Why American Girl…Why???????????

I had a few minutes today to actually do something fun, and I was super excited to see the new releases.  I even had stuff in my cart ready to order.  Except I can’t.  American Girl’s recent revamping of their website has left me (as well as others) unable to access my account!  I got the e-mail about updating my password, and I did exactly what they said, but all I get when I try to log in is an error message.  A quick check of their Facebook page tells me I’m not alone.  Ugh.  When I voiced my concerns on Twitter, the response was to call the 800 number.  I waited 10 minutes on the phone and hung up.  This is ridiculous.

My question is–what company in their right mind does a major upgrade on their website at the same time they are about to release a bunch of new product?  Just when I think that they are finally headed in the right direction, they go and do this hair-brained move.  Not only are people having issues with getting into accounts, but there are many products that are in this release that you can’t even order!  What is with that?!?!?!?!?!

Unbelievable.  American Girl, you continually perplex me with your ridiculous business model.  Get with the program, it’s 2017 and other companies are running circles around you.  (Insert disgusted face here)

A Cool Little Stove

I’m a regular shopper at Zulily, and every so often in the toys, they show this toy stove that looks like it would be the right size for 18 inch dolls.  Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks.  First, up until just recently, Zulily didn’t accept returns, so if it didn’t work, I’d still be stuck with it.  And the colors weren’t always great, either red which wouldn’t have been horrible, or bright yellow with red accents.  It looked like something you’d find in a kitchen at clown school!  So I just passed on it and figured it wasn’t meant to be.

I was strolling through my nearby Tuesday Morning when I spotted something interesting on the shelves–a little stove.  Not just any stove, but the same stove I kept seeing on Zulily, but in much more reasonable and realistic colors.  I got the okay to take it out of the box to check and was happy to see it was the right size for 18 inch dolls.  The price was great too, $14.99.  Of course, it came home with me!

Here is Ryan beside it so you can see just how awesome it is size-wise.  The knobs and buttons are a little big, but not completely ridiculous.  It is designed for kids and not dolls after all.  I was impressed when I opened the door on it that the racks in it were adjustable.

Another shot of Ryan with the oven for size comparison.  (And yes, in case you don’t follow me on Instagram, he has been re-named.  I just wasn’t fond of Logan, and since he is going to be Jenny’s brother, I thought Ryan Bradley sounded way better!)

When you press the different buttons, it sets the “timer” and it counts down with sound effects.  Very cute!  Each button sets it for a different amount of time too.  The knobs at the top make a clicking noise too, but don’t really do anything.  The stovetop is simply stickers for two burners.

This is my favorite part–when you hit the start button, not only does the timer start counting down, but there is a light that comes on to make it look like the oven is working!

And once it’s done, it makes a “ding” and the light shuts out.  Very well done, I can see kids having a blast with this little toy!

I’m currently planning on using this as part of the bakery.  I think it will be perfect for little trays of cookies, don’t you?  I haven’t found any other appliances online from this company besides a dishwasher and it unfortunately didn’t match–plus it was around $30!  I would love to find a refrigerator that matched it, but I’ve had no luck from this company.  I will be keeping my eyes peeled.  I love the black and stainless steel look on this piece, very in trend with today’s modern kitchens.  It’s very tempting now to make a kitchen around it using some of the ideas I’ve seen online.



June Book Group Read: Lea Dives In

Hello everybody! I hope you all are enjoying your summer so far. I realize that summer doesn’t officially start until next week, but tell that to Mother Nature. It’s been very hot here for the past few days and supposed to stay that way for a few more. Much more like July weather instead of June. But rather appropriate since we are talking about a book set in Brazil!

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book, but truthfully, I enjoyed it way more than I ever thought I would. First off, Lea is into photography, an area that is very close to my heart! And she was heading to somewhere in South America, and I’ve had a fascination with Mexico, Latin and South America ever since my 6th grade history course where we studied it in depth. So right off the bat, things were heading in the right direction.

First, we’ll start off with the things I didn’t like. I’m still not fond of the fact that we have these kids trekking off to foreign destinations all the time when there is so much within the United States that they could see and do, plus it would be a good way to learn some more history of our country. I was also very annoyed with American Girl initially promoting her as being a girl from Brazil, but when the book came out, we learn she is only 1/8 Brazilian. I’m a larger percentage of Irish than that, yet I don’t go around identifying as such! I’m hoping if American Girl has learned nothing else over this past year, they will quit trying to sweep ethnicity under the rug. I don’t understand why, especially with the GOTY line, they are so afraid of trying to show some diversity. This was a poor excuse of trying to be ethnically aware if you ask me.

The other thing that bugged me was the professions of her parents. Her mom is an architect and her dad is a college professor. Ring any bells???? I immediately thought of Lanie, same scenario exactly! Why they had to recycle this when it really had no bearing on the outcome of the story is beyond me. Can’t anyone come up with anything original anymore?

The good parts–right off the bat I was thrilled that we didn’t have to start off with an antagonistic character in the book. In fact, there wasn’t one period, other than the issues with her brother. And I loved how that was all handled, very realistic. As a youngest sibling, I can relate to how it feels when an older one leaves home and you feel left behind. I also loved how the story tied present time events with the things she read in her grandmother’s journal. I thought it was a great way to bring everything full circle with the compass and the camera. I also loved her description of the ocean as it was spot on. I remember being completely in awe of the turquoise color of the Caribbean last year when we went to Mexico.

My favorite part was her blossoming friendship with Camila and how they ended the book with the two of them with the dress and then later at the festival. I haven’t read the other books yet, so I don’t yet know how much more we see of Camila in this series, but I much preferred their interaction over some of the other Girl Of The Year books.

Overall, I really liked the book, and was pleasantly surprised with how it all turned out. We had conflict, but not so much nastiness and hatred like Isabella. We had an exciting event and Lea discovering all sorts of challenges that she needed to overcome. I won’t give anything away just in case you haven’t read it yet, but I would definitely recommend this book over some of the other GOTY ones I’ve read. This book is slightly longer than other American Girl books which gave more opportunity to expand the story which was a big plus. And to think I wasn’t a huge Lea fan initially!

Did you like Lea Dives In? Can’t wait to hear everyone’s opinions.