Costa Rica Chica’s Favorite Things – 2014 Christmas Gift Guide

Oprah is not the only one who can have a “Favorite Things” list.  And I have a LOT of favorite things…  Yes, yes, I’ve simplified my life and all – but you can’t expect me to give up everything, can you?

Here’s a list of my Favorite Things this year, and a Christmas Gift Guide for you all,
in no particular order (well, except for #1…):

favorite things

1.  Costa Rica Chica – THE BOOK  Of course – my book! Available in e-book or paperback – a must have for gift giving this season (OR for yourself!). The story of how I quit my job, and retired early to Costa Rica to enjoy a more simple and HAPPY life. Pura Vida! (e-book $3.95, paperback $10.95)

2.  King Arthur Flour Bread & Soup Gift Set  How can you go wrong with home baked rustic sour dough bread, corn chowder and this cute King Arthur Flour Towel?? I have to have this (actually I WILL have this in January)!! ($21.95)

3.  Desigual Cross Body Bag  POCKETS, anyone??!  This little cross body bag has so many pockets (2 on the outside and 4 on the inside, besides the main body compartment!), makes organizing so easy. ($69)

4.  Hot Tools 1 – 1/4″ Curling Iron  This makes big, loose, easy beach waves in my hair so quickly and effortlessly.  Heats up almost instantly (you control the temp).  Cute change for my normally straight hair! ($27.41)  

5.  Athleta Skorts  If you know me at all by now, you know that I LIVE in these skorts by Athleta!  They are so comfy, and I never have to worry about showing anything (people may look, but they ain’t seeing nothin!!).  ($37.99 and up)

6.  Tervis Custom Made Water Bottle  I love that you can add any picture or logo to these cups – totally customizable.  Look how cute mine turned out!  And besides cute, it REALLY keeps my water insulated and cold for a long hike, doesn’t sweat, has easy grip top, and easy to open lid.  ($35)

7.  The Executioner  This kills ALL THE BUGS.   Made for flies and mosquitoes – but I have used on roaches and spiders!  You push a little button (battery operated) and it electrocutes anything you come into contact with (use with caution). ($19.99)

8.  Pentatonix – “That’s Christmas To Me”  My obsession this Christmas. I may not have any Christmas decorations in my Costa Rican house, but I WILL have this music playing! ($9)

9.  Costa Rica Chica Mug  You want to drink your coffee out of this mug.  I know you do. ($17.95)

10.  Crossbody Hippie Bag   This bag… is so comfortable, easily accessible, impossible for anyone to rip off you when it’s across your body like this, and so stinkin cute! (has one zippered pocket on outside – great for cell phone, a zippered pocket on the inside, and a zippered top). ($17.99)

11.  iHome IM60LT 3.5mm Aux Portable Speaker  Comes in so many different colors, this little speaker is awesome to hook up to your iphone, ipod or laptop – affordable, works great and is teeny tiny!  Sound is surprisingly great. ($18.40)

12.  Sharpie Fine Point Pens   Yes, this is really a pen.  Does not bleed through regular paper, has a smooth writing action, acid-free permanent ink, quick drying, comes in fine or medium point!  These worked SO GREAT at my book signing party!  Genius, Sharpie!! (Pack of 6, $8.32)

13.  Timex Women’s “Ironman Traditional” Sport Watch in Hot Pink  This is on my wish list (Greg…).  The only watch I wear here in Costa Rica is a sports watch, and I think it’s “Timex” for a new one.  This is adorable with the hot pink color and slim band. ($49.75)

14.  Mentholatum Trusted for 120 years, how can you beat that?? I LOVE this stuff for my lips (yes, my lips!) – I put it on every night before going to bed. It is kind of like Vicks, but not as strong, and does WONDERS for chapped lips. I’ve been using it for YEARS. ($5.62 for 3 oz)

15.  Costa Rica Chica Arm Candy  Seriously, this IS one of my favorite things.  I never take my arm candy off.   My passion for it, is what made me initially start making it.  Check it out, if you haven’t already…  it’s really cool beachy/casual jewelry, and also makes great personal gifts.  (Bracelets start at $7) 

16.  Silpat Mats  I discovered these shortly before moving to Costa Rica.  Would not bake without them now.  Use in place of Pam spray or parchment paper – for anything and everything (cookies, chicken, dipping oreo balls in chocolate) – everything just peels right off without sticking.  ($16.66 for 2 mats)

And now… because I LOVE YOU ALL –


1.  Costa Rica Chica – the e-book
2.  Costa Rica Chica – the paperback book
3.  Costa Rica Chica Arm Candy – one bracelet

For a chance to win one of the above items, simply comment below!!

Giveaway runs from December 3, 2014 at 7:00 am CST
through December 7, 2014 at 11:59 pm CST.

Merry Early Christmas!! — Jen  xo

UPDATE 12/8/2014:  This contest is now closed – congrat’s to the winners!:

  1. E-Book “Costa Rica Chica” – Elizabeth Wefel
  2. Paperback Book “Costa Rica Chica” ­– Patti Beau
  3. Arm Candy Bracelet – Cicily Mitchell

I’ll be contacting you all directly for you free gift!  Thanks for playing! — Jen xo

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77 Responses to Costa Rica Chica’s Favorite Things – 2014 Christmas Gift Guide

    • David – yes! I even have the really large mat for rolling out pastries and dough – I LOVE LOVE LOVE it (just used it this morning for cinnamon rolls!).

  1. I think I’ve read nearly every Costa Rica bloggers book. There’s still a couple on the list including yours. My husband and I will be traveling to Costa Rica in January in our 6th trip to the country. We’d love to move there, but not sure we could leave behind our 4 grandkids…we only live a few miles from them.

    Junquillal, south of Tamarindo is our favorite spot along the coast. The only place we’ve stayed inland is Nuevo Arenal, that was very nice as well. We can’t wait to come back, escape the Iowa cold, and relax for 2 weeks.

    Happy Holidays.

    • Awesome Sarah – never heard of Junquillal, but am familiar with Tamarindo (of course). Iowa IS cold (I’m originally from Wisconsin!)! If I happen to pick you (with my random gift picker), will make sure I gift you my book! 🙂

  2. Hi Jen,

    Have really enjoyed reading your blog posts this year and would love to read your new book!! The arm candy you make is so cute:).

    Cheers to the New Year!

    Julie in Colorado

  3. I LOVE the Costa Rica Arm candy!! Would love to win the bracelet…if I’m not that lucky, where can I buy some? I live in Playa Hermosa/Jaco

  4. You can NEVER have enough arm candy or copies of your book! Just discovered I could use more arm candy for gifts but have no $ to pay for it. (Shameless plea, I know!) ♥♥♥

  5. I will have to add 16 more things to my list. My list is growing! Love this post and you! Have an awesome day, Jen Jen!

    • Awesome Heather – thanks for reading my book (PS – have you left a review on amazon yet??). Hope you win, if you do – I’ll be sure to do arm candy for you! 🙂

  6. I’ve enjoyed your blog. I am in the process of selling all my things and looking for a simpler life. We are going to do some travel looking for the right spot and are headed to Ecuador in February and to Europe in June. Don’t want anything except you’re book! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Well I am in love with several of your favorites. Did you purchase these while living in the States? I’ll be arriving in CR in 5 weeks and should bring my favorites along if I need to buy them in the States. If course, I have item #1 already!

  8. Hi Jen! I love your book (have read it though twice already!) and keeping updated on your blog. We’ll be in CR in the New Year for 3 months, and want to see Grecia during that time. I’d love to win & wear your fabulous arm candy! And you could save the shipping…I’ll come pick it up 🙂 Even if I don’t win, I’d still like to look at your selection (in person!) and choose a couple that catch my eye.

    • Corissa! Wow – read my book twice!! That warms my heart. Would love to meet you if you come through Grecia, and of course you can see whatever stock of arm candy I currently have! Keep me posted. 🙂

  9. You are such a dynamo, Jen!! Love the idea of the giveaway; everyone likes to win something but methinks you are the real winner!! I got your book and LOVE LOVE LOVE it. So much, in fact, that you were the catalyst for me to celebrate Thanksgiving in CR (at Playa Flamingo; incredible sunsets!!). Back here in the depressing, sunless, cold northeast, I more than ever realize what you’ve found in CR — the people are so warm, easy going…la pura vida. I’ve been researching retirement havens for several years now, but because of you and your writing, I am inspired to make a move to CR. Thanks for sharing your experiences through your blog and book; you can never know how your words affect others, but by the comments you receive, you certainly have had a positive impact on many people. Keep doing what you’re doing!!

    • OHMYGOSH – best comment ever Karen G!! Thank you so much. Your words just totally warmed my heart, not kidding you! Thank you SOOOOO much!! Wow! Also – I might have to share this comment on Facebook, would you mind?? 🙂 xoxo

      • Of course, post whatever you like. You have shared so much of yourself in your writing that, as many others have already commented, you seem like a good friend we have yet to meet in person. Looking forward to your next book, blog posting, adventure, and everything else! I am one of your biggest cheerleaders!

  10. Love your blog, I’ve been reading it for about a year now! We had plans to visit CR this past October but had to postpone the trip.:( Thanks for sharing your “favorite things” list! I bought your book about a month ago and read it right away! Totally enjoyed reading it! Your arm candy is pretty cute! I’m with you… when you love your jewelry, why take it off!!

  11. Howdy from Texas!

    We love us some Jen-Jen and miss you! Don’t you miss us and fourth quarter? Love your list! Merry Christmas early!

  12. Jen, I’m so proud of you! I get chills everytime I see one of your posts, go to Amazon to check on your book or look down lovingly at my super cute, super hip Arm Candy! I more than anyone (except Greg)
    know just how far this journey has taken you. Yours is truly an incredible journey when you think of the daily grind of our previous lives. Thank you for proving that YOU CAN LIVE YOUR DREAMS. Yours is an inspiring story to all women whether they be in corporate, an empty nester or they just have awakened one day with the question, “Is this all there is?”. Know that I accompany you on your journey from afar with pride, a hug and a “YOU GO GIRL!” Now keep on going :-). Cicily

    • Aw, such a super nice comment Cic! I KNOW you know all about my journey, and truly understand – and you have encouraged me from that very first day I told you about my plans!! So, so appreciate you, and your support means more than you know. 🙂 Cheers! xo

  13. I love your blog and I loved your book even more! I am so glad that you and Greg are enjoying life and I hope you get everything on your wish list! You do not have to enter my name in your drawing; instead enter someone elses name twice as an extra chance for them to be a winner… that will make my day 🙂

  14. Want that arm candy (because I already own the book). Thank goodness my internet service was restored in time to do this. Almost missed it!!!!!

  15. Would love to win! Love this post too. You are right, everyone can have a favorites list, not just Oprah! I love that brand of shorts too. I have a bathing suit and some shorts from the site. pura Vida!

  16. Cute idea to post the list. The baking mats are now in my Amazon cart! And as you know, I already read the eBook.

    Do you have a web site for the jewelry?

  17. Hi Jen, Well we meet through Nicholas. You have become my new best friend to follow. I read your book and love it. You and I and alot in common. I remember the times I use to come home and Nicholas and Robert would be standing in the door to see what kind of mood I was in when I got home from work. I have passed your book around at the office (sorry I should have made them buy their own)lol. I enjoy reading everything about you and your husband. I hope you all enjoy your retirement to the fullest. Keep writing!!! Can’t wait for the next book and the cook book. Maybe the new year will have a year full of new things….. Costa Rica Chica…. love it!!!

    • Hello Betty!! Glad to see you hear and read your comment! I love hearing that we have things in common. I love that you passed my book around the office (to me – having people read my story is more important than money)! Thanks for being one of my biggest fans. 🙂

  18. where did you purchase the Executioner? I thought I read in one of the articles that you bought it somewhere in the US. If I move to CR it sounds like I will need one

    • Debbie, I do NOT have things shipped here (CR) from amazon. There is a way to do it – there’s a company that has you ship stuff to an address in Florida, and then it comes to Costa Rica and goes through customs and you have to pay duty – but I really don’t know anything about this. I just avoid it. Luckily I have great friends and family – when they come to visit me here, they will mule in products from the USA that I can’t do without. Cheers!

  19. Hi Jen,

    Def arm candy–if I don’t win, I will be ordering. BTW planning a trip down in the New Year to visit your area. Where would I fly into??

  20. Clever, crafty gift guide, Jen. No doubt it’ll inspire a plethora of readers. I saw the Pentatonixs less than a year ago. They were brilliant, talented, and truly inspiring.
    I hope you and Greg had a lovely Thanksgiving. I bet you had a slew of new family to break bread and slice turkey with.
    Here’s to the holidays!

  21. So first, I find out that we both hail from TX, both play piano, and now I see you love Pentatonix!! I’ve been a huge fan of theirs ever since “The Sing Off”! Don’t know if you have access to Pandora, but they have a special holiday station now as well as their regular station. LOVE it!! I’m thinking we are destined to be friends!

  22. I am truly luck to have met (via Facebook) an AMAZING person like you and to get to call you friend is even better…..Thanks for being who you are and sharing your life journey with us =)

  23. I recently finished reading your book. I loved, loved it. It has been 5 weeks since we returned from a 10 day vacation in Costa Rica. Allot of what I read in your book, we had experienced or seen. My husband is now reading your book. I want you to know that I work at the Longmont Public Library in Colorado. I highly recommended Costa Rica Chica and now it is a part of the LPL’s collection. I am looking forward to your upcoming cookbook. Keep me informed on when you have published.

    • Sharon – first of all, thank you so much for reading and telling me how much you enjoyed my book. And WOW – I love love love(!) that you recommended and now it is in the Longmont Public Library in Colorado!! How cool is that?? I LOVE IT. Muchas, muchas gracias!! 🙂 xo

      • You are welcome, Jen! Even tho your book is new to LPL collection, it already has 2 holds on it. I am sure that our patrons will enjoy it as much as I did.

        My husband & I loved Costa Rica. We are considering moving there as soon as we are fully retired …. which is the fall of 2015. We are planning on making a trip in March to experience Costa Rica’s dry season. I would love to meet you in person and get you to sign my copy of your book. 🙂

        • OMG – 2 holds!! How cool is that??? I love it!!

          Would love to meet you – please keep me posted closer to March when you might be coming through Grecia! Of course I’ll sign your book for you! Thanks Sharon!

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