Trop-Rockin’ with Balmy Palms

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Balmy, breezy palms are my photo obsession.

You don’t have to read very many of my posts to figure out what an island girl I am.  I mean, really, I named my blog “Somewhere in the Sand.”  How much more of a clue do you need? Give me a swaying hammock, a shady palm tree and some nice, soft sand beneath my (bare) feet and I’m all set.

You’ll probably also notice what a big Jimmy Buffett fan I am (islands … Buffett … palm trees and soft sand … I’m noticing a pattern here).  The sound of steel drums and island tunes is, well, music to my ears.

Besides being a writer and promoter of prose, I’ve always had a secret desire to be a songwriter…not necessarily a singer, per se.  I’ve been told by my wise nine-year-old that I was not “made for singing” so we will just leave it at that.  But the writing, now that would interest me.

That brings me to the topic of this post (you’ll also notice I can be a bit long-winded…).  I just received a very cool press release from the tropical lifestyle brand Balmy Palms.  If you’ve never heard of them, you should really check them out.  They’re right here on the good old world wide web-o-sphere at BalmyPalms.com.

The "pop of trop rock" Jimmy Buffett - Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, Virginia, 2010

The “pop of trop rock” Jimmy Buffett – Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, Virginia, 2010

The fine folks at Balmy Palms are on the search for an original trop-rock song to represent the brand on its website, radio and other media outlets.  Balmy Palms is inviting up-and-coming singers/songwriters to submit an original song for consideration.  The ideal song will give off the laid-back image of a stress-free island lifestyle as well as the company’s tagline “No worries, no qualms … just Balmy Palms.”  They want to put listeners into a “Balmy Palms state of mind.”  Hey, I like that philosophy.

With roots in the ‘60s, trop rock, or tropical rock, is a blend of country, Caribbean, reggae and rock with the use of island instruments and tropical themes.  Jimmy Buffett, Jack Johnson, the Zac Brown Band and Kenny Chesney (all favorites of mine) are a few of the big-time trop rock crossover artists.  Buffett is often called the “pop of trop rock.”  Other trop rock singers/songwriters include John Frinzi, Sunny Jim White, Dave McKenney and Keith Sykes, as well as the Jimmy Buffett tribute band, A1A.

The selected song will receive airplay on the trop rock internet radio station, BeachFront Radio.  BeachFront Radio has won the number one “Trop Rock Station of the Year” title several times at the annual Trop Rock Music Awards.  I have recently started listening to BeachFront Radio and it is quite good.  I go back and forth between it and Radio Margaritaville.

In addition to radio play, the artist of the winning song will receive $400 and select Balmy Palms apparel.  They will also receive publicity by way of the Balmy Palms website and press releases.

Balmy Palms plans to enlist the public’s help in the song selection process (Yippeee!), but the final selection will be made by the staff at Stratosphere Media Group, along with input from the DJs at BeachFront Radio.  Even if a song is not selected, this is an excellent opportunity for exposure (radio exposure that is, not…other kinds of exposure), as all of the songs will be listened to and considered for eligibility.

Kara Benson, Balmy Palms Marketing Director, says

“This is a great opportunity for an aspiring musician to receive valuable publicity for his/her talents.”

All music and lyrics must be original as well as written and performed by the submitting artist.  Songs must be submitted in an MP3 audio file format, and be ready for radio play.  The date for songs to be submitted in the Balmy Palms songwriting contest is June 30, 2013.  Submissions can be made at BalmyPalms.com.

Please visit BalmyPalms.com for a complete list of rules and regulations.  I wouldn’t want to waste any virtual ink by posting them all here since you have to hop on over there anyway.

So, all of you talented trop rockers out there, pull out those steel drums, congas and marimbas and get the inspiration rolling.  I’m expecting some great things.

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Photo: Balmy Palms

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Blogging About Blenders

Move over Hamilton Beach and Cuisinart, there’s a new blender in town.  It’s big and it’s colorful and it goes by the name of Margaritaville.

The Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker.

Now, I’m not one to wax poetic about kitchen appliances.  Or cooking in general, for that matter.  You will rarely see me writing about recipes or anything that requires me having to prepare my own food.  Aside from the occasional baking of a key lime pie or the pushing of a button on the microwave, I try to stay out of my kitchen.  We’re all safer that way.  I do have a thing for celebrity-chef inscribed products, and admit to owning a couple of them, but they generally stay nice and neat (and safe) in their respective spots.

Bringing a bit of the tropics to my kitchen counter.

The Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker (Bahamas model) is the one exception.  I LOVE this thing.  This blender practically thinks for itself.  It’s smarter than I am.  I like that in a kitchen appliance.  Just fill it with ice, pour in your favorite liquid concoctions and flip the switch.  That’s it.  The machine does everything else.  You don’t have to stop it and stir and scrape globs of stuff off the sides of the pitcher.  It shaves ice perfectly and I have yet to receive an icky drink.

Tropical concoctions just waiting to be consumed.

I had been wanting to purchase this brilliant blender for quite some time.  At around $200, it was a bit out of my price range.  Imagine my surprise when I found it on a clearance shelf marked down to $139.  Still a little high, but it was my birthday (well, close enough to my birthday…) and I decided to just go for it.  At the counter, it rang up at $64.  After my mouth dropped to the floor, I happily paid and left.  Talk about a birthday bonus!

My deal of the day.

This beautiful lime-green, cream, and silver-accented tropical contraption sits on my kitchen counter just waiting to shave ice and blend magical mixtures into delicious frozen concoctions.  Sure, I love my Paula Deen steamer pot (“smell those shrimp, they’re beginnin’ to boil…”), but my Buffett blender is the prize of my kitchen (“… and soon it will render…”).  Thank you Mr. Buffett.  Fin’s up.

“…and soon it will render…”

Bicycles, Bonfires and a Trip Around the Sun

…I’m just hanging on while this old world keeps spinning / And it’s good to know it’s out of my control / If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from all this living / Is that it wouldn’t change a thing if I let go…

This is one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite songs, which just so happens to be sung by two of my favorite people.  If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you’ll already know that one of those people is the baron of the beach himself, Jimmy Buffett.  The other one owns one of the sweetest and most powerful (have you heard “Whatever You Say?”) voices in country music, Martina McBride.

Here’s the video.  I love the bicycles and bonfire on the beach.

“Trip Around the Sun”

I’m celebrating my own trip around the sun today.  That would be a birthday in case you weren’t paying attention in science class.  I know I wasn’t so it’s nice to have Buffett and McBride remind me.  And maybe it wasn’t science class…astronomy?  See, what did I tell you?

I also won’t be mentioning exactly how many trips it has been.  Some things can be left to the imagination.

Reflection, revelation and the making of resolutions seem to be the “grown-up,” things to do on a  birthday but, like the song says, I prefer to “just enjoy this ride.”

If I must have a goal of some sort for the coming year, I’ll just say that I resolve to do more bicycle riding, attend more bonfires and go on a diet eat less s’mores.  It’s all about the little things.

My Mission to Margaritaville

The baron of beach bums, Jimmy Buffett, in concert at Bristow, Virginia – Jiffy Lube Live.

Once upon a time, I sold t-shirts for Jimmy Buffett.  We workers in the Merchandise department at Kings Dominion were responsible for that type of thing at concerts…. that little stand where consenting consumers happily hand over their cash to purchase t-shirts, decals, buttons, hats, etc…etc…

As a seventeen-year-old, it was a pretty cool deal to be able to listen to a free concert while selling souvenirs to Parrot Heads.  Since I was not born under a rock, I was familiar with the Buffett brand but didn’t really know much about his music past “Margaritaville.”

Once the feeding frenzy that is the merchandise stand settles down, a form of magic takes over.  As the heat of the day subsides, the lights dim and dusk settles in, it’s just the roar of the crowd and the sound of the song.  I’ve been a fan ever since.

That’s my Parrot Head indoctrination story and I’m proud of it.  Ironically enough, the term “Parrot Head” originated at Kings Dominion’s sister park, Kings Island, in Cincinnati, Ohio.  You can even read about it by clicking right here.

I’m on a mission to visit every Margaritaville Café in every state, island or province where there is one.  I’ve been to Key West (the original and, so far, my favorite), Orlando, and Myrtle Beach but have quite a ways to go.  At the rate Jimmy is going at developing new ones – including a hotel in Pensacola and the casinos in Las Vegas and Biloxi (can’t leave them out) – it may take a while to get to all of them.  I have patience.  I am on island time, after all.

The original Margaritaville – Key West, Florida

CityWalk at Universal Orlando features a bunch of famous name restaurants, including Emeril’s, Bob Marley’s, Bubba Gump and Margaritaville.  We are big fans of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and always make it a special point to make a stop at Margaritaville.  It is my mecca in the  middle of MCO.  That would be Orlando, in case you didn’t know.

Margaritaville Orlando at Universal’s CityWalk features the Lone Palm bar and a giant replica of Jimmy’s plane, The Hemisphere Dancer.

More Margaritaville Orlando.

The Myrtle Beach branch of M’Ville is located at Broadway at the Beach and has a really cool ship and lighthouse exterior.

Margaritaville Myrtle Beach at Broadway at the Beach, South Carolina

And the interior….

Interior view at Margaritaville Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

As a writer, I’ve gotten the opportunity to write about several Margaritaville products and partnerships, including LandShark and Ocean Conservancy’s Fin-tastic beach cleanup tour, Parrot Head sun care products, the opening of the Biloxi Margaritaville Restaurant and Casino, as well as many other Margaritaville restaurant news and events.  I hope to have many more.

Tequila, LandShark and mixers aside, I’m a big fan of M’Ville products.  I’ve recently acquired the Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker (Bahamas version) and am hooked on it.  A regular blender has nothing on this baby.  Oh, and I don’t go anywhere without my M’Ville sunglasses.  Best ever.  Now I just need to check out that Parrot Head sun care and I’ll be set.  “Watchin’ the sun bake…..”

Fins Up!