First Watch Cafe Review

Almost every morning, Brandon and I don’t wake up in time to eat hereIMG_1505. He works night shift and I work mornings, so a cafe that closes at 2:30pm typically doesn’t fall into our go to places. However, when he came home from work that morning, we decided to give it a try.

When we first got there, it reminded me of a baby Crackle Barrel. It is very old time but family oriented. They have a coffee stand while you sit and wait for a table and you even have an option of table, booth or couch. The menus are a thick piece of paper, double sided that matched the style of the cafe.  The tables were set with mugs for coffee or tea and a glass, probably meant for juice or milk.

This place is obviously meant to be for people who are looking for a healthier meal, however a lot of the items are as high as 1,000 calories. Which, if you’re like me, you might want to stay away from. Although high in calories (in between 790 and 870), I chose the the Steel-Cut Oatmeal. It came with the muffin of the day and had fruit on top, as well as pecans. Luckily for me the muffin of the day was a chocolate chip muffin. It also came with a side of milk, which came in a cute little steel bucket, and a side of brown sugar. I also got Morning Meditation Juice (160 calories), which I split with Brandon.

IMG_1511I am a really picky person when it comes to oatmeal, it has to be just the right amount of thick where the oats aren’t too dry but they aren’t too watery. On top of that, flavoring is a very important key to me. I took a chance with the Steel-Cut Oatmeal, and it was a chance I don’t regret. I ended up putting all of the brown sugar in my oatmeal, but it was delicious. I also took the bananas out of my bowl and ate those on the side, but the pecans and strawberries were a nice addition to it. Typically, when you go to a cafe they have prepackaged muffins that they probably just heat up. The chocolate chip muffin was made fresh at the location, and it was delicious!

Brandon ordered the Chile Chorizo Omelette. Which to his delight he could order it with egg whites instead of regular eggs. However, like mentioned, the omelette reached passed the 1,000 calorie count. No matter the count, Brandon said that he enjoyed it.

Overall, on a five star scale, I would give this place three stars. The food size for what you pay is decent, and the food was out on the table in a nice amount of time. However, it probably will be a long while before I am back in the cafe. As a morning worker, I just don’t have time to go before work and they close before I am off.

COST BREAKDOWN:

Oatmeal: $8

Omelette: $10

Juice: $4

Total: $23

** Does not include tax

 

First Watch Cafe

 

P.F Chang’s Review

On Friday night, August 4th, Brandon and I decided to go and try a sit down Chinese restaurant. For most places around our home, there is a 50-50 chance that the Chinese place we are going to go and eat at, is just a buffet of some kind (Or highly Americanized). When going up to West Chester, we constantly pass P.F Chang’s which is what initially brought on the idea to go there.

Upon arriving, the outside of the restaurant has very authentic statues that represent the culture and the way the building is designed is like a mini-Pagoda. The only difference is that it’s one floor plan and it doesn’t build up. The inside however, was dimly lit and had (burning) candles on each table; which was used for lighting. That created a very relaxed atmosphere. A place where you can sit, relax, and enjoy your meal. The décor was also very realistic and none of it seemed out of place. Placed throughout the restaurant were Terracotta Warriors, which stood tall, as if protecting everyone that entered the building, just as they did when protecting the first Chinese Emperor.

The menu was easy to read, as it was broken down into sections. Their appetizers are called “Street Fare”. They named it like wise for famous Asian street foods. When going out to a new restaurant Brandon and I always try and order an appetizer. To us, it sets up the whole meal. If the presentation looks good on shareable portions then we know that so will our food. Same goes for taste. Our waitress was kind enough to tell us what “Street Fare” they are known for and what she recommended. However, we ended up ordering the BBQ Spare Ribs. This “Street Fare” included six pork ribs that were wok-seared with Asian barbeque sauce and topped with sesame seeds. On the side, it also included a spice type slaw. Everything was coated equally and the meat was so tender that I could easily pull it apart from the bone without any mess.

When ordering the entrée, the waitress made it very clear that everything on the menu is made to share. That P.F Chang’s is very family oriented and encourages everyone to share. Most places, if you are caught sharing food it can be an upcharge or the waitress/waiter will say something. I found it unique that the restaurant was going against that social normality. Brandon ended up ordering the Singapore Black Pepper Chicken, a spicy entrée made with peppers and onions. I ordered Beef with Broccoli. We both ordered white rice, which came in one big bowl, instead of two.

When I think of black pepper chicken, what comes to my mind is the black chicken covered in tangy sauce, it’s typically crunchy and hard to get around. When I think of Beef with Broccoli, what comes to my mind is tiny sliced broccoli with tiny sliced beef, lightly coated with sauce. THIS WAS NOT THE CASE. When our food came out, not only did it look delicious and appetizing; it was! Brandon’s Singapore Black Pepper Chicken had so much flavor and the peppers were cooked just right that it was almost hard for me to eat my own food. The Beef with Broccoli, had an even distribution of both and was covered in sauce, that I didn’t even need to add soy sauce to my plate. The white rice was also soft and made a perfect side item to our meal. We also ordered two vegetable rolls, which made a lovely addition to our plates. The rolls were obviously made with fresh veggies and weren’t dipped in oil before being cooked. With each bite, I just wanted to eat more. At some point, I did become full and had to take home left overs.

Overall, our meal was reasonably priced and for rightful reasons. The portions were big, the food was made fresh and wasn’t greasy. Our waitress, whom we left a good tip to, was polite, honest and friendly. She stayed on top of things (such as refilling our drinks) and was constantly asking how we were doing. When we asked for to go boxes, she boxed everything up for us, and even brought us fresh white rice.

Below, I have included the cost break down, which will include a rough estimate of each individual price. I enjoyed eating there so much, the next day I joined the rewards program. Which after much review is also an awesome program to be a part of, you can earn so many points and earn free meals because of it. I most certainly would give five out of five stars, and will more than likely be coming back to my new favorite Chinese restaurant.

THE COST BREAK DOWN.

2 sweet teas: $6

BBQ Ribs: $6

2 spring rolls: $4

Chicken Entrée: $15

Beef Entrée: $15

In total our meal was $56

** Does not include Tax

To learn more about their menu: https://www.pfchangs.com/menu/main-menu/

Causal Update

In May I finished my first full year of college, which was exciting yet stressful. The past year has brought so many trials, but so many great memories. However, I am happy that it is finally summer. 

This past month, I have been working towards bettering myself, while helping others. I officially joined the Speakers of Love Movement, which is all about empowering everyone to spread more love than hate. 

In the following months, I will be heading into a more independent stage of my life. In hopes of getting my own apartment, and finding a better (higher) paying job. 

As for writing, most of my time has gone into a short story about a college student who finds himself stuck in between Hell and Earth, and the only way to have his soul fully on Earth is to prove to the Devil that he deserves to be there. So far I am seven pages in, and not even to the climax of the story. 

On top of that, I am trying to work towards getting published for poetry (again). My goal is to have a short book full of poems about life and growing. We will see how that goes, I have finish my short story first. (If there are poems on the blog that you have liked prior let me know so I can edit and take inspiration from them). 

Overall, I am still writing and very much aware of the blog I promised to write on. When I get closer to the finishing of my short story, I will be able to start fully writing again on the blog.  
-SB

Wanderlust

img_0449-1Wanderlust is a German word that means ‘the need and want to travel’ from a young age I always enjoyed going to different and new places. I would always keep a track record of where I was going, what my surrounding looked like and even small details about how long I’ve been in the car. Some of those ‘entries’ if you go back far enough, are right on this blog. I knew, after I had gotten my Anchor, which is located on my right wrist, I wanted my second tattoo to be special and meaningful.

Originally I was just going to get a compass, and that soon became the words Wanderlust, and then when I started talking to my designer (Ryan), I realized I just wanted everything that had to do with traveling on my body. We had been talking for about a week about what I wanted and the price range, three days prior to getting the tattoo I had five different images on my cell phone, and a roughimg_0450-1 draft that my friend had drawn for me.

It took about thirty minutes to get a final design, which included the compass, my cursive handwriting, that we scattered on the computer, and the atlas. It was important that I was hands on with this tattoo, since my last tattoo was a spree of the moment kind of thing. When everything was printed off and laid out in front of me, I made sure I got every position right. Most artists don’t let you trace the tattoo, but prior to it being a tattoo Ryan let me trace North America.

My wanderlust tattoo took a total of three months to complete. I had a total of three sessions, and seven hours. I haven’t even gone back for my retouch. The first session was three hours long and everything in black (Wanderlust and the compass) was completed. The second session was completing Russia, Africa, Europe and Australia; that was about two and a half hours long. My last session was North and South America, and that was two and a half hours as well. Originally we weren’t going to do watercolor, but after we completed Wanderlust I decided that that’s something I wanted to do. Watercolor is extremely painful, The first round only started to hurt two hours into getting it done. Watercolor just hurts in general.

The word wanderlust is something that is special to me, because I love adventures. I love the idea of being an adventure, and being slightly impulsive and wild. When I go some place I want to experience and live in that environment. When people travel they typically have one memory in mind that they want to keep. With me every detail and moment counts. It’s something special and nobody can take that feeling away from me. When designing the tattoo, I knew that I wanted something that felt authentic and real.

Originally the design was supposed to be on the left side of my upper back, and after discussing how bit it would be and other details I decided to go with my side. That tattoo is pretty big, so it actually is on my ribs, side and back but it’s not so big that it wraps all the way around. I got it on my rib cage, because only when I wear certain cloimg_0451-1thing articles or share it with people can they see it. In a way this tattoo is specifically for me and I like that when I want to share it, I can, but I don’t have it.

All of the work was $160 dollars. It’s the most expensive piece so far, but I have about five other designs  I want on my body, so it probably won’t be the most expensive for long. I don’t know when I’m going to get another tattoo, it probably won’t be for a while. Adult life kind of gets to me every once in a while with bills. But I know that no matter what I get this tattoo will always be my favorite tattoo just because of how personal it is to me.

Addressing the Elephant in the Room

I’m sure most of you, by now, have noticed a few things that are different. If you haven’t noticed, on all of my social media accounts, my name has changed. Is this a prank? No, i really did go through a name change. Why? It wasn’t to be complicated or to spite anyone. I did this to make myself happier and for other personal reasons that are too complicated to explain in one blog post without backlash. Which yes, I”m trying to avoid.

So where am I now? As the spring semester of college is coming to an end, and adulthood continues to take control. I am doing fine. I have gone on many adventures, some in which I would have documented right on the blog. The most recent and favorite adventure is one with Brandon. We traveled to Louisville and got to see Panic! At the Disco. Which was really cool, and extremely life changing.

In the next six months, I will be getting my own place and starting back up the YouTube channel, that’s the goal. The new channel (here) will have more content on it, and better editing skills. I would like to start vlogging the adventures I go on and the impact that they have on me. Being a broke college student is always fun to watch.

Lastly, where does that leave the blog? The blog will always be here, and I will continue to write on it. As a writer I am currently working on my short story skills and becoming the ‘aspiring author’ I talk about. I will always be a poet, but I won’t ever be a novelist. I save that to people who have the strength for it such as Brandon and Hypha. Short stories however, I am willing to dabble in and figure out.

  • If you are confused, just remember most of my accounts (with the exception of snapchat) are my first two initials (SE) my last name (now BRYANT) and the number 40.

Dinner Conversations (Short Story)

     I’m sitting at the dining room table. It’s been a long day of school, and my parents expect me to say something more than, “It was boring.” Which, no matter how true it was, apparently saying it seems worse than telling a lie. “It was great. I learned new things.” I could tell them that, however that involves another conversation… which includes saying what I learned.

What did I learn today? In second bell Marcus decided to throw an eraser at Isabell, who then made a huge scene, which the teacher bought. In study hall, I finally finished my sketchbook, with my own version of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. At lunch, I again sat by myself, but that’s mainly because my group of friends no longer exist. Well, Maria still has my back. You rat a kid out once for cheating and suddenly you’re the snitch of the eighth grade.

It was at that moment that I realized that my parents were staring at me. I had a plate full of chicken, rice and broccoli and hadn’t touched it yet. It was father’s favorite meal, which meant mother was up to something. “Placement tests for the art school is a month.” My mother said, while looking at my father. This was an argument which they had been having for a month now. Mom wants the art school, and father wants the public school, which he attended. The issue with both was that I wanted to get far away and just live a bit. And as usual, they go off into their own conversation on why the other is right.

There is no time like the present.

“So, as it happens, I found a really good school for next year.” My parents look at me clueless. This had been the longest running conversation at the dinner table. The conversation about my future beat out our conversation on how we would beat the apocalypse. Which is a conversation we’ve been having for over a year now, due to all the apocalyptic shows my father watches.

“That’s good sweetie!” She’s trying to be supportive, but every word is cracking because she doesn’t want me to go to the district public school.

“Wherever you want to go, is where we will send you.” He says confident that I’ll pick the cheapest future for myself, go into the family business and still be highly successful.

There is no time like the present. I play with my fingers and scramble the words out. “There’s a boarding school, about four hours away, located in Nevada.” My parent’s jaws are dropped. For once they can agree on one thing, I was going crazy. I have an opportunity to live my life outside Roseburg, Idaho and be proud of it. I don’t have friends here and it will be hard enough going to high school.

Many moments pass.

I start to eat. I’m scarfing down my plate, so I can leave the table and go to my room. Nobody is talking. They both can’t be thinking that much, they barely think that much in general. As they continue to sit in silence, I get up. I push in my chair and clean my dish.

“Sweetheart, wait.” My father, holds out his hand. He’s going to give me that, father side hug and tell me what a huge mistake I’m making. That boarding school is for teens with issues. I don’t have issues, obviously, because I’m their little girl. But I please him and walk over. Leaving my dish in the sink.

“May I ask why you’d want to go to this boarding school?” If I knew he was going to ask questions, I would have prepared for them.

“Well… um…” How do I put something so cruel, into the nicest words for such fragile people? I’m fourteen years old, that’s not how the world is supposed to work.

“I want to move away, be on my own. I want to experience new people, and can say I enjoyed it. Staying here, where the sun hardly shines makes me depressed. I don’t have friends at school, my teachers keep sending home notes saying they need you to sign off on things, which I then sign. It’s not that you two did anything wrong, or that you messed up… But secretly I’m wanting more.”

My father hugs me, and for once he’s on my side. “Okay, I understand. I’m not hurt, and if it’s what you want then I’m sure your mother and I can get –” He’s cut off right in the middle of his heart warming speech. A speech I desperately needed from him. Why would my mother do such a thing? This may be the only time I get this from him.

“No.” The most understanding person in this room says. She gets up and walks out of the room. I sit down at the table once more.

Father looks at me and says, “Maybe next dinner she’ll be alright.”