Paper Dolls and Oreo Cookies

As a little girl I wasn’t much of a doll person. I had a beloved stuffed bear named Cuddles and a Chatty Cathy doll who underwent some very unfortunate surgery, but that’s another story...

My best friend, Sally, had paper dolls that fascinated me. We could change the outfits and accessories on the same figures dozens of times—whatever suited our whims—and we did, for hours at a time.

I find myself switching outfits—sometimes several times a day—to suit the occasion: from early-morning tai chi, to pajamas at night, and everything in-between:

But no matter how many times I change my clothes, from glorious to grubby, the essence of me remains the same.

Like an Oreo cookie, it’s what’s on the inside that really matters! By the way, today (March 6, 2012) is the 100th anniversary of Oreo cookies!


Are you delighted with your essence?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

Please visit HolEssence and our Facebook page.


© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved

65 thoughts on “Paper Dolls and Oreo Cookies

  1. I didn’t realize that Oreos were going to be 100 years old! As for the dolls, I had a Barbie and a Skipper and a Ken doll that I loved to dress. My mom used to make clothes for them, since the real Barbie clothes were pretty expensive when I was a kid and we couldn’t really afford to buy too many. Like you, I have been known to change my clothes several times a day, from work clothes to grubs to go-out-in-the-evening garb – and I would be more delighted with my essence if this darned bronchial infection would go away for good! 🙂

    • Mywithershins – I forgot all about Skipper until you just brought it up. As to the bronchial infection…put a drop of tea tree oil in a pot of steaming water, tent your head with a bath towel, close your eyes, take turns inhaling with your nostrils/mouth, come up for fresh air periodically. The mist tea tree oil will get into the nooks and crannies of your respiratory system and help to diminish/eliminate the nasties.

  2. Oh you’re bringing back some memories, Laurie! All your outfits look so comfortable and unpretentious. Loved paper dolls, especially the ones that came with traditional costumes from all the different nations around the world. And Oreos – just couldn’t sneak enough of them out of the cookie jar…

  3. My life now requires few changes of clothing, all of which are based on comfort. We are invited to a wedding in May and it has occurred to me that jeans will probably not be appropriate attire. I just might have to go shopping, as I suspect the couple of dresses I still have, which are at least 15 years old, are probably not anywhere near in style. And the more classic skirts that I still have will probably no longer zip up.

    • Carol – Even more than wearing pantyhose, I dread clothes shopping. I’m not a tryer-onner. I’m a grab the hanger and hope-it-fits-er. I say you wear something you’ve already got. They say that “vintage” is all the rage 🙂

  4. Absolutely delightful post Laurie. I love the analogies and the pictures (every one of them) are fabulous. Indeed it IS “essence” (not clothes) that makes the (hu)man shine.

  5. Will the REAL Laurie Buchanan please stand up? lol…loving those memories of paper dolls, too. They offered so much possibility… Hoping you’re having a Happy Spring-like day down south, enjoying it with the true essence of what you are…

  6. I played with Barbies a bit, but not paper dolls, as much. I think they may have been popular a bit before my time. But they have always intrigued me.

    Indeed, it is the essence that matters most!


  7. It seems to me that essence is almost the opposite of what we are. We seem to be more of the composite of all the experiences and choices of our existence, as modulated by all the genetic and cultural factors that predate our personal experience of being.

    And that aside, yes – I have accepted who and what I am, and in that, I am aware that we are all potentially unlimited creative beings. The only limits we have are those we have accepted (consciously or unconsciously). We can transcend anything, with the help of appropriate technology.

    • Ted – I definitely resonate with your observation that, “The only limits we have are those we have accepted (consciously or unconsciously).” We’re getting warmer and warmer and warmer weather. I suspect that means you’re getting firewood ready for winter.

      • Hi Laurie
        Yep – all the north facing walls are stacked high with firewood.
        Had quite a heavy snowfall on the mountains last week, which have about 4,000 ft of white stuff on their tops at present.
        This has been the summer without a summer for us.
        We’ve had rain and icy southerly winds every few days – no real summer weather.
        All the things I was planning to do when it dried out this summer remain undone – it just hasn’t got dry all summer. The farmers are all loving it – more grass growth than anyone can remember, some have made three lots of silage. All are expecting a hard winter.
        There are massive flocks of sparrows around the house – many hundreds.
        In the last southerly storm last week there were over 20 dead fledgling sparrows on the roadside beside our place. I think it is their third brood for the summer – hence the population explosion. Likely to be a lot of dead birds this winter.

        Still hoping for a late “Indian summer”, but it is looking less and less likely.

      • Ted – Yowza! I’m glad you’re ready and rarin’ with the firewood, it sounds like you’re really going to need it. The silver lining on the cloud is that the farmers are happy. Hopefully happy farmers make for lower prices 🙂

  8. Hi Laurie,
    I loved your photos, very nice.
    The lovely memories of playing with dolls when I was a child, and the best part of all was dressing them up in cloths we could only dream about. Mum used to make amazing outfits for the dolls, you have brought back some wonderful memories. 😀
    A wonderful post.

  9. Laurie, did you do catalog modeling at any time in your life? You are making me think of the paper dolls I used to cut out of the Sears, Roebuck Catalog. When our bought, “punch-out” dolls got worn from too much play, Mom showed us how to pick out a “model” child from the book, cut her out, paste the picture to some cardboard from the shirts that came from the cleaners, cut that out and BOOM! New Paper doll! Then with crayons and pens you designed clothes that fit the doll and making sure to leave the folding tabs, cut it out carefully and there you go, new doll and all the clothes you could make. Since the whole process probably took all afternoon and those Newfoundland winter afternoons lasted a long time, we were well occupied for hours. Okay, reason I asked, you have the same expression on your face through out all the changes, did you Photoshop the Head or are you just a really great quick change artist? As for my own Essence, I feel pretty good about 90% of it, the rest is subject to change at any time!

    • Sandi – You’re mother was brilliant!

      (Confidentially speaking, Len wasn’t excited about the “photo shoot.” He had to sit in the same spot, holding the camera, while I ran and did seven switch-o-change-o’s and tried to step in the same spot each time.)

      Nope, I’ve never modeled a day in my life (unless you can count modeling 7th grade Home Economics outfits in the cafeteria). I’m so glad you’re computer is up and running again 🙂

  10. Beautiful Laurie and you do a great impression of an oreo cookie!!!!

    Q. Are you delighted with your essence?

    A. Yes – if only people wouldn’t slobber so much licking the insides out of my cookie. I am teasing. I believe our essence is fed by unlimited universal energy – lick away. There is more where that came from.

    Beautiful post Laurie and it so delightful to see your paper doll outfits.

  11. Hi Laurie,
    Oh what a memory! Paper dolls! My absolute favorite – besides reading and sketching in my tree house! I put plain paper on a window, traced the outlines of existing outfits and used colored pencils to “design” other more couture gowns. My paper dolls had shoe boxes full of paper clothes.
    But I get what you are saying about our essence being what it is despite the outer “stuff”. 🙂 I dress for mood more than occasion, though sometimes I have to stifle my free-spiritedness when I play the corporate wife.
    As for oreo cookies, it is probably one of the few things I can recall the exact taste of though I haven’t had one in years. How I cringe at what I used to eat! 🙂

  12. Laurie, you seem to have neglected your Scots Highlander and Kill Bill costumes. Or maybe it was a Power Ranger, I always them get them mixed up.

    As a non-sugar eater I have never consumed an Oreo, Perhaps they should make a sugar free for those who want to keep our teeth?.

  13. Loved this post for so many reasons: Memorie of paper dolls, fun play with friends, and creating doll clothes for my own dolls. Yes, you are right, it’s what’s inside that is the most important… Self-Esteem is an Inside Job!

  14. I love my essence and my deepness – I just want to bring it out more.

    I am still sitting in my walking clothes now, will shower and change into something comfortable.. I do not have many clothes to choose from but I just want to wear something comfortable.

    I am uncomfortable with how unhealthy I look right now.

    My mum showed us how to make paper dolls and outfits and we really enjoyed them and could spend whole afternoons on them.

    I was saving my tiny tears doll for my daughter, when I opened the box the doll had turned to powder and actually scared my child!

    • Patricia – I think it’s hysterical how many comments have shared that our mothers got us to entertain ourselves by whiling away the hours playing with paper dolls. Our moms were some pretty smart cookies!

  15. I saw “Birthday Cake” Oreos (rainbow sprinkle colors in the white middle) just yesterday at Dierberg’s in St Louis. This must be why – it did seem “odd” at the time but I thought, that’s marketing reach. GOL Oreos and I, and eating the frosting in the middle first, go way back but I hardly dare to buy them, for rarely do they last long around me and my boys !!

  16. Hi, Laurie — okay, so I am late again responding to your most entertaining and stimulating discourse. I thought of my first “doll” — it was a Dennis the Menace doll. I don’t know what that says about me as a kid but it somehow fits with my essence: I am always stirring up internal trouble. I liked your outfits and am gratified to see that we like the same styles and colors! I love solid colors, which I think reflects my internal solidity. I will, however, wear scarves with multi-colored designs to reflect my complexities. While I might not change clothes as often, I change personas several times a day going from partner to Jonathan, to employee, to student, to counselor, and then coming home to simply attend to me.

    I also love Oreos.

  17. Absolutely love the phots and the oreo concept, the latter of which you broach in the anniversary spirit!

    Like so many other issues in life satisfaction with the inner essence goes through varying degrees of satisfaction and disatisfaction, but self-confidence is the great equalizer.

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  19. maybe not so much delighted with my essence,
    but still holding out hope that it gets sweeter every day

    our paths have crossed a few times and I’ve been quiet
    just wanted to poke my head through the clouds and say hello

    I think I’ve moved back to back of the classroom in some ways
    but on the other hand, I am also earning my gold star
    in any case … just wanted to say hello, and that I still see you

  20. I’m loving that quote at the top of the page, Laurie: “Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.” That provides some food for thought on things that I was ready to complain about. 😉

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  22. You look good in your photos. 🙂 Me, I put on one set of clothing in the morning and am in it til night time. I’m very un-clothes-concious, yet also loved dressing paper dolls! So your post brought back some memories, thanks. 🙂

  23. We obviously have a ton in common because I had a Chatty Kathy too. You pulled her cord and she never shut up! And she was so redundant. Always whining about the same stuff. Still, I miss her!

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