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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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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Are we residents of Costa Rica yet? Are we, are we??

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Look at this lovely couple holding their cedula (residency) cards!

Unfortunately this couple is NOT us, but our pals Irina & Jim.  They applied for their residency in December, 2012 and it took 18 months for them to get their cards.  I’m very happy for them.

You’re probably wondering where we are in our residency process?  Well,  it pains me to tell you – that we just aren’t quite there yet. Actually it’s fine. Some people get residency really quickly, others not so… It is what it is, right? Pura vida.

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As Eye See It

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My dad always told me “once you get to be over 40, you’ll need glasses”. In my 20-something invincibility I was like – right, Dad, whatever. I’d always had 20/20 vision, and was really proud of it (I was one of those rare beings that was born with perfect eyes that would last a lifetime).

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DIY Paper Towel Origami

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So…. you’re having dinner guests over in an hour, and you discover that you don’t have any napkins in the house! Horror of horrors. But wait – you DO have paper towels.

Well, this happens a lot to me here in Costa Rica because we just don’t buy napkins. Paper towel is fine for all of our needs. And of course we buy the cheapest paper towel we can, because we live on a pretty frugal budget. Although we did have to start paying a bit more for a little bit nicer brand, as the cheapest one was very hard to tear off the roll without shredding, and if it got the least bit wet, it totally disintegrated.

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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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Costa Rica Chica – THE BOOK

THIS IS FINAL

Just a note to tell you guys my biggest news ever – MY BOOK IS PUBLISHED!

I would be totally honored if you bought a copy (just $3.95!) and read it.

<<– Just click on this cover picture (or HERE) to purchase!

What is it about?  Well, have you ever wanted to quit your job and “retire early”?  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. 

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Battle of the Boxes – a RED wine review

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Due to popular demand, here is the boxed wine review for red wine (vino tinto)!

I got my hubby (a red wine connoisseur) to help with this one, here he is, in all his blind-folded glory:

Presenting – the Battle of the Red Boxes – Greggorio style:

PEÑASOL Vino Tinto Made in: Spain Cost (1 L box): c2,928 ($5.85) Alcohol: 12% Smell: “No smell. Maybe I’m stopped up or something? I don’t smell anything.” Taste: “Not really a taste to this. I must say I kind of like it though.”         UVITA Vino Tinto Made in: Argentina Cost (1 L box): c2,000 ($4.00) Alcohol: 12.2% Smell: “None. There’s no smell.” Taste: “I like it.” CLOS Cabernet Sauvignon Made in: Chile Cost (1 L box): c2,790 ($5.58) Alcohol: 12% Smell: “Doesn’t really smell like much. Maybe rotten grapes.” Taste: “Don’t like too much (makes a grimace), but it’s OK. Not very flavorful. Un-describable.”   DON SIMON Vino Tino Made in: Spain Alcohol: 11% Cost (1 L box): c1,500 ($3.00) Smell: “Now, this one has a good smell!” Taste: “Ew, has a bit of a bad after taste. But it’s ok, I could drink this.”

Greg’s conclusions:

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Dentist in Costa Rica

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What is it like to go to the dentist in Grecia, Costa Rica?

Well… it’s actually all smiles.

Our friend Debbie recommended and gave us a business card for a dentist in Grecia, when we first moved here back in June, 2013. We didn’t have a need for a dentist right then, but kept her card for future use. Several weeks later, a woman who was staying at the property we were at came down with severe pain in her mouth. I promptly handed her the business card I had for Dr. Rebeca Perez of SMILES Dentistry, she called to schedule an appointment, and Dr. Rebeca spoke with her and told her to come in later that day.

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Where to get FREE e-books!

So, have y’all heard of something called a Library?  This answer was so blatant and staring me in the face, I never even thought of it.

Right before our big move to Costa Rica, I went to visit my Mom in my teeny tiny hometown in Wisconsin. She had recently gotten an iPad, and asked me to help her with “reading books from her library”, among other things.

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Opening a Costa Rican bank account in 5 easy visits

Preface:

Our very first visit to San Jose was to meet our attorney.  We handed over all our paper work, lots of money, and he initiated our rentista residency process (see my first post about this, which describes the “rentista residency” vs. the residency people do when they are of OTHER retirement age and receive social security). All went well, and he told us he’d call us once we received our “folio numbers” – which would enable us to come back and get finger printed and set up a bank account.  Our attorney also mentioned that he had 15 years of experience working with Banco National, and we would have no problem opening an account to satisfy the rentista requirements.

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Bartering… the coolest form of currency.

Bartering – seems like something from the “olden days”, as my Grandmother would say.  Before I moved here, I had read a snippet about it somewhere…  and I thought, man – that would be so cool to barter one of my “talents” for something I wanted in return.

Well, I’m happy to report bartering is alive and well, here in Costa Rica!   I love bartering – especially because we are on a pretty tight budget now.  It is so cool, y’all!  You just exchange something that you can provide that another person wants, for something that you want that the other person can provide.  Sounds easy, right? Here’s an example:

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Costa Rica’s unusual bonus deals!

So, in the US, you know how stores sometimes have “special bonus” deals with certain products?…  like:

–Buy a can of shaving cream and get a FREE RAZOR to go with it!

–Buy a bottle of Shampoo, and get a bottle of Conditioner for FREE (savings of $6!!)!

–Buy bottle of Sunscreen and get a FREE lipgloss tube (with SPF 15) to go with it!

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We’ve been fingerprinted!

Good news!  We’ve received our “folio numbers” – which will enable us to NOT have to leave the country every 3 months!  Woot!  There’s just a teeny tiny little thing – Greg’s last name is still spelled wrong, but our attorney assures us this is “no problema”, was just a typo by someone and will be fixed at some point (when?).

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Losing the glut

One of the reasons we moved to Costa Rica, was to live smaller – in a lot of ways.  We wanted to get out of the “more more more” mentality (more money, more material things…), and concentrate on more important things.  With us both quitting our jobs, of course this meant learning to live on less money as well.  I admit, I had concerns about this –  we were so used to just buying whatever we needed, and really – whatever we wanted.   I never looked at price tags.  Awful, I know…   After being that way for so long, could I  just “change”?

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You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers.

So, this is just an “answering questions” post… some questions sent to me by my subscribers (which I love, keep ‘em coming!).

What is the exchange rate?

It is currently approximately:  500 – 1.  Example in converting colones to American dollars:  ₡ 30,000 = $60.00; or ₡ 2,500 = $5.00 – approximately.  This is using Jen’s easy method of “approximate” calculating – move the decimal point to the left 3 places and double.

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Taking care of “business”… in San Jose

So, little road trip to San Jose yesterday.  San Jose is the capital, about a 45 minute drive from Grecia, and also where we fly in and out – SJO – San Jose International Airport (not sure what the “O” stands for).  Our intention was to meet with an attorney who works with the ARCR (Association of Residents of Costa Rica) about starting our residency process.  We had been referred to an attorney by some friends of ours, who said this guy was very efficient and did a good job handling their paperwork.  Expediency is a good thing IF you can get it here in Costa Rica….  as most things are on “tico time” – which means – well, maybe today, maybe mañana (tomorrow)…  they take their sweet time in doing things – all with good intentions – it’s just the “laid back” way here…  Pura Vida.

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Money Money Money!

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The front…

OK – let’s talk MONEY.  The money here (called the “colón”, plural being “colones’) is SO beautiful.  I just love it.  The paper bills are smaller than our American dollar bills, but they’re just so PRETTY.  Look!

The coins are nothing fancy, look similar to the American coins, but here you go, just in case you’re interested:

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