July 2, 2017: "The Pride Project" shoot is a wrap! Four days, 32 dolls, over 1,100 photos taken! Now I sort through, edit, and decide which photographs to put on display!
May 27, 2017: As an avid Barbie collector I want to share with you one of my favorite go-to online Barbie shops! It's The Barbie Collection, above (www.thebarbiecollection.com). Here is where you can directly purchase all those awesome collectible Barbie dolls, often not sold at retail stores. You can become a Barbie Fan Club member, like me, which allows you to get exclusive dolls not available to non-club members (such as my 50th Anniversary Francie, below left; Double Date 50th Anniversary Giftset, featuring Barbie, Ken, Midge and Allan, below middle); and Golden Dream Barbie, below right) and not sold at retail stores as well. I shop here through out the year, and this is where my partner regularly buys my birthday and Christmas presents (lucky me)! The site also features such fun extras as Barbie news, behind-the-scene videos from Mattel doll designers, blogs, galleries, and much, much more.
April 5, 2017: Hiking off for my next photo shoot with seven Barbie Dolls in tow! Where will the road take me? (left). The Barbie models ready to follow the trail into Florida Canyon (center). After spending the afternoon as a supermodel in the hot and dusty canyon, Barbie (and her photographer) need a refreshing drink for Papi Hour at Baja Betty's Mexican Restaurant in San Diego (right)!
May 4, 2017: "California Dolls, we're unforgettable. Daisy dukes, bikinis on top. Sun-kissed skin so hot, we'll melt your popsicle. Ooh oh ooh, ooh oh ooh. California Dolls, we're undeniable. Fine, fresh, fierce - we got it unlocked. West Coast represent, now put your hands up. Ooh oh ooh, ooh oh ooh."
January 13, 2018: This is Blaine. He’s a surfer from Australia. Barbie met Blaine on the beach in Malibu and was immediately smitten. He is the reason Barbie broke up with Ken the day before Valentine’s Day in 2004. It took Ken over a year to win Barbie’s heart again. Today Blaine is back in Australia where he’s still shooting the curls and Barbie and Ken are still going strong as everyone's favorite doll couple
June 18, 2018: I recently pulled these four dolls out of Barbie storage. They are significant to me because they were a few of the first Barbies I bought the first year of collecting (in 1987), when I lived in Lawrence, Kansas. In the center photo (from left to right), it's Pink ‘n Pretty Christie, Tropical Miko (one of Barbie’s very first Asian friends), Tropical Barbie, and Jewel Secret Whitney. Whitney is the only one wearing her original dress (I commonly changed the dolls clothes to something I found more fitting).
February 12, 2018: This evening John and I had to let our Bode Bode go to the Rainbow Bridge. Our hearts are heavy but we find solace in knowing that Bode lived a full life and loved his two daddies as deeply as we loved him. What a sweet, smart, fun, ornery, loving Corgi boy he was, and he was always smiling! Bode was my buddy, always beside me as I worked on photo projects around the house. I'm going to miss him. Good night sweet prince... Your daddies love you and you'll always be in our hearts. ❤️❤️
November 15, 2017: “A Nod to Mod” is on exhibit! If you’re in the University Heights area of San Diego, stop by Lestat’s on Park and check out my newest art exhibit for Beyond the Valley of the Barbie Dolls. It’s groovy, baby!
January 18, 2017: Sometimes you just need your iPhone camera, a few props, and a creative mind and you have yourself a gorgeous Barbie photo!
April 9, 2018: “...and the winner of this year’s Barbie Award for ‘Best Barbie’ is Barbie!”
March 27, 2017: Tina corgi-bombed the 101 Dalmatian photo shoot! Too cute!!
April 9, 2018: Barbie got a Corgi puppy... 🐶♥️
December 17, 2017: When asked what my favorite Barbie doll of all time is? I answer, Malibu Barbie!
Toy legend has it that Mattel modeled the popular Malibu Barbie after actress Sharon Tate who played a surfer girl named Malibu in the 1967 Tony Curtis beach comedy Don’t Make Waves. Tragically Sharon, acclaimed as one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, would be a victim of the gruesome "Helter Skelter" murders committed by the Charles Manson Family in August 1969.
January 9, 2017: I went vintage Ken doll on-line shopping last night and here's what I bought: a 1965 Ken, a 1971 Malibu Ken, and a 1973 Mod Hair Ken!
March 14, 2018: I have gotten to become friends with my awesome dentist Cathleen here in San Diego. Today she surprised me with a gift... Her childhood Barbies! They’ve been in storage for nearly 50 years and I’m looking forward to giving them some TLC! My 6 favorites out of Cathleen's dolls are in the lower photo (from left to right): 1965 American Girl Barbie, 1966 Color Magic Barbie, 1969 Twist 'n' Turn P.j., 1969 Twist 'n' Turn Flip Hair Barbie, 1967 Hair Fair Barbie, and 1967 Twist 'n' Turn Barbie.
January 21, 2018: And perhaps to know one's surprise I turned into a Barbie Doll! HaHa!
May 15, 2017: "These boots are made for walking..." Stacey's new boots just arrived from New York City (courtesy of eBay). They complete her mod look and she thought she'd show them off!
March 20, 2017: Rock Chalk Jayhawks... Go KU! My Kansas Cheerleader Barbie is ready for the next game! Sweet 16 to the Elite 8!!
December 31, 2017: The Happy New Year Holiday Hostess Barbie wishes you and yours a merry and safe New Year's!
May 11, 2017: Last weekend, Leigh Timmons, my friend from Leucadia, was in Borrego Springs and saw a lot of vintage Barbie dolls and fashions at an antique store. She texted me to see if I'd be interested (bottom upper left photo). My reply? Yes, I'm interested! Today, Leigh drove to Borrego Springs to purchase the Barbies and met me at an In-N-Out in Escondido to deliver them (thank you Leigh - your kindness touches my heart). Elizabeth Rodriguez, owner of the House of Borrego Springs, not only was kind to hold the dolls a few days before purchase but she even threw in a couple of 1980s Barbies as a surprise! I don't get to buy vintage Barbies as often as I'd like so this is a real treat. And those authentic 1960s Barbie fashions are soooo fabulous and fun... I believe a future photo shoot is in order!
March 24, 2018: Today I received two dolls that top my bucket list of Barbies to have in my collection:
1971 Miss America Barbie and 1972 Quick Curl Barbie. They are so beautiful (and in perfect mint condition); and now perfectly posed with other beloved Barbies on my collector shelf (bottom photo).
November 25, 2017: 56 years old and building Barbie furniture. I don’t think I’ll ever grow up! LOL!
June 20, 2018: For some reason Mattel didn’t make a lot of brunette Barbies in the 1980s. That’s why Whitney was always one of my favorites to collect. Plus I have a thing for dark-haired beauties. (That's 1987's Jewel Secret Whitney, above left, and 1989's Totally Hair Whitney, above right.)
July 14, 2018: Dolls on a shelf (above and below). Barbies in my collection, Summer 2018.
March 9, 2018: Happy Birthday Barbie! I have a tradition to celebrate Barbie's big day each year by buying a doll. This year I treated myself (for working hard on Beyond the Valley of the Barbie Dolls) by purchasing not one but two dolls, vintage too! These Mod 1967 Twist 'n' Turn beauties are heading my way from Texas and I can't wait to photograph them! (Thank you Sandra.)
March 3, 2017: Farrah Barbie! (The Farrah poster, which hangs over my office desk, has been with me since 1977! That's 40 years ago!!! It's the best-selling pin-up in history and extremely iconic!)
March 9, 2017: I have a tradition every year on Barbie's birthday (March 9; she's a Pisces) I buy a Barbie doll. This year it's Pink and Fabulous Barbie. She's so pink and fabulous even my cat Misty is in awe!
January 19, 2018: Today I started photographing a new Barbie portrait series showcasing the classic Barbie couples through the decades. I feel it's appropriate to start with photos of the the very first Barbie (from 1959) and the very first Ken (from 1961).
March 16, 2018: As I was freshening up the Color Magic Barbie (a hard-to-find Midnight Black Color Magic Barbie btw) her oxidized her broke off in clumps (and no way of saving it, poor baby)! So I put a repro Fashion Queen wig on her. I can't help but think Barbie's dignity was saved plus doesn't she look simply magnificent in her new wig?
June 13, 2017: My latest Barbie addition, 50th Anniversary Barbie Hair Fair! She comes with 4 groovy hair pieces, which totally appeals to the hairdresser in me!
November 10, 2017: "Francie Fairchild is Barbie doll’s fun and fabulous cousin. Fresh as a daisy and fancy free, she’s back again and she’s looking sharp! Dressed in a bold, 60s-inspired shift, she comes with a dreamy nighttime fashion perfect for cuddling up with her kitten, Slippers." My new Francie gift set, called "Kitty Corner," arrived today!
June 2, 2018: Check one more doll off my Barbie bucket list! 1969 Twist 'n Turn Christie arrived today! (Yeah, I know this is a 2007 replica--"Red, White 'n Warm"--but so what!) Christie was Barbie's first black friend and the first black Barbie doll too. She's happy to be reunited with old gal pals, Flair Hair Barbie and Twist 'n Turn Stacey (above right).
November 25, 2017: Barbie has officially moved in to her Dream House and wants to host a Christmas party. Blond, brunet or black? Which Ken will be hostess Barbie’s dream date for her Christmas soirée?
Stay tuned... 🎄
December 25, 2017: This is how it's done: Find the right spot atop a dune on the beach and let photo magic take over. Merry California Christmas from Malibu Barbie, Malibu Ken and Me!
Barbie, this year's Barbie Award winner for "Best Barbie" smiles for Barbie's camera
"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."
Bode James Bode
May 31, 2005 - February 12, 2018
Mom's Libra and Elvis Presley Barbie dolls I gave her as gifts. I inherited these back after she died in November 2013. Rose Mansour was a Libra who just LOVED Elvis! In fact she was his #1 fan.
July 23, 2017: The new girls in town! They're uniquely individual. I'm looking forward to doing a photo shoot with them... perhaps some place fun, funky and urban!
A poolside afternoon at best friends Don Schreiner and John Escalada's swanky mid-century home in suburban Leawood, Kansas (aka The Castilian) meant an opportunity of some great pics (above and below).
June 21, 2018: Oh, the crazy late 80s, when you could wear your hair as BIG as you want and bangs reached high to the sky
February 13, 2017: The 90s are back! It's Totally Hair Barbie! She's like, totally rad, fer sur!
July 13, 2018: I consider Malibu Barbie and Malibu Ken the mascots of my Barbie collection, the representatives of Beyond the Valley of the Barbie Dolls. Growing up in the 1970s these two were my favorites! Mom even bought me Malibu Ken to play Barbies with the neighborhood girls (she was a totally cool mom). In 2009, they traveled West with me as I sought my "California Dream" (they're posing at the Continental Divide off Route 66 in New Mexico, above left). Today I gave them a prominent place on my work desk and changed them out of swimsuits into groovy 1970s threads (above center)!
January 2, 2018: The World's Smallest Malibu Barbie (gifted to me by friends Rachel Tothill and Sandy Gonzalez)! She's perfect for my work desk
March 11, 2018: Oh my, these dolls have some attitude. I can’t wait to photograph them
January 12, 2018: “A place where nobody dared to go – the love that we came to know – they call it Xanadu...” While sorting through Barbies in storage I found the 1980 Roller Boogie Barbie and Ken! They make me think of the musical Xanadu (also from 1980), starring Olivia Newton-John (below left). Olivia is my all-time favorite singer; and as a youth I bought every single one of her records in the 1970s and 1980s. I was even a member of her fan club (below right)!
June 15, 2017: How fun is this Star Trek 50th Anniversary Barbie doll?! She's Vina the green-skinned Orion Slave Girl from the pilot episode of Star Trek. The box's packaging is the coolest and so well-done!
September 2, 2017: I'm always trying to take that perfect Barbie portrait... and I believe I succeeded with this one (left). She's quite lovely, isn't she? It's all an illusion, actually. This is how this perfect portrait was snapped: My cat Misty crushed the homemade photo box when she climbed on top but hey, it still works (right)!
November 25, 2017: Barbie is moving into her 1962 Dream House. Her furniture hasn’t arrived yet!
June 27, 2017: He's heeeere... the "Man Bun" Ken (with the new Ken "broad" body type). These two Barbies from PB (for Pacific Beach) are immediately attracted to him.
June 1, 2017: Happy Birthday Marilyn Monroe! To honor my #1 idol I did a photo shoot with my Marilyn doll. Here's a couple of the shots...
July 30, 2017: This morning I received a 1970 Sun 'n Fun Buggy by Gail, a sweet woman from Old Town. It was Gail's originally and never played with, MIB. As you can tell Malibu Barbie is thrilled to zoom around in this groovy dune buggy!
August 13, 2017: Today I acquired this lot of Mod Era Barbie dolls from sweet Gail (above). Along with the dolls, she generously gave me vintage Barbie fashions, the Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman (below left), Little Miss No Name (below center), a Dawn doll with case (below right), two PeePul Pals (lower left), and a handful of Liddle Kiddles (lower right)! These were all Gail's as a child and I'll treasure them as the new owner. I feel as if Christmas came early!
July 14, 2017: I found the Power Princess a Rainbow Flag... now she's ready for San Diego Pride, and I put her in a window so she can greet passers-by with her Rainbow Love (below right)!
March 18, 2017: Thank you Janice R. for the Barbies and fashions. It's so sweet of you to think of me, and I will definitely treasure them... ❤️
Janice and I went to school together at Gar-Field High in Virginia. We got reacquainted several years back thanks to Facebook. Last week she messaged me to see if I would like a box of old Barbies she had in storage, and it arrived this afternoon from Kansas (where she now lives)!
April 1, 2017: In memory of Daisy, my #1 Dalmatian born on April 1 so many years ago. Happy Birthday girl, I love you forever.
June 1, 2018: I'm forever Farrah. I photographed my #1 teen idol today for the "Barbie Who's Who" project. Here are some of the photos I shot.
July 29, 2017: Black and white houndstooth makes a terrific backdrop... and I know one friend, a big fan of black and white houndstooth, who'd definitely agree (ahem, Liz Giffin)! Liz is battling cancer. In support my Barbies and I created this photo (right) in her honor. Love you Liz!... xoxo.
June 2, 2017: Sometimes all you need is a couple of vintage mod Barbies and a splashy orange wall along the sidewalk in the University Heights neighborhood and you've got yourself a photo shoot! I call this "Orange Twist!"
Models: 1967 Twist 'n Turn Barbie and 1968 Twist 'n Turn Stacey.
October 19, 2017: Loving, open-minded, unconditional and unconventional, generous, bright, beautiful, funny, friendly, a free-spirit and fearless Libra... these are all words best to describe my mother, Rose Mansour. Today is her birthday. She died from Alzheimer's Disease on November 15, 2013. I miss her deeply but know in my heart she is watching over me from Heaven. I can't think of a better way of honoring mom today than dedicating this website to her. She let me play with Barbie dolls as a little boy--regardless of what others said to her. We shared a love of Barbie together in later years (they were fun to give and receive as birthday and Christmas gifts). Because of her I am happy to be who I am today and proud to be her son. Cheers to you mom, with love!
March 28, 2018: I was never your typical Barbie collector. MIB wasn’t important to me as I regularly removed the dolls from the box. I often changed them out of their original clothing into fashions I liked better and hairstyles too (hey, I’m a hairdresser).
Take these three for example: 1989 Garden Party Barbie (left), 1987 German Barbie (center), and 1988 Island Fun Barbie (right). They’ve been with me since the early years of collecting (I bought each new and in the box). They are still wearing the clothes I once changed them into--plus I cut Island Fun Barbie’s long hair into a short bob. By-the-Book Barbie collector’s might look down on me but hey, I say toys are for playing so enjoy them because you can’t take them with you when you die
March 10, 2018: The beautiful Twist ‘n’ Turn Texans arrived! I LOVE the Mod “Plush Pony” outfit with the orange go-go boots! They fit perfectly with the other Mod girls!
January 18, 2018: I’ve had this Barbie since the 1990s. She’s one of my favorites. As was photographing her today I realized how much she resembles British supermodel Jean Shrimpton from the 1960s (below right). They are both so gorgeous!
March 3, 2018: For my upcoming Barbie Who's Who portrait photographs I painted two canvas backdrops: Bubblegum Pink for the girl dolls, Caribbean Blue for the boy dolls, sprinkled with an extra sparkle of glitter for all! I want the Barbie and Ken portraits for this project to be as uniform as possible. I can't wait to see what photographs I capture with my Canon pro camera and better lighting!
September 21, 2017: 30 years ago this day I started Barbie collecting after receiving a set of Barbie and the Rockers as a birthday gift from Darren Karr (above). It comes full circle, and very fittingly I must say, now that Mattel has just released a new version of Barbie and the Rockers (below)! I bought these as a birthday gift to myself.
Happy Birthday to me... and Happy 30th Anniversary to us Barbie!
July 11, 2018: Ooh, la la... 1981's Fashion Jeans Ken (aka Designer Jeans Ken) is in the house!
At our awesome hostess Liz Giffin's "Home of the World's Cutest Golden Retriever,"
handsome dog Dooley (aka "Doo Doo") was fascinated by Barbie (above left)... and I got some nice shots around Liz's beautiful home as well!
November 30, 2017: Christmas came early! I Got a new camera, a Canon EOS Rebel T6! (Thank you John Bode.) To get familiar with it I practiced with my Barbie collection and thought I'd share a few photos...
March 2, 2017: Today's Barbie photo. I title this "A Rose for Rose." This is the story behind it:
This was my mother's Barbie doll. She's the "Miss Opal," October Birthstone Beauty Barbie. I gave it to mom for her birthday in 2007 (mom was a Libra). I received Miss Opal back after mom died in 2013. My mom was named Rose and she absolutely adored roses. I regularly go to the Rose Garden in San Diego's Balboa Park to "talk" to mom in Heaven. Last year I took her Barbie to the Rose Garden and snapped some beautiful photos in her memory. This is one of the photos and will be featured in my upcoming book, "Beyond the Valley of the Barbie Dolls." I know mom would be proud...
March 2, 2018: I've been an avid Barbie collector for over 30 years. I have over 1,000 dolls in my collection. I've been waiting for something to spark and it has ignited. I am going to start photographing, in a uniformed portrait style, the many types of Barbie and her friends in my collection. I don't know how long this project will take but the end results will be for a "Barbie's Who Who" style guide book, and who knows what else.
March 24, 2018: So sad to see Toys R Us going out of business. 😔 For 31 years of active Barbie and toy collection Toys R Us was my “go to” store. I recall clearly the wonderment of the first time I ever stepped into a Toys R Us. It was Christmastime in Fairfax, Virginia, I was a wide-eyed 5 or 6 year-old and I believe I had stepped into Santa’s Wonderland
I'm forever collecting and photographing Barbie dolls! Sometimes the photos are for fun, sometimes I aim for art! I share some of my personal photo events in a timeline journal, beginning in January 2017. This is light-hearted fare with a bit of pop culture whimsy mixed in. It will give you insight to my fun, yet quirky personality and yes, my Barbie obsession. Thank you for visiting my Barbie site. I hope you enjoy viewing it as much as I enjoy creating it.
July 8, 2017: Rearranging and adding new art for exhibit at Lestat's. Sitting here watching people admire my work. As I was hanging the pictures I received the biggest compliment from a man who was taken back when I mentioned these as photographs as he thought they were paintings.
April 3, 2017: My Goodwill Barbie find for 12 bucks! I need to get the ladies some clothes but overall they're in terrific shape!
September 8, 2017: My "work from home" desk! I just rearranged it. The award in the center is a "Glammy" from bijan salon & spa in Kansas City. It's from my great hairdressing days (I was a colorist who specialized in blonde color and highlights). I'm very proud of my Glammy... it's the only actual award I've ever won. The Farrah poster is original from my teen years of the 1970s (my dad bought if for me in 1977). Of course, there's Barbie and Ken on the desk to inspire me as I work!
December 5, 2017: For the first time since moving to San Diego I have my Barbies on shelf display! Not the whole collection (that would take up the whole room) but about 100 of my favorite vintage dolls. They will be accessible now for me to photograph for Beyond the Valley of the Barbie Dolls
April 24, 2018: Beyond the Valley of the Barbie Dolls celebrates its 2nd Birthday today! It's been a lot of fun photographing the dolls and creating this coinciding website. When I started this two years ago I never imagine my Barbie photos would sell as art, or a passion for Barbie collecting would reignite (as now I've been buying the vintage dolls I overlooked before). There's so much more I want to photograph and create (e.g. photo gift books). I can't wait to make the dreams come true! Thank you friends for the support.
June 20, 2018: People who know my history as a Barbie collector know it was receiving the complete set of Barbie & the Rockers as a birthday gift in September 1987 that started my avid doll collecting. Here’s a little trivia fact, the next (and first) doll I added to the collection was Tropical Barbie pictured here. She was advertised “with the longest hair ever!”
May 16, 2018: "I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come. They got some crazy lil' Barbies there
And I'm gonna get me one." Last week John Bode and I flew back to our wonderful old hometown of Kansas City to visit friends and family and celebrate our 20th anniversary. I packed a handful of Barbie and Ken dolls and was able to get a couple of photo shoots in.
March 26, 2017: Creating a Malibu Barbie photo shoot on our patio. I wanted to block the sun from overhead so I little ingenuity goes a long way for the perfect "studio" lighting!
March 13, 2018: This looks cool. Almost like a yearbook page. My iPhoto albums on my Mac. Each album is a year, from 1959 to 2018. As I photograph each doll in my collection for the “Barbie Who’s Who” book project the photos go in the album of the year the doll was introduced, separated in twos by Barbies and Kens. It’s a work in progress and I’ve only just begun!
January 12, 2017: I love this photo I took of "Daisy Pop" Barbie and "Video Game" Ken. I think it looks like an illustration and not a photograph!
March 21, 2017: My "Blonde, Pink & Fabulous" photo shoot happened today! The location I choose for this event was the peaceful gardens of the San Diego Naval Hospital in Balboa Park.
May 5, 2018: Barbie found this vintage crochet top, circa 1968, at the thrift store, and now she's channeling her inner Sharon Tate!
December 16, 2017: Yo, dudes! It's, like, totally bitchin'! I got some rad 1980s Barbies out of storage and thought I’d like, totally share! Fer shur, fer shur!
June 27, 2017: I've created a little photography studio for a photo series, I've titled the "The Pride Project. I will be photographing my Barbies as various gay types, plus gay icons such as Cher, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, and Wonder Woman. Can't wait to share the photos...