It's been a great 2014 for Amy West Travel. As the year winds down I must say how thrilled I've been to be featured in several great media outlets. Besides my monthly guest spot on News 4 Jax morning show, frequent guest segments on First Coast Connect, and now my addition to USA Today's 10Best.com family, I've been honored to be showcased on the following platforms.
Food is not so different from fashion. Trends come and go based on a lengthy measure of circumstances. What's in season? What crop did well this year? What celebrity chef debuted their newest dish using that random ingredient? And what are the latest health trends? It's unclear at times just what makes an item leap of the menu and into patrons mouths (besides their tastiness), but what is clear, is that it is ever changing. Of course there are classics that will never go out of style like the iconic Filet, Salmon, and Pasta dishes, but some specialties will see their rise and fall within the spectrum of a year... give or take. Here are some dishes that have received a lot of fanfare recently that me thinks.... may not last much longer in the popularity contest that is dinner. So get em while they last friends before the next big thing goes viral across the dining rooms of the country.
Recently I published a few blogs on my exceptional experience with the Epicurean Hotel in Tampa, FL. After three days of getting to know this southern gem, I can tell you with authority, it is something really special. Get up close and personal in this new video we just released showcasing what makes this location, so unique.
|Poolside at the Epicurean Hotel|
Recently I visited a destination that still has my mouth watering. So much brilliance in one spot, it's hard to find a starting place to describe this hotel with a culinary heart. From the moment I learned about the Epicurean Hotel I was attracted to it's Foodie foundation, and knew this was a place I would find like minded wanderers. What I didn't realize was how deep the Epicurean's roots went, and how inspired the concept would leave me.
There is so much to explore and get involved with at the Epicurean Hotel and it's surrounding SoHo neighborhood. During our recent three night stay, we tried pretty much everything. Here are our "Top 10 things you Must Do" while visiting this chic Tampa getaway.
|On the menu:|
The "Lady Who Lunches" series would not be complete without a feature on one of my very favorite lunch destinations, Ashes' Boutique and Tea Garden in Jacksonville Beach. I covered the Tea Room on my show for my "Where the Locals" go episode, and love to bring my besties, or even my business meetings to this sweet little cottage. I've witnessed little girl birthdays, baby showers, and even engagements happen within the walls of this shabby chic hideaway. If you want to shop, or get caught up on the latest in girly gossip, you should visit Ashes... Did I mention how tasty the food is?
This year a conversation began on the tail of a horrific mass murder targeting young females. That conversation was #YesAllWomen. As I read through the confessions of women across the globe, I was reminded of my own vulnerability. Ten years ago I felt that vulnerability keenly, and in an effort to protect myself I signed up for self defense classes. That quickly turned into a year of martial arts that served to both humble me, and grow my confidence by leaps and bounds. After a year, I became distracted with life and moved on, but the lessons I learned stuck with me. When a local friend told me of a class she took at The Women's Defense Company, I was immediately excited. #YesAllWomen should take classes that will empower them and instill techniques that could save her life. I knew I had to do a review and share with you a taste of what you will gain. Here are my....
I've been a fan of Jacksonville Magazine for years. I consider myself priveledged to have graced her pages as a model, and photographed for at least one fashionable editorial. The magazine has been a staple of the community for decades, showcasing the beauty of the First Coast and standing out as the expert on all things Jacksonvillian.
|Cultures Collide at this Small Plates "Street Vendor" |
I cover many destinations both local and national, and always love it when friends and family give me their feedback or recommend a great place. When my good friend suggested I do a series on great lunch destinations as a follow up to my "Date Night Destinations", and "Best in Brunch" series, I was inspired and decided to explore the idea. A few teasers on social media revealed that this is indeed a hot topic amongst foodies, and as such, was all the motivation I needed to move forward. Among several suggestions, Hawkers Asian Street Fare came up. I love exploring the hot bed of excellent culinary spots our riverside surrounds. So I was thrilled to sit down with the new 5 Points resident, and find out exactly why everyone is raving.
Jekyll Island was a beloved childhood haunt of mine. As an adult I've long desired to reacquaint myself with the island and discover more of the history it is so proud of. As I was researching destinations for my Girls Getaway series, the Jekyll Island Club Hotel came to mind as an ideal place to get away with my best girls and unwind in the romantic south. The Girlfriend's Getaway package boasted in room massage, wine delivered nightly, picnics, and bike rides just to get started. My friends and I couldn't wait to arrive for our weekend of relaxation. When we left, we all felt we'd just experienced the most perfect girls weekend ever.
In the next few months I'm revealing some great destinations for the ladies. Never fear fellas, many of these spots are just as fun for you as for her, so pay attention because you don't want to miss out. In true Amy West Travel style, I kicked it all off with a visit with Melissa Ross at First Coast Connect to dish on 3 Amazing Girls Getaways you must visit! Check out my highlights listed here, and listen to the clip from my segment below.
Win a Free Week of Classes
|Whose got tickets? This girl!|
I remember when I was a kid, and first learned of the mystical land called "Medieval Times". A place where history played out right in front of your eyes, and knights fought for the hand of a fair maiden, all while dinner was served. On top of that you had to eat with your hands!
When I planned a "Family Escape" to Orlando this summer, I was so excited to learn that my childhood fantasy yet thrived in the humid climes of Central FL. Here's our photo journey through that memorable experience, as I saw it through my own little ones eyes.
I've bragged about Image Skincare's benefits for years. However given this sunny season where we all want to be outdoors soaking up the sun I thought it would timely to name four of my favorite Summer Skin Savers! These items are nothing short of miraculous and stand out among their peers. If you are aiming to keep that youthful glow while everyone else is turning a bright shade of raspberry, I fully endorse the products below.
|Sunrise at Sea|
We've been back from our family cruise for a week now and let's just say we are almost fully recovered. If you follow me on social media you may have read that we suffered a bit of a blow on this trip with an unexpected health crisis hitting us on the third day. It was unfortunate, especially because this was a "Big" family cruise with my whole family, my parents, and six siblings. This was to be our giant family Christmas present. There couldn't have been worse timing for illness to hit, however I will say it could have been much much worse. We are grateful for the blessings we had, and the great memories we captured before we were sequestered to our cabin.
Here is a little photo recap of all the fun parts;)