THIS IS FINAL COVER 2Costa Rica Chica: Retiring Early, Simplifying My Life, & Realizing That Less Is Best
published October, 2014

Have you ever wanted to quit your job and “retire early”?  Well, we did it!

My husband and I were fed up with the “more, more, more” mentality of North America, and decided to quit our jobs, sell everything and move to Costa Rica with just 9 suitcases.  Why Costa Rica?  Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out exactly why – but overall we wanted to downsize and simplify our lives and get by on less money.  See what made us consider Costa Rica in the first place, how we did it, and why we have no regrets!

There is also a bonus section with recipes and a packing list (for your move to Costa Rica!).

CLICK HERE to buy or read an excerpt on amazon (ebook $3.95, paperback $12.00).

FINAL WITH APRONCosta Rica Chica Cookbook: Stirring Up My Favorite North American Recipes In Costa Rica
published August, 2015

I share some of my favorite North American recipes, and more specifically, how to make them in Costa Rica. Some ingredients needed for North American dishes are not available in Costa Rica, but, no worries, I have the substitutions you need. And if you live in North America, I give you the U.S. equivalents so you can whip up these fabulous recipes in your home, too!

With the Costa Rica Chica Cookbook, I serve up a delicious spread of hearty, scrumptious food that everyone will enjoy – from breakfast, lunch and dinner specialties such as Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, Tomato Basil Soup with Rustic Bread, Italian Meatballs and Thin Crust Pizza, to sweet after-dinner (or anytime) treats like Coconut Almond Candy Bars and Chocolate Truffle Balls. Easy-to-follow instructions and gorgeous color pictures for each and every recipe!

CLICK HERE to buy or read an excerpt on amazon (ebook $4.99, paperback $20.00)

FINAL Book_Cover_RBG
LIFE OUTSIDE THE CUBICLE – Conversations with People Living Outside the Box

published June, 2016

This book is a bit different from my first two, and is about working and living outside of the box. Besides telling you my story, I also feature 8 different sets of people who are all doing crazy, wonderful things with their lives.  OK – not that crazy, but definitely not your ordinary corporate-America type jobs. How would you like it if your job allowed you to live in multiple countries throughout the world? Or to travel throughout Costa Rica, writing about all the experiences you had, and making a living at it too? Or to live and work in Germany, and experience all the culture of the capital city? Or to live in the U.S. and pursue a passion that has enabled you to pay the bills, but also to meet and write about fascinating people?

So – if  you’re thinking of changing your job, or shaking up your life in some manner – this book is for you! Give it a go.  And then let me know what you think.  

CLICK HERE to buy or read an excerpt on amazon (ebook just $2.99, paperback $9.99).

EBOOK FINAL COVERGRECIA, COSTA RICA – A Guide to the Central Valley Town of Grecia
published August, 2016

Welcome to Grecia, Alajuela – a quaint coffee-farming town in the Central Valley of Costa Rica. Having lived in Grecia for over 3 years now, I discuss what you need to know if you are visiting Grecia on vacation or thinking about moving here.

Whether you want to discover a nearby coffee tour, check out one of Costa Rica’s largest volcanos (hint: Poas), shop at the local farmers’ market or just know where to go for a local cup of excellent Costa Rican coffee, this book will help you start your journey in Grecia.

This concise guide to Grecia also covers: history, transportation, grocery stores, restaurants, day trips/things to do, general information and tips, banks, medical facilities, churches, information for relocating here, and much more! I even include a bonus section of tips as to what to expect in restaurants in Grecia, or anywhere in Costa Rica, for that matter. If you are thinking about visiting (or living!) in Grecia, you need this book!

CLICK HERE to buy or read an excerpt on amazon (ebook just $2.99, paperback $6.99).

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35 Responses to MY BOOKS!

  1. Pingback: What Do You Do All Day? - CostaRicaCurious

  2. Jen, just finished your book and have to admit had a bunch of good chuckles out of it. 🙂 I’ve been contemplating and researching between Ecuador and Costa Rica and I think you have me sold on the views, parrots and fruit trees galore. ha! Glad to see you two took it upon yourselves what others only dream of, that takes courage and fortitude. I plan on doing more reading on it myself before I start the planning. If there is anything I should know, please scream at me like a tarantula! 🙂
    Hope to hear from you.

  3. Just wanted to say I have your book in my Amazon cart as I type. After my anniversary trip to Costa Rica in December, my husband and I have decided to retire there! My mindset on returning home (to Dallas, Texas…which is what sold me on buying your book, I saw you were from Dallas), was to sell everything (short of the kids/grandkids) and move tomorrow. But, since my husband doesn’t retire for another 5 years, I am stuck researching and planning our next trip to find out what area we truly would like to retire in! Can’t wait til your book arrives to read about your adventures and to dream about my own!
    Melissa Stinson (soon to be a Costa Rica resident!)

    • Hello fellow Dallas-ite! Exciting to make the decision to retire here to CR (but hard to wait 5 more years, I know!). Thank you for ordering my book! I hope you really enjoy it. Cheers!

  4. Hi Jen, I just ordered your book – and look forward to reading some of your blogs while I wait for it’s arrival. I am fed up with my home town. After almost 53 years here – I am ready to move on. I started “thinking outside the box” in regard to where to go – and was thinking Oregon until one of my friends said “Costa Rica”! Huh? But it got me thinking even further outside the box – and I LIKE THAT! I plan on a visit this year – maybe two, and until then will continue to devour whatever information comes my way. Glad to add you to my plate of delectable treats!

    • Thank you so much Lynlee!! Costa Rica is definitely outside the box, but not as “outside” as you may think. I hope you enjoy my book (thanks so much for ordering!!). 🙂

  5. I have been following your blog for quite some time now. I always watch for new post. I have always wanted to visit Costa Rica. I absolutely love your book. I’m sure it took guts to change your life like that. Simplify your life. That sounds like heaven. The less is more is definitely catching on for a lot of folks back here in the states. Thanks for sharing some of your life online. It’s definitely been a treat.

    • Alyssa – this was just the nicest comment to read just now! It totally touches me to know your feelings on my book and blog. Really. Thanks for brightening my day!!

  6. Hi Jen, I’m not from US or Canada, I’m from Costa Rica, and most definitely am not retiring any time soon since I don’t have the age to do so.
    I do happen to know Jose and his family since I’m from Naranjo.
    Just wanted to say thanks! It is really amazing all the good things you write about our country, so much, that it is hard to believe we have to read/hear the information from foreigners to actually appreciate them.
    After reading all this, I don’t even consider you a foreigner, you might as well know this country better than I do.
    Thanks for loving this small beautiful country and letting other people know about all the great things we have here.

    • Ohmygosh – how thrilling to hear from a Costa Rican – who knows Jose no less! And that you loved my book. I definitely appreciate this beautiful country – it amazes me every day! Thank you SO much your comments and writing me! Also – I’ve thought of seeing if Espirtu Santu would like to sell my books, so wish me luck. Pura Vida Karen! 🙂

  7. hi Jen,
    Just finished your book and loved it. I was hoping it might make me less enthusiastic about Costa Ric…but, no, it only added fuel to the fire!
    I returned from my second trip to CR two weeks ago, and all I want to do is go back. And mostly for all the reasons you mentioned: the lack of a materialistic, greedy, valueless over culture, and the incredible kindness of the Costa Rican people. I love the country and its people. But I have a daughter who is off to college in two years and will have to wait till then, I’m afraid, to spend significant time down there (currently I live in Montana.
    However, I am planning to spend all of next February there, dividing my time between Tamarindo and Monteverde. Although I have traveled through the Central Valley, I have not spent time there. The climate sounds amazing, I have to admit.
    In any case, I applaud you and Greg’s brave move, I am happy to her that you are happy, and I hope to join you someday and be a Costa Rica Chica myself! Till then, could you keep writing about your life, the good and the bad, so I can arrive with my eyes wide open? Right now I am trying to keep myself from getting despondent over not being able to leave now by studying Spanish.
    Thanks again for sharing your great adventures. Keep it up! And watch out for those big bugs!
    Pura vida, mi amiga, Debi

    • Debi – so nice to hear from a Montana girl! Your comment warmed my heart this morning, so nice to read, thank you. Glad you enjoyed my book! Costa Rica seems to have grabbed your heart too… I know it’s hard to wait. Please let me know if you come through the central valley or anywhere near Grecia next February! Pura vida! — Jen

  8. Hi Jen, I just finished reading your book and it has really stoked the fire for my move to Costa Rica in a few short months. I wanted to ask, how and in what did you pack your kitchen appliances for air travel? I am worried about my crockpot, coffee maker, etc. getting there in one piece. I have opted to not ship anything, rather taking as checked luggage flying business class. June 14, baby!

    I have been following your husband’s blog and will follow you as well. Thanks for great reads…

    • Hi Nancy! Thanks for reading (and enjoying) my book! Means a lot to me. 🙂

      Kitchen appliances… I brought them down in a subsequent trip – my kitchen aid mixer we put in a carry-on (was really heavy). I think I packed (with lots of towels) in the checked luggage my crock pot and coffee pot… just really wrapped and stuffed everything really well, and that worked fine. June 14th is awesome (we started on June 17th!!….). Thanks for following!!

      Also – if you wouldn’t mind to leave me a review on amazon, I would really really appreciate! Thanks again. Pura vida!

  9. Hello Jen,

    I just finished your book. I have lived in Panama and Pakistan for several years and could relate to much of what you said. :). Maybe I will switch over to coffee instead of hot chocolate…ha ha.
    In June I will be coming to Costa Rica for a yoga retreat among other things. It is also my goal to talk to expats and get info info info on what it is like to live there. I would love to meet you. One question I do have….What if there are big medical issues, such as surgery, broken bones or issues with older age come up. How is the medical community helpful there. Love to hear back from you. thanks for a great book. Sheila

    • Hi Sheila! Wow on Panama and Pakistan, that’s awesome. Cool on the yoga retreat here! Would definitely be interested in meeting. General medical is very easy here (dental, colds) – the dentist is cheap (without insurance) for cleanings and cavities, as well as a general doctor. We haven’t had to deal with anything major (knock on wood), but the hospital here in Grecia we have heard, is very good (with the national health care that everyone is required to have once you become a resident). There’s much more on this topic, perhaps we can chat when we meet! 🙂 Thanks, Jen

  10. Dear Jen,
    Thanks for writing back so quickly.
    As of June 7 I will be in Nosara, till the 13th.
    There is a high possibility that my boyfriend and I will come earlier to explore; maybe that would be a great time to meet you. Sheila

  11. Jen, just finished reading your book and I loved it! I hadn’t thought about reading it because I don’t plan on moving to Costa Rica and I presumed it was directed only to those looking to move there. Boy was I wrong! Your book does have great advice for those looking to move there and it has equally great stories and references for those wanting to visit. You’ve written your very real life story which I found refreshing, funny and enjoyable too. There are several places I can’t wait to visit based on your account of your experience there. Congratulations on your love story, your spirit of adventure and your courage to leave what you knew in order to live a simple yet joyful life! Pura Vida!

    • Oh – thank you so much, Irma! I truly just wrote my story, and I’m so glad others are interested in it. Can’t wait to meet you in June!

  12. Your book is now in my Amazon cart! I can’t wait to read it! My husband is originally from San Ramon and we have recently been considering moving closer to his family’s farm. (Although I think I want to be closer to the beach…. financially it is a no-brainer to build on the family farm in San Ramon) We have been there many times but I am scared of actually moving from the US. However I think it would be a great adventure for our family and great for the kids to learn about their father’s culture. I know that there are plenty of “older” retired expats all over CR however have you run into many younger families? We are in our 30’s with small children. Do you know of an expat group in San Ramon or surrounding cities?

    • Hello Eva!! Thank you for putting my book in your cart! We have 4 good friends who live in San Ramon and love it. I also know a small handful of younger families with kids (in Costa Rica, not all here in Grecia), and I just asked one of them, she said to look up this group on Facebook: “Families in the Central Valley, Costa Rica” – you have to message them to join. Thanks & cheers!

  13. I just spent the day reading all your blogs and now comes your book. I read Greg’s yesterday and yours is next. It is now 430 pm here, I can’t believe I started this mourning and didn’t even stop for lunch. On your 2014 recap, I didn’t know what to think about that, it made me sad. I don’t know why, it just did, I was wondering if you are really happy. Greg sounds and looks happy, but I can’t tell with you, maybe if I knew you better, I hope so you were and are very brave! Maybe it is in my head, but I found it easier to live in the Island than my wife did. I didn’t mind wearing shorts and T shirts with flip flops. She missed getting made up, make up, heels, etc. like I said, maybe it’s in my head. Even when she told me, she was happy I wondered. Guys we are wired crazy, I love reading your writing and hope to meet you all when I visit and follow your advise, no resorts. Michael

    • Hello Michael! Good to hear from you, there is nothing that makes me happier than having someone read all my blog posts and then my book! So great. Yes – I’m totally happy with my life in Costa Rica – I love not having to get super made up and dressed up all the time. It is so laid back here, the people are kind, I am doing the things I want to do (writing, making bracelets, playing piano, cooking from scratch) – and the best parts – spending morning coffee time with my hubby outside and an evening glass of wine looking out over our view and enjoying the sunset. It never gets old!! (Well, at least not yet). Greg showed me your email too – I thoroughly loved reading it. 🙂 Cheers!

      • Well Thank You for two days in your life’s in, Dallas and Costa Rica. You and Greg are really good authors. I have to admit, I was kinda expecting your book was going to be for chicks, or Chicas. It was amazing, I spent two days walking next to you and Greg. It was 1 am and I tried to put it down, but I was at the part, with what are we going to do with,( Sahara ), I cried. You two are so f—en brave, I don’t know if I could be so brave. After I lost Ana, my wife, I spent all my tear time with our dog, Shady. 4 months ago he got liver cancer and after 3,500.00 $ I had to put him down. So my heart went out to you both, but as you said, he is happy, but you two, ouch! On a lighter note the book was great, you have a nack to connect and allow people to see, Costa Rica thru your eyes, Thank You. I have tried to read other people’s stuff and I just did not get it, write more, I will buy it. Greg too, you two are great, Michael.

        • Thank you so much Michael, I’m so glad you enjoyed my book! Definitely hard decision with Sahara, but it was really for the best, and we still keep in touch with her new family and life is very good for her, which makes me happy. 🙂 I’m SO sorry to hear about you losing your wife and then your dog…. I can’t imagine going through all that. Pura vida and peace to you!

  14. Jen, could you please let me know what area on, Facebook I can go to get in touch with people living in CR. I have looked but find nothing, I am new to Facebook and am still leaning how to use the site, Thank You. Michael Giaras

    • Sure: Expatriates in Costa Rica, Gringo Expats in Costa Rica – those are the two I belong to (there are others as well, but can’t think of them off the top of my head). Also there is a “Grecia, Costa Rica” if you’re interested in Grecia. 🙂

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