My Female Gaming Role Models

My Female Gaming Role Models: Lara Croft

Tomb-Raider-lara-croft-tomb-raider-the-movies-2260372-1280-1024

I am going to start this series with a surprisingly overlooked female protagonist.

Lara Croft is the star of “Tomb Raider”.  She is probably one of, if not the, strongest female in video gaming. (yes I know the picture is of the movie adaptation, but what can I say, Angelina Jolie brings out my lesbian.) My love for the Tomb Raider series started in 1997 after I received a PlayStation for Christmas. A hot chick that can kill things, and is athletic enough to climb any wall? I’m for it!

I always looked at Lara as someone I wanted to aspire to. I would consider myself more of a loner in school. I had friends, but being a military brat makes it hard to actually keep long term friendships. Even after my family had retired from military life, my favorite thing to do was play video games, which was more of a solo activity back in the day. Lara’s independence really drew me to her character. She was never afraid to go in and get the job done, or stand up to her (male) peers and always come out on top. She was the tom-boy embodiment that I had been searching for so long! She was originally supposed to be a man; talk about female empowerment!

Lara Croft is a prime example of a strong female character that seems to get dismissed in the discussion of sexism. There were many concerns about Lara being too sexual. Who says a woman can’t be powerful, independent, and super sexy? i don’t see her looks as a crutch at all. In fact, as a girl who is typecast based on her favorite hobbies, I believe this adds to her character. Being attractive doesn’t mean that you have nothing else to offer. This is a concept that I believe plagues our society and is part of the reason that we have a view of sexism in any type of media. In fact, I believe that Lara was the beginning of a break through in video gaming where women where looked at differently than a Princess Peach, or Zelda.  Yes there were other strong female characters (Metriod’s Samus Aran for one, which I will get to in another post,) but Lara’s persona has held on to the gaming industry and developed over time. As society modernized, so did she. To say she is not part of the discussion, or just to be overlooked as an example that there are strong female characters that don’t have any motivation that has to do with a man is doing a gross disservice to the gaming industry as a whole.

Fun fact: Lara Croft earned 6 world records in the Guinness World Records 2010 Gaming Edition. The most of her peers.

If you haven’t played the new Tomb Raider published by Square Enix, please do. It is a new level of Lara that has never been explored before and you can see her emotional progression into the person she has been since the first game of the series came out.

What were your experiences with Lara Croft? Has she inspired you or influenced you in any way? I look forward to reading your thoughts and experiences!

/bow

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Gaming, Mom, Video Games, Working

Gaming in Real Life: Learning focus skills through Elder Scroll’s Skyrim

Everyone who knows me knows one thing. I have trouble staying focused. Think Dory from Finding Nemo in real life, and a person.

This is me every day. It was ten fold during both pregnancies. Often I would hear of my aloofness from leaving empty bowls in the stand up freezer, to completely forgetting what I was working on and starting something new….twenty times.

One of the reasons I love video games is the ability to focus my brain, and by focus I mean lead it down a rabbit hole of endless quest after quest, festering the need to jump from task to task.

It is also the main reason I cannot play Assassin’s Creed and Grand Theft Auto. Their rabbit holes are just way to long.

Bethesda grabbed my attention within the first five minutes of Elder Scrolls Oblivion, my first installment in the Elder Scrolls series. I was mesmerized by the scenery, the game play, the ability to leap and frolic where ever my heart chose like the cat girl I know I am deep down…OH MY GOODNESS! A BEAR!

 

Once the rabbit hole became too overwhelming I bounced to Fallout 3 and once again, fell in love. Once again, rabbit hole. Once again, overwhelmed.

By the time Skyim came around, the very first time, I still had the taste of all the other WRPGs that turned into rabbit holes. I threw 300 hours into it running around Whiterun, turning into a werewolf. Feeling overwhelmed, and moving on to something else.

See, back in my day (old grandpa voice with shaking cane), we didn’t have quest markers. We barely had a quest log. In some cases you had to buy the book, unless you were lucky enough to have the online access to gamefaqs. Focusing on the task at hand was easy, no shiny marker to lead you astray!

This is not to say I don’t enjoy newer titles with shiny quest markers. As a mom of two who works full time, I do not have time to Sherlock my games anymore. I LOVE shiny quest markers. Too much, hence my problem.

This year I want to work on focus. This year I want to work on a lot of things, but focus is a big one. Focus is a foundational discipline I need to work on in my life. It has always been a struggle for me and frustrating to those around me….love you guys…

“Well that is great that you want to focus, Jenn, but what does Skyrim have to do with this?” (Dad voice)

Everything. You see, Skyrim was overwhelming. It’s big, dangerous, and anxiety inducing. Quests, EVERYWHERE. Choices to be made! Why is that?

Well, one day I was standing in a town trying to find a marker on my mini map for a quest that peaked my interest.

I tried one direction, checked my map, and try another direction, but could not for the life of me figure out which way I was supposed to be going. Every direction I turned seemed to be the wrong one. So, what was my problem?

allquestsopen
ALL MY QUEST MARKERS in Skyrim on the Nintento Switch

Do you see ALL those markers?

Yes, that is my problem and I see that now. Before you judge, let me explain.

You see, looking at it now seems pretty obvious, but I had no idea how many quests I had open, until I stopped and focused enough to truly see why I was failing to find the one I was working towards.

I figured turning off the major qyest lines would fix my problem, so I went down the list, but left the Miscellaneous quest category in case I stumble upon some little baby quest marker.

MiscQuestopen
One quest and Misc. quests marked in Skyrim on the Nintendo Switch

That’s a little better, but there are still enough distraction to keep me from finding my task on hand efficiently, which is costing me precious gaming time.

onequestopen
One quest open in Skyrim on the Nintendo Switch

Well of course! I mean having only one quest marker on obviously will make it easier to find that one quest! Why is this taking a whole blog post?

Well, because sometimes it isn’t obvious. Sometimes youre so busy adventuring without a plan because all you know is you have an hour before the kids start fighting. Each time I start her up, I wonser around without a plan until something catches my eye. This means my Kajiht spends a lot of time dying simply because my immersion is not there. Focusing on one quest at a time, including little baby quests, is a way I can maximize that chance I get to game.

Bringing it back to real life, having goals is awesome but turning on all your goals at once can lead to chaos and feelings of being overhwlemed. Even small goals that feel like no big deal can add up quickly to become distracting, and honing in your focus on one task or goal at a time is something I’m trying to focus on in February.

Vetiver, Cedarwood, and Lavender are my favorite essential oils to use in a roller bottle to help me focus. Besides smelling amazing together, my brain tones down when I roll some on my toes and the back of my neck.

Focus_Roller
These bottle labels are the best in town 😉

While the oils do the trick, focusing does me no good when it is on the wrong things. This is where my brain power comes in to make sure my focus is directed toward being in the moment and present in whatever I am doing. Taking a step back in Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls: Skyrim helped me recenter my focus into the game and be more productive with the time I have gaming. These concepts can be applied in the real world, whether it is focusing on time with my family, gaming, working, or school. My time will be better utilized if I use focusing as a discipline to achieve my goals.

Any  thought about your goals for February? Is focusing one of them? How are some ways your hobbies have enhanced your real life?

Note about essential oils:  If you are interested in learning more or just want to chat about oils feel free to connect with me. Let’s achieve our best selves as we journey through this life with an open heart! ❤

Disclaimer: I don’t own the games, movies or systems mentioned on my blog. All rights and copyrights ect. belong to their respective owners.

 

Uncategorized

Make it @ Home: Honey Lavender Lip Balm

Winter sucks.

With winter comes dry heat air, cold, and with that, more time and money spent on winter personal products. Especially if you’re like me and have a hard enough time staying hydrated as it is.

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My skin wants to crumble and fly away with the wind once December hits, but nothing is effected more than my lips. Those pesky things. In order to keep lips happy you need some form of lip balm.

Let’s pause for a moment and think about your conventional lip balm in that sleek little tube. If price is your decision maker, you’re lathering your lips with a product made primarily from petroleum. Petroleum is not only an unsustainable product, its horrible for you to be lathering it on your skin.

If your goal is healthy lip skin without the yuck, well, EWG.org has a list of the best and worst balms. I don’t know about you, but I can not afford to spend $2.99 every week on a tube of amazing lip balm and to actively choose between potential cancer and money, is no way to live.

Luckily for the scatter brain blessed such as myself, there is a solution. The solution is to make your own! If you want something done right you have to do it yourself!

The best part about making them myself is getting rid of the worry of what is in it, or how many I lose. I’ll just grab another out of the fridge.^^

Tip: Keeping them in the fridge helps them last longer. I would recommend letting the tin thaw a little before use as the cold beeswax will cause it to be pretty hard to use.

Let’s break it down:

  1. Beeswax pellets: $10.89 per lb. 0.03lbs = 2 tbsp = $0.33
  1. Shea butter: $5.69 per 7oz = 0.48oz = $0.39
  1. Coconut oil: $21.75 for 54 oz = 0.39 / oz = 0.95oz = $0.37
  1. Sweet almond oil: $13.95 / 16 oz. 0.03
  1. Lavender oil: $10ish when purchased through young living starter kit 15 drops $1.60
  1. Frankincense Oil: $10ish when blah blah Young Living 5 drops = 0.55
  1. Raw honey: $15.95 for 3.0lbs 0.01lb = $0.05

$3.32 for roughly 16 oz of lip balm.

That’s $0.41 per tin.

HoneyLavenderImage

One recipe made roughly (8) 2oz tins of lip balm. Lip balm without petroleum products and without breaking the bank at all. I can lose $0.41 a week.

To learn more about how essential oils can change your life, and those of the lives around you, feel free to connect with me.

Let me teach you all I’ve learned so we may go on this wellness journey together. 💜

Disclaimer: I do not have a medical background and do not diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases, neither does Young Living. Please consult with your physician before beginning any new diet or wellness regiments. I’m just a mama sharing what I’ve learned in my own oily journey. 💙

My Female Gaming Role Models

My Female Gaming Role Models: Samus Aran

Update: While we wait for the new Super Metroid in 2018, I thought I would reintroduce my Female Gaming Role Models series with the almighty Samus Aran! Originally posted 2014

Galactic Federations, Space Pirates, and Mother brains, Oh My!

If you haven’t played any of the Metroid Series, stop reading, fire up that emulator, and go!

Just kidding.

Seriously tho, you should.

I was actually introduced to the Metroid Series a few years ago by Ezrah (my fiance) with Metroid Prime for Gamecube. The mix of sci-fi with puzzles and a “fill in your map” (I absolutely love filling in maps… I could probably play an entire game just about filling maps).

Since I didn’t actually grow up with Samus Aran, I can’t tell you how she inspired me growing up. What I can tell you is how bad ass she is.

Let’s start with the very beginning. A very good place to start….

MetriodNintentoCase

The original box art for Metroid gave no indication as to the gender of the protagonist, or if it even had one. All the box art tells you is that you are purchasing a side scroller monster shooting game. The main character could be a robot. In fact, according to the manual….

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Samus is introduced to us as a male cyborg space hunter. Progressing through the game, the player has absolutely no reason to believe otherwise. There are no specific gender markers that make you question Samus’ gender identity in anyway.

Once you get to the end however, you are given the big reveal…..

MetroidEnding
image cred: gameradar.com

Samus is a female! Above is one of three ending reveals depending on your progression of the game. Now, before we start thinking about the “sexiness” of the costumes, remember one thing: A character being seen as “sexy” does not, and should not, diminish his or her accomplishments. Having “multiple endings”, as multiple as you can get with a Nintendo game, is a business decision on re-playability. She was also the first of her time. Not only was her game the first of its kind, bringing two genres of video games together in a unique way, she was the one of the first main female protagonist. What the developer’s did was marketing genius.

By showing off her abilities first, by the time you realize she is even female, you have already been through the whole Planet Zebes and saved it. There is no discrediting her capabilities or her motives by changing her gender. With a reveal at the end, you take away all stereotypes about females that could hinder one’s ability to relate to the character. Metroid probably would have not had the success it did, without this revolutionary idea. It may have been dismissed as another great Nintendo game if her gender was male, or may have been dismissed all together if her gender was revealed sooner throughout the plot.

Samus has a lot to be proud of. The Metroid series has sold 16.69 million copies over the years, and was blessed with the title of “the first playable human female character in a mainstream video game” by the Guinness World Records 2013: Gaming Edition.* As a mascot of Nintendo, her games and her legacy will live on for years to come.

I fell in love with the Metroid series (trust me, there are some gaming series’ I don’t love.) Having played Castlevania, I had the same excitement of filling in the maps, and finding all the loot, while battling monsters and such. As a lot of other people, I loved morph ball. As the gender of a character isn’t really an issue for me, as far as being able to relate to them, Samus being a female was an added bonus, just as Lara Croft, being…well… Lara. As I’ve said before as well, Samus being considered a “sex symbol” (which was not there original intention) in no way takes away from her contributions as a space hunter. To say that sexualizing a female is a bad thing, is weird to me, as long as its not her primary function. (No, I haven’t had the pleasure of playing Lollipop Chainsaw…)

Did you play the original Nintendo Game? What was your reaction to the big gender reveal?

Have you recently been introduced to Samus? What do you think about her as a character, or the games?

Please make sure to check out other installments of My Female Gaming Role Models, and tell your friends!

/bow

Accessory Reviews, Gaming, Video Games

Accessory Review: The Nintendo Switch Backpack

If you’re picking up the Nintendo Switch, the Nintendo Switch backpack is worth grabbing.

It’s worth picking up even if you’re not planning on getting the Switch.

It is that good.

Guys, I'm drooling...

At first glance it looks like an ordinary backpack. Simple. Elegant. Nicely padded for the shoulders.

Look at all the space!
For those that parent, it’s also big enough to double as a diaper / kids stuff bag. 

Not only does it have 4 zippers on the outside, it is completely built specifically for your console on the inside. What Nintendo system is complete without a sweet carrying case to show it off to all of your friends?

Just look at it!!
Just look at those joy-con pockets!

It is meant to not only keep your Nintendo Switch safe as you bring it everywhere with you, but also functions as a “carry almost anything else you can think of” bag. The Switch backpack console pouches have a felt lining to keep your items safe. It it even has a pocket for a pro controller.

 

 

The usefulness doesn’t stop there. Whenever we go on long car rides, or away for the weekend, we use it as our “tech bag”. With two sets of joy-cons, you have a couple extra pouches for chargers, tablets, phones, which all benefit from the nice felt lined pouches.

 

 

If you are not buying a Nintendo Switch, but know someone who is, get them a Switch backpack. They will always have a convenient way to bring their system over! 😉

 

 

Love your Nintendo Switch Back Pack? Do you use it for other things then holding the Switch? Comment below and don’t forget to follow if you would like to see more posts on accessories I’m into!

 

Disclaimer: Nintendo doesn’t know who I am. All opinions on my blog are my own and I don’t get any monies no matter what you do.

I just love sharing the things I love! ✌