Val, Chapter Two: Why Don’t You Ever Write Your Äiti?

Dear Mum,

I wanted to wait until at least two interesting things had happened so that I would not be writing you letters as short as text messages. That way you could not text me and say my letters were too short! Also, I wanted to have my flat as finished as possible before I wrote this first letter so you could have some pictures of where I am writing from. Then, in the next letter, I’ll send more pictures of the shop and pictures from around town. That way, you can get to know the town I’m living in.

The End!

So, I’ll kind of start from the end, because look! This is where I’m writing you from! I had the day off from the shop, and I’ve spent it putting this monstrosity together! Had to sweet-talk the landlord into opening the roof access panel so I could get the flatpack up here more easily: otherwise I’d have had to somehow hoist it out my window and up the ladder access. I mean, I could have done it obviously, but it would have been more difficult and I might have had to buy a stranger a pizza. Anyway, it all arrived yesterday, and after four hours of remembering enough school Swedish to curse IKEA in it, I have this very serviceable covered table. I added the string lights (and I’m slightly miffed they don’t call them fairy lights over here) myself.

Fun fact: Our elevation here in Myserie is 4,190 ft in weird American reckoning, which makes it 1,277 m. That is only 88 metres shorter than Ridnitšohkka! So you know what I had to do, right? I had to get a flat on what they call here the 7th floor because they don’t believe in the ground floor. I’ll measure it properly at some point, but if we assume that each living-space storey is roughly 3m and the commercial space storey is, say, 3.5m, I’m only 66.5m short of that summit when I’m in the flat, and up on the roof, you could subtract 3 more metres. No wonder I feel so dizzy all the time here: it’s not like I’m used to even hills where we live. I have more photographs from the roof, but I know what you want to see first, so I’ll show you the flat itself.

I will get better lights soon

I took this picture really early in the morning with my iPhone on a tripod using my Apple Watch. You can see that I used the flash: I hate doing that, but it was really dim in the room. I like being far enough up that I won’t need curtains, and it’s not like they have three months of round the clock daylight here, anyway, so I won’t need blackout blinds. I’ve only met one witch so far with a familiar who can fly, and he likes me: I taught him how to say Perkele.

Now you can see my little face

Look, I even moved the tripod closer so you can see my face: You always tell my can’t see my face in pictures. I promise I am getting enough to eat, even if mostly I am not cooking very much.

Now, here is my little kitchen!

I like my little kitchen: Thank you for the Moomin poster. He is keeping me company every morning when I make my first cup of coffee before I go to the shop for my second cup of coffee. And yes, that’s the Eiffel Tower stool from my bedroom at home. I took it apart and brought it with me because I wanted something to be familiar here. I’ve had it for my whole life, and it just makes a place feel like home, you know? I know there’s not enough art on the walls yet, but I like that picture of the Aurora, makes me think of the elevation here at least. And you can’t see it in this picture, but there’s also a photo looking onto Pirkkala from the water.

I have a bed!

You worried I would just sleep on a couch or something, but no, I got a proper bed and everything. It’s even on casters so I can turn it to face against the winter if I like. And a clock that doesn’t rely on scary technology, just electricity, see? I do listen, Äiti. I was going to put a rack on the wall to hang stuff, but somebody told me they charge you money if you put holes in the wall, so I didn’t do that and just went for those little containers there. I will get something bigger maybe in time. And look, there’s my Ukonvasara I made in uni. I’m glad we kept the print of it all this time. Maybe I will see about inking it differently and seeing about making some reproducible prints. There seem to be a lot of pagans here, though they are predictably mostly Wiccans. I wish First Nation culture had held on here a bit better, and maybe we will see it rise with some of the unmaskings lately made. I only hope that like so many other American risings it will not need to become contentious in order for sides to be heard and acknowledged and not erased.

So high up!

And now for the pictures you’re going to hate!

You know I have to do this part, mum! Like that time I went zip-lining in north Wales and sent you the video without telling you what I’d done? Yes, well—the best thing about living up here is that I can do this!

Now, don’t be afraid: you know we have excellent balance, mother.

Look, I’m smiling!

And here I’m even almost smiling! You always say I should smile more!

Hey—if you look down onto the street below me, you can see the coffee shop where I go for my second cup of the day. Too bad I didn’t catch the odd old guy who’s always wandering around there.

Of course I miss you.

Do I miss you? Of course I miss you. I miss everybody. I miss Tampere. I even mis Ula. I miss Iivo and the Kalevala shop and I will miss going to Lapland for Midwinter if I can’t make it back. And I will miss the ice castle and the winter market, too. My path, though. Remember? My path. It’ll lead me back to you one day, and I know that every time my path leads me back to you, there will be song and camaraderie and the sharing of all things good.

Love,
The youngest of yours,
Valoisa

Notes & Credits

Val is a role-play character created for Myserie City RP. While I started roleplaying in Second Life something like nine years ago, I haven’t been on a straight-up role-play sim in a few years, and I’m having a lovely time enjoying just immersing myself in role-play and working with a new and different character for the first time in a long time. All these photos were taken on-sim, and I’ll take more inside the city itself once Val gets her bearings and I have a few more regular places where she hangs out.

  • Body: Maitreya
  • Head: Lelutka Evolution: Fleur
  • Skin: Wyrd, Alva in T1
  • Eyebrows: Simple Bloom, LivSpring Neutral
  • Chin Dimple: Izzie’s, Chin Dimples
  • Ears: Lumae: Leevi Medium Ears
  • Tattoo: Nefekalum, Embellishment, Titanium
  • Piercings: All From Lelutka, Fleur Facial Piercings, except
  • Septum: Venge, Kelpie Nosering; and
  • Forehead Crescent: Punch, Trine
  • Tank Top: Shovelheads, Women’s Viking Tank
  • Trousers: Neve, Minnie Pant
  • Boots: Eudora 3D, Thar Boots
  • Covered Table (on roof): Chez Moi, Applewood Picnic Table
  • Couch: Fourth Wall, Saga Sofa
  • Coffee Table: Fourth Wall, Hala Coffee Table
  • Kitchen: Merak: Happy Kitchen
  • Eiffel Tower Stool: BackBone, Breakfast In Paris Stool
  • Bed: Bazar: Stockholm Bed
  • Cabinet: Bazar, Stockholm Bedroom Cabinets
  • Lamp, Clock, Stool: Bazaar, Stockholm Bedroom

Val, Chapter 1

I don’t really know what chapter this is, so we’ll start with one since that’s where everybody else starts and I might as well fit in in some way.

I am Valoisa Saga. I am from Tampere, in Finland. I am ninety, very young for an Elf, but you didn’t hear me say that. It is more fashionable on the Internet to say otherkin, but then that also translates to nerd, so I guess I can say that too.

But really, call me Val. It’s easier, and I guess it’s true that not even Finns all speak good Finnish.

Yesterday was my first day working at Immortal Ink in Myserie, Oregon. I’m glad I got a job in the Pacific Northwest. The rest of the USA seems a little too crazy. I mean, everybody back in Tampere thinks I’m crazy for wanting to come back here at all, but weed’s legal, and The Netherlands is a shithole. Just sayin’. OK, probably not all of The Netherlands. But definitely Amsterdam. Amster, Amster, dam, dam, dam, dam.

There’s plenty to hate about Immortal Ink, but I’ll improve it over time, and Old Jimbo (OK, he’s actually called Deadeye, but I’ve already named him Jimbo) is only an arse on days ending in ‘y’. Fact is, it’s nice to be the best artist in the shop. OK, the only artist in the shop. I’m laughing. But enough snark. Still laughing. There is never enough snark. History time!

My last day in Tampere

So, this was my last day in Tampere. Iivo said he was sorry to see me go, but he also was sorry he didn’t have a place for me at the studio; since the old owner was packing up most of the operation and moving to Spain, he expected business to go down a bit. I like Iivo, but he’s a bit limp when it comes to taking chances. Then again, he’s got a full house for tattooists and I’m only just certified in body mod. I guess, given the area, it’s a buyer’s market.

Goodbye, Iivo. Goodbye, Kalevala, Goodbye, drunk Finnish boys who want bears inked on your arses.

My last day, and it was August, so it stood to reason: sataa kuin Esterin perseestä. That’s vulgar, so I’ll just say it was raining cats and dogs. I don’t mind the rain: I’m not a stupid film witch, and I never met any real ones who melt anyway.

Mum planned to take me, even though Iivo said he would if I wanted him to. Nearest portal is Kangasala; Tampere is a magical wasteland, which I guess is probably why so many fae businesses do well there. Half the coffee shops are run by us elves, and of course being Finland elves are the majority of the Fae population, with a pretty good divide between Lios and Svart, not that we make much of a distinction these days. It’s the stupid western colonials who continue with their uppity pomp and circumstance and Victorian made-up stories about Seelie and Unseelie courts. We laugh about this, you know. Brits, Americans, they all had so much great mythology to draw from, and they picked Scottish words from the North of Scotland, which OK, are at least derived from Scandinavia where we like to think the first elves came from (yeah; that’s probably cultural superiority; people think Santa Claus comes from here, too), but give me a break. Seelie and Unseelie. Just because I am prohibited by blood from outright lying to you doesn’t mean I won’t outright fuck you up if you give me reason to. Why not fucking you up for sport makes me part of some special and different clan, I have no idea. My older sister Ula will fuck you up for sport: does that make her Unseelie? No fucking clue.

Anyway, that’s what I was thinking about on the drive to Kangasala, because Mum had to give me a lecture reminding me that American Fae have this antiquated system, and I’m all, ‘Mum, I picked a place that doesn’t do that, I looked it up, they don’t do the stupid winter and summer court thing, there’s no Queen Of Air And Darkness,’ And I totally did the funny voice. The look she gave me!

There’s no Queen of Air And Darkness

I should have let Iivo take me. At least there would have been beer. Mum wasn’t even going to let me vape in the car.

“You call me the minute you get there,” she said.

“Mum,” I said. “It’s a portal. It takes seconds.”

“You still call me.” She started to tear up.

“Mum,” I said. “You can come visit.”

Her mouth opened, then closed. “I am not made for America,” she said. She walked round the back of the car and grabbed the big suitcase and a smaller bag. Oh paska, Mum, you did not. “Here. You’re taking it.”

“Mum.”

“You’re taking it.”

“Fuck’s sake, Mum.”

She folded her arms across her chest. “And you’re kissing me goodbye.”

You know what? My mum is sixteen hundred years old. I am her youngest child, her baby. She averages one child every other century or so. It occurred to me it was not wise to say no to her at this time. I opened my arms, palms out in the universal gesture of surrender. I put my arms around my mother and felt her arms around me. I kissed her goodbye.

And I took the suitcase, and the goddamn kantele, and I walked through the sithen gate, knowing she’d follow, knowing she’d watch, knowing she’d cry before and after, but not during, that all-important, “Yeah, mum, I made it,” phone call.

And that was the end of my last day in Tampere

And that was the end of my last day in Tampere. And, I guess, the start of the new chapter.

Notes and Credits:

  • Val is a role-play character for Myserie, a Second Life roleplaying region. You can learn more about Myserie on the Myserie Role-play Site.
  • Val’s tank top has artwork designed by me, The Author, (Gwen Enchanted) and made into a lovely tank top by the amazing Mystie (Mystical Edenflower) who is MishMash Fusion. This tank top and some other tank tops inspired by Val’s journeys may be for sale soon. All artwork is original and designed by me. The translation of the Finnish text is, “My Hovercraft Is Full Of Eels”. I kid you not.
  • Body: Maitreya
  • Head: Lelutka Evolution, Fleur
  • Skin: Wyrd, Alva, in T1
  • Tattoo: Nefekalum, Embellishment, Titanium
  • Eyebrows: Simple Bloom, Liv Spring Neutral (tinted)
  • Ears: Swallow, Pixie Ears
  • Eyes: Arte: Skjoldmøy Eyes
  • Eyelashes: Cazimi, Tidy Lashes
  • Hair: Stealthic, Rebellion
  • Facial Piercings: All Lelutka piercings for Fleur head, except;
  • Septum piercing: Venge, Kelpie Nosering
  • Jeans: LaPointe & Bastchild, Swear Daisy Jeans
  • Boots: Eudora3D, Morgan Boots

FaeWatch Interviews Wicked Fairy Carabosse At Last!

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Cherish Gelato [CG]: Greetings to you, Wicked Fairy Carabosse! It’s so lovely to be able to visit you at your room on the Mystical Moors. I always love it when I can get a real sense of the fascinating beings we cover.

Carabosse [CB]: Of course you are welcome in my home: if you were not, your life would be worth little right now. Also, as we discussed in our pre-interview emails, I would prefer not to be described as “wicked”. In fact, every action I take, every gift I bestow, every wish or curse I grant, has a logical and discernible reason. Not to mention these things take an incredible amount of work! The word “wicked” belittles my skill, expertise, and accomplishments and taints any description with a connotation I’ve always associated with wilful children and reckless criminals.

CG: Noted. But isn’t it true you cursed Sleeping Beauty because you were not invited to her christening?

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Misinformation spreads faster than a house fire in a wood elf village.

CB: Well, well, well. Misinformation spreads faster than a house fire in a wood elf village, doesn’t it? No; being disinvited to that wretched child’s christening was merely the last straw. I had performed some magical work for her parents, magic that was complex and cost me dearly in terms of time and effort, multiple times, and had not been paid adequately. They chose not to invite me to this event so they would not have to worry about some sort of public confrontation. And I can’t believe that after hundreds of years, we are still talking about this!

CG: I ask the questions my readers want to know the answers to! Stories have a way of staying alive, don’t they? For so much longer than we think. But let’s hear your side. Tell our readers about the work you did for Sleeping Beauty’s parents.

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This is my potions kitchen.

CB: Potions, mostly. This is my potions kitchen, and I spend a lot of time and effort getting things just exactly right. Don’t mind the floating apples: those are left over from another job I did—coincidentally at around the same time this whole fiasco started. Potions require deep knowledge, precise measurement, and exactly the right magical energy and timing. They are not simple spells, and this whole notion of fairy-wand wish-craft is just hogwash, frankly, a myth perpetuated by fairy godmothers looking for work at any cost. Nobody ever tells you how much Cinderella paid in the end for those glass slippers, I’ll tell you that.

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Each spell, each potion, requires incredible concentration.

CB: Each spell, each potion, requires incredible concentration, and my work does not come cheap. The King, whose name I’ve forgotten, and so has everybody else by this point, enlisted me to prepare two very difficult potions. First, he had enemies all over the place, so he needed potions for his warriors. That was the less difficult part. Secondly, and this is the real kicker, he and his wife, whose name I’ve also forgotten, had trouble conceiving a child. So, in fact, the most valuable and difficult potion I prepared for him was the potion that created the opportunity for Sleeping Beauty, Briar Rose, Talia, whatever you want to call the little urchin, to be born at all! For months I reminded him that payment would be due, and for months he ignored my messages. And then, when the child was finally born, healthy and perfect as promised in our contract, he conveniently forgot to invite me to her christening. It was the last straw.

CG: And that’s when you became the evil fairy of myth and legend!

CB: And that’s when I turned my anger into action. What do you do when subscribers stop paying for your publication? You stop sending it to them! When writers stop writing? You relieve them of their jobs. His Majesty had not paid for services rendered. The service I rendered created the circumstances under which that little girl could be born at all. I gave them sixteen years: I think that was generous of me.

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I gave them sixteen years: I think that was generous of me.

CG: But what about the other fairies, who modified the curse on Sleeping Beauty so that she would not die but merely sleep for a hundred years, or until True Love’s First Kiss broke the spell?

CB: Well, they chose their paths, didn’t they? We don’t really run in the same circles any more. But to answer the question I think you are actually asking, a curse modification requires nothing like the kind of preparation that the curse itself requires. So yes, this is simple fairy-wand wish magic, the kind you all wish existed every day. All little what’s her name had to do was have a little conversation with her wand.

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Just a stern conversation, like ‘Don’t you let that happen’!

I have conversations with my wand all the time. I’d say, ‘Don’t you’? but obviously, if you have a wand it’s just for show. This is a spectacular wand, isn’t it? One of the finest I’ve ever had. But even it needs a stern talking-to from time to time. You just can’t let them get away with anything.

CG: Well, all right, then! So the other fairy merely modified your curse because she didn’t have the power to take it away: that’s in the stories.

CB: Is it? Well, they got at least that right. And yes; that’s what she did. I suppose she might have been doing both me and the king a favour: if he paid up in the ensuing sixteen years of course I’d have lifted the curse. But no; he chose to be offended and — why do I even still talk about this? It’s been hundreds of years!

CG: Tell you what! Let’s talk about something else. Tell me about the quote behind you on the wall there, about eternal sleep. Is that a saying from one of the stories in which you feature?

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It’s not even from a fairy tale.

CB: No; it’s not even from a fairy tale! It’s from a silent film called  A Poor Little Rich Girl. The poor little girl is given some medicine to make her sleep so the maid can go out, and she has hallucinations, and one of them is Death coming for her. I just like the rhyme. It’s comforting somehow.

CG: Comforting. OK, I can see that. What do you do to relax?

CB: Here; I’ll show you! waves her wand

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I get comfy, I have a glass of wine, just like anybody else.

CG: Ooh! For our readers, Carabosse has just changed into a t-shirt and jeans! And I do like that t-shirt! Readers, the caption is, Everyone wants a fairytale wedding, but when I show up and curse their first born, suddenly I’m a jerk! So even though you don’t want to talk about that story, you wear a shirt like this to relax?

CB: I find it ironically funny. Do sit down and have a glass of wine, Miss Gelato, and perhaps we’ll read your Tarot.

CG: Ooh, don’t mind if I do! Readers, thank you for coming along with me as I speak with Fairy Carabosse. It’s been a lovely conversation, and I hope we can look forward to a few more int he future!

CB: It’s always good to get to tell my story. Do dismiss your photographer and let’s have a nice visit now.

Notes & Credits:
The Gorgeous Green Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Lady Aliana Gown, in Olive (Get it at We Love Role-play, which opens on 4th August!)
The Moon Halo and Forehead Jewels: Petrichor, Lunaveina Halo, Moon Forehead (Get it at Wizarding Faire!)
The Spectacular Wand: Petrichor, Lunaveina Wand (Get it at Wizarding Faire!)
The Perfect Wicked Faery Skin: Wyrd, Alva
The Forehead Rune: Wyrd, Third Eye Rune
The Ears: Swallow, Noldor Elf Ears
The Dark Green Eyes: Madame Noir, Lizz Eyes
The I-Got-Taken-Over-By-My-Garden Body & Face Tattoos: Nefekalum, Gaia
The Red-Tipped Wings: Trap, Riven Wings
The Hair: Magika, Midnight
The Lipstick: Warpaint, My Favourite Lip Balm, Aubergine
The Eyeshadow: Gorsimi, Crow Shadows
The Ironically Funny T-Shirt: ZFG, Fairytale Shirt
The Jeans: Blueberry, Evie Jeans
The Boots, Eudora3D, Morgan Boots

Environment:
All Wall Art: Created By The Author. Ping me in world if you are interested in any of it.
House: Dragon Magick Wares, Soora Cottage
Floor Magic Circle: Pierce Design Studios, Magic Circle Wheel (runes)
Potion Table: Foxwood, Grandma’s Kitchen, Table
Book Stack: Raindale, Sparrownest, Stack Of Books (Get it at Wizarding Faire!)
Cauldron: Raindale, Sparrownest, Cauldron (Get it at Wizarding Faire!)
Couch & Living Room Furniture: Oubliette, Oracle Gacha (Cushion Sofa, Lamps, Table, Tea Set, Floor, Pillows, Cat Chair) (Get it at the Gacha Garden!)

Enchantment’s Sleeping Beauty round opens on the 8th of August! I can’t wait!

Enchantment Presents- Sleeping Beauty - August 2020

 

 

 

An Unfamiliar Path

I don’t have to tell you, because of course you already know, that my mythology, my fae essence, is rooted in the West. There’s a poetry to the land of my ancestors, be they my human family long left behind, be they the Shining Throng of the Sidhe, or be they the gods and goddesses from whom we are said to have sprung.

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Reappearance

I was not surprised so much as, well, interested, when the spirit fox came round again. Possibly my surprise was subdued because he visited me in the dreamlands. I’m rarely surprised in the dreamlands. Of course, if I say that I’m sure to be surprised soon….

‘Are you sure you’re comfortable like that’? I asked him. He seemed balanced precariously on my shoulder. 

‘I am a spirit fox’, he said. ‘Comfort does not concern me’.

I took this to mean that he was not in any physical body, or if he did have a physical body it was far away at this time. 

‘Do you like this garden’?

The question seemed out of place, but I answered it anyway. ‘Well, it’s different from gardens I’m used to’, I admitted. ‘I have seen gardens like this in pictures, but really, it’s very sparse, isn’t it? I like a bit more …. garden in my garden, I guess’.

When he laughed, it was like a circle of bells, nothing you’d expect to come out of a fox’s mouth. Then again, I wasn’t looking at him: perhaps the sound did not come out of his mouth at all.

I felt something cold on my neck and on my right wrist, and when I looked down, I could see that a silver bracelet with a stylised fox face had wrapped around my wrist. When I reached up to my neck, I could feel the same face there too. 

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Question of Trust

‘What is this’? I tugged at the bracelet and realise I could remove it; that helped a little. ‘Do we have some kind of a pact now’?

‘Oh, please; no’. There were the bells again. ‘I’m nowhere near old enough to force you to do anything’. He jumped off my shoulder and landed neatly on the ground. ‘See’? He turned around three times, dog-like. ‘Only one tail’.

‘I’ve heard spirit foxes can have more than one’, I started slowly. ‘How old do you have to be before you get more tails’?

‘Couldn’t possibly tell you’, he said. 

‘Can’t, or won’t’?

More bells.

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Come along…

‘Come on, then’, said the spirit fox. ‘We have a journey to take’. 

Credits And Notes:

Enchantment is open! The theme for this round is Kitsune Tales, and you’ll find some wonderful things there, a few of which Gwyneth is wearing in the photographs above.

Enchantment items featured here:
Spirit Fox and Mini Spirit Fox: Harshlands, Spirit Fox
Hair: HMH, F 135
Choker and Bracelet: RAWR! Kitsune Set
Dress: c*C*c,  Akayashi Kitune, in Black
Eyes: La Malvada Mujer, Alpha Eyes
Shoes: Eudora, Kitsune

Other Stuff in this look:
Body: Legacy 
Head: Lelutka Lake Bento Mesh Head
Backdrop: Ex Machina, Karensansui — Japanese Minimalist Garden

Photos shot at my home studio in Awenia. Alas, we’re not open to the public right now. 

 

Let’s Talk.

Who’s up for some navel-gazing? If you’re willing, put on your Real Life Glasses and let me take you through a little labyrinth.

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Why do I do this?

Why do I do this? 

It’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot, and I’m asking it a lot lately. I ask it before I apply for any sponsor or for any event. I ask it when I’m reshooting an entire set of photographs because I forgot to alpha out a bra strap. I ask it every time Gwyneth has a weird dream. I suppose the simplest answer is Because I like doing it. But that’s not very informative, is it?

I started this blog in November of 2012. That’s nearly six years ago. For the first two years, it was largely a chronicle of events in my role-play life, as Gwyneth discovered who she was and met a lot of cool people along the way. My first SL photographs were meant to represent Gwyneth’s drawings of the things she encountered in her strange new world(s). I needed an immersive creative outlet at that point in my life, because my husband had just been diagnosed with cancer. I’ve told his story here more than once over that time, and while I will probably tell it again next spring when Fantasy Faire rolls around again, I won’t do it here and now.

Speaking of Fantasy Faire, in 2014, I attended my first Faire. I have no idea how I somehow missed out in 2012 and 2013, but I did. That first Fantasy Faire began to change me from a role-play blogger who took photographs to illustrate stories to a (long learning curve!) Second Life photographer who by-the-by let people know about cool stuff she found on the grid, or what she was wearing, or where she got something, almost always in the context of how Gwyneth found something, which meant for lots of fanciful stories about travelling to far-off Realms to visit this or that Faire, or getting to know this or that skin painter or hair designer.

A year later, I applied to be a Fantasy Faire blogger, and Sonya Marmurek liked my profile picture and gave me a shot even though I’d never “officially” blogged anything before. I imagine a lot of SL fantasy fashion bloggers have a similar story. After that, I started picking up sponsors and doing more and more events, and I began to work seriously on improving my photography. I created two additional narrators, The Gypsy Davey and The Amazing Catwoman, both of whom have morphed into important pieces of what makes Three Twisted Knots. When I started picking up events and sponsors, I made only one rule for myself:

I only blog what I like.

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So how’s that working out for you, Gwen?

So how’s that working out for you, Gwen?

I guess the best and only answer is, “so far, so good.” It is absolutely possible to have a blog that includes sponsors who send me stuff and events that send me stuff and still manage only to blog what I like. How does it work? Well, most creators have a “x posts per month” rule, and I choose from their monthly releases so that I blog stuff I would buy anyway. The few times the rules have changed to “blog all our releases, full stop,” I’ve politely bowed out. While it’s possible that I’ve pissed off a whole bunch of people without realising, it, I think my track record is fairly good, mostly because I have a good sense of diplomacy, am not afraid to reach out and talk to people when there’s any kind of a glitch or problem, and my narrators’ personalities notwithstanding, I’m actually pretty doggone nice. As my readership and Flickr following has grown, I’ve also come to see this as a bit of a responsibility. Because, sure, I could blog that pretty looking dress that also happens to clip everything everywhere and is texture-challenged at lower LOD, and I could make it look great—but how would someone feel if they bought that dress based on my blog and then it turned out that it only looked good at the camera angle I chose and with graphics on “I can’t believe you put your graphics on that”?

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OK, so what do you like?

OK, so what do you like?

What I like runs the gamut from contemporary comfort clothes, like the ones I chose for this blog post, to frilly froufrou gowns and adorable baby animals. It might be simpler to run down the list of things I don’t like and for the most part don’t blog. And I’ll probably leave something out.

  • I really don’t do uber-smexy.
    I think there have been exactly two posts on this blog that showed any of my narrators in the altogether. One of them was a dream sequence, and the other one was a rescue scenario. The Gypsy Davey has appeared exactly once without a shirt on.

    • While I’m not a prude by most definitions, I’m really not interested in outfits that are super-revealing, exposed nipples, barely-concealed (or not concealed!) orifices, and the like.
    • If the skirt is barely below the bum but I like it anyway, well, that’s what leggings are for. Seriously, I wear a lot of things that are sold as dresses in SL as tops over leggings or jeans.
    • For the most part, I think SL fashion is geared far too heavily toward things that are sexualised. I have trouble finding things I like just generally when I’m out shopping, because I guess sexy clothing sells really well, far better than my (comparatively) modest style.
  • I’m not into sporty clothes.
    • Gwyneth does not exercise. She really did just wake up this way. The only time you can get her into something that looks like workout clothes is if you fool her into thinking she’s dancing. No joke. TAC’s idea of exercise has more to do with weapons training, and you will find The Gypsy Davey setting up camp rather than doing sets at the gym.
    • This rules out:
      • Trainers (OK, I think she owns like three pairs of trainers, at least one of which are made for SLink Pointe Feet).
      • Baseball caps (Ugh, baseball caps!)
      • Garments with sports logos on them (Unicorns do not count!)
  • I have an aversion to rompers.
    • Rompers are worn by children too young to dress themselves. They are best designed to have a set of snaps all round the inseam for easy changing.
  • I stay away from hair that has shaved bits.
    • Nothing political; it’s just not my style here, though I can and have worn such hairstyles in real life.
  • Believe it or not, I am not a big fan of high heels.
    • I gave up keeping Gwyneth mostly in flats because if a shoe can be made in SL, it can be made as a stiletto. TAC, however, less than politely declines. With Gwyneth, I try to stick with styles that are whimsical or have rose themes or high heels that do not actually have heels.
  • Perhaps hypocritically, I absolutely love my SLink Pointes.
    • But only when the shoes do not actually have heels and look more like dance shoes, even super weird dance shoes.
  • Clothes, skins, and hair that are not so subtly designed to make women look like preadolescent girls. No explanation needed here, though if you want to engage me on this point in a chat session, I will gladly go into detail. Let’s just say that Gwyneth has no desire to look any younger than eighteen, and usually she goes for a bit older than that.
  • Everyday human ears. Every single one of my narrators, unless they are undercover for some reason, appears in elf/fairy/pixie ears. I actually won’t go to places where I am not allowed to wear pointy ears.
  • Stuff that creeps me out, like:
    • Skulls.
    • Blood.
    • Floating eyeballs.
    • Creepy gelatinous things.
    • Cosmetic enhancements that look like injuries (unless there’s been a battle).
    • Zombies.
    • Firearms.

Straight Talk BLOG - 6

Why are we having this conversation now?

Why are we having this conversation now?

I’ve recently been thinking about my reasons for blogging, particularly when I look around at other SL fashion blogs. I like my pleasant little story-blogging niche, but it does have a few unfortunate side-effects, namely

  • I am rarely able to make multiple posts per day, and when I’m working full time I’m lucky if I can make more than a couple of posts in a week; and
  • My Flickr average view per photo is below what most blog managers want, for the simple reason that I post between six and upwards of twenty photographs per post, and the average Flickr user is skimming on a mobile phone or a tablet and unlikely to view or fave anything other than the first three photos posted at any time by a single user.

There may be some changes coming to the blog pretty soon, but these are only sort of a vague idea in my mind right now. Davey needs more post time. Angharad wants her new voice heard as well. TAC is about to start a new job. Well, she’s always starting a new job, but this one is differently new.

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So what’s with the neon sign?

So what’s with that confrontational neon sign? Are you trying to make a point?

Nope; it’s just one of the bits of décor in my out of character office, which is honestly where I spend most of my time in SL. I thought if I were going to talk about the blog and me and go wandering down merry rabbit holes of how and why, I should probably photograph in my home territory. That just happens to be the loudest sign in the office at the moment. The other sign, which you might or might not be able to make out, says, “I’m too glam to give a damn”, and I love it. I momentarily set it to full bright for this post, but then I felt sick inside and changed it back.

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But isn’t this kind of like shouting into the void?

But isn’t this kind of like shouting into the void?

I hope not. This blog doesn’t get a lot of comments, except for in-character comments from Gwyneth’s IC husband, but if you want to talk, by all means leave a comment. Tell me what a prudish old biddy I am! Explain to me that my elf ears make me look like a pathetic fantasist! Compliment me on these awesome boots! Anything you like. We are all in this together.

I purposely wore only items that I purchased myself and are not sponsored by anybody for this photoshoot. The sole exception, and I realised it too far after the fact to go back and reshoot everything, are the ears that Gwyneth is wearing, and these are her ‘go-to’ ears; they’re on all her basic outfits and only change when I consciously change them. 

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Pink Bento Head
Skin: The Plastik, Elvenne Skin, Bonnen
Eyes: Song, Frost Eyes
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Lip colour: Booty’s Beauty, Lush Gloss
Eyeshadow: Arte, Fairy Eyeshadow
Eyebrows: Mai Bilavio, BrowEdit 3
Hair: Truth, VIP Reyane
Jewellery: The Plastik, Unicorn Kin Gacha, Armlets, Bracelets, Necklaces (Currently at the Lootbox event)
Nails: Nylon Outfitters, Art Nails, Unicorn Solo
Top: Neve, Altierre Wonderland
Leggings: ABC, Comforter Leggings
Boots & Socks: Eudora, Haloke Boots & Socks (Currently at Shiny Shabby)

Getting Ready for Spoonful of Sugar!

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It’s almost time

It’s almost time! Time to get ready for two weeks of fashion shows, parties, and cool events, not to mention shopping! I’m all excited about the Spoonful of Sugar Festival, and I’ve roped Bran into coming with me to take some photographs. So this is the first of about twenty amazing dresses I have to fit and accessorise before the fact. It’s the excitement of putting a perfect look together that makes me anticipate an event like this so much. I admit, I’m often interested in these things for the shopping alone, but there’s so much more to an event like SoS.

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All angles

Seeing something from all angles is important. I always want the shoes to work with the dress, the nails to work with the dress, the dress to work with me, my hair to be the perfect complement. Nathaniel is fond of saying that I might spend too much time on this stuff—but, you know. We’ve all seen his idea of fashion.

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But how does it move?

But how does it move? That’s another consideration. This dress really knows how to move. I want to take it dancing.

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Of course, I’m nothing without a good dressing room!

Of course, I’m nothing without a good dressing room! This is one of two dressing rooms in the Castle, technically for guests, but I love the privacy of it, so when we don’t have guests, I am spending a lot of time in it these days. The room is very bright and airy, and the furniture complements it beautifully. Now, anybody who knows me knows that I have a lot of vanities, most of which are stashed in a pocket dimension, because it’s more efficient to keep stuff there than just pile it in a random room, right?

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Ready!

All right: I think this outfit is ready. Even the simplest things sometimes take me a while: my friends and subjects know that when I say, “Just let me get dressed,” they might be looking at a long wait. My adopted stepdaughter, Wren, is fond of just responding to that with, “And then, three days later….” She’s a hoot.

The Spoonful of Sugar Festival starts on the 15th of September. That’s only five days away! So much to do; so much to prepare!

Style Card:
Items available at Spoonful of Sugar:
Dress: Mishmash Fusion, Rocketpop Dress, Glow Dots Purple
Necklace: Songbird, Heartbeat Necklace
Vanity: SPF Fine Furnishings and Clothing, Vanity
Tall Mirror: SPF Fine Furnishings and Clothing, Full Length Animated Mirror

The Spoonful of Sugar Festival is a charity event benefiting Doctors Without Borders. Doctors Without Borders sends medical aid to places where need is great, like conflict zones. They support humanitarian causes and report on the problems they see. Nearly 90% of donations to Doctors Without Borders goes straight to the work itself.

Other Items:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Cate Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Friday (Available NOW at AnyBody!)
Eyes: Seydr, Versicolor Eyes (Available NOW at We Love Roleplay!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Hair: Magika, Lotus (New at the Magika Main Store!) —If you haven’t checked out Magika’s new colours and textures, you really must visit. You get almost 200 hair colours in every single pack, all for L$369. If you join the Magika group, there’s an additional group colour HUD that has some great multicolours.
Shoes: Eudora, Alice Pumps and Socks
Photobox: FoxCity, Escape
Poses: PoSEsion, Estrella Set

Spoonful Of Sugar AD 2018

 

A Little Prophecy

Not a full day after I had that weird dream about the talking frog, Bran informed me that we’d received an invitation to the latest theme event for one of my favourite off-Realm faires, Enchantment. And you’ll never guess what the theme is! OK, probably you already guessed, given the title and lead-in here. It’s The Frog Prince. Now, obviously there was going to be lots of fun stuff at this event, so I grabbed Bran, and off we went.

Whoosh! Of course everything there was beautiful. And I might have almost blown the Royal Budget, but when you’re the Queen everything works out for you in the end, so I didn’t worry too much. Weirdly, one of the things I found was a beautiful gown from Silvan Moon Designs. Well, there’s nothing weird about finding a beautiful gown from there…. but it was weird that it exactly matched the dress I’d dreamed about just the night before. Sometimes, my mind astounds even me.

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Into the Ruins I skipped!

I also found this stunning dress from Noble Creations, and a nice new crown from Bauhaus Movement that’ll be lovely for autumn, assuming it ever gets here. Helpers were on hand from two of my favourite hairstylists, Analog Dog and No Match. Also weirdly, the new style from Analog Dog was exactly like the one in my dream. Of course I made a deal to have Queue (we’re totally on a first name basis now!) come round to the castle and plait my hair for me sometime in the near future, but once I got the extensions from No Match in, I knew I’d have them in at least for a week. Unless I get bored…. you know how it is.

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The Ruins

As Awenia reshapes itself around me, little nooks and crannies are always springing up. This one is built around what appear to be the ruins of an old church, or maybe a monastery. That’s odd in and of itself, since you don’t find many Christian-style churches in Fae lands, but you never know about the history of a place. I also know that many of the demifae like to reclaim lands like this for their own purposes, so maybe that’s what happened here. I loved the little benches; their maker’s mark says they come from Raindale, which doesn’t surprise me at all: I’ll have to find out who sourced those. I recognised two trees as obviously being from Sharni Azalee’s beautiful nursery in The Looking Glass realm: one of them looks just perfect for stealing kisses with Nathaniel when I bring him here later to show him the Ruins. I think he’ll like this part of the Realm. That’s if I can get his attention away from his ongoing Words With Friends games. I swear, for someone to whom technology is completely new, he’s caught on very quickly. Of course, he still describes it as “the library in my trousers,” so maybe we do have a little way to go there.

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Bran made me pose like this.

Bran made me pose like this, because he loves the extensions. Here, they are still new so the ends look shiny and perfect. He’s another one who’s embraced technology wholeheartedly. I still can’t get Clutie to log in to the castle computer system, but she says that’s because they don’t make hardware in her size. I just don’t argue with her about it.

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Royal Dress, by Noble Creations

Then, he wanted to get another shot of me in the beautiful Royal Dress by Noble Creations. He still wasn’t happy that all the sleeve detail wasn’t showing, so he had to take like five more photographs. If Bran had been raised in a more modern Realm, he’d be a fashion photographer, for sure. He really has an eye for it.

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A little closer.

“Now, let me get a little closer to you, Your Majesty,” Bran said. “I want to make sure we have a nice shot of that beautiful crown.”

“Did you know,” I said, trying not to be too self-conscious, “that Bauhaus Movement included this necklace as a gift with the crown? I have no idea how they afford to do that.”

“I guess the best designers just know their markets enough,” he replied, though I could tell he wasn’t really thinking about it too hard.

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I really did wonder, though.

I really did wonder, though.

Bran cut into my thoughts. “Oh, yes!” he said. “Look at those slashed shoulders!”

I swear, any minute now I was expecting him to tell me to Work It, Baby! or something.

“Just get a nice photo of my face, and let’s stop?” I asked. “It’s hot, and this dress is getting prickly. It’ll be great in October, though.”

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Portrait

Bran obliged.

“I want to remember this skin paint from 7 Deadly s{K}ins,” I said. “It’s called Focus. I could use a little more of that in my life.”

And would you believe he laughed? He caught himself when I mock-glared at him. “Well, far be it from me to contradict you, Your Highness.”

“I’m finding a frog and putting it in your bed!” I said.

He shuddered. “We’d better get home, then,” he said, “so I can make you forget about all that with an exquisite lunch. Fresh salmon today, with couscous and vegetables from Clutie’s garden.”

“Mm, Clutie does have a way with aubergines,” I said. “Which reminds me to get you a recipe for baba ghanoush.”

Off we went home. I should really spend more time at home: I haven’t explored the entire castle yet, and you know there are always surprises to be found here.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Focus (Available until AUGUST 18 at Designer Circle!)
Nails: Cazimi, Influence Nails (Available NOW at the Designer Showcase!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Song, Luna Eyes (Available NOW at Kustom9!)
Gown: Noble Creations, Royal Gown (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Shoes: Eudora, 3D Arianne Pumps (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Hair: No Match, No Spell (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Necklace and Crown: Bauhaus Movement, Frog Prince (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Eyelashes: Besom, Sassy Lash (Available NOW at Kustom9!)

Location: Awenia, The Ruins
Structure: Delirium + Lunacy, Ancient Temple
Benches: Raindale, Heathergate Bench
Ground Cover: Keke, Dotty Grass
Big Trees: The Looking Glass, The Kissing Tree (Available NOW at Enchantment!); and
The Looking Glass: Will-O-Wisp Tree (You can pick this up at The Looking Glass main store!)

Kiss That Frog

Sometimes, a Princess’ life is … surreal.

In this dream, I am wandering around the Book Forest. You know, just soaking up the atmosphere, trying not to contemplate the sheer insanity of a forest made up of things that used to be trees but are now books. Because the book forest makes perfect sense if you think about it. It really does.

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I had to stare

And then, the strangest and yet most completely normal thing ever happened. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but I happened to glance down and there was this … frog. With a crown on his little head. He was obviously disgusting and slimy, as frogs are wont to be, and of course I found myself filled with curiosity, rather than revulsion, because that’s how things go in dreams.

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No. Freaking. Way.

“No. Freaking. Way.,” I thought to myself. “This is absolutely not happening. Of all the faerie tales I could get stuck in, why this one?” I’m a now kind of faerie princess, not a stuck-in-a-story-I-can’t-escape kind of faerie princess. Or, you know. I have  been up ’til now…

I turned away. “Forget it,” I said. “I am absolutely not going to kiss you.”

“You say that now,” croaked the frog. “Give me a chance.”

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Absolutely not.

“Absolutely not,” I retorted. “I do not have to resort to kissing frogs! I have the Internet! I have thousands of Realms where I can go, any night of the week, if I want a date. I am a princess, not a cliché.”

The frog made a sound between a snort and a laugh: it was hard to tell, because his voice was every bit as repulsive as he was. “You’ll change your mind,” he said. “Look: I’m out of my natural habitat here. Can’t you just take me back to the palace and let me stay with you for a bit? I’m a nice frog, I promise.” His tongue flicked out wildly to grab an insect I hadn’t noticed. Yuck.

“I really don’t think so,” I replied.

“Look, Your Highness. I have a nifty crown; that must mean something, right? And I’m a good conversationalist. I promise only a small percentage of our discussions will be my trying to convince you to kiss me.” Was that a smile on his wide, ugly face?

“Hmm.” I considered it for a moment. “OK, but if I tell you to stop trying to convince me, you will change the subject immediately. Is that clear?”

“Sure, sure, whatever you want,” replied the frog. “But hurry up and get me home; I need a much more humid environment than this weird forest made of paper books. Who on earth thought that was a good idea, Princess? Who designed such a place?”

I narrowed my eyes. “I did, you abhorrent amphibian. This whole Realm is my creation. I probably even imagined you into being, now that I think about it.”

“Oh! A lovely conversational topic!” said the frog. “The nature of existence! If I am your creation, I wonder if I truly have free will, or if free will itself is merely a construct that my brain imagines so that I don’t lose all hope or argue myself insane wondering whether my choices are truly mine, or if they are determined by you, My Lady.”

Super. The frog was going to have an existential crisis and wipe himself out of existence any second now. I pondered. And then I smiled.

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I picked up the frog.

I picked him up. “All right: I’ll give it a shot. Let’s head back to the palace, and I’ll figure out what the best environment for you will be. We’ll look it up on the Internet.”

“What, pray tell, is the Internet, Your Highness?”

I smiled widely. “You’ll love it!” I declared. “It’s the greatest source of information and fun conversational topics ever!”

And then I had a little laugh with myself, just in my head. Because Dear Prince Froggie had never heard of the Internet.

And that meant he probably had never heard the story of the geek princess and the frog. Because, you know. In my world, princes are a dime a dozen. But a talking frog?

That’s freaking fantastic!

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Simone Bento Mesh Head
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Texas (Available NOW at eBento!)
Nails: Cazimi, Influence Nails (Available NOW at the Designer Showcase!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Arte, Nordic Eyes
Gown: Silvan Moon Designs, Princess Tiana Gown (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Shoes: Eudora, 3D Arianne Pumps (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Hair: Analog Dog (natch!), Tia (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Necklace and Crown: Bliensen & MaiTai, Principessa (Available NOW at The Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)
Wings: Fancy Fairy, Titania 2.0 Bento Animated Iridescent Fairy Wings
Frog Prince: Unrepentent, The Frog Prince

Location: Awenia, The Book Forest
Building: Ionic, Sacred Ruins
Silver Moon on Stand: Air, Frog Moon Silver (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Table: Dust Bunny, Autumn Calling, Wooden Table
Book on Table: Konpeitou, Beauty and the Book w/Rose
Frog with Mirror (on table) Konpeitou, Frog Prince Mirror (Available NOW at Enchantment!)
Book Castle: BananaN, Storybook Gacha, Castle and Books

I talk a lot about how much I love the Enchantment Event. It’s one of my favourite recurring events in Second Life, both in terms of the stuff you can find there and the careful attention that the Ippos team put into the event design itself. Unlike lots of other events that have gone to the “stuff you can buy all stuck together in one big room” model, Enchantment always, always, creates an inspiring environment around the story theme. If you love story as I do, and if these tales speak to you, you cannot afford to miss Enchantment, and you’d better stock up on Lindens before you go, because otherwise you won’t be able to afford everything you want!

Kiss That Frog
Peter Gabriel
Jump in the water
Sweet little princess
Let me introduce his frogness
You alone can get him singing
He’s all puffed up, wanna be your king
Oh you can do it
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon
Lady kiss that frogSplash, dash heard your call
Bring you back your golden ball
He’s gonna dive down in the deep end
He’s gonna be just like your best friendSo what’s one little kiss
One tiny little touch
Aah, he’s wanting it so much
I swear that this is royal blood
Running through my skin
Oh can you see the state I’m in
Kiss it better
Kiss it better
(Kiss that frog)

Get it into your head
He’s living with you, he sleeps in your bed
Can’t you hear beyond the croaking
Don’t you know that I’m not joking

Aah, you think you won’t
I think you will
Don’t you know that this tongue can kill
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon
Lady, kiss that frog

Let him sit beside you
Eat right off your plate
You don’t have to be afraid
There’s nothing here to hate
Princess you might like it
If you lower your defense
Kiss that frog and you will get your prince
Get your prince

(Singing now…!)
Jump in the water, c’mon, baby, jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby get wet with me

Jump in the water, c’mon, baby, jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby get wet, get wet, get wet

(While scatting:)
Kiss that frog. Kiss that frog. Lady, kiss that frog.
Kiss that frog. Lady, kiss that frog.
Kiss that frog. Lady, kiss that frog.

Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby jump in with me
Jump in the water, c’mon baby get wet with me.

Get wet, get wet.
Get wet, get wet.
Get wet, get wet.
Get wet, get wet.