Monday, March 31, 2014

Monthlies: March '14

March over here at Young Yankee Lady.
My adorable little lamb, Bennet, just hours after being born, & Deanna and I at CAD.
In March:
-Welcomed in a little lamb! His name's Bennet; isn't he caaauuute?
-Met Ryan Bradley!
-Participated at 4-H County Activities Day.
-Had too much fun practicing the group routine for this year's spring skating show.
-Enjoyed the (slightly!) warmer weather.
-Did a lot of thinking about goals, lists, budgets, and the like.

Goals for April:
-Finish Fashion Revue garments.
-Land an axel. This will be a goal until it happens!
-Finish Biology, French, and Lit.
-Eat healthy.
-Apply for a job at the library.
-Figure out my spring skating schedule.
-Crunch some numbers.

Books read this month:
Blegh, I only finished one book this month. And it was required reading, so it almost doesn't count. I read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (reviewed it on Goodreads!), as well as the book of Proverbs for a church Bible reading challenge. :)

Reading goals for April:
I'd like to finish Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, as well as Conditioning for Figure Skating by Carl Poe. I'll also be reading The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway for school, and I hope to pick up The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.

Recent Favorites:
This floral dress,  and this Houndstooth dress from The College Prepster.
This gorgeous ensemble  from Shoeper Woman.
This'Good Looking Parents Lip Sync Love Is An Open Door' (can I be them when I grow up?!), and their lip sync for For the First Time in Forever,.
Can you tell I'm obsessed with Frozen? I love this Let It Go/Sherlock mashup.
This powerful photo.  I want to know more.

On the Blog:
Apparently, I was incapable of 'real' posts this month. Most of the time, I was simply catching up or just gushing. Ooops! I started off with a list of 8 recent happenings, then gushed about meeting Ryan Bradley. I followed that with a a letter to my followers, and then wrapped up with a post on things skaters know.

This was one of those months that just got away from me. Hopefully, I'll feel a little more productive at the end of April! Have a great rest of your Monday, guys. :)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Things Skaters Know

Skaters are sort of their own unique breed. Even living in New England, where EVERYONE has a pair of skates in their basement and makes at least one trek to the public skating session a winter, we're misunderstood. But to be honest, we are pretty confusing. Most people don't expect us, the pretty things in dresses with theatrical choreography, to also be muscular, bruised, and sore. Those that don't skate don't understand how mentally and physically tough you must be to skate.

Today's the close of a pretty good skating week. Going in, I was very pessimistic about it because they switched to the spring schedule, which means you get less time for more money, and often have to drive to lots of different rinks to get enough time. But I planned it out, and some how got to skate an extra hour than I usually get in a week. I also went and got my blades sharpened  yesterday. I had questions about my boot, as I've suspected it's been collapsing for a little while now, and sure enough, it's dying. Soon I'll have to buy a new pair, but these gave me two years, which is a pretty good run. AND he punched out the side of my current skate while I was there, so now I can skate without pain. :)

Anyway, with all these thoughts of skating lately, I was considering all the things that skaters know. And being me, I set out to make a list of all the surprising things skaters do, realize, and love. Figure Skaters: what do you think? Did I miss anything?

From never owning gloves that DON'T have holes, to just how addicted we are, there are certain things that only skaters know.

1.) Everyone has 'ugly skater feet'. With all the pounding, can you really expect anything less? When I bought my skates two years ago, I was a B width. Now, I'm a C width. Jumping has flattened my feet, not to mention my feet are weird and bumpy. But it's battle scars, and we're always proud of battle scars.

2.) Everything. Takes. So. Long. If we had to vote for hardest sport, I would definitely say figure skating, simply because it takes so stinkin' long to do anything. Pass a moves in the field test? MINIMUM five months. Perfect a routine? Who knows. Land an axel? Geez, how long have I been trying? Two years? Skating is frustrating because of the time it takes to get anywhere near good, and that is why so many people give up on it.

3.) Having a good sharpener is the next most important thing to having a good coach. Obviously, coaches take you far and push you and cheer for you. But a sharpener? They answer every question. They know everything about your skate just from looking at it. Yes, you will probably have to drive to find a good one. But they're worth it.

4.) No matter what you're parents told you, you will drive, and you will drive a lot. Mum always told me that I wouldn't drive until I was 18, because of how crazy other drivers are. But, I got my license at 16, and drove myself to the rink the day after I got it. Parents jump at the opportunity to NOT have to live at the rink anymore, and skaters love that they can (possibly) pick up more ice time. Win win.

5.) We have to show up everyday, because anything can happen in a day. You can land a new jump in one day. Something can 'click' in one day. You can restore faith in yourself in one day. Yes, it takes forever. But someday, there will be one day. We step on the ice with the hope that today, will be the day.

6.) Our version of 'not flexible' is different than everyone else's. We're used to continuous stretching, and we're used to seeing splits and 135's. We say we're not flexible, because we see so much flexibility.

7.) Peanut butter is your very best friend. I eat it every day, sometimes twice a day. Doesn't everybody?

8.) Sometimes, you'll just plateau for two months. Then you'll get worse for two weeks. And then you'll vastly improve all at once. Often, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to how we improve. Back to number 5, it's why showing up is so important. If we only skated when we were in the mood, we'd never improve. Anything can happen in a practice.

9.) Skaters need only one moment to re-commit to the sportRe-commitment to skating is a recurring theme on this blog, not because I ever actually consider quitting skating, but because it's so frustrating. We may be in a rut, feel small, and feel depressed and untalented, but give us one day, one gleam, one happy moment just to stroke and skate and smell the ice, and we will swear we'll never leave. One good practice, one good jump, one good chat with our coach, erases all the bad before it.

10.) Shows are always looked forward to, no exceptions. It could be the smallest show in the world,  with two people in the audience, and we wouldn't care. It's a SHOW.

11.) Everyone has been asked if they're going to the Olympics. And, everyone hates it. I mean, seriously. How do we say: "Uh, no, we're not. Not that good. Did you not notice all the single jumps?" in an intelligent way? It's just a bothersome question. WE ARE NOT ALL OLYMPIANS.

12.) We obsess over professional skaters like it's our job. You all remember my total fangirl moment over Ryan Bradley, right? We love skaters. (Almost) every one. And we'll read every scrap of interview, facebook post, or whatever else we can get. The best part? So many skaters are great about staying real, staying humble, and letting us know that they're human. And that makes their journeys, and joys, and successes all the more precious to us.

13.) There will be at least one person who you've known from the beginning. In my club, there are two girls my age, Caroline and Victoria, and we've skated together since we were 3 and 4. We've not always been the best of friends (but lately we've been super close), but we've always been there. We know when we fall. When we compete. Heck, we even know when the other got their blades sharpened last. The bond between skaters who start together is special. You're the only one that's seen every up and down, and you've both outlasted all the other wobbly three year-olds that started that day. You'll never forget that.

14.) That being said, skating is lonely. Skating's deeply personal, and therefore often kept private. Our doubts spring from worrying something's taking us longer than everyone else, that we're behind, or simply not as good as the girl who laces up next to us. While the loneliness isn't ideal, it makes for strong people. We're forced to learn how to be independent, how to thrive on it, and how to appreciate the connections we do have.

15.) We don't have sleepovers. If I had a dollar for everytime I said, "Sorry, can't, I have skating...", then I would NEVER have to say "Daddy, do you have a $20 for my coach..?" ever again.

16.) You will never have gloves WITHOUT holes in them. It's the skater's curse.

17.) We're all, quite simply, addicted. I've never met a skater who had stuck with it for a long time, and not been absolutely addicted to the sport. We have to be, otherwise, we'd simply be crazy. Our sport is hard, and frustrating, and still the most beautiful thing. We cherish it, and obsess over it, and never stop thinking about it. We would never dream of quitting, because what could life possibly be without skating? What would we do all day? Is their life without skating?

There, friends, is what we skaters know. But what did I leave out?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

22 Of You!

Guess what, guys? Between Google Friend Connect and Bloglovin', there are 22 of you!

While I know in blogland that's not considered a lot, and those of you with your own blogs are probably snickering at me, I'm still really excited. 22 people, interested in me? In my writing? Dare I say my life?

And what's especially interesting, is that I don't know most of you in real life. I know some of you, but not the majority. Who would have thought?

I'm not going to lie, though. I wasn't one of those bloggers who started blogging 'for me', and therefore was completely surprised when I had some followers. Nope. Right from the start, I wanted to be successful. And go viral. And be looked to for all manners of advice, much like a Miss Manners or Emily Post. That was during my Snobby Starting Stage, you see, when my voice sounded like a 60 year old British woman from the Edwardian era. I'm not linking back to those posts simply because I don't want you reading them. Pretend there's not an archive directly to your right.

Anyways, I think we're all thankful I'm out of that stage, right? Over time, blogging has become more of a 'for me' thing. I love that my writing has gotten a lot better, that I've learned how to take decent outfit photos, that I now have a 'record' of my life, and even that my personal style has evolved, simply because I blog. Visiting with you guys every weekend, and thinking during the week about what I want to tell you, is special to me. So while blogging's become more 'for me', YOU have always become more important to me. Right now, I'm not as interested in getting tons of followers, but rather getting to know the ones I have. Blogging's all about community and connection, and the fact that you've bothered following me, tells me we must have something in common!

The best perk of having a smaller following is that I get to stalk each and every one of you (creepy, I know). And so, here you guys are:

We have my friend and first follower, Mikaela, who writes an awesome blog about being a Biathlon/Nordic skier.

We have Shinay Key, Christianna (gorgeous name, btw), Ariel, and Katie, and, er, Katie (HI!!!).

Then there's Emily of Emily's Vintage Visions, Tory of A Splash of Red, and Katie Louise (I love two part names!) of the the beauty blog, Katie Louise.

Let's not forget Veronica from A Country Victorian, Sunny from A Splash of Ink, Brona Joy (another lovely two-part name!) of Brona's Books, and Victoria (hi! you're an IRL person!) from Miss Wfle.

Also, here's a shout out to Mary and Lenaye, both in-real-life folks who are brave enough to also know me on the internet, and Natalya, who I do not know but whose name I want.

Then there are people on Bloglovin', who I don't stalk, because I don't have Bloglovin', and therefore can't.
:(  But I KNOW you're here, because you COMMENT, and I LOVE you. You should shamelessly link to yourselves in the comments, so I can actually put a face to your names.

Then there are the ever-supportive real life people, who I know come to my blog every now and then, and are always supportive. There's Deanna who blogs over at Time Lady Geek, Caleb, Bailey (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!), Mum, Dad, Aunt Sheila, and (last but not least!) the ever amazing Emily (who NEEDS to write her own fashion blog).

Hi guys. Thanks for being here. Thanks for reading. You mean an awful lot to me. I mean, WHY are you interested in actually reading this blog? I'm well aware there are bigger, larger, more regularly posting ones out there. But you're HERE (you might be THERE, too, I have no idea. I'm not that much of a stalker!). Just know that I don't take you for granted, and even though I'm only here once a week, I still love getting to know you guys.

I like to think that this blog gives something to you guys. Maybe a laugh, maybe encouragement, maybe thankfulness that you aren't as crazy as me. That's why I've switched from my weird, snobby do-things-this-way blog to a (hopefully!) more genuine, personal blog. But I've got to ask; is what I'm writing actually helpful to you guys? Why do you follow me?

As you probably know, I'm incapable writing blog posts that don't contain lists. So, here's what I'm asking you to do: which of these potential post titles jump out to you? What makes you want to read it? And here's the thing: for each and every one of you that comments with your pick, I WILL write that post. Maybe next week. Maybe three months from now. Maybe next year. But it WILL be written.

Here we go!

Driving With Gillian.

That Time I Lost Two Bras and a Bikini (I promise it's less scandalous than you think). 

Blue and Black DO go together.

Things My Family Says

Coffee Shop Adventuring  This has the potential for a post series!

Things 12 year-old me would be surprised about

Things Skaters Know

Why It's Awesome to be a Vintage Girl

Why Saying No is Saying Yes

A Day in the Life

I'll Wear You 'Till You Die

Yoga Poses for the splits

What's In My Skating Bag?

The Heels Question

Swoon-worthy Voices

Sanity Keepers

From the Boys As in, I'd get the guys I'm friends with to guest post as an ongoing-series-ish-thing. (Hi guys!)

So, what was your favorite? Was I too creepy with my naming you all? What do YOU want me to post about?

Happy Saturday!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

That Time I Met Ryan Bradley...

You will NEVER GUESS what happened this week.

I was at the rink on Wednesday, as usual, for the 2-hour morning session. I had just finished my on-ice warm up, and was stroking around before starting in on Moves. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but.....

Two guys. A younger guy, and another who was a little bit older. I was curious, because there's never anyone new at this session, so who could it possibly be?

As I took another lap, I could see the younger guy's face. This little noise went off in my brain, like, "Hey. That's Ryan Bradley." I couldn't trust myself to be sure, though. I mean, Ryan Bradley? In NH? At this rink, of all places? Whhhuuuut?

I kept practicing while they put their skates on, and after awhile, went over to the boards for a drink of water. One of the coaches was like, "Gillian, have you ever met Doug?" Nodding to the guy with supposed-Ryan.

"No," I said, "But I've seen him here before."

"Well," she said, "he's here with Ryan Bradley today to choreograph for Stars on Ice."

And there we have it, confirmed! Of course, my first reaction was Whoo! Called it! Nailed it! I'm sooo good!

But then my reaction was WAIT A SECOND....You are skating on the same ice with Ryan Bradley. Ryan. Bradley. RYAN BRADLEY!

And this is where I pause my fascinating narrative, to make sure people actually know who Ryan Bradley is. If you already know, then GREAT! Please don't feel that I'm insulting your's just that none of the rink staff, none, knew who he was and that's just wrong. How can you not know that you have a NATIONAL CHAMPION in your midst?!

Sorry about the photo quality. I can't find a good one to save my life.
Because, yeah. Ryan Bradley's biggest thing is becoming the men's National Champion in 2011. I love the story of his journey, how some years he didn't even make it from sectionals, and then other years he won big. You can read more about him here, but suffice it to say that he's adorable, sweet, talented, and simply cool. He lands his quad jumps with ease, and did a lot more quads than other guys when he was competing. He's a fantastic entertainer, and really plays to the crowd when he skates.

Oh, did I mention he does backflips? Yeah. It's amazing. More on that later.

Suffice it to say, I was extremely distracted the entire practice (don't worry, I still worked hard....). After we got off, I of course ran over with my skating journal and asked for his autograph. Want to know how awkward I was? Of course you do:

ME: *awkwardly walk up*

RYAN: *awkwardly look up*

ME:*talking to choreographer* Hi, I'm Gillian. Just wanted to introduce myself.

CHOREOGRAPHER: Okay, you probably want to talk to him.

ME: Hi. You're gorgeous (don't worry, I actually said 'you're skating's gorgeous') My grandmother would die if she knew I met you.

RYAN: Well, we don't want that!

ME: Can I have your autograph?

RYAN: Sure! Here you go, sweetie.

ME: *silently dies inside*

And the rest of the day, it was all my family heard about. And I was in an abundantly good mood. And I looked like this:

But wait, there's more!

He was there on Friday, too.





As was my friend, so of course there was lots of teasing and giggling the entire time. The best part? He did a backflip right next to us. My friend's back was to him, though, so when he landed it with a big CLAP she jumped six feet in the air, not even kidding.

She jumped so high, she probably could have done one of his quads, right then and there.

She told him that, later. And he laughed and smiled and walked away as quickly as he could. Then we commenced planning my figure skater wedding. We're doing a pairs skating routine instead of simply walking up the isle, obviously. It will be amazing. You're all invited.

So yeah, it was a pretty good week. :D

Ryan Bradley figure skater autograph via Young Yankee Lady

Please fangirl with me!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

TYG: A List of 8

There are some days when it's really hard to write, even though I have tons I want to say. And I know you aren't supposed to publish a blog post until it's 'perfect', and that you must make sure to always blog quality blogginess, and stuff people actually want to read, but I have a feeling that's not actually going to happen today.

But you see, I love posting every week. I want to connect with people through my blog...and you can't do that with sparse posting. So! Here are some ancient outfit photos, and a list of random thoughts/happenings of this weekend. Don't say I don't love you.

1.) First off, 4-H CAD was yesterday! My speech was on scoring for figure skating, and my demonstration was on yoga poses for the splits. Anybody interested in details? I may or may not share them. We'll see. I hate commitment.

2.) It has been WARM (think 50's)! I've hopefully retired my trench coat, and have instead been wearing my Bilbo Jacket, which is corduroy and awesome. The sun is coming through the windows and it actually looks and is perhaps starting to smell like spring.

I wish I knew what I was thinking here.
3.) After CAD, our club met at this Italian place Milo's for lunch/supper. Or lupper. Seriously, hanging out with our group is the best. Nothing beats the brother/sister love we all have for each other. They're the best. I gush about them here, too. In case you want more.

4.) That night, we went to a dance (yeah, a super busy day) which was AWESOME because two of my friends were making the DJing debut. :) Did I mention I love my friends?

5.) After church, my cousin, brother, and I relaxed and watched Frozen. Yeah. I'm in love. With everything, but specifically Kristoff. I mean, he's seriously competing with Prince Eric right now.

6.) And no, these photos do NOT represent what it looks like outside right now. These were taken in January, and thankfully, we don't have THAT MUCH snow anymore.

7.) Let It Go is my new theme song for my skating goals. I don't know why, but it is. It's inspiring!

8.) As I'm writing, we're watching The Amazing Race. This season is, err, amazing. I'm routing for the O'Leary's, a.k.a. the father and son team, a.k.a. The Boy With Amazing Hair and His Dad.

9.), Okay, so this just happened and I have to tell you. The Country Girls, a.k.a. the most annoying, helpless all-girl team, are building a raft. One of them just said, 'We're Like Huck Finn and Oliver Twist!" ??????

Happy Sunday, ladies (and gents?). I'll be back next weekend!

Previously Worn: Toile pencil skirt, #1, #2, #3, #4, #5. Black blouse, #1, #2. Pirate boots, #1, #2, #3.

Outfit Details: Toile pencil skirt / / thrifted, camel sweater / / gift (jc penny's), blouse / / thrifted, tights / / george via walmart, boots / / hand me down.

Like what you see? Check out the rest of my Thrifty Yankee Girl posts!