Cruising in Cupcakes

Back when I was the new kid on the grid, Rosemary Galbraith blessed me with the chance to be a model on some of her ads at a chic store called Oh! What a Neat Boutique. By working with her, I saw what a a supremely talented mind she had. That’s why I was so happy to hear that Rosemary and her partner, Mimi Coral, reopened their Cupcakes store and sim in-world!  They had a great opening sale, and now they’re having a Valentine’s Day-themed sale.

The sim itself is spacious and lovely. While most of the stores are on floating islands in the sky, you can also jump down to earth. The sim has a regular island at sea level with a few small but charming points of interest, as shown in the photos below. I can’t wait to see how it looks in spring!

At the Cupcakes mainstore, wearing items from their re-opening sale.

At the Cupcakes mainstore, wearing items from their re-opening sale.

A lighthouse in Cupcakes.

A lighthouse in Cupcakes.

A cozy cabin at Cupcakes.

A cozy cabin at Cupcakes.

Credits (first photo only)
Skin: Cupcakes – Emilia in Copper in Moonlight, $70
Hair: Elikatira – Interrupt in Brown 5, $75 (sale)
Dress: Violent Seduction – Versailles Dress in Cream, $70
Eyes: Insufferable Dastard – Thank You Gift, $0
Shoes: R2 Fashion – Mele Heels in Off White (not shown here, but visible in last entry)
Location: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Cupcakes/128/108/137

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Tips for Budgeting Second Life Fashion & Home

Because Second Life is a virtual world, it becomes easy for a casual player (one is not making his or her living off of Second Life business) to get caught up in retail therapy. I have wasted so much money on items that I didn’t use for very long. It’s easy to forget that Linden dollars ARE real dollars. Once I started organizing a virtual budget, my impulse purchases became investment purchases. Here are some First Life tips on budgeting that have been tweaked for Second Life.

Curb your SL indulgences with smart budgeting.

Curb your virtual indulgences with smart budgeting.

1. Treat your Addictions

I am addicted to skins. Rather try to eliminate this need cold turkey, I’m taming it. I subscribe to Skin brands that have a consistent history of giving gifts, like Izzie’s VIP group and WoW Skins VIP Group. I keep an eye on skin brands that frequently participate in events and sales, like Belleza Skins, which has Best Buys and Fifty Linden Friday promotions often. I give more leeway to my skin spending, in small doses, while cutting out clothing spending significantly to balance it out.

What ever your addiction is – shoes, hair, poses, furniture, etc – recognize it. Then, find a way to curb it with hunts, freebies, lucky boards, camping, groups, and sales. “Small doses” of your addiction work just as efficiently as large impulse buys, and they’re a lot better for your wallet.

2. Narrow Budgets by Category

When I bought my virtual home, I set a limit of $100 for individual furnishings, with three exceptions allowed for my most important pieces of furniture: a bed, a kitchen, and a work desk. In the end, I spent about $600 total for those important pieces and everything else in the house is  low cost or free. Using my Premium Account has also helped out with budgeting in that my stipend is disbursed weekly. This way, I don’t blow my self-imposed allowance all at the beginning of the month. If there’s a sale that comes up, and I’m out of the money for the week, I let that sale go.

If having an overall budget limit for Second Life isn’t working, break it down into categories. To get started, begin with the expenses that are easily foreseeable, like “$xx amount for pet care per month, $xx amount for rent per month,” and then divide out the rest for your shopping and entertainment needs. For even more control, break down each category even further by identifying your most important purchases you’d like to make in that category. It will put everything into perspective.

3. Make a Wishlist

I use the Second Life Marketplace’s My Favorites list to keep track of everything that catches my eye. I also keep a big folder of demos in-world. Then, I periodically go through my Favorites list and my Demos folder to remove ones that I no longer want. This narrows down my purchases to things that I could like for a while, and weeds out the ones that can’t hold my interest in the long run.

In first life, the longer you wait to see if you still love something (that new career change, that potential spouse, or that pretty new pair of shoes in the window after a long time has passed), it’s more likely that you won’t grow tired of it later on. The same applies to Second Life. Most to the things you’re thinking of buying will be there later on. The next time you want to buy something, write it down, bookmark, and put it away. You’ll be surprised at the frequency at which you cross off items.

I still have some definite problems with limited-time sales and other shopping events, but budgeting my Second Life has already led to less regret and more bang for my buck. It’s a good start.

Living in a Linden Home: The Quad

I am now the happy homeowner of a my first residence in Second Life! This has added a whole new, fun dimension to my game experience. Here’s a small tour of my humble abode so far:

The House

My atelier @

My unfinished atelier.

Surfboards: {what next} – Surfboard Decorative Props, 2LI, $0

Of the four theme areas, I chose Meadowbrook because of the large windows. I loathe the feeling of being confined, even in virtual space, so I need to see the outdoors. Of the models available, went with The Quad because I wanted a simple one story loft for my first home. Anyone is welcome to stop by my house.

Many people seem to be critical of Linden Homes, but they’re actually a good value. On the quarterly premium plan, I pay about $7.50 USD per month. After you calculate that out, and subtract the monthly stipend you get back, it comes out to L$163 per week for 117 prims, not including the house itself. Not bad at all. I’m going to stay at this house for a while, and then switch to try out different floorplan next month.

The Bedroom

See that pile of books? It doubles as a pose stand!

See that pile of books? It doubles as a pose stand!

Bed: Scarlet Creative – For Lyla Bed, 7LI, $50 (Sale)
Clothes Rack: BAZAR – Arizona Clothes Rack, 2LI, $69
Mirrors: Wayward Muse – Frosted Mirrors, 3LI, $20
Books: Floorplan. – Novels, 1LI, $1 each
Pose Stand: Conspiracy Theory – Catesby Pose Stand, 1LI, $0
Rug: Unknown – Soho Rug, 1LI, $0
Cat: Shop SEU – 1 Prim Anim Cat Orange Grooming, 1LI, $120
Wall Art: Croire – My Favorite Bands, 1LI, $0 (lucky board)

A bookcase that multitasks as a room divider. ♥

A bookcase that multitasks as a room divider. ♥

Bookshelf: Scarlet Creative – For Absencen Bookcase, 6LI, $100
Bench: Laize Days, Nautical Bench, 10LI, $0

The Creative Corner

The alternative to a study or office: an art corner.

The alternative to a study or office: an art corner.

Desk: Standby Inc/Collabor88 – Miyazaki Drafting Table, 6LI, $188
Lighting: BBQQ – Hikari Chandelier, 2LI, $0
Lounger: Trompe Loeil – Pallet Lounger, 4LI, $20
Wall Art: Whiskey Monday/Atelier Kreslo – You Belong in a Boat Out at Sea, 2LI, $0
Paint Supplies: End of Daze – EoD Cabinet, 5LI, $20
Rug: Nordari – Ruggies in Peach, 1LI, $0

50 Shades of Sexy: Chocolate

This is for 50 Shades of Sexy, a 50-week blogger challenge based on lingerie and fun word prompts.

Better than Chocolate

Better than Chocolate

Credits
Skin: LAQ – Ebba in Cocoa
Hair: Truth – Rashida in Toast
Panties: Kyoot – Little Ache in Nude
Mirrors: Wayward Muse – Frosted Mirrors

Sale! Sale! Sale!

There are so many great sales going on right now! Here are some that have left my wallet hurting and my virtual closet full.

Kyoot Lingerie (L$50), Elika Hair (L$75), and Izzie Skin (L$585)

Kyoot Lingerie (L$50), Elika Hair (L$75), and Izzie Skin (L$585)

The Truth District is having a winter sale involving multiple stores on the shopping sim. Many stores have at least one item that is 50% off. At Izzie’s, that item is the Fuyu skin. I’m wearing Fuyu in the picture above with no makeup, and it already looks lovely at it’s most bare. Combined with all the eyeshadow and lipstick tattoos included in each pack, along with a shape, this is a great value. Truth Hair should be your number one stop during this sale as it has ALL hair packs at 50% discount. I picked up the Rashida hair in Fades for L$150. Taxi to Truth District.

Kyoot, a favorite of mine for years, is closing its doors! Thus, everything is on sale, including their furniture. I got some swimsuits, multiple underwear sets, and a couple dresses all for only L$50 each. It’s like L$50 Friday everyday. Even better, the owner has added their previous L$50 Friday exclusive items to the store, such as the Soft Lingerie packs in white and black. Go to Kyoot.

Not long after her last sale, Elika Tiramisu is having a retirement sale! Everything 70% off, and that includes all her newer mesh hairstyles. In a true testament to the sheer variety of hairstyles available, I walked away with a handful of different hair packs (at L$75 each for the light browns), even though elikatira is not even one of my top three favorite hair brands. There’s just that much to choose from. Taxi to elikatira.

Lastly, floorplan is have a 25-50% sale. This does not include the beautiful living room set that Tegan put out for FaMESHed, fortunately for my budget. I did pick up a chalkboard room divider for 50% off at L$75, and was tempted by the porthole mirrors for 25% off. While I was there, I also picked up some fabulous books at a mere L$1 per novel. Taxi to floorplan.

Traveling in Tableau

My next stop as I poshpack around the virtual world is Tableau, the strange and beautiful lovechild between my favorite Tarentino movie and my favorite local Mexican restaurant..

Image

Styling
Skin: Curio – Party Girl in Sundust Midnight 2 (Free! Group Gift, 0L to join)
Hair: Lamb – Big Doll House in Mint
Eyes: Poetic Eyes – Ocean in Blue Surf
Jacket: Koko – Biker Girl Jacket (Free! Midnight Mania @ The Avenue)
Top: Friday – Traveler’s Tank in Oatmeal
Skirt: M*Motion – F-Slits Mini Skirt in Patch (Free! Lucky Board)
Shoes: Maitreya – Alexa Wedges

You may know Tableau as the home of many fabulous stores including Paper Couture, Tres Blah, Sea Hole, and so on… But it’s so much more than that. I’ve been going to Tableau fr years and I never stopped to really enjoy the scenery, until recently. The place is gorgeous! This is coming from a person who loves the beach and despises the desert. The place is full of quirk and humor. Next time you visit Tableau, I recommend that you take a 5 minute break from shopping and try out the following:

  • Use the vintage photobooth in Nylon Outfitters.
  • Visit the dinosaur park and tourist booth.
  • Go up to the lookout tower and use the binoculars.
  • Go to the campfire pit on the edge of town and try the peyote on the ground.

Happy travels!

Beauty Base Zero

A new blogger challenge, Beauty Base Zero, has caught my attention. I’m pretty low maintenance in Second Life, so my base zero is quite similar to how I look normally. Haha.

bbzero_002

Beauty Base Zero Challenge

Hair: Lamb – Big Doll House in Butterfinger
Skin: Curio – Party Girl Pure in Petal Light
Teeth: LAQROKI – Parted Lips in Light
Eyes: Poetic Colors – Christmas Pearl in Medium Bright
Eyelashes: Celestial Studios – Deviant 01
Lingerie: Kyoot – Soft Words Lingerie in Pale Pink
Feet: SLink – Ladies Mesh Barefeet Medium

BB0 – Full Body

For that clean bare look, I went with Curio’s Party Girl Pure. I usually start with an all time favorite, like a LAQ 01 skin, and then add on a lipstick tattoo or change to a bold makeup look depending on the outfit I choose. I know this is the hair I always wear, but it really is how my natural hair looks when I wake up tousled in the mornings! I also start out with a light brown hairstyle, and change it to a dark blonde, dark brown, or pastel color later on. If I don’t feel like it, I already have my “default” or “go to” hair on. The lashes are super old, and I’ve never felt a need to change it, especially since it is such a pain to adjust eyelashes. Like Portia said, alpha layers don’t always cover the goodies. I wear panties all the time to avoid flashing people. My absolute favorite is the Soft Words collection by Kyoot. It’s reasonably priced, not to mention it’s flattering and looks comfortable.

Last but not least, mesh feet are a godsend. As a girl on a budget, I was very hesitant to spend L$600 on shoes, or lack there of. But SLink’s mesh feet have proved to be worth it. They look great. I can run around in my swimwear now without looking silly in high heels. I don’t have to worry about matching my shoes to my outfit. I even wear these bare feet with regular outfits – it just makes a bohemian hippie-type of person. 🙂

More great Beauty Base Zero posts: Serene Cadence (another kyoot fan!), Oh Mai Shizz, and Little Miss Fashion Cupcake.

3 Sequin Dresses

New Year’s Eve may be over, but we can still revel in the fabulously shiny and metallic style that always comes out! NYE fashion is a bright flash of fun right when we need it most, in the dead of winter. Here are three random sequin dresses I pulled out from my closet.

#1 Tres Blah Sequin Dress in Gold

Tres Blah Sequin Dress in Gold

L$250 at Tres Blah in Tableau; Other colors available

 

#2 COCO Designs Tuxedo Jacket with Sequin Dress

Group Gift (L$0) at COCO Designs in

L$0 at COCO Designs; Group gift with no fee

 

#3 League Sequin Scoop Dress in Black

lalala

L$295 at League Island in Duende; Also comes in Silver

 
Where am I? The lovely New Orleans-inspired sim, Animagique Productions New Orleans. It’s very empty, lag-free, and charmingly well built.

Lucky Boards of the Moment

Lucky Boards are easy and cost-effective ways to quell your shopping thirst in Second Life. If you’re going to be on the computer anyway, perhaps working on first life items, you might as well put Second Life on in the background and park yourself near a lucky board. Here are my three lucky board choices of the moment.

#1. Mother Goose’s Skin Board Bonanza

Lucky Board pillar at Mother Goose

Lucky Board pillar at Mother Goose’s skins store

Amazing, isn’t it? Right in the center of Mother Goose’s main store is a large pillar with FIFTY (50) lucky board with various skins as prizes. The timers are set to three (3) minutes each, so there’s no way you’d leave here empty-handed. There are also a couple boards for accessories off to the side.
Go to: Mother Goose @ Turpentine

#2. Mariko’s Lucky Boards and Holiday Sale

Skins at Mariko's boutique

Skins at Mariko’s quaint little boutique

Mariko’s charming little island shoppe is bright, lag-free, and contains five (5) lucky boards with skin prizes near the front entrance. The timer is set to five (5) minutes per turn. As bonus, Seraphim reports that Mariko is having a 50% off sale. Great timing.
Go to: MARIKO @ Framboise Island

#3. Sushi Train’s Dance Dance Revolution

Dance accessories at Sushi Train

Dance accessories at Sushi Train

One day, I was struck with the bizarre desire to find a dance animation for Gangnam Style. After a quick Marketplace search, I found a FREE one listed at Sushi Train. The object itself exceeded expectations. It’s not a simple animation file. It was a pair of sunglasses that you can activate both the dance and song while wearing! Moreover, the store has a whole wall of equally fun Asian pop culture dance animation products given away as lucky board prizes, including SNSD’s Gee, T-ARA’s Bo Peep, and of course, Psy’s Gangnam Style. There are eight (8) lucky boards set at five (5) minutes each. There’s also dancing drums and chairs for your wait. The 90s-styled store demonstrates everything I like about Japanese Second Life designers – generosity, fun, and unique inventory.
Go to: Sushi Train @ Campbell Plateau

What next? I’m thinking of doing a series of posts on career possibilities in Second Life. Career options have been on my mind for both first and second life, and it would be nice to explore that in a blog.

Rockberry Skins Freebies

Today I want to blog about Rockberry‘s free lucky chair/board skins because they’re easy to obtain and a great resource for new players.

I heard about Rockberry skins through Ayumi Cassini, who has been sporting one for ages. As a Lucky Chair fanatic, I was thrilled to see a lucky chair with a super short time (2 minutes, I think?) and a whopping EIGHT lucky boards scattered around the sim, alas at a 10 minute time frame. The Lucky Chair gives out Megan skins, and all four were quickly collected. The Lucky Boards give out Apple skins, which are newer, but takes forever to win. Here’s my finally completed collection.

Megan Skins
Top row(L-R): B makeup, C makeup in Natural
Bottom row: A makeup in skin tones Light, Natural freckle, Tan, Dark
Rockberry Skins: Megan
Hair: Unbirthday Redux by lamb (free!)
Dress: Meela Lace Dress by Whippet & Buck (L$88 at Collabor8)

Apple Skins
Top row (L-R): Makeup 1, 2, 3, 4 in Natural
Bottom row: Makeup 5, 6, 7, 8 in Natural
Rockberry Skins: Apple
Hair: Teased Up by lamb (Free!)
Dress: Suede Wrap Dress by League (L$50 at FLF)

So Megan skins seems to simpler, but they are easily flattering on most shapes, and I actually prefer them over Apple. Apple skins are a bit harder to compliment shapes (I had to change my nose in order to look decent in this skin), but there’s a lot more shading and a wide variety of makeup styles. If you’re a skin junkie + lucky chair hunter like me, it’s worth it to pop by the Rockberry store and see if your letter is up! (Their shapes are reasonably priced too.)

Speaking of free skins, there are some beautiful ones put out by some of my favorite designers for the holidays. Check out the Al Vulo!, Curio, and Laqroki update groups for some more lovely skin freebies. I’ve been wearing the Al Vulo ones constantly, and the Curio & LAQ gifts come in multiple skin tones!