Monday, February 1, 2016

Did You Miss Me? ;)

Hello to all of my lovely readers! How was your January? I hope your year got off to a great start.

I wanted to thank all of you for being so understanding about my month-long hiatus. It was just what I needed to regroup and take care of some long-overdue projects. I really missed being here, though, and I'm happy to be back. :)

As usual, I had way too many things on my "to do" list for January, so I didn't quite accomplish everything I'd hoped, but it still was a pretty productive month.

So, just what did I do with all my spare time, you may ask?

1. I adopted a unicorn. This little cutie was in Barnes and Noble. I had a gift card, and I couldn't resist his cute little face. He's now named after my unicorn character in my book, which I can't share with you guys just yet. So here, he'll be referred to as "M." He came with a fun little guide on how to raise a unicorn. ;)

I'm thinking it would be fun to take him along on some of my trips. "M" the traveling unicorn. ;)

2. I installed lighting in my doll rooms. My mom found a set of six little LED lights at Costco that were on coupon for only $15 plus tax last month. She bought them for her doll rooms, and they looked great! So, of course, I decided to go to Costco and snag a set for myself. The lighting is so horrible in my room. Now I'll be able to take much better pictures and share more of the intricate details of my doll rooms.

I forgot to take a picture of the lights in their packaging before I opened them, but here's the empty package (just in case any of you want to try and find them).

Here's what the rooms looked like before the lights (and before I tidied up the rooms). ;)

And here they are with the new lights. 

They even have a remote so I don't have to push them on individually. I can also choose four different levels of lighting. I can't wait to do some photo shoots in there now! :)

Here's a closer look at the three rooms:

I love how natural the lighting is now. I've never been able to get this clear of a picture in my doll rooms before. :) 

The only downside to these lights is that the self-adhesive pads they came with didn't hold very well. The lights kept dropping no matter how hard I tried to keep them up. Yesterday, Hubby picked up some strong double-sided tape to help keep them in place. So far they haven't had a problem anymore.  Just FYI. :)

This is the stuff he got. It's Scotch "Indoor Mounting Tape."

3. I did a major overhaul of my collection. We're talking drawers, closets, and every single shelf. I'd been feeling the need to go through things for a while, partially because I was overwhelmed with everything I had, and partially because I was just flat running out of space. I'm also trying to save up for Mount Hermon again this year, so I needed to sell some things to save up for that. (About $400 more to go and I'm paid in full.) :)

A look at my living room during the crazy eBay/Craigslist/local children's clothing and toy store phase. ;) (And actually, this is less than half of the stuff I sold.) I still have a few more listings to do, but not nearly as many as I did before.

My room is still full of stuff, but it's much more manageable and organized. A YouTube room tour will be coming your way in the next month or so. In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures.

Sorry for the less-than-stellar quality, guys. When I do a more official room tour, I'll use a lamp for extra lighting. ;)

Oh, and if you want a laugh, check out my "Tone Deaf Belle" video I just uploaded to YouTube. I'm in the process of listing my large Disney Store singing dolls on eBay, and while taking pictures and checking out their singing features, I discovered that Belle had a little...problem...staying on key. ;) She also (rather creepily) decided to start singing on her own without waiting for me to press the button on her palm. :{

4. I heard back from all of my editing friends and am now self-editing my book based on their recommendations. Whew, this is a crazy process! It takes a lot of thought, prayer, and time. Your prayers would be appreciated as I evaluate each suggestion and decide what is best for my book. I will be submitting my manuscript to two potential agents sometime next week. Eep! I'm excited and terrified at the same time. ;) I'll keep you guys posted on my progress.

5. I started Skinny Jeans again. After taking a break from the gym in December, I returned for another Skinny Jeans program at the beginning of January. It was wonderful to get back to exercising. Even better, I didn't lose all that much progress after a crazy holiday month, so that was encouraging. :)

I won't be vlogging through my experience this time, at least not on a regular basis. Still, I'm looking forward to learning more, making exercise and eating right the norm, and continuing to grow stronger and healthier. :)

6. I cleaned my house. Hooray! I've been so disgusted by how trashed my house has been. It's amazing how much stress a messy house adds to my life. I try to ignore it, but it's always there in the back of my mind. But now, it's so wonderful to get up in the morning and come out to a spotless living room and kitchen. We had company over this past weekend, and my doll club is coming over this Wednesday for our monthly meeting, so cleaning was imperative.

I'm not sure how long this phenomenon will last, so I took some pictures to document it. You may never see it this clean again. ;)

My living room. The quality's pretty bad, but at least I didn't have to pixelate anything this way. ;)

My 80s and 90s toy curio. :)

My computer desk, where all the blogging/writing/artsy magic happens. ;)

Okay, I do still have this pile of tubs to go through. It's all paperwork that needs to either be filed, shredded, or stored. Sigh.

The dining room, with Little Gal and Middle Gal playing an after school game of Nertz. :)

My kitchen. This is the cleanest it's been in a while, because my washer overflowed last Wednesday night. :} I had to scrub the entire floor and throw out a bunch of stuff that got ruined. I guess that's one way to get motivated to clean for company. ;)

Our hallway.

Our Frozen bathroom.

You've already seen pics of my room, and the girls rooms are...ahem...not exactly on the clean side at the moment, so I think that will conclude the tour pics for now. ;)

Oldest Gal stayed home with a sore throat today, so she's a little out of sorts at the moment, anyway.

7. I purchased a Post Office Box. Yep, it's official! I now have a PO Box for anyone who is interested in sending me fan mail. I have a nice blank spot on my wall behind my computer where I will hang up any notes that are sent my way.

You can reach me at:

   Hannah Prewett
   PO Box 87
   Anderson, CA 96007

I have plans to do a "Fan Mail Friday" post at the end of each month. In that post, I will share all of the mail I received for the month. (So if you'd rather not have me share your name, please let me know in your letter!) I will not be able to respond to fan mail, but if you include any questions in your letters, I will answer them in my post.

Also, I'm planning on doing a small giveaway each month specifically for fan mail. Anyone who sends me something will have their name put in a drawing for a free little prize.

Talking about themed posts leads to my next accomplishment for the month.

8. I brainstormed and came up with some fun future post ideas.  Because of space issues, changes to my budget, and other factors, I'm going to have to change things up just a bit here on the blog. I'll still do doll and toy reviews, but I won't be able to review every new thing that comes out (as much as I'd love to). I also want to bring back some of the other things I used to do. Here are some of the ideas I came up with:

  -Fan Art Friday: I'll share my latest art projects.

  -Thrifty Thursday: I'll share tips and tricks for finding great treasures in thrift stores and other secondhand stores. Other times, I'll share my latest thrift store finds.

  -Photography-themed posts (sorry, no fancy name for these): I've been so focused on my review posts that I haven't spent as much time doing doll photo shoots. Not only do these improve my photography skills, but they help me appreciate what I already have.

  -Writer's Corner: I'm almost 100% sure that I'll be shutting down Ramblings of a Fairy Tale Fangirl. I'm finding it a bit of a challenge to keep up with both blogs, and I have eventual plans for a tie-in blog for my books. So I decided that instead I'll transfer what I've already written over there to this blog. Then, in the future, I'll share writing-themed posts here every once in a while.

  -Media Musings: I'd love to get back to doing occasional movie reviews, especially now that the girls are older and can share their perspectives on the ones we watch together.

  -Doll Guest Posts: When Tess, Maggie, and Belle wrapped up their blogs, it was mentioned that they'd share guest posts here on Never Grow Up every once in a while. As I'm sure you've noticed, that never happened...for a number of reasons. Most of them related to a lack of organization from yours truly. I might as well say it before Maggie does. ;) Anyway, I'd really like to be better at incorporating these in the future.

Of course, I will intersperse these with my regular doll and toy review posts, posts about trips I take, and alerts about sales and new releases. I'm purposely not committing to a specific schedule for most of these so I still have some flexibility. At this point, I'm committing to at least one post of some kind a week. If I'm able to do more, I will, but I don't want to promise more than I can feasibly do.

Things I'm Still Working On:

As I said, I didn't finish everything I set out to do. Here are a few things that are still in progress.

1. Email Overhaul. Blech. My email is such a mess. I think I deleted around 2,000 spam/social media/outdated emails yesterday, which will give you an idea of why I've been so overwhelmed. Again, I apologize to all of you poor souls who have emailed me this past year or so and have never heard from me. In the next few weeks I will slowly be going through and responding to overdue emails.

I also went through and changed the settings on most of my social media accounts so I no longer get a gazillion emails every time someone looks at something I post. ;) I was getting emails every time someone pinned one of my Pinterest pins, every time someone liked, commented, or posted on my Facebook, and so on. I'm trying to declutter my email as much as possible so I can focus on reader emails.

2. Website Creation. I'm currently working on an official website that will connect to all of my social media and my blog. This won't change anything here, but it will be a nice easy way to tell people how to find me online. It will basically be an online bookmark with links to everywhere you can find me on the Internet. It's a bit beyond my level of computer expertise, though, so I'm working with my brother and husband, doing some research, and taking it slow. I'll let you know when it's ready. :)

3. Blog Update. Some of you may have noticed that a few of the pages I used to have on the top of my blog are missing. I'm in the process of transferring some of my pages to posts. Eventually, I'll have a page up there with links to my former pages. In keeping with the decluttering that has been the theme of the past month, I'm just trying to clear a few pages that aren't as relevant to my current interests and direction. I also want to clear some room for new pages.

Don't worry, nothing will disappear completely. I'm also saving all of the comments from the pages I'm removing and adding them to the content of the posts, so all previous conversations will be saved as well. ;)

There might be a few other minor changes here and there, but nothing too earth-shattering. ;) I'll try to let you know what I'm doing before or as I'm doing it. If you're curious about something or can't find it, just let me know! :)

And don't worry, my Doll and Toy Reviews page and the other pages with lists of links aren't going anywhere. :)

I think that's about all the news for now. My posting may be a bit sporadic at the beginning of this month since my focus is on getting my book editing finished, but I'm looking forward to getting back into regular posting. :)

Have a wonderful week, everyone! I'll talk to you all again soon.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Disney Frozen Little Kingdom Friendship Collection Set from Hasbro (Plus a Month-long Goodbye) ;)

 Well, I was all set to come do a plain goodbye post for the month, but when I got home today, my Frozen Little Kingdom set from Toys R Us was waiting for me on the front doorstep. So I thought I'd combine my goodbye post with a mini review of my new Little Kingdom set. :)

I won't do a full review with ratings since I just did a review on another set from this line. I'll share pics and a few basic thoughts, so this post will be more like a quick overview. :)

Here's the set in the package. Oh my goodness...they're so cute!! :D

This is the "Frozen Friendship Collection."

I love the artwork on the package: 
Especially cute little Kristoff. :)

The back of the box, featuring more adorable artwork.

Box details:

The package opens super easily.

The figures are held in place with a few minimal thin plastic ties holding the girls in place. It's so nice having easy-to-open packages. :)

Here they are! We'll go down the row and take a look at each of them.

Olaf is all one piece without articulation of any kind. He's got a glittery luster to his paint. I think he's pretty cute overall, although his eyebrows seem just a little thick.

Olaf's other angles:
I'm assuming the hole in the back of his head is there for attaching accessories.

Next up is Anna. :)

Anna comes with her outfit and three little accessories: two flowers and a headpiece.

Anna from the other angles: 

Here's how she looks with her accessories attached to her dress and head.

All of Anna's clothing is removable. Like my "Arendelle Treat Shoppe" Elsa, her bodice attaches with a little peg in front, but the bodice also has small arm straps. I'm hoping this will help it stay in place a little better.

Here she is without her cape. My only real complaint with this doll is that her outfit looks more like a combination of her coronation dress and her winter dress. I'm guessing they didn't want to paint her arms blue so she could swap clothing with the other dolls, but honestly, I almost would have preferred blue arms so it would look more accurate. What do you guys think?

I can't even tell you how absolutely adorable she is in person. I'm so glad I have her to add to my other Anna dolls. :)

Now we'll take a look at Elsa.

 I'm glad I get to have an Elsa in her ice queen dress as well as her coronation dress. :) This Elsa comes with two snowflakes and a crown.

Elsa from the other angles; 

Elsa with her accessories attached.

Like Anna's, all of Elsa's clothing and accessories are removable.

Oh, and I thought I should mention that another reviewer had problems getting the Elsa and Anna in this set to stand up, but as you can see, both of mine stand well unassisted. I had to work with Elsa a bit to get her at the right angle to stand, but then she was fine.

Elsa and Anna both have joints at the hips so they can go to a sitting position. However, Elsa would not sit by herself. She kept toppling over (which is why I'm holding her down with one finger in the picture).

Their arms also move up...

...and down.

Sweet Elsa, back in her outfit. I prefer using a snowflake in her hair rather than her crown.

Here she is next to my Arendelle Treat Shoppe Elsa (who sadly is still missing her bodice...I sure hope it turns up). :(

On to Kristoff!

He has the cutest little face! :)

Kristoff from the other angles: 

Kristoff's clothing is not removable like the girls', but his hat comes off.

His legs move individually, and he can sit down. The bottom of his tunic is made from flexible plastic like the girls' skirts, allowing the legs to bend far enough to sit.

He also rotates at the waist...

...and can turn his head back and forth. However, his arms, are molded to his body and do not move at all. 

If you don't care for this design, I would suggest purchasing the individual Kristoff doll with his lute. From the pictures, it looks like his arms bend. He also doesn't have his sleeves rolled up (just in case that makes a difference to anyone). ;) I went ahead and ordered Kristoff with his lute because I wanted both versions. I also ordered Anna in her coronation dress so I would have coronation and regular dress versions of each of the sisters. But I'm drawing the line there. Honest. At least for Frozen Little Kingdom dolls. I mean, it's only logical that I should eventually purchase a Belle and a Rapunzel for my other two Disney collections, right? ;) 

Okay, moving on from my rationalization. ;) Let's take a look at Sven now.

Sven is cute, too. I kind of wish they'd added some gray to his brown, though, so he'd look more like he did in the movie. Like Olaf, Sven does not have any articulation.

Sven from the other angles: 
I do like the detail of his sculpt. :)

And finally, let's move on to Marshmallow.

This is the "good" version of Marshmallow, like we see him at the end of the movie. He is also unarticulated, even though there's a seam in the plastic of his neck that makes it look like he should be able to move. 

Marshmallow from the other angles: 

Just like Olaf, Marshmallow has a glittery tint to his plastic.

I wanted to compare him to my Funko Mystery Minis "mean" Marshmallow. I was thinking they looked about the same size. As you can see, though, the Little Kingdom Marshmallow is just slightly larger.

So that's the whole set! I'm very pleased with the quality and the just plain cuteness of each of the figures. The set was $24.99 on the Toys R Us website (with free shipping since my purchase was over $19). The price seems a little steep, but when you consider that each of the characters sell individually for $5, it's not bad for what you get.

I would highly recommend this set for any Frozen fans out there. It's currently available on the Toys R Us website HERE and on the Walmart website HERE. Both sites are selling it for $24.99. Toys R Us offers free shipping over $19, and if you have a local Walmart store, they offer free "site to store" pickup, so either way you'll be paying the same amount.

Happy shopping, everyone! :)


And now, it's time to say goodbye until the end of the month. I thought you might like to hear some of the things I'll be up to this month. I'd really appreciate prayers from those of you who are my brothers and sisters in Christ, as I'd love to use this month wisely.

First and foremost, I'll be working on my book. I received the editing notes from my first editing friend today, and I'll be meeting with my second editing friend on Thursday to discuss her thoughts. I'll meet with my third editing friend sometime next week. Once I have my feedback from everyone, I'll get to work evaluating their notes and making the changes that need to take place. Then, Lord willing, I'll be able to submit my completed manuscript to my potential agents in February. Yikes! It's such an exciting and scary thing at the same time. :)

Other than my book, I'd also like to take a step back and organize myself, both online and in "real life." I love blogging and connecting with others on social media, but I'm finding it a bit overwhelming at times. I also don't want my online life to take over my family life. I'm hoping to come up with some ways to organize my blogging/social media time a bit more so I won't be so stressed about it.

My house is a disaster, so that will be a big part of my real life organization. I'll probably be downsizing some of my collections, too, as I have completely run out of room. I also feel like my collections have grown a bit excessive, especially considering our somewhat limited budget. That, and there are some things we'd like to save for as a family (and I'd like to save for individually). Downsizing will help with that as well. So eBay, Craigslist, and some local buy/sell/trade stores will be seeing me this month. (I'm not sure when my eBay listings will be up, or how many I'll be doing, but you can see my seller page HERE if you want to check it throughout the month.)

Other than that, I'll be catching up on email responses, filing the paperwork that's been sitting in totes for far too long, and starting up Skinny Jeans again at the gym. I already caught up on blog comment responses, so that's one thing I can check off of my list. :) (Sorry for all of you who had to wait so long for responses.)

I hope you all have a wonderful, blessed January, and I'll be back sometime in February, refreshed and ready to go. :)