Saturday, October 19, 2019

Kyla's Hocking Hill Vacation 4

Day 4: Cantwell Cliffs

Kyla wakes up the next morning to the sun shining with no rain clouds in view.  A combination that makes for a humid morning, but Kyla doesn't mind.  It's still beautiful.  When choosing her next hike the day before she chose the Cantwell Cliffs, one of the more difficult trails.  It seems normal when she first starts, then she gets to a set of stairs.


A narrow, steep staircase with the rock steps only about 2 feet wide and 6 inches deep leads down into the ravine.


Creating a long, steep, narrow path, Kyla has to pay attention to her footing, stopping a few times, to make sure the rock steps are under foot.


Once she gets to the end of the narrow stairway the rocks and woods open up onto a rocky ledge that over look a ravine of trees and rock.  A thin waterfall falls from the lip of the cliffs into the ravine below.


Following the ravine, the trail snakes back and forth to the forest floor, cliffs looming on ether side.


Small runoff waterfalls litter the trail, trickling down from the beautiful rock  cliffs.


At one point in the trail a long fallen pine tree looms over the path, like a bridge for squirrels.  Kyla thinks of walking on it, but decides that standing underneath the bridge is much safer.


Rocks jut from the earth along the trail, covered in green moss.  Kyla can not believe all of the wonderful sights along the trail.


The bright whites and tans of the sand stone contrast with the luscious green of the moss and plants.  Kyla stops for photos often as she walks.


As she nears the end of the trail, she comes to a spot that has a narrow wooden staircase leading to a crack in the rock cliff.  From the bottom of the staircase the crack looks only inches wide.


When she climbs the stairs she realizes that you can walk through the crack.  Sliding through sideways, she comes out at the bottom of the staircase that she began her trek down.


She is so fascinated by the crack that she goes back through to explore.   It is a small crack, no more than 2 feet across at it's widest and closer to a foot wide in the narrowest part.


Such a simple geological structure, but so amazing.   Kyla is very glad that she was able to go through this trail.


Walking back through the crack, she climbs the narrow rock stairs that started the trail.   It was a difficult trail, but beautiful.  She then head back to the cabin to rest, and get ready for the following day.   Her last in Hocking Hills.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

"New" Japan Callie

New Box, Same Doll


Months ago, TRU Kids released the Journey Girls on Amazon.  I ordered Callie, along with the other new dolls.  She finally arrived yesterday, just 2 months after I ordered her.  I was hoping this meant that she would be a newly designed doll, but alas I was mistaken.   She did come packaged in a really neat new box though.


Just Play, LLC is the company that is distributing the Journey Girls since Toys R Us's bankruptcy.  Callie is the first doll that has come in this new box.   The brown shipping box is adorned with a printed purple ribbon and the Journey Girls emblem.


There is even a "To/From" tag printed on the box.  One small gripe; there is a spot to affix the shipping label on the side, but that is not where the label was.


It was smack dab on the front.  If you don't carefully remove it all the pretty printed art will be ripped.   The box opens from the side, folding open like a book.   There was lots of tape that I had to cut through to open it up.  


Once the box is opened there is a cardboard cover with a window (without plastic).


Callie's bio and general info about the Journey Girls is printed on the cardboard cover.  



It looks really nice with Callie peaking out.  Take it off and you can see Callie completely.


She is attached to the box at her ankles and neck, and her hair is attached.   The neck restraint is just like all the other Journey Girls, it is a clear rubber band with a tube attached to a brace.


You can easily slip the rubber band off the brace or cut it with a scissors.  Getting to the plastic twist ties on Callie's legs are a little more tricky, as are the pieces holding her hair on to the cardboard.



You will have to flip the top and bottom pieces of card board to get the back to separate from the box.   At this point the box lays flat.

Then it is easy to un-twist the twist ties hold her legs on and the one on her hair.   There is also a clear rubber band that needs to be cut to release her hair from the backing.


At first I though that the dreaded I-fasteners were gone, but I was wrong.  Callie has one holding her head to the back.  Why?  I have no clue!  The rubber band around her neck and the twist tie around her hair apparently aren't enough.  Clip the I-fastener and Callie will pull away from the box.   Oh...and she'll have a piece of I-fastener sticking out of her head.


Yep...that's awesome!   Clip it as close to her scalp is possible as it is next to impossible to push it into her head.  There are 3 more I-fasteners, all on Callie's head, holding her tiny head band on.




I can understand one (I don't think you need it, but I understand it).  Three though!  Talk about over kill.  Plus, again you have to try and snip them as close to her scalp us possible, otherwise they poke out.


Well...now that she is released from her meet box, let's see what she is like.  I was hoping that Just Play would have changed the doll as much as they changed the box, but that is not the case.  


Callie has the same joints as the rest of the Japan line (and the Australian and New York dolls).  My Callie's joints click just a little bit, but not much.   Usually that means that there is little risk of the joint breaking.   Hopefully the joints are more constantly like this as Just Play releases more Journey Girls in the future.   The leg joints still cause Callie to spread her legs to sit, but most of the 18" doll brands have this issue.  


Unfortunately the joints also make it more difficult for her to stand.   You have to play around with her legs, moving them back and forth, and pushing the leg into the cloth body to make her balance.


With the Australian release, Callie received bangs and a lighter hair color than in years past.  In her Japan release, she continues with bangs and that lighter colored hair.


Her hair is layered in the back about the inch off the bottom.


There were a few strands of rogue long hairs that I had to pull out or cut before Callie's hair looked good.

Callie's vinyl seems to be the same quality as it has been for many years.  Good but not great.  I would assume that there are probably still some color transfer issues, but I can't say that for certain as I have not tested it.


One last thing to note is Callie's eyes.  My Chavonne's eyes were a little off, but Callie's are looking two different directions.  When the dolls were sold in a store I would look through the entire inventory sometimes to find a doll with eyes that looked forward.


This may be something that I notice more than most because I photograph the dolls.  When the eyes are off, the doll doesn't really look like she is ever looking at the camera.   Just a quality control issue that should be addressed.


Callie's outfit is very cute, but comes with its own issues too.  The cute coral pink shirt has long sleeves and a iron on in the shape of a heart.  Made of silver and gold keys and lockets, with a large "JG" locket up in the right corner, the iron on heart sit right in the middle of the shirt.


Made out of a light see-thru material the main part of the shirt has a layer of white material sewn into it.  This makes the sleeves see through, but the main body is not.  Part of the white lining material is sticking out of the neckline of the shirt.  


It can be easily cut, but it shouldn't be that way. The bigger problem is in the back with the full length Velcro, which I hate to say since the full length Velcro is such a welcome addition.   However it needs to work.  The Velcro does not run the entire length of the shirt, rather it stops about a quarter of the way from the bottom of the shirt.


That is not the issue.  The issue is that the shirt is so tight that when Callie raises her arms the Velcro comes undone.  Even raising one arm will split the Velcro.



That should NOT happen.   Sad that such a cute shirt doesn't fit the doll it comes on.


The gold sequined skirt has no problems at all.  A top layer of tulle covered in sewn on gold sequins has a few gathering pleats at the waist of the skirt.



Underneath the sequins is a second layer made of a silky gold cloth.


At the back of the skirt is a small piece of Velcro to make it easier to get the skirt on and off as there is no give to the skirt.


Another piece of the outfit that has no issues is the headband.  Made of two thin rope strands; one gold, and one silver.


The headband fits easily on Callie's head thanks to some elastic at the back of it.  Although very simple, it is a welcome addition to the outfit.


I'm not sure if the purse doesn't fit, or if it is designed this way, but the strap is too short to go around Callie's fingers unless you squeeze them together with great force.   The little handbag is simple, consisting of a gold leather, with a metallic pink partial heart offset to one side on the front.


It is more of a pocket than a purse or bag, as it is just a folded over piece of "leather" sewn on the sides.  Nothing to hold it closed...not much room in it.  The strap is also a folded over piece of leather sewn on one edge, but as I mentioned it is just a little too small to fit on Callie's wrist, but it can go over four of her five fingers.


The last piece of this outfit are the shoes...or in this case sandals.  Although the sandals have the now normal, slick, plastic bottoms, the top gold leather is a new design.  A strap runs across the foot near toes, accented with a painted on white strip.  Another strap goes across the bridge of the foot with a strap also going around the heel, directly below the ankle.  A small piece of Velcro holds this strap to the bridge strap and keeps the sandal on.  


The issue with the sandal is it doesn't fit.  Even with the Velcro strap as tight as it can be, Callie's heel hangs off the back of the sandal.   On one of the sandals, both the over the toe strap and the bridge strap are too tight, making it impossible to slide Callie's feet to the front of the sandal.


On the other one, the bridge strap is the issue.  It's not horrible, and it doesn't cause any issues with standing her, but it's just not good craftsmanship.



All ratings are out of 10

Value 6 – Boy do I want to love Callie.   Her outfit is adorable and the new packaging is neat, but there are way too many issue with small things that make it difficult to give a great rating on this doll.  I do appreciate that there is a small amount more to the outfit than Chavonne's, but not enough to make up for the issues.

Fitment 4 – When you can't raise your dolls arm because of the shirt she is wearing, there are some issues with fit!  Out of 6 pieces (headband, shirt, skirt, undies, sandals and handbag) half of them have fit issues.  That would be fine if the outfit was made by a different company.  Or II can maybe even understand if it was sold separately...but this is the meet outfit...the outfit the doll comes in.  It should all fit!

Versatility 7 – The truth is that the pieces of this outfit have a great amount of versatility...if they fit.  I would love to use this shirt with lots of other bottoms, but it will annoy the heck out of my that when I lift one or both of Callie's arms the back is going to come undone.  It's too bad, because the colors and designs of this outfit are perfect to use with so many other things.   A beautiful black top with the gold skirt could be perfect for a more formal event....at least we can use that.

Cuteness 9 - I really like this outfit, especially on Callie.  I think it brings out the color in her skin and goes well with her hair.  I love the design and fabric of the shirt.  i am so glad that they went with a full length Velcro rather than that half sewn design they usually use.   The skirt is cute too.  I great outfit...if it weren't for the fit issues.

Overall 5 – I want to buy another Callie just to see if the issues I have with mine are consistent with all of them.  My guess is that they are not.  My guess is that I may have different issue with the next one.  As I mentioned, the outfit is very cute, but cute doesn't count for much if it doesn't fit.   Hopefully this is just an issue with my doll's clothes.  There are still some issues with the doll itself.  Although I like my doll's joints, I fear that most are not like mine.  I am disappointed with the eye placement.  She should look straight.  And the packaging is nice.  It feels higher quality, with a lot less plastic, but get rid of those stupid I-fasteners!!!  Especially the ones into the doll.   It's awesome hitting those every time you comb the dolls hair!   If you don't have Callie and really love this outfit, order the doll through Amazon.   If your not sold on the outfit...keep your money.  Hopefully a holiday Journey Girl will be announced soon.