HOUSEKEEPING NOTE: The RyanSchultz.com blog will be on an indefinite hiatus (with brief exceptions), as I am working on a brand new project: writing up a proposal for a VR lab for my university library system! More details here. I’ll be back as soon as I can, folks!
Catalina Staheli (the owner of Aleutia) has posted a video as part of her new series called Exploring Second Life: A Creator’s Perspective, where she unboxes all the items she receives as an official blogger for the various shopping events in Second Life.
Her most recent video is all about the 1950’s retro, rockabilly theme of the current iteration of the Anthem shopping event, and you can watch it here:
I quite like Catalina’s new series, and after watching this video, she made me do something that this avowed SL freebie fashionista rarely does: she made me pay (gasp!) FULL PRICE for something! Truly a momentous occasion… 😉
Here, Vanity Fair is wearing a new retro, romantic hairstyle from WINGS called ER0326, which cost me L$299 for a brown fatpack with a styling HUD. It’s available in several colour fatpacks from their booth (here’s the exact SLURL):
The camellia flower shown below is a separate, adjustable attachment, and it comes with its own HUD to tint it one of six different colours.
But what I REALLY wanted to show you were these absolutely delightful animated birds from TARDFISH, available at the WARETA x TARDFISH collaboration booth at the Anthem event for only L$199! Here’s the exact SLURL. Check out the video below:
Tram is a women’s hair store in Second Life, well known for its short-and-medium-length, wispy, windblown, and cute/kawaii hairstyles. Today I learned via the Pure Eggs & Spam blog that Tram has made a large number of their older hairstyles available as free gifts! No group join is required; just buy each fatpack for L$0 and it’s yours.
Here are nine of the non-rigged mesh hairstyles. While the hair says it is No Modify, I discovered that you can adjust the size using the Stretch command if you right-click on it and select Edit. Each style comes in a complete fatpack of colours, and I was able to tint a couple of these hairstyles to a darker shade of black under the Texture tab in the Edit menu.
One disadvantage of this hair is that it adds 30,000-40,000 to your Avatar Rendering Cost (ARC), now called Mesh or Rending Weight, which means that your avatar may appear as a “jelly doll” to other avatars, depending on their Second Life viewer settings. I have mine routinely cranked up to Ultra, but I have an higher-end gaming PC with a good graphics card, but those people running older potato computers may not see you as you wish to be seen! Something to bear in mind.
On the same gift wall, a little further to the right, are a collection of even older non-mesh, sculpted (prim-based) hairstyles, which are also free.
Here’s an example of one of the sculpted hairstyles, model A812, which, as you can see, is absolutely perfect for this high-collared yellow ballgown this avatar is wearing! The sculpted hair is tintable, and each separate prim can be adjusted. Again, like the nonrigged mesh hairstyles mentioned above, the downside is that these sculpted prim hairstyles will add significantly to your Avatar Rendering Cost (about 30,000-40,000).
Fasten your seat belts! Today I will be telling you how to receive a whopping six hundred and six Christmas presents on Christmas Day, all completely free!
Many of the Second Life stores which have Advent calendars and 12 Days of Christmas calendars allow you to visit once on Christmas Day, and pick up all the gifts at one time. Very convenient!
Below is a listing of the stores, each with a brief description of the gifts, and a SLURL to take you directly to the calendar. In some cases, I have also included a picture of the calendar.
This task would have been practically impossible without the truly Herculean work done by Andonia, who shall be henceforth known as the Queen of the Advent Calendars! Nearly every day, Andonia criss-crosses the grid, hitting as many calendars as she could, and then posts pictures of each day’s gifts to her blog! Here’s her list of 2020 Advent calendars, which she has published on the Kinky Fox Designs blog. Please peruse it, to get a better sense of what kinds of presents each calendar offers, so that you may efficiently draw up a plan of attack for your Christmas 2020 looting and pillaging 😉 Thank you, Andonia! 🙂
For this endeavour, you will require only three things:
at least one free group slot (in many cases, you will need to join the free store group in order to pick up all the Advent calendar gifts; you can then leave the group immediately afterward to free up that slot for the next store on this list!);
one Linden dollar (for the 12 Days of Christmas calendar at Baby Monkey); and
at least a couple of spare hours to teleport from store to store! If you, like me, are stuck at home during a pandemic lockdown with some time on your hands, this might be the year for you to go a little crazy with the virtual freebie shopping!
Ready? Set? Let’s go!!! Remember that you will only be able to pick up all the gifts on Christmas Day (for some stores, Christmas Eve, but please see my note about special Christmas Day presents at a few stores at the very tail end of this blogpost). If your time is limited, I have listed what I think are the best calendars for apparel and footwear first, then all the rest in alphabetical order.
Christmas Gifts of Men’s and Women’s Apparel, Footwear, Jewelry, and Accessories
Baby Monkey: No group needed; 12 gifts of women’s apparel and footwear; pay L$1 for each one, and your Linden dollar will automatically be refunded. The gifts all come with a three-colour mini-HUD, and together they comprise a capsule wardrobe!
UPDATE December 25th: the Christmas present from Petite Mort is this beautiful white ballgown!
Oubliette: No group needed; 12 gifts of gothic womenswear.
UPDATE December 25th: the final gift from Oubliette’s calendar is this gorgeous black ballgown, the counterpart to the white gown gift from Petite Mort.
JUMO: No group needed; 15 gifts of women’s apparel, footwear, and jewelry.
No Shot: No group needed; there are two calendars, one with 12 gifts of womenswear and the other with 12 gifts of menswear.
Ari-Pari: Free group join is required; 25 gifts of womenswear, home decor, and a L$250 gift card (Dec. 14th). Gifts can only be claimed once, so select Deliver on the blue pop-up window, and then be sure to click on Accept rather than Discard, because you won’t get a second chance! (UPDATE Dec. 22nd: I have been informed by the owner of Ari-Pari that I can get all these Advent calendar gifts redelivered via the redelivery terminal found in the store.)
EscalateD: No group needed; look for the green Advent calendar (the red one is for V.I.P. members only); 24 gifts of hairstyles and accessories; for pictures of the gifts, see Andonia’s blog or the listing compiled by the Russian Vkontake group Second Life – FREE (use the Russian-to-English translator in your Chrome web browser). UPDATE Dec 24th: Please note that on Christmas Eve, you only need to click on the green advent calendar ONCE, and you will receive a folder containing all 24 gifts! If you click on all 24 numbers, you will land up with 24 copies of all 24 presents!!!
UPDATE Dec. 21st, 8:58 p.m.: I forgot to mention Altamura‘s 12 Days of Christmas calendar! Free group join required; 12 gifts of seasonal menswear and womenswear, including free Bento, Bakes on Mesh-compatible full-body male and female avatars (more information here). As the Altamura group usually costs L$100 to join, you might wish to stay a member of this particular store group, as Altamura sometimes offers group gifts and discounts to group members throughout the year.
Some other stores you might wish to visit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day include:
AppleTini: Free group join required; 24 gifts of women’s fingernails.
Amore & Amore: Free group join required; 24 gifts of women’s clothing.
Black Angel: Free group join required; 24 gifts of womenswear.
Blackbird Lace: Free group join required; 24 gifts of women’s apparel and footwear.
BYRNE: Free group join required; 25 gifts of women’s apparel, footwear, and accessories. UPDATE December 25th: You’ll need to take the teleporter to the Advent calendar. Most of the gifts are womenswear, but a few items are unisex, and the present for Christmas Day includes both a women’s dress and this men’s black Victorian-era suit, with either a red or teal vest:
Coveted: No group needed; 24 gifts of men’s and women’s wear, accessories, and home decor.
DM Design: Free group join required; 24 gifts of womenswear.
Donni’s Dollies: Free group join required; 24 gifts of men’s and women’s apparel and footwear.
Enchantress: Free group join required; 24 gifts of womenswear.
On Christmas Day you should also pay a visit to a couple of shopping events where the gifts are all gathered together. I have not added the count of the gifts from all these events to the total given in the title of this blogpost; there are so many, that I simply don’t have time to count all of them!
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! (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! Thank you, Chic!!
Another shopping event you should hit is SWANK (running Dec. 18th, 2020 to Jan. 8th, 2021), which has four large Christmas trees at four corners of the sim (be sure to turn up your draw distance in your SL viewer to be able to see them!), under which are dozens of Christmas gifts from participating vendors. You will need to join the free SWANK group to pick up these gifts of men’s and women’s apparel, footwear, jewelry, and home and garden decor.
Finally, the Firelight Hair mainstore has, in past years, allowed you to pick up all 24 hairstyles on Christmas Day, along with a free store gift card to use on any hair in the Firelight store. I don’t know if they are going to do that again this year, so be sure to pop in, just to double check on December 25th! The Advent calendar gifts are mostly women’s hairstyles, with a few male/unisex styles thrown in. The Firelight group is free to join.
Also, Entice usually puts out a store gift card as their Christmas present every year, so check that out too! The Entice group is free to join.
As promised, here are a selection of some of the wonderful freebies you can pick up as part of the Second Life 17th Birthday celebrations (more details here), which run until now until July 12th, 2020.
First, a pro tip: before you visit the Shop and Hop event, visit the SL17B Gift Boardwalk first. Why? Because many of the Shop and Hop vendors have also wisely made their gifts available here, as well as their booths at the Shop and Hop event. Trust me, you will find it much easier to get into these two sims than try to pry your way into the crowded, laggy Shop and Hop mall sims, which seem to be limited to 45 avatars each at a time, maximum. (Then again, so do the Second Life 17th Birthday sims where the Boardwalk is located.)
UPDATE June 20th, 2020: You should also know that there are a lot of gifts here at the Gift Boardwalk that are only available here, such as this striking, geometric design gown by Blue Rose Creations:
In this blogpost, I will be providing exact SLURLs to the locations at the Shop and Hop mall sims (not the SL17B Gift Boardwalk). Like I said, start at the Boardwalk first, and then, only if you cannot find it there, try to get into the Shop and Hop sims (I would strongly urge you to wait until July. The gifts aren’t going anywhere.)
I do apologize to you for using a pose stand for many of the following pictures. It just made going through all the gifts (well over 200!) a much less tedious process. I also tended to rely heavily on vendor photos of the gifts in the mall to decide what I wanted to unpack, wear, and show you in this blogpost.
First, pick up the two store credit offers available at the Shop and Hop event, which mean you can pick up whatever you want from the store later!
(UPDATE June 20th, 2020: I mistakenly had written that Blueberry was among the stores offering a store credit at the Shop and Hop, but that was back in March for their birthday, and I had even blogged about it then. Please accept my apologies for the mistake, and a thank you to Brinlea for pointing this error out to me in the comments!)
Bumblebee is offering a L$300 store credit here (just attach the HUD and click on it), and Addams is giving away L$500 in store credit here (just click on the sign at their booth).
My Favourite Clothes, Shoes, Jewelry, Hair, and Eyes
I don’t usually blog about eyes, but I will make an exception for these absolutely gorgeous Sahara eyes by Avi-Glam, available at their booth here. They come in both classic system and mesh versions (Catwa, Genus, LeLutka, and Omega). I just may be wearing this pair for a little while!
Blueberry is, once again, being extremely generous with her gifts! She is giving away a fatpack of lace-trimmed tops, plus a fatpack of bow slippers! Christmas came early, kids. (Speaking of Christmas, the pink leggings are an applier from Baby Monkey and were an Advent calendar gift from last December.)
AlaFolie‘s free gift is the Floralie Happy dress, trimmed along the bottom in black lace, which comes with a HUD with four different patterns (and you can also change the texture on the black top part of the dress to match the rest). You can pick it up here (and there are another four patterns of this dress available if you join the AlaFolie store group, which is not free). Here I have paired it with the long, wavy hair that Sintiklia is already well-known for! This is the Ruby hairstyle, which comes in 17 different colours and includes a styling HUD to wear each side forward or back as you desire (get it here).
There are some rather nice hair gifts available at the Shop and Hop mall, and this is another one: a neat and tidy, top-bun hairstyle called Kristen from Ade (here), which comes in a full fatpack of colours. The slate-blue floral tied shirt is the gift from Pixicat (here).
Lybra is offering two gifts that can be worn together as shown or separately: the top comes with two HUDs with solid colours and floral patterns, and the micro-miniskirt in matching colours and patterns (which thankfully includes panties to preserve your modesty!). You can get it here.
The hair shown below is yet another SL17B Shop and Hop freebie, the Candice hairstyle by Doux (here), which also comes in a fatpack of colours.
Bella Moda‘s genrous gift is this entire outfit: a gold and red party dress, shoes, and jewelry! This is the Celebrazione Crimson dress (available here), and all the little details on each of the pieces are examples of some truly lovely craftsmanship:
Here’s a closer look at the top of the Celebrazione dress, the necklace and the earrings:
Next up is yet another hairstyle fatpack, this one by Love, called (of course!) Lovely hair (available at their booth here), along with a sexy minidress from Pulse, which features a cutout at the back (not shown here).
The dress is sized for Maitreya Lara only, but it comes in no less than eight different colours: red as shown below, plus army, black, blue, blush, plum, white, and wine! The chain belt you see is optional and comes in four choices of metal: gold, silver, rose gold and onyx. You’re all set for the nightclub in this outfit! You can snap it up here!
(I know for a fact you can also pick up this dress and this hair at the Gift Boardwalk.)
Finally, we have the Be Mine floral headband and a moon collar from Tentacio (available here; please note that the creator has mistakenly switched the labels on the included HUD for the collar—Metal should be Leather and vice versa!):
This headband is completely adjustable in various dimensions (a feature I wish more accessories creators offered), and it comes in four different versions, with pink, red, white, and blue roses.
There are literally dozens of other gifts at both the Gift Boardwalk and the Shop and Hop mall; this is just a sampling of things which I particularly liked. There are also many home decor freebies available this time around, and tons of shoes, which I have not covered here except for the Blueberry and Bella Moda gifts.
Here’s a list of all the Shop and Hop sims. Again, I would caution you to wait a week or two until the crowd dies down and you can browse and wander in peace. The 200 participating vendors are also offering discounts on a selection of their merchandise, plus a few special items only during the SL17B celebrations!
Happy freebie shopping!
O.K., back to my vacation from the blog… 😉
UPDATE June 20th, 2020: I forgot to mention one more fabulous freebie, this beautiful deep purple and brown medieval/fantasy gown by Silvan Moon Designs! This is the Iona Destiny Elven gown in amethyst:
The set comes with a separate brown leather jerkin and arm-guards, which are one piece, in case you suddenly need to ride off to battle! The detail, as always, is delightful.
Now, I regret that I did not remember to save the SLURL for this last gift, but it is on the Gilded sim. Just look for a small suitcase on a fireplace mantel inside the store, to the right from the entrance.