UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free Gifts from the 2021 Valentine’s Shop and Hop Event

Have you joined the RyanSchultz.com Steals, Deals & Freebies group yet? I will be posting EVEN MORE news and tips on finding fabulous freebies and bargains in Second Life than I post here on the blog! More information on this brand new SL group here.


The annual Second Life Valentine’s Shop & Hop event officially opens tomorrow, February 5th, and runs until February 17th, 2021. Almost all of the participating merchants in the eight-sim-wide shopping mall have a free gift set out for their customers, over one hundred gifts in total, and the following are my picks for the most fabulous fashion freebies from the event!

All SLURLs in this blogpost should take you directly to the location of the freebie in the Shop & Hop mall, so let’s get started…on your mark, get set, go!

Women’s Apparel and Footwear

Here Vanity Fair is wearing the cute, playful Adore You dress from Candy Kitten, which features a broad, laced-up belt, and comes with a HUD to change the colour and pattern of every part, with six texture options for both the top and skirt! it’s sized to fit Maitreya regular and petite, Belleza Freya, and Legacy female mesh bodies.

The gift from Glitzz is this three-piece set called Woke Up, a lacy pink bra and matching panties and a loose white shirt to wear over top, which comes in the following sizes: Maitreya, Freya, Hourglass, and Legacy.

This fun and fuzzy bodycon dress called Mary is the Valentine’s Shop and Hop present from Rosary (sizes: Maitreya, Freya Perky, Hourglass, Legacy, and Kupra). This curve-hugging dress comes with a HUD as shown below, to change the colour of the dress to any of eleven different shades!

Celestina’s Weddings has an opulent, beautiful jewelry set as a gift, which includes the earrings, necklace, and ring as shown, as well as a matching bejeweled purse!

The gift from Valentina E. is the aptly-named Slinky Dress in lavender (which comes in a Maitreya Lara size only):

From ALTER Clothing & Accessories comes the Berry bare-shouldered ruched dress, in a complete fatpack of 29 colours as shown below (sizes: Maitreya Lara; Belleza Venus, Isis, and Freya; Slink Physique and Hourglass; Tonic Curvy and Fine).

From Envious comes this cute Kisses Love outfit, which includes the cropped sweater, the polka-dot miniskirt with garters, and the lace-up platform boots!

This next casual outfit Vanity Fair is wearing consists of two separate gifts from the 2021 Valentine’s Shop and Hop! The lovely ruffled floral top is the present from the Pixicat booth (sizes: Maitreya, Freya, Hourglass, and Legacy), and the embroidered denim skirt with the optional chain belt is the gift from Tachinni Clothing (sizes: Maitreya, Isis, Freya, Hourglass, and Legacy).

This sexy black top, skirt, and harness (all in one piece) is the gift from Asteria (sizes: Maitreya and Petite; Legacy and Perky; Belleza Isis and Freya; Signature Hourglass).

From the swan pond in the middle of the Deep Static booth, you can pick up a gift box with these Delia Valentine’s glasses, which include a HUD with 8 textures for the frames, and 9 different lens tints:

Now let’s take a look at some of the footwear gifts at the Valentine’s Shop and Hop.

ISON‘s gift are a complete fatpack (21 colours, plus 9 bonus colours) of these mid-heel height strappy leather shoes called Kenya, which come in sizes to fit Maitreya, Slink, Legacy, and Belleza Freya mesh feet. (Note that I had to adjust Vanity’s foot size under the body sliders, to get these to look right on her feet.)

From Gabrielle Hamelin come these black floral platform boots, perfect for stomping on someone’s heart for (Anti-)Valentine’s Day! They come in a mid-heel height, for Maitreya, Belleza, Slink, and Legacy mesh feet, plus an unrigged version for all other feet, so they should fit you!

Baiastice always gives such wonderful gifts at every Shop and Hop event, and this round is no exception! At the Baistice booth, you can pick up these deep red, drop-dead, thigh-high Gio stretch boots (sizes: mid-heel height for Maitreya, Belleza Freya, Slink Hourglass, Singature Alice, and Legacy mesh feet).

The gift from the FashionNatic booth are these Uma boots, to fit Maitreya, Belleza Freya, and Legacy female feet (note: not Slink, but you can always alpha out your feet for these boots). You can tint each of four different parts of this boot separately to one of no less than fifty different colours using the HUD, to match literally any outfit! Very versatile!

Finally, from the Son!a Edge booth comes yet another stunning ballgown gift for which they have become renowned, the Athena gown in lilac, which comes in sizes to fit Maitreya (and Petite), Legacy (and Perky), Freya Perky, and Hourglass mesh bodies. You’re sure to turn some heads in this at your next fancy soirée in Second Life!

Women’s Hair

The gift from Vanity Hair is this fun, piled-high, über-teased Miss Lu updo, which comes in a fatpack of colours:

Men’s Apparel and Unisex Accessories

Etham is giving away a men’s wardrobe staple, a plain T-shirt with a 3/4-length sleeve, which includes a HUD with 8 different shades of black, red, and pink for Valentine’s Day. The shirt comes in in sizes to fit Belleza Jake, Legacy, Slink, and Signature Gianni and Geralt male bodies, and a “classic” fit if your body isn’t one of the aforementioned models.

A&D Clothing has a gift on some John Lennon-style sunglasses with round lenses, with a choice of eight different images for the reflections; these glasses are unisex and resizable.

Kungler’s Jewelry has a rather interesting gift: a set of two Valentine’s rings that can be worn together by one person, or split up, to be worn by two lovers! The rings come with a texture-change HUD, and the sign states that they are “highly editable and Bento friendly” (which means that you’ll probably need to do a bit of work to get them to fit you properly). These rings come in two sizes (regular and large) for either the right or the left hand.

Free Store Credit and Gift Cards

Once again, several stores are offering free store credit and gift cards! Among them are:

  • Addams: L$500 in free store credit (with no expiry date!)
  • Blueberry: L$400 in free store credit (expires in two weeks)
  • Bumblebee: a L$500 store gift card
  • EscalateD: L$250 in free store credit
  • Tachinni Clothing: L$500 in free store credit if you join their group (there’s a L$15 group join fee; the free credit expires February 24th, 2021), plus a gift of an embroidered denim miniskirt with an optional chain belt (sizes: Maitreya Lara; Belleza Isis and Freya; Slink Hourglass, Legacy)
  • ViSion: L$450 in free store credit if you join their group (there’s a L$18 group join fee; the free credit expires February 23rd, 2021), plus a fatpack of panties (sizes: Maitreya Lara; Belleza Isis and Freya; Slink Hourglass; Legacy; Kupra)

UPDATE Feb. 5th, 2021: Daisy Haven told me about yet another store that is offering free store credit. Go to the Mangula booth, and click the sign indicated by the green arrow below to receive L$300 in free store credit (expires February 20th, 2021):

Above the credit gift sign are two free gifts of women’s footwear, no group needed! And on the other side of the wall, there are three gifts especially for people who subscribe to the Mangula group—and it doesn’t take up one of your precious free group slots! The subscribe panel is located right at the centre of the booth, below the red Mangula logo, and it is free to subscribe (and there are many other subscriber-only gifts located at the Mangula mainstore location).

Thanks for the tip, Daisy!

Happy freebie shopping!


In these pictures, Vanity Fair is also wearing:

Photo by Laura Ockel on Unsplash

Dr. Tom Boellstorff’s Research on Virtual Cultures in Pandemic Times: You Can Take Part in a Survey About Your Use of Animal Crossing and Second Life

How are you using virtual worlds during the coronavirus pandemic?
(today’s styling credits for Vanity Fair can be found at the end of this blogpost)

Wagner James Au, of the long-running virtual worlds blog New World Notes, reports on a timely research study being undertaken by Dr. Tom Boellstorff, a professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine:

The study is led by my pal Tom Boellstorff of UC Irvine, who’s easily among the most preeminent academics with a focus on virtual worlds. (He’s the author of Coming of Age in Second Life, among many other related works.)

“I’ve been conducting various research projects in Second Life for almost 17 years now,” Tom tells me, explaining the genesis of this study. “A couple years ago, I completed a study of disability in Second Life, and after that wonderful research experience moved on to some other projects (I’m actually finishing up a book on the Intellivision video game system from the early 1980s, which is great fun!) But then when COVID-19 hit, I decided to return to Second Life to see how COVID-19 is reshaping online interaction. I was lucky enough to get support from the National Science Foundation that means I have three wonderful graduate research assistants. Until next April we are conducting research in both Second Life and Animal Crossing. It’s a wild ride, setting up research with very little warning, but it’s been a great experience for all of us.”

(I have written about Tom before here, here and here on my blog. You can watch Draxtor Despres’ full hour-long documentary about Dr. Tom Boellstorff’s earlier research on ability-diverse users of virtual worlds, Our Digital Selves: My Avatar is Me, on YouTube. I can recommend this film highly! Drax did a great job.)

According to the webpage describing the research project:

This research project is about how COVID-19 is reshaping online interaction. As many have noted, what we call “social distancing” is really physical distancing. Due to the pandemic, an unprecedented number of people have been socializing online, in new ways. Better understanding these new digital cultures will have consequences for COVID prevention: successful physical distancing will rely on new forms of social closeness online. It will also have consequences for everything from work and education to climate change.

We are a research team using the methods of anthropology to study online social interaction. Anthropologists use in-depth qualitative methods, in particular participant observation, interviews, and focus groups, to understand culture—the meanings, practices, and relationships that make up the “common sense” of our everyday lives. People often think of anthropologists as people who travel to “exotic” or “remote” cultures, but the methods and theories of anthropology can be used to study culture anywhere in the world. That now includes online cultures.

Our research takes place entirely online, focusing on two virtual worlds: Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Second Life. We work as a team in these two virtual worlds to understand how people are using virtual worlds in the wake of the pandemic. Central to the project is that there is not just one way to be online. Virtual worlds are places where individuals interact with avatars in online environments. They have different characteristics than social network sites like Facebook, streaming websites like YouTube, or chat programs like Zoom, though they share some features with all of these. Better understanding how people are using virtual worlds in the wake of the pandemic might provide innovative strategies for preventing viral transmission, by forging new forms of social closeness in the context of physical distancing. It might also help us better respond to the transformed social lives we are all destined to encounter in the wake of COVID-19.

Among the preliminary research findings is the following:

At least some of the time, virtual worlds can be a way to be alone, not a way to socialize. Due to the pandemic, many people are living with family members and roommates, and have less privacy than before. Virtual worlds can be places to get away from this. In other worlds, the pandemic has led not just to social distancing, but what we might term being “socially packed.” Virtual worlds can provide a different kind of “social distancing” to counter this loss of privacy.

Here’s the Animal Crossing: New Horizons survey and the Second Life survey. Each survey should take 10–15 minutes to complete. If you play Animal Crossing or use Second Life, please take part in the surveys!


Vanity Fair is wearing:


Thank you to Wagner James Au for the heads-up!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Kaithleen’s

Kaithleen’s is a store with a wonderful selection of women’s clothing—everything from formal ballgowns to sexy lingerie! If you join the Kaithleen’s group for just L$5, you can pick up nine free gifts from the group gift wall:

Here Vanity Fair is wearing two of the group gits: a metal-trimmed minidress that comes in black or pink (with a HUD to change the metal to one of seven different colours), plus the updated version of Kaithleen’s universal thong underneath (which also comes with a HUD with 17 different colours). The thong comes in versions to fit the Maitreya Lara, Belleza (Venus, Isis, and Freya), Slink (Physique and Hourglass), eBody Curvy, and the new TMP Legacy mesh avatar bodies.

But there’s also a hunt going on until Sept. 30th! Search for rotating golden coins hidden throughout the Kaithleen’s mainstore and you can snap up some well-designed outfits for only L$10 each:

Let’s look at three of the hunt items. The Snow ballgown in midnight blue has some lovely attention to detail, with lacing up the back and metal eyelets, both of which you can recolour using the included HUD:

Back view of the Snow gown

Next up is the curve-hugging black Ava Chance catsuit (there’s a HUD to change the colour of the stripes and the straps):

Finally, we have the beautiful Cream Cake ballgown in white, absolutely perfect for your Second Life wedding or another formal occasion!

In these pictures, Vanity Fair is also wearing:

All pictures were taken at Kaithleen’s mainstore and at the Angel Manor Estate in Second Life.

UPDATED Editorial: Moving from Avatar 1.0 to Avatar 2.0 in Sansar—A Look at the Gains and Losses, and Why I Think Linden Lab Has Made A Mistake with the New Default Female Avatar 2.0

Let’s make one thing very clear: I am not a happy camper. My first two blogposts I made very early this morning about the most recent update to Sansar (here and here) were bouquets to Ebbe Altberg and his team for a job well done, but this third blogpost is about a major beef I have with the new Avatar 2.0 system, specifically the new female avatar.

I first had inklings that something was wrong when people were complaining about the female avatar proportions on the Sansar Discord. I wrote up a blogpost about it, Cara Linden responded and I posted her response, and then I promptly forgot about it.

But today. TODAY….

I decided to load up my Vanity Fair avatar to see what kind of impact the move to Avatar 2.0 would have on her inventory. I already knew that I would lose all the old custom avatars, as well as any rigged clothing and hair, but I wanted to see what I was left with, and how I could work with what was left.

The change was actually pretty wrenching for me. I hadn’t anticipated that I would lose EVERY. SINGLE. F***ING. PAIR. OF. SHOES. I had ever bought! I was left with one pair of tan boots and that was it. I would have thought that at least shoes could have been carried over from Avatar 1.0 to Avatar 2.0!

And, as expected, all my old hairstyles were gone, replaced by the six default female hairstyles, none of which I liked. *sigh*

Another very unpleasant surprise was that Linden Lab removed all their previous default clothing from my inventory, except for the futuristic Nexus top, pants, and shoes I was wearing! What the hell, Linden Lab?!?? Couldn’t you have offered us some NON science-fiction outfits? Are we supposed to be an all-science-fiction, all the time, now?!??

I am not a fan of any of the preset face shapes, or the choice of skin tones and eye colours. Would it have killed Linden Lab to give us a few more options in these areas, especially since we have to wait for custom skins and eyes? This is the best I could come up with on short notice, without touching any of the sliders or the face deformation buttons:

Vanity Fair, Avatar 2.0

A little boring, but a perfectly serviceable starting point.

Now to get to the main reason I am so upset. The default basic female body shape is absolutely ridiculous. She’s too elongated, her shoulders and hips are too narrow, and her arms look like they have no muscles at all! I honestly cannot believe that we have been given such an unrealistic starter female avatar. What the hell was Linden Lab thinking?!?? I consider this to be a definite step backwards, and the sooner that Linden Lab implements proper body sliders and body deformations, the better.

So now it’s time to try on some of the Marvelous Designer-created clothing which survived the transition from Avatar 1.0 to Avatar 2.0, to see how well it fits and how much adjusting is needed. The first thing I tried on was a simple white top, which by default fit far below her actual shoulders:

Using the new Transform Item button on the Worn Items window, I tried to adjust the top to fit my new, overly-elongated body:

You can now edit clothing using tools which will be familiar to users of other virtual worlds such as Second Life: translate, rotate, and scale:

The fourth button allows you to adjust all three at the same time:

So, after a bit of fiddling, here is what I was able to come up with:

So yes, the tools are there for you to be able to make your old clothing fit the new avatars, but you are going to have to do a lot of fiddling and tweaking and adjusting. Even worse, you are going to have to do all that fiddling and adjusting all over again if you take the item off and then put it back on from your inventory, because when you put it back on, it will automatically go to the same spot on your avatar body.

It also means that any clothing originally designed for Avatar 1.0 avatars will be a pain in the ass to use, because it will not fit the new avatars well by default. Most clothing makers will probably land up just removing older items from the Sansar Store completely, since they won’t fit as neatly and automatically as any new clothing specifically designed for Avatar 2.0 avatars will.

At this point, I’m a really very glad that I have so few items in my store on the Sansar Store, since I now am pretty much forced to redo them all. And yes, I am angry about that.

And keep in mind that this sort of fiddling, tweaking and adjusting of old clothing designed for Avatar 1.0 will be a major stumbling block to new users of Sansar, who will not understand why their clothing “doesn’t fit right”. I can only imagine how much work that somebody has to do now, who has already put dozens, or even hundreds, of items of clothing on the Sansar Store, in order to make them work better for the Avatar 2.0 avatars. It’ll be like starting over from scratch. This is very clearly NOT going to be the smooth process that was originally promised by Linden Lab. If I were a clothing maker who invested a lot of time and money into making clothing to date, I would be furious at Linden Lab for making such major changes to the avatar. Why was such a drastic change necessary? Why wasn’t an effort made to keep at least some sort of backwards compatibility?

And finally, and most damning of all…

I put on my VR headset and looked down myself as Vanity Fair, and I was HORRIFIED! My forearms look like toothpicks, and my hands are much too small! I look like someone with a wasting disease or a small child, not a grown woman!

The difference between Avatar 1.0 and Avatar 2.0 is so jarring that it is immersion-breaking. It’s also a complete deal-breaker for me. This is just a truly horrible default female avatar and at this point, I don’t think I will even bother to design clothing for it until it is replaced or improved. I’m that unhappy with it.

What the hell was wrong with the much more realistic proportions of the default female Avatar 1.0? Why did Linden Lab f*** this up so badly?? What were they thinking?!?? Let’s do a direct comparison, wearing the same outfit, between Avatar 1.0 and Avatar 2.0:

Vanity Fair, Avatar 1.0: This is what a real woman looks like
Vanity Fair, Avatar 2.0: Way too tall, hips too narrow, too thin, hands too small, looks like a Barbie doll

If you can’t see that there is something seriously wrong with the default female Avatar 2.0 just by comparing them side by side, then I give up. There were clearly drastic design decisions made that were NOT communicated by Linden Lab effectively to the users. This is NOT what we asked for. This is NOT what we wanted.


UPDATE: O.K. I’ve had a chance to calm down and think this over.

I think it is highly unlikely that Linden Lab is going to roll us back to Avatar 1.0, but I really disagree with the direction they decided to go for the female avatars. Landon Linden reported from the official Sansar Discord in response to this blogpost:

We’re working to get body morph in before the end of the year. It is a top priority for us, too.

And this is a bit of comfort. I keep forgetting that this is a beta, and that things like this will happen. We all take part in the beta knowing that something could come along and break everything for us, and we have to start over again. That’s part of the deal. I made the assumption that things would not change, and when they did change, and that change potentially impacted an avatar clothing business that I would very much like to get off the ground, I got upset.

I’m sorry.

SECOND UPDATE: Market forces to the rescue! We now have some good interim solutions to the new default female avatar proportions, and I’m much happier!