Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Interview: "I'm a professional Mermaid" | Devin Emily Rollman

Most girls dream of becoming a princess, a fairy or even a mermaid. But did you know that some people actually live and breathe for the "mermaid community" as it's called, and have embraced the Mer-life to a complete as to actually be called a professional mermaid as their job title? I've managed to get a hold of 3 real life Mermaids and have had a brief interview with them.

Part One - an interview with
Devin Emily Rollman (aka. Mermaid Emera)

photo: Model Devin Emily

So you're a professional mermaid, that's got to be exciting! Tell us shortly who you are and how you got into this unusual lifestyle?
My name is Devin Emily Rollman, I am the Greensboro Mermaid - Mermaid Emera!
I started after a longtime following of Hannah Mermaid, the foremost professional mermaid. She inspired me to chase my mermaid dreams and follow my path!

Who chose your Mermaid name and why?

I chose my name after a brief stint of going by the name Emma. I thought it would be pretty to have ‘Mer’ in my name, and thus came Emera! I still go by Emma to some people.

photo: @thegreensboromermaid

When did you realize you wanted to be a mermaid?

I actually believed I was a mermaid from a young age. I was raised by my grandparents and father and was separated from my birth mother until I was 16, and my family wouldn’t tell me very much about her. So as a young child and fan of Disney’s The Little Mermaid I thought that must mean there was a grand secret regarding my mother and why I was separated from her. So I deduced that because of my amazing swimming abilities and love of water, my mother must have been a mermaid and so must I! For my whole childhood and adolescence, I believed I was a mermaid and spent much time waiting for my tail to form. Unfortunately, it never came. So I decided to become one by my own means! I did eventually meet my birth mother, and though she is not a mermaid, she is a wonderful woman whom I am blessed to call my Mom!

What do you love and like less about your hobby/job?
My favorite thing about my job and the main goal is to show little girls and boys that they can be whatever they want to be no matter what anyone says. My whole life was always consumed with an obsession with mermaids, and constantly I was made fun of for not only believing I was one but believing that mermaids were real at all. I want to send a message to all children and adults that no one can tell you what you can and can’t be when you grow up, and no one can tell you your dreams aren’t real.

My biggest struggle with my job would be children finding it hard to believe. I get many children who deliberately try to convince the others around them that I am not a real mermaid, which is very hard to deal with. My best armor for that is my acting experience and my realistic tail, both of which help me do my best to convince those of all ages that mermaids are real!

photo: @thegreensboromermaid

What's the best/coolest gig you've ever done?

My favorite gig will always be a child’s birthday party. I love to make the birthday boy or girl feel as special as can be, and my very favorite part of the job is the light in children’s eyes when they believe in mermaid magic!

Do you have any future goals as being a Mermaid?

My aim is to do aquarium performances. I can free dive 27 feet and breath hold for over a minute, and I specialize in underwater photos and videos so I would love to take my talents to a tank to inspire joy and awe in an aquarium.

photo: private

What where you like in school?

I was definitely the outcast. I had pretty few friends and those friends that I did have moved on from me so I was very much a loner. But all that time spent by myself lent to some very big dreams and I’m grateful for that! Those friends that I did have knew of my love for mermaids, but I didn’t receive much support. It wasn’t until recently that people have begun showing interest in my craft and supporting me and my business! Since my childhood and schooldays, I have blossomed and grown into more of a people person. The many friends I have now are all fully supportive and often they help me with photos and video and accompany me to the pool for safety while I swim.

What inspires you?

Hannah Fraser, Eric Ducharme and all the other members of the mermaid community out chasing their dream! We are all on the same path and seeing the beauty of their work and the people and children they inspire really gives me drive to keep going when things get tough.

If there'd be a movie made about your life, who would play you and why?

I’ve thought long and hard about this, and truthfully I would prefer to play myself! My 11 year’s acting experience would sure come in handy, and it would make it much more realistic! I would hope the movie about my life would inspire people, and help anyone who feels like they can’t achieve their dreams to believe in themselves.

photo: @thegreensboromermaid

And lastly, do you have any social media's that people can find you and follow?
Absolutely! My Facebook page is simply www.facebook.com/MermaidEmera
My Instagram is @thegreensboromermaid

For bookings, I can be reached at: mermazed@icloud.com.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Refashioning/Upcycling [the Swedish Flower Collection]

Hello ladies and gents!
No, I am not dead, I'm very much alive and therefore this incredibly late update. 

Between my regular job and home life I have stayed busy with reading and gathering information and knowledge on my journey to the Second-hand Series, that I started on this summer 2017. 

I have read blogs, watched multiple documentaries and videos regarding second-hand items and especially fashion and also turned to my local library for more knowledge. 
While browsing the web I came across the Swedish book called "Slow fashion: din guide till smart och hållbart mode" written by authors Jennie Johansson and Johanna Nilsson. 
A perfect book to read up on if you want to understand what happens to our fashion once we are tired of old fabrics or find a small hole in our shirt. Throw it away or find a new life for it? 
Ask yourself - what do you normally do with items you no longer wish to possess in your wardrobe? Does it become trash? Sell it? Give it away? Or will you give it a new life?
Make this book a must-read for your list (if you speak Swedish). 

A great tip is to watch YouTuber Marzia Bisognin's video about slow and ethical fashion. She gives out great pointers and names off helpful websites to learn more about the topic.

One thing I've started on, let's call it a new project, is to refashion my old items into something new.
It's also called to upcycle items. 

I have myself been working lately on trying to upcycle and refashion my own garments that have been becoming way too big on my body since I've dropped over 43 kg (94.79 lbs), from an EU size 52/54 (US 20/22) to an EU 42/44 (US 10/12) - A HUGE DIFFERENCE.
And I've named this new project the Swedish Flower Collection.
A small collection containing one-of-a-kind items made from upcycled/refashioned clothes and items instead of getting rid of them unethically or by selling them as they are.  

I have myself been working lately on trying to upcycle and refashion my own garments that have been becoming way too big on my body since I've dropped over 43 kg (94.79 lbs), from an EU size 52/54 (US 20/22) to an EU 42/44 (US 10/12) - A HUGE DIFFERENCE.

~ Butterfly dress ~
The first image shows a tank top-dress I made September 4th, from one old t-shirt and a pair of 2XL three-quarter pants, both items given to me by a family member years ago.
I posted this to other creator groups on Facebook and got a huge response! Many wanted a similar item and some were willing to purchase this particular dress.
I had to decline because I am still new to this and I am too much of a perfectionist. Many "mistakes" were made in my own opinion and will better be served at home where I can judge my creation in silence!

Total cost for items: 0 SEK ($0)
Time spent making this: 5 hours + lots of cursing

Sleeveless butterfly dress 

~ Striped dress with yellow bottom ~
The second item I made - also a dress - is made from a yellow tube dress and a white/black striped crop top, both items purchased second-hand.
This one became instantly my favorite and will not be put up for sale. Perfect for once spring and summer rolls around next year. 

Total cost for materials: 55 SEK ($7.03)
Time spent on making this: around 3 hours

More pieces are on its way and are currently in the making, I am so pleased that my upcycled collection got a huge positive response!
Stay tuned

**Charts used to convert size: Asos.com**

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Guest Blogger: Mia Lupo

A collaboration with Mia Lupo. This is not a sponsored post.

An Insider's Guide to Buying and Selling
Clothing Consignment

The concept of buying and selling clothing consignment has been around for a while, but it has been trending upward in the United States and beyond since the Great Recession in 2008. It’s easy to see that shopper attitudes have changed with retail stores closing locations to either building their e-commerce presence or choosing to close permanently.

According to a recent study compiled by ThredUp, consignment shopping will continue to increase its market share in retail sales. In 2016, apparel resale, including both online and offline sales, totaled to $18 billion and is estimated to reach $33 billion by 2021.

The growing popularity for consignment shopping can be attributed to several factors:

  • Customers are choosing to allocate their disposable income on experiences. This is especially true for Millennials and Generation Z who are burdened by student loan debt and have limited spending power than previous generations.
  • Customers are becoming more aware of retail pricing. Now that customers have access to so much more information, they can do some competitive research to find products for the least expensive price.
  • Customers are looking for more eco-friendly, ethical clothing options. There is a generational shift in the way shoppers examine product value.

There are clothing consignment shops that specialize in certain niches such as contemporary labels or designer labels, which creates an atmosphere similar to a full-price store with a cohesive concept. The consignment shopping model is ideal for the modern shopper—buying clothing consignment allows customers to shop on a budget and support environmentally responsible values, while selling clothing consignment allows the sellers to make some extra cash.

Tips for Selling Clothing Consignment

Be honest with the condition of your clothes. If you’re trying to consign an item of clothing that looks “well-loved”—irreparable pilling, missing buttons, light coffee stains—don’t bring it to a consignment shop. Trying to sell clothing in bad condition will discredit your integrity and will send a signal to the consignment shop that you aren't a reliable consignor to work with.

Schedule an appointment with the consignment boutique. The most important part of consigning your clothes is reading and fully understanding the consignment policy. Each boutique has different policies, but here’s are the key points that should be noted in your consignment agreement:

  • Discount- You can’t be a real consignor without doing a little shopping! The discount may be small (10% is standard) but it can be enough of an incentive to buy using your credit.
  • Profit split- The best case scenario is that the profits are evenly split between the shop and the consignor, but that’s not always the case. Although the split may be weighted in favor of the boutique—especially if you are selling premium merchandise at a designer consignment boutique—the retail markup could result in a higher profit.
  • Item returns- If any of your items don’t sell within a certain time period, you should have the option to either be contacted to pick up your clothes or have them donated.
  • Payout scheme- The consignment shop should have the procedure outlined for check requests if you prefer to withdraw your balance for cash. Few stores, if any, will pay in cash/check upfront or automatically send checks.

Do your research on consignment shops in your area. Remember that even if your items are in excellent condition, not all of your clothes may be accepted at a consignment store because of their inventory is full for the season or your clothes may not suit the store’s aesthetic. Look at the consignment shops accepting inventory, then compare it with the clothing you want to sell—it may be a wise approach to sort your clothes based on which consignment shop it will go to.

Tips for Buying Clothing Consignment

Try on the clothes. Whether it’s at a full-price store or a consignment boutique, it can be easy to make an impulsive purchase if the price tag is reasonable enough. Even if you know the brand, you don’t know if the garment has had custom alterations like a shortened hem or tailored waist. Sometimes there can be some damages only visible—it’s highly likely that damage like this happened when another customer tried it on, not because it was consigned as damaged.

Know the return policy. Because of the nature of the consignment business, merchandise is usually final sale—no full-refunds, no store credit, no exchanges. Some stores may be generous and offer store credit within a limited time period.

Ask to be put on a call list. Let your consignment boutique if you’re looking for a specific brand or item of clothing know and ask them to notify you when they receive the merchandise. It creates a win-win situation—you have the opportunity to get the merchandise before anyone else and it gives the consignment shop an opportunity to possibly sell incoming merchandise before putting it on the sales floor.

Sign up for email newsletters and follow social media accounts to get exclusive offers. The last thing you probably want to do is have another email in your inbox. Totally understandable. But it’s worth being in-the-know about new arrivals and discounts! You can always unsubscribe, or even reduce the frequency of the emails, if you are flooded with alerts.

Final Word: Buying and Selling Clothing Consignment Online

Consignment shopping online does exist, along with plenty of apps like Poshmark or ThredUp. However, unless the items you’re consigning are either new with tags or designer labels—or both—the return on investment will be low. The time and effort it takes to shoot decent photos of your merchandise, upload those photos, watch for sales notifications, then finally ship merchandise to the customer who will (hopefully) not return it.

About the Author
Mia Lupo is a Francophile lifestyle blogger and freelance social media consultant. Originally from New England, Mia received her B.A. in English Communications at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. During her time in college, she started helping small businesses streamline their social media strategies, rekindled her interest in French culture and kept her passion for style alive while working in contemporary fashion retail. Today, Mia continues to her work in digital marketing and writes about her travels in New England, New York City, Paris and beyond. Follow Mia on her Wordpress blog, Instagram and Facebook!
Mia Lupo

Thursday, July 13, 2017

New blog + vlog series | Second-hand

As many probably have noticed I am losing tons of weight lately (at least over the past 5 months since my surgery.
And dropping as much weight as I have turned to second hand a lot cus purchasing new items are expensive from stores.
But all this gave me an idea and I think I would like to develop this further. 

All together I have now lost -37 kg (-81.57 lbs), and this has resulted in that I recently had to purchase new pants and underwear. 

Too big after 3 weeks!
My old underwear vs. my new ones!
At my local second-hand shop, I purchased a new pair of jeans which looked as if brand new. They were an EU size 50, and 3 weeks later they were huge on me (see image above!).
The jeans cost 40 kronor (about $4.80) so I wasn't exactly robbed blind, but it did help me for a little while. Now I've decided to hold off on jeans and focus on stretchier materials such as soft pants and leggings instead. 

Here are a few items I've purchased second-hand that I truly love and feel super-confident in, and developing my style to a more Boho-Chic look:

Shirt from Anarchist Closet, located in Tampa, FL
(Shipping + payment worldwide)
Price: $17,69 (incl. international shipping)

Dress from local charity shop (PMU Sverige)
Price: 50 SEK
Baby blue blouse from Swedish eBay (Tradera)
Price: 55 SEK (94 sek with shipping)

Which leads me to a whole other thing - I want to do more for the environment, for my poor wallet/economy and do charity in the process, by keep buying second-hand items. Especially buying second-hand fashion.
So I've gathered up some information and I will also plan some collaborations in a nearby future.

This will take place on my Instagram, here on my blog and as well as over at my YouTube channel.
Stay tuned for more!


**this blog post is not sponsored**

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Shopping in Tears

Good evening everyone
Hope your day have been alright, here in Sweden we've celebrated our National day so Happy Birthday Sweden!
I wanted to share a little story that happened last Saturday that ended with tears while shopping. 

If you're unfamiliar with my journey, I've recently lost -32 kg (-70 lbs) thanks to a Gastric Bypass surgery last February 13th, 2017. 
Naturally you will have to update your closet after some time, which I've gradually have had to do, but the majority of my clothes are extremely loose and big on my body now. 
But since clothes are expensive and rent and food is a priority - clothes will have to wait for absolute emergencies. 

I woke up Saturday and had myself some nice breakfast to celebrate my 25th birthday which was last Friday on June 2nd.
A cheese sandwich (with Swedish knäckebröd), and some nice watermelon.

Belated birthday breakfast

I took the bus and met up with my husband that worked in Umeå that weekend. He's gotten a second job at a fancier restaurant as a substitute and I couldn't be more proud of him!
We ate lunch at Espresso House and then decided to hit the shops in the mall because I needed some shorts and tanktops for my new body.
We went first to KappAhl, cus I've always liked their selection of styles: classic, traditional, lace, modern and "mature" looks.
I managed to find myself some clothes to try on - mind that in the near 4 months I've had no clue as to what my body carry for sizes!

I politely asked the cashier for help, and told her my situation of being new with this particular body shape I own, and she helped me pick out a few shorts to try on (KappAhl have a great plus size collection for the classic and mature look)

And I did found out that I can easily slip myself into an EU size 46 in dresses and pants/shorts, and certain shirts and tanktops are either Large or a 44/46 for me.
Which means I've gone from an EU size 54 to 46 now!

These shorts from KappAhl
came back home with me

Loved this summery shirt

Dress in EU size 46

But the real story begins when I decide to hit the shop Gina Tricot.
"Oh boy", I thought to myself as I entered my previous favorite shop from teenage years. 
I went around and looked for clothes, but found it hard to see their availability since there was a ton of other shoppers and their store is quite small in size.
So as I saw a stressed retailer I politely asked for help, and told her as well about my wardrobe problems and guesstimate of a body size.
The blonde retailer was completely SHOCKED about my weight journey, and immediately started asking questions about how I felt now almost 3,5 months after, and what kind of clothes I was looking for.
She quickly paced through different racks of clothes and handed me the items she hoped would help me out - shorts, breezy pants and leggings. 

Then it was time to try it all on! 
I had such despair knowing they were a size XL and 44's, how could it possibly fit me?!
After needing to buy clothes in 4XL or size 54 for years it's extremely hard to see anything so small fit my body. 

But to a huge relief the leggings in XL fit perfectly, and I was glancing at the shorts over and over but as I took a deep breath and pulled them up I started getting surprised how I managed to get them over my curvy hips. And all of a sudden - I managed to zip them up!!

Shorts in EU size 44!
I started crying and my husband consoled me as best he could.
Never have I worn shorts or pants in size 44 in about eleven years time! And it felt amazing and so overwhelming. 

When I came out and composed myself enough I walked over to the helpful retailer, who greeted me with a smile asking how everything went.
Once again I tried keeping my tears in control and explained to her that shopping always meant awkward stares from retailers as well as disgusted customers, and never finding clothes in my liking or size. 

Now I had been able to shop and fitted into everything I had taken with me, which is beyond amazing to me and I told her it's gonna be great when I can perhaps come back later this summer and hopefully the 44's aren't too tight on me.

She was very happy it turned out so well and I thanked her dearly for her amazing service as she rung my purchase up in the register, and I think this experience made both our Saturday's great

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Celebrating -30 kg weight loss!

~ p r o g r e s s . u p d a t e ~
I am now 3 months and 8 days out of surgery and this is my physical change so far.
The image from January is pretty much the same that I looked in February when I had my Gastric Bypass surgery.

My mind ghosts are telling me I still look as the January picture. But when you're able to slip into clothes that haven't fit for 14 years and when you don't really recognize yourself in the mirror anymore, something definitely changed.
So much have changed in my body that my brain hasn't fully tagged along with this whole process!

Start/Highest weight: 
120 kg (264.55 lbs)

Current weight: 
89.3 kg (196.87 lbs)

Goal weight: 
70 kg (154.32 lbs)

When I'm about to look into the mirror I expect to see the face from January picture. But instead, I see a thinner, stranger version of myself - which always leaves me to react when I see my own reflection even if it's on accident like walking by. 
I realized how mean I've been to myself for thinking "pig", "ugh!", or something else that's totally demeaning to myself leaving me to mentally bullying myself for YEARS. 
And the reason is because other's made me think I wasn't okej so therefore I started to believe it myself...

Now I've lost -30 kg (-66.14 lbs) and I can honestly say I cried the morning I stood on the scale and it told me I was back to 89 kg (196.21 lbs), a number I haven't seen since 2012 when I was starving my body and having extremely ill thoughts of myself!
But this time I looked at myself and thought "Wow! This is fantastic, look at me!".
I can't remember a time I haven't hated myself.
I have never been able to look into the mirror and TRULY believe that I am okej. To be okej as me. 
And even from a young age, I hated the idea of walking near a mirror, even just to put on makeup as a teenager and for more than 15 years I've tried avoiding mirrors as best I can. Because I've been so filled with hate and thoughts like "why was I born with this ugly face?" and "I just wish I was someone else" - which also could be a very typical teenage girl thing but I actually meant every word 'til this day where my life's changed around so dramatically. 

Gastric Bypass explained in image

I am so thankful for my surgery because I learned so much about myself along with it. To find and love myself again, and yeah I have a long way to go still.
I do not recommend surgery to fix a problem, but it helped me focus my thoughts of myself and do some soul searching too in this journey. 
Now I want to live MY LIFE and not be afraid of how the world perceives me, but to actually live it and try enjoying it because I don't know what tomorrow will bring. 

So now when I've lost -30 kg I wanna celebrate but I am not sure how yet. 
And because I just moved to the new apartment, my bank account is quite low at the moment!
- if you have any suggestions how to celebrate this milestone, please drop me a suggestion comment 

Now I will end this post by saying a few encouraging words:
You have one body, try to treat it well 'cus friends (and sometimes even family), will come and go from your life. But your body will remain, and you can take it anywhere.
Be kind to yourself, even if nobody else is - it just shows how low of a character they have.
Don't do the mistake like I did, to spend 15 years hating yourself because now I can never have those years back, and try enjoy life around you or find something/someone to live for if not for yourself. I can guarantee that making others happy will boost yourself too along the way. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Celebrating -20 kg weight loss!

Lately, I've had the utter please in standing on the scale every or every other morning and see kilo by kilo drop off my body.
And this past week something amazing happened!

I've lost over -20 kg (-44 lbs) and I am now down to 99.9 kg (220.24 lbs)! To me, this is a huge breakthrough, and I couldn't be happier right now.
And I do want to take this moment to really thank everybody who still gets me going and pushing me on to my goals.
You are truly diamonds worth

So in order to celebrate getting down to 100 kg (220.46 lbs) I decided to drop by my local secondhand shop and spoil myself just a bit. 
And luckily I was able to find some few good deals. But this time I wanted to show the two new pieces of garments that I got for myself. 

New shirt

The details (click image to zoom)

This dress was a Medium!
It was a bit tight, but not long now and it will fit
Dress details (click image to zoom)
The app is called "Monitor Your Weight"

Thursday, March 16, 2017

10 Things America Have That Sweden Needs

This is my own personal interpretation of what I have seen and/or experienced, which I think Sweden needs to "adopt" as their own.
And now I'm not only talking about the imported stuff from online web stores but that Sweden as a country import straight into their grocery stores nationwide.

1. Ranch Dressing

It's similar to Swedish garlic salad dressing, only a little less garlic taste. Americans love putting Ranch on nearly every meal and are often served equivalent to mayonnaise or ketchup at restaurants as a condiment.

2. PopTarts

Even though I've seen plenty of Swedish/American online shops with this as an item, I still strongly believe every Swedish grocery store and local food market needs PopTarts in their stock on the shelves.

3. "Bigger Clothes" In Stores

Even though I think Sweden is pretty good at distributing clothes for us "bigger people" - they could do a tad better. Especially when it comes to children and teenage fashion for those "heavier" sizes.
I still remember a comment of a former classmate in Middle School gave me:
"I like your shirt, my mom has the same one..."
I say - please consider bigger sizes than an L or XL as your biggest alternative. My fat ass won't fit that size of European 46-48 you're carrying.

4. Rootbeer & Cream Soda

Personally I haven't required a taste for either Rootbeer or CreamSoda, however, my husband always seems to complain that Scandinavia needs to distribute this in their stores.

5. Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar

This is, if not the only, my absolutely favorite restaurant and sports bar in the United States.
The perfectly grilled BBQ, the different drinks, and excellent service - you can't get any better than this!

6. Cornbread

There's nothing better than a delicious cornbread muffin to your meal

7. The "Pay-it-forward" Method

In many cities, you can find yourself seeing homeless people asking the waiters and waitresses if there's a "pre-paid meal or coffee", which means that somebody before paid all expenses for the meal. Often to homeless people and others who have a rough time managing their survival. 

These people do it out of sheer kindness. And Europe, in general, should adopt this everywhere. 

8. Ordering online & Homedelivery

Some cities in Sweden have already adopted this method. You order yourself a pizza (in the States you can even order online) and then wait for them to bring it to your door. 

Obviously there's a fee that comes with ordering from home, but it's worth it. Especially if you're hungry and have no intention to get out the door, get over to your restaurant in mind, pick it up, and walk/drive all the way back home, and then it could be cold food too.

9. Volunteer (Charity) Work

Many people do charity work either through their school, their church or the goodness from their souls. 

Most people I've met in Sweden don't do much volunteer work unless they have to, and even then they might end up complaining about it or make excuses to why they can't or won't. 
If you look beyond yourself and your needs - you can do something for somebody else without being paid for it, it's called human decency and love.
I try to do some of my own when I can, help out in public if I see there's a need for it or at least ask if I can be of help.
Otherwise, I pick up trash from the ground sometimes and throw it where it was meant to be all along, in the trash.

10. Hospitality & Kindness

You don't see many Swedes today offer financial help, or pay for somebody's groceries, help them with a task for free, let them sleep over for a few nights, or even let people borrow things to help them in their days.
I'm not saying there aren't people in Sweden that do this, I'm just saying it's slightly more uncommon than compared to America.
Certain people I've met in the States are almost jumping out of their seats to help their fellow family member/friend/neighbor/coworker/stranger when they're in need.
And we should follow suit and be a little bit kinder to one and another, instead people find it easier to hide and hope things pan out for the best. Because they fear something bad will happen to them so they rather leave things be. It's simpler for them. 

Simple Creamy Vegetarian Pea and Red Lentil Soup

Here is a recipe that is a household favorite in our family. A stupidly simple (vegetarian) creamy pea and red lentil soup. My husband never...