Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Chavonne's Journey Girls Story: Getting Amped

A Car Wash For New Amps

A week later, with the sun shinning brightly, the warm air all around them, Mikaella, Chavonne, Callie, and Jordanna meet at the school, ready to wash cars and earn money. 

Mikaella volunteers to collect the money from people as they come to get their cars washed.  Callie is going to wash the windows, Chavonne and Jordanna trade off washing and rinsing the cars.  “I am so excited!” Mikaella exclaims.  “Do you really think we’ll make enough to buy some amps?’

“I sure hope so!” Chavonne responds as the first car pulls in.  Mikaella runs out to greet them.

“Meredith?  So good to see you!” Mikaella greets as the other girls wait excitedly for Meredith to pull forward.

Meredith hands Mikaella her money.  “What are raising money for?”

“Oh…we’re starting a band and we need some amps.”  Mikaella replies timidly.

Meredith’s eyes get wide, “Really!” she exclaims.  “That is so cool.  You have to tell me when your first gig is!”

“Definitely!”  Mikaella agrees. “Well, let’s get that car washed.”  Meredith pulls her Jeep up to where Chavonne, Jordanna, and Callie are waiting.  They all greet Meredith and thank her for coming to their car wash.  Chavonne sprays down the car, while Jordanna gets it all sudsy.  

Once Jordanna has washed the entire car, Chavonne rinses it and Mikaella and Callie go to work.   Mikaella dries the entire car, making sure that there are no dirty spots left behind. 

Callie does a great job on the windows with her squeegee. 

As they finish with Meredith’s Jeep, another car pulls in.  Mikaella runs over to meet them as the rest of the girls wave goodbye to Meredith and thank her for coming.

“I am excited to hear you girls play!” Meredith yells to them as she drives away.  Chavonne waves goodbye thinking I hope we end up meeting her expectations.

Mikaella is checking in the next car.  “Hi Mikaella,” greets Kelsey.

“Well, Kelsey and Dana.  So good to see you!”

Dana leans over Kelsey to talk to Mikaella “We heard you are raising money for your band!”

“How did you hear that?” questions Mikaella.

“Oh Meredith text us all,” explained Kelsey as she hands the money to Mikaella.

“Cool!  Well, pull up and we’ll get your car all cleaned up.” Mikaella gestures towards where Chavonne and the others are standing.  As soon as Dana pulls the car forward the girls get started.  

Everybody does their part, washing the car, rinsing it off, squeegeeing the windows, making sure the car is all sparkly.  

When they are done, they step back, say goodbye and thank Dana and Kelsey for coming.

“Good luck!  I hope you make enough money for your band!”  Kelsey hollers as Dana pulls away.  The girls smile at each other as another car pulls in.  Mikaella runs out to meet them.  She is not surprised to see Kyla.  Meredith really did text everyone!

“Hi, Kyla.  Thanks for coming.”

“Of course,” replies Kyla.  “This is great. I get my car cleaned and I get to help you girls get your band started!”

“We appreciate the help.” Mikaella says thankfully as she takes Kyla’s money and shows her where to go.  As Kyla pulls up, Mikaella asks the other girls, “Hey, you want some music on?”

“Yeah!” they all yell back.  Mikaella plugs her iPod in and turns on the boom box.

They sing Elle King and Taylor Swift as the scrub Kyla’s car clean.  Having way too much fun, they giggle at each other as they finish Kyla’s Jeep.  

They all wave goodbye to Kyla and get ready for the next customer.  There are lots of people that come through their car wash.  By the end of the day Mikaella is tuckered out from all of the running back and forth she was been doing.  Chavonne is soaked from the water spray as is Jordanna.  And Callie hopes she is done washing windows forever!

Finally as the afternoon ends, they sit down on the curb to take a much-needed rest.  While they listen to music, Jordanna drinks a soda, while Mikaella counts the money.  Chavonne and Callie just relax, glad that the day is done.

“Well…” Chavonne inquires oh Mikaella.  “How did we do?”

“Five hundred ten, five hundred eleven, five hundred twelve. We got five hundred twelve dollars!” Mikaella exclaimed as she finished her counting.  “Do you think that is enough for some amps and a few mics?” she asked looking at Chavonne.

“Gosh, I hope so,” Chavonne replied.  “It should be.  Even if it’s not quite enough…it’s still awesome!” She stood up, too excited to stay sitting.  “Give me a five!” she enthusiastically requested of Mikaela.

Mikaella responded by standing and giving her a hard high five.  “Come on you two, get in here.”  Chavonne encouraged.  All of the girls put their hands up, high fiving each other.  “To our band.” Chavonne cries.

“To our band!” they all reply.

“Hey what are we going to call ourselves?” Callie asks.

Check back next week to see what happens next!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Skating Through Life

A Review of the Journey Girls Summer Activity Set

When Toys R Us had their last sale a few weeks ago I was able to purchase a few items for review. Today we are going to take a look at the “Summer Activity Set”. The set normally sells for $24.99 and it comes with inline skates, elbow pads, kneepads, a pair of loafers style shoes, a skateboard, a helmet, a sweatshirt and some leggings. The set has a lot to it and is of typical quality for Journey Girls products.

The sweatshirt is a thin jersey material. It has a hood with draw strings…or draw ribbons? Kind of a strange choice for drawstrings, but it does add color. On the back there is an opening to allow Alana’s hair to fit through. The entire back opens up (except the hood) to make the outfit easy to get on.

Although, you have to mess your doll’s hair up to get the hood on over her head. Oh well, she can hide her messy hair in the hood. It is awesome that the front pocket is an actual pocket!!!

The leggings are a stretchy Lycra type of material. At first glance these leggings look like they are three separate materials, but in actuality they are one piece with three different designs. On the top is a solid black, followed by a pink/purple/yellow-striped area, and finally on the bottom is a solid light blue. The leggings go just past Alana’s knees. They are snug, but not too tight. There is an inner lining on the leggings, which is good since Journey Girls clothing has a tendency to transfer dark colors to the dolls vinyl. Even with the lining it is a good idea to soak the leggings.

Next, the elbow and kneepads. Both pairs of pads are made of a soft rubber material. They have straps with multiple holes to adjust to other dolls arms. The little peg that sticks out from the pad does not hold the strap on well, especially as the doll is moved around. If it is pulled tight it holds better, but still pops off. The elbow pads have an “L” or “R” on the back, inside of the pad so that you know which side to place the pad. The kneepads do not have a specific designation. I found that I had to pull the adjustable strap all the way to the last hole to make them stay on well. This was true for all of the pads.

The helmet is made of a hard plastic with rubber ear coverings (?) and chinstrap. This is the strangest helmet I have ever seen. It looks more like an equestrian helmet than a skateboard helmet. It has a bill on the front, which is not the norm for a helmet. There are air holes on the top, shaped like flowers. The chin strap/ear flaps are just plain weird. The helmet would probably be okay with the bill on the front if there weren’t these goofy earflaps. The chinstrap is also short, which is strange since the pads adjustable straps are huge. This makes it difficult to strap the helmet onto to Alana’s head.

I half expected to get the standard issue flats with this set, but I was happy to see a new style of shoe. This loafer is cute. It would be awesome if it wasn’t all plastic, but it’s a step in the right direction.

The inline skates are standard Journey Girl style boots, which means there is a gigantic gash down the back of the boot to make it easy to get on.

Which is a huge bummer, because these skates are adorable!!! The design on the wheel bridge is really cute. The actual boot has great detail to it, including straps that go across the front.

All Toys R Us had to do was make the slit in the front (where it should be) and make the straps real. They could have used the same style strap that is on their plastic sandals.

Overlooking the gash flaw, the skates are nice. The wheels roll well, are wide enough to allow Alana to stand easily, while not too wide to look ridiculous. They do feel cheap, especially compare to Our Generations version, but it could be that they are just made of a lighter plastic.

This is the fourth skateboard that has made it into my collection. American Girl’s board is amazing, with great wheels, a sturdy board, and a strap to help hold the doll on. Our Generations board is nice and solid with great wheels also, but no strap and the sticker on the bottom is not great. The last board I have is from the dollar store. It’s made of a thin plastic, with plastic wheels and a lame sticker.


Unfortunately the Journey Girls skateboard is closest to the dollar store skateboard. The plastic is thin and actually bends a little under the weight of Alana.

The sticker on the top of the board had huge air bubbles that I had to cut open to get them to go away.  

The wheels are plastic, but are a nice plastic and roll really well. And the bottom sticker is similar to the design on the inline skates (which is awesome!). So a step above the dollar store board, but only by a little.

All ratings are out of 10

Playability 6 – Although the skateboard and inline skates roll well, the both have issues. It would be great to have a surface that the shoes stuck to on the skateboard, rather than a slick sticker, or have a strap so you can push the doll without holding the board too. The skates just have that ugly gash in the back…otherwise no issues really. As mentioned already the pads could be made better so the don’t come undone as easily and make the straps a tad bit shorter. And then make the strap on the helmet longer…and get rid of the weird earflaps!

Value 6 – At $24.99 this is a decent value. It has many components, but none are super quality. I bought the set for $14.99, which is a perfect price for this set. Even at $20 it’s a good deal.

Quality 7 – Overall everything feels okay, but not amazing. The sweatshirt is made well, with great seams, a cute pocket, and the hole in the back. It could be a thicker material, but really doesn’t need to be since it is not keeping anyone warm. The leggings are okay. Again, could be made better with another piece of fabric, rather than just a print, but not necessary. The skates are exactly what you would expect from Journey Girls, as are the loafers. Just wish the skateboard was sturdier.

Overall 7 – Great set. I would give it an 8 or nine at the price I bought it for, but at its retail price it needs to be better quality. Still a very fun set and a welcome addition to the Journey Girl line. Even though it is not perfect I am glad to see Toys R Us expanding the items that are available for the Journey Girls!

AG note - How does this outfit work on American Girl dolls?  Well it fits...but boy are those pants snug!  The sweatshirt fits great.  It may be snug at the shoulders.  There was a little trouble getting the sleeve over Annie's right hand, but no issues with the left.  Maybe just operator error.

The pants fit, but barely.  And speaking of barely, make sure your doll has some undies on, because these pants are see through when they are stretched!!!

The skates fit great, but the gap in the back is more noticeable.  The knee pads and elbow pads fit amazingly well.  They seem to have been designed for American Girl dolls rather than the Journey Girls.  The helmet fits, but still looks goofy!

The skate shoes do not come close to fitting on an AG doll.  They are way too skinny.

This is a good set to get for an American Girl doll.  Maybe switch out the pants and the skate shoes.  For the price you get a good amount of accessories that work on both your AG and JG dolls!