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Quinzel

That Scene You Don’t Wanna Talk About in ‘The Lion King’: Let’s Talk About It

1994 was a good year. It was the year one of my favorite Disney movies came to theaters. I saw The Lion King for the first time on a humid night in June. I don't remember what I was wearing, but I am sure it was something along the lines of overalls and hair scrunchies.

I remember being amazed by "Circle of Life" and "I Just Can't Wait To Be King". My childhood was at its height when I saw Simba and Nala running through those zebras. And then...and T H E N

I don't know exactly why I wasn't moved to tears by Mufasa's cartoon death. I was seven years old, so I had some concept of emotional intelligence, right? Well, I must not have. The older woman sitting next to me was crying- no -SOBBING! Full on shaking and sobbing out loud in this theater. 7-year-old Quinzel was confused. Mufasa's not really dead. He's in the sky, see! He wasn't going anywhere!

Well, I definitely grew up and wasn't able to ignore the implications of death any longer. This time, not only would I see this movie as an adult, but as an adult who also has a child.

Because of this, I didn't stand a chance, I full on boo hoo-ed through this scene yall.

The thing about this being live action, you see everything. You see and can feel every little detail,

Imagine watching a tiny Simba trying to avoid the stampede of animals.

When he falls from the limb, Mufasa grabs him by the nape of his neck and lovingly places him on the rock. He breathes for one second. One small second of relief before being carried away by the gazelles again.

Simba searches for him. But this time, you don't see the panic in his eyes like in the animated version. It seems like his fur sticks straight up in a panic. His body stiffens.

Mufasa emerges, using all of his strength to climb up the rock wall. He is not visibly bloody or injured, but you can tell that he climbs in pain. That it takes strength to scale this wall that he doesn't have. And then...

Betrayal, pain, and a fatal fall to the bottom. You don't need to hear him hit the ground. You don't need to find him in a pool of blood. The eery silence aside from a single gazelle leaping, you just know.

Simba nudging Mufasa's lifeless body to wake up is enough to start the first steam of tears. But after he cries for help and nothing happens, he decides to cuddle under his dad's lifeless paw.

Say what you want about live-action, I might be inclined to agree with you. But seeing this scene for R E A L about killed me.

Dooooonnnn't even get me started on "Remember who you are".

Crying Behind My Sunglasses at Pride: How ‘Free Mom Hugs’ Was Life-Changing For Me

It is now a tradition that my spouse, kiddo, and I attend our local Pride festival each year. It's one of my favorite things to do because Pride is like this little force field of awesome where the daily effects of homophobia and willful ignorance about sexuality cannot penetrate it. However you identify, there is something beautiful about people coming together in one place to be exactly who they are with no judgment and interference from anyone else.

Also, Pride is just a heckin' good time. There's a ferris wheel. It's the bomb diggity.

Only in the last few years of my life have I been able to enjoy Pride. I have an aunt (who I'm no longer in contact with for soon-to-be obvious reasons) who would laugh about Pride. She would say horrible things about going to Pride just to "sight-see" (I'm using a better word here) and I was traumatized by this. I was so afraid there were hundreds of straight people like her at Pride who just saw everyone there as "entertainment" (using a different word again as not to trigger).

My first year at Pride made me see that someone with my aunt's mindset would never last a day at Pride.

As accepting, loving, and fun as Pride is, you would think that would be enough to make me cry behind my sunglasses. But no. The first year I attended, I was awestruck. I completely took in the energy around me and felt the positivity, the freedom to just be, running through my veins.

I was happy. I was free. But I didn't cry. Not yet...

Back to the relevancy of bringing up my aunt earlier, I am not in contact with anyone in my family. They don't know where I live or have my number. And I pray to all of the gods, every last one of them, that I don't run into them.

Why? Well, that's a loaded question and maybe this isn't the post for that. But the dynamics were pretty bad. I got to a point when I realized that I could leave, I could sever ties and choose myself first. Once I realized that, I ran in the middle of the night and didn't look back. Abuse will do that too you, either leave you frozen in fear or getting the hell out of dodge Forrest Gump style.

So I'm living life without my birth family. It's painful but I have amazing friends. But, as amazing as my friends are, even as amazing as YOU ARE because you're reading this right now and supporting me, I crave the love of a parent, the unconditional love of a family. I love my friends, my spouse, my beautiful baby. I'm more than prepared to catch them when they fall, but who is there to catch me?

Back to Pride: it was a sunny Sunday morning. So sunny, in fact, I came armed with a new pair of sunglasses, so I wouldn't, you know, go blind.

As I walked down the vendor hall, I notice a group of women wearing shirts that say Free Mom Hugs embracing a group of people. A man also wears a Free Dad Hugs shirt and my throat catches.

I never talk about my dad and it's because I've never met him. My parents were married but they divorced when I was one. He's been gone ever since. The only picture I've seen is of him looking down. I've never even seen his eyes. None of the adults in my life would willingly give me any information about him.

So I've never in my life been hugged by my own dad. And all of the men that I'm blood-related to, my uncles specifically... let's just say any physical contact they are accustomed to is a bit stronger than a hug.

The man wearing the Free Dad Hugs shirt made eye contact with me and waved. He asked if I would like a hug. I knew I could say no, and I knew my eyes were covered with the sunglasses, thus any visible emotion coming to the surface. But I nodded.

I didn't think this hug would spark tears. That a simple pat on the back would start a chain reaction of tears hitting my sunglasses like hot water from a hose. I pulled away to subtly wipe the tears from under my sunglasses. I cleared my throat and say an audible and quick "thank you."

I will blame it on my upbringing, but I hate hugging men that I don't know. I'm always afraid that a hug is signing a contract with a hidden clause that I don't realize until it's too late. But in that moment, I felt safe and I felt appreciated. Hell, I felt loved.

After I said "thank you", the group noticed my spouse and baby and I introduced them. The entire Free Hugs group clamored around little Bby-8 in the stroller, exchanging more heartfelt hugs with me. They hugged my spouse. They told me my baby was beautiful. They told me they were proud of me as a mother and that I was doing a good job. And then I teared up again. Not hard enough for them to (blatantly) notice, but enough to where the sunglasses fogged up quicker. Thing is, I wasn't sad, I was relieved.

Something in that interaction allowed me to unpack something that was heavy, something that was weighing me down. In that short moment, I felt that all of my hard work to better myself was worth it. I had been so used to being torn down, so used to hearing negative talk from my bloodline that receiving a hug and being told that someone is proud of me was enough to bring me to tears.

Free Mom Hugs didn't just change my life, they helped me heal. They gave me something that I've needed for a long time. If anyone from Free Mom Hugs is reading this right now, I want to tell you this: by being a temporary mom and dad to me, you all helped me be a better mom to my son. And I thank you for that with my whole heart.

There’s a New Princess Jasmine in Town, And She Isn’t Here to Take Any of Your Crap

Fair warning: While this post does not reveal any significant plot twists or surprises in the movie, there are slight spoilers in this post. Proceed with caution.

Oh, and read it in a sassy voice, trust me on this.

One thing you need to know about Princess Jasmine in the 2019 version of Aladdin, is that she IS that chick. She's not with the ish. She is not the one, or the two.

And She Is The Princess You Needed All Along

See, Princess Jasmine ain't the one to mess with. First of all, she's not about to sit around waiting to get married off to some man. She is not a prize to be won!

When I was a child, Aladdin was my favorite movie. I must have re-winded that VHS tape a thousand times. I don't even think that's an exaggeration, I can quote it forward and backward.

Princess Jasmine was a HUGE deal back in the 90's because FINALLY, SOMEONE IS BROWN! See, this was back in the day before Tiana in The Princess and The Frog. I took my poofy hair, tied it back in three blue hair ties, and I. Was. It!!!

Back then though, Princess Jasmine made me yearn for a flat stomach. But this Jasmine now? This Princess Jasmine right HERE?? She will make you yearn to fight for any cause that she backs.

Is she beautiful? Of-freaking-course she's beautiful, her skincare routine is ON POINT. But real talk, this is a woman who is running things. This is the woman you overlook for promotions, meanwhile, she could be running your entire company without breaking a sweat. Give. Her. All. The. Things.

On top of all that, she is watching these men in power and she is tired. Real tired. Because she knows that she could get it done herself and still sneak off to Agrabah later.

Jafar better watch out, because this Princess Jasmine might even throw a hand or two. But the amazing thing about her is that she wouldn't have to. She wouldn't even have to raise her voice. Just stepping into a room commands everyone present to shut up and listen. Now THAT'S power, Jafar.

Realest talk, Princess Jasmine is the kind of woman I aspire most to be.

Use The Bathroom Beforehand Or It’ll Be Endgame For You: My Avengers Endgame Movie Experience

There are NO SPOILERS to Avengers Endgame in this. NONE. I promise you.

One of the most highly anticipated movies of the year is, hands down, Avengers: Endgame. Everyone will be bending over backwards to see this movie opening weekend. Geeks will be seeing it and Non-Geeks will roll their chair over to your cubicle, asking you what their children/grandchildren are so excited about. It's truly a time to let your geek side shine.

If Thor Went to Movie Theaters, He Would Smash This One And Ask for More Just Like It

First off, I have always thought AMC Theaters was my only choice for a movie theater because, well, thats what we got. But WOOO CHIL-AY!!! B&B Theaters were pretty on point. This pic is a little grainy but look at how wide this isle is! You mean I don't have to put my whole butt in someone's face as I walk by? Yes!

The widest isle I've ever seen in a movie theater. Not that you'll be getting up during the movie

The seats were leather recliners and they were way comfy. Comfy is what you need for a 3 hour+ movie. Can you imagine your butt and thighs fall asleep halfway through Avengers: Endgame? My bit of advice is that if you can splurge a little extra for nicer seating, this is the movie to do it for.

Also know that Marvel Studios spared no expense when it came to this movie, so the graphics are amazing. Splurge again on theaters that give you an even better, more immersive picture. Ours took place in the Grand Theater which had a huge screen and DTS:X sound. The sound was amazing, not like a big inaudible boom to ruin your ears for the rest of the movie. The sound was very crisp and clear.

To Pee Or Not To Pee

I'm going to level with you, I knew better. I knew well ahead of time that the movie was over three hours long. I knew that I needed to pee before I left the house, which I did! But see my husband was drinking this cherry Mountain Dew and my mouth was feeling dry and then it just all went downhill from there. After the movie started, my eyes widened in a panic. "Shoot, I have to pee! When do I go?"

I got deeper into the movie and I thought to myself it's now or never. Much like the track star I was never destined to be, as soon as that movie screen was out of sight, I full on SPRINTED to the restroom, which was not close to this theater. After a quick squat and washing of hands, I sprinted back, Avengers dress flapping in the wind and the concessions workers laughing behind me.

I managed to not miss much so let me give you a piece of spoiler free advice. PEE. Become your mom and threaten yourself to go before you leave the house. Make yourself go again when you are in the theater. And no drinks. NONE. B&B Theaters is planning to sell Avengers themed drinks for the movie and if I were you, grab your drink AFTER THE MOVIE.

Take it from someone who effed up, give your bladder a pep talk. But if you have to pee and want to avoid missing an important moment, I would say you are good until Ant-Man is looking out of a window and smiling. Once that happens, stay in your gosh darn seat. You, and that traitor of a bladder, are in this for the long haul.

My food was delicious!

Be Kind To Your Concessions Folks

I had two of the concessions folks call me over "Excuse me," one of them said "but we haven't seen the movie yet. Could you please tell everyone not to spoil the movie for us when they come out?"

So I took my happy ass to the theater and asked everyone to be kind to the concessions people and don't talk about what we see in front of them. And they obliged.

Just be real respectful of who you talk around guys. Yes, you're excited and yes, you wanna shout or from the rooftops, but be mindful of the people working round the clock who even make going to the movies a thing. Got it? Good!

So, Did You...Did You Like It?

In conclusion, with no spoilers attached, to answer any of your burning questions...

The answer is yes. Go see this movie.

Cosplayer Convos: Supporting Strong Friends The Way That They Support You

I'm working with a new concept here. A series of blog posts and interviews that I will call Cosplayer Convos.

I enjoy cosplay. I admire cosplayers. But I think we forget that the person behind the cosplay is...a person. We see them at conventions and follow them on social media and sometimes forget that these glorified humans are just...human. I believe that by sitting down and talking to them, we can all learn something new.

Thus, I present to you: Cosplayer Convos

So, What Is a Strong Friend?

You know who they are. They are that go to person on social media. They always know what to say. Or they're someone you consider to be an IRL (in real life) friend. They don't give a crap how your homophobic uncle feels about "that lifestyle" (this is not going to be the first time I go in on your uncle, #sorrynotsorry) they're going to fight the good fight anyway

Our strong friends save the day, without breaking a sweat or shedding a tear

Tip: if you don’t wanna be perceived as toxic, then DON’T BE TOXIC. You don’t get rid of the label by sheer willpower,...

Posted by Briana Lawrence on Thursday, November 29, 2018

But, where do our strong friends go when they need a strong friend? Who do they have when they need advice? Where is a shoulder when they need to cry?

I'm holding myself accountable, as I am the friend who is often in need. I have benefited from having strong friends swoop in and rebuild me, time and time again. As someone who was still building their support system, I was extremely thankful.

BUT...was I asking them how their day was going? Was I even calling them just to have fun or was I just expecting them to appear when my life was falling apart? Was I only prepared to tag them on Facebook when arguing social justice issues, like I was summoning a Pokemon with a higher CP than my own?

When I think of a strong friend, or just a strong person in general, my mind goes to one person. One of the strongest people I know is our fearless leader, owner, and admin of Geeky Girl Guide, Leslie. Remember that time she announced on the podcast that if you are being harassed and need someone, she's your girl? Yeah, she's the bomb. She has told people she will feast on their cracklings before. And dammit, she means it. Don't mess with her.

She's got an amazing heart and will defend you to the end. As I often am scared, short, and not the least bit intimidating, I admire her strength and her ability to always push back and to speak up for what is right. Leslie does not give a red cent f#$k what you think about her.

And wrapped in all of that strength is a human being, who is just as deserving of someone willing to tear someone apart for her as she is for others. Leslie deals with life just as much as my emotional ass does. And she deserves the support that she gives to all of us

This post is about Briana of Brichibi Cosplays, but I'm dedicating this post to Leslie. Leslie: You are strong, you are seen, and you are appreciated. Never stop being you <3

Briana: The Strongest Woman You Will Ever Meet

Briana is a cosplayer that I've admired for years. Not just the ability to rock amazing cosplays (I think my favorite is a toss-up between Tiana and Wonder Woman) but to take up space in a way I hadn't seen before. Here she stood. Black. Fat. Queer. And magical.

Briana (Brichibi Cosplays) receiving a smooch from her longtime partner and talented seamstress, Jessica (Snow Cosplays)

Alongside the love of her life and longtime partner, Jessica (who is an amazing seamstress by the way) Briana seemed to have it all. But in spite of her successes, hateful people saw her and did what they did best. For every positive thought we had for Briana, there were 20 more people who were angrily typing on their keyboards letting us know in all caps how they couldn't stand her.

Briana was always overcoming. For every hateful comment, she had an equally positive one. It was always in a perfect way to shut them down. "She's got to be the strongest woman I will ever meet." I often thought to myself

There was something I didn't realize that was going on behind these posts. While I was reading them in real time, I was putting myself down thinking of how I would be "too sensitive" to deal with this if it was directed at me. I remember thinking Briana was so strong.

"I responded to every comment," Briana says about her social media posts at the beginning of her cosplay journey. I remembered this about her. I read them and admired for her being so strong despite the ongoing homophobic, fatphobic, and downright racist comments she received. Sooooo strong, and yet...

When her partner, Jessica, came home earlier that day, she noticed that Briana had been responding to each and every comment on Tumblr and told her to turn anonymous comments off. "I was like, 'I can't do that, I have to show people that if you get bullied, there's a person who can stand up and deal with it'," Briana describes of that day.

Jessica persisted, pointing out that she had been on Tumblr all day responding to comments. She again told Briana she should turn anonymous comments off. Almost instantly, Briana felt a sense of relief. "It was this moment of 'oh my God, I'm allowed to walk away'."

Waiting To Exhale: Are Your Strong Friends Holding Their Breath?

"I don't think people realize that the strong friend doesn't usually start out as being strong." Briana says

"I'm very vocal about different issues and I write about them and it's really great. But people don't understand how much that weighs down on you because most of us are pulling from personal experiences."

One thing we talked about is this iconic scene from Waiting to Exhale. Yes, that one. Where Angela Basset's character Bernie burns the car of her cheating husband. It's a pretty memorable scene that left many people saying the 90's equivalent catchphrase of YASSSSS QUEEN.

Briana brings up a great point about this scene. "Everyone talks about how she burnt the car and its badass but before that, she sat in her room and cried and even after [that scene] she cried some more. That comes with the territory of being the strong friend..."

Forgetting that our strong friends have feelings and pain behind that strength is doing them a disservice. We believe tears and strength cannot coexist. That's the trap we fall into, believing our strong friends are exempt from the pain they're always saving us from.

Too Strong and Too Soft: A Confusing and Frustrating Paradox

Lesson of 2018 👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾

Posted by Briana Lawrence on Sunday, December 23, 2018

"It's so frustrating because they don't want us to be vulnerable, but they don't want us to be too strong either," Briana says

I can definitely see what she means by this. It's almost like we expect our strong friends to be strong within our parameters. It's like we tell them, you need to be strong, but in a way that is beneficial to me and this has to change.

"With the strong friend title they forget about the friend part," Briana says "And just focus on the strength part."

While this paradox can present itself in times of support, it can also present itself when your strong friend is being outspoken. Once they hit a nerve with someone, they're expected to pull back.

"I thought our friendship could withstand [inset topic]" is something that Briana often hears. Because she's often outspoken on these issues that often affect her personally, there seems to be this unspoken soft spot she hits with people. "I thought our friendship could withstand this" often translates to "I love it when you speak out, just not about me"

They're telling their strong friend on the surface that they hope their friendship could withstand differing politics, subtle racist tweets, and separating their friend from their sexuality. But what they're really saying is "I thought our friendship could stay beneficial to me and not disrupt my beliefs."

Whatever the case, this is exhausting. Whether the lack of support comes from not having the space to be vulnerable or only being heard under certain terms, we have to do better for our strong friends.

How to Support Your Strong Friends

It was difficult for Briana to be vulnerable, even just on social media. When expressing her feelings on Facebook, she got responses from people who said: "I don't know how to talk to you because you're so strong" (<----see, there's that saying again).

Briana describes how one of her friends showed how to be supportive in the right way "She was like 'I know you're busy and I'm busy but whenever you're free we can get together and watch anime'...that's all I wanted!"

It's not always about having the right advice or cuddling them when they cry. Sometimes your strong friend doesn't need advice or cuddles. Sometimes they just need a distraction, a neutral zone that they can build themselves up again. And that's ok.

"Don't just check on us when we're suffering...also be there when we're having a good day." Briana brings up a really good point about not just being there in trials or triumph, but in those boring in-between moments as well. Invite them to lunch when nothing particularly exciting is going on. Ask them how they're holding up just because it's Wednesday. Draw them a picture because you know it will cheer them up.

"I Shouldn't Have to Defend Myself From YOUR Friends": A Quiz

Small rant before we get to the quiz. One of my biggest peeves about Facebook is going through hoops to keep all of my content limited to only the people I want to see it. While I've made attempts at putting stricter privacy setting such as "Friends Only", by some small loophole, a status you make could still be seen by your friends Racist Uncle Twice Removed.

Briana said something that was really impactful, especially in regards to Facebook.

"I shouldn't have to defend myself from your friends"

Grab your pencils guys, this is your Quinzel Quiz of the day

Your strong friend posts something that your Racist Uncle sees (cause the way Facebook sets up mutuals, it happens). Racist Uncle does what he does best, which means sending a profoundly hateful and misspelled lashing to your strong friend.

In this situation, do you:

A) Assume your strong friend will handle it because she's great at this kind of thing

B) Let your uncle know that he shouldn't talk to your friend that way and why, thus putting a protective barrier between your strong friend and your racist uncle who still needs help setting up his iPad

The answer is B. But often times what plays out is A. It goes back to the assumption that this strong friend has GOT IT because they are vocal from these issues, so why should this be any different?

That line of thinking isn't supportive to your strong friends. It's one thing to defend yourself from strangers, but having people that you consider friends who just leave you hanging puts strong friends in a position of not only having to fight their own battles but yours too. Next time this happens, tell your Racist Uncle to take a hike and buy him a dictionary for Christmas. Auto correct will thank you.

Final Thoughts

All I really want us to do is ask ourselves are we supporting our strong friends in a way that's equal into the way they support us? Are we giving them space to be vulnerable? Or are we contributing to a burnout?

I can't tell you the number of times that I faced something in my life that was really hard but didn't think of myself as a strong person because I faced it with tears streaming down my face. I get down on myself because I think both can't co-exist. But Briana reinforced for me that I can cry my eyes out for hours and still be strong.

Briana has lived a life of pain, loss, and frustration. But she has also chased her dreams, fell in love, and continues to influence and affect everyone she meets in a positive way.

Your strong friend is this beautiful, vulnerable individual who is a force to be reckoned with. They take their tears and often turn them into a shield, protecting others from the pain they've been through. Their voice is loud because they're often speaking for the timid and unheard.

To Briana, Leslie, and all of my strong friends.

You are wonderful

You are appreciated

You are heard

Cosplay on the Cheap: Naka Kon Panel with FullElven Cosplay

Something I love: seeing cosplayers at conventions, admiring their handiwork, and swearing to myself that I'm gonna give it a go

Something I hate: being too broke to try

What's that saying I used to hear growing up? "You can't have champagne dreams on a bologna budget"

When it came to trying my hand at cosplay, I was filled with "I could never" and "who is financing this cosplay?". But attending the panel Cosplay Accessibility: Cosplay on the Cheap at Naka Kon removed that roadblock of "I'm just too dang broke."

First Impressions

Running down the hall of the convention center, press badge flying in the wind, I made it just in time for the panel to start.

The first thing I notice is Jace, aka FullElven Cosplay, and they are just about to start. There's something...calming about the room. Which sends me in an unessacary panic. Do I have a spot on my face? Is my skirt hiked up around my waist from all that running?

Nah, this panel, as well as Jace, just gives off a chill atmosphere. Everything about this panel was amazingly well organized. There were slides created ahead of time, and Jace answered everyone's questions very well. It was done in a laid back, non-preformative matter, and I think that opened it up for so many people to feel comfortable asking at the end. So kudos to you for that, Jace!

There was also a wealth of information at this panel. Maybe I didn't know this info already because I'm not a seasoned cosplayer (unless you count the extensive plans I have in my head that I never execute). But by the end of the panel, I found cosplay builds A LOT less intimidating.

Here's just a few of the tips mentioned in the panel to make your cosplay cheaper

Foam smithing

You ever want to build an entire suit of armor but, you know, purchasing armour costs money and food is nessecary to survive? Cause...you need to obtain food with money...and armor costs...ok, ok, you're following me.

So Jace suggests either using foam or cardboard to build your armor. Both are really inexpensive and foam can take shape really well.

Sewing

I have very VERY basic sewing skills. I know enough to be dangerous with attaching a button or fixing a hem but that's about it, y'all. Some tips on sewing for those of us who need it:

  • It's much cheaper to just buy a sewing machine that's used and tune it up in lieu of buying a brand new one. I would not have even thought to look in a thrift shop for one, so I'm glad that was put out there.
  • There's also a way to get cheap sewing patterns (just wait for the sale, instead of buying at full price), but you can spend exactly $0.00 by using your own clothes and tracing them out to create your own pattern.
  • You can also get cheap sewing supplies at Walmart.

Speaking of sales, Jace let us in on a secret (might be widely known, but I get excited over saving money so it's like a juicy secret to me.)

Stack. Them. Coupons.

Joann's allows you to use multiple coupons online and in store. Sign up for their emails, download the Joannes store app, give them an offering at their doorstep and right there you've got several different coupon codes you can use on the same transaction.

With all that money you'll save at Joanns, you could buy me...idk candy or something

Lighting

I normally would steer clear of any cosplay with lighting because I lacked the skill as much as the funding. But how did I forget that fairy lights were a thing? Most of them even come with a battery pack so no electrical experience needed.

Jace mentioned that if you want to make the lights appear brighter, using regular foil as backing works amazingly well.

Recommendations

During the Q&A section a few questions came up and some GREAT recommendations

  • ELF makeup is just as good as expensive makeup and a LOT cheaper
  • An audience member recommended using Pros-Aid instead of Spirit Gum if you're alergic to latex. It's a medical grade adhesive.

Amazon and Ebay are cheap places to find cosplay supplies HOWEVER it varies from shop to shop. Quick Tip: read the reviews. Trust accordingly.

I asked a question myself about what brands are NOT recommended. They mentioned Maker Geeks was a no no. They even have an investigation with the Better Business Bureau so steer clear, guys!

Gush Post on FullElvenCosplay Incoming in 3...2...

I know this is about the panel but the panelist deserves quite a bit of praise. Any question about their expertise would be erased by looking at THIS

They built this costume and nothing else needs to be said because the level of craftsmanship, detail, and experience speaks for itself. Just take a stroll through FullElven Cosplay Facebook and IG pages for further evidence.

I'm also going to be giving their Twitch channel a follow. I could definitely get behind watching their cosplay builds after a long day.

Jace has an impressive skill set. You can see through their cosplays that it takes a lot of time and effort to create. It's also quite inspiring to know that you don't have to sacrifice craftsmanship just because you're working within a budget.

This was just a short version of what was discussed in Cosplay Accessibility: Cosplay on the Cheap. Wanna know all the tips and tricks we discussed to save you money? Here's a Google Drive link to the presentation that has all the tools you need. Now go forth, cosplay, and be thrifty!

Have any of you guys tried your hand at cosplay? How much do you typically spend? Do you find these tips helpful? Give us a shout in the comments section (and feel free to drop a pic of your cosplay too)

An Open Letter to Naka Kon 2019 Cosplay Contestants: Your Passion Gives Us Joy

Cosplay has got to be one of the most fun and exciting hobbies to have. After all, half of the word is "play". But I think we forget that cosplay is also an art form. It's something that you build and pour all of your time, efforts, and heart into. When you present the product of your blood, sweat, and tears to the world, it's extremely validating to be rewarded for it.

Being a friend and fan to many cosplayers, I've witnessed the stress, the con-cruch, the pain, and the tears leading up to cosplay contests. It's a lot of work to prepare for.

But let me tell you, there wasn't a single one of you that didn't put a smile on my face

Cosplayer IG: @diana.the.great , winner of Best Beginner Craftsmanship at Naka Kon 2019

If you were crying backstage, if you were stressed all week on your cosplay because it wouldn't be finished in time, if you ever felt you weren't good enough to compete in the first place...

I just want you to know, from where I'm sitting : I absolutely adore you

Cosplayer IG: @miss_pincushion, Winners of Best Master Overall at Naka Kon 2019

You give me, and everyone else in the audience for that matter, a totally new reason to smile. To fall away from the ever running list of adult responsibilities for a bit and soak in this fun and amazing artistry.

If you were nervous, its ok! If you didn't win an award, know that you (yes YOU) were recognized, not only for your hard work, but for the joy that you bring to all of us watching.

When you walked across the stage, I saw your eyes sparkle. That energy you gave off was contagious. It filled the room with an array of happieness.

We laughed with you. We clapped for you.

Cosplayer IG(s):
 @folxsam @ohneux@pixiebutts7 and @mephistopheleswaifu.art winners of Best Skit at Naka Kon 2019

When you bring our favorite characters to life, it sets off a chain reaction. Those of us watching are able to access those happy memories and smile.

Think about it this way, some of us in the audience haven't smiled in weeks or even months. Life has a way of bringing you down. But you, you amazing cosplayer you. You gave me, and everyone else, a chance to just be in the moment and enjoy it.

To my Naka Kon 2019 cosplay contestants, know that I was watching you and know that you set off a joy that will show light in a darker world. Thank you so much.

Never stop what you're doing

Cosplayer IG: @fullelven.cosplay

Lower Your Anxiety by Looking At These Pics

I'm a big advocate for having and using whatever tools you need in your bag for anxiety. Whether it's a mixed bag of medication, deep breathing, or yoga, those of us who suffer from anxiety need a whole arsenal to get by.

And sometimes all you need is a moment to pause your racing mind. Sometimes a nice visual can do this for you.

Do you ever have a moment where you make a friend and you realize their talents for the first time? Ashton and I met through a mutual friend at a nerdy gaming con. It was all fun and games once I learned he was a photographer. Then I realized that he takes pics LIKE THIS.

In case y'all don't know, I'm a nerd for stars. But something about this pic just made me feel so...calm? Serene? Unlike the way that I feel in my daily life? XD

I came away impressed. The quality of these photos were amazing and I couldn't help how some of them helped me to...focus on something else other than my stress.

So I thought I would take the best of these pics and share them with you guys. Tell me if they make you feel the way they made me feel!

I actually HATE fireworks with a passion. With a passionate passion. But in this pic, you can actually see the silent beauty of a firework.

DO NOT sing that damn Katy Perry song!

I've thought about living in a lighthouse once. An impractical dream, I know. But when life is very stressful, I can bring myself back to the moment where I thought living in a lighthouse would be just like the above picture, every single day.

You live a million sunsets and get used to them. But every once in a while, you'll see one like this and can't stop staring*

*yes I know don't look directly in the sun, got it.

The moon. Enough said.

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#california #yosemitenationalpark

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What calms me here is staring at the lines in the bark on the split trees.

Also, let me just add Yosemite National Park to my bucket list

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#landscapephotography #naturephotography #water #sunset

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Ok, not going to lie, this pic made me think of "Kiss the Girl" in The Little Mermaid. But honestly? I can imagine sitting here, by myself, with a cool breeze (maybe a snack or two cause I stay hungry) and just...being

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#photography #astrophotography

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I don't...I don't even know HOW... but I'll just keep looking. This is amazing.

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#photography #longexposure

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That lavender purple has got to be one of my favorite colors. Not really on clothes but when you see that color in nature it's like "MY GOD THIS BEAUTY"

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#cats #cute #animals #like

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Of course I ended this with a picture of a cat by a window. Look at this furry little ball of fluff. Just one look makes you feel like all is right with the world.

What do YOU think of these pics? Do you feel less anxious? What pic was your favorite? Leave a comment below now that you're super duper calm and cozy 🙂

Like the pics you've seen and want to see more? Check out Ashton Silva Photagraphy on their good ol' website and Instagram. Feel free to message him and let him know you like his stuff.

I Hate Using My Cane: Here’s Why

I woke up Monday morning to many pictures on my feed of Selma Blair wearing this gorgeous dress. What I didn't understand at first was why so many people were tagging me in it.

She has a cane. She has Multiple Sclerosis. Just like me.

I've discussed many times on the blog and on the podcast that I have MS. Shocker, right? First response I always get it that I don't LOOK sick.

Gee thanks, where's my Emmy?

But I conquer a whole level of commentary once I leave the house with my cane. And I hate it. I'm glad that Selma showed us that you don't need to put away your dreams because of your diagnosis. But I need to take the time to let you know that people can say some shitty things when they see you have a cane.

Do I need my cane all the time? No. Should I be using it more often? ...yes, but to be quite honest, I don't use it as much as I need to. As I get bombarded with these variation of comments.

"You're too young to use a cane!"

While I want to give them a pass because, as I discussed on the podcast, I look and dress like I am 16 years old, after hearing it for the 545,640,590,123,509th time, it gets old

...older than I am BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT!!

Don't remind me that I can't run around here like my peers, cane free. And don't invalidate my struggle because I don't LOOK the way you want my sick ass to look.

"What's that thing even for anyway?"

The weirdest thing about this comment is that they know damn well that it's a cane and they know damn well I am using it to walk. What they want is to open the door for me to give them more information. And if you're an acquaintance, a co-worker, or just a goddamned stranger, I don't owe you an explanation.

"But you were walking yesterday!"

Ohhhh, that last one. Yes, I can walk without a cane. I still have legs. They aren't the most functional. But they are capable of short distances. I get to decide what days I need my cane and what days I don't. Deal with it.

My Best Comebacks

You need a good set of coping skills to deal with these comments. Fortunately, I have a smart mouth. So here's some of the comebacks I have to the questions I get

"What are you doing with a cane?" Minding my own business, mind yours

"Why do you have that?" It's a fashion accessory, don't you know? It's totally in

"You're too young for a-" And you've been around long enough to know that what you're saying is rude. Stop it!

"I think you're faking being sick" On the contrary, I fake being well

Maybe Selma Blair using her cane is a good thing. Maybe a few well-meaning people will choose their words more carefully before speaking.

And maybe, just maybe, they will start making more fashionable canes. One to match every outfit? Nerdy canes? Yes please.

What did you guys think of Selma Blair and her cane? Do you or anyone you know have Multiple Sclerosis? Leave me a note in the comments section below, I don't bite 🙂

Quinzel Sick Day Streaming: Check Out What I’m Watching

Can I just tell y'all how much I NEVER wanna see another hospital again? If you've been following, I've been sick, stuck in a hospital room and ultimately getting *gasp* surgery. Now that I'm released, I'm confined to Netflix. So I thought I'd give you guys a rundown of what I have been watching.

Just so you know, I avoided Bird Box completely. I loved the memes, but I just feel like I'm not going to watch it and I am going to be stubborn about it. Going forward, you won't hear s#!t from me about Bird Box

100% Hotter (Netflix)

I needed a show where i didn't really have to think. Something I could conk out on pain meds and still follow what was going on once I woke up. My friend recommended this show and said it wasn't as shaming as a certain-show-on-TLC-is/was. And that the stylists even worked to keep them within their original look. Cool! Sold.

I'd recommend it because it's not a farm mill pushing out the same end result just on different people. The stylists seem to really cater to each individual and their personal style. And it's given me some ideas as to what to do with my own style that keeps constantly changing.

I Feel Bad (Hulu)

This show came up randomly after I dozed off for a bit and honestly, it was a happy little accident. What could have just been another white show about white problems turned out to be this really cool, really authentically diverse show. Meds or not, this was a pretty entertaining show.

She frigging works for a fictional gaming company *jealous*

(My husband would like to tell you all that this show is essentially Black-ish with a few differences. There, honey, I told them.)

Tidying Up With Marie Kondo (Netflix)

This show got a lot of hate that I only noticed after I finished it. I gotta be honest here. This isn't going to be a hate review, I really liked this show. I felt like it was very different from other "throw out your clutter" shows in that it didn't emphasize shaming each person. I felt like each person was relatable in their own way and I didn't get lost in sitting on my couch like "Ahhhh I least I'm NOT AS MESSY AS YOU!!!" because truth is, I struggle with laundry too. And if my broke ass had the money, I'd so pay someone to do it and put it away.

Loved the black family because they were already so full of joy and I felt like Marie participated in that joy. They also just seemed like a really sweet, kind family and they were very refreshing to watch

I like when she entered each house that she bowed, it showed a lot of respect like "hey, I get this is your house and I'm just a visitor. I'm here to help, not to judge."

Did I mention I LOVED how there was no suggestions to go buy more things to be more organized? That she used what they already had? Ahhh, glorious!

The real question is: when I am recovered from my surgery am I going to go through my junk? uhhhh, I can't really think about that right now.

Grown-Ish (Hulu)

I've seen the first season...actually, last time I was in the hospital XD and I feel like I get a sick satisfaction from Zoey fucking up her early college experience. But that's cause we ALLLLL been there. It's kind of comforting knowing someone as gorgeous as her is overthinking as much as the rest of us. Especially over relationships. I mean, I'm married now but GOD DATING WAS SUCH A PAIN. Does he like me? Does he not? Is he texting someone else? Is he thinking about Pringles? I don't miss those days.

I will say that my hair did not look as good as hers does in college. I lived in bandanas and PJs. Cause screw looking pretty when I'm living on 2 hours of sleep. But you do you, Zoey.

 

So those have been my binges so far. Hopefully, I'll get off this damn couch soon. What are you guys watching right now? Tell me all about it in the comments section below.