Sunday, July 24, 2016

Six Years...Almost ;) (Plus a Giveaway)

So, I THOUGHT my six year blogoversary was today, but I just looked through the archives and realized my actual blogoversary is TOMORROW. Since we're heading out for vacation tomorrow, though, I thought I'd go ahead and do my post today as I had originally planned. ;)

It's hard to grasp that it's been six years since I sat down and started this little blog. It's fascinating to go back and see how it has grown, developed, and changed over the years.

Blogging for this long shows you how much turnover there is in the Internet world. Many of the bloggers who inspired me or became my first online friends aren't around anymore. And I get it. Keeping at it this long is tough. But I'm thankful for every post, every comment, and every friend I've made along the way, even those who have come and gone. I wouldn't be where I am today without all of you, my friends and readers. So thank you. Thank you for sticking with me for so long. For brightening my day with your thoughts and encouragement. For being such a loving, supporting community. I couldn't have done this without you. :)

In keeping with tradition, as a thank you to all of you, I've planned a little giveaway. Sadly, my current financial situation will not allow it to be the grand giveaway I'd hoped for, and I'll have to keep it within the USA this time. I hope you understand. Thankfully, I had a few goodies stashed away for future giveaways. :)

Here are the prizes. :) I chose six different types of toys, one for each year of my blog. One winner will receive the whole collection. :)

First up is this adorable Little Pullip Assa doll, a recent Tuesday Morning find of my mom's. :)

Assa has an adorable little face...

...and a cute little pin that comes with her.

The winner will also receive this sweet Little Kingdom Snow White doll.

Next we have a blind-bag-sized My Little Pony Applejack with her bed and blanket. 

The blanket and Applejack are both removable. :)

Since I just recently discovered the Twozies, I thought it would be fun to include a couple of pairs in the giveaway. :) The winner will receive two Twozies pairs and two display boxes.

Stretch (the giraffe) and Lofty (the baby)

Spotty (the leopard) and Speedie (the baby)

I also thought it would be fun to include another new line for the summer: the My Mini MixieQ's. :)

The prizes include (left to right) Roller Skates, Hot Dog, Gamer Girl...

...Magician, Checkerboard, and Gamer Boy. :)

And finally, I wanted to include something for the 18 inch crowd as well, so here is a cute Cat in the Hat "book" for 18 inch dolls. 

It's actually blank inside, but still looks really cute on display. 

And it's a great size for the dolls, as Hailey is demonstrating here. :)

Giveaway Rules:

1. This giveaway is for readers in the USA only. (Sorry!) :(

2. If you are under 18, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter.

3. To enter, please leave your name or username and email address in the comments below. Comments with email addresses will NOT be published and will only be seen by me.

4. For one extra entry, you may choose one of the following:

      -Follow me on Twitter
      -Follow me on my NEW Instagram account (It's not very exciting yet, but I'm working on it.) ;)
      -Follow me on my Never Grow Up Facebook page

NOTE: Please leave me a comment, letting me know what you did for your extra entry so I can count it!

5. For another extra entry, you may leave a suggestion for the future or share your favorite post from Never Grow Up in the comments. (If you leave them in a comment separate from the one containing your email address, I can publish them to share with others.) :) 

6. Because I'll be gone on vacation all week, this giveaway will be open until Sunday, August 7th

7. On Monday, August 8th, I will pick a winner through a random drawing and email them to get their mailing address. The winner will have one week to respond. If I have not heard from the winner by Monday, August 15th, a new winner will be chosen.

Thank you again for a wonderful six years together. :) I appreciate you all more than you know.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

2016 Disney Store Kristoff Doll

Okay, just because I like you guys so much, I'm putting up my Kristoff review before I go. Packing is overrated anyway. ;) 

Besides, most of my shirts are air-drying and won't be ready to pack until tomorrow. And I work best under pressure. ;) 

So here is handsome Kristoff in his new box. I find it interesting that the Frozen "Classic" dolls still are labeled by their movie. Frozen is still pretty big, so maybe they're wanting to continue to cash in on its success.

It's interesting, though. I've noticed that Frozen has been getting some hate lately, both online and among my acquaintances. I think people are getting burned out by it, almost like its huge success was "too much of a good thing," to borrow the cliche. That, and I think most parents are sick of hearing "Let it Go." ;) My brother and his wife pretty much can't stand the movie, but they have four-year-old and two-year-old daughters, so I'm sure they've heard it A LOT. ;) Have you guys noticed this?

Anyway, moving on with the review! ;)

Box details:

Kristoff's box was not nearly as cooperative as Rapunzel's and Belle's, so it was pretty mangled by the time I got it to this point. 

He was held in with twist ties and tape. His twist ties were a weird plastic, though, without wire inside. Probably more environmentally friendly or something like that. ;)

Kristoff from the front... 

...and the back.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of his outfit. Normally the Classic Prince dolls have clothing made from pretty cheap fabrics, especially compared to their original releases. Kristoff's vest was a little thin, but still had nice decal details. And his shirt was a nice, thick material.

His pants felt fairly sturdy, too. And I love the vibrant color of his red sash.

His vest is removable, which was a pleasant surprise. 

Again, it's a thinner material, but has nice detail.

A closer look at the trim decal.

My only concern is that the inside of the vest is lined with this netting material that is not hemmed on the edges. I imagine this will be quick to fray with playtime.

Kristoff's elbows can bend way too far back. It used to be this only happened on these dolls after too much playtime. Now, some of them are coming this way. I guess it's not that big of a deal, but it sure looks painful! ;)

Kristoff is very photogenic. ;) 

And he looks great with my Coronation Anna from JC Penney, wearing Anna's Coronation Doll Costume from the Disney Store...which...I...never...reviewed. Sorry guys. :{ (It's amazing but no longer available. If you find it, buy it. You won't be disappointed. Maybe I'll be able to do a review at a later time.)


I wanted to compare this Kristoff with the original Disney Store Kristoff that was released at the time of the movie.

Their faces are very similar. Original Kristoff has pinker cheeks, darker hair, and subtler freckles. 

2016 Kristoff. 
I think I prefer the freckles and coloring of Original Kristoff, but I like the lighter hair of 2016 Kristoff. It reminds me more of his hair in the film. 

Another look at the difference in hair color: 
Original Kristoff

2016 Kristoff

They appear to have almost identical boots. Perhaps 2016 Kristoff's are a little darker. 

Overall, I'm super pleased with my new Kristoff doll. His clothing was surprisingly well made for a Classic doll, and I love the fact that I was able to get him in this outfit without buying the super expensive Frozen Fever set released earlier at the Disney Store. He gets five stars from me. :)

Kristoff is on the Disney Store website HERE. You can get him for $16.95 individually or $12 when you buy two or more Classic dolls. 

I have to say, I'm a little disappointed they raised the "2 or more" price to $12 each instead of $10 each. I'm glad I bought my dolls last month under the old promotion. A difference of $2 per doll isn't huge, but every little bit adds up.

Hope you guys enjoyed the reviews for this year! :) Now I really need to start getting ready for my trip. ;) Especially with church and a blogoversary post tomorrow. 

Talk to you guys again soon! :)

You can see my full review of the original Kristoff doll HERE

I am not affiliated with the Disney company, and do not receive anything for these reviews. I'm just a Disney doll fan who loves sharing with fellow fans. :) All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

2016 Disney Store Belle Doll Review/Comparison (with a Limited Edition Doll Rabbit Trail) ;)

Now that we've had a chance to review this year's Rapunzel doll, it's time to take a look at Belle. :)

Before we get into the review, though, I have to just say that the amount of Beauty and the Beast merchandise at the Disney Store right now is killing me! Beauty and the Beast celebrates its 25th anniversary this November, and the Disney Store is going all out with all sorts of new dolls, accessories, clothing, and more. (You can see everything currently available HERE.) It's a crummy time to be broke. ;)

And I can't even begin to say how much I'm drooling over the beautiful upcoming Limited Edition Beauty and the Beast dolls. Belle was announced a while back, but just yesterday the Disney Store shared pictures of the Limited Edition Beast and Gaston dolls that will also be available for pre-sale on August 2nd in select stores and online August 3rd. You can read all about it and see pictures HERE on the Disney Store blog.

I've shared before my desire to someday own a Disney Store Limited Edition doll, especially from Beauty and the Beast. Silly me, I was thinking of the dolls that would probably be released around the time of the live action version of the film next March. I didn't even think about the 25th anniversary of the animated version and the dolls it might inspire.

I would LOVE to add Belle and the Beast from this series to my collection, especially since the Beast doll appears to have a better design and more pleasant face than the smaller classic Beast doll. But the timing couldn't be worse. This month has been pretty tight for us financially, and the next few are going to be the same. (I suppose paying bills and getting Oldest Gal her braces are more important than dolls for me, anyway.) ;) So, I'll just enjoy them from afar and hope that those of you who are able to snag these lovelies will post LOTS of wonderful pictures for the rest of us to enjoy. ;)

Okay, enough of that! On to the pretty new Belle doll that IS in my collection. ;) Like my Rapunzel review for this year, 2016 Belle's post will be a little less detailed and more of an overview.

Here's Belle in her box. I really love what the Disney Store has done with the packaging this year, including scenes from the movie in the backdrop and making everything so bright and cheery. There are even little motifs from each film on the boxes this year.

Box details:

Like I mentioned in Rapunzel's review, I think this could be a fun way to display your dolls if you wanted a nice backdrop but still wanted to at least partially debox them. 

When I deboxed my Belle, I was actually able to pull the plastic ties out of her head completely! :D 

And here she is, free from her plastic and cardboard prison.

Belle from the front...

...and the back.

Belle's dress this year is a huge improvement from last year's, although it's VERY glittery (sorry for those of you who are not glitter fans). It appears to be similar to the Palace Pets version of Belle from the Disney Store last year, except the trim at the top of the bodice and around the skirt is satin instead of the gauzy, see-through material on Palace Pets Belle's dress.

It looks much closer to the movie version of the dress, including gloves this time (yay!) and a skirt that is much fuller and closer to the original dress design.

The dress has Velcro closure in back. There is a slight gap at the skirt where the twist ties held her to the box, which is pretty common for these dolls. The skirt fits correctly, so with time this should lay flat.

My only disappointment with this dress is that the Disney Store did not continue the folds and layers from the front of the skirt all the way around to the back. :(

Belle's hair has the typical odd separation in the back due to the way she was packaged. However, I do appreciate that it is about the right length and style.

She has a lovely, gentle face. Like 2016 Rapunzel, 2016 Belle's face is almost identical to last year's, but has subtler makeup and rosier cheeks. 

My particular Belle had a very slight paint flaw on her right eyelash line, and paint that overlapped the eye line in the face mold (also on the right).

Now, let's take a peek at Belle's little companion, Chip the teacup.

I have to say, I was pretty disappointed in Chip's paint job. I've seen really cute sidekicks come from the Disney Store, but honestly, this Chip looks like one of those poorly painted Disney toys you can find at dollar stores. With a little more detail and subtler paint, he could have been so much cuter.

Chip from the other sides: 

He does look pretty adorable with Belle, though. I love that he can sit in her hand, just like he did in the movie.

I'm so pleased with this doll overall. I especially love her kind face and the detail of her dress and gloves.


And now, on to the great Belle lineup! ;D

Here are all of the Disney Store Belle dolls from 2010 through 2016. (Be sure to click on the picture to see more detail.)

And here they all are from the back. 

In the interest of keeping things consistent, I took the same style of comparison photos for Belle's review that I did for Rapunzel's. I hope you enjoy this look at each of the dolls individually, including a close up of their faces and dresses. And sorry, I'm all out of creative nicknames, so this time I'll just label them by their years. ;)

2010 Belle 

2011 Belle 

2012 Belle 

2013 Belle 

2014 Belle 

2015 Belle 

2016 Belle 

Like I did with Rapunzel, I thought I'd share my favorite Belle dolls, even though there are things I love about each of them. :)

Favorite Faces: 
2010 Belle (pictured on the left) was the first Disney Store doll I really fell in love with. Even though she doesn't have the most accurate Belle face, this version of Belle is especially dear to me because her twin is the "famous" Belle of Belle's Bulletins. ;) 

2011 Belle (pictured next to 2010 Belle) looks closer to her movie counterpart. I've always loved the sweet, innocent expression of her face.

2015 Belle (next in line) is probably my first favorite of all of the dolls. I love her coloring and the beautiful detail of her face paint.

2016 (on the right) is up there with my favorites, too. Just like my Rapunzel dolls, I slightly prefer 2015's version to 2016, but when they're not right next to each other, I hardly notice the differences. ;)

Favorite Outfits: 
It's a tie for this category as well. Overall, I like 2016 Belle's dress (on the right) the best. However, 2012 Belle's dress is lovely, too. Both dresses include Belle's signature gloves.

And 2012 Belle's dress has the added bonus of a dress design that continues all the way around the skirt, even in the back where it's not visible from the box.

Favorite Hair:
Again, 2012 Belle and 2016 Belle are the winners.

Even though 2012 Belle's hair isn't as accurate to the movie style, it is designed to look like Belle's updated look from that year, when the marketing designs of all of the Disney Princesses got a makeover. I especially love the curly tendrils that frame her face and the fact that her little topknot bun isn't up as high on her head and looks more natural.

2016 Belle's hair looks lovely in photos and is very movie accurate (aside from the height of her bun). 2015's is pretty similar, although my 2015 Belle's hair was even more separated in the back (which you can see in the group photo above).  

Beauty and the Beast will always be my favorite Disney movie. I can't believe it's been twenty-five years since I sat in theaters as a ten-year-old girl and watched it for the first time. Belle was the first princess who had brown hair like mine, who loved to read, and who was deep enough to not fall in love with the first handsome guy she saw. ;) I instantly related to her. I'm so pleased to have such a lovely, detailed version of her for my collection. 

So, will Belle find her way to any of your collection shelves? ;) (You can find her on the Disney Store website HERE.) 

To read my past Belle doll review posts, visit my Doll and Toy Reviews page and check under the "Disney Dolls" category.

I am not affiliated with Disney, just a fan who loves to share about my Disney dolls. ;) All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.