Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Gifts from the Cosmopolitan Christmas Tree

IMPORTANT EDITORIAL/HOUSEKEEPING NOTE, PLEASE READ:

Many of my regular readers are probably wondering why I have written so much about Second Life this month, instead of all the other metaverse platforms I could cover.

First: My faculty union at the university where I work went through a five-week strike which ended in early December, and we are now in a rapidly worsening Omicron wave of the coronavirus pandemic. I am STRESSED and UTTERLY EXHAUSTED and I need to take a break. Second Life is my happy place, and my preferred way of dealing (or, perhaps more accurately, not dealing) with messy, painful, chaotic, dumpster-fire reality these days. I am therefore taking December as a vacation from this blog (with a few exceptions, such as this blogpost).

Second: As I have often said before, Second Life is the perfect example of a mature, fully-evolved metaverse, which the newer social VR platforms would be wise to study and emulate. Do not be so quick to dismiss Second Life as quaint and outdated! At a time when the concept of the metaverse is suddenly very popular again, you can learn many lessons from studying SL. For example, merchandizing avatar fashion (such as that profiled in this blogpost) is now a very hot topic in the blockchain/crypto/NFT space; Second Life content creators have been earning full or side incomes by creating and selling avatar fashion for over 18 years now!

Thank you for your patience and understanding. I do expect to return full-throttle to blogging about any and all aspects of social VR, virtual worlds and the metaverse in January 2022!

Every December, the Cosmopolitan shopping event (SLURL) has a large Christmas tree placed between the entrance doors, which is a sort of Advent calendar, but in a different form. Every day, more and more stockings are added to the tree as decorations, and each stocking is a free gift from a participating vendor. Join the !!Cosmopolitan Club & Lounge!! group for free to pick up these gifts.

However, because the stockings all look alike and are attached to all sides of a three-dimensional, cone-shaped object, and therefore it can be very hard to keep track of what you have already taken and what you haven’t! Here’s a useful tip, from a previous year’s blogpost, on how to tackle the tree:

If you insist on visiting every day, the layout of the stockings around the tree can be somewhat confusing compared to traditional Advent calendars, and you might land up collecting the same gifts multiple times. You might want to use this tip provided by SL blogger Chic Aeon: once you have clicked on a stocking and received its gift, right click on it, Select More from the pie menu, select More again, then select Derender, then Blacklist. You will no longer be able to see that stocking on return visits! (These are the instructions for the Firestorm viewer; I do not know what the equivalent is for the standard Second Life viewer.) This is a genius tip! Thanks, Chic!

Another tip: derender the Christmas tree first; then the stockings will appear to be floating in mid-air, and they are much easier to find and click on! 😉

Today my avatar Moesha Heartsong (the Naomi Campbell supermodel of Second Life!) models some of my favourite gifts from the Cosmopolitan stockings. I do apologize for using a pose stand for these images; I can work much faster this way, and therefore get this blogpost out to you more quickly! I do not know how long the Christmas tree will be up at the Cosmopolitan event, so don’t delay in picking up these fabulous freebies!

First up is the Mei jewelry set from Supernatural, a choker and two necklaces (three separate pieces which you can wear together as shown, or separately as you wish). The Mei set comes in gold and silver versions, and each version comes in four different colours: black, red, pink, and white.

From AVALE comes the Gorra party dress with a dark silver skirt and a colour-changeable top (the included HUD gives you 11 colours). Sizes: Maitreya, Legacy, Freya, Isis, Hourglass, and Kupra.

ZVI’s gift is this cropped top with a choice of 20 colours via a HUD (sizes: Maitreya Lara, Meshbody Legacy, INITHIUM Kupra, eBody Reborn, Kalhene Erika).

Blossom&Seeds offers you this Costa Rica dress in sizes to fit Maitreya Lara, Belleza Freya, and Meshbody Legacy bodies:

From Shybird comes the Mina party dress, which comes in a fatpack with a whopping 64 options (32 colours in silk and 32 colours in suede!). This dress comes in sizes to fit Maitreya, Legacy, Kupra, and eBody Reborn.

The Eliza outfit (in the stocking from Meva) consists of a red dress and a white jacket with a belt. The dress and jacket can be worn together as shown, or you can mix and match with other items from your avatar’s wardrobe.

Off-Line’s present is this Nali dress in salmon, which comes in opaque and sheer versions (sizes: Maitreya, Legacy, Freya, Hourglass, and Kupra).

The present from Amias is this delightful grey Deer Sweater! There are versions for both male and female avatars: Maitreya Lara & Petite and Legacy & Perky for the women; and Belleza Jake, Signature Gianni, and Legacy for the men.

Seniha very generously gives you a complete fatpack of the Rosse outfit, consisting of a bodysuit and boa/fur stole, each of which comes with a HUD with a dizzying array of colours and textures to choose from! You can tint the top, belt, and bottom of the bodysuit separately via the HUD, for even more options!

From Little Fox comes the Darling set of top and matching panties in cherry red (Maitreya, Legacy, Freya, Kupra sizes).

The gift from Masoom is this pink Minerva gown (which comes in both regular and windblown versions). The gown comes with a gems HUD and a separate package of tintable panties to wear underneath. The Minerva gown comes in sizes to fit Maitreya Lara, Belleza Freya, and Slink Hourglass mesh bodies.

The stocking from Poison Rouge contains this haute couture Alma de Rosa hat in coral pink:

This is the Makina pigtail hairstyle from Ayashi, which comes with the HUD as shown, with eight different anime colours and a tinting feature to make your hair any colour under the sun!

Petite Maison offers a lovely selection of home decor (seven separate objects):

And finally, for something completely different, we have this set of unisex Bakes on Mesh cosmetics from Poema, the Editorial makeup pack! You’re all set for your next Vogue fashion shoot!

Again, I don’t know how long the Christmas tree will be up, so go TODAY.

Happy freebie shopping!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: The 2021 Holiday Shop and Hop Is On Until January 2nd, 2022!

Second Life’s annual Holiday Shop and Hop event runs until January 2nd, 2022, and now that the Advent calendars have completed for the season, it’s time to pick up some fabulous freebies!

This year, instead of writing up a blogpost, and posting pictures of what I think are the best gifts, I have decided to post a detailed notecard of Ryan’s picks of the best menswear, womenswear, and home decor from the Shop and Hop. More information on how to join the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies group can be found here (the group join fee is only L$50, and you will find it money well spent, as I often share many bargains and freebies which never make it to this blog!).

Once you join the group (search for “ryanschultz”, all one word, under Groups in Search; it’s the only one that matches), just look for the notice titled “HOLIDAY SHOP AND HOP December 2021”, which contains a comprehensive list of gifts organized by sim name, with the exact SLURLs to each of the gifts so you can teleport in and out! I made it very easy for you!

Happy freebie shopping!

photo of christmas presents
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

UPDATED AS OF DECEMBER 12th, 2021! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies—What Advent Calendars and 12 Days of Christmas Calendars I’ll Be Hitting This December (2021 Edition)

TWO IMPORTANT NOTICES, PLEASE READ:

I am taking a vacation from blogging for the entire month of December. Between the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the recently concluded faculty strike at my university, I am utterly exhausted, and I need to take a break. I hope that you understand. I will be back in January 2022!

I will *NOT* be doing a daily blogpost of that day’s best Advent Calendar/12 Days of Christmas Calendar gifts this year; instead, I will be posting a notecard with all of my picks of the best gifts for that day (with store SLURLs) to my new Second Life group called RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies. The group costs L$50 to join.

Photo by David-Olivier Gascon on Unsplash

December is truly the most wonderful time of the year for freebie fashionistas in Second Life! Many stores have either an Advent calendar or a 12 Days of Christmas calendar, where you can pick up a free gift each day.

This year, instead of wearing myself out trying to hit every single calendar on the grid, I will be focusing my energy on just a select few which, year after year, consistently offer the best gifts. Here are my top picks for 2021!

Please note that I will be updating this blogpost regularly between now and Christmas, so bookmark this post and check back often for any changes or updates.

Lists of Advent Calendars for 2021

TeleportHub.com’s Advent Calendar listing is already up
  • The 2021 Advent list by SL Hunts
  • The Advent Calendar Store List 2021 by TeleportHub.com
  • The December Advent Listing by Fabulously Free in SL, which is the biggest list
  • UPDATE Dec. 1st, 2021, 2:13 p.m.: The 2021 Seraphim Gift List (which includes Advent calendars, holiday sales, and stores with giftable vendors and transferable items) has just been published!
  • UPDATE Dec. 1st, 2021, 10:25 p.m.: The Second Life Syndicate is taking a different approach! Instead of a list, they are maintaining a Google spreadsheet, which you can access here. The group-edited spreadsheet already has over 180 rows!
  • UPDATE Dec. 2nd, 2021, 1:40 p.m.: The hardworking folks over at the Russian-language VKontakte group Second Life – FREE are posting a daily roundup of that day’s Advent calendar gifts, with pictures! And they are actually building a list of stores with links to pictures of each day’s Advent gift! This is probably THE easiest way to actually see each day’s calendar gifts without teleporting all over the grid, collecting and unpacking items! (Please remember to use the Russian-to-English translator in your Chrome browser to read the posts in this Russian-language community. You do not need to set up an account on VKontakte; just click on the “Not Now!” link every time a pop-up appears asking you to log in.)
  • UPDATE Dec. 2nd, 2021, 2:13 p.m.: Low Price Fashion in Second Life is a little-known Japanese blog which usually posts a daily roundup of that day’s Advent calendar gifts (again, you will need to use the automatic Japanese-to-English translator in your Chrome web browser to read the posts).
  • UPDATE Dec. 3rd, 2021, 12:29 p.m.: Advent Calendars 2021 With Previews Updated Daily is a truly heroic attempt by Snarkness of the SugarSL blog to cover as many Advent calendar gifts as possible each day. Thank you, Snarkness!
The December Advent Listing from FabFree has the biggest list of Advent and 12/15 Days of Christmas calendars on the grid!

Five Advent Calendars I Will Be Visiting Every Day

The Advent calendar at Essenz women’s footwear store
  • Firelight Hair has an Advent calendar running from December 1st to 24th (you do need to join the Firelight group for free). You have to pick up each gift on the day it is offered. The gifts are mostly women’s hairstyles, but there will also be a few male/unisex styles. All hair gifts usually come with a mini 3-colour HUD.
  • 7 Deadly s[K]ins has an advent tree in their store, with generous gifts every day from Dec. 1st through to the 31st! Please note that you do have to join the new store group, called SEVEN – [7DS], to pick up these gifts; this group is free to join until Jan. 1st, 2022! So you have no excuse this year not to pick up some new skin for your avatar.
  • Virtue offers an Advent calendar with beautiful clothing gifts for women. The emphasis here is on classic, modest fashion. You do need to join the Virtue group for L$25 to pick up these gifts; you also need to show up each day to pick up that day’s gift.
  • Entice offers Advent calendar gifts of womenswear from December 1st to 25th (you do have to join the Entice group for free). Again, you do have to show up each day to pick up that day’s gift.
  • Essenz has an Advent calendar where you can pick up a gift of high-quality women’s footwear every day (the Essenz group costs L$350 to join). If you missed a day, or are not a group member, you can pick up previous days’ gifts for only L$50 each.

Three 12 Days of Christmas Calendars I Will Be Visiting Every Day

The 12 Days of Christmas calendar at Baby Monkey starts December 14th, 2021

Most of these calendars start on Dec. 12th, 13th, or 14th, and run until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (and a few stores are having a 15 Days of Christmas calendar starting Dec. 10th, so be sure to check!).

  • The Baby Monkey 12 Days of Christmas calendar offers a free gift each day. All the gifts together form a complete, colour-coordinated capsule wardrobe. You do have to show up each day to pick up that day’s gift.
  • JUMO usually gives away lovely gifts of women’s apparel and jewelry from Dec. 12th-Dec. 24th, as well as on New Year’s Eve (the JUMO group is free to join). This is the place to pick up some beautiful ballgowns and costume jewelry!
  • UPDATE Dec. 12th, 2021: It would appear that the eBENTO Event has been cancelled for December, according to chatter in the eBento group in Second Life. So that means that there will also be no Advent calendar from them this year! 🙁
Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

Pandemic Diary, December 27, 2020: Spaghetti for Christmas

Today is officially Day 287 since I started working in self-isolation from home for my university library system. I am currently starting my second week of three weeks of vacation, not returning to my full-time paying job as a librarian until January 11th, 2021, and so far I have enjoyed a relaxing, quiet holiday.

If you haven’t seen the Christmas card I sent out this year to everybody, here it is. This wonderful animated card by Jacquie Lawson is set to the traditional German Christmas carol O Tannenbaum.

A screen capture from my animated Christmas card this year

Today is the day after Boxing Day here in Canada. Boxing Day is traditionally the day where Canadians go out to the Boxing Day sales, but this year the crowds of shoppers were mostly staying home (although quite a few shopped online and arranged curbside pickup of their consumer electronics and other bargains).

By and large, the majority of Manitoba have listened to the doctors and scientific experts, and followed the masking and social distancing requirements imposed by our code-red, province-wide pandemic lockdown. I know of very few Manitobans who shared their Christmas celebrations with people who were not members of their immediate household. Many instead dropped food and presents off at the doors of friends and family.

On the afternoon of Christmas Day, my extended family (including my sister-in-law’s family, who have kind of adopted me along with my brother) had a very chatty one-and-a-half hour meeting in Zoom, which lifted the time restrictions on its free version for the holidays:

And on Boxing Day, the members of my arts and entertainment group held a meetup in Zoom as well! Obviously, we have not been going out much to arts, cultural and entertainment events since the pandemic hit, but we still do keep in touch.

(Disclaimer: No, I do not have a house that looks like a Better Homes and Gardens spread, with all my books artfully arranged by colour! This was a Zoom background I downloaded this spring, to hide my messy man cave from Zoom meetings for work! I did fool a couple of people with it, though.)

I did not bother to fuss with a turkey for my Christmas dinner, which in a normal year I would have spent with my mother and stepfather at their seniors life-lease condo across town. Instead, I made a large pot of spaghetti and a tossed salad, which I quite enjoyed as I spent my first-ever Christmas dinner alone in my apartment.

Spaghetti for Christmas (photo by Carolina Cossío on Unsplash)

Truth be told, after 287 days, I am now so used to being alone that spending a Christmas in self-isolation in my apartment did not feel weird at all. Instead of real-world socializing, I have spent quite a bit of time socializing with people in various social VR platforms and virtual worlds this past month, including Sinespace, Sansar, Somnium Space, and Second Life!

I do not expect my situation to change significantly until enough people have been vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have already been approved by Health Canada, and the Pfizer vaccine has already found it way into the arms of 2,177 Manitoba healthcare workers at critical care, acute care, and long-term care facilities, plus COVID-19 immunization clinics and testing sites.

Map from the COVID-19 Tracker Canada website

Have a healthy and happy holiday season!