1) RELAX! I mean... relax. Before any of the following list will matter, you have to get the state of mind. Go with the flow, enjoy life, and accept everyone. Follow the official Key West philosophy, "All people are created equal members of ONE HUMAN FAMILY"
2) MUSIC. Music is key. It's a universal language, and you don't need words to speak it. There are many types of music that convey a tropical feel. Some do it by their instruments, be it a steel drum or a ukulele. Other music does it by the voice; and some do it by their lyrics. The following are some of the best songs and albums to get tropical!
- Bob Marley & The Wailers album "Legend".
- Ziggy Marley albums "Dragonfly", "Love is my Religion" and "Family Time". Ziggy is the only of Bob Marley's children to follow in a similar style of Reggae.
- Mishka - albums "Talk About", "Above The Bones" or any of Mishka's tracks. A great new artist.
- Rebelution's track "Ordinary Girl"
- The Heptones "Book of Rules"
- Toots & The Maytals - "Monkey Man" original and remake featuring Gwen Stefani
- Jimmy Buffet - The ultimate beach bum. Almost any of his albums are great, but "Take the Weather With You" and "License to Chill" are my favorites along with tracks "Fins" and "Changes in Lattitudes, Changes in Attitudes".
- Kenny Chesney - His music is what pushed me to move to Florida. The entire album "Be As You Are" was a great risk for him but turned out to be a masterpiece. Also listen to "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem", "Keys in the Conch Shell", "Outta Here", "Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven", "When The Sun Goes Down" and many many more. His forthcoming "Hemingway's Whiskey" should not disappoint for tropical tunes.
- Alan Jackson's cover of "Margaritaville" and "5 O'Clock Somewhere", both featuring Jimmy Buffet.
- Clay Walker's "Mexico" and "Then What?"
- Garth Brooks "Two Pina Coladas"
- George Strait "The Seashores of Old Mexico"
- Howard Livingston "Blame it on the Margaritas"
- Toby Keith's "Good to Go to Mexico"
- Zac Brown Band's "Toes" and "Where the Boat Leaves From"
- Jo Dee Messina's cover of the Bob Marley tune "One Love"
- Aimee Allen's "On Vacation" and her cover of Sublime's "Santeria"
- Jack Johnson tracks "Banana Pancakes", "Good People", "The Horizon has been Defeated" and "Wasting Time".
- Jason Mraz, "I'm Yours" and the cover versions by Ten Feet and Sindre Dybvikstrand
- Raven Simone - "Under The Sea"
- Colbie Cailat's version of "Kiss the Girl"
- Fergie featuring Rita Marley - "Mary Jane Shoes"
- Hayden Panettiere - "Wake Up Call"
- Jordan Pruitt - "One Love"
- Jump 5 - "Aloha, E Komo Mai"
- Steve Rushton - "Everything I Want"
NO DOUBT (a league of their own)
- "World Go Round"
- "Beauty Contest"
- "New Friend"
- "Underneath It All" featuring Lady Saw and the 'Rocksteady' album
- "Now That You Got It" by Gwen Stefani and featuring Damian Jr. Gong Marley
- Blondie's "The Tide is High"
- Harry Nilsson's "Coconut"
- Rupert Holmes - "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)"
- Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and cover version by Jason Castro
- Sean Na'auao's "Drop Baby Drop"
- Tia Carrere's cover of "Sing"
- Zulu 9.30's "Era"
- Special AKA's "Jungle Music"
- Asa - "Jailer"
Use these songs to make the perfect tropical mix. Also, anything instrumental with some steel drums.
3) FOOD - The flavors of the islands are always within reach. Fruits like mango, banana, coconut, pineapple, strawberry, orange, papaya and lime are all great to eat as is, in a smoothie, or to garnish other food. Jerk seasoning and hot peppers like jalapeno and habanero are great to bring the islands to your taste buds.
You should also know how to make a key lime pie. It's a great tropical quick fix.
- 1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
- 3 egg yolks, (whites not used)
- 1/2 cup of key lime juice
- 1 9-inch graham cracker pie crust
Pre-heat over to 350 degrees. Mix egg, key lime juice and sweetened condensed milk until completely blended. Pour into pie crust. Bake 15 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate. Serve cold. Use green gel cake topping to outline the pie and fill the break between the pie and the crust. Use lime slices to garnish. To make it extra tropical, sprinkle coconut flakes on top of the pie before baking. It's ridiculously easy and tastes better than most restaurants key lime pie.
4) DECOR - I have only one word for you. WICKER! But if I had other words, they would be plants, palms and flowers... and the color green.
5) ATTIRE - Throw on your favorite pair of shorts and cheapest pair of flip flops. Whether it's 100 degrees out or there's 2 feet of snow on the ground, flip flops make the man.
6) MOVIES - If you need a tropical pick-me-up, try popping in a movie set in a tropical destination. Some of my favorite are:
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall
- Fool's Gold
- In Her Shoes
- The Birdcage
- 50 First Dates
- 6 Days, 7 Nights
- Lilo & Stitch
- Finding Nemo
- The Little Mermaid
Also, you can always pop in an episode of "The Golden Girls". Tropical AND gay!
This is all I have for today. Thought I'd help everyone out with a little bit of island expertise. I know it's heavy on the music, but that's where I draw most of my inspiration.
SHAKA to all!