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Why Slip ‘N Slides are the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Summer

The sun beats down on an arid, neighborhood. Staying inside in the AC feels like a waste of summer, but if you go outside, there is no oxygen… only the thick, putrid stench of your own relentless sweat. You can only lie there, face down in the grass, baking in the sun. In the distance the Johnson kids can be heard splashing around in their new pool. They sound so happy… and cool. Your tongue is swollen with thirst and you know there is an abundance of water inside the house but all you can think about is the blistering sunlight and the Johnsons’ pool and you’ve forgotten what it’s like to breathe, and how to be happy, and how to ride a bike which is ridiculous because they always say you never forget how to ride a bike but they are wrong because they’ve never been this hot before and you know that if you tried to ride a bike your legs would turn into jelly and melt all over the place and then dad would have to wash the driveway which would be a pain because he would have to find the hose—

HOSE.

A common garden hose provides the essential water supply that flows through any Slip ‘N Slide, the very veins of summer itself. Forget the Johnsons and their pool. You have your very own waterpark in your backyard!

There are so many fantastic things that make a Slip ‘N Slide a Slip ‘N Slide. Where do I start? Waiting for your turn to shoot across the lawn on a wet piece of plastic is like waiting for a rollercoaster at a theme park.

Dangerous? Yeah probably. But what fun would it be if you COULDN’T go flying off the thing and get grass burns up and down your body?? Everyone wants to be the fastest Slip ‘N Slide-r, especially when there’s an audience… and there WILL be an audience. As a kid, I remember getting our Slip ‘N Slide out and suddenly there would be five extra kids in the yard. Half of the time I don’t think I even knew them, but it’s basic math….

Summer + Slip ‘N Slide = Party

And everyone is invited.

New Toy Tuesday: Amazing Potential Lego Sets!

OH MY GOODNESS, GUYS. GUESS WHAT. I JUST FOUND OUT THE COOLEST NEWS EVER. But first, we need to talk about where Lego babies come from…

 

Lego Ideas is this great website that allows fans to submit their proposals for new sets. Projects that receive 10,000 “supporters” (votes) are reviewed by the Lego Review Board. Submissions that win the approval of the Board are then designed, manufactured, and available for purchase! That’s awesome, right? Well that’s not all!

They just announced the first review finalists for 2014. And the lucky sets are (drumroll please) …..

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Big Bang Theory! Everything about this set is perfect! I can’t think of one reason not to buy it. All of my hopes and dreams have been made into Lego form… I hope the members of the Review Board are fans because I NEED THIS. I NEED THIS NOW. It’s so detailed and beautiful. If it’s wrong to love a potential Lego set, then I don’t want to be right.

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Not one but TWO Dr. Who sets have qualified for review! (And all the Whovians said “AMEN!”) Each set obviously comes with the Tardis, some Daleks, and a Doctor, but the biggest question is WHICH one? That’s the magic of Lego Ideas! Your votes decide which Doctor minifigure comes with the set (assuming that one of the sets will be chosen, as it most undoubtedly will be…). The coolness never ends!

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Say hello to the Modular Apple Store! Because everything should be made into a Lego set. Duh. It even comes with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak minifigures, which is hilarious! I would love to see more “real life” sets like this one. Maaaybe, Lego Walmart? It would only have about 100,000,000 pieces!

 

So go check out these (and other incredible sets) on https://ideas.lego.com/ NOW.

New Toy Tuesday: The MARVELous Mr. Potato Head

Mr. Potato Head is my favorite vegetable (excluding the ever-lovable Veggie Tales characters). He’s resilient and timeless and ridiculous… he’s even MARRIED. He is truly a spud of many talents.

At this point you might be saying, “Hold up, now Brianna. This is NEW Toy Tuesday. Wasn’t Mr. Potato Head first manufactured and distributed in 1952?”

Yes, you’re right! But since I’m so psyched for the upcoming release of X-Men: Days of Future Past, I want to take this blogging opportunity to appreciate the new Marvel superhero Mr. Potato Heads… because superheroes and toys are never a bad combination.

Spiderman. Wolverine. Iron Man. Thor. Captain America. The Incredible Hulk.

It’s stuff like this that makes me want to spend the rest of my life in the pursuit of collecting toys and living in my parent’s basement. And not even because I think they’ll be worth all that much in the future. Just because they’re cool! It’s such a brilliant idea, too. After all, coming out with a new line of superhero action figures is just white noise these days, Yes, people will still buy them, and YES they are still expected when a new superhero movie is released, but why not partner with the world’s most popular potato and unleash a line of Super Spuds?!

Which brings me to another point.

Have you ever looked through all the different kinds of Mr. Potato Heads there are?? In addition to Marvel heroes, they come in a variety of Star Wars, Dr. Who, Wizard of Oz, DC, Star Trek, Three Stooges, KISS, MPHWizardof OzTransformers and Major League Baseball characters! And for all of The Simpsons fans afoot, there’s a special addition Homer Mr. Potato Head to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary.

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Those are just the novelty ones. Mr. Potato Head is also available in a number of generic versions, from animals to firefighters! There’s also a bride and groom Mr. and Mrs. set, and if I ever get hitched, I want a pair because that’s just awesome.

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I’ve only mentioned a fraction of the Mr. Potato Heads available today, and just imagine the future possibilities!

Personally, I’m hoping for a line of Harry Potter spuds, but we’ll see…

New Toy Tuesday: Poo Dough…. Poop You Can Play With!

No matter how old I get I will always find humor in the word “poop.”Anyone who denies the hilarity behind this word is lying. So it comes to no surprise that this prank toy caught my eye in the Walmart toy section.

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Poo Dough, as you can see, is packaged similarly to Play-Doh. Each pack comes with two shades of brown and a small container of yellow.

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So yeah, basically it’s just brown Play-Doh. That would be dumb if not for this cute little mold!20140408_154531

 

 

 

 

The rest is pretty self explanatory. You get some dough, load up the mold… Let the plastic do its thing…
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AAAAAAAAAAAAND………

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Realistic, I know! Now, you may be thinking (among other things) “Is there a point to this?” And my answer is: No. Absolutely not. But that’s what makes it so lovely. I can only imagine what I would have done if I had had this as a kid… it’s probably good for my mother’s sake that I didn’t….

Poo Dough is part of the Prank Star line of prank toys put out by Skyrocket Toys last Fall. This is obviously the best in the series though. I mean, come on, it looks JUST like poop. True, this toy might not be super educational , but it is fun. (Did I mention it bares a strong resemblance to POOP?)

Now you might be thinking, “Brianna is there a point to this blog?” And again my answer is: No. Absolutely not.

I just felt the need to share my poop discovery with the internet and silence anyone who claims I am an adult. Over and out!

 

New Toy Tuesday: Kryptonite Play-Doh, Superman’s Worst Playtime Nightmare

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April Fools. Kryptonite is highly radioactive and not suitable for children.

 

New Toy Tuesday: WikiBear, the World’s Smartest Stuffed Animal

Ever get the feeling that toys are secretly alive? Something about the “look” in their eyes hints at a greater intelligence, colorful personality, and the thought totally creeps you out. Right?

Meet WikiBear, the stuffed animal that can talk. Literally. It talks. The bear uses Bluetooth to connect to a smart device (that has the super special WikiBear app installed) and uses a built-in microphone and whole bunch of other fabulous technology that might actually be witchcraft. Anyway, you talk to this little guy, and he responds to you. He’s similar to Siri, searching the web for information at your request. But that’s not all! WikiBear tells jokes and stories too!

Some people are saying that this could be the next Teddy Ruxpin (the revolutionary story-telling bear of the 80s). Now, call me a conservative technophobe, but I wouldn’t want any child of mine to have one… It doesn’t seem to be 100% safe. What if a curious little Billy asked WikiBear where babies come from? Teddy Ruxpin wouldn’t have explained the process, now would he?

The concept itself is cool, there’s no doubt about that. It’s a great source of knowledge for anyone who wants to learn. But a line has to be drawn somewhere. This toy is LITERALLY the internet in physical, huggable form. It really gives me the hebegebees.

Like really, how is this encouraging anything positive?

DAD: “Oh here you go, Billy. This is WikiBear. He’ll talk to you so I don’t have to.”

BILLY: “Wow! Thanks, Dad! I’m going up to my room to play! Be back when I’m 30 and have no real social skills because my only friend is a stuffed robot bear with creepy eyes.”

This little fella goes right up there with Big Hugs Elmo. It’s sickening. Is the toy industry TRYING to ruin children? Why do toys have to control playtime? A kid’s entire life is controlled for Pete’s sake! Let them have some freedom to use their brains and create the fun. And here’s a crazy idea, kids could even play with OTHER kids, or even PARENTS. Crazy, I know, but it just might work.

Luckily, there’s still time before WikiBear hits the shelves in September so perhaps the company (Commonwealth Toys) will install some kind of safe search filter and get as many bugs out as possible. Either way, parental supervision is needed just to be safe. For now, I’m very skeptical. Playtime doesn’t need to be high tech to be FUN.

Mass Ave Toys: A Dream Come True

Over the weekend I visited my sister and her husband in Indianapolis. The city was alive with excitement; filled with crazed Big 10 fans, Comic-Con attendees, and jolly drunks dressed in all shades of green. In other words, THE MOST PEOPLE-FILLED TWO DAYS OF MY LIFE.

Luckily, hidden in the city on the quirky stretch of road known as Mass Ave (Massachusetts Avenue) was a fantastic little toy store. When I say “fantastic” I mean it was the coolest brick-and-mortar establishment I have ever laid eyes in all my years of living. And when I say “little” I mean jam-packed (from floor to ceiling!) with top-notch toys. My only disappointment was the lack of imagination behind the name: Mass Ave Toys. Doesn’t sound too groundbreaking, right?

But as I walked around the store (or zigzagged between hordes of old women and toddlers, rather) I realized it would take days to look at everything in detail. There was soooo much to take in: wooden toys out the wazoo, kites hanging from the ceiling, puppets of every variety, kids’ books, puzzles, maps, classics, robots, fire trucks, instruments, candy, rocking horses—

I need to stop or I’m going to hyperventilate.

And did I see one single Barbie or other such equivalent? No, sir. They weren’t needed. In the beautiful disaster of colors and fun and plastic and noise that is Mass Ave Toys, Barbies would be white noise. A knickknack on a shelf. A discount shelf. Or a “free” shelf. Or in the garbage.

Where was I?

This place is 100000% specialty toys. I can’t wait to go back and chat with the owner on a slower business day, if possible. It would be interesting to see what their average day is like. From what I could tell, the store is in decent financial standings, prices are reasonable, and customer service is great. The next time you find yourself in Indianapolis, check it out!

(Follow me on Instagram for pictures from my Indy adventure!!)

Mass Ave Toys is the toy store of my dreams, perfect in every way. And if loving a business entity is wrong, I don’t want to be right….

55 Years a Square

Barbie is 55 this year. Ew. To celebrate this occasion, I believe some Barbie bashing is in order.

The iconic doll has been in the news lately due to the creation of the new “Lammily” doll that is a more realistic version of Barbie. Lammily’s body proportions are based off a 19-year-old girl’s physique, with stouter legs, a Barbie vs. Lammilybroader stomach, and a neck that could actually support a head. When asked about the unrealistic measurements in a recent interview, Kim Culmone, one of Barbie’s lead designers bashed this new doll, because it’s not

“normal” either.

Very clever. Be that guy and raise the philosophical question, “Well, what exactly IS normal?” Ugh. We get it. It’s 100000 billion percent impossible to create a doll that pleases everyone. We come in all shapes and sizes…

Some people are squares.

Like Barbie, for example.

Total square.

But wait a second guys… did you know that you can be something BEYOND your jeans size? I’d like a Barbie who comes from the lower/middle class, one that can’t afford to wear the most extravagant clothes out there, one that works three jobs, one that looks tired. That would be a real Barbie. Because Barbie can be anything she wants to be, right? So who says she has to be successful and popular? Maybe she just wants to stay at home and NOT go out clubbing with Ken? Give her messy hair, worn clothes, a beat up car, student loans…

Make Barbie look realistic? No. Make Barbie BE realistic. Make her a relatable, real person. This doll has such a huge impact on young girls. Not just body image, but overall attitudes about life. No more bull about being a pink-suited astronaut. No. When would that ever happen? I’m pretty sure the suits don’t come in pink. (See what I did there? THAT’S called being realistic.)

If Barbie wants to be an astronaut, cool, whatever. But I want to get to know her! What did she do in high school? What college did she attend? Let’s have a doll version of her OCD dorm roommate, or her least favorite professor! I could go on and on…

Toys like Barbie should tell a story. Real ones. Not just fairytales.

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME

Have you seen The Lego Movie yet? If you haven’t, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND GO EXPERIENCE IT.

This movie is the embodiment of every kid’s Lego fantasy. It literally has it all: car chases, pirates, superheroes, SPACESHIPS, over-priced coffee, and Morgan Freeman! The best part? EVERYTHING is comprised of Legos. Everything. Even smoke, fire, and water. Really, it’s amazing. The animation is so good, I was sure it had to be all stop-motion (if that makes sense?). Turns out I was wrong, but I don’t even care. Really. It doesn’t feel like a CGI movie.

I can’t think of anything wrong with this movie, which is surprising because I can be kind of picky. A lot was riding on this movie though… Lego is such a unique and popular brand, so of course every viewer (which is basically everyone on the planet) is going to have high expectations.

Will it be wholesome/kid-friendly? Will there even be a plot? Will it do the legendary bricks JUSTICE?

Questions such as these kept me awake at night weeks before it hit the theaters. Not only was there a full movie investment on the line, but an entire COMPANY. I almost had a panic attack when I realized that an awful Lego Movie could destroy the great name of Lego and change life as we know it, melting the plastic realm of childhood dreams into a molten ruin…

But alas, there was never any reason to fear for Lego’s livelihood. They successfully produced the greatest commercial of all time, like Super Bowl commercial material. It’s just plain FUN. For everyone. The humor is quirky AND appropriate, unlike some kids’ movies that sneak innuendos right and left…

Companies like Mega Blocks better pay close attention, or they’ll find themselves out of business before you know it. Lego made a super wise choice. Like, high-five to their marketing team, high-five to the guy that said “Hey, let’s make a Lego movie” and high-five to that guy’s parents! High-fives for everyone! I hope other toy companies follow in their footsteps and produce their own mega commercials (mega-mercials?), or “movies” as the kids call them, featuring toys we know and love. I’m all for that! You have to stay competitive somehow!

Above all, the message behind the movie is great. (I cried the second time I saw it because I’m a sap) If you haven’t seen it, I command that you do your best to change that. Please. It will restore your faith in humanity and make you realize that EVERYTHING IS AWESOME.

Heroes in a Half Shell… TURTLE POWER

Action figures will always be a fundamental staple in the world of toys. If you’re one of those people who defensively insist that action figures aren’t toys, well okay, whatever. They ARE toys. And if you keep them in mint condition, they can become extremely valuable collectables.

Personally, I firmly believe that toys are meant to be played with, and therefore unpackaged (GASP). That being said, I refuse to open Pez dispensers. I’m not a hardcore collector or anything, but I think it’s a cool concept and I really dislike the taste of Pez candies….

Does Brianna have a point? Hm.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were the first action figures I was exposed to as a kid. My brother and sister were hardcore fans, so naturally we had all the toys. It might have been because they were muscular turtles (or maybe simply because they weren’t my sister’s Barbies) but these guys fascinated me. They were so life-like… to the point where I didn’t even play with them. One Raphael action figure talked to me on several occasions, I swear. Not even joking. So yeah, “playing” with Ninja Turtles meant getting them out and looking at them, observing them. I’m pretty sure those darn things were (and continue to be) living, breathing creatures, but that’s a discussion for another day.

According to Toy Time! by Christopher Byrne, Ninja Turtles had a falling out in the early 90s and were only just revived in 2012 when Nickelodeon launched the horrifically animated remake. I read that and thought, wait. What. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. THAT’S A LIE.

I mean, the Turtles have become part of pop culture, something the young people think is “cool” (even though they have little to no knowledge of the subject). But for me, they’ve always been present as well as relevant. Not that I’m an expert, but ya know. It’s like, they shaped the decade or something. Ever met someone who thinks they’re dumb? No. Of course not. What kind of monster could hate on mutated turtles who talk like surfers, eat pizza, and use martial arts to kick butt? You still see them everywhere – t-shirts, toys, school supplies, you name it.

Sure, the original TV show isn’t on anymore. They’re not as popular as they once were, but that doesn’t mean everyone forgot about them.

They are still loved.

So COWABUNGA, DUDE.