We got an American Girl catalog in the mail recently, and Annaleigh has that thing memorized. As much as I love those dolls (I wanted one so badly growing up) there is no way I'm buying a three year old one-especially with a puppy who still chews everything. Maybe one day, but it will be some sort of right of passage thing. ;)
I've spent time looking around at different 18" dolls, and finally settled on this one from Toys R Us. It's a Journey Girl, and they have really good reviews (besides the hair), but they're $33 which is way cheaper than A.G. (And apparently it's not that hard to change up doll's hair? You can learn how to do anything online...) Allie has a cheap doll from Hobby Lobby, but her eyes are going wonky-she's fine, but not great.
(the doll in the middle is the Journey doll (with a wig) next to two American Girls)
pillowcase dress. I actually like the colors on this one so much, I think I'm going to make Allie a version for herself one day
My failed skirt attempt from earlier. I changed up the elastic and later I'll add ribbon to make shoulder straps