A Month Of Hair With Gwen! Or: Why my SL Partner hates the word “fatpack”

It may have come to the attention of some people that I am into SL hair. OK, it may have come to the attention to some people that I might well one day find myself on a virtual street corner with a sign reading Will Work For Hair. I mean, it’s not like, an addiction or anything. I can quit any time! I mean, it’s not like I spent all my money at the annual Truth sale (mostly because I already had everything I could ever want up to that point) and I really don’t mind if Queue Marlowe sends more than one reminder that she has new styles at the Analog Dog Main Store, because it’s a super good thing when I can just go there the minute I log in and not be spending the next X hours wondering when I’ll be free of Y obligation so I can go and shop! And so what if I can tell many brands of SL hair from a distance, just because I know the textures/style/whathaveyou.

So, yeah. I am, in the vernacular, a hair ho. I blog Hair Fair. I blog Hairology. I blog for Analog Dog even when I buy the hair myself. I blog a lot of hair I buy myself, to be honest. I won’t list hair creators I love in any kind of order, because there’s always something new, and hair creators like everybody else go through different style phases: what I like one month might not be the same as what I like the next month either, so I don’t let it worry me too much.

So, because I just got back from Germany and I’m way backed up on a lot of things, here is a run-down of all the hair I acquired in the last 30 days or so….

First, a trio of hair you can get for yourself at Hairology, which opens on the 10th of October!

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Kokolores, “Toril”

Here’s a quick updo from KokoloresToril, which I imagine is one of those hairstyles we’re all familiar with. You have to go out, you’re in a hurry, and there’s nothing more pleasing than a little messy bun action!

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Tukinowaguma, “Kist”

Tukinowaguma has for Hairology this fun ponytail, Kist. Because everybody needs a ponytail. Or five. Or a dozen… yeah, you know how that goes.

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No Match, “No Return”

Finally, No Match has this great long style that looks almost wet, No Return. I’m always impressed by their textures, but this is one of those styles I predict Gwyneth will be wearing a lot over the next couple of months: it’s dressy enough to look a little glamours and casual enough not to have caused those poor little demifae servants of hers too much trouble.

Obviously, there’s a lot more hair coming to Hairology this month: I will be showing you some of it in the weeks to come!

Second on the list: there’s no way you can write a hair roundup without mentioning TruthTruth Hawks has been making SL hair for mumble years, and when it comes to sheer variety of style and number of releases that still look good, nobody does it better.

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Truth ,”Apple”

This is Apple, which you can still pick up at Uber until the 23rd of October. As often of late, this style includes a Hairstyle HUD that lets you show the long hair in the front or back, changes the fringe (bangs, Americans!), or get rid of the long hair altogether and just make it into a neat bun.

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Truth, Pollila

Polilla isn’t a new Truth hair; you can buy it at the Truth Main Store, and the moths are optional and colour-change with a HUD. I like this style on Gwyneth, because it’s both fairly dressy and (with the moths) shows a bit of her whimsical side as well.

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Truth, Ophelia

Ophelia. Wow. I love this hair. It comes in a windblown and plain version, changeable with the hairstyle HUD, and you can also have it fall completely to the back, to either side, or with both sides in front. Because it is an October release for the Salem event, you can turn each side of the hair a different colour, which is kinda fun if you’re into all that Gothy witchy supernatural stuff. 😉

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Truth, Athena

Finally, here’s Athena, which was the Truth VIP Group gift for October. If you love hair and you’re not a member of the Truth VIP Group, you really ought to be. Yes, there is a L$300 charge to join the group. But you get a new fatpack of hair every month, which you might pay just a little more than L$300 for if you bought it in the store, and you also get to interact with a great group of people if you enjoy meeting tons of strangers who are great conversationalists and probably just as addicted to hair as you are. Athena can be worn with or without the wavy wisps in front (yes, I know Truth spells it “whisp”, but I just can’t), changeable via the hairstyle HUD.

Third, you also can’t have a SL hair roundup post without spending generous amounts of time (and money) on Analog Dog. Well, or I couldn’t. Queue Marlowe is a genius with curls, and she knows just how to add a bit of Flexi to mesh hair to make it look real and wonderful and alive. My first proto-fashion-blog post was made in something like 2009 or 2010, on my old LiveJournal, about Analog Dog Hair, and it was entitled, “Hairgasm”. Need I say more?

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Analog Dog, “Kaye”

Kaye is an easy ponytail with that characteristic Analog Dog Flexi swing. It’s not over the top (though Queue would certainly argue that there is nothing wrong with over the top if you know how to do it!), and although it’s a simple style, the ease of the front makes it look so classy. It’s new at the Analog Dog Main Store.

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Analog Dog, “Radius”

Also new at the Analog Dog Main Store is Radius, a straight-chopped wavy style that, while it’s blunt on the ends, has a lot of wavy-curly swing to it. It’s just long enough to warm your shoulders without getting caught underneath your coat collar!

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Analog Dog, “Ulna”

 

Ulna is self described by Queue as a messy bun, and that’s exactly what you get here. It’s lovely and high, so you can wear it with a variety of different styles. Also new at the Analog Dog Main Store.

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Analog Dog, “Sigma”

Now, not everybody is a genius with braids, but Queue Marlowe definitely is. This is Sigma, created for the Lootbox event, and it’s a gacha. This style is actually one of the commons, and it’s perfect for Faerie Queens whose demifae helpers love to braid their hair and cause all sorts of crown-like havoc on top of their heads. The Lootbox event is open until the 20th of October, so you still have eleven days to go and play for this hair (L$75/pull).

The rest of this post is hair I’ve picked up at various events or bought at main stores over the last 30 days. I did buy more hair than this, but the rest of it was for The Amazing Catwoman, and she refuses to be part of a hair roundup because she is independent and fierce and stuff.

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Limerance, “Mermaid”

Limerance‘s Mermaid is so long you can see my shoes! I love super long hairs, and I’m so glad they seem to be coming back into style: I’ve seen a number of them around the grid lately and it makes me so happy! This is once again a gacha hair from Lootboxit’s $L75/pull, and you can play for it until the 20th of October. This is the common style; the rare has a pulled-back front.

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Foxy, “Bella”

Foxy‘s Bella hair was at Kustom9 last month, but I suspect it’ll be up in their main store soon. This is another super-long hair, and it has a hairstyle HUD so you can put bits of it to the front, also. You can’t ever have too many long, straight styles. Can you?

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Monso, “Daenarys”

A few years ago, there were a million Game of Thrones hairs out there, but this one from Monso is one of my favourites: Daenarys does a good job with both the front and the back (I should have photographed the back!), and the front wisps add quite a lot to the look. It was released for the October round of FaMeshed, so you can still get it easily.

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Exile, “Just Another Night”

Exile‘s Just Another Night is again not a new hairstyle. But I wanted it in their great greyscale colours because we are heading into winter now and Gwyneth will need to silver herself up at some point. You can get it at the Exile Main Store, which has recently had the first store refurbishment I can remember, and this is a Bento hair: it come in both a gently waving Bento version and a plain (non-moving) one.

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Mina, “Harper”

Also available at the October round of FaMeshed is Mina‘s Harper, a long, loose braid with a lot of wispy extra hair poking out around it. It’s a great style for Gwyneth, and I imagine she’ll be in it a lot this autumn.

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Moon, “Solstice”

Oh gods yes! Another super-long, this one from MoonSolstice was also at last month’s Kustom9, but should be available in their main store soon. Solstice is so cool, I was in it for days! It even has extra strands you can hold in your hand, with an embedded pose that does not (and I can state this firmly) interfere with dancing!

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Nani, “Cora Crow”

Nani‘s Cora Crow, also available at the Salem event, is a whimsical little number that you can wear with or without the crow’s nest on top. He’s kind of hard to see in this photo, but there is a crow in the nest!

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Ayashi, “Janko”

This is Janko, by Ayashi. It’s not a new hair, but I picked it up at The Secret Hideout a couple of days ago. I love the fringe (bangs, Americans!) and the long curls. 🙂

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Phoenix, “Cassandra”

And finally (thank you for getting this far!), Cassandra, by Phoenix. Wow, there is a lot of great hair at the Salem event! Another very long straight style, Cassandra comes in the usual huge number of Phoenix colours, and don’t forget that if you’re part of their in-world group, there’s a special VIP HUD you can access when the group is active that gives you loads of rainbow colours!

Whew! That’s a lot of hair, Gwen! And just think, I have so much more to show you as the month goes on! Look for some more amazing Hairology styles, to name just a little bit, and I might have a surprise in store for you before the end of the month, but I can’t tell you what it is because then it wouldn’t be a surprise!

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Lona
Eyes: Mesange, Byzsntium Eyes
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Rood
Sweater: Riot, Sansa Sweater (Available NOW at Collabor88!)
Leggings: Riot, Sophie Leggings (Available NOW at Collabor88!)
Boots: Baiastice, Haan Shoes (Available NOW at Collabor88!)
Collar: Footpaw Industries, Celtic Filligree Amythest + Aelean Ruby

Hair: 20 different hairs; see individual photos above.

Backdrop: D.U.S.T., Dreams caught in bubble

skinlogodiap   ad-logo-5   hairology-October

Summer Dreams

A new month, and here we are just past Midsummer. Because I have a lot on my RL plate right now with work, I thought I’d just tell you about some of the amazing things I found at Hair Fair, with the promise that there’s plenty more to come from that quarter. Throughout the month of July, I’m going to try and take one photo every day with a different Hair Fair hair; however, this is a goal and not a promise. I know I’ve been far too sporadic with blogging over the last few months, and I’m doing my best to get back into the swing.

To start things off, I also have this gorgeous new dress to show you from Silvan Moon Designs. This dress will be at We ❤ Roleplay, which in July starts on the 5th of the month and not the 4th, to accommodate Americans celebrating the July 4 holiday over there.

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Silvan Moon Designs for We ❤ Roleplay: Le Carnivale Baroque Gown, in Periwinkle

You know, there’s plenty of mediaeval stuff floating around the grid, but even though I almost never have a chance to wear or roleplay in stuff like this, I absolutely love a well put together baroque gown. First off, it’s something I would never wear in real life—all that faffing about! The detailing here is stunning, and I am as usual in awe of Silvan Moon and the two designers who make it all work. The hair here is one of Emo-Tions‘ Hair Fair releases, Calania, which comes with flowers in different colours to complement whatever you might want to wear with it. I thought about finding a more baroque hairstyle, but there aren’t very many out there, and this one works in spirit if not in letter. I also love the chance to show off the long strands that float down behind the head on this one. Gwyneth is wearing the Maitreya mesh body, the Catwa Lona mesh head, Lumae Ruby Skin, Swallow High Definition Elf Ears, and her eyes are the Iskander eyes from Mesange, which may be my favourite of Jadis Ashland‘s beautiful eyes … yet!

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Emo-Tions Calania hair and Mesange Iskander eyes

Here’s a close-up so you can see some of the detailing on the hair and get an idea of the depth of these eyes.

These photographs were taken in White Owl Island’s Faerie, in Queen Gwyneth’s garden.

If I wrote a story about these photos, it would be Gwyneth just wandering in her own garden, thinking about the timelessness of summer, that part in the middle of summer when everything might as well be a dream.

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Little Bones Naomi Hair for Hair Fair 2017

Naomi is a great classic super long (below the waist length) style. I love the perfect, flat, “ironed” look it has, while still retaining those great Little Bones textures. This outfit is from Uber; I don’t often find great casual clothes that Gwyneth could wear in character, but there were several great things this month. Because Gwyneth is now a fixture on White Owl Island, she doesn’t always have to dress like a Queen. This, once again, is the Ruby skin from Lumae, one of my favourites she’s released this year. The clothes are from Azuchi, the Kara cargo pants and top; they come in a lot of great colours, but this deep red really worked for me when I shot these photographs. The sandals are from Mutresse, the Vaska flat sandals, which again come in about a million colours via a HUD.

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Mesange eyes and Forehead Jewels by Lumae!

In this close-up, you can see the forehead jewels Gwyneth is wearing: these are available at the Midsummer Enchantment event. Lumae released four of these for the event; this one is Aaina. The eyes, of course, are from Mesange. They’re the Era eyes, which will be available at We Love Roleplay in a few days.

If I were writing a story about these photographs, Gwyneth would be waiting for someone who either never arrives or who arrives late. In an unfamiliar place, she has nowhere to go but here, so she sits on the steps, finally, possibly for hours.

All the poses in the photos above are from An Lar, the Radi and Nell series.

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A friend saw an early version of this photo and said, “Of course you bought that dress.”

Well, duh. Of course I bought this dress! I generally love Moon Amore‘s work, and all I could think when I first saw this Dark Moon Queen dress on Seraphim was how I would photograph it. I think I may come back to it a few more times, because I want to show some of the other colours you can get with the fatpack HUD, and also because I would love to see the dress photographed in some other locations. The dress is available at the Crystal Heart Festival. The hair is another great find from Hair Fair: it’s from Exile, and it’s called Lovefool. Gwyneth is back in the Iskander eyes, though I have some others to show you over the next few days. The necklace is a new favourite from The Plastik, the Grolda NecklaceAs usual with offerings from the fabulous Vae, it comes with loads of colour and metal choices, and her gem textures never fail to make me happy.

There’s not really a story for this photograph. I just thought of Gwyneth, ageless, on a windy day, in front of a door to … well, Somewhere. Somewhere Else; Somewhere Other. 

The backdrops in the Little Bones and Exile photos are both from Exposeur; they are the rares from their Gacha Guardians release for this round.

The pose in the Exile/Moon Amore photo is from Roquai, who never fails to be innovative with her great static poses. This is the Mouse from the Chinese Zodiac set.

Because all the information you might want to know about the clothes and hair and stuff is in the text, I’m not going to do formal style cards tonight. I hope you’ll visit Hair Fair and have a great time looking at all the wonderful offerings from great hair designers who come together every summer to benefit Wigs For Kids, a great cause. Don’t forget to pick up some bandanas while you’re there!

MESANGE LOGO 2017   silvan-moon-designs-logo-full   HF 2017 logo - 1

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Other Jobs For Faeries?

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Ah, morning in a winter Faeryland.

Ah, morning in a winter Faeryland. And I emerge from my picturesque house (which is kind of a hovel, to be fair) into the crisp early morning, where everything looks a bit like a Thomas Kincaid painting … to go to work.

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There is definitely something wrong with this picture.

There is definitely something wrong with this picture. Because I am off to attend the naming ceremony of some ridiculous little mortal baby, who’ll grow up into a pampered princess, do something stupid, and then end up having to be rescued by a Handsome Prince ™. It’s really enough to give a Faery Godmother pause.

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I mean, here I am with Phenomenal Cosmic Powers, so to speak….

I mean, here I am with Phenomenal Cosmic Powers, so to speak…. and I spend them giving gifts like beauty, patience, and wisdom to indolent little twerps who will never say so much as thank you to me.

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It’s enough to make a FG want to be… well… evil.

It’s enough to make a FG want to be … well … evil. But I’m a Good Faerie, so off I go, with my rainbow coloured hair and my spectacular dress, and my gossamer wings, to do my job.

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And do my job I will.

And do my job I will. I’ll give her the gift of grace, or beauty, or the voice of an angel. But I have to tell you, I’ll be secretly laughing behind my expression of de rigeur shock when the Evil Fairy comes round and twists my gift into something challenging, or ugly, or just plain nasty.

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And I’ll wander home, through the forests of summer, into my winter Faeryland….

And I’ll wander home, through the forests of summer, into my winter Faeryland….

But all the time, I’ll be thinking. How shall I change my stars? How shall I transform my life into what it could be, what it might be, what it should be?

And tonight I’ll dream. I’ll dream of waking up tomorrow morning, mystically transformed into a Bad Faerie Godmother. 

And when I walk out of my house, there will be eternal twilight, and a crescent moon….

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And even if I look the same, oh.

And even if I look the same, oh. I’ll be so, so, so different.

Look out, you little mortal bitches.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Catwa, Catya Bento Mesh Head
Hair: Exile, The Countess
Eyes: Mesange, Sekhmet Eyes (Omega eye appliers)
Skin: Lumae, Ruby in T1 (Available NOW at The Lumae Main Store!)
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Hands: Vista, Bento Prohands
Spectacular Dress: Silvan Moon Designs, The Fairy Godmother Gown (COMING SOON to Enchantment!)
Mask: Wicca’s Wardrobe, Valeria Mask
Makeup: Arte, Glitter Eyeshadows and Alexandria Lipstick

Setting: Awenia (my personal playground)
Picturesque Cottage: 8f8, Cottage Cairn’s Haven

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I’d never malign the character of the sweet and wonderful Fairy Godmother without it!

silvan-moon-designs-logo-full   lumae-logo

What Does It Mean…

Gwyneth:

Gwyneth:

Mabon has come and gone, and with it the passage of the Realm’s power from the Summer Queen to the Winter King. My personal dislike and distrust for Maric notwithstanding, I believe he will do his best to keep our realm safe and secure. The ceremony was short and intense: I felt the power pour out of me as if all my breath was stolen, and I’m afraid the King must have had to carry me to my bed. Much as he might have wanted more, the physical exchange of power was an almost ritualised kiss, which I worked in to the ceremony itself. Funny how naturally being a priestess comes to me, now that I’ve been on My throne for more than a year. And what a year it’s been.

I’ve promised myself and the Fae Folk that I’ll not sleep through the winter months this year as I felt compelled to do last year. So much happened while I was hibernating in my beautiful garden, holding on to the spring.

But still, I wonder…

What does it mean to be a Winter Queen?

What does it mean to be a Winter Queen?

What does it mean to be a Winter Queen?

Turn again, Year, and Turn the Queen to Winter
Sing again, Wind, a bring her dancing centre
Call the tales of Mabon, let the power flow
Queen to King and Light to Dark and so the Seasons go.

The Queen is in her Bower, dressed in crimson gold

The Queen is in her Bower, dressed in crimson gold

The Queen is in her Bower, dressed in crimson gold
The Wind has blown the Spring away and left her leaves to hold.

Am I irrelevant? Am I a beautiful figurehead with nothing to do but plan parties and try to teach my children how to interact in our world?

Am I merely the memory of  spring?

Am I merely the memory of spring?

Am I merely the memory of spring?

The King waits in the Shadows, cloaked with smoke and horn
We count the Summer down with him and see him rise, reborn

Oh, darkness cloaks the Lady's Bower: watch her wear the Spring

Oh, darkness cloaks the Lady’s Bower: watch her wear the Spring

Oh, darkness cloaks the Lady’s Bower: watch her wear the Spring

Then cast it off like Autumn rags as all the Faery sing

Then cast it off like Autumn rags as all the Faery sing

Then cast it off like Autumn rags as all the Faery sing.

Will I become cold and arrogant?

Will I become cold and arrogant?

Shall I turn dark with the season?

Shall I turn dark with the season?

How do I behave? Does my soul turn cold with October?

How do I behave? Does my soul go cold with October?

How do I behave? Does my soul go cold with October?

Now bring her wings of gold and white, and cast her face like stone

Now bring her wings of gold and white, and cast her face like stone

Now bring her wings of gold and white, and cast her face like stone

Even with the season's turning, I can still feel the warmth of summer inside me.

Even with the season’s turning, I can still feel the warmth of summer inside me.

Even with the seasons’ turning, I can still feel the warmth of summer inside me.

What does that mean? I know I am the spirit of summer, the light of the realm, but….

But there is also the cold. The wind. The dark promise of long nights and short days.

And turn her Widdershins with Wind to make her Winter Throne

And turn her Widdershins with Wind to make her Winter Throne

But there is also the cold. The wind. The dark promise of long nights and short days.

The closing doors of Time will take her into Autumn’s breast
And weave with Wind her Harvest gown, and never, never rest.

Can I see myself, a Winter Queen on a Winter Throne?

Can I see myself, a Winter Queen on a Winter Throne?

Can I see myself, a Winter Queen on a Winter Throne?

Come Mabon, come Samhain, come Harvest, come Hunter
Bring Apples, bring Cider, bring cakes against hunger
Come Winter, come Darkness, come fierce Winter King
And guard well this Lady til Imbolg brings Spring.

Cold, cold, cold.

Cold, cold, cold.

Cold, cold, cold.

Cold.

Style Cards:

Crimson Dress Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Stella
Skin: Lumae, Niska Bare
Makeup: Eyes, Blacklace Beauty. Lips, Izzy’s
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Mayfly, Luminous Borealis
Hair: Catwa, Princess Bun
Dress: PoshTale, Deiphe Gown & Train*
Crown: NSP Florals, Lady Gwynevere (Nobility)
Shoes: Aisling, Enchanted Rose Heels
Necklace: Illusions, Silumira Necklace
Tattoos: Things, Aigneis and Airell (Available at The Secret Affair!)

Blue and Gold Gown Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Stella
Skin: Lumae, Niska Bare
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Mayfly, Luminous Borealis
Hair: Truth, Nayeli
Makeup: Slackgirl, Drama Eyes; Izzy’s, Free Natural Lips
Dress: Mistique, Mydaiel Blue*
Cloak: Junbug, Hilda’s Black Cloak
Tiara and Earrings: Supernatural, Ophelia
Necklace: Empyrean Forge, Aglaea’s Splendor

Lavender Dress Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Stella
Skin: Lumae, Niska Bare
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Mayfly, Luminous Borealis
Hair: Catwa, Mia
Dress: Spyralle, Esyld Skirt and Top, Dusk*
Necklace: Cae, Cernunnos
Belly Crystal: Earthstones, Amethyst
Crown: Kibitz, Flower Crown, Lights, Ultra Rare
Shoes: Muka: Feetwrap
Tattoos: Things, Aigneis and Airell (Available at The Secret Affair!)

Brown Dress Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Stella
Skin: Mudskin, Reina Pale
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears
Eyes: Mayfly, Luminous Borealis
Hair: Exile, Memory Bliss
Dress: Belle Epoque, Enchanted Princess, Brown (Available at Jackpot Gacha!)
Jewellery: The Plastik, Autumnus (Available at Shiny Shabby!)
Wings: ClaVv Gatotkaka, Golden Rustic Wide Wings
Shoes: Slink Margot Ballet Slippers
Tattoos: Things, Aigneis and Airell (Available at The Secret Affair!)

White Dress Photos:
Body: Maitreya
Head: Lelutka, Stella
Skin: Lumae, Niska Bare
Ears: Lumae, Leevi Long Ears
Eyes: Mayfly, Luminous Borealis
Makeup: White Widow, Face Tattoo Arctica
Hair: EMO-tions, Jewel (Available at We Love Roleplay!)
Dress: Evie’s Closet, Iseult Gown
Crown and Collar: Aisling, Sumiana, Gold
Shoes: TumbleTwig & Skjern, Pearls of Muse, White
Throne: Boudoir, Wearable Winter Queen Throne

*These three beautiful dresses were featured at September’s Fair Play: Second Life is a Game event, and I meant to get this blog entry out before the event closed; unfortunately, RL got in the way. I hope to be more on top of October’s great Fair Play offerings!

I am deeply grateful to Nathaniel Ballard (benbold) for some Photoshop tweaking on the Winter Throne photographs.

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never leave home without it! 

Memory Lane: Another Dream of Shining Lands

Gwyneth:

Gwyneth:

These dreams of Shining Lands are not unpleasant: I’m just not sure where they’re coming from. Remembering my past is not always pleasant, but remembering the LARP is. It was such an important part of my life back then, and I got to play so many wonderful roles. In some ways, I think it prepared me for the next phase in my life better than anything else could have: I had the experience of being so many people through roleplaying that sometimes my role here feels like an extended game, although I have found, sometimes in violent and unpleasant ways, that it’s really, really not.

On our way back from Nu Jyorck, the strange city where I attended a charity banquet on the arm of one Duke Taliyen (I’ll tell you more about it later, promise!), I had a dream about Shining Lands. The dream took place during the last year I was there before everything changed, before the accident, and I was playing a sorceress.

We needed to secure this beautiful garden for the Light Elves.

We needed to secure this beautiful garden for the Light Elves.

So I was there in my travelling gown, because we were meant to be on our way from one place to another, when Kevin noticed this bridge and said it would be perfect to drop a couple of wards here so the enemy couldn’t get us. I don’t even remember who the enemy was meant to be.

The closer I got to this garden, the more I loved it.

The closer I got to this garden, the more I loved it.

The closer I got to this garden, the more I loved it. We were playing in this ruined abbey in Cornwall, and  guess they just let this garden grow right into the bridge. It was amazing.

Once I got into the garden, after I'd dice-rolled for the wards, I was totally enthralled.

Once I got into the garden, after I’d dice-rolled for the wards, I was totally enthralled.

Once I got into the garden, after I’d dice-rolled for the wards, I was totally enthralled. Flowers everywhere. Richard refused to do anything but walk through really fast, because he’s allergic to everything. He was allergic. I keep having to correct that recently: I thought I’d got over it. Both Fen and me were spinning around in the garden like a couple of idiots, and then she started singing, “The hills are alive, with the sound of music,” and then we giggled so hard Kevin actually grabbed her by the shoulder and kissed her to shut her up for fear the other team would hear us laughing.

It was a good dream. I don't know why it seems so weird that I had a good dream.

It was a good dream. I don’t know why it seems so weird that I had a good dream.

It was a good dream. I don’t know why it seems so weird that I had a good dream. Well, OK. I might have some idea about why it seems so weird.

It's the sense of foreboding these dreams always end with. As if they're trying to tell me something.

It’s the sense of foreboding these dreams always end with. As if they’re trying to tell me something.

But there’s this sense of foreboding these dreams always end with. As if they’re trying to tell me something. And I’ve learned enough about dreams since I fell in to Faerie or whatever that I know it has to be significant when I’m spinning and laughing with my best friend and then the dream is sucked away and the last thing I hear is Richard’s voice screaming, “Gwyn, no! Don’t get up! Don’t get out of the car!”

So, yeah. That happened. It was a pretty good dream up ’til then.

Style Card:
Body: Maitreya
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Chastity, in Pineapple, with Maitreya Appliers (Chastity is a NEW skin line available at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store, where you can also pick up the Maitreya Appliers!)
Dress: Independent Objects, Catherine in Black (Available at Fair Play!)
Hair: Exile, Sugar (Available at the Arcade Gacha!)
Ears: Kahli Designs, Faux Elf Ears, Silver
Necklace: The Forge: Bodicea’s Necklace
Belt: The Forge, Bodicea’s Belt
Staff: The Forge, Aura Moon Staff
Shoes: Aisling, Tess Orty Shoes

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never leave home without it! 

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Remembering Shining Lands

Gwyneth:

Gwyneth:

My first LARP, I guess I was eighteen or nineteen years old. It was my first year at uni, and some of the people from the science fiction society got me into a tabletop gaming group and then suggested I come to this LARP with them. They had some stuff I could use for a costume and I didn’t need much of a character description, just something I could work with for the weekend. OK, I said, I’d go, on the condition that we stay in the lodge and not in the campground, because I hated camping. My parents sent me on an adventure holiday once when I was a kid and I was camping with three other girls in a tent, and there were spiders, and I think a badger tried to eat us. Anyway, I don’t camp. I said I’d pay the lodge fee for the three of us, and they were sold. I mean, who wouldn’t choose running water and a bed, no matter how narrow and uncomfortable, over being attacked by badgers in the middle of the night. Right?

The first thing I discovered when we got to the LARP site, naturally, was the Rialto.

The first thing I discovered when we got to the LARP site, naturally, was the Rialto.

The first thing I discovered when we got to the LARP site, naturally, was the Rialto. We arrived early, and not all the merchants were set up: this was one corner where everyone seemed t have their wares out but they were all in the business of loading and unloading and none of them were open for trading yet.

As I was weaving my way in and out of the stalls, a guy asked if he could take my picture; I said sure, because I didn’t mind being photographed even back then. I was always a bit of a ham, to be honest. So he snapped a couple of pictures and I thought nothing more of it. Later in the weekend, it turned out he was the court photographer: this picture made it into the LARP newsletter. And that’s how I met Kevin, who ended up being Fen’s fiancée.

By the time Kevin was done taking my photograph, the jewellery seller had appeared.

By the time Kevin was done taking my photograph, the jewellery seller had appeared.

By the time Kevin was done taking my photograph, the jewellery seller had appeared. She was amazingly costumed and had painted her face and body with the most amazing designs. I remember asking about them and she was only too happy to show them to me. She was more interested in showing me her jewellery, of course, and all of it was lovely. I wished I could buy one of everything, but I’d spent most of my pocket money on the lodge fee, so I didn’t have much left for extra food, much less jewellery. That’s when she slyly told me that even though it was a LARP of course she took credit cards….

So I ended up buying a necklace and a pair of earring then and there.

So I ended up buying a necklace and a pair of earring then and there.

So I ended up buying a necklace and a pair of earrings then and there, and over the two years I played LARP with this group, I’m sure I bought a dozen more pieces from her. She had excellent taste and just knew where to find the best stuff. She didn’t make it herself; said she didn’t have the talents or skills it took, but once I saw her working on a beading project that made me think otherwise. I never said anything to her about it, though now I kind of wish I had. It’s funny, when I think of my past, I always think of how I’d interact with the people from my past as I am now. Gwyneth the Fae Queen could tell Elayne from My Pretties to take a year off the jewellery cart circuit and take a course in metal casting or something, help her turn into the artist she wanted to be. Gwyneth the uni LARPer just made supportive noises and kind of wished she could help more people.

This stall with the swords and Greek gods was always at the LARPs as well.

This stall with the swords and Greek gods was always at the LARPs as well.

This stall with the swords and Greek gods was always at the LARP rialto as well, though I didn’t meet the guy who ran it til much later: half the time he parked next to Elayne and asked her to run his stall. I don’t think he made much money except on the swords, but Richard said he made quite a bit; I just didn’t see all the people who bought swords from him.

I’m laughing at myself now because you know how when you get into memories, you start remember this or that and then your brain goes all chatty with the things you remember and the details, even insignificant ones like whether or not that guy sold lots of swords, keep coming back to you?

To be honest, I don’t even know why I’m thinking of Shining Lands today. I’ve been thinking about my past a lot over the past couple of months, and today I suppose it’s just al coming out. For the last couple of weeks, if I’m honest, I’ve had this disconcerting feeling that things from my past are just going to pop up anywhere and everywhere I turn, as if my past is just around the corner. Even things that I’ve not thought about in ages, like the time those photographs of Richard suddenly appeared in my chamber at the old Seelie sithen. I remember being convinced at the time that he was going to somehow re-enter my life and that things would get very complicated. It never happened though, and that thread of my history remains unexplored.

At the end of the weekend, there's always a ball.

At the end of the weekend, there’s always a ball.

At the end of the weekend, there’s always a ball. Doesn’t matter which weekend it is or what the theme of the LARP is, the ball gives everybody a chance to dress up and not be crossing swords with the other side, even if just for one night. Everyone had to come down this staircase to get in to the event, and they positioned a photographer (Kevin, of course) at the bottom of the stairs who’d take your photograph if you wanted.

This is my ver first “Nerd Descending a Staircase” photo. Kevin laughed at that when I told him that was my immediate name for these pictures.

Aw, there I am again, close-up this time.

Aw, there I am again, close-up this time.

Aw, there I am again, close-up this time. I wanted him to take the close-up so I would remember that it was at this event where I bought this wonderful necklace. I don’t know where Elayne found it, but the tag by the clasp says, “Cae”.

And omg, that was the year I let them talk me into going to a VtM party near campus.

And omg, that was the year I let them talk me into going to a VtM party near campus.

And omg, that was the year I let them talk me into going to a Vampire: the Masquerade party on campus. I was never much into vampires or vampire games, even though they were all the rage at the time what with the backlash against the Twilight books.

The party was in this old church in Cambridge, and I remember feeling really uncomfortable.

The party was in this old church in Cambridge, and I remember feeling really uncomfortable.

The party was in this old church in Cambridge, and I remember feeling really uncomfortable, as if there might be real vampires lurking somewhere there. At the time I thought I was just being paranoid, but now…. well, now I don’t know. Now I think maybe there might really have been vampires there.

And why do I even think of that? Oh! I know: I’m thinking of that because it was the very first time Fenella came to visit me at my digs in Cambridge, and she came along to the party. Unlike me, she had great time. But unlike me, she met Kevin and he immediately asked her out on a date. From that night, they were together. Those two, wow. I always wanted to have someone like that in my life. And now I guess I do, and of course the great irony is that Nathaniel actually is a vampire, while Kevin was just pretending to be one.

Memories are such weird things. Anyway, after my first LARP, I decided to get serious about costuming.

Here I am in my standard Elf-Clan forest outfit.

Here I am in my standard Elf-Clan forest outfit.

Here I am in my standard Elf-Clan forest outfit. This photo was taken a couple of years after my first LARP, probably just a few months before everything changed. I didn’t make any of this stuff, of course, but I met this guy from Reading, Peter, and he and his fiancée did a lot of custom costuming work for LARP people. He really liked working with leather, so I got him to make this for me. It took ages, but I loved it so much. I was wearing one like it in brown when I got dumped in to Jasper Cove, so this black one I think is lost forever.

And ha, there I go again, talking vaguely.

And ha, there I go again, talking vaguely.

And ha, there I go again, talking vaguely about “when everything changed” or “getting dumped into Jasper Cove.” It’s been three years now, and Alec and the Boatman are a distant memory. I believe I must have died in the accident and then moved into another life here, wherever “here” is. I know enough of realm-hopping that I know it’s also possible there’s a version of me back in London, recovering from the accident, going on to live a good life, or dead, or in a coma—but I don’t believe I am that person any more. I remember thinking when I first arrived in Jasper Cove that I must be in a coma back home and this weird place was my coma dream. I don’t think that any more, because a coma dream wouldn’t go on for as long as this one has: my parents would have pulled the plug on me in deference to my lost quality of life. And then I’d have died in two worlds. I just don’t think that’s possible.

No: I think my life line split.

No: I think my life line split.

No; I think my life line split, somehow, when the accident happened, and my consciousness flew into Jasper Cove and created this me. I’ll have to ask Dyisi if such a thing is possible, but I can hear her already telling me that everything is possible and she doesn’t know everything and blah blah blah Dyisi talk, but how I love her anyway.

Well, that got maudlin and reflective all of a sudden, didn’t it?

Let me show you instead my favourite Court dress.

Let me show you instead my favourite Court dress.

Let me show you instead, my favourite Court dress. Peter and Katy didn’t make this, but they did introduce me to the seamstress who did. And I loved this antler headband so much I think I wore it to class a couple of times!

Kevin made me pose so you can see the slashing on the dress' arms.

Kevin made me pose so you can see the slashing on the dress’ arms.

Kevin made me pose so you can see the slashing on the dress’ arms. Even though my body’s different since my Quickening ages ago at the old Seelie sithen, I can imagine myself now wearing a dress like this (not the antlers, natch, or not at the moment anyway). I shall have one of the Court tailors look into recreating it for me.

Here I am reaching out, once again a request from Kevin.

Here I am reaching out, once again a request from Kevin.

Here I am reaching out, once again a request from Kevin. He really did like those sleeves.

But now the clock is striking 5:00. I’ve spent too long lingering over old memories today, and I’m still not sure why: I haven’t thought of these things in so long. I have a strategy meeting with Bran and Wulfrich over dinner, and I have to get dressed and ready for that. I’d better put my old life back in the drawer and remember that in my present life I have duties and responsibilities that can’t be avoided.

But I can’t stop thinking of the moment I introduced Fenella to Kevin and what happened when their eyes met. I wonder what happened to them. They were in the front of the MPV when it flipped. I hope they’re recovered, happy, married, expecting a baby. I wish that for them.

Yes, yes, yes. 5:00. I’m late. Strategy and tactics, not eyes across a room a lifetime ago.

Style Cards:

Gwyneth’s First LARP Costume Photos:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Grazia (Available at the Summer Sale Event at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Body: Maitreya
Hair: Lelutka, Kayla
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Dress: Whymsical Marketplace, Wiccan Maiden Medieval Dress (Available now at the Whymsical Marketplace Main Store!)
Shoes: Aisling, Tess Orty Shoes
Necklace: Aisling, Wilow Necklace
Eyes: IKON

Elayne of “My Pretties”:
Skin: 
Fallen Gods
Body: Belleza
Dress: Sweet Lies
Tattood: Fallen Gods
Collar: DeSSion
Hair: Moon

Gwyneth’s First LARP Ball Photos:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Grazia (Available at the Summer Sale Event at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Body: Maitreya
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Eyes: IKON
Shoes: Aisling, Tess Orty Shoes
Elf Ears: Kahli Designs Faux Elf Ear Silver
Hair: Elikatira, Piper
Gown: Mistique, Beitris Dark

Gwyneth’s Elf Clan Photos:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Grazia (Available at the Summer Sale Event at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Body: Maitreya
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Eyes: IKON
Hair: No Match, No Flowers
Clothes (dress, skirt, jacket, boots, bracers): Fashionably Dead Designs Stories, Amaelle

Vampire Party Photos:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Grazia (Available at the Summer Sale Event at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Body: Maitreya
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Eyes: IKON
Hair: Truth, Freya
Necklace: Le Forme, Aegon Necklace Lover Gold
Clothes (boots, jacket, pants): Yasum, Vintage (Available at the Fantasy Gacha Carnival!)

Gwyneth’s Experienced LARP Ball Photos:
Skin: 7 Deadly s{K}ins, Grazia (Available at the Summer Sale Event at the 7 Deadly s{K}ins Main Store!)
Body: Maitreya
Ears: Mandala, Steking Ears Season 5
Eyes: IKON
Headpiece: Bauhaus Movement, Fly to the Angels (Available at Collabor88!)
Hair: Exile, Come What May (Available at We Love Roleplay!)
Dress: Junbug, Aria Azure (Rare) (Available at The Gacha Garden!)
Elf Ears: Kahli Designs Faux Elf Ear Silver
Necklace: Cae, Hedera
Shoes: Aisling, Tess Orty Shoes

Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never leave home without it! 

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