Hi - it's Nikki here. I started typing up this post weeks ago, but I got ill very suddenly and have only been able to finish it now.:P I'm really sorry I went so long without posting again. I had something like glandular fever (mononucleosis) this summer, and ever since I've been ill almost constantly. (Mostly I relapse for a few weeks after a slight exertion, but this last time something went wrong with my inner ear, and I got really bad dizziness and vertigo, and it made me feel really sick, so I couldn't read or type or anything like that (because it's a sort of motion sickness).) Also, I have really important exams coming up in the next month, and I'm really behind on my schoolwork because I've been ill so much. Halfway through the exams, I have auditions for Fiddler On The Roof with my drama group, and there is also some other stuff going on, so I may be really bad at posting for a while.:P
I've never done a post on an American Girl release before, but I thought I'd do one this time.:) (I like Maryellen quite a lot, but I really don't like most of the new Truly Me stuff, so it may sound a bit negative in the first half particularly.:P)
I can't do it with pictures, because my computer is giving me trouble with them, but I may be able to add them later.:P
Movie Popcorn Machine - I think this is a bit strange, because it's marketed as a home item rather than a theater item, and I've never known anyone who has a popcorn machine in their house. I guess it's kind of cute, but I would like it better if it had been made as a theater or cinema accessory instead. It also looks very plastic to me.:P
Comfy Couch - This is 1) a bit too pink for me, and 2) pretty loud - also, the colors really don't go, in my opinion.:P I also think it's really overpriced, because it's only a big cushion really, and more like a sleeper-couch, or those little soft chairs you can get for younger children, than an actual couch, and $68 seems way too much for that.:P Elizabeth from An American Girl Doll Story also pointed out that the couch (and Maryellen's) doesn't have any feet, which I never noticed before, but it definitely makes it less realistic.
Music & Movies Entertainment Set - This is okay, but it looks a bit plastic to me. And when they've just given Maryellen a TV that can plug into a phone and actually play things with an app, it seems a bit 'boring'. And Maryellen's TV set is even the same price! The DVD cases look really cute to me though.:P
Cool Coral Outfit - I like the colors, although they don't really go together. And this is really not something I would wear. I have definitely seen girls wearing this sort of thing, but more the girls between 5 and 8 or 9 (I may be kind of wrong there, because I live in the UK, so I don't know if older girls do wear this sort of thing in the States). I think the whole outfit just looks pretty strange though. The rhinestones look kind of weird on the pink zebra-print top, and the 'distressed' glitter pattern on the leggings is also a bit unusual. And then the flats have a sort of pink backing that rises above the heel, which also looks kind of strange - although I personally wouldn't really go for silver flats anyway, but that is just because I don't like metallic flats (I don't care if other people wear them - I just wouldn't wear them myself.) I think it's also overpriced for just a shirt, leggings and flats.
2-in-1 Gymnastics Practice Outfit - I kind of like the colors, because they aren't as bright as the previous set, although they seem a little bit gray, overall. (That's not a big thing to me though.) I really think the set should have come with a leotard, and the shorts are a bit too short. (I know they're meant to be short for gymnastics, but these ones look shorter than they have to be, to me at least.:P) My first impression of the sweater was that it was quite cute, but Christian Homeschooler at Treasured Friendships With A Flair pointed out that it looks quite uncomfortable, which is actually true.:P
Rhythmic Gymnastics Outfit - I don't really like the leotard, but I actually think the rest of the set is really pretty. I just love the colors.:) I kind of wish the set came with a silver and gold medal though, because with only the silver one, a doll can come second, but not first, which seems a little silly. I mean, silver probably looks nicer, and maybe someone would want their doll to win second place, but I think they should at least put in a gold medal too (or even a bronze one as well), so that there's at least a choice.:)
Sparkle Spotlight Outfit - This outfit is just weird to me.:P I've never liked the 'shorts over leggings' thing, and I think it definitely doesn't work for a 'party or performance' outfit. (I know it's actually 'shorts over tights', but it looks the same really, and shorts of all things just don't seem to go with tights for me.:P) The top isn't something I would wear at all, but I have seen things like it in shops. The same goes for the shorts, although I think it's fairly uncommon to find shorts that covered in sequins.:P To me, the gold shoes and headband really clash, too, and the pink on the shoes looks really bad with the gold.:P I just really don't like it, and I don't think anyone I know would perform or go to a formal party in something like this.
Joyful Jewels Outfit - I think the rounded neckline on this outfit is very pretty, but the little jewels look a bit weird - I think it would have been beautiful if they had done some sort of embroidery around it instead.:) I don't really like the shirt being the same color as the neck-area: it doesn't really go with the red of the rest of the bodice, and as a small contrast bit, it's quite nice, but I think the bodice and the skirt being slightly un-matched colors ruins the contrast and makes it look a bit too clash-y. Also, the skirt is really, really short - every year, I think the Christmas dresses are far too short, and the next year, they seem to get shorter!:P (I'm pretty sure they actually do.) I know a lot of people wear skirts this length nowadays, but I personally really don't like it, and I wish American Girl would at least make one Christmas dress in a year that wasn't reeeeally short.:P
Holiday Accessories - This set is very similar to some of the 'holiday accessory' sets American Girl has sold in the past, but it is quite cute. I like the shrug and the snowglobe quite a lot.:) I think the ring is a bit strange, because it's silver and gold together again, which just doesn't really go.:P The candy and giftbag are a little bit unnecessary, in my opinion (although the giftbag is quite cute), and I think $32 is way too high for such a small set.
Cozy Christmas Scene - I'm not 100% sure why, but I really don't like this. Firstly, it's far too pink!:P Not many people have their living rooms painted bright pink, and the whole scene seems a bit overly fancy to me - it's not really the sort of thing people generally do for Christmas (not the people I know anyway).
Gorgeous Gold Outfit - I really don't like this outfit.:P Firstly, I've never like 'hi-lo' skirts (although I know a lot of people do, so that's not so bad), but also, the tulle everywhere seems a bit weird, and the two patterns on the bodice and skirt really don't match. The bows on the shoulders look slightly weird to me too, and for some reason, the two different shades of gold on the shoes and purse also don't quite match. (And there's a silvery jewel on the gold purse, which is kind of strange, even though it's not as noticeable as the other gold-with-silver things in the release.:P)
Playful Polar Bear Pajamas - These are quite cute (although I personally don't like pajamas with leggings - but that is just a personal preference), but there were polar bear pajamas just two or three years ago (and I thought the older ones were cuter), so it seems a bit silly do do them again when there were other things they could have done.:P (I wish they would do penguin pajamas, because I think penguins are adorable, but once again, that is just a personal thing. I don't think there ever have been penguins though.:))
Warm Winter Outfit - I like the color or the leggings, and I actually think the colors of the sweater look quite nice, in an unusual sort of way (I would probably wear something with that color combination, but not a whole outfit, because that would just be too loud:P), but I think the boots look horrible (purple and orange generally don't go), and I don't like the cut of the bottom of the sweater.:P Aside from the boots, the outfit would be quite cute as separate pieces though.:) The seam up the front of the leggings is very obvious though - Elizabeth from An American Girl Doll Story said that they looked a bit like thermal underwear, and I agree. It just doesn't look right somehow.:P
Warm Winter Accessories - This set is quite cute, and although the colors of the hat and gloves are a bit unusual (purple and orange again), they seem to work, in a unique sort of way. The only thing I particularly don't like is that the gloves are fingerless (I know they can't do individual fingers, but they could have done mittens), and it may just be another personal thing for me (I don't really see the point in fingerless gloves because your finger get frozen:P), but I think they would have looked better if they weren't fingerless.:)
I'm not going to talk about the Bitty Baby stuff, so I'm going onto Maryellen now.:)
Maryellen Doll - I think Maryellen herself is very cute! I love her hair (although I much preferred it in the prototype pictures, with the different sort of bangs - I've always liked that '50s style, and I'm not sure if sideswept bangs like the ones she has now were very common in the '50s - they may have been though), and her features are very pretty. I also like her shoes, but I think an actual 9-year-old in the '50s would definitely have worn socks with them. Her dress is pretty, but once again I think it's not perfectly accurate for her age in that era. I was told by someone who actually up in the '50s that girls that age usually wore puffed sleeves and slighter shorter (than the older girls), puffed out skirts (a bit more like Maryellen's School Outfit, or some of Molly's old dresses). I think the spaghetti straps would have been a bit "scandalous" for her. I haven't really seen anything like her shrug before (not from the '50s, anyway), but it's I think it's accurate, including the monogrammed "M" (monograms were popular then, I think), and it's cute.:)
Maryellen's Accessories - The gloves are cute, and definitely accurate, and so are the necklace and bracelet, although I don't know if those would be worn by a younger girl except to a smart occasion. The purse is cute, but it looks a bit small, and the handles seem like cheap plastic. Some other people have said that they don't stay on the doll's hand well, and a lot of people say that the plastic is cheap.
Maryellen's Pajamas - These are really adorable, and I love the flowers and ribbons! They are definitely in an accurate style, and look very pretty. The slippers are a little bit strange-looking to me, and seem a bit more like flats (somebody else also said this, but I don't remember who; I'm sorry).:P They're still cute though, and I kind of want some for myself.;)
Maryellen's Poodle Skirt Outfit - I don't really know whether I like this outfit or not. I've been told by people who grew up in the '50s that while poodle skirts were popular, they were (again) an older, teenage, girls' fashion. The skirt is really cute, but I don't think Maryellen would have worn it if she had been a real girl in the '50s.:P That aside, it looks nice on Maryellen, but personally I think the pink and black don't really go together (the pink poodle is mostly okay, but I don't like the pink blouse and scarf).:P I think I actually really like all the pieces of the outfit separately - even though I'm not quite sure about the skirt, the blouse and scarf are lovely, and I love the saddle shoes and bobby socks!:)
Maryellen's Birthday Dress - This is one of my favorite pieces of Maryellen's collection. It's a beautiful dress, and some people say it's made cheaply, but I think it's still very cute. A few people have said the pink flower doesn't really go, but personally I quite like it. After hearing that, it did start to stand out a bit strangely to me, but I think it's still better than if there had been no flower. (A blue one may have looked better though - I'm not sure.) As for the shoes, I didn't really notice the reddish-pink clashing with the green, but after looking at them for a while, I don't think they really go. They're cute shoes, and they do work with the outfit, but I think my problem is that a real person would be unlikely to choose them to go with a sea-green dress, even if they did turn out to work (if that makes any sense).
Maryellen's School Outfit - I like the style of the dress, but not the colors - I think the purple and black look a bit gloomy, and I really don't think they go well with Maryellen's hair.:P There was a similar dress in the prototype pictures, but it was made in light blue and a peachy-orange color, and I much preferred that one - it looked lovely on Maryellen and the colors went really well together.
Maryellen's Play Outfit - This is another favorite of mine! I have no idea why, but I've always loved clothes with cherries on them, so this is possibly one of my favorite outfits out of everything American Girl is currently selling.:) The outfit is definitely accurate, too. The top is my favorite part - the gingham edging and cherries make it really cute!;)
Maryellen's Ice Skating Outfit - I love this! The colors are adorable on Maryellen (I think they would suit most other dolls, too), and I love the red and the light blue. The snowflakes on the skirt are also really cute. I don't know if it's accurate to the era or not, but it probably is. It's another of my favorites out of Maryellen's collections.:)
Maryellen's Ice Skating Accessories - I really like these as well. They're quite expensive for just a hat, scarf, and mittens, but they're really adorable. I love the scarf in particular.:)
Maryellen's Diner Set - This is cute, but I think it's going a bit too far. Firstly, it's really expensive, but secondly, it's a very big set, and not something that most girls (at least, the ones I know) would play with much. Also, it seems on a slightly small scale to the dolls (the same as a lot of the other new items). In the last year, American Girl has made a few very large and expensive sets, that aren't really what most people want or need for their dolls, and some of them (like Maryellen's diner and Samantha's ice cream parlor) weren't even places that the characters worked or anything, but just places they liked to go in their stories. I think it would be better to focus on smaller sets of accessories, like the older Pleasant company ones.:)
Maryellen's Jukebox - I love the idea of having a jukebox that can actually play whatever you want through your phone, but at the same time, it kind of annoys me, because dolls are a distraction from technology and stuff, and an old-fashioned way to play, but this combines them and (to me) makes it more another thing to do with your phone. I think people grow up too fast nowadays, and personally I feel like this is just making dolls a more 'grown up' thing, instead of being a way for girls to 'stay children'.:/
Maryellen's Dog - Scooter is really cute, and I love his name, but I don't like that his eyes are stitched on, instead of actual eyes. It makes him look a little more like a stuffed toy than a pet, so if I had Maryellen, I'd rather find another small dachshund for her.
Maryellen's Sofa Bed Set - I quite like this (especially the blanket), but it seems a bit more '60s than '50s to me. I may be wrong, but I thought that the bright colors and strong angles were more popular in the '60s and '70s.:P I like that two dolls can sleep on the bed, and that it can also be a sofa, but I also think that when it's a bed, it's a bit short (in the pictures I've seen, the doll's feet are right on the end of the bed, and her head is touching the back of the couch part).:P
Maryellen's Hairstyling Set - I like this very much, although I think it's a bit expensive for curlers, a nightcap, and a bag. I really like that the bag and nightcap match Maryellen's pajamas though.:) I also really like that the curlers work (it does make it more worth the price).:)
Maryellen's Living Room Set - I kind of like this, but once again I think it's very '60s or early '70s, and I don't think this sort of thing was that popular in the '50s. Also, just like everyone else has been saying, what's with the poodle?:PXD It looks really strange and kind of scary - I couldn't figure out what it was until people started calling it a poodle. I kind of freaks me out.:P Somebody (I don't remember who) said that it looked like it was wearing a batman mask, and they were actually right, lol!:PXD (If you were the one who said that, you can let me know if you want, and I'll link to your site here.:))
Maryellen's Television Console - When I first saw this, I actually really liked it, but people said that it looked very plastic, and when I looked at it again, I realized they were right. (And the bonsai tree looks particularly cheap - I didn't even know it was supposed to be a bonsai.:P) I still like that it has a record player, and the records are really cute.:) I also love the idea that you can play your own movies on the TV, even though it still bothers me that it makes playing with dolls more "digital". I think it's not quite as annoying to me in this case, because you are playing movies for your doll, so it's not just a speaker for music; it's just a way to do something more realistically with your doll. I admit I probably would have loved it when I was a little younger, although I may not have used it much (if I had had a phone to use it with).
Maryellen's Classroom Set - I think this is a very nice idea, but it should definitely have included more. What's there is nice though, except for the alphabet cards - while they're cute, as other people have said, Maryellen definitely wouldn't be learning the alphabet at 9. I think they're a bit silly.:P I don't think the set is worth nearly $40.
Maryellen's Crinoline - I'm really glad they included this in Maryellen's collection. It's definitely appropriate, and it looks pretty, too (I know it doesn't need to, but real undergarments would have looked pretty in the '50s, so it's nice that it does). I think $16 is a bit much for just a crinoline though.
Striped Outfit For Girls - I really don't like this. The skirt is too short, and it really bothers me that it's in a modern style, and doesn't truly match the doll. I wish that American Girl still made proper matching outfits for girls to wear with their dolls. I've always loved matching clothes, but I don't like the new ones at all, especially since some of the styles are so short or revealing.:/
Flower-Print Pajamas For Girls - I like these, but I wish they were in the same style as Maryellen's. As well as being able to match my dolls, I really love vintage styles, so having accurate girls' clothing would be really fun for that reason as well.
Pretty Poodle Dress For Girls - This is pretty much the same as the "Striped Outfit For Girls" for me - I really wish it actually matched the doll's outfit, and the skirt is far too short. Also, with this dress, I think the black is a bit overpowering, and the little bits of pink make it seem more so. It's a bit like dark with tiny bits of light shining though.:P
Maryellen Mini Doll - Maryellen is probably my favorite out of all the new mini dolls. I don't like the new body at all, and most of the faces look a bit creepy to me, but Maryellen is adorable anyway.:) I think her bangs and outfit look a little bit strange in miniature though.:P
I hope you enjoyed reading through this - I'm sorry I've posted it so late after the actual release. I also have some awards that I was nominated for months ago - I'm sorry I've let them wait so long, and I promise I will do them; I've just had a lot going on.
What did you think of the American Girl Maryellen release?:)