Paperback is out! Life Outside The Cubicle!

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Hello friends and happy Tuesday!  Just a quick note to let you know that Life Outside The Cubicle is now available in PAPERBACK!  Yes, like an actual book that you can hold in your hands.  I got to see if for myself just a few days ago, and I must say – it looks awesome!

So if you are one of those people who doesn’t “do” ebooks, or just likes to hold a real, actual book in your hands – here you go!  I’d be honored if you checked out my book.

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Life Outside the Cubicle

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“What do you do all day?” I get this question a lot. And while exactly what I do changes each day, I was amazed by my new “normal” the other day.

4 years ago, I never would have thought I would be spending my day formatting and publishing my 3rd book and working on 7 arm candy orders. All while drinking Costa Rican coffee with parrots squawking in the background and with the lovely view of my husband working across the table from me (instead of a grey cubicle wall!).

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HOW COSTA RICA HAS MADE ME A BETTER COOK

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Even before I came to Costa Rica, I loved to bake. But it was only on occasion, only when I had time, and really – only if we were going to a party or family gathering and I needed to bring something. The point is – I enjoyed baking when I had time to do it… but I just never seemed to have that much time.

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The Secret to Keeping Lettuce Crisp (for up to 3 weeks)!

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Let me tell you a story.  There was once a girl who lived in Dallas and LOVED salad.  Almost any kind of salad, but her favorites were caesar salad (with or without chicken) or a fried or grilled chicken salad (with ranch dressing, cheddar cheese and croutons).  OK, so maybe these salads weren’t the healthiest of salads, but still – it made this girl feel good and healthy when she got to eat a salad for a meal.  At least she was getting some vegetables, and let’s be serious – any kind of salad is better than a burger or pizza.

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Reserva Forestal Grecia – Bosque del Niño

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Reserva Forestal Grecia Bosque del Niño (Grecia Forest Reserve of the Children) is right here in Grecia.  It’s a nice little getaway from the city life.  When we were there – we were the only ones there!  

There’s a huge field for soccer or playing catch, and behind it is a large covered area with several picnic tables and grills.  The bathrooms are located behind the covered area.

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Los Chorros Waterfalls, Grecia, Costa Rica

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 Do you like waterfalls?  Well, they seem to be pretty plentiful here in Costa Rica.  Los Chorros is a little gem right outside of Grecia.  Easy to get to for a low-keyed and fun-filled day of natural beauty.

Los Chorros is about a 15 minute drive from Central Grecia, and just 30 minutes from the International Airport (SJO) in Alajuela.  It’s between the two small towns of Grecia and Tacares (see map at end of post).

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Costa Rican Food

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What is typical food like in Costa Rica?  One of my friend’s from the States was asking me this the other day, and I’d been wanting to do a post on this for some time.  Rice and beans are plentiful here and used in a lot of dishes.  Though we do not dine out frequently, here are some of our favorite things we order when we do go out.

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Christmas 2015

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Hello friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and spent time with family and loved ones.

For me, there’s no better way to spend Christmas than with the one I love, having a Christmas movie marathon, while eating tasty treats! We watched 7 movies over 2 days. We even got a small 3-mile hike in on Christmas morning, which was lovely (and much needed after all the treats we’d been eating the day before).

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JEN’S PACK LIST FOR MOVE TO COSTA RICA

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Yep, that’s us with our 9 suitcases in the driveway of Greg’s folks house in Dallas, right before we headed out to the airport to fly to Costa Rica on June 17, 2013.

So, what exactly did we pack in those 9 suitcases?  Well, I’m here to tell you.  This has actually been requested of me several times, and I just finally got around to doing it (thanks Dee Dee for your nudge the other day!)  Although I did an earlier form of this list in the back of my book Costa Rica Chica, this post will be more detailed and itemized.

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10 THINGS I’VE CUT OUT OF MY LIFE, THAT HAVE MADE ME A MUCH HAPPIER (AND SANE) PERSON

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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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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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Project August

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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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Jen’s DIY Foaming Hand Soap

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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

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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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Bus from San Jose to Tamarindo

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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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Dancing!

Greg and I do not dance… at all. But we were told about this dancing place by a couple of people, and definitely wanted to check it out (or at least I did) – just to people watch and have a good time. So, we went on Sunday with our friends Beverly & Ed.

What a blast! The place is locally referred to as “La Piscina” (meaning “the pool” – which is next to it and has been empty for years).  It was almost all Ticos (we were 4 of the 5 Gringos there), it was outdoors but covered, a live band, all Latin music, smiles everywhere. The band was really good – both music and singing wise. There was a huge space for dancing in front of the band, and then tons of tables beyond the dance floor.

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10 Reasons Why You Don’t Want To Move To Costa Rica

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I keep seeing articles that say Costa Rica is one of the happiest countries to live in.  And while that can be true for some, I wanted to point out various reasons why someone may not want to move here.

1. You don’t want to move to Costa Rica if… you really like the four seasons.

Well, there IS a “Four Seasons” hotel in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, but there is definitely not four seasons of the year here (it should really be called the “Two Seasons Hotel”). No changing of the leaves. No crisp season when the snow melts and it’s that “light jacket” weather. No snow or ice or sleet or slush.

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Grecia to Alajuela Bus Trip

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This bus trip is SOOO easy, I feel almost foolish that I haven’t done it before! I tagged along with my pal Debbie (who is also car-less and knows the bus system well).

Purpose for our trip? Well, to go to Pequeño Mundo, of course! Pequeño Mundo is a like a dollar store on steroids. It’s a big warehouse, filled with lots of great deals (ok, most are more than $1, but still). Anything from kitchenware to clothes to candles to to food to lawn equipment and light bulbs. I love Pequeño Mundo, but have only driven there with friends before. I wanted to know how to get there on my own via the bus.

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A new dentist visit – in Escazú

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The other day we had the opportunity to visit a new dentist in Guachipelin, Escazú, Costa Rica.  I had an appointment for a teeth cleaning, and Greg was scheduled for a cleaning and a teeth whitening.  I’m not too easily impressed these days, but Dr. Oriana González impressed me.

Here is Dr. González (in white) with her assistant:

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Hiking for FUN

Greg & I had been wanting to get back to hiking ever since he got rid of his cold (he had lots of lingering coughing, so it had been WEEKS since we had last hiked together!). So we had planned on this morning, finally.

We were dressed and ready, water bottle chilling with ice in the freezer, when it start drizzling outside. Oh no. We’re transitioning out of rainy season right now, but we had some hard all-night rains just a couple of nights ago – so you never know – it could start pouring at any moment.  But we decided to go for it. Sun was out, with a few clouds, and it was still lightly misting, but we figured we wouldn’t melt.

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