Thursday, March 27, 2014

The scheduling changes

I know I've been AWOL for almost two weeks. The truth is folks I had, what I believe to be, "writer's block". Not that I'm claiming to be some fancy-shmancy writer or anything, but I don't know what else to call it when I have ideas but can't come up with any words (that I actually like) to describe said ideas.

Last night was the last Wednesday night Zumba class of Jae's winter session. I guess that's what pulled me out of my writing slump. The last class of a session is always a little melancholy for me so I hope you'll forgive me, dear readers, for using today's post as an outlet. I'm not really sure why I feel what I feel exactly, but it is what it is. It's not like I don't -know- that there will be a spring session starting in three weeks... It's not like I'm not -already- signed up for that...and have been for a month and a half. It's not like I don't have options for where to go for class during the lull, because I do. And I'm a little moody about it. I wasn't last night though, that's for sure; class, as always, was great and I'd say we gave the session a good send off. Coming home floating on the "Zumba high" is a pretty amazing feeling.

I guess I've made myself at home in that school cafeteria where Jae teaches. I'm not even sure when that happened exactly. But when there isn't class, I actually miss that place. I miss my spot with the yellow floor tile. I miss staring at the weird poster of broccoli on the wall (a campaign to get students to eat vegetables at school...hah! yeah right...). I miss the microwave cart where I like to set my drink and my Tums. I even kind of miss having to fold and move the cafeteria tables so that we have enough floor space. Routines I guess. I like the feeling of stability that comes with having a routine and a solid schedule. I always feel a little strange at first when my regular routine has a break or a change in it.

And speaking of breaks, I had to cancel my class on Tuesday night. Funny coincidence how that happened the day before the end of Jae's session...which was actually supposed to end a week earlier but didn't because we had to make up a snow's been a weird week... Anyways, my church is hosting families all this week, as in they are living (eating, sleeping, the whole nine yards) in the church. My classroom currently has a family in residence, so I couldn't teach Zumba in there. One day, I'll probably feel the same way about my church room as I do Jae's cafeteria, but it hasn't been "mine" long enough for me to form an attachment. So I had this great idea to hold class in the lobby, thinking that the guests might want to join in, but the office manager nixed the idea telling me that the lobby had been re-purposed as a dining room for the week. I was given plenty of advanced notice, which I appreciated because that meant I could notify my class immediately.
Which I did, and then lamented to Jae over the fact that my class got booted for the week. She said I should come with her to Rae's class on Monday night. Okay! That cheered me right up. She always seems to know just what to say. I'm planning to go next Monday too since I'm not going to have a class on Wednesday to go to. My schedule won't be back to normal for another two weeks. I'll be able to hold my class next Tuesday as the guests of the church will have left, but the following week is spring break for most of the school districts in the area so I've already cancelled for -that- week. Let me tell you, explaining the scheduling updates to my people thoroughly confused them with this on/off/on/off business. To be honest, if I didn't have it all written down on a calendar, I'd be a little confused myself. I'm going to be very happy when things are back own version of "normal". Heh.

Best advice: Adapt. (Note to self: take own advice!)

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Speedo swimwear collection for Zumba

Almost a year ago, it was announced that Zumba had teamed up with Speedo to launch a swimwear line.

"SPEEDO USA, a division of PVH Corp. (NYSE: PVH), and Zumba Fitness, the largest dance-fitness company in the world with a following of millions, today announced a new, multi-year agreement that will see SPEEDO USA serve as the "Exclusive Swimwear Licensee of Zumba Fitness" and launch the Aqua Zumba by Speedo Collection in North America. The collection will consist of a full range of innovative, versatile swimsuits, aquatic footwear and fitness accessories designed to support and enhance the Aqua Zumba class experience."- Wall Street Journal
Well that "full range" was launched this month. I must say, I'm pretty excited...and here I thought my next clothes post was going to be about shirts. Before I go further, I should admit the following:
1) I don't have a license to teach Aqua Zumba. Though from what I've seen of videos of AZ classes, the instructor teaches up on the pool deck dressed in regular fitness clothes.
2) I have never actually taken an Aqua Zumba class. I'd sure like to, but not only are they hard to come by in my area, I don't know when I'd find the time in between my regular Zumba nights and practices.

So do I need a Zumba swim suit? Excuse me while I choke on my A friend pointed out to me that I have a pool, therefore it's a justified expense. That would be true...but, the two brand new bathing suits I bought at the beginning of -last- summer are still in too good of shape. Alas, the Zumbamommy must pass on the Zumba bathing suit. But that doesn't stop me from window shopping off and on, and making a hypothetical mental list.

I think Zumba was spot on with their timing. They released the new line of bathing suits just before most people's spring breaks, and well in advance of the summer. So people who are shopping for a bathing suit to wear on vacation just might buy one of these. People who are sick to death of winter (like I know I am...) are going to find bathing suits all the more appealing to buy because that must mean that warm weather can't be too far away...right? Right?! Please...? I know for me personally, that's why I like looking at them. They make me think of a season without below-zero temperatures, frozen precipitation, and icy winds that clog your driveway with snow drifts.

So let's look at some of the warm happy goodness bathing suits!

For the ladies
Swim suits:
The Rock With Me Ultraback One Piece With Piping. This swim suit comes in the three colors shown. I like the purple one the best for overall color. But I like how the logo stands out best on the black one.
Vivid Violet
Tropical Teal
I actually like style even though it's plain. It's a very simple one piece suit that reminds me a lot of the racerback tank tops I love so much.

Of course a Zumba swim suit line wouldn't be complete without a couple bathing suits with the slashed look.
Vivid Violet
The first one is the Slash-O-Rama Cross Back One Piece. The straps on this bathing suit are adjustable and cross in the back. I suspect this one is going to be very popular. The color combinations are quite striking for one thing, and for another, it's different from most one piece suits with the slashing on the diagonal. I can't decide which of these two I like better to be honest.

And to make that choice all the more complicated, here's the Slash-O-Rama Ultraback One Piece.The back of this one looks like the back of the other ultraback suit (above).
Vivid Violet
Once again, I like the color combinations, and with this style, I love the logo on the front; the other Slash-O-Rama suit has the logo on the back. Even if there wasn't a prominent Zumba logo some where on each of these bathing suits, I would still be able to tell that these are from Zumba. It might just be me who thinks so, but there's just something about the look that screams Zumba.
The Duras sisters: Lursa & Betor
On the left is the Foil Me Once Ultraback One Piece. Black is the only color it comes in. This one... Okay, while I like the black and gold color combo, I'm really not liking the top part of the bathing suit. I don't like that it's in grey and I don't like that there's a...I'd call it a hole. Its placement draws attention to... Well it's pretty obvious what it draws attention to! Some people might not mind that, or maybe even like that, but it's not for me. Frankly...and I'm about to reveal a level of geekiness here that some of you maybe didn't know about... Frankly, this bathing suit reminds me of what Klingon women wear on Star Trek. Their dresses always have a strategically placed "hole". Interestingly enough, looking at the comparison, that bathing suit is even a similar color scheme... Okay, moving on!
This one is the Trace Me Lace-Up One Piece. When I first saw this one, I was surprised by how much I liked it. I would not have thought I'd like this one and yet I do. I like the yellow logo on the grey. The pattern is a little busy and yet I like that too. Probably my favorite part of this swim suit is the fringy tassels on the back. Of course, my favorite thing about this bathing suit is the one thing that would stop me from buying it. I could see myself swimming with my kids and that fringy tassel getting grabbed by little hands.Great suit style-wise, not so great mommy-wise.
At the left is the Rock With Me Racerback Two Piece Set. At the right are the Craveworthy Board Shorts (shown with the top from the two piece set). The two piece set is sold together, hence the word set (duh!). The board shorts are sold separately, but are clearly designed to coordinate. I think it's too bad that Zumba didn't offer these three pieces as separates. Generally, people prefer one kind of swim suit bottom to another, so anyone who is buying the board shorts is probably not going to need the briefs that come in the set. I love the shorts, I think they are adorable. What do they remind you of, with the wide waistband and pockets? Anyone...? Cargoes!

I will say this for all of the swim suits: they are pretty modest. Even the two piece. Even the one the Klingons will wear on their vacation to Risa isn't all -that- bad...

Cover-up's and Rash Guards:
Vivid Violet
This is the Rock With Me Cover-Up, available in these two colors. It's a jersey fabric and looks comfortable. This is actually all one piece and goes on like a pullover. Even though I like the colors, this wouldn't be my first choice. It looks like a romper and I've never liked rompers. This cover-up is short sleeved, and for people who don't burn, that's great and probably a benefit because it's cooler in the summer. For me, not so much. My Irish heritage burns at the slightest exposure. It's a pain...literally.

At the right is the Foil Me Once Cover-Up. I like this a lot. It's basically an extra long hoodie and who wouldn't love that? Hoodies are warm and snuggly to wear. I love the black and gold together. I also love the big logo. Yeah, not everyone loves the logo to be so big... I get that because there was a time when I thought the same thing. But I'm so over that. If I'm buying Z-Wear, I'm paying for that logo so I may as well get my money's worth. The one thing about this cover-up that I could see potentially being a problem for some people (who are not me) is that outdoors, in the heat of summer, black with long sleeves is going to get pretty hot to wear.
Tropical Teal
This is the Slash-O-Rama Rashguard, available in these two colors. I love that Zumba has made these available, I have so rarely seen adult rashguard shirts in stores. I buy them every summer for our boys for the UV protection; which these also have. If I do wind up splurging on something from this line, it might actually be one of these for practical purposes. I have a really hard time using our pool during the day. My skin burns so easily and that includes my scalp. I have a hat made by Under Armor with built in UV that can get wet and will dry quickly. I have an inexpensive pair of sport sunglasses to protect my eyes. During the day, I never actually swim in the truest sense of the word because how can I with a hat and sunglasses on? Mostly I just lounge and wait for the sun to go down. On the right is the Show Me What You Dot Rashguard. It's only available in black. The pattern is the same as the bathing suit with the fringy tassel. I like the v-neck of this one, and I think that given the color, short sleeves was definitely the way to go. In each photo, the model has the rashguard on over a bathing suit rather than using it as a top in and of itself.

For the gentlemen
Swim suits:
Teal Blue
This is the Secret Admirer Packable Board Short. Available in these two colors. These are a pretty standard looking swim trunk, but they do have a few interesting aspects to them: UV protection, a bungee key clip, and the word "packable" means they can be folded up small enough to fit into a pants pocket. It's nice to see some options, particularly a bright blue one, for the men. They so often get the short end of the stick when it comes to Z-Wear. I'll add my thanks to Zumba for sticking with the trunks and skipping the briefs. Heh.

Rash Guards:
Rounding out the men's swimwear is the Cut Up Over You Rashguard (only available in black). Yep, that's it...three items. Poor least it's not likely these will sell out because women bought them. Like the ladies' rashguard shirts, this one has UV protection. It's short sleeved which is great given the black. With the pops of yellow on the shoulders, this would coordinate with either pair of trunks.

I like the men's swimwear. It's functional, practical, and masculine. Bry saw me looking at it and asked, "Does this mean I'm going to be getting a Zumba bathing suit for my birthday?" Certainly not...his birthday is in January. Now as a Father's Day gift it has potential. Maybe the Zumbamommy will have to mention it to the kids...

Vivid Violet
Blazing Orange
The Funk Phenomenon Sling bag (available in the colors shown). Now if you've read any of my previous Zumba gear posts, you know I love a great bag. This one has an adjustable strap and inside are a bunch of organizational pockets. If there's one thing I love more than a great bag, it's a great bag with a lot of pockets. Apparently I'm not alone. The orange version is already completely sold out.
Tropical Teal
Vivid Violet
This one is the Together We Mesh bag (available in the colors shown). It's made of a quick drying fabric and has a special pocket for ID. Usually, I tend to overlook the "sporty" bags. They're real uni-taskers and once you have one, you don't normally need another. I have a great dance bag that I carry my shoes around in and until it's no longer useable, I don't see myself getting another one. These four though...maybe it's the colors, but for sports bags, I think they look great. If I started regularly attending an Aqua Zumba class, I would definitely want one of the mesh ones. Hey, a second type of class needs a second useful bag! The quick drying fabric would be perfect for carrying around wet swim gear.

Vivid Violet
On the left is the Soaked In Glory Swim Cap (also available in "Black"). I guess these have a use, or some people like them, or both... But it sure doesn't blow my hair back. Ha! See what I did there? Anyways...yes, I did admit to wearing a hat while in the pool during the day, but it's one with a visor and that helps keep the sun out of my eyes. Above are the This Must Be Glove Aquatic Fitness Gloves in "Black" (also available in "Vivid Violet"). I presume these are meant to give one a better workout in the water. There's a webbing between the fingers which would let the participant move more water at once. My understanding of water workouts is that the more you can move and the harder you move, the stronger the resistance; and the increased resistance is supposed to make for a better workout.

So that's Zumba swimwear collection. A collaboration with Speedo, but I feel like Zumba lost nothing of themselves in the process. I was pleased to see that all of these things look just like regular Zumbawear, except made for the water. If I had to guess, we're only looking at the tip of this particular iceberg. What's missing from the swimwear collection? Aqua shoes. Odds are that they aren't too far behind.

Best advice: If you're going to buy one of these swimsuits from Zumba, go to a sports store that sells Speedo brand bathing suits beforehand and try some on to get an idea for size. Save yourself the hassle inherent in returning a bathing suit.

I am neither affiliated with or endorsed by either Speedo or Zumba Fitness (aside from being a licensed instructor) - Just an interested shopper with an opinion!

Monday, March 3, 2014

The songs from the ZIN week later...

Last night I finally got a chance to get practice the songs I learned from the ZIN Jam I went to last week. I feel like it took me for-ev-er. I had every intention of working on them on Friday but I hurt my back shoveling snow that morning. Not badly, but enough that I figured it could use a little time to feel like itself again.

***Side Note: When you pay a plow service to do your incredibly long driveway, you sign a contract saying that they will only come out for 2+ inches of accumulation. Accumulation is the operative word. Snow blocking your driveway because of drifting doesn't count. When your kindergartener's class is celebrating 100th Day at school, you do what it takes to get him there.***

So I wound up resting Friday and Saturday instead of practicing and it really was for the best, I know that. It just wasn't what I wanted. I felt like the longer I waited to actually practice, the more I was going to forget. Well, I don't know if I was right, or if it just wound up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Either way though...

Here's the current status of the songs I learned at the Jam:

1) The salsaton - I can't use the salsaton at all unfortunately because I can't get a clean (un-remixed) version from Amazon MP3. I don't know if iTunes even has one, since I don't have an account. This is where being a Windows Phone/Zune user gets tricky sometimes. It's too bad too, because I like the choreography for it.

2) The cumbia - This one isn't smooth at all. I can at least get through it...kinda... My timing is way off on the machete part (which in turn throws me off for other parts) and this just drives me nuts because the Jammer made a special point to tell us what to be listening for in the music as the cue for us to start that part. The worst thing is that I actually can hear it, I'm just hesitating because I second guess myself, and then I miss it. Grr. I'm my own worst enemy sometimes, and I need to stop over-thinking it.

3) Moviendo Caderas by Yandel (feat. Daddy Yankee) - I'm not precisely sure what style this one classifies as. It's the one I remember the best. I've got this one head and shoulders above the others. When I realized that last night, I flipped it and started working on it leading with my left side. I've got a couple transitions to smooth out and I need to work out how I'm going to cue it, but it's nearly good to go. Which is way more than I can say for any of the others.

4) The reggaeton - Probably the simplest one of the five, it only has three varying parts and they repeat in the same order each time. Easy-peasy right? My timing is off on this one too, but I know it's because I'm practically tripping over my feet. This song has a sassy little walk up (forward travel), and the feet crossing over were messing me up and then I was backing up leading with the wrong foot which messed up the next part. This one will come. I have a feeling that the next time I work on this one, I'll have it back to where I had it at the Jam last week.

5) The tropipop - Holy smokes, this one kicked my butt all over the place. If anyone had seen me down in my basement working on this one last night, they would have probably thought I'd never done the song before. It's not just an issue of timing either, it's me reading the notes and going, "Wait...what?" There's one piece I know I forgot completely, that spot is blank so I did the move right before it extra long. I restarted the song three times, and each time I had to pause and redo chunks of it here and there. I never actually did get all the way through it because I was starting to get pretty frustrated with myself. 

Me: Why is this song giving me so much trouble?! It was fine last week!
Me: Let go of it a little, let your subconscious work on it.
Me: The longer I let it go, the less I'm going to remember!
Me: Take a step back, and breathe...maybe get some water...and...I know! Let's do Zoomer!
Me: Yay! I love Zoomer!
Me: Me too!

My inner monologue. Rae told me once that people need at least a couple songs in a Zumba class that they can feel successful at, otherwise they'll get frustrated with the experience and not return. I guess that still applies to me too even after all this time. Switching songs was definitely what I needed to do. That got my whole practice back on track and it was after that when I decided to try Moviendo Caderas to the left which turned out to really work well. And to think I nearly called it an early night because I was in a snit... Ultimately, I finished around 10pm because "One more time." turned into about five more times.

Two things today:
The first is that "One more time." is always a lie.
The second is Keep Calm and do Zoomer. Or something else I guess, if that works for know, if you don't know choreography to Zoomer...