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About me

About me
About me




My Travelogue: Best & Worst Trips

My Travelogue: Best & Worst Trips

I absolutely LOVE traveling and seeing the world so I was super excited to write this post!! Most of the trips I've been on have been amazing, but I also went on one trip that was not so amazing!!

Cape Town, South Africa

In 2013, I spent 2 months near the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa volunteering with an international volunteer program. I stayed in a house with 20 other people from many different countries and lived out of a suitcase the entire time! The only negative to this trip was that sharing a house with 20 people wasn't always easy. The girls room was one big room upstairs and there was no door to get in it. So if one person was making a noise the whole house could hear it. And if you didn't go to bed at the same time as every other person, lights would turn on and off all night. Luckily, the good heavily outweighed the bad. I got to bungee jump off of the world's highest bungee bridge, ride an elephant, go on a safari, meet people from all over the world, and love on the sweetest children every day. This trip was probably my favorite thing I've ever done and I will forever cherish the time I had there! If you ever get the chance to go to South Africa I would highly recommend it!! It is SO beautiful and there is so much to do! 
We all became quick friends!
The bridge I bungee jumped off of! It was terrifying, but amazing!
Some of my girls at Steenburg Primary School
New Delhi, India

In 2013, I spent 1 month in India at an all girls orphanage. This trip was hard for many reasons. It was hard not knowing anyone, not eating meat (the orphanage I stayed at didn't eat meat), being 11.5 hours ahead of Texas time, being around people who mostly didn't speak English, people staring at you like your a zoo animal, and not having WIFI. (I feel ridiculous even typing that it was hard to not have WIFI, but when you don't have friends or family with you, it's hard to not be able to communicate easily using WIFI.)

I have one not so fond memory of riding an overnight (like 10 hour) train to Udaipur, India and let me tell yall... these trains are not like American trains. I wish I could explain this better, but picture a moving train that is so packed that people are literally hanging out of all the openings of the train. We purchased a ticket for a "bed" that folds down from the wall because it was going to be overnight, but not every passenger was using the train to get to Udaipur... so not every passenger had their own bed. There were no seats on this train... only beds... so basically your bed was shared with 4 other people until about 2 a.m. until mostly anyone not going to Udaipur had finally gotten off. Once I finally fell asleep I woke up a couple of hours later and someone was sitting on the edge of my bed. CREEPY!

One funny thing about India though is that there were literally monkeys everywhere. Since the orphanage we stayed at was open to the outdoors, we would sometimes have monkey visitors outside of our bedrooms. You knew there were monkeys close by if you heard girls screaming and slamming their doors. Haha! Going to India probably wasn't my favorite, but it was still incredibly eye opening and I'm so glad I was able to see a new part of the world I'd never been to!
There were monkeys everywhere!
The orphanage 
The Taj Mahal
At the train station prior to boarding... this is how people looked at us all the time
Italy, France, Monaco

My family went on a Mediterranean cruise a couple of years ago to these three beautiful countries! We love cruises because they let you see so many amazing places without having to worry about travel or changing hotels!! And the cruises themselves are also super fun! This was definitely my favorite cruise we've ever done! I mean the history inside of the Roman Collesium and The Pompeii Ruins just blows my mind! SO cool!
The Roman Coliseum 
Bora Bora

Bora Bora is easily my favorite place I've ever been because it marked the beginning of my marriage to Cory. On top of that it was also absoloutely beautiful and everything about it was top notch. I can't wait to go back for our 1 year anniversary! Haha just kidding. But really... when are we going back? You can read more about our honeymoon in Bora Bora here.
I am so thankful for the traveling I've been able to do and I can't wait to make more memories in brand new countries in the future!! Comment below the BEST place you've ever been and why. 

Amy Cotton

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Amy Cotton
Our trip to Chicago

Our trip to Chicago

This weekend Cory and I took a super last-minute trip to the Windy City of Chicago! I'd never been before so it was on my bucket list for a while! We planned the whole trip less than 48 hours before our plane took off, but it all turned out perfectly and Chicago did not disappoint. I'm not sure what I was picturing, but it was SO much more beautiful than I expected.

As soon as we landed we headed to our hotel, The Waldorf Astoria, which was simply gorgeous. The hotel staff were all so nice and helpful and our room was even ready 2 hours early!
When we left the hotel, our first stop was lunch at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, which is Spanish cuisine. We ordered so many yummy Tapas, which are basically small appetizer dishes. This place was SO good and was probably our favorite from the entire trip.
Goat cheese baked in red sauce
Beef tenderloin with blue cheese
Garlic grilled shrimp
Next, we got some fun drinks on the 94th floor lounge of the John Hancock center!!! It had the most amazing views!! This picture was taken in the women's bathroom. I mean, seriously... have you ever seen a bathroom with this kind of view?
Next, we explored the Magnificent Mile (a pretty, upscale shopping street) and then went to dinner at RPM Italian, which was super cute and had great food. On our way to the restaurant, we passed a taxi advertisement that said "Aladdin... Now Showing," so we instantly looked it up and bought some affordable tickets to a showing that same night!

Our Uber driver struggled to find us on the busy Chicago streets, but once he finally did, we headed to the Cadillac Palace Theater. I absolutely love musicals and was so excited to see one that I'd never seen before. Aladdin is also one of Cory's favorite Disney movies so it was a win-win for both of us. The show was awesome and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Chicago.
Saturday morning we woke up early for a breakfast reservation I made at Little Goat Diner. The Diner was started by Stephanie Izard, who competed and won on Bravo's Top Chef TV show. She has a couple other restaurants in Chicago, but apparently you need to make a reservation a couple of months in advance to get a table! This restaurant was fun and had some quirky things on the menu. Cory got Chicken & French Toast (as opposed to Chicken & Waffles) and I got the "Fat Elvis Waffles," which had bananas, peanut butter butter, and bacon maple syrup! They were DELICIOUS! We were tempted to try a dessert called "Cheeze-It" just because it sounded interesting but we were too full after our meals. Tell me you're not intrigued when you hear what the description of this SUNDAE is: cheez-it and strawberry gelato, chocolate covered cheez-its, milk chocolate, strawberry sauce, and whipped cream. We will definitely be saving room for that next time!
Then we went to the iconic Willis Tower to see the gorgeous views of the city from the Sky Deck and stand on "The Ledge." If you haven't heard of the ledge, it is a glass balcony extending a few feet outside of the 103rd floor of the tower. It was an extremely weird feeling stepping onto the clear balcony over the city and we were both kind of nervous, but ended up trusting the glass balcony and even did a jumping photo!
After we rode the elevator 103 floors back to the ground we got on a double decker hop-on hop-off bus to see more of the city. We eventually ended up back at the Magnificent Mile and did a little more shopping. Of course we also had to try some deep dish pizza so we stopped at Pizzeria Due for lunch. Cory loved it, and I thought it was pretty good, but I think I still prefer Domino's. Haha... just being honest!
That night we walked around our hotel a little before going to dinner at Lyfe Kitchen and then for dessert at Amarino.

Flower shaped gelato cones
Overall, it was such an awesome trip!! We were only there for the weekend, but I felt like we got to do everything we wanted to do!! I love exploring new cities and can't wait to pick our next destination. Where are your favorite places you've been?

Amy Cotton

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Amy Cotton
What's Up Wednesday: April 2017

What's Up Wednesday: April 2017

Can you believe it's the last week of April?!? I definitely can't! I've been having trouble keeping up with the blog lately, so it's perfect timing to jump into What's Up Wednesday to talk about everything we've been up to lately!!

You can read all of my What's Up Wednesday posts here.
1.    What we’re eating this week:

Last night I made Cilantro Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa for the first time and let me tell ya'll... it was SO good!!! It tasted so fresh and will definitely be something I make again. I also made these delicious breakfast bowls that I stored in the refrigerator and can easily be re-heated throughout the week.

**Instead of grilling the chicken I seared each side on the stove top for about 4 minutes each and then put it in the oven in a cast iron skillet for about 20 min. Just make sure you cut one or two pieces of chicken to make sure they aren't pink on the inside.
2.    What I’m reminiscing about:

This Easter was special because it was Cory and my first Easter as a married couple! We went to our church Easter morning and I love what our pastor said,

"Religion says, 'You've got to work to get rid of guilt'... Christianity says, 'It is finished.'"

What a great reminder that when Jesus died on the cross it was FINISHED. So many religions teach that you have to work your way into heaven, but if that were true, how could anyone get into heaven? We are all sinners and would never be good enough to get into a perfect heaven. As a Christian, we believe Jesus was our payment into Heaven. If you believe in Jesus Christ and confess him as your Savior than you are saved and are going to heaven. How amazing is that? We worship a very loving God.

Here's a great article to read if you have any questions about this topic.

3.    What I’m loving:

Bahama Bucks!!! Okay, let's be real.. I've always loved Bahama Bucks, but since it's getting warmer outside I feel like I have an excuse to go more frequently! Haha!
4.    What we’ve been up to:

Last weekend I got to go with Cory to Ridgedale, Missouri for their Bass Pro Shop work trip. We stayed at Big Cedar Lodge and it was incredible. The hotel itself felt like an extremely nice log cabin with the most beautiful views of Table Rock Lake. Unfortunately, it rained almost the entire time we were there so we had to find things indoors to do, which wasn't the easiest thing since it's a very 'out-doorsy' place where people hunt, fish, hike, ect. Luckily, Big Cedar Lodge had the most amazing spa that we went to 2 out of the 4 days we were there! I loved it! (So did Cory!) Haha!

We also drove to Branson one day and went to an Escape Room and successfully completed 2 different rooms! I had never done one of these before, but it was super fun!
One of the beautiful chapels at Top Of The Rock
Inside the Big Cedar Lodge Spa
I had to snap a picture of a wedding we walked into in our hotel lobby!
5.    What I’m dreading:

Nothing really!!

6.    What I’m working on:

Eating healthier and working out more!

7.    What I’m excited about:

We are going on our family cruise in just 3 short weeks! Cory and I are so excited because he's never been on a cruise before AND we just love vacations! YAY!

8.    What I’m watching:

Cory and I are really into documentaries and I've watched a couple lately that really convicted me. (I mean how can you watch a documentary and not be convicted of something? Haha!) Three that I've watched recently are Fat Sick & Nearly Dead 1, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead 2, and The Human Experiment.

Fat Sick & Nearly Dead follows an overweight man who decides to start juicing and only drink juice for 60 days. Over the course of 60 days he lost over 100 pounds. Crazy!!! Fat Sick & Nearly Dead 2 continues to tell the story of more people deciding to juice and reboot their health. Though I probably won't give up all foods and solely drink juice, I did use my juicer for the first time that night! Haha... It's definitely something I want to do more often.

The Human Experiment was about the amount of chemicals in consumer products. While I didn't pay attention to a lot of the documentary, I did walk away knowing I want to start using more natural products in our home. A couple of months ago I replaced most of our cleaning products with all natural products, and now I'm looking to see if there are better alternatives to other products as well. Does anyone else use only natural products in their home? What are you favorite things to use?

9.    What I’m listening to:

I'm loving this song that we sang at our church on Easter!

10. What I’m wearing

I recently went into Madewell and was instantly obsessed with everything they currently have in their store. I bought this, this, and this. So cute!!

11. What I’m doing this weekend

This weekend Cory and I are going on a triple date with some friends to a soccer game! I'm not normally a huge soccer fan, but with friends it should be really fun! Haha!

12. What I’m looking forward to next month

Our cruise that I mentioned above!!! I can't wait!!

13. What else is new

When I saw that Starbucks was releasing a limited time Unicorn Frappucino I knew I obviously had to try it! Was it amazing? No. Would I try it again? No. Was it pretty? Yes! Haha!
How cute is my friend?!
Have a great Wednesday!!!

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Amy Cotton

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Amy Cotton