Saturday, July 25, 2015

Five Amazing Years and a Special Giveaway

Five years ago today, I sat down and started a simple little post on I never dreamed that this seemingly insignificant choice would lead to an amazing online adventure.

It's hard to believe that Never Grow Up has been going for that long. I've seen many blogs come and go over the years. Even in my readership, I've seen a huge turnover. And I totally get it. Keeping something going for this long is a big commitment.

But even thought it can be overwhelming at times, I love this little corner of the internet I've claimed as my own. I've met some incredible people from all over the world, learned about dolls and toys, added extensively to my collections (sorry, Hubby!), improved in my photography and reviewing skills, and have become much more self sufficient on the computer than I ever thought I would be. ;)

Blogoversaries are always a fun time to look back over some of the milestones from over the years. So let's check them out! :)

In five years, I have:

-Accumulated 451 followers (Incredible! I still remember when my main goal was to hit 100.) :)

-Published 934 posts

-Hit 1,662,319 pageviews

-Hit 296 likes on my Facebook page

-Gathered 1,197 Pinterest followers

-Hit 185 YouTube subscriptions

-Reviewed several new toys offered to me for free review, including Zelfs and a Maru and Friends doll :D

The thing is, none of these amazing milestones would have been possible without all of you, my readers. I've never forgotten that, and I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. (I know it's a cliche, but it does a good job of expressing how I feel.) ;) Thanks for sticking with me all of this time. Thank you for your lovely comments and your emails (I do read them even when I'm horrible at responding to them). :} Thank you for following, "liking", reading, and everything else. I wouldn't be where I am today without all of you. :)


I thought it would also be fun to share my "bucket list" for this blog. I've already hit a lot of my previous dreams and goals for Never Grow Up, but it's always good to have a few dreams in your pocket, right? ;) Here are a few that would be incredible for the future:

-Just for fun, hitting 500 followers ;)

-Reviewing a Makie

-Reviewing a Limited Edition Disney Store Doll (Maybe I'll be able to afford one by the time they bring out all of the special Beauty and the Beast dolls in 2017, around the time of the live action movie.) ;)

-Attending a D23 Convention and sharing about it on the blog. :)

-Getting some sort of official partnership/sponsorship...I think. It would be nice to receive free items to keep down the expenses of new dolls and toys. However, independently blogging gives me a freedom to share my honest opinions without worrying about what my sponsoring company would think. I guess I'll think about this one some more. ;) (And really, it's a pretty unrealistic dream at this point anyway.)

-Taking my girls to Disneyland and blogging about it. This isn't exactly blogging related, but it is a family goal within the next few years. I haven't been since I was pregnant with Oldest Gal (it would be really nice to go again and NOT be pregnant). ;) The girls have never gone. And of course, I'd take lots of pics to share with all of you. ;)

-Attending the New York Toy Fair and sharing about it on the blog. :D This is my ultimate bucket list item. I don't know if it will ever happen. New York is very far away, and even though I get free admission to the Toy Fair as a blogger, I do NOT get free airfare, hotel and food. ;) Someday, though, it would be awesome to get to go. :)

I don't know if any of these things will ever happen, but that's okay. This blog has already taken me so much farther than I ever thought it would. Even if nothing else happens, I'm so thankful for all I've experienced already. :)


I wanted to think of a fun way to thank you guys for the adventure we've shared together. So, in honor of my blogoversary, I'm doing a special giveaway. I've chosen five items that are the typical types of items I review here on the blog. All five will be given away together as one giveaway prize for one of my readers. :D Here's what the giveaway includes:

(Sorry, everyone. Tess is not part of the giveaway. She just thought I might need someone to help display the giveaway items.) ;)

Here are the items individually:

1. A new Fashion Spree Shopkins pack. This is the "Best Dressed" collection. Shopkins are some of our favorites, so of course they had to be a part of the giveaway. ;) (My favorite one in this set is the cute little camera.)

The back of the package. You'll want to save this since it's the only place that has their names! ;) 

2. Candy-Lou the Candy Zelf from Season 5. I'm sure none of you are surprised that a Zelf made it to this giveaway. ;) The Zelfs were the very first toy line offered to me for free review by a company (without my asking first), so they hold a special place in my heart. Plus, they're super adorable. ;) Candy-Lou is one of the brand new Zelfs that has just been released.

The back of Candy-Lou's package.

3. Mini Lalaloopsy Whirly Stretchy Locks. While I haven't reviewed these recently, the mini Lalaloopsies are another of our favorites here at the Never Grow Up house. We hope you enjoy this one. She's kind of in keeping with the candy theme, too. ;) (This prize was supplied by my mom, who has been a huge supporter, fellow doll hunter, and financial provider for my blog since day one. Thanks, Mom! You're the best.) :)

The back of her package.

4. Our Generation "A Day Fur You" 18 inch doll accessory pack. This blog started out primarily as a place that reviewed 18 inch play dolls, so I wanted to pay homage to that. Sadly, shipping an 18 inch doll worldwide was a bit beyond my budget. ;) So instead, here's a fun little pack for your 18 inch dolls with everything they need for a day at the zoo. It includes a pair of sunglasses, a camera, a package of peanuts, a map of the zoo, a little baggie, and a zoo pamphlet. (This prize was also supplied by my mom.) :)

The back of the package.

5. A Funko Mystery Mini Joy in Bing Bong's wagon (a Hot Topic exclusive). I had to get something Disney in here too, of course. ;) Joy is super cute and looks great on display. Her head turns, too. :)

Joy from the back.

I apologize that Joy is opened, but I wanted to make sure it was the figure I wanted for the giveaway. ;) She will come with her original box...

...which shows concept art of all of the available figures from Hot Topic.

Giveaway Rules:

1. This giveaway is WORLDWIDE and open to ANY of my readers. :) One winner will be drawn at random and will receive all five items.

2. If you are under 18 years of age, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter. I'll need to get your mailing address, and I want to make sure that's okay with them. :)

3. To enter, please leave a comment below with your name or username AND your email address. (Please don't forget your email address. It makes it so much harder for me to let you know you've won if I can't contact you.) Comments containing email addresses will NOT be published.

4. For an extra entry, you can share this giveaway on any form of social media (your blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.). Please come back and leave another comment, telling me where you shared and leaving a link. Otherwise, I won't know to give you your extra entry.

5. The giveaway will be open until Tuesday, August 4th. On Wednesday, August 5th, I will select the winner and contact them via email. The winner will have ONE WEEK to get back to me with their mailing address. If I haven't heard from them by Wednesday, August 12th, a new winner will be chosen.

Just a side note here. I love publishing your personal comments, but I can't do so if they're in the same comment as your email address. If you would enjoy having your comments published, be sure to leave them separately from your entry comment. If it's not a big deal to you, then you can go ahead and keep your comments all together. ;)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Thank you again for five wonderful years, my friends. Here's to the next five! :D

Monday, July 20, 2015

Inside Out Funko Mystery Minis and Tomy Figures

After seeing Inside Out on opening day, we all were kind of put in the collecting/accessorizing mood. ;) So when my mom found the Inside Out Funko Mystery Minis at Hot Topic, we decided it would be fun to get a few and see what we ended up with. I was hoping for Joy, Sadness, or Bing Bong. Mom wanted Bing Bong, Joy in Bing Bong's wagon/rocket (a Hot Topic exclusive figure), or Sadness. :)

Here's what the box looks like from the outside. I took these pictures by my mom's van in our church parking lot because we couldn't wait until we got home to open them. ;) 

Side views: 

The back of the box shows all of the possible figures. Mom and I both actually prefer the regular Inside Out Funko Mystery Minis (not the ones at Hot Topic), because there is another Bing Bong, another Digsust, and another Anger instead of the subconscious guards. 

Rabbit Trail Time! ;) We were a little more interested in them when we discovered some behind-the-scenes tidbits about them. The subconscious guards Dave and Frank (who are guarding Jangles the Clown and other mysterious creatures) are played by Frank Oz (who plays Miss Piggy and Fozzy Bear, among many other characters) and Dave Goelz (who plays Gonzo and Dr. Honeydew, among many other characters). The funny thing is, Dave plays guard Frank and Frank plays guard Dave. Such a Pixar humor thing. ;) 

Ahem. Okay. Back to the post. ;) 

One nice thing about both the Hot Topic and the regular Inside Out Mystery Minis is that every single figure is a one in twelve chance, which makes it much more likely to find the particular figure you want. ;) 

My mom had picked up two boxes, so we decided we'd take turns and each select two to open. Mom went first and got...

...the Hot Topic exclusive Joy in Bing Bong's wagon/rocket! :D This was the character she really wanted, so she was thrilled. :) 

I realized as I put this post together that I only got one picture of Joy, while I got front and back pictures of all of the other figures we opened. Sorry, I guess I was just so excited I was going too fast to keep track! ;) 

It was my turn next. I got Anger with his flaming head. Hmm, this is definitely me on some days...especially during certain parts of the month. ;D 

Here he is from the back.

Mom chose next and got this adorable Bing Bong figure! :D Isn't he cute? 

Back view. I love his tail and checkered jacket. :) 

My last package had Joy with a core memory. I was super happy to get this one. I think she's really cute. :) 

Joy from the back. 

I'd love to get the crying candy Bing Bong from the regular package and the laying down Sadness to add to my collection eventually. There are so many cute figures. :)


As we were out and about, we found another fun line of Inside Out characters, this time from Tomy.

These Tomy mini figures were at Barnes and Noble. They had these three and Joy, but no Disgust. I've since learned that there are a really cute Disgust and a Bing Bong included in this line. Now I just have to find them! ;) 

They were $3.95 each, a very reasonable price...especially for such well-painted figures.

I picked up three figures for Charlie's Pixar shelf:


Sadness (my favorite!)


Each of the figures opened easily from their clear plastic packaging and were held in place by clear plastic.

Opened they stand between 1.5 inches (for Anger) to just over 2 inches (for Joy).

Anger from the back.

Sadness is just adorable. I'm also impressed that she actually stands up on those little, tiny feet. 

Sadness from the back.

Fear is cute too, but sadly, he does NOT stand up on his own.

Fear from the front...

...and from the back. 

I guess the fact that he falls over in a heap is fitting for his panicky character. ;)

Middle Gal let me borrow her Joy figure for this post. Oldest Gal bought Joy for Middle Gal and Sadness for Little Gal before she left for camp for a week. She wanted each of them to have something from her. :) 

Joy from the back.

Most of you know that Charlie is my Pixar nut. I've tried to collect little figures for her collection, at least one from each Disney/Pixar movie (aside from sequels). I wanted to get her some Inside Out figures, and as soon as we saw these in the stores, I knew they'd be perfect for her.

And my instinct was right...they're the perfect size! :)

I decided to keep my Sadness in her packaging (the earlier opened one was Little Gal's). I might open her eventually, but I loved how this package was just the right size for Charlie, too. It adds a fun level of realism to my doll rooms. :) 

Here's a size comparison between the Funko Mystery Mini Anger and the Tomy mini Anger. The Funko Anger is more stylized and a bit larger. The Tomy version is a more exact representation of the character and is painted a little better. I love both lines for different reasons, though. 

I hope all of you Inside Out fans out there enjoyed this little look into some of the fun collectibles you can find. Will any of you be looking for these in your local stores? :)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Computer Issues and Upcoming Events

Hey everyone! Hope you're having a good week. :)

So, my desktop computer is having some major issues right now. Hubby's still busy at work, so I consulted with my tech-savvy brother, and he thinks it sounds like a hard drive failure. Ugh. :(

Because of this, my posting may be a bit sporadic for a while. (Posting from my cell phone is definitely not the most fun method of blogging.) ;) It's a bummer, because my Five Year Blogoversary is a week from tomorrow, and I had some really fun stuff planned. If worst comes to worst, I'll just have to go visit my mom and post from there.

I have a post scheduled already that should be up on Monday, and I hope to have another post up sometime next week.

In the meantime, I realized that I never did my promised Q&A YouTube video from a few months back. So the good news is, you have more time to submit questions, for me or for my daughters. :) I had planned on linking back to my original post about the video so you could see what questions had already been asked, but I'm not sure how to do that on my phone. So go ahead and leave your questions in the comments here anyway. If I end up with duplicate questions, I'll just answer them once. ;) My hope is to have the video up sometime during the week after my Blogoversary, so I'll take questions until the 25th (my actual Blogoversary date).

I'm also planning a fun giveaway, so stay tuned for more info on that. :)

This next week, we'll be repainting and rearranging my daughters' rooms, so there will be mass chaos and craziness at our house for a while...right around Blogoversary time. I planned THAT well. ;)

I guess that's about all for now. Have a great weekend, and keep an eye out for more news. :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Shopkins Fashion Spree Ballet Collection

It's been a while since I've posted about Shopkins. In fact, as I was preparing for this post I realized that I never did my Shopkins Season 2 review. Whoops. Guess I'd better get to that. :}

Anyway, in Target last week I found some fun new Shopkins playsets, called "Fashion Spree". There were three different sets to choose from: the Ballet Collection, the Best Dressed Collection, and (I believe) the Casual Collection. At least, I think that was the name of the third. Each of the sets contained eight exclusive Shopkins, one large character, and two extra accessories. They were $12.99 each.

It was tough to pick out just one set, (I deliberated between the Ballet Collection and the Best Dressed Collection for a long time) but I finally settled for the Ballet Collection...basically because I loved the piano! ;)

Here it is in the package. As the title suggests, the whole set is ballet themed. The large character in this set is the "Playful Piano". :)

Package details: 

The back of the package has pictures of the characters and gives their names. This is a good thing, since there is not a shopping list brochure included like there is in the other packs. 

A closer look at the description.

A closer look at the characters.

The packaging is easy to open. Each of the Shopkins are nestled in the clear plastic with no twist ties holding them in place.

And here they are all free! The set includes a golden bench, Teeni 1 and Tiny 2 the ballet slippers, Lippo the lipstick, Music Box box, ;) a small, round stool for the piano, the Playful Piano, Duffa the duffel bag, Tutucute the Tutu, Tiara the tiara, and Piano Man the mini piano music box. 

The artwork on the front of Playful piano is actually a removable cardboard insert. 

When you lift the lid and take away the cardboard, you find this little storage area... 

...just perfect for storing a couple of the Shopkins. :) 

This set is super cute and a great gift idea for kids or Shopkins fans. :) If you're not into pink, the other sets have different color schemes. 

I'm going to make this a fairly short post since I have so many other longer, more detailed reviews to do in the coming weeks, so I won't be doing my rating system or getting the girls' thoughts. You can be sure this set gets their full stamp of approval, though...and mine too. ;) I'd snag the other sets as well if I hadn't already splurged a bit too much this month. :}

What do you think of these new sets?