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

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.