“About Me” · Reconsidered

Writing my ‘About Me’ page, I noticed the similarity to an obituary. Say nothing negative. Only positive spin on the human experience. But, falling down, or “hitting rock bottom,” is the most integral part of our life’s trajectory. It prepares us for spiritual growth. Those moments make us who we are. Why write or blog at all, if you can’t be honest and share about your human foibles? For me, it’s time for a rewrite. About Me (Updated) “I love with wild abandon and determination, in equal parts. All injustice tugs on my heart so aggressively it can cloud my judgement. My love disguises itself as anger when I feel like my husband or children have put themselves in danger. I react to humor is…

Blogging Course Scams and Cons

Dreaming of living abroad as a blogging digital nomad, people are blindly handing over their money to a growing numbers of online experts. One Woman’s Cautionary Tale Staring into the stark light of my Mac in disbelief that September morning, I reread the email. I’d flown cross-country to San Francisco for a workshop I signed up for months ago. Now, hours before it was to begin, my online guru is cancelling it. 9 Months earlier  The Initial Sales Pitch I dabbled with blogging years ago, as a way to escape my isolation as a newly-minted expat in Costa Rica. So, I listened with interest to the video I’d come across on Facebook. Chatting like a girlfriend, the disheveled-looking blonde says, Anyone can become a successful blogger with…

The Dark Side Of Digital Nomad Life

  A cautionary tale for those who are dreaming of an untethered life. Katey sits alone and pours another glass of wine. The price she paid for a really lousy bottle of California wine was obscene, but this is not a time to consider the budget. This is a time cling to the familiar, and enjoy another glass of chardonnay. One digital nomad’s tale She closes her eyes and remembers how she and her husband aimlessly walked through the neighborhood  market with their young daughter, and bravely tasted local fare from food carts and ‘hole-in-the-wall” restaurants. All those magical moments of the past few years, captured in dreamy Instagram shots, magazine articles, and blog posts, for their many followers to jealously enjoy. But now that she…

Camping With Your Kids in Northern Thailand · DAY 2 · 2 Day Itinerary

While camping with your kids in Doi Suthep National Park, visit a remote Hmong village and enjoy a cup of coffee in a tiny mountainside cafe · Read about DAY 1 here! · DAY 2  I awoke before sunrise and headed out in search of coffee, only to find other early risers also seeking hot beverages. The concession’s posted hours let us know that we’d all have to wait more than an hour before any coffee hot water + instant coffee/tea would be available, so I headed down to the nearby pavilions to enjoy the quiet and read by headlamp. Shortly before sunrise, I nudged the children out of their sleeping bags, bribing them with sweet breakfast treats I’d brought along in my pack. I helped bundle…

Camping With Your Kids in Northern Thailand · DAY 1 · 2 Day Itinerary

Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, 16km northwest of Chiang Mai, has it all! Waterfalls, Hmong Villages, Temples, mountain biking, hiking, and camping! *Read DAY 2 here* Our mountain-born kids started camping long before their first birthdays, and love to sleep under the stars. Our two children (8 and 11) and I were visiting Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 2012 and heard about an amazing nearby campground in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, so we decided to check it out! DAY 1 – Depart from Chiang Mai Doi Suthep campground is located in the mountains, 24km outside of the city, in Doi Suthep National Park. I made a reservation online and packed our day packs. What to bring Clothes (layers best) and socks, hats and gloves, the nights are cool/cold year round.…

Transform An Ikea BILLY Bookcase Into A Stunning Kitchen Pantry

Ikea provides affordable and good-looking options for remodelers on a budget, and here’s how to make your money go even further! While designing our kitchen, using Ikea cabinets, we needed a large pantry for our family. The cost of the coordinating Ikea pantry unit exceeded our budget, so I decided to wander around Ikea for a while and figure out an option. That’s when the BILLY bookcase came into view! It’s estimated that every five seconds, one BILLY bookcase is sold somewhere in the world. Pretty impressive considering the Billy series was launched in 1979. Historically, these bookcases have become a home for books and chotskis to be displayed, but these days, they can be transformed into a myriad of functional furniture/storage pieces. You can find…

Become A Digital Nomad and Escape Your Stressful Life · We’ll Tell You How

This is the first in a new series of interviews and guest posts about living as a “digital nomad.” My friend Shay has kindly agreed to talk with us and share a bit about her experiences as a single millennial, living in Costa Rica.   ¡Buen día Shay! Thank you for your willingness to share about what it’s like to live in Costa Rica. Many of my readers are seriously considering moving abroad, so I’d like them to have as much information as possible as they consider this significant life change. let’s get started! Where are you from, originally?  Southern California, USA How long have you lived in Costa Rica? 10.5 years…Wow!! What are you looking at right now? Right now I am on a work…

Give Your 1960’s Ranch Style House A Facelift For Under $100

Not content to pull into the driveway of a boring looking 1960’s ranch house anymore? These inexpensive changes can transform your cookie-cutter ranch and make it a modern mid-century joy to come home to! Same, same, same… All  ofthe other houses in our 1960’s tract home neighborhood had terracotta brick, plastic shutters, and a small cement porch with twisted iron railings, that jutted out inconveniently from of the center of the house.   Every other home in our neighborhood was an equally dreary version of ours. Most of our home improvement budget was earmarked for a kitchen remodel, so it would take ingenuity to transform the exterior of our home. Fortunately, I’m a penny pincher, and knew I could make this facelift dream a reality!…

The Best Show To Binge On This Weekend! Bon Appétit!

Don’t think you’d care about what goes into Viennese Whirls, or how they’re made?  Well, this show not just about baking, it’s an opportunity to spend time with people overflowing with passion, optimism, kindness and skill. This show is like a hot pepper…pop that little inconspicuous chile into your mouth and be swept up into the burst of flavor and surprising heat that hits you when least expect it. Seriously, the baking is secondary to everything else. Weekend In The Country Searching for the U.K.’s best amateur bakers, the competition, held in the lush garden of a stately country manor, brings together 12 competitors from all walks of life. They will gather each week and bake their way through ten weekend “bake-fests.” As each episode…

Expat Moms Tell All! Guest Post Series- Moms With “Flip Flops On The Ground.”

The ONLY way to find out what raising children in Costa Rica is really like, is to go to the source. This the first in a series of upcoming guest posts by moms who are living the dream! Pura Vida, Penny Tina has lived in Atenas, Costa Rica for 18 years. She had both of her children in Costa Rica, and is raising them in this idyllic town. She owned and operated a community center and now runs her own real estate company. Today, she has kindly agreed to share her experiences with us! These guest posts will help you find out the pros and the cons, from people who are doing it and aren’t afraid to tell you the truth.  After living 18 years…