The Workout Playlist

In order for me to work out, I need a great playlist that will last me throughout the hour. Since Brandon and I work out together, we have made a list of over 50 songs that help us throughout our work out. We have included songs that are made for intense workouts, as well as stretching. Trust me, songs for stretching are so important, because they help build you up before the workout, as well as, calm you down after! To make it easier for access I not only made the playlist on Google Play but on Spotify as well.

I believe our workout playlist is truly motivating seeing as it has songs for every type of workout. Our workouts last an hour, and sometimes I push myself to go twice in a day.

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what songs do you listen to when working out?

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Fuji Steak House: Review

On Sunday, January 28th, Brandon and I went to eat at Fuji Steak House. Brandon IMG_3245has never experienced a Hibachi before and I’ve only been once a long time again. My experience was excellent, and I remember it being full of life. It’s something I wanted Brandon to experience too. Giving it a Google, the Hibachi grill I originally wanted to take him to, didn’t do Hibachi on Sunday. So, we settled for the closest one to us.

Out of 246 Reviews, on Google, the Fuji Steak House has four stars. Most people say it was either fantastic, or the worst. Brandon and I have been eating out long enough that we know that’s the case with every restaurant. Brandon and I only hoped that we would not be giving a bad review.

Upon entering the building, it was split up into four sections. As you enter the first thing you see is the sushi bar, to the left is a dining area, right next to the doors is a bar and to the right, through two doors is the Hibachi Grill. When entering that area, there are five squares, within each square is two grills, and eighteen seats. We were seated closest to the doors, and we were fine with waiting almost an hour before the Chef came out. The thing that most people don’t realize when going to a Hibachi Grill is that it takes time. When reading a lot of the negative comments on Google Reviews, we noticed that most people were impatient about waiting for their food. For people who don’t know, typically, before the chef comes out to cook and put on a performance, the host must fill up at least h

IMG_3244

The Volcano

alf of the section. Which, in this case, was eight seats. Then, when the table is filled, the server must take down your order, which the Chef then must prepare. Now, not every person orders the same thing. For instance, I ordered the Hibachi chicken, and an order of fried rice, however Brandon ordered the Hibachi steak, but took the steamed rice. Someone at our table requested that their veggies only be broccoli, while another family requested only onions and mushrooms. The Chef has to portion out everything and then bring it out to cook. Those who don’t like to wait long for their food, should opt for the dining service or the sushi bar.

While the Chef is doing what he needs to do, the lunch/dinner comes with a salad served with ginger dressing and clear soup. At first I was skeptical. The only dressings I prefer is the homemade dressing at The Old Spaghetti Factory, ranch and balsamic vinaigrette. Trying out a new dressing was not up my alley. However, it was delicious. The salad, although was just lettuce, was actually really good. The clear soup made me try mushrooms, which growing up I was never a fan of. However, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I can get around a small, sliver of a mushroom, just not the big juicy ones. Once, we were finished the server was quick to remove the dirty plates and bowls from our able. We were then offered chopsticks for our meals. Not too long after, the chef came out with his cart.

Our Chef was amazing. He was polite and amusing. He didn’t do many tricks, but he did do the volcano, which was pretty cool to see. Brandon, every few minutes was laughing and to see him smile and enjoy himself like that, honestly, made me so happy. Out of everyone at the table, we were definitely, the most relaxed and took the time to just enjoy ourselves. Once he was finished cooking, the was quick to clean up his mess and was courteous to those around him.

Brandon and I took our time eating, and within ten minutes everyone around us was finished and left. Which, I personally felt was rude. Specifically, because, some of the couples that were at our table ate two bites off their plates, asked for a box, and took all the food home with them. Those same couples though, kept complaining about the wait or that they didn’t get a good seat.

Overall, I know that we will be going back to a Hibachi Grill. The service was friendly, the server, host and chef were sure to make sure that your needs were met. Throughout the whole performance, the server was walking around, making sure glasses stayed full. The host when walking in, acknowledged immediately. Don’t listen to the reviews on Google, they are very misleading. Someone posted saying, “They seat you with people you don’t know and then add gratuity to your check”. Let me just say, that it is very clear on the menu that if it is more than five people, they add 18% to ensure that the chef and serve do get tipped. It’s not uncommon for Japanese styled restaurants to do so.  Also, most hibachi’s seat you with people you don’t know. They aren’t going to just serve two or five people. They want the seats to be full.

 

Prices:

Chicken Hibachi Dinner (or lunch): $15.95

New York Strip Steak Hibachi Dinner: $19.95

Add Hibachi Fried Rice or Noodle: $2.50

What does the Hibachi come with? “All Dinner served with Our Clear Soup, House Salad, Shrimp Appetizer. Steamed Rice and Our Finest Hibachi Vegetables” – Fuji Menu.

For more information, please visit their “website“.

January Announcement

If you have been following on my social media accounts, then you might know that recently I have been uploading short “mini” clips of my life on YouTube again.

A few weeks ago, I did announce that I would be starting back up the vlog, however it would be at a date that is yet to be determined.

I am officially, and blessed to announce that Monday will be the first day back (after a 2 year hiatus) on the YouTube Channel. That being said, I am no longer using “officialblackflower” and am starting 100% fresh.

Please make sure to subscribe.

I Am Not Where I Was A Year Ago

I don’t mean that as a Cliché. When you read that, don’t think, “New year, new me”; because that’s not what I am saying at all. This time last year so much had happened to me that I couldn’t comprehend it. I was stuck in a position where I couldn’t learn or grow from all the disasters that were made. Everyone around me was telling me that I was going to be okay, or that I needed to find peace, I just couldn’t.

This time last year, I had been thrown out of my home twice, assaulted, gained thirty pounds, and found no motivation to get help. Only once in my life did I ever feel so low as I did in that moment. I was sixteen years old, and my friend Hannah was telling me, “If you can’t help yourself, then nobody can help you.” Little did I know that four years later her and her family would be helping me get on my feet again.  Upon moving in with her family, her parents were able to give me some sort of hope. I was considering dropping out, and was struggling to find a job. It was her parents, and a man who works at the community college, that sat me down and was able to persuade me otherwise.  With their help and a few honorable mentions, within two months of being in their home, I was going back to therapy, and trying to work out whatever mess it was that I needed to work out.

A year ago, I had zero boundaries, I struggled with decision making. For the past two years, I was involved with a toxic relationship. Many of my friends would say it was more than toxic, it was abusive. However, I believe, to this day, that I was not healthy for him, just as he was not healthy for me. When we finally ended things, moving on was a whole new chapter. I went from always being in a relationship to finally being alone. I had no idea who I was without someone else telling me who I was.

Therapy started to show me who I could become if I just let go, and had a ‘redo’. Which is exactly what I did in May of 2017. All of that hate was released following the weekend of Easter. I had been so obsessed with always trying to make things right, that I couldn’t let myself see that the things that happened are just exactly that. My family, has struggled with the fact that I changed my name. My response to them has always been, “I changed my name, because I vowed to make myself come first. I changed my name, because I had so much hate in my life, that I needed to be able to let go. By changing my name, I have let go. I see the bigger picture and I see that there can be so much room to grow, if it’s allowed.”

When I say, “where I was a year ago, is not where I am today” it’s because I truly believe that. My first year in college, I was able to feel emotions I had never felt before. I was able to accomplish things I never thought I would ever do. I stopped being apologetic for things I no longer felt the need to feel sorry for, and I stopped validating my actions. I decided to not think twice, and just go with my first gut instinct. For the first time, I finally felt what it meant to be confident, sexy and beautiful. I don’t say anything to feel pity, because I am proud of who I am, and who I was. To want pity would mean that I would loathe, or find what has happened to me to be discouraging. In the past year, I have had so many great people come into my life and show me what it means to be family, and to be friends. I have changed for the better, and that’s all I could ever ask of myself.

 

-S.B

P.S: Among the many moral changes, I also stopped wearing bras and I will never put on something so tight and wired ever again.

Piada: Italian Street Food Review

On Sunday afternoon Brandon and I went to Piada. Piada is known for being an Italian fast food restaurant and their slogan is, “Italian street food”. We had waited, nearly a year to go and try their food, simply because people we didn’t want to associate with people who worked there. I would constantly see how their employees behaved on Snapchat, and had zero interest in those people serving me food. However, they all ended up leaving or being fired and thus we decided it might be worth it.

When entering the restaurant, it had a huge hipster vibe. Everything from the paint color on the walls, to the dark granite flooring looked familiar as well. It was as if someone had said, “let’s take Chipotle’s idea, and make it ‘Italian’.” The menus are placed up front next to the trash cans for those to read before walking up to get their food made. Above the cashier their sign just read, “Try our new Mediterranean Power Bowl” with no indication as to how the flow of ordering food was supposed to work. It wasn’t until someone else came in behind us, looked at a menu and then went up to order that we even knew what to do.

Upon ordering our food, I made it clear to the chef (who was named Andy) that it was our first time at the fast food restaurant and we had no idea how everything worked. I went ahead and ordered the “Chef’s Favorite Piada” Which is described as, “a handmade piada filled with spicy diavolo sauce, romaine, mozzarella, sweet & spicy peppers, creamy parmesan.” Andy continued to tell me that I could add whatever choice of meat or other vegetables in it. He recommended the calamari, however did not introduce any other meat options to me, therefore I had it veggie style. When it came time to add more vegetables in, I had told him that I will take whatever he recommends, except for artichokes and onions. He then put cucumbers, sundried tomatoes, and chickpeas. He then proceeded to roll it like a burrito. Which ended up being a mix of flavors that was not enjoyable.

Brandon ordered a “Porchetta Sandwich” which is described as a “slow-roasted pork loin seasoned with Tuscan spices – porcini, rosemary, garlic and peppers. Layered on a rustic Italian roll with basil aioli, pickled red onion and fennel”. Rather, it ended up being a lackluster pile of dry and fatty pork cuts, and a mess of pickled fennel and red onion that came out of a Styrofoam container that was carelessly slopped on top. While the meat of the pork was decently seasoned—it was overwhelmed with the amount of tasteless and chewy fat. On top of that, the Chef had told us that Brandon’s meal came with a side item, he did not disclose that the side item would be at an additional cost. We found that out, only after being over charged for a side we didn’t even have.

IMG_2939.JPGI was originally going to back and order one of their ‘street food’ items to see if maybe it was just the dish that was the issue. Then when another customer, who ordered the “Porchetta Sandwich” complained about the fat, the Chef said he would make a new one and bring it to the table. As the unknown customer proceeded back to his table, Brandon witnessed the Chef take out the uneaten parts of the customer’s sandwich and put it back in the pork container. Seeing this cross contamination made me cringe and thus we decided that this place was not for us.

Overall, Piada is an overpriced, below mediocre fast food restaurant. We spent nearly $20 on just two entrees, that were not made well. We will not be going back to Piada and do not feel as though we should recommend it to any of our friends or family. Although it seems clean on the outside, witnessing the cross contamination shows that the staff does indeed cut corners, and the food itself was not made to our liking. In our opinion this place gets zero out of five stars. However, if you find that you want to try it out yourself, click the link.

 

-S.B

Queen City Underground Tour: Review

IMG_2651            On December 23rd, 2017 Brandon and I went on a tour, in our local city. Cincinnati is known for baseball, a football team that cannot win, and goetta.  The city was and still is very rich and history, and for someone who has lived thirty minutes out of it, I knew hardly anything about it. Brandon has worked in the city now, for almost six month, I started working in it starting September of 2017. While, Brandon works directly in the city, I work in a little district, about 319 Acres, called Over the Rhine.

Over the Rhine in the past decade has been on an incline. However, it was like it is today. As a child, I was always told that I was not allowed to walk the streets, and that Downtown Cincinnati was not safe because of that particular district. Growing up, when crossing the river to enter the city, my family would immediately lock the car doors and roll up the windows. It was because of those childhood moments, that when I finally started to go on little adventures, Downtown Cincinnati wIMG_2662.JPGas never one of them. Brandon and I in the past year have gone to major cities, at most four hours’ worth of travel, but had not experienced what was only thirty minutes away from us. Most people today above the age of forty would still say that Over the Rhine is still highly unsafe, however, those my age (twenties) would know better. Over the Rhine has gone from a place that you could not travel at night to a booming area with lots to do.

Working in Over the Rhine, my manager knew that I did not know much about the area. When people would ask me where to go, or eat, I would have to refer them to someone else. I could answer questions about Northern Kentucky, but when it came to Cincinnati, I truly did not have a clue. I’ve never spent a day just walking around Vine Street or even going to Washington Park, which is less than a block away from my work. Honestly, I was lucky that I knew that the Music Hall was directly across the street from me. My manager, for Christmas, got Brandon and I two tickets to the “Queen City Underground Tour”.

IMG_2654.JPG        This tour was phenomenal. I went from a woman who didn’t have a clue to a person who is now able to give an in-depth history of the location.  On top of that, we were able to see local restaurants, and places that have made a name for themselves in the city. Our tour guides, where so theatrical, and polite. You could tell that they really enjoyed what they did and were able to answer any questions you had about Over the Rhine. Which really was a booming city, before Prohibition and the Great Depression. It was only after those eras that the area started to struggle.        The Underground Tour is $25.00 a person, and about 2 hours long. The tour takes you up and down Vine Street, which is the Hub of Over the Rhine. The tour guides tell stories of the first theatres, and pubs that ran the city. You also get to view the first underground crypt, as well as the most prominent underground tunnel; which was called the Coffman Brewery. This tour is about half and half when it comes to being outside, however we got to experience this in twenty-degree weather and I have zero complaints. The tour guides kept us moving and on our toes, so we weren’t cold very long.

If you are ever in the Cincinnati area, and want to experience a historical tour like no other. I would highly suggest this one. We loved this tour so much, that we are super excited to be going back for another tour, Queen City is Haunted. We will be able to enjoy that one however in May of 2018.

Recipe: Buttery Pecan Cookies

1 Cup of softened butter

1 teaspoon of maple syrup

3/4 cup of sugar

2 1/2 cups of flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

an egg

1 small bag of pecans.

 

1.) In a mixing bowl, add the butter (softened) and sugar together. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy.

2.) Add in the (1) egg and maple syrup.

3.) In the same mixing bowl, continue mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.

The mixture at this point should seem like dough.

4.) kneed the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap. Then place dough into the fridge for 1 hour.

One hour later….

5.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

6.) Roll it thin with a rolling pin, into shapes.

7.) Cookies go in until bottoms are a tad golden brown.

 

  • S.B