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Sunflower Hunting on Labor Day Weekend

Posted on September 12, 2017 by under Things to Do, Travel.    

I managed to talk Brian into taking me to visit a couple of sunflower fields over Labor Day weekend. The first one was close to Wheat State Wine Company in Winfield, which we were planning to visit for the Moreland & Arbuckle concert on Saturday night. Our friend Joe recommended it so I talked Brian into making a detour on the way to the show.

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Here are some of my favorite pictures from that adventure.

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Lots of people turned out for the Moreland & Arbuckle concert, the finale of the winery’s Uncork the Music Concert Series.

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This was the best attendance we had ever seen at this event since we started going.

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It was the perfect weather for an outdoor concert.

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The other sunflower farm we visited was Grinter Farms in Lawrence. This is probably the most popular sunflower patch in the area. The field is vast and goes on forever. Here are some of our favorite pics from there.

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I’d never been up close and personal with a field of sunflowers before now. It’s pretty amazing. I highly recommend doing it next summer.

The sunflowers usually peak in late August. I would go before the Labor Day weekend because then the sunflower patches will probably be less crowded. I also recommend going either early in the morning around sunrise or late in the afternoon, right before sunset, for the best light for photos.

You can visit Mickey Shannon’s travel blog for a list of some of the best sunflower fields in the area. Have fun and happy sunflower hunting!

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It’s Been a Nerdy Couple of Weeks

Posted on September 1, 2017 by under Life.    

Did you watch the solar eclipse last week? We did too.

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This is Brian lying on the hood of his car during his lunch hour. He was an uber nerd and watched the eclipse happen almost in its entirety.

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As for me, I walked over to the parking garage across the street with some coworkers a few minutes before totality. We didn’t stay out there very long either. I was content to glance up at the sun a couple of times shortly before, during, and after totality and then I was ready to go back to work. I’d seen solar eclipses before so it wasn’t that exciting to me as it was to Brian and others. I actually planned to just work through the eclipse but Brian insisted that I watch it because it doesn’t happen that often. I told him that it happened in the Philippines all the time so I’d seen eclipses before. Anyway, I went ahead and watched it to humor him.

In case you missed it, here’s where you can watch the whole thing in about four minutes.

If you want to see a solar eclipse in person, here’s a list of where you can see every total solar eclipse over the next 50 years. There’s one that happens in 2014 that will be visible in parts of the US. Better start planning!

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In other news, we made our first art investment. Brian and I had been looking for something to hang on the wall of our stairwell for several years. We could never find anything we liked that was tall enough for the narrow wall. We’ve always been partial to Wichita flag art so we though our friend Joe’s print would be perfect.

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We decided to splurge and got the 50 X 33 size. Here’s a picture of the print next to Brian to put the size in perspective.

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It was kind of expensive but we skipped our annual anniversary couples massage so we just chalked this up to our 15th wedding anniversary present to each other. Every time we glance at the stairwell, we can’t help but smile.

We absolutely love our print! Thanks, Joe!

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Even though we already purchased and hung our print ahead of Joe’s Final Friday art exhibit and we didn’t have any money to buy anything else, we still decided to come out to his exhibit at L’image to show our support. Above is a picture of the artist, Joe Montiel, with a smaller version of the print.

On Saturday, Brian took grandma out to get groceries while I taught my Zumba classes and then I met them after for lunch at this Chinese restaurant in Andover that we recently discovered, Golden Garden. It’s right around the corner from grandma’s place so we decided to go over to her place and to play Uno, which is a change of scenery because we usually play cards at our house.

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In one corner of the room where we played cards, we noticed this computer-looking device. It’s actually a magnifier. Once we figured out what it was, Brian showed grandma how to use it. You should have heard the excitement in her voice upon realizing that she’s able to read regular books again.

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On Wednesday night, Brian and I donned our matching “Wicked Brew” shirts and headed to the Science Friday Trivia Night presented by KMUW at Aero Plains Brewing. It was the largest congregation of nerds I have ever come across in years. Over 30 teams competed in the trivia.

We were tied for 4th place along with a few other teams for most of the evening. When they showed the results on the TV screen at the end of the evening, there were at least 15 other teams that came in behind us so, even though we missed some questions we should have gotten and were felt the quiz master scored against us in some cases, we were pretty pleased with our performance.

Science Friday Live comes to Wichita next weekend, September 9.

For our final act of nerdiness, Brian, Misty, and I did “The Code” room at Escapology last night and got out with almost 20 minutes to spare. I think our official time was 42 minutes and 27 seconds.

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I’m not sure if you recall but the first time that Brian and I did a room (we did “Antidote” which was supposed to be the easiest room they had) at Escapology, we didn’t get out. “The Code” is supposedly two steps above “Antidote” in difficulty but it was actually much easier to complete.

We picked “Antidote” the first time because we were going off the difficulty rating. My advice? Don’t worry about the difficulty ratings because it’s all relative. Pick the theme that you can relate to and feel you have the most knowledge about because your odds of success will be greater. I think because Brian and I are both “computer nerds” the puzzles in the “The Code” made so much more sense to us. Had we gone for it on our first visit, we probably would have gotten out without any problems.

Lesson learned.

As an added bonus, besides getting our victory photo taken and posted on Escapology – Wichita’s Facebook page, we also got these nifty rubber wristbands that only winners get. Suffice it say, we were pretty pleased with ourselves. Me more than the others. LOL. I was really bummed that time that Brian and I failed to get out of the “Antidote” room. This makes up for it!

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Anyway, that pretty much wraps up all of our “nerdy” activities of late. Looking to get even nerdier this weekend. Have a fabulous Labor Day holiday, everyone!

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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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Have You Tried BOGAFIT Yet?

Posted on August 28, 2017 by under Health, Things to Do.    

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Brian and I got to try BOGAFIT for the first time last week and neither of us fell in the water! Granted, I played it pretty conservatively. I didn’t do any jumping jacks or squat jacks on the board. Actually, I kept my feet firmly planted for the most part. Balancing on the board takes a bit of getting used to and I suspect I won’t be doing any crazy moves for a while.

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Unfortunately, BOGAFIT isn’t included in your YMCA membership and requires a $35 monthly fee. However, they’ve got some free demos coming up at the Downtown YMCA. If you’ve been wanting to try it, this is your chance.

It is a fantastic workout and I’m actually considering signing up. I just need to check the schedule to make sure that it’s offered at a time that we can consistently make since you do have to pay for it. I don’t want to sign up and then have to miss.

If you have tried BOGAFIT before, let us know how long you’ve been doing it and what you think of the class/workout in the comments below.

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Fifteen Years of Marital Bliss

Posted on August 23, 2017 by under Food and Drink, Life, Relationship.    

We had a few trips planned this year (Alaska in May, ZINCON in July, and my 40th birthday celebration at Sandals Emerald Bay in October) so we decided to keep it pretty low key for our 15th wedding anniversary.

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We started things off with a bang (pun intended) by having dinner at Bonefish Grill on Thursday, August 10, which is our actual anniversary day.

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We had a fabulous dinner. Here are a couple of pics.

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We continued our celebration that weekend with a quick Kansas City getaway.

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We ended up taking Molly with us because of the whole fiasco at the pet boarding place during ZINCON where she got attacked by another dog at daycare, which she wasn’t even supposed to be in. Anyway, we ended up still boarding Saki because the hotel only allowed one pet and Saki loves being around other dogs. Molly, who ended up with staples on her head after the incident, had just gotten her staples removed the day before so we didn’t want to chance it.

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This is what her head looked like when we arrived home from ZINCON.

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This is what her head looked like when the staples were removed, right before our KC trip. It was still healing, as evidenced by the bump and scab on her head, so we didn’t want to chance her getting in another fight and making it worse.

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Brian dropped Saki off at the pet boarding place while I taught my early morning Aqua Zumba class. Amy was nice enough to sub my 10:30 AM Zumba class on Saturday and Mandy covered my 2:00 PM class on Sunday so we were able to get an early start on our drive.

We stopped by Leawood to visit our friend Chad and check out his new place. His apartment is in a really posh, newly developed residential area near the Corbin Park and Prairiefire shopping centers in Overland Park. It’s a really classy apartment complex befitting the fancy neighborhood setting. It kind of reminded us of a more upscale version of Quarters at Cambridge because of the granite in the kitchen and restrooms and other nice finishes.

Anyway, we had a very nice visit but didn’t stay very long because we wanted to check in to our hotel, feed Molly dinner, and also freshen up before our own dinner plans. Speaking of which, we couldn’t get into the Melting Pot for dinner because I didn’t plan ahead and make reservations. By the time I called the restaurant on Saturday morning, the earliest we could get was nine o’clock. I called the hotel to see if the concierge could use their magic. No such luck.

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We did have this super nice surprise delivered to our room that afternoon, though.

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By the way, remember how we got the exact same room that we had last year at the Hyatt Regency Orlando? Well, it happened again. We ended up staying in the exact same room I was in when I stayed at the Ambassador Hotel back in April. I’m not sure if they did that intentionally but it was a very nice surprise.

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After feeding Molly her dinner, I took her and Brian to the rooftop park above Cosentino’s. It’s a really nice confined space for pets; however, your dogs still can’t be off-leash. It would have been nice to be able to let Molly loose to run around but I guess it’s okay that we kept her leashed because the green space is more expansive than it looks. We probably would have had a tough time getting her to come back.

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The rooftop park isn’t that far from the hotel but I think Brian and Molly were both pooped from the drive so we decided to rest a bit before dinner.

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Molly felt right at home.

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Since we couldn’t get into the Melting Pot for dinner, we had to improvise. Brian had been asking to try Nara, one of my favorite restaurants when I was working in Kansas City, so we ended up having dinner there instead.

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Here are some pictures of our food.

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They serve Tank 7 so Brian was quite happy. Literally. He drank two glasses and it doesn’t take much. LOL.

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It worked out great because we took advantage of the hotel shuttle to go to Nara so neither of us were driving.

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After dinner the hotel picked us up from Nara and drove us to the Melting Pot. We decided to keep our nine o’clock reservations and had chocolate fondue for dessert.

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While not having the full Melting Pot experience was a bit disappointing, I think it actually saved us money. LOL. Having dinner there would have cost us at least $120. The cost of the chocolate fondue wasn’t too bad.

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Dessert was about $20 (before tip) for both of us.

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We were ridiculously stuffed after eating all of that sushi and chocolate fondue. Thankfully, neither of us had to drive. The hotel shuttle picked us up from the restaurant and took us back to the hotel.

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Dinner and dessert were delicious but being chauffeured around town was priceless. I don’t enjoy driving so I really appreciated it. I know Brian appreciated the break because he would have had to drive us otherwise.

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As for taking Molly out before bed and first thing in the morning, it wasn’t too bad because Oppenstein Brothers Memorial Park is just a block over on Walnut (about halfway between our hotel and the rooftop park above the grocery store).

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Speaking of morning, this was us the next day. Molly was such a good girl.

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We took advantage of a late checkout and asked the hotel to take us to Succotash for breakfast before driving back to Wichita.

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We’d only been there once before and that was over five years ago. I still remember how much I love it, though. I love that they have the freshest juice. Ever.

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These are the all the options. I got the best lemonade.

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This amazing lemonade lives up to its name for sure. If only they offered free refills!

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The restaurant isn’t very big. The d├ęcor is cute and kitschy and the ambiance is pretty relaxed. We were there early enough that we got seated right away but they were quite busy. There was a steady flow of people the entire time we were there. It’s obvious that this place is popular with the locals.

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Here are some pictures of our food, in case you are wondering. Brian got his usual: biscuits and gravy, fried eggs, and bacon.

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I originally thought about getting the burrito of love (scrambled eggs, cheddar, and bacon wrapped burrito-style in a big, fluffy buttermilk pancake) but when I saw that the #3 omelet had bacon, feta, spinach, and artichoke hearts, I was sold.

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Here’s what the inside of my omelet looked like since I added ham.

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Breakfast was delicious. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal.

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After breakfast, we called the hotel to pick us up and then it was time to drive back home. So that’s pretty much how our overnight trip to Kansas City went. It was a nice way to celebrate 15 years of marriage. Here’s to many more!

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