Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Ryan’s Quick and Dirty Guide to the 2022 Holiday Shop and Hop

Yes, I am still percolating, but of course, the holidays wait for no one! This year, the annual Second Life Holiday Shop and Hop covers 16 sims, simply groaning with discounted items for sale. And each vendor booth has a free Christmas present for you—and a few have more than one!

I have spent the past week scouring social media for information to learn which stores are participating in this year’s Holiday Shop and Hop, and what gifts each store is giving. Then I drew up a draft list, loaded up Second Life supermodel Moesha Heartsong, and hit all 16 sims, to pick up, unpack, and inspect each gift from that list. As more information came in, I edited and updated that list, and it is now at version 3.0!

This final list consists of my picks for the best gifts from this season’s Shop and Hop (mostly fashion for female avatars, but also some male fashion, as well as any offers of gift cards or free store credit). Each item on the list includes an exact SLURL, so you can teleport directly to the gift, pick it up, and head on to your next score! Having all one sim’s gifts grouped together means less teleporting back and forth between sims, a factor to consider early on in the event, when some popular sims get congested with avatar traffic.

I have posted that detailed list to my own Second Life group, called the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies group (just search for “ryanschultz”, all one word, under Groups in Search, and you will find it easily). More information on 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 throughout the year, which never make it to this blog!

As an alternative to my list, or if you really want to make sure you haven’t missed any gifts that I skipped over, I still feel that the single best way to tackle the Shop and Hop events is to watch Naria Panthar’s videos on YouTube.

Naria always posts one or two videos where she unpack every single gift from the event, both non-wearable items and avatar clothing, and shows you what they look like. Watch the videos with the audio at two times normal speed, and keep a pen and paper handy to note the stores which have gifts you want (Naria herself recommends watching and listening at 2X speed, so it doesn’t take as long!).

Then, use this handy list which Linden Lab has provided to find your Shop and Hop store by name, teleport in, and snap up your present! (Note that, in some cases, a store SLURL from this list might accidentally stick up behind a wall or, in one case, on top of the roof! This is another good reason to join the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies group—I have tested all the SLURLs, and that should not happen!)

The Holiday Shop and Hop event is on now, and runs until January 2nd, 2023, so you have plenty of time to pop in and scoop up some fabulous freebies for yourself!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Gifts from the 9th Anniversary of the Kustom9 Event

At the ripe old age of 19, the virtual world of Second Life has a thriving in-world economy, and part of that ecosystem are the regular shopping events, which SL’s store owners often use to showcase their new releases. One such event, Kustom9, is celebrating its 9th anniversary with a treasure trove of gifts, if you join the Kustom9 group for free.

The rechristened Moesha Heartsong is showing you two of these free gifts in the video below. The animation override (AO) is by Body Language, and has a youthful, cutesy, kawaii air to it, don’t you think? (What I usually like to do is reuse only the animations I like, adding them to an existing AO, and discarding the rest. I mean, how can you go wrong for free?)

The dress Moesha is wearing is the Kustom9 present from the Luas booth. It’s a special Hallowe’en edition of the Sena dress, which comes in the following sizes: Maitreya Lara and Petite; Meshbody Legacy and Perky; INITHIUM Kupra; and eBody Reborn.

The gift from Apple Blossom is the Shay minidress in a champagne colour (sizes: Maitreya Lara and Petite; Meshbody Legacy and Perky; and INITHIUM Kupra).

One fun unisex gift is from Spoiled, and it’s this highly configurable heart-shaped Cheeky balloon, with comes with a variety of full-body and arm-only Bento poses (the arm-only poses mean that you can use it with your existing AO).

There are 3 separate Bento hold poses for each of the right arm and left arm, and you get a HUD with endless colour options for the balloon itself, and even the string! There are also many options for the quote on the balloon (most are birthday related), or you can turn the text off completely, as you can see in the black urban angel picture above.

Now, this is my opportunity to tell you about one of my pet peeves in Second Life—HUDs with text so small that you cannot read them! You cannot tell me that, on this huge HUD, you couldn’t have made the quotes section larger, and actually readable?!?? Despite this admittedly minor quibble, this is a very generous gift, and I expect I will trot out all my SL alts to pick one up!

The ninth anniversary round of the Kustom9 shopping event runs from October 18th to November 8th, 2022, so you have plenty of time to swoop down and sweep up some fabulous freebies!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Spend L$98 at Beauty Factory and Get 296 Items of Womenswear!

If your female avatar likes to wear pink, then do I have a bargain for you! Every October, the Beauty Factory womenswear store has an event to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this year, they are giving away a big pink box stuffed to overflowing with pink outfits. Baby pink, hot pink, and every shade of pink in between! Just teleport to the Beauty Factory store, join their group for only L$98, and click on the big pink box in the centre lobby to pick up your copy (see black arrow):

Find a spot with build rights, and unpack the big pink box. Inside are five more boxes, and inside those five boxes are a total of two hundred and seventy-four items of clothing! You’ll have to unpack each item separately, which might take you a little while, but it is so worth it!

Dresses, gowns, jumpsuits, rompers, tops, pants, leggings, fishnet, you name it—if it’s pink, it’s in there!! All items fit Maitreya Lara and Lara-compatible mesh bodies (e.g. LucyBody Atenea and Kalhene Analexa). Most items also come in a size to fit the Meshbody Legacy body, and a few come in sizes to fit Belleza Freya and INITHIUM Kupra.

Second Life supermodel Vanity Fair models just a few of these outfits (please click on each image in the gallery below to see it in a bigger size):

If you were not already a member of the Beauty Factory store group, your L$98 join fee nets you 274 gifts from the big pink box, PLUS another 22 group gifts from their spacious Gift Room, on the opposite side of the wall where you picked up the big pink box (exact SLURL). That’s a total of 296 items for only L$98, which works out to L$0.33 per item—a deal by any measure!

The catch is, you need to act quickly, because this bargain only runs until noon (Second Life Time/Pacific Time) of Friday, October 21st, 2022. So hurry down!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free Gifts to Celebrate the 12th Anniversary of the Firestorm Viewer!

Second Life is probably unique among metaverse platforms in that the most popular viewer software is not a product of the company that makes Second Life, Linden Lab! That would be the Firestorm viewer, created by the community itself by a non-profit company called the Phoenix Firestorm Project:

The Phoenix Firestorm Project Inc. is a non-profit, incorporated organization whose mandate is to improve the user experience in Second Life and other virtual worlds by providing an advanced open source viewer with greater features, options and interface flexibility than the standard offering by Linden Lab. The project has approximately 80 volunteers working for it and are managed through departments divided up as Development, Support, Quality Assurance and Gateway. We provide live support 24/7 in nine different languages inside of Second Life through our support groups and on the web via our issue tracker.

And to celebrate its 12 anniversary, Firestorm threw a big party yesterday, Saturday, September 3rd. And in a circle around the four-sim event stage are free gifts from Firestorm and other Second Life vendors for you! All gifts are free and you do not need to join a group to pick them up.

The present from Firelight Hair is a new unisex fatpack of hair called Glen/Gwyn, which comes in both male and female versions, rigged and unrigged, plus a HUD with 32 different textures:

Firelight is also generously giving out the same gift to SL users that it put out a year ago, for Firestorm’s 11th anniversary! This shorter unisex hairstyle is called David/Davina, and also comes in male and female versions, both rigged and unrigged, with a texture HUD as shown below:

Next up we have a casual outfit featuring three more free gifts:

The T-shirt is the present from Addams, and it comes in a wide variety of sizes to fit most female mesh bodies, and in two colours: white as shown above, and black. (Note that there is also a men’s T-shirt gift, which also comes in black and white!)

The gift from Firestorm is a fatpack of this unisex baseball cap featuring the distinctive Firestorm phoenix logo, with comes the the HUD shown below, where you can mix and match the colours of the cap and the logo as you please. There are two versions of the baseball cap, one for smaller heads and one for larger heads, and both can be resized simply by clicking on them, which pulls up a menu. It’s the perfect accessory for any fan of the Firestorm viewer as your avatar strolls the grid!

Finally, there’s a very nice gift from virtual shoemaker Versov, these wonderfully detailed sneakers, which comes in sizes to fit men and women! These special-edition Firestov sneakers come in sizes to fit feet for the following mesh bodies: Maitreya Lara, Signature Gianni and Geralt, Legacy (male and female), Belleza (male and female), and Slink (male and female). There’s also an unrigged pair in the folder, which you can adjust and resize to fit other brands of feet. They are a keeper!

There are also many gifts for you fans of breedables (which I am not). Here’s the blogpost on the official Firestorm blog listing all the free gifts. I’m not sure how long all these gifts will be available, but I seem to remember that the Firestorm 11th anniversary gifts were available to pick up for at least a month after the events held at the stage. As I said, the event stage is a circle covering four adjoining sims, with the same gifts available around the perimeter of the stage in each sim. According to the event listing:

SLURLs: LOAD BALANCING! If your first initial starts with…click a corresponding SLURL:
A-J http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Firestorm%20Ghost%20Town/14/240/3902
K-R http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Firestorm%20Aerodrome/238/15/3901
S-Z http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Firestorm%20Dow%20Forest/237/238/3902

Since the big party was yesterday, you could choose any of these SLURLs and you shouldn’t have any problem getting in! I wouldn’t wait too long to pick these wonderful presents up, though.

PRO TIP: Did you know that you can pick up many other free gifts at the VERSOV main store, including three fatpacks of high-quality unisex sneakers of various designs and colours? Join the VERSOV group for free to pick up the fabulous freebies, which are located on panels at the front counter of the store…here’s your taxi!

Happy freebie shopping! 😉