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

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Book Blather Book Reviews: Samantha's Surprise

Samantha's Surprise: A new author!
Seasonally appropriate greetings to y'all as we wrap up a--well, pretty up and down 2015. The end of the year approaches, and with that all the proper holidays, the big overwhelming one being Christmas. Or Giftmas, as I call it, what with the not being Christian and all. Did I do much for the holiday? Can't say I did. I did something though. Namely, ate. What do you want from me? Anyways. Vanilla Bean Buttercream/Grace is on the way out, and the new kid, Lea Clark, is on the way in. You can hear all about it in my new post after the year, "1/8th? 1/8th? Really, AG?" (Spoiler: That won't be the title, but that will come up.) And before I get into the book proper, a mini rant as posted to AGC and my Instagram account,1 modified and expanded here.

Hi, AGIG! Which is full of teenagers. Let's have a little talk about how to conduct yourself on IG with communicating with AG on their account, @americangirlbrand. Every year, AG releases a Girl of the Year. (She's been problematically White, but I've so bitched about that. I'm getting my update to the grid ready as we speak.) And every year, AG doesn't reveal her until January first. They do little online teasers, videos, and hints to hype up the release. They've been doing this since Chrissa at least--I still have somewhere on my comp the image of Chrissa with three buttons over her face so we couldn't wholly see her. But they do that--the hints and teases. Today was the video one. And under it, all over, was the same shit.

"Its lea Clark ag we all know"
"You guys are really bad at hiding stuff."
"I already know how she looked like 2 months ago"
"lol basically everyone on AGIG knows what she looks like and who she is"2

And so you are now getting educations. Sit down, children. I said sit down.

First of all, AG didn't leak or spoil anything. You all did, digging and searching and finding leaks all over the net. That I don't really bitch too much about, because I've seen images of Melody Ellison and my reaction can basically be boiled down to "give her to me and give her to me now." But going on their media and going "lol spoiled it" is as immature as you all are. They leaked nothing. They didn't leak about Ellie, they didn't leak about BeForever, they didn't leak about Grace, and they're not leaking about Lea. You are leaking about her.

Secondly, they hype like this because it's part of the marketing. They've been doing it since at least Chrissa--somewhere on my hard drive I have images of her  but with buttons over her face because AG didn't want to spoil her completely and was revealing a button a day to get a peek at her over the course of December. And they do this. But that's what they do, for the hype up til the first of January. They don't just say, "It's Grace Thomas!" Or "Welcome Isabelle Palmer!" That's not fun for them, that's not amusing, and that's not what they want. So guess what they don't want to hear in their comments? "ha ha we already know we looked at all the leaks it's So-and-So!" Because you are ruining the fun for those that maybe don't go digging around Google and looking at Youtube and getting everything spoiled for them. Do you also go around spoiling recent movies?

I'm sure a lot of you are young--and by young I mean there's at least a 10-15 year age gap between me and you, if not more. And this is your first taste of social media. So you think that this is appropriate or funny or that AG somehow doesn't know that a lot of people know. But you would be wrong. AG wants to do this the marketing way, which is hints and flirting with info releases. Leaks don't please them even as they please us. And neither do massive spoilers.

So if you all could collectively stop being a bunch of little shitty immature children and spoiling the reveals in the comments of their posts? That would be super awesome! 

Fucking squealers.

Sincerely, A Grown Ass Collector.  

So, with that out of the way for a while, time to book it. 

Samantha's Surprise, unlike the two books before it, was not written by Susan Alder. She had quietly been put off the project--and never to write again, if the searches for her name are any indication. Too much class talk, too much about the poor, not enough happiness and rich people being rich. Not Pleasant Company, that topic.3 So she was booted out the door and replaced with Maxine Rose Schur, who not only is still writing but lists Samantha's Surprise on her webpage. Go her.  The book was still illustrated by Nancy Niles at first release and came out originally in 1986 with Samantha, like the two before it. If you have the BeForever versions, this is chapters 13-18 of Manners and Mischief. I'm still using the chapters from the original since I'm using my old collections that way. So, future ref, when I finally get to Maryellen's books, I'll be breaking her volumes into six "books" and giving them fan nicknames, because I'm cool like that, but reffing whatever chapter numbers they got. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Why I'm An Outsider: Part Six: The Great Mass Banning of Aught-Six

The holidays were coming, and so was the bullshit.
Depression sucks. Depression sucks a lot. You don't get anything done like you'd want, things get pilled up in piles, and all your executive function gets shot to shit. I fight major depression--and I don't mean "oh, today I feel bad" bullshit, I mean "brain no worky so I sit there and don't do anything and can't get anything done really pbbbt" depression which is a chronic illness. I've wanted to do tons of reviews--including Grace stuff, I got all I wanted from Vanilla Bean's collection I'm pretty sure--the introduction of Maryellen to the gang, and a huge helpful post about adding to the AG collection without breaking the bank that is still sitting in queue to work on and has been since frigging September.1 And then my brain is like "no, you're going to do fuck all for weeks and weeks" and the photocorner stays a mess and leaves no room for shots. I'm not going to lie about why there's been a dearth of posts. I try and my brain chokes up. I'm going to try to do better, but every day is a struggle, and some days turn into weeks of terrible.

With that said, I hope you understand.

Before we get into the point of the post, news catch up. Yes, I've seen Lea Clark. From what I can see in her looks she's Marisol with the Hazel Eyes that AG bought way too many of, and she's at most biracial because AG can't give us a full PoC. My protest and post stands. American Girl needs to give us dolls of color for the Girl of the Year, and not just mixed ones with whiteness imbued to smooth over white racism that makes it so that characters of color have to be mixed with white to be acceptably ethnic. We'll see what her stories offer. But one character is not enough, especially when surrounded by frequent whiteness. I'm tired and you should be too. Blech.

To the story.

When we last left you at the story of AG Fandom Fucking It Up in 2006, AG Fans had just moved from Hostboard to phpBoards and taken the opportunity to do a widespread ban on Paganism and Pagan displays, as instigated by Yours Truly, the Pagan. They had also closed the board to the point that new users had to agree to the rules before they could read them. It was a nasty knot of BS, and while I had a lurker account to see the mess and get news, I was not a participant and was more a participant of AG > 18 and AGPT.  This was December 6th, 2006. I'd started working on a photostory called Naomi's Giftmas Surprise at the start of the month, which would slowly introduce the sixth member of the AGGiB,2 and taught myself to restring to restring both Addy and Beth Cady (and found it a lot easier than I had thought it was).  We kept snarking at AG > 18, and newsing at AGPT.

December 13th, 2006, is when shit really got fucked.

Prologue: Not Such a Sweet Baby Face
Part One: Finding AG Fans, or How Periods are Bad For Children
Part Two: There's Fundies in My Fandom
Part Three: The Wicked Witch of Customizing and the Birth of AG > 18
Part Four: Halloween is for Jesus, or How Otters Offended a Nation
Part Five: The AG Fans Revamp: No Pagans Allowed 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Yo, still here.

*Kira peeks*

Again, I went a month without updating. Sorry about that.

Depression is terrible and eats your brain. It also makes it so, in my case, the photo corner is a hot mess. Can't take pictures when there's no place to take them.This means reviews are lacking as well as other things.

Don't give up on me. I'm still here. There's a a million posts I haven't done, but just you wait.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Clothes Reviews: Kanani's Aloha Outfit (2011)

Fall yes. but in Hawaii it's always warm!
Wow, has it been a month and a half. I live, people! Long story short: I was working on a massive long infostyle post starting mid-September, and while working on it I got kicked in the ass with germs that laid me up hard. Soon after I had family things come up, lovely depressions, and lost total focus. I still plan to finish said massive post, but for now it's set aside. It's not lost! Just paused.

Anyways, what has happened in that month dollwise? Let's see. I got Grace's Bistro set and Baking set at significant discounts, completing any furniture and accessories I wanted and leaving maybe one outfit I want to grab up. The Bakery of Doom has had the distinction of being the earliest retired item ever in AG's GotY lineup, going fully out of stock near the end of September (I suspect they didn't make a ton of them, wanting to avoid that WonderBread fiasco of last year) and the many tears for the kids that won't get it are refreshing. And, for my 35th birthday, I went ahead, got all wibble-wobble, mentally waffled and dipped and weighed back and forth like the Libra sun sign I am that takes forever to make any choices...and added Maryellen Larkin to the AGGiB. Well. That didn't take long at all for her to join. Time to take pics of her and review her outfits! (And make her a cute Giftmas dress. I hate her birthday dress and skating is not a Giftmas dress.)

A little bit of data for those who are on Instagram: peep the newly pimped hashtag on Instagram, #AGsofColor. It was started by user AG_Warriors and is all about showcasing dolls of color. Instagram has its good in the doll community, but it also has more white than a snowstorm in Antarctica, and that can just be annoying as shit. So a tag just for girls of color so I can see all those beautiful brown, black, Asian, and girls of color? Sign me up, that is some good shit right there, I have been mad crazy about that.1

Anyways, summer is gone til next year, and we are into my favorite season, fall. Mmm, sweaters, color changing leaves, the sun setting by 6:30, and caramel apple cider from Starbucks.Yaaaaas. But that doesn't mean that I can't review summery outfits. Including summery outfits that I took pictures of months ago. Whoops. It's still warm in Hawaii? Good. Then let's review Kanani stuff! 

Kanani has the distinction of being the only front line Girl of the Year I bought the very first day of her availability--Sonali I got day of, but she was not the frontline girl because fuck you AG, that's why. I have everything in her collection3 and she doesn't have to share with anyone; she even has her own storage drawer here. Pretty Kanani is a delight and a half, and her collection--while it has a lot of narrow focus on her Hawaiian self--is super. C'mon AG. Stop flinging the ball away and give the world the Not!Kanani we all desire so people don't have to pay $300 for her on eBay.

When I ordered her, I got her, her starter collection and the Aloha Outfit all at once. (And the rest that summer when AG Seattle opened, sans the ice shaving stand.) Girl had to have a casual outfit to wear around here, and this is pretty casual--a print t-shirt, capri pants, sandals, a bracelet, and sunshades. Originally $28, it, like everything Kanani, can go for too damn much--but the average selling tends to be in the $30-40 range which ain't terribad. There was also the secondary version for the moddies called the Tee and Capris for Dolls at $22; it was a blank white shirt, and no sandals or sunglasses. Nope, don't care much for that version.

Oh, and around here Kanani often wears her flower, regardless of the outfit, if she can get away with it. Surf's up to the review!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: Bring On the 50's With Maryellen Larken! (and Oh Yeah, Some Modern Stuff)

I wasn't supposed to like you!

We've gotten leaks. We've gotten peeks. We've gotten books summaries and book titles and color schemes and debate about eye color and frustration over another Classic mold girl and pinned down eras and all that is good-good regarding the previously upcoming Historical. And now, we officially have her to buy and get--Maryellen Larkin, the first ever fully BeForever Historical Character. She's from the 1950s--an era overly characterized by the baby boomer children, housemakers in perfect dresses and pearls, and the start of widespread TV in the post WW2 Era. And the public rise of civil rights, which was not just limited to the 60s contrary to popular historical misinterpretation. After all, Brown vs. Board of Education was decided May 17, 1954--a touch before the books start.

I was not supposed to like her, you know. I really get so tired of white focused history that ignores PoC and other cultures to stick to the whitebread story. But as more came out about her character and how she actually swipes the veneer off the perfect plastic 1950s, I liked her more and more and, well....shit. I want her. Like, as a full character to be part of the gang. I don't have her just yet--I still need to decide if I'm going to get Grace directly to steal the wig and meet set from or if I want to wait until after the year is over and get a secondhand Grace. But I will probably be getting Maryellen eventually. Just not yet. Let's see what the holidays give me.

Maryellen's launch was the big deal this weekend, but AG, not wanting to have to wait til October for the moddie holiday launch got that shit out too, and I grabbed shots of it. And while I normally don't give a shit about Bitty Baby shit, I'm tossing this out for the record so folks can be knowing: the line got a full revamp, resulting in them removing most of the dolls available that had been released during the first revamp, releasing one new doll with red hair and hazel eyes,1 changing the meet to offer three different meet sleepers, offering downloads, as well as slightly cheaper accessories. Bitty Baby is trying to stay hanging on and reasonable for people. 

My pictures have yellow tint all over, sorry. I may need to replace my digital camera. That or the AG lighting.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Historical Clothes Reviews: Samantha's Limited Edition Flower-Picking Set

Marisol, always looking fine in Edwardian wear.
We have less than a week until Maryellen Larkin touches down officially and Caroline Abbott leaves forever and ever and ever. AG Scottsdale, since they opened this weekend and (smartly) didn't want to set everything up for Caroline and then have to take it all down in a week, released Maryellen first, so the stuff is floating around. Good for them, allowing the new store on the block to get the shiny new stuff before everyone else who's already done this game. It's not like we can't wait a piddling week.1 I'm still working out how to go to the ME release because I lucked the fuck out and got PAX Prime tickets for Saturday and Sunday, and Thursday and Friday are always complicated for me getting anywhere. But I will get there, by gods. Even if y'all don't see the post about it all til that Monday.

It's only been about a year since the BeForever Launch and the anniversary of the return of the line's favorite Edwardian, Samantha Mary Parkington.They're slowing down on giving her a crapton of stuff, but she's still ahead of the game in sheer volume what with the gazebo and the ice cream parlor and the easel. AG won't leave her out of a release if they don't have to, and the Limited Edition outfits gave her a spot to shine. Since Addy is no longer going flower picking and kite flying in the same dress,2 Samantha has stepped in to make flower gathering a respectable task again with her Flower Picking Dress: a wrap-style calf length dress, tights, high button shoes, a hairbow, and a basket of tulips. The set retails for $48 right now but like Kit's Chicken Set, I snagged this one on sale for $38. eBay prices are ridiculous, and this set has--as far as I can remember--never gone on backorder so there's no excuse to not get it direct until it's retired. The girl's outfit--the  Lacy Tee and Lacy Tiered Skirt--I personally find utterly hideous. Nope!

Flower picking is actually fitting for the era. During the Late Victorian and Edwardian period, bringing nature into the house and prettying it up was a high class hobby, especially if you lived in a city because it showed you had the money to skip out and visit the rural life. At the 1900 Census, about 40% of people lived in urban areas like cities, and only two decades later the population would shift to an urban majority population. (Now about four-fifths of the population resides in urban areas and the percent is still going up.)3 Samantha could be counted as one of the rural turned urban, moving to NYC before the end of her series. All that squished up city living was mentally bothersome and so people would always try to bring nature into the house, though not always for the positive. And since little girls were supposed to be ladies and not go climbing trees Samantha Mary, flower picking and arraignment was a proper activity.

Marisol has graciously decided to wear this outfit for you to see; she does love the turn of the century aesthetic. She even has little pink studs to help the look. Nellie didn't model this set because at the time of the massive photography session, she was wearing the pink dress and pinafore I'd made. She'll model the next Edwardian set that looks bomb on her.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Clothes and Accessories Reviews: Swim Shirt and Shorts and Sailboard Set (2015 Summer Store Exclusives)

The Dog Days of Summer with Kanani.
Overall, summer is not my favorite season, to be honest; that would be fall, where it's cool but not cold and I can wear hoodies and jeans, enjoy the looks of back-to-school and the cheap supplies, wait for my birthday, and watch the trees change color. There's just a few weeks left before Caroline leaves and lets Maryellen Larkin take her place. I actually think I might like the little redhead, what with learning that her books include a pro-vaccination message and that she at one point had polio. I've preorded her books on Amazon along with Josefina's journey book for one big reason: they're up to half off or more right now, making them super cheap. No, really. That link leads to the Journey book, but you will probably be able to pull the others up, and at the time of this post they're each coming in nearing half off. And Amazon pre-order price guarantee means that while you might pay less, you won't pay more than whatever the cost was when you place the order. So if you want to save more money for other things, here's your chance.

As hot as it gets up here in the PNW, it gets even hotter in Texas and down south, which is at least one reason I'm kind of glad not to live there anymore among other things. 1 But it's still summer, and that means dealing with the hot on some level. Alas, I don't really live by a coast or beach anymore, so I have to go out of my way to go to one which is about the only thing I miss about where I used to live. July and early August is known often as the dog days of summer. Especially with shitty global warming making it hotter than standard. The Dog Days are called such because way back yonder in the past around the Mediterranean, early astronomical observers put the hottest summer days roughly twenty days before and after the period when Sirius and the Sun went into conjunction. And no, that's not a Harry Potter joke. Sirius is the Dog Star, that's where the whole "Sirius Black is a animagus with a dog form" thing came from.2 Still, there's some nice things about the summer.

Out of all my gang members, I'd probably say that I like to put Kanani out for beach and surf pictures the best more than anyone. It helps she's one of my prettiest modern girls, and that in her books she's learning to paddleboard. So when I picked up the Swim Shirt and Shorts this summer and later the Sailboard Set, I decided that Kanani would be the one to display it. I got the pretty brilliant (I think) idea to also take the pictures outside near the pool, since I was also taking pictures for the postcard exchange that LillyMaiden was doing through her blog. Hence these pics being outside. I was pretty good at not getting people in the background.

The Sailboard Set--a sailboard with a life vest--was released this summer as a store-only item, like the Beach Cabana Set before it; the only place to buy either is and was at the stores directly. While the initial offered cost was $68--way too much in my opinion--it dropped to $48 soon after and then went on sale for $38. I got it after the first price drop. The Swim Shorts and Shirt are exactly what they say on the tin--a rash guard style shirt and swim shorts, and started to be offered early this summer through AG Places only as a Purchase with Purchase. I'm pretty sure I've explained how those work to y'all, but to remind those who forgot and teach those who didn't know. A Purchase with Purchase is an outfit or accessory set, often only available at the store, that is able to be purchased as a low-cost bonus when a minimum amount is spent before taxes--generally, $50 are spent to get an outfit for $14, which is how much this one cost. While quite a few outfits have been unique, there's also been cases where outfits are older retired back stock such as old meet outfits, leftover GotY stuff, or straggling old items. It's always something modern, though, so don't go looking for some BeForever stuff. Originally PWPs (for short) were limited to winter sets most of the time, but lately there's been a special summer set. These will probably be gone by summer's end if they aren't already--I haven't been to the store in a month--since they're store exclusive limited, and then the prices will of course, go up.

I'm going to warn you, though, in the process of taking these pictures I managed to fuck up one of the review items. Not grossly, but enough that I'm kind of miffed. If you saw it when I took the pictures on AGC you already know. Long story short? I fucked up my shit so that you are warned against doing the same.

Clothes, then accessories. Dive under the cut for the reviews.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Historical Clothes Reviews: Kit's Limited Edition Chicken-Keeping Set

The care and keeping of chickens, by Kit.
The availability of Historical and BeForever Characters marches on. In only about five weeks or so, Caroline will head off into the archives and be replaced by the red headed, some-colored eyed,1  Florida living Maryellen of the 1950s, leaving only three girls not placed in the 20th Century--and all of them girls of color. AG's balance is, shall we say, hella imbalanced.

I'm still up in the air about Maryellen's collection--the doll is still on the miss me side for now--but I will be reading the books and jacking things for Edith and Dorothy. Speaking of which, if you haven't preordered Maryellen's books, your best bet right now is Amazon. Thanks to Lucina on AGC, I've been informed of a huge sale. Her Central Series dual books are almost half off;  The One and Only is down to $5.23 and Taking Off is down to $5.18. The Sky's the Limit--the My Journey With book--doesn't have as steep a discount at $9.18, but all three books have the Amazon Preorder guarantee: If the price goes down before release then you get the cheaper price and if the price goes up, you still get the cheapest price that was offered. Right now that's pretty much like buy two of her books and get one free, and all still less than $20. Along with Josefina's Journey book and any item of about 6.50 or more, you can even get free shipping, and you won't be charged until things ship. This is cheaper than getting the box set from them and definitely cheaper than the $10 that AG will be charging for each book and $30 for the box set. Game the system and go read books. They're brain making, and can make folks like a character more than if they'd just gone on looks and sparkly collection things.

I know that was the case with me and Kit Kittridge. Kit--along with Samantha and still-vaulted Molly--used to be part of what I called the 20th Century Block Out. Starting at about the time I got into AG collecting in 2005, AG tended to be on a trend of releasing sets that only focused on Kit, Sam, and Molly. First it was the Rolling through the Ages sets of outdoor wheeled activities and outfits. Then the swimwear through the ages sets, which again, was the three of them and their beachwear. Then the Scrapbooking collection of books that and even though Kit did not get a new outfit for those, she was included by having a book. So I didn't like Kit, and felt she was kind of an usurper taking emphasis away from Addy. Then I picked up her books secondhand and started to read and found that Kit, for all her blue eyed, bobbed blond hair self, was more than just another classic molded face. Girl was struggling in poverty, dealing with a best friend who didn't always get it, and liked to write news. Six read books later Kit went from "do not want" to "do want" and so became part of the gang in 2007 soon after I moved to the place I'm at now, and she's in my top five Historical loves. Addy keeps winning at BeForever, but Kit's not so far behind her and often places second in the race, and if I have to dicker about who to get something for after busting the budget on Addy, it's quite possible that I'll go for Kit. Especially now that her BeForever Wardrobe is less 40s mashed with 20s and more properly early 30s.

Like Addy, Sam, Julie, Kaya, and Rebecca, Kit was included in the BeForever Limited edition release as well as the prior Limited Edition Release with Rebecca, Julie, and Kaya.2 This spring, she got Kit's Chicken-Keeping Set which had me geeking from the moment of release. At the cost of $48 dollars, Kit gets a cherry print blouse, green checked overalls, brown buckle shoes, a headband, and a plushy chicken to tend. Accurate to the books, even--in Happy Birthday Kit!,3 Aunt Millie comes up from Kentucky and stays with the Kittridges for a bit, and in the process sets up chicken keeping and selling the eggs for money. Kit's mother thinks this makes them look even more country rube than anything, but Kit really likes the chickens and loves helping take care of them. During the spring sale, it was offered for $38 and like Addy's Sewing Set, went quickly on backorder. Unlike Addy's sewing set, it's practically stayed that way. First until April, then August, and currently it shows backordered until October. Sweet Polly Oliver, Kit. At least when things are on backorder, they can still be ordered, so that's what I did. I managed to order it during the sale over the phone at AG Seattle and while this meant paying shipping, it meant also that I got the set at discount. If you're small enough or have kids that are small enough, you can also get into the Cheery Blossoms Top and Cheery Checks Jumper for historically inspired cosplay. The set's only here in this form until December 31st or as long as supplies last--and Kit's supplies on this have not lasted worth a damn, so place the backorder and wait til it ships out this fall.

Under the cut!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: '15 Summer Launch with BF Bedtime, Grace by Space, and Modern Comforts

Just because we don't get along doesn't mean I can't frame you well, Samantha Parkington.
It took me a bit to handle the new shit. The weekend right after the new launch I went to the mall that has my comic books but not AG stuff as well as a festival, and since the Bae does the driving we can go to one mall a weekend if they're in opposite directions from each other, and they are. Look, I don't argue with the conservation of gas. Save the Planet. So instead I went to AG on the 3rd, spent the 4th burning things in the name of AMERICA, and the 5th complaining that it's too damned hot to type. It's still too damned hot. I think I brought the Texas Weather back with me to the PNW. But I'm at least in a position to get my blog on for you, the eager consumers of my content and happy audience--and if you're here to be a hater, then hate on, I don't give a fuck sweetie.

AG is getting fairly good about their social media presence, even if I'm still unable to interact wholly with their FB page.1 Not only was the Spring Fling given leaks on Pinterest (which I hate to deal with) and Instagram (which I like dealing with), so was this Summer launch, giving us eager buyers and collectors an idea what was up and coming. Even if I pretty much knew a huge amount from scoop fairies and unethical eBay sellers selling factory seconds that folk be finding, that doesn't mean that everyone does, and I like to see how AG pushes their own hype. Which is why I hate hate hate comments on posts like AG, Monster High, and Ever After High media posts that are all "we already know this is on the way and the name of that character and her monster parent and blah blah blah give us something new."2 Companies have their own way of announcing things and building up marketing for their products, and it's not by you finding leaks of shit on line and spreading it among your little small media circles to the point you're bored already when they start talking. Not everyone knows everything already from leaks and dig ups and is in the loop like that. Don't be a fucking killjoy about new stuff to people that maybe haven't seen it. It's arrogant, rude, and dickish. Don't be a dick.

This summer release comes right on the very heels of  the Truly Me Revamp--only about a month later, in fact. This is because, come August, Caroline sails away to the big Archival Vault and Maryellen pops out and that is going to be the thing to sit in the spotlight and the book set I'll buy immediately. Ah, I remember when Addy was launched and she only got her first three books and the rest came in the next spring and there was nothing to be done but wait on the entire second half of her story. Be glad you little cheeky baubles get things much more upfront now.

To the shiny things!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Historical Clothes Reviews: Addy's Limited Edition Dress and Sewing Set

Crafting done right with the right girl for crafting.
It's been a rough couple of weeks and a great couple of weeks. I had a good time visiting family and I had a great time at A-Kon--it's like family reunion for me my trips to Texas. I took Addy and Kira with me to Texas and managed to get to go to two AG stores in the process--AG Houston with family and AG Dallas on the way back from the airport.  And I got back home safe and with neat things, including the Last Hearts 4 Hearts I wanted and a new little darling BJD that, if you follow my Instagram, you've seen shots of.1 (I shall pick back up Casual Fridays and post more about her then.) But on the flip side, I've been super duper exhausted. Not physically so much as mentally. Not only is there the draining news over and over of assaults on black people and the utter mental strain of being a black woman in America looking at all this hate and cruelty and racism, there's been the tropical storm coming too close to family for comfort, and general malaise and anxiety. I have been suffering from what can be called a severe case of "Fuck This Shit, I'm Out."

Time to retreat back into doll blogging and restabilize myself.

To show you I'm keeping up with the AG News: There's been a small release for Grace--well small for dolls, largeish for stuff overall--and I'll cover that when the summer release comes out so that I'm not blogging about just three things and people clothes. There's also the Pintrest sneak peeks for the new BeForever and Truly Me stuff 2--and Addy stays winning and blowing away the competition. Goddamn, is blue her color. I can't help myself when it comes to Addy--I want practically everything she has AG offers, and if that means she owns two beds and two nightgowns then damn it she's going to own two beds and two nightgowns.3 My girl will stay spoiled rotten and there's shit all anyone can say to me about it.

I tend not to delay on getting my happy brown hands on Addy stuff, even if it means I don't pay the sale price when prices drop a few months later on one of the frequent AG sales that they seem to be doing nowadays. So when Addy's Dress and Sewing Set was released as part of the Spring BeForever release, I went straight to the store as soon as I could and snapped it right up. Not only was it Addy, it was sewing, and that's one of the most perfect combinations for me, like combining ducks, ballet, fairy tales, and magical girls.4 For $48 dollars--or $38 if you got it on sale--the set comes with a plaid dress, white ribbon trimmed pinafore, stockings, inner laced boots, scissors, tape measure, and pincushion, and the story with the set is that Addy is helping her mother and Mrs. Ford out in the dress shop in her cute new duds. And y'all were whining that outfits weren't going to be tied to the stories anymore. Wah wah wah. I may have payed Early Adoption Taxes5 but it's Addy, so I take my lumps. That and when the set was on sale, it was hella backordered. As it is Kit's Chicken Keeping Set only came off back order long enough for me to get my mitts on it before it decided not to show back up again until August. The set is part of AG's new deal with Historicals where they release Limited Edition outfits that are only here til December 31st in their current incarnation, so this one has an end date before you're looking at eBay for a complete set. So don't delay or you'll find yourself shortchanged on the pretty. There's also a matching girl's set--historic cosplay in modern styles, and that would be the Periwinkle Plaid Top and Classic Crops--it'll go away as well, when this set does.

Once again I find myself blogging about Addy on Juneteenth. It's only fitting, I guess. To the review--where I've decided stuff comes before clothes cause that is how I took my pictures.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: Out With the Old, In With the Tru(ly Me)

AG but not Seattle.
Another new release of AG stuff, this past Thursday. Tiny in items--only about ten or so overall--but big in impact. Not to mention two other big BeForever Announcements that came through but, since I don't do short dinky posts I'll just bring them up here. Blog smarter, not harder.

Normally, I would haul buns to AG Seattle and take copious pictures of everything, and then blog crazy about it with said pictures. But I actually happen to be out of town, so I can't go to my local AG place. So I had to do the next best thing: go to AG Houston. I've been there a fair few times since it opened in 2012 since my mom and sister live nearby. So when I take my yearly trip to visit them, I go out there. My mom likes AG, and it's a nice trip for us. I went and took pictures, got a few things, and am ready to add my own opinions since y'all are here for that and I'm pretty good at it.

Jump below the cuts for hellos, good byes, and buttercream bookie goodness.1

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Crafting Creatively - Things I've Made: Samantha/Nellie's Pink Dress and Pinafore

The perfect dress for keeping clean and neat. Maybe.
Huzzah! My photocorner has been set back up, and in such a way that I can potentially get a lot of natural sunlight to drape and not have to use the flash every time I want to take pictures of things. I took a backlog of review shots in giddiness, including a craft project I did this winter. And it has been some time since I showed off what I can do. (And why people can and often do listen to me when I say things about crafting.) Let's fix that. I'm an awesome craft guru.

This time on Crafting Creatively, let's look into the fine details and designing of what I've titled Samantha/Nellie's Pink Dress and Pinafore. I say it with the slash like that because I made two sets like I do for gifts. The gift set went to Brazil1 for Bea (thedollrookie)'s Samantha, and the set here is for Nellie. AGC did a gift swap, and when I was selected with Bea and saw her Samantha didn't have much in the way of wardrobe, I jumped at the chance to make her a Neth's Original Outfit. Me and Samantha don't get along re: Pretty Pink Princess, but designing Edwardian clothing is awesome. I love making historical outfits more than modern stuff, because I feel like I can be a lot more creative with it even in restrictions. Modern stuff is okay, don't get me wrong, but historical clothing design has become one of my passions over the many years I've existed.

ETA, 2/29/16: Retroactive description!

"Samantha"’s Pink Dress and Pinafore

Samantha can’t wait to see Gardner and Cornelia after their honeymoon! She has a brand new white dotted pinafore to wear over her best pink floral print dress. There’s even a big pink grosgrain hairbow to wear in her brown curls!
Hop under the cut for background and details.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Why I'm an Outsider - Part Five: The AG Fans Revamp: No Pagans Allowed

One of these girls ain't wanted on AG Fans.
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men an' dollybloggers gang aft agley.1 I had plans for photoshoots, my loves. Not only do I have Addy's and Kit's and Kaya's 2015 LE outfits, I had plans to snap mad pics of them and start to review the hell out of each. But my homeplace informed me that they were redoing all my windows and that meant clearing everything away from them. Including dismantling my photoshoot corner. And my altar (how very fitting for this next topic). Oh, and my body decided that functioning without another daily lifestyle med is for chumps and I caught a cold that fucked me up on the hardcore. I'm full of issues. It's like Nat Geo up in dis bitch. So rather than reviews--those can come next month--what you get is more about how AG Fandom had fucked up problems and shit. And this is one of the BIG ones from AG Fans.

Enough prologue. Let's get into this.

So Halloween--Samhain for us pagans--2006 had passed, and the message couldn't be clearer to me. Paganism was super offensive to those of AG Fans, enough to get an album thread shut the entire fuck down and deleted. I had stuck my neck out to test the rules on faith and demonstrating it to see if they fairly applied to me as well as others. The response had been the equivalent of a smack in the face--I had been shown in no uncertain terms that this was not to be tolerated, thank you young lady, you keep that non-Christian stuff in the dark where good White Christian God-fearing children can't see it.

November went on, with the hot mess continuing to happen. AG > 18 stayed in our corner for the most part, talking amongst ourselves and getting hella annoyed with racist and bigoted thought running unchecked and discussing the ongoing microdramas that kept going on and thinking the way people were being treated was some grade-A hot steaming load of bullshit. Meanwhile, AGPT was on the rise as the better place to be to talk about American Girl without feeling like a lesser person--the album had gone over fine there!2 I was actually liking it over there, since I could be who I was--black, pagan, poly, bi--without the mod staff getting panties in the ass any time I pushed back against bigots.They had fuckups, but they were less fucked up than AG Fans, which was saying something.

As for AG Fans? Bigotry abounded, and it continued on that people were banned behind closed doors for protesting mod abuse and told things in sickly sweet language complete with condescension smilies and tone. This included statements that AG Fans was willing to look at your dolls but you had better take your goth and devil issues elsewhere.3 Posts on AGFans were getting edited to remove such subversive language as "alternative lifestyle" and replied to with saccharine sweet statements when people rightfully protested. The claim outright said by one of the mods on AGFans to someone's post was that "Would I want my eight year old to see it?" should be a good baseline for how the place was run, and since some people didn't want their eight year old knowing about certain things, it was just best not to talk about it. Would you want your precious eight year old to know about homosexuals and other non-Christian faiths?

dot dot mother fucking dot.

Okay, first of all eight year olds shouldn't be on the internet unsupervised, so there's that shit to start. And second of all, yes. I don't want my theoretical eight year old to become a goddamn prejudiced asshole who thinks that it's okay to be a homophobe and that talking about alternative lifestyles is so goddamn taboo that the mods have to ninja edit posts lest a kid read the word "girlfriend" spoken by a girl and instantly stop going to church and embracing witchcraft and lesbian acts.4 I plan to also teach my kids about paganism and any other faiths out there--even that it's okay not to have one at all--what their reproductive organs are for beyond "naughty things we don't touch and talk about," how to buck against an unfair social system, and how to curse out every other kid on the playground if they need to. Don't expect me to muffle myself because you're too fucking ignorant/lazy/stupid/bitchy to parent your child. Because last I checked, no one's crawled kicking and screaming out of my uterus yet--and not from lack of wanting to carry a child. REGULATE YER OWN DAMN KIDS. If you're that damn concerned, take your eight year old off the internet--and probably put them in a tiny box somewhere until they're married or run away from home.

Back to November 2006. I had gotten the message that my pagan albums weren't wanted, and that should have been the end of it, right? The pagan had been told, she had been told very blatantly, and she knew to keep her filthy heathenish ways away from good people. And that was that.

Nope. Nope, there was still fall out to come, and oh was it coming and it was going to be nasty.

Prologue: Not Such a Sweet Baby Face
Part One: Finding AG Fans, or How Periods are Bad For Children
Part Two: There's Fundies in My Fandom
Part Three: The Wicked Witch of Customizing and the Birth of AG > 18
Part Four: Halloween is for Jesus, or How Otters Offended a Nation

Friday, April 10, 2015

AG Complaint Department: Asinine Assumptions About Addy Walker

Happy Birthday Addy! Now let's get people to treat you right.
For those who are good on their AG knowledge, yesterday was Addy's Birthday. Unlike most of the other American Girl Historical characters,1 Addy did not know her birthday at all; she was born into slavery and Mr. Stevens didn't write her birthday down. So she picked her tenth birthday as the official end of the Civil War: April 9th, 1865, and celebrated with ice cream, pie, a new dress, freedom for all, and her family and friends. Addy was a lot of firsts in the American Girl Line: the first one not to use the classic mold (thank gods), the first character of color, and the first one I fell in love with. Y'all wouldn't even be hearing my bitching and squealing if Addy Walker hadn't come along in the line. Well, I might have picked up Kirsten because I had a thing for Laura Ingalls, but I was raised in consciousness and I remain so. So I got the black girl first. Addy--here known by the full name Aduke FirstArrival Walker--is my number one girl and always will be; GotY will come and they will go, but Addy will be here for me always, even if they archive her.

Alas, too many people do her wrong, and they have since I first set toes in the American Girl Fandom. I've seen a lot of shit, I've seen a lot of shit go unaddressed, and a lot of shit needs to stop. 80-90% of it is based in racism, classism, and bigotry. And that's me being nice, because to tear it down and kick that ass, about 100% of it is based in at least some subtle, unaddressed racism or bigotry. And unlike my ripping down of the fuck ups with Kaya, I'm coming from a place of my own culture and knowledge,

So sit down, shut up, and learn some goddamn things so I don't have to roll my eyes at seeing your terrible Addy shit attitudes ever again.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Crafting Creatively: Picking Perfect Prints and Fabric

Kit's dress looks good because I started with good fabrics.1
So there you are, doing your first AG sewing project! You've already decided to avoid the Generidress profile--or if you're working with it (because it's a great starter project), you're tweaking it to look like more than that. Maybe you bought a pattern or two from Etsy, or are doing a basic gathered skirt, or something. Either way, you're all ready to cut and sew and make something neat for your doll wardrobe. It's go time!

Wait, no it's not. Don't cut that fabric just yet. Let's make sure that your fabric fits what you're doing. Set the scissors down and listen, cause we can all learn a little something before we get into the cutting. Learn twice, cut once, cause you can't uncut fabric or trims.

There's a lot of good, cute fabrics out there, and a lot of good, cute clothing patterns. I own several patterns and like buying them from Etsy shops. But part of working with an American Girl doll and making clothes for them is working to scale. Like I said with my knitting post, messing up the scale, the print, or the add-ons and not trying to work within some limits for dolls can turn what might have been a nice outfit into a hot, oversized, terrible looking mess. And this is especially true with fabric. I got a lot of my mistakes out as a kid on other doll brands, but I also didn't have the internet to show these failings.2 I fucked it up so you don't have to.

This doesn't just include the fabric, it includes the trims. Let's hop below the cut for the things to do, and things not to do.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pajama Jammy Jams: Polar Bear Pajamas (2013)

Michi wishes the weather was warmer. She certainly is.
It's March, and in theory the days should be getting warmer and the plants should be wiggling up. But someone on the East coast clearly pissed Demeter off,1 cause she's been dumping snow, sleet, and ice on them like it ain't no thang. Climate change, motherfuckers. Here in the PNW we're not snowed on--in fact, we didn't get any snow all winter near the Puget sound. Or at least not near my place. Fuck you climate change, I didn't move to Seattle to have Texas Winters. Now how am I going to take cute pictures of Addy with her sled? Sigh, I'll just have to snap shots of Felicity in the cherry tree that's popped its flowers. But it still got cold, the nights are still in the low to mid 40s at best, and I'm better off keeping the heater on and remembering to put on house slippers here and there when my toesies need cosies. So if you're all snowed in--or even if you're not--grab some warm drinks, tuck your AG into her toastiest pajamas, and read more reviews by yours truly.

I have a bit of a love of AG pajamas. Nearly all my AG Historicals have their canon PJs,2 several of my created historicals have pajamas I either made or swiped from others--Edith notably has Emily's, which is very 60s--I have a couple PJs from other historicals, and I have enough modern ones that in theory I can get all my moddies and near moddies in pajamas and have a pajama jammy jam. Today we're reviewing the Polar Bear Pajamas, a notably more recent addition to my pajama stash: a blue tunic top, polar bear print leggings, knit boot slippers, and two white ponytail holders. And a Square "Real""charm but since the charms are being phased out, whatever. (Let's see what clutter they put with Truly Me.3) These came out in 2013 and very recently retired--as in I just noted as such on the wiki, and they were in the last Cyber Monday Sale. I purchased a set soon after release at the AG store for the original cost of  $24. They went down to almost half off during Cyber Monday to $12.50 before they sold out. Since they just retired, the 'Bay people will try to get you to pay $35-40 or more for them. Hah. Bide your time, get them cheap. Michi has half claimed these as her own, though other moddies have worn them. There's also a bonus when we get to the shoes.

To the review. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Historical Clothes Reviews and Historical Accessories: Addy's BeForever Meet Outfit and Accessories

It's the all-new Addy-Meet Review, starring Addy Walker.
Oh, Addy. My first and forever American Girl. As soon as I saw her BeForever revamp, I knew that she was going to top it all and threw money at AG for her and her things. She's winning the game better than anyone with what she's been getting, including Samantha and her Goddamn Gazebo. Yes, I have innate bias and I don't even care that I do, because Addy needs and deserves love. Addy is the best character and written with a massively poignant character arc since she didn't get her stories mealy-written or the teeth torn out like some characters--Samantha, your potential was so great. People who claim otherwise or don't give her her props and shit on her need to get a clue and a half and get the racism out of their souls.1 I've yet to get her tweaked books other than her Journey book, but I'm aiming for that eventually. And not just hers, but all the others. Again. Even if I have them which I do, The BeForever Books added text and tweaks, as I saw messing with Samantha's for a bit in the store, and that's just enough change for me to desire a whole new set. The life and struggles of a bibliophile are many and take up lots of shelf space. If they offer the books at Costco again, I'll likely bite down for that as the best bargain of a box set.

But let's not dwell hard on that. This is a clothes review, not book blather, and clothes review means clothes cuteness. Since Molly's out of the game for the forseeable future and not likely to come back any time soon, Addy's taken over the blue color2 and that includes her meet clothes, since we're doing color coordination now. Gone is the classic cinnamon pink dress and cap toed boots that I reviewed some time back; now when Addy is given brand new freedom clothes, Miss Caroline hooks her up with a whole new fancy set: a blue calico bell-sleeved day dress, white drawers, white stockings, and black button side shoes.

I was almost ready to buy a whole new second Addy to get the new outfit and still may get one later on to help push the Addy love. But AG smartly offered the new outfits for all the revamped girls on launch day for a flat rate of $36, and I was lucky enough that there was one left in stock at AG Seattle when I went to the BeForever launch that I snatched right up. Fates with me. The boxed new outfits--which will each get their reviews as I get to them--don't come with any hair ribbons or decs in box, so if you want those you will either have to call in and order them or get a new girl, and I have blue ribbon around the house everywhere so I just clipped two of those to get her hair in the new style. But you get everything else. Her accessories also were revamped; she still has her cowrie shell necklace that means a lot, but her bonnet has been revamped with a new black plaid ribbon and she has given up the kerchief for a practical quilted tote bag for the low cost of $24. Yes, it cost me $60 plus tax to outfit her in her meet set again, and I don't even care because it's Addy. There's sets on eBay, and they cost varying amounts, but don't buy things from eBay that are available to you standard. I took these pictures right after she got her new set--the same time I took the ones for Josefina's review--but it took a while to get to. My review also includes the new Mini-doll, since I have one of those too.

Before I get into the review, news up. Yes, I know about the upcoming Fall BeForever Character on the docket and her three books, as well as the upcoming Journey book for Josefina. But until I have more details, I'm not going to speculate. I don't like speculation that can't be confirmed.  That's how you say wrong things. And one last Josefina thing--I recently got her older rebozo, so go back and look at her Meet Review to see it!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: '15 BeForever Spring Fling with Modern Add Ons

Addy forever slaying these ButterCream and Wonderbread Heaux.
All right, it's the American Girl Spring Fling Release! Some leaks came out a few days ago on Pintrest, which I saw and had early squeal. I only have a Pintrest account because there's no damned way to get links to interesting things without one. I still use my bookmarks, I know, what. (Ignore they need to be cleaned as much as my damn non-virtual bookshelves.) I went up to AG Seattle last weekend--tea with friends if you've seen my Instagram account--so I won't get to go back until next week at probably the earliest. Official shots it is. Also, gods bless the other admin of the AG Wiki, Akaikaze, who swoops in and gets all the new stuff up fresh and hot while I'm still having mini fits over doll scissors and chickens. This release was a lot of BeForever and some Spring stuff for the Moddies. With some Bitty shit but lol Bitty Shit, I ain't here for that, my Polar Bear not withstanding. 

Since I probably won't post tomorrow, I want to announce this as well: Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the opening of American Girl Collectors. What a year it's been! I thought when I started this blog that my time in a huge fandom space was behind me, and the board launch would ultimately be tiny space dwarfed by the looming power of AG Playthings and their chaos. Now we have almost 350 members and a bunch of active ones, and together we've build a beautiful, safe, exciting community of people with open minds and lots of full discussion. We've talked about everything from the launch of BeForever to the still lingering remnants of WonderBread; instructions on rewigging and body fixes to how to pop the eyes out of a head; we're bringing back DollerDay, and of course there the heartwarming tale of The AGC Cousins, Lightning in a Bottle. Boom, Starzz, and I couldn't have done this alone without the people there that keep us a community. If you haven't joined already and you're of age, what's keeping you? Run on and join the lovely chaos.1

To the new stuff. Some of these images are the larger Pintrest shots because no need in double saving images.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Clothes and Accessories Reviews: Grace's Baking Outfit (2015), Accent Braid Clips (2014), and Chic Bun (2013)

Baking, braids, and buns. Not those kind.
Oh, American Girl, I can't quit you even when I'm cussing you out and mad that your representation is lacking in the GotY line. Especially when you put things on sale. I will pay shipping to save decent amounts on stuff and store my things away to play with later. Right now and probably up to the 12th or so--it's rumored we're getting new stuff then--American Girl is clearing out stuff with a sale, the Snow Much Savings Sale, and doing sales in the store as well that I plan to take advantage of today in some part. The sale was initially loaded with WonderBread stuff upwards of half off, including the girl's sets.1 But even if they weren't selling stuff, I'd stay--because I want them to do better, and part of having a voice in complaining is saying "look, I buy your stuff, please try not to suck."

The last major sale was during Cyber Monday '14. It was kind of a clusterfuck--if by "kind of" you mean a massive one. But it resulted in me getting quite a few outfits, books, and the last few dolly weave sets I didn't have for half off: the Chic Bun for $10 (down from $20) and the fairly new Accent Braid Clips for $7.50 (down from $15). I initially thought about getting the bun for Marisol's color, but ended up getting it for Sonali because I knew that matched. The accent clips are back up to full price, but the Chic Bun doesn't show as available anymore. And if you remember my post right after V. B. Buttercream's launch, I got Grace's Baking Outfit as soon as available all while complaining that they so could have so gone with a doll of color. More details on each of those as I review them. Outfit--let's do this.  

Formerly ButterCream's, and now Sonali's and the other's Baking Outfit.
Grace's Baking Outfit is part of the whole "Grace is a baker and also she goes to Paris have we mentioned Paris--PARIS" collection that is being pimped hard this year. The outfit comes with a blue printed t-shirt, an apron-styled dress, leggings, flats, and a headband for $34; it'll hang around until Dec 31st when it will either go away forever or end up in overstock and sold in an 2016 early "take it away" sale. The outfit is on eBay because everything is on eBay, but seriously it's been only five weeks since the set came out and it's not going to start going out of stock before November at the earliest. Don't pay high costs. Seriously I'm going to need someone to explain to me like I'm two why people are paying inflated prices for something that can be bought off the website and is in stock, unless they live somewhere that somehow can't get AG stuff sent to it.

Sonali is once again slaying all these buttercream heaux and rocking this shit. To the review.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why I'm an Outsider - Part Four: Halloween is for Jesus, or How Otters Offended a Nation

And then there were four. And the drama really started.
I was enduring the American Girl Fandom in August 2006 a lot better than I had been earlier in the same year. Firstly, AG Playthings was a up-and-coming board to counteract the super repressive fundamentalism of AG Fans. The mods allowed open discussion, and challenges to people's opinions. So I could talk about my sexuality, race, and faith a lot more openly than I ever could at AG Fans. (That is, at all.) And AG Over 18 was the LiveJournal based spot that we jokingly called the space behind the main school where the "bad kids" gathered to snark on bullshit, think critically about American Girl beyond the squeal and the buy, and watched Felicity and Elizabeth make out, and offered the idea that Kit had the possibility of growing up to be a fine young man.

I was starting to feel a lot better about being part of the American Girl Fandom. It didn't have to be all fundamentalism and controlled speech and "what about the children" in every corner any more. And the best part for me was how AG > 18 was just thriving. I had only thought we'd have a few people there, but we were so active and inviting. Quite a few people would join to feel a lot less pressure around them. It was a place where you could breathe deeply and not feel like you were walking on razor-blades to just talk about yourself and your dolls without getting fussed at for having such "unwholesome" things as naked doll ass, race talk, queerness, and hair streaks.1 We were passing around older AG pattern scans, snarking on things, making non-wholesome jokes, talking about things that mattered to us, poking at Emily being the English Friend of Molly, and becoming a community. It was a thriving community I'd help start. That was a very good feeling.

I'd made a lot of friends, especially on AG > 18. PNG (Persona Non Grata) was probably my closest friend of them all.2 We talked for hours. Not just online, but on the phone--to the point I ate up too many minutes on my phone plan and had to scale it back to avoid high fees. Around late July to early August, she said she'd like to send me early birthday and holiday presents. I accepted with glee--people sending me things! Wow! She went on the AG site to send me still-newish #26 in the Ready for Fun Meet set (because I was worried about the new one upcoming not being something I liked; I was right) and found Marsiol for cheap on eBay with her near complete meet set. And that's how Amber "Otters" Flynn and Marisol Luna joined up, doubling my gang in the course of a day. Only a few days later she also located and purchased Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who arrived very soon afterwards--within a week.

She...needed her hair did. So badly.
She wasn't my only friend either. In fact, the day before Otters and Marisol arrived, I'd met Colette and Inky, and we'd hung out in downtown Seattle. Not only was I making friends, they wanted to meet me!

They sat on a statue man's butt. We took pictures.
That September, I got a job--a real one, working for Nintendo Consumer Service. Nothing big, and likely not to last, I'd personally thought. It was basic customer service for the Nintendo DS--connecting it, troubleshooting, setting up repairs, etc. I did my training the first two weeks of October, started working right after my 26th birthday, and accepted that I would have to work over the holiday season--the reason I hadn't gotten the job last year was because I would be out of town over the holidays.3 My fiance was doing good in his college classes, and with me now having a job we were a little less boot at our throat for finances. I was doing well both in life and starting to do well in fandom.

And then Halloween came, and I pushed harder against AG Fans than I ever had before and blew things up.

Prologue: Not Such a Sweet Baby Face
Part One: Finding AG Fans, or How Periods are Bad For Children
Part Two: There's Fundies in My Fandom
Part Three: The Wicked Witch of Customizing and the Birth of AG > 18

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Blather Book Reviews: Samantha Learns a Lesson

Samantha Learns a Lesson, and so will you.
With the BeForever revamp, one of the biggest whines among parts of fandom was that the books no longer have illustrations included. You have the cover image, then the text of the Classic Series done as two volumes. No inner pics, and the Looking Back Section is cut down dramatically to only about the era, not about anything specific to the topic of  the book. That part doesn't thrill me, but I can live without illustrations. AG has officially stated on the FaceBook page--I'd look it up but eh--that the lack of illustrations is to help the books appeal to an older audience. Otherwise known as the people the books are written for, the eight to twelve crowd. This means that any other characters (like Vanilla Bean Buttercream) or any past Historicals that come back out who get books won't have illustrations, including our half confirmed 2016 Black BeForever Character who I will now be saving up for. Thank gods the illustrations are dead, though. While a lot of the illustrations are my thing, some are terrible and were clearly phoned in.1 I don't know if I could have handled random art of Grace at every other Parisian tourist place of note wearing specific outfits in her collection. 

Not that I'll even get to Grace's books if I don't pick it up and get to book blathering. Better rate than one book every unexpected month, Neth. I'll still do illustrations on my book reviews all I want as long as they're available. On with the show. 

Like the first bookSamantha Learns a Lesson was written by Susan S. Adler, with the first edition books illustrated by Nancy Niles and the second release by Dan Andreasen. Unlike Ms. Alder, Ms. Niles got to do the whole series before getting replaced in 1998. Part of the deal with Mattel taking up AG was insisting the images in the books be done uniformly; this resulted in all of Samantha's books, and all of Addy's books being re-illustrated. Molly's had already been fixed in 1989. There were a few years where the older white parchment books had the newer illustrations, but they are a little harder to find.2 The book came out originally in 1986 with Samantha.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Historical Clothes Reviews and Historical Accessories: Kit's Classic Meet Outfit and Accessories

Kit, old school in more than a few ways.
Kit, like everyone else in the Historical group except Kaya and Caroline, received a complete outfit revamp and collection refreshing with the launch of BeForever. Her teal color scheme on the side of her books migrated to her clothes. This brand new outfit look--teal and red, the basic Generidress silhouette done well--led to a lot of misinformed, uneducated mewling about how teal was somehow invented after the Great Depression and how her now-Classic meet set was so much better. I have to wonder how many people are blinded by nostalgia. It's not a terrible set, but--well, I'll go into details.

Kit was one of the two Historical characters that came around in that lull I had when I wasn't really focusing much on American Girl in college, the other being Kaya. Her books brought me around to adoring her and adding her to the group.  Kit is not a flouncy fluffy pink girl1 (this is why I didn't get her Easter set, along with the faux chocolate) and both her meet outfits have reflected that well given the confines of the 1930s in girls' wear. My girl's not just into waste-not, want not--she's into recycling, the environment, canning and jelly making, and socialism. And drinking out of Mason jars before hipsters Columbused2 that shit. So I'm really kind of glad that Kit's one of the girls who got a major revamp from BeForever, since she's one of my up-there girls. Since her movie, things have gotten pretty fluffy in her collection--Ruthie, what did you do?--and while there's been a few things I've given major side eye to, I've gotten a lot of it. Including all her original Base Six outfits, which includes the meet set.

Kit's Classic Meet Outfit was released with her back in 2000--a mauve-lavender sweater and cardigan set, floral print skirt, closed toed canvas sandals, and basic white bloomers. Fun fact! Until later in the set's run, this was the only meet outfit that contained no Velcro; when it did, it was solely on the shoes until later versions also velcroed the skirt. My set doesn't have either. Currently it's available for $36 while supplies last. Her classic meet accessories included a woven clutch purse, Buffalo nickle, cloche hat, handkerchief, and compass necklace; these were available for a limited time after the BeForever release but now would have to be purchased on eBay and the costs are high. I've had her meet outfit since she joined up the gang in 2007 and brought her meet accessories with her--but not her underwear, so I had her wear some close-enough pink bloomers until I got her some closer white drawers.

Those are some pink panties, girl.3
Kit, like pretty much all my Historical girls, displays her own outfits here on the blog and doesn't have to share them with anyone else. She's a little more willing to share clothes with those that like her style for casual shots, but for reviews she's here to do the stuff herself and so she gets to do the stuff herself. So all you people bitching that I seem to be "racist against white people" by putting most of the outfits for Historicals I Don't Own on my Dolls of Color can shut the entire hell up. I don't know how you managed to not notice that Felicity only shares her clothes with Dear Elizabeth.4

Unlike Josefina, where the meet changes were mostly in two items, everyone else who was revamped got a lot of major changes. So when I do the BeForever meet sets for everyone else--I own them all--I'm going to do separate posts.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: 2015, Vanilla Bean Buttercream, WTF Bakeries, and Leopard Asses

Mellie at AG Seattle, going to check out this new stuff.
The fun of having an AG store near me since 2011 is that I now have a chance to go to AG early in the year, see the new stuff, and take pictures of all the new things out.1 Granted this means every Girl of the Year launch I've been to in January has been for a white character, starting with McSeattle of all people. Le sigh. That hashtag at the top of my blog ain't just there for show. We've replaced Bread with Cream, and both are plain.

I met up with a friend Saturday--the same one I have been hanging at AG with for months now *happyface* Highlights of our hanging out include my hair getting caught on a display wreath, squealing over tiny doll passports that aren't even accurate to a passport but who cares they're tiny and cute. And yes I got an apron!2 And no you can't have it. But there is a giveaway for it at Lissie and Lilly. Go enter and see if you can get one! (They got three of em!)

My tiny dolly shit. Not yours.
Also, swinging by Bath and Body Works and discovering stuff was on sale and I'm gonna smell like cookies so hard. I like salted caramel. And also salted olive oil on vanilla ice cream. I should get food in a bit. But first? Jabbering about the new stuff! It's a fun break from getting yelled at by internet strangers and removed from a FB group I wasn't all too chuffed about being part of anyways because of all the public prayer requests and random data about people no one needed. Why was I removed? Because I publicly said someone's child was way too young for their doll after they publicly posted about something happening that made me make the ew wtf face IRL. Even WonderBread doesn't deserve that indignity. My statement stands. Too young, some children are, for AG dolls.

To the stuff. Pictures are half my camera and half my phone, because my camera which I thought was charged was not oh no it was not. Technology! The longer/wider images are from my phone. They still get the job done. *swings on motorcycle, zooms down the freeway* 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

AG Complaint Department: #‎AGDoCGotY‬: Because Representation in AG Lines Matter

If I don't stand up for myself, who will? If not now, when?1
So, here we are in 2015. 2014 was a good year and a bad year, in so many ways. Wonderbread is out, and Grace Thomas--SnarkNamed Vanilla Buttercream--is out, with her Paris Vacation and $500 Bakery that almost no one will be getting for multiple reasons, the least of which is that it's $500. I'm going to blog about her things after Saturday when I go see things myself face to face and can take my own pics, along with the new stuff. December was an up and down month, and I plan to do a lot better at keeping up here. One is to give this blog and all my online places a lot more attention.2 A post a week is my goal again. But I ramble on. I have a point for this post, and it may not be as long as other posts, but I want to get this message out at the start of the year and keep it up all year and beyond.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The Limited Edition Doll line is flooded with a lot--a lot--of white Girls of the Year. I can't say it or blog or push back against it enough. Grace makes four in a row since Kanani. And before Kanani, the frontline girls were Nicki, Mia, Chrissa and Lanie--four other white girls. There hasn't been a girl of color at all since Kanani. There's not been a Girl of the Year, frontline, specifically named as not half white, since Marisol. That's ten years--ten years--of little to no representation. And even worse, there's been the last few with friends of color or in high PoC locations--Chipotle Mayo and Wonderbread were in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Washington D.C., respectively. And Grace has continued the pattern of a white main character with a PoC best friend: Gabi to Saige, Sonali to Chrissa (at least she was released), Luisa to Isabelle, Toulane to McKenna, and now Emma (I think that's her name) to Grace.
For Mama's sake, she's RIGHT THERE.
The Best Friends Line is dead, so we can't even get hope that the girls would come out as side characters to the main like Sonali did. We get nothing.

I am so irritated by this. I'm tired of nothing. I'm so damn tired of nothing, or flickers, or dregs.

We can't just be getting Girls of Color every four years, if that, and only with the hints of color when they do. Stories know no race. Yes, AG has pointed out the diversity of the My AG and the Historicals, and even hinted at a new AA girl in 2016. But that's not the line they hype every year. They hype the hell out of the Girl of the Year. They push and push and push--and then they give us nothing but white girls. If AG really means for us to believe that these stories are about contemporary girls in contemporary times, then they need to reflect everyone--not just white girls.

And I am going to hashtag the shit out of getting the word out about AG's need to highlight and give voice to other cultures and people. American Girl, give us a Doll of Color for Girl of the Year.

Good thing I've got social media to back me up. 

This is the tag I'm pushing:


It's short, simple, and gets the point across. If you want to use longer or more clear ones then use #AGGoTYDiversity. Or both. The point is that we want to point out all these options, all these looks, for a Girl of the Year that isn't always white.

More help and details under the cut.