Category Archives: lifestyle

Top 10 Best Pink Instagram-Worthy Spots and Cafes of New York City


When I was heading out on a recent trip to visit my family in Seattle (206 love, baby!) I admit to something pretty dorky – looking for the Instagrammest-coffee shops and spots around the city. If you have cute latte art, bread shaped like fish or cats, or cool street art, I want to know about it! I love taking cool photos and finding cute and pastel things to fill up my Instagram (ahem, @victoriasuzanne, shameless follow-plug), and I’d go out of my way especially on a vacation to seek out these spots. So while I was wandering around the Lower East Side of my hometown, New York City, I thought: that’s what visitors to New York need, too!

Whether you’re a local or a vacationer and you’ve been bitten by the millennial pink bug, here are the top ten spots to check out in New York City. Some of these are shops, restaurants, or just pretty pink buildings to take your daily OOTDs or add to your rosy collection.


Pietro Nolita – 174 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

This restaurant is not a sweets place like the others on this list – break up the sugar at this cute casual Italian joint. Not only is the entire inside a bright shade of bubblegum, so are the menus and napkins, which happen to read ‘Pink As Fuck’. Bonus tip: do not forget to check out the heart-mirrored bathroom.


Trash and Vaudeville – 96 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

Trash & Vaudeville is the cradle of St. Marks’ punk style in New York (and yes, they’re no longer at St. Marks’ – blame the rent). They whipped up Manic Panic – the mainstay for alt hair color – back in the 80s, so all you rainbow haired babes owe homage to Tish and Snooky Bellomo. Even in their new spot on the Lower East Side, they now have a brilliantly pink punk shop.


Cafe Henrie – 116 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10003

This place has the perfect pink tabletops for snapping shots of your brunch, and this place is best known for their pretty fruity smoothie bowls and quintessential millennial avocado toast. Pink neon art graces the walls and creates that soft, rosy glow.

New Territories – 190 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

Besides being the only place that will serve you bubble waffles topped with whip cream roses and Fruity Pebbles cereal, the interior of this cute ice cream spot is adorably pastel pink and features a pink and gold giraffe sculpture. Personally I recommend the U-Be Tripping, with ube filling, and the Dark and Snowy, both pictured above from a recent gals’ late-night ice cream run.


Vivi Bubble Tea – 325 Broadway, New York, NY 10007

While all of the Vivi Bubble Tea spots are super cute and pastel, the frilliest one is at 325 Broadway – though fair warning, only the Lower East Side will serve you bubble tea floats topped with cotton candy, which are pretty ‘grammable all by themselves. (My friend Petrina of Lolita and the City and I tried them out – check it here!) They aren’t just sweets though – do yourself a favor and get the fried chicken bites, too.


While We Were Young – 183 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014

On the more subdued side for those who like their millennial pink starkly contrasted with milk white, black and gold, this restaurant boasts amazing lighting (those huge windows, of course) and cocktails like ‘Texts From Last Night’ and ‘Too Good For You’. Your swanky girls’ brunch is here.


Rose & Basil – 104 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

Whether you choose to sit outside on their white wrought-iron patio or inside where flowers creep up the walls, this place is perfect for a date or a quiet hang-out with you and your laptop (because yes, there is WiFi). Pink cherry blossom cakes, rose lattes and even a rainbow latte are on the menu. I spent my last Sunday here, so I’ll be adding a review of this cute spot soon!


Cha Cha Matcha – 373 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

There’s no better pairing than pink and kelly green, and Cha Cha Matcha capitalizes on this by using a pretty pink backdrop for all their green tea treats – lattes, donuts, and macarons. Be on the look out for their bottles of stawberry almond milk, and definitely ask for a pretty Pantone green latte heart on top of your foam.


Sweets by Chloe – 185 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012

If you’re vegan and love locally-sourced and organic, fear not: Sweets by Chloe to the rescue. At this all-vegan bakery, you can try their mocha almond fudge cake, PB+J cupcakes, and raspberry-goji crumble bars (God, that was so hipster to say I think my car just morphed into a vintage bike.) If you’re sugared out after, head next door to Eat by Chloe to try her savory dinner options.


Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Cherry Blossoms – 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225

Only available during cherry blossom season of course, but still a beautiful backdrop of anime-like pastel pink blooms set around a Japanese pond. There’s a cherry blossom festival set for a weekend in April every year, but a weekend or weekday before is better if you’re after the quiet and fairytale-like photos. Check the sakura tenkyou – cherry blossom forecast – before you go to see what’s blooming.

Also check out Curbed NY for their definitive list of pink real estate! All of the textured pink walls your outfit shot needs when on location in the city that never sleeps.

If you have a favorite pink place in New York City, drop me a line on my Twitter or Facebook page!

Repin for later & check out on Pinterest!


Kitchen Princess #1: Korean Root Beer Chili


Food and I have had a volatile relationship since I was little. As a child, I was a standard picky eater, raised on the blandest of food with its saving grace being a proclivity for whole grains. In my high school and college years I probably subsisted on a nauseating mix of oily instant black coffee and embarrassing instant noodles, the kind that stain your utensils neon yellow. Once I started going to the city and meeting new people, my diet expanded quickly: my favorite foods became big bowls of real Tokyo-style ramen with naruto and steamy balls of takoyaki at karaoke. I had a very rough patch with food trying to maintain a dialysis diet for the past two years, which cuts out dairy, chocolate, whole grains, beans and legumes, and almost anything processed in an effort to curb sodium and phosphorous.

At first I started cooking in an effort to accommodate my extremely narrow diet: I would get obsessed with one dish that fit my parameters and make it over and over as a comfort mechanism. There was a point when I ate almost exclusively avocados and egg whites and rice milk. After my kidney transplant, my relationship with food took another hairpin turn and my diet is mercifully unrestricted. Not having any ‘food rules’ was scary at first: walking into the grocery store felt like going to the zoo with all the tiger cages left open. It took a while for me to relax around food I couldn’t fit into the very small category of organic-unprocessed-dairy-free.

Being able to eat anything I want has opened up my desire to be creative with food. I use it to connect with my boyfriend as we’re both adventurous eaters with similar tastes; and as a way to bring home my love of New York City and Koreatown food to my own backyard. The food I cook now is still mostly dairy-free, but fused with the Korean and Japanese flavors I loved onto my own classic Americana background. The tastes I understood first were the spice and sweetness of gochujang and soy sauce and sriracha, so I fall back on these frequently no matter what I make. Like me, my food fits no one definition, and each dish tells a story of where it came from.

So now, onto my favorite new recipe! My method is usually to start with someone else’s recipe, and then fly by the seat of my pants with flavor and substitutions until I end up with something new. This is my sweet-spicy, smoky-strange Korean Root Beer Chili, in all its secret ingredient glory. You can also make this dish vegan by subbing the chicken stock for vegetable and skipping the beef in favor of a second kind of beans, like kidney beans.

Check the cut for the recipe!

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Mezamashi TV – Time to Wake Up!

Last weekend was a big one for me – I saw Kyary Pamyu Pamyu live in concert (my first concert! Hey, it’s hard to get out when you’re from Connecticut) and wound up on a couple different Japanese TV shows. I was so tired when it was all done, but it was worth it – definitely something I’m happy I got to experience!

Mezamashi TV is a popular Japanese TV show similar to the Today Show or Good Morning America. The word ‘mezamashi’ literally translates to ‘wake up!’ and it’s shown between 5:25 am and 8:00 am.

I’ve been on other TV shows and taping before, but this was my first time getting a close-up and an interview. It’s also the first time I get to see more than just one or two screenshots of the finished product! (And I’m going to get sent a DVD of the final product!) They took us out to a popular East Village teahouse called “Podunk”, which had amazing scones and hot chocolate. Here’s the Instagram collage I put together for the day – my BFF Dalin of Magic a La Mode & the rest of the girls featured!

It was fun to showcase what the crew called ‘colorful Harajuku coordinate’ rather than just lolita style. I had planned on wearing Sugar Hearts with pearls, but when the director specified that they really wanted to see something with 6%DokiDoki flavor, I reversed my coordinate and came up with this instead. I drew the accent yellow and sky blues from my vintage Adidas with the sleeves of my 6%DokiDoki jacket, the pattern of my tights, and the puffy heart hair clip.

Here’s my finished TV screenshot! Below my closeup, it says my name is katakana, my age, and my occupation (student). Next to me is a picture of myself in ‘daily wear’ or mainstream fashion.

 I didn’t want to overload this post, so look forward to the next one where I talk about going to the Kyary concert! In the meantime, check out Lolita and the City’s on line street snaps of crazy concert-goers’ fashion!

25 Ways to Get Over a Break-Up

This is that ‘personal blogging’ thing I’ve talked about. You know, that thing I sometimes do when I try to write about my real life and feelings beyond cute and pastel fashion. I recently broke up with my now-ex boyfriend of almost three years, and guys and gals, it is not easy. For the best? Yes. Strange and sad? Yes. So I got out my diary and wrote my 25 rules for soothing a lost love and taking good care of the one you really need to love – you. I’m feeling healed now, but I thought I would write this for anyone who could use this hard-won advice in the future.

1. Watch your trash TV. Welcome back, Honey Boo Boo, America’s Next Top Model, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I’ve missed you.

2. Go out with you friends. Constantly if necessary. Maybe even ones you don’t know well. You have tons of new free time to fill, so why not call up your pals and book all your weekends. Have friends you wish you knew better? Arrange one-on-one dates and get dressed up – better than ‘date night’ with the ex any day.

3. Buy new underwear. And throw out your old underwear. Am I the only one who remembers underwear in moments? Throw out your old panties. Especially ones with romantic history. Especially if you picked ones they might like. Go to the store and buy yourself any panties that you would like.

4. Eat those obnoxious foods they hated. Get that weird cuisine they never liked. Eat those chips that smell weird. Take yourself out to your favorite cafe or eat your same favorite meal for dinner every night.

5. No sad songs. In fact, you are hereby banned from the Venn Diagram of both country music radio and Taylor Swift. Download a new playlist full of upbeat jams. My currents: anything Rupaul, Marina and the Diamonds, and Nicki Minaj.

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Being a Plus-Size Lolita

artwork taken from the English Gothic & Lolita Bible

On my blog and my Tumblr, I get a lot of questions about wearing lolita and being plus-size. It’s true that lolita fashion is mostly made for tiny Japanese girls. It’s NOT true that you have to be a tiny Japanese girl to wear it. I’m not plus-size myself, and I don’t want to make assertions for others without first-hand knowledge. So I went right to the source – interviewing plus-size lolitas on their thoughts on wear to shop, the fashion industry, and lolita culture.

Meet Tomoyo – and, below the jump, Vanessa!

Average dress size: 24 – 28

My style is… Sweet lolita!

How do you define plus-size? 

In general fashion, I think it’s when you cannot find your size in regular stores or if you have to shop at stores that sells only plus sized clothing. In lolita fashion, I think it’s when shirred brand doesn’t fit you.

The majority of my closet is…

Mainly I wear offbrand pieces from Taobao stores that accept custom sizing requests, or replicas from Oo Jia.

If I could tell a starter plus-size lolita anything, I’d say…
Don’t let the sizes from the Japanese lolita brands refrain you from wearing lolita! A lot of Taobao stores and indie brands or seamtresses can make you clothing according to your size even if you are very plus size like me. :3 Lolita is accessible to everyone no matter their sizes as long as you are willing to take the time to research stores that sells custom sized clothes.

As a plus-size lolita, have you had positive or negative experiences in the lolita community, or both?

I had both positive and negative experiences in the lolita community online. I received a few messages from random lolitas, both plus-sized and normal sized, saying that I was an inspiration for them! It’s one of the positive things that light up my heart and make me proud to be a lolita! I also receive a lot of positive comments on my outfits when posting on my local lolita community forums.

However, if you are a very plus sized lolita like me, you may get a lot of negative comments on the wank communities where plus sized lolita is always something there will be hate about. I have personally experienced some hate on wank communities but I don’t really care because I know that I can be an inspiration for some people too so that’s why I’m not ashamed of wearing lolita and posting my pictures online.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

 I would like to add that I’m wearing lolita everyday since about 3 years now! In fact, my closet is only filled with lolita clothes. So it’s possible to be a very plus sized lolita and to wear the fashion regulary. Also, I live very far away (about a 5 hour car ride) from any other lolitas so I wear lolita alone in my area where nobody knows much about alternative fashion.

Thanks so much for participating, Tomoyo! Don’t forget to read past the jump to meet Vanessa, too!

Treasure Hunt ♡

Today my mother and her best friend and I went antiquing in northern Connecticut! Okay, it’s a pretty fine line between antiques and junk shops up there, but you never know what you might find. I found a lot of lovely mirrored bureaus (like this one I took my outfit shot in, it was actually called “Princess Mirror”, spasm of happiness), a few original Kewpies, a wardrobe that clearly is a way to Narnia (HUGE), a lot of vintage Barbies, some strange folk (the aliens are talking to them, they say?) and a new gelato spot near my town. And since it was my first day off in a while – no work and no school, what an idea – I wore a little casual lolita outfit despite the heat. Happy Garden time! ♡

I want one of these wooden playscale (Barbie-sized) houses for my Pullips pretty badly, but this one doesn’t have a third floor… And they’re too expensive new. I drool over them when they go on sale at Christmas time…

In the “Princess Mirror”, today’s coordinate: Happy Garden, Toy Parade hairbow (they match really well, since the lavenders and mints are the same), and SWIMMER heart-shaped tote bag. Lavender glasses frames are Juicy Couture.

This particular antique store was a huge emporium of the cutest shabby chic furniture. I am in desperate need of a house so I can fill it with these adorable pieces. This rose hutch or dishes cabinet has such lovely filigree… And these were the sidewalk pieces! So much more inside!

They had about a dozen 1980s and early 90s Barbie dolls inside! This one was my favorite. All the balloons on her dress remind me of Pinkie Pie! The crazily-patterned dresses of that Barbie era and the “Happy Birthday” theme ones are my favorite. Wispy 80s bangs, super pastel, and giant mutton chop sleeves. This would be my dream  birthday present, most likely because I am, in fact, still eight years old.

And then of course we rounded out the day with iced coffee and gelato on the way home. This stuff is made right in the northwest corner at the foot of the Berkshire mountains, local dairy cows!

Cotton Candy & Colored Lights

This weekend for me was all about the last hurrahs of summer – the county fair and hanging out under the blue moon with my boy (yes, we got a new hot tub)! Here’s a few photos I snapped at the fair this year – the 100th anniversary!

Who brings home these giant stuffed animals anyway? I was scared to play in case I won and was forced to cram this thing into my bedroom. Shudder, so much polyester! God, you could smuggle drugs in this thing.

By the way – anyone know recognize this guy? He’s an alpaca! There are a lot being raised in my area and they really are sweet-faced and soft… but to be honest, they look nothing like the stuffed Japanese alpacas that are so popular right now… No resemblance, right?

My August Bucket List: 8 Things to Do Before Summer Ends

When it’s the end of finals in May, it seems like the summer is going to last forever – and now here it is around the corner, almost gone. I suddenly realized the other day I only have two weeks left before my classes start again! With that in mind, I scribbled on a piece of junk mail my “August Bucket List”.

Go to the beach one (or two) last time. Living in New England means beach time is picturesque, studded with chintzy Nantucket basket jewelry, and all together too short. Before autumn sweeps in I want to hit up my favorite beach, Watch Hill, for one more day, and maybe snag one lolling around on the Connecticut shore in a decidedly more casual fashion. Accessories: fishtail braids, lavender bikini, and mermaid wish bracelet.

Pick a new pair of boots and a new purse. Nothing cleans up the rest of your wardrobe like a new pair of boots (admit it, last year’s boots look like they survived some kind of Matrix-worthy war) and a new purse. Structured purses are in, slouchy hobos and eco-totes are definitively out. As for boots, pick something that will go with almost everything – a neutral or your most-used color is a best bet. (Yes, I consider pink to be a neutral.)

See a summer film. There were tons of blockbuster summer movies this year and to be honest with the exception of Moonrise Kingdom, I didn’t find the time to see any of them. I saw a special showing of Totoro last week on a double date with Dalin of Magic a La Mode, but what I really want to see is Farewell My Queen, a film tribute to Marie Antoinette. French history, cute girls in Rococo dresses and mile-high wigs with romantic ladies’ love? I can’t wait! For added kitsch points, the nearest theatre to me showing it is an old barn repurposed into a one-room cinema. Not sure if this will explode my faded-floral-hipster-girl-logic or what.

Go to an outdoor ice cream stand. The one I like best in town has lavender ice cream, flavored with the herb lavender for a spicey and sweet and heavily perfumed flavor. On top of that, they’ve just opened our town’s first gelato shop, too. Where will my allegiance lie?! Maybe I’ll just have to try both to decide the winner…

Take all those photographs from this summer and slap them into some kind of album. Whether you have hard copies and make a scrapbook, finally order all your Instagram photos from Prinstagram, or get your Flickr in order. Don’t let those summer memories languish on a hard-drive somewhere!

Start my school year off right – with a fresh, clean manicure. Chipped glitter tips and fun colors are playful at the beach or on a summer date to a drive in movie, but look shabby in class and offices. While I could go get  a manicure, I’d rather sit around in my pajamas and muck around with the paints. (I’m also one of those repeat offenders that buys “easy French” gimmick kits and never uses them…) Using this great tutorial from The Beauty Department (one of my favorite no-nonsense beauty websites) I gave myself a cute French this morning with strawberry milk tips. Classy and cute! On another manicure related note, for getting off that chunky glitter polish, I finally tried the tin foil method (thanks to the Pink Sith!) and it works like a charm.

Read at least one more book that you haven’t been assigned. I’ve ended up reading some pretty decent books this summer – my top five right now are The Happiness Project, about how to enjoy your life more (doesn’t hurt that it’s written by a New York City mom, who knows where it’s at); The Handmaid’s Tale, a feminist dystopian novel by the famous Margaret Atwood; Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl, which chronicles the feminist movement of the 90s through punk rock (did you know even Kurt Cobain told his fans they should be listening to feminist band Bikini Kill?); Thirteenth Child, a great young adult novel in a world where magic, not science, settled the American pioneer west; and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which you should definitely not judge by it’s movie – the book was so much better. Those are just a few of the ones I really liked, amidst a crowd of others. Right now I’m curling up with the manga re-releases of Sailor Moon at night!

Don’t mourn summer. Okay, maybe you didn’t make it to the band-palooza-thing or you never got around to camping. There will always be next summer. Instead of thinking about how much I hate dark days in November, I’m trying to look forward to all the things I do like about fall and winter: seasonal Starbucks, maple sugar candy, Thanksgiving with my family, and planning New Year’s Eve with my boyfriend at Disney World this year!

What’s on your summer bucket list? Did you get everything squeezed in this summer or are you still hoping to fit in a few more days of sunshine?

Magical Journey to San Francisco!

Pier 39 at night; the Golden Gate Bridge shrouded in cloud; Peace Plaza

I just returned from my vacation in San Francisco! It’s a long story of how this trip came to be, but mostly I wanted to spend time with my lovely Ellejay V! It is not easy having your best friend live 2,000 miles away… we try to break up that time with visits, trips, and care packages. (We’re both iPhone girls so we also send each other video a lot!) So I flew out for a few days!

It was also really good to see my friends from Angelic Pretty again! Working with them at Acen was so much fun, and I’m glad we got to see each other again. We went out to the Candybar one night – a dessert bar, for a good ol’ fashioned cake ‘n’ booze. Hopefully some day they’ll get to work a convention on the east coast!

I always break the rules and take photos inside the Angelic Pretty shop… look how cute this is! So much pink…!

Angelic Pretty candy novelty and Toy Parade salopette… I actually ended up buying a sweet punk Angelic Pretty salopette instead but I am thinking I should buy the Toy Parade too, it looks so cute in this picture… Salopettes are my new lolita love for sure! They’re so comfortable and don’t require a petticoat, and they look cute on my small frame.

…Is it bad that one of my favorite things to do in San Francisco is go to their Japanese mall? (I promise I did not just fly out there to go to the mall, but…) For starters, they have a great selection of purikura machines, which is one of my favorite things to do. They just closed our only one in Flushing, and normally Ellejay I can’t get too many photos together, so this was a treat!

(warning! even more pictures below the cut!)

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Chicago Meets New York City: Lolita Weekend with ElleJay!

It feels great to be back online and takin’ care of business after a week of no power in Connecticut – we had a freak Halloween snowstorm that wiped us out! While most of the previous week was spent sitting in the dark, the weekend was much sunnier – my previously Internet-only best friend Ellejay came for a visit! (Make sure you check out her adorable blog, Sherry and Cookies!)

Above: Crystal’s handmade ‘bee spirit’ fairy necklace; ElleJay at Bryant Park; Crystal in her beautiful mori-girl ‘petals’; the girls at Tokyo Rebel!

Since she had never been to New York City, a few of us rallied for a day of city shopping and eating! On the agenda: a stop at Bryant Park’s pop-up Christmas village, Kinokuniya bookstore, a visit at the Sanrio store for Hello Kitty’s birthday, famous Thai food, and Toy Tokyo, peppered with a necklace housing the spirit of a bee, a beautiful glitter-lipped “heather” of a drag queen, and way too many toy shop receipts!

Since I have replaced my broken camera, I have gotten some gorgeous photographs! My hands are very shaky from the medication I take, so getting a crisp photo has always been hard for me. With my new Cybershot, every photo comes out crystal clear and blur-free. I’m considering posting the overflow photos to my little-used Flickr account…

First, here’s what I wore (yes, will be crossposted to Lookbook! Having some technical difficulties currently…)

What I wore…

jacket: Baby the Stars Shine Bright / jumperskirt: Wonder Cookie by Angelic Pretty / Bow, blouse: Angelic Pretty / wig: eBay / rings: Angelic Pretty, Hello Kitty / pochette: Swimmer / legwarmers: Target / lacey heart tights: Forever 21 / shoes: Bodyline

My first time debuting the ‘Chanel’! Originally I had planned a more elegant coordinate to wear it with, but chose Wonder Cookie at the last minute for a more whimsical style. The jacket was just right for a warm autumn day. The legwarmers really helped warm up the thin tights as well!

This is the famous lolita hotspot in Bryant Park’s Christmas open-air mall: The Stone Flower. It’s rumored to have a brick-and-mortar store elsewhere in the city, and Boston too now they tell me, but usually we just shop there are Christmas and make up for lost time. They have lots of cute items for lolita, himegyaru, and even mori-girl and otome style. I got a new wallet, but I definitely need to go back or send an emissary ;)

At the Sanrio store it was Hello Kitty’s birthday, and in honor of this they had a real Hello Kitty outside! We got a group shot, but these two tiny Asian girl definitely beat us out on the cuteness factor. I think the littlest one is trying to say, ‘OM*G it’s Hello Kitty!!’

Pictured above with ElleJay, Crystal, Angela and Dalin! Then we got some famous pad thai at a restaurant called Room Service… It had beautiful modern/Baroque decor.

And after a brief stop at Tokyo Rebel ended up at Toy Tokyo! I only bought more Re-ment and a Cinderella keychain, but they did have Blythe and Pullip dolls there as well. If you love Japanese figures, Gloomy Bear, and other cute chotzkes, definitely check out Toy Tokyo next time you’re in New York City.

The next day we went for tea at Temptations Teahouse… Delicious! I had ‘hot’ bubble tea for the first time, in my favorite flavor, almond. It smelled just like a Chinese almond cookie! It was so thick and creamy, but there were no bubbles. So I suppose it was really milk tea and not bubble tea, but regardless, it is one of the best teas I have ever had. I also had gyoza and Thai fried rice, everything was so good!

I had a great time with ElleJay this weekend, we really hit it off! We indulged in all sorts of sweet treats, tried violet-flavored mints, and debated LaLaLoopsy dolls together (verdict: adorable). We may be living spooky paralell lives, except that she’s in Chicago and I love New York City. Hopefully we’ll make it out to Illinois for the Pullip and Dal convention this summer – I can’t wait!

By the way, check the sidebar – I have a new grab button for Parfait Doll! Thanks again to Maqaroon for doing the artwork – it’s really sweet! It looks like a little rag doll or bunka doll of me!

And lots of great stuff coming up on the Doll – including a November giveaway, so keep reading!

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