Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Barbie Collector Orders 1 & 2

Order 1
1. Tim Gunn Collection for Barbie Accessory Pack 2: This was my real reason for placing the order. I’m a long time Tim Gunn fan and I love this accessory pack. Those boots! The pack was marked down to $9.96, but there’s something about paying more for shipping and handling than for the actual item that makes one feel cheated…so I ordered more stuff.

2. Life in the Dreamhouse Nikki: I admit to watching a few episodes of Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse. Did I mention that I have two daughters? Anyways, I happen to really like Nikki’s character and I think her outfit is cute. Besides I didn’t want Dreamhouse Raquelle to be the only resident in Dollton with a cartoonish face. Now she has company and someone capable of keeping her snarkiness in check. She was marked down to $9.99, which is about half off her original price as seen in stores.

3. Malibu Avenue Bakery: This is my only full price purchase from to date. I have learned that play sets with good props must be snatched up right away. What I like most about this play set and the others available from Barbie is that they don’t come prepackaged with a doll. We don’t want another blonde, blue-eyed, stiff as a board Barbie. We just want the awesome props. Granted it’s too much pink (and this is coming from someone who lists pink as a favorite color) but the details are adorable. This play set is a Christmas gift for Mara, and I think she will love it. I decided to buy it now just in case it sells out. The market play set has already had to be restocked once.

Order 2
1. Barbie The Look Wardrobe: I’ve read nothing but good things about this wardrobe, and I have to say the reviewers were right. I doubt that I would have paid full retail price for this item, but I got mine for less than $20 and at that price it was too good to pass up. It was marked down to $39.99 with $20 off with the purchase of two fashions. I ordered the two below. Both fashion packs were on clearance for $6.96 plus I got an additional 20% off. The wardrobe will be used in Chandra’s fashion boutique, Le Chic Boutique.

2. Poolside Barbie Fashion: I like the swimsuit cover up, menu, and poolside refreshments. This is just the sort of thing Camille would wear.

3. Pink on the Green Barbie Fashion: I think this too will be Camille’s. I can just picture her playing golf with her hubby, Dr. Edwards.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Flea Market Find

I had plans to write about my Barbie orders today, but I’m going to share my flea market find instead. Typically, I don’t do flea markets or thrift stores because I hardly ever find anything good. The only thing that keeps me going back on the rare occasions I do stop into a thrift store are the countless stories I’ve heard or read about someone who found a wonderful item in mint condition at an insanely good price. Well, the stuff I find is often icky and I rarely find anything at all. Today I happened upon a plaza with two thrift stores and two antique flea markets all in a row. I thought surely one out of four stores was bound to have something. As luck would have it the first store was closed and the second and third stores had nothing of interest to me. Store number four turned out to be the one. A booth in the back had some Barbie Basics priced $14.99 - $19.99. I considered one or two of them, but none came home with me.

Just as I was about to leave the store I spotted another display with a few Barbie dolls I’d never seen before. There on display and priced at $12.50 was a mint condition 2nd edition Indian Barbie doll (1996). I considered her for a few moments and decided to bring her home with us. She was a perfect find because I already had plans to create an Indian family. The picture below doesn’t do her justice, but I’m too tired to figure out what’s going on with my camera so I included a stock photo as well. I’m debating two possible names for her: Alisha and Anita. I like the meaning of the name Alisha, and she looks like an Alisha to me. Anita is the name of one of my former students: a sweet girl who always spoke with great pride about her Indian heritage.

Friday, July 18, 2014

AA I Can Be a Doctor Play Set: Opinion Post

What’s in the box:
  • standard AA Barbie doll with limited articulation dressed in a one-piece fashion with wedge heels and a stethoscope
  • 4 ¼ in toddler with molded hair (dress & shoes are removable, molded pink panties)
  • examination table with screen that flips when seat is pressed down
  • accessories include a bottle of medicine and a treat for the toddler

The most appealing thing about this play set (for me at least) was the toddler. Normally, I don’t like toddler dolls with molded hair but this one is really cute. I thought she’d make the perfect little sister to Zahara.  The Barbie doll is actually quite pretty, too. When I asked my husband if Mara had introduced him to the new pediatrician his reply was, “Yeah, that pediatrician’s hot.” I just shook my head.

I’m not sure why Mattel is calling this a play set as there is not much to play with. Where are the tools that usually accompany pretend play doctor sets? I’ve seen earlier Mattel sets with much more to play with than this one. Also, the examination table is small and flimsy. It’s rather difficult to seat most toddler dolls on it without them slipping off or the table tipping over.

At Mara’s insistence, just about every kid in Dollton has dropped in for a checkup in the past two days, and we’ve had to supplement the limited accessories quite a bit. The important thing, however, is that she absolutely loves playing with this set. She especially likes the flip screen on the exam table. She has given every single patient an X-ray despite my protests that children shouldn’t be exposed to radiation willy-nilly. And I have a feeling we’re going to be scheduling quite a few sick visits and checkups in the coming weeks and months.

I ordered our play set from for $18.99 plus tax, but the regular price is $22.99. I think it is priced about eight dollars more than it should be. It is available at other retailers but may be difficult to find online. For instance, the AA version doesn't even show up in a search on, but I've seen them in stores for $22.99.

Here’s a pic of the toddler girl in comparison to Kenzie (a friend of Kelly) and Zahara (one of the So in Style kids).

And here is a picture of the toddler girl, now named Faith, with her new family.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What I Bought: July 13th-18th

Here is a listing of my purchases from this week.

1. Only Hearts Club Ballet Theater
I have Mara choose the names (most of them) and create the back stories for the dolls in her collection. It makes it easier to come up with meaningful play scenarios later. I love how all of the back stories relate to her personal experiences and interests. She decided to make Bella a ballet instructor. Every ballet instructor needs a studio, right? I was wondering when I’d have time to make one, and then I found this one while perusing the doll merchandise at Tuesday Morning. It’s perfect! And at $19.99 the price was right.

2. Liv Hayden House & Doll
This was a clearance buy from Toys ‘R Us. TRU might not be the go-to spot for full priced purchases, but man do they know how to have a clearance sale. This set with a doll in a super cute dress plus a house was marked down to $7.49. I wasn’t sure what I’d do with it, but at that price I was willing to figure that out at home. A google search led me to this post where the author, Becky, turned hers into a beach house. How clever! I don’t plan to make a beach house. Our dollies live in a part of Georgia that is far from the coast, but I will be transforming it into a studio apartment for one of our college residents.

3. Baby Phat Grace
None of the promo pictures of this doll made me want her. In fact, I ordered Chandra and Marisa from this line and skipped right over Grace and Kara. It wasn’t until I saw her in some of Vanessa Morrison’s photo stories that I realized how pretty she is. And I love that her facial screening is more sophisticated than some of the other versions of Grace. I needed a wife for the good doctor (AA Dr. Ken) and I thought she might work. They look great together.

4. AA Barbie I Can Be a Doctor Playset
I can’t remember where I saw this AA set first, but I’m almost 100% positive that it wasn’t in a store, because this version is nowhere to be found in my local stores. I wanted it for the toddler. None of my usual haunts (Walmart, Target, TRU, Amazon) had the African American version at a reasonable price, but I found it at for $18.99. I’ll post a review tomorrow.

5. Mexico Barbie DotW
By the time I saw this doll on sale at Barbie, she was already sold out. I really didn’t think there was a chance I’d get her somewhere else for retail price or less, so I never bothered searching. Well, she found me instead. I decided to visit a Tuesday Morning location I’d never been to and guess who was there priced at $14.99- a better price than because I didn’t have to pay for shipping. She reminds me of a student I had several years ago. I think I'll name her Linda and make her the Spanish teacher at the elementary school.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dolly Deals Spotted Around Town

I LOVE the thrill of a good deal! 
Here’s a list of sales and deals I’ve spotted around town in the past week.

  • Justin Bieber Onstage and Backstage Playsets spotted at CW Price for $9.99 each. I purchased both sets. The accessories are awesome and the articulated Beiber dolls are quite cute once that awful gel is brushed out of their hair. I liked them enough to keep them and make them twin brothers Justin and Jason Clark.

Images from

  • Justin Bieber Concert Stage Tour Bus spotted on clearance at Toys R Us 70% off.

  • Speaking of Toys ‘R Us… they have some awesome in-store clearance mark downs right now. Divergent’s Four was marked down to $13.48, the Liv Hayden house and doll set shown below was $7.49, plus many more dolls and fashions are marked down 80% off. I'm tempted to go back and buy at least one more of these sets.

Image from

  • Fashion Madness Kenya dolls were spotted in Family Dollar stores marked down to $10 in some and $15 in others. I’ve spotted every Kenya doll except the one in the animal print coat, which of course is the one I’d buy.

  • Tuesday Morning has a selection of dolls and fashions worth checking out. Barbie Ken Fashionistas fashion packs like the Summer Picnic Date pack shown below are $4.99, Barbie Look fashion packs are $9.99, and they have several of the Dolls of the World. I got the Mexico Barbie for $14.99 yesterday. 

Images from

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It's Raining Men

Many can relate to my desire to have a few dolls of my own in order to play Barbies with my little one. I couldn’t, or rather I wouldn't, risk Mara ruining my dolls’ hair or losing all their fab accessories. 
Our collection…okay my collection has grown in leaps and bounds in the two months since we started playing. I was able to start a wish list of dolls I wanted in our little doll town by perusing doll blogs and online retailers. Who says a good man is hard to find? I do! Acquiring some of these guys required a combination of patience, persistence, and favor. But I’ve been steadily checking off boxes on my list, so allow me to introduce the fellas from left to right.

Dr. Ken & Tommy n.k.a. Dr. Thomas Edwards and his son Thomas Jr. (nicknamed Tommy): I think the pretty boy doctor might just be my favorite. Little Tommy is cute, too. Ken’s in his original clothes except for the shoes. I laughed when I read on the box that he was “dressed for a date” when you remove his white coat. I thought to myself, “Really he’s going on a date in these orthopedic shoes?!”

High School Musical Chad n.k.a. Chad Davis: Chad is wearing his original shirt and shoes with jeans from a JB doll. Since this version of HSM Chad shares the same face mold as Darren, I decided to make them brothers.

Rocawear Darren n.k.a. Darren Davis: Darren’s clothing is original but the shoes are from a JB fashion pack. The JB sneakers fit him much better. Why did Mattel put him in those clown shoes anyway? Besides, he’s an adult in Dollton, and what self-respecting grown man walks around with his shoe laces untied on purpose?

SIS Julian n.k.a. Julian Davis: What a cutie! To be honest, it took me a while to decide whether I liked him or not. In the end, it was the rarity of boy dolls that settled it. When I saw the little blonde friend of Chelsea in a Walmart recently, I snatched him up without a second thought after exclaiming, “Ooh a boy!” It’s a shame that boys are so rare.

Jamal n.k.a. Jamal Joyner: I was surprised to see that he is shorter than the other adult male dolls. That gold suit he came in had to go! He’s wearing a pair of khaki pants I found at a thrift store (which were too short for all my other guys), a sweater from a One Direction doll, and shoes from the Barbie Ken Fashionistas Summer Picnic Date fashion pack.

MC Hammer n.k.a. Stanley Kirk: I love what he’s wearing, but I can’t take credit for it. He was purchased off eBay and this is how he came, except that I swapped his snazzy black shoes for a tan pair from a current Ken fashion pack. I inquired about his clothes, and the seller said they were from a Blaine fashion pack.

Divergent Four n.k.a. Dr. Matthew Foreman, D.D.S.:  I don’t know anything about the movie Divergent or this character. All I know is that he is one handsome doll. He was on my “maybe” list because though I liked him from the moment I laid eyes on him, I did not like his price tag. Well imagine my delight when I found him marked down to $13.48 at my local Toys ‘R Us two weeks ago.

AA Happy Family Grandpa n.k.a. Noah Hadley: Not pictured- still boxed. He’s my most expensive acquisition to date. At least he came with some cool accessories.

Happy Family Grandpa n.k.a. Zachary Clark: Not pictured- awaiting shipment.

I am happy to say that currently only one guy remains on my wish list- JLS Marvin. I want to use him to represent the teenage son in the doll family that mirrors my own. It’s not that I don’t know where to get him; I found him on eBay. It’s not that he’s terribly expensive; he’s less than $25 with shipping. I think that’s reasonable considering he’s traveling from the UK. I think I haven’t hit the buy button because I’m holding out for something better. Like a beach doll, he’s stiff as a board and on top of that I don’t like his clothes. If I haven't found a suitable replacement by the end of summer, I may just bite the bullet. My lovely ladies will be featured in a separate post. Currently Mara has three male dolls in her collection: the standard beach Ken and Steven dolls and the blonde friend of Chelsea who she named T.J.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Time Has Come

It seems that my love for fashion dolls started with Peaches and Cream Barbie (1985). I don’t know if she was my first Barbie doll or not, but she certainly made an impression on me. Maybe it was her gorgeous gown, maybe it was her pretty face, or maybe it was because her cocoa complexion was like my own. I don’t remember having many black dolls as a young girl. Black dolls were not as readily available back then as they are now. My family did not have the money to indulge my love for Barbie, so I mainly dreamt of the things I saw in the Sears Wish Book and took every opportunity I got to enjoy the fashion dolls of my friends.

I’m a girly girl right down to my core, so as much as I loved buying trucks and action figures for my son (my oldest child), I longed for the day when I could buy my daughter  all the little girl toys that I wanted but never had, especially Barbie dolls. When my eldest daughter was born I knew the wait would soon be over. Every Christmas and birthday brought us closer to the time when we could play dolls together. According to Mattel most Barbie merchandise is suitable for ages 3 and up, but I decided to wait a while longer. I wanted to be sure Mara would be able to take good care of her dolls and accessories and truly engage in our playtime.  Finally, the time has come.