Let’s Go Shopping!

Today we’re going to look at a few places where you can shop ‘til you drop, get yourself a new wardrobe, find a new avatar, and deck yourself out in some fine jewelry—all without spending a dime! (Or even a $Linden.) Sounds too good to be true? HEY! WAKE UP! This is Second Life! If you can imagine it, you can do it!

The Free Dove

The Free Dove is one of SL’s oldest purveyors of quality freebies. Located in the Gallii region, it should be one of your first stops when you go shopping. Serious shopping.

Paloma has partnered with some of SL’s finest fashion designers to bring you samples of their works. And whether you have a standard avatar or one of the new mesh avatars, you’ll find a wide variety of items to fill your shopping cart.

Did you know that your standard SL avatar can wear mesh clothing? Many of the Free Dove’s items will work just fine on you.

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Whether it’s clothing, shoes, jewelry, or makeup, check out the selection at the Free Dove. And check back often—Paloma frequently updates her inventory, so if you see something you like, be sure to grab it. It might not be there on your next visit!

New Resident Island

New Resident Island, or NRI, also offers free “shopping.” I put shopping in quotes because while you do have to buy their items, all of the prices are $L0; that is, free.

But besides shopping, NRI also offers tutorials where you can brush up on your basic SL skills. In addition, you can watch movies or learn how to build things. They even offer a variety of free building items. And in addition to clothing and fashions, you can even pick up a new avatar, complete with wardrobe and animation over-rider.

So if it’s clothing you need, a refresher course, or miscellaneous objects you’re looking for, hop on over to New Resident Island and look around.

Which brings us to…

New Citizens, Incorporated

NCI Kuula, to be exact. A very popular spot for building, learning, and just plain socializing.

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Enjoy a balloon ride for an aerial view of the region, explore the extensive selection of freebies, make new friends—it’s all designed for the new SL resident.

Summing Up

While it’s always exciting to explore SL, these are a few excellent places to start.

Signature

Let’s Talk About Hair

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Meet Valerie, Valerie McIntyre. She’s my new friend, and she has a problem. She’s Black, African-American. But that’s not her problem.

Her problem is a lack of hair options. You see, Second Life is a lot like real life in this respect: most fashions are designed for the American White Woman beautiful ideal. And therein lies the rub.

With very few exceptions, it’s hard to find African skins without shelling out large amounts of $Lindens.

And the same thing applies to hair. Val was able to find 3 hairstyles that suit her ancestry. They all came from Alli&Ali on the SL Marketplace, and they each cost $L1.

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You see the problem? If she were a white woman, she’d have literally thousands of styles she could pick.

Even styles that can be custom-colored are still aimed at that pesky white demographic:

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So What’s a Girl to Do?

Well, as usual, my favorite hair resource, both in-world and on the Marketplace, is Alli&Ali Designs. With very few exceptions, that’s where both Valerie and I get all of our hair.

I’ve just been approved to blog about Alli&Ali Designs on their official blog, and I’ll be starting this weekend. Once I’ve started, I’ll post the blog address here, so you can get the lowdown on the latest style.

Until then, this is Aisling (and Val) signing off, and wishing you, as I always do,

Aisling's Signature" Love, Aisling

If You Want to Spend Money…

While it’s true that freebies abound in SL, sometimes you just have to break down and spend money. The in-world currency is the Linden, often abbreviated as $L. A specific amount, then, would be $L100.

How does this translate into “real” money? That will vary by country, but as of this writing, $L2500 will cost you $10.95 in US dollars. To buy $L, open your dashboard, look for Linden Exchange, and click on Buy. There, if you haven’t already established a payment method, you’ll be walked through the entire process.

Of course, if you have a premium account, you already receive an allowance of $L300 each week, so if you like, you can simply save up your allowance. But if you choose this route, It will take quite a while to save up enough to buy a decent mesh body.

My body came from Maitreya, which is currently the most popular source. Its “Lara” body is extremely high quality, which is one reason it sells for $L2750, or just a little over $11.00 US. It comes with 5 different bodies, which you can modify to your heart’s delight.

Alli  & Ali Designs is my favorite source for hair. Not only do they have a huge selection and reasonable prices, you can also find them on the SL Marketplace. In fact, I usually get my hair there, where many if their offerings sell for $L1.

Lara Hurley Skin completes my initial outfit with one of their free offerings.

Total cost? Less than $12.00 USD. The dress and shoes are available for free at Maitreya, but there’s a catch (but it’s a good one): you need to join the Maitreya V.I.P. group—which you can do at the store. Be sure to join the group before you buy anything; that way you’ll get store credit every time you purchase anything there. NOTE: this doesn’t apply to any of Maitreya’s offerings on the SL Marketplace.

So, for just under $12 US, you get the Lara package, a dress, three pairs of shoes, and a resulting store credit which comes to $L125—which you can then spend on a pair of panties!

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Free to members of the Maitreya V.I.P. group

Oh—and the dress comes with a HUD (Heads-up Display) that allows you to change its color at the touch of a button!

And that, dear kittens, is it for today!’

Aisling's Signature" Love, Aisling

Becoming Aisling

When I first joined Second Life (or SL, as we usually call it), this is the avatar I chose:

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Plain, inoffensive, and boring, as most of the default avatars are. But don’t worry! You can easily change part of or even your complete appearance.

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This is me as I am today. But I didn’t get to look like this all at once: it took a lot of exploration, searching, and trial and error to arrive at this look. And aren’t you lucky! I’m going to share all I learned with you!

Becoming You

While some of this information is specific to my looks, you can use the general principles involved to become the best version of you that you can possibly be. And what exactly is the best version? It’s what you—after all your experimentation and trial and error—are happy with.

A Word on Viewers

If you’re like everyone else, when you created your SL account, you downloaded the official Second Life Viewer—the software that allows to to log into SL. Personally, I don’t like it: it takes up too many resources (such as memory) on my computer. Instead, I—along with thousands of other SL players—have opted to download the Firestorm Viewer. I would encourage you to download it and see which of the two viewers you prefer. There is far more in-world support for Firestorm than there is for the SL viewer.

Either way, launch your viewer and head on over to New Resident Island. There you’ll find tons of high-quality free items (freebies) to buy (for no money) and use to customize your avatar—including a free body you can modify—to your heart’s delight. Skins, clothes, shoes—you name it, it’s all here.

Sorry, Guys

If you’re a male character,  I’ve got some bad news for you: there just aren’t that many fashion options for you. Oh, they’re there—you’ll just have to look harder than the women will. But isn’t that just like real life? Your best bet for freebies is New Resident Island.

Girltown—A Free Home For Women

Your home in SL is the place you end up when you first log in, and where you return when you tell the viewer to return you home.

Girltown is such a place. For no cost to you, you can join what is SL’s oldest and best support group for women (Girltown, duh!). And once you join, you can set your home to Girltown.

Best of all, male avatars are automatically ejected if they try to get in. Girltown is truly a women-only safe area. Not to mention the freebies that are available there.

The Free Dove

For 12 years, The Free Dove has been SL’s go-to place for the latest fashions. Many of SL’s top designers offer their wares for free here, and they are all of very high quality. Clothes, jewelry, hats, and hair—you’ll find them all here. And yes, there are men’s fashions here as well.

That’s It For Now!

I don’t want to overwhelm you, so I’ll stop right here. Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll catch you all later.

Aisling's Signature" Love, Aisling