Eldemar is a new Elven role-playing world that is scheduled to open officially this Saturday, January 31st.  The other night, I was fortunate to enjoy a preview of this magical world.  Shenlei Flasheart’s line of romantic gowns, Debutante, now has a presence in Eldemar.  The other night, Shenlei invited me to join her to see the new Debutante shop space there, afterwhich Shenlei took me on a tour of the land. 

Edlemar is delightful and impressive and a world that is sure to be wildly popular. 

Contessa Gown, from Debutante, now in Eldemar
Contessa Gown, from Debutante, a shop of which is now in Eldemar
A Fae in Eldemar, near the human's marketplace (in background)
Michele the Fae in Eldemar, near the marketplace (in background)
A Fae in Eldemar, near the human's Marketplace (background)
Michele the Fae in Eldemar, near the Eldemar Marketplace
The Elven Castle of Eldemar
The Elven Castle of Eldemar

It’s apparent just from the surroundings that, as Shenlei says, “Eldemar was built with alot of love.”  But make no mistake, Eldemar is a role-playing sim — complete with Elves, Fairies, Gypsies, Orges, Dragons (lions tigers and bears), and a dungeon — so one can be killed there…highly annoying when you’re trying to look good taking pictures.  Because the sim is not yet officially opened, Shenlei and I were quite safe when we visited, as I was when I returned the other night to take pictures.  I would have taken pictures the first night with Shenlei, but I still haven’t mastered the technique of snapping images and walking and chatting.  Besides…Shenlei covers a vast amount of ground incredibly quickly, despite her petite size (or maybe because of it, come to think of it!).  

The Fairy Grounds of Eldemar
The Fairy Grounds of Eldemar


The Harbour of Eldemar
The Harbour of Eldemar

One of these days, I’ll do better at taking pictures on the fly.  It still takes me forever to set up what I think will be a nice composition; precisely why I can spend hours taking snapshots.  If nothing else, I hope these photos convey a bit of the atmosphere that permeates this wonderful new sim.   I didn’t post all the photos here or it would have lagged the post considerably, I’m sure.  (And it seems WordPress won’t quite allow me to post more than this, as it’s eaten two pictures that I’ve tried repeatedly to include in this post.)  You’ll find the other pictures on flickr.  Hopefully, I’ll get around to uploading those soon enough.  That reminds me…I need to return to Eldemar before the roleplaying ensues to snap more photos in Shenlei’s gorgeous Debutante gowns.


Barack on!
Barack On!


Um…like…wow.   Powerful photo, meaning.  Powerful moment and speech.  Powerful challenges…for all of us, together with him too, because, man, we’ve got a mountain to climb. 

Love his realism, clarity, courage, and ability to dream.  Return to eternal values.  Thank you, 44.  Barack On!

 (And he’s on Flickr, too, waiting to be friended.  Methinks that’s not a problem for him. 🙂 )

I’ve always loved this song…and together it’s true…

Eclectica Jewellery

Putting my SLayer gal out of the spotlight for a moment and bringing forth my Curator gal (although once a Superhero always a Superhero, smiles):


Eclectica Jewellery is a wonderful new line of historically-inspired jewellery.  Tiffy Vella, the creator of Eclectica, is the latest designer to be invited into the Shengri La Vintage Marketplace, and yes, her exquisite creations are there for the buying.  

Take a look at her Silvermoon set.  Here I am (below) wearing just three of the many pieces that come with the set.  Along with the earrings, neck ring, and arm bands shown here, the Silvermoon set also contains a pendant necklace, a bracelet, a belly ring, and a finger ring.  (And the price is quite reasonable for the wonderful quality of workmanship and the entire Silvermoon jewelry wardrobe that you receive.)  In the last two photos, I’m also wearing Blossom Bliss, a wonderful fantasy outfit from Luminous Designs, another shop currently in the Shengri La Vintage Marketplace.

Moonstone Set from Eclectica Jewellery by Tiffy Vella
Silvermoon Set from Eclectica Jewellery by Tiffy Vella
Moonstone from Eclectica Jewellery by Tiffy Vella
Silvermoon from Eclectica Jewellery by Tiffy Vella
Armbands from the Moonstone set, Eclectica Jewelley by Tiffy Vella
Armbands from the Silvermoon set, Eclectica Jewelley by Tiffy Vella

As curator of the Shengri La Vintage Marketplace, I am lucky enough to have an early first-look at the amazing work of the talented new designers as they set their vendors up in their Shengri La shops.  And it’s always a pleasure to share news and images of their work with you.  Tiffy’s jewelry has quite a delicate, romantic feel.  Some of her creations have a decidedly Victorian feel.   But if you ask me, Tiffy’s jewelry can be worn with just about any apparel from any era.

Please take a visit and check out Eclectica Jewellery at the Shengri La Vintage Marketplace, home of a wonderful invitation-only program that  highlights emerging new talent.  We currently have seven designers — apparel and jewelry, all with varying tastes and all highly talented — who have been invited to participate in the program.   The Shengri La Vintage Marketplace was envisioned and created by Shenlei Flasheart, estate owner of the gorgeous Shengri La islands.  Shenlei announced Tiffy’s acceptance in the Vintage Marketplace in her Utopian Micronation blog (where you can also find Tiffy’s bio and see where she draws her inspiration for her gorgeous jewelry).

Save the Avatar…


…Save the World


Botgirl definitely has her mouse-clicks on the pulse of not only psychology but fun, creative tools.   As a result of a creative whim, a few of us joined in and created superheros, otherwise known as SLayers (see Botgirl’s latest post of the same name). 

Here’s mine:


SLayer (see Botgirl's post)
Michele, curator by day; member of SLayer Superheros by night (see Botgirl's post)


Michele Hyacinth:  Shengri La Vintage Marketplace Curator by day; SLayer Superhero by night.  Too fun, huh?  I thought so! 

I suppose I should create a superhero-y name and powers for my SLayer persona.  Something with Yin-Yang no doubt, and a wink and a smile.  (Although I can’t seem to get past the “can you hear me now question?” or “is this the party to whom you are speaking?” question that the headset invokes.  Funny…it didn’t do that to me originally when I first added it.)

Maybe there’s a story percolating for the SLayers:  “Save the Avatar…Save SL.”  

Or maybe SLayers was just a whimsical, one-time thing.  Either way, it’s great fun to play.  I might just have to create another superhero (this takes you to the Marvel site to create your own).  The world can always use another one. 

Besides…they have really cool clothes.

Cocoon Jewelry…

…at the Shengri La Vintage Marketplace


Cocoon is a new jewelry line from Yoona Mayo, the latest designer to be invited into the Shengri La Vintage Marketplace.   In her Utopian Micronation blog, Shengri La visionary extraordinaire Shenlei Flasheart announced the wonderful addition of Yoona and her brand Cocoon into the Vintage Marketplace.

Yoona’s creations are beautifully delicate and intricate, utterly feminine and romantic.  The craftsmanship she brings to bear in creating these very finely tuned pieces is really quite astounding.   As a perfect example, take a gander at Yoona’s Guardian set (necklace and earrings together).  Guardian was one of the very first sets I saw when Yoona set up her creations in her Shengri La Vintage Marketplace shop.  I curate the Vintage Marketplace, so I have the immense pleasure of seeing the work of these talented designers as it’s installed.  My eye went immediately to Guardian…it simply beckoned to me. 


Guardian necklace and earrings, Cocoon Jewelry by Yoona Mayo
Guardian necklace and earrings, Cocoon Jewelry by Yoona Mayo

Guardian comes in a range of colors, but the one that I felt most compelled to purchase (and do have) is the Red (shown in the photo above).   You won’t go wrong with any color way of Cocoon jewelry.  It’s simply spectacular.

Here (below) is the photo of Guardian that Shenlei posted on her blog.  I mean…worn (above) or on display (below), the set is stunning.  

It’s so very much better on the skin, smiles, absolutely.  See for yourself.  Head on over to Cocoon in the Shengri La Vintage Marketplace .  This set will not disappoint (you receive the necklace and the earrings in a single purchase).  Guardian, like Yoona’s other creations, is so utterly refined, but don’t be fooled by the delicacy.  It packs a huge wow factor.


Guardian in Red by Yoona Mayo, from her Cocoon line of fine jewelry
Guardian in Red by Yoona Mayo, from her Cocoon line of fine jewelry

This Just In From RL

Well, SL logins are currently disabled (although they may be reenabled while I write this), so I thought I’d post a short commercial break from RL, brought to you by the makers of Realness, Kindness, and Helpfulness.

Yesterday, I hopped the RL grid.  I travelled north on a long stretch of backroads on what turned out to be a lovely winter day under a brighty silvery-grey sky.  The sky seemed to want to release something; it didn’t until around midnight last night, at which time it erupted into yet another winter thunderstorm (so strange to experience lightening and thunder and tornado warnings in December and now January).  But far before all of that…in fact, just about 20 minutes into my drive out onto the lumbering backroads, I was troubled by a surreal sensation provided by my car.  It wobbled.  I nearly became seasick from the lurching, pitching rolls between one tire to the other.

Now, I’m a pretty capable, independent individual.  Never claim to know everything; who does?  Besides, what fun would that be?  But I’m typically pretty good at figuring out solutions (or if not solutions, at least, next steps) to problems.  The lurching of the car, however?  It became increasingly clear to me that this was (gasp) a *vehicular* problem.  I’m not too good with fixing cars…or with even knowing what the next steps should be.  I admit this particular bit of DNA skipped me.  I know how to strap in, turn it on, rev an engine, put the pedal to the metal, and fly…erm, drive.  But things like tires that are pretty darn critically important?  Well, all that I know is that, um, they are pretty darn critically important.  

So I’m driving with all of this in my mind, as I’m lurching down a very long and winding stretch of isolated backroad with nary another vehicle or person in sight.  Just me and the wind and the sky and the earth and the road and the horizon.  And, instead of the radio, a voice in my head played.  When it comes to vehicular difficulties, that voice (mine) said, “Just keep going.  It will be fine.”    But the more my auto-challenged-pollyanna voice played in my head, the more I heard my father, who had passed away almost seven years ago now.  He was direct and to the point, smiles, just as he always was. 

“Kid, find a gas station.” 

As much as I tried to la-la-la the tire concerns away, Dad’s reasoned voice gently cut through my internal chatter.   “Find a gas station.”  I think I even saw the look in his eye.  You know the one.  The one that asks (more as a directive, less a question) without saying “Are you listening to me?” 

Thankfully, I did, because despite my tra-la-la-ing, I also did the mental calculation and realized I was 1-1/2 hours away from my destination and all those seconds within those 1-1/2 hours were going to include travelling very long, fairly empty stretches of backroads through tiny towns interspersed here and there.  So, I white-knuckled the steering wheel and hoped to heavens that my father or fate or God or karma could somehow ensure that none of my tires would blow out and that I could control what, at higher speeds, became an increasingly off-centered alignment of the steering while I traveled a stretch of 20 minutes until the next town on the horizon in a car with nervously wobbling tires (that made me feel like the car had some kind of rocking gangsta booster thing going on) .

Thankfully, as life would have it, I did make it to the next sleepy town, and to two gas stations, neither of which had functioning air pumps.  I’m thinking there’s a run on air for some reason, how odd.  And I’m also thinking to myself I may have to cut this jaunt short and whiteknuckle my way back if I don’t come across a gas station, because by this point, my father’s voice didn’t even need to play in my mind.  I just saw his face in my mind, and knew he was right.  This was not safe driving.  In fact, it was probably dangerous.  So I creep along the Main Street of this little town (every little town has a Main Street), and I see the third gas station.  I pull in and find a functioning air pump.  Now, you’d think problem solved, right?  Cringes.  Well, I don’t have the air pump DNA either.  And, this I confess, stems from a story a friend told me many years ago about how one could blow a tire by overfilling it with air.  True or not, perhaps, I don’t know.  But this was one thing I’ve not ever wanted to test.  So I walk into the gas station.  And I see a local townie older man in a jacket, jeans, and a Caterpillar baseball cap sitting in the middle of the aisle with a cup of coffee.  The gas station attendant is out from behind the counter, and the two of them are chatting.  Must have been the look on my face, but when I entered, they both stopped talking, looked at me, and no doubt, could tell I was rather nonplussed.   I admitted that I didn’t know how to properly fill tires with air (even referring to myself as an airhead in this instance, just because I rather liked the pun).  And I admitted also that the not knowing was probably a genetic deficiency on my part, to which the gas station attendant (a female) took mild offense (politely so, but I could tell I had pushed a button with the sexism I brought to the room when it comes to all things gender and car care).  Well, the CAT cap older man snorted and said, “No, you’re right.  It’s a genetic thing.  My wife lacks the same gene.”   So while the gas station attendant looked for a tire pressure gauge, the CAT cap guy headed outside to my car.  Now, I thought this man worked at the gas station.  Turns out, he doesn’t.  And I didn’t even think to ask him this until after he inspected all of my tires (they were at 20 pounds of pressure, yikes!) and after he explained that it’s hard to see when radial tires are low on air because they don’t show it and after he showed me the seal and explained how glue is used to seal the radial to the rim to prevent air loss and after he explained how you have to watch the air pressure in tires even more in winter because the cold weather causes contraction and the changing temperatures cause expansion and all of this amounts to increased air leakage and after he showed me where to look on the tires for the pressure ideal/indicator (32-35), and said critical is 15 and I was a mere 5 pounds of pressure above critical on all tires, and after he confirmed that, yes, that type of low air pressure would cause the car to wobble, after he filled all of my tires up to 32-35 pounds, and even after all of that, he explained how moisture can get into the air pressure tanks and freeze up (hence the non-functioning air pumps at the previous two gas stations).   This old man (laughs, suddenly hearing that kid’s song in my head) spent a good 15-20 minutes checking out the tires, fixing the problem, and very politely educating me on all things tires.  As importantly, he confirmed what my father’s voice and image had always known (and truly, what I knew deep in my gut, car DNA or no car DNA)…that it was, in fact, very dangerous for me to be driving (particularly at 60 mph) on tires that low.  But I was at least comforted to learn also, as mentioned earlier, that it’s very difficult to see an indication of low air with radial tires.  

So this was all way neat.   And I hate to sound all preachy or moral-of-the-story-ish but you know…not only was I helped — very casually yet very greatly so — by a complete stranger, I also learned pretty important stuff from him about what I always knew to be pretty important stuff on a car:  tires.  (I just hope I remember this information about tires.)  And somehow I have to say that perhaps the most important thing that got to me with all of this, was the reminder – ever so gently so in a sleepy little town on a sleepy little silvery-grey wintery day – this gentle reminder of how real people can be…caring and helpful and real.  And how cool it can be when we make an effort to be this way with each other along the way – even if it’s only for 15 minutes out of an entire lifetime and even if we don’t even really know each other.   I don’t expect I’ll see the CAT cap old man again…but because of help and kindness and realness with the small things (filling tires with air), which often are linked to larger things (avoiding a lifethreatening accident), we’re all made that much better and this shared existence that we all have on this planet in this universe is that much nicer.  I was very lucky, and I know it.  

Why those occurrences sometimes happen, I don’t know.  But I’m grateful for these small and large mysteries of life…even the strangely amusing ones.  Like, why a bag of baby carrots would freeze in the refrigerator (the fridge, not the freezer) when nothing else in the fridge comes anywhere near freezing.  Like I said, a mystery.  But.  Both of them (the unforeseen help and the freezing baby carrots) made me smile.

The New Year…Light, Life, Love

I was inworld today, this new year’s eve, spending a great deal of time simply thinking about the year.   In many ways, 2008 has been a year like no other.  It brought with it just about everything imaginable (and unimagined) from both ends of the spectrum…things that were exceedingly difficult (without going into detail, even traumatic in terms of RL tragedies; you’ll just have to trust me on this, as I’m not one to go into specifics on the internet even though there’s nothing wrong with doing so).  But mostly, I focus on those happenings and persons who far, far exceed the miraculous…the rare and amazing persons who share with me the beautiful, incredible gifts of themselves.  For them and to them, I am beyond grateful, beyond moved, beyond joyful.   You know who you are.  And you know why.  And you know words fail.  And still…I thank you.

In the midst of what really amounted to a day of deep reflection (even while I poked around looking at tattoos and other apparel not normally in my closet),  I absentmindedly clicked through a number of group notices of parties and events.  One of them caught my attention. 

ChangHigh Trinity Sisters - Light Love Life
ChangHigh Trinity Sisters - Light Love Life

Best of SL announced a performance by the ChangHigh Trinity Sisters…an amazing SL troupe of gorgeous creatures — skydancers — who embody the ChangHigh Trinity troupe.  I couldn’t help but notice their brand statement:  “Light, Life, Love.”  Simply, utterly perfect.

ChangHigh Trinity Sisters
ChangHigh Trinity Sisters

Even though I was alone, I put on a pretty dress (since the venue called for formal attire) and decided to go.  (It’s some sort of milestone when we can go to these events by ourselves and not think anything of it, smiles.)   As for the event itself, I have always wanted to see the ChangHigh Trinity Sisters, ever since I viewed a gorgeous photo series of them (posted about a year ago) as taken by very good friend H.  (And how ironic, and truly wonderful, that just under a year ago, H and I became dear friends, very much sisters.)

ChangHigh Trinity Sisters
ChangHigh Trinity Sisters

 A year ago, I could not have enjoyed this performance.  A year ago, I hobbled through SL on a laptop that could barely support the experience.  This year, I splurged on a super duper (like the technical jargon?) box and could and did, indeed, very much enjoy the ChangHigh Trinity Sisters. 

ChangHigh Trinity Sisters
ChangHigh Trinity Sisters

Many of you (all of my four readers or so) have probably seen these gorgeous performers already.  But for those of you who haven’t, oh do make a point to absolutely enjoy their skills.  Their show is particle nirvana (the dancers are surrounded by them and exude them), but it’s really so much more. 

ChangHigh Trinity Sisters
ChangHigh Trinity Sisters

It’s actually quite comprehensive and beautiful.  And for this new year’s celebration, it was a wonderful kind of fireworks to usher in 2009. 

ChangHigh Trinity Sisters
ChangHigh Trinity Sisters

Because it’s all from the same energy…one of beauty and light and love and life that brings with it so very much more beauty and light and love and life.

ChangHigh Trinity Sisters - Light, Life, Love
ChangHigh Trinity Sisters - Light, Life, Love

And yes, the supple one in the black gown is me.  They asked for volunteers.  Me, well, I automatically fly to Light, Life, and Love.  

My deepest wishes for a happy, most joyous new year…carrying us through all days, all moments, all occurrences. 

Always, always.

ChangHigh Trinity Sisters
ChangHigh Trinity Sisters