Marrs’ Go-To Eateries

Local Eats – Bravo’s Pizzeria, Faceless Samurai and Junior Colombian Burger

It’s definitely no secret that I LOVE food. What’s not to love? It’s delicious (most of the time) and brings joy. As a self-described foodie, I like to treat my taste buds and stomach to the occasional treat…ok I’m lying it’s more often than that hehe. After two years of living in Florida, these are the places that I keep coming back to. Bravo’s Pizzeria, Faceless Samurai and Junior Colombian Burger. Out of all the eateries in Florida, here are the top 3 places that hold my heart and my stomach.

Bravo’s Pizzeria – Safety Harbor

Being a New York Native, pizza has been a love of mine since birth. Growing up in the Bronx, we had some of the best pizza around. Slices were almost as big as me and were less than $2 a slice. Safe to say I take pizza pretty seriously. When I moved to Tampa I was certain I wouldn’t find a place that was as good as back home. Almost every pizzeria outside of New York states they have the coveted recipe, but it’s just a gimmick that I refuse to fall for. So when I was strolling through Safety Harbor one day and smelled the pizza at Bravo’s, I was a bit skeptical, but a girl was hungry and the slices were cheap so I gave it a go. From the outside it looked like a mom and pop pizza shop with no gimmicks or over the top claims. When I had their slice for the first time I was immediately transported back to my home state. It was crisp, cheesy with a perfect sauce to cheese ratio and you can buy BY THE SLICE! Whenever I’m craving pizza, this is the only place I go to.

Bravo’s Pizzeria is located at 100 Main Street in Safety Harbor. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Faceless Samurai – Palm Harbor

My fiancé and I love Japanese cuisine. Like most people we are pretty picky with our sushi. Sometimes it can be hard to find a spot that is both delicious and affordable. We decided to give Faceless Samurai a try on a day we were too lazy to cook and we fell in love. The restaurant is quaint and everyone we’ve encountered has always been friendly. My absolute favorite thing on their menu is the Gyoza. It’s always cooked perfectly with a nice crisp outside and flavorful filling. Their dipping sauce is also top notch and really elevates the dish. There is some kick to the sauce which may be one reason I love it so much. Certified Spice Lord over here! Their sushi rolls are always fresh and are made on the spot. Everything we’ve tried here has been fantastic! They’ve become a go-to for me for a few reasons: great service, consistent product and it doesn’t break the bank.

Faceless Samurai is located at 3428 Tampa Road, Palm Harbor.

Junior Colombian Burger – Orlando

Technically this one isn’t located in Tampa BUT I’ve been a fan of theirs for about 7 years or so making it a certified go-to spot for me. I was first introduced to JCB back when I was working for Disney (DCP 2012, baby!). A few friends of mine had told me about the spot and how I had to check them out. The first week I tried them I had eaten there 3 times, lol. It’s that good! Another quaint spot that doesn’t look like much from outside, but let’s be honest, don’t the best food spots have this in common? The burgers come with lettuce, cheese, chips and a secret sauce. I’m a HUGE salty/sweet fan so this is right up my alley. The saltiness of the chips with sweetness of the secret sauce and a flavorful burger make my tastebuds bust out the Harlem Shake. I have not found another burger like it. It’s become a must have whenever we venture out to Orlando. They also have a sauce bar in the shop which is perfect for someone like me that is obsessed with sauces. Yass honey! Next time you’re in Orlando, swing on through and grab a single or a triple…live your best life!

Junior Colombian Burger is located at 5389 S Kirkman Road, Orlando.

There you have it, homies. My top 3 go-to eateries in Florida. What are some of your favorite places to eat? I love trying new spots so be sure to let me know!

Thanks for reading!
xx
Marrs

Hudson’s Favorite Hangouts: Part 4

A Pupper Series – Next Stop: John Chestnut Senior Park
Sunset overlooking the lake

Who’s a sucker for a sunset..especially overlooking the water? Me! Me! Me! It’s so peaceful, serene and makes me appreciate how beautiful this earth is. It’s one of the things in life that always fills my heart with bliss. What I love about John Chestnut Senior park is its accessibility and vastness. The park is huge featuring 2 dog parks, playgrounds, trails, picnic areas and wildlife. Deer can be seen on almost every visit. Hudson and I love coming here. We often go to the dog park which offers plenty of space for him to play and run with others dogs while also offering me and other owners plenty of shade from the brutal sun. I love the trails you can find throughout the park. They lead deep into the trees and soon it feels like you’re somewhere far from Tampa on an adventure. The downside is there are so many bugs in the summer so be sure to load up on bug spray! I’ve definitely forgotten this one too many times and the results are never pretty. When the “colder” temperatures come, we’ll definitely be visiting more and taking advantage of being able to run without dying of heat exhaustion.

One thing Hudsons loves to do is be chased and the dog park here is the best place for it. Like I mentioned earlier the dog park is enormous. If there are no dogs for Hudson to play with, I’ll chase him around the park. First it’s great exercise for both of us and second this place is always clean. I don’t really have to worry too much about stepping in little surprises while I’m there – which let’s be honest is a big relief. The last thing any one wants is to have to hose crap off their shoes.

Along the park are picnic areas; perfect for families or parties. They 100% remind me of the birthday parties we used to throw when I was just a kid. All you needed was family, food, booze and a boom box. Ahh to go back to those days. Anyway back to 2019, I highly recommend checking this spot out. It’s wonderful year round given all the shade provided by the gorgeous trees. It’s another perfect place to just escape the chaos and madness of the world and just reset. Whether you’re looking to take your pup on a play date, go for a run along the trails or throw a party…this can easily become a go-to spot.

The park is located at 2200 East Lake Road, Palm Harbor and is open until sundown.
More information on the park can be found here!

Thank you for reading. Catch you on Wednesday!

xx
Marrs

Hudson, David and I rate John Chestnut Senior Park 5 out of 5 Dog Bones

Discovering Camp Tampa – Marrs Does Fitness

A Fitness Series – The One that Has it All

Camp Tampa is a boutique gym located in South Tampa that offers a variety of classes from circuit to yoga. The gym consists of three buildings each housing their speciality. There’s Yoga, Cycle/Circuit and Stations/Hit. I decided to give their HIIT classes a try after two of my friends started teaching there. Shoutout to my homies/workout queens, Anna & Alyssa, for putting me on!

Now what is HIIT? HIIT or High Intense Interval Training involves bringing your heart rate in and out of the fat burning zone. It is one of the most effective types of training when it comes to burning calories and Camp offers an entire studio dedicated to this type of training – which is pretty dope.

First impressions are important and Camp did not disappoint. Their website is clean, fun and super easy to use. I was able to create an account and schedule my first class in under 10 minutes. The hardest part was picking which class to try first. Their schedule is LOADED with so many choices.

Variety is the spice of life

William Cowper, “The Task” 1785

The first class I tried was Ass & Abs with Anna. Man did she make me WORK. Her playlist was top notch and every exercise made my muscles pop! The best part is everyone is going at their own pace. You put in the work to see the results you desire and that’s exactly what I need at this point in my fitness journey. Since that initial class, I’ve also taken Anna’s Hot Arms & Abs and Hot Full Body. All the classes mentioned are 50 minutes long and consists of a warm-up, 3 blocks of exercises and core work to finish. What’s great about these classes is they are always different and each instructor brings their knowledge and flair. You get to use equipment as well such as weights, bands, TRX straps and blocks.

Not only do they offer variety with their classes, they also offer different ways you can enjoy classes at Camp. There are several class packs you can purchase if you don’t want to commit monthly or you can go unlimited. Guys, they even have an intro offer for your first month. Class packs range from 5-30 classes and priced between $90 to upwards of $395. Their unlimited starts at $99 for your first month and then goes to $159. Now I know these prices ain’t cheap but I did mention this was a boutique. I do find their prices to be worth the money 100% for $159 I can take cycle, yoga, hit and more? The gif says it all. Most of the high end gyms around here are at that price or more and offer one type of class. Case closed on value.

Final Thoughts: Camp Tampa offers so much flexibility. You can really tailor the experience to fit to your schedule and budget which is why it 100% gets my pick for Best Workout in Tampa. Happy Camper over here!

Camp Tampa – South Tampa
Value for price-point: 5 out of 5
Schedule Flexibility: 5 out of 5
Workout: 5 out of 5
Cleanliness: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5


Gym: Camp Tampa
Location: 3012 W Palmira Ave, Tampa, FL 33629
First Class Cost: $10 or free with a code (Google magic, my friends)
Rentals Included: Yes
First Class Link: Click Here

Thank you for reading! Catch you guys again soon.
xx
Marrs

Rock Out With Your Knock Out – Marrs Does Fitness

A Fitness Series – The One with all the Kicks

Kickboxing is an awesome workout. You kick, punch and have your heart pumping for the entire class. I’ve tried two kickboxing gyms in the last year so for this post instead of trying a new one out, I thought it’d be best to write about my experiences with I Love Kickboxing and 9 Rounds. They both offer kickboxing classes, but are in no other way similar. Let’s start with the basics.

Gym: I Love Kickboxing
Location(s): Trinity, Largo, Sarasota, Oldsmar
First Class Cost: They offer 3 classes for $20
Rentals Included: Gloves are included in offer and are yours to keep
Class Link: Click Here

Gym: 9 Rounds
Location: Safety Harbor, Dunedin, St Pete, South Tampa and New Port Richey
First Class Cost: Free
Rentals Included: Yes
Class Link: Click Here

Online scheduling is not offered at I Love Kickboxing, which is a bummer. You’ll need to speak to someone directly to get scheduled for class. It’s part of the experience and for them to get to know you. However, 9 Rounds does allow you to book your first class online. You simply input your information, select the best date and time for you, and boom you’re done. They’ll call and/or text you beforehand to confirm. Now let’s get into the workouts.


ILKB is an hour long class. The general format is always the same. You start with a warm-up which is designed to get your heart rate in and out of the fat burning zone. Seriously don’t be mislead by the term “warm-up.” The first 15 is far from easy. You have an instructor or two there the whole way to show you the moves and make sure you are in proper form. The best part of their culture is everyone is to progress at their own pace. After the warm-up, you stretch as a class and head into 6 bag rounds.

There are always 6 rounds and a speed round, but the combinations change every class. All your work is done on a free standing heavy punching bag. You learn all the basic punches and kicks with dope music playing in the back. When I first started going, I always felt like I was in a training montage of a sports flick. Even if you give minimal effort here, you will be sore the next day. After your bag rounds you go into partner glove drills which focuses on accuracy and coordination. You finish class with conditioning and boom your hour is over! FYI, class time varies by studio.

9 Rounds is only 30 minutes and does not offer class times! It’s an ongoing circuit style workout so you can jump in at any time. Like the name suggests, there are 9 rounds in the class. You start with jump rope to get your heart rate up and then it’s a mix of bag rounds, weighted exercises and non-weighted exercises. At 9 rounds, you work with a speed bag, a traditional double end bag, a maize bag, and an uppercut bag. The rounds are about 3 minutes each and go by quickly. I really enjoyed these workouts as they were convenient and you got to work with various equipment.

At 9 rounds, you have the opportunity to purchase a chest strap heart rate monitor. It’s relatively inexpensive as far as HRM goes. I paid about $70 for mine and it works with other apps on my phone; overall pretty decent investment. If you do buy one, you will see your stats on the screen while you workout. This is perfect for those of us who are competitive. You’ll know exactly where you are at all times and when you sure speed it up or slow it down. It’s the ideal opportunity to keep yourself in check. Having a good workout isn’t about being completely out of breath the entire time. It’s crucial to listen to your body and not overwork yourself to get the most out of it. The rounds always change, every time you come to class. Since the times are so flexible, the gym is never completely full. This is perfect because it allows more one on one attention from the instructor. After class you get an email with your stats and how many classes you’ve taken. Perfect for accountability and motivation. Oh and you get to ring the bell after your workout, which was honestly my favorite part.

Final thoughts! Kickboxing is a really fun way to workout. You feel badass, you burn loads of calories and your toning at the same time. Depending on your budget and schedule, either option can really help you met your fitness goals. I personally think it’s a great option for those just starting off and looking for fast results. Both gyms offer month to month memberships so you do not need to be locked in for a specific length of time. I love flexibility, homies! As of writing this post, 9 Rounds starts at $79/month for unlimited workouts and ILKB starts at $145/month for unlimited workouts.

9 Rounds – Safety Harbor
Value for price-point: 4 out of 5
Schedule Flexibility: 5 out of 5
Workout: 4 out of 5
Cleanliness: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5


ILKB – Oldsmar
Value for price-point: 2.5 out of 5
Schedule Flexibility: 4 out of 5
Workout: 4.5 out of 5
Cleanliness: 3 out of 5
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Thank you for reading. Catch you guys soon!
xx
Marrs

Keep Calm and Pedal On – Marrs Does Fitness

A Fitness Series – The One with the Spin Class

Our lockers at CycleBar – Huge fan of the messages

There is a high chance that you’ve heard about spin or cycle classes. If not, then you’ve definitely heard of SoulCycle. Their marketing is pretty top notch. It’s like they’re everywhere! Spin classes have been around since the early ’90s. Developed and popularized by Johnny G; it’s all about improving your endurance and stamina. You can find cycle classes pretty much anywhere from Crunch Fitness to Lifetime Fitness and all the boutiques in between. It’s stayed around for so long because it works. If you do a simple Google search of spin classes in Tampa, you will be overwhelmed with the array of options. How do you choose the best one? I decided to check out CycleBar because: 1. They offered online booking and 2. They offered the first class for free. What’s better than trying something new risk free?

I completed the online form, told a friend to join me and together we chose our class. We went with a Throwback Thursday class which featured jams from the 80s’, 90’s and early 00’s. Basically it was right up my alley. The studio isn’t too far away from work so I was confident I would be there promptly with time to get myself mentally prepared for something new.

As luck would have it, I was wrong. After work traffic is inevitable, but I was completely unprepared for the parking nightmare I was about to endure. The studio is located in a strip mall, and while there are plenty of spots, all the empty ones stated “Parking for Cali only 5pm-7pm.” Ahhhhh! Sweat began to form on my forehead as I was scouring for any open slot. It was also raining this day so people were not driving to their best ability. With 5 minutes to spare I snag a spot and it was a tight one. Thank you, Honda, for my reverse camera!! Once that mess was behind me it was smooth sailing. Since my initial class, the studio has combated this issue by providing free valet parking during peak class times. Big kudos to them on that!

I arrived and met my friend, who had no problem with parking, lol. We got our cool cycle shoes and were escorted to our personalized lockers. It’s just a little amenity, but I loved it. The words of affirmation put a smile on my face. Even though I knew death was near. We locked up our stuff and got fitted on our bikes. The instructor assisted us with getting settled and in the correct positioning. She also gave a brief overview on what to expect during class and what certain terms meant. As someone who hasn’t taken a spin class in 10 years, I really appreciated this tidbit. Feeling completely lost in a fitness class is not fun at all.

The instructor, Rachel, had the jams going and we were off. The class gradually got harder as the time went. Sweat was pouring down my face and my legs felt like cement. Rachel offered words of encouragement the whole way through. One cool thing is all the bikes are connected and show your results on the screen in front of class. It shows how much power and how many calories you are burning as a unit. Rachel used this to motivate us to push harder. As a class, we reached a power level that at first seemed impossible. This was by far my favorite part of the class.

By the end my legs turned into limp spaghetti and I felt really accomplished. After class was over, we were given cards which discusses membership options. They have various memberships that range in prices from $59-$149/month*. The spin classes are not really for me, but I can see the draw.

Overall thoughts:
Value for price-point: 3.5 out of 5
Schedule Flexibility: 3.5 out of 5
Workout: 3.5 out of 5
Cleanliness: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Gym: Cycle Bar
Location: 209 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa FL 33609 (South Tampa)
First Class Cost: Free
Rentals Included: Yes
First Class Link: Click Here

Come back Monday for the next part of the series…Kickboxing! Peace out, homies!

*As of September 2, 2019