Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: The New Ava Bento, Bakes on Mesh Head by META Is Only L$99

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?!??

NAAAAAAAAAAH.

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!

Second Life Hallowe’en Shop and Hop: Pick Up L$1,000 in Free Store Credit at Addams and Bumblebee

Because I will be working all weekend of various work projects for my full-time paying job at my university library system, I regret that I will not have time to browse through the Second Life Hallowe’en Shop and Hop event, which runs from October 2nd to November 1st, 2020. (Sorry, guys!)

However, thanks to the fast-working Russians over at Second Life – FREE (which is a little-known-about Russian-language group on Vkontakte, the Russian version of Facebook; use the Russian-to-English translator in your Chrome browser), I have seen pictures of most of the gifts available from the participating vendors. Using this handy list of SLURLs to take you directly to the vendor booth by name, I wanted to highlight three gifts which you might be interested in, which are not necessarily Hallowe’en-themed.

Baiastice

First up is the Baiastice booth, which offers the following low-cut, slinky gold minidress, with a HUD allowing you to change the gold to any of eleven other colours. Very versatile, and wearable in all seasons, not just Hallowe’en!

Bumblebee

Bumblebee has a panel in their booth which, when clicked, gives you a L$500 gift card, which you can use to buy anything in the Bumblebee store. (You can also combine it with the free gift card available in the store, if you have not already picked that up; more details here.)

Addams

Addams is another store offering L$500 in free store credit at the Hallowe’en Shop and Hop! Just click the sign at their booth, and the credits will automatically be added to your Addams account, for use on your next shopping trip!

There are eight sims for you to scratch that shopping itch at the Shop and Hop, and each participating vendor has a gift for you in their booth! Happy freebie shopping!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: L$750 in Free Store Credit Offers at Seniha and Scandalize (Plus Nine New Free Womenswear Fatpacks at the Scandalize Outlet Store!)

The Seniha and Scandalize stores in Second Life are each offering free store credits to their group members. The Seniha group is free to join, and the Scandalize group is also currently free to join, but only until October 4th!

Scandalize

I would encourage you to join the Scandalize group and remain in the group, because normally it costs L$100 to join the group. And (as I have often said before), Scandalize offers, without a doubt, the most generous selection of free group gifts of any store on the grid, dozens and dozens and dozens of women’s apparel and shoes to satisfy any freebie fashionista!

The bountiful group gifts wall at Scandalize

At the entrance to the store are three panels. Wear your Scandalize group tag and click on one of them:

Please be patient; the store is crowded and there is usually a significant delay (a minute or two) between when you click on the sign and when a blue window pops up in the upper right-hand corner of your screen, Click on “Select reward” and you will be awarded L$400 is store credit, which you can then apply towards anything in the Scandalize store.

The free group join period for Scandalize ends October 4th, but it’s not clear whether the free store credit will still be available after that date (the last time Scandalize did this, which I reported on here, not too long ago), the store credit was still available for a limited time, even after they had raised the Scandalize group join fee back up to L$100.

(By the way, if you haven’t done so yet, be sure to visit the Scandalize Outlet store located south of the main Scandalize store, on the same sim, where you can join the Scandals SL Frees & News group for free and pick up scores of free Scandalize outfit fatpacks! (I reported back in July that you could pick up 72 fatpacks, but they have now added an additional nine fatpacks to the outlet, for a grand total of 81 free fatpacks of Scandalize clothing! This is one of the biggest and best free giveaways on the grid, and I urge you to take advantage of it. Details here.)

Seniha

At the Seniha store is a huge sign which, when you join the Seniha Originals group and click on it, awards you L$350 in free store credit, to be used on anything in the store:

Seniha also has a free group gift wall, smaller than Scandalize’s, but still packed full of wonderful womenswear items to add to your inventory. Many of these outfits are fatpacks which include HUDs to change the colour and texture of the clothing.

Now, I would caution you that, obviously, both stores are packed at the moment, and the sims they sit on are struggling under the onslaught. You might want to time your attempts to teleport in early in the morning or very late in the evening, when the stores will presumably be less crowded.

Please be patient. Lag will be a problem, which affects everything from getting your free store credits from the panels, to purchasing and receiving items. (In once case, my avatar crashed before the transaction could complete, and I did not receive the item in my inventory when I was able to log back in! In that case, I simply used the redelivery terminal in the store to request a second copy sent to me.)

My recommendation is that you might want to pop into both stores just to pick up your free store credit, and then schedule a time after this promotion has ended, and the store is less busy. to do your browsing and shopping in peace (as far as I am aware, the store credits offered by both Scandalize and Seniha do not expire, unlike those from Blueberry, which usually expire in 2 or 3 weeks).

Happy freebie shopping!

UPDATED! Another Fifteen-Minute Second Life Avatar Makeover: You Must Be an Angel

No one on earth could feel like this
I’m thrown and overflown with bliss
There must be an angel
Playing with my heart

—There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart), by the Eurythmics

Time for another one of my patented 15-minute Second Life avatar makeovers! I hope that you enjoy these transformation as much as I do 🙂

This time, I have selected an alt which I have styled as a heavenly angel (her actual, Second Life legacy name is Prayerful Vigil, quite fitting!). Here is a before shot from 2018, a classic avatar with a system-layers-and-flexiprims outfit, outfitted with the free Bento wings and sword from the Marcus starter SL avatar:

And here is the after shot. This avatar is a perfect example of one of Ryan’s top ten tips for freebie hunting:

Be patient: Freebies can come and go; freebie stores like The Free Dove and Ajuda SL Brasil rotate their freebies regularly, so it’s worthwhile to visit every couple of months, just to see what’s new. It can take some time to pull together a complete look from various components picked up as freebies at different times from different stores and events.

In this case, the complete look was pulled together by patiently picking up freebies at various times throughout the past two years. I also took full advantage of the then-free Kalhene Ariadna mesh body when it was avialable! The wings and hale were the final two bits I picked up in the past week (please see the style credits below the picture for details).


This avatar is wearing:

  • Mesh Head: the Strong Face Bento mesh head by The Genus Project (free group gift; group is free to join)
  • Mesh Body: the Kalhene Ariadna mesh body (I was lucky enough to pick up the free predecessor of the current Kalhene Anya mesh body, which is now for sale for L$1,695 here; this body is compatible with Maitreya Lara apparel and footwear, and includes a Bento mesh head, not used here)
  • Bakes on Mesh Skin: White Queen skin gift by A&A (free on the SL Marketplace)
  • Hair: I picked this Jessi hair in goth white up from Sn@tch as a free prize in a previous year’s Trick or Treat Lane hunt
  • Necklace: This was a free hunt prize by Dreaming Thicket, in the Spring 2019 edition of the Twisted Hunt (which had a colour theme of gold and white, perfect for this angel avatar!)
  • Gown: This was also a free hunt prize in the Spring 2019 Twisted Hunt, from Appliqué Chic
  • Shoes (not shown): Amy flats from Hilly Haalan (free group gift; group is free to join)
  • Wings: golden Icon angel wings from Blueberry (I was able to pick up the Gold Pack of these wings last weekend, using the L$500 in free store credit which was in the group notices, and taking advantage of their four-day 50% Off Sale; the Blueberry group costs only L$20 to join)
  • Halo: Aether halo by Cubic Cherry (free gift at the current Engine Room shopping event; the event group is free to join; the halo is resizable and I made it smaller)
  • Sword: from the free Marcus starter Second Life avatar
  • Particle Effects: This is the only thing I bought at full retail price! The Valkyrie particle aura is from Cole’s Corner: animated halo, hands, and body particles in either silver or gold! (L$300; more information here, including an animated GIF)

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR LOOK: Only L$320! (L$20 to join the Blueberry group, and L$300 for the Valkyrie aura particle effects; if you need to purchase the Kalhene Anya mesh body, the cost is L$2,015)

UPDATE Sept. 30th, 2020: I just found the perfect finishing touch for this avatar! It’s a gold wing necklace, the free gift from the MINDS booth at the 5th anniversary round of the SanaRae shopping event (here’s the exact SLURL; it also comes in a silver version). It’s beautiful, and very fitting indeed for an angel!


After” pictures taken at the Engine Room shopping event.