Saturday, August 29, 2015

Junior Moves in the Field

USFSA Junior Moves in the Field Test Figure Skating Recap.

This past Tuesday, I tested Junior Moves in the Field. I passed! Going into this test was a rather last minute decision. The consistency wasn't quite where we wanted it to be, but seeing as there really wasn't anything in September, we decided to take the risk and go for it. A huge motivator for me was my desire to officially be a 'Junior Lady' in moves before TOI Boston tryouts in September. Plus, I've been working on these patterns since I passed Novice in December, so I was very ready to move on!

Day of the test went pretty well. There were (as always!) timing issues concerning the judges and stuff, so we actually ended up getting a longer warm-up, so that was nice. The first pattern, Outside Rockers, was alright but rather slow. Not okay, since this test is all about power! On the Inside Rockers and Power Pulls I was able to pick up my speed, and I kept it throughout the test, especially with the Step Sequence (my favorite!).

My edges weren't great on the Choctaw and my back loops got a little bit off-track, so when the judges didn't let me off the ice immediately my coach and I thought I'd have to re-skate one of those. We were super surprised when they called me over and had me re-do the Outside Rockers! Their main complaint with those was my speed. I was so surprised that they wanted to see that again...instead of my Choctaw...that I just went and powered through the pattern without much nerves.

Truth be told, I passed by the skin of my teeth (total needed is a 24.0...I got two 24.0's and a 24.1), but I passed. I skated my best that day, and did a better job of presenting each element and acting like I was a mature, Junior Lady (which I've had trouble with in the past!). Highlight of the day was definitely one of the judges telling me that my step sequence was 'the best phrased she had ever seen.' Eeep! My coach and I worked really hard on the placement of that pattern, so that's exciting!


Skating, while being a source of so much joy, and purpose, and fulfillment for me, has also given me my fair share of doubt and frustration. I have always worried about the legitimacy of what I'm doing, since I've never really competed. And I've always felt 'wrong' that I was such a late-bloomer to the testing world (I didn't test my Pre-Pres until my Freshman year. I know).

But, this week I've been taking some time to just appreciate how far I've come. Back in the spring of my freshman year, I passed my first three tests: Pre-Preliminiary MIF, Preliminary MIF, and Pre-Preliminary Freeskate, all in the same day. Since then, I've gone on to pass the next five MIF tests and 3 freeskate tests within my time in high school. This time last year, it would be another two months before I tried (and failed) Novice for the first time. Now, I've passed Novice and Junior.

I am very proud of what I've been able to accomplish on the ice. It's taken me awhile, but I've finally realized that we all have our own path...and the bumps in my road just add to my story. This time next year, I have a very good chance of having passed my Senior MIF. And that is something to be proud of.

I am a very goal-oriented person, but I often get too wrapped up in the end-goal. I can get frustrated by the process, and forget how far I've come. In many ways, I feel like my skating journey is just beginning, and I've got a huge list of things I want to do. But I need to be better at reminding myself how far I've come, if only to gain inspiration as to where I'll be in another four years.

A new season, a new test to work on. No baggage. The road ahead looks very, very bright today.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Phrase A Day v. 1

The other day, I went to Target. And bought underwear and sticky notes. And somehow ended up paying 50 bucks (ummm, what???).

But the day was not a total failure, because I found this sweet little card-flip-book-thing:

How to make a phrase a day mini journal from Young Yankee Lady

It's actually just a really simple stack of note cards, strung on a clip, from Myndology. But it was cheap enough, and I couldn't not get it, so here we are.

I was debating what to do with it, and tossed around a ton of ideas before deciding to make a phrase-a-day journal! Basically, every night you just sum up your day in one simple phrase/word/sentence. I've done versions in my regular planners/journals before, without a lot of consistency, but I still liked the concept. So, this time around I'm going to try and make it last!

And as sort of a weekly re-cap, I'm going to post all the cards from the past week every Friday. It will be very minimalist, not too deep, but still a fun way to celebrate the start of the weekend!

How to make a phrase a day mini journal from Young Yankee Lady
How to make a phrase a day mini journal from Young Yankee Lady
How to make a phrase a day mini journal from Young Yankee Lady
How to make a phrase a day mini journal from Young Yankee Lady
How to make a phrase a day mini journal from Young Yankee Lady
How to make a phrase a day mini journal from Young Yankee Lady
How to make a phrase a day mini journal from Young Yankee Lady
How to make a phrase a day mini journal from Young Yankee Lady

My journal is super simple: I wrote a little cover page, then I just write the date and my phrase on each card. I'm wondering if this is too minimalist, and if I should start writing a few things I'm grateful for on the back of each card...or something...but I'm not sure. Thoughts?

How to make a phrase a day mini journal from Young Yankee Lady

Also, the possibilities for this type of notepad are endless! Here are some other ideas I had:

+Quote flip book.
+Traditional, epic flip book with sketches (but this one's too thick for that to work well).
+Gratitude list.
+Write down 'successes' to pull out and read when you're feeling down.
+Boredom Book (to remind yourself of all the better things you could be doing).
+Favorites Book. Randomly list out favorites in any category, one prompt per card!

Do you mini-journal? What are your ideas?

Happy Friday! xoxo

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Believe In Yourself

Lately, I've been thinking about the term 'believe in yourself'.

I think--as a society--we overuse it. I feel like we've gotten away from it's meaning, it's power, it's validity. We tend to roll it off of our tongues as a quippy, be-all, end-all whenever anyone starts talking about dreams and goals.

But just telling someone to believe in themselves doesn't equip them with what it actually means to do that.

I am not going to lie. Right now, life has me scared, and stressed, and a little overwhelmed. I am very happy and excited for the future....but am also nervous for how things will work out. Keeping myself sane, inspired, and on-track is taking a lot of focus. But really, I think that's the key. We aren't going to stay inspired unless we actively seek inspiration. We won't achieve unless we actively pursue achievement. You have to empower your mind.

I read a great thing the other day about being a friend to yourself. Typically, that's the message plastered across body-positive posts....but it, too, means so much more. Being a friend to yourself means being gentle with yourself, but also knowing when to be really, really bossy and force yourself to get things done. Being a friend to yourself means acknowledging your insecurities....but also acknowledging when they're unfounded. Friends push us, challenge us, demand the best of us, believe in us.  Being a friend to ourselves involves the same things.

Believe in yourself.

Listen to what your 'self', soul, body, mind, is telling you.
Trust that you are real, and valid.
Have faith in your ideas, work ethic, dreams.

Believe in yourself so fiercely, everyone else can't help but believe in you, too.

Don't worry about other people. But give them something amazing to watch.
Don't undermine your dreams, goals, to-do lists.
Talk freely about what you want from life.

Be so good they can't ignore you.

Commit to excellence. Every day.
Be great in your own unique way.
Have faith that the process will get you there.
Work tirelessly for your vision.

Happy Tuesday! xoxo

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Three Attitudes

One thing I've learned this year is the importance of focusing on (and actively choosing) our attitudes. I definitely believe that we have more power over our thoughts than we usually give ourselves credit for. It's really, really easy to get swept up in negativity and doubt when things go wrong...but, we do have the choice to resist it.

I joke about how I have no will will power. Like, zip. Like, I'm talking about eating healthier while pouring myself a handful of chocolate chips. But really, I do have it. We all have it. I just need to be better about choosing it.

So whether you're going back to school, heading into the workforce, or doing any other number of inspiring, go-getter life things this season, here are three attitudes to keep you going strong.

Trust the process // This is actually a takeaway from the book Creativity Inc.; Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull, which I read in June. The book talks about the history and process behind Pixar Animation, but there is so, so much that is applicable to all creative lives.

When Pixar is working on a new story, they don't always get it right right from the start. Often, they'll know something is off...but they can't figure out what. But rather than giving up, they keep working through the steps, fixing little things and trying others, and eventually, the problem is found and a great story created. But they have to let go of understanding everything, and simply trust that the process will get them there.

It's important to 'trust the process' in our own lives. Keep going. Keep working. Keep focused. And eventually, the process will lead you to the destination. Sure, we don't always know what that destination is. But chances are, it will be better than what we initially set out to do.

No need for permission // This is huge for me. I get very wrapped up in what people will do/think/say/want....and it's just not good.

Should we be kind to people? Yes. Should we be helpful to others? Yes. Should we reach out? Yes. But should we base our personal life decisions off the opinions of everyone we meet, or trudge through doubt simply because a stranger pointed out an insecurity? No. Definitely not.

We don't always have to wait for permission. People aren't going to walk up to you and hand you a personalized life plan. You have to get up and make things happen. So ask for things! Seek out your own opportunities! Make your own game plan!

Life is waking up an hour earlier to live an hour longer // To me, this one is all about saying yes. Pushing yourself. Not settling for what feels nice, or is comfortable for a time. But instead, making active decisions that lift us up and make us better.

Self-sabotage is a real thing. So often, we give ourselves mental blocks like 'I'm not good enough' 'I'm not ready yet' 'I have nothing to contribute.' But that's crap. We have to get up and create our lives--our contributions--and start putting them out into the world, because starting is the only way we'll meet our goals.

Who's pumped for this new season?

Happy Tuesday! xoxo

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Goals for the 'New' Year

20 Goals for the 'New' Year from Young Yankee Lady. Figure skating goals, work goals, and personal/mental goals from an 18 year-old.

I've been talking a little more lately about this new, extremely exciting post-grad life. But, I've not done a very good job of painting a full picture of it, so I thought I'd share the current goals I'm working towards. To save this post from being way too all over the place, I've categorized them.

Personal Training:

1.) Testing Junior Moves in the Field (hopefully by the end of the month). Super excited, since this is the second to last MIF test and I've been working on it since December.

2.) Land a double salchow and a double loop. They've been so much closer lately! I've been attempting them every single time I'm on the ice, and I'm really starting to feel 'ready'.

3.) Take jump lessons. I've been toying with the idea of getting an additional coach just for jumping, since my coach and I already have so much to work on, and I really think I want to give it a try.

4.) TOI Boston tryouts in September. I skated with TOI Boston last year and I'm really looking forward to skating with them this year! Last year I was on the Junior level team Ovation, and this year I'm tryout out for the senior level team Act 1.

5.) Daily yoga practice. I've gotten so out of the practice with yoga, and I'm really missing it. I'm going to try and be more conscientious about doing it everyday, since I notice such a big difference when I do. I'm also excited to be working on inversions! I've almost got a forearm headstand figured out!

6.) Off-ice training. Honestly, I've lost a lot of strength and endurance this summer (I blame asthma. But it's really just me being lazy). I'm getting gym membership, and am going to start 'real' workouts soon. I'm thinking mostly strength training with the machines (particularly upper body/core), and I'm going to meet with the gym trainer to figure it out. Kinda nervous, since I've never done the gym thing before, but I think it will help a lot!

Coaching & Work:

7.) Finish registering as a Basic Skills Instructor. I want to finish this THIS WEEK, and start sending out resumes/applications to local rinks.

8.) This isn't really a goal, but I'm training to be an assistant at my 'job' now. I work at a grocery store, so as an assistant I get to walk around and make voids and stuff. It's a change of pace.

9.) Sell stuff online. I've got so many school books, sewing patterns, and vintage clothes from that full-immersion phase that I want to sell online. I've been feeling very claustrophobic from all the clutter lately, plus I want to make this my 'save' money.


10.) Start eating better. I honestly feel like I have a food crisis every six months, but I'm having a really hard time feeling full and not shaky lately, even when I've supposedly eaten 'enough'. I want to be better about watching what I eat, and especially eating more fiber and protein verses carbs, and see if it goes away.

11.) Be a better emailer. Enough said.

12.) Post here twice a week. My goal is every Tuesday and Saturday, but seeing I'm posting this on a Sunday, we'll see how that goes....

13.) Backup everything on laptop, and buy a new laptop. My poor baby is ready to die and it's depressing.

Mind Games:

14.) Go on real self-dates. Get comfortable with alone time. Enjoy it.

15.) Take more chances, stop overthinking.

16.) Be an initiator when making plans with friends.

17.) Practice gratitude.

18.) Worry less about what people think.

19.) Stand up for myself more (and trust myself more).

20.) Don't get in my own way. Don't be lazy. Don't be dumb. Don't be fearful.

What are your goals and plans for the 'new' year?

Happy Sunday! xoxo

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Plant Your Own Gardens

One day, you're 16 and you're boring holes in the back of the head of the cutest guy in driver's ed. And you're watching all the couples and all the flirtations in the room, feeling completely outside of it.

Then one day, you're 17 and you're distraught over a date with a guy who likes you but you...don't.

And then, you're 18, and you've dated 3 guys since Christmas. And you can never decide if that number's big or small, and you never got official, so maybe they don't even count.

And you learn that the off-times between dates are so much lonelier than all the off-time a year ago. A simple case of not knowing what you're missing till you've had it, I guess. And you dig up insecurities you'd thought you'd buried. And you question things you'd always taken for granted. And you find out it's so much harder to make real-life, real-time decisions about things you've previously only thought about hypothetically.

And you find that your heart jumps from very high highs, to very low lows, very quickly. And you find your happiness too dependent on the speed of text-backs. And you actually start to question if setting out with hope, and focused on the best outcome, is the way to go about it. And you hate that you have to think that.

And in a multitude of little ways, you loose yourself. It's been a whirlwind, and we're only 8 months into 2015.

But it's okay that you went a little crazy, because you came back and found a better version of the girl you used to be. And you learned to judge more by actions than words, and how to laugh off lame excuses as a reflection of them, not you.

And you find peace. Since you don't remember when, you find peace, and soak it up. You come back to what you love and you decide to dig yourself deeper. You crave quiet time with just your thoughts, and journal entries and walks and all the things you had stopped making time for. And you realize the absolute, obvious truth that your life is yours. And that is so exciting!

So what will it hold? You can build it from scratch. What will you eat for breakfast? What will you pursue? What will you save money towards? What will you let slide? The idea of independence invades every one of your goals. You start craving your own space. Your own experiences. Your own, personal, coffee dates. And with a dark green car, and a bright green wallet, possibility is at your fingertips.

And you become so enamored with the idea of crossed off goals, new pursuits, new planners, new phases, that you're happy to leave old baggage behind. You crave presence and commitment, dreams and hope, faith and positivity. So you start chasing those things yourself. Because you're the best at filling your own voids.


Happy Tuesday! xoxo

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

New Journal, New Season

Thoughts on new journals and the seasons of life from Young Yankee Lady.

This week, I cracked open a brand new journal. It's journal #5.

Journal #1 had cats on it and was stolen from my grandmother. It was very much a little girl's diary, filled with bad handwriting and what I did that day lots of KEEP OUTS!!!! in big letters.

Journal #2 was Tinker Bell themed and bought at Disney World. I used it from roughly 3rd grade through 7th, and it's the first journal I wrote consistently in.

Journal #3 was hot pink, but I loved it anyways. It carried me through a huge transition in freshman year, to finally settling in to a great place in junior year. But the Gillian in it sounds so naive when I read it now, even though I was writing in it this time last year.

Journal #4, my most recent and most treasured. It's the first journal I did everything in, rather than switching out for different types of things like I used to. It holds weekly to-do lists, shopping lists, four-page-long tributes to love, and lots (and lots and lots) of, "I need to pull myself together"s.

It's sat on the boards of many different rinks. Bounced in my purse at work. Been stuffed in a duffle bag at Nationals and TC and Missouri. I started it on November 14, 2014. It only took me 8 months and 19 days to fill it.

But having it for such a short time really high-lights how much has changed since last year. Senior year brought a lot of unexpected things. Some were good, some were bad, but I've learned more about myself in the past 8 months than I have in a while.

Last year, I didn't know if I'd been placed on a team.
Last year, I still felt awkward at work.
Last year, I hadn't been kissed.
Last year, I hadn't landed an axel.
Last year, I couldn't navigate the highway by myself.

A lot happens in a year.

I have a theory about the seasons of life. I feel like we go through a season of striving and struggling, of trying to just to make things work and find rhythm and make progress. And we find it, eventually! And start a new season, where we bask in the sunshine and our work, school, or training flows and we easily make progress in this comfortable spot we've found.

And then, things collapse. Nothing works anymore, and we have to start climbing again to figure out where we need to be. And while that climb is uncomfortable, it's where the growth happens. When we've grown all we can for a time, we're allowed to plateau and rest (and things are easy). Then, when we've started to rest too long, we're thrown again into the struggle so we can grow again.

I don't know if anyone else finds this to be true with them, but to me, it's very comforting. Since the start of the year, I'd say I've been in a climb. I've questioned a lot of things I've never questioned before, gotten off-track, and had trouble thinking clearly about anything.

But I think I'm coming out of it, and I can't wait to fill Journal #5 with a new season. A season of exploring, pushing boundaries, and trying new things. A season of learning to be a better friend, and reaching out more. A season of independence and crossed off goals. And, hopefully, a season of hope, finding rhythm, and making progress.

Happy Tuesday! xoxo

Saturday, August 1, 2015

June & July

Not gonna lie, this summer has been all over the place. I feel like I haven't even been home for half of it! I'm honestly flipping through my calendar right now to even remember what happened in June and July.

In June, I....

...became a commuter and got comfortable with highway driving going to different rinks...

...Attended a Lady's Day at church that was beyond inspiring...

...Skated at Theater on Ice Nationals, in Hyannis, Massachusetts...

Image credit Katherine Vitaro.
...We placed 5th overall in Junior!...

...Mum and I celebrated with a huge stack of pancakes at IHop...

...I attended my last NH 4-H Teen Conference ever (tears)...

In July, I...

...Roadtripped to visit family in Missouri!...

...Went to Cedar Point, Ohio, and rode the world's tallest roller coaster!...

...In Missouri, played in a human foosball tournament...

...And got to connect with cousins we don't see often enough!...

...A week after coming home, I had my graduation party (where multiple people made me cry)...

...And I bought my first car!...

...And I've spent the rest of my time re-arranging my room, getting back into skating, working and journaling/goal setting....

August is very much an at-home, get organized, get going month to set me up for this 'next phase of life' deal. Here's some goals and things coming up:

1. Go to Boston Comic-Con with Dia

2. Take (and pass) my Junior Moves in the Field test.

3. Go through certification and application process for Basic Skills coaching.

4. Figure out other job/project applications/schedules.

5. Organize my school stuff, sell off books, and finish transcript.

6. Land a double salchow and double loop.

7. Create a better routine and rhythm. 

8. Do some last-of-summer things, like a beach day, amusement park, ice cream, and smores!

9. Start weight training! At a gym!

Thanks for reading, and sticking around for the last two months while I was more inconsistent than I would like! Right now, my blogging goal is posting every Tuesday and Saturday, and I'm really looking forward to getting back in a rhythm. If you'd like a recap of our July Everyday Geek challenge, here's a list of my favorite posts from Dia and here's the list of favorites I wrote.

Happy Weekend! xoxo