Over 10 years ago I moved from Belgium to Sweden and in the course of those years I must have noticed many small cultural differences which today I already don’t notice anymore. One of those differences is that Swedish people tend to spend more time outdoors year round, but definitely during the summertime. That particular season is quite short here, so people are making the most of it. My personal favorite aspect of summer is the abundance of daylight. At night the sky does not turn pitch dark as it does in winter, but goes indigo with a band of lighter blue on the horizon as if the sun is just playing peekaboo for a bit.
Inspired by all that outdoor living, I set up a little elegant alfresco dining scene, ready for a nice evening with friends, filled with stimulating conversation, laughter and wonderful food. Go on! What y’ur still doin’ here? Get out of the house!
On 17th June I celebrated my second year in SL. Just like everybody else I started out with one of the standard avatars. I fancied something quite different from the real me in SL, so I went for a somewhat scrawny red head. I thought he was rather good-looking in his own way, but that’s before I had seen all the much better looking avatars. I soon learned about mesh bodies and also about mesh heads. Linden Labs most probably was already working on the ‘bento’ project back then, but it wasn’t available to us yet and with very little customization options for the shape of a static mesh head, many people preferred to stay with their system head. I too for a while used my mesh body combined with a nice system skin.
That’s how I discovered the Birth skins. Their Highlands Tone went very well with the #20 skin tone of the TMP mesh body. Birth had several good-looking skins and I went for the youthful but mature Rufus with a very light stubble and well pronounced cheekbones.
Then the bento skeleton hit the grid and as we could start shaping mesh heads into something more personal, this meant the beginning of the end for system skins. These skins aren’t totally out yet because some people don’t want to ‘invest’ in a mesh head or find them too complicated. For a short while Birth was gone from the scene… Only to reemerge quickly with beautiful new appliers for mesh bodies and heads. I was quite happy to see Birth had made this transition and kept thinking that I really needed to get myself a Birth skin again. Just as I found myself staring at their latest male skin at Men Only Monthly, someone told me that they were looking for bloggers and that’s how I find myself now being part of the Birth blogging team.
If you like very well defined abs than the Birth body appliers will definitely be your thing. They come with a number of built-in body hair options to chose from ranging from smooth to ‘gorilla’ (their word). I like the manscaped look, fairly hairy but trimmed and I think I’m in love with that belly button… Okay, that sounded weird. Moving swiftly on to a technical detail: Belleza, Omega, Signature and Slink appliers are included.
You can make separate body hair choices for your torso and legs and it all comes in black, brown, blonde and red. You can keep it as smooth as a baby’s bum or go for a bit of bum fluff.
The handsome and slightly weathered looking ‘Winston’ applier from Birth for Catwa mesh heads is currently available at the Men Only Monthly event until 15th July and at the Birth store after that of course. If you don’t like faffing with the shape sliders than it will be reassuring that this skin comes complete with a shape and brow shape. Of course I love shape editing so what you’re seeing here is my own work. It’s easy to get a good looking result with a skin as nice as this one. Go on, have a go at those sliders! Just make a backup copy of your shape first.
There is less than a week left to grab the temporary group gift at Akeruka. For a 150 L$ joining fee you get access to their newest ‘Leon’ male mesh head which comes with all the bells and whistles. You have until 1st July to get this group gift, after that it will be sold at the regular retail price of 4999 L$. I have been styling this head with its original skin and skins from 7 Deadly S(k)ins, Lure and Stray Dog on the TMP, Belleza and Signature mesh bodies. Today I’m returning to the Signature Gianni body and I’m using a skin from Clef De Peau.
One could be forgiven for thinking that Clef De Peau only has Catwa appliers. They used to have TMP appliers which for obvious reasons they dropped when they remodeled their store. I think they also used to have a few more Signature head appliers, but now there seem to be just two, possibly three left. Perhaps it doesn’t occur to everyone to try an applier that’s labelled as “Signature” on another mesh head, but demos are free and SL is all about trial and error or in this case trial and win. Of course the body applier was made for Signature Gianni and everything lines up beautifully. Daaayum!
Their Calvin skin works very nicely with the Akeruka Leon head and if you like heavy eyebrows than you sure are in luck with this skin. If you like them more subtle, or want them to match your hair, you can apply the no-brows version of this skin and use whatever eyebrows you prefer, like for example the ‘Real Eyebrows’ from Identity as shown above. The light stubble is part of the skin and the pigment spots are an option that comes with the head. Look in de hud under Extra/Tattoo for that.
Don’t forget that you need an omega relay to apply 3rd party skins to the Akeruka head. You’ll find this at the Akeruka store. For other useful information and tutorials I refer you to Akeruka’s site.
Laggy! Very laggy! That’s the first impression I got from this Official Shopping Event to celebrate Second Life’s 15th birthday. I wonder if many old timers from the first days are still around in SL today or if we have lost them all in the lag equivalent of the Bermuda triangle. I don’t really understand why there are links to different regions, as it seems to be just one big shopping gallery, except when you try to cross over from one region to the next you end up crashing… Ah, so there is a reason for those landmarks after all! Anywhoooo I persevered, as I knew that there usually are some good discounts and gifts to be found at these official shopping events and it’s only on till 2nd July so I didn’t want to dilly-dally.
Here’s where I go into inner-monologue mode…
Oh! 50% off on a lovely selection of summer items from What Next! And look at that, 50% off on some really nice pieces from Apple Fall. Let’s grab that lovely Moroccan urn for 75 L$ so I can finally put grandmama in something a bit more suitable than a shoe box. Oh that girly Moss & Mink furniture is sweet but I wonder what the discount is. A nice adult bed for 489 L$ does seem reasonable though. There you see, Ariskea makes it nice and clear with their 25% discount signs and even a 50% discount on a new popcorn and ice cream stand, but I’ve given up on that kind of food. Keke is also being (deliberately?) vague about discounts. A lovely chair in 6 variations will set you back 145 L$, so I guess that might be a little less than what you would pay for it at their store and I decided I needed it. Okay you don’t really need anything in SL. I wanted it O.K., I wanted it! Happy now?! Right, neeeeext! Chez moi is another one that doesn’t want us to know their discount, but their patio set is only 293 L$ so that seems like a good deal.
30% discount at Ascend! O.K. I’ll take the jeans and sneakers for 203 L$ each, thank you. The necklace and bracelet in this image are gifts you’ll find at the event.
I also convinced myself I needed the ‘edgy kimono’ and a pair of trousers from Aitui for 180 and 205 L$ respectively. Again I’m wearing a bracelet you’ll find as a gift at the event and you can find the sneakers at the Vale Koer main store. These are a group gift and have a very extensive texture hud so they work with the colour scheme of almost any outfit.
The way that each store has another way of displaying their gift(s) makes this shopping experiencing also somewhat of a scavenger hunt, so I’m going to wish you all happy hunting and shopping and a great 15th SL celebration.
About a week has passed since I picked up the ‘Leon’ Deluxe mesh head from Akeruka, which currently is their temporary group gift. If you aren’t in their group yet, head over to the store and wack that group sign! The joining fee is 150 L$ and you only have until 1th July to grab this gift. I showed a first styling exercise with this new head, using it’s original skin and the accompanying matching skin applier on Signature Gianni and created a couple of looks with the TMP body. Now I wanted to make some quick work of putting together some looks with the Belleza Jake body.
I have built up a rich back catalogue of skins from 7 Deadly S(k)ins, because they are so generous with group gifts and hunts. Their ‘Kaye’ skin works very well on both the Akeruka Leon head and Belleza Jake body. Nipples are where they’re supposed to be and there are no nasty toe shadows. I do find that with this body it is more difficult to achieve an invisible neck seam. The body has a built-in ‘neck sheath’ which you can switch on and off and it helps to blur the line in some cases, but the 7DS skin does not recognise this neck sheath, so you need to keep it off. This means you’ll have to live with a neck seam that sometimes will be invisible if you’re in a particular windlight and sometimes very visible in other lighting. The same problem occurs with other heads on this body and it’s a bit of a pain, but maybe some day someone will find the 100% foolproof solution for this, possibly around the same time that piggies go oink in the sky and the devil finds himself shivering a bit. Instead of fretting about that we could focus on the cute freckles and birth marks which you’ll find ready to apply and tint right there in the hud for your head.
Next I took a look at Stray Dog. They are more known for their Catwa appliers, but if you go deeper into their store, you will find two appliers made for Logo mesh heads and these work quite well with Akeruka heads. Their ‘Uriel’ skin is one of those two, shown here on the Akeruka head in skin tone #4 (a.k.a. Buttermilk). The Stray Dog skins have the advantage of including a no-brow version most of the time. That’s what I used here and then I applied ‘Real Eyebrows’ from Identity, that way my brows match my hair colour. The Uriel skin also lets you choose between “natural” and freckles… What’s unnatural about freckles though? I felt like there weren’t quite enough freckles on the skin, so I used the so called natural one and then applied freckles from the head’s own hud. You’ll find those under Extra/Tattoo. Also great about Stray Dog is that their body appliers include a number of options, like for instance a freckled one, perfect for this red head look.
Don’t forget that you need an omega relay to apply 3rd party skins to the Akeruka head and Belleza body. You’ll find these at their respective stores. For other useful information and tutorials I refer you to Akeruka’s site.
Bravely going where no lag-avoiding avatar has ever gone before, I waded through the thick gooey invisible pixel river on the first day of the Men Only Monthly event to check out what’s happening, what’s going on and what I can squeeze the NX-Nardcotix David body into. (I’m talking about clothing!) There were plenty of items that simply didn’t work for David and there were one or two that did work, but I didn’t care for. Here’s what made the cut.
Invictus has a pair of jeans at MOM and it hasn’t escaped my attention that I already bought a pair from them at the previous round of MOM, so I deliberately went for light brown instead of more traditional blue jeans. Some minimal shape adjustment was needed to squeeze into the TMP size but all in all it’s a comfortable snug fit. These jeans pare quite happily with a tank top by FE Style, also present at MOM. The great news about that one is that FE Style recently started to offer items that have been rigged for a wider range of mesh bodies and a Nardcotix size is included. No fuss, no shape editing, just put it on! I went with an understated brown tank top, but there’s a number of very colourful striped ones to chose from. I’m keeping the outfit light with a pair of NX-Nardcotix sandals because my sim is in full bloom of early summer.
American Bazar has a pair of joggers at MOM, at least that’s what they call it. To me the texturing looks too much like a weave instead of a knit, so I’m viewing this as a comfortable pair of trousers with drawstrings. It could be cotton, it could be a light denim, but I wouldn’t go for a jog in these. With a bit of tuck here and a pinch there, I was able to make them fit. Both the TMP and Signature size can be pummeled into submission depending on which shape modification you personally find most acceptable. My NX-Nardcotix backpack holds whatever I may need for a day of discovering natural beauty and architectural splendor.
From Hevo there’s a shirt with rolled up sleeves at MOM and I didn’t have to think long about what I was going to wear with this, as I grabbed the Hevo camo shorts I recently bought. There are a couple of texture options for the t-shirt underneath and you can also leave it off. A sporty pair of sneakers from Semler finishes off the outfit. I suggest you try the unrigged version of these sneakers, hide your feet and adjust the shoe size and move them into place till they fit without showing a gap.
That’s it for David at this round of the Men Only Monthly event. He’s a happy chappy with another 4 new items in his wardrobe but I’m sure he’ll be off to another event soon enough.
The MadPea Summer Hunt is still in full swing and it sure has it going on. People are talking up a storm in their group chat and you’re bound to bump into fellow shell-hunting Peas if you join in on the fun. For just 100 L$ you get a shell hunting hud and a little bucket and spate. For that same price you also get the perfect opportunity to discover new sims and collect points to trade in for great prizes at the end. The fun continuous till 27th June, so what are you waiting for, join us now! If you’re more of lone hunter, that’s fine too. It can be all about just you and your wittle bucket.
This is day two with the new ‘Leon’ Deluxe mesh head from Akeruka, which currently is their temporary group gift. If you aren’t in their group yet, head over to the store and slap that group sign! The joining fee is 150 L$ and you only have until 1th July to grab this gift. Yesterday I showed my first styling exercise with this new head, using it’s original skin and the accompanying matching skin applier on Signature Gianni. Today I wanted to take a look at some other skins and different combinations with bodies.
First up is the enfant terrible of the male mesh bodies, the TMP Deluxe. I have dedicated a series of blog posts to this body ever since the price plummeted from 5000 to 500 L$. To understand the pros and cons of this body, I suggest you start reading ‘What’s Eating TMP’ and work your way through the related blog posts. While there still is a fair bit of clothing for this body available, skin options are dwindling fast. Akeruka does not have a TMP applier to match with their new Deluxe heads and trying to match the head to a standard TMP skin was an exercise I gave up on after 2 minutes. Before I get into talking about specific skins, I should mention that you need the Omega Relay to apply these skins to the Akeruka head. You’ll find one at the Akeruka store and they usually are 99 L$.
The first skin I really wanted to look at was ‘Cain’ by Lure. At 1400 L$ this isn’t a very economical choice, but for that price you get body appliers for TMP, Slink, Signature, Adam and a generic Omega applier. To top it off you even can chose between a six pack or a less sculpted stomach. The head applier works with Akeruka, Catwa, Signature and Adam mesh heads. An Omega applier for heads is included as well and you even get one for TMP heads. It’s safe to say that if you have the TMP body now, but will switch over to another body later, this skin will be moving along with you. The skin tone is used here is named ‘Cypress’ and the neck seam is near invisible.
Next up is 7 Deadly S(k)ins with ‘Brent’ which is one of their newer creations. Their appliers are all omega and their newer skins now automatically include the head and body applier. However, as TMP is not Omega compatible, you will have to purchase a separate TMP applier for your body. The Brent skin sells for 850 L$ and the matching TMP applier is 350 L$. Seeing how the Omega skin includes head and body appliers, when you switch to another body you will not have to purchase a new skin. I’m using the Cotton skin tone and the seam is definitely visible but not the worst I’ve ever seen. Make sure to take a look at their group gift. The joining fee is 225 L$ at the moment and for that you can grab the Ake skin, so your total price would be 575 instead of 1200 L$. There’s a nice group gift every month at 7DS, but be advised that sometimes they do revert to a system skin for that.
I’ll be showing more head and body combinations with different skins soon and you can find some useful tutorials on Akeruka’s site.
Good news everybody, it’s group gift time again at Akeruka and in their case that means they are temporarily giving away a free fully functional bento mesh head. With the previous generation of Akeruka heads you had to purchase the animation hud separately, but the Deluxe range is all-inclusive.
Akeruka Leon is a fresh-faced handsome son of a gun and responds nicely to the shape sliders. If you first put on this head and it looks weird, keep in mind that while your shape might be fine for your system head or another mesh head, it doesn’t mean it will work nicely with this one. I created my own shape for Leon, but if you feel unsure about that, you can start with the shape that’s included in the package. If your start playing with it, make sure to save it as a copy! It’s always good idea to do that first.
You’re seeing him here with his original skin and combined with the Signature Gianni body. The package includes appliers for the Signature Gianni, Belleza Jake and Slink male mesh bodies. TMP bodies are no longer supported, but that’s not going to stop me from looking for options. These appliers have also been updated when compared to the ones that came with previous generation heads. It’s an improvement from my point of view, as the shading is more subtle and the skin is overall more detailed.
Also included are mesh eyes, teeth with a separate styling hud, braises, a tongue piercing and an animation hud. Well done Akeruka! And well done on making some tutorial videos available.
7 Deadly S(k)ins just released their June group gift and I applied it to the Signature Geralt mesh body and head straight away. 7DS used to work with separate appliers for heads and bodies, but their newer skins now come as a packaged deal. The gift includes a skin with and one without eyebrows, which is great. For the time being there is a little hiccup. When I tried to apply the skin with eyebrows, it only applied to the body and not the head. That’s just a little hiccup, right? I raised the issue in the 7DS group chat and a friendly admin reached out to me and the wheels are set in motion to fix this. Meanwhile I used the browless skin and applied brows, hair base and beard from the Signature hud.
The difference between this skin and other 7DS skins I have tried on Geralt isn’t extreme, but it’s just different enough to stand out from the crowd, providing you personalize your shape, get some good hair and eyes. As always I’m happy to report that nipples and toes are where they’re supposed to be and you don’t need an Omega relay with the Signature body, as it’s naturally Omega ready. (Hair: Vango ‘Matt’. Eyes: NSS Vermeer mesh eyes).
I had a quick look around for something new for Geralt to wear and found a super tight buns-hugging pair of trousers and equally form fitting t-shirt with rolled sleeves from David Heather at the current round of TMD, which runs till the end of June. After that it should be available from the David Heather main store. If you check out the demos of other items there, you will notice that the more resent releases support the Signature Geralt body. Let’s hope they keep it op, because I like that sharp tailored look. The flip-flops are Signature’s own for this body and the hair with the hat is from Vango and currently shown at Uber till 23th June.
Just keep on dabbling people, I know I will.