Dancing In The Moonlight: An April Co-Blog Experience

Wow, halfway through the month already and I can’t quite believe where the time has gone! What I can believe, though, is how often I say things just like this, meaning them with all my heart every single time, and how I should not be surprised by this – not even a little bit – but I am. Every. Single. Time.

One of the few benefits to living under a perpetual (and yes, self-imposed) time crunch, however, is that I make a point of evaluating what’s really important -which pictures need to happen; which posts must be written. Which thoughts and ideas are so beautiful they all but demand a chance to be made manifest or, more simply said:

I love what I do. I wish I could do it more often.

These posts, especially the ones I’m fortunate enough to be writing with the incredible Lucky Spiritor (seen above and below), are such great fun! We agreed that post in particular, featuring clothing from BakaBoo and my jewellery from Chop Zuey, was too important to both of us to do anything but write together about new designers, sponsorship, and of course, styling.

Lucky: How does finding a new designer make you feel?
Portia: When I find a new designer I love, truly, I feel like I’ve won the lottery. With the sheer number of content creators in Second Life, sometimes it’s hard to keep everyone straight and approach every new event and designer with an open mind and an open heart. When I do find that new love, though, it’s magic just waiting to happen!

Lucky: What do you look for from a new designer? If someone was going to make something that would grab your attention what would do it?
Portia: For me, new designers have the unique opportunity to come into the fashion game without any marks for or against their work or any kind of precedent to live up to. It’s a completely blank slate and the first thing I really do look at is the quality and overall feeling I have when I look at a designer’s vendor pictures or when I take those first steps into a new shop. Have they taken the time to photograph their new creation well? Is the store layout sensemaking or do I get lost within minutes? Is the price range reasonable?

Then, looking at the new creations themselves, I check the demos (if demos are available). Are the demos available for every colour/pattern offered for sale? Is the demo timed? Is there a price for trying the item in the first place? All of these things matter to me, not because they reflect item quality itself, but the creator behind the work. To me, this is just as important. I think about who I’m wearing as much as what.

As for things that grab my attention: PATTERNS. I love contrasting patterns but rarely see them. Oh, and MODIFY PERMISSIONS, especially if the piece is unrigged.

Lucky: What is your process when styling with a new designer’s item?
Portia: I approach a new designer’s item in just about the same way I would with a designer I’ve covered before. The biggest difference is that I do a bit of research first – who the creator is and what sort of themes are present in all their work. I look at vendor pictures, past and present, and if they have official bloggers, I peek at those as well. It’s important for me to see what’s been done with these creations in the past and what’s being done with them now. It helps me understand if my concepts and stylings are going to resonate with the designer’s current audience (because I know my readers will like it regardless) or if it’s going to confuse or alienate them instead. The last thing I do, of course, is give a gentle nudge to the designer to let them know I’ve covered their work, usually by adding my picture to the designer’s flickr group, but I have been known to send IMs or notecards as well, per the designer’s profile preferences.

Yeah, blogging is more work than it seems.

Lucky: I have obviously seen the new things you’ve learned in your editing. For those who don’t know can you tell us a bit about how you’ve grown in your post processing?
Portia: Oh wow, I feel like I’ve really turned a corner in my photography over the last couple months. Ever since I started watching Daeberethwen Arbenlow’s PS tutorials, I’ve been willing to try for more with my pictures in post processing and, really, it’s also affected the way I compose in-world shots as well. For people who aren’t as comfortable working in Photoshop as they’d like to be, I can’t recommend these tutorials enough. I’ve been using a lot of light leaks lately, a lot of overlays, and I feel like they’ve really impacted the pictures I’ve been able to put together. Also, it’s wicked fun. I love learning how to do new things; it inspires me to keep trying, to keep pushing myself to improve.

Portia: You cover Bakaboo pretty often, Lucky. Why is that?
Lucky: Ha. Yes, yes I do. I would probably wear Bakaboo in every other post if it was reasonable for me to do that. Why do I cover them often, really I just love the look of their designs. The mixing of the colors and different patterns. I was pretty tame in my styling choices prior to seeing that first hoodie from them. I feel like they are not only a very up and coming brand but they’re also what started pushing me into different things. Ocean does amazing work and watching as it’s grown and seeing more and more people covering it brings me great joy. I feel like he’s destined for some big things.

Portia: As a sponsored blogger, how do you feel about posting requirements in general? Does it impact the way you style pictures? The way you write your posts?
Lucky: It’s a tricky question in a way. Let me say first off that I don’t have a ton of “requirements” really. For example with Nivaro, you obviously want to use and promote the new skins and beards and push for the events they are at. But in reality I wear Nivaro every day so I would be blogging them regardless of if I was a blogger for them or not. A lot of times it works out the way. I know for me I blog about places that I love, so if I’m a sponsored blogger for somewhere odds are good it’s somewhere I loved anyway.

I know some require a certain number of posts a month and I can understand it. As a designer I would want my bloggers covering what I create, I mean that’s why you were chosen to be a blogger right? Now sometimes that’s not easy. Time can run short with other things coming up or sometimes an item just doesn’t fit the idea you have in your head. I’ve been there numerous times and it can be difficult if you’ve got a creative block. Sometimes you just have to let it sit for an hour or a day, come back to it and see if what you had works. Other times you have to see that “hey this idea is not working, let’s trying something else.” It’s a balance between pushing on with something versus making sure you meet the requirements.

I personally think that some requirements are great, there are a few requirements I’ve heard of that seem extreme. Exposure is obviously great, but if you only measure on 99+ favorites on Flickr or something similar then you’re locking yourself out of a pool or potential people who could truly be an up and comer. In a way it’s like someone shopping but deciding to only stick to the brands they know. I’ll buy Brand A even if the newer lesser known Brand B has something that really looks nice. If we never take the chance on lesser known brands/people then they eventually fade out. Either due to not being able to afford to keep their shop open or just burning out on blogging because you think no one really cares about the work you’re doing. I guess the way I look at it is sometimes it’s worth it to take the chance. You never know when you’ll find a blogger who truly loves what YOU do, even though they may get that one requirement, their true love of your work will shine through in their work.

In regards to styling my outfits/scenes for a picture, yes it does impact it. If I’m working to really publicize an item I tend to use it as my focus. Building the rest of the styling and location around it. The goal is to show off that creator’s product. Sometimes it is easier then others. On occasion I’ve dropped my idea and had to come back to it, but I try my best to showcase the wardrobe piece, decor, skin, etc. to the best of my ability. Writing about it is kind of the same. If my goal is to present you a new skin then I’m going to tell you about it, where you can get it, what you get with it. In the end I try to tie the words together with the picture to show and tell about that particular thing.

~ Portia’s Credits ~

Skin: Lara Hurley-Fae natural/Rose Pale ~ Lara Hurley
Eyes: IKON Sovereign Eyes – Quicksilver ~ Ikon Innovia
Mesh Body: Maitreya Mesh Body – Lara ~ Onyx LeShelle
Ears: [MANDALA]STEKING_EARS_Season5 ~ Kikunosuke Eel
Hands: Slink Avatar Enhancement Hands – Elegant1 ~ Siddean Munro
Feet: Maitreya Mesh Body – Feet ~ Onyx LeShelle
Lashes: .: Mai Bilavio :. Individual Lash in Morocco ~ Mai Bilavio
Makeup: !Musa! Eyeshadow Aaliyah Green ~ Filomena Quinnell ~ NEW @ We Role Play (until April 30th, 2016)

Hair: ::Exile:: Windsong ~ Kavar Cleanslate

Gown: BakaBoo – Spring Gown – Floral Spring – Ocean Blackthorne ~ NEW @ Swank (Until April  30th)

Jewellery Set: Chop Zuey ~ Baixa de Cassanje Blu Set – Special Edition ~ Belle Roussel ~ Available @ Designer Showcase (Until April 30th)
Gloves Applier: Sweet Tea Formal Gloves Essentials – All In One Hud ~ Jasminefairy

Pose: Poses: *PosESioN* Adelin ~ Dahriel ~ NEW @ Swank (Until April  30th)

~ Lucky’s Credits ~

Skin: -NIVARO- Tyler Skin – 02. PolarBear Tone – brownbrows ~ Reishiprophet Resident ~ NEW @ Cosmopolitan (Apr 11-Apr 23)
Body: Slink Physique MALE Mesh Body Release 1.2 ~ Siddean Munro
Hands: Slink Avatar Enhancement Hands MALE V2.2 – Relaxed ~ Siddean Munro
Feet: Slink Avatar Enhancement Male Feet Flat V2 ~ Siddean Munro
Hair: Action Inkubator HAIR Jack ~ MarilynMonroe Munro
Eyes: IKON Sovereign Eyes – Sky ~ Ikon Innovia
Ears: [MANDALA] STEKING_EARS_Season5 ~ Kikunosuke Eel
Beard: -NIVARO- 3rd Gen Beard – StyledNatural (Hard) – brown ~ Reishiprophet Resident ~ NEW @ Nivaro Main Store

Shirt: F.A.T Ben Shirt (Plain Blue Sky) ~ FabulousAndTrendy Resident ~ NEW @ TMD (Apr 5-Apr 30)
Pants: BakaBoo – Spring Pants – Floral Painting ~ Ocean Blackthorne ~ NEW @ Swank (Apr 7-Apr 30)
Shoes: FATEstep – Wilson Moccasins – Slink (Flat) ~ Damien Fate
Necklace: [MANDALA]LUSTFUL-Jewelry-set (Male)SHORT_Necklace ~ Kikunosuke Eel
Ring: JCNY – ‘UN-BREAKABLE, iEngrave – Hyper-Gems Mens Ring 2.0 ~ JD Hansen
Bracelet: ieQED holger.set.bracelet.white ~ SigiFaust Resident ~ NEW @ TMD (Apr 5-Apr 30)

Pose: grafica ~ bam v mirror ~ Alyx Aerallo

~ Scene Credits ~

Fiasco – Marble Gazebo ~ Ellissdi ~ Available at We Love Role Play (until April 30th, 2016)
{RW} River Rocks Circle 3 ~ Roawenwood ~ Available at We Love Role Play (until April 30th)
{RW} River Rocks Rectangle 3 ~ Roawenwood ~ Available at We Love Role Play (until April 30th)
RW Cherry Tree ~ Roawenwood ~ Available at We Love Role Play (until April 30th)
JIAN :: Dryad Hideaway ~ JianSL
Heart – Aubretia – White / Pink ~ Lilith Heart
Heart – Hollyhocks – Dark Blue / Pale Blue ~ Lilith Heart
Heart – Ox Eye Daisies – Leaves Only ~ Lilith Heart
Heart – Fern – Bank – summer (from Wildwood Giant Pine Forest) ~ Lilith Heart
Heart – Daisies – DS1 (from Wildwood Giant Pine Forest) ~ Lilith Heart
Heart – Loosestrife – Summer (from Wildwood Giant Pine Forest) ~ Lilith Heart
Heart – Harmony Moon Lily – Short – Pearl White Blue – 20m circle ~ Lilith Heart

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