When I moved to Arizona, one of my first missions was to visit the Grand Canyon. Something I only had familiarity with through pictures and film references, I was awed by the thought of seeing this extraordinary geological sight in person, and I made the trip with a mixture of eager anticipation and deep reverence.
But something I was not expecting was that the Grand Canyon (as the official website brilliantly describes), “overwhelms our senses through its immense size”. I felt as though every iota of my vision was filled, my peripheral vision straining for a small measure of relief, and after a few minutes of ardently gazing, but seemingly not being able to take it all in, I genuinely felt a sense of anxious regret settling upon me. “Why do I feel so unfilled by this?” I wondered. “I feel so small, insignificant, unworthy. Is this just too immense or intense to be fully experienced in a meaningful way?”
So I did the only thing that I knew would center me: I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. The crystal clarity of Northern Arizona air was kissed with a gentle, autumnal chill that filled my lungs and quieted my mind. And in an unusual but seemingly perfect way, that’s when I began to finally to feel the fullness of an appreciation for nature and its incredible and awe-inspiring power.
But Mother Nature, as my best friend Lux wrote the other day, “is beautiful, but can also be devastating and terrible.” He knows this firsthand; his home country of Italy was beset by a powerful earthquake on August 24th, its harrowing tremors and aftershocks claiming nearly 300 lives. When heartrending events like this occur, whether caused by natural disasters or man-made violence, it’s human nature to ask why, to wonder at the sad destiny or fate that allows so many lives to be claimed long before their time. But something equally profound also takes place: we, who are so often consumed by the frustrations, stresses, and disappointments of our own personal microcosm, begin to make a profound nascent shift into caring about the macrocosm. Apathy gives way to altruism; callousness is replaced by compassion. It’s as if all at once, we remember that we’re all in this together. That being able to give our empathy, care, and support to others is perhaps the greatest expression of our humanity.
We shouldn’t need to stand on the edge of a vast and astounding canyon, or wait for the aftermath of a significant and life-claiming event, to understand the depth and breadth our significance and value; to recognize our ability to be gracious and compassionate; to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and open enough to receive, and to begin sharing those gifts with others. All is full of love. Sometimes all we need to do to see it and feel it is to close our eyes, and open our hearts. ♡
“You’ll be given love, you’ll be taken care of
You’ll be given love, you have to trust it
Maybe not from the sources you have poured yours
Maybe not from the directions you are staring at
Twist your head around, it’s all around you
All is full of love, all around you …”
Style & Pose
Just Because Top – Tess Tank Top (Fatpack for Maitreya Lara) *
Just Because Pants – Jen Capris (Fatpack for Maitreya Lara) *
Thalia Heckroth Shoes – Ciel Ankle-Strap Sandals (in Blush for Maitreya Mid) *
!Bang Poses – Recline 4 (Edited)
Destination & Inspiration
It’s really marvelous how genuinely, sublimely happy you can feel, even when life is just smoothly sailing along without any particular excitement, surprises, or razzle-dazzle. I think that’s the pinnacle of contentment: being happy where you are, but eager and welcoming for more.
It makes me think of my friends Kess and Chloe, both of whom have expressed wishing to explore the grid more, while so often finding themselves at familiar and comfortable locales. There is a certain bliss in the familiar, one that I most definitely feel myself, while also longing to indulge in my wanderlust. How often I wish for more hours in the day! But even though I’m barely sleeping and finding only rare, spare time for exploring, I’m still so keenly happy to be home again.
I had wondered and worried if perhaps Second Life might feel like it was falling into gentle decline, with Project Sansar nipping at our heels and untold new sights and experiences to explore. But for me, SL is like that amazing local coffee house or indie record store where you can go to relax, indulge in new finds or old favorites, and feel perfectly at ease. Even if I’m just standing in my skybox, naked but for a hairbase and a smile, I still feel contentment at being in and of the virtual world. ♡
Body // Lara Mesh Body v3.5 by Maitreya
Head & Skin // Melissa by Genesis Lab
Hair // Ursula (Blondes 03) by TRUTH (Sale Room)
Eyes // Specular Eyes (Forest) by Avi-Glam
Nails // Diva (Gold) by alaskametro<3
Head Circlet // Pearl Drop Headpiece (Gold) by Amala
Jewelry // Body Jewelry (Gold) by Apple May Designs for We <3 Roleplay, through May 31st
Ring by // Sweet Rose Ring (Gold) by Fawny
Dress // Tropical Maxi Dress (Fatpack) by Pixicat
Shoes // Faith Sandals (Cherry for Maitreya Flat) by Fri.
Pose & Destination
It’s the end of another beautiful week, and we’re right on the cusp of August, hooray! This is traditionally my favorite summertime month since moving to the desert, as we have some terrifically fearsome monsoons in August, and as a longtime thunderstorm lover, it’s often my only chance to experience a good rainstorm all year long. I certainly wouldn’t hope to be caught in the rain in the dress I’m wearing today though! ;)
In my First Life, I rarely wear white as I’m so fair skinned, it just washes me out and gives me a bit of a ghostly pallor. But paired with a lusciously tanned skin in Second Life, I’m in love with its simplicity and the way it perfectly sets off my gold and neutral accessories. Today I’m featuring exclusives from the current rounds of The Epiphany, The Fantasy Collective, and Shiny Shabby; please check below for all the details!
Body / Maitreya | Mesh Body – Lara v3.4
Skin / Birdy | Jaime – Toffee (Natural) | Group Gift
Hair / Truth | Essena – Variety HUD | Group Gift
Eyes / Arte | Forest Green Eyes (S)
Lashes / Mon Cheri | Falsies Mesh Eyelashes – Upper
Eyeliner / Glam Affair | Couture Eyeliner No. 02
Lips / Birdy | Gloss – Raspberry | Group Gift
Freckles / Birdy | Freckles GG | Group Gift
Nails / alaskametro<3 | Metallic Pack – Diva Gold (Maitreya, Slink, Eve & Omega Appliers) | SL Marketplace
Tattoo / Things | Porsenna Tattoo (Omega, Slink, TMP & Belleza Appliers + system tattoo layers)
* Headpiece / Salt & Pepper | Jungle Headpiece – Gold | Gacha Item at The Epiphany, through August 4th
* Necklace / Salt & Pepper | Fea Necklace | The Fantasy Collective, through August 15th
* Ring / Salt & Pepper | Jungle Ring – Gold | Gacha Item at The Epiphany, through August 4th
* Dress / Azuchi | Suma Dress – White (in Maitreya & Slink Fitmesh + Standard Sizes) | Shiny Shabby Event, through August 15th
* Shoes / KC Couture | Luxor Heels (for Maitreya, Belleza, Eve, TMP and Slink High)
Salt & Pepper creates beautiful accessories and clothing, and I’m so captivated by their items from the Jungle Set at this month’s round of The Epiphany! I’m wearing the Jungle headpiece and ring in gold, which both lend a perfect touch of bohemian glam to any outfit. I’m also wearing the lovely Fea Necklace (exclusive to The Fantasy Collective this month), which is elegantly rustic (there’s an interesting combination of words!) and beautifully detailed with perfect gold and neutral tones. My shoes are from my beloved KC Couture, and thanks to the wonderful HUD that comes with the Luxor Heels, I found the perfect combination of a wooden base, bronze straps and gold embellishments.
And that lovely dress which I dare not prance about in the rain in? It’s by Azuchi and is a Shiny Shabby exclusive, available in 3 solid colors (black, red and white) and 3 tropical patterns. It’s another design that’s deceptively simple but beautifully detailed; and best part is that it comes in Maitreya and Slink fitmesh versions, as well as Standard Sizes. It’s also materials enabled, which gives it a beautiful, soft sheen and really brings out all the lovely details. I’m wearing the Maitreya version, and I did opt to alpha out my pelvis because my AO has a lil’ bit of booty-pop going on (entirely unintentional, I assure you!) but I’m thrilled with not having to fiddle with upper body alpha bits, which I always find to be the trickiest. Thank you, Azuchi! ♥
To wrap up, my sincere appreciation to Birdy for the gorgeous Jaime skin (with optional freckles and lip gloss) that’s on offer as their VIP Group gift. I had at first thought that the toffee skintone may be a touch too deep for me (once a pale gal, always a pale gal!) but having no hope of perfectly luscious, tanned skin in my First Life, having it in Second Life is a special thrill. And it’s just so pretty! The group is L$150 to join, and that gets you access to group gift skins, eyeliners, a couple of ridiculously adorable wearable pets, and also gives you access to gifts from the Foxes and Alchemy brands as well. Sincerely recommended!
I’m off to make my final push to visit every last swiftly-ending event. Be sure to save a few – or lots – of Lindens, because the Mesh Body Addicts Fair and WearHouse Event both launch on August 1st, and we have Enchantment coming up two weeks later. And of course oodles more! Are you fashionably exhausted yet? Time to mainline caffeine, because a new month is upon us! xoxo
Do you believe in fate? Or serendipity? I can say with surety that I certainly do! I was gathering up the lovely bits and bobs for this look when a notecard dropped on me as if manna from SL Destination Heaven (or, the SL Blogger Support group). It introduced the Ironwood Hills sim, a spooky and wonderfully atmospheric build filled with curious corners and sinister desolation. Its mood was exactly what I was looking for, so I teleported over and enjoyed my time there immensely. Highly recommend checking it out!
I’m wearing a sultry body suit from ascending brand, Rising Hysteria. (See what I did there?) It comes in Charcoal (shown), Gray, and Silver with appliers for Maitreya, Slink, Belleza, Wowmeh, Ghetto Booty, Lolas and Phat Azz, as well as system layers. So awesome to see such a great range of bodies and body parts supported! I also love how the legs are slightly high-cut, so a bit of skin peeks out over the waistband of my shorts. The sexy shrug is also part of the outfit, and it’s available exclusively at the Olala Fashion Event through July 20th. Olala is also where you can have a go at the Something New Props n’ Poses gacha machine, where my perfect pose comes from. I was looking for something with a distinct “NONE SHALL PASS” vibe, and I think this pose does the job wonderfully!
My sweet, snakey leg tattoo is by Endless Pain Tattoos and may be found as a prize in the Body Art Hunt, which is yours for the hunting pleasure through July 31st. My necklace and earrings are from the Gumballs set by Secret Love, because sometimes I like a little sweetness with my sass! The set also comes with a ring, which I featured in my Dress Up Dollz post, and it’s a really lovely collection with 3 different metals and 10 color change options.
I snagged my pretty, beautifully designed shorts from Somnia during the cart sale at The Wash several weeks ago, and they’re available now at the in-world store. There are several juicy colors in the HUD, and I thought this pretty pop of pinky-violet was just perfect. And my shoes! REIGN is an absolute legend, and I believe this is my very first pair which I picked up during last week’s Saturday Sale. (I just checked, and they’re still on the wall for only L$75 for the fatpack, so get ’em while the getting is good!) And while you’re at REIGN, be sure to slap the Saturday Sale group joiner. You won’t want to miss this weekend’s one-day-only sale event full of many wonderful designers offering their wares for L$75 or less!
Body / Maitreya | Mesh Body – Lara v3.4
Skin / AlterEgo | Maliyah v2 – Honey | Group Gift
Hair / Truth | Essie – Gingers 05 | L$50 Sale in-world
Eyes / Arte | Baby Blue S
Lashes / Ri | Lashes 03 | SL Marketplace
Lips / Pink Fuel | Lipstick Light Shine – Pink/Teeth | Group Gift
Nails / alaskametro<3 | Basic Pack for Slink, Omega, Maitreya & Eve | Free on SL Marketplace
* Tattoo / Endless Pain Tattoos | Ryu | Body Art Hunt, through July 31st
* Earrings & Necklace / Secret Love | Gumballs Set | SL Marketplace or available in-world
* Shrug & Bodysuit / Rising Hysteria | Simple Sins Outfit | Olala Event, through July 20th
Shorts / Somnia | Summer Fling Shorts
Shoes / REIGN | Penelope Plats – Black
I was having a chat with the lovely Faylinn Erin, who creates beautiful treasures and trinkets for her brand Secret Love, and I mentioned that I was so impressed with how organized she is with all her current and upcoming event participation. She started telling me how she keeps track of everything, and then dazzled me with a screenshot of a Google doc, and it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Spreadsheets! This was so totally up my alley.
Up until the last week or so, I’ve attended very few events in Second Life. Partially because of budgetary constraints (which, let’s be honest, have at least partially flown out the window!) and also because I find them to be somewhat overwhelming. I mean that in the best possible way; it’s amazing to be in a single space where so many talented designers are represented. It’s kind of like visiting a shopping mall where the majority of stores are brands whom you absolutely love and would gladly buy out their entire stock if your wallet would abide. Also, events in Second Life happen with such frequency, keeping up with the often coinciding schedules can be dizzying!
So thanks to the extraordinarily hardworking gals at SeraphimSL.com and EloquenceSL.com, and Faylinn’s wonderful inspiration, I put together a pretty thorough spreadsheet for myself of upcoming events. Here, have a peek!
That’s 24 events ending just within the next 12 days. Amazing!
I fiddled around a bit with the layout, and decided that the End Date column was the most vital, so I could quickly see when an event ends, or its current round closes. I also decided to include SLURLs, since I’m noteably forgetful when it comes to snagging landmarks, and having them at the ready in the spreadsheet will make crediting event items properly much speedier as well. Organization! And c’mon, spreadsheets at least a little bit geeky, so how can I resist?
My idea is to update it a few times a week as current events close and new ones are announced. When an ongoing event, like The Black Dot Project for example, closes to prepare for the next round, I can just delete the Starts and Ends dates. When I re-sort the spreadsheet by the Ends column, that line will just drop to the bottom of the spreadsheet until new dates are filled in.
So, fashionistias and event enthusiasts: how do you keep track of all the virtual world happenings? If you have a different system, or suggestions for other websites, groups, Flickr pools, or similar that help to aggregate all the info, I’d absolutely love to find out about them. Please share in the comments! ♥
And speaking of events …
This look is dedicated to my sweet friend Holly, who lovingly claimed that I’m a fashion enabler, to which I brilliantly replied something akin to “Nuh uh, not EVEN!” and then proceeded to choose a look filled with group gifts, limited time event items, and her favorite color. So I think we can all agree that she’s totally mistaken with her assessment. Silly Holly! ;)
First things first though: I’m wildly, madly, head over buns in love with this gorgeous skin from AlterEgo and it’s available in-world as a completely free group gift! Love the soft dapple of freckles, the perfectly shaped lips, the brows, the skintone, everything. There are also two more gift skins to snag when you join, as well as some awesome L$1 lippies.
I’m also super impressed with the applier work by db Dollz. The lace inlays on the Hot Pants are so beautiful, and the stitching detail on the Basic Top is perfection. Both are exclusive to The Black Dot Project, and the mesh denim shirt can be found at the Ross Fair. Cross-event outfit assemblage! Yeah, I’m a rebel like that.
Before I scoot, I must sneak in a special swoon of love over Alaska Metro‘s gorgeous nail designs. She has lots of unique packs available in her Marketplace store, and they’re only $L25 apiece for 25 designs – effectively L$1 per nail color. Phenomenal deal! And my jewelry set is the second beautiful group gift that’s currently out at Secret Love. These were marked as June gifts, so they may not be available come July. Get your hot buns over there and pick them up!
Body / Maitreya | Mesh Body – Lara v3.4
Skin / AlterEgo | Lydia v2 – Honey (Hipsta Plz) | Group Gift
Hair / Truth | Ursula – Blondes04 | L$50 Sale in-world
Eyes / SU! | Tender Eyes (Mesh) | Group Gift
Lashes / ACD | Eye Lashes 2 | SL Marketplace
Lips / Bonita | Tinted Gloss – Glossy Lips | SL Marketplace
Nails / alaskametro<3 | Nail Polish – Tropics Silver | SL Marketplace
Jewelry / Secret Love | Chained Drops Necklace & Earrings | Group Gift
* Shirt / db Dollz | Open Denim Shirt – Black | Ross Fair Event, through July 6th
* Crop Top / db Dollz | Basic Top – Black | The Black Dot Project Event, through July 4th
* Pants / db Dollz | Hot Pants – Purple | The Black Dot Project Event, through July 4th
Shoes / KC Couture | Vixie Heels – Black | SL Marketplace or in-world
+Half-Deer+, Eternal Dream