Long ago before I was a professional travel writer and blogger, I was a teenager working at a spa. I spent many days opening and closing that spa, daydreaming about the travels I wanted to take. I would muse over different business ideas that would allow me to travel for a living. One of the outrageous ideas I thought up was "Personal Paparazzi". My concept was that I would follow the rich and famous around on their luxury vacations and capture their special memories. Alas that concept wasn't the path I would travel to get to my ultimate goal, but it wasn't far from the target of where I eventually landed. Imagine my surprise when I heard of PicTrip. Not just for the rich and famous, PicTrip does exactly what I was dreaming of. By working with a hand selected group of talented photographers, they help you capture your travel memories the way you always imagined them. Read on to learn more.
We've all been there. You save up, you take that trip you've been anticipating, and you eat your heart out. Sure the pleasure is undeniable, but so are those extra pounds you put on in the process. You can't fit in those shorts or that cute bikini, and more than that... you just kinda feel crappy. It's true that 80% of how we look and feel can be traced back to what we put in our mouth. I know I know, "How can this be Amy? Aren't you always bragging about the amazing fattening food you eat?" Well yes, and no. I love great food. I'm a proud foodie. However, most people probably don't realize that the majority of the time when we are at home, our meal time is very humble. I've been pretty honest about my childhood struggle with obesity. Over the years I've had to fight the urge to fall into the eating disorder trap. Instead of sinking into that pit of despair, I've found my own methods of living a life of balance, while also enjoying what I want. Here are some examples of how I lost weight going on great vacations to places like Jamaica, Rome, Colorado, and even a Cruise!
This spring our family headed north on I75 on our first big road trip with baby London. Our destination was an epic family reunion in Tennessee, but the 10 hour drive was daunting. With two little girls in tow we wanted to break the trip up a little make it more fun. Our solution? 24 hours in Atlanta. If you are a regular on Amy West Travel you'll know that our family kinda loves great food. Atlanta is currently booming in the culinary world, so it was a given that we were going to seek out the tastiest treats we could find. I've also been in the process of personally seeking out the best Aquariums in America. This naturally led us to the Georgia Aquarium, known for it's world class facility and menagerie of Aquatic wild life. Discover below just how fun our 24 hour adventure in Atlanta was.
Savvy travelers agree that if you are going to live in and out of a bag, the best way to do it is as organized as possible. Since organization is always top of mind when I put my bag together, it comes as no surprise why I'd be completely in love with my latest trendy find, Origami Unicorn's TUO (Travel Undergarment Organizer).
|Tuscan Chicken Sandwich |
If you are a regular to this blog you will be familiar with the fact that I am smitten with the ambiance and fare at Eleven South Bistro & Bar. Since it's inception it has yet to take a turn around the sun without being awarded the coveted Wine Spectator Award of Excellence (that's 10 consecutive now). Serving up farm to table ingredients since before it was a buzz phrase, Eleven South never ceases to innovate and lead the pack when it comes to timeless dishes that meet the modern palate. For all those reasons and more, it's always a delight to see what's new at one of my favorite Jax Beach haunts. Feast your eyes on what's fresh at Eleven South.
You know that feeling. It's time to get ready, you go through your closet, and everything just feels like the same ole same ole. If you want to spice up some of your favorite looks, or add a little glam to a more casual look, then consider these three timeless essentials.
Texas has held a special place in my heart since I was 18 and called it my home for a year. On top of that, Texas was also the backdrop of the beginning of my romance with my husband. With all those special memories and feelings tied to this great state, it was with pleasure that we introduced our kiddos to the place where everything is bigger. Texas is huge and there is much to explore. This trip was our first chance to get to know Houston, and let me tell you, the city did not disappoint. Our travels as a family of four lead us to the best of the inspired city from Tex Mex, to the world's most famous rodeo. Here is my "Houston Top 10" family style!
Before I was a travel writer, I was just a girl who loved to travel. In 2010 I checked a destination off my bucket list that is as iconic as it is ancient. Rome, at one time the epicenter of the world's power, remains to this day largely the same. My Roman holiday was coupled with a visit to the Islands of Malta as well, and as far as my travels go, it was one of the most memorable trips I have ever experienced. Here's why you should add Rome to your bucket list.
few trips with friends and let's just say it can it can be an enlightening experience that changes the course of your life and brings you even closer to your BFFs, or it could potentially crush a relationship. As a professional travel writer I personally think it's a great idea to get away with friends and seek out new adventures together. However, before you go, you might want to keep these Do's and Don'ts in mind for a more successful journey.
With Spring in full bloom and temps slowly creeping up, it's time to look forward to sunshine and summer in just a few short months. Seeking a little inspiration for your itinerary? Here are a few of my favorite Florida getaways you simply must add to your summer bucket list for you and your entire family.
Recently my husband and I were invited to be the guests of one of Jacksonville's newest culinary gems, a restaurant by the name of IL DESCO. Situated in a prime location in one of the River City's most historic and trendy neighborhoods, IL DESCO is poised for success as it aims to please the palates of local connoisseurs, girls night gatherers, and romantic liaisons. Jacksonville's Riverside area has become well known for it's upscale foodie finds. My review at IL DESCO would reveal if the newest member of the foodie scene was on the same playing field.
The past six months have been a little slower than my usual. Well... let's define slower. Slower when it comes to jet setting around the world, being in the social limelight, and exploring new luxurious destinations. However, if you define having a baby, getting a kindergartener adjusted to big kid school, buying and moving into a house, and continuing my work on this blog and in the media as slow well... you are probably way out of my league when it comes to busy. It's true my definition of busy has been redefined yet again. It won't be long though, before I pick up my travel pace. In fact, we are headed out to Texas this month to discover all the treasures Houston has in store. I look forward to bringing you the best of Houston, until then I'm embracing these last few refreshing days of spring with my little ones. Here are three reasons I love being home.
As a professional travel writer and media contributor I get asked all the time about the best tips and tricks for traveling as a family. I wrote about this topic a while ago, but my experience was really limited to preschoolers. Well, by popular request I'm back at it again, this time expanding on tips and tricks for traveling with kids for all ages.
Always looking for the edge when it comes to travel I recently happened upon a blog covering 21 secrets of travel. Curious how many of these little tips, tricks, and hacks were true I sought out my friend Rhoda, a flight attendant for Delta, to find out just how true the story was. Here are the facts on seven of these dirty little travel secrets.
Some say going from one child to two is like going from one to five. Others swear having more than one is easier because they entertain themselves. Personally, I've found the truth lies somewhere in between. Getting used to being a mom of two means learning to juggle the schedule of a kindergartener (they don't make Kindergarten like they used to folks), nailing down napping schedules and developmental milestones, and still fitting in time to think intelligent thoughts and bring fresh content to this blog. It's easy to find yourself getting married to the routine and overlooking the necessity and beauty of spontaneity. I'm talking about long walks holding hands just because, board games, giggles, dress up, and baking cookies. With everything my kids are blessed to have I was surprised by what my daughter asked for this year as a birthday gift...
I'm five months into the new adventure of being a mommy to baby London. Words can barely convey what a true joy the last few months have been. My first experience was (like many parents) a trial by fire. This time, there is a sense of confidence having tread similar ground before, and over all I've been much more relaxed for the whole process. This goes for bouncing back as well. I'd love to give you a five point formula for how I lost the baby weight but the truth is that it has been a lot less straight forward than all that. Instead of striving, this time it's all kind of taken care of itself. Here's my take on losing the baby weight the second time around....
If you follow me you will know by now that I'm pretty passionate about the subject matter of food. Maybe it's because I have personal ties with the farming industry, maybe it's because I am a self confessed former "healthy kid"(or chubby if we are just being honest). Whatever the reasons, this girl loves food. I'm always fascinated to observe the ebb and flow of certain trends within the food industry. As I've become more acquainted with the regions top Chefs, Restauranteurs, and Influencers in the industry I learn more about what goes into these changes and how to be more informed about how it ends up on the plate and where it's inspiration originated from. Recently I sought out some of the regions most valued opinions on what's trending this year and now I'm bringing them to you. Here's what the experts have to say about what to expect in 2016.