Category Archives: Barbie

Barbie Hello Kitty Fashion Packs

Do you love Barbie and Hello Kitty but refuse to pay $100 for the shockingly-overpriced-for-a-non-articulated-Barbie-doll Hello Kitty Barbie? Now you don’t have to. Mattel and Walmart have released an exclusive line of licensed Sanrio-character fashion packs for everyone’s favorite plastic princess. The Barbie Hello Kitty Fashion Packs include dresses, separates, and accessories featuring Hello Kitty and other beloved Sanrio characters such as Chococat, My Melody, and Little Twin Stars. They hit the stores last month and already is completely sold out. I had to turn to evilBay to get a couple of pieces, but Ghoulia13 and I are going to check out our local Walmart this weekend. In the meantime, here are some of the items from the collection.


Tops retail for $2.44 and the dress/separates packs sell for $4.94. Prices on eBay currently average about 2-3 times the retail prices.

Did you find any of the Hello Kitty Fashion Packs?

Update:  Okay, so Ghoulia13 and I made a Walmart run after work. Our Walmart had plenty of Hello Kitty Fashion Packs. I managed to get all of the tops and all but two of the ensembles. Here is my Hello Kitty haul:




Imaginarium City Studio Dollhouse

Today’s post is about something near and dear to my heart: a dollhouse. I love dollhouses. Ever since I began collecting dolls I’ve been buying plastic house play sets, which are great. I can set them up, do some photo shoots, and put them away. I never thought of buying a large dollhouse for my fashion dolls–until I saw the house of my dreams. The Imaginarium City Studio dollhouse, from Toys R Us, was beckoning to me. It was on display in the dollhouse section, furnished, and placed behind glass to protect it from grabby hands. When Ghouliette and I first saw it, Ghouliette said to me, “Monster High dolls would fit in that!”  I stood there and admired it for a while, but decided buying it would  be impractical. But from time to time I would walk past the display so I could stare at it.


. dollhouseempty

Finally, I broke down. Because it was so cool. And because my sister was right, Monster high dolls could fit in it. Unlike the often flimsy plastic play sets, this was a large, sturdy house. Barbie could also fit in it.  With fancy photo shoots in mind, I gave in to temptation and bought the house. And I love it!

The City Studio dollhouse is a heavy wooden dollhouse that has four rooms and an outdoor patio. It comes with 11 pieces of 1/6 scale furniture. (the fridge in the kitchen did not come with the house.) An elevator runs along the left side of the house. The high ceilings make it perfect for 11.5″ – 12″ fashion dolls such as Barbie and Momoko. Even Blythe and her big head can fit in here comfortably!

The design is clean and bright, with lots of color, clever details, and some neat “views” of the cityscape out of the windows.  My favorite detail is the hardwood flooring and area rugs in the living room and bedroom.

The house comes unassembled, with clear step-by-step diagrams. I had no trouble understanding the diagrams, but it did take me three hours to put this house together, mostly because the pieces are very heavy. One side of the house has heavy wooden walls, while the other side of the house is supported by thin wood and plastic poles for the elevator. Because of the uneven weight distribution, shifting the house from side to side during assembly a little difficult. The one complaint I have about this house is that two of the three drill holes on the elevator side do not line up with the corresponding drill holes on the wall side. I had to leave them undrilled because lifting the floor up to the holes put the floor at quite an angle. I left them undrilled, and I have to say the house is still very strong and sturdy.

Are you ready for the house tour? Let’s start on the first floor. The furniture you see in each room comes with the house.


The Kitchen    The City Studio kitchen takes up most of the first floor. It contains this asymmetrical dining room table and two diner stools.  The table has a built-in (i.e., painted on) cooktop that’s flush with the table surface. Like Penny has in the Bg Bang Theory! As you can see, glaring pink is the main theme here. I love doll kitchens, and the counter. refrigerator, oven and sink that are painted on are adorable. Nicely done, with highlighting “shine” on the chrome sink and fridge. But I like doll kitchen furniture more than anything. The nice thing about this house is there is plenty of room to add other pieces of 1/6 scale furniture, such as the Barbie refrigerator seen in the first picture of the house. Personally I don’t like the table in here; it’s weird. I’m going to put my Re-Ment dining table and china hutch in here. Because what’s more fun than decorating a house? Redecorating a house until it suits your tastes! Next up:


The Bathroom   There’s more bright pink in the bathroom, which is just off the kitchen. What can I say about the bathroom? The tub is cool… I don’t see myself using the toilet in photo shoots. Personally I’d rather have a separate dining room or a den in the house than a bathroom.  The lime green floor mat is a nice touch. Now let’s move on to the second floor.


The Living Room   This is my favorite room in the house. The living room takes up the entire second floor. It comes with the retro-inspired furniture here. The couch comes with one long cushion and two throw pillows.I have to admit the furniture in this room is what caught my eye when I saw the house displayed in Toys R Us. I’m a fool for retro stuff!

In the left hand corner of the photo is a ballet bar. It’s perfect for all the Made To Move Barbies out there! Flex and stretch! Reach!

The wall details include two floor-to-ceiling picture windows, a cozy fireplace, and built-in bookshelves. There’s a cut-out window behind the sofa.


This room will be excellent for staging photos of parties and special events. There’s plenty of room to add more furniture in here.  Now let’s move to the top floor.


The Bedroom   I like how the house carries the pink/blue/lime green color scheme from room to room. The modern platform bed comes with fabric and pillows that match the ones on the living room couch. It came unassembled but the pieces slot together easily. In this photo the “wicker” chair in the back almost looks three-dimensional, but it’s painted on the wall. Beyond the doorway on the right is the outdoor patio.


The Patio   The patio is pretty simple, a little small, with a chunky wooden fence. The outside wall detail continues up the entire side of the house from bottom to top. I added the Barbie Grill. Because it’s summer time, and Barbie and her friends can grill some hot dogs and burgers out here.

Like I said earlier, redecorating a dollhouse is more fun than setting it up. I’ve added some Barbie furniture in here, so Barbie and her friends can relax.


One sister is doing homework, and one sister is playing games. Guess which is which?


tangirlscouch 2

Mandy loves to gossip. Francesca is stunned!


Ronnie and Francesca catch up over a cup of coffee.


I love when a dollhouse comes alive. I give the Imaginarium City Studio Dollhouse two thumbs up for being a chic yet cozy place where friends can get together.

Do you have any dollhouses you’re fond of? What is your favorite? Tell us in the comments!

Happy Birthday, America!

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!. It’s time to celebrate Independence Day with a cookout and some chill time out on the deck. Barbie and Ken, everyone’s favorite all-American couple, are celebrating.


Barbie’s got a sweet new grill and hammock, so she invited Ken over for a cookout. Barbie’s taking it easy, while Ken’s got grill duty.

Seriously, though, I love these little mini Barbie playsets. They cost $8.99 each.

Yep, all Barbie has to do is relax while Ken does all the work.



Yep. Relax…

Happy Fourth of July from Ghouliette and me! Enjoy your cookouts and parades, fireworks and beach time! And have fun with your family and friends.


Classic Camel Coat Barbie


Classic Camel Coat Barbie is the second release of Mattel’s new Pivotal Silkstone Barbie dolls. Mattel’s announcement last December of a pivotal silkstone Barbie doll heralded an unexpected innovation: to create a doll featuring the heftier silkstone bodies but with greater articulation. It was exciting to think of the endless possibilities for play and photography. I purchased both the first pivotal silkstone, Classic Black Dress Barbie, as well as the Classic Camel Coat. Classic Black Dress retailed for $40, whereas Classic Camel Coat cost $75. But more on that later.


Classic Camel Coat comes in the typical beautiful silkstone collector’s box. It also comes with a certificate of authenticity.  When I separated the tissue that protected the doll, I could see how beautiful she is in person.


Classic Camel Coat comes with the coat, a fabulous black cross-body bag, gold hoop earrings, and sunglasses.  She also comes with a stand, which I left in the box. I like my dolls to look like they’re standing on their own. It makes them come to life more.


I loved her outfit when I saw it in the promo pictures, but those photos didn’t show much of the complete outfit. When I removed her coat I was pleasantly surprised to see what she was wearing underneath.


She wears a black short-sleeved turtleneck shirt and  a leopard-print skirt. Black tights and black ankle boots complete the look. For a $75 doll, it looks like Mattel recycled the black boots from the City Shopper 2013 doll. But the turtleneck and the skirt use snaps instead of velcro to fasten them, so I can overlook the recycled shoes.

Classic Camel Coat Barbie is only the second pivotal silkstone Barbie, and as I haven’t yet unboxed my Classic Black Dress Barbie, I was eager to examine the quality of the pivotal silkstone doll’s articulation. Her body resembles the articulated bodies of Integrity dolls. Her arms bend at the elbows and her legs bend at the knees. She also has articulated wrists and an articulated waist at the hips as well as under the bust.


Sadly, that is where the similarities end.Compared to an Integrity doll, the articulation of Classic Camel Coat Barbie is just so-so. Her elbows and knees bend, but not very far. I didn’t want to bend her legs in a complete sitting position because I was afraid they would snap off and break. I can put her hands on her hips, and her wrists do bend, but I find that Integrity dolls have a wider range of articulation than the pivotal silkstone dolls. Even Monster High dolls have better articulation, despite the cheaper plastic bodies. My definitive doll articulation test is to make the doll put her hands over her mouth in mock surprise. I’m sorry to say that, for the price of this doll, Classic Camel Coat didn’t do as well as other articulated dolls, such as Tulabelle or  Monster High, both of which can put their hands much closer over their mouth than Classic Camel Coat.




A disgruntled reviewer on The Barbie Collection shared my sentiments regarding the articulation when she wrote:

Unfortunately, … the new Silkie is NOT worth much more than $50.00. C’mon Mattel, for loyal collectors who’ve been with you for so long, please put some quality back into the manufacturing of the articulation of the doll and create a praise-worthy ensemble that can at least compete in the Integrity arena.

But take heart! At least pivotal silkstones have a greater range of articulation than the original silkstone dolls.



Anything you can do, I can do better.


No wonder Classic Silkstone looks so annoyed!


Yet despite the mediocre articulation, I nonetheless fell in love with Classic Camel Barbie because of her beautiful face and hair, as well as her fabulous ensemble.



I even envisioned her with my vintage Ken in his classic camel coat outfit, Play It Cool, from 1970. Don’t they look good together?


I also thought she would look really super in some of my Barbie Best Buy halter dresses from the 70s. And this is when I had the most fun with her.


Young Socialite of the Year 1975


Pool party in the Hamptons!


I’d like to accept this award on behalf of Warren Beatty, who couldn’t be here tonight.


Do the Hustle!


I use Clairol Herbal Essence shampoo

So my final thoughts on Classic Camel Coat Barbie? The first pivotal Barbie, Classic Black Dress, retailed for $40. I think a price of $40-50 would be more appropriate for Classic Camel Coat as well, instead of her retail price of $75. Which brings me to the controversy surrounding Classic Camel Coat Barbie!

I bought Classic Camel Coat online after I received an email from The Barbie Collection letting me know that it was in stock. I ordered it on the second day she was available for $75, but apparently, those who ordered her on the first day were able to buy her for $50, as that was the list price on the Barbie Collection website on that day. Mattel claimed this was an error, and quickly increased the price to $75. Of course, this did not sit well with collectors who saw the price on the first day but didn’t decide to order until afterwards, only to find that the price went up. Accusations of price gouging were made. One collector left this scathing review in the Comments section:

Liar, liar pants on fire. Sneaks and original price listed at $50.00. Sold them at that price all morning long, then jumped the price and will not honor what they say is a mistake on their part..not the customer.

I did read something online about Mattel refunding the difference to some customers who complained, but I can’t find it right now to link to it! Suffice to say, Mattel pissed off a lot of customers with this doll (which is currently selling for $50 on the Toys R Us website).

I bought Classic Camel Coat despite the higher price tag because I fell in love with her outfit. After receiving her, however I have to agree with other collectors that she is not worth the $75. There isn’t any difference between Classic Camel Coat and Classic Black Dress, so why the higher price tag? With the somewhat limited articulation, I’d rather pay a little more for an Integrity doll.  Even Monster High dolls have better articulation. But she looks great in other Barbie outfits, and I envision more photo sessions with my Barbie clothes from the Sixties and Seventies. The fun that I’m having dressing her up is almost worth the price of admission. Almost.

Do you have Classic Camel Coat Barbie, or Classic Black Dress Barbie? What do you think of the pivotal silkstones?




Barbie Fashionistas 2016


There has been a lot of publicity surrounding Mattel’s new line of Barbie Fashionistas. For a doll that has often been criticized for portraying unrealistic body types, the new line of Fashionista Barbie for 2016 introduces three new body types: Curvy, Petite, and Tall, in addition to the Original body type. The new Barbie even made the cover of Time Magazine. The Mattel website added the new Barbie Fashionistas before they actually were in stock and staggered their releases. For each doll that I wanted, I had to pre-order it and then wait several weeks. The three that I most wanted were Fab Fringe, a Tall Barbie; Sweetheart Stripes, a Curvy Barbie; and Va Va Violet, an Original Barbie. They retail for $9.99 each – quite a bargain for a Barbie doll, especially ones so highly anticipated. However, there’s a reason why they’re on the cheaper side of the Barbie range, and it’s a pet peeve of mine concerning Mattel and Barbie.

The new line of Fashionista dolls are basic models, meaning they aren’t articulated. They have some articulation – their arms move at the shoulders and their legs move at the hips, but the arms don’t bend at the elbow and the legs don’t bend at the knees. When the Fashionista line was first launched, it was the articulated alternative to the established lines of Barbie dolls, which bent at the knee but not at the elbow. The Model Muse body, which has one straight arm and one bent arm, but no articulation in the elbows or the knees, had been increasingly used for the adult collector lines of Barbie doll. Now Mattel seems to be making all of their playline dolls with the basic body. If you want articulation, you’ll have to pay $30 for the Barbie Look dolls, which do feature articulated elbows and knees. This is my  one major gripe with Mattel. Mattel has made Barbie with bendable knees since 1965, so why can’t they at least offer playline dolls with bendable knees today?  Okay, I’ve gotten that out of my system. Now on to the dolls!


Fab Fringe, Sweetheart Stripes, and Va Va Violet. Note the non-articulated bodies.

When I heard that Mattel was launching a curvy Barbie, I knew I wanted one. I particularly wanted Sweetheart Stripes because I love her blue and black  hair. Seeing her in person, I have to say she’s beautiful. Her hips are wider than the Original Barbie, and her arms and legs are thicker. I love her curvy body.4Despite my rant above about the limited articulation of the new Fashionista dolls, there is some improvement. The arms move at the shoulders, not just up and down, but outwards. The head also moves, as it can pivot back and forth, and side to side.  Still, bendable knees and elbows would be nice…



The next Fashionista that I purchased was Va Va Violet. Again, I had to wait a couple of months for her to be in stock. Va Va Violet is an Original body Barbie. Va Va Violet uses the Model Muse body, with one straight arm and one bent arm.


I really loved her violet bobbed hairstyle. That was the main reason why I bought her. But I don’t like the non-articulated body, so I purchased her with the intention of putting her head on a Made To Move Barbie body. And while the promo pictures showed off her violet bob to full advantage…


Image courtesy of Mattel

…this is what mine looked like:13Her hair was glued down with so much gel that it was flat and stiff – and it wasn’t much better from the sides.


Werk…turn to the left


Werk…turn to the right

I shampooed Va Va Violet’s hair with dishwashing liquid and hot water to get out all of the gunk. When her hair was dry, I put her head on a Made to Move Barbie body (the one in the pink top) and redressed her. She looks much better now.2628

The third Fashionista Barbie that I purchased was Fab Fringe. Again, I had to wait a few months for her to come in. But as with the other Fashionistas, she was worth the wait.


Fab Fringe uses the new Tall body. And she lives up to her name. Her legs and torso are longer than Original Barbie.


As with Va Va Violet, I bought Fab Fringe so I could put her head on a Made To Move body. I loved her short curly bright red hair. She’s so pretty.


Once I opened all three of my fashionistas, I had fun redressing them. I didn’t put Sweetheart Stripes on a Made to Move body because I really love her curvy body. I applaud Mattel for offering more body types, but I lament their lack of articulation. It’s like Mattel took one step forward and two steps back.

Some Original Barbie tops will fit Curvy Barbie, but mostly they’re ones that fasten in the back with velcro. Some oversized jackets will fit her too. The only pants I’ve found that fit her are the yoga pants from the Made to Move Barbies.


Sweater from Tiny Frock Shop

23I decided Fab Fringe could be a little fiercer with her wardrobe, so I dressed her in a dress I got off of eBay from Vogue Fashions, a doll clothing company in Hong Kong. Doesn’t it look like Bill Cunningham stopped her on the street to take a picture for his New York Times street fashion page?

Fab Fringe on her way to work at the Modeling Agency

21But the doll that I enjoyed redressing the most was Va Va Violet. With her violet bob, she seems so punk to me. 





Goodnight Boston!

What do you think of Mattel’s new line of Fashionistas? Do you own any? Do you want to own any?

The Barbie Look Sweet Tea Barbie


Sweet Tea Barbie is one of three dolls that comprise the new The Barbie Look collection for Spring 2016. Each of the three dolls were inspired by looks that were featured on the Barbie Style account on Instagram , which, if you’re not following, you’re missing out on some amazing Barbie clothes and scenes.


The Barbie Look dolls are part of the Barbie Collection Black Label series. The Barbie Look dolls retail for $29.95 each. I was immediately drawn to the collection because the dolls are fully articulated, yet are reasonably priced. Sweet Tea Barbie appealed to me the most because I loved her outfit, and I thought her face was very pretty. It’s more sophisticated than the sometimes-vapid, open-mouthed playline Barbie face. According to Sweet Tea Barbie‘s designer, Bill Greening, the face has “only been used on a few higher-priced collector dolls.” Her long brunette hair ends in a curly flip, and I love her bangs. She’s like a modern Audrey Hepburn.


Sweet Tea Barbie wears a pink satiny sleeveless blouse with ruffles down the front, paired with a black floral skirt. She comes with a white purse, pink strappy peeptoe sandals, and rhinestone earrings and a bracelet. She also comes with a stand and, like all Barbie Collector dolls, a certificate of authenticity. The attention to detail is very good.


Rhinestone earrings


Rhinestone bracelet


Designer-style handbag

I especially love how her fingernails are painted pink (see above photo), but her toenails are painted black. Maybe Sweet Tea Barbie has a little bit of edginess in her!


Sweet Tea Barbie comes with tea-themed accessories, as you would imagine, including a plate with a non-removable scone, a cup and saucer, and a menu. The menu is written in gibberish. It would have been more fun if it had real words and read like a tea room menu. Oh well.




The Barbie Look dolls are articulated at the neck, elbows, wrists, and knees. They can’t quite put their hands over their mouths like the Integrity dolls do, and they’re not articulated under the bust, but I’m happy to have an articulated Barbie again after the Barbie Fashionista line, which started out as the articulated alternative to the usual Barbie line, suddenly started using un-articulated bodies (bad move, Mattel).  Are there any playline Barbies that have an articulated body anymore?


I can sweep my hair back, but I can’t cover my mouth

I have to admit, Sweet Tea Barbie isn’t the only Barbie Look doll I fell in love with. I also purchased the Urban Jungle Barbie. She’s equally sophisticated but edgier than Sweet Tea Barbie.  I want both their outfits in real sizes, please!


For a reasonable price, Sweet Tea Barbie offers a more articulated version of the Barbie doll. Although intended for the adult collector, I think it would also be suitable for older children and teens. But with none of the playline dolls featuring full articulation anymore, would you justify spending $30 for articulation when we used to be able to spend around $20? Is this a harbinger of things to come with Mattel? It seems that with their playline sales dropping, perhaps getting rid of articulation wasn’t a good idea. What do you think?

Do you have any of the Barbie Look dolls? What do you think of them?

Holly Jolly Christmas: What We Found Under Our Tree

Happy New Year, everyone! We hope you had a wonderful holiday.  We wish we could say our Christmas was uneventful, but it had its ups and downs this year. Practically everyone in our family was under the weather, including Ghouliette, who has a nasty cold and cough. Ghoulia13 was perfectly fine until she fell flat on her face on the sidewalk on Christmas Eve while walking the dog. She spent a couple of hours in the ER. She ended up with four stitches and, thanks to two black eyes the next day, looked like she’d been hit by a bus. Luckily, nothing was broken. Thankfully, both of us are on the mend. Needless to say, we were both happy and relieved to return to our house after dinner on Christmas evening to open the pile of presents underneath our tree. Unfortunately, neither one of us was smart enough to take a picture of all the presents before we opened them, but it was a pretty sight to behold. We had a great time opening everything; both of us were impatient to receive certain favorites we knew were waiting for us this Christmas. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA There were old favorites like Monster High and Barbie, as well as new favorites such as Makies. Frozen and My Little Pony were also well represented. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Shopkins also made an appearance, but that was mainly out of curiosity. We’ll see how we feel about them in the long run… OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Introducing our Makies! We were looking forward to these most of all. And they were worth the wait–we love them! Here’s the roundup of Ghouliette’s gifts to Ghoulia13: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA JC Penny’s Frozen Coronation Anna and Elsa 2 pack, JC Penny Kristoff doll, Monster High Gloom ‘n Bloom Venus McFlytrap, Monster High Monster Exchange Lorna McNessie… OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Barbie and Midge 50th Anniversary reproduction set with a teaset, Monster High Pack of Trouble, My Little Pony Pop Pinkie Pie Sweete Shoppe, MLP Pop Bakery Decorator Kit, MLP Pop Zecora, Ever After High lip balms, and a Makie named Priscilla.

Ghouliette’s gifts from Ghoulia13 were the following: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Seasonal Sweets Princess Merida, Barbie Glam Washer and Dryer, Shopkins, Hello Kitty baked goods, Strawberry Shortcake Sweet Beats Plum Pudding and Raspberry Torte, a Makie named Jolene… OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Strawberry Shortcake Sweet Beats stage set, Frozen Friends, Ever After High Glass Slipper shoe store, and the Monster High Catacombs playset.

So yeah, that’s everything!  Lots of Christmas wishes came true: Ghoulia13 has been fruitlessly searching for the Pack Of Trouble since it came out. Ghouliette has been yearning for the Glass Slipper shoe store since she first heard it was coming out. Both of us were itching to get our hands on Makies.

Dolls under the tree are great, but being able to spend Christmas day warm and safe with those we love, eating our favorite foods together, was truly priceless. We love our toys and all, but we recognize the blessings we have in our lives.  We hope you all have lots of blessings in your lives, too. We hope 2015 is a happy and healthy year for you all. Stay tuned for our in-depth review of Makies, coming very soon. We can’t wait to start working on it!

Did you all get the dolls you wanted this year? What made you happy this holiday season? Share with us in the comments!