Friday, December 1

Sagittarius Stone

S A G I T T A R I U S

A polished goldstone commissioned for Carla Sutton, representing her zodiac sign, Sagittarius. Selected and carved by Aaron. Designed and hand painted by Claudia.

Thursday, November 30

Art Prints and Originals on Sale for the Holidays

The holidays are just around the corner, and what better gift to give than an art print or an original one-of-a-kind piece of art. These would all make lovely gifts. Of course you can always treat yourself as well!
  
Give them a new home, they need an awesome wall to hang on.

Go take a look:

Please let me know if there's anything you like by emailing me at claudia sutton at gmail dot com ASAP. They're all first come, first serve, including the prints because I will not be reprinting more.

♡ Claudia

Friday, November 10

We're Going to Play Final Fantasy XII

Surprise! Surprise! Well, of course it was only a matter of time: FFXII is one of my favorite games in all of existence, and I'm so very excited to finally be sharing it with Aaron.

It's his first time ever, and it couldn't be more special to us. We're going to start playing it tomorrow on our original anniversary, 11/11 at 11:11am.

Speaking of elevens, it is interesting that Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age came out on July 11th. Even the double IIs in XII look like an 11, and it's also been 11 years since I've first played it when it came out around this time in 2006. That's crazy spooky... us and our elevens!

So, we best be off on our grand adventure, and we'll take our time. I kid you not, my first playthrough took 111 hours (serendipitously), and then throughout the years I added over twice that many hours to my save file.

Happy gaming,
~Claudia

Monday, October 23

Us

"Us"

Shadows may shroud,
Temporary in Time;
True Love is illumination,
Brilliant as our bond.

We will always be,
- Aaron -

Monday, October 9

Metroid Fusion

Last, but not least....

It's been a grand marathon. Claudia and I have traversed the galaxy from one remote region to another, recounting our experiences and the feelings that reflect them. Along our path, our view of the world has been expanded, bringing with it the wisdom to live in finer harmony with ourselves. Life represents itself at different scales simultaneously, granting opportunities to observe from different perspectives and acquire more comprehensive understanding; for that we are truly grateful.

Chronologically the latest chapter in the series, Metroid Fusion depicts the consequences of both Metroid II and Super Metroid; impacting the planet SR388, the Galactic Federation, and Samus herself. This is also the first game released to emphasize the significance of the metroid as an entity.

Having been released following Super Metroid, Fusion employs a similar but improved presentation. Both games have a 2D, scrolling, platforming format; but, thanks to the GBA hardware, Fusion possesses several technical improvements beyond its SNES precursor. Regarding story, Fusion is considerably more narrative in nature, resulting in a more linear adventure than was typical in previous Metroid releases; however, this does have merits, and Claudia was certainly intrigued by what unfolded.

Overall, the classic Metroid conventions remain, so there are opportunities to freely explore and search for items. During these segments, we enjoyed finding an abundance of items; we cleared our mission in 5hrs, 46min; with a comfortable 89% of items acquired.

As discussed in previous marathon entries, the stage set by the Metroid series is analogous to our own current political situation: the Galactic Federation can be considered directly analogous of the motives and activities of governments. Metroid Fusion, Other M, and Prime 3: Corruption are all clear exhibits on how the Federation is willing to follow the path of the Space Pirates in the reckless acquisition of power. The ends to these means are unclear at this point in the saga, but power is always sought with the intent of its eventual use....

Clearing the way for the character development found in Other M, Metroid Fusion is the first release to extensively feature the inner thoughts of Samus Aran, giving the audience an extraordinary glimpse into her character. Written dialogue and events both serve to solidify her as a compassionate human being in addition to a resilient bounty hunter.

This series has captivated me since my first experience with Metroid II on the Game Boy, and now that I've shared this part of my life with my Truelove, we are intrigued about how this epic will unfold further. Until then, an official remake of my first foray awaits us; Metroid: Samus Returns promises to be a remarkable rebirth of what initially called me to these adventures, and Metroid Prime 4 may perhaps bring closure to the questions Corruption left in its wake.


So here are my thoughts about the game:

Pros

- Fusion is a compelling chapter, particularly benefiting its introduction and conclusion. Metroid enters new territory here, creating a path for subsequent releases.

- Advances made in presentation relative to the capabilities of the SNES ensured this handheld title stays exemplary in its genre. Fusion is cinematic; what was accomplished within the 2D format is impressive.

- Intricate details and animations of sprites are outstanding. Special animations and effects help bring Metroid Fusion to life during both gameplay and story elements.

- Environments are beautifully executed. Parts or entire areas will change depending on the scenario, with dramatic effect.

- Sound design in Fusion is excellent. Audio is optimized for the smaller speakers of a handheld system, and effects perfectly identify what's happening on screen.

- Nintendo was quick to improve upon the influential map system of Super Metroid; this is the first game in the series to utilize a system of open and closed dots to mark the detected location and acquisition of items, respectively. Fusion's map displays item tallies during a "game+", aiding the efforts of completionists.

- For speed runners and those moments where text appears slower than is preferred, narration and dialogue can be advanced quickly. Input by the player is required to continue reading, which is most appreciated because this allows one to proceed at their own pace.

- Due to events unforeseen by Samus, her iconic gunship has been replaced; however, the new vessel has an excellent design. There have been numerous ship iterations throughout the series, but Fusion is the first chapter released that explains the switch.

- Samus endures a monumental change at the outset of Metroid Fusion that could be permanent. This is the first instance in a Metroid release where the recovery of abilities is given a reason; one that would prove to be among the most justifiable. It's ironic then that here, in what is currently the latest part of the saga, begins the tradition of creating a situation in which Samus must recover abilities and discover new ones.


Cons

- The unfortunate flaw in Fusion's sound design makes performing a somersault jump blatantly obvious. Stop jumping so loud, Samus.

- Throughout the space-faring galactic epic that is the Metroid series, we were presented ample opportunities to break some glass; our favorite flavor is a walkway or elevator enclosed in a glass tube. Metroid Fusion however provides no such fun: there are indeed glass tubes, but they are impervious to our weaponry!

- Lastly, Metroid Fusion provides nary a legitimate complaint with which to occupy the cons list. This is the principal objection we have with this title, and it should be taken very seriously.


Completing this marathon marks the conclusion of a tremendous introduction for Claudia and a refreshing review for me. May every new voyage into the unknown invigorate the hearts of we adventurers, two! See you next mission.

Happy gaming,
- Aaron -

Thursday, October 5

DIY Beauty: Get Better Sleep with Essential Oils

School is now in full swing and the holidays are upon us. It's a busy time of year, and of course quality sleep is a must! It's important to get to bed on time (ideally 9-10pm) and get enough rest, but that's easier said than done sometimes. However, essential oils can be a big help. Right before bed, choose a favorite essential oil to use for aroma therapy (breathing them in deeply is simple enough or they can be applied directly under the nose or on the upper chest). Rosemary and lavender oils are great for stress reduction and relaxation. Eucalyptus and tea tree oils relieve stuffy nasal passages and help one breathe more clearly. Rose and vanilla oils are aphrodisiacs. There are many wonderful options! Enjoy them and sleep well.

Cheers and here's to happy, healthy living.
~Claudia

Jojoba Oil Benefits - 10 Amazing Ways To Use It | CLAUDIASUTTON.blogspot: Health and Lifestyle