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

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* 

You Can Spot Vanilla Bean ButterCream By her Freckles

Now with doggie and beret.
Grace Thomas, Girl of the Year 2015: Having struggled through a year of a terrible dancer with a terrible hair attachment and a terrible movie--that's three uses of terrible in a row--now we have Grace Thomas. She's a Baker! She goes to Paris! She starts a business! She's got blue eyes because AG seems to think that either the hair or the eyes can be brown but not both at the same time lest they call down the Elder Gods.

For me, she looks like Chrissa 2.0. Now with longer hair, freckles, lip gloss, and minus the #12 Redux who got her in Trouble and "I Have a PoC Friend" Sonali. If she wasn't Fourth White Doll in a Row, I'd have picked her up the day of release or as soon as possible. I don't hate her like I hated Wonderbread's entire face and story and special snowflake pirouette. So if I do bite down and get her, it will be closer to the summer, and less to have Grace and more in order to swipe her wig and clothes and turn her into a Latina version. (I have someone who wants the body to customize, so I could even get that gone without much hassle.) Which I might. She's not as ugly as Wonderbread, but she's so blah after four--count em, four!--white girls in a row that I don't want her in my gang.

And like the others, you can wear her whole meet set!
Meet Outfit: Unlike Wonderbread, I don't hate VanillaCream's meet outfit that much. Yes, the Paris shirt is a little stereotypical with the Eiffel Tower, the only thing in Paris much like the Space Needle is the only thing in Seattle. But she is a nine year old girl going to Paris for the first time, so she picked something she thought would fit. I'll let her slide. The shirt's pretty cute, and those boots are to die for. I mostly just don't like the bow on the front of her skirt, and that can be dealt with. She also has a silver charm bracelet, for Pandora goodness. They'll probably come out with a version of it later in the year to buy, and if it's not a stupid cost I'll get it because I like jingly things.

Earrings only for Grace.
Earrings: Grace, like Chipolte Mayo came with standard and WonderBread could be ordered with, can get her ears pierced. And for $16, you can get exclusive earrings! They're only for her. No bringing your other dolls to get the earrings in their ears. Damn you AG. Stop making exclusives to the GotY. It's rude. There's red hearts, blue bows, silver Eiffel Towers--I smell a motif--and that's it. No purple horseshoes or green clovers. Wait, so I have to pay more and I don't get as many as the normal piercing? *eyeroll* If I bite down for her, I'll do it. Otherwise, no.

Books: VanillaCream's first two books--Grace and Grace Stirs it Up--now cost ten bucks each, like the BeForever books. And like the BeForever books, there's no illustrations. The books are shorter, but thicker--clocking in at 180 pages on average each compared to last year's average of 120 per book. A quick comparison shows that there are more chapters overall and the text size/chapter length relative to the page is about the same ratio as the larger books. With a total lack of internal illustrations,3 they probably have more words than other girls, and so the stories are longer. Good for you, AG! Something positive in this. There's no Letter from AG or Blurbs in the back about Baking or Paris or any chatter. It's all booky story goodness. I got both books and I've yet to dive in, but they appear to at least be meaty inside. I should certainly be done before the third book comes out.

Grace's Welcome Gifts: Unlike the others, Grace does not have meet accessories that are named Meet Accessories. They're called her Welcome Gifts as her French relatives give them to her, and are closest to the Meet Accessories since they can be bundled with her for a discount. This consists of a bouquet of flowers, a pink beret, fused macarons in a box, two Eiffel Tower cookies in a mesh bag, and a set of postcards. Look, I can make a damn beret for $32 bucks. Pass. There's a people sized beret as well, for all your ooo la la headgear.

Grace's French Bulldog: Apparently in her first book Graceling finds a French bulldog and gets to bring it home, because dogs. Bonbon is a plush bulldog with a neck bow that unfolds into a leash. I love that, because it means no leash just hanging around being a leash. The bow on the head, not so much. I ultimately might not get this because I prefer the posing pets over the non and I have enough pets here for the gang as is.4

Stupid cute baking outfits and stupid cute tiny baking stuff.
Grace's Baking Outfit: So uh I might have immediately picked this up. It's that cute, man. There's a couple things that could be better, but the over all color scheme and design is cuter than her meet outfit, indeed. It reminds me, strangely enough, of Pinkie Pie--and now I know what my doll Pinkie cosplay will be based on I just have to make another apron-jumper HAH. I'll go into more detail during my review, which may or may not be after a belated holiday review and an even more belated BeForever review. And unlike the website image, the cupcakes are not upside down. Damn you errors in photography.

Since they will probably fix this, enjoy upside down cupcakes.
The whole outfit can't be bought girl sized, but the apron can--and if it would fit me I'd do it. Sigh. I'll just have to sew one.   

Grace's Baking Set: Grace's whole theme is Paris and Baking, so this is part of the baking side of things. I'm in LOVE with this. It's got a doll sized mixer! And tiny measuring cups! A tiny sifter! Tiny dolly tablet. Alas, the screens are just slides, but I can work with this. I was on a budget Saturday, so I will get these next time. But I will get this before the end of the year.

We're doing shorts with sweaters? That's a thing?
Grace's City Outfit: And we finally come upon something that makes my nose just wholly wrinkle. I really don't like this outfit. The sweater would be okay but apparently glitter in hearts is not just another motif, it's Vanilla Buttercream's blog aesthetic. The shoes are okay--even with the toe contrast-- but I'm not a fan of this current side bow headband that seems to be all over AG and current trends of stuff. I really hate the shorts and they kill the whole outfit for me. They're not the terrible spandex I though, more like a wool, but sweaters with shorts are...uneven for me. And I grew up in Texas. This would have been so much cuter over jeans. The sweater and shorts are available for kidlings, but again--the shorts are suck.

Grace's Paris Accessories: Not content to have one set of accessories, Grace also has her Paris Accessories. Basically between this and the Welcome set, you have the hat and the purse along with a bunch of little extras. Accompanying the purse are weird little fingerless gloves because apparently everyone needs open fingers to text, a metro pass to get around places, lip gloss to explain why her lips are darker than most AG lips5, and a coin purse for loose change. I like the purse of the set--it's wonderful!--but that's all I like. And for $6 more I can get the people sized purse.

And it's big enough to hold my 3DS, a sketchbook, and an iPad if I had one but I do have a Microsoft tablet. Well I know what I like better.

Time to travel in a--oh.

Grace's Travel Coat: To go to Paris, Grace wears a blue coat with collar, waist bow trim...and five buttons and a flap on the front. I can't figure out for the life of me why they did that. Not only are the buttons uneven, the flap throws the whole thing. Asymmetry is one of my huge pet peeves in clothes--I feel way off balance when I see it. So nope. I can make one like it and save my money for that cute baking set.

Grace's Travel Set: Along with Coat Askew, Grace has to carry stuff with her in a suitcase--and good for her that international travel generally allows one free bag on most airlines.6 Her pull along suitcase, while cute, is rather bright; a more muted color scheme, like black and navy--would have been more realistic. I hate bright suitcases. There's a luggage lock and tag--tags are hella important, but every airline I fly now insists that they won't take locked luggage so ButterCream don't lock your bag. She also has realistic plane tickets and a journal to write in, and a passport that I didn't take a look at. I like the set, but not enough to buy it for $44.

For comfortable sleepings.
Grace's Pajamas: Every Girl of the Year since Jess has had pajamas, excluding Nicki because if you don't get panties you don't get pajamas. Graceling is no different. These are super adorable, even with the bow on one shoulder. They're much more practical and streamlined than the hipflaps of the last PJs, and come with a ponytail holder. I'll get these as soon as I can too.

Grace Transformed into the Fairy Type! And brought a cart.
Grace's Opening-Night Outfit: Girl, you look like a Clefairy tried to eat you and got stuck halfway, complete with an extra poof on the side of your head. That said, it's an okay dress. Not terrible, but not so terrible I won't get it. We'll see. The shoes are cute but the uneven tulle is so annoying argh asymmetry is the worse. possible. thing. Also there's like, sequins. But at least they're more subtle than "I barfed tulle and glitter down my clothes" WonderBread. 

Grace's Pastry Cart: As some point I guess ButterCream decides to go peddling her wares on one of those carts you encounter in the mall and try to walk past as quickly as possible without making too much eye contact. There's heart shaped wheels, breads, cakes, treats, boxes, bags, and other accoutrements.7 But eh. It's got play value, but I'm not a player so much as a displayer and blogger and brushy brusher. I have neither the money nor the space for this. $150 you say, is too much for a cart. Oh just you wait. But first.

This was the only image I got. Deal.
Grace's Bistro Set: This isn't such a bad set. There's petit déjeuner8 (even with the liquids being fused to the glasses) and a neat little menu. It comes with stickers so I don't know if they could be reused; I could always mod it into a functional chalkboard either by taking it apart and painting it or replacing it with a small board from Joann's/Michael's. The chair is nice and heavy metal and I have got to stop picking up children's toys and exclaiming "I could kill a man with this!" I'll set it on the "save money for it" pile, with a caveat that the chair would get spray-painted black.

And then. And then.



Grace's French Bakery: The Behemoth arises, lifting itself from the dank, twisted mind of the AG development department. And it shall be named Grace's French Bakery, and you will fear and know that the gods are malicious. This is the big token for ButterCream's collection, and AG went out they damn minds with it.

It's huge--big enough to put at least, I'd say, five or six dolls in for storage. It has an open roof, so it better not rain much. There's a fridge and a sticker clock and wall cabinet and the display at AG had the bistro set inside and there's hinged doors and fucking wall sconces and sparkling water and a set out counter and fake sidewalk a little hanging door sign and the doors open and close and I'm not listing all the things it comes with cause I have other shit to talk about. And the cost of this piece? As big as some furniture? $500.  

I didn't make a typo. $500. Oh hell no. This is getting ripped to shreds on AG's facebook and among huge amounts of the fandom. I could see $300, like EnviroLanie's Camper. I could see. $400, even if I would wince. But $500? American Girl wants us to put down as much as to get 4 other dolls for the BAKERY? Y'all can't take a risk on a Doll of Color, but you can do this? Man, that's some SHIT. Reports are that the box when empty is big enough for a full grown adult to get in. Do you know what I can get for $500? I can get a new computer (like I just did). I could buy washing machines. I can buy several other outfits. I can get a good amount of art supplies. I can fly to Texas and back. I could buy an actual table and chairs or a new desk.

I know AG is billing itself more as a upper-style brand but they must be crazy. I severely doubt there will be a lot of these in the world come the end of the year. Even if I had that much to toss at a doll bakery, I would not use it to buy this unless I suddenly had a stupid large house to put it in.

Fuck that shit. Ain't nobody got time for no big ass toy bakery. Nope.

Grace, if she comes through my door, will only be here long enough to strip her hair and then send her naked and elsewhere. But she ain't getting nowhere near that bakery in my house.


We're closed.
Moddie Shit: Oh Right, Things Other Than Vanilla ButterCream.

Not all that was released was just for Graceling and her Ridiculous Bakery of Damage. We got a decent amount of moddie stuff. So let's poke at that.

Sequined Star Tee: Who said peplums could come back? I didn't say it. Not allowed.

Silver Grey Star Pants: I suspect the pants are store exclusives. Damn. Will have to get them next time. They're nice, but not with that shirt.

Striped Sport Shoes: They're okay. but I have so many doll shoes. SO MANY. Later. Also it looks like shoelaces have gone out of fashion. Not complaining about that.

tell me something good~
Sporty Sandals and Socks Set: American Girl: Now catering to the old black man demographic. I hate these kinds of shoes. This set reminds me so much of how my uncle Kenny wears his sandals.

Souvenir Accessories: Don't have a pic (Lissie and Lilly do!), but it's a purse, shoes, and headband for $20. Pass, even if I like polka dot shoes. My girls have enough shoes. 

Better swimsets.
Purple Two-Piece Swim Suit: As a swimsuit, it's better than the ones that show their middle and look wonky on a cloth body. I just don't do doll swimsuits. This is likely to be no exception.

Well, that's blurry.
Beach Accessories: Like normal, the sandals, tote, drink, and mini-magazine are separate. I haven't bought them yet and I still have no cause to. 

Girl, your butt is gonna sweat.
Lovely Leopard PJ's: starzzz's said it best: The "Lovely Leopard PJs" fail on all three words. The shorts are like we've been skinning stuffies, I already told you no one likes peplums, and the slippers are not cute. Ew all over. Nope. Who wants itchy sweat butt?

Valentine Gift Set: It's adorable! Yes, it's a shirt and envelope for $12, but it's a CUTE SHIRT. I can write little messages in the envelope too, so there. Damn my budget. I got one for Boom/AJ, but not for me. I wanted the sparkle shoes I hadn't gotten before because they were out of stock. Again, later. Maybe next month. Maybe from my husband.

...yes, I will ask my husband to get this for me as a Valentine's gift. What's the Dalmatian wearing?

My Furry Valentine Set: Haha! A play on My Funny Valentine (Chaka Khan version is best version) combined with the idea the animals are furry. I see what AG wanted but all I could think, having been in fandom,9 is a doll in a fursuit holding a box of chocolates. Meanwhile Coconut is wearing antennae and wings, with a magnetic candy heart. I don't dress up my pets but this one's not so bad.

Service Dog Vest: Another thing I forgot to take pictures of (Lissie and Lilly to the rescue again.) The old set with dog included is gone, and now there's a service vest with handle, medal, and log book. All right, representative of kids who need service animals, and means that all animals can be service animals. Though I don't think cats would wear handles on their vests.

Pizza party and Blokus!
Pizza Party Set: Heart shaped pizza looks like more work than it's worth to make sure everyone gets equal slices, but if you're into that. The books is nice, and if you enjoyed the Apples to Apples for dolls, now you have Blokus! Which apparently has all the pieces the full sized game does. I've never played so I have no idea what it's like, but it appears to be a sort of logic/strategy game. There's also plates, napkins, and drinks. I want dolly chess.

Bed chair seat thing.
Sit and Snooze Fold-Out-Bed: I think fold out chair bed things are interesting, but at one point in my high school years I spent several months sleeping on one of these because I didn't have a bedroom, and so I eschew them in my doll life. The blanket looks nice, but not enough for the rest.

Starry Silver Purse: I rarely buy doll purses, cause my gang is more fond of the messenger bag. If we can't get a whole wallet, game system, notebook, and pack of Twizzlers inside it it's not a purse.

Shimmer and Shine Purse: Second verse, same as the first.


So that's the new shit. Graceling/ButtreCream is growing on me, but more for what I can harvest from her and not for herself. The potential lies is how I can take her for parts. There is more that I will get, but not for a few months. I have reviews and stories to tell y'all.

Except that bakery. That, gentle readers and gathered bitchers, is ricockulous.


1 I've seen face to face in store every GotY since Mia, when an AG store opened in Dallas and I was able to go the first time that summer since I trip down there on the regular.
2 I plan to reverse engineer it. 
3 Are you crying that your child will be bored from a lack of pictures? I don't care.
4 The AGGiB has among their pet ranks a Husky, two horses, several dogs, some cats, a rabbit, several sheep, a mini baby buffalo, two birds, and a charmed skunk.
5 Among the many reasons I'm going to hell: this picture here.

(the photo was taken by an AGC member to compare Chrissa and Grace's lip color.)
6 I long for the days when I had two carry ons and three suitcases come back with me from trips to Milwaukee and there was no charge for any of it. My family and I brought so much back from Florida. 
7 Putting my three years of French to use.
8 Still doing it. Mais mon français est trés, trés mauvais. Ça fait plus dix ans.
9 Yes, furry fandom. I'm not scared of them and I draw what could be constituted as furry art and I don't cringe. But they do have some issues that should be addressed--and it's less the animal refs than the sexism and racial issues and the Geek Social Fallacies.


  1. Now that you mention how AG could make a pretend bakery set that costs $500 (a shame/fortunately it's not priced $100 higher otherwise *insert PS3 launch price joke*) but not make Grace a DoC for 2015, that just pisses me off all the more.

    1. I srsly think it's the most expensive thing they've had.

  2. "The chair is nice and heavy metal and I have got to stop picking up children's toys and exclaiming "I could kill a man with this!""

    If people don't like you, they're wrong, dammit.

    LOVED this review as always and can I say I was gonna make a joke about white people and wearing socks with sandals but I'm pretty sure my dad does the socks with sandals this particular way, so maybe it is indeed an old Black man thing.

    Lastly seconded that you hit the nail on the head that AG will take a risk for halfK playset but not on a doll of color. *smdh*

    Ok, really lastly, the Pissabelle mom and her allies (?!?!!!) need to (wait for it) piss off. FFS, people be defending the most ridiculous shit.

  3. It's funny, because I'm not a huge fan of the "City" outfit myself (although I haven't been in to my local AGP to see it in person yet), but over the past couple of days I've seen several target-aged girls carrying non-Grace dolls wearing it (4, plus another one that I think may have been - I wasn't close enough to be certain), so it seems to be a look that's at least popular with the tourist crowd (which was at least 3/5ths of the kids/dolls I saw here, since they seemed to be on family site-seeing trips).

  4. would you do a review on Grace`s custom version of you ever make one? I`m curious about that wig. I believe its not very practical (there are no that many styles you can do with it) but it is kind of unique. I had toyed with the idea of creating a 60s historical and the style of that wig with the side bangs and the ponytail fits perfect!

    1. I would likely document the process like I did with Gwenni.

  5. Hi! I posted a couple of comments last night but don't see them. Just wanted to make sure I haven't done anything wrong.

    1. They must not have gone through, I got no notification of them.

  6. Admittedly the most annoying thing is that we've got another white girl (BORING!) but I'm sort of having trouble digesting how her baking is in any way entrepreneurial or exciting. Why couldn't they have her engaging in something truly new and exciting--like 3D printing? Sure, becoming a baker is a legit career aspiration, but I don't think children need any help dreaming that up. Please tell me they are saving the really cool story for the nonwhite doll. Please.

  7. Great post about Grace! I'm just not feeling her or most of her collection at all. Honestly, I started to get excited a few weeks before she made her debut, hoping that we'd get something truly different. Then everyone started sharing the leaked photos all over Instagram and I was bummed. The only things I like are her: baking set, pjs, and baking outfit currently. The cart and bakery are priced like whoa! And I just don't like the uni-macarons. I prefer separate pieces of food to display, so it looks more realistic in the doll world. Honestly, I'm through with Goty. I have no kind of faith that they will EVER come out with any other character then a red head, blonde, or brunette with light skin. I'll stick with the BeForever line and eventually scoop up Addy and Kaya, possibly. I have Josefina currently. Also, I may just start shopping the secondary market for the remaining items I wish to acquire because I cannot afford to shop there anymore after this year. The prices are already high enough and I cannot imagine tacking on another $5 come 2016. I don't mind second hand accessories and clothes and even furniture. I'm an adult but I have to wonder how kids can afford American Girl's prices on their allowance, Christmas and birthday cash. Then again, on Instagram I saw pics of teens and tweens that got $600 plus cameras for Christmas so maybe kids are getting more expensive gifts these days?? Sigh. I enjoy so much going to the AGP with my daughter and looking at everything. It's a fun experience and AG's customer service is A+ I just don't myself shopping the stores much unless I get a part time job. :)

  8. I flipping love this blog.

    Okay, the bakery, whatever, it's in my house and it's amazing. My 9 year old loves it and plays with it every day. I wasn't super impressed with the doll either. The clothes-so I gather that the kid and her mom travel FIRST CLASS to Paris-so I'm not buying that she would wear the souvenir t-shirt or the wool shorts outfit. Should've had some baby Dior or something.

    1. Having read the first book, the trip to Paris that the collection is hyping so hard is less "Paris vacation, woo look at how rich we are!" and more "My aunt is on bed rest, Mom went to help at the patisserie and house, and took me with her since I was out for the summer too." They do a lot of looking at tourist things, but it's not so much "Grace is spoiled." I was pleasantly surprised.

  9. is it bad i like the shorts outfit

    1. Like it if you want but I think it's terrible.

    2. I absolutely love the city outfit but I will get it to mix and match with other clothes since shorts and sweaters dont go together. as for the pink dress - shame about that uneven tulle! maybe I could cut it off....

  10. The bakery is so cute, but I could almost make a house payment for the price it is....that is nuts...If it was $375 I may have saved for it this year and grabbed it at the end but there is no way I am paying $500...I think this is going to be on Jills Steals at rock bottom prices come november so we may all end up with one anyway...hilarious post by the way :)


    I love Blokus, it is indeed a logic game, as you try to figure out the best places to lay the tiles, and I think it is the absolute shit that there is tiny dolly blokus, and I am super tempted to buy it for my Adventure Buddy (who is not a dolly, but a plush scalemate) to have except hell no $34, I can buy real Blokus for that much.

    Dang that's cute though. Board games for dollys, be still my nerdy board-gaming heart!

  12. OMG. I really, truly, laughed out loud. Multiple times. So much I want to say, but the time isn't there for me at the moment so I'll save it for later. I will say I'm disappointed that they took all of the illustrations out of the books. I was a voracious reader from the day I learned to decode words. My summers were spent reading (trip to the library in the morning to pick up 3-5 books, read them, return the next morning morning - lather, rinse, repeat) and playing with Barbie and the rest of her clan and the copious accessories that accompanied her as well as baby dolls. My mind made those books real, but I loved to see illustrations scattered throughout the chapters. I enjoyed being able to compare and contrast the way I pictured things to the way the illustrator portrayed them.

  13. Little late but I only found this blog by accident (I messed up my Samantha's hair and wasn't sure how to fix it.): Besides the $500 bakery (which I'm pretty sure I could build cheaper), what bothers me about Grace is that on the cover of her book (as seen on the last post) She's on the side, and the black girl is center. As I understand composition of covers, shouldn't the main character be center? Isn't that a bit of a bait-and-Switch? The book could have been about that girl so easy!

    (Also, since you sew and such, have you seen FroggyMama on youtube? She has lots of AG crafts and tutorials)

  14. I tilted my head back and full on CACKLED at "The Behemoth arises..." You CANNOT and WILL NOT disturb the calm in my home in such a way!
    I startled my dog for Gods sake!

    I swear for the cost of that damned thing we could have had James Earl Jones (or at least his ne'er do well cousin that surely exists) read that line and money would be better spent for me!


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