What’s New – December 2016

I’m so happy the holidays are officially here! The past 11 months have been extremely fun, but I am feeling the exhaustion that goes along with hitting the end of the year. I’m also ready for some time off to catch up on gaming. :)

Last month was full of travel and writing for me. A trip to Mexico, then a trip to my family’s for Thanksgiving, meant that I was on the road for a lot of the month. I’ve had a really fun month because of that. And because I was also participating in National Novel Writing Month, I spent every spare minute at home writing. I haven’t even played a video game in like three weeks. It’s insane.

Now that my 50,000 words are done (my novel isn’t finished, but I made way more progress than I expected!), I’m eager to retrieve a better work/play balance in my life this month. Here’s what I’m looking forward to this December!

Dishonored 2

While I had every intention of playing this game right away, I haven’t had a chance to yet due to the traveling and the writing. But my boyfriend was sweet enough to buy me the game as a reward for finishing NaNoWriMo, so I’m starting it now! I may not be the best at stealth — so yes, I will probably kill enemies instead of doing a clean hands playthrough — but I can’t wait to wreak supernatural chaos all over this new city!

Watch_Dogs 2

I have no idea what I’ll think of this game. The first Watch Dogs didn’t interest me, but just the fact that this one is set in San Francisco, where I live, has captured my attention. The main character also seems more intriguing than the last… and I love the idea of hacking my way through missions. This will be my big game to play over the holiday break!

Mobile Gaming

While I’m at my mom’s for Christmas, I’ll be playing on my handhelds a lot. It’s a great way to pass the time while I’m hanging out in the living room and the TV screen is already in use! I just have to remember to pack my Nintendo 3DS and see if my Vita is around somewhere…

Rogue One

rogueone_onesheeta_1000_309ed8f6It took me awhile to come around to Star Wars. I’ve always enjoyed the worldbuilding of it, but not seeing the movies until I was in my teens and/or an adult made it hard for me to fall in insta-love with them like so many people seem to. However, the movies have grown on me the past few years, and I’m very excited for the new releases. I loved The Force Awakens, and I’m hoping that Rogue One has a darker story and tone than the episode films. I’m ready for a little change of pace in that respect! I also credit Felicity Jones as one of my favorite actresses, since seeing her in Like Crazy a few years ago… but I guess I haven’t seen her in an action role before. That should be interesting!

More Writing!

I feel like I’m on a roll with my novel right now, so I’ll continue writing tons throughout the month. It would feel amazing to finish my book by the end of the year! I don’t know if that will happen or not, but I’m going to make every effort to maintain the good writing habits I fostered during NaNoWriMo — just minus the crazy no-time-for-video-games part. :)

Getting Healthy

Obviously it’s hard to stay healthy during the holidays, and I have no regrets about how much I ate and how little I worked out over Thanksgiving. But now that I am going to be home for most of the month, I’m planning a workout routine and some more home-cooked healthy meals that I can incorporate into my daily life here! For some reason, planning these things as part of a schedule — including the meal prep — really helps me stay on track. I’m going to act like this is a treat for myself, because now that my traveling and crazy schedules are over, I have time to work on myself and enjoy the experience!

What are you guys up to for the holidays/New Year’s?

— Ashley

What’s New – November 2016

While I don’t know about the official start date, I’m pretty confident in saying that weather-wise and spirit-wise, winter is finally here. Which is awesome, because this is my favorite season. I realize I may be in the minority here, but I love that it gets dark earlier — longer evenings to relax, guys! — and that the weather is a little moody — enough for me to wear a lot of sweaters and boots and drink too many hot beverages.

Anyway, this November I’d like to focus on myself. In past weeks, I’ve been feeling overly stressed and tired, so I’ve been trying to relax, take a deep breath about things, and get more sleep. I’m going to continue that throughout the month. Luckily, I have a little bit of time off for Thanksgiving this month, and the new season of Gilmore Girls will be on Netflix for a super fun day of marathoning one of my favorite shows with my family!

Writing

It’s also NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and as always, I’m participating. It’s going to feel good, getting back in the habit of writing every day and marking off chapters as I race through my current draft. It’s always a little hectic, but that’s half the fun.

Plus, the NaNo Word Sprints are so inspirational to me. If you’re working on a creative writing project, you can follow them on Twitter here; they are constantly having different moderators take over with word prompts so you can sprint-write for five, 10, 15, or 30 minutes at a time. I’m especially fond of the 30-minute word sprints that encourage you to crank out 1,000 words — very helpful since the word goal for the month is 50,000!

I’ve been revising my outline, which was already pretty detailed but had a few holes that made me nervous. Overall, I’m in a good place with my story — I just need the confidence and dedication to stick with what I have. My worst habit as a writer (at least lately) is doubting my story and scrapping bits of it, instead of working through the fear. I think every writer sometimes worries that what they’re writing is terrible; it’s part of the process. I’m trying to remind myself of all the reasons I want to tell this story — I just hope I can do it justice. I guess that’s what edits are for later!

Writing is so fun when I’m on a roll with it, so hopefully NaNoWriMo will be just the kick I need to stop second-guessing myself and just enjoy the experience, whatever comes out of it. :)

Video Games

As for video games, I’m still playing Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The story is incredible so far. But it is taking me a little time to play through it, as it’s a pretty massive game and I’m easily distracted by other games that crop up. Last month it was Gears of War 4 (you can read my post about it here or watch my video review here); this month, I’m continuing through the Mass Effect series and would like to play Dishonored 2 when it comes out.

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Dishonored 2

Oh, Dishonored 2. I’ve actually stopped watching new footage from the game because I just want to experience it for myself now! I’d like to play the game as Emily. The previous game’s protagonist, Corvo, is also available to play as, but I’d like to try out a new set of supernatural powers with Emily. Plus, I love playing female characters when I can.

However, Dishonored is known for being a stealth game (now series) that you can complete without killing anyone. Having played the first game twice now — and failing both times at being totally non-lethal — I can tell you that I have no plans to be sneaky in this game. I had a blast replaying Dishonored using all of Corvo’s powers, so I hope Emily’s will let me have as much fun. And hey, after all she’s been through, I can see her having a little bloodlust… right? That’s how I’ll play her!

Television

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Black Mirror

TV has also been high on my list lately, since I’m trying to relax more and all that! The new show I’ve picked up is hardly relaxing, but it’s a fascinating show where each episode tells a self-contained story: Black Mirror. Fellow blogger Simpleek likened it to The Twilight Zone, which is a great comparison. Every episode (that I’ve seen so far) makes a statement about the way we live our lives or where we’re headed as a society. It can be a little disturbing and dark at times, but that’s why it’s so original and fascinating. After each episode, I find myself going over the events that unfolded and picking out the themes; it’s like my brain wants to dissect everything afterwards.

Movies

DS_Endless_Possibilities_Poster.jpgThis month, Doctor Strange comes out. Just the presence of Benedict Cumberbatch in it makes me want to see it, but I’m also intrigued by this idea of a doctor-turned-superhero who seems more cerebral than others. The trailers piqued my interest enough that I bought some of the comics, and I’ve been dabbling a little bit over the past weeks to get a feel for the character. It’s been interesting seeing him wrestle with his conscience over his use of magic to keep this world safe — and the cost of that magic.

Exercise

I have been very negligent with working out lately. I’ll make the excuse that it’s hard to find the time, but that’s really lousy of me. Since this month is about de-stressing, I need to make time for myself — and exercising is a huge stress reliever. Since running season is over for me this year after completing two 10Ks, I’m taking a break from running long distances. My focus is more on strength training, and I’d like to be more creative with my workouts going forward. I have no specific plans yet, but I’m excited to make exercising more of a habit again!

What is everybody up to this month? And what games are you playing?

— Ashley

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, and VIDEO GAMES!