La Diva's Flo-duh STAY-cation Part 1

Darlings!  It was not less than six months ago when La Diva asked DJ Nevah L8 (4 dinnah!) what he wanted to do for his vacation and surprisingly, he stated most vociferously:  "I'm not going anywhere!  We are staying in Florida, we are going to snorkel and bike ride and do all the things we pay so much money to live here for.  We're not going anywhere but having a STAY-cation."

Coming from a man who spent his last two years' vacations attending weddings overseas (that trip to Sydney will eat up money and four precious vacation days not including the jet lag) and continuously playing tour guide to a constant stream of out of town guests, I can't say I blamed him for wanting to stay put and do what HE wanted to do.  The Big Bear Man needed some real down time looking after no one but himself and enjoying all the amenities we pay so dearly for.

So, naturally, La Diva began thinking of fun things to do and was inspired by the myriad discount coupon emails that came to my inbox daily:  Groupon, Travelzoo, LivingSocial, etc.   I booked a kayaking trip, a dinner out, a Cinebistro movie and dinner and then this one really intrigued me, $129 for a four hour boat rental and $100 Tiki Bar credit at Pontoons in Key Largo.  Seemed like a great deal, I printed them up and filed them away to be used as needed.

The first part of our holiday was spent filming La Diva for La Diva TV and me and the DJ worked really hard.  Our little apartment looked like a TV studio with all the professional lights and equipment.  Then, on June 22, we had my "Roll Your Own" pad Thai summer rolls event at South Beach's Design Within Reach where the DJ and a business associate filmed me in 3D!  Needless to say, the event was a huge success and the cameraman was thrilled at all of the "great" content he got, stating that La Diva was a "natural" on camera.  (of course!)  The next day, our staycation officially began!

The DJ is pretty good at photographing these gorgeous sunsets!  Bayside from our pool deck.

For several days, we had fun biking and beaching and barbecuing and  drinking cocktails and lounging in our pool and hot tub, but La Diva was REALLY EXCITED about our upcoming three day jaunt down to the Keys!  I booked a few nights at this place called The Islander in Islamorada that had been refurbished and friends had stayed at recently and really enjoyed.  Plus, it was less than two hour drive from Miami Beach.

This hotel reminded me of the "old school" Florida Key's hotels, simple and unpretentious.  The $200 a night OFF SEASON price tag, however, did not.  Ouch.

A mere one hour upon arriving in Islamorada, it began to pour and the sun did not return for the next three days.  The good thing about rain in Southern Florida is that it usually doesn't last too long, so unless there's a hurricane or severe storm, we don't let a little bit of rain stop us!

The hotel was casual and not at all hoighty-toighty, which allows a glam Diva to let her hair down and relax.   With the hotel's natural, not-overly-manicured grounds, courtyard picnic tables and coal barbecues, it reminded La Diva of an upscale caravan park in Australia.  The hotel service was a perfect fit for my summertime mood, a relaxed combination of "Leave me the f*ck alone" and "Yes, I'll take another margarita" kind of vibe.  After a few poolside cocktails, the DJ and I took cat naps on a shallow ledge of the salt water pool, in a large hammock under a shady palm tree and on a lounge chair out side of our room.  Bliss.

 The Islander seaside restaurant had the most exquisite food and it was prepared and presented at a much higher level than the resort itself!  The DJ ordered coconut lobster as an appetizer.  It came served with a unique orange horseradish marmalade, which was refreshing, as the heat from the radish mellowed the sauce that is usually too sickly sweet for Diva's tastes.

 Fried lobster in a coconut batter?  Hell to da yes!

At the hearty encouragement of our enthusiastic waiter, La Diva decided to try the special of the night:  Two huge quarter pound prawns butterflied and STUFFED with lump crab and served with a decadent Key lime beurre blanc sauce!  For some reason, La Diva wasn't exactly listening when the stocky male server told her he SHARED this with another waiter the night before...the order was astonishingly huge.  La Diva asked for an extra plate and gave the DJ one of the stuffed shrimp but even then had a hard time finishing dinner!

After dinner we went back to our room and lounged under the stars, chatting without the usual distractions of TV or "life," while an exquisite tropical ocean breeze gently cooled us off and kept the voracious mosquitoes at bay.  Spent and sunburned, we drained our wine glasses and went off to bed to prepare for another gorgeous Florida Keys day.


Roses said...

Sounds absolutely blissfull.

I could feel my shoulders relaxing and dropping as I read. Hell, you gave me a wonderful break just reading that.

Glad you lovelies had a great time on your staycation. More of that thank you.

Boxer said...

If I lived where you live, I'd be thinking about a Stay-Cation too, especially since you're in the off season so it's less crowded?

I've been on those "vacations" where you travel far and I come back tired and feeling like I need a vacation from my vacation, so I think it's lovely you two just had some alone time.... where you can lounge under the stars chatting.

And, anytime some time away does NOT include airports? BONUS!

Have a great 4th. xoxo

Sandcastle Momma said...

Sounds like heaven! You just can't beat living in paradise.

Dani said...


Thombeau said...

I love everything about this post! Someday I will make it down there, and I'm bringing Martita with me!!

LaDivaCucina said...

Awww Roses, thank you. You don't know how much I wish we could all tele transport so I can share my good times with beautiful people like you and my other fabulous blogging buddies! I'm glad I could transport you in this post.

Boxer, you are SO right about all of it! We also like vacations where we don't have to drive far, the DJ drives 80 miles a day for work. We love Miami in the summer, we "OWN" the beaches, restaurants, etc. It's nice, nothing is packed and mostly all locals. And the afternoon rains allows one a cat nap without guilt!

SandCastle Momma and Dani: AGREED! If you would have said to me 10 years ago, you'll be living in Florida, I would have never believed it. As a water baby, I can't tell you how much I love living here where it's all so accessible.

Thombeau, that would be DIVINE! And to tell the truth, it wouldn't take much $ for that to happen, esp. if you come off season in the summer time, flights are cheap, stay with us, sunset bbqs, it's all good!

Have a lovely holiday, y'all! xo

Jill said...

Looks like a fantastic and relaxing trip. Relaxing is starting to be my key word for travel. I think ya'll did this Staycation justice!

Pacheco Patty said...

Here's to the good life La Diva!
Staycation rocks and congrats on your filming;-) Isn't it wonderful to live in such a beautiful part of the world and the food's not too bad either! I'll be dreaming about sunset bbq's and a little relaxation, thanks for sharing;-)

moi said...

Having had a wee taste of your fabulous lifestyle, all I can say is: Wow! Great idea! I'm so glad you two hard working kids got to relax and enjoy yourselves with little to none of the hassle that comes with truly leaving home.

And am I seeing correctly? Did one of your first episodes of La Diva TV feature some chillruns? Double wow :o)

K9 said...

what fun. was the video i saw on you tube spossed to be 3D? i didnt get one in my email -wait did you send it to K9? nevamind Il check after this note. You live well. Im glad you have a good time in your hometown. In blue ridge, our local only time is winter. like january. the best is when it snows. only the adventure people end up at the town cafe.

ive been to islamorada - i forget where we stayed it was nice. We ate at a local seafood dive and that was spectacular. loved it.

staycations are a cool idea. i know what boxer means by vacations that are stressful. my husband and i tend to get in fights on vacations. Now we have xanax and things are a bit smoother. though with all these animals, we havent been on a vaycay in years.

enjoyed this post. and i didnt even get a sunburn. yay!


LaDivaCucina said...

Jill, I remember what a good time you and hubby had down here, we really take advantage of it all!

Patty, I made up my mind a long time ago to live where I could be outside most of the year = most of my life. I've not looked back since!

Moi, no chilluns! The little monkeys came up at the end of my demo and were so keen, of course, I took the time to work with them and get them to "roll their own!" They loved it and the boy was such a ham! He was rolling them for anybody that would eat them! It was a riot.

LaDivaCucina said...

Chickory, I didn't see your comment until now for some reason...hmmmm...

Yeah, vacations CAN be stressful and tempers CAN flare...this one was pretty good for us until day three....more on that later!

It is hard to leave once you have so many critters AND a garden! I'm glad you are going to meet up with the gals at Moi's place! have a ball! PS: I'll post on your comments the email I sent to. xo

LaDivaCucina said...

Oh, Chickory, the video is not in 3d, that is old and my submission for the Next Food Network Star...I had to do a straight video with no editing. The 3D vid is in the hands of a friend! xo

Intuitive Eggplant said...

Wow, that coconut fried lobster with orange horseradish marmalade has me most intrigued. Thanks for sharing!