American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Casual Friday: Year of the Horse with Special Edition Pinkie Pie!

Happy New Years with Ponies~
Today, January 31st, is the start of the Chinese New Year. See, holidays continue~! And while I do have the pics taken for the next Magazine Monthly, I decided that it was more important to hit a holiday on the holiday, especially because it works as a casual Friday as well. So today we are celebrating the newest part of the Rainbow Frenzy Herd,1 Chinese New Year Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. 

No lies, I have been a fan of My Little Pony since the early 80s as a very young girl, and have a multi-hundred collection spanning all generations except Generation 2, which wasn't my fave.2 So when the new series came out, I was very pleased with the quality of the cartoon and the characters, and Pinkie Pie--who was one of my faves from Generation 3 and I call Pinkie for short-- became one of my new faves with her bouncy personality and fun loving party ways. No, I'm not a "brony" or "pegasister." I can't begin to rant on why bronies suck or we will never get to the nice pictures.3

The cycle of the Chinese Zodiac goes every twelve years (and with the five elements, rotates so that there's an sixty year cycle; the new cycle started in 1984). This year is the Year of the (Wood) Horse. People born in the Year of the Horse are said to be a bit like horses: animated, active and energetic, and love being in a crowd. They are quick to learn independence. and they have a straightforward and positive attitude towards life. They are known for their communication skills and are exceedingly witty.

Well, if that's not Pinkie Pie in a nutshell. I'm glad they picked her for this.

To take advantage of this year during the height of their Gen 4 popularity,  Hasbro released a special edition large sized Pinkie Pie in Chinese "wear", a Toys R Us exclusive for $25. So I jumped all over that, preordered her, and she arrived last month right before Giftmas. But I decided not to open or debut her until today. I have a way of doing things, sometimes.

Happy Chinese New Year with Pinkie Pie!
I will show other images of the Rainbow Herd on other Casual Fridays. Today is Pinkie Pie's day.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Clothes and Accessories Reviews: Twilight Outfit and Twilight Accessories (2000)

Naomi is rocking Twilight Blues. At any time I desire.
The reviews shall go on! My sleeping schedule has been all fubared, which has led to rolling up all night and into the morning and then sleeping til evenings. The fun part of being nocturnal and unemployed is that I don't have to get up early and can sleep when I want, but the bad part is that I sometimes sleep through an entire day from the time my man leaves to work until he gets home and thus miss everything that most people do. (I plan to get a Magazine Monthly out before the end of the month which gives me--three days. Challenge Accepted.) I also have semi-special Casual Friday for the Chinese New Year; this is the Year of the Wood Horse.1 (I was born in the year of the Metal Monkey, myself--Shrine of the Silver Monkey~!2) I shall be continuing my holiday/winter reviews, all Winter Wrap Up jokes aside. Even into February, because February counts as winter. This one I've been sitting on for some time, but eh. My blog, my time to take on things. It's not like people are complaining that I'm taking my time on my reviews. And if they are, they can sit and spin the fuck off.

Y'all didn't come here for sweetness and light and meekness, that's a little short of accuracy for me. 

I've already done reviews on the other special sets that tumbled out through the years, specifically the ones that came with special accessories: the Garnet Holiday Outfit of 2001, the Radiant Rhinestones Outfit of 2003, and the Winter Magic Outfit from 2004 to name a few. I tend to like the outfits that come with accessories. Today's set I believe is the first holiday outfit that came with special boxes (since phased out) and matching accessories: The Twilight Outfit and the Twilight Accessories of 2000, which made it through the holiday season before being retired. (Lords and Ladies, this outfit is old enough to be on the internet all by itself.) The outfit retailed for $26 and came with a jacket style top, skirt, stockings, and loafer shoes. The accessories went for $22 and had the headband, stick on jewels, a purse, and a gift box that contained a surprise--the surprise being a compact mirror. So basically original cost of  $48 for the set. I paid $20 for the accessories, which was actually under retail, and about that much for the outfit I think--it's been a while and eBay auctions don't always pull up the full details so. The outfit generally doesn't go for too much on eBay, even the accessories; generally about $20-40 for the outfit, and about $20-30 for the accessories.

Our model is the ever popular half-Desi barefoot geeky pirate gamer, Naomi Kirkland.3

Sunday, January 19, 2014

AG Complaint Department: Fucking It Up With Kaya, AG Style

Kaya can be modern and not be a stereotype.
So if you have been surfing my blog and have seen my header, you will notice that it's Kaya up a tree, with her hair in pigtails and in an outfit I'll probably review on her, the Earth Day outfit. When I first thought about getting Kaya--and I absolutely was going to get her, because Dolls of Color rock--I assumed that she was going to be as historical as any other Historical I had. All my other historials had, after all, stayed in their time periods. And then a buddy of mine who is Native goes, "Why do images of Native people always stay stuck in the past?" And I got a smack awake--one of several I've had in my life. I'm not going to lie, it wasn't until college or so that I started really learning about Native people properly instead of "the stuck in the past" way mainstream history does. I had studied Pocahontas, I knew about Sacagawea, and I'd read Island of the Blue Dolphins in middle school and of course learned the little I had in school--but the approach in American history still sticks Natives in a past narrative. Having Native friends--really open, honest ones who weren't and aren't afraid to call me on my shit--is one of many ways how I opened my eyes. I'm no expert on Native people and I'd be the last person to claim expertise, but I've been taught a thing and as an anti-racist and anti-bigot1 I am passing the learnings onto you.

Kaya is the only canon Native American in the AG line, released in 2002 (and at the time, put Felicity in semi-retirement). She's billed as the First American Girl--as is her right, contrary to some shit people say. And because of this, AG collectors tend to fuck up seven shades with her and her collection. Shit, AG has fucked it up. This post is a not-even-remotely complete list of the multiple ways that people fuck up Kaya's presence. I plan to just pick a few to rip into--mostly because I've seen them recently.

Learn, and stop doing this shit.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Crafting Creatively - Things I've Made: Elizabeth's Holiday Dress and Historical Accessories Reviews: Elizabeth's Doll

Felicity Merriman and her darling Elizabeth Cole.
I have several self-made historicals, since American Girl can't or won't do a lot of things right, and this has been true since the very first three.1 There's Edith and Dorothy from 1964 Memphis, Charlotte from 1842 Texas back when it was its own nation briefly, and Kimmy and Tyanna from the later 1980s Seattle, and Addy's best friend Sarah. And there is Elizabeth Cole.

Back story time! When Felicity's books were first written back in 1991 and best friend characters for Historicals were not a thing, Elizabeth was described as tiny, brunette, and with brown eyes. This stayed the way until about 2005, when Felicity: An American Girl Adventure was released. The actress playing Elizabeth, however, was blond and blue eyed. And through the magic of Photoshop this:

Elizabeth 1: Brown and brown.
became this:

Elizabeth 2: Behold, she's fucking blond!
Along with this, all the books were changed to match in the text along with some really haphazard Photoshop over the illustrations.2 AG's official statement was to put more contrast between the girls so they didn't look the same, but redheaded isn't brunette so what-fucking-ever I don't know. The blond version--when I was in fandom--got called Barbie!Elizabeth or Mattel!Elizabeth, because Mattel also owns Barbie and if we can't compare everything to that blond tramp of a doll that we're supposed to hate for her nipped in waist and humongous tatas then we're bad doll collectors or something. (I might have issues with people shitting on skinny fashion dolls.)

I don't care for blond-version Elizabeth for multiple reasons, but that is because there are very few books I don't like over movies.3 So a buddy of mine made a brunette Elizabeth by rewigging and eye swapping a blond!Elizabeth, and I later had her join the gang in 2008 during the holidays as a beautiful surprise to her dear Felicity who had desperately missed her girlfriend. I don't know if the woman who made Elizabeth for me does customs anymore--she has kids and had some board shit go down that led to her getting kicked off AGPT and has eased back from doll collecting some--but she made me Elizabeth and Sarah and for that I'm awesomely grateful.

By necessity, Elizabeth Cole needed her holiday outfit. But not the AG one. I never got it, even when retirement was impending. First, let's show what AG offered us, as an interpretation of the dress from the movie:

Uh, no.
Pathetic, isn't it? [/Ursula] There's no side slits. There's wonky full fabric slippers. There's no separate petticoat. And there's no stockings. Gods, and you expected me to put my pretty Brunette Elizabeth in that? Nope. Fuck that shit. The only AG Approved Elizabeth Outfit I have is the riding outfit and nightclothes. So of course I had to make my own. Armed with Felicity's sewing patterns and a physical example of what I wanted to do for the outfit--Elizabeth's Doll, Charlotte--I took my ass to Joann's, bought some satin, and made something nice.

Pretty dresses are so much prettier.
Maroon and gold, lace and satin, and much more accurate for me. It's a gold dress, maroon stomacher and petticoat, and ribbon choker and hair ribbon. I'll go into the details of wear as I review, but not as intensely as Felicity's since they're based the same way.

Bonus: a mini-review of  Elizabeth's Doll.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Historical Clothes Reviews and Historical Accessories: Felicity's Christmas Gown and Stomacher, Invitation and Fashion Doll, and LE Mini Doll

Merry Holidays from Felicity Merriman~
"I'm going to post Felicity's set on the seventh, the day the dance is in her stories," I said with great exuberance on the sixth. My body said differently. Two days past an aggravating headache and a considerable amount of sleep later, we actually start this. Yay, chronic illnesses. Felicity accepts the things she can't change and changes the things she can do something about, and so do I.

Many people really don't care for the beginning of January. This is because we as a society nowadays tend to compress everything. You only have so long to go on vacation, enjoy childhood, mourn deaths or celebrate life changes, and celebrate any and all holidays. Move on to the next thing and stop sitting around in the past, or something. Also everyone's harping on you about your resolutions1 or something, the gray skies are still gray, the days are only marginally getting longer--say what you want, the sun's still set at five around these parts--and right now a huge part of the country is caught in a polar vortex of cold where blowing bubbles literally will freeze. I much prefer my personal trend of carrying the winter celebrations on as far as I possibly can. And if right now that means continuing the holiday reviews, then so be it. Plus I said I was going to try to cover everyone at least once, and I mean it, even with spacings out of other things such as crafting, customizing, and magazines.

Historically, Christmas and the entire holiday season started to get a bad rap in about the late 1600s, with some places in England and its colonies banning the celebration outright. Christmas was considered pagan, Papist2 and the drunken revelry and such was looked down as a vulgar holiday. You can blame the Puritans and hardcore Protestants for that. Like you can for most things. It really wasn't until Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol that the holidays started to reroot in society as a season of joy and celebration. Even then that wasn't about Jesus either, especially in the story. It was about compassion and goodwill towards fellow man, peace, and a time for family and friends. Christmas has always had a secular side since it became the sort of modern situation it is now. "Jesus Birthday" is a pretty modern turn on the holiday, to be honest. (And that's why I'm cool for calling it Giftmas.)

Christmas was and wasn't popular in the American Colonies--it really depended on where you went. Virginia and New York were pretty gung ho for the holiday season, and Felicity is from Williamsburg, VA, so she would have been for the holiday and the Christmastide season. In her story she gathers holly, makes Shrewsbury cakes, and spends time with family--and this culminates in her going to the Governor's Ball on January seventh and participating in a dancing lesson--which is a nice way to say "come and dance your butt off and enjoy things."3 Felicity had originally thought she'd  just wear her brown silk gown4 she wore to church every Sunday, but she sees a sample of the dress on a fashion doll and just lights up--and when her mother sees that for the first time she can think of that Felicity wants to have a pretty gown and actually be girly, she indulges her daughter's girliness and gets the stuff to make the dress. This is why I side eye the people who act like Felicity was some sort of 24/7 gung-ho, fuck all your feminine ways tomboy. Lesbians can like pretty dresses too. I like pretty dresses. But this is a outfit review, not a book review, and if I start babbling about the book I'll never ever get to the outfit.

Like Felicity herself, the Christmas Gown and Stomacher (also named Felicity's Holiday Dress) came out in time for holiday 1991. Felicity was the first historical to come out after Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly. Which is weird, because Saint Pleasant the Overly Revered initially got the idea--so the mythos goes--by going to Colonial Williamsburg. (Whatever, Ms. Rowland had and has issues and I'm not above bitching about them at a later time.) The outfit initially consisted of a gown, petticoat, two stomachers--one lace, one ribboned--a ribbon choker, and pinner cap when it was released. The hair ribbon was added in 1993, and white flat shoes with blue bows were added sometime after 2005 with Felicity's revamping because when I got the outfit as my Giftmas gift in 2006 it came with those shoes. Yes, Felicity was also a Giftmas gift like Addy--I got my husband the Wii since I'd just started working at Nintendo, and he got me Felicity and a good starting chunk of her collection, including this dress for the going cost of $28.

Felicity's holiday collection contained several things, much like the other girls before her: the Shrewsbury Cake food set (with Real Sugar!), her Invitation and Fashion Doll, and Noah's Ark--which was a special toy only for the holiday season for the children to play with. While I have the ark, it is not appearing right now because my house ate the little wooden ramp. If I don't find it by this weekend I may assume it got thrown out and make a new one. And I don't have the Shrewsbury cakes set. If I ever come across it for less than a hundred fucking dollars, I'll consider it--I really only want the basket, cloth, and cookie cutters. We can all live without actual sugar from 1991. The Invitation and doll were retired right before Felicity was in 2009 or so, the ark in 2007 (after a few revisions), the cooking set in--sometime, I don't fucking know--and the dress set with Felicity when they put her in the American Girl Vault in 2011, though it sold out before she did. Since Felicity's retirement prices have shot up on everything; her dress goes for upwards of $60 bucks, though with patience you can get it for around the $32 that it was before retirement.

I'm actually about as purist fussy about Felicity as I get about Addy--she doesn't share her clothes with the notable exception of Talk Like a Pirate Day and Elizabeth getting in her clothes in more than one way. Well, to be honest it's to a lesser degree when it comes to getting things for her collection. While I won't blink twice about paying through the nostrils for some of Addy's collection at times--though I do try for bargains--I will not pull the trigger as fast for Felicity. (The costs for that Travel Trunk can fuck off.) But she's one of my favorite girls and I fell in love with her easily--she was the second AG Historical to join my gang back in 2006. When they put her up for retirement I got almost everything for her I didn't already have, which was mostly furniture and accessories. (But not that gala gown, what even was that shit.) I even did a whole photostory series about her arrival that I scooted out over the course of weeks that December: Naomi's Giftmas Surprise.5 I also later got her her love, Elizabeth Cole. She's a custom with brown eyes and hair. That blond girl ain't Darling Elizabeth. I'm an original book purist.

I don't have the white shoes anymore. Well I do but they got reappropriated to someone else's holiday wear because I much prefer Felicity in her meet shoes for this set. Of course, this review has the mini-doll. And there will be lesbian innuendo all throughout. There always is with Felicity here, because I ship Felicity/Brunette!Elizabeth hard. Their love is so revolutionary.6

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: First 2014 Releases, WonderBread the Ballerina, and Super Bitching

I hate you, bitch.
So as I said yesterday, I was going to make up for three days off of posts here by spending an entire post bitching about the new shit, especially WonderBread up there. And a good pagan keeps her promises. This time, I even took the delightful time out of my busy schedule of writing and bitching and exhaustion to go to the store and look at the shit myself. Okay so I always go to the store the first day I can in the new year to see the new shit. This also involved introducing my bro to the wonderful snarkybits of AG. I even took some pictures--not a lot, mind, because seriously, fuck this bitch, but some of this hideousness just isn't properly experienced until you look at it directly. I may also be irrationally pissed that the Seattle location put her on an entire wall that was moddie stuff.

Jump below the cut, and prepare for a lot of cussing and bitching. Nethie ain't happy, my droogs.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Clothes Reviews: Winter Magic Outfit (2004)

Marisol would like to inform you that it's still winter.
And then I didn't post for four days. The first of the year sometimes leaves me very worn out. I've been sorting my AG things--I got a lot of things last year that no one saw, and trying to figure out things to review over the course of the year. Also, my brother and I went to the AG store yesterday and I confirmed how much I don't like Wonderbread the Ballerina to my face.1 Many people have taken down the lights and trees and all the shiny bits and made things boring again, and started to make New Year's Resolutions--generally about some arbitrary need to lose weight that will peter off just in time to gorge on chocolate for Valentine's Day. (Things that are never my problem nowadays. Allergy powers activate.) I try to make New Year's Resolutions, but they mostly consist of "draw and write more," "discover more of the world through the internet," "take more pictures of my collections and dolls," "love me and all my black woman awesome" and "try not to let the depression win this week, but not hate me when it does."

Though one of them this year is to post more on my AG blog. Especially reviews, snark, Magazine Monthly, and Crafting Creatively. And we're starting with--more fancy holiday outfit reviews! Never a bad time for fancy outfit reviews. Today we're doing one of the first modern holiday sets I ever had--the Winter Magic Outfit. The outfit--one of the paired fancy sets--came with a white fur detachable collar, black velvet top with beaded decor, white tulle skirt, black ankle strap shoes, and textured tights. It was paired with Winter Magic Accessories--and you know me pretty well, I don't always have the accessories. This set came out a year before I got Addy and retired before I had any moddies so I only learned about it after it was gone; it actually didn't fancy out the box, and you just got a standard American Girl Today box.2 Originally, all my moddies were going to have crafted dresses, but now I reserve that if possible for created historicals.3 However, once I got Marisol and was assured that she was a dancer, I decided to get this set for her and got it in a private purchase for a touch under the original cost. eBay costs are pretty sensible at about $10-15 over face. 

I still haven't taken Marisol's hair down from her fancy hairstyle I got months ago at the AG store. It's too cute.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year! And a Petition for Change.

Happy New Year!
Michi would like to be the first of the gang to wish you all a Happy New Year, and a fresh calendar change.

Actual review tomorrow, I'm a little tired. And it's not this outfit, but don't worry--I'll be reviewing this one soon. Prepare for a fresh year of reviews, bitching, information, and learnings.

And a whole year of giving WonderBread the side eye. Look, if I don't like you, you get a snarky nickname and that's it. McSeattle got one, Chipolte Mayo got one, and now WonderBread the Ballerina joins their bland, flavorless ranks. She even has a cat, oh god are you biting EVERYTHING off of Marisol, you little punk. Even members of the target audience aren't impressed: 10-year-old petitions American Girl for disabled doll.

"For once, I don't want to be invisible or a side character that the main American Girl has to help: I want other girls to know what it's like to be me, through a disabled American Girl's story," Melissa's petition says. And the 10 year old's reaction to this new character?

"My sister was like, 'Wow, another blond girl who's a dancer,'" YingYing said.

But I'm sleep though.

The petition is here to sign: American Girl: Release an American Girl with a disability and, as of today, is up to over 13K signatures--including my own with the reason: "Representation matters for everyone. For the past three years AG has focused on able bodied white children for their Girls of the Year. Able bodied white girls are not the only people desiring these dolls, and so should not be the only people who should be considered when AG wants to telling stories to a diverse audience."

May you take more risks than AG did this year, s'all I'm saying,