This is an interesting idea. Want to give it a try? Here’s a link to the Salvation Army’s Virtual Angel Tree. You can also participate in the program by visiting the public Angel Trees at the mall — Towne East and Towne West. Make someone’s day and make yourself happy in the process too.
I know because I got an iron for Cecilia and a can opener for LaShellia. And, every time I post something on Freecycle or give something away some other way, I feel good. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one this works on. I’d say it’s worth a shot. Do something special for someone and see how you feel afterward. I challenge you.
I hadn’t been to Girls’ Night Out since my first Holiday Galleria experience in 2011. We weren’t volunteers this time so I actually got to experience it for real — complete with waiting in the long line to get in and being one of the first 250 people there so that we can get goodie bags.
Brian went with me and was #13. I had to pay for an extra ticket so he could go, but that meant I got an extra goodie bag also. LOL.
The firefighters are always one of the highlights of GNO. Carly’s friend Judd wasn’t there this year. There were lots of familiar faces though — Kim, Ariana, and Todd, just to name a few.
Speaking of familiar faces, I also ran into some fellow Zumba instructors.
Regina (left), who I met in person for the first time, and Gina (right). Gina is one of the instructors who pioneered Zumba in Wichita. She was teaching Zumba well before it became available in our local gyms.
April and I had already had a few margaritas at this point.
The food (except for chips and salsa) ran out pretty early in the evening but the margaritas continued to flow freely. I probably would have stayed with the other girls but Brian was getting antsy. I will definitely go again next year but I may leave Brian at home the next time around. LOL. Until next year!
P.S. If you are interested in shopping, Holiday Galleria is a four-day shopping event that will continue through Sunday. Go check it out!
The hubs and I decided to have date night during the middle of the week because we both needed a break from our usual evening routine.
We went to the theater from work so we were a little early for our show. Lucky for me, Old Town Warren has Angry Orchard on tap.
Being able to have some drinks while waiting for showtime was as definite plus.
Here’s a picture of the drink menu with the list of specials in case you are curious or want to plan your next trip around booze. LOL.
We went on a Wednesday because we were planning on having a “cheap movie night” but ended up buying tickets for the director’s suite, which is not cheap.
It had been a while since we’d both been to the director’s suite so Brian wanted to check it out. As you know, what baby wants, baby gets. LOL.
Here’s a picture of baby in the empty theater. Getting away from the crowds was one of Brian’s reasons for choosing the director’s suite actually. We figured that, with it being $5 movie night, all of the other auditoriums would be packed.
One of the things I like most about Old Town Warren (besides the fact that they have Angry Orchard) is that you can get food service in the theater auditoriums.
One of the things I don’t like is the quality of the food. I made the mistake of ordering chicken tenders. They were terrible. They were chewy in parts and the texture didn’t feel like real chicken. It reminded me of the same pseudo-chicken substance used to make microwaveable chicken nuggets. Blech.
Brian had the chicken quesadillas with the cilantro lime chicken. They were actually pretty good, and contained real chicken. LOL.
Next time we find ourselves at Old Town Warren that’s what I’ll be ordering. That or just have dinner elsewhere and skip dinner at the theater altogether.
Unlike the food, the movie did not disappoint. Rush was actually better than I expected. I’m glad that Brian convinced me to go see it.
I am super excited to see MOMIX: Botanica tonight at the Wichita Orpheum. Huge thanks to my friend Christina for taking me. Brian would never have sat through the performance. It would have been a waste of a ticket. LOL.
Those who complain that there’s never anything to do in Wichita aren’t looking hard enough. Brian and I had a fantastic time at the Wichita Flight Festival today.
The Wichita Flight Festival is open to the public and doesn’t cost a thing. Unless you are hungry like we were. In that case be sure to bring cash for concessions. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the afternoon. I’m filing this under “cheap date ideas” and coming back next year. LOL.
I wish it wasn’t so rainy while I was in Minneapolis. I would have had a lot more fun walking through the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It was fun anyway but there were a few things that we couldn’t get to…
Here’s a picture of the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture. The tent kind of ruins my shot but there was no way around it. They were preparing for the big Walker Art Center fundraising event on Saturday night. Maybe I can get a better shot next visit.
Walking around the sculpture garden with Emmie reminded me of the time when Brian and I went on a sculpture scavenger hunt on the Wichita State University campus. It was super fun.
Emmie doesn’t like having her photo taken but I stole this shot of her anyway.
I wish Brian could have gone on the trip with me. Everything is so much more fun when we do it together. Hopefully, we will get to visit Minneapolis next summer for his birthday. In the meantime, here’s a video for you to watch so you can learn more about this highly popular Minneapolis attraction.
Brian and I were deeply involved with the Labor Run, a fun run (or walking) event benefitting the Wichita Treehouse organization. The Treehouse is an organization that helps economically challenged moms get back on their feet by providing valuable education/training and also low-cost baby items.
Brian and I typically do volunteer work that is low commitment. We sign up to volunteer, we show up and work a few hours (taking it very seriously, of course – Brian and I are nerds like that), and then go home. Actually, Brian hates volunteering (not only is he uncharitable with his money, he is equally uncharitable with his time) so I usually have to drag him into it. He doesn’t do volunteer work very often but, when he does volunteer, he doesn’t do it half-assed. That is for sure.
We got involved with the Labor Run from the very beginning because my friend (coworker) Natalie is on the board. She mentioned it to me at the beginning of the year. I told her that I would totally support her and to just let me know what I could do to help. Naturally, I dragged Brian with me. He needs to do some volunteer work and he would never get it done unless you make him. These ideas just don’t pop into his brain. Seriously, this man would rather sleep or watch movies or play video games in his spare time. Unfortunately, he is married to me so that rarely happens. I’m always running around doing something. I never have any spare time left and, since we pretty much do everything together, neither does he. But I digress… Back to my Labor Run story… When Brian and I attended the very first planning meeting, Natalie’s boyfriend Marvin was there. As luck would have it, Brian and Marvin knew each other over ten years ago during Brian’s stint at T-Mobile (then Voicestream Wireless). Brian joined Voicestream in 1999 and left what was T-Mobile at that point in 2004. I think Marvin started working there shortly after Brian and has been there ever since. He is now a successful supervisor there. Small world, right? Well, Wichita is pretty small. Anyway, that helped a lot to get Brian engaged in the Labor Run project because then he wasn’t the only significant other helping out and attending all the meetings.
Here’s a picture from our last meeting before the event. We were sorting and folding t-shirts; stuffing bags with goodies, flyers and coupons; and doing final preparations.
Misty helped too.
I think this is where we had to go through the envelopes to look for shirts. Misty arrived late and didn’t realize that there were two different types of shirts — regular adult shirts and youth shirts. I think she was grabbing regular small shirts instead of youth sized small shirts so we ran out of small shirts and ended up with extra youth shirts. Oops! We got it all figured out though.
Fast forward to Labor Day, the day of the event…
The Wheels ladies led by Pat Thompson and Crystal Wiley warmed us all up.
Everyone was dancing — runners, walkers, spectators, and volunteers.
Even Natalie’s mom got into it. Check her out in the above photos.
I thought it was a pretty successful event, considering it was our first and we didn’t really know what to expect. These three people (Natalie, Brian, and Rachel) were key to making everything happen. I’m most proud of Brian because volunteer work is normally not his thing and he gave the Labor Run his all. Way to go, baby!
Natalie did a fantastic job of organizing everything and coordinating all of the effort. I can’t imagine how she must have felt because there were times where even I felt overwhelmed and I only had a small part.
This is a picture of another friend (coworker) Tracy. She’s going through the elaborate (but fun) obstacle challenge that Marvin put together.
Tracy and her daughter Kayla had a mother-daughter bonding day… No hugs after getting drenched in fake (but gross nonetheless) baby poop.
Kayla was a good sport. Tracy said she to wanted walk part of the way through the run but Tracy made her keep going. Kids have way more energy than they realize because she was fine. She even had enough in her to do the obstacle challenge; though she popped her water balloon baby and didn’t have the opportunity to complete the course. Tracy completed the obstacle challenge course without killing her water baby. As can be expected. She is a mom and has tons of experience. LOL.
After seeing how the obstacle challenge works, some people opted to wear trash bags. Smart move. I had a lot of fun watching everyone go through.
We were at Sedgwick County Park from about 6 to 11 o’clock that morning, but it went by pretty quickly. I actually felt rushed in the morning because everyone was starting to show up and we weren’t quite ready. It was a successful event, but it wasn’t perfect. We learned a lot. Next year it will get even better. Mark your calendars!
Zumba Instructor Convention — CHECK!
As many of you know, I teach Zumba fitness classes in what little spare time I have. It’s actually really funny how that came about. I got licensed to teach Zumba (and joined the Zumba Instructor Network) for one reason only. I had heard about the Zumba Instructor Convention in Orlando, Florida from several Zumba instructors and wanted to experience it first hand. Only instructors are eligible to attend so, naturally, I got licensed. LOL.
When I went through Basic 1 training last year I honestly had no intention of teaching. I’m teaching now (because I have to cover my monthly ZIN fee somehow) and I actually enjoy it. I actually prefer teaching a class than taking a class these days. I realized that, when I take other people’s Zumba classes, there are inevitably a couple of songs that I really don’t like and can’t get into. When I’m the instructor, I’m in control of the music, so I only do the songs that I like to do (keeping the Zumba formula in mind, of course).
I officially became a ZIN member in April 2012. However, at that point, convention registration had already been open for a couple of months and all of the workshops and training sessions were full. It didn’t make sense for me to go. So I vowed that I would attend the convention in 2013. Let’s cross that off the bucket list, shall we?
There are no words to describe the amazing experience that is the Zumba Instructor Convention. There’s so much to do and so little time to do it. There are hundreds of training sessions, workshops, and master classes to choose from. I can see why instructors go year after year. Anyone who is someone in the Zumba world is at the convention so it’s a great opportunity to catch all of your Zumba idols in one place. Besides that, I also got to meet some really cool people from all around the world. There were even some instructors who traveled all the way from the Philippines to attend. That’s how huge this event is. Here are some of my favorite pictures.
Keoni Manuel (above left) is a ZIN member who owns his own dance fitness studio in Hawaii. He presented Hawaiian Dreams with Zumba Education Specialist (ZES) Madalene Aponte (below).
Jessica and Tony Witt (above right) are a both Zumba Education Specialists and Zumba International Presenters who are based in the Overland Park/Kansas City area. Tony and Jessica are two of the 13 original Zumba Education Specialists who were hand-picked by Beto Perez, the man who originated Zumba. Jessica is co-creator of the Zumba Kids + Kids Jr. (formerly Zumbatomic). They own Amore Dance in Overland Park.
Madalene Aponte (above left) is the ZES for Washington, Hawaii, and Alaska. She owns Madalene’z Dancefit Studio in Pearl City, Hawaii. She taught my Zumba Toning training at the convention. She is amazing. Seriously. I only took Zumba Toning because the Aqua Zumba training sessions were already full, but I’m actually excited about Zumba Toning now.
The nerdy looking guy on the right is Zumba Fitness CEO Alberto Perlman. While Beto is the face of Zumba, Mr. Perlman is the brains. Being nerdy myself, I had to get a photo with the CEO. LOL.
This photo of me with Zumba celebrity Gina Grant and Jessica Witt, co-creators of Zumba Kids + Kids Jr. (formerly Zumbatomic), taken right before our training.
Lindsey Taylor (another Zumba superstar), Gina, and Jessica presented my Zumba Kids + Kids Jr. training. What a treat! We had three all stars all in one place. We also had several other Zumba Education Specialists assist because we easily had four hundred participants in the class.
Lindsey looks freakin’ amazing for someone who just had a baby. That’s really what makes her a perfect fit for the Zumbini and Zumba Kids programs. On the right is a picture of me with ZES all star Tony, Jessica’s other half. They are truly a Zumba power couple.
On the left is a photo of me with Zumba International Presenter Heidy Torres. Huge thanks to Brian for spotting her for me so I could get a photo.
On the right is Zumba legend Jani Roberts. She is the brains behind Zumba Toning and presented the Zumba Warrior learning capsule at the 2013 Zumba Instructor Convention. I didn’t take the Zumba Warrior session but heard lots of great things about the workshop. Many of us are hoping that Zumba Warrior becomes a full-fledged Zumba program like Aqua Zumba, Zumba Sentao, Zumba Toning, Zumba Gold, etc.
You all know these pretty ladies already. They’re the Kansas crew. Starting left from the top: Pat, Andra, Christina, Jeri, and me. We were well-represented at convention.
Speaking of well-represented, so was the Philippines.
Here are pictures of some of the cool instructors I met at convention…
Trish (left) is a Vietnamese Zumba instructor based in Auburn, Washington. She not only looks Filipino, but she’s had the opportunity to teach Zumba in the Philippines. Michael (right) fulfilled his dream of performing a Zumba routine alongside Beto. He will be featured in Zumba’s first anti-bullying video which was filmed right there during the kick off session at convention.
Natalia (left) and Iris (right) are both Florida locals who came to convention together.
Carolyn (left) is a Filipino teacher in Maryland. Hali (right) owns Come On Get Happy cardio dance and fitness studio in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
I met so many cool people. I can’t post all of their photos here.
Out of all of the photos, this is my favorite by far. Brian got a photo with Gina even before I did. Of course, he wasn’t cooped up in training all day the entire time. I think next year I may give him a list of Zumba celebrities and send him on a little photo scavenger hunt. LOL.
I had no idea that we lived by an amazing bike trail until recently. We’ve lived here almost a year now and didn’t know about Miller’s Meadow until Isaac mentioned it to me the other day. He and his wife biked the trail last weekend.
Granted, Brian and I are not as adventurous as these two, but we can’t let an amazing bike trail that’s practically in our backyard go to waste.
The discovery of this bike trail has inspired us to dust off our old bikes. And by old, I really mean old. I think our bikes are almost 20 years old. I had mine in high school and Brian’s is my dad’s old bike that was purchased around the same time. LOL. We probably need new bikes, but we need to do some biking first and see if we really like it before we invest.
The plan is to buy helmets first. Then do some pavement biking before we tackle an actual mountain bike trail. Miller’s Meadow didn’t look like it was ideal for a couple of people who hadn’t biked in several years. The last thing I need is for either of us to get injured. We don’t want that.
Oh, yeah. I skipped a step. Get life insurance for Brian. Then buy helmets. Then do some biking. We’ll keep you posted on how this goes. Check back!
We picked up several bottles of wine from Grove’s the other day. Hopefully Brian will be in a sharing mood this weekend.
We drank one of them at the outdoor jazz concert the other night. This was our first bottle of Apothic Rose. We decided to give it a try because Brian loves Apothic Red. I actually think he likes it more than House Wine.
Anyway, we found Apothic White at my coworker’s liquor store in Derby a couple of months ago and liked it so when we saw this limited release Apothic Rose at Grove’s the other day, we naturally had to try it.
We had a nice little picnic across the lake from the stage.
Guess who won?
Brian doesn’t like the sun. Can you tell?
Speaking of Apothic White, they’re on sale right now at Extremo Vino. We may need to stop by there tomorrow after racquetball.