Sunday, January 31, 2016

#AuthorLifeMonth Challenge

Author Dahlia Adler came up with a great Instagram challenge for authors for the month of February, and I'm jumping on board! Follow me at @jcomeaux4 on Instagram to get a daily look at my writing life starting February 1 and check out the tag #AuthorLifeMonth to discover other authors!

Friday, January 29, 2016

2016 U.S. Nationals-Sunday Events

I had a lot to catch up on at home after Nationals, so forgive me for the delay in posting my last recap! Sunday was another up and down day in the emotions department. It started off with lots of fun at the Friends of Figure Skating breakfast followed by a quick trip to the Saintly City Cat Show next door to the arena. It was both hilarious and adorable! Meet the cat known as Rhett Butler:

And his ice castle LOL:

Back to the skating, the men had a high standard to live up to after the ladies' free skate on Saturday, and so many of them delivered! In the early groups, I really enjoyed Sebastien Payannet's performance. He has wonderful carriage and style. I was so happy for Grant Hochstein reaching the podium for the first time but so sad that Ross Miner is missing out on Worlds in his hometown. I was surprised at some of the scoring among the top three, but I think we have a strong team going to Worlds.

On to the exhibition, it was so disappointing to go from the high of Nathan Chen's jaw-dropping free skate to watching him hobble in pain off the ice during his show program. I really wanted to see how he would fare against the top men in the world at the senior level. On a happier note, there were some fun moments during the exhibition, like Jim Petersen filling the holes in the ice during the Zamboni break.

There were also some beautiful performances. Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran's program to "Try" by Pink had a wonderfully sultry undertone. Their chemistry is so good. Tarah Kayne and Danny O'Shea also have amazing chemistry, which they displayed in their soft, gorgeous program to "Manhattan" by Sara Bareilles. I was also super impressed with the junior pairs champions Joy Weinberg and Max Fernandez. They had so much speed!

And that's a wrap for 2016 Nationals! I'm already counting the days until Worlds in Boston. I'll be there Monday-Sunday, so be on the lookout for lots of photos!

Here are my pics from the FOFS Breakfast => FOFS
And my pics from the Sunday events => PHOTOS

Saturday, January 23, 2016

2016 U.S. Nationals-Saturday Events

Well, today was an emotional roller coaster. To sum up, here were the things that made me ecstatic:

1) Tarah Kayne and Danny O'Shea being total bosses and nailing their whole program like it was an easy practice. When Tarah landed the throw Lutz, I became a crying mess. The way they relate to each other is so lovely and honest and it really draws you in to their performance. 
2) Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran energizing the crowd with their Journey program. Even though they had a couple of mistakes, their other elements and their spark with each other and the music lit up the building. My God, how I wanted to see that program in Boston. It would've been an insane atmosphere.
3) Anastasia Cannuscio and Colin McManus winning the pewter medal. They have worked so hard for so long to scratch and claw their way up the ice dance ladder, and they've quietly improved year after year. To see them put out their best performances of the season and be rewarded for it was so satisfying.
4) The ladies all bringing it tonight and putting on quite the show. I hope this gives our world team the confidence they need to slay in Boston. No flubs in the short, please! (I'm looking at you, Gracie and Ashley.)

Here are all my photos from Saturday's events => PHOTOS

2016 U.S. Nationals-Friday Events

Friday started off with an AMAZING junior free dance event. The depth at the junior level in dance in the U.S. is astounding, and this event showed off just how diverse and strong our teams are. The tiny teams of Katherine Grosul/Cameron Colucci and Eliana Gropman/Ian Somerville were adorable and so impressive for their ages. Chloe Lewis/Logan Bye gave a passionate tango performance, and I hope they can continue to move up the ladder because they are one of my favorite teams to watch. The whole last group of top five teams were ridiculously good. Julia Biechler/Damian Dodge were the last to skate and their performance was the most emotionally-charged for me. They really blew me away with their commitment to the program and how much they've improved.

The short dance was another exciting event with outstanding performances from the top five. I was so happy for Anastasia Cannuscio/Colin McManus breaking through to the top four! It's going to be an intense battle for first on Saturday between Madison Chock/Evan Bates and Maia & Alex Shibutani, and I hope everyone brings their A game!

The men ended the evening, and overall I thought it was a well-skated competition with some big highlights - Ross Miner flying across the ice with pure joy in his Billy Joel program and Max Aaron throwing down a quad-triple and showing his new softer side in his Nessun Dorma program. Tim Dolensky's performance was another highlight - he has gorgeous flow and connection to the music. I was also thrilled to see Curran Oi back, who was one of my favorites when he skated as a teenager. 

Here are all my photos from Friday's events! => PHOTOS

Friday, January 22, 2016

2016 U.S. Nationals-Thursday Events

Greetings from St. Paul, Minnesota! I've made my annual trek to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships (this makes 16 in a row!), and I'm loving being back in this world that I so enjoy. I arrived in St. Paul on Wednesday evening and started my day Thursday at senior dance practice. This was after reacquainting myself with the Skyway that I walked through many times back in 2008 when Nationals was here.

I watched the first group of dance and got to see my favorites Madison Chock and Evan Bates do a full run-through of their short dance. They never do full run-throughs at event practices, so this was a treat! They perform the SD with such joy that it always makes me smile. They looked fast and crisp on both the footwork and the waltz pattern. And Evan had a new costume - a black tuxedo with a velvet jacket.

Danielle Thomas and Daniel Eaton also did a full run-through as did Kaitlyn Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. Both teams looked strong and smooth and ready to compete! Kaitlyn changed her dress, and her new one is very similar to Danielle's, which made it amusing to watch as they skated around each other.

I skipped the next two groups of dance for lunch (priorities lol) so I could make it back in time for the pairs SP warm-up. Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran looked great on their jumps, but one of my other faves Tarah Kayne was struggling, which had me very nervous for the competition. But she turned it on when it mattered! She and Danny poured their hearts onto the ice in their new "Take Me To Church" program. I could tell they felt the music in their souls. I loved how they flew into the death spiral at the beginning of the program. I've never seen them skate faster than they did this afternoon.

Some other highlights of the event for me - Marissa and Mervin were so gorgeous and connected with each other in their "Summertime" program. Their skating skills were unmatched in the event. They move so effortlessly across the ice and I love how they look at each other while they're skating. Darn that triple Salchow!! 

I also greatly enjoyed Jessica Pfund and Josh Santillian. Their jumps are just BAM and they really conveyed the emotion of the music so much stronger than they did when I saw them at Skate America. I am so excited for their future! Another team I'm excited to see more of in the future is Caitlin Fields and Ernie Utah Stevens. They've had a tough season dealing with injury, but they have a spark about them and a great connection. If they can get their technical elements up, they will be right in the mix.

The ladies' short program was quite the stunner. As a Polina Edmunds fan, I am so happy that she skated so well! Her short program is one of my favorites this season, and she performed it with so much control and elegance. I wanted to see a good showdown between Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold, so it's disappointing that neither of them brought the goods, but it's fun to see some new names near the top of the standings. Tyler Pierce skated with so much heart tonight!

Here are all my photos from Thursday's events! => PHOTOS