Photo Tale as Old as Time

The live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson as Belle opened Friday, took an estimated $170 million at the US box office for the weekend, and is expected to break the all-time opening weekend for a PG-rated movie (full story here: I’m interested in seeing it, but I’m not too impressed by the tie-in merchandise offered-especially Disney Store’s Emma Watson doll, which looks surprisingly masculine. Hasbro’s version looks more feminine and a bit more like her, but still doesn’t quite capture her beauty; and Disney Store’s other merch just isn’t really speaking to me. However, last year for my birthday I got the deluxe doll gift set that DS came out with for the original’s 25th anniversary. So, in honor of the live-action release, here are some pictures of my set!

The Belle doll that came with the set-she arrived in her winter outfit as shown.


She’s very pretty and very movie-accurate (not that this blurry picture makes it easy to see that), but so far my 2015 DS Belle seems to be a bit more versatile and expressive in photos (she’s my primary Belle, at least for now). Once the weather here gets more consistent, I plan to do some experiments with settings, angles, and outfits to bring out the best in Gift Set Belle, and then hopefully she can be featured more.

Here’s a picture of the 2 Belles side-by-side.

2015 Belle is wearing a My Scene dress, faux-fur boa, and boots. As Bratz competitors, the My Scene dolls had shoes designed to look like oversized feet which slid over their regular Barbie feet, so the size of the boots allows the wearer (like 2015 Belle here) to stand up on her own. Gift Set Belle was forced to sit down because I couldn’t find a second pair of My Scene shoes or boots that wouldn’t clash with her dress.


The Beast.

His expression perfectly captures Beast’s awkwardness and hidden (at first) kindness.


He can stand on his own! You need to hunch him over a bit oddly to do it, but it works.


Last year, during JoJo’s season of The Bachelorette and the following summer’s season of Bachelor in Paradise, the standout character was Daniel, a Vancouver-born personal trainer who projected a comically self-absorbed persona and listed his occupation as “Canadian” in his contestant bio. I felt the perfect job for Daniel would be to play Gaston at Disneyland, where he could really ham it up (although he’d have to bulk up a bit to get a better resemblance). I also see something of Daniel in this Gaston doll, so outside of any BATB-themed photo shoots I may do in the future, he’ll serve as a miniature version of Daniel within my doll world.


Here’s a group shot of Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, and Chip.

I used my entertainment center as the backdrop for the enchanted objects group shot in hopes that all the black would make the small objects stand out better. I think it worked!


Philippe! He’s a bit small, but who cares when he’s this cute?

Philippe: Neigh, soft snort. Translation: Yes, I really am this cuddly in person.


In addition to all the major characters, the “deluxe” means extra outfits and accessories. Here are the outfits: Belle’s village dress and ballroom clothes for her and Beast.


One of the birds from “Something There” (I stuck it between the outfits and the accessories  because it’s neither an accessory nor a major character):


The magic mirror and (very glittery) enchanted rose.


Belle’s book and basket.


I did an enhancement job on the mirror and the book’s spine to make them look a bit more accurate.

I filled in the rose with a neon pink Sharpie, the leaves with a neon green Sharpie…


…and the spine accents with a gold Sharpie.


A group shot of the major characters (minus Gaston/Daniel, who was cluelessly hitting on one of my other dolls).

Due to his small size, Chip’s balanced on top of Philippe’s head.


I even managed to make Belle ride Philippe (sidesaddle, because of her short skirt).



Quick Questions

Today I found that my Disney Store Elsa has these dark stains on her legs (they might be from a pair of pants, but I don’t know that for sure because she hasn’t worn those pants for a while).


dscf0451I’ve tried baby wipes and eye makeup remover-all to no dice. Now I just have a couple of questions. 1st: would it be better to use nail polish remover, acne cream, or a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser? I’ve read of all 3 being used successfully, but I’m not sure which one would work best. 2nd: I already have nail polish remover, but it’s non-acetone. Is there any chance it would work, or should I go buy some with acetone?

I’ve done some minor doll restoration work, but I don’t normally have to deal with vinyl staining, so I wanted to get some advice before doing much more, especially since I really love this doll.

Disney Store Classic Tiana Review

I recently bought the Classic doll of Tiana from the Disney Store (as well as Jasmine-I’ve been wanting to get these two ladies for my Disney Princess collection for a while. I wanted to pick them out in person, because they can be a little difficult to get just right, and it was hard to find time to go because my nearest Disney Store is about an hour away from my house), and since then I’ve noticed that (as far as Google can show me) no bloggers have done a written review of Tiana yet-there’ve been several YouTube reviews of her, but none written out. I’m terrified because I’ve never written a full-on doll review, but it looks like I’ll have to be the first to do it.

Here she is as I picked her up from the DS shelf:


The left side of the box:


And the right:


The back shows a movie illustration of Tiana just before she kisses Naveen in his frog form (who will heretofore be referred to as Froggy Naveen in this review).


The box’s top left corner has this line drawing of Froggy Naveen.


The middle of the right side features this illustration of Tiana’s restaurant.


And here she is deboxed!


A close-up


Comparison to the box back. They really captured her expression-a smirk and a side-eye.


A close-up of Froggy Naveen.


I got several dolls and outfits for my birthday a few months ago, including a Mattel-made Tiana outfit pack from 2011. Here’s my new Tiana in her waitress uniform (with shoes borrowed from a 1979 Pretty Changes Barbie outfit I found at a flea market a year or 2 ago).


And here she is in her green-and-white dress (Is it her wedding dress? I’ve seen bits and pieces of the movie, but never the whole thing-if anyone can answer that for me, please let me know).


Finally, I decided to revamp Tiana a little bit. I let her hair out of its bun, evened out the curls by winding them around the front piece (the purple part) of this pair of nail clippers (I normally use them to cut the little plastic T-shaped swif-tacher things on dolls)


and put her in this dress from a selection of Fashion Madness Kenya outfits that I also got for my birthday.


So there it is, my first-ever doll review. I hope you enjoyed it!



Solidarity with France

Like many, I’m devastated by the news of the recent terrorist attack in Nice, France. I’m limited in what I can do, so I’m showing my support in the simplest way I can: blogging. Here’s a photo of one of my most prized possessions: a 2-franc piece from 1959 (incidentally, the year Barbie first debuted!) that I inherited from my grandma. I’ve flipped it over to display the French national motto, “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité,” and mounted it in a locket that I think will display it better than my hand would.

Franc in Locket.JPG

The Photo Quality Conundrum

I compressed all the photos on my previous posts to make them more mobile-friendly. Now I’m starting to regret that decision because the compressed photos are of lower quality than their uncompressed versions. I’m soliciting feedback from you, my readers, in the hopes of making an informed decision: Would you prefer 1)  posts with high-quality photos or 2) mobile-friendly posts with lower-quality photos?

Here’s how this is going to work: My next few posts will all have high-quality photos so that you can compare the high- and low-quality photos. Then I’m going to need you to leave the number of your opinion, 1 or 2 above, underneath this post.

Let me know what you think, and thanks for your opinions!

Birthday Mini Post

I’ve been compiling photos and planning posts over the past 3 months. I can’t post any of them at the moment since my camera’s down, but I think you’ll really like them when I do. In the meantime I wanted to do a little something today in honor of Barbie’s birthday.

Here’s a video showing how interchangeable Barbie clothes are between the original Barbie and the three new body types ( and a photo of one of my favorite Barbies, 1st edition Generation Girl Barbie with the controversial ankle tattoo, who I use on this blog to represent Barbie the character.

Optimized-Barbie and Summer
She’s too popular for me to find a photo of her alone, so here she is with Summer. Maybe they’ll head for a girls’ birthday lunch dressed like this?



Burgundy Christmas
I’ve also added this Christmas-themed photo, which I found a long time ago on the In The Pink message board, because I love this burgundy dress. I don’t remember which of ITP’s many members took this photo, but I think they originally posted it around Christmas 2014. To the ITP poster: your photo is beautiful. If you find this blog, please feel free to introduce yourself and get in touch with me!




Quick Note

I’d just like to say one thing: if you want to use any of my photos on your own sites, that’s fine. It’s very flattering! Please make sure to give me credit, though-just say something like “Photo found at”. Thank you!

Partial Birthday Gift Post

My birthday fell during my long hiatus, so I’d like to show you some of the stuff I got.

I’ve really gotten into Arrested Development, and my mom and cousin were generous with the loot. Between them, I got seasons 1 and 2, a magnet (photo to come later), and a couple t-shirts, including this one with all the Bluth chicken dances!

Chicken Dance Shirt

My aunt from Florida got me a few more Disney princesses-Belle, Ariel, and Mulan. It looks like Disney’s switching back to the click-knee legs, probably due to problems with the articulated-ankle legs (like my Anna’s turned-in hip and the many problems the Toy Box Philosopher has cited on her blog). Mulan was the first to get a new outfit-she hated her original dress, and Belle and Ariel have other shoots to do first. I’m also acquiring a Barbie-scale tree, so I’m planning a holiday post featuring the tree and the princesses in their holiday finery.

Looks like Ariel stopped in the waters of Tortuga and got mixed up with Captain Jack!
Belle discovers Stephen King. Oh, hi, Cogsworth!
Nobody does casual-but-elegant better than Mulan.

Probably the best gift I got was Star Trek reboot Kirk Ken. The resemblance to Chris Pine is amazing!


Raquelle pounced, of course.

They’re now in an on-and-off relationship. Here they are at Thanksgiving.

Arendelle Comes to Dayton

Sorry to go AWOL! Between a really busy semester and way too many photos to choose from, this post was a long time in making. Here goes!

I bought the Disney Store classic dolls of Anna and Elsa while I was in Atlanta.

I don’t know if you can tell from this photo (probably not, based on where her hand is), but Anna’s left hip is turned just a bit too far in-not right, but not bad enough to seriously impair her posability.



The back doors of my mom’s car have a small well that the girls were able to put their legs in, which enabled them to sit on the door ledge for the ride back.


When we all got back home to Dayton, Anna and Elsa were greeted not only by Olaf, but also by Guillermo Flatto.DSCN1017


Anna: Hi, guys! Kristoff’s traveling around the world and doesn’t know when he’ll be able to get to Dayton, so we’re on a break for now. He wanted me to tell you he says hi and doesn’t want you to worry about him.



These girls are amazing to dress! I have way more photos of them, and I might share some in later posts.

I was inspired by Frozen Fever to do my own version of Anna’s birthday on the first day of summer.

Happy birthday, Anna! Being made out of snow, I don’t have any money, so Elsa took me shopping. I thought this purse was perfect for you!
Olaf: I’m also giving you a warm hug, of course! Anna: Olaf, I love them both! Thank you so much!


Happy birthday, Anna! I made you an ice necklace and it somehow turned into diamonds.
Go ahead, put it on!
Anna: Thanks, Elsa! How’d you know? Elsa: Hey, you’re my sister-I always know!
Anna with her gifts. “This birthday’s been amazing!”

Breaking News-Liebster Award!

I’ve just started back at school and the post with my Disney Store classic Anna and Elsa dolls that I alluded to last time is still in the pipeline-the more photos I took of them, the more I wanted to take and the less I could decide which ones to put in the post-but I’m putting the finishing touches on it and should have it posted by the end of the coming week. In other news, The Dorky Doll Collector has given me a Liebster Award! This is the first time I’ve ever gotten a blogging award, so it’s a huge honor!

Les rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog 2.Give your readers 11 random facts about yourself. 3. Answer the 11 questions from the person who nominated you. 4. Nominate 11 bloggers to receive this award. 5. Invent 11 questions for your nominees.

My facts:

1. I have over 200 Barbie and Barbie-related dolls (at last count about 10 years ago-the number’s probably closer to 300 now), a few Disney-branded (both Mattel and Disney Store) dolls, about 15 American Girls, and about 15 porcelain dolls in my collection.
2. I’ve been collecting dolls for as long as I can remember-I count my childhood years in there because I started picking out adult collector dolls at about 8 years old and because as a general rule I’ve always favored deboxing my dolls.
3. I always either take the veggies off my cheeseburgers or build them without veggies-especially when it’s a bacon cheeseburger.
4. I took Spanish and French classes from middle school through college because I loved the sounds of the languages, but I wasn’t great at retention-I can read them but can only speak them at a rudimentary level, and thus rely on Google Translate.
5. About 10 years ago I used my Barbies to cobble together a prom-themed diorama in a display case in the teen section of my local library. The diorama included a tribute to Pretty in Pink (which had reached an anniversary-I believe the 20th-at the time) using Teen Skipper’s red-haired friend Courtney as Andie, Generation Girl Blaine as Blane, and a Bratz Boy as Duckie, despite the fact that I didn’t really have any movie-accurate doll outfits and couldn’t make them due to being terminally bad at most things crafty.
6. I sometimes see celebrities in Barbie and friend/family dolls-sometimes due to an actual physical resemblance and sometimes it’s just something undefinable that reminds me of the celeb-and I’m planning a blog post where I list all my celebrity Barbies, whether they’re actually modeled after the celebs or I just saw them that way.
7. I love superheroes, but hate how all the comic books and related movies seem to be going in such a dark direction lately (meaning the last 25-30 years or so).
8. I watched Jeopardy! for many years before working my way into the contestant pool this summer.
9. Besides dolls, I hope to own one copy (not necessarily 1st editions, although I have acquired several) of every Stephen King book by the time I die.
10. My cousin and I are the same shoe size, so I’ve gotten some awesome pairs of shoes by shopping her closet when she bought new ones.
11. My doll collection has practically no limits-I believe any dolls of roughly similar proportions can play well with each other.

Dorky Doll Collector’s questions and my answers:

1. “What is the one doll or toy related item that you dream of owning one day?” There are two My Scene dolls that I consider grail dolls-Jammin’ in Jamaica Jai (with or without Sutton) and Karaoke Divas Nia (she has strawberry blonde hair and tons of purple in her hair/outfit/makeup, and purple is like catnip for me).

2. “Anime, Yay or Nay?” In high school I had a group of friends who loved manga and anime, and I enjoyed it when I hung out with them, but I lost interest after we lost touch with each other. I might get back into it someday-I don’t know-but nay for now. 3. “Favorite candy?” I’m chewing this awesome grape lemonade-flavored variety of Trident Layers gum. I also love vanilla Tootsie Rolls, cookies & cream Hershey bars, Kit Kats (which I’ve referred to as Fancy Feast ever since I watched Andy try to complete the Kit Kat jingle on The Office US), and anything with butterscotch, grape, or blue raspberry flavors.

4. “What would your dream job be?” I would love to be a freelance editor and proofreader, taking projects on commission, setting my own hours, and working whenever and wherever I want-including at Starbucks.

5. “What is your current favorite movie or TV show?” I’m waiting excitedly for Castle to come back for season 8, which should happen within the next two weeks. Right now I’m working my way through season 1 of Arrested Development online-went through the first five episodes today. OK, my new AD kick may have something to do with the fact that I find Will Arnett incredibly sexy. OK, let’s just replace the “may have” in that last sentence with “definitely has,” and that’s all I’m gonna say here.

6. “What is your favorite doll or toy related item that you currently own?” Probably a 4-way tie between Mattel’s Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse Raquelle and Fashionistas In the Spotlight Summer and the aforementioned Anna and Elsa.

7. “Have you ever cried during a movie or TV show that is mainly targeted at children?” I can’t say that I have, but I do sometimes get choked up.

8. “What is your favorite holiday?” More ties-Christmas for the decorations/gifts/music (especially Trans-Siberian Orchestra)/all-around happiness and New Year’s for the more casual atmosphere.

9. “What is your favorite season?” While I love going on summer vacations and wearing my awesome boots and blue faux fur coat in the winter, my favorite season would have to be yet another tie, this one between spring and fall-it’s neither hot as hell nor cold as hell, you don’t have to worry about burning up and getting eaten by mosquitoes or slipping and breaking your neck, and you get flowers or colored leaves (my favorite fall leaves are the really bright/dark red ones).

10. “Are you calm and collected, or happy and excitable?” I can be both, depending on the circumstances. I can also be nervous, temperamental and stubborn under other circumstances.

11. “Is there someone that you currently look up to almost as an idol?” I can’t really give one solid answer for this one-I admire too many people for too many different things.

I share The Dorky Doll Collector’s nominations of Kayleigh from Adventures of a Musical Doll Collector, Christina from Christina Articulates, Ms. Leo from I-Luv-Dolls, Muff from Hey, It’s Muff, and Tam from Planet of the Dolls. I also nominate barbielea from barbiebeauties, Heather from The Doll Grotto, D7ana from A Philly Collector of Playscale Dolls and Action Figures, Limbe Dolls, Anderson’s All-Purpose at Mrs. Anderson’s All-Purpose Blog, and Debbie at Black Doll Collecting. Here are my questions:

1. Did you ever drop a grail doll from your wish list, and if so, why?

2. Sports: yes, no, or selective? (I’m selective-I follow a few teams/athletes and don’t care about sports otherwise.)

3. Let’s go for an all-time classic debate: Coke or Pepsi? (I’m a Coke gal myself.)

4. What’s your dream vacation spot?

5. If you could have any form of superhuman powers, what power or powers would you most want and which would you least want? (I’d most want to be a Time Lord and least want shining, because nothing good ever happens to people who have shining.)

6. How would you most like to reinvent yourself?

7. If you could live in another time period, when would you want to live?

8. Another classic debate: Star Wars or Star Trek? (BTW, live long and prosper.)

9. Did you ever get into an argument with a friend or family member because each of you collects something that the other absolutely cannot understand the appeal of?

10. What’s your favorite non-doll-related website?

11. Have you ever had a crush linger in your subconscious for a while-a period of months or years-and then randomly hit you with the force of a sumo wrestler?