Jointed doll for Christmas; Charing Cross Road Fashion Luxury J-doll

The past several months, my daughter has been raving about ball jointed dolls. Besides the obvious poseable appeal because they’re jointed, she likes the exquisite detail that goes into creating many of them. She also likes the anime vibe that several of these dolls have.

Currently my daughters favorite jointed dolls are Dollfie dolls which are made by Volks, a Japanese company. Checking out the pictures she’s shown me I must agree with her that the craftsmanship is amazing.


Super Dollfie
Super Dollfie doll


Just look at the above (collectible) Super Dollfie doll, it’s miles ahead of the department store dolls and for the price you have to pay to acquire one, they better be! Many of the Dollfie dolls, cost over $1,000, with the cheapest starting around $500+, but I’m not about to pay that as a beginning collectible doll for my daughter regardless of how awesome we both think they are. In my (childless) doll collecting days, I most likely would have purchased a few of these dolls.

Although I won’t be getting her a Dollfie doll, after a lot of research, I’ve found a jointed doll collection that she will enjoy; J-Dolls. I know what my daughter finds appealing. When it comes to dolls, we like the same things.  She’ll be thrilled to receive one of the J-Dolls as a Christmas present.


J-Doll Charing Cross_2
Charing Cross Road Fashion Luxury J-doll By Jun Planning


Charing Cross Road Fashion Luxury J-doll product description

Designer style combines with an ultra hip street edge in the luxury J-Dolls by Jun Planning. These luxury style fashion dolls are inspired by contemporary street fashions, and include edgy, trendy and special designer details. 11 inch vinyl fully articulated fashion doll with sparkling real glass eyes. Doll stand is included. Recommended age is 15+. Charing Cross Road sports a great coat, frayed grey pants, and lace up boots. She has green glass eyes and honey brown hair.

Take a look at the above J-Doll. She’s the Charing Cross Road Fashion Luxury J-doll By Jun Planning.  Last week, I purchased it for about $80. Of course, I could have kicked myself when, a few hours later, I saw the same doll on Ebay for $60. I do like that the cost of many of the J-Dolls are between $35 – $70. That’s much better than paying several hundred dollars for my budding doll collector, right?

J-Dolls receive their names from locations throughout the world

According to the Toy Box Philosopher, the J Dolls receive their names from stylish places located throughout the world, that symbolize high fashion.

The J-Dolls are named after streets throughout the world that symbolize high fashion. Each doll’s outfit reflects the character of the particular street she’s named after. For example, Sunset Boulevard is near the ocean in Los Angeles and the doll with that name kind-of looks like a mermaid. Some of the associations are lost on me, though. The stunning Via Appia doll is named after an ancient Roman road, but she looks more like a cross between a World War 2 nurse and a pirate.

Oh by the way, Charing Cross is an actual place, and it’s located in London. Interesting indeed…

The above video was taken during London Fashion Week Fashion International which was held at the Charing Cross Hotel.

Based on the reviews, I believe my daughter will be thrilled with this jointed doll and the quality is so much better than her Monster High dolls. Of course, this gives me an excuse to pull out my Brother Sewing machines, and make some high end clothing for this jointed doll J-Doll. 😉 I did the same thing with her Monster High dolls.

I used to collect porcelain dolls and have even passed some of my fine porcelain dolls to my daughter. I only gave them to her since she’s shown me that she can properly take care of them. I must say that I’m thrilled that my daughter is becoming more critical of the dolls available, rather than being swept up into wanting an item based on the popularity amongst her friends, she’s looking for features that in her mind make the doll stand out. Of course, the former doll collector within, has always  done this with the dolls that I’ve purchased for her in the past, but I’ve kept my mouth shut. 😉

Christmas shopping is complete

The majority of this years Christmas shopping, with the exception of a few gifts,was completed by at the beginning of Spring 2013. The J-Doll is a last minute gift for my daughter and I must say I’m really looking forward to seeing her reaction on Christmas morning.

Hopefully she won’t read this post

My daughter occasionally reads my website. I must say I’m taking a big risk writing this post. In fact… my daughter is less than fifteen feet away from me while I’m writing this advanced post. Good thing, she’s doing her own story writing, right? My computer is positioned in such a way where I can see exactly what she’s doing, but she can’t see my computer screen, ha! Hopefully I’ll be safe, this post is scheduled for early Sunday morning and I’ve purposely scheduled a few posts for that day so this article won’t be the first thing that appears on Celebrate Life.




Fun with Bento lunch boxes

When it comes to creative school lunches, I always thought that the Japanese were miles ahead  of many Americans.

I love the stackable lunch boxes, they remind me of the tiffins I’ve seen used in Indian cuisine.

History of Bento lunches

I really liked the above video that talked about the history of Bentos.

In the second video you can see some of the gorgeous craftmanship used in creating some of the bento boxes. Truly a work of art.

Japanese people aren’t the only ones that are into bentos. Here in the USA, I’ve seen bento lunch boxes make appearances in blog posts and other places online. The Vegan Lunch box, is I first time I learned about bento lunch boxes.
Although I found bentos fascinating I never felt the urge to purchase them. At the time, it made no sense (to me anyway) to sink  money into a Bento Box (regardless of how pretty they were) if it wasn’t keeping the food hot without heating. I already had portable lunch boxes. Also I was working from home full-time and my daughter was still a toddler. The practical me knew there was no reason to purchase the bento lunch boxes.

Of course, all that has changed. My daughter is in school (and prefers hot lunches) since the Zojirushi stainless lunch jar keeps the food hot, I now think of cute ways I can enhance what she takes to school.

Although I like how some of the intricate bento lunches looked, it’s something I most likely would not do since some of those decorations take a lot of time.

Bear Sandwich Cutter

Of course, while researching bento boxes I looked at the cute bento tools that people used to dress up their lunches.

heat shaped sandwich cutter_

Collecting Bento tools

Most of the decorations seem to originate from Japan. Over the years, I’ve ordered a few products directly from Japan. They’ve taken a while to receive, but the products I ordered were always worth the wait. Thankfully, Amazon has a ton of them, and I’ve already added a few bento tools to my collection, you can see some of them featured in my post about the Zojirushi hot lunch jars.

Throughout this post, I’ve included a few videos so you can see the creativity involved with these bento lunches. Aren’t the children adorable? I love children, which might explain why I do a lot of volunteer work with them.

Fast forward to the newly purchased Zojirushi hot lunch jar, and I’ve my views of ‘bento lunches’ has changed a lot. Adding simple bento decorations to food is something I’ve already started incorporating with my daughters lunches. I might purchase a few more bento tools, but for the most part I’m done.

I will say that, part of the enjoyment of making lunches for my daughter has always been the extras that I’d included. Often, she did not know what to expect. Occasionally, I’d slip a note into her lunch bag telling her something special and other times I’d include an unexpected treat. Those unexpected surprises always make her happy, and let’s be honest, it gives me a chance to stimulate my creative side.

Healthy lunches within minutes

Since my daughters food is now contained in tiered jars I can do a bit more within the creative department.  I definitely won’t be taking hours to decorate her food, but adding a  few minutes to decorate some of her hot meals, is something that I’m happy to incorporate into lunch preparation. Yesterday, my daughters hot school lunch took about 10 minutes to prepare; that included choosing the food, heating it and adding the decorative tooth picks. The few moments set aside to warm and add leftovers to her lunch, is worth the effort since she now eats everything in her lunch.

Fried rice with broccoli

One morning this week, I made fried rice with broccoli. The day before, I’d told my daughter that I’d make her vegetable fried rice in her zojirushi lunch jar, and that morning I realized all the fried rice was gone. Whoops!

Vegan.Broccoli and carrots.11.18.13

Fortunately, this dish didn’t take too long to make. I had a steady supply of vegetables in the fridge and so I pulled out my trusty hand hammered steel wok and started cooking. I didn’t have to worry about preparing the brown rice, since I’d pressure cooked some a few days before.

I really loved the above photo, it was so colorful and I was tempted to just leave it as it was, with only a light saute, but since I promised my daughter ‘vegetable fried rice.’

Vegan.Veggie stir fry.11.18.13

I added the most important ingredient… rice and a few other things were added, such as the freshly ground herbs/spices you see in the above photo. I’d just tossed them in the wok.

Zojirushi stainless lunch jar; Veggies, rice and meatballs

As you can see… discovering, the hot lunch jars has definitely expanded the types of homemade foods that I can add to my 10yo daughters lunches. As I already mentioned, the lunches I prepared before were homemade, but I was limited since she wasn’t using an insulated lunch box.

This week my daughter had a variety of hot meals in her lunch such as; egg rolls, vegetable fried rice, chicken breasts, pasta, black beans and rice and a few other hot lunches also. I’ve included some photos below.

Zojirushi hot lunch jar meatballs n rice_1.11.17.13
Zojirushi hot lunch jar meatballs and brown rice

Earlier this week I made meatballs, brown rice and vegetables to put into my daughters Zojirushi stainless lunch jar.

Zojirushi hot lunch jar - cheesy broccoli
Pressure cooked broccoli and cauliflower with shredded cheese.


Towards the end of last week, I picked up some Japanese ‘bento decorations’ and have been having fun adding cute little touches to my daughters hot lunches. I definitely won’t be spending a lot of time in food the design department, but I don’t mind adding a few moments to dress up my daughter’s lunch a bit. I’m sure my skills will improve the more I play around with the cute little bento tools.

Zojirushi hot lunch jar meatballs n rice_3.11.17.13

A close picture of the meatballs swimming in a fragrant mushroom sauce. I added a few cute animal tooth picks to dress up the dish. Aren’t they adorable? It sort of looks like they are resting on mounds of earth.  My daughter loved seeing these decorations in her Zojirushi lunch jar.

Bento - food cutters
Grapes and carrots… I used cookie cutters to make animal shapes with the carrots.


Yesterday (Thursday) marked a week that my daughter has been using the zojirushi insulated lunch jar, and each day she’s brought home an empty lunch. It only takes about ten minutes to pack leftover foods into her lunch in the morning. The rewards are having my daughter bring an empty lunch box home.

Pets on kitchen countertops

A sure fire way to ensure that I never ever eat in a persons house is to see someones pet sprawled about the kitchen counter-top and they don’t do a darn thing about it.  Eww, gross!

Let’s face it, animals can pad through all sorts of junk. I’m not even going to think about a cat trotting in and out of a litter box and bringing those same filthy paws anywhere in our kitchen.  No matter how awesome I think pets are, I draw the line at having them lounging anywhere in the kitchen or licking my face.

I’m not sure how that topic of pets and cooking came up at work, but it did. Interestingly enough, that’s something that none of us liked.

House of the Rising Sun

Earlier this week, I heard this song.

I’ve heard it a few times but never caught the name or the group until this week. I’ll definitely be adding Animals, House of the Rising Sun, to my iPod.

“House Of The Rising Sun”

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I’m one

My mother was a tailor
She sewed my new bluejeans
My father was a gamblin’ man
Down in New Orleans

Now the only thing a gambler needs
Is a suitcase and trunk
And the only time he’s satisfied
Is when he’s on a drunk

[Organ Solo]

Oh mother tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Spend your lives in sin and misery
In the House of the Rising Sun

Well, I got one foot on the platform
The other foot on the train
I’m goin’ back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain

Well, there is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I’m one

Cooking Adventures: Sausage making

This afternoon, after work, I’m giving my daughter a class on sausage making.  Yes, I won the Vintage Griwold meat grinder. It arrived on Tuesday, and it appears to be in excellent condition. The only thing left for us to do is start grinding. I’m looking forward to making homemade sausage with my daughter. I have many fond memories of making it with my mother and brother.

The internet is still down at home. A technician will be out tomorrow to fix the issue. They wanted to send someone out today,  but I was not available during the times offered. Somehow my daughter and I are surviving, imagine that! 😉 To be perfectly honest, we are fine without the internet, so we aren’t going through any withdrawals. At home, there’s so much for us to do that often times the internet is something we do in our down time.

Last evening, I finished a knitting a scrunchy for my hair. I meant to wear it to work today, but it’s still sitting on the kitchen table at home. Oh well… maybe tomorrow, right?