Archive for "Events"
I had such a blast touring with the #WestarInMotion College Campus Tour this week. We were at Wichita State University on Wednesday, KU on Thursday, and K-State on Friday.
One of our senior officers, Greg Greenwood, stopped by while we were at Wichita State and even helped us draw our four gift card winners.
When we were at the KU campus, Derek, Mel, and I got a selfie with the Jayhawk in front of the KU Memorial Union entrance.
KU was the one school where our #WestarInMotion koozies actually matched the school colors. I wish we had yellow and purple ones made too but the blue and red are Westar colors so we will be able to use these koozies for other events.
We had a blast at all three locations. But, even though I’m WSU alumni and I’m partial to the school, I have to say that the K-State kids were the coolest. They even tweeted our event and took selfies with us.
I was a little bit worried because of the forecasted rain. We encountered rain when we were setting up the trailer at all three locations but, as luck would have it, the rain stopped in time for our event. We had a great turnout at all three schools. Although we ran into a few students who didn’t have electric service in their name, we had several people who installed the MyWestar app right on the spot.
We were on our feet the entire time and the soles of my feet hurt really bad at the end of each day but it was totally worth it. The last three days were a nice break from the office. I’m so glad Alicia invited me to help her with this project. I hope I get to help with it again next year.
Posted on August 21, 2016 by Ching under Events, Relationship, Things to Do.
We made some commitments last weekend that caused us to postpone (and as a result prolong) our anniversary celebrations this year. My work participated in the Wichita Corporate Challenge this year and, a few days before the start of the event, Ebony told me that we didn’t have any volunteers and we needed some otherwise we would lose some points. I decided put aside my anniversary weekend and take one for the team.
I couldn’t volunteer the weekend before because that was the weekend I had my Real Results Party (more on that next time) on Saturday afternoon and then I have my regular Sunday afternoon Zumba class. I already had stuff going on the other days so I had to give up my anniversary weekend.
Luckily, my boss granted my request to take a vacation day on August 10 — the Wednesday before — which is our actual anniversary day so Brian and I got to celebrate before the weekend anyway. This actually works out better because now, instead of doing everything on one weekend, we get to spread out the celebration for the rest of the month.
I had signed me and Brian up to help with the volleyball tournament on Saturday afternoon from 1 PM to 5 PM, which was perfect because it allowed us time to make dinner at Marc and Jess’ house in Derby by 7 PM. Anyway, there was a last minute schedule change and volleyball got pushed to Sunday, which we couldn’t do because Brian and I were already signed up for a bowling tournament at the Alley. I specifically subbed out my Sunday afternoon Zumba class for it so I didn’t want to miss it. When I found out that volleyball moved to Sunday, I emailed the WCC organizer to inform him of my predicament. I would still love to volunteer but I am only free from 1 PM to 5 PM on Saturday as I had previously committed. I would love to help with volleyball but we already were already committed to something else on Sunday afternoon. We all know that my schedule is like a jigsaw puzzle. We have all sorts of stuff going on ALL THE TIME.
Anyway, I was told that they didn’t need additional help with the softball tournament on Saturday afternoon but my work would still get credit for my volunteer time. It worked out perfectly because that was the main reason I had volunteered myself and Brian’s help. I just wanted to earn some points for my work.
Brian and I found ourselves in unusual territory. We actually had some free time on our hands. LOL. Naturally, Brian took advantage of it by taking a nap.
This was the sight at home that Saturday afternoon. It’s not very often this happens so Brian relished every single minute of it.
We hung out at home until it was time to head to the Stoddard’s for dinner. They made a delicious chicken dinner paired with a pasta salad. It was yummy!
They also made this dessert thing which was like pancake brownie but I didn’t get a picture of it. Brian and I brought vanilla ice cream to go with it.
After dinner, we briefly went Pokémon hunting but it was dark and the bugs were out in full force. We were all getting eaten up by mosquitos and then Brian’s phone quit working. We finally just had to call it a night. We didn’t want to stay out too late anyway because we had a bowling tournament the next day.
Zach and I qualified for the end of season bowling tournament right away. Brian was going to have to pay $10 to enter the tournament but he won a free entry on our very last week of bowling.
There were several prizes that we really wanted to win but our names didn’t get drawn, which was a bummer. The three of us didn’t bowl as well as we could have so we didn’t win top score prizes either.
At least I finally got a video of me picking up a 5-7 split so it wasn’t a complete loss.
Fast forward to this weekend… We had planned to take my little sister Nickira and the Phelpi to All Star Adventures for some unlimited go karts, rides, and mini golf but Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating. At least we were able to meet up for a belated birthday dinner for Gavin at Red Robin.
We felt bad for not making it to Gavin’s birthday and not getting him a present so we figured dinner would be his birthday present this year instead.
April said that it worked well because he has too many toys anyway and he got in trouble recently so she actually had to take some toys away. It’s a really funny story but it’s April’s story to tell so I won’t share it with you guys. You’ll just have to ask her about it next time you see her.
I think it was Nickira’s first time at Red Robin and she discovered the joys of freckled lemonade. It’s one of my favorite things to drink there. She originally asked for a Sprite but when Gavin asked for freckled lemonade, I had to veto her drink order and get her a freckled lemonade also because I knew she would love it because I know how much she loves strawberries. It’s her favorite fruit.
It was wonderful to see the Phelpi because it had been forever since we’d gotten together. We used to see them quite frequently when they lived down the street but it’s harder to spontaneously swing by these days since they now live on the West side of town. After dinner we all agreed to have an All Star Adventures do-over next month and parted ways.
I originally wanted to ride go karts with Nickira at the Alley but then changed my mind after it started raining. I didn’t want to be out and about in case it started raining even harder. Nickira decided to stay in and play Jenga instead.
Nickira’s mom said they would be home around 8:30 PM so we took Nickira home around that time. Brian drove to ensure that we would be safe in case something happened because the weather was terrible.
The next morning (yesterday) my Aqua Zumba class was canceled because the water was too cold from the rain. I got to sleep in a little bit before my 10:30 AM Zumba class. After that we had to skedaddle because we had tickets to Mamma Mia! at 2 PM. I showered and changed quickly so we could grab a quick bite at Felipe’s Jr. down the street from us before heading to the show.
Since I missed the half-priced season tickets sale in April, I’ve been relying on free tickets from KMUW. However, I didn’t want to take a chance this time so I splurged and bought our tickets ahead of time. Brian loves Music Theatre Wichita as much as I do so I just called it an anniversary present for both of us. I’m so glad we bought tickets because I didn’t see an email about free tickets this time. This has been a really great MTW season for us in that we were able to see all of the shows except for one. It’s the one that Brian wanted to see most, Jesus Christ Superstar, but it couldn’t be helped because it ran while we were in Orlando for ZINCON 2016.
Since I paid for my tickets this time, I made sure to pick good seats. We were tired of sitting behind tall people or people with big hair so I went a little bit overboard and got us front row seats. We were in C3 and C4 for the show, front and center. At first Brian was like, “I thought you got us front row seats?” He was thinking there would be rows A and B ahead of us, but row C is the first row for this show.
I loved being super close to the stage and performers but I’m thinking that I’ll probably get three or four rows back next time I have my choice of seating because the first row is a little too close for me.
Here’s a picture of the main cast. I took a picture because when they start coming out like this, it’s usually the end. I don’t take pictures during the performance out of respect but sometimes I like to take pictures of all of the performers at the end when they do their final bow. I thought it was over but you really have to stick around because after the usual ending part there was another fifteen minutes of singing and dancing. It was awesome. Best show finale ever!
But that wasn’t the finale of our day. We still had Dudegrass Six. We went home to hang out and take care of the dogs before heading to our next event. This was our first time attending Dudegrass and I’m glad we went because it was awesome.
Facebook said the event started at 5:30 PM but didn’t actually start until 6 PM. I should have checked our tickets because I really thought we were running late. Come to find out, we were just in time. We got there at about a quarter till and, although there were already a lot of people there, there were still a few lanes open. As luck would have it, lane 22 was open so we parked ourselves there.
They had me at two-plus hours of unlimited bowling. The Big Lebowski screening, $5 White Russians, and entertainment factor were an added bonus.
Lamphouse Photo Company also had a photo booth there with an awesome rug backdrop and props. Because we are rebels, we did our photos prop-less.
Jenni talked us into getting a large pizza but it was way more pizza than three people could eat. Brian and I picked the flavor since we bought and we went with all-meat (neither of us like veggies in our pizza).
Lucky for us, we ran into Lisa (she teaches a yoga class before me on Saturdays) and her husband so we got to share our large pizza with two others.
We were off to a great start with bowling but I started bowling crappy once the White Russians kicked in.
They were cheap and delicious. Lisa, who has been attending the event for years, told us one year the White Russians were only $2. I bet they had some lessons learned that year. LOL.
Brian doesn’t drink White Russians so he bought a pitcher of Fat Tire and shared it with Jenni. That made them both happy.
Brian was completely amazed at how many Big Lebowski fans turned out for the event. The costumes were phenomenal.
There were some really awesome costumes. The ultimate winner of the costume contest was the Stranger. I think partly because there was only one of him and there were several Dudes, Walters, and Maudes. There was a really good Jesus Quintana, though. She had the purple outfit down.
The White Russians group costume was also a clever idea although I’m not sure how they could have split the prize, which was a rug.
Brian said, if we go next year, he wants to dress up Jackie Treehorn, the porn director, because we didn’t see anyone dressed as him at all.
Although Brian made a comment that we were probably the only two people there who came for the bowling, we had such a great time at Dudegrass. I can’t believe that we’d never been to this event before. It’s going on my list of things to do next year for sure! What a great idea for a fundraising event!
Posted on August 14, 2016 by Ching under Events, Relationship.
Happiness is… being able to spend time with your loves. This is a picture of me and Brian with our babies, Saki and Molly, taken last Sunday.
Happiness is… bowling a really clean game. Brian, Zach, and I were at the Alley on Monday night for the final night of our Summer Trios bowling league. It wasn’t a regular bowling night. It was awards/prize night but the Alley was nice enough to let us bowl for free that evening.
I’ve been bowling really crappy lately. My normal 160 average has actually decreased by almost 10 pins over the last year. I bowled the cleanest game I’ve ever bowled in a long time that night. Too bad it didn’t count.
Happiness is… celebrating your 14th wedding anniversary with your amazing husband. We didn’t make any major anniversary celebration plans this year for a couple of reasons. First, we spent a lot of money at ZINCON just a couple of weeks prior. Second, we had committed to several things over the weekend that we couldn’t get out of… But, as luck would have it, Brian and I were both able to take off work on Wednesday, our actual anniversary day, to do some celebrating.
Our anniversary celebration consisted of a day trip to TopGolf in Overland Park and riding around Country Club Plaza in Kansas City (just a few miles down the street) for some Pokémon hunting.
Brian has been wanting to go to TopGolf since last November when I told him about our team building event there. I’ve wanted to return too but we have been too busy to make a trip up to the Kansas City/Overland Park area. I’m glad we could finally make it happen last week.
It wasn’t until Monday when I brought the idea up to him and asked my boss Ginger for permission to take a vacation day on Wednesday. This was pretty spontaneous for a couple of people who plan everything weeks (and sometimes even months) in advance. This is as spontaneous as it gets for us, folks. I feel tremendously grateful and blessed that it all worked out.
Here are a few more pictures from our mid-week anniversary day trip.
The food at TopGolf is actually pretty good so we had lunch there while we were playing. I knew I hit it out of the park when Brian told me how much fun he had that day. “Thanks for suggesting this. I had a lot of fun. Did you?” he asked me. “Yes,” I replied. “Are you sure?” He asked again. I was like, “Just because I sucked at it doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun. I had a blast!”
Happiness is… coming up with great ideas every now and then. The best part for me is seeing Brian’s face and knowing how much fun he had on our little excursion. It has been a thoroughly fulfilling and joyful week.
Of all of the trainings I’ve ever taken at ZINCON, I looked forward to Zumba Basic 2 with ZES Loretta Bates the most. Why? Because she is AMAZING!
The best part about the training is that she was assisted by two very talented people: ZES George Iu and ZES Michael Marmitte.
ZES Priscilla Mirabal from Oklahoma was there to help as well. Interestingly, Priscilla was the ZES who trained Loretta when she was licensed years ago.
In Basic 1, we learned the four basic rhythms: Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia, and Reggaeton. In Basic 2, we learned six additional rhythms: Flamenco, Samba, Belly Dance, Soca, Tango, and Quebradita. We also learned about stylistic separation which is important for staying true to the unique flavor of each distinct rhythm.
Anyway, after a fabulous Basic 2 training, it was time for the prom night theme party. We ran into some of friends from Wichita: Abby, Crystal, and Gina.
I also ran into the fabulous Chuany who we met on the cruise back in January. She’s an instructor at Betsy and Beto’s studio.
For my prom outfit, I found an $8 dress from Goodwill which fit me perfectly. It’s a short dress so I didn’t have to worry about having to get it hemmed. I got a pair of silver Street Boss sneakers from Zumba.com to go with my dress. I also wore my ZINCON 2013 wristbands because the colors actually worked with my dress.
Here’s a look at the whole outfit. See, I wasn’t the only one wearing sneakers!
The craziest part about this next photo is not everyone attended the theme party.
This is just a fraction of the people at ZINCON. Andrea and I didn’t end up getting official prom photos because the lines at all of the photo stations were long. Even though there was more than one photo area, they all had long lines. Andrea and I did manage to find the lash and lip bar. That was fun. They gave us fake eyelashes and glitter lipstick. It reminded me of the face-painting booth at the ZIN Soiree in 2013. The theme that year was A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Here’s how we looked with our fake eyelashes, glitter lipstick, and jewels…
I had such a blast hanging out with Andrea at ZINCON. I’m so glad she could attend this year!
I recently returned from attending my third #ZINCON. (I’m not counting the Zumba Instructor Conference in 2014 because they didn’t have special hotel room keycards for the event. LOL.)
Somehow the collector’s edition room keys make the annual convention that much more memorable. Although, the LA conference in 2014 was the very last one so that in itself is pretty special.
We were on the same flight out as Pat and Stephanie which made the trip to Orlando go by a lot quicker. I also managed to talk Brian into shorter layovers on our connecting flights so that helped quite a bit as well. Although were on the same flight out, Pat and Stephanie flew back to Wichita on Sunday. Brian and I opted to stay an extra night (more on this later) and came home on Monday so the four of us didn’t get to travel back home together.
Our flights were pretty smooth and uneventful, unlike Andrea’s whose flight ended up getting canceled. She was supposed to arrive in Orlando by 7 PM and didn’t end up arriving until midnight. On the bright side, at least she arrived the day before and didn’t have to miss part of day one.
Brian and I were glad that we arrived by noon on Wednesday. Even though the hotel was already buzzing with ZINCON attendees, the lines weren’t too bad. I remember the long lines at the hotel check-in desk during my first ZINCON. It wasn’t unusual to have to wait almost two hours just to get checked in.
Lucky for us, I’d amassed a bunch of points by staying at Hyatt Place in Topeka over the last few months. Brian and I wanted to have enough rewards points that we wouldn’t have to wait in the long line when we arrived at ZINCON. You’d think that Brian was thrilled when my project was put “on hold” since I no longer had to be out of town so much but he was actually kind of bummed for two reasons: that meant he could no longer play video games all night and I wasn’t earning Hyatt rewards points to get us special treatment on our trip.
We checked my rewards status a few weeks before our trip and saw I had enough stays to make Platinum but not enough to make Diamond level. “Oh, well. At least we still get to skip the long line,” I told myself.
Fast forward to check in. Brian and I were actually a little bit cranky when we arrived at the hotel because our driver wasn’t waiting for us at baggage claim as we were accustomed to… When I called SuperShuttle to check on our Execucar, they were like “You didn’t give us the airline information so we didn’t know your arrival time.” I thought Brian messed up but he was quick to pull up his records and show me that he did, in fact, provide them our flight number. Somehow the airline and flight information didn’t carry over into their dispatching system so we didn’t have a specific driver assigned to us. When I called dispatch, they told me to go outside to the shuttle loading area and our ride would be there in 20 minutes. Anyway, a shared-ride van shows up and we were like, “Where’s our Execucar?!” The whole thing was all sorts of jacked up. We had a 12-passenger van all to ourselves, which seemed really silly to me. There’s only two of us. Why in the heck would we reserve a huge ass van? As absurd as the whole van situation was, I was more annoyed that we had to wait for the van to show up outside in the heat instead of our driver being ready and waiting for us at baggage claim as they have in the past.
But I digress… Brian and I kind of had the “What else could go wrong today?” mindset at check in because a few days prior we had received an email from the Hyatt Regency stating that they were oversold on Wednesday night. They were offering to put people up at the Double Tree down the street and pay for the stay and shuttle people to the hotel the next day. I think I was actually more nonchalant about it than Brian. He was super worried. Being the optimist that I am, I told him that (a) I felt sure there were other people who would take up the free night offer, (b) they’d probably kick out people who were not loyal Hyatt rewards members first before kicking a valued customer such as me to the curb, and (c) we’re arriving early enough that we should be pretty safe. Although, seeing everyone’s hotel arrival posts on Facebook did make me worry a bit because I knew that there were a steady stream of arrivals leading up to Wednesday.
So there we were in front of the concierge desk. We were tired, cranky, and apprehensive. The check in line was already quite long but not nearly as long as we’d seen it before. We definitely arrived at the right time. Wanting to take advantage of our newly earned elite status, we stood in front of the check in lanes under the “Diamond/Platinum” sign.
“I can help who’s next,” the lady at the front desk says. Brian and I step up. “Ma’am, you have to wait in line,” she tells us scoldingly while pointing to the end of the longish line. “But I’m Diamond,” I tell her indignantly like a petulant child. “In that case, I can help you,” she says completely changing her tone. I asked her if she needed my rewards number and she said she was able to look me up just fine. She told me that I’m actually Platinum in a way that made Platinum sound far more superior than Diamond level. Anyway, having been up since about 3 AM (because Brian wanted to be at the airport two hours before our flight — don’t ask, this is a constant point of contention for us), I also got confused and thought how cool it was that we made Platinum just in time for ZINCON. Brian and I actually knew I made Platinum several weeks prior but were trying to make it to Diamond. Somehow I had gotten it backwards in my mind and so did the front desk girl. She ended up giving us an upgraded room and all of the Diamond level privileges including a special amenity where we got to choose from several different beverage and food options delivered to our room on a specific day and time of our choosing.
I didn’t really care for the beverage options so Brian chose a couple of bottles of Bud Light and we both agreed on the fruit, cheese, and nuts plate.
The fruit and cheese plate was a great choice. It was delicious.
Other privileges included access to the Regency Club Lounge which offers complimentary breakfast each morning, light snacks throughout the day, hors d’oeuvres from 5 to 8 PM, and desserts every night. We bought a big jug of water and a ton of groceries to sustain us during our stay. Had we known we were getting free food, bottles of water, and other beverages we would have not gotten so much at the store. I’m actually glad that we didn’t buy any fruit at the store because we got fresh fruit everyday at breakfast.
Here’s a picture of Brian enjoying the complimentary munchies.
Here are a few pictures of the amazing view from our room on the 26th floor.
We had a great view of the pool area as well.
The our corner room was exactly identical to our room back in 2013, only several floors higher which in turn made for a better view. And, since it’s all the way up above everything else, we didn’t have to shut our curtains as we did before when were on the fifth floor. We didn’t have to worry about people seeing inside our room. It was really nice. I loved falling asleep to the twinkling lights of the Orlando skyline. Andrea, Brian, and I even enjoyed watching fireworks in the distance one night when Andrea came to hang out after the fitness concert.
After settling into our fabulous room and unpacking our bags and packing our fridge and pantry, we went to get me checked in at the registration desk to get my official name tag, commemorative shirt, and convention freebies.
I ran into my kababayan Lei Valle on my way to registration. He was getting his ACE/AFAA certifications during pre-cons.
We also ran into this lovely lady and she encouraged me to take a photo with her giant poster.
This is the typical scene in front of the “We Move the World” stage in between sessions. But this isn’t even anything compared to the crowd at the fitness concert.
Brian and I took advantage of my free time on Wednesday night to do some shopping at the Zumba Wear store. We met these two lovely ladies. They were hilarious. They changed their minds about various items in their hands a dozen times between when we first got in line up until it was time to check out.
I’m super grateful for Doris (left) because she told me about the official ZIN bracelet which I wanted but couldn’t find. I guess she had it in her pile of stuff and changed her mind so she put it in one of the bins. When she heard me and Brian talk about the bracelet she told me I could have hers. She even went back to the bin she dropped the box off at and got it and gave it to me so then I didn’t have to step out of the super long line to go hunt for it. I thought that was a super nice thing to do for a complete stranger.
Trust me, you do not want to step out of the line. It probably took an hour or so. The line to check out was even longer than the line to get in the store and the line to get in the store was super long. After Brian and I saw the line, we decided that Brian probably should have stood and held my place in line while I shopped. That’s the plan for next year so we can be more efficient.
Here’s an obligatory room selfie just because.
This is the scene at kick off. We got a really great spot toward the front, next to the ZCOM section and just behind the ten-year ZINs, thanks to my friend Charrise.
Zumba Home Office had the best intentions but just couldn’t enforce the no bags and selfie sticks rule. My group and I followed the rules but I saw lots of bags and selfie sticks. I didn’t want to chance it though because I always seem to be the one to get caught even when everyone else is breaking the rules. I’m like the little red coupe that gets busted for speeding the one time that I do speed. And I’m thinking, “But I was just going with the flow of traffic!”
Zumba gave us a bonus gift this year of the ultimate ZINCON experience through PixMob wristbands.
Here’s an example to give you an idea. You’ll also see it in the Magic Moments video at the bottom.
Anyway, this post is super duper long already so I’m going to have to cut it off here. Before I go, here are some key notes from kick off:
- Everyone at ZINCON also got a bonus gift of our very own copy of ZIN Volume 1. Of course, many of the ten-year ZINs probably have every single ZIN Volume ever created already so now they each have a second copy.
- Zumba is launching a new app that will replace ZIN DJ (which explains why they haven’t invested in fixing any of the bugs). The new app will combine ZIN Now features with ZIN DJ features and then some. It’s going to be like ZIN DJ on crack. I can’t wait until it’s available for download so I can finally scrap ZIN DJ. Until then I guess we’re stuck with the issues.
- Zumba is launching an official mentoring platform. They know that we mentor students and help them become fellow instructors so they’re providing tools and resources to help us help another and flourish.
- Timbaland will be making music for STRONG by Zumba. That’s how we roll.
- The BabyFirst network will have a Zumbini TV show, which will help drive babies and moms to Zumbini classes.
For the rest of the Zumba Instructor Convention highlights, here are the Magic Moments of ZINCON 2016…