Sunday, March 27, 2016

An Alaskan Adventure with Meredith

Meredith Travels to Juneau

Feeling nervous and excited at the same time, Meredith steps onto the airplane.  She has never traveled by plane before and is not quite sure what to expect.  She finds her seat by the window and settles in.  It’s going to be a long trip.  There is an almost 4 hour flight to Seattle, then another 2 hour flight to Juneau, the city she is visiting.  She watches as the crew on the ground load last minute bags into the plane.

Ohhh…I can’t wait to get to Alaska! She thinks.  The front door closes, the flight attendants go through their safety instructions, and then the plane races down the runway and lifts off.   Meredith’s tummy tightens and does a little flip as the plane climbs into the sky.  She’s still nervous, until she looks out the window at the beautiful sky.   

They are soaring above the soft white comforter of clouds.  She stares out the window for a very long time, marveling at how beautiful and perfect the clouds look, every once in a while spotting the ground below as the plane passes over a hole in the clouds.

The time passes quickly and before Meredith knows it, the plane is descending into Seattle.  She gets off the plane, finds her next gate, and not long after is boarding her plane to Juneau.   The plane to Juneau has hardly anyone on it.  Meredith actually gets a row all to herself.   By the time she gets to Juneau it’s nine at night.  Exhausted, she curls up in bed and falls asleep.  Tomorrow she will hike up Mount Roberts, in downtown Juneau.

The next day, Meredith is up early, preparing for her trek up Mount Roberts.  She packs a lunch and some snacks, puts on warm clothes and hiking boots.  She has heard that Alaskan trails can be a difficult hike, so she wants to be prepared.  Mount Roberts is one of two mountains that tower over Juneau, the other being Mount Juneau.  In the summer months there is a tram that goes up Mount Roberts to the lookout area that she will be hiking to, but in the spring, the tram doesn’t run.   As Meredith starts out on her hike there is a small amount of fog.  The sun pierces through the fog, lighting up the pine trees and creating streaks of light throughout the forest.  It’s beautiful!

Meredith comes upon a bench that is placed at a perfect spot to look down on the city of Juneau.  She stops to rest and take some photos.  

So far, the trail has been mildly difficult, but she is still at the base of the mountain and has not started really climbing.  Most of the trail is covered in roots and rocks.

As she looks up the path, she sees that it narrows and begins to switch back as it climbs the mountain.  She gathers her things and begins hiking again.

As the trail starts to intensify, with steep natural root stairs, narrow rocky paths, and sharp drop offs, Meredith makes frequent stops to catch her breath and to take in the beautiful scenery.  

Most of the forest is coniferous, but there are stray leafy trees every once in awhile.  Being a rainforest, the ground is completely covered in greenery.  

The fallen trees are covered in moss and ferns, so thick it is impossible to tell what is underneath the blanket of green.  Meredith loves the lush green everywhere.  She wonders what it must be like in the summer.

She stops along the path as she sees amazing areas.  Wow! Look at these trees!  The roots are intertwined so much that you can’t tell which goes where.  Meredith stops by many of the trees to marvel at the roots.  

Some are entwined together in a tangled web that criss crosses across the path and the forest floor.  Some of the roots leave hollow spots that Meredith imagines house animals some of the time.  I can’t believe how cool these trees are!

The trail begins to switch back and forth, climbing higher and higher.  As Meredith goes, it begins to snow, lightly in the forest, but she can barely see Mount Juneau when she gets to a clearing.

The further she goes up the mountain, the more snow is covering the ground.  When Meredith gets to the tram station she can’t see down to the city and there is two feet of snow in areas not covered by trees.  

The pure white snow contrasts with the bright green moss growing on the trees, creating a whimsical winter scene. 

Meredith ends up putting on her snowshoes to walk on part of the path, until the point that she can’t see the path anymore.  

The snow is packed on the path from the people that have walked on it before, but just off the narrow path she sees foot prints that fall off at least a couple of feet. She does not want to get stuck and fall down the mountain. 

Even with her snowshoes Meredith doesn’t feel safe traveling to the peak of Mount Roberts, 3,900 feet up. Instead of traveling up the dangerous trail to the top, she walks around some of the trails around the tram station at 1,700 feet up.  

On one of them she finds a tangle of tree limbs, growing wildly in all directions.  She thinks the tangle would look really creepy at night, but right now, it just looks really cool.

Further along the trail, she comes upon a tree with a Tlingit Indian carving in it.  It reminds her of a totem pole carving, but this is just a single carving.  

It looks like it is a carving of a bird, maybe an eagle, but more likely it is a raven.  She takes some photos of the carving.  I can’t wait to show this to Kyla, she loves art.  I bet that she would really love this!

She wonders around the trails for a little while longer, enjoying the snow and the quiet.  There is no one up here but her right now.  It's very peaceful.

Meredith keeps her snow shoes on as she starts down the mountain, but soon does not need them.  The snow has lightened up and has turned to a drizzle of rain now.  

She stops along the way to take some photos by some more of the amazing trees that she finds.  Some are covered in moss so fine it looks like bright green paint rather than something growing.

She stops at the lookout again, using her binoculars to pier at the buildings of downtown Juneau and to the city of Douglas across the channel.  Meredith can't believe how far up she still is.

The climb down is not as strenuous and takes much less time, but Meredith is very tired at the end of the hike.  She heads back home to rest for the next day.

Check back for more of 
Meredith's Alaskan Adventure next week!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Kelsey in Journey Girls New Outfit

Kelsey Tries on the "White Short Sleeve Top and Pink Skirt" Set

Toys R Us and Journey Girls released six new outfits about a month ago.  One of them was the  “White short sleeve top and pink skirt set” that is being reviewed today.  The outfit is nothing fancy and does not have as many accessories as the maxi dress outfit, but it is cute.  And the short sleeve shirt is beautiful.

The shirt has a shiny white satin layer as its base that shows through the lace top layer.  This helps the lace pop more than just a dull cotton fabric underneath.  

It has a high plain neckline and elbow length sleeves.  It sounds very simple, but it looks both elegant and very usable.  Because of the two layers the shirt is nice and thick.

When Kara Rose was released she came with a skirt that is very similar looking to this pink one (although hers is purple and Kelsey’s is obviously pink).  

Kara Rose’s skirt is a thick stretch material, while this skirt is more of a satin material.  The basic cut and design is the same.  The description on the Toys R Us website says that this is a “pleated skirt”, but there is not one pleat.  It is a beautiful, free hanging skirt.

The shoulder bag should be mentioned for two reasons; first, it actually has a strap long enough to make it a shoulder bag.  

And second it has Velcro to keep it shut!  As an added bonus, it’s cute and the purple is a great color with the pink and white.

Footwear has been a struggle for Journey Girls.  Although these sandals are similar to many of the sandals in the past, they are recreations of the good sandals.  The purple sandals match the shoulder bag well.  The have a hard plastic sole (which makes them slide on carpet and on some wood floors) with three “leather” straps (two that criss-cross the toes and one that Velcros around the ankle.)  Journey Girls has added a pretty fabric flower to spruce the shoes up.  Much better than the plastic shoes!

All ratings are out of 10

Value 7 – Yes this is a beautiful outfit.  One that is a great addition to anyone's collection.  But it is not a super value, especially at $19.99.  The shirt is really the main piece that is new and probably makes up much of the cost.  It would be nice to get some jewelry or hair accessory with the outfit though.

Fitment 9 – Great fit, as would be expected.  The shoulders are tight on the shirt and can impede movement every so slightly.  Otherwise great!

Versatility 8 All of the pieces can be used with other outfits easily.  The shirt is a wonderful addition to Kelsey’s wardrobe as it is simple but elegant.  Although similar to other Journey Girl skirts, this color and fabric is unique and is a great addition to your collection.

Cuteness 8 – Very cute outfit.  It is beautiful on all of the Journey Girls.  Although not as fancy as some outfits, it is still very pretty.  The way that the skirt flows is just gorgeous.

Overall 8 –  A great outfit that can be used in different ways, this set is well worth adding to your dolls wardrobe, but maybe wait for a sale.  $19.99 is a bit too much to pay for this outfit.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Meredith and the New Maxi Skirt

Journey Girls Maxi Skirt Italy Outfit

The outfits that Toys R Us released recently have great new designs, most of them highly unique.  Although elements of the outfit being reviewed today have been used with other outfits, the main skirt is brand new.  The outfit comes with the full length skirt, a pink tank top, a denim jacket, a pink leather headband, and a pair of pink sandals.

Although  the tank top, headband and sandals in this set have been seen before with other outfits, they work really well.  The tank top has thick shoulder straps and Velcro up the back. Like many other headbands, this one is made of “leather” with a piece of elastic at the bottom to make it easy to get on Meredith’s head.  There is a bright pink cloth flower on the top to give it more flair.  

The sandals are the standard leather cross strapped sandals that started showing up in sets last year.  The have a Velcro strap across the front to make it easy to get them on and off.

The denim jacket has been seen before, but this iteration is a little different.  First, it’s a nice light blue denim that goes really well with the pink tank and the flowing white dress.  There is great tan stitching throughout the jacket to accent the seams.  

Three silver buttons go up the front of the jacket.  Unfortunetly they aren’t functional.  The jacket is really cute open, because it shows off the pink tank, but it would nice if it could close.

The star of this outfit is the maxi dress.  It’s a simple cotton, floor length dress with elastic around the waist.  The bottom inch of the dress is made of voile lace (which is a fancy way of saying it has a see through fabric behind the lace).  

Stitching on the lacework is not overly ornate, but it fits the skirt perfectly, changing the feel of the dress from a simple bed sheet, to a flowing summer/spring dress.

Every Journey Girl outfit comes with a purse.  Some are amazing, some are okay.  The leather, zebra print purse that comes with this outfit is not amazing, but it is very nice.  

It has black handles that are just big enough to get over Meredith’s shoulder.  The purse doesn’t have Velcro to keep it shut, which is fine for this style of purse.

All ratings are out of 10

Value 10 – With four accessories (If you include the denim jacket as an accessory) this outfit is an awesome value.  All of the pieces are high quality, beautiful parts to a well put together outfit.  It would be great if the sandals were a new design and that the jacket could close, but minor issues for an awesome outfit.

Fitment 10 – Perfect fit!  As would be expected this outfit fits wonderfully on Meredith. 

Versatility 10 – Every piece of this outfit is highly versatile.  The sandals, headband, and purse can be used with just about any outfit.  The tank is a great piece that can be used as a top on its own, or a wonderful piece that can go underneath other tops. The skirt is such a wonderful design that it can be used with a wide variety of other outfits.  And what outfit wouldn’t look better with a denim jacket.  (Okay maybe there are a few, but it is awesome to have the jacket).

Cuteness 10 – Such a cute outfit!  Everything goes together well.  The colors are great.  The maxi dress is just awesome looking!

Overall 10   The Italian line has really had some great outfits, including this one.  It is made well, it has great design, super play value, and is so very cute!  Watch for the sales if the $17 seems a little high.  Even at $17, this outfit is well worth it.