Posts Tagged ‘ American Girl ’

Parents Goody Giveaway: Win A Custom Baby Doll from American Girl

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

A lot of people think the best part of having a baby doll is dressing her up in the cutest clothing. But I like to think a girl’s love for her dolly goes beyond cultivating a stylish wardrobe. When it comes down to it, a baby doll is a special thing because it helps children learn what it means to really take care of something.

Constantly being looked after by adults can feel like you never get a say in anything. But a baby doll can become HER thing to watch over, offering a taste of responsibility and purpose as she totes the gal around.

With American Girl’s Bitty Baby, she can choose from 11 doll options plus shop for cool nursery accessories, like a white wooden crib or play piano. Of course, you can’t escape the adorable outfits, some of which come in big girl sizes so your child can match her doll’s attire.

American Girl is offering TWO winners the chance to choose their own custom Bitty Baby Doll. Each set, worth about $80, also comes with a wishing star keepsake toy and illustrated hardcover book.

To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day January 6, and don’t forget to read the official rules. Be sure to check back on January 7 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!

Congrats to Bonnie Leigh and Taryn Tener!

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The Most Popular Girl This Holiday Season

Friday, December 21st, 2012

There’s only one doll my 7-year-old daughter wants for Christmas: McKenna, the determined gymnast who’s American Girl’s 2012 Girl of the Year. On a sunny December day, I took a walk from Parents’ midtown office to the Fifth Avenue flagship store, and weaved my way past groups of mothers and grandmothers, and adorable little girls in white tights and black patent-leather Mary Janes, clutching their Rebeccas, their Julies, and their Carolines to their pretty coats.

I asked a clerk stacking red boxes where I could find McKenna.

“That’s the question of the day,” he said. “She’s sold out.” Uh-oh.

Back at my desk, I called American Girl’s catalogue number and a customer-service rep confirmed the news: “McKenna is completely sold out, in stores, online, and in the catalogue.”

This isn’t the first time a Girl of the Year doll has vanished from shelves before the holiday season’s end (note to self: heed the fine print that items are available “while supplies last”). But the folks at American Girl headquarters tell me that McKenna was an especially popular doll, thanks to the boost she got from the Summer Olympic Games, a hit DVD movie, and even the appealing “playability” of her long locks.

So what’s a parent of a girl with her heart set on McKenna to do? AG has a lookalike doll, from its “My American Girl” line, also with bright blue eyes and long caramel-colored hair, if you think your child would go for a substitute. I checked out the doll (product code: F1251), and she could indeed be McKenna’s twin.

Also sold out are most of McKenna’s accoutrements, from her floor-beam-and-bar set to her goldendoodle Cooper. Unlike the doll, you can backorder many of these, though you’ll need to wait. American Girl’s providing frustrated customers who call (800-360-1861) with substitute suggestions for these hot McKenna items as well. I was denied McKenna’s cast and crutches, but I think my daughter will be pleased with a very similar set I spotted in the store.

If substitutes just won’t do, this might help: American Girl will be unveiling its 2013 Girl of the Year on December 28th. I’m not allowed to say who she is, but if your girl’s got a creative streak and loves art, this one’s bound to please.

As for what I did about McKenna: My story has a happy ending. My Christmas wasn’t saved by Santa but by—what else?—eBay.

Image via American Girl

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Super Deal on American Girl Dolls

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

I’ve been shopping American Girl for at least five years—and I don’t ever remember a sale on dolls. This morning, I found out that The Today Show’s Jill’s Steals & Deals announced a special code to get two of the dolls, Marie-Grace and Cecile, for more than 60% off. Just click here to access the deal. The dolls, including book and accessories, are $50 each.

There is also an adorable canopy doll bed for $50, which I just bought for my daughter Katie (shh, don’t tell her). I can attest for Marie-Grace’s cuteness; Katie spent her birthday money on the doll last year when we visited American Girl Place in NYC (see pic). Hope this helps with your holiday shopping!

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Just a Day at the Office: Hosting an American Girl Birthday Party

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

There’s nothing better than starting a Tuesday morning with a room full of glittery curlicues, pastel colors, and creamy cupcakes!

In honor of our boss’s birthday, the staff surprised Michael (the Executive Editor of with an explosion of girlyness (was it like reliving his daughter’s birthday parties?) by throwing a party decorated with products from the American Girl Crafts® party collection

A few of us unleashed our inner crafters and put together pretty paper medallions and Celebrate! cupcake stands (perfect to display our baked goods from Crumbs).  And we completed the table with teal-colored napkins and paper cups (easily customized with names) filled with potato chips. Even though no American Girl dolls were in attendance, all of us had fun starting a workday with some sweetness and energy, and the staff (predominantly women) got nostalgic reliving their childhoods. (Sidebar: I, for one, have always wanted to dine at the American Girl Place in New York City, so this was the next best thing!)

Launched in October, the collection offers various party packs (Basic, Deluxe, and Ultimate) to help girls (ages 8 to 12) get creative about styling and personalizing their parties.  Along with decorations and table settings, there are also invitations, stickers, party favors, thank-you notes, and easy step-by-step craft projects to entertain guests.  Miniature versions of these party items are also available so dolls won’t feel left out.  Products can be purchased at Michael’s, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, and

While we didn’t get to use our sticker party invitations (and their matching doll invitations), there will certainly be more meetings-slash-parties on the horizon…!

Michael, wearing a FUN badge


The staff, enjoying cupcakes and chips


Pretty paper medallions

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American Baby’s Baby Booty: Get an American Girl Bitty Baby!

Friday, November 25th, 2011

I have a lot of experience with American Girl dolls. I have a 9-year-old daughter, work a few blocks from American Girl Place in New York City, and am, apparently, a sucker. It stared with a “Just Like Me Doll,” which Grace wanted for her 6th birthday. I loved the idea, until I realized she was asking for a $100 doll. And that any given outfit for the doll was going to cost $20 to $30, which is what I spend on an outfit for my actual daughter. But I consulted with a neighbor whose girl is the same age, and heard all the good reasons to drink the American Girl Kool-Aid: The dolls are well-made, the girls understand that they’re special, and maybe most importantly, once girls are older than 5, the number of toys they really want dwindles rapidly. It’s nice to have them still want a toy, you know?

So we got the doll, and Grace named her Hollyfield, which is one of Grace’s middle names. Hollyfield has held up well over the past few years. And still gets played with! This past weekend, Grace totally scored a wheelchair for Hollyfield from some friends, who were holding a yard sale of American Girl stuff. I found out about it because their mom posted a notice on Facebook. A friend commented something along the lines of, “It’s so sad when they outgrow their American Girls.” And the mom posted back, “Oh no, they’re selling old American Girl stuff so that they can buy new American Girl stuff.”

Here’s Hollyfield.

Hollyfield in her new wheelchair

The Christmas after we got Hollyfield, I was doing some television for American Baby magazine (no relation to American Girl dolls!), and had an excuse to call in and feature Kit and Ruth, who are friends in American Girl world. (All the dolls come with books, which help real girls learn stories about them, and a bit of history along the way.) Grace got Kit and Ruth from Santa, and that was thrilling. She took to Kit right away, and I’m going to go ahead and admit that I fell in love with Ruth. I joked that she was “mine” although she lives in Grace’s room. The following Christmas, Grace and I took Hollyfield and Ruth to American Girl Place for stylin’ hairdos, earrings, the works. And here’s my word of warning: That store is great fun, but a money pit. I paid as much for Ruth’s hair styling as I pay for my own blowouts. And the craziest thing is, the store is absolutely packed with parents pretending that spending that kind of money is normal. But. That’s what happens when you fall in love with a doll.

Here’s Ruthie—check out her leather jacket!

My favorite, Ruthie








There have been other trips to American Girl Place. We once went in for $14 doll glasses. Grace insisted Hollyfield needs them, I lied that the doctor checked her eyes and she was fine, Grace wouldn’t let up and saved money for the glasses, and we bought them. They lasted less than a year before they were stepped on and broken. We went to the cafe with her grandparents and had fun (note: They serve alcohol to the grown-ups), we went to the cafe with her friend Natalie and had a blast, and Grace went to a birthday party there too.

Now we’re heading into Christmas 2011, and Grace has announced she’s asking Santa for Cécile Rey, a new American Girl doll who lives in circa-1853 New Orleans with her friend Marie-Grace. I’ll admit, I still had the reaction I had years ago: Do I really have to pay $100 for a doll? But here’s the thing. Grace is 9. This may be the last sweet toy I get to buy for her. And at least she’s not asking for both dolls. I will take a deep breath and buy the doll and secretly kind of love it.

Oh, and I did ask someone at American Girl if there’s ever a way to get a discount. The answer was pretty much no. They have a “sale” section on, but it’s small. If you “like” them on Facebook, you can find out about promotions such as free shipping. But! I went ahead and asked if they’d let us do a giveaway. They’ve agreed to give just one lucky reader a new Bitty Baby, plus the Snowflake dress to go with the doll.

Win a Bitty Baby!

Just leave a comment here on this post by the end of the day on Wednesday, November 30th, to be eligible. You can post once a day. For full rules, click here. Goody luck!







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Interview: Harry Connick, Jr., His Daughter, and Their ‘American Girl’ Collaboration

Monday, September 12th, 2011

I recently had the chance to sit down with singer and actor Harry Connick, Jr. and his 13-year-old daughter Kate to talk about their partnership with American Girl as well as Harry’s parenting experience. American Girl’s newest dolls, Cécile and Marie-Grace, are from New Orleans circa 1853.  Despite their different appearances and backgrounds, the girls become best friends. To accompany the release of the dolls, Harry wrote a song about friendship, “A Lot Like Me,” and Kate recorded it. All proceeds from downloads of the song benefit the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, a performance space and center for music education in New Orleans.

Harry and Kate

How did you become involved in this partnership with American Girl?
Harry: American Girl was interested in two New Orleans–themed dolls, and I’m from New Orleans, so they wanted to see what I had to offer. We thought it would be cool to have Kate be a part of it too. We like working together anyway, so I couldn’t think of anybody better to sing a song that I wrote. Kate truly lives the message of, ‘It doesn’t matter what’s on the outside, it’s all about what’s on the inside.’

The song is aimed at young girls. What was it like to write for a younger audience?
Harry: It’s just a matter of writing what feels best for me. I read the stories and thought they were great. The message was so clear, it wasn’t difficult to come up with a way to try to express that with a piece of music.

What do you hope girls take away from this song?
Kate: I hope they learn, as my dad said, that it’s what’s on the inside, not on the outside [that matters]. I’ve been able to travel the world and see the different backgrounds that people come from and the different religions that they follow. I’ve realized that it’s not about what they look like.

What’s important in your friendships? What do you look for in your friends?
Kate: I look for trust, loyalty, and kindness. I think if you have those three things then you have something special.

You two share an interest in music. Do you plan to collaborate in the future?
Harry: I hope we get to do something again. My life is spontaneous and things just kind of happen. I look forward to years and years of working with Kate in different capacities. (more…)

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