Our second grader started out the school year struggling with reading. Unlike her brother, who was a natural-born reader, motivating and convincing her to practice reading was a chore and a fight. We needed to come up with something to motivate her, something big, something special. After some discussion, the challenge and the rules were set: if she read 101 books, the last five being chapter books, she would get a trip to American Girl Place Chicago. Well, the last week of school, she did it.
The timing couldn’t have been better as American Girl had just launched it’s Truly Me collection and invited us to come check it out. We headed into the city for a mommy-daughter evening complete with personal shopping, dinner, and to her surprise, the building of a Truly Me American Girl Doll!
The American Girl Truly Me collection is a re-launch of the Just Like Me collection. Girls can choose from even more skin, eye and hair combinations to make a doll that is truly them (the above picture represented only half of the choices!). The outfits have been updated, and girls can get a matching one for themselves! There are also tons of ways girls can personalize the doll through added style (coats, bags, earrings) to adding glasses or highlights. Each doll also comes with a Truly Me activity book that features ideas for play, crafts, and advice on friends, self-confidence and more.
Our personal shopper helped us go through the many choices and pick the doll that was perfect for my daughter. Now this wasn’t something special for us, or something we paid a huge sum for. Anyone who is visiting the store can simply fill out a form and request an appointment (in advance) for this complimentary service. That’s right I said complimentary–as in free. If you have never been or are just embarking on the world of American Girl, I would highly recommend it. The personal shoppers are fun and knowledgeable. Our shopper helped us pick a doll, find the special outfit that my daughter was looking for, and kept us on schedule for the other activities we had planned. There is also a great lounge where they held our stuff while we dined.
Shopping makes a girl hungry, so we headed to the American Girl Cafe for dinner. The cafe is a little girl’s dream in pink and black with special places and settings for their dolls to eat with them. The menu has plenty for even the most picky eater to enjoy, and milkshakes and smoothies that are as big as a doll. Even the moms enjoyed great food and tasty appetizers. Every girl also gets a tea-cup and plate for their doll that they get to take home.
Fueled and ready for round two, we headed to the salon to get the dolls picture perfect. We brought our current doll, Girl of the Year 2013 Mia, to have her hair re-done in her original style. They have an entire book of styles, plus the Girls of the Year and the historical dolls, so you can return your doll to her original splendor–they even gave our doll a bath! Every month they also have a style of the month. The sky is really the limit when it comes to your doll’s style. After watching the stylist work on the dolls, I really wanted to hang out there all day and try to up my braiding game!
The best part of the whole trip was probably the new Truly Me Signature Studio. My daughter could have stayed there all day designing outfit after outfit until her dad’s bank account was empty. This interactive exhibit allows girls to design one-of-a-kind fashions that are made right there on site! Girls can choose to make a backpack, dress, tunic and legging set, or pajamas. The kids use a touch screen and a drag-and-drop interface on tablets to design everything about the piece–from the pattern and colors, to available trim options such as cuffs and sleeves. All of the girls made backpacks and one outfit, and every one was just as unique as the girls themselves. The program was so easy to use that the hardest part was choosing what to do! The backpack was a huge hit, especially since it has a special pocket to carry a doll.
Our whole trip was, to quote my daughter, “the best day ever!” Some people are Disney people, I am an American Girl person. I love everything about the dolls (and have since I was young!) The positive and encouraging messages for girls are something that you can see throughout the brand and the store experience. Everyone at the store was kind and helpful, and American Girl truly wants to make the experience amazing for your child. It is a one-of-a-kind adventure that I am so thankful I got to share with my daughter.
If you want to make your own Truly Me experience, visit American Girl Place Chicago and plan your day. You can book a personal shopper, dining options, hair appointments or join them for special events.
American Girl Place Chicago
835 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Store hours are subject to change without notice.
Disclosure: My daughter and I were guests of American Girl for the launch of the Truly Me Signature Studio experience. My daughter and I received the experience as well as a doll and gift bag for our participation. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own.