Thursday, August 28, 2014

School Dayz

Well it has been back to school for me this week! I'm not going to a university closer to home. And guess what??? I have changed my major to English on the writing track. After a pretty rough first day I realized that I needed to like and be passionate about what I'm studying and I finally am. I predict this semester will be a lot of work but it will be a good time as well.

I cannot believe summer is nearly done, this weekend we'll be having some end of season fun that I'm looking forward to. How can these months go by so fast? Before I now it it will be Christmas!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Summer Goals Revisited

1. Cut my hair (X)
I got my hair cut and donated it for the fifth time! See this post. I really like how my hair looks short and straightened but I haven't really  mastered how to wear it down and natural. Once it grows a little more I can braid it overnight again.

2. Finish, edit and bind my book (X)
Not only did I do that, I also finished the SECOND book! I loved writing so much this summer, it was such a blessing to be able to explore this talent I was given and run with it. I'm currently working on the third book in the series.

3. Have a perfect day (X)
I had one really great day where Claire and I went on a picnic and then went to the movies but perhaps the best day of all was attending the 2014 Secret Classic in Chicago!

4. Expand my autograph collection (X)
I need to make a post about this but I not only got four new autographs, I met three elite gymnasts from the national team! So awesome!

5. Try and enjoy the city vacation (X)
I actually had a lot more fun than I thought in NYC and contrary to what I wrote, would like to go back sometime soon. Chicago was also a great time (see above) 

6. Improve my relationship with E (X)
Though we still have our struggles and recently had quite a big altercation, I think things are on the up with her and I.

7. Start a new friendship/relationship (_)
Didn't happen this summer :(.

8.Swim a lot/spend a lot of time outside (X)
When it was nice outside, I swam. I also got a new bike that I rode almost every day, it was a great outdoors summer for me!

9. Do one thing crazy (X)
Well, I attended a rather crazy party that was so not me. But, I did it and I put aside a lot of fears because it was my friends birthday and I was gong to be there with her to celebrate.

10. Read at least five books (X)
I did it! Just barely but I did, here are the books I read:
1. Love Life by Rob Lowe
2. Chalked Up by Jennifer Sey
3. Where the Heart is by Billie Letts
4. Four by Veronica Roth
5. The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech

11. Enjoy it (X)
I really did enjoy this summer, I got to go on two pretty fun vacations and spend a lot of time with my family. I think this may have been one of the best summer's I've had in awhile! I can't believe it is already over, it went by slowly at first but the last month flew by.

 Goals Accomplished: 10/11 (Best score yet!)

Here's to a great Autumn!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My Favorite Floor Workers (and Their Best Routines)

10. Anastasia Grishina
 Poor Anastasia totally headcased in 2012 and has since been riddled with injuries. However, in her prime she was quite lovely on FX, Classic dance elements are often lost these days.

9. Tasha Schwikert
I've always enjoyed the little strip-tease section of her routine because it was different and showed that she wasn't just a cookie-cutter gymnast.

8. Shayla Worley
I like Shayla's flexibility and her choreography. She has more of a dancer build really.

7. Shawn Johnson
I know people got kind of weirded out by Shawn using the August Rush music but I love it. I remember watching the 2008 olympics and being so excited when her routine started because I recognized the song right away. Strong tumbling!

6. Ivana Hong
Another routine full of flexibility and actual dance.

5. Aly Raisman
The performance of her life for sure, and it just happened to be at the Olympics! Aly isn't a dancer but I appreciate her music and fun choreography and that first tumbling run-wow!

4. Shannon Miller
Great dance, great artistry. Shannon is the best.

3. Aliya Mustafina
I LOVE THIS MUSIC. And I love her dramatic choreography.

2. Tabitha Yim
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Tabitha is one of the few gymnasts who truly felt their music. Perhaps it's because she also ice skated on this side.

1. Sandra Izbasa

Another set of music that I love, so powerful and dynamic.


Monday, August 18, 2014

My Favorite "Beamers" (and Their Best Routines)

10. Catlaina Ponor
Catalina is definitely a Romanian icon and her long career is quite impressive. I love her aggression and steadiness, she was definitely gold medal worthy for this routine!

9. Terin Humphrey
Artistic and strong at the same time, Terin's consistency on this event is admirable.

9. Yang Yilin
I love the Chinese look on beam and their unique combination skills. Yang has such a lovely and light look on this event.

8. Anna Pavlova
I love Anna's skill where she flips over the beam perpendicular. Such elegance and grace, love that she is currently making a comeback.

6. Amanda Borden
Amanda is SO overlooked by the other members of the MS but she was a true rock. I love her steadiness during this routine, not one bobble! Take note!

5. Chellsie Memmel
I love Chellsie and I love this routine. She mixes the power of a standing full twist with the uniqueness of an illusion turn. Super difficult and she nailed it almost every time.

4. Hollie Vise
I wish more athletes would show off some flexibility like Hollie does, I think a lot of times muscle is hindering them but Hollie had beautiful lines, artistry and still manages to be powerful while tumbling.

3. Kristen Maloney
I'm a huge fan of Kristen, of her consistency and the difficulty she upheld all throughout her career. My favorite part of her routine is her tumbling series when she ends in a full laid out twist down in a split n the beam-impressive!

2. Shannon Miller

Ahhh, the queen of the beam, so graceful and so artistic. I love "the Milller" and I love the somersaults.

1. Shawn Johnson
Better landings there never were! Shawn is so amazing here, no wavers, no balance checks. She OWNS this event.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

My Favorite Bar Workers (and Their Best Routines)

10. Kyla Ross
I know it's not the most difficult routine (upgrade Kyla!) but Kyla has great form and girl can hit a handstand like no other, I noticed that in person when I watched her at this years SC.

9. Ivana Hong
I know that the international judges pretty much hated the uniqueness of this routine but honestly in a sport that has lost some individuality recently, I found it refreshing.

8. Hollie Vise
Poor Hollie was totally screwed over in 2004 but at least she got her moment to shine at the 2003 worlds. Her form is amazing and she works the apparatus so easily.

7. Shannon Miller
Why can no one glue their legs together like this anymore? Seriously, finding a gymnast who can do a cast to handstand without leg separations these days is super rare. I love, love, Shannon's clean lines and form, right down to her toes.

6. Terin Humphrey
 I love Terin, and I love that she earned a surprise silver medal for this in Athens. Clean, sharp and beautifully executed.

6. Mo Huilan
Mo's signature release is AMAZING and the fact that it is now being brought back by Yao Jinan makes me so happy!

5. Beth Tweddle
Beth's bar routines have been eye popping from the moment she stepped onto the scene, chalked full of release moves and more daring than anyone else in her field.

3. Aliya Mustafina
I love Aliya, I love how she came back from injury and is carrying the Russian team through some valley's. I was so happy she won gold in London for this.

2. Chellsie Memmel
I love the ending to Chellsie's bar set, so cool and unique. She continually performed well on this event, even when injured.

1. He Kexin
I'm so happy that He won gold in 2008 instead of her (overrated) close competitor (shall not name names). Love the elegant look she has and her great form.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Favorite Vaulters (And Their Best Vaults)

Here starts my series! Enjoy!

5. Elena Produnova

It's probably not a surprise that Elena is on my (or other peoples) list. This vault of hers is incredible and no one has been able to execute it nearly as flawlessly as her. In fact, she is the only one who can look good and not like they're about to kill themselves. 

4. Alicia Sacremone
Alicia has the most world medals of all American female gymnasts and her impressive vaulting skills have a lot to do with it. She has a ton of power, sometimes even too much, those landings make you think she can add an extra half twist and still be good to go!

3. Oksana Chusovitina
Not only has Oksana had a ridiculously long career (and I think still going!) she has had an impressive resume as well! She has won many world and a few Olympic medals and in her late 30's is not slowing down.

2. Cheng Fei (CHI)
Cheng Fei was not the typical Chinese pixie that everyone was so used to. She had strength and power. I so wish that the 2008 Olympics would have went differently for her but she has still gone down in history as a legendary vaulter. And she even has a vault named after her!

1. McKayla Maroney
I'd have to dub Maroney the best vaulter ever. Period. This vault has to be as close to perfect as they come, it was flawless! McKayla is a fast runner and gets more air than anyone I've ever seen. Her Olympics in 2012 also didn't go as planned so I am hoping she can get her redemption in Rio.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Hope that Endures

These past few weeks, my community has been shaken with some tragic circumstances regarding a school employee who took his own life. Now, just hours ago the news broke that Robin Williams has apparently done the same thing.

Depression and mental illness are real diseases that I fully recognize the severity of. In the case of this man from my community, he a lot going on in his life that left him feeling hopeless. I don't know exactly what drove Williams to his death but many have said he was battling some serious demons. Perhaps medication could help, perhaps therapy but in the end, the only thing that can truly save our lives, that can truly save our souls is Jesus Christ. I know it isn't what society wants to hear right now, but it is THE truth.

Trust me, I am no stranger to feeling hopeless and out of control in my life, in fact I'm currently going through a not so great time but I have hope in God's plan for my life. I have hope that He uses everything for good. If I didn't have that hope...well I honestly don't know where I would be. I truly don't know how people can go through trials and struggles without some sort of faith, I couldn't do it, that is fact. I go through my life knowing that God is in control, knowing that He will not leave or forsake me. I wish that everyone could have this hope, I wish that these two men could have known God in a deep and personal way and allowed that hope to pull them from their darkest places.

Earthly suffering will happen, it is guaranteed to happen. It is how we deal with it that is the test, no one said life was easy, God never said that. But He did promise to walk us through any hardship we may face, He promised to forgive us our sins and He promises an awesome Heaven to all who believe in Him. What greater hope than that of one day spending eternity in paradise with our God? It is a hope that lasts, it is a hope that endures.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Trip to the Fairgorunds

Every year there is a little fair in my town, it holds a lot of memories of potato sack races and rides on the scrambler. It's so nostalgic and I love it. Today M and I and our cousin Lee (sister of Claire) all went together. Lee just got back from eight weeks in China so she had a lot of stories to tell! We had a grand old time chatting and walking down to the carnival. We ate delicious pasta and then played some games. M won a little duck and Lee a frog (both fake). Then they decided to ride this upside down ride that I can no longer enjoy due to motion sickness. I held there things while they went for a spin, it was hilarious! M's hair kept flying out of cart when they went upside down and both of them were laughing hysterically.

After they got off I wanted to win this inflatable doughnut on a stick. It was at one of those hammer games where you have to make the bell ring at the top. I paid five dollars and was unsuccessful but they let me have it anyway :). At this point we all decided to make the most of our carnival experience and get some balloon animals. We waited in a long line and had the awesome balloon man fashion us crowns. They were amazing braided creations with three colors each. Mine is yellow, blue and pink to match my blow up doughnut. M got pink, green and white and Lee got blue, pink and purple. We looked fabulous! Before we left I bought some canoli's, M got cassotta cake and Lee got a caramel apple. We got home and enjoyed our treats.

The best thing about Lee and Claire (who are my dad's cousins kids), is that hanging out with them never changes. We always have a great time together, act silly and laugh a ton. We've been close now for nine years, ever since that fateful summer day when I was 11 and they came over for the first time after moving back. So many memories, so many great times. Tonight was another to file away in my memory!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

3 Year Blogiversary!!

I can hardly believe it's been 3 year since I wrote my first post. In some ways it feels that long, in other ways it doesn't. I can vividly remember sitting at the dining room table on a sunny Friday and deciding to start a blog. It was really quite thrilling. I love how I babbled on about The Outsiders, still my favorite book.

A lot has changed though, three years ago...
  • I was 17
  • Going into my senior year
  • Still wanted to be a nurse
  • Had no idea what school I'd be going to
  • Had loooooooooong hair
  • Was excited to take my senior pictures
  • Didn't have a job
  • I'm approaching my Junior year of college
  • Don't have a clear idea of what I want to do
  • Switched schools once
  • Have short hair and have donated my hair twice
  • Have been working as a nurse assistant for two and a half years
I love to talk about time on here, about how fast it goes and I feel that now more than ever. I wish that I had accomplished a little more in three years but I know I have to give myself a break. I know I've changed quite a bit, I have certainly had some pretty good life experience but there is still so much I have to learn. I'm excited to see what the next three years will bring and I'm excited to document my journey here on this blog! Thanks for reading and following! If you can take the time and comment your favorite thing on this blog it would mean SO MUCH to me!


The 2014 Secret Classic

This past Saturday my mom and I went to the Secret Classic in Chicago, it was possibly one of the best days of my 20 years of life! We arrived at 1:00 for the Junior competition. Just seeing the arena was so exciting for me, I have watched so many of these competitions on TV and on youtube but actually being there, so close by, was amazing. The standouts in the competition was of course, Jordan Chiles the winner who barely had a waver. When we left between rotations to get a snack I saw a girl on crutches who I thought was Lexie Priessman who had just gotten hurt in practice the day before. I was a little nervous to go up to her but I finally did and it was her! I got a picture and it was so cool to see her, I hope she heals up soon. That competition lasted for about 2 hours and then we stopped at the bathrooms. BIG MISTAKE. You see, McKayla Maroney was going to be there signing autographs, we kept asking people when that line would form but everyone said something different. When we got out from the bathrooms we asked a worker and they said that the line was already forming. So we get outside and the line has already gone far around the building. I was freaking out! Only 300 people got autographs! I was so mad that we wasted time and no one had given us a straight answer. My mom and I waited in that line for an hour and a half, not even knowing if we would get in! I did get to meet and get a picture with Jordan Chiles as well as an autograph, which was very cool. We saw her going back into the arena with her family, her dad took time and talked to some people in line. After I got a picture a giant crowd gathered around , poor girl must have spent half an hour signing autographs in her warm ups in the hot sun!
Finally they started handing out wristbands, you won’t believe this, my mom and I got the LAST TWO. I am still dying of anxiety at the thought of not getting one and how close it came. So many people behind us missed out L.

They were letting the people with wristbands in and we had to wait in another line for autographs. In total, the wait was probably close to three hours. The line crept forward and finally I was standing in front of McKayla! I was so excited, she was super nice and asked to shake MY hand! I got an autograph and even though we weren’t supposed to get pictures, she let everyone get one of her and them together. Oh it was so awesome!
We went back to our great seats for the senior completion, I couldn’t wait to see Kyla Ross, Simone Biles and Norah Flatley compete. Simone was amazing, untouchable really, Kyla was solid (still needs to upgrade but her consistency is a very good thing), Norah did great, I can’t wait to see where she goes once she increases her difficulty.
A few notes:
·       Vaulting looks a lot difference in person than on screen, it was cool to see that in live action.
·       I loved GAGE’s leotards but man did they crash and burn.
·       Does Kim ZB ever smile? And why did she pull almost all of her athletes from the competition?
·       A lot of these girls seem to be genuine friends, nice to see. Especially Kyla and Simone.
·       MyKayla Skinner’s form was worse in person.
·       I loved that a lot of floor music is including vocals now, makes it more dynamic. 

All in all it was a great day! And without further ado, a flood of pictures! They are terrible quality from my phone since I forgot my camera. 

Here we have the Junior session, I think that is one of Chow's athlete's by the vaulting runway. 

Here is Grace Quinn of Texas Dreams, she competed two events and then was MIA, Where did she go Kim??

I got this pic of Mary Lee Tracey from Cincinnati Gymnastics. I was almost as excited to see the coaches as I was the athletes.  

In the autograph line, nearing the front!! 

Nia Dennis on beam, I think she fell off moments after I snapped this...

My favorite junior, Norah Flatley getting ready to vault. (in the red leo)

Shot of the sign.

Simone getting ready for floor. 

Panoramic of the arena 

Simone, Kyla and Kyla's teammate Felicia chatting around the chalk bowl. 

Kyla and Simone being friends :) they were so close to me!

Chow, his wife and Norah Flatley in a huddle. 
I'm going to put the pictures I got with McKayla, Jordan and Lexie up in a separate post later on. 
Woooo, it was such a great day!!