Saturday, September 6, 2014

New "My Life As..." Dolls from Walmart

What a week this has been!  I apologize for not being present in the comments section recently, but I have been reading and appreciating every comment--or at least every comment that isn't spam (did you guys see those crazy ones last week?  Whoa).  There have been a few minor changes here on the blog that I'd like to mention.  First, I had to shorten the format of my feed as part of a time-consuming battle against someone stealing my content.  What a drag.  However, on a positive note, I am on Twitter now (@ToyBoxEmily) and am paying attention to my poor neglected Facebook page (about time, right?).  So that's all good.

Anyway, last week I was working on a different review when I got an email from Nonna (of Mommy's Doll Club).  She told me about the new My Life As dolls at Walmart and asked if I had seen them.  I actually did see these newcomers during my Sparkle Girlz quest, but dismissed them pretty quickly because I wasn't crazy about the new faces at first.  Nonna bought one of the new girls (a redhead!) and made some neat observations, tempting me into purchasing my own doll for a closer look.  At the same store where I bought my doll, I found another exciting My Life As release that I will show off at the end of the review.

I never would have written this review without Nonna's tip, so I want to start the post by having her share some of what she found with her doll (My Life As a Party Planner, redhead), before I review the doll I chose (My Life As a School Girl, brunette).  Thank you so much for the inspiration, Nonna, and congratulations on your beautiful new blog!

New My Life As doll, "School Girl" (left) and older My Life As doll, "Outdoorsy Girl" (right).
Nonna here.  Heard there was a new face in a town so I had to go check it out…

What’s all the fuss?  Just another pretty face?  Has the Fall 2014 update to My Life As dolls from Walmart left a gap in your collection, too?  Not being able to resist a good redhead, I bought Ms. My Life As A Party Planner to check out.


First off, I have to say, party planner?  Really, let’s amp up the career choices little girls should be dreaming about!  (I did write Walmart and tell them I wanted so see librarians, scientists, archeologists, artists, etc but NO…we get party planners).


Meet Shelly. She struck such a resemblance to actress Cynthia Geary’s smile that I named this beauty after Cynthia’s Northern Exposure character, Shelly Tambor.

Can you see the resemblance?
I really love this doll's eyes. They remind me of the hazel eyes from The Dolls House dolls.  Also, she's channeling the new face for Journey Girl Kyla at this angle:


This doll's hair is a beautiful color, but it's pretty thin in back:



Her hair comes with a section combed over the top and secured at one side:

Pretty detail.
But you can also opt not to do the combover part thingee:


There is also a redheaded Outdoorsy Girl version with braids and amazing freckles but I was afraid of her hair.

The purple dress and silver accessories are lovely for a party:

 

Simple clear bands allow Shelly to hold her purse.


The articulation seemed different with this doll than the previous My Life As dolls (Emily says: this is one of the things that got me interested...).  At first, Shelly could stand ok without her shoes (which are really hard to get back on!):


Now, let’s try sitting.  Wait, what?  It's hard to make her sit!  Her legs won’t even stay flat on the ground:

Not like the old dolls.
Her hip joints are so stiff that she has a lot of trouble standing up again.  In fact, my doll's hip joints were so tight that I thought she was going to break when I moved her.  This movement could be tough for little kids to manage.


Arms out for balance. Turn around, Shelly! (There is a little staining on her upper chest from the purple dress but not enough to get on camera).


Oh, no!  There’s that bad roots job again!  Poor thing!

Wait, what’s this?  This is an interesting mark on back (matches her neck)…


So here’s the big surprise...this is the old box label for My Life As dolls, clearly indicating they were made by Madame Alexander:


This is the new label.  Notice what’s missing?


The new dolls are made by Cititoy.  No more Madame.  Walmart isn't making this switch very clear, either.  The packaging has been updated to include the current photos but it has the same exact color scheme as the Madame Alexander doll boxes.  At a quick glance, you can't tell one year from the next by the box alone (although the cardboard "stickers" on the clear parts of the packaging are different on my older My Life As box).

I picked up a second outfit to try since who wants to be stuck in a dress all day?  Besides, a unicorn shirt?  I had to.


The unicorn outfit also came with a little jacket.  The silver shoes and headband from her starter dress work well with the new clothes.



I usually set up my dolls in diorama style settings so I can handle a doll who is just a pretty face.  At least she can hold her dress (the hanger is from outfit #2).  



I would not say this doll is playable or highly collectable regardless of her career choices.  Thumbs down, Walmart.  Pretty colored hair can’t make up for poor quality. 

***

Thank you, Nonna!  Shelly is a cutie (I love the name!), and that hair color is fabulous.  I am also seriously drooling over her unicorn tee shirt.  

Many of you might be wondering why I didn't get a redheaded doll myself...which is an excellent question.  The answer is that in the three Walmart stores I visited (this is becoming a habit for me...), there was only one redhead, and she looked like this:

A little detached.
Which is a shame, because I totally agree with Nonna about this particular doll's lovely eye and hair coloring:


Here's a closer look at the broken neck:


That white plastic peg attachment doesn't look very substantial to me.  So, in addition to the fascinating things Nonna told me about the change in articulation and manufacturing with these dolls...now I had another reason to investigate.

What Nonna said about the packaging is exactly right.  I got confused at times when I was shopping, trying to tell the older dolls from the new ones.  They're all displayed together, and the boxes are practically identical:

From left to right: new, old, old.
And with their heads showing underneath: old, new, old.
There's certainly no effort to advertise that some of the dolls are newly-designed.

There were a few other new items in the My Life section at the Walmart Superstore I visited.  Lots of clothing:

No unicorn outfit, though. :(
This snack cart (hmm. Where on earth did they get that idea?):

Doesn't look worth $30 to me.
Oh, and also this (which isn't related to My Life As, but was displayed right next to the dolls):

This would go nicely with the Poopsy Pets and Tub & Toot.
It must be the deluxe version, too, because it has "fart, belch and vomit sounds."  Classy.

And of course I did find that one other new My Life As item that I am extraordinarily excited about and will show you soon.  Eee!

Ok, so here is my new My Life As a School Girl doll, in honor of everyone out there who is just beginning a new school year:


As Nonna mentioned, the back of the box has been updated to include pictures of the new girls and new accessories (this box shows a locker accessory...which I didn't see at my Walmart stores).

School Girl's favorite subjects are math, science and art.
Me, too!
The group photo doesn't include all of the different dolls, but it shows one example of each style.  For instance, the doll in the red "New York 01" shirt (the "Hairstylist") comes with other skin and hair colors.


I saw many of these dolls in person, and the ones marked with red arrows, below, were my favorites (along with the School Girl I bought).  

Red arrows: redhead Outdoorsy Girl, blonde Ballerina, African American Hairstylist.
All super-cute. 
The blonde ballerina is really pretty, but she has a very tight bun, and I couldn't tell how thick her hair would be with the bun let down.  It didn't look promising.  The girl with the blue arrow wasn't a favorite, but she has a nice outfit and her coloring reminded my of Journey Girls Kyla.  I was tempted to do a comparison review of those two.

The fine print on the back of the box says, "additional dolls, outfits and accessories sold separately.  Doll clothing and accessories fit most 18" dolls."  And there's also this warning:


I chose School Girl (she needs a name!) because it was the first week of school here in Maine, but also because she has a nice multi-piece outfit, I like her glasses, she has really bright green eyes, and she has pink streaks in her hair.  A lot of kids are coloring their hair like this (at least around here...), but I couldn't help but think of the similarity to another popular 18" character....

I won't name her Isabelle.
I think I'll call her "Elise."  

The only difficult thing about de-boxing Elise was that her hair was stitched into plastic strips to keep it from getting messy: 


I am not a fan of this method--mostly because I haven't figured out the best way to remove these strips yet.  I feel like there should be a string (like on dog food bags) that when pulled (if you pull the right string...) just magically comes undone.  Maybe that's the intent here, but it didn't work for me.

I had to cut the threads with scissors...very carefully.
The back of Elise's hair is secured in a simple ponytail:


She has a lot of hair.  I was pleasantly surprised.

When I first started brushing this hair out, I had a lot of difficulty.  My brush kept getting stuck and not pulling through.  I noticed that there were several small, tight tangles throughout the hair (six in total) that were catching on the brush.  Here's one of the tangles up close (circled because it's hard to find):


And again without the pink circle:

It's almost like a really tight braid.
Once I cut out all of the tangles, the hair brushed perfectly.  It's actually really nice hair--the color is very natural, and the fibers feel soft and silky and have a pretty shine. 


The hair has a tightly-rooted side part at the top and is cut in long layers that hang past the doll's waist:


As Nonna mentioned, though, the rooting on the back of the head is thin, and the hair plugs are quite visible.  It might have helped to paint the scalp a darker color:

Not pretty.
While Elise's hair feels nice and thick overall, parting the hair anywhere other than how it came doesn't work very well:

No pigtails for you.
Elise's glasses are held on with the help of a clear rubber band that is tied to the two ear pieces.  I almost cut this band to get the glasses off, but I'm glad I left it alone because I think it is meant to stay where it is, and it's very helpful for keeping the glasses in place:


The glasses have little metal-pegged hinges on the sides and fold up:


The glasses fit the older My Life dolls, like my Outdoorsy Girl, Jill:


It's My Twinn Katie who really needs these glasses, though.  Her hazel eyes are fading and look blurry...they're also turning a little bit purple.  Gulp.


Here's Elise without her glasses--she has quite a different look!

Did I mention that her eyes were green??
I tied her long hair back to get it out of her face.  It makes a nice, thick back ponytail:


Elise has a rounded face with large eyes and a small nose.  When I first saw this new face, I was turned off by the shape of the mouth.  It has a bow-shaped upper lip that can look pinched from some angles--like the doll is miffed and trying to smile through the irritation:

Or maybe something smells bad?
After looking at this face for the last few days, though, I realize that I like it.  I'm not sure if I have just gotten used to it and don't see the flaws as clearly anymore, or if I overreacted at the beginning because it wasn't the face I was expecting to see.  It's very different from the Madame Alexander faces.  Here's a side-by-side comparison so you can see:


The older doll, Jill, looks happier (and I'll admit to having a soft spot for that classic Madame Alexander face...) but Elise looks more modern and realistic.

Elise has bright green eyes framed by rooted and painted eyelashes.  Her eyebrows are thin and simply drawn, with just a single row of light brown hair lines:


She has some small dents around her eyes where her glasses used to sit:


The eyebrows on the Madame Alexander dolls are very similar, but the eyelash style and the design of the eyes themselves is different:

No painted lashes except the two at the upper corner.
Elise's eyes close when she is laying down...


...or almost close:

She's peeking.
Elise comes dressed in a school uniform outfit, with a plaid skirt and a tweedy blazer:


The blazer is slightly tight around Elise's midsection, putting strain on the single plastic button:

Last year's school uniform?
The construction of this coat is great for such an inexpensive doll.  The fabric is soft and lightweight, but the finishing is excellent. 



All of the seams are serged, and the garment has neat white piping around the pockets and the outside edges.


Under the blazer, she's wearing a white tee shirt with an iron-on heart design.  The shirt has an unfinished mock turtleneck collar and a full velcro seam in back:


The skirt is worn over black tights.  The tights left a very small amount of staining on Elise's legs. The tights also have some trouble staying pulled up, but I didn't worry too much about this because the risk of stains will probably keep me from using them at all.

The skirt itself is made out of a soft flannel fabric with a pink and black plaid pattern.  It is pleated all of the way around and has a velcro closure.


The shoes are funny little short-toed stiff vinyl sneakers.  They are my least favorite piece in the outfit.


After Nonna's experience, I was incredibly curious about Elise's body and articulation. When I first got Elise out of the box, I had exactly the same reaction as Nonna--oh, my goodness, this doll can't bend at the hips!  I also had a hard time getting her to stand up on her own, because I didn't think it was possible to move her legs and adjust her balance.

As it turns out, Elise has a wire armature in her lower body (just like the older My Life As dolls).  The difficulty in getting her to move comes from the fact that her torso is tightly stuffed and her armature is stiff.  


She has socket shoulder joints and a socket neck.  Without the wire, she has three points of articulation, but the wire allows her to bend at the hips, knees, and waist.  She has a vinyl chest, just like the older My Life As dolls (and also like the Journey Girls).

As I look more at Elise's movement, I will compare her to Jill, my Madame Alexander My Life As doll:


The two bodies look quite similar.  They both have a partial vinyl torso and wire in their legs.  The sculpting is different throughout the body, though.  No parts were re-used.


The Madame Alexander My Life dolls have elastic-strung neck joints, and so they have greater flexibility in this area.  Elise's head can only spin:


But Jill can look up and down and even cock her head to one side:



As Elise looks around, her head tilts increasingly upwards:


Both dolls have simple socket shoulders.  They can't move their arms very far away from their bodies:



Elise's arms spin all of the way around in their sockets, but can't move very close together. They are made out of hard vinyl.



Jill has similar arm articulation, but the vinyl in her arms is very bendable, giving her a few extra (if odd-looking) poses


There's no wire in her arms, though.
It takes some muscle power to bend the wire in Elise's hips, but she can be made to sit very nicely on the ground:


Jill sits nicely too, but it takes less effort to get her into this position:


Elise can do all of her splits...


...although she doesn't balance very well in the front-to-back splits:


Jill has better balance in this position, mostly because her torso is loosely stuffed and can collapse to help shift her weight.  Notice how she looks a little slouched here:


Another main different between the two dolls is that  Elise (left, below) has a very heavy, tightly stuffed cloth torso, while Jill feels light and floppy in comparison:


This means that Elise doesn't have much flexibility in her back...


...but Jill does:

Does she ever!
I even got the wire armature to bend enough that Elise could sit cross-legged:


(Jill can do this, too):


The wire armature makes the knee joints look really unnatural, but I like that this doll can be posed in a variety of running and walking positions:


And she can even balance on her own in some of these positions:


Elise fits into the older My Life As clothes pretty well, the only trouble with clothes sharing is probably going to be that the newer dolls are thicker in the hips--making some of the older skirts and pants a little tight.




By the same token, the newer My Life As clothes might be loose in the waist for the older dolls.  Elise's skirt wanted to fall down on Jill.


Here's Elise with a Journey Girl (Kelsey).  These two dolls have similar body construction, but Kelsey does not have a wire armature.  Kelsey's legs are jointed more like American Girl or My Twinn legs.


Also (and this was not true for my other Journey Girl doll, Dana...) Kelsey can move her head up and down:


I got Dana out again to compare her to Kelsey.  First of all, Dana's skin tone photographs much more naturally (Kelsey seems a day-glo pale color in comparison):


And...either my Dana is badly defective, or the neck articulation on these dolls has been changed.  Dana can barely move her head at all, let alone look up and down, and Kelsey has great neck articulation.

Big difference.
I think I need to give the Journey Girls another look.


Anyway, Elise can't fit into Journey Girl pants (too tight!) and Elise's skirt falls down on Kelsey:


The shirts and shoes can be shared between these dolls, though.  Elise's shoes are a little tight on Kelsey and Kelsey's shoes are big on Elise, but they work.


This doll's skin tone does not photograph well!


Here's Elise with my Our Generation doll, Kendra:


These two can also share clothes, and the skirts are more compatible than they were with the Journey Girls.  Kendra's skirt is a little small on Elise:


...but at least Elise's skirt doesn't fall off Kendra...it just sags a bit at the waist:


Elise can also share clothes with the My Twinn/American Girl body pretty well.  Again, the My Life skirt is loose on My Twinn Katie (left, below) and the American Girl skirt is tight on Elise.  


Elise can wear American Girl shoes, but the reverse is not true.

The current My American Girl meet out fit looks nice with Elise's pink hair:


Ok, now I really want to show you my other purchase.  I was so excited when I saw this, it could have been embarrassing.  They've made little foals for the My Life horses.  Fuzzy, articulated, $14 foals!  How awesome is that?  There are three color varieties right now: black, palomino and flea-bitten grey.  I got the grey because I was never able to find the adult horse in this color.  

Look at him!

He's adorable.
He comes in a little cardboard corral:


The legs are poseable (sort-of) but this picture is misleading.  There's no articulation in the fetlocks:

They just used a picture of the bigger horses.
The mane came tied into a plastic strip, which is not my favorite thing to see, but look at how sweet his soft, grey-muzzled face is.  And his little ears:

And his ears are movable, just like the big horses!

He comes with a nicely-made lightweight purple blanket and a matching purple vinyl halter (ok, so maybe he's supposed to be a girl...).  Here he is with the blanket and halter removed:


The plastic body underneath the fur looks like it is dark grey.  It shows through the light fur covering a little bit in some light.  The other two color options did not have this problem, from what I could see at the store.

The mane and tail on this little guy don't seem as soft and smooth as the larger horses' fur (and they're nowhere near as soft as Elise's hair) but I like the natural color and the reasonable length.

Also, the hooves have little silver horseshoes on them


Each leg has two points of articulation, but the movement is really miniscule.  Here's the range of movement of the front leg's upper (shoulder) joint:


And the font leg's lower joint:


These two pictures show the font and back legs posed as far apart as they can go--at the two extremes of the foal's movement.  It's not super-impressive...but it's better than nothing.


In response to Dawn and Aubrey's excellent questions, here are some pictures of the foal with some smaller dolls:

First here he is with an Our Generation mini:


A Liv doll:




None of the dolls strike me as a perfect fit (I just can't get past seeing this fellow as a baby...) but I like how Midge looks the best.  What do you think?

Also, here's a reference picture with the Monster High horse and Liv's horse, Nutmeg:


I took Elise and some of the horses out into the sunshine to make sure that Elise can ride as nicely as her Madame Alexander predecessors.  She seems to have a similar gentle way with horses:


And she did a great job of coaxing the little foal away from his mother's side so that he could explore the great outdoors:





The edge of his muzzle is bright purple, which looks funny from some angles...but I guess it matches his blanket and halter..?


This new addition is not perfect, but I just love him.  He goes so nicely with all of my Paradise horses, and my palomino mare (Celandine) quickly adopted him.


Ok, so back to Elise--she rides beautifully, but she's still oversized for the My Life (Paradise) horses.  However, I think that her smaller head makes her a better fit for the horses than Jill.  


Elise's wire legs grip Celandine's sides well, and can be bent into an accurate riding position.  The only issue is that because her arms don't move very close together, she can't hold the reins with both hands.


Look at how nicely Elise's hair glistens in the sun:




Elise's hair looks great in the sun, but the most striking thing about this doll in the bright light are her eyes.  They are so green, and they perfectly match a lot of the plant life in my yard.


I had a lot of fun posing Elise in ways that would show off her unnaturally green eyes:



The wire armature takes some muscle to bend, but it's pretty impressive how many ways this doll can sit.  Not only does she sit on a horse well, but she can also perch at the edge of a chair or a step, like this:

With great balance.
I took my Journey Girl Kelsey outside with me, too, to see if the natural light would help capture her true coloring.

It does, especially in the shade:


What's neat about this doll is how her eyes and hair seem to light up in the direct sun:


To say goodbye, here's Elise again, back in her full original outfit (except I substituted in some Journey Girl boots that I think are better suited to this outfit):





Before I give my final impressions of this doll, I want to add that after I took all of the pictures, I tried pretty hard to pull Elise's head off.  It wouldn't budge.  I can't be sure what happened to the poor redhead at the store, but I suspect that either her head never got attached properly in the first place, or perhaps there is an inner piece that was supposed to hold the neck peg, and it broke.  I hope that whatever caused the decapitation was a rare fluke.

Bottom line?  I would like to talk about Elise's good and bad characteristics in comparison to my older Madame Alexander My Life As doll (Jill).  Because Walmart is not advertising the change in design, I think it's good to know what the main differences are between these two types of doll.

Face: I did not have a good first reaction to Elise's face.  Her mouth seemed pinched to me, giving her a standoffish vibe.  Part of my reaction was because I was expecting to see the iconic, recognizable features of a Madame Alexander doll.  Madame Alexander faces are sweet and happy, with stylized mouths and bright red lips.  As I got accustomed to Elise's face, however, I liked it more and more.  She seems happy and cute to me now.  I also think it's a good idea to have a new face in this line.  After several years of the same faces from Madame Alexander (faces that strongly resemble the Forever Friends line, too) a change is refreshing.

Hair: I think Elise's hair is vastly superior to Jill's hair.  I do not like the stiff, sticky-feeling (nylon?) hair on the Madame Alexander My Life dolls.  Jill's hair often looks messy, dull and stiff, while Elise's hair looks shiny, soft and realistic.  The only problem with Elise's hair is the thin rooting at the back of the head.  This limits the styling options and creates some unattractive bald patches.

Clothing:  I only have one outfit from each of these two doll lines, so the value of this comparison is limited.  All I can say is that of the outfits I own, I prefer Elise's school girl clothes to Jill's outdoor ensemble.  Elise's jacket, in particular, is well-made and versatile.  It fits all of the other 18" dolls I tried, and looks great on all of them, too.  The shirt and skirt are less special, but they are soft and easy to get on and off.  Elise's skirt is loose on many of my other 18" dolls, and simply slides off the narrow Journey Girls waist.  I like the colors and style of Jill's Outdoorsy Girl outfit, but the fabrics on all of the pieces feel stiff and cheap--especially in comparison to Elise's cozy skirt and jacket.  Both Elise and Jill have uninteresting (slightly ugly) vinyl shoes.

Body and Articulation: The style of articulation is similar between the old and the new My Life As dolls.  Both have partial vinyl torsos and legs with wire armature.  The differences are that my Madame Alexander doll Jill has a strung neck joint with great mobility, a loosely-stuffed, cuddly torso, and bendable arms.  Her legs are also easy to move.  Elise has a rotating head joint that can not tilt up or down.  Also, her torso is very tightly-stuffed, her arms are hard and unbending, and the wire in her legs is more difficult to bend.  I strongly prefer the neck articulation of the older dolls like Jill, and I also like her bendable vinyl arms.  However, I actually like Elise's more substantial lower body better.  The hard-to-pose legs and heavier body weight might not be good for young children, but I like how solid Elise feels, and how well she holds her poses.  

Given my initial dislike for the new faces on these dolls, Nonna's warning about the stiff articulation, and the shock of seeing a severed head rattling around in one of the boxes at the store...given all of that, it's a wonder that I even bought a new My Life doll for review.  However, despite the rocky start, I find myself quite fond of Elise.  I actually prefer her to my older My Life As doll, largely because of a significant improvement in the texture of the hair.  Elise strikes me as a solid, bargain doll with consistent quality across the board...and she can ride horses with the best of them.

52 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for this review, Emily. I'd noticed that the My Life dolls had new faces and was really tempted to buy one for review. However, I wasn't sure how I felt about the new face molds , I knew I didn't like the hollow, bendy style of articulation, and $30 was a bit much to spend on a doll that I knew wouldn't be my favorite. :} I'll be sure to direct my readers over here for this review. :)

    I didn't realize that the Madame Alexander Company was no longer involved in the My Life line! Like you and Nonna said, the similarity of the boxes is rather deceiving.

    One of the things I find disappointing about these new molds is that they no longer have a diverse mold for the African American dolls. They just have the same mold in a different color. I always appreciate seeing some uniqueness to the molds of different dolls in the line.

    Also, what a bummer that the heads are no longer strung with elastic! Having a head with more posing options is always so nice for photography. :(

    I really enjoyed the detail of your review, though, (as always) and was glad to learn more about these newest additions.

    So, it sounds like the newest dolls still have the wire armature in the legs but NOT in the arms? Are the arms harder plastic like an American Girl doll's? (Sorry if I missed this in the review.)

    Your little foal is absolutely adorable. I really love these horses for the 18" dolls.

    Have a great day, and thanks again for the review! :)

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    1. Hi, beastsbelle! I agree with you about the diversity (there were no Asian dolls at all...) but the thing is that the African American girl in the red shirt is probably the cutest doll in the whole group--the face looks very different on her for some reason. So for that reason I'm glad she has the face that she has. I have a comparison review in mind for her and a few others... ;)

      The new dolls have hard arms, yes. I will go back and make that clearer--sorry! The older dolls have bendable arms without wire inside of them (at least my Jill doesn't have wired arms...).

      The neck is a bummer. I really like my dolls to be able to look around in a more realistic way. I am also still a bit worried about the long-term durability of the new neck joint. It's hard to stop thinking about that poor decapitated redhead! :/

      Thank you for your nice comments and great observations!! :)

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    2. Thanks for commenting back, Emily! I know you're super busy. :) I did actually see the African American version of the Party Planner doll, and she was super adorable too. I thought she would work well for a little girl of East Indian descent. So I guess I should clarify that the African American dolls in the new series are still really cute, but their previous face mold just happened to be one of my very favorites from the line, and gave them a beautiful, unique look from the other dolls. :)

      Thanks for the clarification on the arms. I was pretty sure that was what you meant, but wanted to make sure.

      Have a great day!

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  2. I'm not sure about the cloth covered body on the foal. The stretchy places around his legs make it look like he's wearing spotted long underwear. By the way, still could be a boy, even with the purple accessories. My friend Lori has horses and she will put purple (or hot pink) on anybody because she likes it.
    That glow in the dark skin tone on Kelsey is not necessarily unrealistic. My mom always complained that I was 'pasty pale', and my daughter Ivy's legs look like she's wearing white tights. As for the red hair 'lighting up in the sun' : You don't know how right you are! It feels like you're wearing a copper pot on your head when the sun hits it!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tam! That little foal does look like he's wearing long underwear! How funny. :D I can't be objective at all with him, though. My brain goes out the window for horses in general, and foals especially. ;)

      Kelsey's skin was frustrating because it doesn't photograph the way it really looks. Her paleness is quite lovely in real life (especially with the beautiful dark red hair) but I felt like all of the pictures make her look ghosty. I deleted a TON of photos of that doll!

      I have always wanted red hair myself (and dyed it that way many times...) but it's too bad that it gets so hot in the sun! I didn't realize! That's the price of it looking so spectacular, I guess. ;)

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  3. Since Jill has a softer body than Elise, do Journey Girls clothes fit her any better?

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    Replies
    1. Good question! Yes--Kelsey's tight pants can be pulled over Jill's hips. It takes some time to work the pants over her feet and up her legs, but her soft torso makes the fit through the waist no problem. Good call! :)

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  4. Great review! We actually got the red-head party planner doll for my 5 year old recently as her first 18in doll and with her side swept bangs, she's actually very cute. I completely agree about the hair...it is very nice quality for a $30 doll! Looking ay your old and new ones, though, I think I also prefer the Madame a Alexander face mold. I think I recall beastsbelle had the African American MA doll a while back, and she had one of the prettiest faces I've ever seen on a play doll. I'm a bit disappointed by the lack of diversity overall as well. I only noticed one Asian doll at my Walmart and I think she had light eyes. Ah well, great review as always! I definitely think this doll is great for the price and it's a good trial run if you are thinking of purchasing an American Girl doll for your little one :). My 5 year old is clearly not ready, lol.

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    1. Oh, did you see an Asian doll in this series, Farrah? I didn't notice any on my shopping expeditions. That's great news, but I agree that's it's a little boring to have all the same face molds. The Madame Alexander African American face is gorgeous, isn't it?! I also like the new black doll, though. The face mold looks especially good on her. I would love to do a side-by-side comparison of those two, also.

      I could not believe how nice the hair is! That made all of the difference to me. I worry about a few of the dolls (like the ballerinas...who might not have a lot of hair in those buns) but the dolls like mine and your daughter's, with the hair let down, are safe bets. I feel like a lot of value in a doll like this comes from hair that is fun to brush and play with. It's a huge factor for me, anyway, and this hair is such an improvement over the Madame Alexander hair. No contest.

      I hope your daughter enjoys her lovely redhead! It's a very smart move on your part to start her off with one of these less expensive dolls. I'd love to know how she's doing with the leg articulation. Are those stiff wires hard for her to bend? Does it bother her?

      Thank you for adding your experience with these new dolls!! :)

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    2. Thanks for taking the time to reply back!
      Yes! The Asian doll isn't obviously at first. She's one of the "hairdressers" and has two buns in her hair (like Minnie Mouse ears) and light eyes...she was listed as Asian, but looks a bit more bi-racial to me (which is great as well!)
      My 5 yr old could completely care less about the articulation. She really likes to just carry her around, dress and redress her and put her in her doll bed at night, but I can see how it might be a bit more irritating for an older child that might want to play around with more poses. Have a good week! I bet it's a busy one as school is back in full swing!

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    3. The doll advertised as Asian was in the older MA lines. ( http://www.walmart.com/ip/My-Life-As-Hair-Stylist-Doll-Asian/29046985 ) She has blue eyes. q: Although my new friend I just met at college (I am at college now o.o ) is Vietnamese and wears blue colored contacts, so with a little stretch of the imagination... ><

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  5. Thanks for another great review. I was interested in the foal. I know its head looks immature, but was wondering if it could possibly work as an adult horse with AG or Target mini dolls?

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    1. Hi Dawn! That is another excellent question! I think the mini dolls look a little small on the foal because of his large features, but I will take some pictures and add them to the review for you! Give me about 20 minutes...

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    2. Thanks! I think I agree with you. The size isn't too bad, but the proportions of the horse's head are too immature.

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  6. That uh... fart piano actually makes "vommit" noises. I guess someone owns the trademark on vomit pianos and they had to make some creative spelling choices to get around it.
    Also, great review! Quick question, how does the foal work with the smaller dolls? (Like Barbie sized).

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    1. How did I miss the spelling error! Good eye! Oh, that piano. I'm ashamed to say I wanted to try it out...and proud to say that I resisted. ;D

      I am going to snap some more pictures of the foal with mini doll and Barbie-sized dolls for you and Dawn. Great idea! I didn't think of doing that before. Be right back!

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  7. OMG that little foal is so cute! I've never actually seen the Mylifeas stuff where I live. My little sister has a Kelsey doll ( Renamed Nicole ) and thankfully she was a summer release so no black. I actually got Isabelle she is very pretty ( and my first AG ) the pink hair is actually barely noticeable with the hair down. Rereading my comment I just realized how different all those sentences were, sorry. What on Earth goes on in those design meetings?!? ( assuming they have design meetings ) Seriously you would have to pay me to buy something that makes vomit ect. sounds. Mind you I'm a bit of lady/neat freak so my opinion may just be me.

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    1. Hi Alice! Isn't the foal sweet? I just love him. :) Kelsey is very pretty. I like Dana's face better but I like everything else about Kelsey better. I really have a different impression of the Journey Girl dolls now! It's neat to hear your thoughts about Isabelle--I assumed her pink hair was quite visible. I like the subtlety. I'd love to take another trip to American Girl before Isabelle disappears.
      I totally agree with you about the farting piano, BTW. ;)

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  8. Thank you for this review. I was about to buy one of these new My Life dolls but I noticed she had big clunky hands and decided against it. How do you feel her hands compare to the older My Life doll?

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    1. You are right--the newer hands seem chunkier and less detailed and delicate to me. Also, the rigid arms give the new dolls less flexibility (and therefore less expressiveness) than the older dolls. I agree that this is one of the things that has not changed for the better.

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  9. You know what I've found, in these recent years of opening ponies that also have those plastic stripes in their manes, that works best to get those stitched in strips out? The simplicity of it made me facepalm.

    A seam ripper. Slide it under one of the bits of thread and voila.

    Anyway. I'll be back, I promise. Elise is super cute (My Elyse says hello!) but it's super late and I don't think I can words anymore.

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    1. A seam ripper!! Good idea. I think I even have one of those...

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  10. Hi Emily! I use a seam ripper to cut plastic strips out of hair. Just glide the longer hook across the stitches on the outside and they will be cut, no hair has to suffer!

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    1. Hi BlackKitty--great minds think alike (you and AJ, that is). A seam ripper is an excellent idea!

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  11. Thanks for the comparisons. I got some My life As clothing and did only Our Generation and Journey Girls, like you showed. I am not planning on getting another doll.Six is enough for now.

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  12. Awesome review. You know, i'm blaming you for pulling me out of the Monster High world into Liv, Ever After High, and even bigger scales. Aaaah!!!! :D :D :D

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  13. Hi Emily! I have been waiting for this review since I saw the new facemolds at Walmart. I was very, very close to getting one simply out of curiosity.
    I'm glad the hair is better quality than it had been, but sad to see Madame Alexander apparently is no longer involved.
    I have never been a big fan of her dolls, but this changeover done in this way makes me wonder if Walmart isn't pulling something sneaky-again.

    At least she'll have my business when her articulated mini-dolls of the world come out.

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  14. Elise is my BFF's Name!

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  15. Great review!

    My Walmart had two My Life As Sections and everything was mixed up, so my mild OCD kicked in and I went to adjust the problem by re-shelving. Then I did notice the difference in the boxes. I don't think the workers knew the difference even with their scanners because a lot of the new stuff was in the clearance section. Anyway, when I was done, new was in new and old was in clearance. Goofy set up.

    I've read articles where a lot of vendors are put to task by Walmart's demand on pricing - it seems Madame Alexander stood up for themselves and got out. I am also glad that Walmart found someone else to continue the My Life As line so that all little girls can find an 18" doll to their liking.

    Your Elsie is beautiful. Congratulations on the new addition to your doll family.

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  16. I just walked past the "My Life As" aisle this morning and wondered why the dolls seemed to look different - now I know!

    That foal is interesting - I'm torn between thinking it's completely adorable and vaguely creepy. I do like the scale when its posed with the larger horse though.

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  17. As soon as you mentioned being excited about something in the My Life As line, I had a strong feeling it was horse related.

    Thanks for another great review! It was interesting to see the comparisons between the different dolls.

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  18. Great review, as always! I prefer the new face, but not sure about those green eyes. I had an American Girl Felicity with laser green eyes, and she had to be re-homed. That color is almost creepy?

    I walked past the MLA display at Walmart last night and was particularly impressed with the new clothes. I'm glad to hear the hair is an improvement. I have a little friend who has an older version of the MLA doll and the hair is an absolute unplayable wreck after 2 years, and it upsets my friend who loves her doll!

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  19. Can you please tell me if American Dolls Shoes will fit the My Life doll, Thank you,

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    1. I have both kids of dolls and yes they have the same size feet so My Life dolls can wear American Girl shoes.

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  20. Aileen, thanks for the quick reply.

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  21. My girls have had 3 of the My Life dolls (Madame Alexander version) and we have found that they are great play dolls as far as their body and their hair. Their faces are very pretty but they all look exactly the same so it wasn't that much fun for my girls to collect them. The hair brushes out nicely with a wire brush but it is super thick and hard to get all of the hair brushed as well as styling it. The texture of the hair also made it hard to style. Also, my oldest was disappointed when she opened her doll because the bands in the head/neck were broken and her doll was a bobble head. We have had 8 of the Our Generation (Target) dolls. They are really pretty dolls but I would not recommend them as play dolls. The hair is terrible. On every one of them we have had. My oldest is 9 and takes good care of her dolls. We just threw the OG dolls away. SO, we just purchased another My Style doll (the new dolls) and yes the hair is thinner but still styles well. My daughter likes the body. Ours can sit easily. Her arms are legs are good. She has adorable freckles and brown eyes just like my daughter. All in all I would say she was a good purchase. We bought her in the set. She is a My Life as a Holiday Baker. She had braided pigtails that we took out. My daughter has styled her hair in different ways and they all looked nice. These dolls are produced in such a mass quantity there is bound to be a dud in the batch. I liked reading the review but for anyone that read it and is stearing far away from these dolls because of it, our experience was much different. I would buy another one of these dolls for my daughter. When or if they break or the hair gets matted I will buy a new doll. For the $27.97 they cost, what can you really expect? You cannot compare them to an American Girl doll because the price is MUCH different so the quality will be too.

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  22. Thank you to everyone, this was helpful to me to make a doll selection for my 8 and 4 year old granddaughters. I grew up with Madame Alexander dolls. Although, any brand and all of them appear to be made in China now, no matter the quality. So, I searched out those remaining Mad. Alex. dolls at Walmart and scored a ballerina in purple and a yoga instructor in purple pants. Now, for the best news. These dolls are mixed in with the new My Life dolls. The price posted is about $27.97, something like that. However, the older Madame Alexander dolls are just $13.00 when it is rung-up at the register. There is nothing to indicate this much lower cost. I live in Walmart headquarters area, I'm not sure if it is just something around where I live or not. Some Walmarts had no Mad. Alex. remaining. But, a couple of them still had three or four mixed in. Why I really like either old or new of these dolls is that their eyes will open and close. When I was little, I never liked putting a doll "to bed" and she is still wide-awake looking. I want her to go-to-sleep. I believe that I am going to still purchase a new one for each of my granddaughters as the hair might be easier to style. They are into that. And, for the lesser cost of the old style, it will not break me to do two each that way. You all enjoy your dollies.

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  23. I bought the Walmart My Life Outdoorsy Girl and had it for about a month. I bought because I needed a model for my doll clothes I was making. Anyway the other night I was trying on an outfit and her arm just snapped and popped off. It broke at the joint and could not be re-attached.

    I was just changing clothes on her and she broke. This doll is a disappointment to me. I wanted to save money because all I wanted it for was to sew and crochet clothes. I am a big girl at heart and like to have a few dolls. I don't have any kids and maybe it is my way of playing dress up at my age. But with the tender care she was receiving from me an still broke anyway I don't see her as a sound investment for those with little kids who may be slightly rougher than a middle aged woman.

    It's a shame too. I thought the doll was beautiful. Lesson learned. I went ahead and ordered a genuine American Girl doll to replace her. I should have forked over the money in the first place. I can't wait to get my new AG doll and try on clothes on her. I will continue to make clothes so that one day when I made enough I can sell some.

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  24. Do the clothes for this doll fit American Girl dolls? And the bed etc... would fit American Girl doll?

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    1. Yes, the clothes fit American Girl. I recently purchased the blue fairy outfit, but also have a grey and pink sweatshirt outfit. The clothes fit well. I'd be wary of the hard plastic boots though. And some of the hats are too shallow to fit AG or even MA for that matter. But that could have been a fluke hat.

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  25. I bought a doll for my daughter in Oct 2014 and just recently the dolls arm broke off how can I get it fixed please email me @ denisebaby94@yahoo.com thank u

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    1. I have the same problem with my Cowgirl? Were you able to fix it?

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    2. Hers is a video on youtube for restringing your dolls limbs, you can get the elastics and ferrels or ferrules-little metal tools you crimp onto the elastics to hold them on ebay. copy and paste this link into your search engine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edvzHy3OLfo

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  26. I was thinking about getting a my life doll. Not sure now

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  27. I was in walmart to geta few things I f i und a my life lil ballerina with most gorgeous unique hair it is that reddy blondy gold color that you occasionallysee on a human but never on a human and green eyes I looked like that for about 6 or 7 months as a little girl. I had to have her so went back few days later witj a ride cuase no way could I walk home with her in box. Yeah they need to improve hair in back. I knew the current my life dolls despite confusion of ppl whom seen brand prior wasn't madame Alexander. I have never liked madame Alexander doll faces I don't know why they bug me. It is one of those things that is I don't like this but I really not sure why it is I don't like it. Even knowing hair issues I am buying more that is how much I like current my life dolls. I had no clue full sized ones had armature in legs. That can be fun.Iam buying them as birthday gift to myself when my money cimes in I know be a little early but so what. I am tirning 30 and choosing to spoil myself. I will also be buy some baby clotjes to turn into doll clothes nothing wrong with outfits it is just one has a bit to much pink for my taste and other is in shorts and a tank brr in November in north east indiana and doll clothes seem to lack long sleeves and long sleeves in doll clothes sadly are usually pink. And as cute as lavender dress is from ag it is $30 for a doll dress no thank you. No leggings for above knee dress either.

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  28. I am always amazed when people criticize companies for not doing something they want them to do. For example, not giving them Your desired choice of careers as you would give them. Companies usually do things because they sell and if they don't sell they stop doing it. I noted American girls and journey girls don't come with impressive careers either just traveling the world and having fun. A better idea would be to think you discovered a new niche to start another competive company for yourself instead of complaining to Walmart about their idea of what a competitive doll should be. You then should be able to use the free market to your advantage and if successful get your point across and be very wealthy thanks to the free market and capitalism.

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  29. Hi, Emily. I have a my life as doll and she is a horse back rider and she didn't come with any stitching to her hair and now she has 2 pieces of metal coming out of her torso.I don't know what to do.

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  30. Hi. I have My Life as a Party Planner redhead and her face and hair is so lovely to me. I never like the MY LIFE dolls until I saw her. She is not the most high quality doll for movement but but I really like to dress and display her because I just think she's lovely. I also want to know why they stitch the hair into those plastic things! You HAVE to cut them out. There is no other choice. Really annoying. The other MY LIFE doll that I think is really cute is the AA Hairstylist. She has an adorable face.

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  31. My doll's right hand feel off. Is there a way to fix it? I did not keep the receipt so I couldn't bring it to WalMart to be replaced.

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  32. Is the My Life doll the same measurements as an American Girl or Our Generation dolls?

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  33. Is the My Life doll the same measurements as an American Girl or Our Generation dolls?

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  34. So I bought one of these My Life dolls, and once I managed to rotate the hips to make her "sit" down, when I rotate them back the feet are way too close to each other... Any tips?

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I value and welcome all opinions, but comments with abusive or offensive language will be deleted.