Saturday, March 16, 2019

March Check-In


Have been wanting to break back into blogging, and thought I'd start with a little check-in. Thanks for reading, guys! I want to be here more often again.

Writing From:

Miami, FL! I'm here for a short skating contract. I've never been to Miami before, so I'm enjoying experiencing a new place. Our cast is staying in two apartments, six people in each, so it's a bit tight. Everyone is so nice that it's not a big deal, though.

Skating:

As I said, I'm currently on a contract! The show runs about a half-hour, and we're doing 3-4 every day. It's a fun, energetic show to skate. We just opened this weekend, but I'm looking forward to getting back into my own practice again in a few days.

Over the past two months, I'd worked a lot on my jumps. Definitely want to keep the progress up, and keep chasing my double-loop.


Reading:

Currently, I'm in the middle of Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and am LOVING yet. Definitely recommend to anyone that perks up at the words "sweeping multi-generational novel". I want to do a reading update soon, because I've actually done some great reading this winter. A few weeks ago I finished Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mendal, and I'm planning to start re-reading Tolkien's The Return of the King once I finish Pachinko.

Working On:

Before I left home, I was putting a ton of effort into growing my student-base as a skating coach. I made some good progress, and loved every second of teaching, so I'm excited to be home again and get to pursue that more.

Otherwise, I've been spending a good amount of time working on my writing and applying to different blogging positions and freeelance gigs. Excited to see where that goes!

Eating:

A lot, haha. Since I'm in the show right now, meals have been a lot of scrambled eggs, salads, fruits, and anything sustaining but healthy. I've been topping it off with a bit too much wine. Oh, and we had some great sushi the other day!

There's also a really cute tea shop a five minute walk from our venue, so I'm excited to start walking there more often. They sell Bobba tea, which I haven't tried yet but definitely want to! While here in Miami, I'm excited to get some Cuban coffee, and try some aerapas.


Trying:

-To get back into running!
-Not to worry if Chris and I don't call every night.
-To be a good roommate.
-To make baked oatmeal (hopefully this weekend!).
-Essential oils! Currently using Bergamont in the mornings, and Vetiver before bed.

Looking Forward To:

A beach day on our first day off, Chris visiting and getting to explore with him, hearing back from different shows and writing gigs I've applied to, and skating for myself again soon. Also, Chris and I have been making plans to camp a lot this summer, so I'm excited for that!



This time last year:

I spent a weekend in Burlington, VT for a Theater on Ice critique with my team. I was getting more comfortable working at Home Ice. And I started rehearsals with AIT Boston.

Amazing to look back and realize how much I was hustling to be as big a part of the skating world as possible, and a year later I'm in my second professional show. It really is the work you put in.

Thanks for reading! 
Be the grittiest xoxo.

PS-check out my new skating reel!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Showgirl Things #1

The best part of this photo is our reflections in the ice!!
I have now been in Orlando for 41 days, and have performed in 30 shows. We are currently in the middle of a few days off before this Friday (December 14), when we start having shows every day through New Year's. We have 37 shows left!

Because of all the thoughts this new experience has spurred, I thought it would be fun to start a small blog series to record the things I learn, notice, and try throughout different contracts. Welcome to Showgirl Things #1!

So what have I learned, after a month and a half, my first rehearsal process, and doing the same half hour show several times a night? That this world is a weird little world of it's own, and I've still got so much to learn.

There are no topics off-limits in a dressing room. Before and between shows, our topics of conversation have included: boyfriends, periods, sex, sloths, ingrown hairs, our weirdest pimples, toe hair, wine, beer, places to drink wine and beer, church, marriage, plus lots of personal stories of struggle and family and what's coming next. The good, the bad, and the ugly; if you're thinking about it, it's okay to talk about it.

Speak Up. Despite how it felt (for me) at first, it is NOT embarrassing to admit you didn't hear what the choreographer said, or didn't understand a note, or something on your costume broke, or you're costume is uncomfortable, or you actually can't do what they're asking you to. It is embarrassing to NOT say something and then, later, be dealing with not knowing the steps, making the same mistake, dealing with a costume that doesn't work, or constantly missing an element. Be honest, and speak up for yourself.

Listen to everyone who tells you to buy Biofreeze and ice your feet. Rehearsal Day 1, I was told to ice my feet and ankles. I ignored them, because "I've had long practices before" and "we weren't even jumping". By Day 3, I was sitting with a bucket of ice every night and looking forward to it. Get ahead of it! Prevent injury! Help your muscles recuperate!



Modesty is overrated. The first time you see people chilling without clothes, it will be weird. But the second? Meh. No one is looking at you. So take off your bra and towel the sweat off. You'll feel much better.

Be a whole person. If skating is your job, then you have to find something else to bring you joy. Host move nights. Be the one that always brings food. Start a new hobby. But make sure you have interests other than skating.

Pre-Set Leaving For The Night. Every night, we pre-set our costumes for quick changes. It only took me a month and a half, but I finally realized how the veterans get out so quickly at night: they pre-set leaving. So now, before the last show, I put my makeup away, lay out the clothes I'm changing into, fill my water bottle, and try to get things ready to go. It makes it much easier to deal with packing up while sweaty and tired when half of it is done.

Don't gossip. Don't give notes. I love talking. It's hard to keep my mouth shut. The people I see here who have accomplished the most in their skating careers don't bad mouth other skaters or choreographers or producers, don't give notes, don't blame, and our very selective about who they vent to.

Sleep In (Not Always). Since we're all in evening shows, I've been sleeping a lot. And enjoying it. But! Don't squander the opportunity for growth. This contract is pretty sweet in that the schedule is definitely not crazy. So, I've been trying to use my free time to get better at yoga, run and do pilates more often, journal, and find work for when this is done! Explore. Workout. Cook. Read. It's so much more fun to be busy.

You were hired because you deserve this. So focus on what you need to do. I have definitely found myself acting embarrassed while on practice ice because I was working on jumps that I can't land, and was worried other skaters were judging me. But, firstly, that's almost definitely all in my head and, secondly, who cares? We were hired for the same job. We all have different strengths. Working on hard things make you better. Don't avoid that just to look good.



Find moments to really appreciate what's happening. So, yes. It's the same show, twice a night. Some nights go better than others. But the last thing I want, is for this incredible opportunity, that I've dreamed of and worked towards for so long, to start to feel stale. This is the only advice on this list that is coming directly from me, and isn't something I've stolen from another cast member: find a spot to just be grateful. In our finale, the music starts to crescendo as we skate to our final poses, they start shooting off fireworks from the lake our stage is in front of (!!), and together we stop and start spinning before hitting our final pose. During that stop, I look straight up, really watch the fireworks, and really see the magic of the moment and what we're doing, and with all the stress lifted because the show is practically over, I think about how amazing it is that this is my job. This little moment feels very meditative. I recommend finding one for whatever your day-to-day is.

I am really loving it here! I've learned so much, and I actually felt at home fairly quickly. I want more of this in my future, that's for sure.

Thanks for reading! Be the grittiest.
xoxo Gillian

Monday, November 5, 2018

Change is good! Adventure is good!

From my run Saturday morning.
Today, I'm writing this blog post from the couch of my hotel room in Orlando, Florida. Yesterday, we started rehearsals for Sea World's Winter Wonderland on Ice. So begins, then, my first contract as a professional figure skater (!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

After attending the ProSkaters Open Auditions in Sun Valley, Idaho, this past July, I ended up getting cast as a member of the ensemble for the holiday shows at Sea World. I've known I had the offer since about mid-August, and I officially signed my contract in September.

And guys, I am freaking out. This has been my dream for years. Getting skating to the point where it can be a career has always been what I wanted, but as recently as a few months ago, that dream seemed unattainable and far-fetched. So now to be here, a paid member of a holiday show cast, sharing the ice as an equal with skaters I admire? INCREDIBLE.

Things are going pretty good so far. The entire month of October, I worked really hard to fight down my anxiety over the contract. I'm actually pretty confident about the skating side of things, because I feel like I'm pretty good at picking up choreography from my years with Theater on Ice and American Ice Theater. But quick changes? Being away from home for 2 months? Having a roommate? That part was all new and definitely scary. 

I flew in on Thursday and got to the hotel at around 7:30pm. I unpacked, met my roommate, and watched some Friends. Friday morning we started early, at 9am, for orientation, a few meetings, and costume fittings. At the end of the day, we had open ice so that we could practice, and the choreographer could get a sense of what tricks we had and how we looked as an ensemble. 

Rehearsals officially started Saturday, but most of our calls aren't until mid-afternoon. So, I went for a long walk/run in the morning to get a sense of my surroundings and explore a bit. Where we are is the resort area, so other than the theme parks, there actually isn't a ton of stuff around. I was able to locate some restaurants (yay Panera!), a smoothie place, a coffee shop, and a grocery store that's within walking distance. I'm definitely missing not having a car...a few members of the cast have vehicles, and they've been great about picking the rest of us up and helping us get around, but it is a little annoying to not be completely independent. Finding some spots that I can walk to will definitely make me feel better!

Rehearsals were so much fun on Saturday!! It was so fun to learn the choreography, It's all wonderfully cheesy and Christmas-y and I already love it. Afterwards, a big group of us sat in our hotel room, finished off a bottle of wine, and talked and laughed and got to know each other.

This morning (Sunday), I got up and went on another exploratory run with another skater, Erin. After a run and long rehearsal yesterday, and then a run this morning, my muscles are already sore! I definitely need to up the ice baths and yoga and rolling out my muscles haha. After our run, we sat and ate breakfast and chatted more. I LOVE being alone, and love having my own space, but I'm so glad I got to really connect with her this morning. Yesterday I spent the entire day alone until rehearsals, because my roommate wasn't around, and I have to admit I got a little lonely. 

As someone who isn't used to having very much free time, all of a sudden having the entire morning off is kind of unsettling. I was really looking forward to having that space before getting here, but now, having so much time and being in a new place feels a little lonely. But I also realize it's a great opportunity, so I'm really excited to have some time to work on some projects for myself, like getting back to writing, reading more, and doing more running and yoga. Plus, since we're contractors for Sea World, we get into all of the parks for free. I'm definitely looking forward to spending some mornings, especially weekday mornings before the holidays when the parks are pretty quiet, getting on some rides!

My roommate's dog, Maggie.
Other than that, it's really just been getting my feet under me in terms of food and establishing a little routine. Getting a handle on how to eat healthy (there are costumes to fit in!) and cheaply, with just a stovetop, is gonna be a little bit hard to learn. Since all of our work is later in the day, the timing of my day is also changing, because I've been going to sleep later and getting up later. I've been trying to get in the habit of doing some journaling and working out in the morning, and then either exploring or writing afterwards. I also still need to figure out extra time to skate for myself, which is proving a little harder to schedule than I'd hoped. 

One fun thing though! My roommate brought her dog with her, so I've been getting to know Maggie, her cute little German shepherd/corgi mix! I am decidedly not a dog person, and actually am usually scared of dogs I don't know. But Maggie is super sweet, and literally shaped like a potato. I really like her already! I love having a pet in the room, I'm actually alone with her right now and it already feels so much less lonely!

So there we have it! That's pretty much what's been going on. Overall, it's a lot to get used to, and a lot of feelings, but I'm so grateful to be here. I'm happy that after all these years auditioning and training and sending out videos and getting rejected, I stuck it out to make it here. This is a great opportunity I've found myself in, and I'm determined to take full advantage of it. It felt like a big leap to leave home and quit my job at the school, and I want to do my best to keep going and never go back to something that's just a dead-end job. 

I'm determined to do my best here, and while everything still feels so scary and unsettling, I'm excited to see where this all could lead. Adventure is good! Change is good! And this contract is definitely full of both of those. 

Happy Monday! Be the grittiest.
xoxo Gillian

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Thoughts From July 2018


There's a lot of rejuvenating power in a well-placed lazy weekend. Since as far back as September of last year, every weekend has held lots of skating, long work days, traveling, competitions, and everything in between. This month, though, held a few empty weekends, so there was finally time for Saturday adventures, lazy Sunday mornings, and laughs over drinks. An absolutely wonderful reminder that little moments are often as fulfilling as big moments, and empty space doesn't always  mean wasted time.

Something isn't inherently bad just because it's scary. This past month, I felt pushed out of my comfort zone in a lot of positive ways. My immediate, gut reaction in those situations was to push back, and step away from whatever that scary thing was. But, that's a pretty boring way to go through life. A lot of good stuff lives outside of our comfort zones, and I want to work on stopping my immediate associations of 'uncomfortable' with 'bad'.

Let yourself be excited about positive possibilities, instead of worried about negative possibilities. This is sort of related to my previous point, but this month I found myself worrying about the possible negatives of a future situation, rather than getting excited about all the great future possibilities of that same situation. The future is coming whether or not I spend time worrying about it now, so while it's good to be thoughtful, this month was a great reminder to not let that turn into over-thinking. Plus if positivity leads to a healthier, more productive present, then chances are that will encourage a healthy, productive future, too.


Some people splurge on their nails or massages. I splurge on breakfast. I think I've officially found my favorite, over-indulgent way to treat myself: go out to breakfast (preferably somewhere with an outdoor patio) by myself, and journal and read over numerous cups of coffee. It's my happy place.

There are limitless possibilities. Keep moving. Sometimes, I get stuck thinking that because I've done something a certain way for a while, that's the way it will always be. But the truth is that there are so many possibilities and paths before us, and we don't have to always do the same things. I'm excited for the change of routine this summer has brought me, and even more excited to keep that energy going throughout the year.

A month can hold a lot of stuff. Don't waste the time you're given. Looking back at my 1 Second Everyday video from July, it blew my mind that on July 1, I was still in Chicago for TOI Nationals. Since coming back, I've had friends stay with me for a few days, I've stayed at friend's places for a few days at a time, we filmed our AIT Boston company piece, I re-worked my audition program, I traveled to Sun Valley, Idaho, for skating auditions, plus there's been work and kayaking and the beginnings of new relationships. It's crazy how much a month can hold if you try to take advantage of it.


In case you missed it: On Ice Perspectives filmed our AIT Boston piece, "Turn to Stone"! Here's the teaser. Also, my 1 Second Every Day video for July 2018. 

Reading Update: July was a great month for everything except reading. I'm still in a rut and stuck in the middle of Final Harvest, a poetry collection by Emily Dickinson, as well as in the middle of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and Best Food Writing 2012 compiled by Holly Hughes. To try to break the rut, I started 300 Days of Sun by Deborah Lawrenson on my trip, but I think it just buried me deeper. *sigh*

Happy Wednesday! Be the grittiest. 
xoxo Gillian

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thoughts from June 2018


Remember when I wrote the month-end post for May and was astounded that it was already mid-June?? Well, here I am again to write the month-end post for June! And can you believe it's already July 14?! 2018 is half way over and I'm in a state of shock.

June always feels like a big month to me. My team travels to TOI Nationals, the work I do at the school wraps up, and everyone starts shifting to a summer schedule. Plus, the year is officially half over, so it's the perfect time to sit down and re-evaluate goals. During the month, June is usually too busy for a lot of reflection. But to sum up the this second quarter of 2018, I wanted to share some thoughts that June brought up.

Whatever your thing is, seek community first and foremost. Between creating, working, and learning alongside other artists at the American Contemporary Skating Festival, to awesome group texts and before-work breakfasts with my colleagues at the school, to the camaraderie between all teams at TOI Nationals, June impressed me with the importance of not just doing big things, but embracing the people that value them, too. Life truly is so much better with friends.

Life is 1000 times better when you get outside. I love being outdoors, but June really showed me how much my happiness improves when I bring the little, everyday moments outside, too. In June I ran the Charles River in Boston after work, ate as many lunches outside as possible, took some great walks, and grabbed drinks on restaurant patios. Fresh air is my favorite happiness booster.

PC: KR Photogs
Be grateful for these moments. These moments are your life. A little cheesy, perhaps, but a huge lesson that came out for me at TOI Nationals this year. I competed on a Junior level team this year, and spent a good chunk of time focusing on getting on Senior for this upcoming season. But at Nationals, I really tried to to take a step back and just appreciate where I was. Not over-analyze where I was last year, not put so much into next year that I didn't appreciate the great team I was sharing the ice with. Each moment is so important. I want to be better at not rushing through them for the next thing.

Most good things start at you being who you are. Whether it's choreographing a new piece, dating, or applying to a new job, most good things don't have room to start if you're not being yourself. Don't kill something super early on because you're shadowing it with the person you think you should be. Once we do the work to get comfortable with who we are, we have room to do the work we're meant to do.

Going somewhere new is always worth the money. Enough said. End of story. I don't care how broke you are, if you want to go somewhere, go.


In case you missed it: Re-capping our Memorial Day weekend in Boston, our 2018 CE from TOI Nationals, and our 2018 FS from TOI Nationals.

Reading Update: In the month of June, I finished Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert which I found really engaging to read but not necessarily my favorite book ever. It did make me really want to go to Italy, though. I also finished Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Lady's Detective Agency #3) by Alexander McCall Smith, which was as enveloping and tranquil as ever, but also a little slow-moving this time around. I listen to these on audio, so I might just literally have to bump up the reading speed.

I'm currently in the middle of Final Harvest by Emily Dickinson (a poetry collection), A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (which I'm really, really, wanting to like but am having trouble getting into), and a collection of the Best Food Writing of 2012, compiled by Holly Hughes

Happy Thursday! Be the grittiest.
xoxo Gillian

Thursday, June 14, 2018

May 2018


WENT: To the cutest little breakfast place in Gloucester, and a great weekend in Boston for Memorial Day.

READ: I finished four books in May! I listened I Shall Be Near To You by Erin McCabe on audio, which while not being one of my all-time favorite books, was probably a top fiction pick for me so far this year. I also listened to A Spool of Blue Thread and Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant, both by Anne Tyler. Neither, I'm sad to say, were as incredible as my first experience with Anne Tyler (An Amateur Marriage). I also finally finished Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts, which took me a long time to get through but was so, so worth it. As always, more reviews in my Instagram Story Highlights!

WATCHED: I really didn't watch a lot of stuff this month, which I guess is a good thing? Friends, Deadliest Catch with my mom, and Masterpiece Mystery's Endeavor are probably my top favorites right now. 

WROTE: A lot of journal pages, and Upwork proposals. On the blog: Summer Afternoon in Boston & The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Hiking Mt. Moosilauke & A (Much Needed) Re-Set.

MADE: A showcase program! And iced tea. 

STARTED: Coming up with plans for next year. 

CROSSED-OFF: I finally got busy submitting proposals to freelance writing jobs through Upwork. 

TRIED: My Novice FS test, sticking to a budget, and a couple new bars.

FAILED: My Novice FS test, to stick to a budget, to pack my bags and lunch the night before.

PERFORMED: A heck of a lot. With American Ice Theater of Boston in Canton, Haverhill, Wesley and Westborough. Competed at Spotlight on the Cape with Act 1 of Boston. Tried my Novice FS test.  

THOUGHT: About the fact that every single weekend, from this past March until the end of June, is packed with plans.

What filled your May?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Boston For Memorial Day Weekend


Way back in March, my friend Kat and I started getting really anxious to see another one of our friends, Caitlin, again. The three of us had all been on Act 1 together for two years, but this season, I'm the only one still on the team. Kat lives outside of Boston, and we see each other quite a bit, but Caitlin lives a few hours away from me in Maine. We haven't all been together since 2017 TOI Nationals (almost a full year ago!). It was definitely time to plan something.

A few group texts later, and we finally decided to get together for Memorial Day weekend! Caitlin and I drove down to Kat's family's house on Friday night, stayed over, spent all of Saturday in Boston, and came home Sunday afternoon.

Friday night, we stayed in and spent some time catching up. We also made a drink run and ended up buying all of the pink drinks (PSA: the Cape Cod Cranberry Spiked Seltzer is amazing!) and ended up playing cards against humanity.


Saturday morning, we had a slow easy breakfast at home, then ventured into Boston. We made up a group of five: me, Kat, both of her sisters, Caroline and Elizabeth, and Caitlin. Our first stop was the Charles River Canoe and Kayak in Kendall Square. We rented their large canoe, and spent about an hour paddling around on the Charles. It was a really fun (and cheap!) way to start the day. We got to hear some of the Boston Calling Music Festival from the water, we joked that next year we should just rent the boats for a few hours and get to hear it that way!

Once we had completely sweated through our shirts, we returned the canoes and drove towards the Boylston Street and Copley area. We were all getting hungry at this point, so we ended up at Met Back Bay for a late lunch. Their patio seating was full, so we ate inside, and it was lovely! The food was amazing, and everything was cozy and conversational. I ordered their breakfast burrito, and I'm not sure I've ever had anything so perfect.


Once we were done eating, we went shopping! We went to Francesca's, where we spent most of our time. I ended up getting a really cute floral wrap dress. It's a little short, but I think it'll still be great for work and church, and I have a wedding in June I might wear it to. After Francesca's, we wandered into some more boutique type places before ending up at the Prudential Center. We pretty much just window shopped there, but it was still fun!

At that point, our group split up, and Kat, Caitlin, and I went out as the over 21's. We started at Back Bay Social Club, which was pretty good, and then eventually made our way down the street to a new-to-us place, Lir. We stayed there for the rest of the night, and it was a great chance to get a little goofy, catch up, and discover Iced Coffee cocktails (which are fantastic, by the way).

It was so fun to be out in the city the Saturday of Memorial Day. It was almost 90 out, and everyone was outside, hanging around watching soccer games and grabbing brunch. Between memorial day, the music festival, a ton of graduations, and the multiple weddings we passed, it felt like everyone was outside celebrating. Definitely a great day to kick off summer!


Sunday morning, we slept in and took our time pulling ourselves back together, before parting ways and driving home! It was so fun to be back with the ladies that share some of my favorite memories. We definitely can't wait a whole year before doing this again...we're already debating a Burlington VT/Montreal roadtrip this summer!

Hope everyone's Memorial Day was spent with good food, good people, and sunshine!

Happy Wednesday! Be the grittiest.
xoxo Gillian