Photo Story: Cécile Goes to Disneyland


Cécile Goes to Disneyland

Cécile: I can’t believe I’m actually here! At DISNEYLAND! It truly is more wonderful than I could’ve imagined! …Mmm, such wonderful smells wafting from the shops on Main Street! I wonder if they sell pralines…

Cécile at Disneyland

Arista: Hey, Cécile! We’re here! Sorry we’re late – the line to park was INSANE!

Lea: Yeah, it might get pretty crowded today…

Noelle: Oh, but don’t worry! We’ll make sure you get to see everything! Arista and I are FastPass PROS!

Sienna: Uh… Cécile? What are you staring at?

Cécile: *awestruck* Everything. This place is heavenly…

Cécile and Friends

Sienna: *laughs* Well, just wait – it gets even more amazing! You haven’t seen the rides yet!

Lea: Speaking of which, what would you like to go on first, Cécile?

Cécile: Hmm… something worthy of being a first ride! Something that no one else has ever gone on as their very first ride! What’s the fastest, scariest thing here?

Noelle and Friends

Noelle: Whoa – are you sure? Umm, well… there’s Space Mountain! It’s a roller coaster that’s completely in the dark! It makes you feel like you’re zooming across the galaxy, and it drops and whips around to this really cool music!

Lea: Matterhorn’s pretty fast, too! And there’s a super-realistic abominable snowman that swipes at your bobsled!

Cécile: *gulp!* Oh, t-those both sound very first ride-worthy! With outer space and the abominable bobsleds… and the dark and stuff… Uh… I-I can’t decide…

Arista: How about both? We can walk past Matterhorn on the way to Space Mountain and see which line is shorter, then while we’re at Space, we can grab some FastPasses in case we want to ride again later, but not have to wait in a crazy-long line!

Arista and Friends

Cécile: Super*quietly* Umm… N-Not that I’m nervous or anything, but just how scary are these rides?

Arista: *laughs* Don’t worry, six-year-olds go on them all the time. I don’t think anything at Disneyland could really qualify as scary.

Lea: What about Monstro the whale on the Pinocchio ride? The way it jumps out at you from behind that rock? That thing TERRIFIED me as a kid!

Arista: Oh, me too!

Cécile and Friends

Cécile: I-I was thinking – we shouId probably eat breakfast first, non? I mean, better to not have our stomachs growling louder than the snowman!

Noelle: Sounds like a plan! Ooh! I could go for some beignets! Café Orleans has those Mickey-shaped ones! What do you guys think?

Cécile: Oui! A few tasty beignets are sure to calm my nerves! I-I mean – to the café!

Cécile and Friends

It’s been awhile since I made a photo story! Five dolls is definitely a record… and it made for some interesting issues. When one doll falls, she takes everyone else with her! I also realized I don’t have as many amusement-park-worthy outfits as I thought. I’ll have to change that! 😉JenniferSig

Choppy Waters Ahead

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like what’s been happening with American Girl lately. The ship has a new captain and I feel like she’s more concerned with charging full steam ahead than taking notice of the conditions around her.

After my last post, I saw the perma-pantied #55 that’s been making the rounds on social media – lumpy butt, squishable vinyl, and all (just check out American Girl’s visitor posts on Facebook if you haven’t seen it yet). Had the new permanent underwear been the same build as the current doll butts (with the horizontal seam), I probably would’ve come around in time, but the new doll butt looks like it can easily lose shape – and in the case of the unfortunate #55, can instead look like she’s packin’ a poop.

It was the squishable vinyl that  really got me worried. It’s one thing to avoid the dolls that will be getting perma-pantied – Maryellen, Melody, Julie, the TrulyMe’s and future contemporary dolls – but it’s another to avoid something universal like vinyl type.


Sienna stares off into the horizon, wondering which direction AG’s senses went.

Tonight I ordered what may end up being my final doll purchase directly from American Girl. I recently got a gift card that I was hoping to hold onto for awhile and put towards either furniture or clothing for my dolls, but instead I decided to get one more Josefina mold doll – just in case the vinyl change is permanent or worse changes surface in the future. I got Rebecca, with plans to turn her into another custom (that is, as long as I end up with a version that has the good vinyl – otherwise, she’s getting sent back).

It’s sad, though. I never thought I’d be ordering a doll just to make sure I didn’t end up with a bad one later. For me, the sense of urgency comes from watching my first favorite 18″ doll line, Magic Attic Club, go downhill in a hurry after Marie Osmond bought it. The Allison doll I bought after she’d altered the line was definitely not the same quality of the original Magic Attic Club line. I don’t want to end up in a similar situation with American Girl.

I’m hoping at some point American Girl will come to their senses and prioritize maintaining the quality their customers have come to expect, but judging from their responses on social media – including blaming a customer for a doll that AG’s quality control team missed – I feel like it’s going to be awhile.JenniferSig

Cécile Rey – 1853

Cécile Rey, 1853 | American Girl

EEEEEE! I am SO EXCITED to make this post! 😄

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, after selling Isabelle, I’d finally saved up enough money to buy Cécile! She arrived a few days ago and is absolutely GORGEOUS!!

Cécile Rey

Bonjour, Cécile!

Her arrival has been a little more exciting than I expected!

She was scheduled to arrive right in the middle of a huge rainstorm! The day of, I kept checking the tracking non-stop. At one point, it changed from “out for delivery” to “pending,” with no other explanation – which definitely had me a little worried. She finally came at night, right before the rain was set to pick up again.

Cécile Rey

New in box, but something’s a little off…

The first thing I noticed about Cécile was just how absolutely beautiful she was in person! I was thankful mine had such a pretty face – straight eyes, good paint color, perfect hair line… but then I saw it – her eyebrows weren’t aligned. It was a bit more pronounced in person, but you can kind of see it in the photo above. It’s easier to tell if you imagine a straight line connecting the inner edges of her eyebrows to the inner edges of her eyes. The right eyebrow lines up with the right eye, but her left eyebrow is slightly above and to the left.

Most people probably wouldn’t mind – and I really tried not to mind, too – but 80% of what I do for a living involves graphic design, and a lot of that involves making sure things are aligned correctly, so her uneven eyebrows really stood out for me.

I had two choices – I could either send her in for a new head and take care of her eyebrows and her dry wig (and maybe get her limbs tightened) at the same time, or I could try to fix her eyebrows myself with paint. The rest of her face was so pretty, I didn’t want to chance it, so I decided to try repainting her eyebrows myself.

Cécile Rey

“Best patient ever, right?”

OMG. I always, ALWAYS forget how nerve-wracking painting a doll is for me. I removed the left end of her left eyebrow (internally screaming the whole time), repainted it lower, then added some additional hairs to the right side of her left brow. Then I added some hairs to the right brow to balance the two out. The result isn’t perfect, but I’m happy with it.

Cécile Rey

Cécile’s New ‘Do

I redid Cécile’s hair, too. I like her original hairstyle, but I really like how she looks with both sides pulled back. I also wanted something a little more modern since I plan to make Cécile modern like the rest of my dolls.

And since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I decided she needed something for the occasion. The Merry Magenta Dress looks amazing on Cécile – and it’s currently on sale for $14!

Cécile Rey

Ready for Valentine’s Day!

Cécile really is such a beautiful doll – I don’t know what American Girl was thinking retiring her! Definitely not one of their best decisions IMHO.

Then again, American Girl hasn’t really been making very good decisions in general lately. I haven’t liked how they’ve handled a lot of things – from Gabby’s thrown-together release to “Pantygate.” American Girl isn’t starting off 2017 very well. I hope they’ll remember that good customer service is an important part of business, too. Their callous responses and even banning of some of their most ardent fans is really disheartening. It’s made a lot of people – myself included – decide to be a little more thoughtful with spending money at American Girl.JenniferSig

Blogger Recognition Award!

Blogger Recognition Award

Meg of Canadian Doll Notebook ( nominated MINI MAD for a Blogger Recognition Award! Thank you, Meg!! 🙂

Award recipients have to follow these six rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  2. Write a post to show your award
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  5. Select 15 other bloggers for this award
  6. Comment on each blog to let them know you nominated them and link to the post you created.

Here are my answers!

How MINI MAD Started

Saige - Girl of the Year 2013

photo: American Girl (archived)

Backstory time! I’ve always loved collecting small, cute things – from Barbies and their accessories, to Japanese toys like Nendoroids and Re-Ment sets, to 18″ dolls. When I was younger, I had a couple outfits from American Girl, but it wasn’t until late 2013 when I really started to get into the American Girl collecting fandom. My mom had mentioned wanting a Saige doll for Christmas, and while my husband and I were in the process of getting one for her, I started reading American Girl collector forums and collectors’ blogs. Before I knew it, I was hooked and debating which doll to get as my very first American Girl doll! Not long after that, I started MINI MAD as a place to house photos and stories of my collections and any projects relating to them. I originally planned to have a variety of things, but over time I realized I was having more fun showcasing American Girl-related items than anything else, so it became an American Girl-centric blog.

Advice to New Bloggers

1. Think “fun first” – don’t worry about how often you post or whether or not you think the content will get you a lot of views/likes/etc. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “I need to post something or I’ll lose followers!” or “Everyone else is commenting about this – I should, too!” Post when you have something you want to blog about. Don’t let it start to feel like work – blogs should be about sharing how you like to have fun with your collection!

2. Try to use natural light as much as possible when taking photos for your blog. This isn’t always easy – for myself, I work during peak-photo-taking-light hours, so I usually have to wait until the weekend to take photos for my blog. It’s worth it, though! Natural light often produces nicer photos than using flash.

Your Turn!

I’m going to bend the rules slightly here and invite anyone who would like to participate!

Thanks again for nominating me, Meg! 🙂JenniferSig

OOTD – Layered Looks

Outfits of the Day – Noelle and Arista

Let me start by saying THANK YOU to Meg from Canadian Doll Notebook for nominating MINI MAD for a Blogger Recognition Award! I’ll be making my post soon! 🙂

Man! It’s only been two weeks since I last posted, but I feel like a lot has happened in those two weeks!

I’ve made some changes to my doll collection. After a lot of thought, I decided to sell my Isabelle doll. I really struggled with the decision because she was my very first American Girl doll. But at the same time, I’ve realized that I was drawn to her more for her collection (and probably the excitement of the Girl of the Year) than the doll itself. I mean, even going back and re-reading the entry where I talked about getting her, I can tell that’s the case. Anyway, I’d been feeling bad that I hadn’t really used her in a display or a photoshoot in months, and I thought this would be a good solution. I was able to put the money from selling her, as well as some other money I’d saved up, towards another doll – one that I’ve been wanting to get for awhile now – Cecile! I can’t wait until she gets here!

I’ve also been attempting to take more photos of my dolls outside of the display case – which also means figuring out how to setup and photograph my dolls while a certain needy kitten is demanding my undivided attention lol. I think Darcy gets a little jealous! But then I turn my camera on him and he suddenly has other things to do. 😉

Anyway, I managed to get a few shots of Arista and Noelle this past Sunday – my brown-eyed girls!

Arista and Noelle

Selfie time in our Layered Looks!

Tops: Arista – Truly Me Lilac Dress; Noelle – Grace’s Meet Shirt, Truly Me Denim Jacket

Bottoms: Arista – Playful Print Skirt with pink tights; Noelle – Skirt from the Love to Layer Accessories set, Grace’s black shorts

Shoes: Arista – Truly Me turquoise ballet flats; Noelle – Grace’s silver bow sandals

Accessories: Arista – Kanani’s flower hair clip, poodle necklace from Magic Attic Club, Brownie Ombre GlassesNoelle – headband from Grace’s baking outfit


Perfect for Twirling!

I know I already had Noelle in this outfit in the previous post, but I absolutely LOVE how she looks in it! Magenta and indigo look so good with her medium skin tone, and I like pairing such a sporty-looking jacket with a girly skirt. It’s amazing how photogenic #62 is, too! I’m so happy I have her!


Blooms and Bows

For Arista’s outfit, I actually started with her glasses. They’re so subtle, I wanted to make sure they didn’t get lost by anything too bold. I knew I wanted to use the print skirt, but couldn’t find anything that really went with it… until I tried Noelle’s Truly Me dress! The colors work together perfectly!

I’m hoping this weekend I can put together a better photo setup. I bought a foam tri-fold poster last weekend (yay for 60% off coupons at Michael’s!). It’ll either become a better den or maybe even a kitchen! 😄

Denim and Desserts!

Hooded Denim Jacket, Williams-Sonoma Cupcake Set for Dolls | American Girl

I got some more birthday presents this weekend! My mom-in-law surprised me with the Brownie Ombre Glasses (not pictured), Hooded Denim Jacket for dolls, and the Williams-Sonoma Cupcake Set for dolls!

Noelle with Presents

Noelle says “I’ll model ’em!”

And since Noelle was also a birthday present, it’s only fitting that she show them off!

Noelle modeling the jacket

Rockin’ the denim jacket

love this denim jacket! There’s something about it that reminds me of the American Girl outfits from the late ’90’s/early ’00’s. I also love how well it pairs with so many of the casual pieces I already have.

Noelle Kealoha

Ready for her closeup!

Look how cute these little details are! And those buttons aren’t just decorative – they really work! I do wish the button threads were a little neater, but they’re not too noticeable in photos.

Williams-Sonoma Cupcake Set

Just like the real thing!

And speaking of cute details… the Williams-Sonoma Cupcake Set has tons! The offset spatula and cupcake tray look just like their human-sized counterparts, and I like that the designers thought to make the liners separate. The cookbook feels a little thin compared so some of AG’s other mini books, but it’s still a nice addition to the set.

Noelle with cupcake

Want one?

These cupcakes look good enough to eat! I can’t wait to use them in a baking scene! Maybe for Valentine’s Day… ❤

Noelle Kealoha – Truly Me #62

Noelle Kealoha, Truly Me #62 | American Girl

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2017 bring us all joy, health, and prosperity! Already, 2017 is starting out much better than 2016 ended for me – I spent my entire winter break sick! But not only am I well again now, my birthday just passed and my family made sure it was a fantastic one! I had a great day at Disneyland with my husband, our families came over to celebrate with me, and I got some amazing presents, including…

Noelle Kealoha

Truly Me #62!

My parents surprised me with a Truly Me #62! I’ve wanted one ever since I saw her in person at a pop up shop last year! I thought she was gorgeous in photos, but she was even prettier in person! And now one year later, I have my very own!

Noelle Kealoha

My first Sonali mold!

I actually found out I was getting #62 before my birthday, because my mom – who is also a collector – gets way too excited about AG things to keep them a secret for long. 😉 So, I tried to take my mind off of being sick by coming up with my new doll’s name and backstory.

Noelle Kealoha

It’s story time!

I’ve seen people develop their #62’s backstory in a variety of ways, but for mine, I was somewhat inspired by Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet’s daughter, Lola Iolani Momoa. My #62 is Louisiana Creole on her mom’s side, Hawaiian on her dad’s side, and named Noelle Kealoha.

I’m still working out the details of her backstory, but so far I’m thinking her parents meet at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (Noelle’s mom wanted to study abroad, but her parents didn’t want her that far away, so this was a compromise). The two hit it off after working on a project together, then later, they both become professors at the university, get married, and have Noelle. I see both as being fun-loving with a silly side – like when they wake up Noelle by singing (loudly and off-key), “IF YOUR NAME IS NOELLE, IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO SHOWER, YOUR BUS WILL BE HERE IN LESS THAN AN HOUR!”

Maybe Noelle’s maternal grandmother also lives with them – a recent development after the passing of Noelle’s grandfather. I see her as having become close with her son-in-law’s parents and the three of them spending time together talking, cooking, and arguing about whose methods of cooking are best.

I’m still trying to figure out what I want Noelle to be interested in. So far, I’m thinking she might be interested in the science of cooking – both finding better ways to cook things (think Cook’s Country or Alton Brown) and learning about alternatives for people with food allergies. Maybe she is just starting to develop allergies to nuts (like I did at her age) and wants to find a way she and others like her can still enjoy certain foods.

Noelle Kealoha

Aloha, Noelle!

As you can see, I have a lot of ideas, but not many set in stone yet. Whatever her story ends up being, I’m so happy to have her in my collection! If you’re on the fence about getting #62, do it! She’s SO pretty in person!JenniferSig