Sunday, February 26, 2017

All The New News: A Little Late Part Two

I promise that the title isn't just leading you on this time! I'm going to get the rest of American Girl's exciting Valentine's Day news into this post, but I suggest you make yourself comfortable, because this might be a long one. 

I meant to sit down and write these Valentine's night, however I ended up getting sick. As a result, all of this "new" news is now almost two weeks old, and you are probably aware of most of it. On the off chance that you aren't though, I still wanted to take the time to share it here. (Don't forget to check out my first "new" news post from yesterday, because it covers all things Nanea Mitchell, and I can already tell that she's going to be awesome!) 

American Girl has a very busy year ahead as they revealed on February 14th with the announcement that there will be six named characters releasing this year! 

Some, like Gabriela, Tenney, and Logan we already knew about, but AG decided to throw Z, Nanea, and a new face mold in there for good measure just to keep us on our toes. (And I am sure they were hoping the V-Day announcement would throw just a little attention off the Pantygate 2017 scandal. Ha!) 

We have to start with Gabby (who I have yet to decide if she prefers to spell it G-a-b-b-y or G-a-b-b-i, but I fell like she hasn't really decided yet either), because, despite what American Girl and much of the fandom seems to believe, she is the Girl of The Year, and should be celebrated and honored as such! 

While the fact that AG finally decided to release a Doll of Color as the GOTY is amazing and cause for celebration, it's no secret that she was not their main focus of 2017. They released this amazing doll, with a better story than the GOTY line has seen in several years, and seemingly gave her collection no more thought than what they could piece together from other GOTY leftovers. Still, the fact that AG was focused on other things in no way takes away from the awesomeness that is Gabriela McBride, and the announcements on V-Day included some new goodies for Gabriela too!

It looks like our favorite girl will be getting a new chair, ottoman, and a brightly colored loft bed for Maya to curl up on while Gabriela writes her poetry. That's also a new dress she's sporting in this screenshot from AG's live video, and you can see her second book which is scheduled to release on April 25th. There is no date yet for her loft bed and other accessories, though it is safe to say that they will be coming to the Dahl House whenever they are released.

The synopsis for Gabriela's third book is also available on Amazon now, and it looks like we can expect for it to hit the shelves sometime late September. 

While my children have a few modern dolls, Gabriela is my first non historical, and I am absolutely smitten with her! I'd heard rumors that she'd be getting a "big" piece, but it was nice to finally get to see it even if we're not sure when it will be released. Since Gabbi is going to be available past 2017 I wouldn't put it past AG to release her loft bed later in the year to hopefully hype up holiday sales. You never can tell with AG though, and it could very likely be included in their summer release. 

We've known about Tenney Grant, American Girl's first Contemporary Character, for awhile now, but she's officially arrived to very mixed reviews.

It's very hard for me to look at her and see anything other than an American Girl version of young Taylor Swift, and while I have no real issue with Taylor Swift, I am pretty bitter about the fact that Tenney (and Logan) were obviously American Girl's real focus in 2017. In fact, many believe that she was planned to be the original GOTY, and AG threw Gabriela together last minute in response to the overwhelming demand for an African-American GOTY. (A theory supported by the size and quantity of her collection and the fact that she is even sharing Gabriela's "exclusive" earrings.)

Tenney is slightly older than other characters released by American Girl, and attempt to keep the AG audience interested in dolls and their stories a little bit longer perhaps, and has dreams of making it big in country music. I have no issue admitting that some of her collection is cute, but all of our love is going to Gabriela this year (vote with your dollars), so Tenney's cuter clothing pieces will have to wait. 

I do really like her hat, (In fact, this entire outfit is my favorite of hers by far!) and can just imagine how well Gabby would rock that particular piece, but it will have to wait for a bit considering AG seems to think it's worth $18, and I disagree.

In addition to being "older", Tenney's hands are also made from a new mold in order to make it easier for her to hold her pick, guitar, and banjo. 

While Tenney's most expensive accessory is her double sided stage & dressing room, it could be argued that her biggest accessory is American Girl's second Contemporary Character, and first boy doll, Logan. 

Logan Everett, drummer, accessory, and a complete shame. I have already gone on record as having no issue with American Girl deciding to release a boy doll. There is clearly a market for it, and American Girl is a business above all else. It makes sense that they would see the market out there for custom boys and decide to jump on it themselves. 

When the rumors for Logan started leaking there were mothers on the Internet absolutely "horrified" that American Girl would ever think of releasing a boy in their ranks, though the speed at which Logan went on back order suggests that at least some of those women were completely full of it when they declared that they would "never ever give them one more cent of my hard earned money if they do this!" Now, don't get me wrong, these women are very separate from those with well articulated and thought out concerns about what including a boy means for this brand that has always been about empowering girls. I understand their issues with the thought of a boy American Girl even though I don't personally have an issue with AG choosing to release a boy doll. The "devastated" women I am complaining about are the ones who questioned the moral decision to add a boy because it might a) Encourage boys to play with dolls, and we can't have that now or b) Might cause little girls to think they should have a boyfriend and lead to "unsavory behavior in the eyes of Jesus". (And, yes, I read comments about both of those concerns, including the parts in quotes.)    

As the auntie to three little girls who have lost a brother I know that they love both their dolls and the chance to give their dolls and toys a brother figure while they play. Their mothers do not have the funds for OOAK customized boy dolls, and Auntie hasn't done much any customizing yet, so the thought of a boy AG doll was welcomed by our family. 

Then they released his pictures. Welcome turned to anger, and Auntie has been watching a lot more YouTube about customization while shopping Craigslist and eBay for inexpensive TLC dolls. 

When Kaya was created as American Girl's first Native American doll there was an entire research group put together so as to create the most authentic, historically accurate doll that they could for the Nimi'ipuu tribe...Including creating her very own, closed mouthed face mold, because showing teeth was a sign of aggression for Kaya's people. It is a beautiful face mold, and Kaya is a beautiful girl. The fact that her face mold was specifically made for a Native American girl of color makes it an even more disgusting move on AG's part that the first time they use it again is for a white boy with absolutely no Native American background. (Though I am sure he claims some kind of Cherokee ancestry. It seems the kind of thing Logan would do.) 

For a company that is clearly trying to combat the racist image they have earned over the years this could not have been a worse move on their part. It dishonors everything Kaya is, as the only American Girl representing Native culture, with all of the research and care that was taken with her and her collection, to take her face and slap it so casually on a basic white boy who is nothing more than an accessory to Tenney. Native women are not masculine, AG, and Kaya's face should never have been used for Logan. Not ever. It's a disgrace that even my 7 year old was able to comprehend, so I can't imagine that it escaped the multitude of adults that this decision had to go through before it was made...Which leads me to believe that you simply don't care.

Logan's popularity can't be denied, but we won't be getting him. My girls will just have to get their own special boy dolls at some point in the future. 

Oh, and as the wife and mother of a drummer, this is not a drum set in any stretch of the imagination. If you're going to release a drum set you should maybe do a little research as to what they consist of before you slap a price tag on this incomplete piece of plastic. Just saying.

And now onto happier things...

AG has made it clear that the BeForever line is open to pulling girls out of the archives before, and they are doing it again with this BeRelease of the beautiful Felicity Merriman! As a long time Felicity groupie I was thrilled when rumors of Felicity's return started leaking. I'm most likely not in the market for a new doll, though my oldest is campaigning hard for a BeFelicity, but the thought of being able to add to my Felicity's collection is appealing. Unfortunately, for now at least, her collection is pretty light.

That's all, folks. I am hoping that they will release more later on, and also that she will become available in more than just the three flagship stores at a later date. (Perhaps after Samantha's rumored retirement happens.) If you already have a Felicity but want this third version of her meet dress it is available to purchase on its own. While I really like the embroidery detail I am just not drawn to this dress for my Felicity. She might eventually get it, but it will be much further down the road. The books are headed our way though, as part of an important 8th birthday we have coming up next month, so I'll be sure to read and review. 

Which brings us to Z Yang of the Z Crew! Before AG's V-Day live video I'd only heard of the Z Crew through AG's trademarks and a few people who'd mentioned the name Z on the boards. I don't create stop motion animation, though it is huge in many of the American Girl circles online. Once again, AG proved that they are watching their community and latching onto what is popular, because they made their own character, a girl named Suzie "Z" Yang, who does her very own stop motion videos online. Z started out as a character on AG's online play site, but on Valentine's Day they revealed that you are now going to have the chance to get their very own Z Yang to take home with you complete with her own books!

Like I said, I had really no idea about her before Valentine's Day, but you have to admit that she's pretty cute. I certainly like her better than Tenney, and I love that there seems to be more diversity in the first two months of 2017 than there has been in the last 20+ years from American Girl. I don't know if they are listening because they care or because their profit margin is down and they'll try anything at this point, but it's a step in the right direction either way. 

Z is rumored to be releasing on April 27th. I'm not sure if she'll be coming home with us at some point, though I am positive that it won't be this year, (Because, Nanea! Have you heard about Nanea?!) but we'll still head over to her release to see what she's about. (And if any of her collection needs to come home for Gabriela to use.) She also has an Amazon original movie releasing this summer that we're all pretty excited to see. 

All in all, regardless of my feelings about certain characters being released this year, It was still a huge news day for American Girl! I look forward to seeing what else that have in store for these characters and their collections this year. Now all that is left is for you to choose you character. Who is coming home with you in 2017? Who can you live without?

I must have Z's (I am assuming) camera! It must be mine! It's too cute not to be!

~Mrs. D

Saturday, February 25, 2017

All The New News...A Little Late

If you follow American Girl at all, and I am assuming that is why you are here, then you have probably heard all the new news that was released on Valentine's Day! It was a huge day for AG, releasing some information that people were already well aware of (Tenney and Logan), and some that surprised most...Including an all new face mold!!!

The title of this post is actually slightly misleading, as I'm not going to include all of the new information in this blog. I will write a second blog to include everything I miss in this one, but this post is going to be full enough as it is as I share with you the news, and my excitement about, American Girl's newest historical doll in their BeForever line: Nanea Mitchell! (I swear, Tenney, Logan, Z, Felicity, panties, collections, I'll cover them all in my next post. Cross my heart.) 

Just in case you somehow haven't seen Nanea, brace yourself! Here she comes!

Why, yes. That is a new face mold! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! (Which is exactly how I woke my poor husband up the morning of February 14th. poor guy must really love me to put up with that.) After that initial, extremely enthusiastic, reaction my first thought was that her face mold, a beautiful new face mold, made her look younger than the other girls to me for some reason. This is not a negative, but she just looks so stunningly different than any of the other girls, and her face just looks so sweet and innocent to me!

I was also a bit thrown by her eyes. I don't mind hazel eyes. Several of my favorite people have hazel eyes. Why in the world does every second doll released have to have hazel eyes though? I think Nanea would look amazing with deep brown eyes! In the days since her reveal they have started to grow on me, but I am still considering braving my first eye swap when I get her, just because I think she'd look so damn cute with brown eyes! (But eye swaps scare me a bit, so who knows?)

We can act like she wouldn't look amazing with brown eyes, but we all know that's not true. 

It was last August when I first wrote about Nanea Mitchell being trademarked by American Girl, and at the time all we really knew was that Nanea is a Hawaiian name. Sure enough, Nanea, who is going to be this years historical/BeForever release, hails to us from Hawaii...1941 Hawaii.

I fully admit that this news disappointed me a little at first. One of the things that I've loved about American Girl since I was a child is the history and how it is covered. The 1900s have an extremely generous representation already, and imagining a girl from Hawaii I wasn't hoping for yet another girl from the 1900s, much less a time period already covered by another doll. However, after the initial disappointment, I started really thinking about some of the amazing, and difficult, topics that could be covered by a little girl in Hawaii at the time of Pearl Harbor and our country's entering into World War II. 

It was addressed briefly in Molly's stories how very out of touch much of American was during the War. (When Emily Bennett came to live her family from war torn England and didn't find blackouts as fun as Molly and her brothers did.) Yes, there were hardships, rationing, fear of losing a loved one, but for the most part Americans were safe here on the home front. Blackouts were considered a fun game by many children Molly's age, children who had never actually had to live through the horrors of listening to bombs being dropped onto their cities and homes, children who might never see an actual soldier outside a movie reel or their own family member returning home to them. This would not be the world that Nanea knew growing up in Hawaii. 

Everyone knows that Hawaii was attacked on December, 7, 1941, and from that moment on Hawaii was changed. After the attack by Japan, Japanese-Americans were viewed with everything from suspicion to outright hostility. There were internment camps set up on the mainland where thousands of innocent Japanese-Americans were imprisoned, but due to both the size of Hawaii's Japanese population (around 40% of the population was Japanese-American at the time), and the fact that the economy would have completely collapsed without them, internment camps on the islands were impossible. Instead, all of Hawaii was put under strict martial law within hours of the Pearl Harbor attack. For years the residents of Hawaii lived under the rule of America's military and were forced to see a much more up close and personal reality of war than those living in the rest of the country. (Hawaii was not a state at the time.) 

Nanea will be a chance for the spotlight to be put on a very different, and very difficult, time period than what Molly was experiencing in 1944, and my biggest concern now is that you will get parents who, like they did with Melody, declare that their precious little ones simply aren't old enough to read or learn about such unpleasantness. *stepping on my soapbox for a moment* We are doomed to repeat history if we insist upon acting like it didn't happen, ladies and gentlemen. Look around you. The evidence is very much there. Your children are not to young to learn about the very real history of our country when there are children who were actually forced to live it and come out the other side. Give them more credit than that, and step outside of your comfort zone, because it really isn't your children who can't handle these topics. *stepping down now* 

But, seriously, isn't she pretty?!

American Girl revealed Nanea in a live video on their Facebook, and we also were able to get a sneak peek of her book and what might be some of her accessories. 

By this time last year they had already released Melody's first book, but there is no date that I have heard yet for Nanea's first book release. I can not begin to tell you how frustrating this is to me, but I am trying to be patient and hopeful that it will be soon. As of now, her release date is rumored to be August 24th, which would go along with AGs theme of August BeForever released that last couple of years. At least I know where I'll be on August 24th this year. 

And just because I really can't get enough...

I'll get to those other dolls next time. (The other's have now been covered in their own post.) Just look at Nanea though! 

~Mrs. D

Poll Results & New Poll

I need to get better at keeping up on the blog, including my polls. The goal is to have a new poll every two weeks for now, bumping it to every week soon. 

Our last poll question was:

What Are You Most Looking Forward To In 2017?

The overwhelming favorite was Gabriela McBride with 71% of the votes going to our fabulous Girl of the Year! Tenney Grant and "The fact that it's not 2016 anymore" tied in second place with 14% of the votes each. The possibility of another boy doll got absolutely no votes, though rumor has it that Logan is selling well now that he's here. 

Our new poll question, and one that I think I might find myself revisiting often (though with different options) is:

Who Would You Choose? 

In the Who Would You Choose segment of our blog I will be posting 4 or 5 different dolls and asking you, if you could only have one, who would you choose? Fun, right? I admit that, this time around, the question is personal to me, since I am trying to consider which doll I might like next. Though Mr. D is amazingly supportive of my habit hobby, I have no wish to abuse his generosity by bringing home every doll known to man at once. I'm trying to be frugal and choose only one. 

Right now I'm torn between 3 Truly Me dolls (64, 58, or 54) and the gorgeous Nanea who will be released sometime in August. Choosing Nanea I would clearly have to wait for awhile. 64 or 54 already have a story line that I am fleshing out in my mind (and on The Sims 4 where I sometimes like to play characters from my books or stories), but I've loved 58 for years. I also am interested in getting a TM doll without perma panties, though I can do a body swap if I'm too bothered. If I get one of the TMs I might very will skip Nanea for awhile, which would make me sad, I think. 

So, given all of that information, or just using your personal preference, what would you do? Submit your vote on the poll on the top right hand side of the blog, and I will update with my choice in a week or two. 

Have an idea for a good poll question? Leave it in the comments!

~Mrs. D

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Luciana Vega

Have we talked about this? I am probably behind the times, as usual, but many of the most reliable American Girl leaks come from American Girl themselves...or at least from their trademarks. They have been known, of course, to trademark names that don't get used, however usually if there is a first and last name listed we can assume that we will see that character from AG at some point in the future. 

Back in December of 2016 American Girl entered a trademark for the name Luciana Vega, which is pretty exciting, especially if you are of the mindset that AG is in desperate need of a more diverse pallet of dolls. 

American girl has gone on record saying that they have no plans to end the Girl of the Year line, though we all know how much that means when you're talking about AG. (they were denying the retirement of the Bitty Twins as little as 3 days before they were pulled from the shelves) BUT if this is true it could mean that Luciana will be the GOTY for 2018. A part of me very much doubts this though, since it would mean two dolls of color (DOC) in a row for the GOTY line. Given AG's track record I would believe that only after seeing it...and possibly not even then. 

Luciana could also very easily be the next character in their Contemporary line, a line of modern day dolls with stories that will kick off with the release of Tenney Grant in about 2 weeks. In that case I would expect to see her sometime in 2018. I doubt it would be earlier since there are expected to be at least five dolls already releasing in 2017.

That's right. Five. In addition to Gabriela (2017's GOTY) and Tenney AG is also releasing Logan Everett and the BeForever version of Felicity Merriman this year. The rumor mill also just went crazy with the report that a new BeForever character will be releasing sometime in August 2017. While it is possible that this BeForever character could wind up being Luciana herself, most believe that it will be the mysterious Nanea Mitchell, who was trademarked back in July of 2016. With all of these releases, it seems unlikely that AG would throw yet another doll into the 2017 mix, though their business choices lately have been questionable at best, so who knows? Despite how I feel about AGs recent decisions, I still don't expect to see Luciana until sometime in 2018, be that in GOTY, Contemporary, or BeForever form.

I will, of course, update with any information I manage to dig up.

~Mrs. D 

Latest News & Rumors!

Unless you have been living under a rock, and I'm going to assume that's not so, you know about Tenney and Logan. theagboy on Instagram has some amazing photographs of them both. (I am waiting for permission to share them here, but you can see them on his page now.) Release date for both of them seems to be set for the 17th, (complete with Meet Tenney store events) and there are already several leaks from within the store of their pre set-ups going on in back rooms around the country.

If you are eager to learn more about Tenney's story her first two books and her journal are already available for purchase, and her third book is set to release at a later date. 


Tenney and Logan will not be coming home with us, though I plan on taking at least one of the children with me to the store to see them in person and get some photographs for the blog, so keep your eyes open for that. 

Despite the fact that AG is obviously trying to overshadow Gabriela, 2017's GOTY, with Tenney and Logan's release (and that it is absurdly apparent to anyone paying attention that Tenney was their original GOTY plan) AG has said that there will be a release with some of the larger pieces that you expect to see with a GOTY for Gabriela later in the year. Some of the items shared on AGs own Facebook page include a chair with ottoman and a loft bed. Considering we are going to get Gabriela's entire collection as a way to speak with our money, and because she is a truly gorgeous doll with a great story, I'm watching eagerly for images and pricing. I'll share here as soon as I see either.

In the mean time, I highly suggest her first book, and am counting down until the release of her 2nd book in April. (April 25th on Amazon, though it might be available sooner in stores like her 1st book was.)

Speaking of books, February 16th is the release date for the new Felicity BeForever books! Every rumor I've heard says that will also be the day of her BeForever doll's release, though American Girl has not advertised it on their site yet and there are no release events scheduled. 

Rumor also has it that the Felicity doll will be available only at the flagship stores and online, though I am among many in hoping that these are just rumors. Perhaps she will start out there and then be released in more stores as the year progresses. We can all hope.  

In addition to Tenney, Logan, and Felicity (as if that weren't enough), agupdatenews just shared a ton of new outfit leaks also set to release in February. (I am also waiting for permission to post these, but you can see them on her page in the mean time.) I am pretty sure that both our Kit and Rebecca will be getting a special treat here in the coming weeks.

Perhaps the most exciting news, for me anyways, is the rumor that there will be a new BeForever character released sometime in August 2017! I have no more information than that for now, but many are speculating that it might be the mysterious Nanea Mitchell that was trademarked back in July, though another name, Luciana Vega, was also trademarked back in December. You can rest assured that I will post more just as soon as I know it. 

That's all for now! Keep checking back for the latest news, and let me know if there is anything I missed!

~Mrs. D

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Year of Gabriela: February

There was so much hate. So much fear. So much anger. Gabriela didn't know what to do with it. She'd attended the local March For Women with a friend and her family. They were Muslim, and marching because they were worried what would happen to them now simply because of their religion. That wasn't right. No one should be scared because of their religion. Not in the United States of American. But they were, so Gabriela marched with them. 

She saw some amazing things that day. People of all races, religions, and from every walk of life coming together to love and support one another...But she saw some ugly things too. She watched as a group of white women disrespected the prayer circle of a party of Native American women and mocked their songs. She watched a woman walk up to another woman with beautiful, long, dreadlocks and stroke her hair without even asking. She listened as a group of people marching nearby made comments about her friend's grandmother, joking about if she was hiding a bomb under her hijab. Confused and a little angry she spoke to her father about it when she got home that night. 

"People, even will intentioned people, have a lot to learn. We have a long, long way to go. Intention means nothing, especially without action to back it up, but it's a start. If people keep on from here on out, it's a start." he had said. Gabriela was determined to keep on.

At school the opinion was split. Many kids supported the march. Some, like Gabriela, had gone with friends or family. There were others who said it was stupid though. Who said that women were already equal, and that they should be thankful for the opportunities they had in this country. 

It was about so much more than that though! Gabby thought, but she couldn't make the words come. Her stutter got so much worse when she tried. 

Finally, after almost 2 weeks, while cuddling in bed with Maya one afternoon, it came to her! The words came. Jumping up so fast that she startled her kitten, Gabriela curled up on her window seat with her notebook and let her feelings flow out through her pen. It wasn't perfect, and she still had more to say, but it was a start. Oh yes, it was a start. 

We march.
For the right to love.
It shouldn't be confined to your definition.
You need to stop using The Word for your ammunition.
We march.
For the right to speak.
Every person has the basic right to just be heard.
Close your mouth and listen instead of getting in the final word. 
We march.
For the right to live. 
It shouldn't matter where you live or the color of your face.
We all have the right to life as members of the human race.
We march.
For the right to learn.
Money should not determine the right to an education.
An educated society will only benefit all people in every generation.
We march.
For the past.
The mistakes that are now ahead of us have already happened before.
They came for them, now they come again, and it's time to say "No more!" 
We march.
For you, for me, for all faiths, genders, and society.
For good, for right, we're not scared to enter into this fight.
For the right to love, live, laugh, choose. We have so very much to loose.
So we march.