My Story

Ah, I love stories! I guess that’s one reason I started a blog! Everybody has a story. Each and every single one of us. Each one is completely unique and compiled of many different chapters. We all have different passions, different backgrounds, and different influences which shape us into who we are today. My love for writing, food, traveling, coaching/teaching, and family all come from where I’ve been in the past and what I’ve been fortunate enough to experience. Here’s just a few little snippets out of my story that I would like to share with you!

Well, where shall I start? I suppose my name would be a good place! My name Joan Cristobal Holdburg and I am a born-and-raised Californian, now residing in Texas! I live with my incredibly witty, sarcastic, and good-hearted husband Brent, along with our new little guy, Jack, and our 3 little fur babies, Cassidy (chihuahua/min-pin mix), Mia (Italian Greyhound), and Dexter (Doberman).

Family Pic with Pups.jpg
My ohana 🙂 Jack was about 1 month old here. Fun times trying to wrangle them all in for a self-portrait.

~Personal Life~

In 2003, I met the man who literally changed my entire world. In 2009, we got married outdoors during one of the hottest months in Dallas, TX (ok, i’ll explain… We were on break between tours with Disney on Ice and it was the best time all my family could come out). We felt bad for our photographer, who had to run around shooting in that heat… But in the end, he was awesome and he pretty much NAILED it.

Photo Credit: Kyle Coburn

In 2015, we were initiated into the world of parenthood with our first little one in August and we cannot believe how much it has changed our world!

Maternity Photos at the Hickory Street Annex (Photo by Kyle Coburn)


~My Experiences~

2001 USFSA National Championships in Boston, MA (Photo Credit: Doug Pensioner)

ICE SKATING – When I was 8 years old, I was introduced to the world of ice skating and haven’t turned back since. I skated competitively for a long time along with going to school full-time. As I progressed, I earned my place on Team USA and competed for them nationally and internationally in countries like Canada, Germany, and Italy. In 2001, I won the USFSA Junior Ladies National Championship title in Boston, Massachusetts! It is definitely a moment engrained in my memory. A few years after, I suffered some back injuries (because I was a stubborn athlete and never like to admit to being in any pain… I HIGHLY recommend AGAINST doing this… Should’ve taken care of it sooner). After many years of falling and constant compression of my back, I ended up with damaged discs in my lower back, a stress fracture in my SI joints, and some arthritis in my spine. At one point in time, I wanted to try doing pairs, and on a try out, after being thrown, I ended up cracking one of the vertebrae in my mid spine (which I didn’t find out about until about 4-5 months after it happened because I didn’t get it checked out right away. I just thought it was normal back pain…). After numerous x-rays, MRIs, physical therapy sessions, and countless doctor appointments, I eventually had to make the tough decision to quit competing and finish my last year of college at Santa Clara University (which I was going to full time while I was still competing).

Kappa Alpha Theta sisters 🙂

COLLEGE -I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Santa Clara University. I got to meet a whole lot of amazing individuals not only through my classes, but through the sorority I joined, Kappa Alpha Theta. I was the Philanthropy Chair of my sorority and loved getting to run our fundraising events for our philanthropic partners at C.A.S.A. (Court Appointed Special Advocates) such as Breakfast at Your CASA (where we partnered up with our local Jamba Juice and Krispy Kreme and sold and served breakfast to all of our fellow students in and around campus during Dead Week so nobody had to get out of bed while they studied for finals!) and Dodgeball Tournaments with other sororities and fraternities around our campus to help raise money for CASA.

Our final semester at SCU… A whole lot of delirium and fun times with great friends!

When I was at SCU, I got my Bachelor’s degree in Combined Sciences (which is essentially the pre-med route and it was literally a mix of every single science class you could ever take along with every business class you could ever take). Reasons? Because I had absolutely NO idea which direction I wanted to go into after I graduated so I figured, “Well, this is all encompassing; might as well go for it!” Talk about a whole lot of sleepless nights, last minute essays, and a bunch of “I don’t know what the heck I’m doing” going on… I graduated from SCU in 2009 and I’m forever grateful for my time there.

DISNEY ON ICE – After I finished college, I moved out to Texas with my fiancé at the time (who is now my husband). We met while we were training out in California and due to an injury, he moved back to Texas while I finished my last year of college. As soon as we arrived to Texas, we decided to join Disney on Ice and tour as performers on one of their shows. We had an absolute blast! We got to travel to several countries and perform in front of thousands of people and we got to call this a job! Living out of a suitcase, traveling to a different city every week, exploring the different parts of the world. It was such a dream! We got to travel cross-country (US), Brazil, Spain, Austria, Canada. I got to perform in a couple shows as different characters and Disney Princesses like Jasmine, Mulan, and even Tiana. I remember growing up LOVING the movie Aladdin and wanted SO BAD to be Jasmine… I finally got to live my childhood dream 🙂 After a few years, my back started to act up again and we were both forced to make the decision to get off the road and find jobs back home.

One of my favorite photos of my partner, Dom, and I as Mulan and Sheng with Disney on Ice!


Living my childhood dream!
A little show action shot


Took this one at my favorite place in the world!

PHOTOGRAPHY -While I was on tour, I bought my first DSLR, a Nikon D90, to photograph all of the beautiful places we got to visit and document all of the memories we made with our tour family. After several cities and different countries, my love for photography grew and grew. Once we got off the road, that love blossomed and I decided to learn more and more about the technical aspects of photography to be able to create these beautiful images and moments that were trapped in my head. From there, I went on to photograph a couple of my friends’ families, babies, events, and other random little shoots. Then one of my good friends asked me if I would shoot her wedding for her back out in California. At first I was hesitant, but as soon as we got there, my creative juices got flowing and I had a blast (not to mention, it was out in Monterey, CA so the scenery and weather was absolutely gorgeous like always). After that, I knew that a business in photography was something I wanted to pursue!

Brent and I with a couple of our little ones after a skating competition!

COACHING -Along with my photography business, I also coach figure skating. Hey, I figure I skated all those years, why not pass on my knowledge and life lessons my coaches taught me onto the next generation? What have I learned after a couple years of skating and coaching? They are both completely different beasts and you will never know everything. There is always something new to learn and new techniques to master. Much like anything else out there, you keep learning everyday. If there’s anything that I’ve pulled out of my experiences on how to become successful. I have learned exactly this: Success comes from understanding that you don’t know everything. It comes from constantly quitting what doesn’t work, listening to those who know more than you, and keeping yourself open to new ideas. The moment you stop learning is the moment you have stopped growing.


And that, in a VERY general sense, is my story! I hope to hear about your stories as we continue to build our relationship together!