Friday, August 29, 2014

Rainbows From Hubby

Hey guys!  My BeForever post is close to done, but ended up being a lot more involved than I originally planned.  (My girls had a lot more to say on the subject than I expected.) ;)  Lord willing, I should have that up sometime tomorrow.

In the meantime, I just had to share the surprise that Hubby brought home for me tonight. :)

A TY Rainbow Dash and rainbow-colored flowers to match! :D

He did a great job choosing one with an adorable face (some of the TY My Little Ponies have some pretty goofy-looking faces). ;)

I love my flowers, too. :)

I'm so thankful for my sweet Hubby.  He's the best! :)

I'll be back tomorrow with the BeForever post. :)  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

American Girl's "BeForever" Launch

For those of you who don't know already, American Girl launched their re-vamp of their historical line, called "BeForever", last night on their website.  I haven't said anything about this new look for the line before this because I wanted to see actual photos before I formed any opinions.

I don't have much time now...I've got to get the girls to school and then I meet with my writing friends at the library for a few hours.  I plan on sharing my thoughts...and my daughters' thoughts...on BeForever later this afternoon.

Until then, here's a link to all the new stuff to tide you over. ;)  Talk to all of you soon!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Little Pony Pop Fluttershy Review

Many of you have probably seen one of the newest releases from Hasbro in the My Little Pony section, the My Little Pony Pops.  I'd been curious about this line since I heard about it from various Toy Fair 2014 reports.  I had something small to exchange at Target, so I decided to get one of the Fluttershy sets to review for the blog. :)

There are several different options in the Pop line, from individual ponies, to ponies with accessories (like the set we'll look at today), to sets of two ponies, to ponies with houses.  They range in price from around $6 to $20 each.  The set we'll look at today cost me $9.99 at Target.

Here is Fluttershy in the "Fluttershy Cottage Decorator Kit".  One of the larger house sets is Fluttershy's cottage, so I'm assuming this is meant to be purchased as an additional playset to help furnish the cottage.  The only thing is, I'm pretty sure the cottage comes with a Fluttershy as well, so I'm not really sure what you'd do with two Fluttershys. ;)

The back of the package.

One of the features of these ponies which should be fun for some girls is the fact that the ponies can be swapped around and mixed and matched to make new ponies, as demonstrated in the above picture.

A picture of everything included in the set.

Some basic instructions on the back.

A verbal list of all of the contents.

And a few extra package details:

The package opens very easily in the back.

Everything is nicely held in the clear plastic inside.

Here are all of the contents that come in this set.

There is a skinny brochure with more info about some of the other Pop sets.  I have to say, I totally understand the title of this line since you "pop" the ponies off of the plastic rods and "pop" them together.  However, I'm kind of surprised Hasbro got the rights to this name, considering the highly popular Funko Pop line.  

One side of the brochure.

The other side of the brochure.

A closer look at my set and the coordinating Pinkie Pie set.

Twilight Sparkle and Rarity both come in packs with princesses and accessories.

Here's a better look at Pinkie Pie's Sweet Shoppe.

Some of the individual ponies in the series:

Fluttershy comes with a sheet of stickers you can use to decorate her and her picture frames.

Fluttershy herself.

Here are her tail, mane, and wings.

She also comes with four plastic butterflies to pop out and play with...

...a birdcage and two birds...

...a little desk/cupboard...

...and four pop-out picture frames.

The birdcage has a door that opens...

...and the birds can sit on the perch inside or the perch on the steps.

Another look from the side. :)

Time to pop out some of the accessories!

I purposely let Middle Gal and Little Gal pop these out on their own (Oldest Gal was still at camp when we did the pics for this review), because I wanted to see how easy it would be for a child in the target age-range to get them out (the Pops are marked at ages four and up).  Both girls did okay, but it was not very easy.  I had to help Little Gal with some of her butterflies. :}  At one point, we thought we might break them trying to get them out!

Note:  After doing this post, my mom noticed that the package clearly states that "adult must remove parts from frame".  So Hasbro's intent was clearly not for children to easily be able to remove the ponies and accessories from their plastic rods.  Just thought I'd mention it. ;)

Time to free Fluttershy!  I did help a little more with Fluttershy herself because I was worried she would break. ;)

Here she is from the side.  Looks normal enough, right?  Until... turn her to one side.  Creepy, right? ;)

The two pony halves are pretty easy to pop together.

I was a bit disappointed to see that the two halves didn't meet seamlessly, though.  This was as close as I could get it.

A few different views of bald Fluttershy:  ;)
I love how the highlights in her eyes are hearts. :)

Time to add her mane, tail and wings now:
I have to admit, the final product was a bit disappointing.  I get that they had to come up with a mane and tail design that would work with the removable, swappable aspect of these toys, but it's sad that this was the best they could come up with.  It really doesn't look much like Fluttershy.

The stickers look really cute in the picture frames. :)

I'm not one for having a bunch of stickers on my toys, but I decided to use her cutie mark sticker on the side that had no cutie mark.  It looks cute, but was impossible to stick flat, and even more impossible to keep on the pony.  We finally ended up throwing the sticker away because it kept falling off and getting messed up and gathering hair and lint (I'm sure I'm not the only mom with floors that have such things on them). ;)

Little Gal decided that the furniture was a desk and that Fluttershy could be looking out the window while she wrote a letter. :)

Middle Gal decided that Fluttershy would rather use it to hold one of her pictures.

Time for our overall thoughts and ratings!

Pleasing Qualities: 3 out of 5
   I think the My Little Pony Pops are a great idea, especially for little girls who enjoy changing and customizing their dolls and toys.  Fluttershy has a sweet face (especially those cute hearts in her eyes) and fun little accessories.  However, I think the design could use some improvement.  The pony and accessories were a bit difficult to remove from the plastic rods, even for me as an adult.  Some of them felt like they were going to break instead of coming out in one piece.  Fluttershy's face doesn't meet completely at the seam.  The mane and tail are cute, but as I mentioned before, Fluttershy doesn't look much like herself with the design they used.  This particular fact might not be a big deal to others, but it was for me.  I was also very disappointed in the quality of the stickers they included.  I understand that Hasbro probably wanted to keep them from being too hard to remove since the Pops are being advertised for their ability to be customized over and over again.  That being said, the stickers should be able to stay on for more than a few minutes.  I think a lot of little girls will find them frustrating.  We also had a problem with her wings falling out when we moved them too much.  For these reasons, Fluttershy got a rather low score in the "Pleasing Qualities" category.
   My daughters had some issues with this Fluttershy too, but they still recommended her overall, as you'll read in their later reviews.  So even though Pop Fluttershy wasn't my favorite, others may really enjoy her.  I've always been into toys and dolls that capture their movie/TV characters accurately, and my girls have picked up on this themselves (as you'll see from their reviews).  So for us, the idea of a pony you can switch around and make into a new one isn't as big of a draw as it may be for other girls and collectors.  It all depends on what you're looking for. :)
   I still don't regret getting Fluttershy, because she looks cute with the rest of my Fluttershy collection. ;)  However, I don't personally plan on adding any more Pop Ponies to our collections.

Posability: N/A
   These ponies aren't marketed for posability, so I didn't rate them in this category.

Playability: 3.5 out of 5
   Again, a lower score in this category for many of the same reasons as in the first category (stickers, difficulty of removal, and falling out wings).  If you just want a cute pony with cute accessories and don't plan on using the stickers, I'd say this could be a 4 out of 5.  To avoid the wing issue, go for Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rarity or Zecora. ;)

Price: 5 out of 5
   The prices are pretty reasonable for all of the pieces and accessories you get.

Thoughts from the Gals:
   This time around, we'll only hear from Middle Gal and Little Gal.  Oldest Gal was at camp at the time of the photos and review, so she didn't get the full effect of popping Fluttershy out and all that. ;)  As always, my editorial comments are in parenthesis and italics.  All of the opinions expressed are the girls alone without any input from me.

Middle Gal (age 8):  I don't really like them because their faces from the front look like squares.  And Fluttershy looks totally unaccurate (sic).  Plus, they're really hard to get out of the plastic rods.  Her wings are in just such a way that I can't really see her cutie mark.  But otherwise I think they're really cute, like their faces from the side.  But it's kinda weird that her mane, tail, and wings have designs on them, and her ears and the tops of her legs have hearts on them.  But her wings pop off very easily (negative).  So I think that it would be like something that could be fun, but you wouldn't want to take them apart very much because you could lose the pieces.  If there was a set with just a pony and everything she needed like her hair and her wings and her horn, I would probably like it.  The birds are really cute, especially the purple one.  But the butterflies don't do anything.  I would recommend this for people who don't care about accuracy, but for those of us who do, these aren't exactly the best toy.

Little Gal (age 6):  I like how they can mix and match.  I don't really like the stickers because they make them (the ponies) look weird.  I like her desk and I like how she can get fresh air while she's writing.  And that's where she writes her letters to Princess Celestia.  And I like the pictures and the birds.  And I like the birdcage, but I don't know what the butterflies are for.  Neither does Mommy!  I wish they would make their hair accurate, but it's still cute.  And I LOOOOOOOOVE the face.  I like how their legs are "departed" (apart) and they aren't stickin' together like paper and glue.  I would recommend it.