How to Build a Tasty and Flavorful Mexican Salad

Being at Trop for almost 5 years… yes five, I have found ways to eat healthy and mix it up each day without going out and spending money that, lets be honest, I don’t have. Some of you might be getting to the point where a PB&J sandwich just isn’t tasting the way it used to or a salad with veggies can seem a bit blah. I have a few hints to help you make each meal healthy with taste to back it up. 

If the Trop Café is serving Mexican that night then that means you can avoid the extra calories in a tortilla or shell bowl and make a delicious Mexican Salad. 

Walk to the salad bar and scope out all the extra veggies and toppings they may have out. Build that salad to your liking. I love to mix the spinach and iceberg lettuce to add some extra nutrition with some crunch.

See if you can get some chicken or beef for you salad. Once you’ve got your protein go find some fiber… maybe black beans or peppers.

Go to the condiments area and scoop up some freshly made pico de gallo and guacamole. You can even ask a Bon Appetit employee to see if they have extra avocado in the back. Sprinkle a little bit of cheese and there you go. Sometimes they even have feta in the salad bar section to make it a little more fancy. 

No need for dressing since the pico de gallo serves as a substitute. 

If you need a little extra flavor, get some BBQ sauce and make your very own Chicken or Beef Mexican Salad!

Something that helps me get my 64 ounces of water a day is to drink a cup before I eat and a cup after I eat. Leaves me feeling full and hydrated. Especially when its nice and hot outside.

That’s just one of my favorite salads to make in the Tropicana Café… stay tuned for more delicious combinations and more fun facts about this amazing place we call home, Santa Barbara! 

xox erika

Things to Do in Santa Barbara

We are really fortunate to live in Santa Barbara where many people come to vacation! Though most of our time as students is spent in itty bitty Isla Vista, try to get out at some point over the course of the 4 years and explore your new home! Here are some ideas for your future adventures.

1.       Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts – Check out a play!

2.       Inspiration Point – Get in shape and reconnect with nature on a beautiful hike.

3.       Horseback Ride – Find a local horseback riding business and have a scenic ride around the coast!

4.       Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara – Get in touch with your inner artist.

5.       Santa Barbara Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum – Thousands of historic documents for the history buff.

6.       Santa Barbara Mission – Beautiful architecture and history.

7.       Golf Courses – Try out golfing at one of Santa Barbara’s many golf courses!

8.       Santa Barbara County Courthouse – Another architectural landmark of Santa Barbara!

9.       Santa Barbara Zoo – The SB Zoo is small, but easily the most beautiful zoo you’ll ever visit! See amazing animals and then picnic on the landscaped lawns with a gorgeous view of the ocean.

10.   State Street – Spend a day shopping and eating delicious food on what is arguably SB’s central attraction.

Tropicana Student Living Welcomes Michael Jordan Flight School

Santa Barbara, CA – August 1, 2014 – Tropicana Student living is proud to welcome Michael Jordan Flight School 2014 basketball camps for the 19th year.  Campers, who range in age from 7-18, will be staying at Tropicana Gardens and Tropicana Del Norte residence halls. Tropicana Gardens and Tropicana Del Norte are located adjacent to UCSB’s main campus and the Thunderdome. The close proximity, suite-style accommodations, and on-site café make the experience easy and fun for campers; many of which are having their first overnight camp experience

 “Every year, I am so excited to work with the Michael Jordan Flight School and their staff.  They are so professional, organized and they really work hard for all their participants to have such a great experience.” said David Wilcox, Executive Director. “I believe this is why they have so many participants that come back every year!”

Mark Raveling, Michael Jordan Flight School Camp Director, says, “We have been hosting the MJ camp at Tropicana and UCSB since 1995 and always look forward to coming back each year. We are excited for our 19th year.”

Michael Jordan Flight School is among the world’s finest youth basketball camps, where girls and boys can learn the fundamentals of shooting, dribbling, rebounding, passing, and defense from NBA great, Michael Jordan, and his first class coaching staff. For more information, see the Michael Jordan Flight School website.

About Tropicana Student Living

Tropicana Student Living operates private residence halls and apartments for students attending the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) in Santa Barbara, California.  Tropicana Del Norte Residence Hall (www.tropicanadelnorte.com), conveniently located adjacent to UCSB’s Main Campus is a small and friendly community with spacious suite-style units, an unlimited meal plan and resort-style living. Tropicana Villas (www.tropvillas.com) is an Isla Vista apartment community that caters to upperclassmen with furnished apartments and flexible leasing options. Tropicana Gardens (www.tropicanagardens.com), located an express bus ride away from Santa Barbara City College, is a private residence hall that provides an attractive alternative to apartments for SBCC students with its suite-style units and social and recreational activities organized by its large team of energetic RAs. For more information about housing options for UCSB and SBCC students, please call 805-968-4319.

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Tropicana Gardens Residence Hall Welcomes 2014 Kobe Basketball Academy

Santa Barbara, CA – July 10, 2014 – Tropicana Gardens is happy to welcome Kobe Basketball Academy for the 2014 summer session. Tropicana will be housing over 800 participants, aged 8-18. Tropicana Gardens is located adjacent to UCSB’s main campus and the Thunderdome. The close proximity, suite-style accommodations, and on-site café make the experience easy and fun for campers; many of which are having their first overnight camp experience.

Damon Haley, Kobe Basketball Academy Camp Director, says, “We look forward to another great year at UCSB and Tropicana Gardens.Kobe Basketball Academy was founded in 2006. For more information, see the Kobe Basketball Academy website.”

Tropicana Gardens residence hall is just blocks from UCSB’s main campus. During the academic year, Tropicana Gardens provides Santa Barbara City College students a campus residence hall living experience with furnished suites, and an unlimited dining plan and a direct bus to SBCC. Tropicana Gardens is known for its exceptional student life programs, its lush resort-style setting and amenities such as a heated pool, fitness room, rec room and 24-hour study lounge.

 “Being a basketball fan myself, I am excited that Tropicana Gardens is again hosting Kobe Bryant’s amazing camp this summer,” said David Wilcox, Executive Director. “The kids love that they get to meet Kobe and get a signature from him while attending the camp.”

Leaving home and your family can be very challenging

When I got the acceptance letter from Santa Barbara City College I was exited to be going to a wonderful school that had a great view and a lot of academic support. I realized that leaving your family and friends can be very nerve-wracking, as well as finding housing and worrying about finding roommates. People always told me that there was craigslist but as a first year student leaving home you don’t know what to expect when living with them.

There are lots of apartments in Isla Vista but none of those works out for me since it is either too expensive or too close to Del Playa and you have to find a roommate by yourself. So I took a look at the SBCC Apartments Listing. Tropicana Gardens poped up so I went on their website took a look at their price plans and what they offer.

So I told my Dad that I want to live at Tropicana Gardens for my first year since is a residence hall for SBCC students. He responded sure I can drive you down there on the weekend and take a look at it.

Once we reach Tropicana Gardens we went inside and I ask the lovely lady that was working behind the front counter if we can get a tour.

She showed us the rooms, café and answered all the questions that I have. After the tour I told my Dad that I wanted to live at Tropicana Gardens since it would be my first year and so I could make new friends. They also offer roommate matching which is way better than finding a roommate by your self and they have fun activities/events within your quad or the community. There’s also shopping center and restaurants near by and they have a 24-hour study lounge and quiet hours so you won’t be disrupted. They also have a café, which have wonderful staff and offers unlimited meals all day so if you get hungry you can just go there. It can’t get any better than that.

My first year living at Tropicana Gardens was amazing the first day I move in they have a welcome night which they talk about Tropicana Gardens and introduce you to the RA’s and staff and make you feel like is your own home. The next day when I returned from school I was able to meet my RA Sean and he welcomed me to his quad and told me that if I have any questions or concerns I can go talk to him, which is nice because you have someone that actually cares about you when your far away from home. During my experience at Trop I made lots or friends that went to SBCC and UCSB. Not only that but I also became best friends with an International student.

I was also involved in the activities/events that they have like hiking, going to the movies, or just hanging out in the rec room. The thing I enjoyed the most was Quads Wars (Go St. Croix). The rec room is a fun place to hangout since there is a TV Piano, Pool, Ping-Pong and a hockey Table.

When the school year was over I was very sad that I had to leave Trop and say goodbye to the wonderful staff that I met. I decided to look for an apartment that is close to school and I regret that I didn’t stay at Trop for another year or stay at the Villas.

Living with a roommate that you met on Craigslist is very different from living at Trop since there is no one that you can talk when you have problems or do anything with when you get bored.

My experience not living at Trop hasn’t not been a great. I don’t get along with one of my roommates. He scream at you when you do something wrong and much more (come on, we all make mistakes). We also have problems and gets into arguments.

What I miss about living at Trop was the wonderful RA’S/Staff, activities/events and the café since I can just go down and eat which saved me a lot of money because I don’t have to pay for food or utilities because is included in the price plan.

My advice to the Freshman at SBCC is that I recommend living at Trop if you don’t want your 1st year to be ruined by roommates or problems.

Much Love,
David “Chum” Chan

Tropicana Students Feed More than 7,500 Hungry Children

SANTA BARBARA, CA – April 17, 2014 – For several hours on a sunny Thursday afternoon, more than 75 Tropicana Student Living residents and staff  along with UCSB Lacrosse, UCSB Field Hockey, and local youth soccer teams came together to prepare meal packets for Stop Hunger Now. Tropicana Gardens Café turned into an assembly line to create 7,500 meals of rice, soy protein, dehydrated vegetables and nutrients.  

Isla Vista hasn’t been seen in the greatest light the last couple weeks, and we want to show that our students are doing great things here at Tropicana Student Living,” says Dave Wilcox, Executive Director of Tropicana Student Living.  “This is just an example of something that they’re doing that’s great for the community and great for the world.” The 7,500 meals that the Tropicana students and staff assembled will be distributed to Guatemala through Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief agency that ships them to school feeding programs in developing countries.

Stop Hunger Now coordinates the distribution of food and other life-saving aid around the world, with a mission to end hunger in our lifetime. Stop Hunger Now’s meal packing program began in 2005, and since then, more than 100,000 volunteers have packaged nearly 30 million meals to feed the world’s impoverished.

About Tropicana Student Living

Tropicana Student Living operates private residence halls and apartments for students attending the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) in Santa Barbara, California.  Tropicana Del Norte Residence Hall (www.tropicanadelnorte.com), conveniently located adjacent to UCSB’s Main Campus is a small and friendly community with spacious suite-style units, an unlimited meal plan and resort-style living. Tropicana Villas (www.tropvillas.com) is an Isla Vista apartment community that caters to upperclassmen with furnished apartments and flexible leasing options. Tropicana Gardens (www.tropicanagardens.com), located an express bus ride away from Santa Barbara City College, is a private residence hall that provides an attractive alternative to apartments for SBCC students with its suite-style units and social and recreational activities organized by its large team of energetic RAs. For more information about housing options for UCSB and SBCC students, please call 805-968-4319.

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