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Archive for "Life"

Another Year, Another Birthday

Posted on November 5, 2017 by under Food and Drink, Life.    

Last month was a very festive month. We celebrated almost every single day. Then again, I guess that’s just kind of how we are. We love living life and celebrate every moment. Here are some of the things that happened leading up to our trip to Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Birthday Card from the Greater Wichita YMCA HR Team

First, there was our escape room adventure with Kate and Deanna. Remember how we tried to do it last month but couldn’t do it because Escapology changed their hours on me so they were closed on the day we went? Well, we finally made it happen. We did the Cuban Crisis room and we escaped!


We couldn’t have done it without Kate, though. She was whiz at the puzzles.

Carrabbas - Meatballs

We also hit all of our favorite restaurants during my birthday month.

P.F. Changs - Crab Wontons

We really shouldn’t have been eating out but your birthday month is a good excuse to fall off the wagon. Anyway, I won’t post all of the food pictures. I’ll just post one picture from each place and let you guys figure out where we went.

Bonefish - Crab Cakes and Bang Bang Shrimp

Besides our favorite restaurants, we also had the opportunity to try a new place we’d never dined at before when we met a couple of my Leadership Wichita classmates (Teresa and Jason) for lunch a couple of weeks ago. I will post all of these food pics because it was a first for all of us.

Okra, Anyone?

Fried Sweet Potatoes





We ate at the Rail at Union Station because Teresa wanted to try one of the restaurants in the area as she hadn’t tried any of them yet. I suggested the Rail since I’d already been to the Kitchen. I actually suggested Mumbai Rail, which confused the heck out of Teresa who got there first. Apparently, Mumbai Rail is no more and has been rebranded as the Rail Scratch Cocktails.

We were all very worried at first because there was no one else at the restaurant besides our group for lunch. You know how the really great places are always busy and the terrible places are dead? We were sort of thinking along those lines. But we were already there and it was too late to back out.

Anyway, the food was surprisingly fabulous. At least, my meal was very tasty and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The quality of the food was definitely not representative of the restaurants lack of patrons. I later found a news article (through my friend Alicia who told me that she thought the restaurant had closed for good) that said the restaurant would no longer be open for lunch. The article was written back in June. I’m guessing people still don’t know that they’re open for lunch.

Which was good for us because it meant great food and no wait. LOL. Probably not great business, though. I hope the restaurant survives because I really did enjoy our lunch. Of course, the great company had a lot to do with that but I really did like their food. I actually want to go back at some point.

This was on Thursday, October 26, final day before departure. We flew out of the Wichita airport very early the next day.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re really anxious to hear about our trip to the Bahamas. I’ve got a few other things that I need to catch up on and then I’ll be able to devote some attention to a full-fledged trip recap. I hoping to do that by the end of the week so check back soon.

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It’s Been a Nerdy Couple of Weeks

Posted on September 1, 2017 by under Life.    

Did you watch the solar eclipse last week? We did too.


This is Brian lying on the hood of his car during his lunch hour. He was an uber nerd and watched the eclipse happen almost in its entirety.

Solar Eclipse 2017

As for me, I walked over to the parking garage across the street with some coworkers a few minutes before totality. We didn’t stay out there very long either. I was content to glance up at the sun a couple of times shortly before, during, and after totality and then I was ready to go back to work. I’d seen solar eclipses before so it wasn’t that exciting to me as it was to Brian and others. I actually planned to just work through the eclipse but Brian insisted that I watch it because it doesn’t happen that often. I told him that it happened in the Philippines all the time so I’d seen eclipses before. Anyway, I went ahead and watched it to humor him.

In case you missed it, here’s where you can watch the whole thing in about four minutes.

If you want to see a solar eclipse in person, here’s a list of where you can see every total solar eclipse over the next 50 years. There’s one that happens in 2014 that will be visible in parts of the US. Better start planning!


In other news, we made our first art investment. Brian and I had been looking for something to hang on the wall of our stairwell for several years. We could never find anything we liked that was tall enough for the narrow wall. We’ve always been partial to Wichita flag art so we though our friend Joe’s print would be perfect.


We decided to splurge and got the 50 X 33 size. Here’s a picture of the print next to Brian to put the size in perspective.


It was kind of expensive but we skipped our annual anniversary couples massage so we just chalked this up to our 15th wedding anniversary present to each other. Every time we glance at the stairwell, we can’t help but smile.

We absolutely love our print! Thanks, Joe!


Even though we already purchased and hung our print ahead of Joe’s Final Friday art exhibit and we didn’t have any money to buy anything else, we still decided to come out to his exhibit at L’image to show our support. Above is a picture of the artist, Joe Montiel, with a smaller version of the print.

On Saturday, Brian took grandma out to get groceries while I taught my Zumba classes and then I met them after for lunch at this Chinese restaurant in Andover that we recently discovered, Golden Garden. It’s right around the corner from grandma’s place so we decided to go over to her place and to play Uno, which is a change of scenery because we usually play cards at our house.


In one corner of the room where we played cards, we noticed this computer-looking device. It’s actually a magnifier. Once we figured out what it was, Brian showed grandma how to use it. You should have heard the excitement in her voice upon realizing that she’s able to read regular books again.


On Wednesday night, Brian and I donned our matching “Wicked Brew” shirts and headed to the Science Friday Trivia Night presented by KMUW at Aero Plains Brewing. It was the largest congregation of nerds I have ever come across in years. Over 30 teams competed in the trivia.

We were tied for 4th place along with a few other teams for most of the evening. When they showed the results on the TV screen at the end of the evening, there were at least 15 other teams that came in behind us so, even though we missed some questions we should have gotten and were felt the quiz master scored against us in some cases, we were pretty pleased with our performance.

Science Friday Live comes to Wichita next weekend, September 9.

For our final act of nerdiness, Brian, Misty, and I did “The Code” room at Escapology last night and got out with almost 20 minutes to spare. I think our official time was 42 minutes and 27 seconds.


I’m not sure if you recall but the first time that Brian and I did a room (we did “Antidote” which was supposed to be the easiest room they had) at Escapology, we didn’t get out. “The Code” is supposedly two steps above “Antidote” in difficulty but it was actually much easier to complete.

We picked “Antidote” the first time because we were going off the difficulty rating. My advice? Don’t worry about the difficulty ratings because it’s all relative. Pick the theme that you can relate to and feel you have the most knowledge about because your odds of success will be greater. I think because Brian and I are both “computer nerds” the puzzles in the “The Code” made so much more sense to us. Had we gone for it on our first visit, we probably would have gotten out without any problems.

Lesson learned.

As an added bonus, besides getting our victory photo taken and posted on Escapology – Wichita’s Facebook page, we also got these nifty rubber wristbands that only winners get. Suffice it say, we were pretty pleased with ourselves. Me more than the others. LOL. I was really bummed that time that Brian and I failed to get out of the “Antidote” room. This makes up for it!


Anyway, that pretty much wraps up all of our “nerdy” activities of late. Looking to get even nerdier this weekend. Have a fabulous Labor Day holiday, everyone!

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Fifteen Years of Marital Bliss

Posted on August 23, 2017 by under Food and Drink, Life, Relationship.    

We had a few trips planned this year (Alaska in May, ZINCON in July, and my 40th birthday celebration at Sandals Emerald Bay in October) so we decided to keep it pretty low key for our 15th wedding anniversary.


We started things off with a bang (pun intended) by having dinner at Bonefish Grill on Thursday, August 10, which is our actual anniversary day.


We had a fabulous dinner. Here are a couple of pics.



We continued our celebration that weekend with a quick Kansas City getaway.


We ended up taking Molly with us because of the whole fiasco at the pet boarding place during ZINCON where she got attacked by another dog at daycare, which she wasn’t even supposed to be in. Anyway, we ended up still boarding Saki because the hotel only allowed one pet and Saki loves being around other dogs. Molly, who ended up with staples on her head after the incident, had just gotten her staples removed the day before so we didn’t want to chance it.


This is what her head looked like when we arrived home from ZINCON.


This is what her head looked like when the staples were removed, right before our KC trip. It was still healing, as evidenced by the bump and scab on her head, so we didn’t want to chance her getting in another fight and making it worse.


Brian dropped Saki off at the pet boarding place while I taught my early morning Aqua Zumba class. Amy was nice enough to sub my 10:30 AM Zumba class on Saturday and Mandy covered my 2:00 PM class on Sunday so we were able to get an early start on our drive.

We stopped by Leawood to visit our friend Chad and check out his new place. His apartment is in a really posh, newly developed residential area near the Corbin Park and Prairiefire shopping centers in Overland Park. It’s a really classy apartment complex befitting the fancy neighborhood setting. It kind of reminded us of a more upscale version of Quarters at Cambridge because of the granite in the kitchen and restrooms and other nice finishes.

Anyway, we had a very nice visit but didn’t stay very long because we wanted to check in to our hotel, feed Molly dinner, and also freshen up before our own dinner plans. Speaking of which, we couldn’t get into the Melting Pot for dinner because I didn’t plan ahead and make reservations. By the time I called the restaurant on Saturday morning, the earliest we could get was nine o’clock. I called the hotel to see if the concierge could use their magic. No such luck.


We did have this super nice surprise delivered to our room that afternoon, though.


By the way, remember how we got the exact same room that we had last year at the Hyatt Regency Orlando? Well, it happened again. We ended up staying in the exact same room I was in when I stayed at the Ambassador Hotel back in April. I’m not sure if they did that intentionally but it was a very nice surprise.


After feeding Molly her dinner, I took her and Brian to the rooftop park above Cosentino’s. It’s a really nice confined space for pets; however, your dogs still can’t be off-leash. It would have been nice to be able to let Molly loose to run around but I guess it’s okay that we kept her leashed because the green space is more expansive than it looks. We probably would have had a tough time getting her to come back.


The rooftop park isn’t that far from the hotel but I think Brian and Molly were both pooped from the drive so we decided to rest a bit before dinner.


Molly felt right at home.


Since we couldn’t get into the Melting Pot for dinner, we had to improvise. Brian had been asking to try Nara, one of my favorite restaurants when I was working in Kansas City, so we ended up having dinner there instead.


Here are some pictures of our food.


They serve Tank 7 so Brian was quite happy. Literally. He drank two glasses and it doesn’t take much. LOL.


It worked out great because we took advantage of the hotel shuttle to go to Nara so neither of us were driving.


After dinner the hotel picked us up from Nara and drove us to the Melting Pot. We decided to keep our nine o’clock reservations and had chocolate fondue for dessert.


While not having the full Melting Pot experience was a bit disappointing, I think it actually saved us money. LOL. Having dinner there would have cost us at least $120. The cost of the chocolate fondue wasn’t too bad.


Dessert was about $20 (before tip) for both of us.


We were ridiculously stuffed after eating all of that sushi and chocolate fondue. Thankfully, neither of us had to drive. The hotel shuttle picked us up from the restaurant and took us back to the hotel.


Dinner and dessert were delicious but being chauffeured around town was priceless. I don’t enjoy driving so I really appreciated it. I know Brian appreciated the break because he would have had to drive us otherwise.


As for taking Molly out before bed and first thing in the morning, it wasn’t too bad because Oppenstein Brothers Memorial Park is just a block over on Walnut (about halfway between our hotel and the rooftop park above the grocery store).


Speaking of morning, this was us the next day. Molly was such a good girl.


We took advantage of a late checkout and asked the hotel to take us to Succotash for breakfast before driving back to Wichita.


We’d only been there once before and that was over five years ago. I still remember how much I love it, though. I love that they have the freshest juice. Ever.


These are the all the options. I got the best lemonade.


This amazing lemonade lives up to its name for sure. If only they offered free refills!


The restaurant isn’t very big. The décor is cute and kitschy and the ambiance is pretty relaxed. We were there early enough that we got seated right away but they were quite busy. There was a steady flow of people the entire time we were there. It’s obvious that this place is popular with the locals.


Here are some pictures of our food, in case you are wondering. Brian got his usual: biscuits and gravy, fried eggs, and bacon.


I originally thought about getting the burrito of love (scrambled eggs, cheddar, and bacon wrapped burrito-style in a big, fluffy buttermilk pancake) but when I saw that the #3 omelet had bacon, feta, spinach, and artichoke hearts, I was sold.


Here’s what the inside of my omelet looked like since I added ham.


Breakfast was delicious. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal.


After breakfast, we called the hotel to pick us up and then it was time to drive back home. So that’s pretty much how our overnight trip to Kansas City went. It was a nice way to celebrate 15 years of marriage. Here’s to many more!

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Pictures from the 23rd Annual Heart Ball

Posted on February 26, 2017 by under Life.    

Here are pictures from the Heart Ball, an event that we attended a couple of weeks ago. I know grandma has been patiently waiting to see these. This event happened on the same day as the Stupid Cupid 2 Mile Run. It was quite a Saturday!


I always have to take pictures of table place settings because they always do it up so fancy! I guess we shouldn’t expect anything less from a black-tie optional event.


This is probably the fanciest event we attend all year. This year they upped the ante with a champagne pyramid right as you walked in the door.


They also had a champagne fountain which was a lot of fun. It made me want to drink my champagne quickly so I could keep refilling my glass. I had a photo of champagne fountain but I can’t find it now. I guess you’ll just have to settle for one of me with the champagne pyramid.


This is the first of many selfies we took that evening.


This is one of us with the Batchelders. We found out that night that mom’s boss is Sara’s mom. What a small world!


Another selfie…


The funniest part about this photo is our conversation. Brian goes, “I think the bartender likes me. She keeps giving me free drinks.” I was like, “I thought all the drinks were free?” LOL. This event is open bar. (Another reason why this is one of our faves. Not that we drink a lot.)


This selfie is remarkable in that the tablecloth looks blue in it. It’s actually black. It reminds me of the blue dress that everyone thought was white.


Here are a few more selfies, just ’cause…





Actually, now that I have seen the tablecloth as blue, I see it as blue in every picture. It’s so weird how our eyes play these tricks on us.


We had to get a picture with Alan, one of the guys from bowling. We’ve seen him at a few of these events and, I guess, he has been attending the Heart Ball since the beginning of time. All of his daughters were Sweethearts – meaning they all completed the American Heart Association‘s Sweetheart program.

It’s kind of a big deal. You have to submit an application, agree and sign the Sweetheart Code and Mission Statement, provide two letters of recommendations from non-relatives, pay a huge sum of money (or apply for a scholarship), AND be selected. Anyway, the Sweethearts are required to complete community service and other activities geared toward furthering the AHA’s cause of public health education and providing CPR training.


Here are some pictures of the food we enjoyed that evening.


The desserts are always the same, or they have been the last few years.


A rich chocolate cake and creme brûlée…


Since I ate all of my dessert and then some, I stayed away from the chocolate fountain which they always have at the after party.

The after party is so fun but I’m usually either too tired, too sleepy, or my feet are already killing me by the end of the evening to completely enjoy it. Brian is usually good for a couple of dances but that’s it. In the past Brian and I have only stayed long enough to claim our silent auction items. I think if we were younger then we would probably stay until the very end. We’re just too old. LOL.


Anyway, I’m glad we stayed a little bit longer this time because it wasn’t until late (almost until we were ready to leave) that we ran into Zoe and her husband.


As always, it was a lot of fun. We even ran into our friend Mike (from Splurge) who we got to know just from running into him so many times throughout the year at events like this one. The first year, I swear, he probably thought we were stalking him. LOL. Speaking of events, this may be the last time we are attending this one. Work didn’t get a full table this year so I can sense that we are starting to cut back on event sponsorships. We only had six tickets. So it was Shane and Sara Batchelder, Isaac and Crystal Perez, us and two other couples at our table.

I’m crossing my fingers for next year’s event but not holding my breath. Although, Brian and I have talked about splurging and attending the event on our own dime even if my work doesn’t give us any tickets. The ticket price is pretty steep, though. I think it was $250 per person this year. The only downside of paying for our own tickets is that we will probably have to sit at a table with people we don’t know, which isn’t really that big of a deal because I’ve never met a stranger, but still. We shall wait and see. Until next year.

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2017 Goals Update: January

Posted on February 5, 2017 by under Life.    

Since I didn’t do so well on achieving all of my goals last year and I’m determined to obliterate all of these goals this year, I thought I would add an accountability factor by doing monthly recaps. Basically at the end of every month, I plan to reflect on how I did on each goal and think of ways that I can do better the following month. This is the first of such monthly updates.


1. Reach our respective goal weights by October so we don’t go on my 40th birthday trip completely disgusting.

Some of my other goals (eating out less, running everyday) are actually contributing to the achievement of this goal. My weight has continued to increase every year since 2012. My weight gain has stopped for now and I’m slowly reversing this process. I was hoping to lose 5 lbs in January and only lost 4 lbs.

Running on a regular basis was helping but I’ve gotten derailed the last few weeks, and then we ate out a lot this weekend so I may have gained back what little progress I had made. Conclusion: I need to get back on track.

2. Pay off our trip so we can enjoy our trip guilt-free.

Our airfare is booked and paid for, and we’ve put $400 down on our resort accommodations but not much progress has been made on this goal other than that. However, I’m not concerned because we’ve been saving money toward this trip every month for over a year now. If my calculations are correct, we should have enough to saved to pay for everything. It’s just a matter of actually doing it.

3. Get our house organized so we’re not scrambling in the event we have to sell it.

This is slow going too because we have been so busy. We started to with the office and can’t even quite get that done. On the upside, Brian has gotten rid of at least two huge trash bags full of clothes (which we still need to drop off at Goodwill), he’s also given a bunch of his old action figures to his brother Kevin, and I’ve gotten rid of several books. We don’t have a specific deadline (as far as having to move for work) or anything but I’m really hoping this won’t take all year to accomplish because it would be nice to live in an orderly house that is picture perfect and ready to show at any time.


1. Read 24 books by the end of the year.

This is one of my more measurable goals. And I’m happy to report that I’m on track. I actually finished the two books well before the end of January but I took a short reading break before starting my February reading.

Brian received a copy of Vision Mindset Grit by Scott Burrows at an Edward Jones conference back in December where the author was the keynote speaker. As far as reading goes, Brian doesn’t enjoy nonfiction and personal development so I ended up reading it instead.

I’m kind of quirky in that I actually prefer these types of books. I like them because they help me get better and, as a lifelong learner, I have an overarching goal of getting better everyday. Every year since my personal awakening, I’ve always completed a year-end exercise of assessing how it is that I am better this year than the last. I’ve been doing this exercise for over ten years so I finally quit putting it on goals or resolutions lists. It’s just a given.

Besides, the best fiction books usually get turned into movies so I can save a lot of time by just waiting for the movie to come out. No one makes movies out of self-help books so these are the books that I actually have to sit down and read.

Speaking of fiction, book number two was George Orwell’s 1984. I don’t normally read fiction unless Brian asks me to read one of the science fiction books he’s just finished. This book was one that Jenni assigned her reading group at the beginning of the year. I got started on it late because I had to finish the other book and I almost didn’t read it. I tried to get Brian to read it with us but he hates this book.

Anyway, I’m glad I decided to read it because it’s so relevant right now. This is the world we live in. The same day that I finished the book, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway was on TV talking about alternative facts and I thought, “Holy cow! I’m living in 1984 universe!”

I mentioned this in the book group and one of Jenni’s friends Becky pointed out that I’m not the only one who saw parallels between our current reality and the book because sales of 1984 surged immediately following that TV interview. It’s amazing to me that we know so much from history and books and yet we let the same things happen over and over again. The only conclusion I can come to is that the voting public must not read, or they read but don’t remember.

Anyway, I realize now why Brian hated 1984. It’s a very depressing read. And, even more so knowing that this is where we are headed as a society and no one is doing anything to stop it.

My third book for the year is Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I bought a copy a couple of years ago after watching a video of her talk at Google. Anyway, I started reading it and got busy so I never finished.

It’s really sad, actually. I have dozens of unfinished books. I think this is part of the reason I included a book-reading goal for this year. I want to finally finish reading all of these books so I can get rid of them. And, I can’t get rid of them until they’ve been read because I don’t want the books to go to waste. Yes, not even the free ones. I’m weird like that. (Ironically, Marie Kondo’s advice is to get rid of all of these unread books right now. ASAP. I’m not sure I can do it. LOL.)

Anyway, I’ve picked this one back up and finishing it this time. It was so long ago that I started it, I actually had to start it over.

2. Run/walk at least 1 mile everyday.

I did really well on this goal at the beginning of the year thanks to my friend Alicia’s “January Running Challenge” Facebook group. However, I got slightly derailed after spending an entire week at home.

I don’t like the cold so I generally run indoors on a treadmill. This is so much easier to do when I’m in Kansas City because I don’t even have to step outside. I just roll out of bed and go to the hotel gym. I really enjoy being able to run when I get up at 5 AM. Some nights, when I have no plans, I’ll even get on the treadmill again for an evening run.

When I’m in Wichita it’s harder for me to complete my runs because it requires much more planning and coordination. I don’t have a treadmill at home so I can’t simply roll out of bed and run. I would have to drive to the YMCA. I’ve thought about running before or after my Zumba classes but then I have to bring two sets of sneakers because my Zumba sneakers are not ideal for running. I’ve actually worn my running shoes to Zumba but it’s not ideal.

I canceled my wellness center membership a couple of years ago when Brian got laid off from Viega so I no longer have access to our onsite gym at work but I’m thinking I may just have to restart it. It’s so easy to get derailed that I need to make the path to running more convenient so that I will choose to do it rather than not.

I learned this from another book I finished a couple of months ago: The Happiness Advantage. It’s not the main premise of the book but the author talks about forming good habits. One of the biggest challenges we have is that we take the path of least resistance. If it takes effort to do the good habit then we simply won’t do it because it’s easier not to. Therefore, you have to flip it. You need to make it easier to do the good habit so it just makes sense. You won’t even consider not doing it.

When I’m in Kansas City, it’s so much easier for me to run on the treadmill than not so I guess what I need to do is make it just as easy for me to do this in Wichita. Wow, this whole exercise of reflecting on how I’m doing has been really productive and helpful. I’m making a mental note to restart my wellness membership when I get to work on Monday.

3. Complete my 10K Runner app.

This stalled at Week 7 due to the challenges mentioned above. And then it didn’t help that there was a conference at my hotel this past week. I got to the hotel gym at 5:15 AM on Wednesday morning and all of the treadmills were already taken. I ended up on the elliptical instead.

Then I had a serious bout of insomnia the following day. I woke up at 2:30 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. Needless to say, I was too tired to go for my 5 AM run. This week has been a complete bust. I’m not giving up, though.

The goal is to complete this 14-week 10K program at some point this year. I probably should have made the goal more challenging by giving myself a tighter deadline but I figured that I would run into weeks that I would have to repeat such as Week 7. Anyway, there is a temptation to just throw in the towel because the last two weeks have been crap. However, you don’t just give up on your goal because yesterday you didn’t feel like doing it. Here’s another bit I learned from a book I read last year, The Slight Edge: Every decision is a new decision.

Just because I had a crappy last two weeks, doesn’t mean this week has to be crappy. You don’t give up on a goal because of a minor set back. You get back on the horse and try again. Every day is a new day that brings with it a new opportunities to make decisions that move you closer to your vision.

I don’t know why people don’t like reading personal development books. I have learned so much from them.

4. Travel to some place I’ve never been.

We are on track to complete and exceed this goal. We’re actually traveling to two places we’ve never been this year. We are traveling to Alaska in May to visit Sheryll and her family. We have hotel reservations already but we haven’t booked our airfare because we are waiting for the best price.

We also have my 40th birthday celebration at Sandals Emerald Bay in the Great Exuma (Bahamas) in October. We got the airfare for this one already because Becca found a good deal for us.

5. Eat out less and eat at home more.

We did pretty well on this in January. February is off to a rough start. But, again, every day is a new day so we just need to make better decisions starting now.

6. Crochet a Zumba Fitness beanie.

I have made absolutely no progress on this goal other than I am now Facebook friends with the lady who knows how to make one. The next step will be to set up a meeting time so she can explain to me how to do this. It’s been a while since my last crochet party so it may be time to plan another.

7. Complete 200 volunteer/community service hours.

This is probably one of my more challenging goals for the year considering that I’m spending half of my time in Kansas City. I did about 180 hours in 2015 and over 150 hours in 2016 so I thought I would increase the goal for this year. This might have been a bad decision. We’ll see.

8. Stay employed.

So far, so good on this goal but the year isn’t over yet. LOL.


1. Add two new songs to the playlist every month.

I totally rocked this goal in January. I’m usually too busy to learn new songs so I just keep rotating old songs (that I already know) in and out of the playlist but since I have this goal for 2017 I’ve been better about setting aside time to learn new songs. The two new songs I added to the playlist in January are:

I’m working on a couple of Bachata songs for February. It’s also time to change my cool down song. I need to schedule time to work on Zumba routines. I was better in January but I need to be more purposeful about it and actually add these to my calendar because I don’t feel that I devote enough time to learning new routines.

2. Learn everybody’s names.

I’m also doing better at this but I still suck. I need to do a better job of introducing myself to students while we are waiting in the hallway before class and remind everyone to stop and introduce themselves to me on their way out the door at the end of class. After all, I won’t learn their names if I don’t ask and they don’t tell me.

I have made a few new friends already so we’re making some progress.

3. Teach facing class, move around, and teach from different parts of the room more.

I put this as a goal because I want to become a better Zumba fitness instructor. I’ve been making pretty good progress on it and doing a better at dancing among the students in different parts of the studio. However, I still don’t teach facing the class enough. I teach facing the students for a few seconds a few times throughout the class but I don’t to it for an entire song.

We have lots of mirrors in the studio so there’s not that much pressure or necessity to teach facing the class, but I still want to be more comfortable doing this. My goal is to be able to switch back and forth between teaching facing the mirror and teaching facing the students more seamlessly. I’d been making slow progress and then yesterday I had to sub at East YMCA last minute. That class is in the gym so there are no mirrors. You have to teach facing the class on a stage, the entire time.

As much as I don’t enjoy it, it was actually a really good experience. I used to teach all of my classes facing the students when I taught at Evergreen Recreation Center. And, I taught the class I subbed yesterday at East for about a year. I’d actually gotten really good at teaching facing the students. However, I’ve taught in a studio for so long now that I’m completely out of practice.

Yesterday made me realize how truly out of practice I am. I used to know how to cue my routines on right and left lead and now I’m so rusty. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to sub the class yesterday (though it wasn’t my choice, I probably wouldn’t have had to sub it if there were anyone else available) because I found new skills to work on. These are skills I used to have that I’ve allowed to languish.

I need to keep up with these skills so that I can be comfortable teaching in any situation. I haven’t had to teach in a gym in a long time until yesterday but you’ll never know when the situation will come up again. I will be more prepared and ready next time because I’ll have kept my skills up.

4. Get licensed to teach Strong by Zumba at #ZINCON.

This is still the plan. Here’s hoping that I can get registered for the class once they open #ZINCON registration.

5. Build and maintain a loud, fun, welcoming class.

This is kind of a given but I put it as one of my goals so that I’m reminded to give my 110% even on days I don’t feel great. The 10:30 AM class yesterday was super awesome actually. I may be a little biased but I think the students I had yesterday will agree. I want class to be like that every time, if not better.

So there you have it. The first month of 2017 is in the books. Goals are going to get obliterated (in a good way) this year. I just now it!

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