Thursday, June 21, 2018

Toys R Us Closings Its Doors


With Geoffrey the Giraffe at the Bellevue TRU in 2015
It has been all over the news, so I am sure this post is not breaking news to anyone. However, I could not let the Toys R Us (TRU) chain shut its doors forever without a small homage of my own.

Toys R Us was established on June 1957, in Washington, D.C. A decade or so later my parents moved to D.C., and I have fond memories of going into the huge toy store as a little girl. There was nothing else like it.

Later as Toys R Us moved across the country we finally got one in Nashville and a few years later, a store opened in Bellevue, TN, where I became a frequent guest. A writer for several fashion doll magazines including Barbie Bazaar and Millers Fashion Doll Magazine, I was often in the store taking photos of new dolls and buying them for more formal photo shoots for my articles.

After print media doll magazines closed their doors, I still wrote doll articles for Examiner, Yahoo and this blog, so my professional relationship with TRU continued. At one point, I even worked part time for the chain for a little over a year, and I had a ball.

Cool Springs Toys R Us closes its doors in 2018
But Toys R Us was always about the kids. From helium balloons to colorful bags to birthday clubs, kiddie rides and aisles and aisles full of toys, TRU was the place to go it you wanted to remain a kid. And don't we all -- at least just a little bit -- want to remain a Toys Are Us kid at heart?

I watched the Bellevue store get packed out a few years ago in 2015, and this week I went to the Cool Springs store to say good-bye to the closest store left.  It was a bittersweet walk down Memory Lane. The sales signs and closed aisles looked eerily familiar. Most items were 50-70% off the day I was there.

Bellevue TRU closed its doors in  2015
So thanks for the memories, Toys R Us. You have been a big part of my life and of all the little girls and boys who grew up on baseball, Mom's apple pie, and Geoffrey the Giraffe. I will always wanna be a Toys R Us kid.

I don't wanna grow up, I'm a Toys R Us kid
they got a million toys at Toys R us that I can play with
I don't wanna grow up, I'm a Toys R Us kid
they got the best for so much less, it'll really flip your lid
From bikes to trains to video games
it's the biggest toy store there is (gee whiz!)
I don't wanna grow up, cause maybe if I did
I couldn't be a Toys R Us kid
more games, more toys, oh boy!
I wanna be a Toys R Us kid
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Moxie Teenz, Fan Girls Celebrate 4th of July


Moxie Teenz, Fan Girls & other 14" friends
The Moxie Teenz are known for their big eyes with rooted lashes and their moveable limbs as well as their 14" inch size. How nice it has been for them to make occasional friends along the way that share some of their attributes! In honor of the approaching 4th of July holiday, the Teenz invited their newest friends, the Madame Alexander Fan Girls, and some other friends to a July 4th party to celebrate our nation's birth, patriotism and friendship.

Captain America Fan Girls doll
The Moxie Teenz girls and Gavin have put on their favorite red, white and blue outfits for the party, along with two Jackie Evancho dolls (one with a Liv head). Barbie wears a simple summer peasant skirt and top, while the Captain America Fan Girl has arrived in her original outfit. Her friend Black Widow has taken off her black gown to wear a 4th of July skirt and a top she probably borrowed from Ken or a Backstreet Boy or other boy doll.

Happy Fourth of July from the Moxie Teenz
Because of their interchangeable wigs and twist torso in addition to all the other posable joints and other great features, the Moxie Teenz dolls remain the best of the play line dolls to dress and pose, but the Fan Girls are a nice addition to the 13 1/2 - 14" doll.

Happy Fourth of July from the Fan Girls, Moxie Teenz and their friends!

Related 


  • Fan Girls a Tribute to Marvel Characters from Madame Alexander  
  • Madame Alexander Fan Girls Dolls: Black Widow Review
  • Madame Alexander Fan Girls Dolls: Captain America Review  
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    Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    Minecraft Figures 60% Off at Toys R Us


    Sadly, the Toys R Us chain of big-box toy stores is closing across the nation. The only perk in this sorry chain of events is the fact that toys and dolls are 50 - 70 % off in the few stores that are still in the process of closing. This means the handful of Minecraft toys that are left are now 60% or more off the original price.

    So head in today to say goodby to a pop culture retail icon as it closes its doors, and rescue a Minecraft Sheep, Ghast or a Creeper while you are there.

    Related: 
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    Tuesday, June 19, 2018

    Madame Alexander Fan Girls Dolls: Captain America Review

    Madame Alexander Marvel Captain America Fan Girls Doll. Shield not included.

    The Madame Alexander Marvel Captain America Fan Girls Review is part III in a series about a new line of 14" dolls from the MA doll company.

    Hooray for the Red, White and Blue!

    The Madame Alexander Marvel Captain America Fan Girls doll is quite a patriotic beauty. 4th of July and Flag Day come to mind immediately when looking at her, so while she is a tribute to Captain America, the doll will be great for seasonal patriotic display.

    Dressed in red, white and blue, she is as American as Mom's apple pie with a cropped blue top sewn over a white t-shirt, nice blue leggings, and her red and white striped skirt.

    The skirt features two layers. One is a bubble skirt with a floors-length layer underneath that is open in the front to show off her ugly World War II-esque lace up Army boots.
    Captain America Fan Girls and her Army boots
     "Your mother wears Army Boots" was an insult in ye olden days of the 40s, 50s and 60s. No wonder why!

    While cute in a grunge sort of way with shorts, leggings or a casual skirt, the team at Madame Alexander should have stuck with the adorable red booties in their original color drawing to be paired with a long chiffon skirt. Not only are the boots too casual for the ensemble, but they are hard to get off and on. I probably won't ever use them and will substitute something more suitable... although I might cut off the long skirt and let her wear her boots with the shorter bubble skirt and leggings. One perk is that these boots at least have heels, so the Captain America doll can stand on her own.


    The doll's braided blonde bun is very nicely done, although her headband is overpowering, so I folded mine down slightly in a couple of the photos. Her removable belt with its tiny Captain America shield is also nice. I also added a Captain America patch from Target for this Fan Girl to use as a prop since the shield on her belt doesn't really represent her Marvel hero well.

    With pretty blue eyes, rooted lashes, side strands of hair, ball-jointed wrists, elbows and knees and moveable neck, shoulders and hips and cute patriotic outfit, I am giving the Madame Alexander Captain America Fan Girl 5 stars. *****

    Related 


  • Part I: Fan Girls a Tribute to Marvel Characters from Madame Alexander  
  • Part II: Madame Alexander Fan Girls Dolls: Black Widow Review


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    Monday, June 18, 2018

    Madame Alexander Fan Girls Dolls: Black Widow Review

    Madame Alexander Fan Girls Black Widow & Captain America
    One of the more recent additions to the doll collecting world is a relatively new collection from the prestigious Madame Alexander doll company. As mentioned in Part one of this series on the Fan Girls Dolls, the new MA dolls pay tribute to some of Marvel Comics most beloved heroes. In Part II and III, we will take a closer look at two of the dolls: the Black Widow and Captain America Fan Girls.

    Black Widow Fan Girl Review

    The Black Widow Fan Girls doll would be a great witch for Halloween with her stark black gown with its dramatic collar and spider-themed hat. Her red hair looked pretty enough, but it was tied onto the doll's dress. In fact, all these dolls suffer from being severely tied to their plastic cases with arms, legs, clothing and shoes all tied overly securely to the boxes, so much so that they are difficult and time consuming to remove.

    Black Widow Fan Girls doll from Madame Alexander

    Once removed Black Widow's hair was sticky to the point of being crisp at the ends, but when her hair was loosened and the sticky substance removed (which I was able to do by carefully combing it), her hair sprang to life and was quite lovely.

    Her severe gown is well made and tagged and was much improved simply by lowering the collar and letting it drape around her shoulders. In fact, once her frightful cap was removed, her hair loosened, and her collar draped, she reminded me more of the vintage Barbie Solo in the Spotlight than a Halloween witch.
    Black Widow Fan Girls--closeup of shoes and hose

    One of the least attractive features of the Black Widow Fan Girls doll is her strange platform pumps with no heels. These impractical shoes are klunky and do not allow the doll to stand on her own. Fortunately, her long dress hides them. She does have hose, which gives her a finished look as well as protecting her from the black fabric which has a tendency to stain dolls over time.

    The doll boasts rooted lashes, nice features, big green eyes, luxurious hair, and is ball jointed at the wrists, elbows and knees, with great movement at the hips, shoulder and neck. The Fan Girls have no waist movement.

    All in all, Black Widow lives up to Madame Alexander's reputation for quality craftsmanship, especially for a play line doll. I would give this Fan Girls doll 4 1/2 stars out of 5, with 1/2 point deducted simply for my personal preferences.  *****.

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    Sunday, June 17, 2018

    Fan Girls a Tribute to Marvel Characters from Madame Alexander

    Part 1 of a 3-part series
    Fan Girl dolls from Madame Alexander 
    Madame Alexander has issued an interesting collection of dolls paying homage to various characters from Marvel comics. The 14 inch fashion dolls are dressed in eclectic designs that emulate garments worn by Marvel characters. In all honesty, the costumes are not that appealing and the shoes and boots I personally inspected were downright ugly.

    The dolls themselves, with the exception of the sad little Spider Man Fan Girl, with her horrific bangs and two-toned hair, are well made and quite pretty. Ball jointed with graceful hands and with their large eyes with rooted lashes, there is a lot of appeal in the Fan Girl dolls from Madame Alexander, if only their clothes had been nicer.

    In the rest of this series, I will review the Black Widow and Captain America Fan Girl Dolls and compare the Madame Alexander Fan Girls to my favorite 14 inch dolls, the Moxie Teenz.

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    Sunday, May 27, 2018

    Ren Fest Cloth Dolls and More


    Cloth dolls at the Tennessee Ren Fest
    At this year's Tennessee Ren Fest there were some cute little cloth dolls for sale. Dressed in renaissance gowns, the dolls were trimmed with bits of lace and ribbon. Dolls are not always found at a Renaissance Festival so these were a particularly nice find.
    A tapestry with a dog dressed as Queen Elizabeth


    Costumes are always plentiful as are various other arts and crafts. For collectors of the cute and unusual, there were even tapestries from Europe of dogs in historic poses.
    Scenes from the 2018 Tennessee Renaissance Festival

    Ren Faires are colorful and imaginative and a fun way to spend the day. If your city hosts a renaissance festival, try to catch it. There you will make your own colorful finds!
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