Category Archives: Uncategorized

Smart Doll by Danny Choo

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Smart Doll is a Japanese doll created by a company called Culture Japan. She is constructed like a ball-jointed doll but is made of more durable vinyl rather than the resin that is typically used for bjds. Smart Doll is 60 cm tall, and is in the 1/3 doll scale. She comes in a variety of characters. I ordered the Smart Doll called Mirai Suenaga. Smart Dolls are the brainchild of Danny Choo, British by birth but who became so enamored of Japanese culture that he taught himself Japanese and moved to Japan. He started Culture Japan as a way to promote Japanese culture. Mirai Suenaga started out as an ambassador of sorts, the physical face of Culture Japan. Like other BJD dolls from Japan, Smart Dolls resemble anime and manga characters, but I find them more appealing than some of the more highly stylized faces of other bjds such as Super Dollfies.

I ordered my Smart Doll from Danny Choo’s website. Ordering is easy. You pick which character you would like. Other options are available, such as larger or smaller busts, separate hand packs, torsos, and wigs. Smart Dolls come in a standard camisole and undies set. I love how the panties are called pantsu – since I’m one of those people that have trouble saying the word “panties” in polite conversation. Yeah, I’m going to start referring to panties as pantsu from now on. For an extra $100 USD, you can order an ensemble consisting of jeans, a t-shirt, shoes, and socks. Smart Doll clothes look very realistic and are very fashionable. Do they make them in my size?! Smart Doll shoes are also fab, and Danny designed them with the help of his father, renowned shoe designer Jimmy Choo. These might be the only pair of Jimmy Choos I could ever afford.

Danny Choo offers an unboxing video for Smart Dolls. They are packed in a special way and for a Smart Doll newbie such as myself, it was very beneficial to watch it before I received my doll. While I didn’t make an unboxing video, I did take pictures of the unboxing step by step. So this review is going to look a little different, more informal, than our usual posts.

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This is the box that Smart Dolls come in. My Smart Doll arrived from Tokyo to New England in only 4 days! Which was great because I was chomping at the bit to receive her.

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This is what greets you when you first open the box.

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The Smart Doll and all of the accessories fit neatly into this adorable and reusable tote bag. And Danny Choo has a message for you:

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The accessories come packed in a box. Danny doesn’t tape the box shut so that it will be easier to open. The box is held shut by the tote bag. The Smart Doll is wrapped in bubble wrap, and placed in a bag in a kneeling position. This is such a clever way to pack such a tall doll, otherwise Smart Doll would arrive in huge boxes.

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The inside of my accessories box looks rather sparse because I didn’t order any extra clothes or accessories, but if I did, they would all be in here.  What I received was the wig, which you have to place on the doll yourself, and a telescoping doll stand.

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The bag with the doll stand also contained two business cards for Smart Doll, as well as a piece of vinyl. I wasn’t sure what this was until someone in a Smart Doll collector group on Facebook informed me that its used to test dark clothing before putting it on your Smart Doll, in case it stains the vinyl. That Danny Choo thinks of everything!

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As I mentioned previously, Smart Dolls arrive packed in bubble wrap, in a kneeling position to save space.

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Thankfully, both the outer bubble wrap and the inner plastic wrap are taped into tubes, so I was able to simply slip them off. I hate having to battle the excessive amount of tape some people use with bubble wrap when wrapping dolls. Don’t you?

Here’s my first look at Mirai Suenaga unwrapped. She sure is a tall drink of water.

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I love her anime face.

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Now for her wig. Danny’s unboxing video had tips on how to place her wig correctly, which I found helpful. The wig is of very good quality. I’m not sure if it’s Saran, but it feels very silky and luxurious.

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Much better! Isn’t she sweet?

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Now for the coolest thing about Smart Dolls. They come with that telescoping stand I mentioned earlier. Smart Dolls have a hole in their lower backs to accommodate the stands:

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The telescoping stand allows Smart Dolls to stand without a bulky stand gripping them around the waist, or with an obvious base. The telescoping stand can be positioned behind their legs so Smart Dolls look like they’re standing on their own.

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Smart Dolls come apart easily, which is necessary for dressing them, or for changing out their busts. You will need to take their arms and head off to put clothes on them. When removing the head and the mid-sized bust that is included with each Smart Doll, you can see the innovative inner skeleton of Smart Dolls.

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Smart Dolls are larger (and more expensive) than most of the fashion dolls I collect, but I like that their larger size means their clothing is more detailed and realistic  – closer to what people actually wear. While the clothing on the Smart Doll website may be expensive, they are hand-made by seamstresses who work for Smart Doll. But if Smart Doll clothes aren’t in your budget, places like eBay, Etsy, and Ali Express have plenty of fashions available for 1/3 BJD dolls. I have quite a few pieces of clothing coming my way from China as we speak!

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All in all, I really love my Smart Doll. I like her cute anime face. She’s really sweet. I also like that her size will allow me to have a lot of fun dressing her up in different outfits. Now I just need to figure out where I can put her to do some proper doll photography. I might have to take her outside and hope that the neighbors don’t see me playing with dolls!

What do you think of Smart Dolls? Would you collect a doll this size?

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 The Smart Doll boy’s t-shirt that I won from eBay arrived the same day as Mirai but I didn’t open it until after I wrote this post, so I’m adding this photo to show that at least she has one article of clothing. She still needs some pants, though.

Ma Petite Fleur Poppy Parker

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Ooh la la! The new season of Poppy Parker dolls has been released, and it’s looking distinctly French. Past lines of Poppy Parker have seen Poppy as a spy, a hippie, and a representative for the World’s Fair. For 2016, Poppy goes to Paris. The Bon Bon Collection sees Poppy taking in all that Paris has to offer, including going to the ballet, shopping, sightseeing, and of course, modeling. The W Club upgrade doll for 2016, in keeping with the Parisian theme, is called Ma Petite Fleur.

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Ma Petite Fleur sees Poppy channeling Brigitte Bardot. Poppy has the heavy black eyeliner and abundance of long blonde hair, worn in a pouf at the crown, that is associated with Bardot’s signature style. Except Poppy can’t keep her bangs out of her eyes!

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In addition to her hair, Ma Petite Fleur Poppy also evokes Brigitte Bardot through her dress – a pink gingham number that is strikingly similar to two dresses that Bardot wore. The first was her wedding dress for her second marriage in 1959, to French actor Jacques Charrier.

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Designed by Jacques Estrel, the pink Vichy (the French term for gingham) shirtwaist dress was delightfully simple for a wedding gown. It proved so popular that Estrel published the pattern for it so that other women could duplicate it.

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Pattern by Estrel, “Prominent Designer”!

The ready-to-wear industry also became infatuated with pink gingham.

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But while the gingham of Poppy’s dress is a nod to Bardot’s Vichy dress, the style is almost an exact duplicate of another dress Bardot wore. In this dress, the jumper is a solid color while the pleated bodice is made of gingham. It is another surprisingly innocent dress for a woman renowned world-wide as a sex symbol.

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Poppy’s dress has marvelous attention to detail. It has a real zipper down the back.

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It also has the same volume in the skirt as Bardot’s gingham wedding dress, courtesy of a full tulle petticoat.

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I love the dress, but one thing that slightly annoys me is that the shoulder straps won’t stay up. Clearly that annoyed Poppy, too.

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Poppy came with a certificate of authenticity that looks like a French postcard (no, not that kind of French postcard). It’s adorable.

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As with all Integrity dolls, Poppy comes with amazingly detailed accessories. I love how, with Integrity dolls,  the accessories come in a separate box inside the main doll box.

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It looks like a big box of bon-bons. At least Poppy thought it was. And, for scale to Poppy, it looks HUGE.

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What? There’s no candy in here?

The accessories include a pair of black faux leather pumps, simple black circle earrings, and a single black bangle bracelet.

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But the most exciting accessory of all is a Poppy-sized record album. Because you see, while she was in Paris, Poppy added another item to her resume – chanteuse.

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Poppy’s album drops next week – in stereo!

It’s amazingly detailed. It has both a front and a back cover, and comes with a tiny record with labels. The labels are stickers that came on a sheet that I peeled off and applied to the record.

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“Discover the delicate golden voice of America that everyone is talking about: Miss Poppy Parker!” (I took French in high school).

I am a huge fan of Poppy Parker, and while I haven’t been crazy about some of her past lines (Girl from I.N.T.E.G.R.I.T.Y., I’m looking in your direction), I love this year’s Parisian-themed collection. I have pre-ordered the Ooh La La W Club 2016 Exclusive Gift Set and will review that when it arrives, hopefully before autumn! I’m chomping at the bit to receive it.

Are you a Poppy Parker fan? Do you have any of the Bon Bon Collection dolls? If so, which ones?

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Poppy cranks up the ol’ hi-fi

Barbie’s In The News

From the national news media, to online media, from Allure magazine to the cover of Time magazine, Barbie’s making the headlines following a big announcement from Mattel yesterday.

Photo used s from Time magazine.

Photo used s from Time magazine.

If you love Barbie like we do, this is already old news to you. After days of teasing a major announcement was on its way, Mattel debuted its new, more diverse line of Fashionistas. The line has been expanded to include three never-before-seen body types for Barbie. In addition to Barbie’s “Original” body type, Mattel now offers Curvy, Petite and Tall body types. Along with the new bodies, there are several skin tones ranging from pale to black.  In addition, new hair shades such as dark blue, violet, and bright red have been introduced.

Photo is from Mattel.

Photo is from Mattel.

The dolls officially debuted yesterday, although not all of the models are available for purchase yet. Several are available on Mattel.com for pre-order.  The dolls will show up on store shelves starting in March, with new releases throughout the year. Most of the dolls retail for $9.99 each; a few come with extra fashions for $19.99

News sources are, of course, ruminating that this move is likely a response to slower sales and criticism over Barbies physical proportions and beauty ideals. Nevertheless, judging from the Facebook and Twitter comments, a lot of people are encouraged by, and excited for, the new dolls, applauding Mattel on dolls that “look like us.” Ghouliette and I are definitely among that chorus.

As soon as I saw the news I jumped onto the website and pre-ordered two dolls. I ordered “Sweetheart Stripes,” a curvy Barbie with long dark blue hair, and “Va-Va Violet,” an Original doll with a great light purple long bob with a side part. Ghouliette ordered the same two dolls. Sweetheart Stripes is scheduled to ship next week so hopefully it will be in my hands very soon!

As much as I’m looking forward to this line, I have to say I’m still disappointed that the Fashionista dolls are no longer articulated. (I know I speak for Ghouliette, as well.) The new dolls appear to have the same straight unbendable plastic legs as the current Fashionistas. I would love to be able to pose the new body types; as it is I’m planning on taking the Va-Va-Violet head off the doll and putting it on a Made to Move body. Too bad I can’t do that with the curvy doll.

Are you excited about the new Fashionistas? Have you pre-ordered any of them yet? Tell us what you think in the Comments.

in the meantime, enjoy this article from The New York Times.

 

 

 

iBesties Dolls on Kickstarter

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We just backed iBesties on Kickstarter. They make dolls and books that inspire girls to be CEOs and tech moguls! Each doll has a tech-inspired skill, like coding, blogging, or graphic design. The dolls are meant to inspire girls to pursue careers as CEOs or jobs in the tech world – jobs that once were traditionally geared towards men. iBesties teach young girls that they can pursue these fields too.

iBesties are the brainchild of sisters Gina and Janae Heitkamp, who want young girls to know they can grow up to be anything they want to be. Currenly iBesties are at 95% of their goal, with only 4 days left! For a pledge of $40 you get a choice between McKenna (blonde) or Jada (African American) plus the iBesties book, geared towards the elementary school level. If the project meets their deadline for funding, other dolls will be introduced. I’ve got my eye on Sarah, the red-headed blogger. Based on the prototypes, the dolls are supercute. People Magazine just featured them.

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Please pledge and /or share to make a difference in a little girl’s life. http://kck.st/1JSwV0D

Update As of the deadline, Friday, July 31, iBesties has exceeded their goal! Watch this space for our review next spring.