I wasn't doing reviews anymore.

As you can imagine, as soon as I decided to write reviews again, the first thing I did was scoot back to Target and buy a Rainbow High doll!  Here's the one I picked:

Rainbow High's Georgia Bloom, $27.99.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sunday Surprise: Na! Na! Na! Surprise Dolls by MGA Entertainment!

Surprise!  I'm back to write some more reviews.  As it turned out, after my life settled down, I started to miss this place a lot.  So here I am, reporting to you from my new home in New Jersey, where I already have a big queue of dolls that I want to review!  There have been some great releases over the last few years that I really want to talk about.  Things will be pretty much the same around here, except for a few little changes that we can discuss later.

Right now I want to talk about the Na! Na! Na! Surprise dolls. Everybody else on the planet probably knows about these dolls, but I knew nothing about them until I saw a few at my local Target store about a week ago.  The printed fabric faces looked really interesting to me, and of course the surprise theme is right up my alley.  I figured this would be a fun way to resurrect the old Sunday Surprise series.

The Na! Na! Na! Surprise dolls were originally released at the end of 2019, and there have already been (I think) 8 waves.  That's a lot of dolls in a short period of time!  Let's take a closer look at a few of these cuties and see what surprises they have in store.

Na! Na! Na! Surprise Teens doll, Alaska Frost (2021).

Saturday, June 16, 2018

A Project Mc2 McKeyla with Painted Eyes?

I'm struggling a little to get up-to-speed with eBay sales, but I did manage to get a widget posted in the sidebar here for anyone who wants to monitor the auctions.  I'm starting everything at just a few dollars with no reserve.  Shipping can be high on some of the larger dolls, though, and I'm still working on getting those costs as low as I can.  There's weird stuff going on with box dimensions that I don't fully understand yet!  I'm certainly not looking to make a profit on shipping.

Anyway, I swore I wouldn't buy any more dolls just for review (and I swore I was done with Project Mc2...many times) but I couldn't resist this new Project Mc2 McKeyla doll.  She's a simpler version of the Lava Light doll that I reviewed back in 2015.  She has fewer accessories and painted eyes.  At this point, she's not mentioned on the official Mc2 website, and I've only been able to find her on the secondary market for ridiculously high prices (currently $70 on Amazon?!).  Some of the Amazon buyer reviews suggest that she's a knockoff, but I had to get my hands on her to see what I could learn.  Back when I bought her, she was "only" $29.  I guess that's the price of curiosity.

Project Mc2 McKeyla's Lava Light doll...with painted eyes.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday Surprise: Surprizamals and L.O.L. Confetti Pop!

It's been a while since I've done a Sunday Surprise post, and during that time–not surprisingly–MGA Entertainment has released yet another group of L.O.L. Surprise dolls!  They're called Confetti Pop and they sound pretty awesome.

I've had a bit of L.O.L Surprise overload lately, so I wasn't really planning on reviewing any more of these toys, but the Confetti dolls have a few new tricks up their sleeves that I really wanted to see for myself.

I didn't want to make this review all about the L.O.L. dolls, though, so I decided to include another ball-enclosed surprise toy: Surprizamals by the Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company.  I've accumulated four Surprizamal balls over the past year and have only opened one of them.  I'm eager to open the rest!  To start things off, here's my opened Surprizamal dog, Pam, with the (disappointing) L.O.L. dolls from my last review:

A L.O.L. Series 3 Pet, a Surprizamal, and a L.O.L. Glitter Series doll.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sunday Surprise: L.O.L. Glitter Series and Pets!

MGA Entertainment is coming out with new L.O.L. Surprise dolls at a furious rate.  Just as the Lil Sisters began to show up reliably in stores, two new groupings--the Glitter Series and Series 3 Pets--were released.  I have yet to see these newcomers in stores, but, as always, eBay and Amazon vendors are happy to part with their stash for exorbitant prices.

I can't say I'm the biggest fan of these little balled-up surprise dolls, but, judging by the traffic to the other two reviews I've written (Series 1 and Lil Sisters), they are favorites for many of you.  I definitely understand the appeal.  Not only do I love surprise-themed toys in general, but the play potential of the articulated L.O.L girls and their accessories is higher than most blind bag options.

So, today I will share two of each of the new types of L.O.L. Surprise ball with you, and we'll see if MGA has another instant hit on their hands!

Unopened L.O.L. Surprise Pets (left) and Glitter Series (right) balls.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Another Project Mc2 Update!

I'm so grateful and excited to see the donations that have been added to our GlobalGiving page so far!   Wow!!  Big hugs to April, Kelly, Nonna, Katrina, Stephanie, Abigail, Yvette, Elaine, Tischa, and the lovely people who chose to remain anonymous.  Thank you also to everyone who's read my post and encouraged this effort in any way.  I know many of you have already given as much as you can in other ways or to other needy causes.  As promised, while this fundraiser is running I've been working extra-hard on new reviews.  Lately I've been splitting my time between a look at the new Maru and Friends Mini Pals and today's post: an update on the ever-tempting Project Mc2 line.

I've reviewed Project Mc2 dolls several times already (here and here)--not because they're my favorite doll line or anything, but I guess because I wish they were.  The dolls have so many appealing elements: inset eyes, lots of joints, sweet faces, fun project ideas, and a S.T.E.A.M.-based theme to boot.  They should be the perfect play dolls for me.  In addition, MGA Entertainment is doing a great job of releasing new dolls at regular intervals, so I feel like every time I check in on the collection, there's something fun and unexpected for me to look at.

In fact, I've been buying one or two dolls from each new wave, stashing them away for future use.  At this point I've accumulated five dolls, which feels like more than enough for a crazy-long review.  The five dolls I chose are Ember and McKeyla from the most recent masquerade collection, McKeyla and Bryden from the previous fancy dress group, and--by request--the very first Devon D'Marco doll.  They are a good-looking quintet:

Project Mc2 dolls (from left): McKeyla's Glue Tattoos, Bryden's Light-Up Earrings, Devon's Puffy Paint, McKeyla's Lava Lip Gloss, and Ember's Fairy Wings.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

L.O.L. Surprise Series 2: Let's Be Friends Lil Sisters!

As promised, I'm back with another surprise post...and it's not even Sunday!  Today I'm going to look at the Lil Sisters balls from the new series of Lil Outrageous Littles (L.O.L.).

I reviewed a first wave L.O.L. Surprise doll back in December....actually, I opened two dolls during that review, but they ended up being duplicates of the same character, Hoops MVP.  Since that time, I've opened a few more balls on my own and they've all been different, which is great.  I have to say though, that I'm growing tired of opening this particular surprise toy.  Once the multi-layered packaging loses its novelty, the balls just become tedious to deal with.  I got to the point where I was ripping open the balls; completely ignoring the stickers and picture phrases, leaving bottle accessories unopened, and immediately pitching the plastic balls into the trash.  I only wanted to see the doll.  That's way too much waste for a $10 toy.

However, just as I lost enthusiasm for purchasing more of these dolls, the new series--Let's Be Friends--hit the shelves.  Series 2 includes regular-sized L.O.L. dolls, but also a whole collection of Lil Sisters.  Lil Sisters are smaller (and cheaper!) balls that contain surprise baby dolls.  The Lil Sister babies coordinate with the larger L.O.L. dolls from both Series 1 and Series 2, so it's possible to get matching big and little dolls.  Fun!  Of course I had to buy a few:

Series 1 L.O.L. Surprise doll, "Center Stage" ($9.99), and a Series 2 Li'l Sisters ball ($6.99).

Monday, May 29, 2017

Sunday Monday Surprise: Bratz Secret Date!

There were only about two minutes between the time I read an anonymous comment about Bratz Secret Date dolls and the moment I clicked "Buy it Now" on eBay.  This is exactly the kind of toy that appeals to me (a vintage doll with a hidden surprise!) and I never even knew the line existed until I read that comment.  So--although I can't thank you by name--many thanks to Anonymous for the outstanding suggestion!

The Bratz Secret Date series was introduced in 2004.  The collection included five of the Bratz girls (Meygan, Jade, Yasmin, Cloe, and Nevra), each packaged with a hidden blind date doll--one of five Bratz Boyz characters.  Cool idea, right?  The Secret Date collection ignited some controversy, though, because the title of the line and the suggestive commercial implied that the Bratz girls were going out in secret (without permission from their parents) with a boy they'd never met.  In 2004, a time when concerns were brewing over kids meeting strangers online, the backlash to this series of dolls was understandable.  I truly believe that the intention behind the theme was innocent--but that ad certainly makes me uncomfortable.  What do you guys think?

In response to the criticism, MGA Entertainment quickly renamed the series Blind Date and updated all of the packaging.  Today I will show you Yasmin (and her blind date!) from the original Secret Date collection:

Bratz Secret Date Yasmin, 2004 ($29.99).

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sunday Surprise: Lil Outrageous Littles (L.O.L.) Dolls!

I should never be allowed to do more than one thing at a time.  This past week, I've been working on two reviews--one of them a Sunday Surprise, one a regular review.  But I kept bouncing back and forth between the two posts, not staying focused enough to finish either one of them.  Sigh.  And now it's Sunday.  And what was my solution to this problem, you might ask?  Start a completely different Sunday Surprise review, of course!  Why not?

So, out of the blue, today I will do a quick review of the Lil Outrageous Littles (L.O.L.) by MGA Entertainment!  I want to thank Amy and Lilium for suggesting these toys to me.  Each mystery doll, packaged in a softball-sized blind box, has seven accompanying surprises to uncover.  They're the perfect little Sunday treat:

Lil Outrageous Littles (L.O.L.) doll by MGA Entertainment, $7.99.

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).

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Project Mc2 Update with Ember Evergreen

Well, this is the last week before I take my eldest son to college, so the blog is getting ignored a little bit.  It's a crazy, emotional time and I don't want to miss anything with my kid.  I should also explain my delay in posting the conclusion of the My Twinn Project.  I haven't lost enthusiasm for my rejuvenated 23" girls by any means, it's just that I'm finding it difficult to choose a space where I can photograph four large dolls.  I'll figure it out, though.

Some of you might be a little surprised to see that I'm reviewing more Project Mc2 dolls today.  Even though I'm a huge fan of science and S.T.E.A.M.-related toys, I didn't have a completely positive reaction to the first wave of Mc2 dolls.  As a quick reminder: I reviewed McKeyla McAllister and her lava lamp almost exactly a year ago, and was disappointed by the doll's floppy, flaky articulation and bad hair. I was also underwhelmed by the science content that accompanied the lava light project.  However, the line redeemed itself somewhat because of the fun assortment of geeky clothing, the nice faces and inset eyes on the dolls, and the entertainment value of the project accessories.

I managed to observe the release of the second wave of Project Mc2 dolls with only mild interest and no purchases.  However, when MGA Entertainment added a redheaded character to their most recent collection of dolls...my self control crumbled.  Not only do I love the look of the new Ember Evergreen character, but I was also tempted by the most recent version of my favorite Project Mc2 girl, Bryden Bandweth.  In this review I'll take a look at both of these dolls and their S.T.E.A.M.-related accessories.

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"Bryden's Speaker" Bryden Bandweth (left) and "Ember's Garden" Ember Evergreen (right)
$24.99 each.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lalaloopsy Pet Pal Palooza!

It feels wonderful to be able to showcase a few final guest reviewers here on the blog.  I have two more guest posts after this one, and all of these reviewers have put so much thought and enthusiasm into their work--it's inspiring.  Today's lovely guest, Carissa, emailed last September to suggest a Hello Kitty figure review.  She thought it would make a nice expansion for my brief Jada and Blip Hello Kitty toy comparison, and I totally agreed.  However, a few months later the Lalaloopsy Pet Pals animals were released and both Carissa and I were completely charmed.  So, Carissa offered to write a review of the new animal minis instead, and proposed some excellent ideas for comparisons.  But there are so many fun Lalaloopsy products these days, I got carried away and kept suggesting additions to Carissa's post: How about one of the large Pet Pals for comparison?  Are they the same size as the Littles?  Ooh--and maybe you could also compare a Mooshka mini?  Hey, and you know those cute little playsets?  I bet those would look sooo adorable with the minis...you get the idea.  By the middle of the summer, Carissa had cheerfully agreed to review half of the Lalaloopsy lineup.  She's pretty amazing.

So, today Carissa will feature the Lalaloopsy mini Pet Pal pig (Belly Curly Tail) and will compare her to the full size Belly Curly Tail figure.  She will also compare the full-sized Belly to a Lalaloopsy Little.  As an extra bonus, Carissa took the time to compare the Belly mini to two other Lalaloopsy Pet Pal minis (Wooly Fuzzy Fleece and Tickles B. Nana) and to the Mooshka Fairy Tales mini fox!  There's even a playset included at the end of the review...along with a couple of other fun surprises.  In order to keep the post from being too long, Carissa uploaded many of her extra photographs into a gorgeous Flickr album.  I highly recommend taking a peek at these bright, detailed shots.  They really add a lot to the review.

I hope that this post will be a treat for Lalaloopsy fans and a great overview for those who are not yet familiar with this whimsical brand.  Welcome to Carissa's incredible Lalaloopsy Pet Pals extravaganza!

Lalaloopsy Pet Pals "Toothy Yawns-a-lot" hippo (and friends!).

Friday, September 18, 2015

Create-A-Bratz by MGA Entertainment

This is the first Bratz doll review I've ever written, which feels strange given the impact of this brand in recent play doll history.  I like MGA's spin-off Bratzillaz dolls, but have never been a great admirer of Bratz themselves--mostly because of their bratty, haughty image (brace yourself for some hypocrisy on that statement later on, though).  My feelings about Bratz dolls started to change after Samehch's 2014 guest overview.  Seeing the dolls through Samehch's eyes gave me a new appreciation for these personality-packed, fashionable characters.  In fact, I've actually purchased a few Bratz dolls for my collection in the past year.

At the time of that guest review, MGA had just put the Bratz line on hiatus in the United States market, preparing for a big 2015 re-release.  Bratz dolls continued to be sold in other countries during this hiatus.  The overseas selection during this time included a wonderfully clever and creative Bratz idea: the Duct Tape Fashion dolls.  As a person whose wallet is made completely out of Duct Tape, I heartily approve of this concept.  There's a very charming video review of Duct Tape Yasmin on YouTube.  Even though this particular video doesn't show how the Duct Tape customization works, I highly recommend watching it anyway--especially the part where the charismatic young reviewer expertly fills time while her poor father de-boxes Yasmin.  It's classic.

When the long-awaited 2015 Bratz dolls finally hit shelves in the United States this summer, I was underwhelmed.  I like the freckle-faced, pink-haired #SelfieSnaps Cloe and a few others, but as a whole, the dolls didn't immediately strike me as being obviously better than their predecessors.  To my unpracticed eye, it wasn't even clear right away what had changed.  However, Target stores have started offering a customizable Bratz doll option that did strike me as different and fun.  Today I will review one of these new Create-A-Bratz girls from Target and compare her to a few other Bratz dolls.  Here's my Create-A-Bratz, who I've named Sadie:

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Create-A-Bratz doll from Target, $49.99.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Project Mc2 Dolls by MGA Entertainment

Ever since my friend Melissa told me about the new 11-inch Project Mc2 play dolls by MGA Entertainment, I have been looking forward to writing this review.  There were a ton of things to get excited about with this new doll line.  First of all, the promotional pictures of the dolls make their articulation look incredibly promising.  Also, the girls all have realistic-looking inset eyes that make me think fondly of Spin Master's discontinued Liv dolls.  The icing on the cake is that this new group has a science-based theme, wonderfully geeky personalities, and creative, project-based accessories.  Sounds like a dream come true for me, doesn't it?  Many of you thought so, and generously took the time to email when you saw these dolls show up in stores.  Thank you so much for each and every message--you guys know me well.

This doll line is based on a live-action television series following a group of smart tweens who belong to a secret spy organization called NOV8 (for innovate).  The four members of NOV8 use their S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) skills to go on missions.  The series premiered yesterday on Netflix.

I was in such a hurry to get my hands on these dolls, I ordered all four of the characters on eBay the instant they appeared.  Unfortunately, as those of you on Facebook already know, I ordered too hastily to notice that the dolls I bought were the $14.99 basic versions that have limited articulation.  To get a doll with the number of joints shown in the promotional pictures, you have to order one of the more expensive Project Mc2 playsets ($24.99).  The great thing about ordering the sets, however, is that each one comes with a doll and a fun-looking science-based activity.  After realizing my mistake, I immediately bought one of the sets: McKeyla's Lava Light.  In this review, I will look at McKeyla and her activity, and will also de-box one of my basic dolls for comparison.  Brace yourselves, folks, this is a long one.

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Project Mc2 "McKeyla" from the McKeyla's Lava Light set, $24.99.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Vi and Va Dolls by MGA Entertainment

Lately I have been scanning the shelves of the local stores, eagerly looking for any sign of the 2015 Bratz dolls by MGA Entertainment.  While I've yet to see anything new from Bratz, MGA did debut a completely different doll line back in January.  Several of you have been noticing these dolls in the stores and asking if I would write a review.  I am extremely happy to do this review because the newcomers look quite different from most other dolls on the shelves right now--and I am always excited to see something truly new.

The doll brand is called "Vi and Va," which is short for "Viviana and Valentina." The brand name also sounds like the word viva, which means "live" or "long live" in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.  Viviana and Valentina are a pair of teenaged sisters who are also close friends.  The other dolls in the line are the sisters' two cousins, Roxxi and Felicia--who are also friends.  MGA's website does not have a huge amount of backstory about these characters, but I get the sense that the girls are Latina and that the line is meant to center around close families.

The dolls are only available at Target right now, where they have been relatively easy to find for the past few months.  All four of the characters were in stock (and on sale) when I went shopping.  There were also a few fashion packs and a Birthday Celebration set with both Vi and Va.  I chose the redheaded Vi doll and also her green-eyed, blonde-haired cousin, Felicia.  I thought these two offered a nice contrast and would be fun to review together:

Viviana (left) and Felicia (right) by MGA Entertainment, $16.99 each.