2015 NPC Midway USA Championships

I can’t speak for Brian but I’ve been stuck in a rut lately and decided I needed some inspiration. As luck would have it, some of our friends were competing in a fitness competition so I ended up buying us a couple of front row tickets for that. Brian didn’t mind going because he knew he’d be looking at half-naked women all evening.

Here are some pictures from the show for you guys to enjoy…

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Some of the classes were stacked while others only had one, two, or a handful of entrants. Lots of competitors in this class.

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Top five below.

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With their medals.

Next class.

Top five with medals.

Another class.

Top five with medals.

Then the winners of each class take the stage to be judged together. They’re competing for the overall title.

Every inch of their body is scrutinized by the discerning judges.

They’re even made to switch places. It’s quite intense. Who do you think won this one?

Then we go through the whole thing all over again for the open classes. I don’t really know much about fitness competitions but I gathered, from watching all of the contestants, the open classes are tougher. At least in novice, previous winners can’t compete. In the open classes you’re competing with pros.

Top five with medals.

Next class.

One of the winners from novice made the top five.

Another class.

Top five.

Again the winners are judged together for the honor of overall winner.

Check him out.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer watching the women.

Our friend Jeanne is rightmost in the above photo and leftmost below.

Here’s a video of Jeanne.

These women had the most amazing booties. Actually, I take that back. They had amazing everything.

Here’s our friend Amanda. There were lots of competitors in her class.

Here’s a video of the introductions.

She got third in the novice class.

Here she is again in open.

Video from the open class.

There was some stiff competition but she managed to take home fifth.

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Morgan was the open bikini overall champion.

Here are some videos of posing routines.

Winners get to do a pose down.

I’m so glad we were able to watch our friend Jeanne compete.

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I don’t know about Brian I’m totally inspired. I’m up 20 pounds from my pre-thyroidectomy weight and I’m so ready to start shedding my excess baggage.

Congrats to all of the winners and all of the competitors last weekend. You guys are an inspiration to us all!

Mother’s Day Weekend

I hope everyone had a fantastic Mother’s Day weekend. We started ours off on Saturday night with grandma.

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They had a lovely reception at Cherry Creek for all the women residents. There were snacks, fruit punch (fake sangria) and sangria. They even had an acoustic guitar player.

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Grandma got a lovely carnation from Sharon.

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She also got first dibs on the sangria.

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For our part, we got grandma a Mother’s Day card and the Annie soundtrack that she’d been wanting since we watched the movie.

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Kudos to the Cherry Creek staff for putting together a nice reception for the residents.

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On Sunday morning we met dad, mom, and Jenni at Piccadilly Grill for brunch. We were on a bit of a tight schedule because mom and dad wanted to be at Derby Bowl for Logan and Matt’s first bowling league at 12:30 PM and then I had a Zumba class to teach in Andover at 1:00 PM. We managed to make it work.

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Here are some pictures of the fantastic brunch spread.

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The buffet today was double the size of their normal brunch.

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In addition to the regular buffet, there was a waffle station, omelette station, and a ham and roast beef carving station. They also had smoke salmon, various cheeses, and tabouli. Piccadilly is a Mediterranean restaurant after all.

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There was a huge selection of cakes and pies for dessert.

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Made me wish I didn’t have to teach Zumba so I could stuff my face silly. I still tried, though. At almost $25 per person, you best believe I tried to get my money’s worth. LOL. I’m kidding! I behaved (for the most part).

Piccadilly Grill on Urbanspoon

Anyway, I’m really glad that we got to have brunch today at Piccadilly. Brian told me that they’re going to be tearing the place down so today was the last Mother’s Day brunch before the demolition happens. I hope that Piccadilly Grill returns after the new building is finished. The thought of the restaurant closing really makes me sad. There are very few places that serve a fantastic brunch buffet here in town and Piccadilly is one of them.

If you’ve never been to Piccadilly Grill, I highly recommend checking it out. Specially since their days are numbered. Who knows when they’re reopen or if they reopen after the construction is complete. Check them out and let me know what you think in the comments below.

52nd Annual Honors Night

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Brian and I had the privilege of attending the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Honors Night a couple of weeks ago. It was at Beech Activity Center this year, the same place that Cards for the Cure has been held that last few years.

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You wouldn’t be able to tell that it’s the same place though because the tables were all decked out for Honors Night, complete with fancy table center pieces (each table had a different one) and a few bottles of wine.

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The event is a celebration of individual, corporate, and architectural achievements that enhance the Wichita community. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception received the Keeper of the Plains Award, an award recognizing an architectural project completed by a firm, organization, or individual, which has contributed to the beauty of our community.

I’ve never been inside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (also known as Saint Mary’s Cathedral) since I’m not Catholic but the restoration is impressive. I definitely want to check it out one of these days and see the remarkable architecture in person.

Mr. Steve Clark received the Chamber’s most prestigious individual award, Uncommon Citizen. It’s an honor bestowed on those who have made uncommon contributions to the people and institutions of Wichita year after year.

Wichita State University received the Spirit of Wichita award which is only given to an institution that was previously recognized with an Over the Years award at least 20 years ago. This year’s Over the Years award recipients were Meritrust Credit Union, LDF, and Youth Entrepreneurs.

These videos are extremely well done so I had to share them with you guys. They’re so awesome that I almost want to win an award so that I could have my very own video vignette. LOL.

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Here’s a picture of the trophies. Below is a picture of Mr. Steve Clark with his Uncommon Citizen trophy and, below that, is a picture of Dr. Bardo who received the Spirit of Wichita award on behalf of Wichita State University.

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There are more pictures of the event on the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page. Brian and I are both grateful for the opportunity to attend the event and witness these honorees receive their well-deserved awards.

Congratulations to all of the awards recipients and thank you for all that you do for the Wichita community!

KANSEL Trivia Night

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Brian and I attended KANSEL’s trivia night with Karen and her husband Don and Shane and his wife Sarah a few weeks ago.

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They were quite serious about their trivia, complete with proctors throughout the banquet room and baskets for phones. Absolutely no cheating allowed.

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We may have sucked at trivia but we had the best team captain ever!

Super Pi Day

We had the most amazing Pi Day celebration this past weekend thanks to our awesome friends who stepped up to the occasion. Check out these photos.

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Brian made mini Nutella pies.

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And also a Nutella star tear-and-share bread. It was a bit of a disaster actually but Brian managed to find a way to save it.

We didn’t plan very well when we were making it. We assembled the bread on our large cutting board and by the time we were finished it had gotten so heavy that we couldn’t move it without obliterating it. We tried to use various spatulas. Even our largest spatula wasn’t big enough to lift the heavy lump. We almost scrapped the whole thing if it weren’t for Brian coming up with a brilliant idea.

Rather than moving it, Brian devised a plan to just flip it over on to a pan. Except it looked horrible because we had jabbed it underneath so many times already with all those spatulas. So we flipped it over again and it didn’t look as bad. I’m glad Brian didn’t let us give up on it because it was delicious. At least now we know for next time that we need to assemble the bread on the pan that we shall use to bake it.

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The Frito chili pie didn’t take as much work.

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Neither did the Papa Murphy’s pizzas.

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Pizzas are pies! We took the easy route. LOL.

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Brian also made chocolate pie. The other pies in the photo above are banana pudding pies and were made by Kristen’s sister Cynthia.

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Shanda made cookie sandwiches.

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Nykole made cheeseburger pie.

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Sunni made quiche.

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Jay and Becca made a Whole 30 compliant pie.

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Kate’s shepherd’s pie. I was too late to take a picture of it intact.

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Hideki’s clever contribution to the pie theme was a huge hit.

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Another contribution from Jay and Becca. While technically not pie, it was delicious and we enjoyed it all the same.

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Meader and Holly’s avocado pie.

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We also had lumpia, courtesy of mom. Brian did not get to have any because by the time he got around to having some they were all gone.

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April made Nutella cheesecake.

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Thank you so much to all of our friends and most of all to Kate who celebrated not just Pi Day or Super Pi Day but also her birthday. Until the next century!

21st Annual Wichita Heart Ball

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Brian and I had a blast last night at the 21st Annual Wichita Heart Ball at the Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel. We were excited for the opportunity to attend the event again this year because we had a great time last year.

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Our table consisted of a bunch of young people this year — my coworker Josh and his wife Jessica, Isaac and wife Crystal, Nykole and husband Allen, and Shanda and Nykole’s sister Tyfanee who was her plus one. Brian and I were definitely the oldest in our group, but not the oldest there. With the exception of the Sweethearts, most of the people who attend the Heart Ball are older. Let’s face it. Not many people in their 20s or 30s can afford the $300 ticket price ($500 per couple).

I’m not sure that Brian and I would even be able to go if it weren’t for the free tickets from work. Well, we probably could but I’d have to reallocate all my charitable contributions. If I dialed back my United Way and YMCA donations then we’d have the funds to go. LOL.

The free tickets to the Heart Ball are a nice perk, though. And one that I really appreciate because it allows me to not sacrifice any of my other charitable giving.

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The Wichita Heart Ball is probably the fanciest fundraising event/gala that we attend. The decor this year was even better than last year. The food looked fantastic as usual, but Brian and I agreed that the food wasn’t as good as last year.

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My steak wasn’t tough to eat but it was touch to cut with a regular knife. I think it’s because of the way they cut the meat. I don’t think it would have been as challenging had they provided everyone with steak knives. Brian’s main complaint was that his steak was too pink in the middle. He’s a well done kind of guy.

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The flourless chocolate torte was delicious and I ate every bit of mine. Last year there were two dessert options — the chocolate torte and creme brûlée — but this year you only had once choice. I’m thinking maybe the creme brûlée wasn’t as popular last year and so they just decided to go with the safer choice.

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Of course, if you didn’t quite get enough to eat, there’s always the chocolate fountain at the official after party — the Pulse Party is where everyone gets to cut loose to music provide by The Source.

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Had to take a selfie at the Pulse Party.

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We danced to a couple of songs and then had to rest our feet.

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My feet were killing me because I had to wear my extra tall heels. I would have worn the heels that mom loaned me to wear with the dress that she also loaned me but the dress was too long. The only way to keep the hemline from sweeping the floor was to wear super tall shoes.

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We took a few more selfies while we waited for the silent auction to close. We won a couple of baskets and had to wait to check out, which we couldn’t do until 10:45 pm.

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I was exhausted by the end of the evening but we had a lot of fun. I hope we have the opportunity to attend again next year.

Couples Painting Night

Despite the challenges we ran into trying to do a couples painting project together last Valentines we still decided to have another go at it this year. LOL.

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We initially had a few couples interested but then everyone bailed at the last minute except for Holly and Meader.

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When we first decided to do the couples painting thing this year, I was bummed that it wasn’t going to be a private event like last year. However, after everyone started bailing, I was relieved that it wasn’t a private event because we would have been on the hook for all of those painting fees. Another benefit of the event being open is that we got to meet some really cool people, who we never would have met otherwise. We also bumped into one of Brian’s former coworkers at T-Mobile, Levi.

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This is the couple painting project that we were going for; unfortunately, ours didn’t turn out as successfully. Brian wouldn’t even let me take a picture of his final painting.

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Mine started out a mess. Brian’s started out really well.

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Meader’s and Holly’s paintings started well and ended up awesome.

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I guess it works out well when you are creative and have a plan.

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Here’s a picture of my final painting.

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My painting actually looks better after I painted over everything. Brian didn’t like the way his turned out after he painted over it so there is no picture of his painting. I don’t think we will be putting these paintings on display. We will try this again next year. Hopefully with better results.

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Fun With Friends – Old and New

Jay and Becca hosted a super fun Super Bowl XLIX party last weekend. We wouldn’t have been able to attend were it not for our bowling league (we’ve been bowling in a league with my parents on Sundays for almost a year now) being canceled that night.

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The funny thing is that we play through on most holidays but they actually canceled bowling on Super Bowl Sunday. I don’t care what people say. Super Bowl Sunday is a national holiday in the US. They should just declare it as such. LOL.

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We were all smiles because we knew our team was going to win. 😉

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They sure made it exciting, though.

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Jenni joined us and had a lot of fun playing with the kids.

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I came dressed appropriately for the event in my one and only Pats shirt and my most patriotic earrings (acquired a few years ago when we visited the East Coast and toured Sam Adams with the Dills).

Our friend Rune was like, “Are you really a Pats fan or are you just trying to be nice to Jay?” To which I replied, “I don’t know enough about football to have any real favorites, but I do like the Pats more than any other football team because their team colors coordinate with the colors of my other favorite team (Boston Red Sox and KU).” #trueconfessions

We had a great time. Thank you so much for hosting, Jay and Becca!

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Yesterday Brian, Jenni, Eleanor, Nicole, and I bowled in a fundraising event for the YMCA Strong Community campaign. Angie and her husband Cory bowled with us. It was my first time meeting Angie and Cory but they seem really cool and fun. And, they’re really good bowlers too!

Here are some pictures from the bowl-a-thon yesterday.

Here’s Jenni and Nicole, goofing around.

Angie looked so cute in her orange tutu!

Angie with our boss lady Kristen, the Group Exercise Coordinator at Andover YMCA.

And, yes. This happened.

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Brian and I had a great time. Don’t mind my greasy chin. The pizzas were really greasy yesterday but I couldn’t help myself. I ate a few slices. Who can resist AJ’s pizza?

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A J Sports Grill on Urbanspoon

If there’s one thing that Northrock Lanes has going for it, it’s that it’s got a pretty good sports bar on site. Most other bowling alleys just have okay food. AJ’s serves pizza that I don’t mind eating and that says a lot because I don’t like pizza.

Granted, it’s no Ziggy’s but the pizza is good and reasonably priced. Whenever I feel like bowling, I always think of Northrock first before any of the other bowling alleys because it’s just set up better all the way around.

The only other bowling alley that would be better would be the Alley but their prices are expensive. So if you want to bowl cheap and eat decent food, my recommendation will always be Northrock.

I Don’t Always Beg People for Money

I don’t always beg people for money… but when I do, it’s usually for some kind of bowling charity fundraiser. LOL.

So what’s the cause this time? Well, it’s an important one that is close to my heart.

I’m bowling on Saturday, February 7, to support the YMCA’s Strong Community Campaign. So yes, I’m begging for donations and I’m not ashamed of it. I hope you consider making a donation to support the YMCA’s Strong Community Campaign because the Greater Wichita YMCA is the region’s largest provider for:

Child Care
Swim Lessons
Summer Day Camp
Youth Sports
Health & Wellness
After School Programs

When you give to the Y, you continue to strengthen our community and move everyone forward. Your gift makes a meaningful, enduring impact right in our own neighborhood.

Please help us build a Strong Community by supporting the Strong Community Campaign Bowl-A-Thon. Your support and generous donations are the reasons why we have the best YMCAs in the nation.

Every donation, no matter how big or small, makes a difference. Thank you.

Thanksgiving 2014

My coworkers take Thanksgiving very seriously. Our lounge area and break room were totally decked out last month for Harvest Feast.

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Our coworkers who organized Harvest Feast really outdid themselves this year. They even got matching aprons. How cool is that?

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We all chipped in $5 for the meats but Brian didn’t want me to show up to work empty handed so he made me the banana pudding dessert thing that we love so I would have something to bring to the potluck.

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It was a huge hit. How could it not be? This thing is like crack. Anyway, if you’d like the recipe or if you’d like to see all the other variations we’ve made in the past go here.

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We hosted Thanksgiving again this year so I decided that I probably ought to decorate. We found this beautiful wreath at the store that matched our Christmas tree on the main floor, which is natural and woodsy, so we had to get it. It looks great, don’t you think?

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This is the Christmas tree in the basement.

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We didn’t decorate too much but we put up enough decorations to be somewhat festive.

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We like personalized things. Can you tell?

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I liked these napkins and placemats not only because they’re personalized with our last name initial but mainly because they’re neutral and match the rest of our decor.

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We brought out our wine glasses for mimosas so I finally had the opportunity to use my festive wine charms.

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This was Molly’s first Thanksgiving back with us.

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Molly and grandma kept each other company as we reheated the food that was carefully prepared by the Fresh Market.

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We had a great time celebrating with family.

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Here are some pictures of the food we enjoyed at Thanksgiving.

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We were wise this year and created a project plan for when things needed to go in the oven. It worked out perfect. Everything finished right on schedule.

The food was delicious and we had way more food than we needed. I’m thinking either we order less food or invite more people to our little Thanksgiving shindig next time.

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Jenni’s birthday was the day before Thanksgiving so we celebrated with her.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Until next year!

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