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She Comes From Boston…

So this Wannabeislandgirl is still recovering from the back-to-back Kenny Chesney concerts at Gillette Stadium this past weekend. And, truth be known, this Wannabeislandgirl really IS from Boston. No lie!

Now, who WASN’T at the show?!?! We couldn’t believe the distances people traveled to see Kenny. People came from all over the country! The lovely Connie and Michelle from “Welcome to the Sandbar” were there and they even hosted a fun pre-party on Thursday night in Boston.

St John and Jost Van Dyke were also well represented at the show! We met the amazing Jenn from “News of St John”. And the world famous Foxy from Foxy’s Tamarind Bar was also there enjoying both nights with friends and family. All Kenny Chesney fans know who Foxy is….just in case you don’t, here’s a hint:

Oh I wish I was there tonight on Jost Van Dyke
Sipping on some Foxy’s Firewater rum
Or kickin’ back with Ivan
With all my friends down in the islands
Wouldn’t take much for me to up and run
To another life somewhere in the sun

We spotted so many t-shirts from all of our favorite island haunts….Foxy’s (JVD)….The Soggy Dollar Bar (JVD)…Corsairs (JVD)…The Beach Bar (STJ)…The Barefoot Cowboy (STJ)….Joe’s Rum Hut (STJ)….Coco Loco’s (JVD)…The One Love Bar (JVD)…Ivan’s (JVD). And that’s just a few!! It was so special to see the Virgin Islands so well represented.

 

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Kenny Chesney, Boston 2017
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Cheers to Foxy’s

The shows were totally amazing. We went both nights (yes, lucky us!) and each show was different, but equally special. Special guest star Uncle Kracker joined the stage for an added treat on Saturday night.

And, like all shows at Gillette Stadium, he sang our beloved “She Comes from Boston”. Do ya think he was singing to ME??!?  🙂

Until next year, my fellow Kenny Chesney fans…

Cheers!  #wannabeislandgirl

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy Balls (Tamarind, of course)!

‘Would you like to try a little treat?’, asks our friend Casilda this morning at breakfast. Of course I didn’t hesitate to grab one of the little donut-hole shaped balls. To my surprise…instead of the sweet donut-like confection I imagined … was this amazing spicy burst of flavor. Casilda pointed to the tree behind where we sat, and explained they were Tamarind balls made from the Tamarind pods. The flavor is amazing – a burst of Island spices matched with the sour-yet-sweet Tamarind pulp.

IMG_2464We then went on a short little hike to see the Tamarind tree. Casilda removed a few of the Tamarind pods and showed us how to clean and remove the pulp from the pod.

The nerd in me had to learn more, so here’s what I learned about the Tamarind. The tamarind tree produces a pod-like fruit which contain an edible (and tasty!) pulp. One other use of the pulp includes as a traditional medicine – great if you have an upset tummy. (Tried and tested after too many Painkillers last night!). The Tamarind wood can be used for woodworking, and Tamarind seed oil can be extracted from the seeds. Because of the tamarind’s many uses, you can find Tamarind around the world in tropical and subtropical areas. Who knew!

Nothing beats the flavor of the Tamarind straight off the tree in Jost Van Dyke, but if you’d like to try making these Island treats, here’s the recipe using Tamarind paste. And if you have fresh Tamarind – all the better.  Please note that this Recipe is minus Casilda’s secret ingredients, of course! Some secrets have to stay a secret.  😉

 

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TROPICAL TAMARIND BALLS

1-1/4 cups sugar

1 (7-ounce) package tamarind paste (or fresh Tamarind of course!)

1 tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce

Pinch salt, to taste

Directions:

Put 1/4 cup sugar in a shallow plate. In a bowl, combine the tamarind, hot sauce, salt, and remaining sugar. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together. Divide the tamarind mixture into bite-size portions, and shape into balls.

Add the tamarind balls to the sugar, and roll to coat evenly.

 

ENJOY!!  #wannabeislandgirl

Do You ‘Sea Grapes’?

Lounging on my favorite beach chair in front of the One Love in Jost Van Dyke, I notice tons and tons of these green fruity bunches hanging from the tree above me. Sure, I’ve seen them before but I’d never seen the bountiful bunches of grapes quite like this  — since we usually don’t travel to the islands in the summer.

Curious to learn more about them, I began doing a little research and learned a lot. The fancy name for the sea grape is Coccoloba Uvifera and is a species of flowering plant that is native to coastal beaches throughout tropical America and the Caribbean.

In the summer months, the sea grape bears green fruit in large, grape-like clusters. The fruit gradually ripens to a purplish color. Each contains a large pit that constitutes most of the fruit. They’re wind resistant and moderately tolerant of shade. They’re highly tolerant to salt, so they’re often planted to stabilize beach edges. When ripened to a deep purple color, the fruit is very tasty, and can be used for jam or even eaten directly from the tree. It can also be fermented for a tasty fermented wine. (I love wine, so this makes me happy!).

I haven’t tried making this yet, but here is a yummy sea grape jelly recipe from the folks at Edible Palm Beach.

SEA GRAPE JELLY

2 cups sea grapes

1 cup water

2 lemons or limes (preferably Key limes)

Pectin

4. 5 cups of sugar

Wash and then boil the sea grapes in a ratio of 2 cups sea grapes to 1 cup water for 25-30 minutes, crushing occasionally, until they are soft and palatable. Drain the juice through a jelly bag into a container (without squeezing).

Pour the juice into a pot and stir in the lemon or lime juice with a wooden spoon, and then add the pectin. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and add the sugar. After it returns to a boil, let it remain boiling for one minute, always stirring.

After removing from heat, skim foam if necessary. Sterilize jars in a 5-minute boil bath. Pour juice into the jars, leaving a quarter-inch of space at the top of the jar.

Chill, and enjoy!

A note of caution, sea grapes may look tempting at the beach, but don’t harvest them there. Sea grapes are often protected because their purpose is to help prevent sand erosion and give protection to native birds and sea turtles. 

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Packing for Paradise

So excited to be escaping to my beloved islands soon! I’m getting pretty good at this packing game – after a dozen plus years of experience.  It’s funny how you get into a groove for packing to the islands.

I pack by some very simple rules:

PACK LIGHT. Carry-on only. No way will we wait for our bags on a carousel or risk lost bags. We limit ourselves to a carry-on plus a small “fun” bag (guitar, snorkel gear etc). This is in sharp contrast to our first trip together to Key West where I had to move multiple pairs of shoes from my bag to my hubby’s because mine weighed too much. Imagine that – at the counter = shoving shoes into his bag. Never again – two pairs – just brown and black flip flops for me now!IMG_2435

PACK WATERPROOF: With all the ferries needed to get to our bliss, we usually just bring waterproof backpacks. But thanks to my broken foot (almost healed!), I get to use a hybrid backpack with wheels. Cheating this trip for sure.

PACK ACCORDING TO WEIGHT: Fashion is second to weight when packing for the Islands. I give all items the ‘weight test’ and tend to only buy things that are light and flowy. Even my very favorites stay behind if 15134822_10207963321425828_6248460383660843588_nthey don’t pass this test.

TOILETRIES: As mentioned above, only bringing carry-on means I have to make a quart sized bag hold all my junk for 10 days. After years of doing this, I’ve learned some shortcuts. Bar soap instead of body wash; sunscreen solids instead of lotions; and bug repellant bands instead too. Luckily, there is no such thing as a “hairstyle” down there (think beach waves!) so not much need for any of that junk.

KEEPING SAFE: Despite being in bliss, bad people exist everywhere (or more likely it’s just drunk tourists). This year we’re trying out the LocTote. Just lock this small backpack to our beach chair (or tree branch) and hopefully no more lost sunglasses or phones. Will let you know how that goes!

Oh yeah – one more must. When you land, make sure to get the free shot of Island Rum! And keep it flowing!

Stay tuned!

 

Icy Roads vs. Icy Drinks?

Is there really a question?

My morning started today by having to use a blow dryer to remove the sheet of ice from my car so that I could get to work.  New England winters can certainly be less than fun.

So I think to myself … would I be doing this if I lived on an island? Hell no!  The only ice would be in my rum drinks!!

You better believe, as I buckle down for another 12-15 inches of snow tonight, that I’ll be enjoying one of these Coral Coolers and sending a cheers to the islands!  Recipe from our friends at Blue Chair Bay Rum:

CORAL COOLER

1 oz. Blue Chair Bay® Coconut Spiced Rum

1 oz. Blue Chair Bay® Vanilla Rum

3 oz. orange juice

3 oz. pineapple juice

5 oz. grenadine

Pour all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish.

Here’s to all the WANNA BE ISLAND GIRLs! CHEERS!

The Super Bowl – Island Style

As we get ready for “The Big Game” today (go Patriots!) – I began to think back to the few times we watched the Super Bowl from the Islands. Each game had its own charm and uniqueness. Painkillers and football are a great combo – for sure. As far as watching the actual game – the search begins for the bar with the biggest (or any!) television.

My favorite game watching experience was at Coco Loco’s in White Bay, Jost Van Dyke.  It was more than a few years back – when big screens hadn’t really made it to the island. NO PROBLEM!  Nothing two white sheets, some long poles and a projector & laptop can’t fix. Yes, there were more than a few times that the connection went a little haywire to the groins of everyone watching…but it always came back just in time.

So as we get closer to kickoff today, I’ll be thinking of the islands and wishing I was there to see the Patriots win…..  CHEERS!

Welcome to Wanna Be Island Girl

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Hi, I’m Sheryl.  Welcome to my blog, WANNA BE ISLAND GIRL.

When the New Year hits, most people make similar types of New Years resolutions – lose weight, eat healthier, work out more.  But not me! (Well, to be truthful, I want those too).  BUT my main resolution for this year is to plan my escape to the islands forever – because I’m a WANNA BE ISLAND GIRL.

My husband and I have been going to the islands at least twice a year – for as long as we possibly can  – for just about as long as I can remember. We’ve made a lot of friends over the years, had a lot of fun, but mostly just relaxed and enjoyed the island lifestyle.  We travel mostly to the BVI’s and USVI’s – nothing beats the amazing beaches and the friendly people.

Easy dream, you say?  Well, not quite so easy. The realities of moving to an Island are quite difficult.  Where do I work?  Where do we live?  Do we take a leap without jobs? How do I transition my many years in the advertising world in the islands?  Will my dog Ziggy be attacked by one of those gigantic island lizards?  Ok, I admit that one might be a little irrational – and he’ll love chasing the little geckos – but he’s only 9 pounds and one of those big guys might eat him!

So, about a month ago, I heard about a possible job in my field that set this all into action.  I was beyond thrilled and pretty much had my bags packed and was ready for us to all move and go.  Ziggy was SO ready to be an island dog.  Visions of my husband and I walking Zig down the beach every day were already running in my head.  But when the job suddenly “disappeared”, I was beyond devastated. It really crushed me to my core.  So my wonderful hubby said, “well, you should make it happen another way”.

So here it goes…

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I hope that you join me on my journey to move to the islands permanently. It’s quite a goal – but I know I’ll find a way. The reward is just too amazing.

If you are a WANNA BE ISLAND GIRL too…please share your story. Let’s make this a community of island dreamers. Share your story, your pictures, and your dreams.

With Love,

Sheryl, WANNA BE ISLAND GIRL