Monday, June 5, 2017

Getting American Girl Doll "Z" and hairstyle fun for an inept hair-braider

Wow, a year flew by and I'm just getting motivated to write a post again! Today I wanted to share some news in that I recently received my first ever doll... and it's an American Girl doll named "Z". Let me start by saying, I was not a "doll person" while growing up. I was more likely to be found roaming the woods by my parents' house and making a tree fort. My kids are the same way, but last year my daughter shocked me by asking if she could get an American Girl doll. Her older cousin has one, so I'm sure being like one of the cool older cousins had something to do with the request!

My daughter and I bought an 18-inch Truly Me look-alike doll together and she had to wait about 3 months before she could open the doll up for Christmas. Of course, I also had to buy a doll for my 4-year-old son because he does everything she does and would have been traumatized if he didn't get an identical gift--he got a bitty twin boy I found on Ebay (this was prior to the release of the 18-inch boy doll, Logan). The kids were all about the dolls--and I was happy that the quality seemed good and they were actually playing with them. Both kids were interested in trying out some hairstyles on their dolls... so that's where this all started.

Since I never played with dolls, I pretty much sucked at doing any sort of braid or hairstyle. I was so bad, in fact, that the one time I tried to French braid my daughter's hair while she was in preschool, the teachers asked, "Did your Dad do your hair?" I took that as kind of a personal challenge, except my daughter cannot stand any sort of pulling on her head and I never got any more practice. There we were four years later, and we were googling YouTube videos and watching tutorials from 12-year-olds so we could all learn how to hair braid! It was pretty sad, and I felt determined to learn because my daughter's skills were surpassing mine fairly quickly! Unfortunately, I still didn't have anything to practice on because my daughter didn't want to share her doll. That's how it came to happen that for Mother's Day, my husband told me to go buy the newly release "Z" for myself. He knew I was eying that one--especially since my sister lives in South Korea.

So I got it!!! Despite the negative reviews, I decided to buy it anyway and I'm glad I did. Here are a few photos from my first week after buying the doll: 
My daughter's doll "Ellie" meeting "Z" for the first time. We decided to rename her "Jiyun" (pronounced GEE-YOU-N). In Korea, your name comes from Chinese characters so names can have different meanings. In the most popular characters, it means "wisdom in abundance". Coincidentally, the Korean language doesn't have an equivalent of the letter Z.
Z/Jiyun with a blue hair extension. Sign translates to "Journey to learning Korean"
The dress in the photo was a little wrinkly, but I was too excited to put on the traditional Korean hanbok dress I found on Amazon so I didn't take time to iron it before trying it out :). I just love this look and her sleek hair is so pretty... and ready for braiding...
Finally, it was time to get down to business with trying some hair braiding! Of course I had to start with the easiest braid ever.. fishtail. I'll be honest, I have lots of room for improvement here, but it looks decent enough where it was encouraged enough to keep trying! I did mine as a "pulled out" fishtail, which I would recommend if you're kind of new to this because it seems to hide mistakes a bit better ;).

 One of the tutorials I followed for fishtail braiding:

I was actually able to French braid my daughter's hair into pig-tail braids after practicing a bit on Z. I've discovered that my left had is my Achilles heel and I need a lot of practice in order to make it cooperate... If I can find braids that are more right-hand-friendly, that seems to go better. For example I happened upon this cross-over tutorial and that went a lot better for me when I did it as a traditional French braid (not the under method shown in this tutorial) with the diagonal shown. I tried it a few times on Z and then did it on my daughter's hair with minimal complaints from her... overall, I will need to keep practicing so it's not too loose.

I'm going to keep trying and will be looking for different styles to try...I'll try to post some additional pictures of my successes (and maybe some failures too... because those are probably just as interesting!). One good thing was I discovered this really easy braid that I've actually been doing on myself when I put my hair in a ponytail. I always get lots of compliments when I do it and it's a sneaky way to solve a bad hair day with (basically) a ponytail solution. I typically put some nice jeweled bobby pins in to fix problem strands of hair and I can now do this braid on myself in under 5 minutes :).