MUST READ: LOVE TO DECORATE HOLIDAY EDITION OUT NOW

This is an absolutely FABULOUS edition of Love To Decorate, which has totally established itself in 2014 as Second Life’s premier homes and interiors publication. It’s an absolute sensation on every single page with hundreds, if not thousands of decorating ideas. Just because this is a virtual magazine, don’t be fooled into thinking that it has virtual production values too-the layout of the pages and the photographs featured within are astonishing.

I really love that when I’m reading LTD I may spot something that I already own in Second Life, but it’s been presented in a different way. For example, in this edition there’s a feature on fireplaces which has totally got me changing my ideas about how mine is decorated, or at least will be for Christmas. Speaking of Christmas; the table settings and design ideas featured in this issue are just breath taking.  I could never aspire to this kind of luxury in real life, but I can in Second Life; a prospect that I really relish. I’m sure all the content creators featured this month will see a very welcome spike in their profits as the holiday season approaches!

I’m off to get a mug of hot chocolate and I’m going to curl up with my Ipad and read LOVE TO DECORATE from cover to cover. Why not join me?

To Orb Or Not To Orb, That Is The Question…

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And it’s a question that I’ve never had to ask myself, until now.
In all my years of being a Second Life resident (almost 8 years now, eeep!), I’ve never been especially harassed by trespassers at my various abodes. Sure, a few times I’ve rezzed into my home-space and found someone enjoying my furniture and epic decorating skills (obviously!), but it’s never troubled me enough to want to inflict ban lines (urgh) on my neighbours, or invest in a security device. The prompt for this change of opinion occurred two nights ago. I logged in at my new residence, a beautiful Brownstone that I recently took ownership of in the delightful Sunshine Mist community. I had coveted these residences from afar, because I particularly love Harlow Heslop’s epic landscaping skills, so when one became available I jumped at the opportunity to rent. I wanted to feel a sense of community, especially as we enter the Holiday season, and the idea of having neighbours again appealled to me. As I write I’m still busily moving my stuff (read: cats) into the property, and it’s fabulous fun.

I’m incredibly fussy when it comes to virtual home-making, it has to be *just* right (I’m a Virgo, ’nuff said) so I’m having a grand-old time making the space feel like home. All the pleasure, with none of the pain (Although fitting virtual curtains is a challenge and a half, let me tell you! )I find decorating virtual houses exceptionally relaxing after a long, hard day in teh real world, and I take great pleasure from it, as I’m sure regular readers can tell. One of my favourite toys as a child was my doll’s house, and I think my love for that has somehow relocated into the virtual world. It’s incredibly relaxing decorating from behind a keyboard, and there are some absolutely amazing items in Second Life that you can decorate with ( I relish my daily read of LTD!).   and, for me, it’s chill out time. Behind the screen in real life I’m enjoying a brew and listening to music,on-screen I’m moving a wardrobe or changing the colour of the cushions at the touch of a button. It’s bliss, it really is, and it makes me so happy.

So I was a little rattled when my home was, for want of a better phrase, intruded upon.  I logged in, and as soon as I did I realised someone was in the house. At this point I wasn’t concerned, and soon identified that my visitor was sat on my kitchen sofa, drinking a cup of tea. I wandered down the steps and into the kitchen-space, and as I did so the rather well-dressed intruder jumped to her feet. Now, at this point I wasn’t angry, nor was I considering making a fuss. I was (if anything), curious, and had things progressed a different way I’d have sat next to her on said sofa and poured her another cup. She was no newbie, not by the way she was dressed, that’s for sure. She was sporting a quality skin, and a retro look; in other words, the kind of look that would take time to perfect. Yet, according to her account, she was three days old?!

If my name was Alice, I would have probably said, “Curiouser and curiouser!” but it’s not, it’s Kitty.

I actually saved the chat-log, but I’m not going to name names, because I think I was dealing with an alt.Not only that, but an alt who either didn’t have English as a first language, or who was actually taking the piss, and not in a funny way. (All spelling appears as it did in-world. Comments afterwards are obviously mine:) 

[10:42] Kitty Otoole: Hello:)
[10:42] XXXXX: Hi do you live here?
[10:42] XXXXX: Cause I move hear alredy (Really? So that’s why the house was empty when I moved in..)
[10:43] Kitty Otoole: Hi, yes, moved in yesterday
[10:43] XXXXX: so can you go please not saying in a bad way  (I’m glad she wasn’t saying it in a bad way because, you know, I might have taken offence…)
[10:43] Kitty Otoole: Oh! Did Harlow Know? ( At this point, gullible Kitty that I am, I thought there had been a genuine mistake. That thought lasted a nanosecond..)
[10:43] XXXXX: yes (Fib! Fibby fib-fib!)
[10:43] Kitty Otoole: Oh ( I’m realising this is definitely a fib)
[10:43] XXXXX: So please.. (Detecting odd sense of desperation..)
[10:44] Kitty Otoole: Well I’d better have a word with her, so I can get my money back ( I put this out there because obviously I had paid rent upfront, and my mysterious visitor had not..)
[10:44] XXXXX: well ok (Ooh! Seems almost legit!)
[10:44] XXXXX: bye (RUDE)
[10:44] Kitty Otoole: You’d better return all my stuff as well (Bear in mind here peeps, she’s sat enjoying a rather lovely BAZAR kitchen, along with all my accessories, some epic NYLON PINKNEY artwork and a few cats. As well as a cup of tea.)
[10:44] XXXXX: no plaese (Eh?)
[10:44] XXXXX: i dont know were to live (No, but you know where to shop judging by that outfit/hairstyle/skin..)
[10:45] XXXXX: so can we live together tham (Hmm, how do I put this? NOPE.)
[10:45] XXXXX: please (A minute ago you were telling me to go, now you’re asking if you can stay?!)
At this point, I lost the plot. I don’t normally, I’m usually very easy-going and wouldn’t hurt a fly. However, I was feeling played here, and a tad pissed off. Had I not been tired and grumpy I might NOT have done this, and I’m NOT proud of it….
[10:45] Kitty Otoole: Go and find your own place like everyone else does.
[10:45] Second Life: Avatar ejected.

And that was the end of that. Two minutes of banter before I ban-hammered.

And you know what? I felt SO GUILTY. Did I over react? I mean this is a virtual world after all, so does it really matter that much?

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Well, actually, yes it does. I’ve paid rent, bought furniture and invested in the Second Life economy. Had my intruder been a genuine newb I would have perhaps offered some advice about the best way to interact in Second Life (As I poured another cup of tea and offered them a biscuit of course. I’m nothing if not a cordial host!) But my visitor was, quite obviously, not being genuine with me.

Perhaps I’m just too trusting, and perhaps I assume incorrectly that everyone thinks the same as I do, that it IS possible to cultivate respect for fellow virtual citizens, just like your real life peers. But you know, this has started me questioning my own judgement, and now, for the first time in my virtual life, I’m considering installing a security device. And I really don’t like that thought at all. I’m having a virtual-existential crisis here guys!

Thing is, I LOVE seeing how people have decorated their virtual abodes, and I enjoy nothing more than wandering a sim and drooling over the interior ideas I spy around every corner but I set myself hard and fast rules. I always check if someone is in their home before I cam-in, and I NEVER go into a property uninvited. (Probably the only trait I share with a vampire!) But perhaps even that is too much, and I’m no better than my uninvited house-guest?

I get that Second Life can be daunting to a new member, and it can be expensive and alienating as well as welcoming and exciting, but just because this is a world of pixels and polygons it doesn’t mean we have to leave our manners at the log-in screen. 

So the question remains, leave my house as is knowing that people will be able to enjoy it when I’m not around (something I’ve never had a problem with before), or do I hit the marketplace, and buy a security orb?

 Readers, how do you feel about your virtual home? What do you think, am I over-reacting, or is this actually an issue that deserves more consideration? 

SUPER SECOND LIFE READS AHOY!

Even when I can’t log-in to Second Life, I’m still seeking my fix of all things virtual.  At the moment in RL I’ve just started a new job, which has meant my time in-world has been slight, but through the power of internet publishing I can still get my pixel-fix by reading some of the many virtual publications that are out there.  

Some of them are truly amazing, with exceptionally high standards of photography and some great copy making them just as much fun to read as shop-bought glossy mags. In fact, I actually think they”re better, and of course they’re free!

 I like nothing better than curling up with my Ipad and a cup of tea and enjoying a read of some of the latest magazines.

Here are some that are currently on my reading list, why not check them out? 

http://http://issuu.com/feroshsl/docs/ferosh_ss_2014?e=1749275/8086161

First up is FEROSH, which is just that. This magazine features 452 (!) pages of virtual fashion inspiration, with some amazing photography and some fantastic imagery to behold. It’s an absolute feast for the eyes, and will probably make you want to go shopping immediately. My favourite feature is ‘Asian Inspiration’ that begins on page 50, but there’s so much to love about this magazine that it is incredibly hard to choose! I cannot recommend this one enough, make yourself a brew and settle down to see Second Life in a whole new way. I promise you will LOVE this.

Next we have ‘LTD-The Magazine’ which is the companion piece to the always amazing blog (which you MUST visit daily if you’re a fan of Second Life virtual interiors) The magazine is published bi-monthly, which is just as well, because it takes me so long to visit all the content creators featured each issue! This month is an absolute feast for the eyes. There’s a wonderful feature on a Kittywitchin’ fave, Atelier Visconti, and every single page will make you want to redecorate your virtual home again and again. I absolutely adore this publication, and when you consider it only launched in January it’s fast become the style bible for all things virtual home.

The May edition of STYLE KINGDOM is definitely worth a look if you love all things animal! They’ve gone for a really unique twist on Spring fashion, with models sporting animal prints and accessories galore. It’s really unusual and works really well and will leave you with the kind of longing that only an epic Second Life shopping trip will fix!   It’s the kind of magazine that you need to read with a notepad beside you so you can make a note of all the SLURL’s you’ll be visiting once you’ve finished.

FUSION Magazine is a well established favourite of mine, and each month has a great variety of articles and features with photographs that leave you drooling.  Well, they do me anyway! The May edition is no exception, check out the feature on Goatswood (starts on page 19), featuring photographs by Rylan Carling. It’s absolutely sensational and will make you want to investigate this RP sim immediately! There’s also a feature on ‘It All Starts With A Smile’ which was Kaelyn Alecto’s fabulous sim that gifted SL residents with a myriad of photography opportunities. Sadly the sim has closed, so this serves as a somewhat poignant but worthy reminder of an absolutely epic place.  There’s also a cracking inventory management series running that has given me a few ideas, and the ‘Get That Style’ feature is always a must see!

Last but most definitely not least is VISAGE.  This was a new one to me but has already become a favourite because I absolutely adore the layout of the magazine.  Unfortunately there are only 22 pages to enjoy, but that’s turns out that this production from Autumn Ashdene was for a university project. She asks that if we enjoy the magazine that we head on over to her Flickr page to comment, and I don’t know about you but I would really love to read this one on a regular basis, so please support Autumn in her endeavours and let’s hope to see more from VISAGE in future!

Do you have a favourite Second Life magazine that isn’t featured here?

Why not share it with us in the comments below! 

KITTY’S FAVE BLOGS #3 – ‘LOVE TO DECORATE’ BY EDITORIAL CLARITY-FLUX

There are some brilliant blogs that cover Second Life homes and interiors, but for me the ultimate read is ‘Love To Decorate’, a blog about virtual homes and interiors from Editorial Clarity-Flux. 

If I’m ever in need of design inspiration for my virtual home, or just fancy an epic ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ session at beautiful photographs of Second Life interiors, then Editorial’s blog is my first point of call.

It’s clear as you study Editorial’s blog that he is a design genius. Some people are gifted with a great eye when it comes to design; they know how best to decorate and illuminate, to compare and contrast. They understand the colours and fabrics that will work, and the ones that won’t. They can get the very best out of a space, be it the size of a cupboard or a football field. Some people just know, and Editorial Clarity-Flux is in that elite group for sure. 

One of the things I love about Editorial’s work is that I learn so much from it. I believe that  my ability to select and place furnishings  has increased ten-fold since I started to read his blog. But Editorial is a chap who inspires in so many ways in Second Life.  Editorial is one of the team behind STAND4LOVE for example, a project I’m incredibly proud to have contributed to myself.

I admit I envy his skills; I would love to be able to dare to throw caution to the wind when it comes to my own interior landscape. Of course Second Life is the perfect place to experiment and develop your interior design skills, and it’s evident that Editorial’s style is continually evolving, and he isn’t afraid to acknowledge that.  Nor is he afraid to take chances, and I LOVE THAT about him. For example, his latest decorating project is a skybox, something he confesses that he hasn’t worked with before, but after visiting it in person earlier I can guarantee his skybox styling skills will be in demand!

He’s filled the space to the brim with colourful furniture and accessories and it works flawlessly.  I love the way that he’s dared to retexture walls with patterns (I spy Gustav Klimt!) which could make a skybox feel completely overwhelmed, yet with his expert touch he’s able to do this and make it work. It’s a lesson in interior design that’s so much more beneficial than any diagram or colour-wheel could ever be.

Until Saturday you can experience the location for yourself because Editorial is kindly hosting an open house, meaning you can pop by and study his endeavors at close quarters. (The great thing about SL Open Houses is that you’re able to discover new content-creators and brands that you didn’t have any knowledge of before. For example, I’ve discovered ‘The Arctic Greenhouse’ is a great place for environmental landscaping and potted plants.  I hadn’t heard of them today until I visited Editorial’s skybox!)

Back to the blog, and something else that I absolutely adore about it is that he is so open about his Second Life experience and how it benefits him.  This openness is so honest and refreshing, and I really admire him for it.  Many aren’t as forthcoming, yet as Draxtor’s work has proved there are just as many of us out there who are willing to share how Second Life has enhanced our real lives and helped us develop real-life skills.

But back to the blog. Love To Decorate is a feast for the eyes, and I beseech you to go and visit it right away. It’s the blog-equivalent of an expensive box of chocolates.  It will make you feel warm and fuzzy and satisfied, but pretty soon you’ll find that you want more.  Also, I think that it’s only fair to warn you that  the location photography will make you want to go shopping, but that’s not a bad thing in my opinion.  There’s even a Flickr group that will help you get your virtual home-fix too.

Indulge yourself in Editorial’s blog, and go and visit the open house while you can. Surround yourself, no, better still, immerse yourself in his vision of Second Life. You’ll come away inspired, and with a new found urge to create, and I’m eternally grateful for his stimulating lead.  

Thank you so much Editorial for your blog and your work in our virtual world, and may it lead you to equally rewarding projects in the real one!

UPDATE: Editorial’s opened his books, if you fancy having your home styled by an expert (don’t we all?)  you MUST click here!!