Sunday, August 27, 2017

Journey Girls Special Edition Australian Holiday Doll

Australian Holiday Doll

Each year when the new Journey Girls dolls are released, a Special Edition Holiday doll also comes out.  Like last year, this year has two dolls; a light skinned blonde doll and a dark skinned brunette doll.  Both are wearing an amazing teal gown, with jewelry, a lace wrap, shoes, a small clutch, and no name.

What? read that correctly...the new doll has no name.  Now there are two sides to this.  One is that it makes no sense to have two dolls with the same name, like Ilee or Mikaella, giving you the choice to name them yourself, as is the case with the two pack of dolls. On the other hand, this is only the second time that new dolls have been released without names.  It makes sense that the two pack dolls would not have names as they are not really part of the Journey Girls trips most of the time.  The Holiday doll has always been part of their trip.  Granted the story that ties the Journey Girl together has become less and less as time has gone on, getting removed from the boxes and the website.  I, personally, loved the story of the Journey Girls traveling around to new places each year.  Each girl with unique talents (which are somewhat talked about on the back of the boxes), exploring new countries and going on adventures together.  It's a shame that is gone.

The box is rather difficult to open, similar to in years past.  The only way to open the box is to cut the tape on the top and bottom, then open the back side by peeling it away from the plastic top and bottom.

You then have to slip the backing out of the top and bottom.

The doll is attached in the normal areas; with a rubber band around her neck, a plastic twist tie around her hair and ankles, and of course I-fastners on her dress.

There is also a piece of cardboard under her dress that needs to be removed.

Okay...on to the review of these two beautiful dolls! Both dolls have the Dana facemold, with a different chin, eye sockets, and smile, than any of the other Journey Girls dolls.  The brunette has hazel eyes similar to Kyla's, and the blonde has green eyes similar to my Megan (the brunette two pack doll).

Both have darker and longer eyelashes painted on their lower lids.  Compared to the older dolls these eyelashes are much more noticeable, but to me, look faker.  She has high arched eyebrows, higher than the other Journey Girls because Dana has glasses and needs her eyebrows to be above them.

On the brunette doll they look really good, but on the blonde, she looks like she is in a perpetual state of surprise.  Both dolls have a nice soft mauve/pink lip color.  In years past the lips have had some shimmer to them, but not this year.  The other thing to note is the dolls hair.

It is center parted, with a really pretty side braid that sweeps across the back of her head and is tied off on the unused side of the part.

It's a very pretty hairdo that I really don't want to take out.

Since Jordanna (the first Holiday doll) was released in 2013, one of the greatest things about the Holiday dolls is their dresses.  This year's dress does not disappoint.

A beautiful teal, the floor length dress has a layered skirt and a sequined bodice.  The bodice is a shimmery teal fabric with an intricate silver web sewn tightly over it, accented by strings of teal sequins.

The thin shoulder straps lead into a round neckline that allows you to see the beautiful jeweled necklace that she comes with. Separating the skirt from the bodice is a "belt" (according to Toys R Us) made of a teal ribbon with a bow on the left side.

I think "belt" is a stretch since it is sewn into the dress on the top and bottom and on the ends.  It does look nice, but I don't think it is a belt.

The skirt has layers of two sided fabric sewn vertically to create wavy sheets of teal.  One side of the fabric is a satin teal, while the other side has teal glitter on it.

The way the dress is sewn creates layers upon layers of the satin and glittery layers.

Search through the layers for hidden I-fasteners holding the layers together.  My one complaint is that the layers end on the sides.

The back is just the layer of satin that makes up the skirt of the dress.

It would be awesome to have the dress go all the way around.  Under the layer of satin that makes up the entire dress there is a layer of tulle to help puff the dress up.

It is not a lot of tulle and so it really doesn't help, but it is there.

Each doll comes with 3 pieces of jewelry, plus the lace wrap.  Like the last couple of years, this doll has her ears pierced.  Diamond shaped earrings dangle down with a "pearl" at the bottom of each.

The diamond shape has rounded edges that compliment the round gems in the silver metal.

The same diamond design is on the necklace which can be either a choker or a regular necklace...but be forewarned, if you take the necklace off it is very difficult to get back on as a choker.  VERY DIFFICULT!!!!!

The clasp is tiny and there can't be any slack in the necklace to get the correct loop.

In comparison, the double pearl bracelet stretches easily over the doll's hand and accents the pearls on the earrings.

A beautiful silver tulle wrap, accentuated with silver embroidered scrolls and swirls, adds elegance and a touch of another color to the outfit.

Velcroed in the front, the same diamond jewel is on the front of the wrap, similar to a broach.

Because tulle is stiff, the wrap stands up, creating a high neckline.  Note that there are small I-fastners attaching the wrap to the dress near the shoulders.

It's a really simple but pretty piece to this dress.

As always there is a small clutch that goes along with the dress.  Made of a sparkly silver fabric, the purse has the same scroll design as the wrap and also continues the jewel them with the same diamond clasp.

The tiny clutch does open, velcroing closed for security.  Like many of the purses that come with the Journey Girls, there is a small piece of silver "rope" that allows the purse to hang on her wrist.

Finally, there are the shoes.  Simple silver sandals with a velcroing strap across the ankle.

With all of the new shoes that are coming out with the Australian dolls, it is interesting that TRU decided to stay with the same familiar shoes that come with so many other outfits.  But at least they are not the plastic heels!


All ratings are out of 10

Poseability - 6 – It is frustrating that each doll is so different in the way their joints work.  My brunette doll is so stiff that her shoulder joints actually ratchet into different positions.  Her head is extremely difficult to turn and her legs spread wider than Ilee's.  The blond has smother movement in her arms, but her head and legs are similar to the brunette's.  Sometimes the joints loosen a little, but not enough to make it worth while to tighten the joints this much!  Come on Toys R Us...we want better joints!

Quality - 8 – Although the joints aren't perfect, the rest of the doll is very good.  The dress is made well, except for the layers only being on the front of the dress.  The same quality that we have come to expect from Journey Girls Holiday line.

Adorableness - 9 – Dana's face mold is cute.  The dress is beautiful, especially with it's accessories.  The brunette looks like Jasmine with her complexion and gorgeous teal dress.

Compatibility - 4 – Since this is a form fitting dress, it is not surprising that it does not fit other 18" dolls.  It will go on, you just won't be able to velcro it up the back.

Overall Score - 8 – She is definitely worth adding to your collection.  The dress alone is worth the cost of the doll.  Even though there are some issues with the doll itself, she is still beautiful, and we know that another one of these dolls will probably not have any of the issues that my brunette has.  The doll still isn't perfect...but she is beautiful.  I love that Toys R Us released both versions, since each is very unique.  Pick both of them up this year before they are unavailable.

AG Note

As mentioned above the dress does not really fit on American Girls.  I had a difficult time getting it up past Grace's butt (Although my Grace is stuffed really well) and there is no chance of velcroing the back.

The wrap fits fine, although not as well as it does on the Journey Girls because of Grace's wider shoulders.

Shoes don't fit, which is not a surprise as they are much skinner than the American Girls feet.  What did surprise me is that the purse strap was impossible to get around Grace's hand, and that the bracelet was stretched.   When the bracket is on the Journey Girls wrist, all the pearls touch each other.

On Grace there is a gap.  Interesting that even the bracelet was made with only the Journey Girls in mind.  I didn't try the necklace as it was hard enough to get on the Journey Girls!

The dress is beautiful on Grace, especially with her bright blue eyes, but it doesn't velcro, and I prefer it on the Journey Girls because of their chest plate.  It is beautiful to see a full length gown on the American Girls though.  This is probably not the best outfit to get for your American Girl doll.

Keep it on one of the Journey Girls!

Chavonne's Trip to Yellowstone: Day Three

Chavonne at Fairy Falls and Grand Prismatic Spring

On the third day in Yellowstone, Chavonne decides to go on a hike to see one of the many falls in the park.  Chavonne starts on her trek through the plains of the Midway Geyser Basin, over a stream that comes off of Grand Prismatic Springs.

The smell of the spring permeates the air with sulfur, not nearly as bad as around Old Faithful, but it's still not a pleasant smell.

She gets to a fork in the road and heads up a hill.  A steep climb brings her to an over look of Grand Prismatic Springs.

The spring is the 3rd largest spring in the world, measuring over 300 feet across.  Chavonne marvels at the beautiful colors of the spring, ranging from oranges and reds on the outside to deep blues in the middle.

She finds out the colors are caused by thermophile; bacteria that thrives in the heat of the spring.

After some time Chavonne hikes down the hill and heads towards Fairy Falls.  The three-mile hike through the woods is on a pretty flat, groomed trail. Chavonne passes through a newer forest of Lodgepole pines, only 10 to 15 feet high.

There are charred remains of trees sticking out of the ground or lying burnt and black.  A huge fire spread through Yellowstone in 1988, but since then the park has had anywhere from 1 to 78 fires per year.  It's interesting that Lodgepole pine cones actually need the heat to help open them up and spread the seeds.

So everywhere Chavonne looked, new growth had happened in the midst of the burnt out trees.

Hiking through the forest, Chavonne could finally hear the faint rushing of water.  She sped up, excited to see the falls.  As she walked the path became more narrow and less groomed.

Logs and rocks stuck out at odd angles.  But now she could see the top of the falls.

A skinny ribbon of water plunges 200 feet to a small stream bed.  Chavonne climbs over the rocks and logs to get a better view.

Mist sprays off the falls and into her face.

The single line of the falls is dashed into many mini falls by a large rock outcropping.

Chavonne feels like she could stay there all day, but decides that she should probably head back to the cabin.

She stops along the path back to look at some of the wildflowers.  The different colors and simplicity of them make them gorgeous.

Birds flutter around, singing as though no one can hear them.

She recognizes the robins and the finches but sees a few birds she can not identify.  A very friendly squirrel runs up to Chavonne, examines her from 2 feet away, then runs off about his business.

It is amazing to see all of the animals and plants.

Chavonne is a little disappointed that tomorrow will be her last day in Yellowstone but is also excited for the adventures it will bring.