Thursday, June 30, 2016

In Which Lissie Tries to be a Better Photographer than the "Professional" Photography Types - A photoshoot with a needlessly long title

So, I got my swim team pictures today. They were... artistic, you could say. They were nice... if I didn't want to be able to tell my head and my neck from each other or from the background. ...if I wanted to only see my swimsuit, my eyes, and my braces on top of a lot of white.

Last year's pictures were even worse. Seriously, is the team a cheapskate and can't afford any kind of reliable picture-taking types? I could take better pictures.

So, I did. This isn't doll-related, but I hope I did a half-decent job.

 ^That. I am proud.

And, in order to one-up the portrait people, I have to show that I can take pictures of people, not just plants. Presenting Hazel in Reid, in that order:

This is an okay picture if you don't know Reid, but if you do, you know that if you ask him to pose for a picture, he does this really, um, weird face. I think he thinks he's doing a nice smile, but... sorry, little guy. So a picture of him with a smile like that^ is golden!

So, how did I do in my quest to take good pictures?

Monday, June 27, 2016

The rest of the releases -- Summer 2016 releases, part 3

Well, I was planning to get this up earlier, but I spent the weekend hanging out with my friends and wasn't able to be on the Internet much. Oh, well, here it is: the last of the new releases.
(Again, all pictures belong to American Girl.)

First, AG has introduced an online section called the "AG Logo Shop", which is just like stuff that you would see as store exclusives. You know, generic logo stuff that doesn't correspond to one particular doll or line. Only now... you can buy it online.

Am I the only one 1) who thinks this looks more like a PJ top than an actual shirt? 2) and who thinks that it would be a lot better with a lot less pink?
Seriously, though:
1) I try to imagine a doll wearing this shirt with maybe some jeans or something and it just looks like a pajama top. It would like you got half-dressed in the morning.
2) I like that, even though it's a girl-centered company, all their logos and stuff are red, not pink (something a lot of the off-brands could take a cue from) (I'm looking at you, Our Generation/Monster High/Barbie) so why don't their products show it?

Same (2) over-pinked problem here, although these are (1) pajamas. Also, I'm tired (no pun intended) of headbands and hairbands and  barrettes being sold with pajama sets. I DO NOT WEAR HEADBANDS OR HAIRSTYLES WHILE I AM SLEEPING. Too lumpy. Forget "keeping her neat while she sleeps" or whatever. Just cut it. Oh, and it doesn't justify a price increase, either, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE WE DO NOT USE THEM WITH THE INTENDED OUTFITS. Got it?
That aside, that top is kinda ugly and not something a nine-year-old would really wear. Add sleeves and cut the collar, and then maybe. Those kinds of collars are for SWEATERS ONLY.
[rant over]

Stupid pajama hair accessories and fancy styles aside, we saw these leaked a while back. I could have sworn they were destined to be store exclusives, but I guess not. Also, why are the pants so short? I don't mind capri pajamas, but when they're done in a long john style, they have to be LONG. Also, why slippers with all these pajama sets? 90% of the time I wear my slippers, it's not with my pajamas. I don't sleep in slippers, nor do I wear them at bedtime. If you have to jack up the price with some kind of foot covering, why not *gasp* socks? And with these summery sets, how about *double gasp* no extra accessories? Is it always so below-freezing up there in Wisconsin that you have no grasp of hot weather during the night? Maybe I'll sleep barefoot tonight, because hey! says it's currently 98.8 out! And there's nothing you can do to stop me! My dolls and I will be snoozing in bare feet and pajamas whose length matches their style and plain stripes or solids and messy, unstyled hair and sleeves and no sweater-collar BECAUSE IT'S FREAKING 98.8 AND I WANT TO BE COMFORTABLE!!! You call that the Cute and COMFY Lounge Set?
[seriously, rant over now]

Another one we saw leaked, only this time, starring cheap paper accessories to jack up the price! (sound of no one clapping) I'm thinking maybe I don't want this one after all.

NO. JUST NO. NO TUTUS WORN WHEN YOU ARE NOT EITHER DANCING OR A WELLIEWISHER. NO JELLY SHOES WHEN YOU ARE NOT WEARING SANDALS. NO PLASTIC HEADBAND THAT WE KNOW WILL BE HARD TO GET ON. Why do we keep getting these semi-Halloween outfits? Too ugly to wear as everyday clothes and to everyday to wear as a costume. And don't even get me started on the armwarmer graphics not lining up with her fingers, or the capri pants with the graphics disappearing over the edge... This outfit is a complete fail.
[i give up on trying to curb my rant]
[turns on "unbridled rage" switch]

Like a previous release, only... wait for it... PINKER! Oh, gosh.

3in1 RingSet 2016
Don't you remember how against the last ring set I was? Hmm, let me count:
1) losable
2) not a closed ring
3) target-age kids don't wear rings
4) makes an awful dent in the doll's finger
5) doesn't look that good
6) three tiny lumps of plastic for $8
If you don't get how small they are, witness the awe of this in-store picture from a couple years ago. My fingers aren't even that big:
How do you NOT lose those? I don't think they sold well at all. And yet you attempt another? The nerve. The nerve!

Okay. Another earring set. Ho-hum.

The purple one is cute, I guess, (I love friendship bracelets) but that goldplastic one? It looks more like a WellieWishers dress-up piece. Again, I don't think it will sell well.

These would be weird enough on their own, but what you can't see are the arms-- they're magenta with zig-zags. Huh?

so much GLITTER

I like the autumn leaves design-- it's different from sets we've seen in the past.

This is like a set from a few years back. But why only one marshmallow set and plate? What if your doll wants to go camping with a friend? Two sets would be $58, and that's a lot!

so expensive

Other then the fact that it's way too small to be in scale... I actually really like this set! The scale, though... apparently something folds out and the whole thing is the size of one bed. Maybe if the little bench was bed-sized, then it would work. Still, it's cute!

So, a revamp of that bed from a few years back. I like the colors of the bedding, but what's with that sweater-print sheet? And I wish AG could be more creative with the beds. Always trundles. Always! Hardly anyone has a trundle! Can we have a bunk bed? I love bunk beds! I have a bunk bed! And not a fancy painted one or a bright colored one. Mine is plain metal and is fantastic! And I don't have only a comforter, either. How about a plain metal bunk bed with a quilt or afghan! I would just love that.

Get ready for another rant here. Okay, so I get that they're trying to appeal to kids with an actual sense of style. But babies do not wear this stuff. As cute as that design is (Don't even get me started on that sweaty, tacky combo of regular T-shirt fabric and fuzzy fluff), BABIES JUST WEAR SLEEPERS. It's hard enough to undress, change and dress a wiggly little being in a simple, easy to wash cotton one-piece suit. All these ruffly dresses and two-piece pajamas have me shaking my head. It's fine for the Twins, who are toddlers, but not these six-month-olds. Not even one-year-olds.

Again. That overdressed baby. Hard-sole shoes simply aren't recommended for kids still learning to walk. And babies don't wear hard headbands. And that wonked-up party-hat headband! Just NO!
Realism aside, there is still way too much going on here: confetti print, ruffles, gold glittery ribbon, bows sprinkled randomly, several layers of different kinds of bows and rosettes on the shoes, off-to-the-side hat, Santa fur, huge pompom... ENOUGH!!!
I want to pick up that little girl, strip all that off her, give her a big hug, and then redress her in a little cotton sleeper.

Thanks so much if you actually read all that. I guess I didn't mean to complain so much, but I'm very opinionated, as you can probably tell. :-P


Friday, June 24, 2016

Truly Me mix-and-match separates -- Summer 2016 releases, part 2

So, part of the summer release yesterday was a whole slew of separate clothing items for the Truly Mes that can be mix-and-matched into a bunch of different outfits, much like Isabelle's dance wardrobe from a couple years ago. It's pretty clear they're inspired by modern fashion. They're all so different, but somehow they just barely manage to go together. Today I'll be taking a look at them and sharing my opinions. Let's get started!

Now this is a recent trend I don't quite "get". It's like you took the body of a jean jacket and glued in the hood and sleeves of a sweatshirt.
This shirt is really cute! I may get it! The color combination is very versatile and could go with lots of different outfits.
I'm "meh" on this sweater, but Hazel likes it and might get it. No surprise, though, since she loves cats! I just hope it's no-snag velcro, or it won't last long at all...

I would like this dress better without the belt. And with a longer, not-puffy skirt, too...

It took me a little while to understand this one. Apparently it's quilted with a star design.

Hazel wants these shorts, but I would like them better if they were maybe beige or olive green, without all that neon stitching.

What I don't understand about these pants is that fly way off to the side, over the pocket. It seems like maybe the fly started to get bored and decided to go for a little walk around the waistband, and if you waited long enough, it would wrap all the way around. :-P

We saw this skirt leaked a while ago, and while I like the smudgy design, my dolls don't need yet another short, floofy skirt. Maybe if it was a long-sleeve shirt with this design...:
(That's my lame MS Paint mock-up) So imagine that^ with maybe jeans and a navy-blue cardigan. Such an improvement, right?

This tank top is probably my favorite of all these separates, and I think I want to get it!

Again, Hazel likes the cats here, but the fact that they're so shiny is a bit distracting. Given, it was probably photographed under harsh studio lights, and would look better in person.

I'm "meh" on these. AG sure does like their leggings.

I think these shoes are just too much. Two different bright colors, stripes, glitter, bows, contrast soles, contrast toes... I mean, how do you get these to match anything?

 On the other hand, I really love these, and will probably get them!

Well, that's it for my opinions on the new separates. While the price of three or four of them is more than the price of one regular outfit, it's a neat idea, and I think many of the pieces will be popular, especially among older kids and teens.

Stay tuned for part 3 of the summer releases!


Thursday, June 23, 2016

WellieWishers are here! -- Summer 2016 releases, part 1

They're here! They're here! Those rainboot-wearing, mud-pie-making little girls... the WellieWishers! After months of speculating over leaks, they're here! I mean, a completely new line-- that hasn't happened in a very long time. And-- spoiler alert-- I love them! Let's take a look:
(All pictures belong to American Girl)

First, the dolls. They're 14.5 inches tall, with hard vinyl bodies, wigged hair, and inset eyes. They cost $60, which I think is reasonable. With AG, we know they're high quality.

I think Willa is my favorite, and I'm considering getting her. Those ladybug wellies are adorable, and she's so cute in those little bunny ears! Plus, she could be like a little sister to Claire-- don't they look alike?

Emerson is my second favorite-- I love that she's into performing arts, and she has cute hair.

Kendall's outfit is so bright and colorful-- it's clear that she's the artsy one.

I love the colors of Camille's outfit, though I have to admit that I was baffled by her boots at first. When we first saw the leaked pictures, I thought they were supposed to look like butterflies. Apparently, they're actually fish, which I guess I understand, though I still see butterfly wings. It that just me?
I also like her single freckle/mole-- as far as I know, no other doll has had something like that. It seems to usually be all or nothing with freckles as far as AG is concerned. I just have a few freckles on my face, and so I think Camille's little polka-dot is realistic and adorable.

Ashlyn is cute, and I think AG did a good job making her outfit girly and cute without being too stereotypical or making it look like a dress-up outfit. The only part I don't like is the tiara. It seems cheap and plasticy, like it might break easily.
I do like Ashlyn's combination of darker skin and freckles-- I don't think AG has ever had a doll like that.

Next up for review is the outfits. The WellieWishers have relatively few outfits, and I hope they get more in a later release.

Except for the fact that the shoes and headband are solid molded plastic, I think this outfit is actually really cute! Who didn't have a dress-up dress like that as a preschooler?

Molded shoes again, but in my opinion all the detailing on the dress more than makes up for it. Seriously, AG did not skimp on that dress at all. What's up with the fan headbands, though? Grace had one, too (in her Opening Night outfit). Have you ever seen someone wear something like that? It actually works here, though, because it's reminiscent of the tutu-skirt.

These PJs are so cute, and if I got a WellieWisher, I would probably get them!

And here are the WellieWishers' accessories!

Hazel pointed out this may have been inspired by the Bitty Twins' old hairbrush, and with the Twins retiring, she's probably right. It's cute!

This is one of my favorite sets! I just wish the bag was a backpack rather than a waist pack.

This set is funny-- literally. I don't really know how little girls would play with it though. I can't see it selling well.

I love this tool set! With the growing interest recently in STEM for girls, I think many parents will want to get this for their kids.

The plushy here is so cute, and the mermaid tail costume is clever as well, but I don't know what you would do with the rest of the set.

I think this will sell quite well-- kids who get the table set or the playhouse will want it. And the mismatched theme is adorable-- it reminds me of Kendall's outfit with all the different colors and prints. I just wish that there were enough place settings for all five girls. And I also think it should have been combined with the food set...

...which is this right here. I wish it came with more snacks.

And here's the WellieWishers' big-ticket item, their playhouse. I think it's really cute. Little girls (and me, too!) could spend hours playing in it.

And their not-quite-as-big-ticket item, their theater. The backdrops are really cute, but it's a bit small. It's cramped for one doll-- two would be impossible, let alone the entire gang of five.

I love bunnies! Carrot is a cute name. I wish the hutch didn't look so obviously all-plasticy though. I don't know if it's worth $42.

The chairs here are cute, but the table has a little too much going on. A flower shape, a carved flower design, a tic-tac-toe board, a vine motif. It's hard to keep the tic-tac-toe straight when the lines of the flower are cutting through the squares.

This is a clever idea-- a backpack doll carrier with wings that make both the girl and doll look like butterflies. And I like that they aren't all pink.

WWCharmBracelet girls
What a cute little wellie charm that comes with this bracelet! Five other charms are available to represent each character:
I think it's such a great idea! A girl could get the matching charms as she collects each doll. And at $10 for the starter chain and wellie charm and $5 for each additional charm, it's a fair price too. It would be $35 for everything, which is better than Grace's bracelet from last year ($60). In fact, I may get this! It would probably fit me (my wrists are on the small side), but I would want to try it on in store to be sure.

Well, that's all the WellieWishers collection!

I'll share my opinions on the other new releases in another post.

Thanks for reading, and remember to answer the poll!
What do you think of the WellieWishers collection?