Mardi Gras is but a few weeks away and the Estate of New Toulouse will be having our Third Annual Mardi Gras celebrations from Sunday, March 6, 2011 through Tuesday, March 8, 2011. Our actual Mardi Gras Parade is on Sunday, March 6 from 11:00am - 1:00pm SLT. I invite all of you, Taloosters and residents from other lands, to participate in our parade! Please visit our sim, and feel free to come in costume! Like New Orleans, New Toulouse has "Krewes", or teams, that work together to create floats and that ride them together during the parade. Krewe members toss items to the parade audience and shout to them, as well as to the Krewes on other floats. In RL, the traditional throws are beads and doubloons, and the famous Zulu coconuts; in recent years, throws have expanded to include plastic drinking cups, super balls, stuffed animals, mini-frisbees, yo-yos, bean bags, whistles and other noisemakers, rubber duckies, even underwear (new, not used!), often decorated with the emblem of the krewe giving the parade, and/or in the colors of Mardi Gras, purple, gold and green. If it can be made from plastic (and isn't too hard to hurt anyone), it can be thrown from a parade float! In SL, you are in for some really beautiful virtual treats--I can't wait to see what--and some really beautiful visual effects! Laissez les bon temps roulez!
Before I can go up to the second floor of Kiko Life Digital Cosmetics Company, I discover one more room of some very beautiful makeups to go with my new Remix skins. Just beyond the room with Lucky Chairs and freebies and along the way to a tall, tall staircase, there are 20 different haunting and otherworldly Fae Fling makeups, and some really interesting and lovely Mendhi, plus a very colorful Chante line with 5 different choices, and the Empress makeup line. If you want some really different choices for fantasy looks, I highly recommend exploring the Fae Fling makeups, and if you're considering putting together a complete and authentic look to go with your favorite saris, definitely investigate the 10 different full makeups offered Mendhi line, which can also be purchased as separate lipsticks and eyeshadows in various combinations. The Empress makeups, named Nandi, Nefertiti, Sheba, Nzingha and Tiye, will make you look and feel like an African princess! I absolutely have to follow Kiko's style tips and find that elegant braided hairstyle too, because someone worked really hard to make a convincing and becoming texture. If you truly love colorful makeups, then you definitely want to check out the Chante makeup line, especially since bright colors are so hard to achieve on darker skins, and the work(wo)manship invested in these shows. They would be great for runway shows, and should go really well with 80s inspired spring fashions. Okay, I think I've bought some of everything now, so on to the next floor, where I expect to see some stylish shapes! Actually, Kiko Life features complete avatar kits (particularly helpful for all you newbies, but even those of us who have been in SL a while might be considering yet another transformation), with shape (modifyable or non-modifyable), skin, makeup, 4 hairbases, eyes, a style card and a goodie bag. And there's room for more things to be added, so I can't wait to see what Kiko Life has in store for us!
I'm checking out the Remix makeups to go with my new Remix skins. In the Remix: Berry Baby sets are full makeups featuring berry-toned lips and smoky eyes with names such as AFK, Hate on Me, Like a Boy, and Juicy, while in the Remix Beaute line, you can choose from bright or natural eye shadows and lipstick shades such as Piquant, Bronzed, Beguile, Understated, and Sweetened, all of which are great for daily wear. For a more dramatic look perfect for parties or fashion shows, the Remix: Bitch Mama sets include Man Stealer, J.E.A.L.O.U.S., Envy, Poison and 4 More Haters. These are lovely and edgy at the same time, offering a great change of pace from the usual pretty looks (not that I don't love pretty, but sometimes you do need some edge!). I'm totally intrigued by the Remix: Wild Cocoa line, which features really imaginative use of neutrals that go beyond the ordinary, including rich, deep lipsticks and eyeshadows that are really great accents for the Remix skins. With such names as Amenolado, Criollo, Forastero, Trinitario, and Venchi, the makeup artists at Kiko Life pay tribute to the international beauty of women of color. The Remix: Red Bliss line represents another current makeup trend featuring shades of deep reds on the lips, and complimentary touches of lighter reds or pinks on the eyes, made popular on Fall 2010 runways, including Seduction, Sissy Poo, Snobby, Sophisticated and Stoosh. Finally, the red theme is also used for some fantasy-based makeup in the Remix: Hearts line. I could see myself using these for some otherworldly roleplay or perhaps as part of a really seductive burlesque performance! Among the 10 choices in Hearts are Dark Heart, Passion Play, Rio Heart and Tokoyo Red. Perhaps I should take some flamenco lessons?
Because I hadn't visited this store in so long (thanks slow DSL provider!), I've missed The Essence of Ebony contest in its developing stages, but at least I can announce to you that tomorrow, February 20 at 1 p.m. SLT, Miss Essence of Ebony will be crowned. Also, Kiko Life is participating in the Inferno Grid-wide hunt until February 26. As always, there are Lucky Chairs giving you the chance to win skins and other freebies available in the store. Come by, check out the demos, and do some serious shopping!
Revisiting my store of landmarks takes me to some familiar and comfortable places. Today, it's my friend Osuntomi Melendez's store Kiko Life Digital Cosmetics Company at Amina City. Tomi is always busy making new things to make avatars, and especially avatars of color, look good, so it will probably take me more than one post to report on all the goodies! Of course, skins are my first stop, so the first thing that greets me in that section of the larger space are the Remix Neutrals skins. They are bundled with these seven options: with and without cleavage, and each of those with freckles and moles, or shaved, and with tintable eyebrows. Each skin bundle also includes a goodie bag with one pair of prim eyelashes with built-in facelight, a height detector, a totally adorable sculpted makeup set you can use to decorate your home like the ones in the store, some freebie model poses, and a posing stand. The Remix Neutrals skins come in Cinnamon, Coffeebean, Creamsicle, Custard, Flax, Honeychild, Macadamia, Malta, Spice, Sunkiss and Walnut, so a range of skintones is represented; there's not just one dark brown skin, but there's also not just one fair skin, which is just brilliant! According to Tomi and Kiko Moleno, this line of skins offers these benefits: it gives you the MAXIMUM number of options by allowing you to wear the new makeups for Viewer 2 (or any SL client that supports the tattoo layer), but you also have an everyday face that you can wear in any situation and look so beautiful no one will notice you're not wearing makeup. You can customize your look with shapes, hairbases and/or makeups (I'll tell you about those later!), also from Kiko Life. They definitely are a great option and a great value. Now I just have to make up my mind about which one to buy first....http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Arima%20City/117/201/26
When I'm not touting the wonders of New Toulouse--my home in SL with its wonderfully creative and friendly people and an extremely beautiful Jazz Age setting--I'm always on the lookout for other builds with the vintage spirit. On Rich Island, you can step back in time to 1920s Chicago. As a historian, I find one of the best things about SL is the way in which roleplay can motivate research and reading into different periods and places in time, making studying history immersive fun. Visit here and come play gangsters and FBI agent while you listen to jazz at the Fiume Club; come outfit yourself properly with period day dresses, night gowns, hats, gloves and stockings from Zan's Closet, Cill'angel's Boutique or Eclectica if you want to be a gangster's moll. If you would rather be like Al Capone, Swank Brothers has the suit and hat for you. Monarch features car designs that are also true to period, so you don't have to make your way down Michigan Avenue on foot if you don't want to. The shopping area is RP-optional and combat-free, but cross the river and you will be warned that you have entered a combat area. At the corner of Willow and Morgan you can catch a taxi that will take you on a guided tour of the sim, and you will feel like you just stepped into the frame of one of my all-time favorite movies, The Sting, as you find yourself stepping over streetcar tracks and dodging falling cigarette butts from the El. The builder (and local Police Chief), Shepham Moorlord, has included a church and cemetary, Cook County Hospital, a gas station, a hotel, a movie theater, a deli, a barbershop, a bookstore, a police station, and (of course) City Hall. And since the 1920s means Prohibition, gun-running and illegal liquor, there are speakeasies on every corner, and a new casino. All the urban amenities are there for the playing! Keep up with the happenings and fashions in SL Chicago by reading The Chicagoan(http://slchicagoan.wordpress.com/).
I was recently cleaning up my massive inventory, trying to impose some control, when I was inspired to investigate some of my many LMs. It seemed to be a good idea to revisit a few landmarks from my earliest days in SL, see if anything had changed, see if anything new and interesting was happening, For as long as that idea may hold some interest for me, I suppose I will devote a few posts to it. When I first came to SL, the idea of living in a virtual London seemed to be a ready-made fantasy for my new virtual life. Since that first time so many years ago, the London sims do seem to have grown a few more regions. In addition to the landing hub at Hyde Park, there are shopping and residential areas on Kensington, Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Westminster. Tonight, I did actually find a few people hanging out around the Hyde Park hub, but what I would really like to see are some events, and especially some events with flavor! It is pretty, and it seems visually faithful, at least to some of the architecture, so maybe it's just the time difference that explains why it still seems so empty on this particular visit. To the credit of the estate managers and builders of the sim, the Hyde Park sim is set up as an orientation space, and it is a fairly attractive and useful place for new avatars to practice moving in virtual space. As to considering renting a first apartment there, it sounds like a wonderful fantasy, and perhaps as good a place as any to start. Surfing the Web, I find out that Camden, West End and Soho regions have been added recently to also represent the metropolis that some still consider the center of the world, and that many events have been sponsored, including recent parties for Christmas and New Year's Eve and a Holiday Hunt. I'm not sure that the sims are owned and managed by the same people (probably not), but Mainland London has its own blog http://mainlandlondon.blogspot.com/p/london-soho.html
and very detailed information for orientation at its landing hub. Although the Underground entrance does not lead to a working train, the curious explorer will find some free outfits for clubbing, another plus for newbies, both male and female. (And I was also pleased to see those women's fashions modeled by an attractive brown-skinned Lizzi Klaar!) I suppose that if SL is truly going to live up to its potential as an inclusive place and immersive experience, it is up to us as residents to occasionally step outside of our comfort zones and regular hangouts to find those new places, experiences and people! Mainland London is in the Destination Guide, so check it out!
The Art on the Horizon Gallery at Blue Horizon is featuring a show by artist Theresa Jones with her paintings of New Orleans musicians in French Quarter scenes. Although the RL art cards that were advertised for sale do not seem to be available any longer, you can still purchase the individual images for your SL home or purchase a catalog of the gallery's show. The collection includes 20 pieces; some of the titles include "Mama Singing Out," "Doreen on the Clarinet," "Sax at Fritzel's," and "Blues Charmer." Her vibrant colors and rich textures capture some of the energy of contemporary New Orleans Jazz, as her subjects reveal the creativity and dignity of the many street musicians who perform in the French Quarter. The artists pay tribute to the traditions of music so important in New Orleans history: the benevolent societies and social clubs of the nineteenth century sponsored brass marching bands that continue to second line at funerals today; in the twenty-first century, the blue notes and syncopated rhythms of saxophones and trombones reverberate along the same streets where jazz was first created in the twentieth. They are not simply making a living entertaining the Crescent City's tourists; they express the strong spirit and deep cultural roots that allow the city's residents to survive and endure as they continue to recover from Katrina. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Blue%20Horizon/200/161/27