I’ve got it in the bag…

•December 28, 2008 • 4 Comments

We’ve all heard about the fun little challenge issued by Iris Seale over at Shopping Cart Disco by now, so I’ll just get right to it. Some of you are saying this challenge is a little silly, but I actually found it quite fun! And it gave me the opportunity to clean out my purse…

(clicking here will take you to my flickr where you can see the photo larger)

1. My cat, Jack. No, he was not in the purse, but he was really interested in all the things that were!

2. Guess? Bag. I’ve had this for over a year now and I love it. I keep meaning to get a new one, but I just like this one so much.

3. Matching wallet, full of cards and ID, but sadly no money.

4. Receipt from a toll booth from somewhere in Nova Scotia…got this sometime back in May.

5. Copy of  my Marriage Certificate and Birth Certificate for when I cross the border. My passport has my maiden name on it, and sometimes they ask how I know my husband…

6.  Gift card from Sears with about 7 dollars left on it.

7. Motion sickness pills, prescription pain pills and prescription dizzyness pills. (Yes, I’m sick)

8. $2.10. Yes, that’s what a Canadian 2 dollar coin looks like.

9. Vicks inhaler, for a stuffy nose. A really old Covergirl lipgloss, but I love it so I can’t give it up. Burt’s Bee’s Lip Balm, that makes my lips all tingly, and Blistex lip balm, because my lips are always insanely dry feeling.

10. Immodium. I have no idea why this is even in there, because I hate the stuff. It might have been in there for my husband…

11. Hand cream. Always have to have some on hand for whenever I wash my hands, because they always feel so dry. Although my husband uses it more than I do…

12. Gum, more motion sickness pills, more pain pills, and throat lozenges.

13.  2 pens. This one is quite obvious.

14. Crystal Light, which is a sugar-free, calorie free flavouring that you put in water to make it taste better. This is the raspberry kind that I love. Also, Mentos, cuz they’re the freshmaker! :P

15. A Pad and a tampon, because come on girls, it happens to the best of us, and we gotta be prepared!

16. A claw hair clip that I’m surprised still has all it’s teeth, since they break off so easy…And a hair elastic that my cat tried to steal 3 times while I took this picture.

17. Appointment reminder slips from the doctor and the dentist.

18. New toothbrush and dental floss from a recent trip to the dentist. (Well recent in that it was in October..) Oh, and some kleenex tissue.

19. Halls throat lozenges, which I’m pretty sure are just a Canadian thing, but should be worldwide because they are AWESOME.

20. A prescription that I haven’t filled yet.

21. A receipt from my local library for 3 books.

22. My keys to my car, buddha and fleur-de-lis keychains, keys to my house and my in-laws house (aren’t the keys cute, they’re printed!) and my roadside assistance and Shell Gas tags.

23. A program from a Memorial Service for a little boy I knew that died. Sad, I know. RIP Kyle.

24. A granola bar that my grandmother threw in there back in May because she was concerned I wasn’t going to get anything to eat on the plane.

25. A pay stub from my last job. I hated that place…

26. BC Ferries ferry tickets. I used to take a ferry to school in Vancouver every day and I have all these tickets left over. These are not cheap, so I don’t want to lose them.

27.  A notepad stolen from a hotel in Prince Edward Island. Has the name of a book I want to read on it.

28. Compact mirror, for touching up my makeup or checking my teeth for green things. :P

Conclusion? I have waaay too much shit in my purse.

It’s summer somewhere…

•December 23, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Recently someone asked on Plurk how many pictures of “snow bunnies” and “snow queens” we were going to see before the season was over, and it got me to thinking. It’s not winter everywhere in the world. There are people over in Australia, the Phillipines, New Zealand, etc, and even Florida here in North America who have sunny, hot weather this time of year! Where’s the love for them? So I decided to put together a hot weather casual outfit for those of you who are getting tired of seeing big sweaters, touques (winter hats, for the non-canadians), and boots.

winter-in-the-southern-hemisphere

And hey, those of us in the Great White Northern Hemisphere can get some ideas for when the weather does get warmer! And you know, in SL, it’s always sunny somewhere.

Outfit Credits

———————-

Hair- Alyssa by ETD

Bikini- Alexa by artilleri

Sweatshirt and sunglasses- Part of the Open Parka outfit from BareRose.

Shorts- Jean Shorts by M&R Cupcakes

Sandals- Naima by Fuel

Bracelets by Zaara and eLDee.

Bag- Vinyl Bag in pink by +Spica+

Poses by Reel Expression

Tuli’s “new” Kalista skins :)

•December 22, 2008 • Leave a Comment

One of the very first skins I bought for myself in SL was an S5 Skin from Tuli. This was before I was a shameless shopping addict, so I wore this skin EVERYWHERE. It was classy, it was elegant and I loved it.

Since then, Tuli has been blowing me away with how much she improves with every release. She has taken those S5 skins, and I didn’t think it was possible, but she has made them better! By now we all know the details about how they came to be named, so I won’t bore you with the details.

I have said before that I’m not really doing reviews anymore on this blog, but I consider Tuli Asturias a friend of mine, and when a friend asks you so very nicely to review her new release, you agree! Besides, the skins are so well done that I couldn’t possibly have said no.

As I said, Tuli improves with each release, and these skins are proof of that. The shading on the body is perfect without being too over the top and fake looking. So many skins these days look “oily” and fake tanned, and Tuli pulls off the realism without falling into that territory.

kalista-body-1kalista-body-2

I’m still in love with my Belleza Belle skins, and will continue to wear them regularly, but these have become my second favourite in my inventory. I’ve actually been wearing them for the past couple days because the makeup choices go perfectly with my latest outfit choices. Tuli has hit it out of the park with the variety of makeups and looks. There’s punk rock makeup, the famous lace, some smokey eyes, and even a makeup to look like you’ve been in a fight! Tuli thinks of everything! Here are some of my favourites:

kalista-skins-1

kalista-skins-21

Just a note: Yes, I am an SL photographer, but when I review skins and clothes, I don’t edit the photos much so that I can show you exactly how the item would look in world. :)

kalista-skins-3

kalista-skins-4

kalista-skins-5

Also, as an SL Photographer, I love photographing Tuli’s skins, because with the right shape, Tuli’s skins look very realistic and require little to no editing in Photoshop, and there aren’t a lot of skins in SL you can say that about. :) Here’s a quick portrait I did wearing the Kalista Tan 01 Skin.

kalista-6

The skins come in 3 tones, Light, Medium and Tan, and Tuli even has some corresponding shapes available in store. I always look forward to anything Tuli releases, and if this release is any indication of the quality and improvement we can expect to come from Tuli, I definitely can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

Cleaning up your SL Snapshots in Photoshop.

•December 18, 2008 • 6 Comments

Cleaning up your SL Snapshots in Photoshop

Lately there has been a lot of talk going around about the quality of images on the various SL blogs. I wondered if people were just being lazy, or if they just legitimately didn’t know how to fix their pictures to make them look good, so I decided to write up a basic notecard tutorial for my friends in-world. After receiving such a positive response, I’ve decided to blog it to share it with the general public. I am not an expert, and I know that I have a lot to learn, but these are just basic tips and tricks to help you clean up your images and maybe make all those haters stop hating, eh?

——

From the notecard:

Hi everyone, I’ve been meaning to do something like this for a while now and just haven’t gotten around to it. Consider this a Christmas present, maybe?

Now, I am by no means a tutorial writer, but I will at least write down some of the tips and tricks that I use to help you have better snapshots and photos from Second Life. Obviously I can’t give away all  my secrets, because hey, a girls gotta make a living, right? :)

First off, you must have at least a basic working knowledge of Photoshop, or whatever I say won’t make any sense. And for reference, I use Photoshop CS3, so if you use a different version, the steps might be a little different, but the effect will be the same.

- Okay, the first thing you need to do, and you probably already know this, is make sure you take your snapshots at the biggest size possible. I have a crappy computer, so I only take mine at  W 3000 x H 1785, but I know a lot of people do theirs at W 6000 x H 3571!  Then, when you open the shots in Photoshop, you can resize. This shrinks the pixels and makes them less jagged. You will still have a few edges, but keep reading and you’ll learn how to get rid of those.

-A little tip about resizing: If you drag your image on a new document it will become it’s own layer, then you can use the Free Transform tool ( Edit Menu >> Free Transform) to resize it to your desired size. When you have this tool open, sometimes, if your picture is bigger than your screen, it can be hard to find the handles to move it and resize it. Pressing Ctrl and 0 at the same time will resize your workspace so you can see all the handles. And then to go back to regular size, just click on the little hand button on the toolbar and go back to Actual Pixels.

Now that you’ve got the image at the size you want, it’s time to get rid of those pointy edges and glitches that SL has, such as pointy noses and elbows. For this you will use the Liquify Filter. (Filter Menu>> Liquify) Now, I’m soo not an expert at the Liquify tool, but for basic purposes, you only need to use a small part of it. Make your view bigger, like 200 or 300%, so you can see all the pointy edges. Then, using the Forward Warp tool (which is the default liquify tool), and a brush size of, well, that depends on how big the problem is, but I always use small brushes, careful push the edges to where you want them to go. This can be quite tricky, and will take some practice, but if you screw up, just hit cancel and start again, or hit reconstruct, or the little reconstruct tool under the default tool can help undo whichever area you choose. This process is time consuming and meticulous, but it really makes all the difference.

Now, to get rid of the rest of those pesky annoying pixelly edges. This is probably the most boring, time consuming process you will do, but it’s necessary. Choose the Smudge tool from your toolbar (right click on the little water drop and you will see the smudge tool at the bottom of the list) and using a soft edge brush, at a small size (I use 20 pixels) with VERY little strength (really, no more than 5), basically you want to “draw” over the pixelly edges. You will have to do this a few times, which is where the time consuming part comes in, and you can cheat a little by “rubbing” over the edges instead of drawing over them, but you might find the results a little messy.  Do this over all those pixelized edges and you’ll be able to see them smoothing out right in front of you. And remember to look closely a couple times, because after you stare at your photo a while, things tend to disappear. Take your time.

The rest of my photo process is just little tips and tricks that I’ve found or been taught, but they are what make my photos stand out, so I can’t exactly reveal my secrets. Plus, I’ve been sworn to secrecy by my fabulous teacher, Gabrielle Sinatra, and she can beat me up.

Basically, just play with angles, play with filters and tools and see what you can come up with. All you need is a good clean snapshop to start with, and I’ve just shown you how to do that, so the rest is up to you! Good luck, and I can’t wait to see your results!

-Kristi Maurer

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kristimaurer/

—————-

I hope this helps some of you, and if you have any questions, or problems, don’t hesitate to IM me in world. :)

Finally, the Belleza BELLE skins!

•December 5, 2008 • 2 Comments

I know you’ve all been eagerly (and some of you patiently) waiting for the release of the new Belle skins from Belleza, and I’m here to tease you a little bit more and show you what you have to look forward to. Tricky Boucher is a friend of mine, and I have to tell you, he’s a perfectionist. He sent me these skins yesterday, and then he sent me them again today because he “had made a little change”. He says that he hopes to release them by Wednesday, because he still has a few more things to perfect about them, but knowing him, he’ll be tweaking every last detail until he finally just releases them. But hey, don’t we want quality from our skins? Because trust me, these are damn good quality.

I know I said a while ago that I wasn’t going to review items on this blog anymore, but when Tricky IM’d me about a month and a half ago and gave me sneak previews of his new skin lines and asked if I would review them, how could I resist? I ended up wearing the beta version for the past month and couldn’t wait to see what kind of makeups he had come up with. Are you ready for this? THERE ARE 32 MAKEUP OPTIONS. Yes, 32! And they are all beautiful. There is literally something for everything, and all the makeups are perfect for the upcoming holiday season. There are bright colours, neutral tones, cat eyes, lace, glitter…everything you could possibly want.

I admit, I’m veerrry picky when it comes to selecting a skin for my avatar. I’m one of those people who hates to change her shape even a little bit, so the skin has to look good on what I already have or I’m not interested. I’ve been on SL for over a year now and I’ve never really been perfectly happy with a skin I’ve purchased. (Tuli came close, as well as Damiani, but there was always something I was missing). Now I’m not sucking up, or pooping rainbows or whatever when I say that I’ve finally found my favourite skin. Tricky improves with every line he comes out with (and I’ve seen his Bianca line that should be released in the new year and I’m very excited!) and he’s definitely stepped up his game this time. And with 32 makeups to choose from, I’ll never need to change lines! I’ll be able to match my skin to my outfit no matter what I wear!

Anyway, who wants to read a bunch of words when they can see pretty pictures? I’ve chosen a few of my favourite makeups (there was no way I could take 32 pictures!) to show you, and they are all in the Sunkissed tone.

(as always, click on the picture to enlarge it, and you should, to see the eyeshadow and details)

belleza-belle-skins-11

belleza-belle-skins-2belleza-belle-skins-3belleza-belle-skins-4

This final picture is my favourite makeup, seen in my previous blogpost, Amethyst Kisses, and shown is the 3 other skin tones available, Medium, Pale , and Tan.

belleza-belle-skins-52

So now you know what you have to look forward to, and hopefully it will only be a couple of days to wait! But rest assured, when they do come out, they’re going to be amazing.

-Kristi Maurer

Winter’s B@reRose Challenge!

•December 4, 2008 • 1 Comment

Yesterday, Winter Jefferson issued a Blogger challenge, and as you know, when a handsome Australian vampire gives you an order, you follow it! The challenge was to come up with an outfit or look featuring items from BareRose. Yes, it means braving the lag at Barerose HQ for most of you, but if you’re like me, you already have a ton of useful items in your inventory. I firmly believe that if you’re willing to spend a little time hunting, Barerose has something for everyone.

I found this jacket a while back and have been looking for a reason to wear it, so I knew that’s where I wanted to start my outfit. I was thinking I would go a little casual, but since I recieved a new skin today that called for a little dressing up, I went a totally different way.

This is what I came up with. All dressed up and no place to go! Anybody want to go dancing?

barerose-challenge

As always, click the pic to enlarge it.

Outfit Credits:

————–

Hair- Marisela II by ETD

Skin- Belle Amethyst Kisses by Belleza (Coming Soon!)

Jacket- from the Donna Outfit by Barerose

Jewelry- from the EA Onyx set by Barerose

Dress- Simple Latex Long dress in Purple by Barerose

Bag- Freja in Black by Barerose Haute Couture

Shoes- Vidalia Pump by Armidi Gisaci

Poses by Reel Expression

Prep School

•November 15, 2008 • 1 Comment

I have a confession to make. I love argyle. I really do. In real life, I have 2 argyle sweaters, and in SL, I have, oh lord, who knows? I just think there is something so sharp, smart and classic about it, on both men and women. So when I came across this argyle vest from Barerose, I wore it every day for a week. Luckily the vest comes in a few different colour options, so I didn’t have to wear the same one every day. A girl’s gotta have options, right? That’s one of my favourite things I love about BareRose, the fact that they always give a lot of options in their outfits.

*Also, fun tip: The lovely Dove Swanson alerted me (and the rest of Plurk) to this BareRose Database online, so now, instead of wandering around in the lag waiting for things to rez at BareRose, you can look at all the outfits online! It’s genius!!*

argyle-prep

Anyway, the outfit. I wanted something preppy and classy, but also comfy, so this outfit kind of made itself. This is an outfit I would wear in RL, and in fact, I wore a similar outfit just last week. Right down to the heels (Yes, I wear heels all the time in RL, which is admittedly stupid, because I’m always slipping in grocery stores and parking lots). And in case you haven’t heard, ETD is having a 30L sale, so finding hair and shoes for this outfit was simple, and cheap. :)

As always, click on the pic to enlarge it.

Outfit Credits:

——–

Hair- One of the Aveda styles from ETD

Skin- Belleza

Blouses- Armidi

Vests- BareRose

Jeans- Zaara

Shoes- ETD

Poses- Reel Expression

Note: The blue bracelet is from a store called TRip, which isn’t around anymore, so I’m not sure if it’s re-opened under a different name or what, but if anyone knows, leave me a comment. :)

 
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