Friday, October 31, 2014

A Halloween Movie Marathon Saved Our Relationship.

It was a glorious day in early October when DragynAlly started planning an epic Halloween movie marathon for us to watch. She lives for these kinds of things and since I live permanently in NJ now I was at her full disposal for an all day marathon. The only problem was when she started listing movies.

A great movie marathon!

"Have you seen Coraline?"

I shook my head and said, "Nope"

"Corpse Bride?"

Again all I could say was, "Nope"



She sighed. "Well I can show you all of these. But we'll start with Nightmare before Christmas since everyone's seen that."

There was a pause where I hung my head in mini shame and I felt her head turn towards me.

"You haven't seen Nightmare before Christmas have you?"

"It was playing in the common room of my dorm one time while I was trying to study. I only caught parts of it."

There was a look in her eyes that kinda said "I don't even know you any more." She didn't say it out loud but it was implied. It wasn't long before she sat me down on a Saturday morning and we started watching all four movies. It was DragynAlly's idea to watch all the movies in reverse chronological order which is why we started at Coraline and went backwards through the ranks to BeetleJuice. She pressed play and the marathon began.

All I could say is...O...M...G!!!!

I realized that I had a blessing a lot of Tim Burton fans didn't. Since I had never seen any of these movies before I could watch the later movies without looking through a filter of earlier movies. I was watching Coraline (A Henry Selick movie) having never seen Nightmare which means I thought it was awesome on it's own merits. It was so delightfully spooky and hauntingly sweet.  When we got to Corpse Bride, which most people call an unofficial sequel I was able to not like it because it actually was horrible not because it didn't follow the style of Nightmare Before Christmas very closely.

But then we got to Nightmare Before Christmas.....and it blew my ever loving mind! I had always wondered why people loved it with such a fierce passion and loyalty and knew all of the songs. Then I realized all the artistry and the craft that went into it! It's just so dark yet so very lovely that it takes your breath away. I was so very surprised that it was a Disney movie. But seeing how good it is why wouldn't I come from the Mouse?!

And then we got to our final movie, BeetleJuice. The only problem I had with it was that I spent most of the movie waiting for the title character to show up. And then I realized that if you watched the BeetleJuice cartoon growing up then you have to remember that in this movie he was kinda the bad guy. But I feel watching this movie that I saw the birth of a Tim Burton Halloween style take hold, something that would inform Halloween movies for the rest of time.

Let's face it, if I learned anything from this movie marathon I learned that Tim Burton created the Halloween aesthetic for a lot of us. If it's a spooky movie on Halloween that's not a slasher flick we can probably name four or five movies that he's involved in or made by someone like Henry Selick who worked with him. We owe a lot of thanks for him and I'm glad DragynAlly made me watch this marathon.

I made a joke that if I hadn't seen these movies she would have broken up with me. She didn't seem to laugh as much as I did. In fact I think she was downright serious. I'm really glad I saw those movies.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Best Kept Secret of Virtual Design Pro #crayola

Disclaimer/Disclosure: We were given an item to review. Any and all opinions are our own.

Hello Guys and Dolls! Dr. Fronkensteen here. I know we already did a review of the Virtual Design Pro Studio and app but DragynAlly showed me a trick that she learned from a Crayola Rep at Toy Fair this year that I just had to share with you.

Did you know that you don't have to stay in the lines of your virtual design pro templates? You may have figured out that it eliminates any markings that you do outside of the template when it uploads to the app. Well did you know that you didn't even have to draw at all to make a cool design? I didn't know this until DragynAlly whipped out her coffee receipt, doodled with a marker on the back of it, and the laid it over a template a snapped a photo. What came out of it, while a bit rough, was awesome!

From Trash to Chic in Zero minutes.

What this trick means is that you can take any opaque object or doodle and lay it over the template and as long as you don't block any of the boxes in the corner the app will take that object and turn it into cool design for the runway. Don't believe me? Well here are a few more doddles that DragynAlly and I did with stuff lying around the coffee shop!

Now here is something we'd like to say about this cool feature.

I turned a flower into fashion!

 He Says: The ability to take pictures of random objects and use them in the fashion design is a best-kept secret that I wish they utilize more of. It's like giving me a box full of infinite possibilities while not even telling me how to Unlock it. This means that for a creative child using tracing paper and  found objects they have an unlimited plethora of opportunities to make great design.
She Says: Its my favorite part of the whole app. It means that anything that you can find around could be a cool dress design. It has to be pretty flat and not too many colors but if it's neat you can turn it into a dress. If this were advertised more kids would beg for it. Its a great way to make more interesting designs. it also saves for paper. Imagine what you could do if you could draw your design on a different sheet of paper and then not have to worry about staying inside the lines. And you don't have to use up the designs on the book.
There are no limits really.

This means that your design opportunities are endless, use paint swatches or fabric scraps, anything you find near you, the sky is the limit for your creativity!

She Said/He Said Crayola Virtual Design Pro Fashion Review

Disclaimer/Disclosure: We were given an item to review. Any and all opinions are our own.

Hello Guys and Dolls! It's your friendly neighborhood DragynAlly and Dr. Fronkensteen here. One of the things we like to do is review things together. Especially fun things like the Crayola Design Pro Fashion Collection (there is a car edition that we keep hoping Crayola will send our way). Why review together? Well that way you get 2 perspectives for the price of one. We may agree or disagree but that way you can hear all about it and decide for yourself. FYI the Crayola Design Pro kits retail for about $30 but we saw them at one store for $35.


He Says: I love the portability! It got us from Mays Landing all the way to Atlantic City and  nothing was out of place. Everything was exactly as we had it when we opened up the box the first time.

She Says:I love that it's portable and very durable. It's not small so that means it takes up a whole lot of table space to use.

The Markers

He Says: The markers don't blend and the paper allows the ink to bleed through onto the next page. So you have to be very careful how hard you press and know what color you want the next design to be. It doesn't give you any "oops room" either.  A smudge on the design is a smudge on the final project.

She Says: I like it a lot but the bleed through ruins the design on the next page. The markers provide great color saturation but again the bleed through makes you not want to press down very hard for fear of ruining the picture on the next page.

The Whole Kit

He Says: I love that you have a lot more color pencils and markers choose from. There are a lot of colors and styles to choose from all in one convenient carrying case.

She Says: Epic. I would love lots more color. I would even love lots more media. Crayons/Pastels and the like.  I LOVE he pencil sharpener.


She Says: The stencils are helpful but the markers don't catch every edge and you need a very sharp pencil to use them.

He Says: I love/hate the stencils. Some are fun and helpful, especially if you're trying to do stripes or curves. Others like the chevron or basketweave pattern seems impossible to get the kind of detail you want out of it.

The Design Pro Book/ Templates

She Says: I wish that you could create your own templates somehow and download them online. But I do love that you can download men's fashions now and that when you sign the corner it comes up in the fashion show.

He Says: Crayola gives you a good design kit for your money but the book with the templates needs to be a bit sturdier and made of heavier paper or card stock like a traditional sketchbook. And it's the exact same book you get with the cheaper kit so you don't get an upgrade or any special designs. Upgraded kit but not an upgraded book.

DragynAlly Designer!
What we'd love to see

She Says: I would love to see pro designs in it. Wedding dresses, prom dresses, even Halloween costumes! Come on let's get creative now! I wish you could upgrade your models' hair and makeup a lot more.

He Says: I do think you should be able to buy the car design or other design books without buying another app or kit . If you have a kid that likes cars and another that likes fashion why wouldn't you just buy one design kit and two books and save your money?

The App

She Says: I have loved the app since the beginning. I wish there were a few more model types to choose from. Also it would be great if there were a bit more to do than walk a runway. It would also be really cool if kids could pic their own backgrounds and locations.
He Says: I wish there were better social media connectivity. It would be great to share directly to Facebook or Twitter. Even if the picture could be save directly to your device it would make sharing a lot easier. Love that the app is free.

All in all Dr. Fronkensteen and I are huge fans! I know it's way to early to talk about the gift giving season BUT if I were looking for a fun and interactive gift this would be a great choice! What do you think? You can check out more of our designs on Instagram: @dragynally.