Monday, June 21, 2010

Our American Girl Slumber Party

This is Z, early Saturday afternoon on the El platform by our house. We were heading into the city for a mother-daughter overnight at the
Embassy Suites on State Street. Which, by the way, I last stayed at in the mid 1980s when my parents took me and my sister to Chicago to visit their old college haunts.

I'd been given a free one night stay complete with their exclusive American Girl Place package via my association with Kristen Chase (aka the Mominatrix). I checked in at the front desk, and a manager then stepped out from around the corner with a clipboard and helped Z "check in" her doll. She was tickled pink. We dropped off our suitcase in our 2-room suite on the eighth floor and walked to the retail-as-entertainment emporium that is the American Girl Place. Holy mother of consumerism, this place is like Disneyland without the rides. So many lovely things upon which to spend money. And all so alluringly displayed.

I'd had a chat with Z beforehand about how many nice things we'd see and how much she might want to buy the things displayed there. I also emphasized that we'd buy her yard sale American Girl doll a new outfit, get her ears pierced (I had a coupon for a complimentary ear piercing from the hotel) and get her ratty hand-me-down hair fixed up. I needed her to understand we wouldn't be buying extra outfits, furniture, accessories, food or anything else.

We headed straight upstairs and reserved a spot for "Hannah" at the doll hair salon. Then we spent 40 minutes wandering through the 2-level store, checking out the period dolls in their museum-like historical dioramas and selecting just the right outfit for Hannah to wear.

When we returned to the salon, Hannah was strapped into a tiny salon chair and we learned the proper technique for styling her hair (wet it well and use a wire brush).

$15 later, Hannah was pierced and styled and we changed her into her new pink dress (with matching shoes and a necklace). We didn't buy cupcakes, an American Girl magazine with Z's picture on the cover, miniature American Girl dolls, any one of the hundreds of American Girl books or hobby-accessories. (If you're into dancing, ice skating, horseback riding or gardening, your doll can be too!) But we did linger in the book department and read the first chapter of "Meet Felicity," a book about a girl who lives in Philadelphia in the 1800s.
Two lovelies
To my surprise and immense relief, Z didn't whine or ask for anything beyond her allotted goodies. She even remarked a few times how lucky she was and how beautiful her doll looked. She is, however, very much looking forward to her birthday and plans to ask for a second American Girl doll. Julie, specifically.

We left the store and headed back to the hotel, where Z was overjoyed to find the American Girl package "turn-down service" in full effect. A custom fold-out American Girl doll bed was set up (complete with a wrapped chocolate on the pillow) on her fold-out couch and the TV was tuned to the Disney Channel. Minutes later a staff member stopped by with two gift bags full of junk food and the manager called to let us know that--due to their On-Demand service being down--we wouldn't be able to order the movie included in the package. Instead, he offered us a $20 AMC gift card!

We headed downstairs to the lobby and joined the crowd in line for the Manager's Reception, and I got myself a glass of wine and a handful of snack mix. Then, after a half an hour of TV and Cheetos (two rare treats for Z), we walked back outside for dinner. We had "the best dinner ever" at Nordstrom Cafe and we walked across the mall to the Crocs store, where I replaced Z's worn-out Crocs with a ballet slip-on style that were on sale for $19. We also picked up a Belle Jibbitz for A.

Since Z was still gung-ho to shop, we headed into Ann Taylor Loft. There she declared me to look absolutely beautiful in everything I tried on. The $10 lilac T-shirt was a go. The saggy-ass boyfriend-style cropped white jeans. Um, no.

Our Enchanted-style shopping spree complete, we headed back to the hotel for baths and bed. And little tech-savvy chica that she is, Z figured out how to take my picture while I was in the tub and email it to Josh. Fortunately his is one of the only email addresses loaded into my Blackberry.