Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Current Events

I've had to hit the reset button, for lack of a better term, and get back in the water.
Travel, some needed vacation time and performances have taken up a huge chunk of time over the last two months. While enjoyable, it kept me out of my fins far too long.
Saving for the Viking shipwreck prop, and my silicone tail, is going well. That's in addition to the kind donations from friends, and I'm literally halfway to my dream mermaid tail.

In other news, designs are being finalized for my soon-to-be launched clothing label,
Ritzy Raven this spring or summer. Released as very limited runs (to start), single items or micro collections of 3 to 4 pieces will be launched for pre-order each season, or twice a year. The core style of RR is inspired by the Art Deco period between the 1930s and 1940s, and sometimes with a fusion of timeless styles from many eras.
I'm hoping that with enough success in starting out small, I'll be able to grow the business into a somewhat larger model, and have larger collections released seasonally. Hopefully, I can begin producing and manufacturing the clothing in the US. For now, I have a trusted and ethically run resource overseas that actively uses their business model in textiles and clothing construction, to directly benefit and grow their own community.

So that's the gist of my world for now. I'm looking forward to a mermaid meet up tomorrow at the SJSU pool, too. I've been having swimming withdrawals!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The 'Tail' Of The Mermaid Cove - Funding Campaign

Here it is folks; the crowdfunding campaign for my Viking Mermaid project, and a future mermaid cove event attraction. This is also going to become a collaboration with another local performer, The Mermaid Atlantis.

Since I've been adding to my own 'cookie jar' and saving up funds for this project, I still want to try the crowdfunding route as an addition to my own savings. I have more content to add, and will be posting more details, images, designs and video to the campaign page soon.

While I still feel like I'm stepping out on a limb here, there is nothing wrong with exploring different options when trying to save and raise funds for anything.
Having my own reservations about crowdfunding in general, and after hearing many people speak negatively about it, it was not an easy decision for me to create this campaign.
I know other artists and performers th
at didn't go this route for similar things, and understandably have issues with crowdfunding of this sort.
All I can do is continue to stay positive, save my own money to the cookie jar, and get the ball rolling.

Any amount helps, especially if you just want to be a cheerleader from the sidelines :) so thank you in advance for your support.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Deep Breath

Today I discovered that my breath hold while swiming underwater has gotten longer.
A good 10 seconds longer, and even if that doesn't seem like much, it is when you are propelling your body under the water for any extended amount of time.

While my current breath hold time is nothing to get excited over, today I realized that when I focused on something other than how long I had before I needed to surface, I was able to relax. The jittery feeling in my diaphragm melted away. I ignored the little bit of water filling my nose; it wasn't going much further than that. When I was a kid, this just came naturally, but I've found that getting back into that mindset as an adult is really interesting. Challenging would be a better term.
There are, I'm sure, so many psychological barriers that weigh on us as adults, that just weren't there during childhood. The daily grind of adult responsibility can trigger all kinds of stress, even if it's not outright noticeable. We stash the little stresses away like old receipts, that for some reason we don't just throw in the trash. These little stresses, impacted by larger ones, accumulate like paper mache, and it gets harder to shake them off with each passing year.

The one thing I can say that initially distracted me today, were the tiles on the bottom of the pool. One long dark glazed line extended beneath me. I simply focused on my surroundings and less on an actual speed I was trying to travel at. The almost-panic knot in my chest loosened even more.

It really comes down to relearning how to enjoy spending time underwater. I always have; diving down as much as possible for that feeling of weightlessness. But learning how to leave my day floating on the surface, or sitting on the side of the pool, while I frolic beneath is a little journey of discovery in itself.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Quick Clip & Waterproof Makeup Review

While it's not much to look at, yesterday Anders and I were able to get some quick footage during an afternoon swim in my tail.

Hopefully we can splice more of the footage we caught later, too. Sorry for the blurriness, the iPhone (enclosed in an underwater case) kept trying to focus on the bubbles instead of me.
I was having some uh...technical difficulties with my bikini top; each time I dove down from the surface, or simply swam forward underwater, it would pull down and expose more than I'd like to at a public pool, hah!
So, even after I tightened up the halter strap, this still kept me from doing much of the underwater tricks and lengthy submerged swimming I wanted to capture on video. Especially if I'm going to be sharing it online.

Regardless, this was also a good test for some of my waterproof makeup!
I need to find a better waterproof concealer, but the eyeshadow and lipcolor stayed intact.
My brow pencil wasn't waterproof, so it bit the dust pretty early on.
The mascara was supposed to be waterproof, but it also evaporated as I suspected it would. I'm hoping to track down some of Urban Decay's 'Cannonball' waterproof mascara. I've heard rave reviews from other mermaids about this one.
The waterproof eyeliner by Rimmel stayed put.
Maybelline's 24 Hour Color Tattoo cream shadow also stayed put, and was easy to blend.
My lips were wearing Cover Girl's 'Outlast', recommended by Mermaid Iona; it's amazing. Completely comfortable compared to most lip colors like it, it even survived lunch and drinks at the Hukilau after our swim.

So stay tuned for more (better) footage. We may have access to a GoPro camera soon!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Deco Darling With A Golden Tail

About 2 days before attending a local sci-fi fantasy convention, I had the urge to create a new look for my gold tail, and get photos.
So, armed with the scraps from the creation of the tail, I whipped up a 1940s style "sunbathing dress", inspired by ones I'd seen on Esther Williams and Betty Grable.
Lucky for me, the hotel that was hosting the convention had a really pretty pool, and my talented friend and fellow geek, Mary Anne Butler had her camera at the ready.
More photos are on the way, but these are the teasers she's sent me so far:

Here's a link to a super quick snippet of video, of yours truly making new friends and inspiring a future mermaid.

As you will witness in the clip, roles were reversed; this time the mermaid was tempted into the water from her sunny perch, by the adorable child. I wish the clip was longer, and could have caught the song this little girl was making up while hanging onto my shoulders, as I gave her a ride across the pool. I'm still not sure how I didn't just die from cute overload ;-D

In other news; I've entered a fun little contest with Mermaid Minerals to be Mermaid of the Month of May.
You can cast your vote for me by "Liking" my photo in this Facebook post.
Thanks!! XOXO

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Fork In The Road

The below has pretty much been my theme song for the last year or so.
It sums up how I'm feeling about life, the good and bad (mostly good), the new things, and what I choose to do with the old things. Especially the time given to me on this planet.

I'm currently trying to sort through what makes me happiest in life, and clearing away the clutter keeping me from realizing my dreams. Even if they aren't so crystal clear yet, I can at least see a light at the end of the tunnel.
The hard part is letting go of one I can't speak of yet, that was once a fun hobby for years(!).
I still love to do it, but even this is now at risk of simply being a habit and more difficult to do because of distance and time.
It stresses me out, because I feel the need to keep up with a 'scene', that according to others expectations, I'm supposed to be a part of *at all times*.
I like being part of a community and even a scene, but maybe I need something new?
And I'll say it out loud; mermaiding has given me this possibility.

~ 'Fountain' - Song by Iamamiwhoami ~

"What lies beyond the fringe of the woods?
Dust to dust so we leave for good
When all has gone to blazes I start to run
Until I find places where nobody's gone

No more weight on your conscience
With ease I go back to the start

Surge like a fountain, like tide

And swallow the bleed
Flows like a fountain inside

Gather force from the sea
Riding this giant wave untied
Let it wash me clean

Crawling through deafening cold
Turning head there's no sight of home
Though my body's aching
 we have to push on

For every stride a new line is drawn

Surge like a fountain, like tide

And swallow the bleed
Flows like a fountain inside

Gather force from the sea
Riding this giant wave untied
Let it wash me clean

From watching eyes 
I blindly rove

To guard my stories
 and find new gold

Riding this giant wave untied
Let it wash me clean

What lies beyond the fringe of the woods?

Dust to dust so we leave for good"

Sunday, May 17, 2015

An Eye-Opening Experience

Friday after work, I had an "OMGODS, YAAY!" moment.
It may be silly to get this excited over the following, but I couldn't help it.
For the first time since I was a little kid, I swam with my eyes open in a pool!
A chlorine pool, and it didn't hurt!! The last time I tried opening my eyes in a swimming pool, after only opening them in clean river water, the trauma from the pain caused me to never open them in swimming pools again. It's been goggles always since.
On a whim I decided to give this one a go, since I'd heard good things about how clean it is, but not stinky with chemicals.
After taking out my contact lenses and donning my glasses to safely make it from locker room to poolside, I shoved my feet into my monofin and dove right in.
After psyching myself up a little, I just stuck my face in the water and slowly opened my eyes, expecting the hellish sensation of chlorine molesting my sensitive eyeballs.
To my surprise there was no stinging, no burning! After so many years of goggles it felt weird to swim forward with them open, but I'll just need to get used to that again ;)

I'll still do some laps in the pool at my gym, but since this pool has a deep end, I may be here more often to do some real swimming and deep diving. Perhaps even organizing mermaid meet-ups if they are ok with a bunch of mermaids frolicking.
The other awesome thing is the hours are great when they aren't closed for swim meets and competitions, which is rare. They are open until 8pm Monday through Thursday, 6pm on Fridays and weekends until 3pm.

Thank you SJSU Aquatic Center, for your crystal clear water, friendly lifeguards, amazing filtration system, low chlorine, non-crowded, Olympic-sized pool with a very deep end. Go Spartans!
San Jose State University Aquatic Center

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A New Year: Updates!

Although it's a bit late, Happy New Year!
I was finally able to claim my 'mersona' name, and it's official; I am now known as Mermaid Freyja, or Freyja The Viking Mermaid.
No website as of yet, but I plan on only having presence on Facebook and this journal.
So for now, here's the link to the Facebook Page:

As you can see, there isn't a lot of actual mermaiding content yet. I am after all, just getting started and have lots of fun things planned for this summer. My wonderful fiance and hopeful mertender and I, have plans to explore the shores of Santa Cruz for cool photo spots.
I have also warned him of what it really means to be a mertender on any level. It's only if he truly wants to, because his job will be to heft me around now and then at events when I'm in my tail. The fabric tail will be no problem, and though he's a strong guy and I'm at an average 125-30 lbs soaking wet; once I get my silicone tail, that will add an extra 25 to 30 pounds.
While he won't be needing to carry me across great distances, it can still be quite the chore.

Speaking of silicone tails; my dream is to one day have a customized, more realistic silicone mermaid tail made by one of the amazingly talented tailmakers out there. Merbella Studios is at the top of my wishlist, and others such as Finfolk Productions and Mernation are possible contenders.
The price tag for these kinds of tails is in the low thousands due to the high level of skill, costly materials and labor it takes to make one.
As I save my pennies for one, I'm also considering the launch of a crowdfunding campaign to help cover a good chunk of the cost.
My reasoning for this, is that I'd love to take my entertainer experience and utilize it in a way I've never done before, that also brings attention to environmental conservation.

This isn't just about hobby swimming.
Adding my voice to oceanic wildlife conservation efforts is something I have always felt passionate about. Hanna Frasier has been a huge inspiration for me, with her world renowned conservation work, and as an accomplished mermaid.
Realistically, this also depends on what my day job will allow me the time and dedication for. I may not be out there with the crews, putting ourselves between Japanese whaling vessels and the whales any time soon. I can at least do my part to educate others about that, including other horrendous practices. The sickening annual dolphin slaughter at Taiji Cove in Japan is one I feel particularly angry, saddened and disgusted by.
There will come a day where I will be putting myself physically between the dolphins and the humans, but unfortunately right now is not that time. I'll admit this concept makes me feel a small grain of panic, on top of the sadness. Time is exactly what these creatures don't have on their side, and every week, month and year that goes by, so many more dolphins are lost.
On average 26,000 in just one annual Taiji slaughter. More recent stats show 36,000 per year total from the waters of Taiji, Iwate and Futo.
At least we have amazing people, such as those with The Sea Shepherd Cove Guard doing their part to thwart and report on the slaughter.

On a much lighter note; a themed photo setup at local Fantasy Faires, as well as private parties and events, is something I'd absolutely love to do. Adults and kids alike would have the opportunity to take a photo with a 'real live mermaid', and possibly receive a small gift from her treasure hoard.
I'm still on the fence about kids parties (more on that subject in a future blog entry). But for events like any of the above, it still requires me to be in closer proximity to both adults and children 90% of the time. A realistic looking mermaid tail has the highest visual and tactile impact.

Here are a few tropically-inspired examples of the jaw-dropping work that Raven creates, at Merbella Studios: