Sunday, March 26, 2017

Irish Cobs!

Irish Cobs have been introduced to HI2 for real! They were well worth the wait if you ask me - I love the artwork! My sisters and I looked through the Irish Cob coat colors together in the BBB. Each of us chose our two favorite coat colors, one for a mare and one for a stallion. We've posted them for your viewing pleasure.

Bethany went with rich, dark chestnuts with lighter manes. She thought these two would make an especially classy pair, and I totally agree!
dappled chocolate sorrel
liver sorrel

Felicity chose a pinto for one of hers, of course. (I'm surprised the rest of us didn't choose pintos. I, for one, steered clear because their avatars have white manes and tails. While lovely, we already have lots of white-haired pinto avatars in our herd.) Her stallion choice was a fiery red chestnut. Excellent choices, Felicity.
dapple gray tobiano
(Note: this color is no longer flashing!
I find it slightly disappointing that the dapples aren't more dramatic.)
red chestnut

Julie was especially charmed by the dark dappled horses. I find it interesting that within each of these and the other dappled colors, different degrees of dappling can occur. Naturally, Julie (and I) gravitate towards the more noticeable dappling. ;^) Well chosen, Julie.
dappled liver chestnut
dappled dark bay

And finally, my (Lily's) favorites. I am most taken with the grays! It was hard to choose, even within the shades of gray - all look great on these horses! For a mare, my favorite is this silvery dapple gray (even though it's not very "dark.") For a stallion, I really like the color they're calling "rusty gray," which I think is a technically a dark rose gray? So cool!
dark dapple gray
rusty gray

Strangely, HI2 has decided to alter the eyes on a different Irish breed, the long-standing Irish Draught. Palladium, one of our two ID's, has volunteered to illustrate.
New eye. Eh, not a big fan.
Old eye. I think it has a gentler, less nervous look.
From the looks of the HI2 forums, we are not the only ones who aren't thrilled with this unnecessary, unprecedented artwork change. In fact, apparently with this change, all formerly blue-eyed ID's became brown-eyed. (I'm glad Pal and Galena were at least brown-eyed to begin with!) Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like we'll be getting the old eyes back, but there's at least hope that those who had blue eyes will be getting them back (in new, wonky form, but at least getting the right color back).

And now to a tangent of non-game-related news. Our aunt, Nala's owner, has returned from a vacation to Mexico! We're just a little jealous of all the cool animals she got to see. In addition to swimming with dolphins and feeding manatees, she also saw lots of iguanas, geckos, and these two creatures I'd never even heard of before:

The agouti
These adorable rodents look kind of like mini capybaras or big, long-legged guinea pigs. As you can see, they can hold up food with their front paws like squirrels. :^) Our aunt saw one toting a coconut in its mouth once.

The coati
These guys sort of look like raccoons, and they like to raid garbage cans like them too.

They had pictorial signs up about not feeding both of these animals - with captions both in Spanish and English.

Our aunt was thoughtful, at least. She brought back souvenirs for the rest of the family. Mom's gift was this little stone sea turtle:

He has the Mayan calendar on his shell. =)

He joins two other turtles who already hang out on Mom's dresser: a painted stone turtle from a town on Lake Michigan and a carved wooden turtle from Northern California. I think these three will be good friends! <3

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Belated Luck and a Really Poofy Dress

PepsiSummer turned 4 this past Monday! Wow, 4 years of HI2! That hardly seems possible.

We didn't get to play HI2 much this past week, but that didn't stop HI2 from keeping things exciting. Kudos, our not-so-lucky Holsteiner, managed to get sunburn on St. Patrick's Day. According to the vet, it was the skin under his "white markings" that was affected. Guess that means the skin under his tiny little coronet band of white? XD I wonder if sunburn can happen to horses without any white markings at all on HI2? (We'll let you know if it ever happens to one of ours!)

Also exciting is Bethany's flute from yesterday! She and Doppler travelled out to Harbor Isle. As has been the case for us every time we've visited lately, it was devoid of wild horses, so she was very glad to have the flute to use. This time, it brought them this horse:

Immediately, Bethany called my sisters and me over to admire the cool avatar. Then we all watched hopefully as she captured it.

Whoo hoo! She's a keeper! +81, a mare, a new breed for our herd, and a stunning fleabitten gray all in one! I guess our luck was just a little late to arrive! (Though if anyone was to get lucky around St. Patrick's Day, it really ought to have been Lily. She has the Irish last name, after all.)

Here's another look at that gorgeous avatar! <3

It's looking like that pinky cremello Kaimanawa from the livery won't be staying with us after all. *Sighs* This one horse a month thing is really a drag, Lily. 

I wish we hadn't put her in tack already. =(

Now to totally change the subject. This is a bit after-the-fact, but American Girl has made some interesting decisions as of late.

Decision #1: AG is going to start making? maybe is already making? their dolls with built-in underwear. Why? I have absolutely no idea. AG isn't explaining itself either, just assuring everyone that briefs and swimsuits will still work overtop. Whatever, AG.

Decision #2: AG has decided to introduce some additional dolls and books in 2017. The first is Tenney. So original! (Not. Taylor Swift-esque, yes?)

Well, at least she's better than built-in underwear. And at least her guitar isn't bubblegum pink.

The second addition is Logan, Tenney's bandmate and AG's first ever male doll. Oh boy. I suppose it was only a matter of time.

Two thumbs down for me on the name choice. The Logan character on Zoey 101 has ruined that name for me forever, not that I ever cared for it much to begin with.

The best part about this Tenney craze in my opinion is her dark gold Golden Retriever. The poor guy is named Waylon (after Waylon Jennings, some famous American singer, songwriter, musician, etc. that I'd never heard of) and has to tolerate pink flowers on his collar. Maybe that's why he looks so sad in his photo.

More of these seemingly random dolls and books are going to be introduced as the year goes on. Also in the works are a Hawaiian doll (World War II era?)

and a Asian-American doll (modern-era?).

I'm sorry, but that beauty mark... So distracting...

And now for the biggest news of all...

Brace yourselves, dear readers...

Decision #3: AG has resurrected the Felicity Merriman doll!

How do I feel about this? Kind of bummed, because it means there will be a whole new wave of younger clones of me out there. Kind of pleased too, because it means my character's been missed enough that they're hauling her back out.

Just like they did with Samantha, I've been revamped in a new outfit. I like the color, but I'm not feeling the skirt. It makes me look as wide as a house, especially from the back.

Yeah... and sadly, that's the only outfit available for her right now. (Also, check out that ponyail! I wonder if my hair was that curly when Mom first got me?)

I really don't want to end on that note, so I will leave you with photos of some entertaining custom American Girl dolls and accessories that I discovered around Christmas this past year. It looks like they're still available on eBay. (Outrageously priced, but available.)

It's Harry, Ron, and Hermione in their Hogwarts uniforms! Also included: their wands, Hedwig, Scabbers, Crookshanks, potion bottles, and the invisibility cloak!

Ginny is sold separately.

Ha ha, I would rather hang out with these guys than with the country musicians any day. XD

Saturday, March 11, 2017

New Horses, Dapples, and a Tiny Surprise

Our new Warlander mare has new tack and a new name. Meet Promise!

We tried almost every tack color on her. Purple won. 

While we're on the subject of new horses, that Sugarbush Draft did end up going home with our buddy Gem. She has named him Twister. =^) Perfect, right? He looks like a stormy sky with debris swirling around. Here he is with his new tack and new companions:

Gem also took home a beautiful Salernitano mare this week. The mare happens to be golden roan, the same color as my Peruvian Paso mare Xanadu. 

Yes, you may be thinking. They are similar in color. Big deal. Why bring it up? To highlight just how differently the same coat color can translate into an avatar!

(To state the obvious, that's the Sal on the left and Xanadu on the right)
The Sal, who is if anything more dramatically roaned in her profile pic than Xanadu, gets a lovely light palomino avatar with darker legs and muzzle. Xanadu, in contrast, gets an odd pale lemony palomino avatar. (It's okay, Xana. I love lemonade.) Clearly, the designers of the Salernitano and Peruvian Paso avatars were not on the same page. XD

Something strange and - as far as I know - unprecedented happened on HI2 this week. The Irish Cob, a never-before-seen breed on HI2, snuck onto the game. It appears that when HI2 realized what had happened, they swiftly removed the breed. However, in the meantime at least 3 Irish Cobs had already come into existence. These horses did not disappear entirely when the breed was removed, but they did glitch in spectacular fashion!

The admiring crowd in the PlainTon Auction House

As you can see, the first and last horses on this auction list are breed-less! They are two former Irish Cobs! Here is the raven black stallion:

Wow, those stats are glitched, alright! I give the artwork 5 stars! (If only the Friesians on the game looked this good!) Hopefully we won't have to wait too long before the Irish Cob is introduced for real!

And here is the dapple gray stallion:

Here he is again without the dapples:

I kid you not - both are the same horse! Check out this clip we took!

Pretty awesome, right? 

Their auctions had ended by the next time we logged on, so we have no idea what has happened to these special guys! I hope they're still on the game!

I will conclude with something totally unrelated to HI2. It may not be as exciting as flashing dapples on a virtual horse, but it's still cool! First, though, an explanation:

One of our aunts is big into succulent plants right now. One of the succulents (the awkwardest, least attractive one ;^)) lives in Mom's room right now, since her windowsill gets lots of light. Most plants Mom's put in charge of don't last long, but so far this one is holding its own. In fact, we fear it may be growing too big for its little pot...

Anyway, there has been a recent development! Look closely and you'll see that one of its shoots has sprouted white flowers! I'm probably way more excited about this than is normal, but they are so little and cute! I just had to share! =^)

Spring is coming! <3

Saturday, March 4, 2017

March Comes In with a Bang

First off, I'm just going to go ahead and make it official: Tchaikovsky is staying for good. In the end, we grew too attached to him and his ultra-shiny coat to let him go. Julie has claimed him as her own and decked him out in green tack. We've decided we're not going to count him towards our 2017 horse count - he'll just be a bonus 2016-er since we captured him in December. 

Here it is, March already. Felicity claimed our January horse, Zenith the APH stallion, as hers. February came and went without us catching any high-stat wild horses. Our buddy who was selling that silver dun pinto Warlander mare? Yeah, she did save her for us until March 1st. And yeah, we did buy her. She shall count as our February horse. (By the end of the post you will understand why...)

So, now we have 3 pinto Warlander mares. Let me remind you of Yetta (Lily's first horse) and Hazel (Julie's):

And here is the new mare again:

Her name was "Cross My Heart," but as it doesn't conform to the 1-word-name pattern, it's going to change. We're just not sure what it's going to change to yet. Here's her avatar in comparison to Yetta's:

new mare


Whew, yeah, the new mare is clearly a more silvery grulla than Yetta.

But the story doesn't end there. Our first flute for March was - you guessed it - a pinto Warlander mare. And she even looks a bit like Hazel.

Usko and I were hoping she'd appear in the catmint by the kittens. No such luck.

Oh, HI2, I so appreciate your random coincidences! 

The fun didn't end there, though! We spent several visits to HI2 this past week exploring the eastern mountain isles. Yesterday afternoon, we found our first wild Spanish Mustangs! 

Felicity and Lumos fluted the first one on Cavern Isle. 

Lily and Yonder found the second one trying in vain to hide on Crater Mountain Isle. 

Alas, their stats were quite sad. We were thinking of retiring the mare to our Millennium Fields - love her avatar - but then we had a buddy ask us if she could buy them both. So, we just gave them to her. Hopefully she'll enjoy them. =)

We became temporary owners of another new HI2 breed of horse this week as well. While she was auctioning some wilds, Julie spotted this guy going to the foreign bidder for something around $4,900. 

With less than a minute left in the auction and still no bids from real players, Julie bid $5k and departed on Yellowstone for the mountains. To her amazement, as she reached Prairie, the message came through that she had won! Here is his cool avatar:

While he is 6/6, his stats only add up to +51. Since we didn't catch him ourselves, we can't justify keeping him, as much as we'd like to. <3 Luckily for him, it sounds as if he may soon have a home with our buddy Gem, who loves Sugarbush Drafties.

Well, after being so good for so long, yours truly went poking around in the livery this morning. And I left with...

But come on, now, a beautiful +84 cremello mare, just waiting hopefully in the livery?! Really, how was I supposed to resist? 

She is the reason why we would rather not count the Warlander as our March horse. If we don't find any wilds with great stats by the end of the month, she'll be sticking around. Otherwise, we promise we will put her back. Really, we do. XD

Our buddy Gem is probably going to think we copied her here, since she has this horse:

At least ours is 5 inches shorter (14.1 hands). I've commented several times on how cremello Kaimanawas look pale pink on my computer screen. I still stand by that, so if ours stays, she's totally going to be wearing pink. 

Sorry, Gem. This was all a coincidence. Cross my heart. (And no, silver dun tobiano Warlander, I'm not talking about you. Carry on. XD)