Saturday, January 31, 2015

Thanks, What I Bought

For those of you who don’t know, I won the giveaway celebrating the fourth anniversary of Brini’s Doll Domain. I’d like to thank Brini once again for my fabulous prize. I had admired this Sparke Girlz fashion collection numerous times in the store. There are some terrific pieces included. A few of my ladies pose next to the box eager to lay claim to the contents. Mara and I will be splitting the outfits and accessories. 

The house warming photo story I had planned for this month will have to wait, because the townhouse isn’t finished. There were a few setbacks in finishing the first floor and the second floor is in complete disarray. That’s not to say I haven’t made any progress, though. Thomas and Camille got new dining room furniture and a custom sofa made by Vanessa Morrison of Van's Doll Treasures.  I picked the sofa up in person, and so I got to sit and chat with Vanessa who is as sweet as can be and has the warmest smile you can imagine.

I also ordered a sofa and chair set from ItsPerfectlyPetite. There’s solid wood underneath the fabric and foam, so it’s super sturdy and perfect for anyone buying  furniture for a child or young collector. Furniture pieces are available in two sizes- playscale and 1:6 scale. Mine is playscale. The seller included the throw at no extra cost, because she had it on hand and thought it went well with my custom color scheme. How cool is that! It was a pleasant surprise along with a 15% off coupon for my next purchase. I’m a sucker for a coupon, so it’s pretty much a sure thing that I will be ordering again before it expires. I’m thinking I could use a pair of printed arm chairs.

Hari finally arrived from India. Here is a picture of him with his lovely wife, Alisha. I think they look great together. I would love to give them a baby, but we all know that finding an infant with this skin tone won't be easy.

I have a new favorite couple! Tenzin Dahkling has been crossed off my wish list. He arrived in Dollton and was given a new name- Takeshi after actor Takeshi Kaneshiro. Do you see the resemblance or is it just me? Well, anyways he reminds me of the actor and, like the real Takeshi, my Takeshi is half Chinese and half Japanese. He is a model for a famous clothing brand. He and Jolie met three months ago on a shoot for an underwear ad. I love how even with her heels on, he towers over her. I’ve always had a thing for tall Asian men. In case you forgot, Jolie is the makeup artist at Raquelle’s salon, but she also does some freelance work on the side. And in case you’re wondering, you will eventually get to see the photos from that underwear ad ;)

Actor Takeshi Kaneshiro

I ordered Takeshi some clothing from HazelStreetDezigns (also on Etsy) and I took some photos to show off the quality and fit of the jeans. They are so very well made and a perfect fit- they just slide right on. Takeshi is wearing shoes from a 1Direction doll. Imho, they are a better fit than Ken doll shoes and are easier to get on and off.

shirt and pants by HazelStreeDezigns

skinny jeans- rear view

skinny jeans- front

Last but not least, I got my TRU exclusive Barbie Malibu Mall. It was priced at $89.99 back before Christmas, which I thought was ridiculous. Anyways, I’ve been waiting for it to come down to a more reasonable price. I stopped in TRU today and found it on sale for $59.99 (still too high in my opinion), but a quick coupon search on my phone yielded a 20% off your entire clearance toy purchase promo and I was able to get it for $47.99 plus tax (much more reasonable). I will post a full review when I have time to debox and assemble it.

not my image (stock photo)

P.S. My resolution was to post at least two photo stories this month. Well, the second one is completely typed but is missing the final series of pictures. Note to self: No more stories that take place in multiple settings. It should be posted in a few days.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Interview (Photo Story)

Amber is a music journalist. Her weekly column, MusiCool with Amber Foreman, appears in the Arts and Entertainment section of the city newspaper. Today, Amber is meeting singer/songwriter Marisa de la Cruz to discuss her newest album, Light Up the Dark.

Marisa on the cover of Urban Tempo magazine

They’re meeting at Tastries. Marisa checks her phone as she waits.

Amber walks into the bakery and spots Marisa at a table in the corner. When she approaches, Marisa greets her with a warm smile. 

Amber says hello and settles into her chair. She takes in the aroma of fresh baked goods and picks up a menu. 
Amber: What’s good here? (looking at the menu)
Marisa: Everything!

After a few moments, Amber decides what she’ll have and goes to place her order. She makes a mental note to grab some cookies for her twins when the interview is over.

Amber: Your first two albums were hugely successful and you show no signs of slowing down. Did you ever imagine your rise to super stardom would happen so fast?
Marisa: When I got started, I had a list of short-term and long-term goals, and I've been very fortunate to check off some of the long-term stuff sooner than I expected. I have my fans to thank for that. 

Amber: I was impressed to learn that you write your own songs. Who or what inspires you?
Marisa: Some of your readers will laugh at this because I'm young, but a lot of my material comes from personal experience. Every relationship, every obstacle, every triumph or failure gives me an idea and I've learned to just run with it.

Amber: What is your favorite part of the job- writing, recording, or being on stage?
Marisa: It's impossible to choose! I love the creativity involved in writing. Recording is probably the most challenging, but it's just so rewarding when it all comes together. And being on stage is exhilarating. 

Amber: There’s a lot of buzz about your new album. Tell us about it.

Marisa: "Here I Am” was my first album, and it was really just about putting myself out there and hoping people liked what they heard. I would describe the girl on that album as sweet. My second album, “Re-Mixed” was about showing my versatility. With that album, people were introduced to hip Marisa. “Light up the Dark” is the new album and I’m bringing the heat with this one. I'm all grown up, and the songs are way sexier than anything I’ve done previously. I think that's what people are responding to, because it was kinda unexpected.

Amber: So, is producer Stanley Kirk involved in this latest project?
Marisa: Oh, yes! Stanley is a rare talent. He knows a great deal about music and about performing. We first worked together on my debut album. Then he produced about half the songs on my second album, and he’s heavily involved with this third one.

Stanley & Marisa at the 2014 Grammy's
Amber: Rumor has it that you two are an item. When you attended last year’s Grammy’s as each other’s dates, it was practically a confirmation, right?
Marisa: (chuckles) Stanley and I are really close friends, really close, and I’m leaving it at that. (chuckles again)

Amber: So, I read recently that cable channel 6 has approached you about a reality TV show.
Marisa: Yes, they want to film the work I’m doing to finish up my latest album. The show would give my fans a chance to see all the stuff that happens off stage. “In the Mix with Marisa” is the title they pitched to my manager. I just don’t know if I want that kind of exposure right now. I’m really a private person. I’m not even that into social media. I don’t tweet or post every detail of my life…not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just not who I am. One of the hardest things about this job is staying true to who I am. Luckily, my family and close friends keep me grounded.

Amber: Tell us about the upcoming tour.
Marisa: I'm touring with Marlo, who happens to be on one of the new songs. The tour kicks off in Atlanta, GA on March 20th. We're heading to ten major cities. The dates and cities can be found on my official fan site.

Amber: What is  something your fans would be surprised to know about you?
Marisa: I have an adventurous side. I actually went sky diving once.  Also, I’m a vegetarian.

Amber: Really?!
Marisa: Yes, really! My mom is going to flip when she reads this interview in the paper. I never told her I jumped out of a plane. (laughs) I've been a vegetarian for about eight years. I do eat eggs and dairy products, though. Otherwise, I could never set foot in this bakery.

Amber: Anything else you'd like to say to our readers?
Marisa: Thank you all for continuing to support me and my music as it evolves. I love what I do, and it's just the coolest thing ever that I get to share it with you. Now go get the new album and some concert tickets, too!

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Mini Tour & More

This is my first post of the New Year, so Happy 2015 everyone! Allow me to apologize in advance because these are not my best photos. I took these pictures with my phone and I couldn’t get the lighting right with the overhead lights and the sunlight streaming in through the windows. One of my resolutions for 2015 is to learn to use my digital camera and take better pictures.

What follows is a little tour of Dollton (aka our doll room). Long time collectors will quickly note that there aren’t a ton of dolls. Bear in mind that I’ve been collecting for less than a year. It will be interesting to see what my collection looks like five years from now. I am amazed by all of you who have hundreds of dolls and years of furniture/props and yet somehow manage to keep it all organized.

I took two panoramic shots with my phone to capture the layout of the room. If you’re wondering why everything is on the floor instead of tables and shelves, it’s because it’s the easiest set up for playing with my six-year-old daughter.

The first townhouse is Thomas and Camille’s. I hope to have it finished by the end of this month. The first floor is nearly done. You can see Jeanine meeting with the couple right now. She wanted to show them the progress and explain the dilemma with the dining set they picked out. Mara decided to give the second townhouse to Barbie and Ken. It is coming together just as slowly as the first one.

I decided the space in the middle was perfect for Lena’s patio diorama. I started collecting items for Lena’s patio last summer. It will be a permanent dio and I plan to have it completed by the spring. I have most of the necessary props except for a BBQ grill for Jamal and flowers for all the pots.

I repurposed most of the pieces from my son’s old bedroom set for storage. I moved the dresser into the closet along with some storage tubs. The top shelf has tubs of spare dolls and extra articulated bodies plus a few boxes that I’m saving. The plastic storage organizer contains various play sets. We also park our cars in the closet.


On top of the dresser you can see some of my favorite couples. These couples are for the most part permanent (either married or soon to be engaged). Alisha is still awaiting Hari’s arrival. Last time I checked he was held up in customs.

Since my ladies have different body sizes and personal styles, I keep their clothes separated. The first three drawers are divided like this for sorting and storing clothes. The bottom drawer has craft stuff.

On the nightstand, I have some of the dolls that I plan to use as major characters in stories. The empty stand is for the brunette Tim Gunn doll. She was the last character doll on my wish list, and I snagged her yesterday at a reasonable price on eBay…yay! She completes my line up of female characters…for now ; )

The nightstand shelf is the perfect space for lining up all the little ones. And the drawer below it contains clothes for the guys. The fellas don’t get separate wardrobes, since they can all pretty much wear the same stuff. Next to the nightstand is a plastic storage box with more dolls and space for setting up temporary dios.

The bookcase contains frequently used props and play sets. On the first shelf, you will see Chandra with many of the props I use to set up her boutique. The salon staff sits poised on the second shelf. Jolie is wearing one of the new Barbie separates I found at Walmart. I love this top on her. The third shelf holds most of the furniture and accessories for Emerald’s studio apartment. Inside the drawer, I keep small accessories and knick knacks.

As you can see from the panoramic views, the space below the windows is used for Tastries (which is a permanent dio) and for the Happy Family Kitchen (which may as well be since we use it so often). There’s a bit of extra play space on the end, currently occupied by Mara’s vet play set. This fourth wall is taken up by Mara’s new doll house and her Barbie storage bin. She really hasn’t done much to personalize it yet. She added a vase of flowers to Bella’s vanity and at times she swaps the furniture with pieces from Barbie’s townhouse, but she mostly seems satisfied with the pieces that came with the house.

In other news…
Now that I have all the female characters I need, I am switching my focus to finding a few good men. I already have two on my wish list- Color Infusion Tenzin Dahkling and the AA Power Team Elite World Peacekeepers Seal Team 6 (Breacher).  I also want to add a blonde articulated Ken to my collection, and I’d love to hear suggestions if you have any.

One more thing: I've decided to take a leaf out of D7ana’s book. I like her month at-a-glance type posts, and I’m going to start something similar in hopes that it will help me follow through with my plans. So, here’s what’s in store for January:

-A mini tour of Dollton (check)
-2-3 photo stories

My plan is to introduce a different character cluster each month through photo stories. This month’s stories will focus on the cluster that includes Amber, Matt, Tony, Thomas, Camille, Grace, and Darren. Next month’s stories will feature the cluster that includes Deirdre and Walter. Naturally, there will be some overlap and some characters will get more camera time than others, but I think this plan will allow me to get all of my characters introduced in three to four months. It's an ambitious plan for a busy wife/mom/teacher but I'm going to try it and see how it goes.

Thanks for reading and commenting!