Sunday, September 15, 2019

Kyla's Hocking Hill Vacation 2

Day 2: Kayaking and Whispering Falls

Waking up early, Kyla used part of her second day to go kayaking.  She started at the waterfall she had seen yesterday, in Ash Cave, and paddled along the stream a mile or so.

She made her way through rocks and small rapids.  The water moved quickly is some areas, but slowed considerably when the stream widened out She marveled at all the greenery.

Hocking Hills had rain almost the entire week before she came, so the plant life was extremely lush.  She really enjoyed seeing some of the tree roots that stuck out from the banks.   The earth that surrounded them, washed away over time.

It is a wonderful adventure going down the stream.  The current never goes fast enough that Kyla feels unsafe, but it moves her along so that she only has to steer with her paddle.

After kayaking, Kyla starts on another hike to see a waterfall and the largest cavern in the park.   She hikes along the edge of rock cliffs, always watching where she is stepping.  The path is wide, but rocky.

Walls of sandstone rise on her right side, with layers of different sediment coloring the rock.

Caves, caverns, and rocks are common sites as she trudges along the path.  A few people pass her as she hikes, but not nearly as many as on other trails.

When she gets to the end of the trail she is amazed at the size of the cavern.  It is huge!!!

The waterfall is a trickle, and nothing fantastic, but the cavern is amazing.

She explores the cavern, walking to the end of the path where rocks have fallen over the years.

Climbing on and around them she find a different view of the cavern.   It is amazing.

For a few more minutes she wonders around, exploring the rocks, the wall, and the view from the cavern.

It is an awesome sight.  As she heads back to the cabin, some dark clouds begin to cover the sky.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Kyla's Hocking Hill Vacation

Day 1: Exploring Ash Cave 

Kyla always looks forward to summer vacation.  She loves getting to explore a new place.  This year Kyla took a road trip to Ohio to visit Hocking Hills,  a State Park that is famous for it's waterfalls.  Ohio is a good twelve hour drive from Minnesota if there is no traffic.  So it's decided to stop in Indianapolis for the night before heading to Ohio.

Even though it's only for the night, Kyla finds a place to go for a walk around a man made pond.  It's a pretty little area with places to sit, gardens, and lots of trees.

She sits for awhile under one of the trees, looking out on the pond.   It's a very relaxing area, even with all of the businesses in the background.  Kyla wonders if there are any fish in the pond as she looks over it.

Although it is beautiful here, Kyla is sure that Hocking hills is going to be much prettier.

When she arrives at the park, she settles into the cabin.  It's wonderful, with a deck, and cute decorations.  Once she is unpacked, she is off to explore.  She heads out to one of the closest waterfalls at Ash Cave.

Most of the area in the park is made of sandstone.  Because of that the water and wind have eroded it, making waterfalls, and caves.   This waterfall is in a huge cavern that explorers used to get out of the elements.

There is not a lot of water running over the waterfall, but it plunges almost 100 ft from the ledge above, forming a pristine pool of water below.

Kyla loves that she can walk behind the fall and look out at the huge cavern it adorns.

She wonders what this looked like when the first explores came through, or when the Native Americans found it before them.

It must have looked very different then. It is such a calm area with the waterfall making noise and it echoing off the cavern walls.

People are swimming in the water hole, but Kyla did not bring her suit with today, so she decides just to dip her feet in the water.

It's wonderfully cool, and refreshing as the temperature is in the 90's with a dew point in the 80's.   She stays in the water for a few minutes, then explores the rest of the cavern.

Sandstone always amazes Kyla, because it can be very hard, but is also very fragile.  It can easily crumble, especially after heavy rains.

The colors in the stone are beautiful.  So many shades of tans, offset by the green of the moss growing on the surface of the rock.  She brushes her hand against the rough surface of the rock.   What an amazing area.  She marvels at the waterfall once again before heading back to the cabin.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Mikaella's Japan Release

A Modern Twist on a Traditional Kimono

The third doll that I am reviewing is Mikaella. Of all the Journey Girls in the Japan release,  Mikaella has the outfit that looks the most Japanese.

Her outfit, a modern take on a traditional kimono, also comes with sandals, a purse and a flower hair clip. Although this outfit is simple it's a wonderful addition to the Japan line.

At first I thought that Mikaella was wearing a kimono. Upon a closer look I realized that it is more of a shorts outfit with a wrap around the back. The dress is fuchsia with yellow and aqua paintbrush swipes patterned throughout the outfit.

The sleeves go just passed Mikaella's elbows. There is a teal ribbon that wraps around the front of her waist, which is also where the dress part of the outfit begins.

About 1/2 inch on each side of the middle of the outfit the dress parts starts and goes down to Mikaella's ankles. Similar to a jumper, the top and bottom shorts are all one piece, with the dress/wrap starting at Mikaella's waist.  The whole outfit is made with a very thin, light material.

There is Velcro up the back top half of the dress, making it simple to get on and off.

Mikaella's sandals aren't entirely new, but the design is a little different than we've seen before. They are a gold/silver color with a strap across the top of the foot and another strap that wraps around the back of her ankle.

That's it for the sandal.  There really isn't much to them.  No Velcro.  No embellishments, just a plain simple sandal. The only bummer part is that Journey Girl used the plastic souls that are extremely slippery. The sandals are not the easiest things to get on to Mikaella's feet.  You really have to slide the front part over her toes in first then you can flip the back on to her heel.

Mikaella comes with a bobby pin that has a fuchsia colored flower on it. Nothing much and it's definitely not a new accessory but it does help the outfit have some continuity.

A small wrist purse is also included with this set.  The light gold leather purse has a fuchsia flower on the top lip of it, exactly like the one on the bobby pin.  Like most of the new purses, this one has Velcro on the inside to keep it closed. 

There is a small gold rope loop so that Mikaella can put the purse around her wrist.  A cute purse.   I would have loved something other than a purse as an accessory.  Maybe a smart phone, or a food item, as Mikaella is the foodie in the Journey Girls group. But this is okay.

Although this is very simple outfit it is a great modern take on a kimono.  Mikaella has the same issues as Kyla as far as stiff joints.  Her hair seems to be the same quality and her vinyl and body are the same also.

All ratings are out of 10

Value 6 – Although I love Mikaella's outfit, it is not the most versatile and since the doll itself still has the same issues as dolls of the last few years, the score is lower than some of the other dolls in this release.  I would still buy her, but I think the issues also need to be noted.

Fitment 9 – The sandals  are really the only thing that don't fit well.  Of course this outfit only has the sandals and the dress.  Sometimes the purse loop is tight, making it difficult to get on the dolls wrist, but this one is perfect. 

Versatility 6 – All the accessories can be used with other outfits, but the outfit itself does not have much versatility.  That being said, it is a very cute outfit.

Cuteness 9 – I love this outfit.  It is such a wonderful take on a traditional kimono.  The colors are beautiful, and the design is great.  Very cute!

Overall 7 – With the same issues that Kyla had, Mikaella is a wonderful doll, but would be better if the joint issues were resolved.  Mikaella's outfit is beautiful, but it is not as versatile as other Journey Girls outfits, since it is all one piece.  It would be wonderful to have different accessories, but the purse and hair piece is cute.  If you really like this outfit, then buying the doll is worth it.  If you don't love the outfit, I would wait.  Toys R Us or TRU kids will be releasing a new Mikaella at some point, just not sure when.  As soon as information is out, I will try to let you know.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Kyla's Japan Release

Kyla's Tokyo T-shirt Outfit

Kyla is dressed in a long sleeve t-shirt and jean's with Japan inspired iron-ons. Her black plastic boots have a soft velvety coating. A cute red heart shaped purse is also included. The doll isn't any different than the Australian Kyla released a few years ago.

Kyla's long sleeve black shirt is nice and heavy. This shirt is one of the most well made shirts released by Journey Girls. Like many of the shirts released recently, there is a liner to prevent color transfer.

Unlike many of the Journey Girls t-shirts, this one has Velcro all the way down the back! Making it extremely easy to get the t-shirt on.

In the middle of the shirt a "Tokyo" iron on adorns the shirt. A coy, cute anime kitty, a rising sun heart, three flowers, and a traditional shrine surround the word Tokyo. There are two white stripes on each sleeve just above the elbow. This is a wonderful tourist style shirt.

Kyla‘s jeans have the same iron-ons as her shirts. There’s a Koi, an oriental fan, a heart with a rising sun design in it, a daisy, a cute little kitty and a shrine.

The jeans are light blue denim with small cuffs at the bottom of the legs. Like all of the Journey Girls jeans fake pockets are sewn in, and are not usable. There is some elastic in the waistline to make it easy for the jeans to slip on and off.

Kyla‘s boots are not new, as far as design, but do you have an outer coating that makes them different than the normal plastic ones that we have seen in the past.

These boots are black and have a soft texture to the outside almost like velvet. They are the same short calf boots that we’ve seen in years past with a slit all the way up the back of the boot.

As I have mentioned in past reviews, I personally don't love the slit in the boot, mostly because it makes photographing from the back challenging.

A cute heart shaped purse with fringes dangling from the edges comes with Kyla. It reminds me of more of a western style purse, but is very cute.

The fabric is a nice soft leather. It does have Velcro on the inside top so that you can close the purse and it will stay closed. A long strap makes it possible to hang the purse from her shoulders.

The doll itself is very similar to the last couple of years. The design is the same, the joints seem to be the same and the vinyl still seems to be the same. Two things that are a little bit different are her hair and the cloth body. Her hair seems to be a little bit more frizzy. It can still be managed with water and a brush, but with very little play the hair becomes tangled and messy again.

Kyla’s hair has a little bit of a wave to it and because of that it tangles even more. The cloth body has the same exact design as in years past but does seem to be made out of a different material. It is heavier, has a different feel to it (much more like an OG doll's body), and the stitching is much straighter.

In years past you could actually see the stitching coming apart in some of the areas. One thing that is still disappointingly the same is the joints. After receiving Ilee I was hoping that her joints were going to be the standard for the new dolls.

Unfortunately most of the new dolls have extremely ridged joints, making the arms or head click as it is turned. Such a disappointment since Ilee has so much smoother joints.

All ratings are out of 10

Value 7 – I'm not sure if Kyla is a 6 or a 7 for value. Here's why. Kyla's outfit is great and has a lot of potential for use with other outfits. The doll is the weak point though. Kyla's hair is not great. Don't misunderstand, she has good hair, but it's not great. It will get tangled with normal play, but it is a high enough quality that it can be untangles with water and patience. Her joints are just horrible. Her right arm is downright difficult for me to move. Not only is it difficult, but I am worried that it will break off (a real possibility). Probably more of a 6 or lower, but in years past I have found that each doll's joints can be different. There may be 4 different Kyla's, all of them with different feeling joints. Some of them may be more like Ilee's joints...hopefully.

Fitment 9 – Everything fits well, but the shirt and jeans are tight. That isn't a big deal with the shirt as it has Velcro all the way down the back. However, since the jeans have to be moved down Kyla's legs, they have a difficult time moving at times, especially over her heals.

Versatility 10 – There are lots of good options for mixing and matching with other outfits. The jeans would go great with a plain top. The t-shirt will work with a skirt or shorts. And of course the boots and purse go with almost anything.

Cuteness 9 – This is one of those outfits that make me happy, kind of like Dana's monkey shirt. It is cute and fun, and does a great job of capturing that tourist feeling. The colors of the iron-ons work well with each other and with the accessories.

Overall 8 – Really the only thing that brings Kyla down is her joints. If I was rating just the outfit, it would be a 9. I am not sure that all Kyla dolls have the same joint issue, but my guess is that more have the issue than don't Kyla is still worth buying, especially if you don't have her at all. If you already have a Kyla doll, the new outfit is worth picking her up for. Right now you can purchase her through Amazon. Eventually she should be available through Toys R Us online.