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Archive for "Zumba"

Day 1: Boarding Day

Posted on April 23, 2018 by under Travel, Zumba.    

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Sunday, boarding day, was a little overcast but it didn’t keep us from seeing our cruise ship from our hotel window. The emails we received were a bit confusing. One email said boarding would start at 11:00 AM, while another email said we couldn’t board until 2:30 PM. Since we didn’t expect to be able to board the ship until 11 at the earliest, Brian and I decided to have a leisurely breakfast at the hotel restaurant. We were just lollygagging after breakfast and walked around, enjoying the view, and taking a bunch of pictures.

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The sun finally started to come out and I got this nice panoramic of the marina.

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We had so much to kill after breakfast that Brian actually had time to lounge around and watch TV. It wasn’t until we started seeing posts about people waiting in line to board and getting on the ship that we decided it was probably time to head on over to the port. Some people were posting about the boarding and others were asking how long the lines were, etc.

Brian thought it would be funny to reply back that we can see the line from our hotel. We had a good chuckle but didn’t actually do it.

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We weren’t sure what kind of view we would have next time so we took one last selfie with our amazing view before taking off.

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Our hotel is super close to the Port of Miami so we were there in no time flat. As luck would have it, we ran into some friends (Natasha and Amanda) at the check in.

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Here’s a pic of the four of us in the waiting area.

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Danielle and Ty were ahead of us. We probably could have joined them but we didn’t want to cut in front of everyone. Also, I don’t think there was enough room for all four of us to slide in. I figured it was only a matter of time before we were all together aboard the ship anyway.

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Just for grins, I took a selfie with the port employee who was in charge of making sure the boarding process was organized and safe. She was doing a great job.

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Here’s a selfie of me and a Filipina friend I made at ZINCON a couple of years back. She goes by Missy Belle on Facebook. She went on the cruise this year too.

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Speaking of Missy, I ran into my friend Missy at the lunch buffet at Windjammer. We were so lucky that we even ran into each other. The lunch buffet was so crowded (because people were hungry and our staterooms wouldn’t be ready until 1:30 PM so there was nowhere else to go) and there was hardly any place to sit.

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It was either hang out at Windjammer or hang out at one of the bars which, incidentally, is where we found the rest of our crew.

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Missy and Todd (and almost everyone else) wore their matching shirts. These two looked so cute, I just had to take a picture of them!

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But you know what’s even cuter? These guys — (from left) Rony, Rodrigo, and Benjamin. I took multiple sessions from these guys throughout the week so this is just a bit of foreshadowing of things to come.

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Brian and I took a quick selfie with Miami as the backdrop before we sailed away. Not really the best picture since we took it from Windjammer instead of from one of the upper/viewing decks.

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Here’s a selfie with the other half of our group. I love that so many people from Wichita went on the cruise this year.

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It took a while but we were finally able to get into our room. This picture depicts the view from our room. We decided to go up a category and get a cabin overlooking the promenade instead of just getting a regular interior cabin. Ours is still considered an interior cabin but it seemed to offer a bit more space because of the window seat. It’s not that much more space, though.

We got to check out Natasha and Amanda’s (they were roomies this year) balcony cabin and it was definitely more spacious. Brian and I have decided that, next year, it’s going to be balcony or bust. Plus, if we all get side-by-side balcony rooms next year, we can remove the partitions and we can have one extended balcony which will be super fun. Party time!

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This is a picture of all our stickers. I wised up and signed Brian up for different sessions than me so I could use both of our stickers and get into double the classes.

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Each day I would take a picture of the “Cruise Compass” so I knew exactly what was happening without having to carry around the daily newsletter with me. The highlight of the evening was the “Sail Away” party at the main pool with FUSE ODG, Armando & Heidy, DJ Precise, and DJ Francis.

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I also took a picture of the Zumba schedules each day for the same reason. All of the classes on the first day were first come, first served.

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I ran into Amanda again on my way to my first session.

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I called Missy to see what class she was hitting first and we actually both picked Marcie’s class. Brynden, Natasha, and Amada decided to take the same first class also. Except, I was the nerdiest of the bunch and got their first but that meant I got us all in the front row.

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We had such a great time in Marcie’s class. I even met someone with an October birthday (it was kind of an ice breaker that Marcie had us do) and she happened to be wearing leggings that matched my shirt.

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Marcie’s class was fabulous but they were having problems with the sound system. The fuse kept blowing for some reason. We were interrupted several times. Also, when it was our turn to rotate to the back, it wasn’t as fun for me because I couldn’t see anything. We initially thought we would stay in Star Lounge for the next session which was Steve Boedt’s masterclass but then decided we didn’t want to put up with the sound issues and lack of visibility so we went to Studio B (the ice rink) to dance with Rony and Cat instead.

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By the time we got there, the floor was already full so we were relegated to the sides. Tammy and Rina got decent spots on the dance floor though.

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The nice thing about Studio B is that you’re not out in the sun and the stage is elevated so it’s easier to see what’s going on. It’s definitely one of my favorite class venues on the ship. You still want to get there early to get a good spot on the floor, though. Because even though I could see well from the sidelines, we were dancing on carpet and there wasn’t much room to dance. We had to really improvise.

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I’m not sure how we managed to do it but we were actually able to get almost everyone together for dinner that first night. We were only missing Tammy and Rina. Already, the trip was off to a great start!

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Here’s a picture of the fabulous “Sail Away Party” from our favorite viewing area. Brian and I were enjoying the concert by ourselves (and I think a couple of others) when Danielle, Ty, Brynden, and Laurie showed up. They had no idea we were up there but had the same idea as us about going to the tallest vantage point.

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Great minds think alike!

Brian and I were too tired to hit the late night disco (from 11 PM to 3 AM) at the Cosmopolitan. We hung out with the group and did a bit of exploring after the party but then we turned in. I had an early start the next morning.

BTW, I took a ton of food pictures so check back tomorrow for a post that talks about all the eating we did. I did a lot of Zumba but definitely did not miss any meals. Until next time!

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Easter Surprise

Posted on April 6, 2018 by under Zumba.    

The YMCA is always closed on Easter Sunday but Alex, Amanda, and I had the treat of seeing the Easter Bunny on Saturday in between our Zumba double.

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There is a new Zumba class in Andover on Saturday mornings at 8 am. The girls (Alex and Amanda) had been doing it since it first started. I’d been wanting to do it with them but first I was sick. Then, the following weekend, I had to cover Amy’s 7:30 am Zumba class at East Y. If it wasn’t one thing, it was something else. Anyway, I knew I had to make it happen last weekend because my Sunday class wasn’t an option (due to the Y being closed for Easter). If I was going to get my normal weekend workouts in, I’d have to do two classes on Saturday.

I’m glad I did because we had a blast. I had to take my medicine (the doc had prescribed steroids, which I had to take with food) so we went to Dunkin Donuts in between classes. Brian picked us up from the Y and brought us back. This photo was taken while we were waiting for my 10:30 am class to start.

BTW, I’m not sure if you noticed but the Easter Bunny shrank compared to last year. I’m making a mental note to get a photo with the Easter Bunny again next year to see if there’s a change. Until then, have a fabulous weekend!

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My Zumba-filled Weekend

Posted on March 29, 2018 by under Movies, Zumba.    

Missy took an impromptu trip to Branson with her family last weekend so I got roped into subbing a couple of extra classes. Here are some pictures.

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These were from Missy’s Friday night class at East YMCA.

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Brynden outfitted her friends to match both of us. We were all in our Kingston Yah Wo Mon shirts that night.

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These were the early birds at Amy’s 7:30 AM class also at East YMCA.

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Brian was nice enough to get up early and help me set up. The stage at East is heavy and takes at least two people to move.

After class, I met Brian up at the dealership where we got our cars washed which actually went way faster than usual so we had time to grab a quick bite at Dunkin’ Donuts before my 10:30 AM class. Brian bought a couple of donuts to surprise grandma and then proceeded to kick her butt at Uno after lunch.

The rest of the evening was spent bowling with some of my Zumba girls (Alex, Amanda, and Rose) and then Brian and I finished off the evening by watching Pitch Perfect 3 and Justice League. It was one of the busiest Saturdays (weekends) we’ve had in a good long time!

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Member Appreciation Zumbathon®

Posted on February 24, 2018 by under Community, Zumba.    

Just a few pics from the Member Appreciation Zumbathon we had last weekend at the Andover YMCA. We decided to have an 80’s theme so everyone got to wear fun 80’s outfits and we also did a bunch of 80’s favorites.

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Brian looked handsome dressed up in his Top Gun outfit. He helped us with the raffle and took pictures and videos.

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Some people went all-out. I loved seeing all the colorful outfits.

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There was a good mix of festive 80’s attire and regular workout clothes but, regardless of what people were wearing, everyone seemed to have a great time.

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Here’s a quick selfie I took of me, Brandon, and Kariana during the break.

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I didn’t get a lot of photos because Brian and I couldn’t stay for the entire event because we had to get ready for the Heart Ball. It’s the annual formal black-tie benefit for the American Heart Association that we’ve had the privilege of attending the last few years. More on that in the next post.

There were five instructors who hosted and led songs at the event: Charis, Mandy, Francie, Missy, and me. It was supposed to be all of the Andover YMCA Zumba instructors but Tiffany could not get the day off from her regular job and Angie fell ill that very day. We had to scramble and replace her. Thankfully, Missy planned to be at the event and knew some of Angie’s songs already so we just slid her right in. Charis, who was in charge of putting together the playlist, didn’t have to do much rearranging. She also helped me out by putting all of my songs at the beginning.

I did routines to covers of the following famous 80’s hits:
Fresh by Kool & the Gang (1984)
Take On Me by A-Ha (1985)
Karma Chameleon by Culture Club (1985)
Part-Time Lover by Stevie Wonder (1985)

Here’s a video of us dancing to Karma Chameleon.

I also did September by Earth Wind & Fire because I thought it was an 80’s song but it was actually released in 1971. Wow! Who would’ve have thought? Now I’m thinking, wouldn’t it be cool do a 70’s themed class? I bet I know a few 70’s hits and don’t even realize it!

Others did 80’s hits as well but we also did some regular Zumba songs and songs from other decades. The 90-minute playlist had great variety. Charis did an excellent job of putting it together.

Anyway, that’s pretty much all I got about the Zumbathon at Andover YMCA last weekend. The next post will have our pics from the Heart Ball.

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ZINCON Schedule Excel Worksheet

Posted on February 23, 2018 by under Projects, Zumba.    

The Zumba Instructor Convention web site launched last week and so I did what I normally do every year that I go to convention — I created a worksheet to help me build my ideal schedule. ZINCON registration doesn’t actually open until February 28 but the schedules are posted so we can all start building our perfect schedules. Then, when the appointed time comes, everyone descends upon the site to make sure they get their top choices.

The scene when registration opens is a lot like this one in Big Bang Theory.

So many people are hitting the site all at once, it’s actually been known to crash a time or two. I often am stuck in some sort of meeting when registration first opens so Brian usually has to register for me. Thus, the need for worksheet that tells him what classes to sign me up for. I usually give him several options in case a session is no longer available, which happens more often than not. Specially with some of the more famous presenters and new training programs.

In 2016, when STRONG by Zumba launched, the training session was full within minutes of registration opening, so I couldn’t get in it. Brian ended up signing me up for Sentao, which is the only other format that I wasn’t already licensed for at the time. I waited another full year to complete my SBZ training.

Since registration will be open in just a few days, I decided to build my worksheet before bed one night while watching the Olympics. The worksheets I’ve used in the past just allows sorting and filtering, to make it easy for me to compare sessions and review all of my options. I usually still have to build my schedule manually. This year, Brian challenged me to make the worksheet so that it would build my schedule automatically. I’ve never made that part automatic in the past because there’s multiple ways to build a schedule. You could opt to take training sessions on both Friday and Saturday, or you could just do training on Friday and regular workshops on Saturday, or the opposite — regular sessions on Friday and training on Saturday, or you could go with just all workshops and no instructor training. I usually have to decide this for myself so it’s really tricky to make a worksheet automatically build the schedule. I figured it out, though!

Worksheet 2

The solution isn’t the most elegant, but it works. Basically, I created tabs for the four scenarios: SESSIONS ONLY, FRIDAY TRAINING, SATURDAY TRAINING, and FRI-SAT TRAINING. The first tab has all of the options listed. You put an X in the SEL column to specify which sessions or training you want to take. The worksheet populates all of the other tabs. Obviously some sections will be blank in the other tabs, depending on your choices.

For example, if you opt to take a training session (which takes up pretty much the entire day) then you won’t have time to take any other sessions on that same day. If you go to the SESSIONS ONLY tab then it will have some empty slots. Depending on how you laid out your schedule or what choices you’ve made, you just have to click on the appropriate tab to view your personalized ZINCON schedule.

It’s not perfect, but it works. I probably could create an Access solution but most people don’t have access to Access (see what I did there – LOL) but almost everyone has access to Excel. The gears are working in my mind now, though. I could create a web site that does this more elegantly. An app would be better, but I don’t know how to make phone apps. Sigh.

Worksheet 1

Here’s a preview of the first page of the full schedule, should one decide to print it. I don’t know why you would, unless you just want to kill trees. There really is no need to print the whole thing. Oh, and you’ll notice there is an X next to the Kickoff session. I made it so you can’t remove that X. I’m a nerd and I think everyone should go to it. Obviously, people could still skip attending Kickoff if they want but it will print on their schedule regardless because that’s how I built the worksheet.

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I’ve enabled auto-filters so the person using the worksheet can slice and dice the schedule however they wish. This is an example of how you can filter by Time. Say, for example, if you don’t want to get up before a certain time so you only want to see morning sessions that start at 8:30 AM or later.

Worksheet 3

This next one is an example of filtering the schedule by Presenter. It makes it easier to see all the various sessions that someone is presenting. Makes stalking your Zumba idols a lot easier. LOL.

Jokes aside, it really is mostly for doing comparisons. Being able to look at all the times side-by-side makes it easier to plan around sessions that you absolutely, positively do not want to miss.

Worksheet 4

Here’s an example of filtering the schedule by Session Title. So if you just want to look at all the ZIN Jam Sessions, you can do that.

I don’t show an example of it but you can also put an X in the SEL column of the sessions that you want to compare side-by-side. Maybe they are totally different sessions at different times and by different presenters but you want to look at them side-by-side so you can decide. When you put an X on all these sessions and then filter the schedule by SEL then you can eliminate all of the other sessions and look at just the ones you want to compare. It helps to remove all the clutter.

When you are finished making your choices, remove all the Xs that you don’t need and leave only the ones that you want (making sure that there is only one session selected under each time slot). Then click on the appropriate tab based on the choices you made. The tabs represent the four possible schedule scenarios:

  • SESSION ONLY – this tab is if you didn’t select any instructor training at all
  • FRIDAY TRAINING – this tab is if you opted to take a training on Friday and picked regular sessions for all the other time slots
  • SATURDAY TRAINING – this tab is if you opted to take a training on Saturday and picked regular sessions for all the other time slots
  • FRI-SAT TRAINING – this tab is if you opted to take training sessions on both days

Worksheet 7

If you selected training sessions on Friday and Saturday, then click on the SESSION ONLY tab, you’ll see a bunch of blanks. Your correct schedule will be under the FRI-SAT TRAINING tab. It does take a bit to understand how to use the tool but, once you understand how it works, then it makes building your schedule super easy — since the tabs are automatically populated.

Here’s an example output of selecting all regular sessions.

Worksheet 6

Having your schedule automatically populate on the schedule tabs is actually a real time saver. So you can create multiple schedule scenarios. You can have a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, and so on. Trust me. Unless you are one of the lucky ones who can actually get on right when registration opens (they never tell us the time either so some people actually take the day off work so they can sit in front of their computer and wait and then pounce when the time comes), you don’t always get all of your first choices. Sometimes you can get lucky, though.

Brian is usually able to register for me in case I’m stuck in a meeting and can’t take the time to register myself. I just give him my login credentials. Thus, I’ve had to come up with this solution so he knows exactly what sessions to sign me up for. I give him multiple choices. Anyway, it’s really helped me out a lot so I usually share it with others. I’ve shared my worksheet the last couple of years.

I shared this 2018 version earlier this week on the official ZINCON group in Facebook. If you’re not in the group but would like the worksheet, please leave a comment below with your email and I will gladly email it to you.

I hope it helps. See you at ZINCON!

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