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Stitch Fixin' in December

Over the past couple months I've received several requests to do another blog post about my adventures with Stitch Fix. For those of you who didn't read my first update, Stitch Fix is a subscription box service. You can choose how often you receive the box (I get mine once a month) but when you do, you receive five pieces of stuff to wear: clothing, accessories, or sometimes jewelry. These pieces are hand selected for you based on a pretty detailed style profile you fill out (and a Pinterest you keep up to date if you want) and over the months the styling gets more specific for your tastes based on feedback you give them each month.

This is my sixth Stitch Fix box, so suffice it to say I'm a fan of the service. I like it because a) now I don't really ever have to go shopping and b) it makes me go outside my comfort zone and wear clothes that I would likely never buy on my own. This is a good thing. I look more fashionable for it.

Okay, so let's get into this month's fix, shall we?

Top 10 Things I Like About San Francisco (and the Bay Area)

So we’re headed back to the East Coast next week after seven and a half years in California. If there’s one thing I have to say about the place it’s this: it grows on you. A lot.

Yes, yes: I still miss “East Coast” people. When I tell my friends I’m moving to NYC, they often say (even if they don’t know I’m from there) “ah, that makes sense. That’s more your speed.” And it’s true. In general, West Coasters are a bit more… mellow. Yeah, let’s call it mellow. The ones I’m closest to are transplants or, in the case of my best friends, odd balls who get an exemption from Being Californian.

All my griping aside, I will say this: I love San Francisco and the surrounding area. There is a bunch of stuff specific to my life I will miss (as well as general perks of the West Coast.) Simply put: there's a lot of stuff that you just can’t get in New York City or the tri-state region (at least, not nearly as conveniently.) So this blog post is an Ode to California and my very public acknowledgement that while I still believe y’all are going to fall into the ocean someday in an earthquake, I think you are pretty neat.

Help me raise money for Extra Life and Oakland Children's Hospital!

It’s Extra Life time! And that means… Elizabeth is live streaming herself playing games in order to raise money for the Oakland Children’s Hospital!

The past two years I’ve streamed for 24 hours straight (oh dear god, never do this) while hosting a show on behalf of my previous (and amazing) company Trion Worlds. It was awesome and actually last year I was the 58th top ranked fundraiser out of 43,416 people (not humble brag right there – but it was a lot of work!)

This year, since I don’t run a community team at a gaming company, my husband and I are doing Extra Life on our own (in conjunction with Thursday Knights, the livestreaming tabletop roleplaying group I’m part of – and they are rad, you should check us out!) I’ve set my sights to raise $200 but I want to make you guys a part of my fundraising, so here’s my plan.

If you donate over $5 to me, you can select one of the below games and I’ll send you a gift code. Just leave your game selection in the comments when you donate (also add in your Twitter name so I can DM you the code!) First come, first serve.

Thank you, Jonathan Mann (AKA my post on the "Factual Feminist" video and its unfortunate attempt to weigh in on issues around women and gaming)

Lately, I've been pretty involved in the discussions around women in gaming and what we do about promoting equality, respect, and safety within the gaming community. Truth be told, it's been a difficult journey for me. Since I'm no longer a visible figure in the gaming industry and don't run a communications department where my personal opinions might draw more attention and endanger myself or negatively impact the company and products I work to promote, I've found myself being more engaged in this topic and help further this conversation in a productive way. 

Man, it's been fucking exhausting and oftentimes soul crushing. 

This week, The Factual Feminist published a video on YouTube asking "Are video games sexist?" Not gonna lie - at the end of the 6 minute video I was actually shaking and wanted to personally say some very unkind things to the woman in the video. Instead, I decided to write up a point-by-point rebuttal to the video (since that seems like a more productive way to further the conversation while also squashing really asinine and bullshit viewpoints.) Those thoughts are below - however, I'm excited to say that Jonathan Mann made an amazing autotune of the video, complete with well-sung points refuting all the claims and assumptions bandied about in the 6-minute monstrosity. Jonathan's video also has an added bonus: I no longer have to post a video I think is so terrible I don't ever want to promote it but I still have a very awesome way to show you that original content (with breaks so you get a breather in between the infuriating blather!) 

Check out the video and give my thoughts a read - and please, remember to think critically on these subjects. These issues aren't black and white. 

Weights and Measures

For the past couple years I've been on a pretty hardcore fitness kick. I'm not one for crazy diets or workout regimens - I've subscribed to the belief that if you eat a little less while paying attention to the content of that food and couple that with lifting weights and ramping up cardio, you'll be a healthier person. 

elizabeth get a dose of fashion sense (aka Stitch Fix is awesome)

I'm a big fan of monthly box subscriptions. They're basically gifts that you give yourself every month. Want fresh veggies? Awesome! Hopefully you like the shit we send you! Want to get cool stuff for your dog? There's a box subscription for that. (It's called Barkbox and it's awesome - but that's an entirely different blog post. I did shamelessly leave my referral link for you, though!)

Last May, I decided I wanted to find myself a subscription box service to help get me some fashion sense. See, if left to my own devices I'd pretty much wear black shirts or sweaters and jeans with oxfords until the day I die. One of my best friends, Cailin, has worked tirelessly with me over the past couple years to help inject some color into my life (read: she makes me buy white or something bright for every black article I purchase) and she's also made me fall in love with dresses. But Cailin can't always be there with me and I'm a pretty stubbon shopper, so I figured getting a mystery box full of clothing once a month, stamped with fashion approval by a stylist, would be the perfect thing to help me.

It is getting better

This is a short blog post, but it's an important one.

There's a lot that needs to improve in the world in terms of equality. I spend a lot of time advocating for equality, pointing out problems, and asking difficult and sometimes uncomfortable questions. But the fact of the matter is that things are getting better - not universally, and not as quickly as I think they should. But things have still improved. 

Here's an example: Naughty Dog's development team has more females in it than I think I've ever seen before - and apparently only about 2/3rds of them. I worked at devs I thought had a fair number of females, but their ratios paled in comparison to this picture (and while I don't know the jobs of each of them, it sounds like the diversity of skills is kick ass.) 

Thanks, Naughty Dog. You are awesome. Keep making awesome games and being pretty goddamned rad. 

Why working in gaming doesn’t mean you are okay with sexism

Last night I agreed with someone on an internet forum that the community I posted in was often misogynistic and within 20 minutes was likened to an African slave trader.

Okay, you’re probably pretty confused right now so here’s the explanation: the guy said it because I worked on Duke Nukem Forever (DNF.)

I’m writing today’s post with a bit of a heavy heart because very few people have said something rude like this to me because of my work on that game: I can count them all on one hand. That being said, these people reside almost exclusively within the internet community that I’ve called home for over a decade and they have made my work on that game a rallying cry in an attempt to discredit me when I talk about misogyny, sexism, or inequality in gaming. I’m not going to lie: it’s unpleasant to be threatened, to know that when you want to post about your experiences as a woman you are going to be insulted, so I’ve decided to take that negativity and turn it into a productive discussion.

Look, I guest-wrote a blog-thing!

Last week, Gabriel Valdez recruited me to guest write a blog about some E3 trailers. It's been a long time since I wrote for a blog that a) wasn't my own or b) wasn't own by someone who directly gave me a paycheck, so I was super excited for the assignment.

The most difficult part of the piece, honestly, was trying to get past my cynicism (too many years peeking behind the E3 curtain.) It was fun, however, to be able to talk about E3 from the perspective of someone who did not attend the con - something I haven't done in years. 

Anyway, go check it out at http://basilmarinerchase.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/e3-reactions-elizabeth-tobeys-top-3/

The brilliant addictiveness of combining activity trackers with radio dramas

Guys, I have a confession to make.

I am addicted to activity trackers.

I realized this back in 2010 when I first got Runkeeper. After tracking one measly activity, I knew I had a problem: I FUCKING LOVED making numbers bigger. I needed to. Like little exercise Pokémon, I had to collect them all. Leave it to me to make a competition against myself – but thank you Runkeeper for fueling my addiction and making running a lifelong habit.

Fast forward to February, 2012. Six to Start, a genius company, launches Zombies, Run! The company calls it a “smartphone fitness game” – and I guess that's a good and literal way to describe it – but it’s actually a brilliant interactive radio drama where you unlock the story by exercising.