Read More Here!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Moving On

I'm going to cut right to the chase:

I am having a fantastic year! There's been a lot of growing going on and I feel like I'm starting a new chapter. For a while, I've felt this good old blog winding down, but I didn't want to acknowledge it. 

There. I said it. After 5 years in this cozy web space, I'm officially leaving Young Yankee Lady behind.

The past 6 months have been pretty great. I finished up the school year at my new-ish job as a special ed para, and really loved it. I ended up working 1 on 1, and I found it so fulfilling! While I've decided that this isn't going to be my career, it's the perfect place for me right now. For the summer I'm working at summer school, and (hopefully) have a few side things, as well.

Skating wise, I've switched coaches and clubs which is a huge change. I also went to Knoxville ProSkaters again, competed at Nation's Cup with my team, and we became the 2017 National Theater on Ice Silver Medalists this past weekend! We are so excited!

This year, though, has led to a lot of questioning. There were situations that led me to really think about what I wanted from life, longterm, and there were multiple times I considered changing tracks and going a more traditional route. The fact is, life is scary. And it's hard to keep the faith when the path isn't clear, and it's hard to ask people to love you and want you when you can't, in any detail, talk about the future. 

Dramatic? Probably. But at any rate, I've done a lot of questioning that almost tempted me to give up on some dreams and move to something 'practical'. Thankfully, though, I decided that that was crazy and what the pit in my stomach wanted, not my heart. 

But I also decided that if I'm going to go for THIS (this being a creative, skating filled life where I'm actively making new things), then I'm going to GO FOR IT. No more holding back, no more excuses, just lots and lots of work and willpower. While I've said this over and over again, I'm ready to act on it. I'm not going to lie about my goals anymore. I'm not going to hold back. Can you imagine if I missed an opportunity because my fear led me to hold back? That would be heartbreaking! I'm not letting it happen. 

I want to thank all of you for the past 5 years. While our space here was small, it meant a lot to me. Some of my best writing, and think-throughs, and epiphanies came from this blog, and having you guys here to read has made it so special. I truly believe that we all have stories, and can learn from or inspire or motivate each other. The writing and recording of a life is, in many ways, a lost art. I love blogging because it is NOT just social media: when people are truthful, it's the honest story of a life. Maybe some day we'll publish books of old blog posts like people compile old letters now. 

I would love to stay connected with you guys! If you have new projects I've missed out on, please leave a comment so I can see what you're up to! If you want to keep up with what I'm doing, I'm very active on Instagram (@gmrobidas). I promise lots of skating pictures and book pictures and usually some baby cousins. I'm also doing better at posting all my skating videos on Youtube, so if that's your thing you can follow me there. And last but not least, I'm starting a newsletter list. My hope is to send out Friday emails that just talk about what I'm learning and set a few goals for the week. Sending it as an email seems really personal, so I'm hoping it will feel like the old days of blogging, just maybe more work focused. 

Again, thanks for being here. I love you guys, and will miss this space. I hope we stay connected!



Monday, January 9, 2017

Audition Video Progress

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

figure skating audition video progress gmrobidas

Over the years, I've talked a lot about my ultimate, dream goal: to work for a professional skating company, like Disney on Ice or Willy Bietak. That dream has gone through many stages. There was the the shiny-eyed stage at 13, when getting in seemed so attainable for my future adult self. This was followed by the complete inadequacy stage of about 18, when graduation was just around the corner and I felt like I'd fooled myself into believing show skating was an option. This led into the desperation stage of 19, where I tried to put myself out there (and took some huge steps!) but was so nervous that I couldn't count on myself to really perform well.

But now, I think I've entered the courage stage. I'm 20 years-old, and feel very at peace with my skating. I will always want to be better, and strive to be better, but I'm not letting that want distract me from all the things I can currently do. I'm being more professional with how I approach getting a show job, but I've also switched my mindset so that now, I'm doing it for me. Even if nothing ever comes from it, I love skating. I like this process. It's a challenging way for me to put myself out there, and I grow so much with each step. I really like this stage, guys. 

After literally years of video attempts, I finally contacted a professional to actually do it. We met on Saturday during one of the club sessions, and got all the filming done! I used Tap House Media, an awesome local company. We actually know the founders through their parents, and Heidi was so wonderful. I thought I might be nervous, or self-conscious, but the whole morning was so comfortable and fun. 

figure skating audition video progress gmrobidas

The night before I made a list of everything I wanted to remember to do, and I think we got it all in there.  I came up with some footwork sequences to show off different things, and spent a lot of time spinning and doing show tricks like spread eagles and illusions. My jumping has been a little weird lately, so I saved that until the end, with the plan to send her some of my own jumping videos if I couldn't do any good ones while she was there. But not to worry! I landed axels and double salchows! I'm slowly but surely pulling myself out of this rut. My jumps are definitely my weakest area when it comes to qualifications, so I wish I could showcase more doubles, entrance variations, and combos to show. At some point this year, I'd like to make an updated jumping reel so I have more to send out, but with the season I've had for jumping, I'm actually really happy with what got filmed.

At the very end, I ran through my showcase program. Late summer, I worked with Kate McSwain to choreograph it and I am so in love with it. The music is a Boogie Woogie Bugel Boy/Candyman medley, and it's very retro and rockabilly. I still need to work on consistently landing my jumps in it, but I'm so excited to take it to a showcase competition. I do love the faces and acting that's in this program, so I really wanted snippets of it in the video. 

It felt so good to finally take this step! When the video's ready, I'll definitely be sharing it here. Action is the best way to cure feelings of inadequacy.

Happy Monday! xoxo

Monday, January 2, 2017

Courage in 2017

2016 was a pretty good year. I just re-read the post I published this time last year. I hadn't even remembered half of the intentions and goals I set, much my less my 'word of the year'. Yet looking back, I found that my intention started to manifest itself without me even thinking about it.

I had picked stubborn as my word for 2016. It may sound like a bit of a negative word, but I meant it in a positive way. I wanted to be stubborn about my goals, and learn to lean in to the hard stuff. I wanted to be stubborn and stand up for myself, instead of getting pushed around. I wanted to be stubborn by living in the way I knew was really me, instead of feeling directionless.

While the particular word 'stubborn' didn't stick with me long, I did keep coming back to the overall intention. When something would start to go badly at work and I would get queasy and scared, my mantra was, "You're tough. Be tough". Sometimes when I was nervous, I'd imagine physically digging in my heels and refusing to move. Those visuals and mantras gave me the oomph I needed to get over a few hurdles this year.

In a less positive way, though, I did find myself doing a lot of muscle-ing this year. One of my coaches actually cited this as why I wasn't jumping as well as I could have been: I was trying too hard, and ended up just forcing it. If I calmed down and allowed my jumps to flow, they'd be easier. I need to beat this habit on-ice, but the funny thing is I've noticed myself doing the same thing off-ice, too. When I get worried, I tend to start pushing too hard and forcing things, instead of recognizing that sometimes, I need to just let it go, and see what happens. I learned a lot about this balance of stubbornness in 2016, but I've still got a long ways to go.

For 2017, though, my word is courage. As in the courage to be authentic. The courage to put myself out there, regardless of anxieties and insecurities. The courage to reach out to someone new, take the first step. I want to be more courageous in my relationships. More courageous in my pursuit of opportunities. More courageous in my actual work, so I can be willing to take risks and experiment. I want to courageously do what is right, not what is easy. I want the inner strength, peace, and forward attitude that courage implies.

I've thought a lot about my goals for 2017 over the past month or two. Rather than looking at the whole year, I'm setting goals by the quarter. At this point in my life, I feel like things tend to stay the same forever and then change all at once. I cannot imagine a single plan that would realistically work out for the whole year. But a 3-month period? I can plan 3-months of intentional, challenging, growth inducing goals.


  • Split the year into quarters: January-March, April-June, July-September, October-December.
  • Set 3 'big' goals for each quarter. These should be challenging but realistic.
  • In addition to the Big 3, keep up with my goal to perform a solo every month (a challenge I gave myself in November), and read 5 books (3 audio, 2 regular). 
  • I would also like to be more intentional about habit building in 2017, so for each month, I'm going to pick a theme, and then try to build some habits around that theme. I'm not going to go crazy keeping track of them or anything, but I'm hoping that just having that monthly reflection and reminder will help me to be more intentional in my daily life this year. 
Now I know that probably seemed a little intense, but I actually feel like I've built a lot of flexibility into it. Planning only 3 months at a time allows me to be so much more aware of what will actually be useful, and I'm hoping that leads to a lot of strides forwards this year.


So what, I'm sure you're dying to know, is the plan for quarter one?

BIG 3:
  • Make/send out an audition video. 
  • Prep for/pass Intermediate Freeskate.
  • Another personal one I'm going to keep offline right now (I'll be less mysterious after I check it off). 

I'm not sure what I'm going to do for January yet, but in February TOI Boston will be hosting a Sk8 to Elimin8 Caner exhibition that I'd like to solo in, and in March I'll probably skate in either a local show or a Showcase competition. 


I'm horrible with reading lists, but right now I'm looking forward to listening to Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth on audio, and then finishing The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, finally finishing my re-read of The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien, and starting Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham (I'm also really looking forward to finishing Gilmore Girls in general. I'm finally in Season 6 and loving it, although I'm already dreading Season 7 because from what I can tell while staying spoiler free, everyone's dissapointed by it. BUT I've heard A Year In The Life is awesome, so I'm still psyched). 


For January, I'd like to focus on rhythm. I want to add more flow and stride-catching to my day, so I can spend less time worrying about stuff that doesn't ultimately matter. I want to try making my bed every day, sticking to the same morning routine, figuring out what I'm wearing for work at the start of the week, and packing my bags the night before. 

February is going to be a crazy month with tons of practices and therefore tons of commuter time, so I'm thinking of restore. I'd like to focus on getting enough sleep, eating really well, and working out in a way that boosts my energy. 

I don't have many ideas for March, but with it being (potentially) a slightly slower month than January and February, I'm thinking I might focus on create. I've been wanting to challenge myself more when it comes to creative projects (I tend to always do the same creative things), so maybe I would try to start and finish a project in March.

Yes, I know. I always unleash my most psychotic, sticky-note loving self on January 1st. Yet while I know my 'quarterly system' and 'monthly focus' can come across as a little heavy, I actually feel really light and content about it. Planning for just three months, taking things as they come, and focusing on wellness and wholeness, just feels so achievable. I don't need to worry about next fall. Or summer. Or honestly, even May. I am not there yet. Instead, I am doing my absolute best work now. 

Happy New Year! xoxo

Friday, December 30, 2016

20 Things About Turning 20

20 Things About Turning 20 Gillian @ Young Yankee Lady blog.

I've been searching for the right way to reflect on being alive for 20 years. I thought of listing what I'd learned, but that seems overdone. I wanted to list 20 favorite moments, but they all seemed too recent. So here is 20 Things About Turning 20. 10 are things that shaped my 19th year, and 10 are moments/experiences I'm looking forward to in the next decade. 

10 Things That Shaped My 19th Year:

01: Passing my senior moves in the field test. I was extremely proud of it, because I completed the 8-test track in 5 years, instead of the typical 6-8. I love moves, and this was very validating of the time I dedicate to them.

02: Working retail 35 hours a week. This job was boring and hectic, grueling yet easy, anger-inducing and laugh out loud funny. I shared it with some of my favorite people in the entire world, and others who's path I'd rather not cross again (it's mutual, I'm sure). 

03: Going to ProSkaters in Knoxville. This was so eye-opening, and really shaped the way I approached the rest of the year in terms of skating. While I've been open about how I wasn't particularly happy with my performance, I've accepted that I usually need a trial run of something before I do my best stuff. I am SO looking forward to this year. 

04: Loosing my paternal grandmother this summer. After my grandparents living out of state for most of my life, they finally moved back summer of 2015, and I visited them every single Saturday that fall and winter. We lost my grandmother almost exactly a year after they'd moved back. While her actual death was not a shock, it made me grieve all over again for all the time I lost with them growing up. I am so grateful for that year of Saturdays. 

05: Skating at the National Theater on Ice Competition this summer. In my second year there, I found I was so much more present while we competed. We did David Bowie's 'Fashionista' for our Freeskate, and performing it was fun and fast and bold and so right. It was a great way to finish a rocky season of bad critiques and scrapping programs.

06: My best friend getting married. When you've been friends with someone since you were 11, their wedding is a big deal. It was a great day for a great couple, and only promises better things ahead.

07: Getting my new job. I knew that eventually if I wasn't spontaneously cast into Disney on Ice I'd need a job that was more stimulating than retail, but I hadn't made any real plans about moving on, because I was 19, and it was fine. But after talking with one of the paras that assisted one of the work-program store employees, and realizing the hours were practically what I was working already, I went home and applied. I didn't overthink it. I just sent it in. And now I'm here, in a job that's unveiling a passion I wasn't sure about, and a skill set I didn't know existed. Really looking forward to the rest of the year. 

08: After about a year of deliberation, this spring I placed membership with a different church than the one I grew up in. No gasps needed, it's still church of Christ. My reasons for leaving were many, and varied, and extremely thought out. This was me choosing a congregation as a single, contributing adult, and that is scary. But it is so great, and exactly where I need to be. It has restored my faith in a way I can't even describe. I have real, deep connections with my brothers and sisters, and the mutual support there is amazing. They have given so much warmth to this year.

09: I want to challenge my soloist performance skills more, so I decided that this was the year I'd start competing in Showcase. I worked with Kate McSwain to create a show program to 'Candyman', and It. Is. The. Literal. Bomb. This program is my happy place, the light of my life. You'll see it soon, promise.

10: Driving. Everywhere. I don't even want to know how many hours I logged in the car. But: I've listened to hundreds of hours of audiobooks and podcasts, navigated Mass highways at night with only notes written on the backsides of envelopes, learned exactly how far you can get on a quarter tank of gas, learned which gas stations have the best coffee, and learned the invaluable skill of manually turning headlights on when yours stop working. #commuterlife.

20 Things About Turning 20 Gillian @ Young Yankee Lady blog.

10 Things I'm Looking Forward To For My 20's:

11: Lots of skating related travel, audition opportunities, performances, and experiences that will only make my skating better. I'm excited to keep striving and performing and searching for my niche. 

12: Getting better at daily life stuff. I just learned to drive a standard, and I want to be able to do it without thinking. I want to keep up with laundry. Learn how to cook really well. Make my bed in the morning. You know, act like a functioning human. 

13: Getting physically and mentally stronger, to support more adventures in my life. I want strength, energy, flexibility and resilience, in body and soul. 

14: Doing work that is more a lifestyle and value system than just work, and involves me creating, actively contributing unique ideas, challenging myself daily. Whatever that is, or whatever multiple things it is, I want it. 

15: Having better relationships. I want closer friendships, people I work with that I can collaborate with, side projects started with friends, and eventually a real, healthy relationship that brings us both up. 

16: Finding a Luke's Diner. It's all I really want from life. Universe oh Universe, send me a Luke's!

17: Living in new places, in whatever way that looks like. I want a cute, small town New England apartment. But I also want to try living in a city, or a completely different state. This is also just an excuse for me to decorate multiple imaginary apartments.

18: Learning things that seem impossible now. I was thinking about how different I am now than I was at 15, and imagining what I'll be like when I'm 25. I want to learn how to better navigate life, obviously, but I also want to learn some skills. Know how to put together projects and be really good at whatever work I'm doing. 

19: Tackling my nagging insecurities and anxieties, and being more successful (not to mention happier) because of it. 

20: Finally feeling 'my age'. In some ways I feel like I'm already 23, and in others I still feel 15. In my 20's, I'm looking forward to being what I am...not ahead or behind, just present.

I remember being ridiculously excited when I turned 10, because I was finally 'double-digits'. I am equally excited to start living my 20's. Onwards and upwards (and happy new year!).

Happy Friday, xoxo.

PS- 16th birthday, 17th birthday. OF COURSE I wouldn't do something obvious like post about my 18th and 19th. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

All The Good Stuff

I've been in a wicked baking mood lately, which made me go through my phone and reminisce about food.

These are paleo chocolate chip cookies from Ambitious Kitchen. So good, you could make these for a bake sale and no one would know they were grain-free. Amazing!

This is a coconut flour chocolate chip zucchini bread I made about a month ago, I basically just combined a bunch of Ambitious Kitchen recipes based on what I wanted and what I had. It turned out pretty good, just grain free bread doesn't raise a lot so you have to make sure you're pan is just as full as you want your loaf to be.

For a church potluck, I made Gluten Free bacon mac and cheese! I used rice pasta, and sprinkled Parmesan on top so it got all crusty. I wish it was creamier, but I'll try harder next time. I just am always at a loss about what cheese melts the best.

Did you know that Annie's is selling cinnamon rolls now?! I tried them yesterday morning, to celebrate that this morning, I'm starting a new job! Onwards and upwards!

Happy Monday, xoxo

Monday, October 24, 2016

Gilmore Girls

I make up a minority of the American female population, in that I have not yet watched all of Gilmore Girls. Shock! Horror! Shame!

As a book-obsessed, comedy-loving 90's child, I realize that this is ridiculous. When it was actually airing, I was just a tad too young for it, and more interested in I Dream of Genie re-runs, anyways. But now, with Netflix at my fingertips, I'm finally living out my fullest potential, and binging it as quickly as possible. There is a revival to prep for, after-all!

You ever notice how some things, like a quote or a book or a blog, find you exactly when you most need them? That's how it was in 2014 when I read Someday, Someday, Maybe Lauren Graham's (Lorelei Gilmore) debut novel about an actress in NYC struggling to 'make it' before her self-imposed deadline. That book was life changing for me. As a junior in high school, it spoke to everything I was feeling as I entered my senior year and faced what adult life would be. There were times that I felt my dreams were silly, and not possible, and this book taught me to hope, and chase after them anyway. I felt so seen and understood after reading this, which was welcome after all the hard questions like "so where are you going to college?!" that I was getting daily.

So, when she already had that much impact on my life, maybe it's not surprising that I completely fell in love with Lauren Graham and everyone else that brings Gilmore Girls to life. I feel like it is yet another moment of finding what I need, exactly when I need it the most.

Right now I need community. I need friends, and neighbors, and the small-town vibe of Starshollow. I was starting to really feel it this year. At my job, I knew everyone that come in. Since it was a grocery store, I knew every local chef and driver and restaurant owner. I knew all the local construction company guys, all the elderly couples from assisted living, all the elementary teachers that run in before school starts. I had my favorite manager, and each morning we'd have a new story to update each other on.

But I just got a new job. I start the 31st. I am over the moon excited and grateful, and it's going to be such a better situation than my old job. But Saturday, I also found out that my favorite manager just got transferred. I won't even get to say goodbye, he's in a new store starting Monday.  And that all just feels like too much change. I'm already missing my little community. It took me a while to feel a part of it, and I don't know if a new one will be easy.

I wish I lived in Starshollow. Right now, I need that community. I wish I could walk to everything. I wish I knew exactly who to call when I'm feeling down. I wish I had a Luke, with a diner that is magically open at any time of day, yet also incredibly easy to leave so that he can come help me fix problems. I wish I could eat burgers everyday with no repercussions.

Everything is looking up right now. This is going to be a great winter, I know it is. I've been anxious about everything I've said above, because change is scary and I'm very easily spooked. But I know in a few months, I'll be happy with the new situation. But right now, when I forget to calm down and enjoy, I turn to Gilmore Girls for the reminder. There will always be family to turn to. There are always more people than I think willing to help me. You need to find friendship before romance. And we all need something to work hard for.

Currently on Season 2, episode 18. No spoilers, please! I know a few are obvious but I'm trying really, really hard here!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

If Everyone In The World Did This, We'd All Be Happy

If everyone in the world...

...had as many conversations with their mom as possible,

...actually made their bed in the morning,

...took every opportunity to cook a brag-worthy breakfast,

...this world wouldn't be so stressed.

If everyone in the world...

...had a waitress that memorized their order,

...a close group of cousins, nieces, nephews,

...a co-worker that always had their back,

...this world would have more compassion.

If everyone in the world...

...introduced themselves to everyone that sparked their interest,

...spoke their minds kindly, but honestly,

...knew how to plan dates that are actually enjoyable,

...this world would have a lot more confident people. And probably less single people, too.

If everyone in the world...

...could support each other with a 'yay! you tried something and completed something!' attitude,

...valued the process as much as the result,

...understood that not having all the answers is normal,

...this world would have so many more dreams inspired, tried, grasped.

Somehow it's easier to talk about the whole world being more this or more that, than it is for me to make these same changes in myself. I never make my bed, I rush through everything, and my pessimistic inner voice pops up at the first sign of 'failure'. But maybe, 'changing the world', or, even more difficult, 'changing out lives', starts with just getting the simple stuff really right. Being in our communities. Noticing the world around us. Working really hard. Running after stuff we love. Maybe that's a lot to ask of everyone in the world. But, what if I?

Till next Monday, xoxo.