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Journey to #ZINCON 2018

Posted on August 5, 2018 by under Travel, Zumba.    

Brian got to relish an “I told you so” moment on our way to Orlando. We decided to fly out of Kansas City this year to save money. It’s been a while since we’d done that (the last time was 2011 when we traveled to the East Coast with the Dills). We have a very nice airport in Wichita now and there are usually good flight options (granted, not as many as the Kansas City airport, but it’s better than it has been); however, the flights were super expensive for some reason. I wanted to pay around $330, which is what we have paid to travel to Orlando in the past, but this time the prices were hovering around $400 per person. So Brian and I decided to pull the trigger and fly out of Kansas City instead. Our airfare ended up being about $200 per person but it was a direct flight from Kansas City to Orlando (so we wouldn’t have to mess with connecting) and it’s through Southwest so there aren’t any check-in luggage fees. Plus, since there’s no connection, we would arrive in Orlando around 9:00 am which is plenty of time for my 11:45 am Zumba Wear Insider shopping appointment.

I couldn’t believe that in 2018 we managed to find ourselves driving three hours out for a flight but, once I accepted it, I actually began to look forward to spending the night in Kansas City. I had all of these ideas. We would go out to dinner at one of my favorite places and hang out and have some pre-ZINCON fun before hopping on the plane to Orlando the next day.

Well, the best laid plans are often foiled. Or so is the case in my world. Instead of leaving work at 4:00 pm on Tuesday like I wanted, I ended up leaving closer to 5:00 pm. That meant we didn’t make it to Kansas City until after 8:00 pm. I really should have taken Tuesday off too but I ended up with a few meetings and the day proved to be super busy so by the time I thought to add Tuesday (I had put my ZINCON vacation on the calendar months ago but not Tuesday) it was too late. There were already meetings on the calendar. I probably could have gotten out of them but I hate missing things. I’m the kind of person who answers my desk phone as I’m leaving the office because I can’t leave knowing that I have voicemail that hasn’t been listened to yet. I also always respond to emails — though, sometimes too hastily. Bottom line, it would have been better had I taken Tuesday off (because Brian was smart enough to take that day off) and we could have gone up to Kansas City early in the day and actually done stuff. But I didn’t. I worked the full day instead and so that’s what happened.

We arrived at the hotel too late and didn’t really feel like doing anything. We did get there with enough light to check out how to get to the airport from the hotel. Yes, I know. The Kansas City Airport Marriott is like two minutes from the terminal but we are nerdy and didn’t want to get confused, specially since we will be navigating it in the dark the next day. It was actually really confusing (because there’s all sorts of different parking options and the one that Brian insisted on was the garage parking — the most expensive option obviously, that’s Brian for you) so I’m glad we did a trial run of sorts. It made finding the parking garage easier the next day.

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In the meantime, we hadn’t had dinner yet so we decided to just eat that the restaurant inside the hotel, KC Tap & Table. It wasn’t fabulous but it wasn’t terrible either. The crab cakes didn’t look like much but they were actually pretty good.

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The flat bread pizza was just okay.

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Take the food review with a grain of salt, though. I may be a bit salty over the fact that we could have eaten for free had we arrived just a few minutes earlier. There was free food in the club lounge for elite rewards members until a certain time. When we got there, they had packed everything up except for the dessert.

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All that was left were some fresh fruit and crème brûlée. But it was free so I had some. LOL. However, the sugar got me amped so, instead of going to bed early like we were supposed to, we ended up staying up and catching up on some Netflix.

The next morning, we both got up pretty early but we weren’t in any particular hurry because we were pretty much at the airport already. We were parked and in the door by 4:00 am for our 5:20 am flight. You would think that would be enough time but NOOOO! If you were not checking any bags in, I guess that was fine. The line for the Southwest check in counter was insanely long!

It was almost 5:00 am by the time we got to the counter. And, of course, since it’s less than 45 minutes before our flight, they couldn’t guarantee that our bags would make it. Brian was a little bit freaked out about that, which in turn made me worry as well. And then she tells us to run to our gate.

In our panic, we went the wrong way — in the opposite direction of the TSA Precheck security line. So then we had to start running back the other way because there was no way we were going to quickly make it through the regular security line. I get through security but Brian gets hung up because he’s randomly selected for an additional screening. I’m on one side through security and he’s on the other side. He’s like, “Just run to the gate so you can make out flight. If I don’t make it, I’ll catch the next flight!” This shit just got serious.

Anyway, I make it aboard the plane and I tell the flight attendant that my husband got stuck at security and he’s coming and she’s like, “If he makes it, he makes it. Nothing we can do about it.”

I call Brian in a panic to find out where he is and he tells me that he’s in the jet bridge getting ready to board. Jane is with him too. Whew!

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Oh, yeah. This is Jane, a Zumba instructor (ZIN) based out of Overland Park. That was the silver lining in all of this. We met Jane while waiting in the long check in line and we got to visit with her a bit. She was also going to ZINCON. So at least I made a new friend.

All three of us made it, as did our bags. Here’s a video of us arriving at the airport in Orlando with our fancy, schmancy customized ZINCON suitcases.

BTW, Brian, who likes to be at the airport three hours early, never let me forget that the whole debacle of almost missing our flight was my fault because I hate getting to the airport too early. But we made it so I can’t say I learned my lesson. However, I will be less likely to complain about going to the airport too early next time.

That’s all for now. Check back in a couple of days for a recap of the rest of our ZINCON adventure. GNG!

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Grandma’s First Time at Nortons

Posted on August 4, 2018 by under Family, Food and Drink, Things to Do.    

Before we left for #ZINCON, Brian and I took grandma out to Nortons for funnel cake. She had been wanting to go since reading about it on the blog.

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Here are some pictures from our visit.

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If you’re wondering why they look so serious, it’s because bacon crack is seriously good. And seriously addictive. Much like crack, I guess. LOL.

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Here are some pictures of other addictive things you can get there.

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That’s Brian’s grilled cheese pictured above and my BLT below. The BLT is my absolute favorite thing to get at Nortons. They deep fat fry everything, including the bacon! It’s sooo bad and yet sooo good!

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Here’s a better picture of the grilled cheese sandwich.

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I’ve actually had this before but with a beef patty in it. I asked for it that way because I didn’t want a whole Norton burger, which is a burger made with two grilled cheese sandwiches as the buns. It’s on the menu but I’m not sure anyone actually eats it. It just sounds so HUGE!

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This is grandma’s funnel cake.

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Incidentally, this visit completed our second Wicked Brew Tour for this summer. We had so much fun with it last year that we decided to do it again this year.

Above is a picture of Brian holding up last year’s Wicked Brew Tour shirt while wearing the one from this year. We didn’t intend to do the tour twice at first but, when we completed our first 2018 tour, Brian got us the wrong size shirts thinking that we are smaller than we actually are. He got us a Small and a Medium. I could wear the Medium shirt that he get for himself but then that would mean he wouldn’t get a shirt so we decided to just do the tour over and get two new shirts.

It worked out great though because then we ended up getting a shirt for grandma also. Since I already had a Medium shirt I could use, Brian got a Large and Extra Large the second time around. The Large for him and the Extra Large for grandma. Now all three of us have matching Wicked Brew Tour shirts!

I actually need to try the Small one on because I think it will fit. I just prefer my shirts a little bit baggy so I wanted a Medium. If the Small one fits, I might keep that one as my actual shirt and then cut up the Medium one and turn it into a workout shirt. The braided designs I make with my cut shirts tend to shrink them so it would work better with a Medium.

Once I get it done, I’ll post it here for you guys to see! Until next time!

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Pre-ZINCON Fun with Friends

Posted on August 3, 2018 by under Movies, Things to Do.    

Here’s what we did the weekend before we left for #ZINCON.

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Brian and I went to checkout a new dance club in Old Town with some friends. Hideki was actually the one who suggested we check out Fever. It’s where Pandora and Bounce used to be. It’s actually really cool and we plan to go back very soon.

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The following night was Mamma Mia! 2 night.

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We had a watch party at our house for the first Mamma Mia! movie the previous weekend and then a bunch of us went to see the sequel the following weekend before Brian and I left for #ZINCON. It was perfect timing too, because I signed up for the Best of ABBA session with Steve and Kass so watching the movie right before put me in the right mood. I was super excited to attend my ABBA session after watching both movies.

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Here are some pictures of us after watching the movie.

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It was super fun watching it with everyone. I was amazed that we didn’t suddenly burst into song and dance in the middle of the movie. Even Alex, who loves and knows all the words to the songs, behaved herself.

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Then we went to the Dairy Queen by the movie theater right after. Apparently everyone had the same idea because their drive thru was super busy!

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It was the perfect night for sitting outside and visiting.

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The next morning we met Jeff for breakfast at Dempsey’s Biscuit Co.

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No pickleball for us that day because we had to finish packing. Check out our Zumba-fied suitcases! These are the decals that I got from Jaime at the ZIN Jam.

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Our suitcases looked so legit! Anyway, I have one more non-Zumba-related post and then I’ll recap #ZINCON. Have a fabulous weekend and GNG!

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My Very First ZIN Jam

Posted on July 25, 2018 by under Zumba.    

After being ZIN™ (Zumba Instructor Network) member for over six years, I finally attended my very first ZIN Jam™ session. You’re probably wondering what that is. ZIN Jam™ is the officially authorized program, sanctioned by Zumba® Fitness, for any Zumba®-related choreography jams, choreography sessions, or choreography exchanges that are held anywhere in the world. The ZIN Jam™ program can only be led by a Zumba® Jammer (ZJ) and is an exclusive benefit to ZIN™ members.

You can learn more about ZIN Jam™ sessions here.

Because of my busy schedule Jam sessions have been somewhat of a low priority to me. That and I had a different perspective on choreography and routines when I first started teaching Zumba®. In the beginning I wanted to be different from everyone else. Besides the songs from my favorite instructors that I had to use early on (with permission, of course) to get me through my first few classes, I generally stayed away from songs that others were already doing.

Over the years I realized what really bothered me about doing the same songs as others is when the choreography is completely different. If it’s the same or similar, I actually quite enjoy it. So nowadays I don’t mind doing the same songs as other instructors as long as I know we are all using similar choreography.

This change in perspective has allowed me to be more open to attending a ZIN Jam™. And so, it happened that I found myself at Eventum Salon on the South side of town, attending one. ZJ Jaime Ortiz led the Jam. The experience was such a positive one that I know feel significantly differently about Jams. I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on this very useful ZIN™ perk all this time.

Here are some pictures from the Jam…

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Here we are learning some choreo.

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My friends Alex and Rose attended the same Jam.

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I had to get a separate photo with Rose because we had matching outfits. (She usually tells me what to wear. LOL.)

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This is a group photo we took at the end but some people had already left so it’s not the entire group. Our group was small enough that it was conducive to learning but a good turnout overall. I met ZIN™ members from the surrounding area who I hadn’t met before and learned about some newly-minted ZINs.

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Here we are with ZJ Jaime Ortiz at the end of the session. Jaime taught us choreography to five songs:

  • Ya Te Olvide (Cumbia)
  • Bailalo (Soca Tropical)
  • Te Duele (Reggaeton)
  • Sin Pijama (Latin Urban)
  • Kizumbia (Kizomba)

Jaime did a fabulous job of breaking down choreography such that we were able to bring all five songs to class immediately. Thanks to the help of both Rose and Alex, we were able to do the first four songs in class the very next day (Sunday 2 PM class). I introduced the last song, Kizumbia, to the class the following weekend.

I typically only learn one or two new songs at a time so I was amazed that I was able to retain all five of these. Of course, I had help, but still this shows how skilled Jaime is as a Jammer. He made learning the routines so easy and the process of doing so quite enjoyable.

As someone who has a super busy schedule, I have a hard time justifying three hours that could be spent doing something else I perceive to be more valuable. Jaime not only made the session fun but also worthwhile. As a result, I’m more apt to sign up for another Jam should the opportunity arise in the future. It’s no longer at the bottom of the priority list.

Bottom line — it was such a great experience that I look forward to doing another; perhaps from Jaime or another Jammer. My eyes have been opened and my world turned upside down — in a good way.

That’s all for now. Until next time. GNG.

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Fourth of July Aqua Zumba Class

Posted on July 24, 2018 by under Zumba.    

I had such a blast teaching Aqua Zumba on the 4th of July!

I ended up teaching at North YMCA instead of Andover because Lydia posted her holiday schedule first. By the time Kristen was putting together the 4th of July schedule, I was already committed to North. I’m hoping next year I’ll be able to teach it in Andover. We had such a great time!

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Brian said we had over sixty people. Of course, some of them escaped before the group photo (some people do not like to be photographed) so above is all I got.

One of the benefits of teaching at a different branch than my home branch is that it gave me an opportunity to meet some new people — quite a few of them were trying Aqua Zumba for the first time. I love introducing people to Aqua Zumba because they’re always amazed at how awesome a workout it is.

Honestly, between you and me, if I had a choice to take a Zumba class or an Aqua Zumba class, Aqua Zumba would win hands down. It’s not as fun to teach — I prefer teaching my regular Zumba classes — but it sure feels amazing when you’re the one in the water. I wish I had more time to take Aqua Zumba classes.

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Oh, while it was nice meeting new people, it really made my day that my Andover Zumba family came to do Aqua Zumba with us at North YMCA. When you’re teaching a class full of strangers at a different gym that you don’t normally teach at, it’s nice to see familiar faces.

Huge shout out to my Andover Zumba family. Thank you. You guys are the best!

BTW, when we say family we really mean it. Alicia and her kids Brandon and Kariana were there. Amanda brought her mom and dad and brother and even her brother’s girlfriend came to workout with us!

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Here’s Alicia with Brian. She’s like my sister from another mother. Super nice and full of joy. I really enjoying having her in class.

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Amanda and Andrea are two others who are great to have in class. They’re both full of energy — Amanda specially. Oh, and they’re both licensed Zumba instructors too so they’ve been leading songs in our regular Zumba classes and that makes it even more fun. I just love my Zumba family!

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