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Hey There Friends;

I’m mostly known for creating strategic brand & design, but I’m also know as a cosplayer, avid content creator, and all things tech. Most weekends, you can find me at anime conventions and being an advocate for fibromyalgia and mental health, especially after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, anxiety, and depression.

  • My Full Story; Unapologetically

    It’s not about want pity or being brave. It’s about being real. For a while I aimed to somehow end the stigmatized thoughts on mental illness.

    The subject on Mental illness and those who deal with it are part of of a group that is shunned, judged and misunderstood by most. Suicide and chronic pain (like fibromyalgia) are the most judged and misunderstood. those who deal with mental illness need to feel safe and be able to get help without fear.

    I suffer from mental illness and all of its ugly and sometimes painful effects including chronic fatigue syndrome and Raynaud’s Syndrome. I am still learning about how my body reacts to certain things but I hope more people are less scared to tell their story without fear or judgement. This has never been my way to gain sympathy or be “over dramatic” like someone once said to me. I just want people to understand that these things do happen no matter how young or old you are.

    I do suffer from major depression disorder, anxiety, and fibromyalgia. These are not stemmed from any situational circumstances and I do have suicidal tendencies. I won’t say that some life changing situations didn’t affect me or my depression, but for the most part it’s biological.

    As it stands now in society, mental illness is considered a label; a way someone may judge you. Many don’t know how to deal with a depressed person. So it’s easier to pretend it doesn’t exists, title them as crazy, or say things to minimize it. For example, maybe you’re in pain because you workout too much and was told I’m too young to be depressed.

    I believe I have dealt with anxiety, depression and constant joint pain during childhood but thought it was normal. I never understand why I was so different. I thought I was just a shy kid or thought it was normal to have so much tension in the body or that I cried a lot to myself when nothing was wrong. It took me until my late 20’s to begin to understand it.

    From the exterior, I have always been looked at as an introvert but always laughing and physically strong and healthy. It’s usually a facade. Even though my mental health is not my personality, I still appeared that everything was good.

    My first attempt was cutting myself at the age of 17. I don’t remember what lead me to it but the only other reason other became aware was the healing scars I had on my arms (along with an allergic reaction to insect bits). It took a long time to heal due to the sensitivity of my skin. However, I always felt no one liked me or wanted to be a friend of mine. As a black woman, I had to cope with all the mental pain by myself. I didn’t cry everyday but at least once or twice a week alone in my room or the bathroom. I hated when people saw tears in my ears. I have 2 more “cutting” attempts in my early 20’s. Being in 20’s and a black woman, I felt like I was disqualified from having mental problems. Thankfully, I was always too fearful of completing the attempt.

    Then the joint pain and tension got more constant. One morning I woke up in my dorm room in college and I could barely get out of bed. I was in so much lower back pain that I roll out of bed. I couldn’t stand up straight. I was in so much pain that was in tears. Even though it cleared after 3 days, my body hasn’t been the same. In 2010, I got sick with mononucleosis. It felt like my body shut down for a week. I felt like I was dying.

    Fast forward to 2017 when I finally had an official diagnosis and I was 27. I was diagnosed with major depression disorder, anxiety disorder and fibromyalgia where I take a 60mg antidepressant that focuses on pain management and the symptoms.

    I believe suicidal thoughts and suicidal actions are completely different things. Thoughts are thoughts but actions can be a matter of life or death. This is why it’s so important to open up the discussion about mental health, invisible illnesses, and suicide. Statistics show that many completed suicides are not initial attempts. Those that need help are not just those who have suicide thoughts but those who already tried to take their own life. I know first hand because I felt like a burden and that I didn’t deserve to receive any help. I wanted everyone to think I’m okay and a normal woman.

    Many do not understand that it’s an ongoing illness that doesn’t disappear. The most important thing a person can do is really listen and not judge.


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    The Courage of Being A Woman

    We often feel the need to be perfect. We are thought to obey, sit down and apologize. We are taught to doubt ourselves. We aren’t taught to to speak for ourselves and be confident in our voice. as a result, we don’t really live the life we want to live.

    In reality, we fail at having courage to live like it’s some special thing for special people. Unfortunately, failure is inevitable. It’s something we all experience. As an introvert, I do things that scare me. As a woman with anxiety, I do things that are scary but failure is something you just can’t avoid. So I say, be open to new experiences as women.


  • Anxiety Habits

    Little do a lot of people know, that I have many anxiety habits. Sometimes it mixes with depression. It can be debilitating at times. These things just happen often.

    1. I touch my face and hair a lot searching for imperfections.

    2. I am very apologetic even if I didn’t do anything wrong. I can’t control it because I always feel like an inconvenience.

    3. I get annoyed very easily, but I handle it different than others. Sometimes I go in to a silent rage, sometimes I cry to myself, and sometimes I can even get numb.

    4. I sometimes forget. My mind will go blank, but come back to me at random moments. I’m not forgetful, just overthinking too much.

    5. I worry about every little thing. My dad noticed this when I was younger. I really can’t help it.

    6. I get restless a lot. My legs always seem like they need to move even when I’m trying to rest.

    7. I am talkative when I get manic. I’m relatively a quiet person but when my anxiety kicks in I talk because I hate the backward silence.

    8. I’m embarrassed to laugh in public because it’s awkward. I’m told I laugh too loud and I get super embarrassed.

    9. I always have headphones in my ears. Even though I love music, it is also because it helps with social anxiety. It’s easier to block out the noise around me. I get super annoyed when someone tries to speak to me when I have headphones on. I don’t want to be rude, but I don’t really want to talk about it especially when I’m in transit.

    Is there something you experience that you like to add? Let me know in the comments.


  • Struggle With Believing In Myself

    No matter what I set to do, I tend to feel inadequate or “not good enough”. Some of it is stemmed from bullying and a little low self esteem. As human beings, we tend to look at ourselves wrong kind of lens. We create the perception of who we are.

    I have to remember that I am good enough because there is something deep in my heart that beats deeply and feel without question. The faults don’t matter and the only thing that matters is that you have a heart.

    The heart is stronger than your past. The heart is stronger than your doubt. Your heart is stronger than your mistakes and the negativity. The heart is strong! Resilient and ability to love.

    We are “good enough”.


  • Anime Expo Celebrated It’s 31st Event

    Anime Expo 2022 returned to the Los Angeles Convention Center from July 1st to July 4th. It drew in tens of thousands of attendees from all over the world. Of course, with COVID restrictions and policies in place, this attracted the attention of the fire marshals who were working to keep the crowd safe.

    In-booth dance party, video game trailers, demos, TV show reveals and activities centered to celebrating Japanese pop culture. All went on inside as attendees bought clothing, toys, accessories, manga, original art, posters, and collectibles from hundreds of booths and displays.

    The latest news is that Anime Expo will host a new event in Ontario, CA on November 12-13. This came at the closing ceremony of AX and their official Twitter.

    Now fans can attend a smaller version of AX and would not have to wait a whole year for the next one. Good idea but some reservations are involved. Ontario convention is small and they will need to cap the tickets or limit the amount of tickets they sell or it can get out of control quickly.

    Anime emExpo has announced 30+ exclusive premieres (world & North America), 250+ industry panels, celebrations, special performances, and concerts. The 300,000+ sq ft exhibit space held over 400+ exhibitors, 300+ industry appearances, and 400+ artists across the entire 4 days.

    Anime Expo is not your typical anime convention. Not only do cosplayer come from all over the world, different cultures, racial and ethic backgrounds. That’s why I like to highlight the panel for Diversity in Cosplay. As a woman of color, I am surrounded by even more diversity in cosplay and I love it. We have all gotten criticism when cosplaying characters we didn’t fit the “mold” of. This is why anime/comic conventions are an amazing place to have this conversation. Everyone deserves to have some awesome experiences. Here are someone of the cosplayers I shot during the event.

    Giving The reputation of AX, common sense would dictate how the organizers of Anime Expo would be prepared for such an event especially after 2 years of COVID-19 lockdown. Through out the convention, several vendors and attendees took to Twitter to express their concerns and failings and how they were being treated. This includes then mmm waiting until the staff finished chatting and smoking. This includes forcing venders to through out their food and drink in order to enter. That’s means those with smaller booths are starving and going 12+ hours without help and without food and water. Some even spent $20 just for some chips and some soda. This was asinine to me and broke my heart.

    Anime Expo is still very much a fan event and a place for Japanese culture to come together. However, after this year, AX may have lost a lot of their loyal fans or will stick to their virtual options.


  • Cosplay Process I Use For My Skin & Hair

    I am always asked about my process when it comes to my makeup when doing cosplay and most notably when I do Harley Quinn. As a melanated women, I make sure my attention is on my skin and hair.

    Before I apply anything, I begin by moisturizer my hair using the LOC method. This keeps my natural hair hydrated and nourished.

    The products I typically use:

    Next is moisturizing my face, this part takes a bit of time. However, I do this daily every morning including when I’m ready to cosplay a character. I have to protect my skin.

    Lastly, I begin to apply my makeup for the character. This case, I’m referring to my Harley Quinn makeup. I recommend practicing before apply makeup so you know what you are doing.

    I use a primer on my skin before applying face paint and makeup for better coverage and longer-lasting paint. This also makes the paint to adhere to solid, smooth layer.

    Next, I always use White Paradise makeup AQ by Mehron for the all white and this takes a long time in order for it to be smooth and blended. For around the eyes, I use the Black Paradise makeup AQ by Mehron. For the lips, I use the liquid makeup by Mehron. Lastly, I use either a setting powder for this or the Dewy finish spray by NYX Cosmetics. This keeps all the paint on all day and when I wear glasses too.

    When it is time to remove my makeup, I use Dickinson Original Witch Hazel Cleansing Cloths. This removes 95% of the makeup. I hope in the shower to remove the residual paint off. After that, unless I’m doing a cosplay the next day, I make sure I moisturize my face and apply Differin Gel to protect my face.


  • Squarespace vs. WordPress. Which one do you prefer?

    Squarespace vs. WordPress

    WordPress is, by far, the worlds most popular content management system. However, it’s not the only platform to make websites. Since I’ve been on WordPress years ago, there is a definite rise in website builders like Wix, Squarespace, Bluehost, etc. I want to compare Squarespace and WordPress since these are the two I have the most experience with and offer to my clients for branding.

    In general, each platform is trying to balance two opposing factors:

    • Easy to use and accessibility for its users
    • The flexibility to customize websites and add functionality
    Squarespace user interface

    With Squarespace, you do not have to worry about signing up with hosting or a domain if you do not want to. For a beginner, all you need to do is sign up for a website and choose a template. After that, fill out some basic information and you have a working website. All you would need to do is customize it. The process takes only a few minutes.

    Adding a WordPress theme

    Unlike Squarespace, you need to sign up for your own web hosting and purchase a domain. Then you would have to install a theme. You can chose their templates but I personally don’t like the style now. The process is a little more involved depending on where you install your WordPress theme from.

    Functionality

    In 2022, functionality, in my opinion is an important factor in creating a website. With Squarespace, you have a variety of different options:

    Drag and drop interface with Squarespace
    • Change of content
    • Tweak design styles
    • Add custom CSS
    • Analytics and SEO
    • Choose where you can display social media buttons
    • You can even create your own designs with a drag and drop interface

    I feel like you have more control than WordPress. The only thing Squarespace doesn’t have is third party plug-ins.

    WordPress page builder using Elementor

    WordPress does have everything Squarespace has. Plug-ins is what WordPress has over Squarespace enhance functionality. Everything you need can be installed as a plug-in. This is a huge gain.

    Cost

    Squarespace pricing is definitely simpler. Squarespace has clearly defined pricing plans. The cheapest plan starts at $16 per month ($96 per year) and the most expensive eCommerce plan cost $46 per month ($480 per year).

    WordPress pricing does not include hosting and your domain. However, you need both before choose a WordPress plan.

    • Domain ($12/year)
    • Hosting ($2.95-$49.95/month)
    • Pre-made themes ($0-$200)
    • Plug-ins ($0-$1,000; some one-off costs, some are ongoing)
    • Security ($50-$500 as a one-off cost, $50+/year ongoing)

    E-commerce performance

    If you are planning to sell products via your website. You do have more flexibility with WordPress. Personally, it’s more easier using Squarespace.

    Squarespace doesn’t support eCommerce and it’s limited in comparison to WordPress. Squarespace allows you to choose from 3 payment gateways:

    • Stripe
    • Paypal
    • Apple Pay

    WordPress has a payment plug-in ecosystem having many eCommerce-focused plugins. WordPress uses 2 popular eCommerce stores

    • WooCommerce – for physical products
    • Easy Digital Downloads – help sell digital products

    Squarespace charges a 2-3% transaction fee with credit-card processing fees. WordPress doesn’t pay any transaction fees (minus the payment processor fees).

    Which one should you choose?

    Squarespace is a solid option especially for creating, simplicity and beautiful designing. Webmasters usually are suited using WordPress. You will have more flexibility, functionality and ownership. As a brand design and web designer, I offer my clients Squarespace web design over WordPress. However, for my bloggers who want hosting, I will offer them WordPress.


  • The Link Between Stress and Autoimmunity

    They say that there is a link between the brain and the heart or a link between your breakouts and your stomach. Well, there is a link between your stress and symptoms of autoimmunity. This is something that is highly overlooked. I did a lot of research since my diagnoses of fibromyalgia and it says that people with chronic stress have an increased risk of developing autoimmune diseases or chronic illnesses. People with PTSD are at the hugest risk.

    Those with autoimmune disorders report that stress is a trigger. For me, I admit, I stress easily on certain things. I cry every other week and feel depressed every other week causing chronic pain and according to my doctor, and increase sense of my autoimmune system being overactive constantly. The cycle goes on and on and then the flare-up causes more stress.

    They say if you take the stress that the flare up will be less and your autoimmune system wont go haywire. However, that is harder than it looks. For me, I’m in fight or flight mode 75% of the time and I’m surprised I have the ability to continue working. Strength isn’t a factor. Survival is. People who suffer just want to survive even if it’s just one day.


About Me

The sky is not completely dark at night. Were the sky absolutely dark, one would not be able to see the silhouette of an object against the sky.

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