Dolly Review: Monster High Frankie’s Designer Booo-tique

I didn’t plan on reviewing this for the blog, but due to a surprising characteristic on the Frankie, it seems worthy of writing something up on this release. Here’s the gist– Designer Booo-tique Frankie comes with Frankie and five outfits for you to decorate with three thin fabric markers and stencils. You also get a small page of stickers you can use to add extra details to your designs.

As far as designing the outfits, there’s not that much to it. The outfits have one stretchy side and one non-stretchy side, which looks a little odd in person. The coolest of the outfits is made up like an adult coloring book with an intense pattern you can color in. Other than that one dress, the rest are free form. You can do whatever you’d like with them.

Booo-tique Frankie

The reason I am writing about this set, though, isn’t because of the gimmick, but because of the Frankie. She’s super disappointing. Right off the bat, you’ll notice one very disappointing element– the lack of articulation at her elbows and wrists.  Upon closer examination, you’ll notice another irritating feature. Frankie’s shoulder joints don’t swivel out. All they can do is move up and down. Her leg joints look normal, but who knows what will happen to them in the reboot.

Booo-tique Frankie

As if that wasn’t enough, Frankie has lost the painted stitch marks on her arms and legs and has now received molded unpainted ones. The molded marks don’t stand out half as much as the 2D painted ones.

Booo-tique Frankie

Body issues aside, what about her face? Both my mom and I thought the same thing when we saw her: why does she look so mean? Seriously, this Frankie looks far less friendly than other releases. Maybe it’s the dark make up around her eyes and the bright pink lip color, but she looks like she has a chip on her shoulder.

Booo-tique Frankie

While I can’t say this is how the bodies will be come the 2016 reboot of Monster High, just today I saw a few budget dolls with the non-articulated arms. I really hope that they aren’t moving away from elbow and wrist joints, not to mention decent working shoulder joints.

For more details on this release, check out the video review (linked above). I wanted to make sure to cover the big stuff (like her cheap arms) in this mini written review, but skimmed over some of the smaller details.

What are your thoughts on the Designer Booo-tique Frankie? Let me know in the comment area!

January 2, 2016. Tags: , , . Introductions & Reviews, Uncategorized. 16 comments.

My Thoughts on the Monster High Reboot

So, the news of the Monster High 2016 reboot has clearly made some waves this past week. You guys have been awesome enough to share your thoughts on the subject, so I thought I’d share mine.

Monster High Trio with WM

When Monster High first hit store shelves, it was a very exciting time to be a doll collector. The whole journey from when the line was first announced to their eventual debut was great fun to follow. And the doll hunts in search of trying to find the first wave?  Tons of fun. My first Monster High purchase was Lagoona.  I was so excited to find her on the shelf!  And finding Holt and Ghoulia?  Also some very exciting and memorable moments in my doll collecting career. Personally, I know that without Monster High, my blog wouldn’t have found as many readers as it has over the years, so I am very grateful to the line.

The first two and a half years of Monster High may be my favorite. We had some fantastic lines like the original wave, Dawn of the Dance, Dead Tired, Sweet 1600, Schools Out… You must agree with me that we had some really cool Monster High releases in the early years and the anticipation of finding new characters was super high. The whole line had an addictive quality about it. Much like Pringles, buying just one in a wave was nearly impossible. I most likely have nearly every Monster High produced during those years, because all the dolls were worth buying and I really wanted to have a complete collection.

Deuce Monster High

That being said, the line started to fumble a little for me in 2014 and 2015. While I still enjoy the line, the addiction, the need, to buy every single one has long been gone. Now, I only collect new characters or re-releases that I think are pretty. I think a lot of us have been thinking the same thing this past year– that Mattel wasn’t paying enough attention to Monster High. They churned out a lot of dolls in the past two years and not all of them were made or designed well. Worse, some were just plain uninspired, stagnant and, dare I say, boring. A far cry from when they made their debut a few years prior.

So now it’s nearly 2016.  The line has had 5 successful years under its belt. But here’s the thing– everything’s gotta change sometimes and it looks like it’s Monster High’s time to do just that. Mattel has been making small tweaks to the line all the way since wave one. Some have been amazing– like eliminating the rubber band bodies and using Create a Monster bodies instead. (My first wave dolls have terribly loose limbs now. So sad!) Other changes, like cutting back on the length of the outfits that were already super short to begin with, not so much. (Friendly hint, Mattel, some of us make our dolls sit and the outfits need to be a little longer to do that in a lady like fashion.)

V-Day, Monster HIgh

So, this reboot isn’t the first time Mattel has tweaked Monster High. It is the first time, however, that they’ve decided to ‘go big or go home’. I understand why Mattel would decide to make one big change, over many small minor ones.  They want their changes to make an impact, not just seem like a mistake.

As far as the plans for 2016, I’m not going to jump to conclusions just yet. Yes, the redesign is a far cry from what we’re used to, but maybe the changes will reinvigorate the line, give it new life. I agree with those that say the large eyes make the characters look younger, more like junior high students. I’m not totally against that, though. The new look is a complete rework of the gothic monster dolls we were introduced to, but the redesign is kind of cute. They definitely give off an anime vibe. In a way, it’s almost like Mattel is taking a cue from some of the customs floating around the internet, many of which have more of an animated look to them.

ghoulia

I can totally see why people would be upset, though, because this new look doesn’t exactly jive with the ‘freaky flaws’ mentality of the original design. The redesign is way more cutesy and young than the teenage monsters we’re used to seeing. But, thankfully, if the re-design isn’t your thing, there’s a whole back catalog of dolls to collect on the secondary market. Think about the doll lines we’ve lost over the past five years that only lasted one or two waves (Pinkie Cooper anyone?). No one can say we didn’t receive a nice selection of dolls and tons of fun memories over the past 5 years of collecting Monster High dolls.

I guess my opinion of the changes can be summed up with one statement: wait and see. I’m willing to give the reboot a chance, because I feel that the current Monster High line is running out of steam at a very fast pace and I don’t want to see it disappear from stores completely just yet. If that means the dolls regenerate a bit, I’m willing to wait and see them in person, with the power of Mattel’s marketing campaign behind them. Who knows? Maybe the new look will cause a whole new slew of collectors to be born? Or maybe not. All we can do is wait and see.

December 30, 2015. Tags: , . Introductions & Reviews, Uncategorized. 11 comments.

Monster High 2.0?

The Doctor may not be regenerating in 2016, but it looks like Monster High is. The ghouls we’ve grown to love will be losing their edgy look, starting (most likely) in the fall. The dark, gothic look is being replaced with“a fresh new look with new contemporary colors and graphics whilst still incorporating the iconic signatures that make the brand unique and relatable to the core audience of 6-10 year olds.”

MH Reboot Image

Last night, there was a sizzle video posted with the blog entry from an official Mattel News page, Mattel EMEA, that made it seem like the major reason for the change was that people thought Monster High looked “too dark”. (Who are these people calling Monster High too dark? Clearly, they’ve never seen the Living Dead Dolls… And also, why is Mattel posting this info meant for partners on a site anyone can access? If you’re a Mattel rep and would like me to rework this post- ie: remove image or quote, e-mail me at the address on the sidebar.)

The sizzle video is now locked down.  I was surprised to see it posted on the internet, to be honest– it was kind of rough and very much created to be an internal video, not something for us to see. Essentially, though, it was a short announcement about the upcoming changes. Here’s a mirror of the video sizzle.  The mirror was deleted.

It seems these new looks will correspond with new video content featuring monster origin stories and a new campaign, How Do You Boo, which will encourage “consumers to embrace what makes them unique and share how they Boo.”  Read the whole press release here. (The site now re-directs to Mattel.com.)

EAH reboot

Ever After High is getting tweaked here and there, too, though not as much as Monster High, so far as I can tell. According to the Mattel newsletter, “the dolls will feature new face sculpts with a softer more open approach and the content will bring to life the exciting adventures of these powerful princesses!” The 2016 push seems to be around “Ever After High: Where Princesses Are Powerful”. (I don’t think Mattel is over losing the Disney Princesses to Hasbro yet…)

I’m still working through my initial thoughts on this, so I’ll post my opinions on this later. Until then, what do you think of the upcoming changes to Monster High and Ever After High? Let me know in the comment area.

December 27, 2015. Tags: , , . Introductions & Reviews, Uncategorized. 22 comments.

Mystery Box Swap with Te2 Production

One thing I love about YouTube is how it connects people from all over the world.  A while back, I approached Eric from Te2Production about doing a mystery box swap.  Essentially, we would each put together a box of mystery items for the other to open on their YouTube channel.

We both received our packages this week and can finally share them with you!!! I had a blast preparing Eric’s mystery box.  In it I packaged a mixture of items he had on his wishlist and totally unique items that I decided he needed in his collection.

Here are a few highlights from what Eric received from me.  Besides tossing in a few items I’ve been waiting to gift to the right people, I purchased a very affordable Pinkie Cooper (yes, our local Toys R Us still has this long gone doll line), printed a super cool Sailor Moon bookend on the 3D printer and purchased some of the new Disney Descendants dolls.  To see everything that made the trip from the US to France, check out his video.  (Eric said he’d release some subtitles in the coming weeks, but it’s completely watchable, even with the language barrier!)

Now, what did I receive from this epic exchange of dolls and toys?  Let me show you!

Swap with Te2ProductionBelieve it or not, I didn’t buy many of the Monster High Haunted dolls, even though I found them to be really neat. Inside my mystery package were two– Draculaura and Twyla! There was also another Monster High doll, this one from Freaky Fusion, Cleolei!

Swap with Te2Production

This was a real surprise. Isn’t this Snow White cute? I adore her! She’ll fit in just fine with my Disney Animators Collection Mini Elsa. Swap with Te2Production I had on my wishlist something ‘french’. Anything french. This Eiffel Tower sign fits the bill completely. It’s totally tourist’y and I love it.

Swap with Te2Production

One thing I learned when I studied in Florence a long, long time ago was that the children’s magazines overseas are way cooler than the ones in the US. Maybe it’s just my local stores, but I never see any stock of magazines with toys included. Above are two paper goods packaged in my mystery box. The first one is a Monster High magazine showcasing Lagoona. It comes with lip gloss! The second item is a Panini sticker guide for Frozen.

Swap with Te2Production

Eric is a Sailor Moon fan, so I wasn’t surprised to find something Sailor Moon in my box. This is a cute phone fob. Currently, my phone is wearing a Digimon themed phone fob, but I’ll be switching to this Sailor Moon one soon! Swap with Te2Production

Here are some of the smaller items he sent. Little Miss must be bigger abroad than it is here. I’ve never seen any accessories, like pencils or notebooks, here in the States, just the books. Also pictured is a fantastic C3P0 magnet. (For those who don’t know, I collect C3P0 merchandise. See video below.) There was also a very cute dog eraser.

Swap with Te2Production

Last, Eric took the time to draw this amazing picture of me! I love it! It was one of the best things in the box. Not pictured is one last thing– a Disney Store Paris reusable bag. Perfect for packing these items up while I take my time opening them!

I had a lot of fun participating in this swap. Big thanks to Eric from Te2 Production on YouTube. I hope you had as much fun as I did!

And now, for the readers, have you ever participated in a mystery swap with a friend or stranger? What was your favorite part of the process? If you’re a blogger who is interested in doing something similar with me, let me know.

August 13, 2015. Tags: , , . Articles and Doll Histories, Spotlight Posts, Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Dolly Review: Monster High Freak du Chic Gooliope Jellington

She’s finally here!  Freak du Chic is hitting store shelves, which means Gooliope is making her debut. At the moment, she seems to be all over the stores in my area, which I guess is the perk of being the only character her size in an oversized box design.  Let’s jump to the chase, shall we?  What do I think of 17″ Gooliope?  I love her!  She’s everything I expected her to be.

Monster High Freak Du Chic

As mentioned before here on the blog, Gooliope is 17″ tall.  That’s much larger than your traditional Monster High doll. Her size is massive, especially when you compare her to dolls outside of the Monster High brand, like MSD ball jointed dolls or A Girl for All Time. It’s mind-boggling to see a Monster High stand nearly shoulder to shoulder with these kinds of dolls.  That being said, I love it!

Monster High Freak Du Chic

Gooliope has rooted pink and yellow hair styled in curls.  Now, my Gooliope has a nice mixture of both colors and has recognizable ringlets, but my mothers doesn’t.

Monster High Freak Du Chic

Monster High Freak Du Chic

Her Gooliope has more yellow hair than pink and has frizzier hair, as if someone in the factory combed out the curls and tossed her in the box.  It looks like this girl is going to be one of those Monster High releases where you will have to carefully look at each individual doll to judge her unique elements.

Monster High Freak Du Chic

Monster High Freak Du Chic

Her head is a soft vinyl, as expected.  It moves better than some smaller dolls, to be honest!  It tilts up and down and turns left and right. It’s also massive and perfectly proportioned for this 17″ size.

Monster High Freak Du Chic

My favorite part of her face design has to be her eyes.  Gooliope’s eyes are very large and anime-like.  I especially love the eye lash design.

Monster High Freak Du Chic

Gooliope’s outfit is very much inspired by the circus.  The designers put a lot of thought this time around into all the elements of her outfit from head to toe.

Monster High Freak Du Chic

First, she has a Steam Calliope, a pipe organ, as her headband. Upon her shoulders, she wears a gold plastic shoulder element similar to what the ringmaster would wear.

Monster High Freak Du Chic

The top of her dress is simple and sleeveless. The skirt portion, however, is full of action. The satin like fabric showcases many circus’y elements, like golden ropes, drawn up curtains, the monster high emblem with a color scheme of pink, black and white. Beneath the top layer is a second thin fabric with black and white stripes running down it.

Monster High Freak Du Chic

And her shoes? They’re the definition of ‘creepy cute’. They have the bones of carousel horses done up in an antique finish as their heel. The rest of the platform is pink with the Monster High emblem in the front.

Monster High Freak Du Chic

You want to know about this new body type, right? Her body is really neat! I didn’t expect them to make so many changes to the smaller body, to be honest, but they made a lot of great improvements.

Monster High Freak Du Chic

Unlike your regular Monster High bodies, where their upper and lower arms plug into each other with a peg, Gooliope has a separate elbow joint, making her double jointed.

Monster High Freak Du Chic

This allows for her to pose really well. She also has a shoulder joint that does plug in like your traditional monster high body. When I bought mine, her arm somehow detached itself. I was a little freaked out, but it popped back in easily.

Monster High Freak Du Chic

Even better than her elbow joints are her new knee joints. They allow her to pose better than the smaller Monster  High dolls. Gooliope also has an extra joint right under her hip. They look like they are pegged, like the upper arm joint. I haven’t tested it or anything, though, so I would suggest not taking her apart unless you have to.

Monster High Freak Du Chic

Her legs are a little plastic’y in feel, but solid. Both the arm and leg molds are designed to look like ‘goo’ is dripping from Gooliope.

Monster High Freak Du Chic

Monster High Freak Du Chic

Monster High Freak Du Chic

Overall, I am a huge fan of Gooliope. She’s one of the most exciting things to come out of the Monster High line in a while. (The whole Freak du Chic line is quite refreshing, actually!)

Monster High Freak Du Chic

Monster High Freak Du Chic

Video Reviews:

For a few more photos, visit my flickr album. What do you think of Gooliope? Share your thoughts below!

June 29, 2015. Tags: , , , . Introductions & Reviews, Uncategorized. 4 comments.

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