Early Birthday Haul and review of My Life As Desk & Accessories

My birthday isn’t until the end of September, but over the past few weeks I’d been noticing different new releases from various doll lines that I thought I would like to have and thought that they would be ideal birthday items.  The drawback though is that because they are new releases, they might be difficult to find.  There were 3 in particular that I really wanted, I thought that I would be doing well if I found one and started looking early.  Well…I found not one, not two but all 3–and two other things that I wanted as well.  **HAPPY DANCE!!!**

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My finds: OG Mini Sienna, My Life As Desk and Accessories, OG “It Seams Perfect” set, OG “I Spot A Birdie” set and OG “A Bucket of Fun” set. The crazy part is I found these all in a matter of a week, 4 of them all on the same day at 2 different Target stores! I’m sure if someone had seen me when I spotted the sewing set in Target, they would have thought they had a crazy woman in the store, I never thought in a million years I would have found it that quickly. Year Made!!!

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The three items I wanted most were “It Seams Perfect”, “I Spot a Birdie” and the My Life As Desk.  Mini Sienna I had looked at a couple of times and passed, but then I found out that OG is totally revamping the mini line, so I had decided if I ran across her, I would grab her.  The beach set was just something I thought would be fun to have (especially since I have all those swimsuits now!)

I could do reviews on all these items, but the truth is that several of these things have more than enough reviews on them all over the internet.  Instead, I’m only going to review one of them, and that is because it not only is an item that hasn’t had many reviews on it, but the quality and “cute” factor on this piece is FAN-TAS-TIC. (Anyone watch “Hot In Cleveland”?)  So here you are, a review on the My Life As Desk & Accessories set.  I purchased it through Walmart.com for $27.97, it can be bought in some Walmart stores as well.  Ready?  Here we go!

Let’s talk about the packaging first–it’s typical MLA packaging.  I’m still trying to figure out what this fixation is with doll and girl aimed products with pink and purple–yikes.  I do like that it’s not behind a ton of plastic though and you can really see what you get with the piece as well as the details.

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Anyone else ever notice this on the MLA boxes? I have before, just wanted to point that out. Girl Power!!!

Getting it out of the box was easy. Almost so easy that I couldn’t believe it. Other companies could take a huge lesson from them on packaging, and I’m going to show you why. First off I slit the tape on the top and bottom of the outer box, the desk and components slid out easily.
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The desk was held into place in the inner box with these two pieces, and some rubber band type things, that’s it. And no, your eyes aren’t deceiving you–that’s paper twine instead of those god-awful plastic coated metal things that I swear are out to take over the world. Only thing that would have made this even better is if that piece with the holes in it had been cardboard instead of plastic, but I’m sure they were concerned it might not hold up. I’ll give them that.

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Once removed, then I had to take out the piece holding the accessories, also held in place with more paper twine:

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Let me just take a moment here to BOW DOWN to the person who decided the paper twine was a good idea. It wasn’t just a good idea, it was a terrific idea and for so many reasons. First off, it’s biodegradable. I’m sick to death of filling our landfills with packaging materials. It’s also much safer for little hands to undo. It also cuts easily with scissors. And it did the job!!!
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This is the piece that the accessories were mounted on. I’m showing this because I’m going to keep it. Why, you ask? Because it is the exact size of the back of the desk and it would be an awesome template for when I want to recover it with something else. And I do want to recover it. Not wild about the background.

Now for the little accessories:
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They are okay, they are just made of cardboard.  I’d be tempted if this was going to get a lot of play to laminate them or better yet, scan them and reprint, then laminate.  That way you could reproduce them if they get damaged.

The chair was packaged under the desk like so:

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The little package was also held in place with paper twine (yes!).  It contained the rug and some other paper accessories:

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Nothing exciting though.  Oh well.

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The chair is very cute, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it at first, but it has definitely grown on me.  The wheels on it don’t work, but for this price point, I certainly didn’t expect them to.  The rug is kind of flimsy, it seems more like a throw to me, but it works okay for this purpose.  I might use it in a dog bed instead.

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The lamp and the laptop are both VERY cute, and I think overall well done.

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The lamp lights up and the laptop closes.  The paint job on my laptop could be better.  The best part about the lamp is that it stays on, but only for about 10 seconds, so you don’t have to worry about running the batteries down.  A huge improvement over the lantern that was included with the MLA camping set, you had to continuously hold the button down, dumb.

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Here is the desk all opened up.  The drawers move easily but they don’t have stops on the back so they will pull completely out.  The cupboards are a little difficult to open, I don’t know how well this would hold up to hard play, I think you would need to be careful.

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Overall, for just under $28, I think this is a tremendous value and a fantastic piece for any 18 inch doll collection.  So where is it going to go in my dollhouse??  When I first bought it, I wasn’t really sure, but I’ve since decided that it’s going to replace the desk in Marie-Grace and Rebecca’s room, that desk is going to be used for some other things instead.  I would have loved to put it in Alya and Shivan’s room, but there just isn’t enough space. 😦

Kit asked if she could try it out, I told her sure thing, just don’t get attached to it since you have a desk already!

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Balancing the doll on the chair is a little tricky, but once you get her on, she fits nicely under the desk.

There you have it–a review on the My Life As Desk.  Even with the cardboard accessories, I still give this item an A+, I think it has tons of playtime options, is well made, and the packaging–off the charts!!!  Very happy with this purchase! 🙂

Excuse me now while I go and play with my other purchases, at least my husband isn’t like some people who make you actually wait until your birthday! (That would be a long wait, I’d go bananas.)

As I mentioned before, there are plenty of reviews for the other items I bought, but if there is something in particular you would like to see ME review, please tell me in the comments.  If I get enough requests for a particular item, I will reconsider.

Meet Louisa!

I had mentioned a few weeks ago I had a big surprise coming up–well, this is it! I’ve actually had her since the end of June, you have no idea how hard it was for me not to share her with everyone. But I did it!!!
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She is a #55, dark brown hair with hazel eyes and freckles. I’ve had this doll on my radar since early last summer, she’s actually a doll I seriously considered back when I bought Rebecca. I decided that Rebecca’s hair color and style was more of what I was looking for though. But I hadn’t forgotten about #55. I’ve looked at this doll so many times it’s ridiculous and for some reason I just kept putting it off, over and over again and bought other dolls instead.

One morning in June I was doing my usual Ebay surfing, and I was stunned to find her, brand new, just without her clothing for a really good price. Put it this way, I’ve seen used dolls go for more than what she did. Free shipping too! I honestly think that she was purchased during the June Jill’s Steals and Deals because someone wanted the clothing but not the doll. Fine by me, I didn’t want the clothing, just the doll, worked out for everyone! And I got a good deal, and you know how I love a deal. 🙂

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I was so excited when she arrived, she was just perfect, her hair was even still in it’s hairnet. I honestly don’t know why I waited so long to get this doll, she is so cute. I love the hazel eye color that AG has come out with, I can say it’s probably my favorite of all of them, and it looks just gorgeous with her hair. And that hair–wow, she has some of the nicest hair for styling of all of the dolls I own. It’s all one length, making it easy to braid, pull into a pony tail–whatever style you have in mind. My personal favorite is to have it pulled back a little on the sides with barrettes, I think it makes her look very much like a little girl.

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Once she arrived, I had a real dilemma though–what to name her? Several of my dolls have been named before they have even arrived (Alya, Cassandra) and others I stuck with their historical names. Shivan’s name came together once I got focused, but this poor girl was a struggle. I stood her in the trusty chair in the living room so I could look at her often in hopes that something would pop into my head. Two weeks went by and nothing! I even asked my husband and he had no suggestions, not even sarcastic ones! Then one day it happened. One of my absolute favorite television shows is a British drama/comedy called “Doc Martin”. I mentioned to my husband that we needed to get caught up on watching the recent season before the new one came out. Then it dawned on me that #55 reminded me of a character in that show–and her name became Louisa! What made it even better is later I realized that she looked a LOT like a girl I went to school with whose name was Louise–freckles, long, dark wavy hair and very pretty eyes. That sealed it.

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I had another problem though. I’ve mentioned that I am out of room in the dollhouse for any further girls, so I had to figure out a way to incorporate her into the story. That’s when I decided on her story as a new neighbor girl who really needs some friends because she’s going through a tough time.  I’d had the story of a girl who was dealing with her parents divorce in my head for sometime, but actually intended it for a different doll, unfortunately that all fell through.  Then I came across Louisa that morning and decided she would work very well in that story line, so I started writing!

Louisa’s mom and dad met in college, they got married right after he graduated and she was still in school.  When Louisa was born, her mom quit school because it was too difficult juggling a baby and school, not going back to work until Louisa started 1st grade.  When her parents decided to divorce, her mom realized that she needed to finish college to be able to support her and Louisa, so that’s why they moved in with grandpap, her mom wouldn’t have as many expenses plus she would be able to continue at the college she had attended before and wouldn’t lose many credits.  She’s studying to be an accountant and she grew up in this neighborhood.  Even though her dad has a degree to be a history teacher, he found he didn’t enjoy it and instead works as an aircraft mechanic for an airline at the airport in Buffalo, but is trying to get a job in Pittsburgh so he can be closer and can live in the town where he grew up (about 20 minutes away).  Even though her parents are getting a divorce, they still get along okay, no horrible fights or anything, but Louisa misses her dad tremendously.  Her dog Eddie is currently with her dad, but he is going to be coming to live with her soon.

Louisa is actually very funny and can be extremely outgoing at times.  She loves performing magic tricks, likes to sing and is a good student.  She and Alya are becoming very good friends, I think due to the fact that they are both only children and kind of see each other as “sisters”.  She gets fits of the giggles sometimes and has a terrific sense of humor!  The girls here just love her and they all have a lot of fun together.  She’s still nervous about school starting, but Shivan reminded her that she was going to be a new girl too.  That made Louisa feel better, she said “well, we can be the new girls together!”

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I am so glad I decided to get her, I think she makes a great addition to my gang of girls. I am kind of kicking myself for waiting, but she was worth the wait. And there you have it! SURPRISE!!

In case you were wondering, her t-shirt came from If Dolls Could Dream. Her overalls-I have had those so long, I picked them up at a craft show in the mid 1990’s for Samantha! They have held up well though, don’t you agree?

The Crying Girl

Zara and Abby were playing in the backyard with their dogs Finn and Molly when they thought they heard someone crying. They realized that there was a little girl sitting on the back stoop of the house next door. They didn’t recognize her, but they both thought they’d better go over and see if she was alright.
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“Excuse me” said Abby. “Are you okay?”
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“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, everything (sniff) is so (sniff sniff) messed up!” Then she started to sob, burying her head in her hands.
“Oh honey” said Zara, “what’s the matter? It can’t be that bad.” “It is though, it’s terrible. I don’t even know where to start.”
“Why don’t you tell us your name?” asked Abby.  The girl looked up at them, and in between sobs she said “My name is Louisa.”
“Where do you live?” asked Zara. “Well, that’s the problem, I live here, I guess, I think…” And then she started to cry again.
Abby sat down on the stoop beside her. “I’m not sure what that means, perhaps you can explain?”
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“Well,” started Louisa, “it just seems like everything lately has gone wrong. First my grandma died a few months ago and now my parents are getting divorced. My grandpap lives here, my mom and I moved here from Buffalo, New York to live with him so my mom can get back on her feet.”
“Oh dear” said Zara, “That is a lot.”
“I’m so scared. I hated having to move and leave all of my friends behind, I don’t know anyone here and now I have to go to a new school and…” She started to sob again.
Zara sat down on the other side of her and put her arm around her. “Well, the good news is that we just live over there” (as she pointed to her house). Which school will you be going to?”
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“I think it’s called Kennedy?” said Louisa between sobs.
Abby clapped her hands and said “Oh good, that’s where we go to school. My name is Abby and this is my sister Zara. These are our dogs Finn and Molly. I understand how you feel, we moved here last year from New Mexico, and it was very scary.”

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Then Zara pointed to the house behind theirs. “Do you see that house right there behind ours? There are 6 other girls our age that live there who are all super nice, and they all go to Kennedy too!”
As she listened, Louisa had quit sobbing, and actually started to smile. “Really? Do you think they’ll like me?”
“Well, we like you, so I’m sure they will!” exclaimed Abby.
“Can you introduce me to them?” asked Louisa.
“Of course! They love meeting new people.” responded Zara. “I remember when we first came here, they were so nice to us and so excited to have some more playmates. We hang out at their house all the time.”

The girls sat there for quite a while and talked about all sorts of stuff. Louisa told them that she didn’t participate in any activities because her parents didn’t have a whole lot of money, but she was hoping to try some different ones. “I have NO idea what I want to do, I’d like to try everything! Tennis, music, art—I don’t know how to decide! I do enjoy singing. I also know some magic tricks, Penn and Teller are my favorite magicians.” Abby said that she was into cheerleading and gymnastics and Zara said she rode horses. “Oh wow, that all sounds really fun” said Louisa. “Maybe you two can help me pick something out?” She also told them that her grandpap was paying for her to go to Kennedy because he thought it was a really good school and that her mom had gone there when she was growing up. “Our mom did too” said Zara. “That’s pretty cool!”

While they sat there talking, Finn and Molly were very patient, but finally Finn couldn’t stand it anymore and put his head in Louisa’s lap.
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“You are so cute…” said Louisa. And then she started to cry again. “What’s the matter?” asked Zara. “My dog is still with my dad. I miss him so much. I hope to be able to get him back soon, my dad is supposed to come and visit next week and is bringing my dog with him. He’s my best friend! I’m looking forward to seeing my dad too.” “Awwww, what’s your dog’s name? Tell us about him!” said Abby.
“He’s a Jack Russell terrier named Eddie—just like in the old TV show Frasier. He was a birthday present a couple of years ago. I really miss him, he always slept with me in my bed. I can’t wait to see him again.  My dad is up for a job transfer not too far from here, so I’ll get to see him more too.”
“I know I would miss Finn and Molly if they weren’t here” said Zara. “I bet Eddie misses you too.” Then Zara gave her a big hug.

“I’m really glad that you two came along. I do feel better since I’ve been talking to you. I definitely don’t feel so scared about school now. I hope everyone there is as nice as you two.”
“Great!” exclaimed Abby. “We don’t like sad faces around here!!”
“Would you two like to come in for a glass of lemonade? You can meet my grandpap, he’s really nice, and he loves dogs too! I bet he will love these two” said Louisa.
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“Sure!” replied Abby and Zara at the same time. “Let me text mom and let her know where we are” said Zara.
Zara and Abby stayed for about an hour, then they said they needed to get going because their mom would be worrying about them being gone for so long. The three girls agreed that they would get together later in the week to play and to introduce Louisa to the rest of the girls.
“Thanks guys, I’m so glad you stopped to talk to me. I feel so much better about school.”