Friday, December 3, 2021

What A Year 2021 Has Been!

 Well that may be an understatement! You see, I live in Clarkston, Michigan in the USA. You may be seeing on the news in your part of the world the breaking story of the latest school shooting in the US. My house is just 13 miles from the Oxford High School were the shooting happened. We have friends who have family attending this school. My 21 year old daughter ran track while in high school and she attended track meets at this school. This is just too close to home. There is a cloud of shock and depression hanging over the surrounding communities. Today, there was a list of at least 20 area schools who have closed their doors for the remainder of the week due to threats being called into these schools. Most unfounded. Thought to be funny by those sick enough to call in the threat. The shooter is a 15 year old student who attended Oxford High school. 4 students lost their lives ages 14 to 17. 7 more victims are recovering from their wounds, some still in critical condition. Hundreds more who feared for their lives as they barricaded themselves in classrooms. Sad beyond belief. You ask yourself how this can happen. Why does this happen. My heart is heavy and breaks for the families, the community, our friends and neighbors. It is hard to think about anything else right now.

My last post was in June of 2021 where I posted about my Signature Barbie Looks doll aka Victoria. After that, I posted a photo on the Barbie Collector Facebook page showing my collection of all 6 dolls in which I had multiples of each doll. Anyone that knows me at all knows that I do a lot of rebodying and I did order 4 of each doll and surprisingly was able to get most of what I ordered. However, I was shocked at the hate comments I received. It was as if I had single handedly caused the worldwide shortage of these dolls and I was responsible for the hundreds of people who did not place orders until late in the game and thus had a hard time getting their hands on them. Note, that there were many who had posted getting up to 10 of each doll, yet I was the one to receive the hate. I removed my post and the detestable comments and went silent on doll posts after that and lost some enthusiasm for blogging too.

But here is a photo of my dolls from that line.

L to R: Jon, Kit, Victoria, Lena, Elle, Sean

But let's take a step back a bit. Coming out of 2020 wasn't easy. We had been living in a sort of isolation, not attending family or other functions. My eldest daughter had gone back to work to help closeout a factory that was planning on closing their doors in February of 2021. She accepted the assignment as they offered her a lucrative retention bonus to stay on until the doors closed. My youngest who worked at an emergency vet clinic, also went back to work in the last quarter of 2020. I kept the home fires burning, but we were careful around each other being diligent to wearing our masks even when around each other as they were out in the public.

At Christmas time (2020), we noticed that our cat, Jasmine, seemed to act a little bit weird, sometimes losing her balance. We took her to our local vet at the first available appointment in January 2021 and had her checked out with blood tests and a full workup, but they said she was OK, but may be having the beginning of something neurological. Shortly after that, she began falling against the wall as she walked and she was losing weight. Her breathing was labored. We knew it might be something very serious. Hannah, who worked at the emergency vet clinic, decided to take her to work to have them check her out. The first thing they told us was that she had a heart murmur, which our vet did not detect. The emergency clinic also noted the she was having breathing issues so they xrayed her lungs. The vet looked at Hannah and said "maybe we should get your mom on the phone". The vet then told us that she had very advanced, fast growing lung cancer. Not treatable, not curable. All we could do was give her palliative care, but that she maybe would live another month or two. So on February 18, 2021 we took her home with some meds and spent everyday doting her with attention, but she deteriorated rapidly. After only about 2 weeks, her breathing was so bad that we knew we could not let her suffer any longer. On March 4, we had to say our final farewell to her. We had our beautiful little angel kitty for 14 years. It was so hard on everyone! 

Goodbye sweet Jasmine!

While all of this was going on, the COVID vaccine became available and I was able to get my first dose on February 9 and my second dose on March 9. Because my daughter's were working in jobs where they were in contact with the public, they were also able to get their vaccines in the spring. Things started to go back to a bit of normalcy. I continued to buy dolls! Here are a few of the dolls that I purchased in 2021.

Custom OOAK mother and baby from "All The Little Dolls" on Etsy

Mizi Adonis Men

Two 2021 Fashionista guys dressed in The Fresh Squad outfits.

Another Ken Fashionista in a Fresh Squad outfit and Shero Alex Morgan (soccer player)

Wave 1 of the Barbie Extra Dolls

More Fashionistas

More Fashionistas

OK, so maybe there were more than a few! LOL! I will post more about my dolls in future blog entries. There are more coming for sure!

During the pandemic isolation period in 2020, I did put back on some of the weight I had lost in 2018 and 2019. But, in May, I renewed my efforts and got back on my healthy kick. To date, I have now lost 81 lbs since my original start in 2018. My goal is 100 lbs, so I am doing pretty well towards that goal! 

With my daughter at summer camp

Letting my hair show its natural curl!

My youngest daughter, Hannah, delayed her sophomore year of college due to the pandemic, but in August, we moved her to an apartment at Michigan State where she has now begun her sophomore year of college. 
Here she is with her best friend Baily (the blonde girl) in their new apartment on moving day

In September, I caved in and allowed my eldest to get a cat with the provision that the cat is her total responsibility. She buys the food, takes it to the vet and the cat moves with her when she moves out next year! Here is her cat named Mushroom!

She is a cute kitty (sshh, don't tell my daughter I like her!)

One last pet item, which is a little sad too. We found a lump on the left rear flank of our 12 year old dog, Carly. Since she is prone to having benign lipomas that the vet has said were not necessary to remove as they come back, we were not too concerned, but decided to get it checked out. This lump turned out to be a type of malignant mast cell tumor. Because she is otherwise healthy, we did decide to have it removed along with a very large lipoma. I am happy to report that she is doing well after having surgery. we are still waiting on the pathology to see if it has spread, but we are feeling optimistic. I am not going to post surgery photos as they are very graphic, but here is a photo of her before surgery.

Carly sharing her bed with Mushroom!

Well, that brings us up to date! Mostly! Christmas is right around the corner and I am sure some new dolls will sneak their way into my collection. I will try to post a little more too! I hope all of you are doing well. God Bless!


Thursday, June 3, 2021

Exciting New Doll Line - Barbie Looks Dolls

 Well, Mattel has done it again! Surprised us with a new doll line. One would have hoped that we would have heard about it from Mattel, but they dropped the ball on announcing it to us as online sleuths found out about it and reported the dolls on their sites. They very quickly became available on Amazon for pre-order if you were lucky enough to grab them and eBay opportunist are already offering them at inflated prices. The line is called Barbie Signature Looks.

This new series has debuted with 6 brand new dolls. All new face sculpts, MTM articulation and in Original, Tall, Petite and Curvy for the ladies and 2 guys with the Original MTM Ken body. Here is a photo of the group of dolls from the back of the box:

I have managed to order numbers 4-6 and I am still trying to snag number 1 & 2. My number 6 doll arrived yesterday. She is listed on Amazon as Barbie Signature Looks Doll (Tall, Blonde)

I did not waste any time opening her, so without further adieu, I will share the box opening with you!

This is the back of the box which explains a little about the dolls. The photo of the dolls is not great taken from the back of the box, but you can see that they are all new face sculpts and are dressed very stylishly in a black and white theme.

Side of the box with the simple LOOKS logo.

Other side of the box identifying the doll number.

The front of the box has a simple clear cover with the logo of the line enabling you to see the beautiful doll!

But she looks so much better after getting that cover off.

As you can see, she stands tall and has a well made white open shoulder dress with white ankle boots. I don't think I have seen these before so they seem to making everything new for this line. Now getting her out of the box was a little bit challenging.

Getting her out of the box itself took only a snip of the plastic around her boots and releasing the plastic base from the inner liner of the box. But that plastic base that anchors her to the box was not fun. See the threads in her hair and the plastic thingies anchoring her head to the base? I wish they would stop doing that! I hate those! Put after snipping the plastic ties, pulling the thingies out with my needle nose pliers and getting the thread out of her hair, she was finally free!

Here she is, head to toe! She is dressed in a white knit dress with open shoulders. The fabric is a nice weight, not a thin cheap feel to it. It velcros in the back and has a sewn hem at the sleeves and bottom. Simple, yet elegant. 

She has a Made to Move body. Yessss! So glad they gave this line all MTM bodies. Mattel is listening! She also comes with a stand. She will end up on a Kaiser stand though. I like to use the Kaiser stand as it keeps them all at ground level.

Here is a closeup of her lovely face. Her eyes are NOT pixelated! she has simple make up. I for one, like the simple elegance of the understated makeup. Fitting for this line I think. Well done!

She has long, snow white hair with slight waves. The hair is soft to the touch. I may decide to boil wash it to straighten it though. We will see. 

Here is a closeup of her ankle boots. These are a new design I think. I haven't seen them before to my recollection. The have faux stitching on both the inner and outer sides and a thick heel. They have a slit in the back. I think I would have liked them better if they didn't have such an obvious slit at the back, but I can live with it.

Her skin is quite pale. Even paler than the MTM Purple top doll. 

Here is a closeup of her hand on top of Purple top's. You can see the slight difference in the skin color. 

One other little detail I want to mention. Each doll in this line is priced at $19.99! I love that pricing and think these dolls are very well done so I was surprised at this price. Beware of the seller's on eBay. As I mentioned, these dolls are being scooped up at a very fast rate. I have seen prices on eBay ranging from $50 to $80 USD. Plus shipping. I would discourage you from paying these inflated prices from opportunistic sellers. I know they may be more than $20 in other parts of the world, but I know that they cannot be too much more and certainly not $50 or $80 -- plus shipping! 

I hope you liked this review. I should be getting the other 3 I was able to order within the next week. I will be happy to review them for you too! 

So what do you think? Will you add any of these to your doll collection?