A friend of mine is suffering from a major case of the winter blues, which isn't so unusual this winter. Last week I suggested she take a tropical stay-cation. The idea sounded so appealing, my boo and I did just that last Sunday. It was super fun and just what we needed to break the winter doldrums. Besides that, it cost us next to nothing, we weren't subjected to security pat downs or winter storm delays. If the idea sounds appealing to you, here's some suggestions to make your tropical stay-cation a success.
First, FLOWERS. Flowers bring the tropics to you. Things to look for this time of year in your local flower shops, and even grocery stores, are anthurium, stargazer lilies (I opted for a cut stargazer for a measly 3 bucks a stem for our tropical getaway) and bromeliads.
Second, MUSIC. This was the most important ingredient in our 'getaway'. If you WANT to spend the money and download some music via iTunes, these are my picks:
For the quintessential 'island' sound of calypso & steel drums & etc, check out the title Caribbean Party Music. Another excellent choice would be just about anything by Kent Arnsbarger, who is a master on the steel drums. For traditional Crucian music, Blinky the Roadmasters are a MUST.
And for a bit of silly fun, test your steel drum talent at the Virtual Steel Drum page on Key West Calypso.
For FREE island tunes, go the always dependable Pandora. Any of the artists mentioned above will create an interesting playlist. However, a great and easy choice would be their 'Reggae Radio', which can be found on their 'Genre Stations'.
Third, DRINKS. With your tunes playing in the background, you're going to want whip up a few libations. Here's two great sites that will give you a taste of the islands: For tall cocktails, go to this page at Drink Mixer. Hawaii for Visitors is another good source for recipes. For NON-alcoholic drinks, check out this page at Drink Mixer. (We opted for Captain Coladas.)
Fourth, FOOD. Okay, the tunes are jammin' and you have a drink in your hand. Now it's time to get cookin'. Two websites that I particularly like are Island Flave and Recipe Island, for vegetarian options. (We fixed Caribbean Black Beans & Rice. Nummy.)
Fifth, GAMES. To include the kiddos in the fun, you'll need something for them to enjoy too. Here's a Caribbean word search courtesy of ABC Teach, a bunch of tropical coloring pages from Parenting and an island diorama tutorial from Crayola.
Sixth, MOVIES. The next best thing to being on a tropical island is watching a movie set on a tropical island. I've accumulated a list that includes something to keep the kids occupied while you fix your Caribbean feast, something to watch as a family after supper as well as something to enjoy after the kids are in bed. (Our picks were Captain Ron to start and Pirates of the Caribbean to finish the evening.)
- Swiss Family Robinson
- One Night in the Tropics
- Blue Hawaii, Girls, Girls, Girls and Paradise, Hawaiian Style
- Key Largo
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Captain Ron
- Blue Crush
- After the Sunset
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Ultimately, we enjoyed our tropical getaway so much, we're thinking about taking one every week until the snow melts. Considering how much is piled up out there, we might still be jammin' to Blinky until May.