How a Good Bra and Pair of Earrings Can Change Your Life

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I’ve seen many variations on the above quote. Most of the time, it’s from shoe stores trying to sell me a new pair of shoes. This one, however, of a runner tying up her shoes is the only one that resonates with me. Running can change your whole mood around. Feeling down? Go for a run! Except sometimes you can’t even convince yourself to go for that run. Maybe you hate treadmills like I do. Maybe you can’t get to your gym to use their indoor track. Maybe it’s too cold to go outside and get moving. Or maybe there’s ice on the roads and sidewalks making it too dangerous to walk outside, let alone attempt a run. So what do you do when you need that quick mood boost and you can’t put on your running shoes? I suppose you could just put the shoes on and see what happens. Unfortunately, when my running shoes are on, they compel me to move, so if I need a quick boost, I just can’t slip them on and get to work.

There are days I have trouble believing that it’s all worthwhile. If I don’t have to go to work, I sometimes feel like there’s nothing else to do that day because I feel it won’t get me anywhere. I have a dead-end job. Literally, dead-end. They gave a promotion I was up for to someone else because they felt sorry for the other candidate and she had held that position before. I once again woke up this morning sore all over from my workout attempts that have had no results other than a sore body. I’ve been trying to sell a book for over six years. Not just the one book, oh no. I’ve had several books I’ve finished and failed to sell. It’s hard to get up and working some days when there doesn’t seem to be a future in front of me.

So, on days like today, how do I get myself motivated to get up and going instead of lounging in bed all day? For me, it’s a good bra and a fierce pair of earrings. I love earrings. Ironic, because I haven’t had them for most of my life. My first attempts at piercing when I was a child ended up with a plastic earring post broken inside my earlobe. It wasn’t well until adulthood that I got my ears pierced again. Unfortunately, when I’m at work I’m limited to studs only, which eliminates half my earring choices. So, on my days off, it’s a chance for me to wear some of my favorite earrings, even though nobody else will be able to see them. Today, my earrings are a pair of fierce gold tigers from the Katy Perry ROAR collection. ‘Roar’ can be quite the motivational song and the earrings help me to keep that mentality in mind as I go about my business today. I also have a pair of Pinkie Pie earrings I keep on hand to remind myself that life is a lot more fun than I make it out to be at times.

As for the good bra part, well, I can’t function without a bra. At all. I can’t even play video games unless my girls are contained. I understand that doesn’t work for some of you. Some people find bras uncomfortable. It’s okay to be a braless wonder. I applaud you and even envy you a little bit. Because good bras are expensive and hard to find. I have student loan debt hovering over my head. I need to combine six Victoria’s Secret coupons just to buy one bra.

Okay, so maybe a good bra and a pair of earrings isn’t really going to change your life. The pair of shoes didn’t change Cinderella’s life either. She changed her own life by deciding to go to that ball. She went with a little push from her fairy godmother and extra confidence from her pretty shoes and fabulous dress. Something that gives you that little mood boost can be exactly what you need to make your day better. A succession of better days will make your life seem better than it was in the past.

Maybe it is a great pair of shoes. Maybe it’s your favorite pair of earrings. Maybe it’s a particular shade of lipstick that makes you feel fierce. Maybe it’s a particular coffee you drink in the morning that makes you feel great. My uncle thrives on Starbucks. Whatever it is that changes your mood around, I’d love to hear about it.

January 2015 Wrap-Up

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Here we are, February 1st, 2015. The first month of the year is behind us, and for some people, so are their resolutions. The gym I attend has already started to thin out after seeing a huge upsurge at the beginning of the year. On the one hand, it’s nice to have some room to breath again while I’m there. On the other, I wonder what happened to all those people. Did they set their resolutions too high that they felt defeated after only a month? Were they expecting things to change too fast? Did they realize that they were already in the shape that they wanted to be? Are they ever going to use that expensive gym membership again? Are they going to pay the even more expensive early termination fee? I just hope they’re happy with whatever prompted this decision.

As for me, you may recall that this year I decided to go with the one word challenge, where I picked a single word to represent my goals for the year. I choose Spartan, which is fitting for many reasons, not the least of which is my running of the Spartan Sprint in September. I can’t give up on my resolutions now, or else I would would fail before I even started running in September. As for fitness, I’m still going strong with my goals. I hit the gym several times a week. I have sessions scheduled with a personal trainer. This upcoming month, I’m participating in a push-up challenge and a burpee challenge. I refuse to slack off when it comes to my physical fitness.

However, the physical fitness was only part of the reason why I chose Spartan. I also chose Spartan for the mentality. I may not have posted as much as I would have liked in January, but I don’t need to see that as a failure. I just need to realize that if I want to post on a regular basis, I’m going to have to learn to budget my time better. Tumblr in particular is the bane of my existence. “I’m just looking for the fitness inspiration,” I say. How much fitness inspiration do I need that I end up scrolling through Tumblr for forty minutes at a time several times a day?

In contrast, I am on a six day streak and going strong with my Italian lessons. It’s a language I’ve wanted to learn for a long time, and I have several books on the subject. I always got so far and would give up. The program I’m using now has been helpful in keeping me on top of my lessons and forcing me to review trouble words. I’m also making an effort to listen less to doubt, which will do me worlds of wonder in the future, I’m sure. If I could give up on doubt entirely, I might be able to find another job, or finally publish a book. It’s the fear of failure and feeling like I will look like an idiot that stops me from putting myself out there and attempting to make the sale. Even when I do make the effort, I think my doubt is perhaps seeping through into my efforts, self-sabotaging my work as if to say “Look, you were right, you’re never going to be successful.” I have issues with putting too much of my heart into the sale. I think the fear is if I put too much into something, if I fail, it’s going to hurt a lot more than if I let it go.

How’s everyone else doing on their resolutions? Did you stick with traditional resolutions, or did you attempt the one word challenge? I’d love to hear from you.

One Word: Spartan

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Spartanone wordI’ve always been a fan of publicly sharing my resolutions.  I think it helps to keep me accountable for what I’m doing, even if the only person I’m checking in with at the end of the year is myself.  I was all set to do it again this year as well, until a commercial on K-Love changed my view on my 2015 resolutions.  I heard about a website called oneword365.com where people were encouraged to condense their New Year`s resolutions down into a single word.  One word that you could focus on over the year, a word that you could come back to in May, June or even November.  I decided this was the perfect route for me, as long as I could narrow it down to one word.

To pick my word, I had to think about what I wanted to accomplish over the course of the year.  Most of the resolutions I had started planning were similar to those I had picked in previous years.  I want to finally finish making Kurogane`s clothes since I came so close to finishing them at the end of last year.  I want this to be the year where I finally know Italian well enough to survive in the country long enough without forcing everyone around me to speak English. (Rude!)  2015 will be the year I finally sell a book.  I have several that I`m working on, and Ive been on fire recently with my editing.  Finally, I want 2015 to be my fittest year yet.  I’ve restarted my running program four to five times a week.  I scheduled a session with a personal trainer.  I signed up for the Dirty Girl in June with my sister.  Thanks to the Spartan race coming to Pittsburgh, I`ll finally be able to cross that one off my mud run bucket list.

I chose Spartan as my focus word.  Being a Spartan is not just about being physically fit, it’s a mentality.  It’s about not listening to the demons between your ears that tell you you can’t accomplish something.   It’s about looking at the obstacles life throws your way and saying “I can handle this.”  It’s about letting go of self-doubt and fear.  It’s taking life by the horns and riding that bull.  It’s about giving everything your one hundred percent, because if you try, there is no failure.

Here’s the obligatory link to the Spartan Race, so you can sign up for one nearest you!  Make this the year, that you too, become a Spartan.

I also encourage you to check out the oneword website.  Perhaps you might be inspired to take the oneword challenge, or maybe somebody else’s word will help you to make this year you finally stick to those good resolutions.

2014 Resolutions Failed and Accomplished

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It’s that time of year again!  Time to look back at my resolutions of 2014 and figure out how much I accomplished and what I need to do differently in the upcoming year.  Expect to see a post with this year’s resolutions within the coming days

1. Deja vu! Remember these guys?  Kurogane and Fai from Tsubasa Reservoir chronicles?  If you read the update from 2013, you already know that Kurogane is still naked.   This will be year five that making his clothes has topped my resolutions.   Perhaps this will be the year that he will finally get the clothes he was always meant to have.

Kurogane has pants!  I consider this resolution 50% accomplished!  He has pants and they’re beautiful!  He almost had a shirt as well, but I accidentally made it too small.  So, perhaps this year we will finally be able to take this entirely off the list.  After 5 years, Kurogane finally has pants.

2.  Get even more fit.  I have a gym membership I’ve been using regularly for the past six months.   I’ve started kickboxing (brutal!) and have incorporated a running program into my routine.   I’ve also signed up for my first 5k, a zombie run in a neighboring city.  I’m also contemplating running the Dirty Girl the following week.

My zombie run was very sadly cancelled.  I did, however, complete the Dirty Girl.  My sister and I have signed up for the Dirty Girl in 2015 already and I’m contemplating a few other runs as well.  I somehow managed, however, to end the year not any more fit than I was at the beginning of the year despite a great effort during the summer.

3.  Write even more.  I have so many book ideas floating around in my brain, it might be beneficial to get some of them down on paper.  To that end, I’m going to further my Italian knowledge.   I have a Ferrante biography that took me forever to track down I need to read, and these masterpieces in my head aren’t going to write themselves.

Ha!  Hahaha!  I completely blame my job for this one.  Working six days a week was far too much of a soul suck and for a while there I gave up writing entirely.  Never fear, however, as I have decided to make myself a priority instead of my job and this year I hope to do even better.

4. Continue on my quest to be financially stable.  Less bills, more security, a job I enjoy, the whole nine yards. Maybe I can sell a book in the process.  That would be amazing.

I’m not even going to touch this one.

 

So, that’s it, the recap of 2014!  Happy New Year everyone!  The 2015 resolutions will be posted in a few days!

Extra Life Dragon Age Inquistion

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Today I am pleased to announce that I will be participating in Extra Life 2014 by playing 24 hours of Dragon Age Inquisition and streaming it via Twitch.

For those of you who don’t know, Extra-Life.org is a non-profit that allows gamers to raise money for a Children’s Hospital of their choice.  The idea is to play games for 24 hours, usually straight through, but in my case I’m breaking it up into three eight hour segments.  The first will by Wednesday November 19 from 8am-4pm.  The next two will be from 12pm-8pm on Thursday November 20 and Saturday November 22.

Since it is Dragon Age Inquisition, however, and I can’t wait that long, I will officially begin livestreaming around 1 pm on Tuesday November 18th.  If you like Dragon Age or livestreams, you’re more than welcome to try it out.

Even if you don’t particularly care for watching people play games, you can still donate.  In fact, all my donors so far likely have no intention of watching me play, they just wanted to help.

My twitch stream can be found here.

Donate here!

Halloween Horror Game Countdown – Game 3

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re0This week finally brings us to the Resident Evil series, fitting since The Evil Within just came out on the 14th.  While it is one of the least remembered games in the series (Code Veronica, Outbreak, and Dead Aim being the other three), Resident Evil 0 is my favorite.

Week 3 : Resident Evil 0

Originally released only for the Gamecube and recently rereleased for the Wii, Resident Evil 0 remains the only game in the series to be a Nintendo exclusive.  Following Rebecca Chambers of STARS, the game takes place in the hours preceding the mansion incident of the original Resident Evil.

resident evilThe game introduced a partner swap system, allowing a single player to take control of either Rebecca or Billy in real time depending on the situation.  Rebecca could make medical kits from green and red herbs while Billy was reserved for heavy lifting and taking heavier hits from the game’s various enemies.  While they were next to each other, the computer would take control of the other character.  The gameplay style in Resident Evil 0 was a precursor to the multiplayer partner system that would be featured prominently in Resident Evil 5 and 6.  However, unlike current gen games that lost a certain scare factor by having someone play with you, you were still on your own for the entire game.

If you are a fan of both the old school Resident Evil and the partner system of the newest games, check out Resident Evil 0.  You will not be disappointed.

Also, this week includes my favorite fan video from Resident Evil 0 by Yuffie255.  Enjoy!

Halloween Horror Game Countdown – Game 4

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This week’s horror game countdown takes us back to the Playstation 2 in 2005, when Capcom came out with a Clock Tower spin-off called Haunting Ground.

Week 4: Haunting Ground

The game follows the terrorizing of Fiona, a young woman who loses both her parents in a car crash in the events preceding the game.   She wakes up in a large castle you, as the player, must try to escape.  Shortly after Fiona awakes, she finds a large white Shepard named Hewie trapped in the castle with her.  Hewie can help Fiona find objects and fend off her attackers for a short period of time.   Hewie’s relationship with Fiona develops on how you treat him, whether you praise or scold him for his behavior.  Scolding results in Hewie not aiding you in critical moments, and which ending you get depends on what type of relationship you had with Hewie.

Fiona_Hewie The game’s scare factor comes from the Fiona’s objectification.  One boss wants to use her as a doll, one wants to impregnate her, and one hates her simply for the fact that she is a fertile young woman.  To a certain extent, women will be able to identify with Fiona a lot more easily than male players.  As Fiona has no means of fighting back, most of the gameplay revolves around hiding in new locations to keep the game’s four major bosses from finding you.  However, even some of the hiding places can be used against you, and if you hide in the same place too many times, enemies will be able to find you.

Haunting Ground is a PS2 classic that belongs in any horror gamer’s collection and has the best and most realistic use of a canine companion in horror games.

Halloween Horror Game Countdown – Game 5

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This week’s excursion into the world of horror games takes us to another franchise, Fatal Frame, also known as Project Zero.  The basic gameplay remains the same throughout the entire series.  The protagonist, usually a young girl, finds herself in a haunted location.  Her only defense against the apparitions surrounding her is the Camera Obscura, an antique camera that can dispel spirits.  The game was described to me by the Gamestop employee as Silent Hill meets Pokemon Snap.   The fifth game is scheduled to release for the Wii U early next year.

game #5 – Fatal Frame II: the Crimson Butterfly

Fatal Frame II takes place mostly in Minakami Village, a remote location where villagers performed the Crimson Sacrifice Ritual.  Twin shrine maidens must perform the ritual with the elder strangling the younger twin so that the Hellish Abyss remains closed.  When the ritual was not completed, the village vanished, along with all the inhabitants.  The game puts players in control of Mio as she searches the lost village with (and oftentimes, for), her twin sister Mayu.

Combat takes place via the Camera, where the player snaps pictures of the ghosts to repel them.  There are also encounters with non-aggressive spirits that allows players to gain points outside of combat. The Crimson Butterfly also includes some of the most haunting ghosts in the series that will stick with you long after you put the controller down.

The story really is something a player needs to experience for themselves, and I strongly recommend avoiding spoilers when possible.  The Fatal Frame series is a unique, must-have gaming experience for all fans of horror games.

 

Halloween Horror Game Countdown – Game 6

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Silent-Hill-4-silent-hill-6945970-1024-768Our horror game countdown to Halloween continues this week with an entry from Silent Hill.  The first game was released in 1999 and followed Harry Mason as he searches a strange town for his adopted daughter.  Along the way, he encounters creepy monsters, creepier inhabitants and a cult trying to resurrect an old god using his daughter.  Since then the series has included 10 games, a number of spin offs, some print media and two movies that followed the events of the first and third games.  Contrary to popular opinion, my personal favorite in the series is Silent Hill 4: The Room.

#6 – Silent Hill 4: the Room

Silent Hill 4 puts the player in control of Henry Townshend, a young man who finds himself locked in his apartment as strange things start to happen to the other residents of the apartment building.  While in the apartment, the game is in first person perspective, switching to third person as Henry starts to explore the nightmare around him via a hole in the bathroom  wall.  Henry’s only connection to the real world is his neighbor, Eileen, who he can watch through the wall but cannot communicate with.   The objective of the game is to keep Henry’s apartment from becoming too infected while protecting Eileen from the same fate other tenants have suffered.

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Ultimately, the highlight of the game is the relationship between Henry and Eileen.  The player has no idea what their relationship was before the events of the game.  Early on, however, Eileen becomes the only connection Henry has with the real world, the only person he can see outside of the others trapped in the other world with him.  And all the others are scheduled for death.  If players wish to achieve the best ending to the game, saving Eileen becomes as much of a priority as saving Henry.  I like to imagine in the alternate reality presented by Shattered Memories that Henry and Eileen are in group therapy together.

The opening theme song is one of the best pieces of Silent Hill music and comes highly recommend.  Silent Hill 4 also features a number of memorable scares, for instance, the floating Eileen head in the hospital level.  Or who could forget the crying babies coming out of the wall?  Which leads us to the ultimate question:

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Halloween Horror Game Countdown – Game 7

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rule of rose This year to celebrate Halloween, we’re going to countdown my favorite horror games.  The next two years are going to be a great time to be a horror game fan.  On the Resident Evil side of things, the HD remake of the original is being released along with Resident Evil Revelations 2 which features the return of Claire.  Another long running horror series with a new entry coming is Silent Hill, with Silent Hills. (More to come about this on week 7.) Before that, The Evil Within is scheduled to come out on October 14th of this year.  So with all the cool horror games coming out soon, now’s a great time to look at what the genre has offered in the past.

#7 – Rule of Rose

Rule of Rose, developed by Punchline, is a survival horror game released in 2006 for the Playstation 2.  Players assume control of Jennifer, a 19-year old orphan girl suffering from amnesia.  Integral to the game is Jennifer’s relationship with Brown, a brown Labrador retriever who can be commanded to attack enemies and, more importantly, to sniff out various items.  These key items are the only way to progress to the next level.

The game design is hauntingly beautiful, and you will likely be a little freaked as you start to uncover the pieces of Jennifer’s past.  Each chapter starts with a storybook that  ties into the main plot.   The story book theme also influences what types of imps you’ll be facing in each level.

The combat, on the other hand, can be incredibly frustrating.  By the time you get any good weapons, the game is almost over and you won’t really need to use them.  Jennifer also has no real means of defense other than having Brown intimidate enemies while she runs away.  While this heightens the immersion of the game (Jennifer is a 19 yr old girl with zero combat skills), it’s also incredibly frustrating.   The battle with the mermaid is sure to make you want to pull your hair out, and in some cases, may make you want to give up on the game entirely.  Luckily, the game does not rely heavily on combat and focuses more on Jennifer’s relationship with Brown and the other children.

Rule of Rose is a must have addition to any PS2 horror collection.  If you don’t already own it, however, I wish you the best of luck in finding it as it was rather difficult for me to obtain several years ago.

 

 

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