The Mommy Gamers

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Desirai Labrada

    Operate Now: Hospital – $20 Gift Card Giveaway

    Available on iOS and Android exclusively from Spil Games

    Here at The Mommy Gamers we love giving stuff away to our community. Today it’s a $20 gift card to use for in game purchases in Operate Now: Hospital.

    Available on iOS and Android exclusively from Spil Games, Operate Now: Hospital, is a drama inspired medical journey, where you experience being a surgeon, building a medical team, and managing a hospital. In this realistic simulation game, your objective is to assemble a highly skilled medical team to perform operations on patients and to put your medical facility at the number one spot in the world.

    The game is free to download so you can start playing now while you wait to see if you’ve won. I’ll be playing as well and will return with a review of the game once the contest is over. I may have already gotten my husband hooked! Oh the hospital drama!

    Download from Google Play
    Download from iTunes

    Scrubs and gloves at the ready! Enter the giveaway below.

    Google Play / iTunes $20 Gift Card

    10 Great Gifts For Your Geeky Mom

    Let her relax then drop the gift bombs


    This weekend is Mother’s Day weekend. If you don’t already have a gift planned for your mom you should probably get on that STAT. I’m sure your mom adores you and will appreciate anything you get her. However, if you’re ready to thank her BIG for all the years of teenage bullshit she put up with, please refer to the list below.

    *NOTE: This list is based on items I’ve personally owned, used, pine for, or had suggested to me by friends.

    1. Apple iPad Pro

    Your mom loves her iPhone but the screen is just too small for some games. The 9.7″ inch iPad Pro is perfect for such occasion and so much more. Be sure to get the one with lots of storage. You can never have too much storage space for games, music, photos and videos. The iPad Pro maxes out at 256GB which is more than enough.

    2. Apple iWatch 2

    Hatching PokemonGo eggs has never been more fun! She’ll also never miss another call, text, date or notification. It will track her activity, remind her to stand and help calm her mind with deep breathing exercises. There are even secret achievement events. Whaaaa? ‘Nough said.

    3. Apple Pencil (for iPad Pro)

    Not everyone wants or needs a stylus, but for those that already have an iPad Pro there’s this. It mimics the size and feel of a real pencil better that most styluses out on the market. I’ve been dying to take this for a spin in order to digitally practice handlettering– I mean… your mom.

    4. Eye-Vac Touchless Stationary Vacuum

    You know what part of sweeping sucks the most? Having to pick it up with the dust pan and dumping it in the garbage. The Eye-Vac Stationary Vacuum will save you that last step. Just sweep towards the mouth and it will automagically vacuum it up. No more back braking. No more dust, hair, and dirt in your face. You just gave your mom weeks, if not months of time back. There’s even a pet version available. She’s going to love it!

    5. HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset

    These babies are light weight, memory foam, with 90 degree rotating ear cups and 50mm directional drivers for audio precision. Games sound good. You sound good. At an affordable price point these are an excellent entry level gaming headset. However, they work for PC, Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, Mac and mobile. Buy these and save your mom from the guilt she’d feel when your little brother or puppy inevitably destroy them.

    6. Amazon Echo

    Let’s be honest, Amazon Prime has been God’s gift to online shoppers. The Amazon Echo is like Siri but better. Combine Echo and Prime and you have a personal assistant that plays music, adjusts your lights, reads you audiobooks, and will place Amazon orders when you run out of toilet paper. If you’re not ready to splurge on the Echo you can test the water with the Dot. Alexa, send Mom a Nintendo Switch.

    7. Reliefband

    Video games continue to improve and get more realistic. VR is picking up steam. For some people there is a downside to these advances which includes wanting to toss their cookies after each round of their favorite FPS. The Reliefband claims to work for VR sickness plus motion sickness AND morning sickness. Need I say more?

    8. Owlet Smart Sock 2

    New baby. Who dis? This thing tracks your baby’s heart beat and oxygen levels and lets you monitor it from your iPhone. Peace of mind allows for peaceful sleep. Both are priceless gifts for new moms.

    9. Pixie

    This product is perfect for people so focused on others they forget and misplace things. Affix a Pixie tag on important items like car keys, wallets, luggage, etc. and track them using your iPad or iPhone (hmm… I’ve established a trend here). Pixie tags come in packs of 2, 4, 6 or 8 and with a free iPhone case. Looks like they’re also having a Mother’s Day sale.

    10. Ring

    Both a doorbell and a motion sensor camera, Ring allows users to see, hear and speak to anyone at the door from their smartphone, tablet or PC. What better way to stay on top of all those Prime packages being delivered?

    Mother’s day isn’t about spending all the dollars, but it is about treating your mom to a day off. Consider taking care of all the pets, cooking dinner, letting her pick the movie, babysitting your siblings, doing the dishes and/or laundry. Anything that will allow her to take a deep breath and put her feet up. Then maybe you can slide her that sexy iPad Pro you got her.

    [box type=”info”]This post contains an affiliate link. You can read more about our official disclosure policy here.[/box]

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    Unboxing My First Birchbox

    You can probably hear the lack of enthusiasm in my voice. I wasn’t very impressed with my first Birchbox. However, after opening my box I went back to redo the survey and noticed I had “Send me all the samples” checked off. I’ve since uncheck that option and I’m curious to see how that will impact my next box. We’ll see how my May/June shipments go.

    If after watching my video you’d still like to try Birchbox, you can sign up here for $10 a month. Be sure to come back and let me know what you got in your first box.

    [box type=”info”]This post contains an affiliate link. You can read more about our official disclosure policy here.[/box]

    Echoes of The First Dreamer by Highwire Games

    The musical prequel to “Golem” from Marty O’Donnell, the award-winning composer of the music from Halo, Myth and Destiny.

    EchoesOfTheFirstDreamer

    In The Mommy Gamers podcast episode 124, Marcia and I got the chance to chat with special guest, composer/audio director and founder of Highwire Games, Marty O’Donnell. He spoke to us about Golem, the Playstation VR game the studio is currently working on, in addition to the Echoes of The First Dreamer project currently on kickstarter.

    Echoes of The First Dreamer is a stand alone listening experience and a musical prequel to Golem. “It is a musical prequel; composed, arranged and recorded as an independent work. It will be released before the game and introduce you to the world and themes of Golem. (TheFirstDreamer.com)

    Some of the rewards available include a digital download, signed CDs, a t-shirt, personalized messages, and THE FULL MARTY which is described as “a once in a lifetime chance to ATTEND THE LIVE RECORDING SESSION of the album in Seattle!
    (includes Signed Vinyl Album, Backer-Edition Shirt, and Your Name in the liner notes, but not travel or accommodations)”

    The project will only be funded if at least $45,000 is pledged by Tue, Apr 12 2016 11:00 PM EDT, so if you haven’t already, hop on over to kickstarter to back the album while you still can. I enlisted myself as part of The Marty Army which includes Echoes of The First Dreamer on CD and an exclusive backer t-shirt. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go listen to the Halo soundtrack for the millionth time.

    Aftershokz Gamez Headset Review and Giveaway

    Wireless bone conduction headset

    Aftershokz-Gamez-Headset-1

    I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of sticking things in my ears. Sure, earbuds do their job, but after a while they make my ears really itchy. Not to mention it blocks out your surroundings and make it difficult to hear coworkers approaching your cubicle, on coming traffic and other important environment processing information.

    Luckily, there are options for ear bud hating people like me. Wireless options even! The Aftershokz Gamez headset is “a wireless bone conduction headset for safe gaming on PC, Mac and mobile devices. The lightweight, open ear design keeps gamers connected to the game and their surroundings while PremiumPitch+™ audio creates an immersive stereo environment for gaming at home or on the go.”

    What is bone conduction? According to Wikipedia “Bone conduction is the conduction of sound to the inner ear through the bones of the skull. Bone conduction transmission can be used with individuals with normal or impaired hearing.” I’m intrigued!

    Aftershokz-Gamez-Headset-2

    Features:

    • Bone conduction technology delivers music through your cheekbones, ensuring ears remain completely open to hear surroundings
    • OpenFit™ design ensures maximum awareness and comfort during long-term wear
    • PremiumPitch+™ guarantees a premium audio experience, including wide dynamic range and rich bass
    • LeakSlayer™ technology significantly reduces natural sound leakage
    • Precisely placed dual noise canceling microphones exclude surrounding noise, and enhance speech, ideal for clear communication with other gamers during play
    • Enjoy six hours of continuous play on a single charge
    • EQ presets boost bass and reduce vibration
    • IP55 certified to repel sweat, dust and moisture
    • Audrey Says™ voice prompts guide users through power, pair, play and talk
    • Hassle-free 2-year warranty

    If you’re not used to wearing a headset that goes around the back of your head, sporting the Aftershokz Gamez might take a little getting used to. My teenage son complained they were uncomfortable immediately after putting them on. I, however, forgot I was wearing them after 15 minutes and liked how easy they were to hide under my hair.

    The Gamez headset is wireless and connects to your PC, Mac, and mobile devices via bluetooth technology. The ability to make phone calls, chat in game and listen to game audio without being deaf to your environment is it’s biggest selling point. I was hoping that the sound wouldn’t bleed out, but the truth is those near by will be able to hear what you’re listening to, as is the case with most other headsets/earbuds.

    I don’t know if it was intentional, but the metallic green color makes me immediately think Master Chief, which I’m sure some of you will appreciate.

    The headset itself comes with a USB charger, an adjustable tension band, reflector stickers and an AfterShokz branded pouch to store it all. (Retail price: $99.95)

    To purchase, visit: AfterShokz.com or enter using the widget below to win yourself a pair.

    Aftershokz-Gamez-Headset-3

    AfterShokz Gamez Wireless Headset

    [box type=”info”]I was gifted an AfterShokz Gamez headset and supplied another to give away. You can read more about our official disclosure policy here. Headsets provided by AfterShockz.[/box]

    Author Interview with Kimberly McCreight

    From full time lawyer to best selling author

    January Book Club Selection

    For the month of January we read Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. If you weren’t able to attend, here’s the link to our book club discussion on Reconstructing Amelia.

    We connected with Kimberly on twitter. She was kind enough to join us for a short interview where she speaks about her transition from lawyer to writer, what inspired her to write Reconstructing Amelia, and what she’s working on now.

    Haven’t read it yet? You can purchase Reconstructing Amelia on Amazon.

    Other Books By Kimberly McCreight

    Prefer paperbacks? Me too! Kimberly’s second book Where They Found Her will be available in paperback on April 19th, 2016. Pre-order Where They Found Her in paperback and get it as soon as it releases.

    The Outliers, Kimberly’s third book and first venture into Young Adult, is part of a trilogy and will be available on May 3rd, 2016. Pre-order The Outliers here.

    [box type=”info”]This post contains a affiliate links. You can read more about our official disclosure policy here.[/box]

    Category
    Books, Interviews
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    Unboxing Loot Crate’s February 2016: Dead

    Desirai Labrada and husband John Henry unbox “Dead” the February 2016 Loot Crate. Loot Crate is a monthly subscription for fans of pop culture, and gamers alike. Included in each box are t-shirts, gadgets, collectibles and more. The February theme is “Dead” and includes exclusive items from AMC’s The Walking Dead, and Deadpool.

    Resident Cancer #1: A Ganglion Cyst

    Or so we thought

    [box type=”info”]Disclaimer: This post may contain scattered thoughts, ramblings and graphic imagery. Reader discretion is advised. The names of people have been changed to protect their identity, for my own amusement and/or mostly likely because I can’t remember them. Their new names will probably only makes sense to me. Try not to read too much into it.[/box]

    A Ganglion Cyst

    I guess we can start this with a flashback. It was probably sometime in 2013 when I discovered an oddity in my left wrist. When I first noticed it, all I could tell was that my left wrist felt different than my right wrist. It was a little harder and not quite as level. I’d fallen a couple of weeks prior and I’d used my hands to break the fall. Had I fractured my wrist? It didn’t hurt. Surely, if I had fractured my wrist it would hurt, right? I wasn’t overly concerned about it but I brought it up the next time I saw my doctor. She told me it was most likely a ganglion cyst (apparently using a bible to smash and rupture them is a thing. I’m glad I didn’t try that. I might have ACTUALLY fractured my wrist.), that they were common and referred me to an orthopedic specialist.

    I made an appointment, had my wrist X-rayed and their diagnosis was the same. It’s a ganglion cyst. Dr. Horrible Boss told me he could remove it with surgery. {insert panic attach here} I hate doctors, I hate hospitals. I’ve never had surgery and the only time I had to stay in the hospital overnight was when I had my son. I was so uncomfortable, I couldn’t sleep and requested to leave a day early. Getting released was such a hassle. You know what? I’ll save THAT story for another day. Back to my panic attack. Surgery scared the shit out of me. Dr. Horrible Boss said it would be out patient and that I’d go home that day. He then ended by letting me know if the cyst didn’t hurt or bother me, I could leave it. Done! That’s all I needed to hear. I left and didn’t think about it again. That is, until it started growing.

     
    https://www.instagram.com/p/5c2jZDC6ll/

    Growing Discomfort

    Fast forward to June 2015. The lump in my wrist had grown. While it wasn’t painful, it was starting to be annoying and uncomfortable. After a lot of deliberating I decided to just get it over with and have it removed. I scheduled my surgery for mid July.

    I wasn’t allowed to eat the night before and had to remove all my jewelry. Taking out my tongue ring is no biggie while taking out my lip ring is always a bitch. As I was getting undressed and prepping for surgery, I broke down and started crying. (Hello panic, it’s you again.) My husband tried to calm me down but anxiety doesn’t care. They knocked me out with drugs and I didn’t wake up until in recovery. The surgery itself was 30-40 minutes. It was pretty weird waking up with my arm bandaged up, knowing it had all been said and done. They kept an eye on me for about an hour, gave me a coke, and told me not to eat anything too greasy or fatty. I gave that idea the finger and requested to have lunch at Giordano’s. I stress eat, and pizza is definitely a comfort food. I didn’t puke. So worth it.

     
    https://www.instagram.com/p/5OFB7WC6jH/

    Removing The Stitches

    After the surgery I was forced to wear a bandaged splint. It didn’t hurt much but the feeling of stitched skin pulling kind of sucked. Getting through the 10 days to my next follow-up was difficult. If I could forget about it I was ok, however the panic attack struggle was real. At least once a day I freaked out about the pins and needles in my arm. What if I never got the feeling back? What if it doesn’t heal right? A co-worker recommended taking vitamin B supplements to aid in recovery. Being able to take some sort of action made me feel better.

    When it was finally time for my follow-up I practically ran there. Dr. Horrible Boss’ apprentice (what do they call them?) removed my stitches while I held my eyes tightly shut and faced the opposite direction. She applied some sticker stitches and then wrapped it in an ace bandage. Good lord it felt so much better after that! If you listen to the podcast you’ll remember me talking about it here: http://themommygamers.com/2015/08/episode-98-one-armed-ninja/

     
    https://www.instagram.com/p/5c09NHi6iD/

    Before I left, Dr. Horrible Boss mentioned the cyst was sent to a pathologist in Orlando. He claimed this was normal and something they did after every surgery. However, the pathologist didn’t feel comfortable diagnosing it, so they sent it to Harvard Medical School to be looked by someone with more experience. I decided not to jump to conclusions and waited to hear back from Harvard.

    The Big C

    A couple weeks later I had another follow-up. They wanted to check on the mobility of my wrist and how I was healing. The scar a was a little itchy, but outside of that I was doing well.

     
    https://www.instagram.com/p/5-AKCsC6ud/

    The pathology report had come back from Harvard, and it wasn’t what any of us were expecting. ‘The appearance and immunophenotype fit very well with metastatic malignant melanoma.’

    Dr. Horrible Boss had lots of questions. How long had I had the cyst? Was there any history of cancer in my family? Have I had many severe sunburns? Have I noticed any questionable moles? I answered each of his questions. He struggled to understand the diagnosis. The cyst had been growing in my wrist for over two years before I opted to have it removed. Wouldn’t there have been more signs? It just didn’t make sense.

    Before I left, the Dr. ran through a few different scenarios with me. I got into my car and cried. I was under the strong impression that I might have to have my arm amputated.

    Malignant Melanoma Harvard

    Cancer. It’s been 5+ months since that office visit and I’m no closer to identifying with that word. It’s hard to say “I have Cancer.” I feel like a fraud. Physically I feel fine. Shouldn’t I feel sick?

    There’s so much more to say; so much more to cover. I’d been holding off on telling people. I really wanted them to be wrong, but we’re passed that now. I’m writing this post (and hopefully others) as a way to cope with what’s happening, to prevent feeling so alone, and as a way to update those that care about me in some form or other. So for now, you can expect a Resident Cancer series.

    Why Resident Cancer? Well, ‘My Cancer Journey’ and ‘Living With Cancer’ sounded super cliché. Eventually my gamer brain kicked in, and with Resident Evil being one of my favorite series about a spreading disease, it just made sense. I’ll be playing catch up with my first few posts. I hope you’ll stay with me while I deal with the things that happen next.

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