The Year That Was

1 Tylar Profile 8a

It is New Year’s Eve and a day to reflect on the year that has passed. For me, it has been a tumultuous year with lots of lows interspersed with a few highs. In terms of my real life I have seen so many changes that I am still attempting to process and come to terms with them. As for Second Life, it has been a better year, largely because of this blog.

And the person most responsible for it is My Cherished, Tylar. I chose to lead this post with this photo because it was largely her encouragement that led me to opening my photography business, which in turn led to this little publication that has become not just a showcase for my photographs, but also an exploration of my life in and out of Second Life. My Cherished, thank you for believing in me, standing behind me and for sharing so many of your wonderful qualities with me.

The rest of this story will be a taste of some of my favourite photos and posts. Some of them may not make a lot of sense to you; you won’t necessarily see only the best photos in terms of composition and technique. But each one of these holds a special place in my heart for one reason or another. This is going to be a long one, so if you aren’t inclined to spend a large portion of your day reminiscing with me, I wish you a happy and healthy New Year and I’ll see you on the other side.

If you are willing to stick with me, just click this link to take the plunge.

1 Far Away_001A

This photo has a lot of meaning to me because it was not only taken in one of the iconic locations in Second Life, The Far Away, but because it was one of my first entries in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. I no longer participate in the Weekly Photo Challenge simply because I have shifted my focus totally to Second Life and I became a bit intimidated being the only SL blogger to participate (as far as I could tell). But it was extremely important to me starting out blogging because it was a prompt for me each week for one post. It also allowed me to explore techniques that I believe have served me well. And The Far Away…well, it is simply beautiful, tranquil and timeless. If you have been in Second Life for more than a few months and haven’t visited, please do yourself a favour and click the link and be whisked off to this SL stalwart.

1 Rain_004

2304 Rain was the first new place I found in SL that truly inspired me to attempt landscape photography. Sadly, this sim no longer exists and it saddens me to think I will never be able to visit again. But this is also the picture that gave me my first win in a photo contest, held by Second Friends, a social networking site created specifically for Second Life Residents. Winning that competition gave me a boost of confidence that I had been lacking and I truly felt humbly proud.


Anzac Day is a very important day in Australia. It is a remembrance of the first military action fought by the Australian and New Zealand forces in World War I. This was my tribute to those who have served, including my sweetheart, Grumper. This was also the post that I believe was the true beginning of a friendship that I value so very deeply. My dear lil Cao was so excited waiting to see this post that I felt a need to soften her anticipation, knowing it was a somber post that would have meaning to her. On that day, she went from being a reader to a beloved friend. This post hasn’t had as many views as the majority of the others but the pride I feel in the commemoration of this day is palpable. If you are so inclined, you can visit it here with my gratitude.

1 Picmonkey Control Panel

I’m sure you’re wondering what the ‘ell this picture is doing here! Very simply, this is the lead photo in the top post on my blog. Several months back, Miss Strawberry Singh began her now famous Monday Memes. I remember cringing when I saw this topic – Teach Me Something. And then I panicked and almost didn’t participate. In the end, I chose to do my very first tutorial on using Other than this photo and a finished shot, it is a totally text-based tutorial. However, it spurred me to do two more PicMonkey tutorials (here and here). I am extremely proud of this series of tutorials because I am aware it has been used as a resource by hundreds of people. I have received such wonderful help and encouragement from so many fabulous bloggers that I am happy to be able to give back in a small way.

1 SFS Bloggers

I couldn’t possibly do a retrospective without including a memory of the 30-Day Avatar Blogger Challenge. I met and became aware of so many incredible bloggers and this challenge pushed me to learn both quality and quantity in my blogging. In addition, this particular photo was not just an entry for Single Frame Stories it was also displayed at SL10B. June was a big month and I felt such a sense of accomplishment completing this challenge. With this photo I truly felt, for the first time, I belonged to the blogging community.

1 Being Cao_006

I couldn’t do a review of my year without sharing a photo of my amazing friend, Cao. Fooled you! That’s not really Cao…it’s me, wearing Cao’s shape. In an incredible show of generosity, Cao auctioned off her beloved shape for charity. She raised a huge sum of money for Wigs For Kids and went through one of the toughest periods of her SLife. This post is one I am most proud of because it not only helped publicise Cao’s charitable contribution but because it shows how two people who have never met, outside of blog comments, can become true friends of the heart. ♥ my lil, Cao…your friendship has been one of the highlights of my year.

1 Peepless In SLeattleFinal

lol this is out of order, but somehow I missed this photo when scrolling through my media library. Other than my tutorial, this was my favourite Monday Meme to complete. It challenged me as a photographer, pushed my creativity and I still smile whenever I look at this movie poster. There were some incredible entries in this meme, but I have to say, there was none I liked better than my own. *blushes at this rare moment of hubris*

Calas Galadhon
Calas Galadhon

Calas Galadhon. Eleven beautiful sims created simply for the pleasure of SL residents by Ty Tenk & Truck Meredith. I had a lot of technical difficulty shooting this photo, but it is one of the most-liked pictures on my Flickr page. With such beautiful locations to work with, it really isn’t a wonder.

In The Darkness

Another dear friend I have made this year via my blog is my sweet Rwah. Our friendship developed over the course of time, trading blog comments. Then it turned into exchanging gacha items in world we thought the other would like. Finally, Rwah, the Queen of the Black & White, gave me this house. As my tribute to Rwah I created this B&W photo inside the house she gifted me. Rwah occasionally pops up when I DJ and she is one of the funniest, funnest people I have met. Hugs, Rwah, my dear friend.

1 Wide Brim_029

This is my favourite “hat” photo. During the course of the year I was fortunate enough to begin blogging for a few designers. Probably the very last fashion item I imagined myself blogging regularly is a hat. But Johnfrancis Laville of JfL Hats approached me to blog for his (mainly) male hat line and I have found the challenge to be an absolute joy. This post gave me an opportunity to not only show that a man’s hat can be feminine but I love the way the shadows play in the photo. I liked it so much that I made this the header photo for my blog. At least for now 😉

1 A Better Day

I couldn’t do a post on my year without including one with my sweetheart. I don’t have many photographs of the two of us; he doesn’t get into Second Life very often and when he does I would rather spend my time with him doing something rather than manipulating him on a pose ball and adjusting lighting. But occasionally, I sneak a candid shot, and this is one. I took it on a very special day – our first time together at our homestead. All we did that evening was wander around, arm in arm, talking and laughing. Technically, it is not one of my better efforts. But the heart of any photograph is the subject. And this one means more to me than any other I took through the course of the year. You have a place in my heart that can never be taken away. ♥

And that’s it. I could go on with dozens more pictures, but I think this is the appropriate place to stop. This year has been a journey of ups and downs, tears and laughter, joy and sadness. Much like any other year I have lived and like every other year I will experience. The lessons I have learned have been many and most of them have left an indelible mark on my life.

As we head into 2014, I have no idea what lies ahead for me. All I know is that I carry into it the love and support of so many wonderful friends, both old and new. Thank you for the privilege of sharing a slice of my life with you. I hope to see you more along the way.

Happy New Year, my friends.

12 thoughts on “The Year That Was

  1. caoimhelionheart December 31, 2013 / 3:31 pm

    (I know you thought I would be asleep so late at night, but life is a thread drawing us near one another) I don’t know Tylar, but i love her because she brought me you, my kismet twin from anotha motha. I love you so much Peep, I miss you when you are gone and wish you would come home literally. (I’d even volunteer to clean your sock drawer, if you’d just be re-patriated. Just come home! I don’t know what the future holds, I just hope it always includes a certain “sideshow” and her big heart, incredible mind, and clever eye for the photo angle and lighting. I love you, I love our mad friendship, and I wish you the many blessings of a prosperous New Year!

    • PeepSideshow Darkward December 31, 2013 / 3:35 pm

      I should scold you for being awake so late, but you know I can’t. Seeing a comment from my lil Cao always puts a smile on my face, so you are forgiven for breaking curfew 😉

      I have no plans to repatriate, but if I ever do, you’ll be the first to know. I wish you the happiest year ever in 2014 and dagnabit, we ARE going to get together in SL this year! ❤ xoxox

      • caoimhelionheart December 31, 2013 / 3:47 pm

        Lol dagnabit. Are you sure you aren’t from the South? Ok well fine then, I see I am going to have to expatriate my arse over there!! So there! But seriously, in all ways, in most ways you saved me Peep from the ‘ell that became my 2014. I knew no matter how blue I became I had you, right here, all I had to do was get here. Thank you and so truly love you dear friend

      • PeepSideshow Darkward December 31, 2013 / 3:52 pm

        I even say ya’ll and pertinerit (although I have no idea how to spell it lol)

        Hugs, my lil Cao…and right back atcha. xoxo

  2. Becky January 1, 2014 / 2:04 am

    Lovely and heartfelt retrospective – so good to see your favourite pics and posts in one place as a reminder at this time of year 🙂 All the best for the new year, and I look forward to what your blog brings in 2014!

    • PeepSideshow Darkward January 1, 2014 / 9:01 am

      Hugs and thank you, Becky 🙂 I found myself smiling continually while going through my pictures. Such memories! I hope you have the best year ever 🙂

  3. spunknbrains January 1, 2014 / 6:18 am

    It’s always to look back and see how far you’ve come and see the changes you have made along that journey. The best wishes for your 2014 Peeps!

    • PeepSideshow Darkward January 1, 2014 / 9:03 am

      All the best to you in the coming year, Alexa 🙂 My blog has been a labour of love and I’m so happy I have made such lovely friends through it – you included ❤

  4. Rwah January 1, 2014 / 8:03 pm

    When I started my blog I was so so intimidated by what I saw around me. All these beautiful breathtaking pictures of people who actually knew what they were doing when it came to SL fashion and interior design. I came so close to not starting at all as I am terrible shy although not many will believe that. When I stumbled over this blog and posted my first likes and comments they were not only met with warmth and kindness but also with encouragement. I wasn’t judged for not being dressed according to the latest trends, nor were flaws in my pictures highlighted. Quietly at first and steadily with a stream of comments we became friends. A friend I hold very very dear. Happy New Year Peep and thank you for you.

    • PeepSideshow Darkward January 1, 2014 / 8:31 pm

      We share so many of those traits and fears, Rwah. Slowly, surely, we have both encouraged one another and the warmth of our friendship is very special to me. Like a comfy blanket on a cold winter’s night it covers me and allows me to relax and just enjoy what has developed. Better than fine wine, any day. Hugs, Rwah ♥

  5. Strawberry Singh January 2, 2014 / 2:44 am

    Awwwww, I’m so happy you joined in on the memes. It’s been a wonderful year getting to know you better through your posts. Wish you and yours all the best for 2014. ❤

    • PeepSideshow Darkward January 2, 2014 / 6:32 am

      Hugs Berry, and thank you for your help, support and inspiration. Wishing you the best year ever! ♥

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