Wednesday, August 31, 2016

American Girl at Toys R Us

Breaking news in the American Girl world has some people excited, some dismayed, and leaves me in complete awe at the selfishness and snobbishness that these beautiful dolls, these children's toys, somehow seem to bring out in "grown" women. 

Upon the announcement that Toys R Us would not only be selling Wellie Wisher accessories, but the dolls as well, American Girl forums across the internet absolutely exploded. Reading page after page and thread after thread I saw much of what I had expected. Excitement. Joy. Enthusiasm. Parents expressed happiness that they would now be able to put dolls on layaway, possibly use R Us coupons, and take their children to an actual store to pick out their dolls in person. (Something that is't possible for a large percentage of the population, as there are only 29 stores currently open worldwide and 7 of those are listed as "Temporary Locations".) 

Though we do not yet own a Wellie Wisher, and are still on the fence after seeing them in person, even I was excited about the prospect of these dolls being available at Toys R Us locations. Toys R Us is a bit closer to us than the AG store for one thing. For another, I have several friends who have already contacted me about their excitement that they can shop for their children, grandchildren, godchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. through layaway or on their R Us Rewards card since they already do a large portion of their holiday/event shopping that way. I know one woman in particular who has never been able to buy her daughter a brand new doll and was actually in tears at the thought that she will now be able to get her little girl a brand new, never before owned doll for Christmas. (It's been on her Santa list for 5 years. Five years, people, and it's going to happen now.) A close friend of mine who lives over 6 hours away from her nearest store is already planning a trip to their local Toys R Us to pick out dolls for her son and daughter in person for the first time.  

Of course, as with anything AG related, there were Debbie Downers. There was a surprisingly large (or perhaps not so surprisingly to anyone who has been following the fandom for any length of time) number of mothers who thought this was a terrible thing. I actually read the word "devastating" in regards to toys being sold at Toys R Us. I wish I had real world problems that would allow me to find where Mattel chooses to sell their products as a "devastating" event in my life. I truly do. There were a huge, huge number of women who said that they didn't care if the Wellie Wishers were sold at TRU, because they are just cheapened AG anyways, (which I do happen to agree that the quality is less than I would expect for a $60 doll, but they are still AG) but at least they weren't selling the 18 inch dolls there. That would be over the top. 

The announcement has now been made that, in addition to Wellie Wisher products and dolls, there will be Truly Me dolls coming to TRU Lord help us all, the plastic accessories and doll clothes have really hit the fan now!

 "Well, they probably won't be included in coupons anyways, so don't get your hopes up about being able to afford one." 

"This will cheapen the brand!"

"Now everyone is going to have one!"

"If you can't afford a 'real' AG doll anyways you shouldn't be putting them on layaway."

"It's like having a Porsche! If everyone can get them their value decreases!"

"If you have to put it on layaway you should just get a Walmart doll." 

"My daughter is so distraught that just anyone will be able to buy these now. She says she doesn't even want them anymore." 

"This is just devastating! I've actually shed tears about it. What makes them special now?"

Seriously? Seriously, people. They. Are. Dolls! Yes, they are dolls that many of us longed for as children, pouring over the catalogs and dreaming of putting Felicity to bed and drawing the curtains closed around her 4 poster, of teaching Addy to read using her little chalk and slate, of waiting with Molly for a letter from her father...But isn't that the very reason we should be celebrating this? The fact that there are more little girls out there who will be able to play, and imagine, and dream! (For the record, none of the historicals, BeForever, or Girl of the Years are going to be sold at TRU if being "exclusive" really matters that damn much to you.) When the hell did dolls become some kind of status symbols for mothers?!

Yes, mothers, because make no mistake about it, your daughter or son gives zero figs that every kid on the block now has access to an American Girl doll. As a matter of fact, they'd probably be thrilled to have even more friends they can play along with. No, they don't start caring until you stomp around like a toddler whose been told "no" bemoaning the fact that your child's playroom is no longer "exclusive" and "unique". "Cheapen the brand?" That happened when Pleasant Company was bought out by Mattel. Parent's shouldn't get things for their children if they have to use layaway or credit? I hope that you have paid for everything you've even bought in your life with cash only, including that horse you rode in on. 

I've said before that I, a grown woman and mother, had absolutely no idea how catty other women could be until I dove into the world of American Girl as an adult, (and that being said, I have also met some of the most amazing, supportive, phenomenal women in this world too) but even I've been amazed at the new low some have sunk to in the wake of this announcement. Get over it, and more importantly, yourselves. These are toys meant to bring toys to children. They also bring joy to some adults, but if that joy stops with the thought that "just anyone" can have them now, then you really need to evaluate your life. 

Stepping off the soapbox now, and looking forward to shopping at both the American Girl store and TRU for our dolls in the near future.

~Mrs. D 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Rainy Days & Mondays

Rainy days and Mondays don't get Molly down! What about you? How has your day been?

And while I impatiently wait for the rain to stop so that both Melody and my rehabed Rebecca can both get their own photo shoots, I feel like we just need to take another moment to admire this amazing hair! I love it!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Melody's Mini Shoot

The rain didn't allow us to take Melody out for her first photo shoot like we had planned today, but I couldn't resist pulling out the camera and taking at least a couple of shots with the available light that we had inside. 

This. Girl. Is. Stunning! The more I look at her the more I think it. I will fully admit that I was initially so disappointed that Melody wasn't going to have those amazing dimples, but she is absolutely beautiful without them. I know that some people weren't in love. If you can, see her in person. Trust me. I can't wait to get her out for a full photo shoot!

The rain put even the usually jolly Bo in a bad mood.

Melody was a little disappointed too, but her sunny disposition wouldn't let a little rain get in her way! Her little light shined bright for a mini photo shoot inside!

What did I tell you? Stunning! 

This girls hair flip needs a wide angle lense! I absolutely adore it! 

Dollstagramer Spotlight of the Week

Doll photography is a real thing, and there are some amazing photographers out there! Scrolling through Instagram has become a time consuming pass time of mine as I discover, in awe, how many talented photographers of every age are out there sharing their gift on Instagram! I've discovered many new pages through friends who have sent me messages and emails saying "Oh my gosh, look at these photographs!", and I want to share all of that talent as widely as I can, hence my Dollstagramer Spotlight! 

Every week I will post a new blog about an amazing photographer I follow on Instagram and will add their name to the Dollstagramer Spotlight list! Please, search them, find them, and follow them! They are phenomenal, and it is a joy to follow their artwork! 

If you have a "Dollstagramer" that you absolutely love that I have not featured here, please leave a message with their Instagram. I am always looking for more people to follow, and would love to see their work. 

If you are featured on this list, please feel free to post this image on your Instagram, blog, website, etc. You're fantastic! Brag about it!

This week, since it's our first week and I feel woefully behind already, I want to spotlight two Dollstagramers that I just discovered. (And who inspired me to start doing this in the first place.) 

  • ag_ruby_15 has been active on Instagram for a little over a year, and her doll photography shows so much talent and dedication to detail. I love seeing what she is going to post next!
  • daydreamdollies has only been posting as daydreamdollies since February, (previously she was butterflyagstudios_officialbut her work is gorgeous! She also has a YouTube channel, so please check out her work. (And give some love, as she was a little nervous about starting her Freshman year in high school!) 

Please, check out both of these phenomenal Dollstagramers, give them love, and check back for more of my favorites very soon!

~Mrs. D 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Kaya's Special Day!

The beautiful Miss. Kaya finally got that photo shoot I've been talking about last week, and I absolutely love what we ended up with! 

Kaya came with us on a little family vacation, and I ended up with more than one "What in the world is that woman doing?" look, but I had a blast doing my first out in the world photo shoot with one of the dolls. (They've all been done on our property before now.) 

I'm not a professional by any means. I'm just a lady with a nice camera and an eye for what I like. I take all of my children's photographs except for once a year when we get together for family photographs, and I also happen to enjoy photographing our dolly family. 

I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking them!

It was a long day, but she was a very patient model start to finish. I hope to have many ore photo shoots with Kaya, because I truly do think she's one of the most beautiful dolls released. Hands down.

Only one week until I get my hands on the gorgeous Miss. Melody! Our calendar is circled, and it's a close draw as to whether or not the children or I am more excited!I can't wait to see everyone's release event photos.

~Mrs. D 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Poll Results: Who Is Your Favorite Historical Character?

This poll didn't do as well as I had hoped. I thought it would be a very interesting opportunity to see which Historical/BeForever doll people were really drawn too. Perhaps I'll revisit it again someday, but the results of this poll are as follows:

Who is Your Favorite Historical Character?

And the Winners Are...

Kaya, Felicity, Josefina, Addy, Kit, Melody, and Julie all tied for First Place! Congratulations, girls! You are our favorites. 

Keep your eyes open for our next poll, coming soon. 

~Mrs. D

Saturday, August 6, 2016

You Know What You Don't Do?

You know what you don't do? You don't pass up a $10 Rebecca, no matter how much you've promised yourself that you won't buy anymore AG things until Melody comes out. (20 days and counting, folks! Eeek!) You don't even pass her up if she has a bite mark on her foot and one of her hands looks like it made an absolutely delicious dog toy. Nope. You just tell your husband that you can fix that and arrange to pick up both Rebecca and the $15 Nicki that is also being sold on Craigslist. Because you can.

Rebecca was released far after my peak American Girl days, and before my children were old enough to pull me back in. It only made sense that I did the proper research before fixing our newest girl up since I knew next to nothing about her. (I knew that she was a Jewish girl that wanted to be an actress living in New York in 1914. That's it.) So I got my hands on her books and started reading. I'll tell you what, by the time I was done I was immensely fond of spunky little Rebecca! (If you haven't read her story you should!) It made me that much more determined to bring her back to her former glory, even though I've had next to no free time during this summer. (Seriously, you would think I'd have a little more free time since we're not doing any formal schooling, but nope! Free time is a myth!) 

You should expect to see a lot more of Rebecca's rehab on the blog in the upcoming weeks, even though I will have to squeeze it in between lesson planning and the start of the school year. *sniff* Until then, here is what I had to start with, and where we are now. (We're waiting on new limbs that should arrive this week.) 

Due to the state of her right hand my youngest daughter has been calling her "Boo Boo".

I couldn't not buy her, especially when the only thing really wrong were her limbs. (Her hair isn't greasy or anything. I'd begun to dampen it for recurling before I remembered to take the pictures. It's a little dry at the ends, but in remarkably good shape.) Though I'd not paid much attention before, I think Rebecca is very pretty, though I am partial to the Josefina mold. (Because I am partial to Josefina, no doubt!) 

Poor "Boo Boo"! That must really sting!

One of the odder things I've had on our windowsills! Usually when a doll is getting a sun treatment her entire body is still attached. This is the first time I've beheaded one, and I have to admit that it's making me a tad nervous. It's frightening to see a $115 doll dismantled, even if you only paid $10 for her. I can't wait to see the finished product though! 

have you ever taken a doll apart? How'd it go?

-Mrs. D 

Nanea Mitchell?

Historically, some of our earliest American Girl leaks have come from their very own trademarks. They have also been known to trademark "ghost names" in order to throw the leak hunters off their scent for awhile, however, usually when both a first and last name show up together it is a pretty good indication that we will see a doll with that name sometime in the next year or so. 

Which brings me to Nanea Mitchell. 

They've trademarked everything from a doll to video games with this name, but who could she possibly be? My first thought was a possible 2018 Girl of the Year, but the latest rumors are that 2017's GOTY (who most believe will be named Tenney Grant) will be the last GOTY. I don't know how true that is, considering the GOTY line seems to be bringing in a nice chunk of AGs revenue, but rumors surrounding AG are surprisingly accurate, so it is possible that Nanea could be a new historical doll. 

The timeline would fit. The last two historical dolls, Melody Ellison and Maryellen Larkin were both originally trademarked a little over a year before their August 2015 and 2016 releases. (Less than 3 weeks until Melody! Eeek!) Nanea was trademarked at the end of July, which could very well make her next summer's historical release. (If there is indeed going to be a historical release next summer.)

Nanea is a Hawaiian name, which considering the popularity of the 2011 GOTY, Kanani, should absolutely thrill people! Depending on what baby name site you look on "they" will tell you that it means either "beautiful" or "fascinating", (though I also found sites saying that the Hawaiian word nanea means wave/surf) and claims that it was in the top 100 names for girls in Hawaii in 2005. Nothing I have found ranks it in the top 1,000 names nation wide anywhere between 1900 and today, so there are really no hints as to what time period Nanea might be from if she is even a historical doll to begin with. (And that is a pretty big "if") 

Of course the surname Mitchell is more historically do what you will with that bit of information. 

Keep in mind that, even if AG does decide to do away with the Girl of the Year dolls, that does not mean that the line will not continue on with a different name. Nanea could simply be the first girl in their "new and improved" GOTY line. I don't imagine that we'll find out any time soon, but it's fun to speculate. In the mean time, we can watch people argue about whether or not Logan Everett is going to be another girl doll or the first ever American BOY. (Watching grown women throw temper tantrums about how an 18 inch boy doll would "ruin everything American Girl is supposed to stand for" has been both amusing and disturbing.)

What do you think? Nanea Mitchell: Girl of the Year or new BeForever doll?