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The Official 2018 Storm Chasing Tiara–The Full Story

If there was one thing that needed to happen before my upcoming Storm Chasing adventure, it was that I was going to need a new tiara. And not ANY tiara…a special tiara. But what kind?

Chris suggested something with lightning, which seemed cool. I was thinking maybe I could scour Etsy and find a design that suggested maybe that or storm clouds. I didn’t want to commit to something large and weighty—I prefer the lighter, more understated variety that I can wear for longer periods of time.

Other than “Etsy,” really, though, I had no real I idea of what I wanted, or where to start.
It felt a lot like when I’m writing a book and I got stuck on the name of a character…I want a good name, but I have no real preference one way or another…so I ask my friends on Facebook. What am I looking for? I don’t know. But what I’ve come to realize is that 1.) my FB friends make up an incredible creative braintrust 2.) they, and all their suggestions, are hella inspiring. A girl could do worse!

So I threw it up on the wall…suggestions for a tiara?IMG_7469

And within about 5 minutes, my friend Mandi posts a link to Etsy that makes me positively squeal. It’s Ozma’s circlet.

Those of you who haven’t read the Oz books, or haven’t seen Return to Oz, or didn’t watch Emerald City, don’t know about Ozma, Princess of Oz. As a baby she given to the witch Mombi by the Wizard of Oz, to prevent the rightful ruler from gaining the throne. Mombi turned the baby into a boy and raised him as “Tip.” (Tip created Jack Pumpkinhead.) Glinda discovered this, and forced Mombi to turn Tip back into Ozma. Kickass Ozma—with her undetermined age, fluid gender, and fairy blood—became quite the benevolent ruler of Oz.

Ozma’s book was the third installment in the Oz chronicles, and had possible the best subtitle ever. Ozma of Oz: A Record of Her Adventures with Dorothy Gale of Kansas, Billina the Yellow Hen, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, Tik-Tok, the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger; Besides Other Good People Too Numerous to Mention Faithfully Recorded Herein.

Between Baum and Carroll, I was well-versed in quirkiness at a very young age.

The circlet in the 1900s era books, as illustrated by John R. Neill, is a very distinct O with a Z inside it. Those unfamiliar with the circlet might think it looks like lightning.
I was actually kind of shocked just how many of my friends were unfamiliar with Ozma!

But here was the kicker: Not only did I recognize the circlet and love it immediately, but it was also affordable. Made by a Bronze Smith here in Florida—www.handmadebronze.com.

I looked closer at the design…contacted the artist…and what do you know? One of my favorite tiaras—bought at DragonCon decade or more ago—was made by one of his apprentices!

And now I have a new favorite: my Official Storm Chasing Tiara!

My world may be small, but boy is it crazy magical!

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Are you as excited as I am? Want to help pitch in for gas, hotels, and coffee? Paypal akontis at gmail or click the Donate button on the right! (And Thank You!)

Want an ALL ACCESS PASS to Alethea’s Official Storm Chaser Diary and Pics? Become a Patron of the Princess today! Pledging as little as $1 a month gets you exclusive access!

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Your Storm Chaser Princess of 2018

So…guess what I’m doing this summer?

Why, I’ll be gone with the wind, my darlings. More specifically…I AM OFF TO BE AN APPRENTICE STORM CHASER.

Storms have fascinated me ever since we studied the different cloud forms in elementary Earth Science. They were a sizable element of my studies when I was on track to be a Marine Chemist, back in college. Twister was fascinating to me…mostly on an incredibly geeky scientific level.

So when my friend—author, photographer, and Master Storm Chaser Chris Kridler made an offhand remark last year about how I “should go chasing with her sometime,” I made sure she didn’t forget it. She said, if I was serious, I should block out the entire month of May.

May Chasing CalendarI’m pretty sure she didn’t think I was serious.

Chris (http://skydiary.com/) has 20+ years of storm chasing experience. I began calling myself her “Storm Chaser Apprentice,” which made her chuckle. (Expect that t-shirt to be made available on Amazon soon.)

But I want to be clear—I am not a risk taker. I am doing this for the science, and the experience. “Amateur Storm Chasers” are those yahoos that hear about a weather report and hop in the car armed with their phone and ZERO scientific equipment. I had a boyfriend convince me to take a ride like that once. ONCE. Driving blind into threatening cloud formations scared me half to death. Because IT IS A STUPID THING TO DO. DO NOT DO THIS THING.

I knew that if I ever went Storm Chasing again, I would do it right.

So here we are, on the cusp of May, and I am officially your Storm Chaser Princess of 2018, reporting for duty!

In the weeks to come, I’ll be posting all about my prep for storm chasing: everything from packing (t-shirts are so important!) to playlists and cameras and Trip Goals, to test runs, info about Chris, and advice she imparts to me as we gear up for the road.

I’ve been saving up money to cover food, gas, and hotels—if you’d like to throw a few bucks my way to help with any of this (or the occasional Starbucks), you can PayPal akontis at gmail or click the Donate button on the right.

If you’d like an All Access Pass to my daily Storm Chasing Diary and all my photos, go over to Patreon and become an official Patron of the Princess! Even a pledge of just $1 a month will grant you access!

If you can’t afford Patreon but still want to follow along, worry not—I’ll be posting some updates here and there, and on social media (FB Live is still a pretty great feature). I’ll definitely be making the occasional appearance in Chris’s photos and blogs. (You should bookmark her site  anyway, because TRUST ME…her photos are SO AMAZING.)

Plus, over on http://skydiary.com/tracking , you will be able to check in on us at any point when we’re on the road to see exactly where in the US we are at any given time! (More details on that later.)

As each day passes, I’m getting more and more excited. I’m looking forward to riding Shotgun with the Master…and having my Patrons right there with me in the front seat!

Chris says that Storm Chasing usually begins around second week in May, but she’ll be watching the skies. As soon as everything feels right, I get the call and we hit the road!

OMG I AM SO EXCITED YOU GUYS. Seriously. I want to start packing, like, now. And at this point in my career, I pretty much hate packing.

But I have to be ready to go. Because in May…THE CHASE IS ON!

xox
~Princess Alethea, Storm Chaser Apprentice

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