Everytime I sit down to write about it my head is so swirly with all the joy and magic of the weekend that I get all spacey and can’t make decent prose to save my life. So forgive me if I go a little purple! I really do feel like Cinderella.
Or, skip right to the pictures… and the important bits!
I won the one-off I entered for, and a long time coveted dream girl: sweet dream nana! in pure skin snow! OMG! I have actually made several failed attempts to get her previously and it never worked out. You have no idea… she’s brilliant. They’ve updated the sd10 girl body since Sylvie’s, two years old now, and it is perfect! Knees and legs click into place and are really lovely… she’s in the special limited snow, so she’s a bit different than Miette. She GLOWS. I can’t even stand it. Her face-up is brilliant! Will have to take better pix later, a bunch included in the gallery linked above though. But her eyes are all pink and smokey with dark dark lashes. I will probably replace the lashes with the new fancy volks lashes and paint her teeth so they show. I love dolls with teeth! Her dress and wig are to die for… the wig is custom cut floor length in a light brown. So lovely.
I don’t know her name yet.
I dare you to read the long froofy love fest below.
Friday morning we’d planned to leave at 5am in order to arrive in LA pre-rush hour (if such a thing exists). But alas, I had to go into work first thing to push a file to the website so we didn’t hit the road til 9am. Whatever. I was happy as a songbird and bursting with anticipation, the boring cow poo drive down I-5 went lickey split… until we hit The Valley. UGH. Two hours to get across town to Torrance. All the while calling Paul to coordinate visits and dinner. But I am a vetran of city traffic and despite the exhaustion of sitting in stopped traffic forever, we had no problems. The Marriot was right on the exit! Super easy to find… and I have to thank Aimee, and not for the first or last time, for scoring such a nice place to stay. It was all office parks down there (that is where the Volks store is) but the Courtyard Marriot was really clean and nicely appointed and had a nice little buffet breakfast in the lobby every morning. Our room was right near the back entrance AND the soda/ice/laundry machines. BEST EVER.
After getting majorly lost in Long Beach thanks to dumb Yahoo Map directions (crack ass!) we finally found Paul and Melissa. I haven’t seen Melissa for like 1.5 years and had never met Paul so this was an evening full of love. Paul made us fruity cocktails and let us TOUCH HIS DOLLIES! OMG, he has the mad collection of everything. Yooksie is a work of art, you have no idea. Enola looked splendid in her new ballgown. Everyone was fab. Cheeks was drunk.
Due to my bumb foot I was hurty and had to go put ice on it, story of the whole weekend!
Saturday morning: I brazenly called Aimee FIRST THING… “Hi, you don’t know me but I help mod your forum.” :p but she had a mag meeting and made her groovy gal pals hang out with us. AJ & Judy seriously rock and were all nice and hilarious and stuff. At the same time Nadja called, her and Will had recently arrived but already eaten. We were all to meet in the lobby and GREET. More hanging out trying to waste time til we can leave for Palos Verdes and the VOLKS MANSION, and convincing Judy that she needs to give a dolly millinery course and Nadja and I would be her best pupils.
Saturday afternoon, The Reception: Since Judy has the massive boat car we all piled in, figured better one car lost with 5 people than two cars! But we made it good, parked out front. Nice people waving from the drive calling “Welcome! Welcome!” It is gorgeous, California style mini Mansion. Sweeping drive, views, pool, temple, but not too big to be ostentatious. A livable sized mansion. The rumour is it belonged to a Japanese rockstar and Volks now owns it. Wowie! There is signing in, nametags, and pieces of paper for the one-off lottery entry and more pretty things to explain it. The main living area is filled with the gorgeous one-offs, displayed Volks style, all on pedestals, posed perfectly, surrounded by ivy and flowers. My pictures suck but you’ll get the picture.
Rubella & Fifi: seperated at birth???
There is a beautiful sunlight F17 that is part of a charity silent auction that will be matched and donated to a hurrican Katrina fund. This makes me misty. Volks is nice.
And I don’t mean that facetiously. I mean nice in the cosmic sense. Everything they do, everything they say is so filled with a genuine earnestness and caring that I get all choked up thinking about it. And is not just a slavish need to please. They really love their dolls, and this hobby, and clearly the fandom that goes with it. Just from the lavish appointments of the reception, down to the president bring out chairs and water to people in line at the store opening next day. They are also very friendly, and funny… the dances and faces he was making while his daughter was making speeches on stage. I almost exploded.
There were so many fab people I was meeting for the first time. And we were all giddy with excitement. I brought all four of my Volks girls to LA with me: Fifi, Demelza, Lulu & Miette. I took Fifi & Lulu to the reception and plopped them at a table by the side of the pool. Everyone was super friendly, and lovely to talk to and meet. And the dollies! OMG, I got some pictures but not nearly enough. Corinne’s Eulalalie Sasha was the hilight of my day. Dreeeeeeeeeeeamy!!! And so fantastically appointed. Lulu kept taunting Aimee into getting a Mai. Mmmmmmmmai! All the LE’s were also on gorgeous display. Sigh. So much beauty.
SO. The deadline for one-off raffle was 3:30pm. Mr. Kallisti had (very) generously told me earlier that if there was one I really wanted I could enter and she would be considered a Christmas gift. I’ve never been so touched in my life. I think he knows the getting of one of these treasures would be hugely fantastic knowing how much this weekend meant to me. It was no contest. #20 Sweet Dream Nana in pure skin snow has been a coveted girl for me since she was released. I’d actually made several failed attempts to get her and it never worked out. I have Ginevra now, but she has such a different personality than sd nana! Funny that…
So sweet dream nana it was. I filled out my leetle blue piece of paper and dropped it in the flower covered bucket inside. When the lottery started it all drifted by so quickly, there were a lot of dolls! People laughed, they cried, they screamed and then they all went in the kitchen to pay up and get the doll’s one off card. At the beginning Mr. Shigeta the president announced that they would like to donate the ticked for #20 to Laura who was about to go in for risky eye surgery and he was very touched by her story. I was very sad to have lost the lottery but could never begrudge her someone else but then Laura signalled that it was actually #21 the open eyed Nana that she had entered for and everyone at my table breathed a sigh of relief. So funny how involved this all was.
Finally, when we got to #20 another name was called… sigh. And then her friends, I think, called out that she was in the kitchen and already had won a one-off! So another name was drawn. Me. I swear I felt like Miss America at that moment. I was laughing and crying at the same time. Phhhbbt. I think I ran up there with my hands over my face. And told Mikey that I had always loved sweet dream nana and I was the happiest girl in the world. RETARD STAB.
By the time we were done paying the raffle for the 10 sei-tenshi was over and it was time to get our things and go. I was thrilled to find out I could bring her home with me RIGHT THEN. Apparently everyone else was too because I think it took an hour for them to pack them all up and hand them to their giddy new owners.
(Laura and I with our girls. Ok, I have been dying my hair strawberry blonde recently, which looks much better with this blouse. Remind me not to wear it again in public til that is fixed. Yeesh.)
They did say that there will be a Dolpa in Japan on Christmas, Dec. 25th and that they will hold an after party event here for us! Amazing! Finally we’ll have just as much chance as our Japanese counterparts to get limiteds in general. YAY.
I feel like I’m missing so much. Gah!
Sunday, Store Opening: we didn’t bring the camera so no pictures from the opening, but you weren’t supposed to take any inside anyway. I will say this, Volks are THE MASTER at crowd control. There were 200 people and we were like putty in their hands. The lottery ticket way is pretty fair, though there is plenty of room for misfortune depending on the # you picked. At least it means that it doesn’t matter in the slightest what time you get there. Nadja and I miraculously picked #5 & #6 and they reform the line based loosely on the #’s you chose. Or maybe we were just loosely because we were still not at the front of the line but no matter. Nadja got her Tae and I got my FCS ticket. Oh, and Kat took a picture of me holding up my #6 for Anika (teehee). I am NOT a number! Er, except when dollies are involved. But we were very lucky and blessed. There were a lot of people who waited for hours outside in the heat just to get into the store. Volks provided chairs and they handed out water etc but it must have been gruelling. And many of the limiteds, especially shizu, were gone within the first 50 people in line. They came down the line with a fistfull of tickets for each LE and if you got a ticked you were guaranteed your doll no matter when you paid. Which was awesome because it allowed you to shop as well!
I was really good on the Volks shopping, I picked up some stuff for friends, but only bought one wig, a ton of eyelashes, optional fisty hands for Demelza and a white rose top. Mr. Kallisti picked out a the big muscley goh-guy and the jointed hands some hobby putty. No mr. super clear or glue guns, but they seemed to have everything else. And everything was super stocked! They didn’t run out it seems at all. Mr. Kallisti went down to pay and I waited upstairs in the super dollfie room to place my FCS order.
The FCS order: they had the full fcs boutique! All the parts/heads/skin types available so you can try stuff out. Awesome. I worked with a gentleman (should have gotten his name, darn!) who spoke no english and Mikey who translated. Because I brought my own drawings I think they were super attentive to detail on the faceup. Did I want line details on the lips and what color did I want them and how far apart 0_o omg, I was the happiest girl on the planet. I ordered and F16 SD13 girl in snow. Two months. And then I get to pick her up in person!!!
They gave you your hard plastic membership card on checkout. So I imagine it logs all your purchases, and I hope they have a similar point system here as they do in Japan, because the points turn into credits on future purchases!
We were thirsty, tired and HUNGRY by about 2pm when we were done with all the hullabaloo. Paul and Melissa dragged us off to Curry House which rocked. We don’t have those here. YUM. And then a brief stint at Mitsuwa, bought some rement and wasabi peas for the trip home, and we went back to the room for chillin’.
I know there is so much I’m leaving out and this post is sooooooooooo long. I feel so lucky and grateful to have been able to experience this last weekend. Mr. Kallisti was genuinely sad Sunday night at dinner when we were alone. Sad that it was all over, sad that it was so short, sad that he hasn’t been practicing his Japanese as much as he’d liked ^_^
Taken in Solvang the morning after the event. Solvang sucked, but the junk shopping in the wee town after that rocked.