Smooshy Mushy: Blind Bags, Bento Boxes and More!

I recently received a surprise box filled with Smooshy Mushy‘s, the next big squishy slow rise toy to hit the market. After opening various Smooshy Mushy’s, I thought I would share them here on the blog, as well, because we can never have too many doll sized pets or ‘food friends’, right? Watch our box opening video below to see all the different kinds of Smooshy Mushy products available.

Smooshy Mushy’s are squishy toys. They feel a lot like a soft stress ball. When you squeeze the animal or food friends (dubbed ‘besties’), they take their time getting back into their shape. In our blind bag heavy toy market, these guys fit right in! They’d also make a pretty sweet stocking stuffer for the holidays!

Smooshy Mushy’s have a scent to them, which I don’t find unpleasant. (I can’t exactly tell what it is, though, either!) Besides coming in cute little themed containers, there are blind bags, too. Blind bags contain a mystery bestie for your collection.

Smooshy Mushy

Smooshy Mushy

Smooshy Mushy

All Smooshy Mushy’s have a ball in chain key chain that fits into a molded hole on their side. We found many of the holes to be not cut properly, so it took a minute to push the ball in chain through. I like the fact that these guys can easily turn into a key chain.

Sqooshy Mushy

Sqooshy Mushy

Sqooshy Mushy

Sqooshy Mushy

Seems like these may make fun dolly friends/pets for you dolls or cute party favors if you host a dolly get together! What do you think of the ‘squishy’┬átrend and Smooshy Mushy’s? Share your thoughts in the comment area!

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October 30, 2017. Tags: . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

ChiTAG Returns Nov 18th (Ticket Giveaway)!

For the past few years, my mom and I have attended the Chicago Toy and Game Fair at Navy Pier in Chicago, IL. Also known as ChiTAG, the Chicago Toy and Game Fair is a fun weekend of play. Unlike big toy events themed to buyers, this one is themed around consumers. Instead of getting a lot of talk about the toys on display, you get to actually play with them!

This year’s event is taking place November 18-19th and is sponsored by: Mattel, Spin Master, Goliath, Target, Pressman, Hasbro, Play Monster and LEGO, among others. Also cause for celebration is that 2017 marks the 15th year of the fair!

I'm Going to Chicago Toy and Game (ChiTAG) Week this November!

If you’re in the Chicagoland area, we’re pleased to give you a chance to WIN a family pass to the show! A Free Family pass is good for 2 adults + 4 kids (max) for a family of 6. To enter, fill out the form below! (Note: the form may not appear on mobile devices.) I’ll pull the winners on/around Nov. 8th, so you have time to prepare for the weekend!

Like the Chicago Toy and Game Fair on Facebook for photos and video during the event. You can also find them on Instagram and Twitter. Good luck and we hope to see you there!

October 26, 2017. Tags: . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Dolly Review: Luvabella, Spin Master’s Interactive Baby Doll

Luvabella is a battery operated, interactive baby doll by Spin Master. She comes in three versions: blonde hair/light skin, brown hair/tan skin, and dark brown hair/AA skin. A boy doll, LuvaBeau, is currently being marketed as a Toys R Us exclusive.

LuvaBella

Luvabella takes 4 C batteries. Once installed, turn her on and she comes to life! This robotic baby doll makes lifelike sounds and movement. Her head, arms and facial features (eyes, cheeks and lips) move on their own. The movements are quite realistic looking, in my opinion. There’s a slight motor sound that you hear when she’s turned on, but Luvabella’s cute babbling easily drowns that out.

Luvabella says over 100 words and phrases. When you first take her out of the box, Luvabella babbles, laughs and cries. As you play with her, she learns more unique words and phrases, like “spooky” or “food, please.” Luvabella also loves to play games. If you hold your hands over her round, blinking eyes, she’ll start to mumble and eventually shout “peek-a-boo”! It’s actually quite adorable!

Luvabella has sensors that allow her to know when you’re touching or tickling her. Her laugh is contagious and really does make you smile. You can hear Luvabella’s heartbeat if you hold your hand over her chest.

LuvaBella

For Luvabella’s cheeks and mouth to work properly, her face needs to allow for movement. To do this, Spin Master chose to use a rubbery material. This material picks up hair, sparkles and other foreign objects really easily. Our doll very quickly found herself covered in dog and cat hair, for example. To wash her face, they suggest using a damp washcloth. While her vinyl limbs feel as you’d expect, her head is definitely best described as tacky or rubbery. But, I’ll take that, because the movements Luvabella makes are so cool and really well done. See her in action in the video below.

Luvabella comes with a bottle, pacifier, spoon and sheep toy. If you put the sheep toy to Luvabella’s mouth, she’ll interact with it. If she’s getting fussy, she’ll take a bottle or some food from her spoon (pretend food, of course). When she’s ready for a nap, just lay her down or begin to rock her and she’ll start to fall asleep. If Luvabella has trouble falling asleep, give her the provided pacifier to calm her.

We actually tested out two Luvabella’s. The first, the brunette hair/tan skin version, didn’t work properly, which was sad, because she was so adorable and we had truly bonded with her. After contacting Spin Master, they sent a new one, the blonde hair/pale skin version. Both my mom and I agree that the brunette Luvabella’s are much cuter than the blonde one. Blonde dolls are just so common. But, it was nice getting to play with one that worked properly. We discuss the malfunction in the video review, just in case it happens to any other Luvabella dolls.

LuvaBella

Luvabella does have an off switch to conserve battery power. Another plus is that besides English, Luvabella can also babble and speak in French, if you so choose. The biggest plus, though, is that you can change Luvabella’s ‘mama’ to ‘dada’, for the boys who may want one of these robotic, interactive baby dolls to play with and parent. You can also revert her back to babble mode easily, in case you gift this to a sibling down the line.

Watch the video review, embedded above, to see both the brown haired doll and the blonde. What do you think of Luvabella? Share your thoughts in the comment area.

October 25, 2017. Tags: . Uncategorized. 3 comments.

The Chicago Toy Show Loot/Haul/Goodies

Sunday, my mom and I went to our last doll show of the year, the Chicago Toy Show. Held twice a year, this show is now in its 45th year! At the show, we saw a variety of dolls and toys. Like April’s show, the doll vendors were split between two different buildings. The new layout isn’t helpful to the vendors or shoppers, to be honest. One of the dedicated doll rooms could be easily missed due to lack of signage, so much so that the vendors were commenting on it. Hopefully, the powers that be re-think this new arrangement for April 2018’s show.

But, let’s move along to the fun part of this post– the loot! My mom and I hit the jackpot when it came to deals this time around. My budget was very limited, as a savings account doesn’t build itself (sadly), so I went shopping looking for the best deals I could get. My mom, well, she always looks for deals!

Chicago Toy Show Oct 2017

Fluff is Living SKipper’s friend. She was only released once before being shelved, much like Tiff, Skipper’s Pose N Play friend who shared Fluff’s face mold. I only have one Fluff in my collection and it’s not too often you find one in great shape with no melting around the shoulders and hips, so I was very happy to find this doll at a good price.

Chicago Toy Show Oct 2017

For $15 we scored the Barbie, Ken and Skipper “Dressin’ up with Mickey, Minnie and Donald” gift set. It was released at Toys R Us for a limited time. I’ve often seen this set online and thought it was pretty cool looking. The Skipper in the “Dressin’ up with Mickey, Minnie and Donald” gift set has purple eyes, which is pretty rare when it comes to eye colors.

Chicago Toy Show Oct 2017

One booth had a Skipper Teen Time fashion for $3.00. I picked that up! I’ve just recently started picking up more outfits for my 90’s dolls, as I never got many of them as a kid.

Chicago Toy Show Oct 2017

Jetta was $15.00. My Jem collection was in need of a Jetta, so she came home with me. She’s missing her saxophone, but her outfit is pretty much all there.

Chicago Toy Show Oct 2017

The last two items I have to show you are not doll related. I’m a fan of big eyed art prints. These two pieces of art were printed on cork. The colors are bright and the graphics are super cute!

Chicago Toy Show Oct 2017

My mom was looking for a Baby Giggles and the fates smiled upon her with this $6.00 find! She doesn’t really giggle anymore, but her flirty eyes and head still move side to side when you lift her arm.

Chicago Toy Show Oct 2017

Francie is one of my mom’s favorite Barbie dolls. She picked up this cute Francie doll at the show. She even came dressed in a Francie fashion!

Chicago Toy Show Oct 2017

We always see a few Donny Osmond dolls at the Chicago Toy Show. This time around, my mom picked one up. She had a Marie, but was looking for a properly priced Donny. This Donny turned out to be only $3.00. Add the Ken outfit she picked up for him to wear and the total was still under $15.00!

Chicago Toy Show Oct 2017

We’ve seen this My Child at the same vendors booth for over three shows now. It was about time she went home with someone. After noticing a dirt mark under her chin, my mom haggled this red headed cutie down to a good price. She’s now hanging out with her sister, whom my mom bought a few shows ago.

Chicago Toy Show Oct 2017

Another deal was this Ideal composition Shirley Temple. She’s a fixer upper, but how adorable is she?

Chicago Toy Show Oct 2017

Thumbelina was hiding in a booth when my mom spotted her. Besides the great price, she still works!

Chicago Toy Show Oct 2017

Meet Bunson Bernie. He’s missing some pieces, but is in good shape.

Chicago Toy Show Oct 2017

While not everyone is a fan of “Lemonhead” Kelly’s, we are. They made little impact on the Kelly world, so they’re still quite affordable if you see them at shows. They produced them longer in Europe, so some lines were made both in the ‘normal’ pre-lemonhead way and lemonhead style.

Watch the video below to hear us talk about the show and all the things we found! What do you think of these finds? Have you gone to a show recently? Share your thoughts in the comment area!

October 23, 2017. Tags: . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Monster High Wave 1 Retrospective

It’s been seven years since Monster High changed the doll collecting world. Before Monster High, doll collecting as a hobby wasn’t discussed very often, especially with the younger set. That changed when Monster High hit store shelves. From that gothic line based on the children of monsters and other creatures came a wave of collectors who had never bought a doll in their life, but now found themselves addicted to these ghoul-themed fashion dolls. Of course, I wasn’t part of that ‘awakening’ of sorts, but I do remember the hype that surrounded Monster High’s first few years, especially when the first wave was hitting stores. My mom and I would regularly go from store to store to see what Monster High dolls were on the shelves (if any), trying to get the complete set for our collections. Keep in mind, we were doing this because we liked the dolls, not because we thought they’d be ‘investments’ for the future. (As we’ve seen recently, those that collected for investment purposes are finding it hard to make any sort of profit. This doesn’t surprise me.)

First Wave Monster High

We bought our first two Monster High dolls at a Toys R Us. They had received a handful of dolls. Ever the budget collector, I couldn’t buy them all. In the end, I left with Lagoona. My mom left with Frankie. Those two dolls fueled the purchasing of nearly every doll in every line produced for at least two years, if not longer. I shudder to think how much I spent on Monster High dolls over the years. (Especially since most are sitting in wine boxes due to space issues.) The first few lines were released with rubber band legs, meaning that as they age, they’ll loosen. Eventually, the rubber bands will break and the dolls will fall apart. This happened to my mom’s Deuce. Thankfully, he was later released in a Create a Monster body in later years, so fixing the first wave Deuce shouldn’t be too hard.

First Wave Monster High

While Lagoona was my first Monster High purchase, my favorites of this line are Frankie, Ghoulia and Holt. Holt being my absolute favorite male doll ever produced for Monster High. Sadly, Holt only had two releases: his amazingly detailed, awesome looking first wave look and a super boring, basic bathing suit doll sold at Justice clothing stores. I often wonder why Mattel only released Holt twice. Was it the hair that was molded to look like fire? Was it the eye brow piercing? What made them shelve this doll pretty much immediately after the first wave? (Yes, he was released again in 2013, but that was probably to appease us collectors who kept asking Mattel where new Holt dolls were!) Alas, we’ll never know.

First Wave Monster High

Ghoulia is and always will be another favorite of mine. Her zombie look was perfectly done, especially when paired with character traits from the webisodes. Her outfit, too, was a true standout of the entire doll series. So many bright layers of clothing that gave her a punk sort of vibe that fit her face and styling perfectly. Her glasses complete the cool look. Ghoulia and Holt were hard dolls to get in the very beginning. They arrived later, along with the two set of Deuce and Cleo, than the rest of the ghouls. My mom and I had the majority of the first wave ghouls before we even spotted Ghoulia and Holt at Toys R Us.

First Wave Monster High

Frankie is a favorite because she was freakishly fabulous from the start. Her face was great and her outfit super fashionable. Plus, as the main character, you kind of had to love Frankie! Frankie is pictured above with the San Diego Comic Con exclusive Black and White Frankie, the first SDCC release for the line. While I picked this up on eBay, a limited number of black and white Frankie’s were sold at Justice. (Later, Mattel released another Black and White Frankie, this one in a bathing suit.) I was disappointed when Mattel didn’t continue to release black and white versions of our favorite ghouls for San Diego Comic Con. I think it would have been pretty cool to see every doll done up in this style.

First Wave Monster High

First Wave Monster High

Cleo and Deuce were the first ever two pack released in the Monster High line. Unlike Holt, Deuce got quite a few releases of the years. The original release of Cleo is still one of my favorites. I think her design really speaks to the character in the web series. This doll has a ‘regalness’ to her.

First Wave Monster High

First Wave Monster High

First Wave Monster High

I was sold on Lagoona, because of her face. While later releases of Lagoona would be disappointing, this release was spot on perfect. Her face was pretty, but still not ‘conventional’. I still love her big, round eyes and freckles.

First Wave Monster High

Clawdeen and Draculaura, to tell you the truth, aren’t my favorite of the dolls. They were both over produced and over hyped. And don’t get me started on Draculaura being the ‘new’ Frankie in the 2016 reboot. (I just— I just can’t.) These original first wave releases of Clawdeen and Draculaura are nice and speak to their characters well, though.

Check out the video above to hear Barbee0913 and I talk about Wave 1! What are your memories of the original wave 1 Monster High releases? Do you remember which Monster High doll was your first purchase? Did you go on ‘hunts’ for the dolls when they were first hitting stores? Share your thoughts in the comment area!

October 21, 2017. Tags: . Uncategorized. 7 comments.

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