Monthly Archives: August 2017

September Catalog

Hey doll fans, if you have the American Girl app, the September catalog is now available for download!  Terrific photos of Nanea, whom we were excited to see in person at AGP-Chicago yesterday.  Not only did we meet Nanea, but we also met Heather from Dollightful Dolls for tea! We will definitely share a report about our purchases soon ūüíó. We are still squeezing a bit more fun out of the summer.  I went back for a half day of work today, but now we are off to see the movie “Leap”!


August Arrivals

Hi everyone! It’s Jen and Brianna coming to you from the local coffeeshop with our opinions on some of the new arrivals.

Our first item is Kaya’s Trading Dress and Accessories. You buy these items separately.

B: I like these items, because I think that they relate to a very important time for Kaya’s Tribe and the English that are exploring and trading with tribes like Kaya’s. The beading and stitching on Kaya’s dress is amazing, and the items in her Trading Accessories are very 1764ish.

J: I don’t know a lot about Kaya, but I am thrilled whenever a historical character gets new items.


Our second item is the new Kaya outfit for girls….

B: I think this outfit is beautiful. The dress and faux fur vest blends Kaya’s Time (1760’s) and modern times very well.

B: Rebecca’s Faux Fur Coat is amazing! I love the fur around the wrists and neck and the color on the coat is beautiful, though frankly I’m not sure if they could make the blue – purple color so vivid back in her time.

J: I’m not sure how this coat looks if you don’t have the same dress underneath.

J: ¬†Kit’s new Christmas items – I’m pretty excited! ¬†I don’t have a Christmas dress for Kit yet. We own Maryellen, Addy, and Julie’s holiday outfits. ¬†I’m still weighing whether I would prefer the new or old Christmas dress for Kit. ¬†I hope to see this outfit in Chicago soon and I can definitely see asking Santa for it!

B: Kit’s Christmas Dress is really nice, but my favorite thing is her stocking! It’s so adorable with the sock monkey inside of it!

J:  My pie and coffee are almost gone and we are just getting started!!

B: Maryellen’s new Rollerskating Outfit is really cute, but I don’t know how easy it would be to rollerskate in a dress, like that..

J: I think it is a great dress for Maryellen, and I would maybe think of it as a “party dress.” ¬†Are those Caroline’s shoes recycled? ¬†Hmmmm… ¬†Addy would look phenomenal in this!

B: I LOVE THIS OUTFIT! I think it is so pretty, especially on Melody. Some of the fabrics remind me of Rebecca’s Beforever meet outfit…

J: ¬†Melody looks very pretty but I would not buy this outfit. ¬†I dislike turtlenecks, tight sweaters, and scratchy wool skirts. ¬†I know my mother is laughing when she reads this because this was the source of much drama back in the 1970s when I was a kid. ¬†Don’t even get me started on those fuzzy tights! ¬†I don’t understand what these shoes are. ¬†Maybe they are better in person?

B: I also love this outfit! Gabriela looks awesome in it. The silver shoes and turquoise dress are stunning together.

J: I’m glad Gabriela’s collection continues to grow. ¬†Lovely color. ¬†Reminds me a bit of a professional ice skating outfit.


B: I think this outfit is cute, but I can’t imagine a 13 year old wearing it.

J: I disagree! ¬†Seattle! ¬†Brianna and I are arguing about this right now! ¬†I love this outfit and it my #1 pick from this release. ¬†It could be coming home soon. ¬†I am disappointed, though, that they gave Z’s dog the cute umbrella. ¬†Hello? ¬†Z needs the umbrella not her dog. ¬†Tricky business there AG.

B: Z’s Media Set and Green Scene are amazing! It has everything you could need for making a doll movie! At my middle school, we have a G – I – G – A – N – T – I – C green screen that we use to make our Middle School News Show.

J: I can’t wait to see the doll community using this as a photo backdrop.

B: I love this outfit! It’s very Western, and the boots remind me a lot of Saige’s Meet Outfit boots. The belt around the tunic is very fashionable too!

J: I like this and think it will sell well. ¬†I’m still trying to determine whether the white fabric is sheer? After Gabriela’s see through performance skirt I’m keeping watch.

B: I don’t like the capelet or the skirt but I think the shirt and golden flats are so cute! It’s definitely not AG’s best outfit, though.

J: Here we thought the t-shirt would be for Luciana – the possible 2018 Girl of the Year. ¬†AG surprised us on that leak. ¬†The capelet. ¬†That houndstooth pattern is huge in doll-scale. ¬†I’m Ok with the rest of the outfit, but the overall look is just too strange for me. ¬†Brianna says I should let out my “true feelings” on this outfit. ¬†There’s one doozy in every release, and this one is it!

Top Picks

B: My top pick is two outfits actually … Gabriela’s Party Dress and the Western Chambray outfit. Melody’s Birthday Dress is the runner – up.

J: ¬†Z’s rainy day outfit and Kit’s Christmas dress. ¬†Santa? ¬†Do you follow this blog?

We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this AG release.  We will talk more about Nanea in a future post.

It’s All About the Rods and Cones

Julie Eclipse

“Hey Isabelle! ¬†How was tennis practice?”

“Great! ¬†Um, Julie … why are you sitting in the driveway by yourself?”

Isabelle Tennis Ag

“I’m waiting for the eclipse! ¬†But don’t worry, I have sunscreen on.”

“Julie! ¬†What about your eyes? ¬†Those Target sunglasses don’t stand a chance against the sun. ¬†Girl, protect your rods and cones! ¬†Come inside with me and we’ll see what Josefina is up to.”

Josefina Nanea

“Josefina, I found Julie in the driveway trying to view the eclipse with Our Generation sunglasses on! ¬†The safe viewing glasses have been sold out for weeks!”

“Ah, not a good idea. ¬†I’m too busy in here to bother with the moon and the sun. ¬†The new Nanea book arrived! ¬†I can’t put it down.”

Josefina Necklace

“I totally forgot about Nanea!” said Isabelle. ¬†“We have to hop on the American Girl website and study her collection!”

“That sounds much safer that watching the eclipse,” said Josefina. ¬†“AG release party in Isabelle’s room in 5 minutes!”

What are your plans today?




Introducing. . .Us!

The American Girl Create-Your-Own Doll launch inspired us to create dolls that look like us. ¬†Now you can picture us over here typing away…


I chose the Jess face mold, though I am not Asian. ¬†In the online program that choice looks the most, to me, like an adult face. ¬†I have heard that this face mold has painted eye notches similar to Nanea… but I digress!

I chose the “Let’s Daydream” outfit, but honestly none of them are outfits that I would normally buy for myself or a doll. ¬†Brianna detests this outfit! ¬†I can’t say that I normally wear a flowered headband, but I did once wear a Rainbow Dash headband to the school I work at for Halloween, so maybe it isn’t that much of a stretch!

I chose the “Let’s Play” accessories because there is a doll Fitbit. ¬†For “Personality” I chose reading and writing.

Brianna says I look better than this in real life, so I’m taking that as a compliment!



I chose the Cecile face mold, because I think it looks a lot like a normal face of a 12 year old, like me. My best friend and I were both making ones that look like us and we both chose Cecile.

I chose the “Let’s Smile” outfit, because out of all 6 outfits it personally looks the best to me. I like the light blue jean jacket over the dress, because my everyday outfit tends to look like that.

I chose the “Let’s Smile” accessories as well, because they have what looks like a Starbucks drink in the accessories. For “Personality” I chose travel. It was really hard to decide which one to do. I like music & dancing, reading & writing, travel, and sports & games. For my “Favorite Place” I chose the mountains. It was either that or the lake or beach. Finally, for my “Pet Pal” I chose the dogs, though I like cats, and many of the other animals listed as well.

We would love to know what you “look like” too!


The Real Z – Book Review

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 3.41.45 PMAfter watching a few too many stop-motion YouTube videos by American Girl, I downloaded the first chapter of “The Real Z” on Amazon.¬†¬†“The Real Z” piqued my interest because the school I work at has a stop-motion film-making club and I wanted to learn more.

I downloaded the first chapter for free on Amazon and I was totally hooked! ¬†I jumped right on to my library’s website to reserve the book. ¬†The book is written by Jen Calonita, an established author of books for teens.

The book follows the character Suzanne “Z” Yang, a 13 year-old Korean-American girl in Seattle who is a fan of making AGSM (American Girl stop motion) video blogs (vlogs). ¬†The book is very much influenced by the #ZCrew AGSM videos American Girl has created. ¬†I loved the twist of a book character being an American Girl fan!

Z’s character rang true to me and that’s what made me devour the book. ¬†Z has school and neighborhood friends, but she also has online friends in the vlog world who are important to her. I thought that the inclusion of online friends was an excellent representation of safe and supportive online friendships. ¬†In fact, I believe many tweens and teens (and grown-ups!) in the AG fandom find similar friendships that support their photography, crafting, or fiction efforts. ¬†Z’s mom and dad view all of her vlogs before she publishes them, because, “once you publish something you can never take it back.” ¬†Sounds like advice I have given!

I also appreciated that Z is a highly creative person, and the author accurately portrays and highs and lows associated with being creative. ¬†The main conflict in the book is generated from Z’s creativity.

The book also helped me to learn more about Seattle and Korean-American foods.  Fun!

I am eagerly awaiting the second book in her series “Z on Location” which is released on September 12th. ¬†If you are trying to prioritize which AG book to read next, I would put this one near the top.

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 3.54.21 PM



I’m rating “The Real Z” five “Coconuts”!

Surprise for Rebecca

Rrrrring.   Rrrrring.  Rebecca picked up the phone and heard an excited Lanie on the other end.

“Beckie? ¬†It’s Lanie. ¬†I have the BEST idea! ¬†Can you set the garden table and put a summer dress on? ¬†I’ll be home in 15 minutes.”

Rebecca was curious about Lanie’s plans, and jumped into action immediately. ¬†She slipped on a purple chiffon dress and gathered up some place settings.

Beckie table

She poured a pink lemonade and put the tea kettle on for Lanie, who was a nature lover and favored Celestial Seasonings teas with pretty names like Lavender Lemon Lane.  

Everything had been great since joining the family in July, but lately Rebecca was starting to feel worried about a new school. ¬†When she wasn’t worried about the new school, she was worried she was wasting the last few weeks of school being worried! It felt good to be pouring tea and getting ready for… whatever it was Lanie had up her sleeve.

Rebecca Garden Table

Lanie came rushing into the backyard with a big bakery box. ¬†“Beckie, I’m here!!”

Doll Garden Table

“Wow, Lanie! You’re all dressed up too. ¬†What’s in the big box? ¬†Is it someone’s birthday?”

“Nope! ¬†I heard something on the radio today and it gave me an idea… Are you ready to see what I brought home?”

Doll Tea Party

“Ta-da! ¬†It’s a pie!” exclaimed Lanie.

“Wow, it looks delicious. ¬†What kind is it? ¬†And what made you think about buying a pie?”

“It’s National Lemon Meringue Pie Day! ¬†Why don’t you do the honors Beckie and slice it up.”

Queens Treasures Lemon Pie

“I never knew there was such a day,” said Rebecca while she eased a fluffy piece out of the tin.

Lanie said, “It seems like there is a special day for everything these days, but I’m not complaining when it involves pie! ¬†Did you brew a tea for me? ¬†Thank you!”

“Oh, I was happy to do it. ¬†I have to confess that it was a nice distraction. ¬†I’m feeling worried about school starting in September. . .

“I’m sorry to hear that you were worrying, Beckie. ¬†I know you’ll feel better once school starts, but in the meanwhile, maybe we could load up our backpacks with supplies and ask the school secretary if we can find your locker and I can show you around. ¬†I moved in last year in February, and I know it is hard to be new.”

“I already feel so much better just talking to you… and I haven’t even tried the pie yet!”

Lemon Pie Day

Jen says... I recently purchased the pie from The Queen’s Treasures. ¬†Little did I know that it would be just the right prop for National Lemon Meringue Pie Day! ¬†I like the picture of Rebecca serving the pie and the happy feeling that a piece of pie is imminent.

When I took the pictures I didn’t know what story I would write. ¬†Somehow when I hear Lanie’s voice in my head she sounds like Peppermint Patty from the Peanuts. ¬†Our pastor preached this week about asking for help when you are facing difficult times, and I guess that message was on my mind.

Will you be seeking out a piece of lemon meringue today?  Or even making one from scratch?


Old World with Kit

Put on your bonnet, today we are off to Old World Wisconsin, a delightful living history museum where you can visit immigrant homesteads from the 1800s in a natural setting.

We have Kit with us — is there any doll easier to travel with?  Her cute hairstyle can endure all the traumas that come with doll adventures.

Our first stop always has to be the restaurant The Hen House in Eagle, Wisconsin.  You can get a breakfast with homemade white bread toast for 3.99.  I won’t pass judgement if you start your meal by sharing a homemade donut!

Old World Wisconsin is on a huge parcel of land.  There are trams to take you from one Settlement (Norwegian, German, etc.) to the other.  The buildings have been relocated here from all over the upper Midwest.

Old World Wisc

The General Store is filled with wonderful calico prints.  Kit says, “How many yards will you need of the pink gingham?”

Kit General Store

Many of the buildings have museum interpreters in period attire doing work just as it would have been done more than 120 years ago.  You may find someone spinning yarn, making soup, or feeding livestock breeds favored by early European immigrants.

Geraniums  Cucumbers sitting on the porch were a clue that some pickling was underway inside this home.  

Kit found something she could relate to in Four Mile House. 

Doll Bed Vintage

A lucky child had a full bedroom set for her doll.  The bed looked like the right size for Kit, and the doll trunk would solve some storage issues!

I found a quiet moment with Kit at the German Homestead.  

If you go, I would recommend prioritizing which Settlement you want to see most.  By the time we got to the Norwegian area, we were hot and tired.  Next time we will start there with fresh eyes.

Kit says, “There’s still plenty of nice weather to get outside and learn about the immigrants — recent or not so recent — that came to your state or province.”




Amazon Matches AG Sale Prices

I keep a continual Amazon wish list and check pricing almost every day, particularly for good deals on books for my job. Last night I noticed some of the American Girl items on my wish list showed a 30% price reduction. These were mainly Beforever items that are concurrently on sale on the AG site right now, especially parts of Melody and Maryellen's collections. American Girl's sale is through 8/7… no guarantees on Amazon.

The conversation at my house this morning about 2 minutes after my husband got up:

"Honey, did you need any help with a birthday present for me?"

"Um, I haven't really… that would be great!"

I hopped on the computer and called out, "You don't have to get anything else! I'm all set."

Not only was shipping free with our Prime, but we had over 40.00 in rewards I could use (Amazon credit card is 5% cash back).

My package won't be arriving by the American Girl's pony express, Amazon didn't try to call my husband's account by a creative new first name, and the Amazon rewards process is straightforward and doesn't require any minimum purchases to use.

What did I order for my birthday next month? I can't tell you—it would ruin the surprise!

Bookworm Gardens

Brianna and I have reached the part of summer where accelerate our fun before we head back to school.  One item on our summer bucket list was to take a trip to Bookworm Gardens  in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Bookworm Gardens has child-friendly plantings themed to match well-loved children’s books. ¬†We brought Rebecca and Addy along on our mini road-trip.

Brianna noticed right away that the charming map’s artist was Graef – we are pretty sure it is Renee Graef, illustrator for many American Girl classics like Kirsten’s books. ¬†She used to live in the area.

We started our tour near a lazy stream reminiscent of Jen’s favorite children’s book¬†The Wind in the Willows.

Addy Rebecca

Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing ‚Äď absolutely nothing ‚Äď half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats – Wind in the Willows

Addy is wearing the new Little House on the Prairie dress and apron from The Queen’s Treasures. ¬†She heard there might be something related to Laura and Mary and dressed the part.

Addy Beckie Wagon

‚ÄúThe snug log house looked just as it always had. It did not seem to know they were going away.‚Ä̬†Little House in the Big Woods

The whole time we were taking pictures we were trying to evade YMCA camps on a field trip.  In the wagon picture above, Brianna is under the seat ready to whisk the dolls away before the Y kids are unleashed!  Doll photography is a pursuit for the brave and decisive.

Rebecca Japan

This is our cry, this is our prayer: peace in the world – Sadako Sasako (Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes)

A Japanese garden honors several books, including¬†Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. ¬†This book about Hiroshima would be an excellent ¬†companion to Nanea’s books.

Addy Winnie Pooh

“Nearly eleven o’clock,” said Pooh happily. “You’re just in time for a little smackerel of something.”

One of the neat things to see at Bookworm Gardens is a real “Magic School Bus”! ¬†It is a retired school bus with metal insect legs and ladybug wings attached to the roof. ¬†We dared not enter because there were little boys in it opening and closing the bus doors fevently. ¬†I could see an accident about to happen . . . the same feeling I get in the Trader Joe’s parking lot.

We moved on to calmer places. . .


“Twitch” is about a city mouse who moves to the country and builds his home in an oak tree. ¬†The author, Judi Fors, was concerned that kids seemed to mostly play by re-enacting tv shows and video games, so she had a tiny door and mailbox attached to a tree at the school where she worked. ¬†The story of Twitch was born from this experience.

Rebecca Bike

The Tin Forest by Helen Ward

If you go, we recommend arriving after 1:00, because the “afternoon nap” kids start clearing out around then.

Have you read any of the books featured in the photos above?




Nanea Preorder

Nanea (with parts of her collection included) is up on the American Girl website today for pre-order with free ship for Berry and Gold level rewards members. (Assuming you can log in and the computer doesn’t think you’re named Janice.)

  • Confirmed her name is na-NAY-ah, which means delightful and pleasant
  • I noticed she has subtle eyelash paint, which reminds me of what some bloggers have done to glam up their dolls (see We’re All Mini Mad and Say Hello to my Little Friends blogs)
  • Love her lip color!
  • Her full name is Alice Nanea Mitchell
  • The book says they came to Oahu 6 months ago as a military family.  I’m eager to discover Nanea’s heritage.
  • This is my first view of the pajamas-so pretty!  I think they will be amazing on Kanani or Lea as well

I hope the launch of the Create a custom doll (now moved to next week) doesn’t overshadow Nanea’s big splash.  They’re only 2 weeks apart, and fall at a time when most people with children are busy paying school feels and squeezing in one last family vacation.

Your thoughts on Nanea?  Any chance you will preorder and possibly receive her before the launch date?