Saturday, August 11, 2018

Jogging Suit

Alana in an Older Journey Girls Outfit


As Toys R Us cleared out their stores, interesting things showed up in store.  The outfit I am reviewing today is from the first or second wave of Journey Girls.  It’s a purple, crushed velvet jogging outfit, with a pink tank top, pink duffel bag, and tennis shoes.  A neat outfit that I was glad to have snagged…here’s why.


The pants and jacket (hoodie) are made of the same crushed velvet material.  Soft, with deep purple color, the material looks shiny rather than soft.   


Embroidered into the right front hip of the pants is a heart with “JG” in the middle, a tiny crown over the heart,  and “Journey Girls” around the heart.  


There is a matte purple ribbon, tied in a bow, in the middle of the waist.  It's probably there to simulate a drawstring, but the pants actually have an elastic waist.  The fit is awesome when standing, but gets a tad tight on Alana when she sits down.


You can tell this is an older Journey Girls hoodie; there is a zipper, and there is no liner on a dark materialed outfit.  Both of which are kind of neat.  


A real white zipper runs up the front of the hoodie, making it easy to get it on and off, and adding to the realism of the outfit.  


The cuffs of the sleeves and the bottom of the jacket have dark purple elastic.  Embroidered on the left breast is the same heart with a crown above and the initials “JG” inside.


Running the outside  length of the sleeves are two white ribbons, accenting the sleeve and matching the zipper.  


Like many gym hoodies, the back of the hoodie has the Journey Girls monogram embroidered across the entire back of it.  


It’s really neat, and it’s interesting to see that the old Journey Girls symbol was the heart with the little crown over it.


I am not sure what to call the pink undershirt.  It’s not quite a tank-top as it has very small sleeves, but it doesn’t strike me as a t-shirt either.  


No matter what you call it, it’s a nice little pink cotton shirt.  There is a collar with two white stitched rings in it.  It has Velcro up the entire back, making it possible to put on without going over the dolls feet.  (YAY!!!)  It’s nice that it is not a white shirt.  The pink adds more to the outfit.


The duffel bag is made of a silk like material.  A brighter pink than the shirt, it doesn’t match anything on the outfit, but it does look like it belongs with the outfit.  


The”JG” monogram is stitched into one side of the bag with black thread.   It has a tubular shape, with an opening on top to put things in…although I’m pretty sure none of the items in this set will fit in the bag.


Back in the day, these shoes may have been a new design, but now they are old news.  The standard molded pink plastic goes well with the outfit and are easy to get on and off of the dolls.  


Even though they aren’t new or fancy, they work well with this outfit.  And since back when this outfit was released they were still a fairly new design…I’ll say they are good shoes.



When Journey Girls first was releasing outfits all of them came with a hanger, like this one does.  They were removed from most outfits after awhile, only remaining in the “Celebration” outfits.  This one comes with the hanger, which is a nice little accessory.


Rating
All ratings are out of 10

Value 9 – Old outfits like this one were made really well.  The stitched "Journey Girls" emblem on the back of the hoodie is a great example of this, as is the real zipper.  The outfit also comes with a decent amount of pieces to it.  And, although the shoes are not awesome, they were nice at the time when this outfit was released.  


Fitment 9 – Perfect fit on every piece....if the doll isn't sitting.  The pants get tight when Alana sits, but I feel like that is real life.  Maybe the pants could have been a little looser in the butt without looking floppy, but I am not sure of that.  AS they are, they are great pants, just tight when she sits down.

Versatility 7 – The pieces of this outfit can definitely be used with other outfits, but I feel like they are going to look better as a set.  

Cuteness 9 – Cute and cuddly!  I love the color and the design of the outfit.  The embroidered emblem and name are great touches.  It's a really cute lounging or exercise outfit.

Overall 9 – Overall this is a really solid outfit.  It is made amazingly well.  I forget how nice many of the early outfits were made.  One of the things I really like about this outfit is the emblem.  It's really awesome to have some Journey Girls swag.   The fit of the pants is such a small issue that it doesn't really factor in to the score for this outfit.  I'd tell you to look for this one, but now that Toys R Us is gone in the US and because this is an older outfit, it is going to be harder to find.  I think it would be worth getting on eBay if it showed up, but not for much more than $15.

AG Note


No...the shoes don't fit.  But the rest of the outfit does...very snugly.  Of the three pieces to the outfit, the pants are probably the worst.  


You could have probably guessed that though, since the American Girl dolls have a big derriere and the Journey Girls have a flat behind.  


The undershirt stretches enough to fit, but that Velcro is really working to keep it closed. 


The jacket does zip up pretty easily, but the tightness of everything restricts movement.  


Still...it's a cute outfit and it does fit.  


However it feels wrong putting a piece of clothing with so many Journey Girls emblems on it, on any other doll than a Journey Girl.  Keep this outfit for the Journey Girls!


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Matilda Travels Down the Great Ocean Road

From Phillip Island to Port Campbell 

Matilda's final stretch of her travels brought her to the southeastern part of Australia, near Melbourne.  Beginning at Phillip Island, Matilda explores the beautiful ocean views and the wildlife that populates the coastal areas.  


Philip Island is home to many unique things, including a koala sanctuary, a GP road course, and the worlds smallest penguins.  Matilda is a HUGE koala fan! 


In the koala sanctuary koalas freely climb through the trees, resting in the crooks of the limbs, and eating....lots of eating! 


Matilda learned that koalas sleep a large portion of the day because they only eat leaves.  The eucalyptus leaves just don't give them a lot of energy.  


Like humans koalas have five fingers, but instead of one thumb, they have two, making their grip much stronger than ours.  


Oh my gosh these koalas are cute!

Matilda had cuteness overload on Philip Island.  Along the shore, near the Nobbies, small two by four boxes are strewn throughout the landscape. 


Peaking inside on of the boxes, Matilda spies one of the tiny penguins that inhabit the island.  Every evening, after dusk, thousands of these tiny penguins make their way on-land after a long day of fishing at sea. 


As the waves roll onto the shore, tiny splashes can be seen on the curve of the wave.  After the wave crashes on the shore, it recedes, magically leaving 100's of penguins in its wake. Matilda didn't get any pictures because the flashes from the cameras scare the penguins.  But here is a video of the cuties.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyVRl1owBXw


A beautiful sunrise greeted Matilda the next morning as she enjoyed the serene beach scene. 


Only the locals were out on the beach, walking on the sandy beach....and the seagulls. 


Further up the beach was an area of smooth rock formations. 


She enjoys the beach for a little longer before getting in the car for her trip down the coast on the Great Ocean Road.


In places the road is right on the coast with cliffs leading down to the aqua blue water below.  Beautiful beaches pop up along the road with flat golden sands.  Every twist of the road brings a new magnificent landscape into view. 


Matilda keeps thinking that she has seen the most beautiful stretch of oceanline, until the next curve reveals a new view, even more spectacular than the last.  Some of the coast has sharp jagged black rocks, forming cliffs that in places were forty to fifty feet high.  Other places are made of layered sandstone that are worn away by the crashing waves and the roaring wind.  Matilda loves the areas where harder sandstone creates a lace looking design to the stone.


Even though much of Matilda's trip down the Great Ocean Road was hampered by rain, she was still able to get out and enjoy the beautiful scenery.  Along the road there were a couple of amazing lighthouses that you could walk to.


Her favorite was a tall white one with a bright red top.


Further along the road the 12 Apostles, 12 large sandstone rock formations along the shore, amazed Matilda with how simple but amazing they were.


She tried to imagine how they were formed by the wind and the waves.  How different the coast must have looked hundreds of years ago.  It was an awe inspiring sight.


She could have stayed there, listening to the waves crash against the rocks for days, but it was finally time to drive back to Melbourne.  She had a long flight back to her new home in the US.


Hope you enjoyed seeing some of Matilda's trip and a small amount of the amazing country that is Australia!


Sorry...not many doll photos in this one.  It rained most of the time we were on the Great Ocean Road.  All of the photos were in between rain showers (hence the rainbow and rain clouds that can be seen in many of them).  More doll photos to come in the next few weeks though.


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Matilda's Port Douglas Adventure

Rainforest, Seashore, and Animals


Port Douglas is a city north of Cairns.  Many of the boats that go out to the Great Barrier Reef leave from this little town, but it has much more to offer than just the launching point for the reef boats.  It is also close to Mossman's Gorge in the Daintree Rainforest, it has 4 miles of beach to walk on, a beautiful coastal drive, an animal sanctuary, and lots of shopping.


Matilda didn't get to go swimming at the Great Barrier Reef...for many reasons, but she did still get to enjoy the ocean.  She loved walking along the beach.


The ocean views were amazing, especially in the morning.


And the difference in the beach as it snaked it's way south was astounding.


Of course there were sandy beaches, some only revealed at low tide, with creatures crawling around on the sands.


Some of the beach was covered in smooth round rocks, pushed up the embankment by the waves, tumbling against each other until smooth.


This was a favorite area of Matilda's because the rocks were so beautiful.


She picked some up, looking at the colors and feeling their smoothness, but left them at the beach since it is illegal to take them from there.


Some of the shoreline is covered in dark black jagged rocks.


These areas form tide pools that house all sorts of interesting animals.  Matilda spots lots of crabs as she explores the rocks.


A few lizards also scamper around the rocks.  Where there is sand she finds starfish moving along the sand with their hundreds of tiny feet.  She sits and just watches the waves, enjoying the sound of the ocean.


Further along the road from Port Douglas south, travelers have set up cairns to mark that they have been here.


Hundreds of these stacks of rocks sit on the beach in this one area.


Some of them are impressively large.  Matilda takes some time and builds her own cairns to commemorate her trip.


Her last stop along the ocean road is a picnic area sitting right on the beach.  Beautiful trees shade the picnic area where she could eat and look out over the ocean.


She leans against one of the trees, enjoying the wind blowing against her face.  Another amazing place on the seashore.


The Daintree Rainforest is the oldest rainforest in the world.


While exploring the easily accessible path you can feel like you are in the Jurassic age.


The ferns are gigantic as are the huge trees with their hanging vines and twisted roots.


Matilda saw a few bush turkeys, but not much else as she explored the forest...well besides all of the awesome trees and scenery!


While in Port Douglas, Matilda takes some time to explore the many shops the main street has to offer.  Lots of souvenirs, clothes, snorkel equipment and food can be found in these shops.


Since she is visiting in the winter, there are not many people out, but in the summer, this corridor is packed.


The last place that Matilda visited in Port Douglas was an animal sanctuary.


The sanctuary was home to hundreds of amazing Australian creatures.


Of course there were kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas, but they also had cassowaries, emus, ducks, and even some huge pelicans.  


She loved seeing all of the animals.


The koalas were her favorite, but the kangaroo with a joey in its pouch was a very close second.





She was not as excited to see the large spider hanging from its web, but she was glad it was here rather than out in the rainforest.


Ick!!!  that thing would be scary to run in to!

After visiting the sanctuary, Matilda gets on a plane and flies to Melbourne.  From there, she is going to visit Philip Island and drive the Great Ocean Road.