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Archive for "Zumba"

Best Zumba Surprise Ever

Posted on October 26, 2017 by under Zumba.    

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Missy, Brynden, and Andrea totally got me last week. Apparently, Andrea knew that Missy and Brynden were coming to 5:15 AM Zumba but they kept it a secret so they could surprise me. Not only did they surprise me by showing up to my early morning class but all three of them wore matching outfits to boot!

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They really made my day!

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These girls are the best Zumba besties ever!

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This is how thrilled I was to see them in class that morning.

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I Finally Made It!

Posted on October 13, 2017 by under Shopping, Zumba.    

After years of spending hundreds of dollars on Zumba wear, I finally made it! Just in time for my birthday, too! I am officially a three-star Zumba Wear Insider!

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Zumba Wear Insider is a program that launched a few years ago.

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I slowed down my Zumba wear shopping because I had way too much gear already. Anyway, earlier this year they sent me a note about qualifying for two-star status, which was nice but didn’t really offer any real perks (not to me, anyhow).

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However, I met a three-star Zumba Wear Insider at #ZINCON this year who told me that the three-star Insiders got to shop the Zumba Wear store at #ZINCON before it opened. Now, that’s a real perk considering that Brian and I spent at least a couple of hours of our time in line for the Zumba Wear store on Wednesday waiting for it to open. If I had been a three-star at that time, I would have been shopping instead of standing in line.

Although, I didn’t find this out after I had already spent over about $800 on purchases at the store that didn’t count toward my Zumba Wear Insider status. Blech! You live and learn.

After this realization, Brian and I agreed that I would not be shopping at #ZINCON going forward — since it doesn’t count toward my status. If I need to buy anything, I would buy it from the web site so that every penny counts. We made a pact that the only reason that we would shop at the Zumba Wear store at #ZINCON is if I made three-star between now and then and got first dibs on everything.

Of course, the universe being the enabler that it is, ended up bestowing upon me three-star status further fueling my Zumba Wear and shopping addictions.

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How do you find out when you reach three-star status? Well, they send you a gift. It comes in a box similar to the one pictured above.

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Inside is a card/letter informing you of your new status and explaining the program. I don’t remember if the two-star letter came with a present. If it didn’t it wasn’t anything memorable. The three-star letter comes with an exclusive three-star Zumba Wear Insider t-shirt, which is pretty cool.

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Here’s what the front of it looks like. The back has your three-star status.

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Also on the same day, in a separate mailing, I received an early birthday card from Zumba. I love getting birthday cards in the mail because no one ever writes letters or sends cards to people anymore.

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It’s kind of a treat when you get something besides junk mail in your mailbox. Anyway, this one is extra special because it contained the added bonus of a $30 OFF coupon for Zumba wear.

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Now, that’s a REAL perk!

It was a wonderful surprise because I didn’t know that Zumba Wear Insiders got birthday cards with discounts. I’ve found out since that you do and the amount depends on your status/level. I’m so glad that I made three-star in time for my birthday! Thank you to Zumba for feeding my Zumba gear addiction!

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P.S. As a bonus for you guys, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Well, it’s not that much of a secret but not everyone knows this. I am a Zumba Wear affiliate so I have a special code you can use that will save you 10% OFF every time you shop on Zumba.com. Yes, it’s good EVERY, SINGLE time! There is no limit to the number of times you use this code so wear it out!

If you click on any of the links on this post, the discount should automatically apply to your items. If you don’t see the discount, use affiliate code CHING when you check out. That should apply the discount to your shopping cart.

HAPPY SHOPPING!

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Zumba for FAAGW

Posted on August 29, 2017 by under Community, Zumba.    

A couple of weeks ago I volunteered to teach a Zumba class for the Filipino-American Association of Greater Wichita (FAAGW) group. Basically, they’re getting together every Thursday for different activities. The cost to participate is a $5 donation. You can also pay $15 for access to all of the events that month. The money raised goes toward funding FAAGW community projects.

So far they’ve had a couple of Zumba classes, some line dancing lessons, and most recently arnis, a form of martial art using sticks. Arnis, also commonly known as eskrima, is the national martial art of the Philippines.

I had a work dinner on Thursday night; otherwise, Brian and I would have been there. I hope they offer it again because arnis is right up Brian’s alley. I think he would totally enjoy learning it.

The Thursday night before that was my night to teach Zumba. It was my first time leading a class for the group and only a couple of people had taken my Zumba class before so I asked my friend Gina for advice. She recommended using lower impact songs because she said there are a lot of older women, many of whom have never taken Zumba or any other exercise class before.

I created a playlist according to Gina’s suggestions but Brian said it still looked pretty intense for some. Nevertheless, it looked like they were all having a great time (judging from the smiles). And, no one passed out. LOL. They even had enough energy for post-workout photos at the end.

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My friend Andrea helped me out by leading a couple of songs.

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Here are a couple of the pictures we took during and after class.

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The group asked me to offer the class once a month but I originally only agreed to do one class because of my crazy schedule. We had such a great time that I agreed to do another one in September. It will be on the third Thursday of the month again. I hope you can join us for a booty-shakin’ good time on September 21. We try to start right at 6:30 pm and then go for a full hour.

Until then, keep on dancin’!

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#ZINCON 2017 Highlights – Short Version

Posted on August 16, 2017 by under Travel, Zumba.    

If you don’t have time to ready the lengthy #ZINCON highlights post from yesterday, here’s the short version:

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#ZINCON 2017 Highlights

Posted on August 15, 2017 by under Travel, Zumba.    

Brace yourself. This is going to be a long one!

Ah, where to begin. Since we arrived on Tuesday, there were no lines at the hotel check-in. Brian even managed to talk the concierge into giving us a corner room, which happened to be the exact same room we had last year. Definitely couldn’t have done that with dozens of tired, frustrated, impatient, guests waiting to check in behind us, which is typically the sight you see on Wednesday afternoon.

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Convention registration opened at 9 AM on Wednesday. Brian and I planned to be there first thing but we decided to have a nice leisurely morning. Plus, it’s good long walk from our room at the far end of the Hyatt to where registration is located inside the vast Orange County Convention Center (OCCC). Regardless, the line wasn’t bad that morning. The line got pretty deep as the day wore on though, and as more people started arriving. I know when we went back to get my “attendee” wristband (something new this year) replaced, which had started to cut off my circulation because it kept getting tighter and tighter, the line was quite long so rather than lining up with the registration people, I just waited in line at ZIN services. The line is short, but people’s needs are sometimes impossible, so it was a long wait regardless. My issue took only a couple of seconds to resolve, though. She simply cut the original wristband off and then gave me another one. I was careful not to make it too tight this time.

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I love that Brian goes with me because it makes waiting in long lines more bearable.

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Oh, I found this card in the bag and materials they give you at registration and I tried really hard to be active on social media this year so I could win one of these amazing prices but, as luck would have it, I forgot to make my Instagram account public so it was all for naught. #MassiveFail #StoryOfMyLife #LOL

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Brian and I also took a selfie at “our table” (this is the table that Brian, Andrea, and I would meet up at after events and such last year — so we wouldn’t lose one another) and sent it to Andrea and told her she was missed.

Our leisurely day consisted of registration, lunch at B-Line, a Chocolate Kingdom factory tour, and some pool time. We also walked around and scoped everything out as vendors were setting up.

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This is me trying to win a free cruise by posting this pic on social media and not realizing that no-one was seeing my posts (well, except for the followers that I had already previously approved). At least I’ll know for next year.

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This is what the otherwise quiet hotel lobby looked like as more and more people started arriving. The check-in line just gets worse, unfortunately. It’s improved some the last few years though, as people have gotten smarter and started arriving a day or two before like we did.

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Of course, no ZINCON is ever complete without pictures and selfies with your favorite Zelebs. This is DJ Francis with Brian pictured above.

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This is DJ Francis’ beautiful wife Zumba Education Specialist (ZES) Marcie Benavides. There are several power couples in the Zumba world but they are by far my favorite. They are so humble and nice. I just love them!

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This is ZES David Velez. I first met him in 2014 when he assisted ZES Steve Boedt with my Pro Skills training at the LA Conference. You’ll also see a half-naked David in one of my cruise recap posts.

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This is ZES Mario Guitierrez, official ZES of Israel. His choreo for “Sayonara” is what I’ve been using in class.

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This is ZES Steve Boedt, possibly my all-time favorite ZES. He taught the Zumba Pro-Skills training that I completed a few years ago.

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We ran into one of Andrea’s favorite ZESes in the elevator, Australia ZES Tamara Pitts. One of my favorite parts of staying at Hyatt Regency Orlando is running into all the ZESes and Zelebs that stay in the same hotel.

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This is ZES Lars Wensink.

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These are ZESes Benjamin Richard and Rodrigo Angello. They’re kind of a package deal. Ran into them at B-Line.

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These are ZESes Kass Martin and Steve Boedt. They’re kind of a package deal too. While they do present trainings and sessions apart, they are the most amazing when they’re presenting together. We took this photo after the Motown session.

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This is my crazy, packed ZINCON schedule this year.

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Brian and I packed light this year so we felt like we HAD to hit the Zumba Wear store right when it first opened.

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Mind you, the store didn’t open until 5 PM but the line actually started at 9 AM. They were already people in line for the store when we walked by to get me registered. We didn’t hop in line until later in the afternoon. That’s where we met this nice woman who we convinced to take a selfie with Brian.

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We were at the end of the line when we first got there but it didn’t take long for the line to reach the end of OCCC’s South entrance and wrap around. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who wanted to hit the store early. Hundreds of others had the same thought. Although, I found out later that had I been a 3-Star Zumba Wear Insider (I’m only a 2-Star right now), I could have gone in to shop hours before the store officially opened to the public. I could have shopped with all of the Zumba Education Specialists, ZIN Jammers, and other presenters!

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Joel happened upon us while we were in line for the store. Naturally, we had to take a selfie! He and Missy and Todd got in line with us and we all eagerly waited to get in to the Zumba Wear store to see the new collection.

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Some people danced while waiting in line. We just took a bunch of pics.

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I planned to attend the official pre-ZINCON ZIN Flavor Master Class at the We Move the World Stage on the eve of ZINCON kick-off but there were already hundreds of people there by the time we got out of the Zumba Wear store.

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I kid you not. This is what I had to contend with.

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I found a good spot for dancing but not necessarily for seeing. Since I wasn’t in the line to get in first, I couldn’t get a spot near the front. I was kind of in the middle area surrounded by hundreds of other people. It was hard for me to see over people’s heads. I could see the middle to top part of the stage, so I could see who was leading, but I couldn’t see their feet so it was hard to truly follow and dance along. I’ve learned long ago not to follow the person directly in front of me because they’re not necessarily doing the routines right. I feel like I have to observe some for a bit first before I can trust that they know what they’re doing and only then will I start to follow them. That wasn’t happening in a crowded situation such as this.

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The people in the front were super lucky! I almost regretted my decision to hit the store first. So much so that I’ve actually resolved to skip shopping completely next year (unless, of course, I’m a 3-Star Zumba Wear Insider and can shop before everyone else does) because in choosing to shop you’re almost guaranteed to miss out on something else. I’d rather maximize my dancing going forward.

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I finally got frustrated and gave up. I ended up tracking Brian down and hanging out with him in the upper level, overlooking the stage area and crowd. By then, several others had the same idea and I couldn’t get a good spot there either.

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We finally just gave up and walked up to our room to drink wine and watch the sunset. Our room is so amazing, I almost wish I could spend more time just hanging out in there and enjoying the view. Almost.

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The next morning, Brian and I were up and at it bright and early for ZINCON kick-off. Like we aren’t all super pumped already; they get us even more pumped!

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Of course, the line was already super long. You really have to get in line at least a couple of hours before they open the doors to get a good spot. Lucky for us, we ran into another ZIN who we met while in line for the store the day before, Jay Medina (above). Naturally, I had to take a picture of him and Brian because they were wearing coordinating outfits.

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Jay let me and Snowman get in line with him so I didn’t have to be at the very end of the very long line, which at this point had already wrapped around and doubled over. Jay was near the front of the line so I got a really good spot when they opened the doors. It’s the closest I’d ever gotten to the stage. EVER. And, I was close enough to the front that I actually made the official 2017 Zumba Instructor Convention Magic Moments highlight reel.

Here are a few pics from the kick-off session.

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Yup. They brought the backpack kid in. See if you can spot him.

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The King of Soca, Machel Montano, also made a surprise appearance and performed a few songs. The kick-off session was off-the-charts AMAZING. I thought this year’s kick-off was the best ever.

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My final session of the day was a Master Class with ZES Steve Boedt. I just can’t get enough of him. He is super nice, super awesome, and so inspirational.

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At the last few ZINCONs they’ve had this memory wall that everyone tags and writes notes on. They made this year’s wall black and provided gold and silver Sharpies to match the 10 year anniversary theme.

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There wasn’t a lot of room to write much of anything, so this is all I could wrote. I guess there’s more room up top but I could never reach that high, even if I tried.

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While walking back to our hotel, we ran into Todd and Missy. They stayed at the Hilton, which is located on the opposite side of the OCCC from our hotel. We just happened to cross paths.

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This is one of those iconic ZINCON photos. I’m pretty sure EVERYONE who was there has a photo similar to this one.

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No one has a photo like this one though, because I’m pretty sure I’m the only one with a good looking Brian with me.

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This is me, in the line for STRONG by Zumba (SBZ) training the next morning.

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I was glad that I got there early because it was a full room.

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There were several Master Trainers helping with the training but these are two key SBZ presenters who conducted our training: Master Trainers Ai Lee Syarief and George Iu. You might remember George from last year’s B2 training with ZES Loretta Bates. He and ZES Michael Marmitte assisted Loretta and thus, we got the “George Michael” treatment.

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After training, it was time to skedaddle and get read for the fitness concert. I hurried back to our room, showered, changed and then had to head back out to the OCCC. We ran into DJ Gringo (above) on the way there.

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Once again, I found myself at the ass end of a really, really long line. Brian ran into another ZIN, Sabrina, who I met at a previous ZINCON while he was trying to look for some of our friends in the line.

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Brian found Eleanor, Missy, Todd, and Joel and so I got in line with them because they were further ahead in the line than I was. It was kind of stressful though because this was shortly before the doors were supposed to open so I was worried that the line wouldn’t move before I got to them. And, there were thousands of people in line at this point so I actually struggled to find them. Thankfully, Joel is very tall and hard to miss.

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We only had time for a few selfies before it was time to enter the fitness concert area. Oh, one of the funniest things about this moment is, up until this point, no one had seen or heard from Eleanor.

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We were all very much relieved to find her alive, well, and enjoying all that ZINCON has to offer. LOL. This was a “first ZINCON” for a few people in our group: Eleanor, Joel, and Todd.

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I did not take any photos at all during the fitness concert while I was near the stage because I wanted to honor Beto’s request of no pictures or videos. He just wanted everyone to dance and enjoy themselves. It’s not really any fun when you’re trying to dance and the person next to you is just standing in place, taking a video.

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Brian took a bunch of really good screen captures while he was watching a live-stream of the fitness concert from our room, though. We both agreed that none of the pictures or videos I could have taken would have rivaled the up close shots from the live-stream. Anyway, I thought it was great that they made the live-stream option available to those who couldn’t make it to ZINCON this year but still wanted to experience the fitness concert.

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This year’s fitness concert was great but not quite as elaborate a production it has been in previous years. I still had a great time, though. It helped that I wasn’t right under gigantic speakers this time. And, no matter how badly my feet hurt from all of the day’s walking and dancing, I stayed for the whole thing this year!

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It was hard to get up the next day but it helped that my first session was Hip Hop Turn Up with (from left) Heidy Torres, Gina Grant, Dahrio Wonder, and Armando Salcedo. This amazing four-some consists of two Zumba power couples: Armando and Heidy (also known as A & H) and the Gina and Dahrio (the Wonder couple).

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I don’t have a lot of hip hop flavor but their session was such a blast! That’s kind of the point of taking the session, though. You take it to learn and be inspired.

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They didn’t have time for photos with each of the participants at the end of the session but at least they posed briefly for photos so those of us who wanted to snap a couple of pics could do so.

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As great as the presenters were, I think the best part of Hip Hop Turn Up was having Missy in the session with me. You know how much more fun Zumba classes are when your friends are in the class with you? Well, it’s the same for us ZINs also. Dancing is always way more fun with friends!

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Speaking of friends, I met ZIN Doris last year and ran into her again several times this year. I love it when we meet friends we’ve made throughout the years at ZINCON. It’s a mini reunion, or a massive one, depending on how you look at it.

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This is me with the Jhon Gonzalez’ Latin Urban team at the end of the session. They were super nice and stayed until every single person in line for photos got a photo with them. And to think Joel didn’t stick around for a photo because he thought there wouldn’t be time to get through everyone.

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Latin Urban was followed by House Experience with Benjamin and Rodrigo. It got a little crazy with a sort of prayer mob at the end. Of course, our friend Sarah was in the thick of it. She is a huge fan of the Benjamin and Rodrigo team.

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Joel was in House Experience with me and Sarah also. Sarah and her friend April stuck around at the end of the session and waited to chat with Benjamin and Rodrigo. Joel and I walked over to the ZCOM Meet and Greet event. I thought it would be a great opportunity for Joel to meet other instructors from our district.

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I didn’t stay for the entire ZCOM Meet and Greet. I only stayed long enough to drop Joel off and make sure he was in good hands. I had to get back to the room and quickly don my Cleopatra outfit for the “Golden Ages” theme party. There were several of us who dressed as ancient Egyptians. Naturally, I wanted to get photos taken with my fellow Egyptian people. However, surprise of all surprises, other people also asked to get their photo with me. This is the first year that this has ever happened. Not bad for a costume I bought off Amazon! (This is a link to the outfit and this is a link to the headpiece.)

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Here are a few of my favorite theme party costumes.

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There was a guy on stilts dressed as Anubis. He ended up winning the award for best costume. I must say, it’s pretty amazing.

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This lady was a huge hit, too. I don’t think she won any awards but she was most definitely the most photographed. EVERYONE wanted a picture with her!

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These guys were my favorite. I actually had to take a photo with them because my costume fit right in. I don’t know what I did with that photo, though.

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I was really bummed that they didn’t win the best group costume. I guess they didn’t make it down in time for judging. They had my vote for sure!

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While I attended all my sessions and workshops, Brian pretty much just hung out at the pool. He texted me this photo of his pool outfit on one of the days, which consisted of an old pair of board shorts and a new hooded tank top that he got at the Zumba Wear store. It actually works! Not bad for someone who is color blind.

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He did humor me and escorted me to the theme party in his Mark Anthony outfit. The next morning Brian and I were matchy-matchy again. This time in our STRONG by Zumba gear.

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Sunday morning was rough. We didn’t stay at the party too late but we did stay up later than planned. But it was rough only partially because of that. The final day of ZINCON is always really hard because you know that everything is winding down and the party is pretty much over. It makes me sad to walk by the partially torn down vendor booths. It starts quite early on Sunday morning.

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We ran into Sarah and her convention roommate April on our way to my final session, Bachata Extreme with ZJ Carlos Henriquez. I enjoyed the workshop immensely last year and so I decided to retake it this year.

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Everyone probably stayed up too late partying the previous night because, even though I wasn’t super duper early, I was literally the first person in line for the session. Since I got there early, I took advantage of taking a pic with Carlos before the session started.

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Here’s a pic of the session’s playlist which was made even more fantastic by having DJ Marina spin it. Hottest DJ. EVER!

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As always, the closing session was the perfect wrap up/conclusion to a wonderful ZINCON. Zumba has this way of sending us all back into the outside world completely energized. I was further energized by the opportunity to get a selfie with my fellow Filipino Marlex.

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The most remarkable thing about this photo is that I didn’t even realize Michael Marmitte was behind us until after I got home and started looking at the photos on my phone! WILD! We should have gotten him in the pic with us!

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After closing, we had some pool time with Missy and Todd.

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Here’s one final picture before we sent them off to the airport. I’m so glad Todd could join us this year. I had such a blast hanging out with these two! I think this year has been my all-time favorite ZINCON by far! I can’t wait until next year!

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