Monday, April 11, 2016

Updates, Disney Store Princess Dolls, and Photostories (Very Lengthy Post)

Hey, hey! It's been a couple of months since I've posted anything, so I decided now is as good as ever to write something. Blogging is definitely one of those hobbies that it's easy to slip out of, but once you've away from it for a while, it's difficult to get back into.

It's not that I've lost the inspiration to write, but other things have taken priority in my life. If you have been a longtime reader of my blog, you'll notice that one of those things is my dolls. I have always played with dolls, but for the past couple of years, I've really become "serious" about it. I'm sure most people won't care, but I plan on doing a post about my doll collecting.

Anywho, I wanted to give people on update on my life over the past few years, and then move into doll related stuff, so if you don't want to read about dolls, you can stop reading after the next two paragraphs.

As some of you may know, I recently moved to Baltimore, MD for a new job. My previous job was one horrible experience after another, I didn't fit in the culture, it was frustrating and stressed me out, and I felt like a failure because nothing I did seemed to be good enough. My former supervisors were very passive-aggressive in that they would say I was doing a good job, but then at the end of the year during performance appraisal, they would bring up all the major things I was doing wrong and tell me that if I didn't do better, I would lose my job. They were also significantly more lenient with other employees than with me. I don't like dwell on that experience, so if you want to know about the nitty-gritty, you can read my past posts.

I currently have a job that I love, and am in an environment that I feel that I fit in and am appreciated. Frequently, the people I work for praise me and thank me for my hard work. The praises doesn't inflate my ego, but it does make me feel that what I'm doing in being appreciated not only as a worker, but also as a human being, which to me is very important. Despite things going so well in my work life, my personal life hasn't been too great. I don't want to say that I've been depressed, but I have been down-and-out for the past 6 months. As bad as it may sound, my job and my dolls have been the only things giving me even the slightest bit of enjoyment. Actually, I think I may be suffering from light derivation. I had a little mini breakdown Saturday when it was cold and started to snow (yes, snow in April!), but the sun came out a few hours later and it was sunny for the rest of the day and all day Sunday. By the time the sun came out on Saturday, I wasn't feeling as distraught. Hopefully, with warmer weather and more sunny days, I'll begin to feel better.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Anthony Julian Jem and the Holograms Integrity Toys Doll Review

Image Not Mine. Courtesy of Integrity Toys
When Integrity Toys announced that his doll was sold out on their Facebook page, I took sold out to mean, in fact, sold out. Although I did request to be put on the wait-list, I was mentally prepared to buy the doll on ebay. I was expecting him to cost close to $300 on the secondary market, considering that only 500 were produced, and it's hard enough as it is to find African American male dolls. I was pleasantly surprised that he was much cheaper, and ended up getting him for only $200. Luckily, Anthony arrived literally hours before the blizzard began Friday afternoon.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Barbie The Look 2016 Doll Reviews

Image Not Mine

My dolls finally came!! Super excited about this!!!

I bought all three and two extra Sweet Teas; I'm keeping Night Out and one Sweet Tea, and the other three dolls are body donors. I will only be reviewing the dolls I will be keeping. Since I deboxed Urban Jungle, popped her head off and put another doll's head on, I don't think it would be fair to do a review of her, although I will go on and say that I hate the playline mold they used for her. I also apologize for not showing the dolls in their original outfits, but I literally got home, ripped the dolls out of the boxes, and commenced to redress and rebodying!

Night Out
Ellen (Night Out): OMG! She is too cute!!! I know these dolls have been getting a lot of hate for looking so young, but I love the new look. Finally, a cute, sweet looking African American doll by Mattel! Honestly, the last cute AA doll Mattel made, in my opinion anyway, was the first bellybutton Christie with the Everflex waist way back in '99, which I still have. A lot of the AA barbie dolls look very mature, which isn't bad, but it's nice to see a sweet, youthful face. I love her curls and her neutral makeup, which is a big change from the previous The Look dolls. I know a lot of people are also complaining because Mattel didn't add rooted eyelashes, but I think removing the eyelashes is a big improvement. Mattel doesn't do rooted eyelashes as well as Integrity Toys, so the Barbie rooted eyelashes tend to be more noticeable and not as "natural" as Integrity Toys dolls. Also, the first wave of The Look dolls that I bought couldn't wear eye wear because of the lashes.

Ellen is so cute, that I'm actually seriously considering selling Mighty Real Reese and replacing her with Ellen! Never thought the day would come when I would even consider replacing an Integrity Toys Dynamite Girl with a Barbie doll!!

My only complaint is that it would be nice to see an AA collectors doll that does not have the Mbili mold. This version is really cute, but Mattel uses this same face for almost all their AA collectors dolls. And this doll even has almost the same hairstyle as The last Basics AA doll, except with bigger curls. Seriously, Mattel all black people do not look the same, so diversify your AA face molds a bit!

Sweet Tea
Felicie (Sweet Tea): Super cute! I never liked any of the other Karl face mold dolls, but this one was a must! As with the previous doll, I love her neutral makeup. Yes, she does have big, doe-like eyes, and yes she does look very innocent, but that's part of her charm and what makes her cute. I'm a bit confused by her hair, though. On the promo pictures, it's wavy and kinda like a modern version of Nancy Drew's hairstyle, but the doll came with big Shirley Temple curls! I left my doll's hair curled, but did brush the curls out a little so they wouldn't look so much like individual curls. I'm assuming you're supposed to brush her hair out completely to achieve the look in the promo pictures, but with the curls being so tight, I have a feeling doing this will actually turn her hair into a big, bushy mess.

Cons: Overall, these dolls are the best collectors dolls I've bought, although I am not at all happy about the playline elbow joints that greatly limit the range of motion of the dolls (working on a fix for this though *wink*). I was initially bummed that the bodies did not have the pivotal chest articulation, but I'm beginning to get over it. There were also serious quality issues. For one, almost all the dolls I received had stains/smudges/marks on the bodies. I don't think Night Out did, but the other four definitely did. The Sweet Tea doll that I'm keeping had spots/smudges on her face. I was able to remove all but two spots, and the two that are still there are small and not noticeable, but they are still there. I also noticed spots on my Mockingjay Peeta doll's face, so I'm guessing this is a general issue with Mattel now. The other Sweet Tea heads have big Shirley Temple curls but wonky bangs. I decided to keep the doll I have because her bangs are perfect.

One of the Sweat Tea dolls seemed to have her leg glued to her body in the hip socket! Crazy right?! I had to use all my strength to free the leg, and luckily I was able to free it without breaking it.

Night Out: I think these are the best accessories I have ever seen with a doll besides Jazz Diva with her wigs, extra clothes, and makeup. The makeup brush and eyelash brush are just too much! Very well done! The compact is cute but is missing some paint. I have so many better compacts that I may toss this one. Then again I rarely play with any of the compacts, so I doubt it will ever be opened again for me to see the chipped paint anyway.

Sweet Tea: OMG! Love, love, love! I've been meaning to buy some Re-ment food, but haven't gotten around to it, so these scones are great substitutes for the time being. My only complaint is that the scones are made onto the plates (of course Mattel can't get it completely right because that would just be too much of a good thing). The menu also does not have real words and food items, unlike the menu with the Poolside outfit form the first The Look collection.

Urban Jungle: This set is actually the least appealing. Basically, these accessories are just reused playline (necklace, not shown) and collector (coffee and magazine) items.

Shoes: Ooopps, forgot to take pictures of the shoes, but they are all nice. I believe they are all new shoe molds, or at least not any that get used often. I'm glad of this because most of the collectors dolls only used three or four shoe molds, just in different colors.

People have been complaining that the Sweet Tea shoe straps are broken, but all of the dolls I ordered had the same kind of detached straps. This leads me to think that the straps are actually made like this. I know for me, I usually don't use shoes with ankle straps because they break easily. I think Mattel maybe trying to remedy this by making the straps detached. Just my theory anyway.

That's all for my review. For more pictures of these dolls and the rebodied dolls, check out my Flickr photostream. I promise it won't hurt at all!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Return?

Hi Guys! Wow, has it been a while since I've been on Blogger!

I honestly meant for this to be a short break from blogging that would only last during the Summer, but that obviously didn't happen as we are now well into Fall.  As much as I love to write and engage with other bloggers, though, it has been very tough for me to come back to blogging. I'm sure most bloggers at some point feel this way, like blogging has become more of a burden than an enjoyable hobby.

This little break really made me realize how much of a strain my blog had become for me. It was all "gotta catch up on the latest posts," and "gotta put up new content." It was more of a chore than anything. Now that I've had time to step back and enjoy life without my blog, and I have been able to really assess my feelings about it.

For me, I feel that I am no longer able to express myself through my blog, and I'm not sure the direction I want to take now. In general I feel that fashion and beauty blogs are a little superficial. No offense to any of my fellow bloggers out there; I am an avid reader of a few fashion and beauty blogs and find their posts very enjoyable and informative. However, the majority of the fashion blogs I follow I never even visit simply because their posts are entirely high fashion/designer oriented. I don't think there is anything wrong with that at all, but for me, it is not at all something I'm interested in, and, for my tastes at least, there is no substance to such posts. My opinion holds true for most beauty blogs out there as well.

Whenever I tried to do fashion or beauty product posts, it always felt so forced and fake for me. I don't mind sharing a few products or outfits that I really like and would recommend using, but to consistently do this is a strain to me.

I think part of my problem is that I try to pigeonhole myself into a certain "niche." I know there is a lot of advice out there on "creating your personal brand" and "finding your niche," but this all seems more like a hindrance to my blog. This advice is great if you use your blog as a way to advertise your business, or if you want to attract sponsors. I started my blog as a way to continue writing after college and to keep myself preoccupied while I was looking for a job. Of course, when I was jobless I thought about trying to create revenue with my blog. Ultimately, my blog is a personal blog, where I want to share my personal thoughts, ideas and interests, regardless of how all over the place they may be.

Lately, my main pastime has been my dolls. I joined BFC (Barbie Collectors Fan club) this year and have been able to find and connect with a great community of collectors on Flickr. I've also found several blogs devoted to dolls that I have began following. My dolls have always been a big part of my life since I was four years old. They've helped me through some distressing situations during my childhood, and have become the only creative medium where I can unapologetically express myself. But as I got older, I've always felt a little weird telling people that I still play with dolls. However, being exposed to other adults who have the same passion has actually made me more open about my collecting. Seeing what other people do with their dolls was one of the things that led me to publicly share my doll pictures on Flickr (which you can check out by clicking the "See My Photos" button in the sidebar).

Regarding this blog, I want it to be my one and only blog, but as I mentioned, I'm not sure what direction I want to take with it. Right now, I use Flickr to post my doll pictures, and this totally works for my needs. I have been toying (no pun intended) with the idea of creating doll stories since I basically do this anyway when I play with my dolls. If I do ever go this route, it will be in the future, and not anytime soon (I need to get over my fear of rejection/criticism before I start posting any stories for the world to see). Since the majority of my time and resources go to my dolls, I would love to post some doll related things on my blog, but I don't want my blog to only be about my dolls. I also don't want to have to deal with posting the same content here and on Flickr, so I want to avoid strictly photo only posts on my blog. That being said, new content is on hold until I can figure things out.

Sorry if this post turned into a rambling mass of text, but I wanted to make you, my readers, aware of what's been going on and why I haven't been posting. As I've mentioned before, I have a serious problem with people dropping off the face of the blogsphere without a word. I believe if you are busy, then say so. If you are quitting, then say so. Don't just leave people hanging and wasting their time checking for new content that will likely never come. Also, I hate being fake. I do a lot of keeping my thoughts and opinions to myself so as not to rock the boat as it is anyway, but I don't want to have to do this on my own blog. I want to let everyone know how I feel my blog should be going forward so it can be more true to me.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Taking a Break....

Hey y'all! I know a lot of you haven't seen me around the blogosphere in quite some time. Don't worry, in the words of Pink, I'm not dead, but I have been super busy with work and in my personal life. When I'm stressed and disillusioned, I usually like to spend time with my dolls, so I've been focusing on my collection a lot.

This summer, I'm going to take an official break from blogging. If you want to see what I'll be up to with my dolls, check out my Flickr album!

I plan to pick back up with my blog sometime in the Fall.

H.A.G.S (have a great summer)!!!