Sunday, November 22, 2015

Five Years is a Long Time

Well, my grand plans to complete some blog posts to schedule during my trip fell through, so I guess you guys will just have to wait a week or so while I'm away.

I was thinking, though, that this little break would be a good time to get some feedback from all of you. As I stated in my title, five years is a long time to blog (almost five and a half now), and things grow and change in that amount of time. I've had an almost complete turnover in my audience since my early Never Grow Up days. Many of the readers and bloggers I interacted with then have either moved on or have disappeared from the blogosphere entirely. As a side note, that's the only thing I find a bit melancholy about the whole online friendship thing. You get to know people so well, and then those relationships just kind of fade away. Don't get me wrong...I completely understand. I've changed myself as a blogger. I don't have the same time I used to, and wish I was as good at commenting on other blogs, responding to emails, and taking part in tags and blog parties as I used to be in the early days. Interests, focuses, and time management naturally change, and that's okay.

I feel it's wise to reevaluate things every once in a while. Especially with such a shift in my audience. In January, I'll be taking a blogging hiatus. This will give me time to take care of some online housekeeping, catch up on a few things I need to, and so on.

So, how am I doing guys? I'd love to hear some feedback on a few things:

1. What is it that brought you to Never Grow Up in the first place?

2. Which dolls or toys have you enjoyed hearing about the most?

3. What dolls or toys would you like to hear about in the future?

4. Would you be interested in blog parties or tags about dolls or Disney?

5. What is one thing you would change about Never Grow Up if you could?

6. Would you be interested in seeing more YouTube reviews and doll room tours?

7. I'm considering getting a P.O. Box so you guys would have an additional way to contact me. Would this interest any of you?

8. Any other comments, suggestions?

Thanks for taking the time to stop by, guys. I'm looking forward to hearing your answers.

I'll talk to you guys again in a little over a week. :)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ever After High Rosabella Beauty Review

I haven't actively collected Ever After High dolls for a while. Part of this is that I'm running out of space and I can't collect everything I'm interested in. ;) And part of it is that Hubby and I decided we'd like to have our girls wait to collect them for a while. It was tough for them when Mommy got to collect EAH and they couldn't, so I figured it would be best to cool it on my EAH collection. 

However, as you can imagine, Rosabella Beauty was definitely a doll I wanted to add to my collection. ;) When I first heard about Rosabella's release, I kept my eye out for her in local stores. It wasn't until this past month that I finally found her in my local Walmart. Even better, she was only $14.97.

Here's Rosabella in her box. The boxes have definitely gotten simpler since the first wave of EAH dolls. That doesn't bother me all that much. As nifty as it is to have a fancy box, the doll is the important part. ;)

A few box details:

The sides of the box:

And the back of the box:

With a closer look at some details: 

I love her box art. :)

This box was much easier to open than some of the earlier versions. The clear plastic front slipped out from the back without any trouble.

Rosabella and her accessories were held in place mostly by plastic ties. (Including plastic ties in the head. Sigh.)

Here she is, free from her box with all of her accessories. As you can see from the picture, she comes with a stand, a brush, a purse (it's hanging from her wrist), a pair of glasses, and her bookmark story.

Rosabella has some fun detail. Her coloring and outfit instantly bring to mind the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast.

Rosabella from the back.

One of the things I appreciated about this doll is how pleasant she looks compared to some of my other EAH dolls. Her eyebrows don't have nearly as severe of a tilt as some of the earlier dolls, and her mouth is in a calm, pleasant smile. She has a much pointier chin than any of my other EAH dolls.

Her hair is mostly brown with streaks of red at the top.

Her eyes are brown with some purple and gray eye shadow detail.

I love her cute glasses. :)

Now we'll take a look at her outfit and accessories, from head to toe. ;)

Her golden crown is molded into rose shapes.

She has a golden earring dangling from each ear.

They appear to be a rose with candles in the background, but I'm not 100% sure on that.

Her bodice has a pink, red and green floral pattern and is trimmed with brown faux fur.

At least, I'm assuming it's faux. Real fur might make her dad feel a bit awkward with his beastly past. ;)

I like the red rose belt at her waist.

Her skirt is yellow with a sheer overlay decorated in golden roses.

She has a golden bracelet that attaches to a ring on her two middle fingers.

Her purse looks like a golden book. In keeping with the theme, it has a red rose accent.

Her boots are plastic but look like fur, and have roses down the side. I'm not sure why they decided to only paint the top rose. I think the boots would look much cuter if the roses were red all the way down. That's easily fixed, though. A bit of red acrylic paint, and she'll be all set. ;)

Her boots from the back. Like the other EAH shoes, they have slits in the back to make them easy to remove.

Her stand works exactly like the earlier ones.

Here is her bookmark story:
I thought the story was cute and had a good message about looking past appearances (an appropriate choice for the daughter of Beauty and the Beast). :)

It was so much fun posing her and doing a photo shoot. Things have been so busy lately, I haven't had as much time for doll photography. It's nice to take a break every once in a while and remember how much fun it is. ;)

As you can see from some of the pictures, I decided to mess with Rosabella's side bangs a little bit. It gave her face a softer look when I pulled the side bangs forward. It also makes her hair closer to her concept art.

And then, of course, I had to get a few shots of Rosabella with some of my older EAH dolls.

Rosabella and Cerise

Rosabella and Cedar

Rosabella and Maddie. Maddie is warning Rosabella about the dangers of going into storage. All of my original dolls now have a greasy residue in their hair from whatever product Mattel put in it, and Maddie's curls are a mess. The dolls have done nothing but lay carefully in boxes or remain on display since I bought them, so that's a little bit disappointing.

Raven, making Rosabella feel at home.

My current EAH doll collection:
Hunter Huntsman (son of the Huntsman), Ashlynn Ella (daughter of Cinderella), Cerise Hood (daughter of Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf), Rosabella Beauty (daughter of Beauty and the Beast), Madeline Hatter (daughter of the Mad Hatter), Cedar Wood (daughter of Pinocchio), Raven Queen (daughter of the Evil Queen), and Dexter Charming (son of Prince Charming). I used to have Apple White and Briar Beauty too, but I didn't care for their characters as much in the webisodes, and felt like I needed to cut back a bit, so I no longer have them.

I've already shared my thoughts on these dolls in past reviews (and I'm running out of time before I have to start packing for my trip), so I won't go into as much detail for this one. Rosabella is the first doll from the later waves of EAH that I've purchased, so I was a little concerned about whether her quality would hold up to the older dolls I purchased. While she doesn't have as many accessories or details as some of the older dolls, she's still got enough to make her worth what I paid. She's actually got some pretty great detail, and I love her pleasant face, which has been one of the things I don't like about some of the dolls in this line. They tend to either look angry or stuck up with their severe eyebrows and half smiles. I love her coloring and her clothing design, too.

And can I just give a shout out to Mattel for making "princess" characters with glasses? As a mom of two girls with glasses, it's so refreshing to see glasses portrayed as something fun or beautiful in doll lines. I suppose it helps that glasses are "in" right now. Thankfully, wearing glasses doesn't have the same stigma it did when I was growing up. But having to wear glasses as a kid is not always easy, and there aren't too many "beautiful" female characters portrayed with glasses out there. Beauty isn't everything (something my girls and I discuss quite frequently), but like most women, my girls can sometimes struggle with wanting to feel "normal" or "pretty." Having cute, fun dolls with glasses helps reinforce that there's nothing "ugly" or "weird" about having to wear them. :) 

Overall, I'm very pleased with Rosabella and am happy to have her in my Ever After High collection. For the sake of time, I'm going to cheat and revert to my old rating system with just one rating. ;) Rosabella gets a 5 out of 5 from me. I think she'll fit right in with my little band of rebels. ;)

Here are links to my past Ever After High reviews, if you're interested:

I'm hoping to get a couple more posts done that I will schedule for this coming week when I'm gone, but I can't make a solid promise that I'll pull that off. If you don't hear from me again until early December, it's because I'm running around, crazily trying to pack, clean, and take care of all of the crazy last-minute details of preparing for a long trip. :}

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your families. :)