Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Chavonne's Japan Outfit

A Beautiful, But Generic Outfit for Chavonne

Chavonne's Japan meet outfit is the most generic feeling of all of the outfits in this group. She comes with jeans, a white t-shirt, a purse, an over the shoulder cloak, and rain boots. Of all of the items in this outfit set, the cloak is the only thing that is really new. Is this outfit worth the cost of the doll.

Chavonne has some of the same issues that the other dolls from the Japan line have. My doll's neck joint is awesome. It can turn and tilt, and has no clicking. Unfortunately the same can not be said for her shoulders, which are very tight and click as they move, making it difficult to move her arms. In my experience, the more that the arms click (and the harder the clicks are) the more likely the joint is to break. Hopefully that isn't the case with your Chavonne. Other than her joints, Chavonne is wonderful. Her hair is wavy and beautiful. The cloth for her body is great. It's just those pesky joints that are an issue.  

One thing to note is that Chavonne has I-fasteners everywhere! The back of the box is littered with them. 

And since her cloak flows, there are I-fasteners hidden on the doll itself. So look out for them as you get your doll out of the box.

On to Chavonne's outfit. As I mentioned in the introduction, not much of the outfit is unique to this doll. Her dark blue stretch jeans are very similar if not identical to stretch jeans in other outfits. 

There are no fake pockets sewn in these jeans, as some of the jeans before have had. Fitting snuggly around Chavonne's waist and butt, the jeans loosen as they go down the leg. Because of the stretch to the material they are easy to get on. Nice, well made, versatile, piece to the set.

Under her bright orange cloak Chavonne is wearing a simple white t-shirt. Although I love that she has a versatile t-shirt, the white t-shirt is plain and dull. It would have been nice to have a t-shirt with a Japanese iron-on, similar to Kyla's shirt. 

As usual, there is Velcro on the back of the shirt, but usually the opening and Velcro only go halfway down the shirt. This time, the whole back opens, making it much easier to get the shirt on and off.

As the only piece that is new in the set, the cloak is the main piece of the outfit. Even though it is simple, it is pretty darn awesome. The bright orange is wonderful! 

So glad that Journey Girls did not go with a purple, blue, or tan, instead giving us a beautiful, vibrant orange cloak. Only a half cloak, Chavonne's hangs around her shoulders and goes down to her waist. Like all cloaks, hers is open in the front from the neck down. Fastening with Velcro, the cloak does not use the beautiful over-sized button that you can see on the front of the cloak. It would be wonderful if this button was functional rather than just ornamental, but it makes the cloak look better even if it's not functional. A large bow, made out of the same material as the cloak, is sewn on the neckline a little to the left of center. On the inside or underside of the cloak, a white fabric is sewn in as a liner, like many other Journey Girls outfits. 

The cloak is made really well, with quality material. The only down side is a strange design in the back. Instead of being solid, the cloak is open in the back. 

It's not a design that has never been used in real life, but it is a little strange. Still, the cloak is the only thing in this outfit that is unique.

Although the soft plastic rainboots aren't new, the material design is new. The newer hard plastic sole is used for the bottom of the boot, with a blue material top, that has a plastic (raincoat like) top layer. 

Fern leaves and red flowers adorn the blue material of the boot. On the back of the boot there is Velcro to help get the boots on Chavonne's feet.  

I love the rainboots, I just wish there was something different with them other than the material design.

My second favorite part of this outfit is Chavonne's purse. For me, that is a big deal, as usually I do not really like the purses that come with the outfits. The white canvas bag has a black bottom and handles. An embroidered "C" adorns the middle of the bag. It looks like something you might find on Etsy or a store like "Things Remembered". 

Plus I really like that it is personalized to Chavonne. Personally, I like when the accessories and the outfits match the girl (and their personality) that they come with. Good job TRU. Please give us more of this!

All ratings are out of 10

Value 7 – Although Chavonne has the same issues with her joints as the rest of the Journey Girls, the versatility of her outfit gives her a little bit of an advantage over Kyla.  Also, my Chavonne's joints are not nearly as bad as Kyla's are.  Compared to Ilee's outfit, this outfit has lots of pieces to it. 

Fitment 9 – Everything fits great.  The jeans are tight, but slide on and off fairly easily.   The boots are the only thing that can be a challenge.  They just don't always slide all the way on the feet without a little struggle.  Nothing too bad, but something to note.

Versatility 9 – Even though the pieces of this outfit lend themselves perfectly to versatility, the unimaginitiveness of each piece, especially the white t-shirt and the nothing new jeans, make this outfit seem like it was thrown together at the last minute to meet the release date.  With the cloak being thrown in as the new item, just so there is something new.   It's too bad, because the other outfits in this release (except maybe Meredith's) are all well thought out and are very unique.  In my opinion, each release has had at least one outfit that was just kind of blah.  I guess this release, it's Chavonne's.

Cuteness 6 – I love the cloak, but that is really it.  I almost skipped buying this doll completely, because the outfit was just so-so.  Meredith was the same way in the Japan release.  If the outfit was sold separately it is one that I would only buy on a good sale.  Mostly because I am basically paying for the cloak and the purse.  The orange is beautiful on Chavonne and the boots are cute with the rest of the outfit.

Overall 7 – If you don't have Chavonne, this doll is maybe worth it, especially if the doll went on sale.  The outfit is cute, and if you don't have jeans and a white t-shirt, or if this is your first Journey Girls doll, this doll is a better value.  If you have another Chavonne or a couple of Chavonne's you may want to skip this doll.  Maybe TRU will release the cloak as a separate piece that can be purchased at another time.   Right now you can purchase Chavonne through Amazon. Eventually she should be available through Toys R Us online.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Kyla's Hocking Hill Vacation 2

Day 2: Kayaking and Whispering Falls

Waking up early, Kyla used part of her second day to go kayaking.  She started at the waterfall she had seen yesterday, in Ash Cave, and paddled along the stream a mile or so.

She made her way through rocks and small rapids.  The water moved quickly is some areas, but slowed considerably when the stream widened out She marveled at all the greenery.

Hocking Hills had rain almost the entire week before she came, so the plant life was extremely lush.  She really enjoyed seeing some of the tree roots that stuck out from the banks.   The earth that surrounded them, washed away over time.

It is a wonderful adventure going down the stream.  The current never goes fast enough that Kyla feels unsafe, but it moves her along so that she only has to steer with her paddle.

After kayaking, Kyla starts on another hike to see a waterfall and the largest cavern in the park.   She hikes along the edge of rock cliffs, always watching where she is stepping.  The path is wide, but rocky.

Walls of sandstone rise on her right side, with layers of different sediment coloring the rock.

Caves, caverns, and rocks are common sites as she trudges along the path.  A few people pass her as she hikes, but not nearly as many as on other trails.

When she gets to the end of the trail she is amazed at the size of the cavern.  It is huge!!!

The waterfall is a trickle, and nothing fantastic, but the cavern is amazing.

She explores the cavern, walking to the end of the path where rocks have fallen over the years.

Climbing on and around them she find a different view of the cavern.   It is amazing.

For a few more minutes she wonders around, exploring the rocks, the wall, and the view from the cavern.

It is an awesome sight.  As she heads back to the cabin, some dark clouds begin to cover the sky.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Kyla's Hocking Hill Vacation

Day 1: Exploring Ash Cave 

Kyla always looks forward to summer vacation.  She loves getting to explore a new place.  This year Kyla took a road trip to Ohio to visit Hocking Hills,  a State Park that is famous for it's waterfalls.  Ohio is a good twelve hour drive from Minnesota if there is no traffic.  So it's decided to stop in Indianapolis for the night before heading to Ohio.

Even though it's only for the night, Kyla finds a place to go for a walk around a man made pond.  It's a pretty little area with places to sit, gardens, and lots of trees.

She sits for awhile under one of the trees, looking out on the pond.   It's a very relaxing area, even with all of the businesses in the background.  Kyla wonders if there are any fish in the pond as she looks over it.

Although it is beautiful here, Kyla is sure that Hocking hills is going to be much prettier.

When she arrives at the park, she settles into the cabin.  It's wonderful, with a deck, and cute decorations.  Once she is unpacked, she is off to explore.  She heads out to one of the closest waterfalls at Ash Cave.

Most of the area in the park is made of sandstone.  Because of that the water and wind have eroded it, making waterfalls, and caves.   This waterfall is in a huge cavern that explorers used to get out of the elements.

There is not a lot of water running over the waterfall, but it plunges almost 100 ft from the ledge above, forming a pristine pool of water below.

Kyla loves that she can walk behind the fall and look out at the huge cavern it adorns.

She wonders what this looked like when the first explores came through, or when the Native Americans found it before them.

It must have looked very different then. It is such a calm area with the waterfall making noise and it echoing off the cavern walls.

People are swimming in the water hole, but Kyla did not bring her suit with today, so she decides just to dip her feet in the water.

It's wonderfully cool, and refreshing as the temperature is in the 90's with a dew point in the 80's.   She stays in the water for a few minutes, then explores the rest of the cavern.

Sandstone always amazes Kyla, because it can be very hard, but is also very fragile.  It can easily crumble, especially after heavy rains.

The colors in the stone are beautiful.  So many shades of tans, offset by the green of the moss growing on the surface of the rock.  She brushes her hand against the rough surface of the rock.   What an amazing area.  She marvels at the waterfall once again before heading back to the cabin.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Mikaella's Japan Release

A Modern Twist on a Traditional Kimono

The third doll that I am reviewing is Mikaella. Of all the Journey Girls in the Japan release,  Mikaella has the outfit that looks the most Japanese.

Her outfit, a modern take on a traditional kimono, also comes with sandals, a purse and a flower hair clip. Although this outfit is simple it's a wonderful addition to the Japan line.

At first I thought that Mikaella was wearing a kimono. Upon a closer look I realized that it is more of a shorts outfit with a wrap around the back. The dress is fuchsia with yellow and aqua paintbrush swipes patterned throughout the outfit.

The sleeves go just passed Mikaella's elbows. There is a teal ribbon that wraps around the front of her waist, which is also where the dress part of the outfit begins.

About 1/2 inch on each side of the middle of the outfit the dress parts starts and goes down to Mikaella's ankles. Similar to a jumper, the top and bottom shorts are all one piece, with the dress/wrap starting at Mikaella's waist.  The whole outfit is made with a very thin, light material.

There is Velcro up the back top half of the dress, making it simple to get on and off.

Mikaella's sandals aren't entirely new, but the design is a little different than we've seen before. They are a gold/silver color with a strap across the top of the foot and another strap that wraps around the back of her ankle.

That's it for the sandal.  There really isn't much to them.  No Velcro.  No embellishments, just a plain simple sandal. The only bummer part is that Journey Girl used the plastic souls that are extremely slippery. The sandals are not the easiest things to get on to Mikaella's feet.  You really have to slide the front part over her toes in first then you can flip the back on to her heel.

Mikaella comes with a bobby pin that has a fuchsia colored flower on it. Nothing much and it's definitely not a new accessory but it does help the outfit have some continuity.

A small wrist purse is also included with this set.  The light gold leather purse has a fuchsia flower on the top lip of it, exactly like the one on the bobby pin.  Like most of the new purses, this one has Velcro on the inside to keep it closed. 

There is a small gold rope loop so that Mikaella can put the purse around her wrist.  A cute purse.   I would have loved something other than a purse as an accessory.  Maybe a smart phone, or a food item, as Mikaella is the foodie in the Journey Girls group. But this is okay.

Although this is very simple outfit it is a great modern take on a kimono.  Mikaella has the same issues as Kyla as far as stiff joints.  Her hair seems to be the same quality and her vinyl and body are the same also.

All ratings are out of 10

Value 6 – Although I love Mikaella's outfit, it is not the most versatile and since the doll itself still has the same issues as dolls of the last few years, the score is lower than some of the other dolls in this release.  I would still buy her, but I think the issues also need to be noted.

Fitment 9 – The sandals  are really the only thing that don't fit well.  Of course this outfit only has the sandals and the dress.  Sometimes the purse loop is tight, making it difficult to get on the dolls wrist, but this one is perfect. 

Versatility 6 – All the accessories can be used with other outfits, but the outfit itself does not have much versatility.  That being said, it is a very cute outfit.

Cuteness 9 – I love this outfit.  It is such a wonderful take on a traditional kimono.  The colors are beautiful, and the design is great.  Very cute!

Overall 7 – With the same issues that Kyla had, Mikaella is a wonderful doll, but would be better if the joint issues were resolved.  Mikaella's outfit is beautiful, but it is not as versatile as other Journey Girls outfits, since it is all one piece.  It would be wonderful to have different accessories, but the purse and hair piece is cute.  If you really like this outfit, then buying the doll is worth it.  If you don't love the outfit, I would wait.  Toys R Us or TRU kids will be releasing a new Mikaella at some point, just not sure when.  As soon as information is out, I will try to let you know.