The lucky winner of American Girl’s Suzie “Z” Yang doll is…

Such a treat, to see  Suzie”Z” Yang–American Girl’s newest character doll–leap off the screen and into your hearts!  But hmmm, with so many sweet entries and just one prize, how could I possibly pick a winner?

I jotted down everyone’s name, folded the slips of paper, and stashed them in Z’s backpack.

You know where this is leading, don’t you?

We took a trip to one of Z Crew’s favorite hangouts!

Willy Wanka music wafts through Powell’s Sweet Shoppe, and the cotton candy machine flashes neon.  Piñatas dangle from the stamped tin ceiling  and who can resist this colorful display of vintage toys and candy?

This is Victoria, the lucky proprietor of Powell’s. She’s got a ready smile, and wouldn’t you, if you could wile away the hours in a place like this? As of today, Victoria’s also an honorary member of Z’s Crew. (I snapped this photo shortly after she graciously agreed to draw the winner’s name.)

19 entries in Z’s backpack…is your name among them?

Oops, camera slip! (I double-dog dare you not to get sidetracked by these yummy displays!!)

And now, without further ado, the winner of American Girl’s first Korean-American doll is….

Janet Clare F wins her very own Suzie “Z” Yang doll!  

Here’s what our lucky winner had to say about Z Yang:

What I like best is that Z is Korean-American. I have three wonderful and close Korean friends. They are among the best and kindest people I know. What I love about Z as well is that she is creative and has attitude. She figures a way to solve her problem rather than just be defeated by her situation. I love how she has decided to have each of her AG friends look around and share what is neat about her hometown. Should I be lucky enough to win this doll, she will be gifted to our granddaughter who will come to know how much we value our Korean friends, creativity and strong people who work in positive ways to solve the problems in their lives and in the world.”

Congratulations, Janet, and thanks to everyone who entered!

Z Yang’s “Summer Staycation,” and an American Girl doll giveaway contest

Spoiler alert: I’ve posted an amazing prize giveaway contest at the bottom of this entry. Enjoy! Enter! Share the link with your friends and family!

Suzie “Z” Yang is American Girl’s newest character doll– a Korean-American beauty from Seattle. She has warm brown eyes that open and close, sleek brown hair, and a beauty mark on her left cheek. Her outfit’s camera-ready.

©American Girl. Used with permission.

Z’s a visual storyteller–a photographer who enjoys videography and blogging. In her companion book (THE REAL Z, by Jen Calonita), she learns how to use her creative voice in new ways:

Explore the world from different vantage points.

Do you, but don’t be afraid to try new things.

Snap selfies, but also look for the magic beyond your front door.

A short while back, Instagram user @5HensandaCockatiel (aka Sydney) put the spotlight on Z in her hometown of Seattle. That inspired me to create a video of my own.

What was I thinking??? Mastering new software, combining images with audio, creating a story board, and blending several images into one …fun stuff!! See also: huge challenge! But I took to heart the advice offered to Z by her biggest fan. “Trying new things allows the filmmaking magic to happen,” Z’s mother said.

I had a support crew, same as Z.

Collaborative image, ©Donna Sullivan & Melodye Shore

They encouraged me to experiment…proving that yes, you can teach an older puppy new tricks! Sneak peek–I used iFake Text Message for this:

I’m not a pro, but I had fun with this project and hope you enjoy watching it!

And now…drum roll please! Thanks to Mattel’s generosity, I’m hosting a Z doll giveaway contest! To qualify, please post a comment to this entry, answering one of two questions:

1) What do you like best about Z Yang?


2) What’s the coolest picture you’ve ever created with your camera?

All entries must be submitted by midnight on Thursday, July 13 (Pacific). I’ll post the winning entry on Friday, July 14th, so be sure your sign-in includes an easy way to reach you. Good luck, everyone!

Rx: More Vitamin Sea

What we instinctively know, scientists can now confirm: Spending time at the beach is an all-natural, proven remedy for physical and emotional stress.

In his recently published findings, marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols speaks to the meditative, healing effects of the ocean.  He calls it “blue mind.” I call it “Vitamin Sea.” If you’ve ever sat at the water’s edge–salty breezes ruffling your hair as the incoming waves swirl around your feet and the seagulls serenade you–you’ve probably experienced the side-effects: slowed breathing, peaceful thoughts, openness to others, and an overall sense of wellbeing…cures for almost everything that ails you.

If you don’t live close to the ocean, other water sources will do. Lakes, rivers, even bathtubs and rain showers can reap positive benefits. “Our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken,” Nichols says.

A low-cost prescription for my dear, sick friend, and for anyone who’s feeling the slightest bit under the weather. As the good doctor says, “I wish you water.”

PS I’m experimenting with memes, as a storytelling medium. So fun! This image memorializes my first encounter with Elegant Terns, at Laguna Beach last winter.  Love those Groucho Marx toupees!