Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns! One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny, Hot cross buns! If you have no daughters, Give them to your sons One ha’ penny, Two ha’ penny, Hot Cross Buns!
English Nursery Rhyme, 1700s
I haven’t been blogging as much as I like lately, mainly because of how busy I am at my full-time paying job as a university librarian, and I know that there are lots of news and events happening out there in the metaverse which I am not reporting on!
Lately when I come home from work, I am exhausted, and my favourite means of relaxing and unwinding is, of course, Second Life, where I continue to scour the grid for fabulous freebies. (Remember that most of them I do not blog about here, but I do post notices to my in-world group, the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies group!)
I am currently working on a special project with my fellow freebie fashionistas of the Freebie Queens Discord server, where we are drawing up a comprehensive listing of SL stores with free gifts. And it was while I was checking through a first draft of this list that I came across a wonderful freebie: a fatpack of hair buns! These buns come in a wide variety of high-quality hair textures, and have a natural, relaxed (some would say, messy) look to them. I think they’re perfect, and best of all, they’re completely FREE!
It’s part of a collection of previous group gifts offered by L’Etre/Doux. All you have to do is teleport into their store (SLURL), join the L’Etre group for free, and then click on the image of the gift box shown below to receive the package:
The gift box contains many items—earrings, chokers, eyeshadow, face glitter, even a witch’s hat!—but I want to focus on the set of unrigged hair buns by Doux. These hair buns come with 7 different HUDs, each with 18 different textures:
blacks and whites;
pastels and ombres; and
Please note that the hairbases are not included, but you usually already have several sets with the Bento mesh heads you purchase or get as gifts, such as this lovely Lilly head, a previous Christmastime group gift from LeLutka:
And because they are adjustable (unfortunately, not resizable), you can easily use them with hats and caps, as I did with this Catwa HDPRO mesh head (again, another previous gift):
Of course, these buns are unisex, so you can rock a manbun as you gallivant around the grid if you so desire! This avatar is wearing a Catwa head with a classic Bakes on Mesh female hairbase I pulled from the LeLutka Lilly gift head:
If you are looking for free hairbases to use with these buns, the No Match hair store in SL has you covered! Just visit the store and look for two gift boxes on the ground (exact SLURL):
These boxes are free, and you do not need to join a group to purchase them. One box contains classic hairbases for a full range of hair colours, plus appliers for Catwa heads and LeLutka classic heads, plus Omega appliers; the other box contains hairbases for LeLutka Evo X and Akeruka ADVX mesh heads.
So what are you waiting for? Move your buns and get these buns! 😉
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.