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Archive for "Life"

The FLIP + CHING Plank Challenge

Posted on January 16, 2017 by under Life.    

Brian and I have been on various health kicks over the years. There was that time that we bought a Bowflex thinking that it would allow us to workout at home more. In reality, it turned out to be the most expensive cat-toy-slash-coat-rack that we had ever bought. We realized shortly after that we didn’t have the self-discipline to workout at home, we joined the YMCA only to give up on it a few years later because we decided that “we no longer had time to go.” It was a really short hiatus because we rejoined a few months later and rediscovered racquetball (one of our favorite activities at the Y from years before).

Those were fun times. We loved playing racquetball. Here are some funny racquetball memories:

I have a love-hate relationship with working out. There are times that I get into a regular routine and there are times when I fall off the wagon completely. There was even a time when I had multiple gym memberships. We had a Genesis Health Clubs membership, YMCA membership, and we were also paying for access to our wellness center (fitness/workout facility) at work. That’s when we were living at Quarters at Cambridge, which incidentally also has a small fitness center onsite.

We were most successful with our health goals around that time. I actually got down to 120 lbs and had to get rid of a bunch of clothes.

Brian has never enjoyed going to the gym. Actually, he doesn’t like working out period. Here’s Brian doing P90X. We often joke that he doesn’t like to sweat.

We usually have to make a contest out of it in order to get him motivated enough to workout. That’s why I was surprised when he came up with the idea of the “Plank Challenge” at the beginning of the year.


He read somewhere that doing four 1-minute planks for 28 consecutive days is good for you so he suggested that we do it. I loved the idea, naturally, because it’s something that we can do together, even when we are apart. And, it’s not too challenging and it takers hardly any time at all — six minutes tops.

We started on January 2 and haven’t missed a single day yet. Although, I have to say that I feel like I’m forcing Brian to do it with me some days. I think he wouldn’t mind it one bit if we “forgot” to do it one day. He hasn’t gotten too whiny at yet but I have had to remind him that this was his idea — and it’s a great one!

This challenge is going so well that we’re actually thinking of doing a different challenge each month for the rest of the year. Our plan is to come up with something quick, easy, and doable to do for 28 days straight each month.

We’ve also been inspired to restart our weekly weigh ins. I couldn’t find the old spreadsheet we used for the Battle of the Brubakers that we did years ago so I had to create a new one. You can keep track of our progress here:

Anyway, our 2017 is off to a great start. How about you? How is your year going so far? Will you be doing next month’s challenge with us?

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The First Day of the New Year

Posted on January 8, 2017 by under Events, Life, Zumba.    

Brian and I are pretty strategic about what we do on New Year’s Day because we understand how it can set the tone for the entire year. I’ve already mentioned how we never want to stay out too late on NYE and be hung over on NYD. We want to be productive and on our A-game on NYD so we can be productive and on our A-game for the rest of the year.

We start preparing for NYD weeks in advance. Normally, we clean the house top to bottom, clean and stock the fridge, organize the pantry, organize my closet (which means getting rid of a bunch of clothes that no longer fit, etc.), organize the linen closet, clean our cars – all of that stuff to ensure that everything is all set for NYD.

It was so much easier when Brian worked for Viega because they always shut down during the holidays. I would save some of my vacation time so that Brian and I would be off work together at the end of the year and we could tackle all of the tasks that needed to be done. The last couple of years have been a bit more challenging because Brian doesn’t have as much time off so now he has to work between Christmas and New Year (and he didn’t before). I would try to tackle all of the projects by myself but then I would end up completely overwhelmed. Brian has always been the more organized one of the two of us.

Anyway, we just tried to do what we could this year. Both cars were clean on NYD. I managed to get rid of a bunch of Zumba gear and free up some space in the closet. The house was tidy enough. It’s a mess right now, but it was in decent shape for NYD. Clutter is a constant battle and as long as it’s manageable most of the time then we consider it a win.

Brian and I rang in the New Year in our traditional way and went to bed at a decent time (for NYE standards) – about 1 AM. We got up at 5 AM to feed the dogs and let them out to do their business. I usually take my thyroid medicine at that time as well. We went back to bed to catch some more Zs and then eventually got up at a reasonable time to start our day.

We had a very important appointment that day: brunch at Newport Grill and then a WSU men’s basketball game (Wichita State vs. Bradley).


Here’s a post-brunch picture of me and Brian. It has been a long time since our last visit to Newport Grill. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy their brunch. I’m so glad that April suggested it for before the game.


April also loaned us her BG parking pass but we didn’t end up needing it. The weather was perfect that day and it was a beautiful day for a walk. We also arrived at the arena super early so we found decent open parking.


This is April and her husband Nelson. April is the reason we got to go to the game. She works for the Wichita State University Foundation and was kind enough to invite me and Brian along. Thank you, April!


Though the game wasn’t very exciting (it was a blowout), we had a great time.


The final score was actually 100-66, Wichita State. Some people actually left with 10 minutes more to go because it was pretty much a forgone conclusion. There was no way for Bradley to recover. However, we stayed for the whole game because (a) we don’t get to go to that many men’s basketball games and (b) I really wanted to see WSU hit triple digits.

What a great way to start the New Year!

Oh, I didn’t realize this before, but on days when the women play after the men you can stay to watch the women’s basketball game for free with your men’s basketball game ticket. I suppose that they don’t sell enough tickets for the women’s basketball so they can afford to give seats aways. We didn’t stay for the women’s basketball game but I kind of wish that we would have. It would have been more exciting.

WSU women lost to UNI but it was a close game (63-61).

I think Nickira and I actually watched the WSU vs. UNI women’s basketball game around this time last year. I can’t remember who won. The women’s basketball team is actually really fun to watch. I wish more people would go to their games.

Since we started our year off with a men’s basketball game, maybe this will be our year of supporting WSU athletics. What you’re doing on the first day of the year is what you’re going to be doing all year long, right?

As far as resolutions go, Brian and I don’t really have new year’s resolutions. However, we do sit down and for our annual budget meeting (which we revisit halfway through the year) and then we also sit down to set goals. Our three main objectives this year are as follows:

  1. Reach our respective goal weights by October so we don’t go on my 40th birthday trip completely disgusting.
  2. Pay off our trip so we can enjoy our trip guilt-free.
  3. Get our house organized so we’re not scrambling in the event we have to sell it.

In addition to our joint goals, I have the following personal goals:

  1. Read 24 books by the end of the year.
  2. Run/walk at least 1 mile everyday.
  3. Complete my 10K Runner app.
  4. Travel to some place I’ve never been.
  5. Eat out less and eat at home more.
  6. Crochet a Zumba Fitness beanie.
  7. Complete 200 volunteer/community service hours.
  8. Stay employed.

I also have ZIN goals:

  1. Add two new songs to the playlist every month.
  2. Learn everybody’s names.
  3. Teach facing class, move around, and teach from different parts of the room more.
  4. Get licensed to teach Strong by Zumba at #ZINCON.
  5. Build and maintain a loud, fun, welcoming class.

So that’s pretty much the our first day of the year. Brunch, basketball game, and goal setting. Oh, I forgot to mention that we also took the dogs out for a nice, leisurely walk. We did about a mile and a half altogether so that actually satisfied my run/walk goal for the day.

We’ve just completed the first week of the New Year. So far, so good.

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The Final Hours of 2016

Posted on January 7, 2017 by under Events, Life.    


You’ve probably heard me say this a few times before already: Hideki throws the best parties. He does! And I can prove it.

You get the picture. There are several reasons that make parties at Hideki’s great. The key reasons from my point of view:

  • He has the best Rock Band set up.
  • He has more liquor than most bars in town.
  • He is so warm and welcoming; he just has this way of bringing everyone together.

Meader took the photo above and this one below. He takes the best photos!


This is a picture of Missy, Christina, Holly, Glynda, and me taking a selfie. (Or should this be called a “groupie” since there’s a bunch of us in the selfie? LOL.)

These next photos were taken by me, with my phone, so if they are not the same calibre, that is why.


Can you believe that the girl sitting next to Missy is one of her children?


Here’s another photo I took while we were waiting to start games.


Here’s Hideki and Jake.


Of course, I had to take a selfie with Todd and his silly hat. 😉


Shots happened but I did not partake. I drank maybe a glass of wine, if that. I didn’t want to drink too much because Brian couldn’t drink at all. During his last physical examination, our doctor asked Brian to go on a low cholesterol diet and ordered him not to drink any alcohol for a month. Brian, who follows instructions to a tee, didn’t drink at all the entire month despite numerous opportunities and being tempted and taunted by everyone. Seriously. Not drinking during the holidays is a significant feat of self-control.

Anyway, he had his follow up with the doctor yesterday morning and he started drinking as soon as he got home from work. LOL. Must be all of that pent up alcohol craving. Just kidding. I think he had a glass of wine or two.

Brian is not an excessive drinker by any means. His stupid liver just likes to betray him.


Brian is not really a fan of Central Standard Brewing beer but he is a fan of the 32 oz. cans. We may have to go there and give them another shot.


Here’s a picture of Hideki enjoying his Harvey Wallbanger in a pineapple cup.


This next series of pictures is of Missy opening our present for her.


And a Love Pop card! Who doesn’t love these?


As usual, we had to leave a little after eleven so we could be home by midnight. Traditions. You know. Brian and I firmly believe that whatever you are doing on NYD is what you will be doing all year. We truly believe this and it works.

For instance, I taught Zumba on NYD last year and I ended up doing a lot of Zumba in 2016.

So there are several things we like to do to wrap up the year like make sure our cars our clean and the house is not too messy (we try to clean top to bottom if we have time). I also like to have a clean and organized closet; though I didn’t quite get that done this year. We never want to wake up hung over on NYD and I also try to do some work (at least a couple of hours worth). Mostly I just clean my email inbox. There was one year that Brian and I worked for eight hours on NYD and I felt completely overworked and exhausted that year. I vowed to never agree to that again. So I will work some on NYD but I won’t put in a full day.

Brian and I got home with just enough time to ring in the new year in our traditional way. I won’t elaborate. You have your traditions. We have ours.

As for the NYD thing… What you’re doing (and the state of your life in general) on NYD really sets the tone for your entire year so we are always conscious about the first day of the year goes for us. Every year we ask ourselves, “What do we want this year to be like?” And then we focus on that. So we never want to wake up hung over, or just veg all day. We want to be somewhat productive.

Next time, when you come back, I’ll tell you what we did on NYD this year. Until then, have wonderful, productive, and happy New Year!

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Starting and Ending the Year with Zumba

Posted on January 1, 2017 by under Events, Life, Zumba.    

Remember how I was so happy that I was able to teach Zumba on January 1, 2016? If not, here’s a short video to refresh your memory.

Guess what, New Year’s Eve 2016 fell on a Saturday so I got to teach a class on NYE also. I love how I had the rare opportunity to start and end the year with a Zumba class. It couldn’t have been more perfect.


These are just a few of the people who stuck around for a group photo following our NYE Zumba class at Andover YMCA.

Much like the previous year, 2016 has been a memorable one. Brian and I went on the first ever Zumba cruise. Here are some of the highlights of the trip:

SIDENOTE: There’s actually a second Zumba cruise coming up which sails in April. If you would like to go, please use my affiliate code (461028) when you book to receive $25 onboard credit.

This truly was the year of Zumba for me, actually. Not only did we get to go on the Zumba cruise, I also got a tour of Zumba Home Office while on a work trip in Florida. And, not only that, I also got to go to ZINCON again!

The significance of last year’s ZINCON is that it was the 10th anniversary of the Zumba Instructor Network (ZIN). However, I am very much looking forward to going to ZINCON again this year because it will be the 10th anniversary of the convention itself. (There was no convention during the first year of the Zumba Instructor Network. The first ZINCON didn’t happen until the year after.)


One of the highlights of this year’s ZINCON was meeting performer Max Pizzolante and his wife Maritza Bustamante. He is the singer behind a couple of songs in my current Zumba playlist: Quien Quiere Bailar, Vive Y Baila.

I actually plan to add another Max Pizzolante song to the playlist very, very soon. Stay tuned, Zumba pals!

Vive Y Baila is one of my favorite songs to do in Zumba class right now so I’m posting a video of it here for you:

Besides traveling for Zumba, Brian and I got to do some traveling for work as well.

Other trips we’ve made this year include…

Brian and I also had the privilege of attending or helping with several amazing events/benefits this past year:

There are so many worthy causes out there and these organizations need our help. I put a link to the organization that hosts or benefits from the event. I recommend reaching out to someone this year if you would like to help.

Although 2016 was a very busy year, we still managed to squeeze in some fun times with friends: murder mystery party at the Larneng’s, private dinner prepared by Chef Jason (also at the Larnengs), CRC picnic, painting at Pinot’s Palette, Tom’s housewarming party, Holly and Meader’s wedding, Pokemon Party Bus, going to a bunch of Christmas parties, and NYE at Hideki’s which I have yet to even blog about. (I’ll be posting it next so check back.)

Nickira and I got to do a bunch of fun activities as well like watching Willy Wonka at the Orpheum, Fall Fest at City Arts, and Winter Mania at the Wichita Art Museum. We got to spend lots of time with grandma, which we will be able to do even more now that we’ve moved her to Victoria Falls.

This year was also a banner year for us in terms of attending music theatre performances. We only missed one MTW show and even got to see Wicked for the first time. I know it’s unrelated but we also got introduced to a new band that we just love: Jared & the Mill.

Last but not least, I finally made 40 Under 40 and have the commemorative plaques to prove it. LOL. Whew! What a year it has been!

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Crazy Christmas Decorations at the Office

Posted on December 26, 2016 by under Life.    

I am so grateful that I got to spend the final week before Christmas vacation at our Wichita office; otherwise I would have missed all of the crazy, out of this world Christmas decorations. The Customer Relations Center folks have totally outdone themselves this year.


This is just one of several full-sized Christmas trees throughout the floor.


Each row had a theme. This was Halloween Town.




This one’s theme was a Charlie Brown Christmas.




This is Westar Village.










This is Ginger Bread Lane.





You can guess who won. LOL. They have totally outdone themselves this year!


I work with such a fun, creative group of people. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with next year. In the meantime, here’s a fun picture of our admin, Jeff. (He’s our new Amy.)


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Everyone!

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