I got three strikes on the 10th frame on Sunday. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. With the exception of the open frames, which kept me from bowling a 200-game, I actually did pretty well. I still haven’t bowled a 500 series. That is my main goal at bowling this year.
Apothic Red went on sale for $7.99 a bottle at Groves so Brian got a case. No, we’re not a couple of winos. Only Brian is. LOL.
Our alcohol budget far exceeds our food budget and it’s all because he gets a case at a time. There may not be food in the house but there’s always wine.
I had the opportunity to attend the memorial mass for Tita Sol at Saint Francis. I wasn’t going to attend at first because I had a meeting. However, my meeting got pushed to Thursday afternoon so I was able to attend after all.
There was a luncheon after the mass and I ran into Gina Ann who reminded me about the Party in Pink Zumbathon at Genesis East Central next week. I hadn’t bought my ticket yet because I really wasn’t sure if I could make it. My schedule has been pretty crazy lately and I’ve been super duper busy.
After some thought, I realized that I could squeeze in the Zumbathon before bowling. She was like, you can get your ticket before you go back to work. The church is next to Genesis West Central so it was really convenient. The universe has a way of making sure I’m right where I’m supposed to be sometimes.
On Thursday night I went to Kira’s school and learned about AVID. It’s a great program so I’m going to devote a whole blog entry on that later.
On Friday we had an outing (team building activity) at Color Me Mine. Since we were on that side of town, we had lunch at Bella Luna. I’d never been to the West side location before. Now I’ve eaten at all of them.
We had dinner at Sumo last night in honor of April’s birthday. There are at least a couple of videos on Facebook of Jay eating a huge dollop of wasabi. Dude is insane.
Oh, and Brian took a day of vacation from work to wait for my iPhone delivery. Apparently, they’ve been getting stolen so we had to make sure someone was home. Yes. I know. I sold out. I didn’t want to spend $300 on a new phone before so I spent $800. But, hey. It’s my birthday present. It just happened to arrive early.
Apple quoted us mid-October for the anticipated delivery date, but it actually came two weeks early. I’m not complaining. I’m glad because I’ve had the case for a couple of weeks. It shipped right away and arrived within a couple of days. I got the (RED) leather case because the proceeds benefit the global fund to fight AIDS.
Alright. It’s time for us to go to the Joyful Noise Twilight Concert at Camp Wood.
Until next time,
When life hands you lemons, do you make lemonade? Or do you whine and skulk and moan and groan and complain? It’s not about what happens to you. It’s about what you do with what happens to you. No matter what life throws at us, we need to learn to always make the best of the situation.
I had the privilege of seeing Chris Waddell speak at a leadership conference last week. He is an amazing person and his story is truly inspirational.
To me Chris Waddell embodies this John Wooden saying, “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
Next time something bad happens or things don’t work out according to plan, resist the urge to whine and complain. Don’t be that annoying, always negative person on Facebook who is always grousing about something. Focus on all the good things and make the best of it. Once you start focusing on the positive, your life will change. I guarantee it.
And now we resume our regularly scheduled programming… The posting of pictures and other not so serious stuff.
Pictures from in between…
Zoobilee was fun. It gets more and more crowded every year but it’s always a great time to hang out with friends. The weather was perfect this year. Last year it was super hot. Anyway, here are some pictures from Zoobilees past. Enjoy!
I don’t typically post blogs that are introspective because, most of the time, it just gives other people something to criticize. But this is my web site and I’m posting this for me, so I really don’t care what ya’ll think. LOL.
I know I am selfish. I do things for my own pleasure and satisfaction. Luckily, I’m not a sick, sinister person so the things that bring me joy also bring joy to others. I have said this many times before. I cannot deny how blessed I am to have the time and resources to pursue the things I want to do.
Some people talk about living life not necessarily following their passion or doing something with purpose, but simply going through the motions and doing the things you’re supposed to do. I’m lucky that I stopped doing things I was supposed to do a decade ago and I think my selfishness has a lot to do with it.
I have always been pretty straight-laced and nerdy. I followed the rules. When I was younger I really did things because I was supposed to… For instance, I got married because I was supposed to. I didn’t want to get married. I was perfectly content with my relationship with Brian. I didn’t feel like we needed to get married. We loved each other and that was enough for me. However, we were living together and when you’re living together you’re supposed to be married.
I dropped out of college after my four year scholarship ran out. Brian sort of tricked me into going back to school, but when I went back and got my undergraduate degree I mostly did it because I was supposed to. Both of my parents are college-educated so it didn’t make sense for me not to finish college.
However, in going through the motions of life and doing the things I was supposed to do, I found myself. I found that I really enjoyed going to school. I found a passion for learning. So I decided to stay in school and continue on to get my MBA.
I realized the power of doing something that you want to do vs. doing something you’re supposed to do. When you do something that you’re supposed to do, the effort is halfhearted at best. When you’re doing something you want to do, you can be really great at it. I’m not saying that I’m great at school, but if I pursued my MBA because I felt like I was supposed to do it then it probably would have taken me ten years instead of two. I got my MBA because it was something that I really wanted to do. Mom and dad didn’t ask me to do it. Brian didn’t ask me to do it. I didn’t need it for work. It was something I wanted for my own on pleasure and satisfaction.
Brian and I are supposed to have children. After we got married the pressure to procreate started. Having kids is something you’re supposed to do when you’re married and financially stable. We’re both decent looking. We would have made beautiful children. Neither of us wanted children. We’ve talked about it numerous times in the fifteen years we’ve been together and I feel like we’re on the same page, but I can truly only speak for myself. I knew I was supposed to have children and be a mom like most women, but it’s not what I want for myself so I know that I’d be terrible at it.
We would never have gotten out of debt if we didn’t want to do it. If it was something that we’re just supposed to do but not something we wanted to accomplish I think it would never have gotten done. And, we paid off $40K in debt in record time. That’s the power of doing something you want to do.
There are a lot of things that I do that are really just for me. I knew I was supposed to focus on my health and not be too fat, but I really didn’t lose weight until I decided I wanted to do it. I hired a personal trainer a few years ago to help me. When you do something you want to do, you put resources into it. You put money, time, and lots of effort in things that you want to do. As a side note, I’m up in weight right now and I’m not currently working with a personal trainer, but I think I’m pursuing too many things and just need to re-prioritize.
I teach Zumba because I want to. I’m actually licensed to teach several Zumba formats. I have all of these licenses not because I’m supposed to have them, but because I wanted to get them. I do volunteer work not because I’m supposed to, but because it really makes me happy. Of course, I didn’t have the luxury of doing all of these things before because of a lack of time and resources. I’m really lucky that I’m finally at a stage in my life that I can really pursue the things I want to do.
I’m not perfect and I’ve made some mistakes. I’ve been confused about what I wanted at times. I’ve learned and grown a lot from these missteps, but I’ll probably make some more mistakes and stumble along the way.
Just as Brian and I reevaluate our budget every year, I think it’s time for me to pause for a moment and reflect on the last decade. What is it that I really want out of life? Am I using the resources I have (skills, talent, time) to get there? I need to do a personal audit and commit more of my energy to becoming the person I want to be instead of letting a little bit of myself escape through various outlets because of a lack of focus.
The bottom line is that I’m living the exact life I want to live right now but it’s time to think about tomorrow. I’m the person that I wanted to be ten years ago, but now I need to think about who I want to be ten years from now.
It’s time to start moving in that direction.
Hats off to Natalie, the Labor Run team, and all the volunteers for another successful run. We doubled participation this year. Woot!
Brian had fun bossing around the high school girls. LOL.
Congratulations to all the winners!
The pancake feed was a huge hit. I think people had a lot of fun catching pancakes.
And no, I didn’t eat all of these.
The event just keeps getting better. I can’t wait until next year. Great job, Natalie!
I graduated from Leadership Westar exactly five years ago today!
Brian fit right in. All he needed was a badge.
Brian with ZES Tony Witt, one of my Zumba idols.
My friend Sarah at the kick-off of her very first ZINCON.
There were a few awards given at the kick-off. Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar was our keynote speaker this year. He was great, but the highlight of the kick-off was definitely Claudia Leitte. What a treat!
My first session was with Lindsey Taylor, another one of my idols.
Then it was time for Reggaeton Rebellion with Loretta Bates and Marcie Benavides, two more of my Zumba idols.
Loretta Bates is amazing!
It wasn’t until halfway through the session that I realized Missy was in my same workshop! It was a great surprise!
We got great pics with Loretta, Marcie, and DJ Francis.
Lauren and Kelsi were on the same floor as me at the hotel.
Mastering the business of fun!
Zumba Step master class with Marcie.
Here are some pictures from Zumba Gold training.
I learned Zumba Gold from the best, Ann Saldi and Lars Wensink.
Brian did some shopping for me while I was learning stuff.
Brian also ran into Johanna and Yira from Santo Domingo.
We met these two amazing Zumba instructors while we were at Barceló a couple of months ago. They’re like the Latin American versions of Lauren and Kelsi. These partnerships make me wish I had a ZIN BFF of my own.
Here’s a picture of us waiting in line to enter the fitness-concert.
While we were in line for the fitness-concert, a group of Venezuelan Zumba instructors entertained us by singing and dancing. Brian got some videos.
We were in the line for the fitness-concert for an hour or so but the entertainment made the wait go by faster.
It seemed like there were a lot more people at this year’s fitness-concert. I thought the fitness-concert last year was cooler though. This year people weren’t following the rules. They brought bags and water bottles even though they weren’t supposed to and people wouldn’t spread out so we could barely move to dance.
Here’s a video of the mass exodus after the fitness-concert.
Pictures really don’t do it justice. You just have to experience a ZINCON fitness-concert for yourself to truly appreciate the craziness.
The next day I had Zumba Step training with the amazing Marcie Benavides and Eric Aglia. Several other ZESes helped also.
Here’s a picture of Marcie with all the ZESes who helped during training.
If you think Eric Aglia (guy in the red pants) looks familiar, it’s because he’s one of the instructors featured in the Zumba World Party video game.
I am in such awe of Marcie. I can’t believe this woman is 40. She doesn’t look like it at all. My goal is to hopefully be as healthy and fit as she is when I’m 40.
I snapped a few photos to memorialize my Zumba Step training. I feel so blessed to have learned Zumba Step from the best.
Here’s a picture of me with the trainers taken at the end of our training workshop.
I had to get another pictures with Eric when I ran into him in the elevator because this guy is amazing. I was front and center for training but apparently I wasn’t memorable because he didn’t remember me from class. LOL.
This is a photo of Francesca Maria performing at the theme party.
Dahrio Wonder and Gina Grant performed.
Armando Salcedo and Heidy Torres performed.
Other performances included Myrto, El Chevo, and Mara. Claudia Leitte performed during the kick-off event. Wisin performed during the fitness-concert. For the theme party there were several performances. There are rising Zumba performers everywhere so each time someone came out they would say which country was represented.
It’s so amazing how Zumba brings the world together. There were 97 countries represented this year. ZIN members from all over the world traveled to Orlando to participate in this year’s ZINCON. Amazing feels like an understatement. I always say that there are no words to describe ZINCON. It just has to be experienced first hand.
This year’s theme party was not as elaborate as last year but the performances were great. People had some crazy costumes last year. It also felt like several people opted to skip the theme party this year. Last year that whole area right outside the ballroom was packed. We were shoulder to shoulder, and there were even more people inside the ballroom. I’m thinking that the $9 Bud Light bottles might have something to do with it. Yes, the drinks were crazy expensive. I think they were even more expensive this year than last year.
Brian and I were smart this year, though. The Walgreens next to the Rosen Centre sells beer and wine so we stocked our fridge and pantry. Since we were drinking every night we were there, we didn’t feel compelled to spend hundreds of dollars on drinks at the party. Plus, I didn’t really care to drink the Bud Lights because I had Angry Orchards back at our hotel room.
We didn’t stay at the theme party too late. We just stayed for all of the performers we’d never seen perform live before. After all of that, the official ZINCON house band took over and we’d watched them perform last year. They just do mostly covers anyway. They sang this year’s hits but it’s still the same guys. We didn’t really feel like we were missing much by taking off before midnight.
Besides, I had a big day the next day. I had a session with Filipino ZES Prince Paltu-Ob. He came highly recommended by my friend and fellow ZIN Gerard Patalano who I met at last year’s ZINCON. I’d heard great things about Prince from others also so I was super excited. I was actually the first one in class. I got there even before he did. We snapped this photo before our session started.
I met other Filipino ZINs in our workshop. We snapped this photo after class.
The session with Prince was my last one before the closing session. This was a big deal because this was the first time ever that they’d had a closing session on the schedule. Usually everything just kind of ends after your last session.
Anyway, we finally got to see the third Alberto, Alberto Aghion. Everybody knows Alberto Perez aka Beto because he is the face of Zumba. If you’ve ever been to ZINCON, then you’ve also seen Zumba CEO Alberto Perlman. He always speaks at the kick-off event. There’s rarely ever an Alberto Aghion sighting. I guess you could say he is the “silent” partner. LOL. I always thought the guy was imaginary until now.
This is the holy trinity of Zumba, the three Albertos, all in one place right here. It’s amazing the universe didn’t implode. You never see these three guys together. Or as Beto would say, chugether.
Here’s something else you don’t see very often: Beto, Gina Grant, Kass Martin, Loretta Bates, Marcie Benavides, and Ann Saldi all dancing on the same stage.
What a treat!
Here’s a short clip. Pardon the audio quality.
After the closing session we headed to the pool to hang out. Holy cow! It was so packed. I think word got out that this was the place to be at the end of ZINCON. It was the complete reverse of the theme party. There were actually a ton more people hanging out at the pool this year than last year. There were no lounge chairs available. At all.
We were lucky that Pat and Missy decided to skip the closing session. They were already hanging out at the pool. They were leaving for the airport at three o’clock so we just ended up taking over their two lounge chairs. If it wasn’t for that, we would never have gotten lounge chairs. People actually ended up putting towels on the pavement and just setting their stuff down because there were no lounge chairs available. It wasn’t like this last year.
I don’t really like the way I look these days because I’m way up in weight compared to a couple of years ago but I have to post this picture. I can’t believe I finally met Azuka Boutcher in real life. She’s another one of those mythical creatures.
She was one of the original faces of Zumba along with Gina Grant and Tanya Beardsley. It was the Gina, Tanya, and Azuka before it was just Gina and Tanya. And now there is only one. Just Gina.
I had met Gina and Tanya for the first time during the Gina and Tanya Rock the Stage Tour a couple of years ago. Azuka was already doing her own thing, Kazaxe, a this point. Azuka is not really one you will see unless you go to take one of her classes in Virginia. I mean, I don’t really see her traveling to Kansas so it was awesome to see her at ZINCON. I felt like such a stalker walking over to ask for a photo with her but it was totally worth it in the end. I would have regretted not getting this photo.
We had dinner at B-Line on our last night at the hotel. We didn’t really feel like venturing out because we still had to pack and at this point, I wasn’t even sure that we’d have enough room in our luggage for all the stuff that Brian bought for us. On our way back to our room, we ran into Ricardo Marmitte and his friends. All I have to say is, he is the coolest guy ever.
Ricardo and his friends were so friendly and welcoming. If we didn’t have to pack and didn’t have an early flight the next day, I would have totally just tagged along with this group. I still kind of regret not taking advantage of the opportunity to visit and learn about everyone. I mean, how often do you get a chance to hang out with Zumba celebrities. Maybe next year.
And then, just like that, it was over. I have more pictures from ZINCON 2014 on my Flickr so be sure and check those out. I met some new people this year. Saw friends I had met previously like Charisse and Gerard. I also captured some videos. I could only send a few of them to Flickr. The rest won’t upload for some reason. I’ll probably post some of my favorites videos here — of those that I could upload anyway. Stay tuned.
I really had high expectations this year after an amazing Zumba Instructor Conference in 2013. I didn’t think this year’s ZINCON was as cool as last year’s — I mean, last year was amazing, so it would be pretty hard to live up to it — but I still had a ton of fun. There were aspects of ZINCON that were better last year than this year and vice versa.
Check in was really smooth this year. I think it’s because they had the desks open for longer hours. Our bags this year were a different style than last year, which is good because I already have two of those one-shoulder backpack bags (one from the 2013 Conference and one from the 2014 Convention). We got a commemorative convention shirt, but the quality of the shirts isn’t as good as last year. Also notably missing were our ZINCON 2014 bracelets. I didn’t really miss those as much as other attendees. I thought the free luggage tag more than made up for the bracelets. I love, love, love my Zumba logo luggage tag. I actually used it on my carry on luggage on the way home.
I thought the signage was somewhat scaled down this year. The graffiti walls were a really nice touch, though. There were several throughout the convention center and Hyatt Regency. I wrote several notes. Brian wrote on them too.
The graffiti walls were great! Totally made up for not having as many of the massive signs all over the convention area.
Here’s a picture of me in front of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. It is hands down the largest convention center I’ve ever been in.
The hotels around the convention center got in on the festivities by having drink specials. Found this board at the Hilton.
We didn’t really spend a lot of money on meals (other than our $150 anniversary dinner at The Oceanaire) because we picked up groceries. This is what the pantry and fridge of a ZINCON pro looks like. LOL.
We were so much more prepared this year compared to last year. It helps to know what to expect. We got wine, beer, and snacks. We didn’t go hungry at all.
I also loved all of the flash mobs this year. They were popping up everywhere. Last year the focus was the Zumba World Party video game demo. This year they added the ZIN DJ stage which was really a great area for showcasing some talented instructors. The districts really got into it. I loved watching all of their performances.
One of the reasons ZINCON 2013 is hard to top is because it was so well-conceived. This year the theme was somewhat all over the place. It wasn’t as cohesive as last year. However, there are so many great things they added this year that we didn’t have last year. For instance, we actually got to see the third Alberto. I thought he was a myth for the longest time. He’s a real person after all.
I guess part of the reason that I still think that ZINCON 2013 was the best is because it was my first. Your first is always the most memorable, I guess. However, there were so many awesome things about ZINCON 2014 so I think it’s equally amazing in its own right. If you’ve never been to a Zumba instructor convention, you have to check it out. There really are no words to describe this event. It has to be experienced in person. Oowa! Oowa!
We ate out a lot in the days leading up to our anniversary. We hit our favorite places in Wichita where we hadn’t been in a long time so we ate at the Anchor and also at Redrock but we didn’t really “celebrate” our anniversary until Orlando because I wanted Brian to try the Oceanaire Seafood Room.
I ate at Oceanaire for the first time when I was in San Diego on a work trip and loved it. I remembered that they had a location down the street from the convention center in Orlando so I asked Brian if we could wait to celebrate our anniversary when we arrived in Orlando that way we could have our anniversary dinner at Oceanaire. The place is so expensive, special to a frugal person like me. It’s not really a place that you could just go to eat just for kicks.
I really like the “Happy Anniversary” message on the menu. It’s a nice touch. Although, I liked the menu from San Diego better because it actually had my name printed on it.
I’m glad I warned Brian about the prices on the menu ahead of time. He would have had a fit. He is just as cheap as I am. LOL.
This is my super delicious sangria.
I also like the fresh veggies.
The chef also gives a small treat to first timers. Brian didn’t even want to try it. He saw the raw fish and that was enough for him. It actually wasn’t bad.
The “congratulations” card they gave us signed by the staff was also a nice touch.
It makes me want to celebrate every birthday and anniversary there. I’m cheap, but once or twice a year won’t be too bad. It’s a shame there’s not one in town.
They have the most delicious crab cakes ever. This one was just as good, if not better, than the ones I had in San Diego. I like that there’s hardly any filler and the crab meat has just the right hint of sweetness.
This ugly entree was the most expensive thing we ordered. $42 for this dish. It was just okay. I’d had better salmon before, for half the price. Actually I was thinking the dish would be around $32 but since I substituted the crab Oscar instead of the shrimp Oscar there was an up charge.
All I’m saying is that the crab cakes are worth every penny. I expected more out of this dish. Maybe I don’t know what good salmon tastes like? LOL. Maybe it’s because of the messy presentation? I don’t know. All I know is that I didn’t enjoy this dish as much as I thought I would have.
I didn’t complain or ask to exchange it though. I just ate until I was full, which is what I should do anyway rather than cleaning my plate every time.
This is the hash browns Oceanaire-style. We ordered it because our server said it was their most popular side dish. This was just okay also. Other than how huge the serving is, there wasn’t really anything spectacular about it.
Brian’s pork chop was just okay too. It was cooked well, but I thought it needed more flavor. That’s probably just me, though.
The baked Alaska was good but it was rock hard. It had just come out of the deep freeze so it was solid. She could barely cut it in half even after heating the knife. It was that hard. Here’s a photo of it from the side.
Here’s a video of the baked Alaska. The flames don’t always show up in photos so our server recommended taking a video instead.
Even though the Orlando location didn’t live up to the high expectations set by the San Diego location, our anniversary dinner was wonderful overall. Our server was delightful. Although, I think they are purposely nice to you though so you don’t feel so bad about the bill when it comes. LOL. I joked to Brian that we blew our entire food budget on one night. We were celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary though, so we had to pick a special place — one that’s worthy of the milestone.
Looking back though, I think we should have celebrated our anniversary at Twelve. I hear the food there is great and it would have been perfect because then it would have been our 12th at Twelve. Maybe I can talk Brian into a do over on Friday night. It’s just so far. I wish it wasn’t so far out on the West side of town. =P
I have some really exciting news to share with everyone. I get to cross another item off my bucket list. I received my acceptance letter for Leadership Wichita 2014 a few days ago. I didn’t want to say anything before because I didn’t want to be embarrassed in case I wasn’t chosen. LOL. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do, though.
Getting the “big” envelope was pretty exciting. It felt like I was applying for college. Actually, I take that back. It wasn’t like I applied at Harvard. Pretty much anyone can attend Wichita State.
It was a lot like applying for grad school though, where I actually had to take an exam, submit an essay, and provide two letters of recommendation. But then I scored high enough on my GMAT that I wasn’t really concerned.
With Leadership Wichita I didn’t even know where to begin. The program isn’t something that I could simply apply for. I had to be nominated. And, I wasn’t even sure how that would be possible because the nomination form is very specific about who to nominate. You couldn’t nominate just anyone.
Leadership Wichita is something that I’d always wanted to do but I couldn’t even tell anyone because I was afraid they’d just laugh at me. So when Ginger and Don both approached me this year about representing our company in this year’s class, I was super excited. It felt like Christmas!
It’s a huge commitment so they wanted me to think seriously about it. I didn’t have to think about it, though. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do so I knew that I would clear my schedule for the rest of the year if I had to. I had secured my nomination. There was no way I was passing on this opportunity.
I needed three strong letters of recommendation so I told Jim Ludwig right away. As my mentor, I figured that he would be supportive and write a letter of recommendation on my behalf. I had one letter of recommendation down and needed two more. I couldn’t ask a friend or relative because I wanted to submit a strong application. I didn’t want to be accepted simply because I’m representing my work. I wanted to be accepted on my own merit. I wanted to be a strong candidate worthy of Don Sherman’s nomination.
Dr. Gerald Graham was one of my professors in grad school and a well respected leader in the community. I knew that a letter of recommendation from him would carry a lot of weight. However, I wasn’t sure if he’d remember me. His class, Organizational Behavior (MGMT 862) was one of the first classes I’d taken in grad school so it had been almost ten years. Lucky for me, I’d received additional training from Dr. Graham through work over the years so we would see each other occasionally. Despite that, I still worried that he would say no and I didn’t have a contingency plan in place. What a relief when he said yes! I was so thrilled when his letter of recommendation arrived in the mail.
I knew that with Don, Jim, and Dr. Graham in my corner I had a pretty good shot at being accepted but I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. I had my work experience and educational background covered, so I needed a letter of recommendation that shows my commitment to the community. I wanted to be a solid, well rounded candidate so I asked Natalie if the Treehouse could write a letter on my behalf since I helped with Labor Run 2013. I figured that this would show my community involvement.
I felt like I submitted a strong application. Don tells me that my package is great and he knows his stuff so that made me feel pretty darn good. I’m very grateful to everyone who helped me get in because I don’t think I could have done it on my own (though I probably would have kept trying).
This year’s program/schedule looks really interesting. I’m looking forward to getting started and representing my company well. I promise to make the most of this opportunity and make you all proud!