ladder II collage

Here’s a few things in Costa Rica that may at first be confusing or surprising to Expats/Gringos:

Various uses of ladders without a second thought (Costa Rica is not a litigious country):

Signs as a whole are not prevalent in Costa Rica, but when you do see them, there may be some confusion:

This bridge is heavily traveled every day, and has a sign on either side of it telling you basically that the bridge is in very bad condition.  But, interestingly enough, not preventing you from crossing it – so basically it means “go over this bridge at your own risk”:

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Expat Extra – Samantha Wei

Sam Cover

Hello friends and Happy Monday to you all!  I’m very excited about today’s Expat Extra, featuring  Samantha Wei.  

We first met Samantha and her boyfriend Yeison (pronounced “Jason”) through the online/social media/blogging world and then we got to meet them in person when we visited the Guanacaste area while they lived in Playas del Coco. We liked them immediately upon meeting them.  They are laid back, sweet, interesting, smart and kind.  They have the best blog and website (, and I’m so proud of them with how they’ve grown it and make a living on it (although I am NOT envious of their working hours!).

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Expat Extra – Debbie Rudd


Hello everyone, and welcome to another Expat Extra. Today’s post features Debbie Rudd, who lives in Grecia.

I really admire Debbie – because she retired and moved to Costa Rica all by herself! Since landing here, she has really immersed herself in the Tico culture and loves all things Costa Rica.

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Oh Shit, I Forgot It’s Halloween: 30 Clever, Cheap, and Last Minute Halloween Costumes


You guys, it’s almost HALLOWEEN!   Do you have an adult Halloween party to go to this weekend? And you don’t know what you’re going to dress up as yet?


My husband Greg wrote it, and he humorously spells out 30+ easy, cheap, put-together-at-the-last-minute costume ideas. You can totally put these costumes together with stuff you already have laying around the house.

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Expat Extra – Jeane Brennan and Jesse Peeler

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Hello friends! I’m excited to bring you another great Expat Extra today, this time featuring Jeane and Jesse who now live in Sierpe, Costa Rica. I met this cute couple when they lived in Grecia, and although they moved before I could get to know them better, I really liked what I saw in them.

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Butterscotch-Chocolate Hot Cocoa

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I’m without my husband again today, for the 25th day in a row (he’s been off pet sitting since October 1st).  I don’t think he’ll be doing this again for this long (three different places, back to back), I’m not sure which of us misses the other more.  Anyway – he gets home in 2 days, and I’m so excited!

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Costa Rican Caramel Apples


When I lived in Dallas and I had a super-duper stressful work day, my favorite treat was Häagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche Caramel Ice Cream.  It was so creamy and caramel-y, and yes, totally over the top.  Made all my worries just drift away…   well, until the carton was gone, that is.

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Expat Extra – Irina and Jim Just


Welcome to another Expat Extra!

When I first moved here and started going to yoga classes, one of my friends asked me: “Have you met Irina yet? She’s a hoot!”

And indeed, Irina IS a hoot. She has enriched my life here in Costa Rica, especially with her and her husband’s fabulous dinner parties (Jim is an excellent chef). She is always feisty and fun to talk to, she loves a good pinot noir wine, and whenever I see her she is wearing my ankle candy – I enjoy her immensely.

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Cut I

OK, by now – a lot of you know I’m not normal. I’d even go so far as to sometimes say I’m crazy. Or unique. Whatever. No label necessary. I’m cool with how I am and love myself, so that’s all I have to say.

After quitting my job in the States, and moving to Costa Rica to live a more simple life, there were other changes I knew I wanted to make as well. This was the time to do it, right? Some changes were made with a conscious effort, others seemed to happen naturally. And yes – Costa Rica has helped with almost all of these things; however, that’s not to say that moving somewhere else (or staying put) couldn’t help with these things too.

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The Paperback Version of the Costa Rica Chica Cookbook is here!

Just wanted to let you all know that my Costa Rica Chica Cookbook is now available as a lovely paperback version!  It’s a beautiful larger book (8.5 x 8.5″) with full color gorgeous pictures for each and every recipe!

Click here to order from Amazon!

Click here to order from Create Space!

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Expat Extra – Steven Friedman

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Today on the Expat Extra, I am featuring Steve & Martha Friedman. They are living their Costa Rican dream ON THE BEACH. Yep – they reside in Playa Hermosa (which means “beautiful beach,” how appropriate is that?) in the Guanacaste region. I’ve been to Playa Hermosa, and it is a charming little beach.

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Costa Rica Chica Cookbook

chica blog

Hello everyone! I just wanted to take a moment to formally introduce you to my newest book that has just been published:  COSTA RICA CHICA COOKBOOK (<— click here if you want to skip the rest of this post and BUY NOW – it’s ok, I don’t blame you).

I’m so excited and proud of this book!

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Project August

project august

Lately, Greg & I have seemingly been so busy, we were having trouble finding time to just sit down and work on projects that we wanted to focus on. Don’t get me wrong – retirement has been great – but we are still young(ish) and our minds are always going with ideas of things we want to do, work on, or accomplish still.

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Expat Extra – Jennifer Turnbull-Houde


Hello everyone! I am starting something new that I’m very excited about. Every now and then (under no set schedule, as I live in pura-vida-ville), I am going to be doing a little segment called “EXPAT EXTRA” where I will be interviewing an expat and telling you their story.

So, here is my first ever EXPAT EXTRA!  Today I am featuring the young and lovely Jennifer Turnbull-Houde.  I feel a certain connection to Jenn because she and her husband Matt landed here in Costa Rica just a month after we did in 2013 – so we are kinda anniversary twinkies.  They quit their cushy jobs in Boston and moved here to live a more simple and happy life, very similar to us, except they did it in their early 30’s!  Here in Costa Rica, they work hard on their blog, books, and trip planning services – but now they are working on something they love, and in a place with no more winters (win/win!).  Check out her homemade jam she makes (below) – the picture alone is making my mouth water!

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Jen’s DIY Foaming Hand Soap


A lot of DIY recipes for this call for liquid castille soap, and while I’m sure I could find that here in Costa Rica somewhere, I couldn’t fathom where to even begin looking for it. So in the mean time – I did this recipe below.  It works great, is so easy, and is SOOOOOO incredibly cheaper than say… Bath & Body Works.

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Jen’s DIY Hot Cocoa Mix


Hi guys!  I know it’s only August, but fall is right around the corner, and I wanted to share with you this easy-peasy hot cocoa mix recipe.  After it’s made, you just add boiling water to a few tablespoons of the mix, and stir it up!  I love this for when I don’t have any milk in the house and it’s chilly out (it’s currently Rainy Season in Costa Rica, and we’ve had our handful of cold days already).  Warms me right up.

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MASQ`SABOR – Mexican food in the heart of Grecia!

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If you are Facebook or Instagram friends with me, you’ve seen me post pictures from Johnny’s Masq’Sabor Restaurant before. It’s now time to dig a little deeper.

Meet Johnny Lara, owner and operator.  You’ll see him any time you visit Masq`Sabor, he’s always on site 6 days a week (see hours at bottom of post).  He is a hard worker, smart business man, and passionate about his food – 3 things you absolutely need to be successful in the restaurant business.

Masq`Sabor, which literally means “more than flavor,” has been open for almost a year now (September 12th will their 1st anniversary).   Johnny has whipped this little restaurant into a lovely place to sit with friends or by yourself, and have a bite to eat and drink.  He also has free Wi Fi, so bring your laptop or phone along and hang out for a while.  His place is clean with bright colors on the walls, and windows that look out onto the street.  A couple of fans keep it cool and the air well circulated.

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Sunscreen and Bug Spray for Costa Rica


So you’re coming to Costa Rica – either for a vacation, or (get back Jack) to MOVE here.
You want to know about the sun and the bugs.

Well, I’m here to tell you – the sun is pretty potent in Costa Rica.
We are only 10 degrees North of the Equator, after all, my friends!

You know what that means. The sun will be more intense here in Costa Rica,
no matter what you are used to in the States.

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Tamarindo Beach Trip

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Have you heard of Tamarindo? It’s in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, the west coast / Pacific Ocean.  We were there last week for an awesome little “vacation”! We had an opportunity to pet sit for friends in exchange for a stay at their beautiful home – right in the heart of this quaint little beach town.  Even though we aren’t super fit or tan and didn’t walk around with surf boards everywhere – we still fit in – because pretty much the whole town is tourists. Everyone speaks English.  Everyone takes the American dollar.  Playa Tamarindo (the beach) is known for surfing, and the town itself is sprinkled with good restaurants and lots of touristy shops.  We traveled there by bus, which worked out great.

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Bus from San Jose to Tamarindo


Last week we traveled from Grecia to Tamarindo by bus.  We heard from our friends about this direct bus from San Jose to Tamarindo called “Empresa Alfaro“.

Empresa’s station in San Jose is in the Coca Cola area, just one block from the Grecia Bus Station:

To Tamarindo there are two departure times:  11:30 which we took, that goes through Liberia first, and 3:30 with goes “straight” to Tamarindo.  We wanted to get there as early in the day as possible, so we took the 11:30 (note:  these prices are out of date):

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