As you know, yesterday we took a ride up to the American Girl store at Tyson’s Corner (DC) for the debut of Saige, the Girl of the Year for 2013.  It was so much fun, however, since I knew it was going to be crowded, I did not take my good camera – just my iPhone, so I apologize now for the quality of the pictures. (If you followed us on Instagram yesterday, you have seen all of these photos already).

American Girl Saige starter set outfits

We came in the through the outside entrance of the store and I could tell the minute we stepped in that it was crowded. They had a Saige display set up on each floor of the store and I was actually surprised that she was kind of off to the side and not in the prime location like McKenna and Kanani were. This is the display of her sweater outfit and her parade outfit. We got the sweater outfit but will get the parade outfit later in the year.

American Girl Saige art set

This is the display of her sweater outfit and the art set. The art set is very nice and has lots of pieces, but at $48 we decided to wait on it. Plus, we did an artist palette craft this summer and know we can make our own version for Saige to start with.

American Girl Saige and horse

Saige’s parade outfit and horse Picasso. I just don’t love this horse and if our Saige gets a horse it will either be the one from The Queen’s Treasures or a different AG horse – like Kaya’s.

Saige hot air balloon

Saige’s hot air balloon is HUGE! You can see a little bit of Natalie and Julie in the photo for scale. The basket holds one doll comfortably or two dolls snugly. According to one of our readers, Diana, you can put two dolls in there if they are back to back. In order to keep the balloon part up, you have to inflate the balloon. This is definitely a unique accessory, but I am just not sure if I can justify $150 for it – and at first I didn’t know where you would put it, but another doll community member suggested hanging it from the ceiling – which is not a bad idea.

Saige debut activity table

As we made our way up to the front of the store we saw a big line outside of the store leading up to a few tables with some basic Saige activities (like making a mosaic horse and a 3-D paper hot air balloon), the souvenir doll sized Saige t-shirts and a scavenger hunt activity that you could do and return for a poster. In the area right in front of the store they had an artist teaching the girls to draw. They were giving away Saige sketchbooks as part of that activity. Unfortunately they ran out of the sketchbooks right before we got there. From the reports I have heard, the guidelines for handing out the shirts varied from store to store. The DC store was quite generous with the shirts and we ended up with three of them.

Saige debut shirt

A closer look at the t-shirt they were giving out. Supposedly they are giving them out all week in the stores. And if you can’t make it to a store yourself, I am giving one of ours away (details on how to enter).

Saige was literally flying off the shelves! I saw workers restocking shelves the entire time we were there. This is a whole pallet of Saige dolls being brought out into the store.

So, I was right! The photo op prop for Saige this year is a version of her hot air balloon that the girls can step into and have their photo taken with Saige. My girls were happy to pose with Saige. The photo op spot in the Washington DC store is currently downstairs near the mall entrance.

American Girl Saige

Saige was Natalie’s birthday present and she does not take the job of picking out dolls lightly. She took a good look at the Saige dolls upstairs and downstairs before settling on this cutie. Saige comes with her hair twisted in a ponytail, has earrings and inside her box is her ring – do not throw it away! In addition to Saige, she chose Saige’s Sparkly Dress, her accessories and her Sweater Outfit.

We stood in the long checkout line and got Saige. Next it was time to visit a few of our other favorite stores in Tyson’s Corner, like Lush, Pink, American Eagle, Forever 21 and Justice (to name a few). While we were waiting for Megan to try on some yoga pants and tops at Pink, Julie got a little restless. She wanted Saige to come out and play!

Since Saige was afraid to come out in the mall, Julie decided to try on Saige’s Sparkly Dress right there in the Pink dressing room. The dress is a much nicer material than I expected it to be and every girl needs gold boots! The necklace is metal and heavy – a nice surprise.

After walking the mall a bit, Natalie and decided we needed to refuel and do more shopping at AG. I just love the display at the Sweet Treats bar – they always have something fun set up. I had a latte and a chocolate bar and Natalie had her favorite vanilla milkshake. A few minutes of rest and we were ready to face the crowds again. Natalie decided she wanted to stand in the line to make the “crafts” and we ended up getting more t-shirts then, too.

I wanted to take a closer look at the store exclusives too. The new swim suit is adorable and I love the swim tote, however, the shoes and sunscreen that go with it are nothing special.

The new Keepsake Storage box is something else I wanted to see up close and personal. I LOVE this concept! It is a great way to put away a special doll for a  later date – like if your daughter grows out of dolls but you want to preserve her favorites for the next generation. The whole thing is made of study cardboard. I do not think it would stand up to play, but for storing a collection, it would be perfect. The price is $50 and if these ever go on sale, I can see picking up a few.

We braved the checkout line one more time – for the sleepover accessories and Ruthie’s pajamas – and then it was back into the car to go home. Natalie took Saige out of the box and took this photo to post on instagram as I was driving down the highway.

I honestly think the most fun part of the day for me, was seeing the true joy on the faces of all the girls – little, big and mommy size (;-)) as they discovered Saige and the other dolls at the store. I saw quite a few older teens with their dolls and even missed meeting a few Doll Diaries fans by just a few minutes. One of my goals this year is to do a Doll Diaries meet up at the DC store – it would be so much fun!

Saige got home, met Feliciyy, Nicki and few of the other girls and immediately asked to put on her sweater outfit and let down her hair! She is holding the balloon Natalie made at the store.

And a close up of Saige’s most awesome accessory – her ring! It just slides right on her index finger and truly completes her outfit. LOVE!

I hope you enjoyed the recap of our trip! It was definitely a busy day, but I am very glad we decided to brave the crowds and go.