2019 Honda CRV-EX, AWD Review

Honda CR-V — which should you buy, 2019 or 2020? I would say that most people buy and spend the most during the end/beginning of the year, and it’s no different when it comes to vehicle purchases. Weather and the holidays also plays a part in it, as winter time is when you really need a reliable method of transportation especially for work commuting… and for dealerships, it’s also when they need to make room for the newer models and year.

I finally said goodbye to my trusty Toyota on Veteran’s Day. After having my new ride for 3 weeks now, I’ve driven it enough times (and even on a long holiday travel) to leave a well-informed review.

I had wanted the 2020 Honda CR-V, but unfortunately none of the dealerships had any in their showrooms yet, as Honda had just released it that week (along with its pricing). I went with the 2019 because I needed a new car ASAP, and didn’t have the patience to wait for one to be transported in a few days. I got the 2019 EX, AWD… The biggest changes in 2020 is for the base LX trim; it’s worth getting the next trim up (the EX) if your dealer only has 2019 on hand though… which was my scenario.

Why should you get the 2019 instead of waiting for delivery on the 2020?

Well, besides from not driving off with a car right then and there at the dealership — unless you’re getting the LX, the next trim (the EX) has everything that the 2020 has (but at a few hundred dollars less for 2019).

All 2020 CR-Vs do get new front and rear bumpers though, and revised headlights and tail-lights… if that matters to you. EX and EX-L trims also get a new alloy wheel design and the top Touring trim gets new 19-inch wheels (up from 18). The main change inside is a revised center console that moves a pair of USB ports to the front (but as someone with kids, I like the ports in the back, which is the design in 2019 models).

The 2019 Honda CR-V, EX is a compact SUV (what the industry calls a “crossover”) that can seat up to five adult passengers. It comes standard with a 190-hp, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder CVT (this is the newest kind of transmission that is out in the market, I had no idea what a CVT even was and had to use Google). Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional… I got the AWD.

The midrange EX trim level adds appealing features like remote start, a power moonroof, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, heated front seats, a power driver’s seat, a touchscreen multimedia system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert and the Honda Sensing suite of active safety features. Honda Sensing includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control… among other flashy extras.

The Honda CR-V is a roomy compact SUV with great in-cabin storage amenities. The available turbocharged drivetrain feels overburdened though, and the brake-pedal feel is disappointing. Also, as cars are also more technological — you’ll need to spend a full day reading the owner’s manual, watching YouTube videos, and hands-on figuring out how to operate the vehicle. It’s kind of like getting a new phone; back in the days of flip-phones there wasn’t much to figure out, but now there are legit tutorials from the manufacturers on how to operate your latest smartphone… same with cars, Honda even has its own YouTube channel.

My First Online Student

So I just had my first online student, as well as my first online lesson.

First, my student is gorgeous. She is a professional business woman in France… she has the most lovely European accent (and dare I say it, Hitler would have loved her — she’s blonde and blue, and beautiful). She really has an amazing smile too.

I was nervous, first because it was at 2AM (it was like 9AM her time), and because I didn’t know what to expect. She looked amazing and I literally looked like I fell out of a tree. My hair was a mess, no makeup, and I was in my pajamas (actually, I’m still in my pajamas). She looked like she just step out of a Fortune 500 luncheon somewhere in NYC! She truly is everything that American men find attractive about European women.

I asked her what her goal was, and she told me she was interested in professional mock interviews because of her employment, where she needed a strong command of English because she would be dealing with a lot of English speaking employees. Her first lesson was a 30-minute trial lesson to see if we were compatible with each other… afterwards she booked a full one hour lesson with me for next week.

I’m excited, but also exhausted because of the time difference. However, the early hours are actually more suitable for me though because that’s usually also when the baby is deep asleep so I don’t have to worry about him. Her English was really excellent though, and it’s amazing how it seems that others are more studious than Americans when it comes to any sort of scholastic. I’ve definitely found that a lot of Americans are not as serious about studying and school in general compare to other countries.

The Nanny Complete Series Boxset Review

UPDATED: So a few days after I wrote my original post, the Roku Channel is no longer currently streaming The Nanny (seasons 1 and 2) anymore. This happens when they expire some of the shows that are available for streaming, just like with Netflix. No big deal, as now they’re showing seasons 3 and 4 anyway.

I ended up getting the complete series boxset from Walmart.com (currently retails at $75, and sold directly from them), and then returning it about 2 weeks later because at the store they have it for $45 (minus the reunion special… but for $30 less, I can do without the reunion disc). The only disappointment is on music licensing, which has prevented a lot of TV shows from being able to be released (like Cold Case, which features popular music heavily on its show). Anyway, I’m waiting for California Dreams to he release as a series boxset eventually (I mean, it’s produced by the same people that did Saved By the Bell)… but I digress!

Below is my original post.

Ahhhhh!!! One of my favorite TV sitcoms (I have a few) is currently available for FREE streaming on the Roku Channel (ahhhhh!!!), The Nanny!

Okay, so I’ve been waiting for it — and Hulu is usually great with streaming sitcoms (the whole ABC network’s TGIF lineup is available right now), as well as having lots of other series that I’m a fan of (The Golden Girls, specifically). I’ve been waiting for this and even tried looking for it on DVD, but it’s been unavailable… until now, that is.

I love this show because Fran has that nasal Queens voice (it reminds me of home so much), and I generally just love any show that’s set in NYC. The show also makes me feel nostalgic about my youth because it was a show I enjoyed when it was in syndication during my late teen years, and the fashion of the 1990’s (that is, in the 90’s the 70’s fashion was back in style).

It’s as exciting as when the whole series of The Golden Girls were available on Hulu… unfortunately, it’s only streaming seasons 1 and 2 of the series on Roku though (hopefully Hulu will pick it up eventually). I’m waiting for Cold Case to become available too (they had some great music, but that’s the main problem, music licensing for a lot of their episodes prevents it from being available).

Just an FYI for those that are also fans of the show, and the Roku Channel is a free channel (like Crackel is too).

5G Network

I’m in NYC for my annual summer vacay… but here’s a nice surprise this year — as soon as I was within the NYC airspace, my phone picked up 5G. I must say, it’s pretty awesome!

Okay, so I’ll tell you straight out, I have no idea what all this 3G, 4G LTE, or 5GE is… I don’t even know what 1G or 2G was (maybe basic text messaging back in the day?)… all I can really review is how my phone is running on the 5G network.

To be clear, I’ve been on mobile data since I’ve left my house (where I was on WiFi). My mobile data was on 4G LTE, and at the airport while waiting to board, my internet was okay, but wasn’t great. I had a hard time uploading pictures on to Facebook because the connection was slow, and YouTube didn’t have great video playback and there were some buffering issues… now, it can also just be the city because let’s be real, Nashville is no NYC. I’m assuming NYC still has superior 4G capabilities because that was the network that I was running on before when I visited with my Note phones.

As stated, I haven’t connected to WiFi since I’ve left my house, but I’m able to stream HD videos, and upload and download with a speed that is comparable to being connected to WiFi. Also, my video chats with the hubby on WhatsApp is excellent (although it sucks on his end though). To really test its capabilities, I streamed a video on Hulu (an episode of the Golden Girls, but since that series was filmed in SD, I decided to test another video) — I streamed Coco on Netflix in 4K UHD and there was no buffering or playback issues (although I couldn’t tell the difference between 4K and HD because I was streaming on my phone) and you can’t appreciate the picture quality unless you’re watching on a 4K TV that’s at least 55″ (in my opinion).

If you don’t have a WiFi connection, then having a 5GE network is actually really great, but unfortunately you won’t be able to enjoy its capabilities unless you’re in a major city like Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, London, NYC… I mean, major Asian cities have already had 5G for quite some time now, while the US is just getting it (and only in a few major cities). Also, you’ll need a phone that can support a 5GE network, so unless you have a new phone that came out this year in the US, chances are that your 2018 (and older) phone wouldn’t even be able to connect to the network at all. That’s not a big deal if you’re in a major city like  NYC because the network capabilities for even a no-name, pre-paid carrier like Boost Mobile will still have excellent connections to call qualities and internet access… it does matter if you live anywhere else outside of NYC though.

I guess when I’m back in Nashville I’ll have to connect on to a WiFi again, but it is pretty awesome being able to “test” it out though.

Singer Classic 44S Review

Excuse my hubby’s messy office in the video (which I’ve turned into my craft room during his deployment — ha!).

I’ve never had a sewing machine before. I know how to hand sew from my childhood, and I knew how to do it in the most basic of ways. I was good enough to repair small seam rips, but that was it. Ironically, my mother had a sewing machine and used to make my clothes all the way until I was like 10.

I went with Singer because they are probably the most renowned brand in the sewing industry. They have been in business since the 1800’s even! Although, like with everything else, they don’t make them like they used to. If you’re deciding on getting a sewing machine for the first time, I recommend the 44S.

This part has nothing to do with the actual machine, but I did wanted to add that I had a bit of a mishap at Walmart. I had originally purchased the Singer 3232 model, which was not as good as the 44S, but cost less ($100). I ordered it on Walmart.com, directly from Walmart, not a third-party seller; it arrived in like 3 days from the date I ordered it, so super fast shipping and delivery! However, the needle would not pick up the bobbin thread, and I decided to return it. Walmart is only about 5 minutes away, so I had the convenience of store returns.

When I went to return it, the serial number on the box did not match the serial number on the machine (it was off by one number). I said that was the machine that I had gotten, and that it was just delivered… after about 10-15 minutes, after talking to a manager and calling the Walmart.com people, I was issued a refund. It was probably previously  returned by someone who switched it out, or just a straight up lemon from Walmart (I really don’t know)… another reason why I recommend to replace it with an in-store model too! I still decided on the 44S though. The 44S is available at the store itself, and although it cost $50 more than the one I returned (straight out of the box) — it’s also better quality too.

This SINGER CLASSIC 44S HEAVY DUTY sewing machine can sew through just about any type of fabric (great for heavy projects and fixes like jeans or coats). This sewing machine features a powerful motor and an extra-high sewing speed (1,100 stitches per minute, according to Singer). The heavy duty metal interior frame and stainless steel bed plate was another deciding feature for me, it just makes me feel it’ll last longer. It also includes an automatic needle threader with a top drop-in bobbin system, which I like way better than the ones that you load on the side. It comes with 22 built-in stitches (and a zipper-hole stitch), and you can adjust the stitch width and length with separate turn dials. There’s also three needle positions (right, center, left), and lots of accessories in the super handy side compartment.

According to Singer, it weighs 14.5 lbs, and measures 15.5″L x 6.25″W x 12″H. Threading the needle is easy with the built-in automatic needle threader, which is perfect for those with poor vision. I don’t use it, because it’s easier for me to just manually do it since my eye sight is still good… and it took me a while to figure out how to work it at first. When you release the little thread lever, it’s supposed to pull a loop through the eye of the needle. For me, personally, it’s faster to just thread it yourself directly.

There’s a top drop-in bobbin with a clear view cover. The bobbins and bobbin cover are both transparent. Just place the bobbin into the bobbin case, thread according to the guides, then draw up the bobbin thread. Snap the cover in place and you’re ready. I didn’t read the manual at all; I watched the Singer YouTube channel, found my product, and watched their awesome tutorials. I literally learned how to sew from watching a how-to YouTube tutorial by Singer on my product. This machine has a more powerful motor than the completely plastic ones that cost less, and it sews faster than most other sewing machines according to Singer. The inner frame of the sewing machine is constructed of heavy duty metal, great for overall durability. It’s built for years of extended use.

The machine has 23 built-in stitches including basic stitches, decorative stitches, stretch stitches, and a buttonhole stitch. It also comes with a buttonhole foot. Feed dogs are located under the presser foot of the sewing machine. (Feed dogs move from front to back in a rotating motion, to move the fabric through the machine as you sew.) FYI: to sew fine or sheer fabrics, the presser foot pressure should be loosened by turning the dial counter-clockwise; when sewing heavy fabrics such as denim or canvas, tighten the presser foot pressure by turning the dial clockwise. (For most of your sewing, you can just leave the dial in its pre-set position though.) There are also three needle positions to choose from. You can leave the needle in the center position for most of your regular sewing. Move the needle to the left for inserting zippers, making piping and inserting piping, or move the needle to the right for topstitching.

The machine includes: All-Purpose Foot, Buttonhole Foot, Zipper Foot, Button Sewing Foot, Edge/Quilting Guide, Needles, Bobbins, Thread Spool Caps, Auxiliary Spool Pin, Spool Pin Felt, L-Screwdriver, Seam Ripper/Lint Brush, Soft-Sided Dust Cover, Instruction Manual, Foot Control, and Power Cord… oh, and it has an LED lightbulb that automatically comes on when you turn the machine on. It takes Singer Class 15 plastic bobbins, Singer needle sizes 2020 and 2045, and there’s a 25 year limited warranty on it.

S10+ (AT&T) Review

Update on my S10+ (AT&T network).

First, I deeply regret not waiting for the Note 10 (my flagship phone)… my hubby said something along the line of — it’s basically like the Note without the pen; wrong, unknowing iOS Apple man! Second, and this distresses me greatly, I wish I had switched carriers back in 2003 when my original contract ended (I’ve been with Verizon since 2001).

The pre-installed AT&T apps are overloaded and annoying; such as the default Samsung SMS app. Unfortunately, with any carrier, you’re going to get unwanted bloatware… on the AT&T network, it has a third tab on the default SMS app that is annoyingly visible and can’t be removed — a category called “chatbots”, basically text messaging from apps. Super annoying and irrelevant, especially in the era where you have to reply “STOP” for every unwanted text message you receive, as well as having to be constantly aware of scams. The only solution to fix this is to download another SMS app (I chose Google, because I’m a Google gal).

I found some AT&T forums where reps were being a bit misleading, blaming Samsung instead of acknowledging their own faults; this is NOT a Google/Samsung decision, but an AT&T network decision — because my Note 8 runs Android Pie (after installing the released update about a month ago, it’s the same version that comes with the S10+), and the app looks the same and has the same settings, except for the noticeable chatbots category. So this is a network carrier feature, not a developer/device feature like some AT&T reps have been deceptively claiming to customers on forums. However, in AT&T’s defense, they are a corporation that is after consumers, so like any company they’re looking to get your money.

To the phone itself — there is a reason the Note series has always been Samsung’s flagship phone. The only thing to really challenge it is Google’s own Pixel smartphones, but it’s still not as savvy as the Note (the Note being the consistently reigning champ of phablet phones). Really, until I switched carriers, I’ve never had another phone series since the Note 3 (my last one was the Note 8). Right away, something I’ve noticed — there are no LED notifications.

Yes, that’s right, the S10 series DO NOT light up with blinking lights to alert you of a text, email, missed call, etc. WTF!?! The only way to fix this would be for Samsung to release a software update that specifically addresses it for the S10 series (hasn’t happened yet, and might not happen at all), or to personally install an app from the Google Play Store that will basically force it on the front camera — there are a few good ones to choose, Google search for “S10 LED alert apps” for results… although neither options (including the edge lighting on the phone) is a true LED notification indicator, as it would require a hardware fix, and must be physically installed on the phone itself.

This is a Samsung design/developer fault. Now, I have no idea what the Note 10 is going to look like (Samsung is notorious about keeping leaks on new phones, especially the Note, to nothing but mere rumors), but I can’t imagine it having the annoying “punch-hole” front cameras being a part of the screen like the S10 are. First, it makes the screen look weird and is distracting when watching videos; second, it actually makes the status bar smaller because it takes up physical space. It was rumored that the punch-hole front cameras (there’s two on the S10+) is the reason why Samsung decided to do away with the LED notification light… it simply just had to go because there was not enough room for it. I am not a fan of the curved screen or this new ridiculous punch-hole camera screen. I hope the Note 10 will leave the front camera(s) off the actual screen display, and have it above like normal, so that a LED light can also be there.

The Note 10 is not available yet, and I could have went with the Note 9, but I didn’t want to because the S10 series was already out. Really, I should have just waited for the holidays, when the new phone would definitely have been released, and all the great promotions going on (especially for a new customer). Alas, this truly was a spontaneous buy, and not very thought out… I’ve had a few of those in my lifetime. However, FYI, one consistent rumor has been that the Note 10 will not have a headphone jack… that would be as awful as not having LED notifications on the S10 series! If the rumor is true, Samsung will realize their mistakes — like, with the Note 5 not having external storage capabilities, that was quickly reversed in the Note 6.

However, sometimes it’s actually a good thing not getting the next line… for example, the Note 7 (I never had one, going straight to the Note 8 instead). In closing, personally, I would have waited until the Note 10 was released before buying a new phone (as that was the phone I really wanted anyway); and if you’re not in the Alaskan wilderness, then I would recommend any other carrier besides Verizon as they are the most pricey mobile network carrier… I, myself, was a Verizon customer for 18 years before I made the switch this week! Their reasoning is their largest network coverage, but again, most people I know are on WiFi most of the time anyway and don’t even use their mobile data or actual calling service.

Having just ported my number to AT&T this week, I will have to wait at least a year (a fair amount of time) to decide if I want to switch to another carrier or not. To be fair, this is also because after 18 years, I am clearly having some sort of divorce-like resentment with Verizon, feeling as if I’m the spouse who wakes up one day realizing I’ve been cheated on for 18 years.

The Great Leap Forward

I did it!

After 18 years with Verizon Wireless, I’ve switched over to AT&T… and I’m feeling a bit of buyer’s remorse on the phone (it’s the first time in about 5 years that I don’t have a Note series). I suppose that’s normal when you make a change like this.

My phone worked fine and the only real problem I ever had with Verizon is their questionable billing practices, and they are the most expensive carriers. When cell phones first came out, I stuck with Verizon despite them being so much more expensive because of the coverage. They have the largest network of all the carriers, with about 70% coverage in the country — and that’s mostly because a lot of their towers were from when they used to be Bell Atlantic, and when they bought MCI (anyone remember those telephone companies anymore???). AT&T currently has about 58% coverage… I remember when some of my friends were “roaming” in the basements of their own homes when cell phones first started replacing pagers, or couldn’t get a good connection, but I never had that problem.

It was a big deal when I lived in the middle of nowhere Iowa, and I suppose even out here in the boondocks it’s kind of a big deal… but honestly, with all the phone scams going on, you’re kind of happy you don’t get your calls sometimes! Besides, even with bad connections, the voicemail always works! I supposed now that I’m older, there’s only a handful of people I want to talk/text to, and most of the time I’m on WiFi so it doesn’t matter what mobile network I have!

It is a bit sad switching networks after 18 years though. Very bittersweet kind of feeling, but there’s no reason to have Verizon as your carrier unless you’re out in Wyoming or Alaska with the bears and foxes. One of the things I truly regret is not switching as soon as my contract ended in 2003, instead of renewing it for a new phone every two years — especially because back then, I remember all the carriers had free nights that started at 7PM except for Verizon, which started at 9PM instead.

I got a Galaxy S10+, this is also the first time in over five years that I don’t have a Note phone. I’ve been a huge fan of the Note series since I got a Note 3 in January 2014, and my last one was the Note 8… I was waiting for the Note 10; but I had that momentary restless spending that everyone occasionally gets, and I got the S10+ instead. I’m not crazy about the phone, because I’ll always be a huge fan of the Note series; but I’m always an Android gal at heart, and stuck with my Samsung Galaxy brands. (I had wanted the new Google phone when the Note 10 wasn’t an option yet… but the AT&T store I went to didn’t have one in stock.)

I ported my number from Verizon to AT&T, which basically means I kept my phone number. It’s done instantly at any mobile carrier. I would recommend porting close to the end of your monthly cycle though, that’s because when your new carrier sends a porting request to your current carrier, it’s basically also a request to cancel service; however, even if you cancel your service, you are billed at a monthly cycle, so if you do it at the beginning of the cycle, you’re basically billed for a month that you’re not using.

Since most carriers have done away with service contracts (including Verizon and AT&T), most customers only have a phone payment installment “contract” that they need to pay off. The phone is usually broken down into 24 monthly payments; which is the equivalent of a two year contract when you’re paying retail price for your smartphone… however, it gives people who aren’t on a tight budget the freedom to pay off their phone and not worry about early termination fees on top of it.

Verizon bill a month in advance, so if your account is up-to-date, you should get a refund back when you close your account… but, as I’ve said, they have questionable billing. The thing with Verizon is that they’ve ALWAYS been the most expensive and the most stingy, and refunds with them are nonexistent. As mentioned, their “free nights” back in the day started at 9PM, while all the other major carriers started at 7PM. Whereas others had unlimited data, for a long time, they didn’t have that option, and then they did, and then they didn’t… and back and forth. They also didn’t have rollover data or minutes, and they held on to 2-year service contracts for the longest even as other carriers did away with it.

As someone who had been a loyal customer for 18 years (my service date was October 2001), I finally just didn’t want the expensive  service anymore. The coverage was no longer important to me because I am always on WiFi and never even use the data/phone anyway, and nowadays you have so many options online that you don’t even really need a carrier. You can Skype, make calls on Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. You can even download free texting apps… it seems pointless to have such a monthly expense when there are more affordable options out there (again, I’m constantly on WiFi).

I will see how I like AT&T, I might switch to T-mobile since they are the least expensive of the carriers… but I’ll never go back to Verizon, after 18 years, they got enough of my money (18 years is a prison sentence… or a child support order!).

GoT Recap: The Ending

Meh. I didn’t have any high expectations. I knew this from watching the series finales of ALL my favorite shows. I was disappointed in the last episode of I Love LucyThe Golden GirlsThe NannyThe King of QueensEverybody Loves Raymond… the list is endless. At least this HBO series didn’t end with a black screen like The Sopranos did! — woke up this morning, indeed!

Although, I will say that how the series ended does give HBO the possibility of a spin-off if they decide on it. There’s been a lot of talk about a prequel series happening, but nothing was definitely stated by anyone yet. Arya Stark is the most likely to get her own spin-off series, and the final seasons really led up to it. One, she was literally a kid when the series started, and grew into a woman during the show — it’s like watching the Olsen twins as babies on the original Full House. She’s also a badass assassin! She completely wiped out House Frey all on her own — no Lannister army, Dothraki riders, Unsullied, or Tyrell gold; she avenged the Red Wedding massacre and freed her uncle who’s been a prisoner since season 3 (and who betrayed his own uncle the Blackfish by surrendering to Jaime).

Besides from all of that, she’s been to Braavos, survived multiple assassination attempts, was blinded… and most importantly, she’s the one that killed the Night King! She ends up setting sail for whatever is west of Westeros… seems like a spin-off to me! One can always hope (and fans will love it, she’s always been very popular).

Sansa being queen of the north was a major disappointment. Like, she’s the weakest character. She betrayed her sister and father all within like 5 episodes of the series just starting! I totally knew she wanted to be queen, and it felt like that was the whole reason for her wanting Bran to be the king of only six kingdoms (the north being its own kingdom now). She’s suffered, but much of her suffering was her own naivety and stupidity. She could have went with the Hound or with Brienne, and both times she refused.

I did get teary eyed when Brienne wrote Jaime’s bio in the kingsguard book… especially the last line: He died protecting his queen. It kind of makes up for him being a kingslayer and all, which was the last paragraph before Brienne added to it.

I also got emotional when Drogon carried Daenerys away. That was really sad. I mean, not to mention his two brothers are dead, but now his mom too! He was the last dragon though, so what’s going to happen to him? Another good plot for a spinoff. He was heading east according to Bran during the small council meeting… probably to Pentos, or wherever it was that his mom set fire to Khal Drogo and the witch lady, and hatched him and his brothers from the fire. Drogon is so upset that he burns that ugly ass throne of swords to melting lava before flying off somewhere with his dead mother clasped in his claw.

Tyrion is Hand to a third monarch. Seriously. Ser Bronn of the Blackwater gets Highgarden as his castle and is now lord of the Reach. The Onion Knight is Master of Ships (not bad for the son of a crabber). Samwell is a maester now. Brienne is Lord Commander of the kingsguard. Podrick finally gets knighted. Edmure Tully is finally shown released (thanks to Arya).

The Unsullied sail to the island of Naath, the birthplace of Missandei. Before Missandei was beheaded, Grey Worm asked where she would want to go after Daenerys wins all the wars. She said she wants to go back to Naath, but her people are very peaceful and don’t know how to defend themselves. Grey Worm says that he would defend them for her. So he is keeping a promise to Missandei.

Jon/Aegon gets sent back to the Wall. Like, what the hell is even the point of Castle Black anymore? He meets up with Tormund who is there with the rest of the wildlings and Ghost; and they decide to go live beyond the wall, in the actual true north. He’s followed by all the wildlings, so he’s like the new Mance Rayder, I suppose.

All hail King Bran the Broken, the king of the six kingdoms!… and Queen Sansa, the queen of the North… and King Jon, the king of the free folks.

Arya was right to say goodbye to all those losers!

[Review] Toy Story “Signature Collection” Woody

I just received my Toy Story “Signature Collection” Woody doll today. For parents (and even collector’s or Toy Story mega-fans) DO NOT buy this toy!

It’s manufactured by Thinkway Toys and the Signature Collection is currently only sold at Target stores in the USA, for the retail price of $87.99 (so it’s over $90 with tax). It is inferior to the Toy Story Collection (TSC) that was the first line to come out in 2009, and which has been replaced with TSSC (Toy Story Signature Collection) that came out in 2012. There’s actually a great YouTube video that does an excellent comparison between the two as there seems to be a lot of asinine people on YouTube who clearly don’t have either:

Also, for this price it is not digitally designed with accuracy as it claims… my Walmart Woody (see previous post) was more accurate. Movie-accurate Woody does not have eyelids, and he has a closed-mouth smile — and his eyebrows are symmetrical! Why are they always messing up Woody’s face, but they always get Buzz’s face correct!? They’re both toys — even in the movies!

Woody’s battery compartment is in his butt. You gotta take his ass out to replace the batteries, and he has a switch on the side for: play, off, or demo mode. He takes regular batteries (which is good because some take the circular cell batteries that goes in like watches).

Toy Story Signature Collection Woody (currently sold “exclusively” at Target for $87.99) – I don’t recommend getting it though if you’re able to find a legit 2009 Toy Story Collection Woody on eBay though.

Check out my review for why you shouldn’t get this edition, especially if you’re a parent buying it for a kid because it’s definitely not worth $100. Also, I’ve seen a lot of confused people commenting on YouTube… Thinkway Toys make this line of Woody dolls. If you go on Thinkway Toys’ website, the Woody that this is comparable to is the last Woody doll on the list; that Woody is usually in stock around the holidays and he’s still in production.

This is NOT interactive as some people wrongly think. If you switch it to “play” mode, it’ll start randomly speaking, but it repeats the same recycle five phrases… it’s not like a freakin’ Amazon Alexa or something! My conclusion is that people who are leaving those ridiculous comments don’t have either of these toys at all and probably binge watch YouTube videos to leave comments. Some clown actually thinks that this mass produced toy from China has a “hand stitched hat” because Al from Toy Story 2 says that about Woody when he finds him in Andy’s garage sale! (You can’t even make up that level of stupidity!)

If you have the money, I’d go with the Medicom “Ultimate Action Figure Woody” doll. It’ll cost you about $500 though. This doll was actually manufactured for a Japanese market, and it has three faces that you can actually swap out, but in the US you’ll only be able to get it from a third-party seller like on eBay. However, you can also create your own movie accurate Woody.

The ones from the 1990’s when the movie first came out is actually very legit except for the face, but just like with most dolls, you can pop the head out. There is currently a stuffed Woody doll that is available now with a movie-accurate face. He’s completely stuffed and doesn’t say or do anything, and he cost $20. If you’re feeling creative, you can probably find a way to attach that head to an older Woody body (one from the 1990s would be ideal, but even the ones from the 2000s are better than the current ones they have now).

Walmart Toy Story 4 Woody [Review]

So, I made a video review of the newest Woody doll from Thinkway Toys, that is currently sold at Walmart for $30… but I wished I had gotten the Toy Story Collection Woody doll when it first came out in 2009, because it was like $29.99 and sold at retailers everywhere (now you gotta buy it from some guy on eBay for like $300 or something). Target is currently selling the Toy Story Signature Collection for about $90 right now (it cost way more than the first collection, but it’s also lesser quality and less movie-accurate). Even when Signature Collection first came out around 2011 or 2012, it was more affordably priced too, like $39.99.

I ended up getting it anyway from Target for the anxiety-inducing price of $93.28 total (ugh!), although I probably should wait until November to see what Woody dolls Thinkway Toys comes out with, especially since Toy Story 4 is coming out in a few months. I’m not a collector, but I wanted a Woody doll that was as movie-accurate as possible… which makes me also regret missing out on the Walmart Woody doll that was sold at Walmart for like $25 back in 2016 (and now third-party sellers want like $100 for it!).

Walmart Woody was around $25, and was available for the holiday season in 2016 (which at Walmart starts in September). He looks exactly like Signature Collection Woody except he only says about 20 things. The hair is also not as detailed, and there’s two punch-holes on his hat where the manufacturer (Thinkway) secures it to the box… but it’s not a big deal, and can even be useful in tying a string to secure Woody’s hat around his neck if you wanted. (I’m definitely disappointed that I missed out on that Woody edition because Walmart was like 5 minutes from my house in Iowa during all those years he was available at Walmart!)

This was an affordable Woody line from Thinkway Toys (the manufacturer for Toy Story toys); it wasn’t sold “exclusively” just by Walmart, but I call it “Walmart Woody” because Walmart sold it at the lowest price compared to other big chain retailers like Target and Toys ‘R’ Us (when they were still around).

As you can see, he looks exactly like Signature Collection Woody, except he says only 20 phrases and has the two punch-holes on his hat. What I love about this Woody edition is that his clothes are higher quality than the current available Woody dolls; he has an actual vest and plastic sheriff’s badge, with actual buttons on his shirt, not just prints on fabric like the current Woody doll. His neckerchief is also movie-accurate in Walmart Woody. His eyebrows also look more legit than the current Woody line.

What a lot of third-party sellers have been doing is posting on eBay and Amazon, claiming this Walmart Woody is a “used-like-new” Signature Collection Woody — but is missing the box, toy stand, and certificate. They get away with it because it’s like 99.9% identical to Signature Woody (and both lines are made by Thinkway).

I’m debating whether to wait until after Toy Story 4 actually comes out in theaters (June 21), when there will be a huge demand for Woody and Buzz toys during the upcoming holding season (which will be right after the movie ends its theatrical release). I’m not looking for a certificate of authenticity Woody, I just want one that is as movie-accurate as possible — and clearly Thinkway makes them at affordable prices, and you can get them at Walmart — but I also don’t want to take the gamble of waiting and realizing like all things: They don’t make them like they used to! 

What if Thinkway no longer produces movie-accurate Woody dolls because of production costs, and you end up with the stuff you’re getting now, which are prints on fabric instead of actual outfits and accessories (I’m sure the trade-war with China doesn’t help manufacturers, especially since Thinkway Toys are made in China like everything else is)… however, I do believe that Walmart Woody is still in production because he’s still on Thinkway’s website as one of its toy lines, so maybe it’ll be back at stores for Christmas time. If you’re not a hardcore collector, and if details aren’t super important to you, Toy Story 4 Walmart Woody is a good replica; or even waiting until November to see what Walmart will have in stock, possibly the better quality Woody that’s not part of any collection series (but I don’t want to take the chance)… I will be super piss if there’s a very affordable movie-accurate Woody out by Christmas time that cost way less at Walmart though!

***Check out my video on Toy Story 4 talking Woody doll (currently retails at $30); “sold exclusively at Walmart” (that’s just a retail branding between Thinkway and big chain retailers, it’s not really “exclusive” to any store). One thing that is movie-accurate on this Walmart Toy Story 4 Woody is that he has no eyelids!