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Aqua Zumba Gear

Posted on June 9, 2019 by under Shopping, Zumba.    

Many years ago Zumba partnered with Speedo and launched swimsuits and shoes for Aqua Zumba. That line has been discontinued and I’ve been at a loss for what to wear when taking an Aqua Zumba class ever since.

Honestly, you can wear pretty much any swimsuit to Aqua Zumba but I recommend something that offers great support and stays put. Probably no string bikinis.

For those who are serious about their Aqua Zumba workouts, I found some great options on Amazon:

           

           

For those who prefer separates over a one-piece suit, Amazon also sells two-piece suits that look like regular workout clothes:

           

As far as footwear goes, water shoes are completely optional but they also have some great ones on Amazon:

           

As far as other tips go, remember to wear sunglasses and lots of sunblock for outdoor water classes. Even an hour outside can cause sunburn. A hat or a visor wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

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ICT Brew Crew

Posted on June 6, 2019 by under Events.    

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Last month I had the pleasure of joining a group of business owners on a tour of the ten breweries we have here in Wichita.

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For weeks I was super excited to go on this adventure with my Friend Jay Dill, who owns The Travel Junkie travel agency. Three days before the event, I developed a cough that I could not get ride of and on the day of the event it was at its worst. It was so bad that I barely got any sleep and I actually slept in another bedroom of our house because I kept waking Ching up.

Regardless, I wasn’t going to miss out on this adventure. I pulled myself together, got me some coffee that morning, and pushed through. I was glad I did because it was a great tour of the breweries. I learned very quickly that not all breweries are the same.

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We started at Aero Plains Brewing in the Delano District. This is one of my favorite breweries due to the delicious Irish Red they brew but you have to be quick as it’s very popular and it tends to sell out very fast.

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From there we moved to Limestone Beer Company, a very small brewery and restaurant. They had several varieties of beer that I was not too fond of but there were others in the group that really liked a Blueberry beer that they had.

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Next up was Nortons, another one of my favorites. Here we got to speak to Dan Norton, the owner. He is very down to earth and humble and takes his brewing very seriously. He believes in producing quality beer for everyone while still exploring a wide variety of flavors. Plus, he has some outstanding food available, Bacon Crack is one of my favs and I can’t go here without getting some. My wife an I frequent Nortons because the atmosphere is great and they have live shows in their outside space from time to time.

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Wichita Brewing was next. This one was on the West side of town. By now everyone was feeling pretty good and we had a tight schedule that we were, amazingly enough, keeping to. Wichita Brewing is another of my favorites as they have an excellent food menu, great pizza, and their 502 Amber is pretty tasty as well.

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We stopped for lunch at Augustino Brewing and had the pleasure of eating some Noble House Hawaiian food. This was my first time trying Noble House and I have to say that it was pretty tasty. Augustino makes some good beer as well and his brewery is actually set up nicely.

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River City Brewing Company is one of the original breweries in Wichita. They have been doing it for a long time and, at one point, had set the bar as far as breweries in town go. They have another Amber beer that I like (you can see where my beer tastes lean) and they also have a great menu available. Ching loves the food there.

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Third Place Brewing is a tiny little spot just downtown, located right next to an old-fashioned barber shop called the Artestry Lounge. You can stop here, get your hair cut, then walk next door for a cold one.

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Hopping Gnome has been a mainstay in Wichita for some time now. They offer a variety of beers and even have specials events when they tap a new flavor. Again, it’s a small venue so get there early if you want to sit somewhere.

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We jumped across the street and had some snacks and a few more beers at Central Standard Brewing. This is not one of my favorite places, as their beers are a little out there for me, but I love the location, all of the outdoor seating, and they have food trucks roll in all the time. It’s a great place to meet up with friends and again, come early as there is always a crowd.

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Just down the street from there was the PourHouse from Walnut River Brewing. They have, hands down, my favorite beer! I usually have at least a six pack or two in my fridge at all times. I’m working up to getting a kegerator so I can have it on tap in my basement bar and, yes, I would drink a keg if allowed. The PourHouse is one of the newer Breweries in town; however, Walnut River is not new to the brewing game. PourHouse offers a wide variety of food and an excellent selection of Walnut River’s beer.

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Finally, we wrapped up the evening with a trip back to Aero Plains Brewing. Since I wasn’t feeling well, I really didn’t go beyond the small tasters that they offered so I wasn’t as plastered as some of the others. All of the participants with the exception of me had drivers, Ubers or Lyfts waiting. Since I started the day under the weather and I was more into seeing the workings of the breweries, I drove myself. However, I had at least two backup plans just in case. My wife was waiting for a call from me as she offered to Uber over to get me when she was done with her class and my cuz offered to come and get me as well and drive me and my car back home. So I was well cared for no matter what state of mind I happened to be in.

All in all, it was an excellent event that I was very honored to be a part of. I met a lot of very cool people and got to learn more, not only about the local breweries, we have but I got to learn more about the local businesses and the people that own them.

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P.S. If you’d like to schedule your own brew tour, hit it up the awesome folks at Brew Wagon Tours.

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Y Takeover at Chicken N Pickle

Posted on May 28, 2019 by under Events, Zumba.    

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The YMCA had their first Y Takeover event and it was massively successful. It was held at Chicken N Pickle on May 19 and involved several Zumba and Sh’Bam (another type of dance fitness workout) instructors.

First of, most people are probably already familiar with Zumba but not quite sure what Sh’Bam is or how it differs. When people ask me what Sh’Bam is, I often tell them it’s just a different flavor of dance fitness much like Zumba. It’s basically the Les Mills branded version. There are other slight differences though.

Here are a few of them:

1) Here in Wichita our Sh’Bam classes typically last an hour like Zumba but as I’m doing research, it sounds like 45-minute Sh’Bam classes are more common. As for Zumba, classes are typically 55-60 minutes.

2) Zumba uses various genres of music from all over the world but has a lot of Latin music influence. Sh’Bam primarily uses more popular music. Brian has never set foot in a Sh’Bam class but, after the Y Takeover event, he confessed to me that he actually prefers the Sh’Bam music selection. If you listen to the radio a lot, then you’ll probably find Sh’Bam music more relatable. As for someone like me, who doesn’t really listen to the radio (except for NPR), I go for danceable tunes and there’s an abundance of them in both formats.

3) The Sh’Bam instructor certification process is much more rigorous than the Zumba Basic 1 training so you’re less likely to run into a Sh’Bam instructor who isn’t very good. The Zumba process isn’t a certification so pretty much anyone who completes the Basic 1 training is licensed to teach classes. That said, I never have to worry about the quality of the Zumba instructors in town because we have some of the best ones in Wichita. Plus, the market really takes care of this situation.

4) Zumba has better name recognition than Sh’Bam. Almost everyone know what Zumba is whereas people usually don’t know what Sh’Bam is. Zumba does a really good job marketing their brand by partnering with movie producers and artists to get the brand out there. Even people who don’t take Zumba classes know what it is or at least have heard of Zumba. Unless you’re a Les Mills person or have taken Sh’Bam at some point, you won’t know what it is.

5) Another big difference is the gym carries an additional expense to be able to offer Sh’Bam. With Zumba there is no additional cost to the gym because the instructors are paying monthly membership fees to Zumba for the license (right) to teach classes. With Sh’Bam not only are instructors paying fees but the gym also has to pay fees to Les Mills for the right to offer the format. It’s kind of a double hit.

Anyway, now that you know the difference between Zumba and Sh’Bam you can tell they’re very similar and as such it made a lot of sense to have a combo event. The event at Chicken N Pickle was basically just a massive dance party alternating between Zumba and Sh’Bam.

Here’s a clip of Sarah, backed by Rose and Jessie, kicking off the dance party with a fun warmup. The clips below are also from their set.

It was a beautiful day for a dance party and we had such a great turnout.

Here are a few more videos from the event. The video above is of Aimee with Amy and Francie as her backup instructors.

This next one features Melissa with Todd and Brynden backing her up.

Here’s a clip Brian got of Vi’s Sh’Bam set.

Lastly, here are some videos of our set led by Charis with me and Amanda as her backups. The video above features Peligrosa and the one below is Little More.

This next one is Firehousee, a class favorite. Brian a great video, making his way through the crowd. We had such a blast leading these songs!

Here are a few of my favorite pics from the event.

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Amanda, Charis, and Me

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With Sam, one of our devoted class regulars

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With Melissa below

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Brynden, Melissa, and Todd

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Amanda, Rose, Charis, Jessie, and Me

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Same group this time with Sarah in the middle

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Brian and Brynden

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The three of us this time

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Hideki and Me

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Charis, Hideki, and Me

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And just a few more pics…

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This was such a fun event. And, very well-attended. I hope that we get to do it again soon before Fall/Winter season.

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If you’ve never been to Chicken N Pickle, I highly recommend it. It’s such a cool hangout spot. There’s plenty of stuff to do, including free yard games. The huge complex is also pet-friendly so you can bring the whole family!

I’m so grateful that we now have a Chicken N Pickle in Wichita and I’m grateful that I got to be part of such a wonderful community event. Until next time. GNG.

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May Recap

Posted on May 27, 2019 by under Life.    

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Did you know that the first full week of May is National Nurses Week? Actually neither did I until I was hired by Wesley (through the YMCA) to lead Zumba for their nurses that week.

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I only had four lovely nurses join because (a) it’s monsoon season here in Wichita and it was raining nonstop that day and (b) the nurses were working 12-hour days and those who had gotten off work didn’t have any energy to stay — they just wanted to go home and make dinner. My contact Jelinda said there were people who were off that day who said they were interested in coming to do Zumba but the weather probably discouraged them. We originally planned to have the Zumba outside on their courtyard but because of the weather we had to do it in one of the conference rooms.

Despite the low participation rate, the four of us had a great time. Also, it was better than the yoga session they scheduled that morning which I heard had zero participants. It’s a real shame. I think the hospital leadership was doing the right thing by coming up with fun activities for the nurses to show how much they’re appreciated but things just didn’t work out well, schedule and weather-wise.

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I’m being a good Zumba ambassador as I continue to invite people to try my classes. I actually managed to convince another coworker to try it. Last year Amelia started doing Zumba with us. Last month Tom got to try it. A couple of weeks ago, Amir (another coworker of ours) got to try it.

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I had an opportunity to sub Anna’s Aqua Zumba class at West YMCA a few weeks ago (the same Saturday that Amir tried my Zumba class). Matt actually came to Aqua Zumba. I invited him but I didn’t think he would actually show up. Imagine my surprise! He even made a sign. It was very nice.

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Speaking of surprises, Brian and I decided to surprise grandma with a pop-up Mother’s Day card and some cake pops. When Brian went to deliver it, he discovered that his parents sent the exact same card to grandma. Proof that great minds think alike. She got a good laugh out of it.

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Here’s a pic of me teaching one of my last Aqua Zumba classes at VASA Fitness for the season. I each Aqua Zumba at the Andover YMCA at the same time during the summer months (June, July, and August) so Victoria is taking over for me until September. I will miss this awesome group so much!

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In other news, the weather is finally nice enough now for us to play outdoor pickleball. I got to play outside a few times this month and I must say, it’s a whole different world than playing indoors.

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I also made three Rotary luncheons this month which is amazing considering I probably made three total last year.

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My favorite meeting by far is the final mini grant presentation. I missed all the other ones. I’m glad I got to see at least one of them.

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Tina and Justin came back to Zumba. That always makes me really happy because I will sometimes invite people and they’ll show up as a courtesy but then they don’t come back. And that makes me sad even though I know it’s not personal. Zumba just isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

We had a very successful Y Takeover event at Chicken N Pickle last weekend. I will blog about it separately because Brian got a ton of great pics and videos.

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We also had a very nice time dog sitting Jay and Becca’s dog Gronk over Memorial Weekend. As an added bonus, our friend Alicia got to meet grandma when she dropped off Gronk on Saturday.

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I think that pretty much catches up the blog (besides the Y Takeover post, which is still in the works). Whew! I can’t believe we are finally caught up at long last!

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Harry Magoos Bar & Grill

Posted on May 27, 2019 by under Food and Drink.    

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Jay introduced me and Brian to a new place not too far from us. It’s not new actually. It’s been around forever. We’ve just never been because it looks like a hole in the wall bar and you all know how Brian is about that. He can be a bit of a snob.

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Anyway, Jay told us they have good, cheap food and you all know I’m always down for that so I agreed to skip pickleball and we went on Taco Tuesday. Brian was very reluctant to go. He really does not like these types of places.

When Jay got detained by a meeting and was running late Brian was like, “If Jay isn’t coming, let’s eat somewhere else.” He was looking for every excuse not to go.

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Here’s a picture of the bar’s interior and their menu.

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Jay eventually showed up and Brian chilled out a bit. He’s not very adventurous in a lot of ways, including trying new restaurants.

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Here are some pics of our tacos.

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We also ordered wings but we inhaled them before I could take a photo. Brian and I agreed we should go back on a Wednesday night some time because we actually liked their wings better than their tacos and Wednesday is cheap wings day.

It doesn’t look like much from the outside but Magoos is actually not bad if you’re looking for somewhere to have some inexpensive food and drinks. The three of us had tacos, wings, and drink and our tab came to about $25 which is a lot less than a single person’s tab at the places that Brian like to go.

Magoos is now officially on the list of places to eat for nights we don’t want to fix anything. It’s definitely worth a visit if you haven’t been.

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