Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It doesn't hurt to ask (usually)

An unexpected thing happened at TRU today and I was reminded once again it doesn't hurt to ask a simple question.

On Sunday I received an email from TRU showing the new Wydowna spider doll was on sale for $20 ($5 off) this week. (It pays to open those emails and see what's on sale. Most of the time there's nothing I want to buy but it only takes a few seconds to look.) Of course in a year she might be $10 on clearance, who knows, but I didn't want to wait that long for a sale that might not happen.

TRU Exclusive "I love Fashion" Wydowna, TRU promo photo

In case you didn't know, Wydowna was the Monster High ComicCon exclusive doll last year and she was a big hit. Many MH fans were disappointed this was the only way to get a MH spider doll because you had to attend ComicCon to buy her from Mattel and she cost a lot of money on the secondary market. Good news spider fans! Mattel just released another Wydowna doll as a TRU exclusive (part of their MH "I love Fashion" series so she comes with three outfits).She hasn't shown up everywhere yet so I was a little surprised to already see her advertised as being on sale. Cool.

I really dig her blue lips

I went to TRU today to see if Wydowna was in stock and to inquire about a rain check for the sale price if she wasn't there. They had some new MH dolls like the moody ones with changeable eyes and internal organs, but no Wydowna. That prompted the following exchange:

me: Hi, is it possible to get a rain check for a doll that's on sale?
TRU: We don't usually do rain checks. Which one?
me: The Monster High spider doll, she's on sale for $20.
TRU: Let me see if I can order it for you and send it to your house.
me: Oh that's OK, I'd rather not pay shipping.
TRU: There's no shipping charge.
me: And I pay the sale price?
TRU: Yep!
me: OK, yes, please! :D

She confirmed she could order it and entered in my address info and printed out a receipt after I paid for it. The manager had to be called over to enter in a free shipping code ($6 value, nice) and he didn't ask any questions so it seemed fairly routine at this store.
Soon to be mine!

The only downside to this arrangement is that I couldn't choose the specific Wydowna to buy among all the options on the shelf. I have to admit I sometimes take 10-15 minutes to decide on which doll looks the best, and they probably look exactly the same to everyone else, ha! Anyway, if it turns out I'm unhappy with smeared lipstick or whatever on the doll that shows up then I'll just leave the box sealed and exchange her in store when they have a good selection in stock.

You can buy Wydowna online at the $20 sale price until 08/30, but you'll have to pay shipping if you order from home. You might be able to get free shipping if your local TRU doesn't have her in stock but I don't know if this is company policy or unique to my store. It doesn't hurt to ask! :)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

TRU summer clearance hits 90% off

Hello! This is a quick post to inform y'all that Toys R Us has colored sticker clearance items at 90% off. If you've been in TRU this summer then you know what I'm talking about. They still have regular clearance prices on some items (no extra % off), the 90% off only applies to their special summer clearance which used color coded stickers to indicate the % off discount. Now the color doesn't matter: all brown, blue, green, and yellow price stickers are 90% off.

Call your TRU before heading out in case this isn't a nationwide price drop, I don't want anyone to waste gas and time checking it out.

60% off TRU finds (June)

In June I picked up some Bratzillaz, La Dee Da, and Cutie Pops dolls at 60% off. I am guessing most of the brown sticker dolls from June are long gone, but you might get lucky.

I told myself I'd buy these two if I found them on clearance, not thinking I would -- lucky find!

I'm turning into my mother, I plan to make a simple black skirt for Victoria, the doll on the left. What can I say, her outfit looks incomplete to me. :) I didn't want to buy these dolls when they were $20 but $8? Yes! They are my two favorite Bratzillaz, even if Victoria needs some guidance in the clothing department. I don't know if this line is taking a break along with the regular Bratz but I'm looking forward to seeing what MGA does with them next.


70% off TRU finds (July)

Two or three weeks ago I picked up these Little Miss Matched outfits at 70% off, they might still be at some TRU stores because I don't think these dolls were all that popular (I could be wrong). These outfits will provide some new pieces for my Moxie Teenz, they are always in need of new clothes.

You can see the brown clearance stickers in these photos, so you know what to look for. Remember the price shown is the original price, you will take 90% off now (or whatever your TRU has brown stickers listed at).


90% off TRU finds (August)

Yesterday (August 1st) I bought the following items at 90% off. With the exception of the La Dee Da dog these were the last of their kind on the shelf (and they only had two dogs). So don't delay, check out your TRU this weekend if you're curious to see what's still available.

90% off prices

Novi Stars children's socks, 60 cents -- The alien fabric could be turned into a cute Moxie Teenz dress. There's two pairs of socks in this one package: one pair features the alien on both socks and there's a black pair speckled with faint dots to look like a field of stars.

Cutie Pops fashion pack, $1.10 -- some pieces fit Monster High. Your store might still have the hair pieces and pop packs as well, those disappeared when the sale hit 70% off last month (I may have bought a few then). I was VERY surprised to see these outfits at 90% off.

La Dee Da fashion pack, $1.00 -- LDD dresses fit Monster High. I have a couple other LDD outfits so I felt very fortunate to find two I didn't already own at such a great price.

La Dee Da dog, 70 cents -- comes with a purple rose for a doll to hold

BFC Ink fashion pack, 60 cents -- There's a doll in my closet that might be able to wear this outfit, it was so cheap I decided to throw it in the cart too.

Target clearance

After hunting high and low for clearance items at TRU I headed over to Target because I've heard murmurs online about their summer clearance in the doll aisles. It looks like I missed most of the good stuff but I did find these two Wizard of Oz Dorothy dolls on their second round of clearance:

Target's prices went from $14.99 -> $7.48 -> $4.48 (doll in slim box, the dog is a cardboard cut-out) and $22.99 -> $11.48 -> $6.88 (Dorothy & Toto). These sweet girls haven't been available long but Target wants to clear them out anyway. Both dolls have the same facepaint and hairstyle, the only difference is the dress and dog. They even have the same cute cowboy boots.

You can read a great review of these Legends of Oz dolls (and see much better photos!) over at:

I hope you have found some great summer clearance deals as well!

Here's a throwback photo of two Cuties wearing the same Cutie Pops outfits I bought yesterday at TRU. OK, I bought doll clothing I already own but they were only $1.10 each! I left them on the shelf when they were 70% off, but I couldn't say no at 90%.

I have a Mattel doll from the Goodwill that needs a spa day to look her best, I'll record her transformation and share it with you soon! :) Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hodge Podge ~ updates on various dolls

Thrift shop find ~ My Melody Barbie

First up is a My Melody Barbie wearing a pink gown from the Goodwill. This is not her correct outfit, but she still has the My Melody headscarf and two original necklaces.

As she appeared right out of the shopping bag, before her make-over

I love the Steffie facemold so I had to buy this doll, despite the cost and replacement dress, which is not my preferred style. The Goodwill pricer knew this doll was higher quality than the usual playline dolls (correct, it's from the 2008 Barbie Collectibles line), so she had a $6 price tag. $5.99 to be specific, I usually round up when repeating prices. I'll give the pink dress to my nieces, they started playing with Barbies last year and they'll like it.

Part of the packaging was still in her hair (that annoying sewn-in plastic strip), which is a little odd since these dolls were sold 5-6 years ago. The MM charm necklace still has the clear rubber bands holding it in place as well.  

More Monster Aliens!

Allie Lectric is wearing a LaDeeDah fashion with pink Blob CAM shoes. Ari Roma is wearing a dress and shoes from the Vampire & Sea Monster CAM set. The black cage skirt is actually Una Verse's beach hat! It could also be worn under a skirt that needs support to poof out.

I probably won't buy more Novi Stars as they're no longer sold in stores where I live. I'll change my mind if the new dolls from last year show up around here, but I'm not counting on that, they only made it to some parts of the US for a brief period of time. It sounds like they were rounded up and shipped overseas. I really like some of the new characters but I don't care enough to buy them online. The only reason I bought these four Novis is because I found them on deep clearance, around $5 each -- I can't justify paying much more than that when all I want is the head.

Here are all four of my hybrids together. I love them!

The bodies, from left to right:

Mae Tallick (wave 1): Blob from the Blob & Ice CAM set
Allie Lectric (wave 1): Witch from the Cat & Witch CAM set
Una Verse (wave 2, Orbit Beach): Ice from the Blob & Ice CAM set
Ari Roma (wave 1): Vampire from the Vampire & Sea Monster CAM set

CAM = Monster High Create-a-Monster

There are other MH bodies you can use for all four heads. For example the Una Verse head would also look great on an Abbey body.

I want to give credit again to MyDollsareMyModels, he was the first to post photos of his Novi-Monster hybrids on Flickr. My post which explains how to remove the speaker from Mae Talick's robot head is here. That post also links to a video from MyDollsareMyModels showing how to swap heads. Let me emphasize again that you will need a heating pad or some other way to soften the alien heads without damaging the hair. It took me about an hour to soften up the green head with a heating pad. You can break the neck on the donor body if you're not careful.

Pinypon, or Pin y Pon

I think Pinypon mini-dolls, or figurines if you prefer -- they're plastic/vinyl with almost no articulation -- are adorable and would likely appeal to a lot of kids (box says 4+ but most young children will lose the tiny charms quickly). I've been eyeing Pinypon at Fred Meyer and finally picked some up last week when I noticed they were on sale for $2 each -- what a great price!

A couple days after buying these four Pinypon I returned to Fred Meyer and bought three more so my nieces would have even more pieces to mix-n-match when they visit. The series with pets were $3 on sale instead of $2 so I only bought one -- the girl with a kitty of course.

These small dolls share outfits and hair and tiny charms/accessories. And you can store unused charms in their hollow heads! Some hairstyles hold on better than others so I put extra charms inside heads with the secure hair.

For size comparison:

Polly Pockets, Cushion the hedgehog, various LPS animals, Pinypon, LPS Blythe, Monster High Venus

Pinypon look very similar to Kawaii Crush dolls/figures but I think Pinypon are cuter.

Each head has two expressions, you simply turn the head around to get a new face. The packaging doesn't show the alternate faces so I was eager to see how the expressions would change. The first doll I opened, Pink Ponytails, has a super cute expression of joy...

...but when I turned her head around... (this IS the same head, I just swapped the hair and clothing on all my Pinypon dolls so now she looks like a completely different doll)

How awesome is that?! I didn't expect a sad face, but it's fantastic! Most of the dolls have happy or pleasant faces, this is the only blatantly upset face out of the seven Pinypon dolls I own. The girl paired with the purple kitty has pink glasses on one side of her head, that was also a fun surprise.

I think these dolls resemble Japanese anime characters so I assumed they originated in Asia but they're produced by Famosa, a company in Spain. There isn't much information about them online, probably because they're targeted to young children and all you really need to know is they're inexpensive and cute. I just learned Pinypon have been around for a few decades (with some hibernation time when the dolls weren't being manufactured) but they didn't look like this back in the '80s.

puppy and kitten not included

I thought the dolls were cute in the packages but I like them even more after opening them up and swapping the clothing pieces and charms around. For $2 (sale price) they are a steal. I'll probably buy more if I find any with blue hair (they exist, just not at my local Fred Meyer) and I wouldn't mind getting one of the boys as well (also missing from the selection at FM).

These card backs don't show all the available Pinypon, there are a few more series with themes like sports, flowers, fairies, and mermaids.

Happy Easter!

Looks like I've accumulated a bunch of bunnies from various thrift shop grab bags over the years. :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Thrifty updates

Thrifting in 2014 so far looks a lot more promising than last year, if the first 3 months are any indication.


In January I found this odd couple on the same day:

Jenny and Jackson

That's a Monster High Gloom Beach Jackson Jekyll and a Japanese Takara doll (Jenny or one of her friends) wearing Liv pants, Liv boots, and an unidentified shirt that doesn't fit or match the pants. They were $3 each. Jenny used to be called Barbie in Japan but in 1986 Takara changed her name when Takara and Mattel ended their licensing agreement for the Barbie name.

Last year I bought a Jenny clone at the same Goodwill, but this girl is the real thing with a body marked Takara. Nice! She fits right in:

Jenny (clone), Jenny, Jenny, Jenny


In February I found a black and white Skull Shores Frankie at the Goodwill ($2).

This doll was crazy cheap on a Friday the 13th in 2012, around $3.13 at multiple stores like TRU and Walmart. I bought a few when they were new at the super sale price, but I couldn't pass up a thrifty ghoul. She's the third MH doll I've seen at thrift shops since the dolls were first released in 2010 so it's still a small thrill to find one.


Now we're caught up to March. It's another ghoul! She's my first Howleen,
aka Clawdeen's little werewolf sister.

This is highly unusual. It looks like someone took 13 Wishes Howleen out of the box, removed everything from the liner, and then dropped it ALL back in the box. Her outfit is complete, including her black hat and purse, and her hedgehog was in the box as well. The original owner even put the stand and its instructions, brush, and Howleen's journal back in. I'd love to know the story behind this donation.
At first I assumed there was a pillow/cushion missing because the liner has an empty space labelled Cushion. Turns out her hedgehog's name is Cushion. I didn't notice the trademark (TM) after the name, that should've clued me in. :)

Goodwill wanted $6 for Howleen so I almost returned her to the shelf because her right arm below the elbow appeared to be missing and $6 is too much for an incomplete doll. Tilting the box a few times revealed the rest of her arm (with bracelets) was in the box as well. The peg wasn't broken off so I assumed it'd pop right back into the socket, which it did. Good as new!

Yesterday I went by the Goodwill after an appointment so I stopped in for a quick look. I bought a Hayden Liv doll with stains on her head, that's probably why she was only $1.29 (default price at GW for toys without a price tag). I didn't care about the stains, I needed the body.

The Jenny clone I found last year had a bad body (thin hollow plastic, basic articulation) so I'd been looking for a cheap replacement. I'll keep Hayden's head because her pretty hazel green inset eyes can be removed and placed in another doll.
Here are the two thrift shop Jennys in new outfits and Jenny Clone with her new Liv body.

They are so sweet, I wish I could afford to buy a lot more Jenny dolls, but I'll keep an eye out for more of them at the thrifts. :) That reminds me, somewhere in a box I have a couple Japanese Licca dolls that were bought at a Goodwill up north many years ago, but I haven't been able to find them since I moved.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

TRU clearance & rewards benefits

If you shop at TRU I think it's a good idea to sign up for their rewards program. They send a few emails every week so it could be considered too spammy, but they send a lot of coupons and I learn about clearance sales I'd miss without the email notifications. Every so often they send me a rewards certificate for up to $5 off any purchase (even when I don't spend much in a quarter). I don't chase these rewards so I don't know what it takes to earn them. You can also sign up for eReceipts, which I'll explain in more detail at the end of this post.

Sometimes TRU coupons only apply to items already marked on clearance, which is a bummer if everything on clearance is a dud you don't want. There's a difference between clearance and on sale. Some of their coupons only work with regular price items so it won't stack on a sale price. Check the coupon's fine print to determine if it's worth the ink and drive to the store.

This week TRU sent out a 20% off coupon for clearance toys along with an ad offering Novi Stars dolls for $5. I like it when sales math is simple, that meant a Novi doll cost $4 with the coupon. They sent the email at 6:10 AM on January 8th and the $5 sale was good for one day only: January 8th. This is another reason to check TRU's fine print!

I've been watching the Novi dolls at TRU for several months, waiting for the price to drop. These dolls were clearanced at places like Target last year but my TRU kept them on the shelf at $15 until now. Needless to say I printed the coupon and headed out the door.

Here is the clearance sale notice as it appeared in my inbox:

I added the smilies & captions to this screenshot with Skitch, a free iPad app.

I was waiting for the price to drop but I didn't expect it to get this low at TRU. Sometimes I miss out on a doll if I wait too long but this reminds me why it often pays to wait.

Now I can pop her head off and put it on the green witch Monster High CAM body. My trio of Novi Monsters will soon be complete! (Una Verse and Mae Tallick were found on clearance at Target and Ross last year. They are also using Monster High clothes and CAM bodies.)

Her hair bow is made from hair.

The new clearance price at TRU for these Novi dolls is $7.98, which isn't bad at all. (The $5 price was a one day special but the 20% coupon is good until the 11th -- 20% off $7.98 is still a solid deal for a doll that originally cost $20.) I have the three I want from the 2012 first wave but I might buy some of the cool 2013 Novis for 8 bucks if they ever show up around here -- I'm not expecting that to happen.

Una would also look great with Abbey's blue body

Fashion Pups

Since the 20% off coupon applied to all clearance items in one purchase it made sense to look around and see what else was on clearance. I was tempted by the color changing spa day Alexis, she's the one Liv doll TRU has held at $20 ever since the Liv line was discontinued two years ago. They clearanced all other Liv dolls dirt cheap long ago but this Alexis lingered on the shelves at $20 forever! Kinda funny. She is finally marked down to $8 so I was tempted, but then...

I saw the Cutie Pops Fashion Pups were on clearance, $25 down to $13! (Plus another 20% off with the coupon, so she ended up costing me $10.38 to be specific.)

For some reason the older Cutie Pops weren't even on sale, but the relatively new Fashion Pups were marked to move at a clearance price. OK then! Dalia moved right into my cart.

Check out the cute puppy pops on her hair bows
New shoe style, I like it
Her closed eyes are black with dark pink rainbow hearts
Something seems different about the art and the actual doll, hmmmmm...
I complained about the color change a few months ago, I still like the doll.
On the way home I remembered the Crown Cuties still haven't shown up at my TRU. The Toybox Philosopher reviewed these dolls last September so they've been available for at least 5 months.

Missing from all local stores!
The other stores in town stopped carrying Cutie Pops last summer, only TRU had the Hattitude and Fashion Pups dolls (Fall 2013). The two Crown Cuties didn't even make it to my TRU. This isn't a good sign and I wanted the blue haired doll. They're available for $17 on with a "not sold in stores" tag. I'm reluctant to buy these dolls online due to problems with quality control (I can be picky) so I'll probably go without the blue princess. Maybe someday the Crown Cuties will show up at discount stores like Ross or Tuesday Morning.

eReceipts from TRU

TRU offers eReceipts, which you sign up for by logging into your TRU Rewards account online. I digitally erased some info from this eReceipt, the original eReceipt shows store location, total paid, rewards ID number, etc. It can be used to return anything to the store. 

The receipt is emailed minutes after purchase, it looks like it landed in my inbox before I left the parking lot. I hope in the future more stores offer eReceipts. I'm pretty careful with receipts but every so often I throw one out and then later realize I need it to return something. As a little bonus, TRU included a coupon for 15% off any regular price item with the receipt. I probably won't use it this time but it's appreciated.

Thrift stores have been a dead zone as far as dolls are concerned, just a lot of junk -- or some stuff that's decent but overpriced in my opinion. I think over the last few months I found just one thrift doll, a Liv Alexis in a pretty light blue dress (no wig or shoes or any other accessories). She still needs a bath and her dress could use a cleaning as well.

So that's my dolly news, thanks for stopping by. :)