Monday, October 29, 2018

Twitch and Makeup

So recently, I saw and shared an article about female Twitch.tv streamers not wearing makeup and the ensuing drama that unfolded as a result.

I decided not to post it with any kind of caption myself. Not knowing how I really felt about it, I kinda wanted to see if any conversation ensued. 

It did. 

Opinions from women streamers who are completely conflicted. "Is this what we report about female streamers?" "Is there really no other ways for girls to support each other than to use their appearance?" Opinions from guy streamers who think this whole thing is ridiculous that it's getting this much attention. "What's the big deal?" 

I, too, am conflicted. Mostly because by the time I get home, my makeup is gone from when I applied it for work. If I were to stream or pop on to the stream with Breaky, I would probably do my makeup. Why? Well, in case you haven't heard, internet trolls are the WORST. 





We have had our fair share of trolls with Breaky's stream, and especially when he would cast for HoN or Dota 2. So much so that I don't watch chat when he's casting. If there's a WOMAN on stream? Trolls make everything about their appearance. The very few times I pop on to stream on camera on Breaky's stream, comments were made about my weight. I know, I am not a small, tiny woman. Especially now that I'm post-baby, my body is a little, well, mushy. But outside of like 2 individuals who <3 me and I <3 them on his stream chat, that was the only interaction/question/comment directed to me. Is this a fair example? Probably not, as I am not the greatest gamer, and would never claim to be good enough to get paid to do this in my free time, let alone as a full-time gig.





I asked some wonderful ladies who are better at the whole streaming thing than I am.


Current streamer Trulte from twitch.tv/mtrulte.

A mom friend of mine, NaCl_Queen

A good friend and former streamer. She wishes to remain anonymous. We will call her A

And current twitch streamer, Mandy https://www.twitch.tv/teawithmandy




Do you get a lot of appearance-related questions on stream?

Trulte:"I used to get it a lot more when I started streaming. I would have people come into my stream commenting how ugly I supposedly am and I would have people telling me how good looking I am. After streaming for quite some time, and having developed some sort of a community (even tho its very small) , I don't get more than the normal "you look good today" kinda comment."

Mandy: Every single stream there are many comments about my appearance. They range from, you/your makeup looks really pretty today, to wow you look tired, or woah your face looks so serious."

A:  "Absolutely. I think that's the nature of having a webcam involved with the stream. Though in ways it allows me to feel more connected with my viewers, it also opens the doors to commentary about my appearance (good or bad)."




Do you wear makeup on stream?:

Trulte: "I rarely wear makeup on stream to be honest" 


NaCl_Queen: "I had a dual stream with my best friend. We both wore make up. I'm not a full face kind of girl but for stream I would always wear make up. Why? Because that's the norm on twitch. If you don't look nice you get brutalized. On weekends I started streaming with my husband and we would drink and play scary games together. Again, always put on my face. I vividly remember the first time I didn't wear make up to stream, well I probably had some make up on, just not to the extent I usually did. No one said anything. We had quite a few regulars at this point and I don't think one person mentioned my face. It blew my mind. I realized it wasn't necessary for the type of stream style we had going. However, when my best friend and I would do dual streams I was always referred to as 'the ugly one' regardless of my make up so I guess it doesn't really matter in the twitch /streaming world."

Mandy: "I always wear makeup on my stream, but sometimes I wear just a little bit. I’m shy and I know that because of my fair features, bright lights make me look very different and I don’t feel as comfortable streaming that way."

A: "I usually streamed right after work, so whatever I wore to work would carry over to my stream. This meant, I usually was wearing make-up. With that said, there were days I came home and would switch to PJs to relax or weekends I would just roll out of bed and start playing. I definitely received various comments about my appearance doing this - with or without that make-up - compliments and insults. My goal of streaming was never to have people's approval though. In full sincerity, I do not care if someone finds me attractive - I simply want to create an environment where I can enjoying gaming with the community."


What kind of articles would you like to see get a lot more attention in regards to female streamers/gamers: 

Trulte: "I would love to see more articles about girls being good at the games they play, or genuinely funny girls that enjoy what they do. I don't see it as empowering to not wear makeup, not at all. Of course its not easy for everyone to not wear it as they have made it a habit and a mask, but that to me is not empowering. I loved the clip of the girl streamer that has tourettes, and just laughs at it with her viewers. That's what I love the most. Taking what you have, and make the best of it, and not taking yourself so serious all the time. 

Most of the female streamers I follow are usually really good at something. Be it cosplay or gaming. Either is amazing to watch for me and I would love to see more of it. More about the female side of esports too. Few know it exists, and all we always see are these girls using their appearance in some way to gain viewers, and so that's what girls think they have to do. And the few that work hard to actually learn and get good at the game, like myself, end up not being taken seriously which is very frustrating. "

NaCl_Queen: "I feel like if you see articles on female twitch streamers it's always about their appearance. Are they 'titty streamers' with low cut shirts or egirls that got big by screwing some big name male streamer. I wish there were more articles about interesting streams with a good community. I want to find quality female streamers I can relate to. I want articles on up and coming streamers that have sub 500 viewers and why they're interesting that DOESN'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH HOW THEY LOOK."

Mandy: "I would like to see much more focus on the streamers and their content, rather than how they look. This mostly goes for female streamers. It’s very belittling to be focusing your energy on making awesome content, only to have that content be ignored in favour of focusing on you’re appearance. It makes you feel that people don’t care about what you do, just how you look. Which isn’t right (or true) at all. I think that the more we discuss the impact of focusing on appearance rather than personality or content, the less content we’ll see that focuses on the former. "

A: "Honestly, it truly bothers me that a women choosing to go without make-up on a stream would cause such a spark. This conversation should not be about women being comfortable with or without make-up (because honestly, we should be comfortable wearing whatever we want) - it should be about how close-minded, selfish, and ultimately insecure people still are. What happened with Geguri is another great example of the sexism that exists. Media should aim to represent females roles in the gaming community and support the conversation instead of discussing stereotypes"





Overall, I think the consensus is that we would all love to see female streamers celebrated and watched for content they create and games they are good at. As with the rest of the world, female streamers are all unique and have differing opinions on makeup, which is perfectly normal. They should do what they feel comfortable doing. Should this topic be the most newsworthy when it comes to female streamers? No. I don't think so. Am I glad this article happened? Yes. Hear me out, would we have had this conversation if it hadn't? Sometimes we need a little spark to get the big conversation started. Now that it has, maybe we can start to concentrate on the quality content of all streamers.




I hope that by the time my daughter is old enough to make her own decisions that if she wanted to stream her gaming skills online that she would be applauded and encouraged based on her skill level of the games she plays and the content she creates and not how she looks. I hope she looks back and is grateful that these conversations happened, but thankful she didn't have to be a part of it.

So let's go out there and support our fellow female streamers and enjoy the wonderful content they worked so hard to create.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Food Friday for Fall: Apple Picking and Apple Everything

This past weekend we went apple picking. There are many farms in the area, but the one we went to was Gull Meadow Farms, as we have for the past few years. Ironically, both Breaky and I had been, but just never together. Each year, one of us had something else going on when the picking party commenced.




I consider it the start of fall. Whether this was actually planned or not, we actually DID go the first day of fall. The weather cooperated like it was planned: sunny, but in the mid to low 60s (Fahrenheit). It was also BabyCPK's first time at a farm and apple picking. So many firsts in these past few months, it's really hard to keep track.



We got Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, and a few other kinds of apples before calling it good. Breaky and I combined got just about a half a bushel.


Tangent Alert:
I don't know about anyone else, but whenever I hear the words "bushel" and "peck" I immediately think of the song "Bushel and a Peck"







With that many apples, you can imagine I'm scrambling to find and/or create recipes with apples in them. That, and my mid-day snack has been an apple. * Insert joke about an apple a day *

A few nights ago I made a pretty decent bacon-wrapped pork chops with apples with a poor man's risotto.

Last night, I made an apple pie. My recipe for that can be found here. That, however, was for dessert.

For dinner,  I made a Chicken Apple Stir Fry.

I have to admit, I made this recipe from many different recipes on Pinterest, as is my way. Heck, that's how I created my ever-famous Jambalaya recipe.

Here's the "recipe"
(I use "Recipe" loosly, as I kind of guestimate amounts and change things halfway through making it. Aka I wing it)


- 3 carrots
- 2 small zuchinni
- 4 Snack Peppers
- 1/2 packet of mushroom
- Chicken-Cubed-1 cup
- 2 apples-chopped up
- Apple Cider or Apple juice 1/2 cup
- 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
- (just a sprinkling) Red Pepper flakes
- Garlic powder to taste
- Minced onion- I dunno, like, 1 tablespoon?
- Cinnamon-Very very light sprinkling.

Drizzle olive oil on skillet or wok. Cook chicken. Remove chicken. Cook carrots, peppers, zuchinni, minced onion and mushrooms until carrots are soft-ish.


In separate bowl, add apple cider/juice, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and cinnamon and mix.

Add chicken and apples to skillet/wok. Stir together. Add liquid mixture.




Serve over rice. You can use white rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice, I'm not going to discriminate. All would be really good. You do you.

Turned out pretty good, if I may say so myself. Apple pie for dessert was of course pretty good. Enough about me. Happy Friday everyone! Enjoy your weekend.





Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Esports and Higher Education

So I make no secret that I am a professional in higher education. I try to separate out that part of my life from my blog and twitter, which is normally filled with esports, video games, pics of my baby, etc...

Recent events lead me to see if there was any research on esports and higher education. Surprisingly, there was not as much as I thought there would be. Obviously, the news articles and "experts" flooded the general search, but actual published, researched articles were not as numerous as I had maybe hoped. Most of what I saw related to the sports side of things; considering it a sport, which I believe it is, and how it can benefit intercollegiate sports within higher education.

Part of me now wishes I had waited to do my master's degree so I can write another paper or two about this.

Because while inserting a new sport or program of any kind is a great idea, making it thrive as a part of the university's culture is another. I'm not talking about the student side, which is still important, I'm talking about the nitty-gritty hierarchy, unwritten-rule politics that happens on the back-end.

In esports, as a profession, the political climate is way different than that of a higher education institution. I have seen this first-hand in helping BreakyCPK with his dealings, contracts, negotiations. I have said several times in several different scenarios that things would be handled differently if this was happening in a university setting. Good and bad.

Most publicly funded universities have a set of rules, regulations, processes, oversight etc... that esports just does not have. You have to be so very careful about what goes on during events and online for liability reasons. If anyone affiliated with a university said or did some of the controversial things I have seen professional esports players and streamers do, it would be an absolute nightmare for the university. Even Breaky, I find myself scolding him for things he says in certain ways, worried about potential fallout or repercussion. To which he normally replies, that's just how it is in esports.

Many well-intentioned higher education professionals jump right in to esports, with their eye on keeping up with what students want (recruitment and retention) and making a profit. They will hire either sports professionals who know a little about esports, or hire esports professionals or streamers who know little to nothing about higher education.

The former leads to an abundantly common misspelling of "esports" as "eSports" Ironically, it is the AP Style Guide, a leader in higher education writing standards that settled that argument a year ago:

Many articles I dug up that were positive in nature talked about diversity of students as a result of introducing esports as a sports program. That, plus revenue generation, number boosting and overall increase of morale sets the tone that esports within higher education is a smart move.

Overall, my opinion is, that a well managed esports program at a higher education institution is a fantastic idea. With the proper amount of care, it can be a huge boon to the university. Like a very good football team, it can put the college or university on the map.

Sorry for rambling. I have all these thoughts that I have to stick somewhere. I have a unique insight to both worlds, and to see it become a possibility to merge the two is absolutely fascinating to me at the "data-loving-research geek" level.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

When He's Here....But Not "Here"

I was chatting to someone who, I had assumed, I explained everything about what my husband does.

Me-"He's working from 12pm-9pm from this past Sunday to Thursday, so it's been a struggle"

Person-"Oh, he works nights then? Where? Is this a second job?"

Me:




Then I forgot that, while she know about the very basics about what my husband does, I obviously hadn't explained what he does when he is not actually traveling for work.


I have made many, many, many, many blog posts about what life's like while Breaky travels for work.


I don't believe (correct me if I'm wrong) I have ever written about what life is like while he's working from home.


So, for those of you who may be new: My husband, BreakyCPK, is an "Esports Broadcaster" or "caster". Meaning, he does play-by-play for online video game tournaments and games. About 16% of that job involves big events to which he has to travel, often internationally. The rest is done at home, in our office, at his computer.


If you've never listened to one of these broadcasts, take a listen:



Now imagine that coming from your basement for hours on end.



I think our baby who is ALMOST 7 MONTHS OLD THE TIME IS GOING BY TOO FAST, is probably used to hearing that from downstairs by now. Honestly, it's probably just white noise to her now.

A gamer in the making!





Some things that people don't realize when I tell them he "casts" from home:

1. Like our daughter, I don't hear the casting from the basement anymore 



It's all just background noise to me now. People who visit? Yeah they notice.



2. Unless there is a life-altering emergency, he cannot stop what he is doing



He can come visit on breaks and stuff, but when those would be? We never really know, and he could be unreachable for 3-4 hours at a time.



3. I prepare meals that can be eaten at anytime.



As mentioned before, he never knows when his breaks are. So neither do I, which means I eat by myself, leaving enough for him to nuke and take downstairs.



4. I will often pop onto the twitch channel to see where they are in the match to get a good idea of how the night will go.



I know enough about the game to know how much longer it could possibly take. Like who's winning, did it just start, am I going to be giving BabyCPK a bath by myself? Am I going to be able to shower today?



5. I get lonely



It's weird. Missing someone who is in the same house as you. I do have BabyCPK, but conversational abilities are a little limited. Although it would be three times more lonely if I didn't have her.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Double Whammy

Who's big idea was it to have both the WoW expansion AND TI8 be at the exact same time?

Probably someone who wants our family to not get ANYTHING productive done this month.


As many of you probably figured out, Breaky did not make it to TI8 this year as talent. But that was good news for us, as we got to have more time with him at home! Kinda. 

I no longer play WoW, though I did try a while back. Even had a two-part blog experience as a result. Part I, Part II. I also did a little piece about being a WoW Widow. 

Between WoW and TI8, attentions were diverted, to say the least. So we made it a family affair!

TI was always on the TV in the living room, and Breaky was usually somewhere playing WoW at the same time. Within earshot of course! We made sure BabyCPK wasn't always in front of a screen, with equal family, bath, feeding and story time. It's all about that balance! 




Watching the finals! 

Watch party for the finals! 


Friday, August 3, 2018

Our MCU Run Through Phase 2

Breaky and I continued our Marvel run, despite a very, very busy summer, filled with cabin trips, weddings, weekend trips, baby things etc...

But we did make it through the "second phase". Well, the unofficial phase 2. We are doing the whole chronological run, instead of the release date order.



Iron Man 3
Watched 6/7/2018

While I liked this more than the second, it still doesn't touch the first Iron Man movie. The twist was unexpected, but wasn't actually necessary. If the bad guy had remained the bad guy through the entire movie, I think it would have been rated higher.




BreakyCPK Rating: 2.5/5
DuchessCPK Rating: 3/5




Thor: The Dark World
Watched 6/18/2018.


Probably one of my least favorite Marvel movies. Doesn't mean I didn't like it and it didn't have great, funny moments. The bad-guys were meh...and the story seemed kind of lazy.



BreakyCPK Rating: 3/5
DuchessCPK Rating: 2/5




Captain America: Winter Soldier
Watched 6/28/2018

I don't give 5/5 just because. This is a great movie. It contained probably the biggest shift of the Marvel Universe thus far, after the Avengers of course. The action was not boring, and the story was spot on.



BreakyCPK Rating: 4/5
DuchessCPK Rating: 5/5




Guardians of the Galaxy
Watched: 7/14

Remember when I said I didn't give 5/5 just cause? Well this 5/5 was because it was just a great, fun movie. A 5/5 for different reasons than Winter Soldier. If you didn't know any better, it would be hard to say this was all connected to the other films at all. Not to mention, the soundtrack by far is the best.



BreakyCPK Rating: 5/5
DuchessCPK Rating: 5/5




Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2
Watched: 7/16

We know this was released way later, but chronologically, I guess this one came next. It was not as good as the first one, but still very entertaining. Some great moments too. Along with another great soundtrack. 



BreakyCPK Rating: 4/5
DuchessCPK Rating: 4.5/5




Avengers: Age of Ultron
Watched: 7/24

The last film of Phase 2. One of Breaky's favorite villains. It was not as good as the first Avengers film, but I still enjoyed it, as it introduced several favorite new character



BreakyCPK Rating: 3.5/5
DuchessCPK Rating: 3/5

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Butter Boys

An appropriate Throwback Thursday post.


I know I haven't been posting much lately. I could go on and blame the baby and all the time my hands are tied with taking care of her, or how busy work is because we are moving offices (not by choice) but to be completely honest, I haven't been in the right head-space to write anything.

I had a really disappointing professional set-back involving a position that was basically made for me in an institution I thought I'd end up back in. Because of reasons that are still unclear, (although it appears they may have had someone else in mind from the beginning), I did not get that position. It was devastating to me, and I was not in a good place. Breaky was, as always, the best support system I could ask for, but even he couldn't quite reach through this fog I was in. It was a funk scarily similar to the depression I battled years and years ago.

As I mentioned before, our office is moving, which contributed to the funk I was in. As a result, I have to pack up my office for it to be moved. One item that I packed up was an empty (and clean!) tub of "I Can't Believe it's Not Butter".






It's not that I had forgotten it was there, or why. It's just I hadn't stopped and looked at it, having had it placed in the same spot for 2+ years. Of all things, this tub of butter helped me get over my slump and made me feel a little better.

Why you ask? Well, have I got a story for you.



Just about 11 years ago, I worked for my university's student ambassador office. Our main jobs were giving the campus tours around the university and calling students at night who were either applying or had been accepted to the university to see if they had questions or concerns, or sometimes to even tell them they were accepted. The behind-the-scenes stuff which the public did not see is where I thrived. I was the Technology Coordinator, the Coordinator of the Campus Visit Center, I was a night-time supervisor for the phone calls being made, the list went on and on. Most of my leadership skills and organizational skills either was born there or was honed there. I owe my career to the student ambassador office.



As a result of my multiple leadership positions, I helped out, professionally and personally, a lot of individuals. Two of which were two guys who would often work the front desk together. If you worked the front desk, you had to either wear the black polo or the "butter yellow" polo. It was the "butter yellow" polo, because that was the exact name of the color in the magazine when we chose the polos. Whenever these two individuals worked together, they would both wear the butter yellow polo. I do not know or remember if this happened accidentally and they just went with it, or if it was by design from the beginning, but henceforth, they were nicknamed the "Buta Boys." (which sounds like Buttah, like "Butter)

Not one of the Butter Boys, but a friend in the "butter yellow" polo! 

I am not one to do things for recognition. Helping people was something that came naturally to me. A result of my upbringing, or just my personality? A combination of both? Who knows. I would listen to anyone who came to me for help, and I would do my best with any advice or help I could give. Individually, each "Buta Boy" had come to me for one thing or another. Some of it professional, some personal.

At the end-of-the-year banquet, the Buta Boys went up to present their own award. While listening to them talk about this wonderful person who helped them out so much during the year and how much they appreciated it and so on and so forth.... I was convinced it was not me. I was preemptively a little hurt, and my self-esteem had taken a hit. A few sentences later, and they said MY NAME. I was awarded the Buta Boy Award (I believe it was called) and the empty, clean tub of "I Can't Believe it's not Butter."

Looking back on it now, I wish I had listened more carefully to what they were saying when making the award. I was so wrapped up in my own self-pity, I did not enjoy and appreciate their very kind words. Got me really thinking. Yes, I can feel sad and defeated, but I can't let it get in the way of forward progress. I may miss something really important that others see in me that I couldn't see in myself.

The "Buta Boys" just not in their butter yellow polos

I have not spoken to either of the "Buta Boys" since graduating college more than 10 years ago. Not as a result of some bad rift or anything. That's what graduating college will do.

I have had that tub of "butter" (but not butter) in every incarnation of my office I've had since I graduated college. A reminder that, though it may not seem that way, people do notice the good that is done. I have it right next to the painted rubber ducky that was given to me, disingenuously by a former boss because "a conference told her to" to recognize my hard work. That reminds me that not all recognition is true recognition and how sometimes recognition for my efforts can come in different forms.


Friday, June 15, 2018

Fortnite and Esports: Thoughts






Breaky and I finished up eating on Tuesday the 12th and made plans to continue our Marvel CU run through with Thor: the Dark World .

Breaky quickly realized that it was actually the night that E3 was hosting the Fortnite Pro Am at E3. The Pro Am at E3 was Fortnite's big debut in to esports for the game, combining pro streamers and players with celebrities who play the game. All proceeds and winnings went to charities of the players' choosing.

Recently, Epic Games announced it would be providing a $100,000,000 prize pool for their first year of esports. The big question remains, though, is how they are going to divide that up and with how many games/tournaments. Epic Games stated it will not be in a league format, like that of Overwatch, and will be open to everyone. They, however, have given little details as to what kind of games/tournaments. Will they continue with this celebrity trend? Groups of two? Teams of 2+? Individual/solo tournaments? Personally, I'd like to see teams of more than two. But I digress.

Tuned into the stream, only to realize that it is unfortunately already a half hour late to start. We both can empathize, we have both been a part of and witnessed how things can go behind the scenes at esports evens. However, being it's first inaugural esports event, it did not bode very well.

I was  most interested in how the spectating was going to happen for this game. If you are not familiar with Fortnite or any kind of battle royale style game, think Hunger Games, but with building supplies, pinatas and emotes. Oh, and weapons.  Which means you have 100 people in different points of the map doing different things, and battles happening everywhere, or nothing happening. Turns out, it took quite a while for us to find out. Pre-game shenanigans occurred, like interviews, crowd shots, information about who's competing.



When the competitors came on stage, no formal introduction was done. Just commentating on specific people if the casters happen to notice. Read: if you were not Ninja, Marshmellow or Joel McHale, you got very little screen time. I think this annoyed Breaky the most, was the very disjointed announcement of competitors on stage.

When the games actually started, I have to say, for the most part I was pretty impressed. The spectating was better than what I had imagined. I think the only complaint that either of us had was the fact that the system did not yet have the capability of alerting when a big fight was underway, similar to the HoN system, which still has one of the best spectating systems in place. Not that we are biased or anything.

Overall, we were entertained. Not surprisingly, Ninja and Marshmellow took home the "gold"




Not going to lie, I did play Fortnite: Battle Royale when it was just a free-to-play add-on to the original game: Fortnite, which was debuted at E3 last year, and both Breaky and I were interested in it. It was a zombie survival game in which you can build structures and traps to destroy the impending zombie waves. It seemed that the Battle Royale option was a tag-on to get people interested and to ride the wave of success PUBG was having. Breaky and I and a few friends played probably for a few weeks, enjoying the game very much. Personally, I wasn't very good at the whole building things, which you have to be now to be any good at it whatsoever. It has definitely changed, and I don't think I would be any good anymore. How hipster is that of me to say? I liked this game before it became popular. Ha.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Our MCU Run Through Phase 1

Since Breaky and I are a little behind on the Marvel universe, we decided that, before watching the new ones we haven't seen (Black Panther, the New Avengers) that we would kind of do a run-through/repeat of all the previous Marvel Movies. The only one we did not include was the Incredible Hulk, and that was because of the change of actor. Personal preference.

So we kind of made it an at-home-date-night.



Since we have a few hours or so in between when BabyCPK is asleep and we go to bed, that's when we decided to give this a shot.

We also are doing them in time-order, meaning that, since Captain America happened during WWII, we watched that first.

So here's our Phase I run through with some comments, GIFs, and a DuchessCPK (ME) and BreakyCPK (Breaky aka my husband) rating


Captain America: The First Avenger
Date watched: 5/13

Actually, I had recently watched it for the first time, like a month ago. Really regret not seeing this one sooner. Has to be one of my favorite Marvel Movies as of yet.



DuchessCPK rating: 5/5 stars
BreakyCPK rating: 3.5/5

Iron Man 
Date watched: 5/14

This was actually the first Marvel movie Breaky and I watched as a couple. We watched it in his apartment on a big projector screen. It is Breaky's favorite so far.



DuchessCPK rating: 4/5 stars
BreakyCPK rating: 5/5

Iron man 2 
Date watched: 5/20/2018

Good movie. It's a continuation of the story, but nothing truly groundbreaking. Other than making me kind of anxious. The whole gloom-and-doom and subsequent meltdown had me on edge the first time I watched it. Now though? Since I know how it ends, I can watch and enjoy.




DuchessCPK rating: 2/5 stars
BreakyCPK rating: 2.5/5 stars

Thor 
Date watched: 5/29/2018

Thor has to be one of my favorite Marvel characters. Coming from a Scandinavian background, I grew up with some of the stories and mythologies of Thor and Odin and Loki. I truly did enjoy this movie too. Different pace for sure, but my kind of pace.



DuchessCPK rating: 4/5 stars
BreakyCPK rating: 3/5 stars

Marvel's The Avengers
Date watched: 5/29/2018

Believe it or not, this was the first Marvel movie I ever watched. I believe I watched it in theaters when it came out. I was able to follow along with the story just fine, but with this run through, I realized how much tie-in with the other movies I did miss. Also, the soundtrack to this was killer.



DuchessCPK rating: 4/5 stars
BreakyCPK rating: 4/5 stars



We are starting Phase II soon! Blog post to follow.


Monday, May 21, 2018

And We'll Never Be Royals.... But We Can Watch Them Get Married

You may wonder what could compel someone to get up at the crack of dawn to watch two people she's never met get married.

Very good question.

The royal wedding of Harry and Meghan was this past weekend. You may wonder why someone who just celebrated her Norwegian heritage on Syttende Mai (Norwegian's Constitution Day) would be so very interested in the English Crown's latest pomp and circumstance. Well, I am also English by blood too. On my father's side, one half is English (his father's) and the other side is Norwegian (his mother's). In fact, I can trace my heritage in England back to 1240 with the birth of Ralph de Spalding. We, in fact, had several Lords and Ladies in our family tree until the 1600s when the first of the Spaldings (later changed to Spaulding) came over to the Americas.

Ancestry aside, the royal family always kind of held a special place in my family's hearts. My aunt has always had a kind of obsession with everything British, including the royal family. My parents were huge fans of Princess Diana. Heck, my Mom even rocked the Diana hair cut around the time my sister was born. I was far too young to understand what was going on, but I know my parents were devastated when she passed away.

My sister and I got up pretty early when Kate Middleton and Prince William got married. From what we can remember, I had tea to celebrate, but that was about it.

This year, it just so happens that this wedding corresponded with a "girls weekend" with my mom, my sister and my daughter. A perfect opportunity to get geeked out about a royal wedding.




We had scones, chocolates, tea (for me), and champagne. Now, before the mom-brigade jumps down my throat, I had enough champagne to toast to the new couple, and I pumped and tested my milk before giving it to my daughter. 





My daughter celebrated by being super cute in a very pink tutu.



We had a ton of fun, despite the very early morning. The wedding was significantly different from Will and Kate's, as it was more modern, laid back (as laid back as a royal affair can be I suppose) and more filled with celebrities than heads of state. Oprah, the Beckhams, Elton John, Serena Williams...the list goes on and on.

I thought Meghan's gown was perfect for her. I was in love with the veil, which, come to find out, had embroidered flowers for each of the 53 commonwealths. 

I could go on and on about the ceremony and the carriage ride after, but you can take a look at it online. This post is more about the geeky things the women did in our family for the Royal Wedding. :) Plus, an excuse to post about my little princess :)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mothers Day

Happy Mother's Day everyone.

I usually will do a quick Facebook post about Mother's Day. Including what my Mom means to me, a shout out to all the Moms I know, etc...

This year, if I were to do that, I think my post would be far too long for anyone to read.

So, hence the blog post.

First and foremost, obviously the big difference this year is that I, myself, am a mother.



It is the most challenging, rewarding, beautiful, and messy thing I have ever experienced in my life. I am eternally grateful to Breaky for making me a mother and for joining me on this crazy journey.


A huge thank you to my husband's mother for raising such a wonderful, funny, patient caring man. He is the best father a woman could ask for, and that says a lot about how he was loved and raised growing up.


Obviously, I wouldn't be here if it were not for my own mother. More than that though, I owe her so much for being a wonderful role model. Not just as a woman, but as a mother. BabyCPK is lucky to have such a wonderful MiMi, and is lucky that I was raised by such a powerful, strong, smart, amazing young woman, because that is what I strive to be every day for my daughter.

A huge thank you as well to the wonderful mothers and mothers to be in both my family and my friends. Having a support group of women who understand what I am going through is one of the most important things I found helpful with raising this little bundle of joy (sometimes a bundle of terror, but you get the idea).

A very happy Mother's Day to all the moms, grandmothers, great grandmothers, and moms to be.



And in the meantime, don't mind me, I am just taking a well-deserved "me-time" break.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Another Day in the Life of an ESports Wife Baby Edition

This is the 4th installment about what life is like when Breaky is out of the country for an event.

Links to previous posts:
Blog Post 1
Blog Post 2
Blog Post 3

TL:DR the first two deal with some silly things, one post negative and the other positive, about what life is like at home when Breaky is gone. The third one dealt with what it was like while I was pregnant. News flash, things were harder while I was pregnant.

And then came the baby.

BabyCPK is the best thing that has ever happened to us, don't get me wrong. But people are not exaggerating when they say that babies are hard work. Just imagine a mini-dictator telling you exactly what you can and cannot do. Just without actual words, but screams and grunts. Need to go potty? Not if the little one needs to be fed RIGHT NOW. Want to go to the grocery store? HA. You'd better hope Amazon has it, because your phone is the closest thing you'll get to the store in the next 12 hours. Oh, and stock up on body spray, because you are very lucky if you get the minutes you need to shower.

While all that seems daunting, if you have a partner, it is manageable. One can do the dishes while the other rocks the baby. The other can shower while the other changes her.

So when Breaky said he was going to be gone for TWO WEEKS, not going to lie, kinda didn't want him to go. We are lucky in that we have an amazing Nanny who is watching BabyCPK while I'm at work. But when I get home, man, I really miss Breaky.

Here are the biggest struggles I have faced thus far

  • Getting BabyCPK to nap long enough for me to take a quick shower






  • When you do get the baby to nap or to bed, you realize how loud ordinary items can be. Shower curtain opening? Like a bomb landing next door. Turning on the sink? Like a rock concert. Dog barking? Nah, she sleeps through that... go figure




  • Speaking of dogs, poor DogCPK has gotten very little exercise this past week. Really hard to do juggle a stroller AND a dog who loves to pull and bark at other dogs. Luckily we have amazing friends who are going to bring DogCPK on a doggy outing with their dog. 





  • In one of my other posts about this, I had mentioned that strange noises were louder and more scary when I was alone. Now that I am responsible for a little life? Terrifying. Let me tell you, having the broom fall in the broom closet sounds like someone is breaking down the door.





  • One pretty cool thing is that I propped up my phone while Breaky was casting to help with BabyCPK's tummy time. Figuring it would give her something to look at and hear her Daddy's voice. 

Tummy time! I didn't get a picture of her listening to Breaky. 

  • It would be nice to be able to make a full meal again, and not whip together what ever I can while carrying a baby that refuses to be put down. Pro tip? Burritos are easy to eat one-handed, just make sure you do not drip any on your baby. 




All of us that are home are missing Breaky something fierce. We are insanely proud of him as he is casting the Epicenter XL Major in Russia. I also realize how hard it must be for him to be away, especially since the little one just turned 2 months old this past weekend. 

We love you Breaky! Continue to be awesome at the event, travel safely and come back to us soon. <3 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Geek Parents


There have been several nights in which the phrase "OH NO! You troll baby...." can be heard emanating from the nursery in the CPK household. Usually this means BabyCPK went #1 or #2 either during that sweet spot where the old diaper is off and the new one is on its way, or into a brand new diaper after she is completely changed. 

To be honest, we knew she was a troll from the beginning. She deliberately , or so it seemed to me, closed her legs during the ultrasound and the tech could not determine the gender. We had to schedule another and came back for that to be completed. What she didn't know is we had to pay for that second ultrasound, so that came outta your college fund kiddo (jk, jk)

She thinks that is SO hilarious.

Now, 10 years ago, calling your baby a troll would have gotten some pretty dirty looks and some concerned bystanders. Now? It means something completely different thanks to new language that was created thanks to the internet and gaming industry 

Calling our baby a troll is not the only indication that our household may be a little more geeky than average. 

Because of Breaky's casting and streaming schedule and my going back to work, we had to become creative. For those times where he is not casting or traveling for events, he actually has been streaming with BabyCPK in what we have been calling his "Dad Shirt"



Officially called the "Lalabu Dad Shirt" it has probably been one of the best gifts I have ever gotten Breaky for Valentine's Day. 


Tune in to BreakyCPK's stream at twitch.tv/breakycpk while he rocks being a Gamer Dad. 


Next would be the nursery. And yes, in the right hand corner is a Portal Cube. The same one we used at our wedding






Her name, with Wonder Woman print (thank you Hodge Podge)

A few prints I got from Etsy! 
Tetris Print: Wall Love Designs
Yoda Print: Fox Grove Designs



And yes, Breaky has started teaching me Magic: The Gathering. Because this little peanut refuses to not be held, she was involved too.

BabyCPK saying "Starting attack phase!"


Now, I could go on and on and on about the struggles of being a parent and then go on and on more about the joys of being a parent. Like the double edged sword of constant baby snuggles (which are the best after being at work for 8+ hours) but only because she doesn't like being put down. Or how many goddamn diapers we have gone through, or the untold perils of breastfeeding. But, this is not a Mommy Blog. Not that I have any qualms with Mommy Blogs, heck, several have been a huge help throughout this whole thing. But the world has it's fair share of Mommy Blogs. 



Bonus smiling baby picture

Friday, March 9, 2018

Letter to my Daughter

I wrote this letter on International Women's Day, during a rare respite between my daughter's feedings and changings.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dearest Daughter,

Today is International Women's Day and you are 8 days old.

When I look at you, I am full of worry, and wonder, and optimism about how you will grow up and how the world will treat you. Right now, you are zonked out cold in your sleeper, right next to me and your father, who is also napping. You may be dreaming, and I hope that continues. I dream daily that the world will be just a little bit better by the time you try to make those dreams a reality.



Sometimes I fear the world you were born in to. Politics, terror, racism, gender inequality, there are so many things that keep me up at night. Things that when I was growing up, shaped my life perhaps in a different direction. Don't get me wrong, I love where I ended up. My parents did an amazing job raising me, I married the love of my life, have a decent job, a wonderful education and now I have you.

However, my hope is you will have more opportunities than I ever did to make your life exactly how you want it to be.


I am encouraged by the movements I've been seeing today and despite the grim reality that sometimes we live in, it is the good people that you see fighting for what they believe in that we need to look to. I hope that your father and I have it in us to raise you to be one of those people.

You are surrounded by so many female friends and family who are fantastic role models to help you achieve what ever goals and dreams you set for yourself. While I have unreasonable expectations as to what wonderous mountains you will move, ultimately, what goals and dreams you decide to chase are yours and yours alone.


What I can hope for and try to teach you, is to be good to people. And I do not mean just making sure you smile at the lady at the Starbucks counter. I mean, open, bleeding heart caring for people you do not know and a resounding love and open affection for those that you do know.

As your great Aunt would say (and still does) "Nice Matters"

Right now, the world is not nice. This includes the world your father has a career in. My unrealistic expectation is that by the time you are grown up, those kinds of people that make things toxic, especially for women, will be long gone and you can choose what kind of career and goals and wishes you want.



What I am trying to say in all my ramblings is that, even if the world is just as toxic as it is now, my hope is that you will grow up to be a caring, selfless, strong, independent, strong-willed woman like the women in your family that came before you.


Love you forever,

Your Mother

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Player 3 has Entered the Game


BabyCPK entered this world at about 11:22 am on February 28th. 7 pounds 6 ounces, 20.25 inches long

Short and ungory birth details

We had arrived at the hospital at about 8am on the 27th for an induction, spent 28 hours in the labor and delivery room, and about 18 hours of active labor. I ended up trying for an epidural, which helped with contractions, but was placed too high, so I felt all of the delivery, which I didn't know I wasn't supposed to.


 
BabyCPK rocking her first onesie. She gets cranky when changed, so this is the best we could do 

Breaky was and is an absolutely amazing partner and husband. More than I could have ever even dreamed of. Supportive for every contraction, cutting the cord, taking care of the baby in the recovery room once she was here so I could get some sleep.


He is already a fantastic father! <3 

This baby girl takes after her father, in the way that she has the vocal cords to let everyone know she is awake a HYPED. Or, you know, hungry and cranky. All the same thing right? 


New gaming shirt? Will BabyCPK make a stream appearance or two? Who's hyped? 

Hello world! It's ME. 

Thanks to everyone for the well-wishes, the flowers, the presents, the food, the visits, the help. We love you all and appreciate every single one of you. If we forgot to say something directly to you, it is probably because we are blissfully sleep deprived.



Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I Have Created a WoW monster


 So we are in the "Final Countdown" so to speak with our pregnancy. Literally any day now. I've been eating dates, bouncing on the yoga ball, walking all over Costco, baking (yes, I have successfully been baking, and for some weird old-wives-tale reason it is supposed to help the baby come?), eating spicy foods  and virtually everything else that is supposed to help labor come naturally.

Breaky has been doing a great job of taking care of me. Cold compress? Check! Back massage? Check! Walking with  me around Costco? Check!

When he is not helping? He is doing this Project 80 thing for World of Warcraft. Even on the laptop in the living room while we watch the 2018 Olympics. He is super dedicated to getting this completed. If I understand correctly, it basically involved leveling up a WoW character to 80. You can get more information by watching him stream! 

I responded to his tweet this morning regarding streaming his Project 80 WoW stuff:

I did have to make sure to let him know he could NOT play while we were in the hospital actually having the baby. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Customer Service the Way it Should Be



So this blog post is a little overdue.

Please forgive me, I am pregnant, and everything hurts and I feel like I'm 800 pounds but I cannot stop eating and I keep crying during Olympic commercials.


Many of you may remember the blog post I did about our experience at AMC Theater while seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi. 

Well, a representative from AMC tweeted me after I posted the blog post and a manager ended up emailing us about our experience. We were appropriately compensated and there was a full apology. Mind you, they responded like RIGHT away. Like, holy cow you must really care kind of RIGHT AWAY.

So, huge shout out to AMC Theater for caring enough to make it right, and my apologies to them and everyone for waiting so frickin long to make a blog post expressing our gratitude.

We will absolutely go back to AMC once the baby is here and she is old enough to be with a baby sitter for a night.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Wonder Woman Baby Shower


A few weekends ago, we had our second baby shower. The first was back in my home town with some very lovely family and friends of the family.  The theme was "You are my Sunshine." Since many in attendance may not know I even have a blog, I did forgo doing a blog post about it, but please know I had a wonderful time surrounded by some of the best and most supportive friends and family.

The second shower was Wonder Woman themed, put on by my sister, Mom and good friend Hollicakes, who is frequently featured in the blog, as she and her husband are amazing friends.

We had games, onesie decorating, great food at Theo and Stacy's restaurant, and as always, the best desserts.

Here are some pictures of the shower:



I got a pretty sash to wear you guys! LOOK

These red velvet cupcakes were AMAZING

My lovely sister and her onesie decorating results. Gotta love Harry Potter

Not only did we get cupcakes, we got these adorable cookies too! 

It wouldn't be a geeky shower without OVERWATCH! Thanks to the amazing Vesta for the amazing hand-drawn Mercy onesie 





Huge shoutout and thanks to everyone who came, enjoyed and celebrated with us. It was one of the geekiest showers I've been to, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. :) 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Another Day in the Life of an ESports Wife Pregnant Edition

About a year and a half(ish) ago, I wrote two blog posts about how it is like when Breaky travels for work or work-related events. First blog, second blog

He is, yet again, traveling right now as we speak. Problem is, I am now nice and round with being over 7 1/2 months pregnant. Not to mention the hip pain, constant heartburn, a pulled muscle from sneezing (no joke), back aches, and the inability to actually bend all the way over.

For YEARS I lived by myself. If I needed to, I could do it again, but I love Breaky very much and he is a great husband and partner, and I would get lonely. But that doesn't mean I still don't have the capacity to be independent if I needed to be. Most of my previous blog posts were made to be funny or are little things I was sure someone else would find entertaining. Like figuring out time zones or making a "honey-do" list for when he gets home, or eating all the ice cream because only the dog is here to judge me.

Now that I am pregnant, we are running to a slew of other problems/issues I forgot about until he was gone.

  • Breaky was in charge of shoveling the snow from our driveway. Guess what's forecasted for the entire time he will be gone? Fluffy white stuff from Hades, that's what. Don't think I should be out there myself shoveling that stuff. 


  • Playing with DogCPK is probably not as entertaining for her as it would be if she got to play with anyone else who doesn't get out of breath from putting her shoes on. 


  • It is not as much fun when I have to get up out of my chair to get a snack due to cravings. To my credit though, I have not yet asked Breaky to go out in the middle of the night due to my cravings. Yet. I still got like, 7 weeks to go.


  • If I wanted to take a bath or sit in a deep chair, Breaky usually helps me get up. Otherwise I just feel like an overturned turtle