!SOUL was a freebie store which suddenly disappeared from the grid, but lo and behold, I have just today discovered that they have now set up shop in a skybox high above the newbie orientation centre called New Resident Island (here’s the SLURL).
As before, everything in the store—women’s clothing and footwear, hairstyles, even some system skins!—is completely free. Freebie fashionistas rejoice!! You will have to join the !SOUL group for free to pick up these items, and there is a group join panel in the store:
Please keep in mind that all clothing items use standard sizing (XS, S, M, L and XL), and also note that some of the free shoes include the feet (although they do include a HUD to tint the skin to match the rest of your body, it is still a bit of a laborious process).
Below, my avatar is wearing the Lily hairstyle from !SOUL, plus the Delicate Satin Mesh Dress in white (in comes in several other colours and floral patterns) with the included Delicate Flat Ankle Mesh Boots (I just alpha’ed out the feet and they fit perfectly):
The Lily hair comes with 14 different HUDs with twelve colours each, for a total of 168 different shades!
Here my avatar is wearing the Mesh Gown Dress, which comes in seven patterns as shown in the picture below. The hairstyle is also by !SOUL, and is called Bellflowers.
Finally, we have the Mesh Long Pants and matching Mesh Frill Blouse, which comes in four different colours:
One of the Second Life vloggers I follow is Cat Pink SL, whose videos are in Spanish, but have English subtitles, so it’s pretty easy to follow along. She covers hunts, events, and freebies, and in a couple of recent YouTube videos, she talks about the free versions of the eBody Classic and Curvy female mesh avatar bodies (which now support Bakes on Mesh), and the free mesh heads, skins, and cosmetics from Genesis Lab:
I had talked about the three free Genesis Lab static (non-Bento) female mesh avatar heads before here (scroll down to the Genesis Lab section), so I am not going to repeat all that information here. But what I did not know is that the Genesis Lab group is once again free to join; there is a small black panel on the Group Gifts wall in the store (SLURL) you can click on to join the store group:
So I decided to experiment a little with one of my alts, using the Kenna head from Genesis Lab (still my personal favourite static mesh head, which comes with a HUD with lots and lots of options), paired with the eBody Classic mesh avatar body. As you can see from these pictures, she turned out looking really good!
I did have one problem: the Genesis Lab Cream skin I applied to the BoM eBody avatar did not work on the feet! However, this is not a serious problem when wearing a long ballgown such as this, and you can get around it in other outfits by using boots which replace the eBody feet completely (they are a separate attachment, along with the hands). I am not sure if this was a problem with the eBody mesh, the eBody BoM relay HUD, or the skin appliers I used (I tried several from the Genesis Lab group gifts, all with the same result). It’s a weird bug.
UPDATE Jan. 20th, 2020: I have now found the cause of the strange white patches on the feet of the eBody mesh avatar. It was the result of a classic, system shoebase I applied to the foot. You can get around this problem by removing any shoebase that causes this, and using the avatar hover height instead when wearing high heels. You can ignore my complaining later on in this blogpost about not being able to wear certain types of shoes; any Slink-compatible shoes should now work!
This avatar is wearing:
Mesh Head: Kenna by Genesis Lab (includes the mesh eyes shown here; free group gift; group is free to join)
Mesh Body: eBody Classic from the eBody Shop (pay the vendor in the store L$1 and it will automatically be refunded; these mesh bodies do not have Bento hands, and they only have “thick” alpha selections on the included HUD, which means you have to be somewhat careful what you wear with them)
Skin Applier: Cream skin by Genesis Lab (part of the Lakki skin package from Genesis Lab; free group gift; requires the eBody Bakes on Mesh relay HUD which you can get from the eBody store, just pay the vendor L$1 and it will automatically be refunded)
Gown: Holly gown by JUMO (a recent Advent gift which comes in a size specifically for eBody Classic mesh avatars)
Hair: Bella by Alli & Ali, an elegant updo with a colour-changeable comb in the back (a freebie I picked up at a recent virtual conference; it pays to check conference sims in Second Life for any freebies provided for presenters and attendees to outfit and style their avatars!)
Animation Override: Chubby Girl AO by [ImpEle] (free from the SL Marketplace). This is a nice, simple, calm, free AO with no crazy movements. (Note the freebie versions of the eBody do not come with Bento hands, so you don’t have to worry about animating them.)
TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: FREE! (All you need is L$1 to pay the vendors in the eBody store to get the eBody Classic mesh body and the eBody Bakes on Mesh relay HUD, which is automatically refunded.)
Note that I do not know how long you will be able to join the Genesis Lab group for free (they used to charge for it), so if you are interested in picking up their free group gifts, I recommend you don’t wait to do so.
UPDATE 6:20 p.m.: You know what? I am actually going to do something that I’ve never done before on this blog: I am going to NOT recommend (un-recommend?) a freebie. And that is the latest freebie version of the eBody Classic and Curvy mesh avatar bodies.They are dreadful. The problem with the feet not taking Bakes on Mesh skins is bad enough, but it gets even worse.
I went over to The Free Dove freebie store, and picked up a few outfits that said they came in versions designed specifically for eBody, like this minidress from Hilly Haalan, and even the eBody stuff doesn’t fit properly!
The previous version had slightly more workable “thick” alpha sections than this new one, especially in the chest/bust area and the back, and it’s a absolute pain in the butt to find something—anything—that works with them, short of a gunnysack where you can alpha out your whole body (and I’m not even sure about that anymore, either!). I also tried adjusting the body sliders to get rid of the skin breaking through, but to no avail.
The brutal truth is that even the Holly gown I showed you up top had some problems with certain poses in my freebie AO, where some skin would break through at the sides of the gown, a problem that the included alpha sections on the freebie eBody Classic mesh body can’t fix.
Perhaps the paid-for eBody version (with the full complement of smaller alpha sections) would fix the problem, but I don’t think that even that would fix such issues as I found with the Hilly Haalan minidress above. I am discovering to my dismay that many “eBody” versions of garments simply don’t work as advertised, particularly for the freebie version (here’s their HUD showing you the alpha sections; the top part is all greyed out and cannot be used):
(Note: I do have an alt with a paid-for version of the eBody Classic avatar, and I might just go back and try all these dresses from The Free Dove on again with that body, to see if they work out any better.)
UPDATE Jan. 11th, 2020: I tested the Hilly Haalan minidress I mentioned above on my paid-for full version of the eBody Classic mesh body, and it fits perfectly, without any issues! So something is up with the latest freebie version.
The best I could come up with was this outfit, consisting of the Faythe dress by GeMyles, paired with the Lita Lolita shoes in ochre, which include the socks and allowed me to completely alpha out the feet:
There was only one other pair of free shoes I found at The Free Dove that I could wear with this mesh body, the Paper Sparrow Alice heels which also came with socks (worn here with a free red minidress from eBody, which I had picked up in December as an Advent gift at the eBento event):
Here’s a better look at them in a place that’s not all black-on-black:
So, after over an hour on unpacking and trying on garments and tossing them aside in frustration, I found exactly two mesh dresses and two pair of shoes that I could wear with the freebie eBody Classic mesh body (and one of those dresses was already in my inventory). Every other dress specifically designed for eBody that I picked up at The Free Dove would not work properly with the “thick” alpha sections.
Nope, sorry, pass. Consider the freebie eBody Classsic and Curvy as demos only, not for actual wear.
However, if you are looking for a nice static (non-Bento) mesh head, I can certainly still recommend the free group gifts at Genesis Lab, especially if you are down to your last Linden dollar!
The new club, which is variously called Frank’s Jazz Club, the New Frank’s Place, the Sinatra Jazz Club, and the Frank S Jazz Club, depending on which sign you’re looking at and which landmark you pick up, is the new kid on the block, obviously hoping to lure Frank’s previous clientele. (I’m quite sure that Frank’s original owner, Nanceee Sinatra, is rather ticked off about this development, but there’s not much that she can do about it. I rather doubt she trademarked the name Frank’s.)
The music mix is much the same as Nancee’s original Frank’s, but I note that you can make song requests for the DJ to play using various signs placed around the venue, which is a suitably large and impressive space, tastefully decorated for Christmas.
And I do see many familiar faces from Frank’s here already! Which just goes to show that the concept was a good one. It was very smart of someone to step immediately into the void left when Frank’s closed.
Even better, there are gifts of free formalwear for both men and women at the entrance! What more could a freebie fashionista ask for?
Here my avatar is wearing the free black ballgown, which is quite lovely and has sizes to fit most classic system and mesh bodies (this is the version for Maitreya Lara, which fits this Altamura Juliet mesh body perfectly):
She is also wearing:
a white fur stole from Glitzz (a free group gift; the group is free to join)
On the other hand, there is Frank’s Elite Jazz Club, which is under new ownership after the previous sim owner stepped in to save it when Frank’s Entertainment Group was going to shut it down. It is a members-only club with a rather steep membership fee of L$1,000 (I had joined when the group fee was only L$500), but they sometimes have events which are open to everybody.
I must confess that I do have a soft spot for this venue, which is beautifully decorated for the holiday season:
One of things I do like about Frank’s Elite Jazz Club is the variety of talented live performers. I also appreciate the fact that the exclusivity of the club tends to attract a higher class of clientele (I did get rather sick and tired of being hit on all the time at Frank’s original club; being a drop-dead gorgeous female avatar does have its disadvantages 😉 ).
Vanity Fair is wearing her standard go-to ballgown, the Au Revoir red silk gown by Snowpaws—simple, beautiful, effortlessly elegant.
To go with the ballgown, I am also wearing:
Antigone gold and ruby earrings (a long-ago free gift from Kouse’s Sanctum, a store which has now closed)
Gigi crimson pumps by Garbaggio (not shown; my favourite shoe store!)
And a gold wedding band by Su Xue (as a warning signal to keep the male pestering to a minimum 😉 ).
The December round of the FaMESHed Event in Second Life is upon us, and once again, most of the vendor booths have beautiful Christmas gifts for us! There is some really lovely stuff, both for your avatar and for your home. You do have to join the FaMESHed group for free to pick up all the presents.
Here Vanity Fair is wearing two gifts from vendors at FaMESHed: the Christmas Deer sweater from Just Because and the Hanna red heels by Phedora. (The blue leggings were part of the Dec. 4th Advent calendar gift from Appliqué Chic, and are still available today for free, but they will be L$10 after today):
The red Joy throw pillow and the neon Santa hat on the wall behind Vanity are also gifts from FaMESHED, by Fancy Decor and EQUAL respectively.
Now we have the Merry plaid blue zipper skirt (part of the same Dec. 4th Appliqué Chic Advent calendar gift as the leggings in the previous picture), plus a lovely cropped sweater, the FaMESHed gift from Giz Seorn:
Here we pair the red cable knit mohair sweater by COCO Designs with the sexy red thigh-high Cate boots by Garbaggio (my favourite shoe store!):
Next we have the Shayla robe in green from Ricielli, which comes in both closed and open versions (obviously, I’m not going to show you the open one!):
The Scandalize gift is the Nairi dress in black with a separate black lace bralette:
The gift from Neve is this lovely outfit consisting of two separate pieces, the top and the matching skirt:
This is the Jane sweater by RIOT (which comes in green as shown and also in red), paired with the Adriana red glitter shorts by Bombshell. (The RIOT gift box also includes Jasper sweaters for the men.)
Next up is the Scarlett bra and panties, the gift from Belle Epoque, shown with the Punta Cana shoes by Essenz, which comes with a HUD to change the colour of the shoes themselves (3 options: grey, blue, and red), the sole (4 options), and the tie around the ankle (18 options):
Here’s a closeup on the shoes, which like everything Essenz sells, is wonderfully crafted, with much attention paid to details!
Finally we have the Cindy dress in mint green by Kaithleen’s, paired with the Dec. 5th Advent calendar gift from Essenz, the sand-coloured Honolulu shoes:
Here’s a closeup of the Honolulu shoes, which are bit too frou-frou for my taste, but they might be perfect for you!
You do need to join the Essenz group for L$350 to pick up their daily Advent calendar gifts, but all are beautifully crafted footwear, and I think that L$350 for 24 quality pairs of shoes and boots is a bargain.
The hair used in all these pictures is the Dec. 5th Advent calendar gift from Firelight Hair, a curly hairstyle called Melvena (you will have to join the Firelight group for free to use this calendar). The hair comes with a 3-colour HUD to change it to brown, black, or red: