Grab Bag of Fun

There's nothing quite like waking up to find yourself in the middle of carefully crafted silliness. BOOF Brings it home with two items -- first up they offer their texture change Horned Beanie for all your Sartorial needs, and if that's not enough to bring out your inner Satyr, then you should take a long ride on the rainbow colored Unicorn Attack. Come often do you get to mix metaphors with this big of a grin on your face?

BOOF: Unicorn Attack & Texture Change Horned Beanie.
The Beanie from BOOF actually is a lot of fun. You may need to make some hair adjustments to wear it (Or pick up the free hat hair SF Designs has had out for free forever -- Swaffette Firely is extremely sweet that way. On a more serious note, Guenevere Decuir from .:CoLLisons:. offers up two necklaces, a red and white poppy for rememberance and peace. Both of them are meant to remind people of the high costs of war and the men and women who serve in the name of peace.

Also from .:CoLLisons:., is this striking back tattoo called Aum. Arabic script in a henna colored sunburst.

From 22769 and the MenStuff Hunt is a full clothing set, wide bottomed jeans,  tight tank and an accenting teal scarf. I seriously appreciate Paco's willingness to use bright vibrant colors in menswear. I may love my black clothing, but every now and again, it's good to know there's more than black and white in our worlds, virtual or real. Also in this picture is a new men's hair style on Marketplace from Alli & Ali - Sol (pictured is dark brown), full, loose and a little windswept. Resizer to adjust, multiple colors. 

Gearing up -- new releases and gifts

Getting It On For Fall - The weather is getting chillier where I am, bringing back memories of of other autumns, halloween parties and fall festivals. Luckily Paco over at 22769 has me covered, and he does it so very well. First up is a gift for the Boo for 2 hunt. He's mixing it up a bit with these cords and a deep green silk shirt. The cords are relaxed and timeless, 50's style cuffs that go really well with my favorite Boots from Gabriel. Open collar shirt and a classic look all around. Free is good, but when 22769 gives you a gift, you know it's going to be something you want to wear, not just something you want to find so you can get to the next stop on the hunt.

Not free but amazingly reasonable at $190L is this very, very cool lightweight green parka with a fur-edged hood. The fur itself is very very fun and well done, and the jacket managed to stay with me when I moved -- something not all prim coats do. It comes with basic black jeans, rolled 50's style cuffs and and a really nice loose necked turtleneck in a brown//black color. The ribbed knit on the turtleneck is also well done. I think I want Paco to texture my RL clothes, thanks. This item was designed for the Gallery Gift Shop, so take a look around while there.
Real Men Wear Lavender - I'm not shy in my admiration for Lexi Vargas's work for Brocade Tiger. Here's a designer who started out wanting to make clothes he would wear for fun, who has only gotten better as he goes on. It's possible the fact that he's both a RL artist and an SL model contributes to this - if you've ever wandered through Rfyre, you've seen him on the posters there although chameleon that he is you may not recognize him at first.

All that aside, Lexi goes for the elegant and sometimes the outrageous -- if you ever wanted to wear Steampunk Glam, Lexi's the guy to go see. His latest release is Double Take, which is a colorfully fun take on a traditional style -- Classic suit styling in Lavender Plaid. Sharp pointed vest and open necked tie make it casual fun, and the placard pleat at the waist gives it the kind of detail only an artist (or a clothes horse like me) could love. It rings in at $250L and if you want to make a statement at a bash this autumn, slip this on and try not to look too smug. Now, if lavender isn't your thing -- feel free to view his less flamboyant other suits in a similar style.

Where Art Meet Function - artMEfashion is new to me but I have to say I was impressed right off the bat. The offering was this truly excellent and detailed Steampunk Duster in black. At $400L it's something you want to make sure you are going to get some wear out of -- but the details on this long coat are really worth looking at. The coat is self moves really well, has that worn leather look that's hard to translate in SL, has buckles enough for any Steampunk adventurer and the loose flexi details at the shoulder, collar and skirt are a whole lot of fun. Their catalog currently seems to be geared more toward the gals, but I only had a few minutes to look around and plan to go back. Demand creates opportunity, so if you are looking for some truly incredible Steampunk Gear, then by all mean encourage designer Moonstone Eiren into putting her remarkable talents toward more guy gear. All of us will thank you.

Twisted Unseelie Courts versus the Steampunk Hunters

I only wish I had more time to devote to both hunts; but I fear I'm going to miss some really excellent gifts on both. So I'm tagging some favs:

Sangre Noir, 22769, and CoLLisions:

I readily admit to my bias in favor of Sangre Noir. Noirran Marx has an eye for the gothic style with rich fabrics and small details that catch the imagination. Her offering for Twisted: Unseelie was one I knew I didn't want to miss because she never disappoints.

For the ladies there's a flowing silky shirt/dress, ruffled hem and flowing fabric attached to the shoulders and back with delicate dark roses. Like most of Noirran's designs, the fabric moves easily, and seems to slide against this skin. Worn alone, its a sexy mini or lingerie like casual. Worn with a skirt or jeans and it turns casual into elegant.

For the gents is the Unseelie Kilt, which obviously brought out my oft hidden dark elf side. Shimmering blue/black fabric, held up by a belt of roses caught on barbed wire. I like kilts. I like this kilt a lot.

The perfect match to the Sangre Noir design are two offerings from CoLLisions: Mab's Apprentice tattoo for the Twisted Hunt and for the men, The Pandemonium Necklace for Steam.

22769 rarely disappoints and being a ling time X-Men Fan (like prior to the current crop of cinematic representations) to see their take on two of the original X-Men in all their vintage glory fills me with glee.

For the ladies, Jean Grey effects her transformation into the elegant but lethal Phoenix, prior to any redemptive tales, and 22769 captures that leashed power an calm assurance we first saw in the First Lady of the X-Men. Cyclops is likewise captured; and I appreciate that the rendering eschews the overly ornate for the sleek lines and body hugging necessity of clothing a super hero. Or a pair of them.

All of these gifts are well done, are packed with imagination and creative spirit and can be yours for free. But like the silent movements of the Unseelie Courts and the unacknowledged heroics of the superhero set, the gifts too will fade from sight if you don't collect them soon.

Dog Days of August

The Dog Days of August means looking for the cool and comfortable, and some of our favorite designers are giving away that comfort and style for free.

LeLutka offers the light and definitely bohemian comfort of the Summer Breeze Ensemble to it's group members. Straw hat and a curled and windblown hairstyle, coupled with the casual comfort of a silky sarong. (bikini top for the ladies.) Beachcombing, beach bumming or beach living, this one is a not miss outfit. Thank you LeLutka!

And like he planned it, Paco over at 22769 is offering up a retro look for the "Summer Feeling" hunt with a bold patterned set of retro boarder shorts. From Baja to Bali, you can keep your summer cool and your fashion hot and you get to do it for free. (Paco even tosses in a towel in case you decide to check out the surf.)

And after a day in the sun, probably time to check out the night life. Urban Republic's gradient shirts fit any night scene.

This weekend you can get a pair of Guy's Basic Pants from KisKis during the La Venta Eventa weekend sales. (Grab them today, though, the sale ends at midnight.) and to finish off your look, Gabriel has low cut boots in black and brown as a Group gift. The boots are exceptionally well done, laced and fit with most pants, even those with cuffs (just remember to "add" rather than wear the cuffs to keep both.)

Real Men Do Not Fear the Cute

Acid & Mala are offering a fat pack of fun and yes, cute, bi-color t-shirts. $60L for the SBS sale (and still up as of this morning.) Come on, you know you want to wear giraffes. Or kitties, or adorable robots. But if you can't face the cute - there's a plain tee as well and for $60L, how can you possible go wrong?

Multiple layers (Jacket, Shirt, underwear, pant) let you add your fun tee to any other set you have, prim sleeves provided in large and small (And modifiable -- thank you, A&M).

And if A&M's bi-colors aren't your thing, then you should duck over to Urban Republic Co., and grab their open shirt set in multiple colors.

Or you can grab the Urban Republic Co. MHOII-6 hunt gift and get the shirt and jeans, with the underlayer t-shirt in black or white.

Rolled sleeves, upright collor, jacket layer for the open shirt, underwear layer for the tank.

Come on. You know you want to.

Putting your best face forward

Faces Studio has been making all kinds of impressions lately and the new release of their skin, Justin, should only increase the interest and the discussion.

Overall I really like this skin; the detail is pretty amazing, both in musculature and body hair. The skin tone is amazingly detailed, with all the faint freckles and little flaws that give a skin character and add to the impression of Justin as being a man capable of handling just about anything he needs to. I'm especially happy about the eyes, and the faint folds beneath them that manages to pull Justin out of the too young and pretty into the just old enough and bold enough.

Justin is an elegantly muscled skin, with a face that is neither too handsome or too easily dismissed. There's curve to his lips that speaks of humor (or the sudden urge to flirt), eye spacing that allows the kind of straight forward gaze some skins lack and he looks good in jeans or in something a little more upscale.

There's some highly realistic skin folds at elbows and knees which get overlooked at times because let's face it they aren't the most interesting part of a body.

The skin I tried of the four samples I received was Justin Clean hair HairBody. And I really was impressed by the application of the body hair, not only to the chest but a light dust across the back as well as along the tops of thighs and the backs of the calves. It's a skin I could comfortably wear either every day or for those "oh my god, I have to look good!" moments that include first dates and time on the side of the pool.

Left: Standard SL Midday settings. Right: AnaLutetia Avatar Opt setting

That said, I did find a couple of -- not so much issues -- as areas of the skin that drew more attention than I think the designer really wanted. I checked it under a couple of different lighting scenarios but it persisted. The most obvious is a paler shading along the chin. When you look really closely at the jaw, you can see the overlays of shadows, from a few meters back you can't but what you do notice is the paleness of it from just below the lower lip to the chin. Paler skin tends the jaw look more pronounced which I'm not sure was the intent.

The other areas are on the hands and forearms, and nape of the neck. On the arms and hands, the shading provides a musculature in keeping with the rest of the body, but it doesn't seem as finely layered as what you see elsewhere on the chest, shoulders, back and legs, kind of a shadowing that looks fine in lower light, but seems too heavy in situations with more light. The arms are also slightly paler in comparison, making the artistry (and it is artistry, no matter my quibbles) stand out rather than blend into a seamless shift of skin tone. Having talked to skin designers before, many agree that getting the hands right is difficult; hands don't have the deep valleys and rise that larger muscle groups, have so trying to define that takes time and patience.

Some of the skins have a hair base, which I am a huge advocate for. The front hairline is realistically curved to frame the forehead, a hint of whispy hairs at the peak of the line. The back however seems to dip a bit low on the sides. Not really an issue if you are going to be wearing hair over the base, but if you like the shorn look, it does draw the eye to the back of the neck. (Obviously, if you don't use the hair base, this is a non-issue.)

These really are quibbles though -- and it's easy for me to stand over here and critique someone else's hard work. I am not the artist the designer at Faces Studio is, and skin making is an art and Justin is really an excellent example of that skill and well worth the asking price.

If you want a skin with some character, personality, and some amazing detail, you should check out Faces Studio's full line and spend some time with their demos. Faces Studio also offers some innovative add-ons for skins that allow a variety of changes to a skin without having to buy a new one which is a huge bonus for anyone that roleplays or who just likes to change up their look now and then. Want to enhance the skin tone? You can do it. Need a few bruises? You can get them. Add a little aging? you can do that too. Faces Studio has a lot of ways to make that face you are wearing, really yours.

While doing some hunts with a friend, we fell into Urban Republic Co. There was actually quite a lot we liked, but you know, hunt, gotta get to the next one, move along...and while I intended to go back, I got a reminder in the delivery of their latest release in a line of themed full outfits. Jeans, t-shirt and an open plaid shirt, back carrying a subtle graphic -- in this case the outfit is called Black Guns, staking that Urban territory with disarming country boy style.

Keep in mind that I love plaid and I love open shirts and so slipping this on really was the easiest thing in the world. Collar and cuff details on the plaid are nice, not clunky and settled in to fit on the first try. T-shirt has some nice stretch and shadow folds, making it look as a well worn t-shirt should. Jeans have a nice fabric grain and the side seams, pockets, and placard details are clean and sharp, not blurred or stretched.

A note from Aizen Arentire over at [Let's Get Dirty] had me popping over to check out his shop in the Gayborhood and I liked what I saw mostly because I do love me some tank tops and Aizen has a bunch from the funny to the ironic to the hot to the just plain comfortable. The fit and detail is really nice, no blurred shoulders, nice folds and a slightly lower underarm cut which I like given that my av runs to the larger size. I'm pretty sure they are unisex, although there's none of the heavier shading under the breast area you see in women's tanks. I went with the flowered tank, just because the colors caught my idea but for only $75L, I'm going back for more.

While checking out [Let's Get Dirty], I caught sight of Energy Menswear in the same shopping district. Energy has long been a favorite of mine, although they keep moving so I keep losing them but I've always enjoyed the designs and the kind of in your face style. But it was entirely by accident that I tripped over the freebie in the shop. Just in time for the 4th of July, a date of some significance (not to mention time off and an excellent time to catch up with friends and family and eat more food than is good for you) to those of us in the USA,

You get a well done patriotic t-shirt and matching jeans -- the perfect thing for that family picnic -- just for clicking. Now that's a reason to celebrate!

Another freebie I'm glad I didn't miss is the release of a pair of Vision eyes from Photos Nikolaidis at A:S:S. I don't change eyes often, I kind of like the ones I have, but I'm tempted here. The eyes are vibrant and slightly larger than usual without traipsing into anime territory. The set Photos is giving away is a blue to teal color, and there are both traditional eyes and prim lenses. The price for both individual sets of other colors or fat packs is also pretty reasonable -- which most stuff at A:S:S is. Even if you don't want to change eyes either, I encourage you to check out A:S:S if you haven't. There's a little something for everyone there.

Other Notes:
Hair - Lelutka Seth - Coal Mine

How I spent my weekend - La Venta Eventa

La Venta Eventa is a new(-ish) weekend shopping event making the rounds, where some of my favorite designers are participating as well as a few I didn't mind being introduced to. Eleven categories of offerings from Houses to Poses, all items for $100L or less, but only from Friday Midnight to Sunday Midnight.

Weekends have become the target for a lot of specialized sales, almost too many of them to keep track of, but this one has a limited number of designers, isn't as intensive as a hunt, and by and large I found the offerings for men to be interesting and fun.

22769 never stops impressing me and the Sportsjacket outfit they offer is no exception: Cool blue tones, lightweight jacket, well detailed jeans and a playful t-shirt. Paco Pooley has a flair for style and a touch of humor in almost everything he and his partner put out for their customers. And for the price, you can't beat the look.

Twisting a bit to the side [Virtual/Insanity] offers the guys a set of black nails for La Venta Eventa, suitably goth and oh so fun. Tintable base gloves let you match to your skin tone, and really, why should the gals have all the glam of decorated nails? The pose letting you see my manicure is from Luba, also for La Venta. This is actually a face set meant for jewelry or glasses or good face shots for the ladies. There is a pose pack for men as well, equally as appealing. (Note for the Luba poses - the shop is in The Euphoria shopping district, which houses some amazing designers for men and women. The district gives points you can redeem, so join the Subscriber (no group slot) before you buy. The tier limits seem high but you might be surprised how quickly they can add up for you. )
.:*December*:. is also in La Venta, and while the necklace on offer wasn't quite my style, they are also participating in the Black Butler hunt. I'm pretty sure the glasses with their catcher are meant for the ladies but they are way fun and funky set with my goth look for the day. Topping it off is Yellow Jester's Rosary, a piece I already had in my inventory but being offered up at a deal of a price for 60L Weekends. (Edit: Designer MandyMandy MacMillan of .:*December*:. offered up that the glasses I'm wearing are modeled after those worn by a character in the Black Butler manga & anime series and are entirely meant for the guys. I completely missed the connection, so my apologies to MandyMandy.)

Not to be last nor forgotten is Entropy's very appealing Skybox called The Recluse. Designed by La Venta organizer Nae, this is an amazingly detailed hideaway for the bookish among us, but not cramped with its high ceiling and factory style widows open to let the light in. There's also a chair pack, at the regular price, but altogether, still less than $400L for both for a seriously unique skybox. The pose here is from Luba's male pack for La Venta.

When not free is worth it.

Hair: Emo-tions / AMELIE /black
Necklace: Pacific Coast Fundraiser Mia's Gems
Shirt: Rudy Fehr Hemp Shirt Mocha
Pants: Rudy Fehr Cargo Pants - Black

Shirt: Rudy Fehr Racerback Tank Aqua
Pants: Rudy Fehr Rudy Fehr Jeans- holy
Boots: Hoorenbeek Hustin boots Used Black

Hat: Rudy Fehr Bogey
Scarf: Rudy Fehr black &white bandana
Coat: Rudy Fehr Tweed with suede elbow patches
Shirt: Rudy Fehr Hemp Shirt Mocha
Pants: Rudy Fehr Cargo Pants - Olive

Sim: Roche

All proceeds go to the Central Asia Institute.

For the ladies, try Boho Hobo next door, where 100% of all proceeds go to RAWA supporting Women in Afghanistan.

Heads up - yet another blog.

New (additional) blog over here: Weekend Salvage (link fixed) is my own line of furniture and home & garden accessories, but I'll be looking at the Home & Garden designs of other people as well.

Designers of clothes, skins, hair, and all those hunts will still be blogged here.

Merry Month of May

New for May, Pompeja Rossini of LaVie offers Gabriel and to entice you she's offered up two special version of the Gabriel Skin to her group members in all his pugilistic glory. Hair base, bruises, scrapes and the defiant set to his jaw are all part of the skin.

Gabriel Skin (light beard) - LaVie
Hakama Pants Blood with wrist bandages - The Trap (not free)

And if that wasn't enough Swaffette Firefly at SF Design is standing in the middle of her store in Penryn handing out this handsome leather black trench with a grin and a wink. Comes with both resizer and non-scripted parts so if you need a trench for RP or too look good on the dance floor you don't need to worry about causing lag.

Gabriel Skin (dark beard) - LaVie
Black Leather Trench - SF Design
Violence Jeans - SG Fashion

And while you are out and about, you might want to hit SG Fashion. The store is moving to DuoLife and Sasha Gopheller is offering her entire inventory for $10L. Jeans, shirts jackets, tanks, sweater, you name it. If you need to fill out your closet and not spend a lot of lindens, SG Fashions has you covered. Sale is for a limited time, though, so don't wait.

MenStuff Hunt - Clothes and all the rest

Yeah, it's all about the clothes -- except when it's about the skins or the shapes or the shoes or the hair or the occasional fun and fantastic non-wearable item, (like a shipwreck that comes complete with cuddles and a towel. Someone's been reading "A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" again.)

Not every item of clothing suits every guy, but with this many different shapes and skins, you know, you could totally be the guy who wears all of it and wouldn't that be a different way to look at it?

I'm covering separates first; we'll get to outfits later I hope, but the mix and match approach gives you a better idea of what you actually have.

Fear & Clothing and MiaMai are old favorites. They did not disappoint.

Upper Left:
Hair: #65 - U.December - Where We Are-Brown
Shirt: #38 -MiaMai Jeon Brown
Pants: #93 - Havana - Classic Pants & Belt Black
Shoes: #60 - Fear & Clothing - Franke Shoes-Paisley Gold

Upper Right:
Hat/Hair: #110 - Aa Production - Reverse Cap Shirt: #23 - Alphavillain - FitzWilliam Polo
Jeans: #39 - WOE - Gauge
Boots: #106 - Bedlam - Urban Boot
Bracelet: #64 - DK Designs - Lonestar

Hair: #135 -[Sekuella]
Skin: #79 - LaVie Echo for MENstuff Hunt 2011
Piercings: #49 - [-iPoke-] Hollows
#71 - ::MORTALITY:: MENstuff Face Piercings
#113 - MCD Gothic Cross Lip Piercing
Necklace: #94 - *MischievousCat*Krone
Shirt/Sweater: # 19 SB Menswear SB SX Long Sleeve Shirt Unbuttoned - White SB V-Neck Sweater - Blue
Pants: #34 - KOSH- MUC PANTS
Boots: #54 - !!Cattivo - Stomper Engineer Boot - Black

Kirby by KMadd (not in hunt/Not Free)

Hair: #1 - .::MADesigns HAIR::. ~ COLT ~ Exclusive SKUNK
Skin: #14 - EGOISME SAMMV2 - Medium Unbald - Body Hair - Chin Curtain
Shirt: #27 - Pig - Southwest Corner - Faded Blue
Pants: #37 - PEER- Leather Edge
Boots: #15 - [LeatherBound] Military Boot (L) - Brown Suede
Piercings: #49 - [-iPoke-] Hollows
#71 - ::MORTALITY:: MENstuff Face Piercings
#113 - MCD Gothic Cross Lip Piercing
#109 - =Razorblade Jacket=- Spiked Ear Piercing
(right) Bracelet: #64 - DK Designs - Lonestar
Pose Backdrop: #20 - Poise

Animation: #144 HelaMiyo Silly Step 2
Hat: #68 Hatter Is Mad - Barbed Nude Top Hat
Glasses: #85 K_gs [Kumaki] - H98 Glasses for MenStuff
Watch: #4 Culture Club - Bravado II
Jeans: #58 HCC - Jeans Dirty Blue
Sweater: #41 Coma - Cobain Sweater
Shoes: #25 Duh! - Tassled Loafer

Hair: #69 - *Birth* Shake Hair - Caramel Blonde
Skin: #111 - Style by Kira - Drake Skin
Glasses: #118 - Kalnins
Sunglasses - Aviator RWK
Necklace: #70 - Mustang Trading Post - Mens Luck & Faith beaded Necklace
Sweater: #28 - {MV} Maplewood Sweater
Pants: #50 - *Valiant* Ripped n Rolled Pants
Shoes: #7 - *FIR & MNA* MENstuff Loafers

MenStuff Hunt - Shapes

A really good skin can look really bad if the shape is off, and likewise, some shapes can come off looking unbalanced or out of proportion if the skin you have was meant to indicate a mature man and your shape is too boyish, or make you look ridiculous if you have youthful skin laid over a huge bear of a shape. Whether you want to look good, fit a certain type, build an RP character, model yourself after your favorite actor, or even try to approximate your RL self -- matching skin and shape can take a lot of trial an error and you can spend a lot of Lindens trying to get the look you want.

Fortunately for us, a good many designers in SL make really great shapes, and quite a few of them are giving you samples of their work in this hunt. The thing to remember about a good shape is to look at it from all angles. Front to back, profile to camming down from the top of your head to see if nose or ears (or the ever important package) are too large or too small, check arm length and if hips and shoulders are somewhat aligned. Profile especially -- you are in a 3-D world and you have a profile, shallow chins and noses or heavy brows can look fine straight on, but glance to the side and you may not recognize yourself.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on the shapes below, save to note some unique features. All the shapes are available in this hunt and the skin in every shot is the LaVie Echo Special skin, also found in the hunt.

#88 ASKA Asian Shapes: Asian style, and youthful build.
#98 Sophistishapes -Mature features, obviously a man with a gym membership.

#56 Shape It Up: Walking the high steel or sipping a glass of wine; handsome features and a moderate build.
#84 Body by Venk: Venk is an artist at heart and it shows in his shapes. There's no classic run of the mill features here; there's character in the face, a man with some miles on him but still ready to go the distance; Roman General or romance writer - or both.

#81 Body Doubles: one of the first shapes I ever purchased came from here; they have a gift for mimicry but they also have an eye for proportion. Youthful strength and a little bit of an athlete. Well matched with the LaVie skin it was designed for.
#66 Adlerblick Shapes: Alric has an eye for realism in his shapes; good looking but not classic and perfect, shapes with character that still stand out in the crowd of emo punkers and moody brooding male beauties; this is the guy next door, the one you see and remember.

#59 Alecto's Shapes: Warrior or lover, mature face, impressive physique.
#62 CS Shapes: Young and quick, light on his feet and easy on the eye.

#16 NOVUS studios: Long and lean, perfect dance partner or to have your back in a fight. Classical style and time tested.
#5 Maverick Design: No one can say Ivy doesn't appreciate male beauty. This is the guy who stays quiet in the corner, but he's not shy, he's just watching you.

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