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Time to Let Go

 I got my first Barbie doll when I was two and half. I asked Mrs. Claus for a "Boobie doll" for Christmas and never looked back. By the time I was in late high school I had accumulated more than 150 dolls of all stripes. Through the years my family was happy to support my doll love and bought me the 1970s Barbie Townhouse, the Barbie airplane, a Barbie McDonald's... You name it, I had it. During high school and college my mom and I became diehard Barbie collectible fans. I got the first Mackies when they came out and began to collect the limited edition dolls in earnest. A family friend who was cleaning out her parents' house found her 1960-61 dolls and gave me the chance to add them to my collection. That led me down the rabbit hole of vintage dolls and outfits. When I went to college my mom continued to grow my collection and we would scope out rare dolls at doll shows across the state. After college I worked for a short time at a local historical society and got th
Recent posts

Barbie Watches - the loss of analog love

I wear a watch everyday. I have since I was in middle school. I am the exact right age for the Swatch watch phenomenon - the first time around. Getting a Swatch for a birthday present was noteworthy. Everyone had at least one swatch guard, sometimes two wound together to make it look even cooler. Obviously, reading the time was secondary. As I got a bit older I continued to get and wear watches - they became symbols of identity. I had a Mickey Mouse watch, a Snoopy watch, and at some point multiple Barbie watches. There were at least two that I wore out the bands, got them replaced, and wore those out again. I have spent countless hours considering watches at Fossil stores and whatever trendy watch store might have a shop in Times Square. I still have a small jewelry box with various watches from various eras tucked away stopped at indeterminate times. Recently I added some of my dad’s watches to my box. He also wore a watch everyday of my life. He had the chunky metal every day watch

Nostalgic for Nostalgia

 I think about nostalgia a lot. Not in some weird personal way. Instead nostalgia defines a lot of the work I have done academically. My book about mixtapes is defined exclusively as a cultural examination of how nostalgia has been used as a marketing tool, gimmick, and genuine emotional pull to continue to reinforce a love of analog technology. Lately I have started thinking more and more about the role of nostalgia when considering Barbie fandom. The movie has definitely played into that consideration. There are two facets to the Barbie movie last year: you can buy Ken in a ridiculous fur coat and the Margot Robbie Barbie doll.  Fur Coat Ken Margot Robbie Barbie   But there is also a resurgence of interest in the Barbie items from the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. I was shocked to discover that the Barbie outfits I have had in a plastic bin in the basement or garage for the past 30 years are notable to current collectors. I posted some of my well-loved, far-from-pristine-condition Barbi

As Ready as I Can Be

 Sunday is the Denver Doll & Toy Supershow . I reserved two tables in the fall. Since the holidays I have been pricing, sorting, organizing, researching, labeling, and generally getting my collection ready to sell. I learned how to use Canva to make a poster for the booth. I have a one-time sales tax license, a Clover for credit card sales, a QR code for Venmo, two printed inventories, and a slideshow of all the dolls I am bringing. Over the weekend my mom and my eldest turned my cross stitch patterns into kits to sell. If I'm not ready, it's not for lack of trying. In an ideal world, I will come home with empty boxes. In a more realistic world, I will come home tired, invigorated, having made new friends, and carrying a significantly reduced collection. Wish us (this is a joint endeavor. All hands on deck) luck!!

Barbies and Grandma

 As a little girl, my Grandma was a constant presence in my life. She lived two hours up the road but spent most holidays and many summers with us. The summer I turned 12, she moved to town and lived in a retirement home up the street. She gave up driving, so there was lots of ferrying Grandma back and forth to our house. As a junior high kid, I would spend one Saturday a month at Grandma's playing board games, eating lunch, and talking at her for hours. She knew all of my friend drama and always asked after my friends even into college and later. Grandma had worked for the US Department of Defense, stationed in Germany, and she bought me many of my first Barbie toys. I had the 1974 Barbie Dreamhouse - complete with working elevator. I had the 1972 Barbie Friend Ship - complete with flight attendant cart and Ken's pilot's costume. But as much as I associate Grandma with my Barbie toys as a girl, this blog is really about a different side. Grandma liked her sweets and whenev

I am Ken-in-Roller-Skates Years Old

 This weekend a friend and I went through the clothes and the dolls that I played with as a kid (and she has an amazing memory on the clothes. This website is quite the resource if you're interested:  ). I had A LOT of Barbies and accessories. There was the Barbie pool, the piano, the three-story townhouse. I had an RV, an airplane, and a boat. And then there were the dolls themselves. Yes, I had lots of Barbies but there were also Skippers and Midges and Christies. But today, we have to talk about Ken. This is my first Ken Doll: Roller Skating Ken c.1980. The short tight shorts, the shiny purple jacket, the Addidas style roller skates. He's so retro, what's not to love? I can't pretend to remember why six-year old me needed a Ken doll at that point. I was never as gung-ho about the guys because for me Barbie was about Fashion shows and climbing mountains, and sleepovers. But there were definitely days Ken was part of their entourage. I didn't have Ro

United Colors of Benetton

 If you're a certain age, you surely remember the ubiquitous United Colors of Benetton ads from the late 1980s and early 1990s.  The bright primary colors, the diversity on the page, the quirky yet stylish fashion. I loved the ads, but the clothes were much too urban, cool, ...expensive for me and my high school vibe. I remember the "cool" girls in my class all dressing in simple primary color t-shirts and standing together for the senior class picture so they were easy to pick out. Keep in mind, it was also a short year or two before the grunge revolution which was much more my style heading to college. While Benetton fashion was not in my world, Benetton Barbies were, of course  My mom had two different male friends who traveled to London semi-regularly. One was a theatre director and went to see the shows. The other owned a travel agency and visited London for work. They were both game to engage in my Barbie fandom in the era. (not to stereotype, but one was openly gay

Happy New Year Barbie

Happy New Year! My goal this year is to finish inventorying and photographing all of the Barbies in my collection. And I have reserved a table at the Denver Doll & Toy Show in March to sell most of my dolls.  Going through the boxes of the less common dolls I come across some that are worth highlighting. These two are perfect given the time of year: At the height of the collectible Barbie craze in the mid-1990s Mattel released some of the more unique and distinct Barbies to date. Not all of them have aged well and some of them have very strong 90s vibes. But the Happy New Year's/Oshogatsu dolls are cute and fun and a shift from so many of the high fashion western designer dolls.  I'm not going to pretend to have a nuanced opinion on cultural appropriation and simplification by an American company that many of the Dolls of the World fall into (there are individuals and websites that have taken that debate on in a worthwhile, meaningful way). I recognize that kimono have a