Buzzeri · Catwa · Collabor88 · Dead Dollz · Exile · Getting Personal · Glam Affair · Home & Garden · iheartslFeed · Ingenue · Just Because · LeLutka · Mesh Bodies · Mesh Heads · Opinions & Thoughts · Second Life · truth

Blushing Brides

A couple of months back I fell in love with this Eria gown from Dead Dollz. I knew immediately that it would make for a gorgeous wedding gown, but I eschewed the idea of white and went for the nude, as a play on the whole “blushing bride” thing. I’m wearing it with one of Truth’s recent releases. Like his other newer releases this one has a hairstyle HUD with several options. I love messy, curly updos. I’m wearing my Chloe LeLutka head with a Glam Affair applier that was part of June’s LeLutka Powder Pack. The bouquet and pose are part of Foxcity’s Flower bento pose set.

The Blush Bride

When I decided to do this blog post, I originally intended to use my malt. But since I was doing the post in June – LGBTQ+ Pride Month – I decided to use my falt instead. It’s something very important to me, and by complete coincidence I’m posting this on the anniversary of the SCOTUS ruling that overturned DOMA here in the US. It’s fairly well known that I’m bisexual. It worked out that my soul mate was a man, and getting married was not hard for us. But sometimes I can’t help but think, what if it had worked out differently? While I cannot imagine loving anyone other than my husband, there’s no denying that I benefit from living the life of a heterosexual. Since bisexuality isn’t visible, no one knows by looking at me. I never forget the privilege that I get because of that.

To keep with the non-traditional color scheme, I picked a formal gown from Just Because that felt beachy but still formal, in the shade antique. I’m wearing Ingenue’s Lisbet sandals that are at the current round of Collabor88. I picked a blue shade because I wanted to add just a touch of tradition but in a unique way! Her hair is also from Collabor88, by Exile.

Just Married

~Lucie

Credits
Fashion:
On Me:
Maitreya: Lara mesh body
Glam Affair: Barbara applier – America Powder Pack June
Izzie’s: Yonder eyes
Truth: Imani hair – Multitone Hud 1
Dead Dollz: Eria gown & shrug – Nude
Astralia: My half ring set
Hello Dave: Stardust nail applier
Foxcity: Flowers 7m big gown pose w/bouquet (pic 1)

On Maddy:
Maitreya: Lara mesh body
Catwa: Bibi mesh head (non-bento)
Glam Affair: Catwa applier – Alessa 9 – Jamaica
Buzzeri: Moka eyes – Storm
Exile: Lust For Life – Natural Fusions Collabor88
Just Because: Mirage dress – Antique
Ingenue: Lisbet shoes – Arctic Collabor88
Infiniti: Seashore pose

Decor:
Trompe Loeil: Driftwood Wedding Archway
Tuff: Ruins Mountain – small v2

Blueberry · Buzzeri · Catwa · Events · iheartslFeed · Just Because · Mesh Bodies · Mesh Heads · Neve/coldLogic/FATE/Goji · Opinions & Thoughts · The Epiphany

Bird Watching

The second I saw this adorable prop that oOo Studio released for The Seasons Story I knew I had to grab it. It’s a little vignette and it’s so cute. I decided to watch some cute little birds out the window while wearing my owl print Cupcake leggings from Blueberry. These leggings have the most amazing butt… seriously. This pic even got invited to a group on Flickr called Super butts of SL, and I was so proud. I feel like my butt needs a cape now. Anyway, back to the leggings… I fatpacked them (or really a friend sent them to me as a gift, to be accurate about it) and Blueberry recently added an upgrade to the fatpack that included something like 50 additional prints. It’s INSANE and totally well worth the investment if you’re big on leggings! I paired the leggings with boots from Just Because and a cute cropped sweater from Neve. I felt like I need a bird watching pal, so I rezzed a little kitten from JIAN.

Bird Watching

My hair is Ari from Truth, and this comes with a version without bangs but I’ve always loved straight, blunt bangs so they were a must for me! I did this second picture on January 20th, after seeing Hextraordinary’s adorable Courting Candle release for Fifty Linden Fridays. I thought if ever there was a day that we needed a little extra light in the world, it was the day Trump was inaugurated. My skin is a new release from Pink Fuel, Sabine. It has a bento version for the Catya head from Catwa, but I don’t have that head so I’m wearing the non-bento version on Dyana. I think it’s adorable, and as always it comes with so many options. Mochi really gives you so much for your money with her appliers/skins! My eyes are new from Buzzeri, and can be found at The Epiphany. I’m wearing the rare Storm shade, but all of them are lovely. I am also using the Vista bento hands in these pics.

He cannot put out our light

~Lucie

Credits

Fashion:
SLink: Physique Hourglass body
Catwa: Dyana mesh head
Pink Fuel: Sabine Catwa applier – Vanilla
Buzzeri: Okina eyes – Storm (Rare) The Epiphany
Buzzeri: Prom lashes for Catwa heads
Truth: Ari hair w/bangs – Reds
Vista Animations: Bento Hands
Neve: Buttons top – Lively
Blueberry: Cupcake leggings – fatpack add-on version
Just Because: Anna boots w/socks
oOo Studio: Winterview Vignette The Seasons Story
Hextraordinary: Courting candle – holdable version

Decor:
Studio Skye: Enchanted Woods trees
Pilot: Bird Apartments [Snowy]
Half-Deer: Northern Cardinals
JIAN: A Very Kitten Christmas – Ginger Tabby Kitten
Dysfunctional Designs: Frilly pine tree

Opinions & Thoughts

Some time off…

I don’t usually do this, but I am going to take a bit of a break. Probably only a week or so at most. My grandmother’s not doing well, and I’m not feeling very focused right now. So I’ll be back soon. I just need to find some creativity and energy first.

Thank you all who have already expressed love and support for me on Plurk. I really appreciate it so much.

~Lucie

Events · Getting Personal · Homestyle · iheartslFeed · Opinions & Thoughts

Perfectly imperfect

So, there’s a new club opening Sunday called Altitude. Actually, it’s more of a destination venue than a club. It’s designed for live music performances, which is really cool and something I used to enjoy a lot of in SL (before I became a platform dweller 😛 ) In honor of the grand opening, Valentina E. Couture has made this sexy outfit as a launch gift! This outfit will only be available during the big debut event, from 12 pm to 5 pm SLT Sunday, September 13th! So don’t miss out… take the opportunity to go check out a new venue AND snag an awesome gift at the same time. Oh, and my adorable shoes are from fri.day, for the new Collabor88. This month’s witchy theme has been super popular, and it may still take a few tries to get in, but oh my, it is worth the effort once you do.

Living Room Star

Now, please bear with me while I get personal. And wordy.

You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful. ~Amy Bloom

I love that quote. I think we live in a world that encourages this quest for flawlessness and perfection, and no matter how perfectly that foundation covers your “flaws,” they still exist. Not to mention, the most beautiful parts of ourselves aren’t the parts that show on the outside. Who we are as individuals isn’t contingent upon our skin being perfect, a number on the scale, the size of our pants or any other external thing. It’s about our personalities, and this is where true beauty lies. And even then, we’re still not perfect. No one is… and the quest for it just tends to leave us feeling inferior, self-conscious, empty and frustrated.

In Second Life, it’s possible to be physically “perfect,” whatever “perfection” might look like to us personally. And actually, it’s hard to NOT be perfect in some respects. Most skins are flawless, gorgeous works of art. And not that I don’t appreciate that, because I do. I appreciate beauty, in all of its forms. But sometimes I find myself wanting SL to be a little… more realistic. A little less perfect. Last year, I went from being a (smallish) medium in standard sizing to a very lush large. It was a big change. Most of you will have noticed that the size difference from medium to large is quite a jump. Much more pronounced than the difference from small to medium. When mesh first came out I was between a small and medium and I went smaller. The idea of making my avatar larger was so… distressing. And I didn’t want to admit that to myself, let alone to anyone else. But it’s true.

I’ve struggled with a RL eating disorder and body acceptance pretty much my entire life. I was a fat kid, a fat teen and I’m a fat adult. And I say “fat” merely as a descriptor, but oh it’s such a loaded word. It shouldn’t be, anymore than saying “I’m tall” or “I have brown eyes.” But our culture abhors fat, and strives to do everything to eradicate it where possible. I decided I wanted my SL shape to be fuller figured. I still wouldn’t call my av “fat,” but comparatively speaking she is… particularly in the blogging/fashion world of SL, where it seems most people tend to be thinner. In reality, even though to me, a (real life) person of a comparable size isn’t “fat,” I suspect that if you went by the (useless) BMI charts the woman in question would be considered “overweight,” if not “obese.” But size is relative, in some respects, and what is “thin” or “fat” varies depending on perspective, too. I have never and will never be that person who goes into any store and easily finds clothes that fit, perfectly, without trouble. Though it may seem strange I’d want to relive that experience in Second Life, I have worked very hard on eating disorder recovery and body acceptance in real life, and it occurred to me last year that my avatar being so close to a societally idealized shape was not a healthy thing for me. It should be noted that Lucie’s build is really nothing like my RL one, but it still feels more true to myself. It was a matter of finding the balance between fantasy and reality that wouldn’t messing with my head… but I still often wished for a fuller face.

Enter Mallory Cowen, the talented creator behind LAQ, who has recently introduced skins that are exactly what I’ve been craving in my SL. Particularly Elise, which I’m wearing below. Elise comes with a “built in” double chin. There’s a tattoo layer for a “simple” chin, too, for those who love the skin but don’t want a double chin. Her features are fuller and I just love this skin so much. You can also buy the double chin tattoo separately for use with other LAQ skins (and you may be able to match them to other brands, but I’d demo first, to be sure). My cute fortune cookie necklace is a new release from Cae for The Mix, and which you can grab at the Mainstore.

Perfectly Imperfect

It struck me as I photographed this skin, trying to find a light that didn’t minimize the double chin, how… counter-intuitive that is, how even now, with all the work I’ve done to accept myself as I am today, I’d probably cringe if lighting made my double chin seem even more pronounced. I would immediately recognize what I was doing, and shut down the negative self-talk. But it would probably still happen, particularly on a bad day. But that’s what I mean… no one is perfect. We all have our problems and flaws, and trying to deny that or trying to “erase” them, well… for me, at least, that’s like trying to erase a part of who I really am. And that’s just not something I am willing to do anymore.

I applaud Mallory for her work. It’s something I think SL really needed, and it’s going to be great for RPers (she did several more mature skins, too). Check out the LAQ blog for more pics, and I plan to blog some of her other newer skins, too! I look forward to seeing what she does next.

~Lucie

Credits
Fashion:
SLink: Physique mesh body
LAQ: Elise skin – tone 1.5 w/smoky eyeshadow tattoo
Magika: Itch hair – Hud 1
Buzzeri: Duo eyes – Molten
Valentina E. Couture: Altitude Ensemble Altitude Opening Gift
Cae: Fortune necklace The Mix
SLink: Casual mesh hands, High feet
fri.day: Samantha booties – ghost Collabor88
Repose: Red pose & prop 01

Decor:

Jian: Lyle Console Record Player
floorplan: scattered sheet music, guitar bookcase
Lisp: Persimmon Grand Piano – Noir
TeddyJr: Dorene store building (in the apartment above the store)

Charities · Events · Fantasy · Homestyle · iheartslFeed · Opinions & Thoughts

Bandana Day 2015

Hair Fair 2015 closes tonight, at 11:59 pm SLT. Today is Bandana Day. If you haven’t gone to Hair Fair yet, or you didn’t get a bandana for Bandana Day, definitely consider going and grabbing one. They’re only L$50 each, they’re 100% donation items and there are a lot of cool options. Mine is from L+N and it’s called Liberty. It came with the torch (my SL sister Isley Oodles made me the stone tablet prop, and my husband made me the pose; neither are for sale anywhere) and I thought it was a really neat idea. Both from a creative perspective, but also because it felt like an empowering thing to me. I think of how we put so much value on hair, particularly on women’s hair, and really why? It’s just another form of idealized beauty. Not that I don’t have fun with hair in SL, because of course I do… and it would definitely be traumatic for me if I ever lost my RL hair because I love it. But at the end of the day, part of that is just another aspect of what we’re conditioned to be used to, what we’re conditioned to find attractive. And that’s all very interesting to me from a sociological/anthropological standpoint. But enough geeking out.

The bottom line here is… Wigs For Kids is a fabulous charity helping children who’ve lost their hair due to illness or medical treatments. Whether those kids choose bandanas or wigs, this charity helps empower them and give them a chance to have something they’ve not chosen to lose. So go buy a bandana, and wear it for the rest of the day! It’s only a few hours!

Freedom

The necklace and earrings I have on are from Cae, for the brand new monthly fantasy event Illusion Point. My gorgeous skin is the newest face from Glam Affair, Fiona, available at Uber. These stunning eyes are from Buzzeri’s new release at N21. Here’s a closer look.

Fiona & Sebastian

~Lucie

Credits

Glam Affair: Fiona skin – Jamaica 03 Uber
Maitreya: Lara mesh body
Buzzeri: Duo eyes – Spirit N21
L+N: Liberty bandana & torch for Hair Fair 2015
Blueberry: Kayden dress – mint
SLink: Mesh hands – mouse & splayed
Wicked Peach: Summer Basics nails
Pixel Mode: Marcus skybox w/Manhattan surround

iheartslFeed · Opinions & Thoughts

Mesh Body Comparisons

I began this post a while ago and have had the draft saved. Since I can’t type much, now seemed like a good time to finish it up.

I’ve wanted to do a mesh body comparison post for a while, but I was finally prompted by the recently updated SLink Physique body (the heads, hands and feet all have updates, too, if you missed them). Before this update I honestly didn’t feel the Physique flattered my curvier build. While I thought it looked lovely on my more slender friends, it just didn’t work for me. But that is over! The updated body works very nicely with my curves, as you will see below. I will say, however, it is a more athletic build than either Belleza’s Venus or Maitreya’s Lara bodies. So if that’s something that appeals to you, then Physique is the body for you.

It should be noted that, for the sake of this comparison post, I am wearing the same shape with all three bodies. I have shapes for each of the bodies that have been tweaked to meet my needs, but for this I wanted you to see the differences amongst the same shape. Click through to Flickr to see the comps bigger.

I wanted to show side-by-side comparisons that highlight the things I find most important in a mesh body: Thighs, butt, breasts and belly. This first comp shows off the breasts and belly nicely, as well as the thighs. My favorite thighs, belly and breasts are all on the Lara body. This is really just a matter of my preferring a softer build, over a more athletic one like the Physique offers. However, I feel that Physique is a close second, especially on the thighs and belly.

Body Comparison: Side View

Next, the rear view! I’d say that, for me and what I’m looking for, Lara and Physique tie here, while Venus is behind both (no pun intended).

Body Comparison: Butts!

Lara was also recently updated to have more alpha cuts, and like the updated Physique there are slots where you can save alpha cuts. This is really helpful, and has made me more inclined to wear a mesh body because, honestly, I am lazy and changing alpha cuts is tedious. Venus does not offer nearly as many alpha cuts, which can make it harder to fit clothes not made exclusively for it. However, there are a lot of stores offering clothes to fit the body, so if you prefer Venus just shop around to find designers making clothing for it. As for appliers, both Maitreya’s body and Belleza’s body will work with the Omega system, but Physique does not. Again, this isn’t too much of an issue since a lot of stores have appliers specifically for Physique, but it is worth noting. With the Maitreya body, though there are designers releasing clothing for it, the official developer kit hasn’t been released, so designers are, to an extent, guessing on fit… and sometimes this does show with inexact fits. Now, that being said I run into more issues than most because I also happen to wear a standard size large and my “fit mesh” shape is even curvier than my standard sizing shape. Theoretically with fitted mesh that shouldn’t make a difference, but in reality it does seem to. However, I haven’t had too many issues. Still, if you wear an unconventional shape you absolutely want to demo everything (really a good policy regardless).

Another thing worth noting is that if you wear a Belleza skin, you will definitely want to consider Venus, as Belleza does not offer appliers for any of the other mesh bodies. You’ll have to hand tint if you choose to go with a Belleza skin and a different designer’s body. Hopefully that’s something Belleza will change in the future. Speaking of skins, Maitreya partnered with Glam Affair, so their hud has all of the Glam skin tones preloaded, which is a definite perk if you’re inclined to mostly (or always) wear Glam Affair. I wear Glam skins more than any other skins, so I definitely do consider that a bonus. But I’m a skin addict, and I jump around and plenty of the skins I wear offer appliers for all three of these bodies. Physique includes a skin with purchase, which is also nice. With Physique, you do need to remember that the SLink hands and feet are sold separately. Venus and Lara both come with hands and feet. Lara’s hands have only one basic position, while Venus comes with a very nice, wide array of hand positions. However, both Venus and Lara will work with the SLink hands and feet (just be sure to use the XS size, regardless of your normal, non-mesh body size).

My advice to anyone who hasn’t picked a body yet is to grab demos and wear them for a while. Try all the alpha options with your favorite clothes and see how they work before buying, so you know you’ve made the right choice. For me, it’s all about Lara and Physique, in that order, while at this point I really only use Venus if I’m wearing a Belleza skin because tinting by hand is inexact, to say the least, and annoying.

I am slowly starting to wear the mesh bodies more often, but I’m definitely not a full-timer yet. I still find them to be a bit tedious and time consuming, though the ability to save alpha cut combos definitely helps. However, the lure of these bodies is how beautiful they are, unlike the standard avatar. So, it’s definitely something I see myself using more and more as time passes.

~Lucie

Credits
Physique Look:
Lara Hurley Skins: Elea – red – rose pale
Elua: Jaycee Hair – Redbrown pack
Lacuna: Mae Lingerie – Olive

Venus Look:
PXL: Aeryn – Natural – Makeup 01
Exile: Touch So Warm hair – reds
Lacuna: Mae Lingerie – Blue

Lara Look:
Glam Affair: Katra skin – America 01
Truth: Fynn hair (no headband version) – reds
Lacuna: Mae Lingerie – Sherbert

Other Credits:

Bauhause Movement: Zerkalo 11 – pic 1 (modified to fit my shape using the Animare hud)
Ploom: Bones – 4 (curvy) pic 2

Glam Affair: Olivine Skybox

Charities · Events · Fantasy · Getting Personal · iheartslFeed · Opinions & Thoughts · SL Places

Why I Relay

Trigger warning: I discuss cancer fairly bluntly in this post, and I just wanted to provide a sort of proceed with caution for anyone that may find this a difficult or painful topic. ~L.

I walked around the blogger preview for Fantasy Faire waiting for a phone call. I’d had a suspicious mole biopsied ten days earlier. That morning, around 10 am, I finally heard the words, “the biopsy was negative. It’s not cancer.” I heard those words as I was browsing Fantasy Faire, and it just struck me how it could’ve gone the other way.

Cancer runs rampant in my family. I know the odds are it will be me someday. I am vigilant and watchful, but I refuse to let it take over my life. There’s too much joy, beauty and love to be found, to be experienced. But I’m one of the lucky ones. Right now I just have to watch.

Watcher

I know so many amazing, strong, smart, fiery people who have been down this road. I relay for them. The following is just the short list, but there are so many others, both SL and RL for whom I relay.

My great-grandfather died from leukemia, without even knowing he was sick until he developed pneumonia. He was diagnosed while in the hospital. He never returned home. I relay for him.

My (paternal) grandmother fought a seemingly endless battle against bladder cancer. She went in and out of remission about 10 times over a period of 15 years. She finally beat it, only to have had her kidneys utterly destroyed by the radiation treatments, and to have permanent nerve damage that made it difficult for her to walk. I relay for her.

My (maternal) grandmother has fought not one, not two, but three distinct types of cancer in just the past few years alone. Two different breast cancers and a rare form of lung cancer. She had part of her lung removed. She’s had two rounds of chemo. Years ago, she had pre-cancerous growths in her colon, and had to have over 3 feet of it removed. She’s also had pre-cancerous skin growths. I relay for her.

My grandmother’s sister, my great-aunt, had breast cancer in the 1980s. She felt the lump, but was terrified and paralyzed by fear. She waited too long to seek treatment, and the breast cancer spread to her bones. She saw doctor after doctor and was used as a guinea pig in various “studies” by less-than-honest “physicians.” It ultimately cost her her life, and a very painful death. I relay for her.

My great-grandmother lived to be 88. One weekend in late September 2000, she was gently scolded by my grandmother (her daughter-in-law and next door neighbor) for hanging her laundry out on the clothesline (instead of using the dryer). “Oh, but it’s such a lovely autumn day and it won’t stay this warm much longer,” she argued. Less than a week later we found out she had pancreatic cancer. She died the day before Halloween, but she was actually oddly fortunate. Pancreatic cancer is known to be rapidly progressive, but also often horribly painful, and she had very little pain. She felt she’d had a good life. She was happy, and able to die at home, as she wanted. I relay for her.

My grandfather had bladder cancer. They caught it early, and he had six weeks of chemo. It went into full remission. I relay for him.

My childhood friend, at the age of 36, found out he had leukemia. He’d felt rundown for a few weeks, and thought he had the flu. It was quite a surprise to find himself rush admitted to the hospital for blood transfusions and chemo. He has two young children. He’s now in remission. I relay for him.

My mother had pre-cancerous cells in her cervix. They probably would’ve remained undiscovered until it had turned into cancer, if not for the fact she’d gotten pregnant with my sister. Nearly 23 years later, thanks to the laser surgery to remove the cells, she’s still cancer free. However, with both her aunt and mother developing breast cancer, she is awaiting her own genetic test to find out if she’s a carrier. She’s already been a warrior for my grandmother, taking her to all of her many doctors’ appointments and chemo treatments, and always helping to get the answers needed when perhaps my grandmother wouldn’t have otherwise pushed (and without she might not today be in remission from three different cancers). I relay for her.

My father-in-law died from complications caused by chemo treatments he was undergoing for a very rare form of leukemia. I relay for him.

I’ve had to get lab work done once every three to four months for the past two years due to chronic, idiopathic leukocytosis (unexplained, long-term, high white blood cell count). I’ve had genetic testing done to see if I am a carrier for the genetic marker for leukemia (I am thankfully not). I know, though, that if any of these results come back over a certain mark, I will be going back to the oncologist to be evaluated for treatment. I know that every four months or so, I will wait, anxiously, for results that will probably be okay. But maybe not. I try to not dwell on it, but I’d be lying to not admit this… I also relay for myself.

I relay for every person who didn’t get to hear the words “you don’t have cancer.” I relay knowing someday it could very well be me, or my husband, or my mom… or my sister or any one of my friends of family members.

I relay for the hope that someday no one will have to even wonder or worry about whether or not they have cancer.

I relay because I care. Because it’s personal. Because it’s one, simple, tiny thing I can do to potentially help millions.

Guardian of the Light

If you want to relay, too… stop by Fantasy Faire 2014 and check out the magic. With eleven sims in this event, there’s truly something for everyone. And even if you find absolutely nothing you want to buy, you will see donation kiosks all over the sims. Just drop some Lindens in one. Any amount adds to the donation total. Even if it’s just one single L. You can even purchase a RL Fantasy Faire pendant, in a wide variety of colors and materials, here. How cool is that?!? You can also donate online!

Cancer touches so many of our lives. I don’t think I’ve ever met a single person who hasn’t been affected, either directly, or indirectly, by cancer. To me, that makes the RFL events personal for all of us. So my question now is… will you relay, too? To learn about why some other bloggers relay, visit the Why I Relay challenge page and check out the comments.

Start your journey here. Fairelands Junction For a full list of slurls and stores, visit Fantasy Faire’s excellent website. But hurry… this amazing event ends tomorrow, May 11th.

~Lucie

Credits
The Skinnery: Ming skin – honey w/lip gloss, blush and matte lips 3 layers
Truth: Lagertha hair – reds
IKON: Promise eyes – Passion
Mon Cheri: Falsies lashes
Sax Shepherd Designs: Devi Jewels – Durga – Bright Pearls – Bindi Fantasy Faire Hopes Horizon Sim
22769 Casual Couture: Elven wood gear – purple Fantasy Faire Hopes Horizon Sim
SLink: Mesh hands – fist & relaxed, Mesh feet – natural
SLink: Ilena sandals (for SLink feet) – brown
Noodles: Anyaiel Staff Lantern Silver Ultra Rare Fantasy Gacha Carnival
Ploom: Regal 3 pose – curvy (left arm position modified by holding the staff, which has a hold anim built in)

Shot on location at the Fairelands Junction.

Blogger Challenges · Getting Personal · iheartslFeed · Looks · Opinions & Thoughts

Brave

So, last week I launched a new SL venture called Project EveryBody… and I issued my first challenge to everyone who wanted to participate. The challenge was fairly simple, at least in terms of requirements. I asked people to “be brave.” You can read all the details here.

I have big plans for Project EveryBody, and I’ve even bought a domain for it, with the hopes of translating it to the real world eventually. But for now, I’m content to see what it can do for us in Second Life. For now, here’s my take on being brave.

In March of 2009, I was out in SL at Redgrave. I’d taken the base avatar shape and made it my own… badly. I had no sense of proportions, but it was my shape, my (virtual) body. I was protective of it. One thing I had wanted, like so many, was to be some sort of idealized version of myself. I saw SL as a way to be things I couldn’t ever be in RL. Like, for example, leggy. My RL legs are short. I am not short; at 5’6″ I am taller than the average American woman. But I carry my height in my torso. It’s just the way I’m built, like my mother and grandmother before me. The shape I had created in SL was opposite that, and sort of the… Amazon warrior type, and certainly bigger in width and fat than most avies.

Well, back to Redgrave. Some assholes decided to taunt me in public and call Lucie fat. There was a LOT of uninvited commentary about my “fat” shape, and I was furious. Fat? What they hell were they talking about? These people clearly didn’t know what “fat” meant. But, truth be told, in comparison to other SL avs, Lucie was fat. And that’s okay because fat is merely a physical descriptor, not some sort of bad word. It’s like saying (in RL), I have brown eyes. Yep. I do, thanks for noticing. Now, in this case, they were being bullies and jerks about it, and I didn’t really know how to reply because the concept that I was being bullied for how my pixels looked was kind of mind blowing.

I didn’t change my shape because of their assholery. But, over time, Lucie’s shape DID change. Why? Well… I sucked at editing prims and sculpties and nothing.ever.fit. I was frustrated. Didn’t I already deal with this crap enough in RL? Why did I need to deal with it in SL, too? So gradually, Lucie “lost weight,” so to speak, and as she became smaller I lost a big part of who I – the person behind the avatar – was. I was actively working with an eating disorder therapist in RL when I began SL. I was learning to accept and love the RL me, regardless of size. And by shrinking Lucie, well, I sort of caved to a mindset I was so desperately fighting in the real world. When Standard Sizing for mesh came out, Lucie was between a medium and a small. But closer to a small. Instead of embracing the larger size, I shrunk her even more. For a long time she was a small, and occasionally, even an extra small. Now… you need to understand the secret thrill I felt. I’ve literally never been a small in anything. I was a big baby (8 lbs, 6 oz) and I was a BIG kid. Here, let me show you.

Brownies

Guess which girl I am? Okay, yeah the only one with my face not blurred. But also, by far, the tallest, heaviest and overall biggest. And we’re all the same age. This is first grade. I wore a woman’s size 8 shoe by third grade. Nothing ever fit me right.

So, in SL… when I could be a small! Why wouldn’t I? And that’s a valid question, and it’s fine and fun to be in SL what we can’t in RL. Except in my case, it caused me angst, and played into an unhealthy mindset I’d worked too hard to escape.

I realized over time that I didn’t really feel like ME. So, I became a medium, but resisted becoming a large. If Standard Sizing has a flaw it is that the jump from medium to large is pretty freakin’ dramatic. If you look at the differences between small to medium and medium to large in terms of slider points, it’s significant. So, the jump from a small to a medium didn’t feel so major. But to go from a medium to a large? It felt like putting 60 pounds on my avatar in a few short clicks, and part of me resisted that for a year, even though another part of me secretly craved to make Lucie even more fuller figured. And then… then I saw this picture from Lauren Minuet.

Forget about it

While I vehemently disagree with the notion that to look like a “real woman” a person (or avatar!) needs to have “curves,” or that a thin, slender, or athletically built woman is somehow less “womanly” or sexy, I saw this picture and just fell in love. Lauren just oozes sensuality here, and it made me realize that, despite what I’d told myself, I could be a bigger, fuller figured, curvier avatar and NOT feel frumpy or somehow… less than. I could be more like the real me, the me I’d spent so much time working to love just the way that I am, right now, today. I talked to Lauren (who is one of the sweetest people ever) for some tips and advice (mainly I wondered if she was wearing a large or using fitted mesh – she usually wears large, though the dress in the above pic is from a store that doesn’t use traditional standard sizing). And I tweaked my shape dramatically. And I love it.

Going from a medium to a large should’ve been a huge transition, but it felt so… right – at least once I’d realized it was what I wanted, and opinions of others (and especially of my own inner voice that wants to hate on my own body, virtual or real) be damned. Sure, I’m often the biggest avie in the room, but that mirrors my real life, so it feels right. It feels natural. And it’s okay if I’m the biggest, just as it would be if I were the smallest. Admittedly, it can be infuriating to find clothes that fit my new shape properly (because it seems designers don’t always use the exact measurements for large standard sizing and/or don’t make alphas to work with their large sizes). And forget about poses! We need more curvier poses, people. And AOs. Please, AOs! But I digress. So what? These are minor details, minor inconveniences. I feel sassy, sexy and utterly luscious. I feel more like myself. And, not to sound like a McDonald’s commercial here, but I’m loving that.

So, for my “Be Brave” look I picked this outfit from Gizza because of the bold, vibrant and non-matchy colors. I used to dress that way as a kid in RL. At first people made fun of me (not that I cared), but this was the 80s and dressing that way became a trend not long after I first began to do it (which made me do it less, hah). I stopped wearing bright colors like this in RL years ago, and in part I realized it’s because I felt I shouldn’t try to stand out, that I should try to hide my fat body. Somehow, this carried over into SL. I’d bought this outfit in a “safer” color option, even though I wanted, desperately, the vibrant colors you see here. So right after I issued this challenge, I ran back to Gizza to grab the color I’d wanted all along (though they’re all pretty awesome). I picked the hair because I’ve always felt I “couldn’t pull off” these angled bangs sort of styles. The pose is one from Ploom, one of the stores I know of that does does provide curvy avie friendly versions of their animations, and the pose just says, to me, hey, here I am. Take me or leave me, but I’m not hiding anymore!

Brave

I also used a skin that I feel has a more mature face, Simone from Curio. I even got crazy and tried to find some tattoo layer crow’s feet, but I couldn’t find any that weren’t awful and cartoonish. I even made my Mon Cheri Falsies lashes brown instead of black so they’re not quite so dramatic and somewhat closer to a more realistic RL lash look (at least for me).

I'm no heroine

Finally, I have to leave you with a snippet of a song by Ani DiFranco. I love the entire song, and I’ve linked to a YouTube video below. But this particular part resonates with me very strongly (though that’s true of plenty of Ani songs).

I’m no heroine
at least, not last time I checked
I’m too easy to roll over
I’m too easy to wreck
I just write about
what I should have done
I just sing
what I wish I could say
and hope somewhere
some woman hears my music
and it helps her through her day

(For the record, if it helps men that’s awesome, too)

If you want to participate in this challenge, by all means, jump on board! And be sure to share your posts on the challenge page in the comments.

~Lucie

Credits
Note: I am doing a home decor post of this scene in the not-too-distant future, so I’m just doing fashion credits here, but feel free to ask about things if you’d like to know where they are from in the meantime.

Curio: Simone – Makeup 6 – Sundust
IKON: Promise eyes – Moor
Mon Cheri: Falsies lashes
Wasabi Pills: Betty hair – Cinnamon
Gizza: Suspenders outfit – Vibrant
Cae: Cupcake ring, Ascend bracelet
SLink: Mesh hands – casual & mouse, Mesh feet – medium
LVLE: Elena pump – Viridian
Ploom: Strike 1 – Curvy

Events · iheartslFeed · Looks · Opinions & Thoughts

Enchantment

SL has become so saturated with events that I am kind of feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by them all. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of events that I absolutely love and would be really sad to see end. It’s just that lately I feel like every time I blink, there’s a new event! I say this as the owner (but not creator) of two events. I love my events like they are my babies, so it’s hard for me to say that I think there are too many in SL. But I do. So it takes something really unique, or a special and short term event (like Skin Fair or the highly anticipated Shoetopia) to grab my attention these days. Enchantment does just that. It’s also only every three months, with exclusive items and/or colors. Based on Grimm’s fairy tales, this event is perfect for those who love dramatic, fantasy themed items. The first round is Snow White. The build is spectacular, and there is a wide variety of items, many of which can be used just for every day fun as well as fantasy/RP. You can read more about this new and exciting event here.

My gorgeous gown is from Junbug for Enchantment. It comes in a wide assortment of colors, and all of them are stunning. Junbug is a new to me store, and one I’m thrilled to have discovered! The tiara I’m wearing is a Glam Affair release for FaMESHed, and seemed perfect for this ensemble. It also comes in a lot of color options, which makes me happy! My skin is also Glam Affair, from the new Elvi line which is part of a youth-inspired skin line from Glam. The apple pose prop is from Vanity Poses for Enchantment.

Care for an apple?

I really had fun with these poses. The apple cart is from The Garden and is by Trompe Loeil. The spilled baskets are Dysfunctional Dolly Designs (aka [DDD]). My hair is a new release from Exile, and the romantic, messy updo seemed perfect for a possibly slightly evil queen.

Sweet but tart

Also from the current round of The Garden is this gorgeous camping set from What Next. My outfit is another item from Enchanted by The Library. This ensemble is inspired by the Once Upon A Time television series take on Snow White.

Guardian of the Camp

In this look I am wearing the adorably sweet new Lucie skin from Izzie’s. I was incredibly touched by this release, and consider it an absolute privilege to have been granted such an honor.

Lucie Skin by Izzie's

~Lucie

Credits

Look 1
Glam Affair: Elvi skin – Europa 12 H
Exile: Dream Of Paradise hair – Naturals pack
Glam Affair: Princess Tiara FaMESHed
IKON: Perspective eyes – Black
Mon Cheri: Falsies lashes
Junbug: Snow White gown – Black Enchantment
Paper Couture: Gemstone Heart Set – earrings
Maxi Gossamer: Rejuvenated Stitched Heart necklace
SLink: Mesh hands – Mouse (r) & Relaxed (l)
The Wicked Peach: Blood Drip nails (for SLink hands/feet)
Vanity Poses: Bad Apple 2 & 4 Enchantment

Look 2
Izzie’s: Lucie skin – Pale w/rust lips, moss shadow & eye gloss tattoos
Truth: Arianna hair – Reds01Fade
IKON: Perspective eyes – Pewter
Mon Cheri: Falsies lashes
The Library: Snow outfit Enchantment
SLink: Mesh hands – Relaxed (r) & Bag (l)
Maitreya: Stagioni boots – ash green
Hopscotch: The Huntress – props & pose 2

Rustica: SkyMoon Environment (used in both scenes)

Blogger Challenges · Events · Getting Personal · iheartslFeed · Opinions & Thoughts · SL Places

Chapter Three

When I initially read the prompts for Chapter Three of The Writer’s Block, I really wasn’t sure I’d even have anything to say this time around. I don’t really think too much about going back in time to change things. Not because there aren’t things worth changing, but because I believe that every event in our lives leads us to the place we are right now, but literally and metaphorically. I happen to love my life, despite the challenges I’ve faced. So, I wouldn’t risk making a change that might completely alter my entire history, or cost me all the good I have in my present life. The other three prompts seemed interesting, but well… I’m in SL with my RL husband, so sex in SL is sort of irrelevant to me at this point. But I did mentally keep coming back to the fourth prompt… “the struggle between the real and the second” seemed very compelling to me. But what to say? I honestly wasn’t sure I could think of anything. My SL and RL have always been pretty merged (the whole RL husband thing again).

Then yesterday I was shooting a new poster for the front of our store Embody. We have six huge posters of our products, and we try to highlight the basics and best sellers with the posters. One of our biggest selling categories has always been maternity. So, for the poster, I got all dressed up like I’d been thoroughly knocked up and was about to pop. I thought I looked pretty darn adorable, dressed like a pregnant diva on a shopping spree, and well… it made me realize that maybe I did have a story to share about the struggle between the first and the second.

The reality of dreams

I remember when I was still brand new to SL. I mean, maybe two weeks old, and we were at a club where a woman had a tummy talker. I found it so odd. I didn’t understand the point of role playing a pregnancy (or anything) at all. But I had literally no exposure to RP before SL, so that’s not really surprising. Also, let’s face it. It’s easy in life to be judgmental. Humans are judgmental by nature, and my personal opinion on that is that we need to be able to make judgments. Being judgmental helps us make decisions and choices. The question is whether or not those judgments are flexible, and are they based on all the facts. Can we be fair judges in our lives, both real or second? That’s the part that’s tricksy.

I like to believe I am open-minded. I am fond of saying that I am a bisexual, anti-dieting, Libertarian atheist with a degree in anthropology. If I couldn’t be open-minded, or accepting of differences, I wouldn’t really have very many people to talk to in this life. Besides that, agreeing with everyone all the time sounds boring to me. I like debate, and intellectual discourse. I like to learn. I may be opinionated, and there are some things which I cannot imagine I will ever feel differently about, but I’m willing to listen to other perspectives.

Okay, so back to the story… the tummy talker kind of freaked me out. The SL pregnancy thing just seemed odd.

Then a friend of mine in SL got pregnant a few weeks later with twins. She looked, well… adorable, to be honest. All round and cute and dancing around with her new husband, and she mentioned that they couldn’t be together in RL and he couldn’t have anymore RL kids even if they could. Suddenly, I saw the whole thing in a new light. You see, part of how I wound up in SL was infertility. Oh, not directly. It was not like “well, can’t have kids, let’s join SL.” It was a series of events, but they are all events that would’ve transpired very differently had we had children as we’d planned, and tried for for two years. That all ties back to my not changing the past thing, really. If I’d become a mother, as I’d dreamed of my entire life and for years after meeting my husband, I know I would have been damn unlikely to be in SL. Which is not to say mothers shouldn’t be in SL, by the way. I just want to clarify that. It’s just my personal belief that I never would’ve been in stupid YoVille, which is what led to me winding up in not-generally-stupid SL. Just a disclaimer.

It wasn’t long before I realized that I could have an SL pregnancy and baby… I didn’t get to do any of the fun “I’m pregnant” stuff in RL because I couldn’t get pregnant. Infertility sucks all the joy out of the entire experience, at least until you get pregnant, if you’re fortunate enough. I wasn’t. But here I was, in a virtual world with virtual doctors and my real life husband. Rad is a serious trooper, and he went through it all with me and even played along. Once he asked a silly question about whether or not the gymnastics type run in my AO was safe for the baby. The first time, I was pregnant for only 5 weeks, and Ashlan was born. The second time I was pregnant 20 weeks, and we had Trinity. After Ashlan and Trinity, I was supposedly done. I wasn’t going to do it again. It wasn’t inexpensive, and it was silly… right?

Then my real life sister got pregnant. She was 17, and pretty much got pregnant the day she left rehab for the third time. Now, I love my nephew. I’ve only gotten to meet him once, but I adore him and we talk on the phone (he usually hangs up on me). He’s so sweet and I am so grateful we have him in our lives, but it was hardly ideal for my troubled teenage sister with a dysfunctional relationship to have gotten pregnant. And it just tore my heart to shreds. My sister was like my daughter, which is a long and complicated story I will spare you all from reading, but she was. We were inseparable, and we were so much alike in many ways. Until the drugs. Then things changed. Eventually, we had a huge fight. She told me I was just jealous of her because she could get pregnant and I couldn’t. Now, she was 18 and troubled and pregnant… but that is something that will always sting, and our relationship has never been the same. Maybe when she gets a little older (she’s not quite 22), things will change. But for now, it’s a gaping hole in my heart… and in the moment, several years ago, it was utterly crushing.

During that painful time, I decided I wanted another SL pregnancy and baby. Rad told me he didn’t think I’d be satisfied until I did one that lasted nine whole months. Now, you won’t meet a lot of people in SL who have done nine month pregnancies. Not in SL where a week seems like a month, and a month easily feels like three. Time in SL is so strange and nebulous. But I said yes… okay, let’s go for it. Let’s do the whole nine months. I didn’t pick the gender this time, either. I did, about halfway into the pregnancy, decide I was having twins, but we RP’d it like the doctor “discovered” the second baby. I didn’t pick hair color, but rather gave options based on our avs. Same with eye color, skin tone… you get the point. I made it as real as I possibly could, so that I could get it out of my system. And it worked, too. No, it is not the same. It could never be the same, naturally. But it’s as close as I could get to the real experience.

I know pregnancy in SL is one of those “hot button” issues everyone has an opinion on, and I know the vast majority of people I’ve met find it silly, stupid, weird or some combination of those things. I’ve seen plenty of snarky comments about prim babies, tummy talkers and pregnant avatars. I always get really mad, but I remind myself that at first I also didn’t “get it.” The thing is, you don’t have to “get it” to be more accepting and less judgmental. I don’t get a lot of things. I don’t get prayer, for instance. But I try to not judge people for whom that is an important part of their lives. I believe that, so long as your choices aren’t hurting other people, they are yours to make.

For me the struggle of not being able to have children in real life turned into something of a struggle in Second Life when I felt judged by total strangers or even friends for being (or having been) pregnant in SL. Now, mind you I muted my tummy talker in public places (with only family-friendly locations as an exception). Or I took it off. I didn’t wear it to laggy events. I didn’t take my (prim) babies to public places because I personally didn’t see the need, although I know some people RP in a way where leaving a baby with “Nanny Inventory” is not okay. But I went through so much trying to get pregnant in RL… and I never could. Second Life gave me the chance to live out a dream. No, it wasn’t the dream I wanted or imagined, but it was as close as I could get to that dream. I remember being baffled when a girl wearing an interactive cat tail judged my av’s pregnant belly. Really? I doubt she had a RL cat tail on her body. Part of what makes SL fun is doing what we can’t do in RL, or what we choose not to do in RL. For some of us, that includes pregnancy and families.

So, the next time you see a pregnant av before you snicker about it, consider what it might mean to her (or him!). Consider that maybe the person had cancer treatments that left her infertile. Or that her partner can’t have RL kids. Or that it’s the only way for two people who are currently living thousands of miles apart to share that experience. Consider that just maybe what you don’t understand is allowing the person to work through something very painful and difficult, and you don’t have to understand it. It’s okay for everyone to have their own unique SL experiences, and their own unique RL ones.

After all, don’t you?

Belleza for Collab

Some of the cuteness I have on can be found at the new edition of Collabor88, so if you love autumn, be sure to hop on over. I took these pics at the gorgeous sim that is home to Little Closet, and if you want a lovely autumnal place to hang out and take pics, definitely check it out. My hair is new from Truth for The Season Story event, which is full of wonderful fall goodness, too!

~Lucie

Credits
Skin: Belleza – Leila – Pale – 03 (Collabor88)
Eyes: IKON – Perspective – Glass (coming soon)
Hair: Truth – Junpier – Reds (The Season Story)
Dress: Geometry – Love Maternity Dress – Ivory 3rd trimester
Jacket: coldLogic – Plume – Earth (part of a dress)
Hands: SLink – mesh -Casual
Boots: League – Lauren – Taupe (Collabor88)
Poses: Embody – Mother MegaPack