One last Smile?

UPDATE 07/09/2017: The sim has closed.

Regular readers of my blog will know that I cover destinations in Second Life somewhat rarely. There are some reasons for this: for starters, I have always been somewhat self-conscious w.r.t. both my own abilities as an SL photographer and my computer’s processing power (or lack thereof) which had an impact on the quality of the resulting images – this particular factor has also prevented me in the past from visiting areas that are really heavy on high-resolution textures, sculpts and mesh builds. Second, I have never viewed myself as a really dedicated blogger. I’ve always been somewhat hesitant to blog. And also, for many years I kept saying I would blog about my existence in SL, but a combination of factors (related both to my Real Life and my SL presence) kept getting in the way. Finally, even when I took my first steps in the SL blogosphere, I knew that SL destinations are frequently reviewed by other, far better bloggers than me, such as Honour McMillan and Ziki Questi.

Every once in a while, though, I see some places that I just want or need to blog about, be it because of their design or some circumstances pertaining to them. One of this cases is the homestead sim named “It All Starts With A Smile” that is located on Onyx Isle and run by Kaelyn Alecto and her SL partner, Maxxster. On May 10, I read on Ziki’s blog that Kaelyn announced on Plurk that the sim may close on the 15th, becoming “collateral damage” of the recent changes in SL’s ToS that now effectively put third-party Linden Dollar exchanges out of business. Of course, these changes by themselves don’t really stop anyone from running a sim, especially a homestead, which is comparatively affordable by SL standards. However, it seems that (part of?) the region’s tier is underwritten by an employee of a third party L$ exchange that now had to suddenly close.

If this is the case, it is a pity, because “It All Starts With A Smile” is a very pretty place, beautifully put together, with composition and photography in mind (which makes sense, given that Maxxster is an SL photographer – and there is even a Flickr group dedicated to the region), with lots of natural scenery: sandy beaches, a field filled with flowers, semi-submerged seaside ruins, and a picturesque little village on the waterfront – and more. This region is literally peppered with beautiful little spots for one to discover and is testament to what can be done even within the prim limits of a homestead.

This is indeed a place to bring a smile to your face and keep it there. While SL certainly has its fair share of problems (perhaps even more than that), I don’t ascribe to the “sim deathwatch” crowd; even though many gorgeous sims have closed for various reasons, there are still many, many fabulous regions for you to explore and enjoy, and existing ones change hands regularly. But still, the potential passing of a sim as beautiful as this can only sadden us and I really wish I’d visited this place sooner.

However, if you want to support Kaelyn and Maxxster (whose blog was the now-defunct “SweetSexyCrazy”), there is something you can do; both near the landing point and in other places (such as the lovely little deli) there are piggy banks accepting donations. I’m sure that a few L$ will be appreciated – and hopefully they’ll help Kaelyn and Maxxster keep their beautiful build.


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