Housekeeping Note: I actually wrote most of this blogpost on October 2nd, 2020, before I decided that I needed to suspend blogging to focus on my full-time paying job as an academic librarian. I still do, but… I decided I was so close to finishing this post that I just went ahead and did it tonight, and there’s no reason to hold it until November.
I received a rather unexpected gift this morning when I logged into Second Life, along with the following note from the creator, MikeThayer:
Hello, hope you are doing good. I make bento mesh heads for SL. I noticed your blog on my first release, the Bae head, and wanted to thank you for getting the word out. My latest work is Ava, another female bento head with SL UV map (much better match to skins made for classic avatars this time) and it would be great if you take a look at it and even better if you can blog about it. I’m selling for just 99L like Bae and it’s a promotional but no time limit on it. I hope you would help me get the word out. Have a nice day 🙂
Wow! This is not the first time I have received a freebie from a vendor, but it is the first time I have received a mesh head or body. Strawberry Singh (now employed by Linden Lab as Strawberry Linden) built her blog around her detailed reviews of various mesh heads and bodies. She started off buying her first items that she reviewed on her popular blog, but after a while, SL content creators would just give her their heads and bodies, so that she would blog about them. In fact, Strawberry even created a nice little side-business creating and selling customized shapes for various mesh bodies and heads (here’s a link to her store on the SL Marketplace).
And I looked at this gift and I’m thinking to myself: Are SL content creators about to start raining down mesh heads and bodies for me to review? Am I about to become an even bigger Second Life celebrity? Could I be the next Strawberry Singh?!??
Probably not. For one thing, my blog doesn’t focus exclusively on Second Life, like Strawberry’s did. And I do tend to devote most of my writing to finding “steals, deals, and freebies” in Second Life (you can find all my blogposts in that category here), as opposed to blogging about new releases and full-price items. So, no, unfortunately, I will not be becoming the next Strawberry Singh 😉 and, alas, it will fall to somebody else to fill Berry’s shoes (and I’m quite sure that many bloggers are doing so already).
However, it has made me realize that I will need to create and post some policies about receiving gifts from vendors, since it is starting to happen more and more often lately. I will scout around the many thousands of Second Life blogs, and see how other bloggers are handling this particular situation.
Anyway, my apologies for going off on another tangent, let’s get back to the main story here. Here’s what the Ava head looks like with the default shape and the included full-head skin tattoo layer (you will have to find body skin to match, as well as some eyelashes to fit):
Note that there is no HUD which comes with this head; you will not be getting all the bells and whistles you would expect from a top-tier brand name like Catwa or LeLutka. But for only L$99, it is a beautiful, no-frills, perfectly serviceable head which will work with all your Bakes on Mesh skins, cosmetics, hairbases, and tattoos.
After tweaking the head a bit to obtain a pleasing shape (it seems to respond fairly well to the sliders), here is my final look (sorry, but I was unable to find suitable eyelashes in my inventory):
This avatar is wearing:
Mesh Head: Ava mesh head by META (L$99 on the SL Marketplace)
Mesh Body: Classic mesh body by the Meshbody (L$1 group gift; more details here)
Skin: Elvira Bakes on Mesh/system skin in maple from 7 Deadly S[k]ins (a free Advent calendar gift from last Christmas; the group costs L$295 but I joined the group when the offered a free group join period)
Hair: Agatha by KUNI (free group gift; group is free to join)
Dress: Tammy dress by AdN (free lucky board prize; group is free to join)
Shoes: Wales pumps from Essenz (a free group gift from several months ago; the Essenz group costs L$350 to join)
Your total outlay for this Bakes on Mesh-compatible, Bento mesh head and body combination is only L$100—which is an outstanding bargain!