Review of Campus Snack Cart and Jill’s Steals and Deals

There was recently a Jill’s Steals and Deals offer on American Girl. Just like with any sale, there were good things and bad things. BIG kudos to whoever decided to change the code for this sale from their previous formula. It was one of those things that if you were familiar with the sale, you could easily figure it out, but not the case this time, which prevented people from getting in early. That evened the playing field somewhat. I see that confused look on your face, you don’t know what I’m talking about? Well, if you pay close attention to the screens for these sales, the sales start at 8:00AM Eastern time. Usually the segments don’t air until somewhere between 8:30 and 8:45 on the Today Show (usually the latter) and if you figured out the code, you could somehow get in and get access to the sale items before everyone else. So not cool. AG, if you read this and you care, you will CONTINUE changing the codes this way from now on.

I was surprised at how quickly I got in this time too, I only waited about 10 minutes. At that point everything was still available and I was able to get what I wanted. I attribute this to several factors. First off, most schools are back in session so that eliminated most of the window shopping that may have gone on by kids and reduced the numbers somewhat. The code being changed helped too. And the fact that it hadn’t been all that long since the last sale and some of the items were sort of/kind of repeat items probably deterred some people. I also think that the folks who thought that these were a great way to “get rich” by flipping these items on Ebay found out otherwise. They don’t quite understand that most AG collectors/shoppers are well aware of these sales and what these items sell for. I suspect that in the previous two sales this summer, several Ebay folks found themselves just barely making their money back, or at least not making the big bucks they thought they were. I chuckled though, in one of my regular Ebay checks that day I discovered that one person had bought several of the AG doll sets that were selling for $78, trying to sell them for $150, before the sale even ended! Sad part is these dolls were the same ones that when I checked just before the sale had ended, they still hadn’t sold out on the AG sale site. Something tells me that these sellers are in for a bit of a shock.

That brings me to another point though–why can’t these sales just be run as “pop up” sales every so often on the AG website without all of the hype on the Today Show? Come on AG, we are your bread and butter, not the person who only takes advantage of the sales to flip these items. It would be nice to eliminate some of that competition. I think they would do just as well too, I know of some people who have given up on these sales, or don’t find out about them because they work or don’t watch Today. You could still do both too, just alternate or something. It just doesn’t seem fair, and I know even with things being easier this time around, there were still some people who had difficulty getting in.

Okay, enough griping! I’m sure you are excited to see what I got! I know I sure was. I have been in awe of the Campus Snack Cart ever since I saw it in person last year at AG Columbus. I even commented then that I thought it was probably one of the nicest things in the store. The only thing that kept me from buying it was the $150 price tag, a bit steep for my tastes. Since then it was on sale and I still passed, but in the meantime I did the whole bakery project. When I got into the JS&D sale and saw it for sale for $67, I’m sure my mouth dropped open! I was super excited and even more so when I got through the checkout process unscathed and received my confirmation e-mail. WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!! I really hadn’t planned on buying anything this big right now since I just bought some of the other items I’ve shown, but at that price, I couldn’t not buy it.

You can imagine how much more excited I was when I got shipping confirmation later that day and when it arrived 2 days later. Yes, you read that right, 2 days! I’m not sure what planets aligned right for me that day, but things certainly did go right. I didn’t pay for expedited shipping either, this was just regular shipping. I’m still stunned.

I asked the girls who wanted to volunteer to help me with it, and Rebecca immediately put her hand up. She thinks it’s pretty cool too.
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Isn’t it cute?!?! I am just as much in awe of it as I was in the store last year. I do want to take a second to say one thing though–the wheels on it are fake and do not work. Just want to put that out there in case that is a deal breaker. I know in several reviews folks were disappointed in that.

A close up of the one side.  Lots of cool details: a microwave, shelving, a cash drawer and a freezer.  Everything you need for a busy selling day.
cart 2Here is a close up of the microwave.  This is probably my favorite feature.  The door opens easily and there is plenty of room for food as you can see.  It permanently says 11:45, that can’t  be changed, but what I thought was cool was when you turn the knobs, they make a clicking sound.  They don’t just spin around like they do on some other items.

cart 3A close up of the change drawer.  Nothing very exciting, but I do like the fact that the drawer can’t be pulled completely out, no chance of spilling the money all over the place.  This would also be a nice place to put a couple of small utensils if you weren’t going to use it for change.

cart 4And the refrigerator/freezer.  Plenty of space for storing all those things you want to keep cold.

cart 5Turn the stand around, there is the menu!  I love the pattern on this piece, it’s so nice and colorful.  And NOT totally pink! 🙂

cart 6On this end we have a towel bar, very handy!  The towel is included with the set.  The other end is plain. cart 8

One thing I really like about this piece is it’s versatility. I have several different ideas on how I’m going to use it and I was very happy to see how easily the canopy could be removed. It literally just lifts off. There have been some complaints about it not staying in place, and I can see how that would be a problem, but it could easily be remedied with a small piece of tape!
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The canopy itself is cute, but was probably the most disappointing part of the set. It was terribly wrinkled and one of the bars on mine has a slight bend to it from how it was packaged. I think all of this can be remedied with some hot water. I’m not too worried about it since I really don’t plan on using the canopy most of the time, it will be stored.  Because of the way it is attached, it would be easy to make another canopy for it if you don’t particularly care for this one. Another plus.
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Now for the included accessories!  This set really shines in this department and has a ton of little food and other items that make it very attractive.  I can see where this set would get lots of play time just because of this.

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Here are the items that one would associate with a food cart: hot dogs and fries!  The hot dog cooker is very cute and lights up (not sure if you can see it or not reflecting on the hot dogs in this photo).  My personal favorite thing is the ketchup and mustard containers, these are nice to have not just for this, but for the doll kitchen in general.  The hot dogs in mine do not come out of the buns, not sure if they are supposed to or not, I suspect no.

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What would a food cart be without ice cream?!  We have smoothies, ice cream cones, ice cream sandwiches and a faux box of cones.  I think the scoop is very cute!  My husband didn’t think the ice cream items were quite right in proportions, but they are still cute.  (see, I’m slowly but surely turning him into a doll aficionado…)

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I thought these two food items were a little strange for a food cart–corn on the cob and fruit kabobs.  I guess this was AG’s attempt to at least inject some healthy food into this junk food smorgasbord.  The detail is great on these pieces.  And I LOVE those little tongs, so adorable!  They work too!

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Here are a couple of items I haven’t opened just yet, I’m not going to need them for a while, so I figured this would keep them safe.  Every cash drawer needs money and the paper trays are perfect.  The attention to detail on this set is over the top.

The set also includes a very nice apron, gotta keep the clothes clean when serving food!  It attaches at the neck and waist with Velcro, very easy to put on and take off.  I just wish it wasn’t pink, but oh well.  Keep in mind that I like pink, but a little bit goes a long way.  At least they didn’t overdo it on the set as a whole, so I’m not going to complain too loudly.

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Now, you’re probably wondering what I’m going to do with this set.  ALL SORTS OF THINGS!  First off, use it as a food cart, but also as a prep area in the bakery.  Heck, I’m even thinking about putting it in the dollhouse kitchen when it’s not in use for other things as a prep station, you can never have too much work space in a kitchen.  I already have plans for it for a post that will be coming up at the end of the month and another one not long after that.

Overall, this is a VERY well made, well thought out piece.  I give it an A-, and only because of the canopy, that could be improved upon.  Otherwise, I think it’s one of the best American Girl purchases I’ve made, and can see where this could easily be a favorite item for many little girls. And big girls too!

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!!!
Louisa 4

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. 🙂

Louisa 1

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.

Louisa 2

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.

Louisa 3

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!”

Louisa 5
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?

Kit’s bed

I was very happy to get Kit’s bed recently on a Jill’s Steals and Deals sale, it was something I had debated on buying before, but this time I thought “why not?!” I am so glad I decided to jump on it, this is one of the most amazing pieces of AG furniture I own. Before I start on the review though, I just want to say something about the Jill’s Steals and Deals sale in hope that maybe, someone from American Girl will read this and pass it on to the powers that be.

This sale stunk. Not that there weren’t good deals, but in how it was handled the whole way around. First off, people figured out the codes for the sale and for some reason, AG opened this sale at 8:00AM, a good 45 minutes before the segment even aired on the Today Show. By the time the “honest” folks like myself tried to get in, they couldn’t. Fortunately for me, I wasn’t really interested in buying the doll that was advertised. But that, my friends is another issue. If you had watched the Today Show segment, you would have thought that Julie in her original outfit with a set of PJ’s was the only thing on sale, but it wasn’t, there was a whole list of things, but none of it shown in the segment. The AG site freaked out from all of the traffic, and I didn’t actually get in until around 10:00 AM, a good hour and 15 minutes in to it. I was one of the lucky ones too. Some people didn’t get in until much later and by that time, most of the stuff was totally sold out. Only a few West Coast people managed to get anything. The whole thing was a fiasco with it leaving a VERY bad taste in the mouths of a lot of potential buyers. I read a lot of other doll blogs and there are some really angry people over this particular sale. AG needs to fix this whole thing so that everyone is at least on an even playing field. Opening the sale 45 minutes prior to the airing of the segment was wrong, these items shouldn’t be available to anyone, even if you do figure out the sale code. There were some other glitches in this that also have left me wondering: is my credit card data safe on the AG site??? This sale wasn’t the first time I’ve seen where people have figured out coding, allowing them access to stuff that isn’t public. And then there’s the whole thing with people grabbing these dolls, only to flip them on Ebay, doubling their money. They had no intention of keeping them in the first place. That whole thing makes me sad because I think of friends who have a hard time affording AG stuff, this would have been a perfect opportunity for them to buy something really special, but didn’t have the opportunity. Bad show AG 😦

On to the bed though! I’ve mentioned it before how much I love Kit. I love her story, I love the doll, but I really don’t have much as far as accessories and furniture for her. A few weeks ago I ordered her typewriter, beyond cute! But the bed-I didn’t think it was possible for me to be even more impressed.

This is a substantial piece of doll furniture! I was surprised just how heavy the box was when I picked it up. I have the yellow bunk beds AG made a number of years ago, and this is even better quality than that. It goes together very easily, no tools required. So easy a kid (or a technology impaired adult) can assemble it. Pegs on main bed frame attach to loops on the head and footboard, easy peasy.

bed 1  bed 2

(Sorry for the crap picture of the peg, you get the idea, and I’m too tired to care LOL)

TADA!

bed 3 replace

One of the things that I thought was especially cute about this bed was the whole extension aspect.  The trundle beds that they have made for dolls are cute, but this is just too clever, I always thought beds like this were neat in real life.  While this isn’t exactly like a real one, it’s still well done. 

You remove the bedding and mattress and the frame simply lifts up:
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Then it lays flat:
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Then the short piece flips around and makes the whole frame stable.  At first I thought mine was put together backwards, but you do have to play with it a little bit so it flips around the whole way.

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I love the way the mattress is done on this piece too, when it’s a single bed Kit has a nice fluffy mattress but then it folds open so it fits the larger bed as well, nicely thought out!
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Here it is with the included bedding, the quilt covers the top of both mattresses:
bed 8
Zara and Abby decided to crawl in when I wasn’t looking!
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Opened up this way, I think you could probably fit a third doll in, but it would be a bit tight!

bed 10
Overall, I think this is just darling, it reminds me of beds that so many of my friends and family had in their homes when I was growing up, huge nostalgia value. My only complaint with this–no sheets!! I guess I’ll have to fix that. Shouldn’t be hard, I’m just going to make very simple, white cotton sheets, very true to the era. And if some else is going to stay in this bed, it needs a second pillow, so I will have to fix that too. At least they are all easy things to make.

I give this bed an A+. My only regret is that I didn’t buy it earlier when it came with the chenille bedspread, oh well. I also love the box it came with, heavy and well made, I see another box bed in my future! You can never have too many beds (or dolls), can you?