About Nadine Hays Pisani

Nadine is the author of the best-selling series, Happier Than A Billionaire. Join her as she navigates living as an expat in the sometimes confusing, always beautiful, country of Costa Rica.

Thorny Tales From The Garden

By | July 23rd, 2017|Categories: Garden|

Rob's Garden

Costa Rica Cost of Living Update: Magic Root for making bushes from clippings— $5

It’s the rainy season here in Costa Rica which in my house means I will only see my husband in the morning when he drinks a cup of coffee. After that, he is off to the garden. I would describe him as having a green thumb. Or more accurately, a swollen green and purple thumb because he constantly gets stuck with bougainvillea thorns.

“Don’t you think all these plants are overkill, Rob?” I ask.

“I’m making a double layer security fence, so I’m planting red, white, and pink bougainvillea mixed with hibiscus. But not all sloppy and mixed up.”

“Of course, Rob. That would be insane.”

He ignores me and continues talking. “There needs to be two meters of red, two meters of white, two meters of pink, and two meters of mixed red and white… in that order. That pattern will continue around the entire property.”

This is quite the attention to detail. Continue reading “Thorny Tales From The Garden” »

A New Yorker Gardening in Costa Rica

By | July 14th, 2017|Categories: Mountain House, The Happier House|Tags: , , , |

Happier House Garden

Costa Rica Cost of Living Update: A Thousand Bougainvillea Plants—Free when your husband is a lunatic

The weather has been beautiful in Costa Rica with the perfect mix of rain and sunshine. We have amazing lightning shows at night, with claps of thunder so loud it rattles the windows. Mornings begin with misty clouds drifting across the hilltops; temperatures so cool it feels like I’m still living in the mountains.

I think often about my time in Grecia, where this whole journey started. Rob and I didn’t know what to expect when we moved to Costa Rica. The idea was risky, ridiculous, and romantic. Little did I know, it was the beginning of something great

Below is a chapter from Happier Than A Billionaire: The Sequel. It chronicles the move to the beach and the beginning of our next adventure, one which included a truck full of plants.

Rob knew we would have a garden one day. He has a way of seeing into our future. Continue reading “A New Yorker Gardening in Costa Rica” »

A Happier Father’s Day

By | June 18th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|

Fathers Day Costa Rica

Costa Rica Costa of Living Update: Repairing one busted rear spring on an SUV — $125 for parts and labor

For those who have read my books, you know that I love to talk about my family, especially my father. He’s a Renaissance Man: one versed in literature, Roman history, and the ability to find the best deal on cases of C & C Cola. He never buys bottles, only cans because it’s it easier to stack them dangerously high in the garage behind the lawnmower and hedge clippers. This becomes a suburban version of The Hunger Games when you’re thirsty.

So for this Father’s Day, I’m sharing with you an email exchange with my dad that I included in my second book, Happier Than A Billionaire: The Sequel. Writing and sharing my work has been quite a journey for me, and I can always count on my dad to come to my rescue when I’m feeling down:

From: Nadine

To: Dad

1:13 PM

Subject: The Worst Book He Ever Read

I got a one-star review today. He said it was the worst book he ever read:

“I’m halfway through and struggling to finish it: it is simply one of the worst books of any genre that I have every tried to read. Nadine, in particular, is what would be called an “ugly American” by many ex-pats living in Costa Rica (or other foreign places). Instead of appreciating and blending into the culture, she appears as a bull in a china shop in nearly every chapter.

My wife and I are contemplating a retirement move to Costa Rica (or the Caribbean). My father built a house in CR in 1995 and we have made many trips to the country. Likewise, the Caribbean where I have almost thirty years’ experience as a visitor. Trust me, this book has almost nothing serious to offer the person seeking good information of making such a move. It is a serious undertaking, with many pitfalls that will happen to you if you don’t understand the culture…”

And it doesn’t stop there, it goes on and on and on. He practically wrote a book about how much he didn’t like my book.

Seriously Dad, the worst book of any genre? Is it the worst book in any language in the world? How about the worst book in every universe on every Starfleet?

Because if that’s true… it sounds like a pretty shitty book.  Continue reading “A Happier Father’s Day” »

Editing Has Begun: The Fourth Happier Book is Well Under Way!

By | June 10th, 2017|Categories: The Happier House|Tags: , , |

First Chapter Happier House

Costa Rica Costa of Living Update: Price per Gallon of Super Gasoline — $4.15 (And there was nothing super about it.  My car immediately stalled after filling the tank)

As many of you know from following my Facebook page, I’ve been diligently working on my next book about building The Happier House. Why am I not entering the culinary profession after my smash video, How to Screw Up a Mango Salad you ask? I stay in my lane folks, and for me, that means documenting the stupid things my husband gets us into. This is the perfect profession since it requires minimal effort from me. Like right now, as I’m writing this, my husband is pruning a palm tree with a weed wacker. All I need is eyesight and an elementary school education to predict how this day will end.

I’m so excited to share with you the first chapter of my fourth book. You’ve all been so wonderful to me, and I often think of you as I write. I imagine that person in bed who only has ten minutes to read before falling asleep. Or that individual who loves armchair travel, and dreams of moving abroad one day. Taking you on this journey with me has been a dream come true. I can’t thank you all enough.

Burrito Man

“I’m starting a burrito business,” Bobby says while standing under a palm tree. “I’m calling it … are you ready… Bobby-ritos.” He splays his hands in the air as if revering a neon-lit Vegas marquee. To seem polite, I look up as well. I do not splay or revere.

Tonight, people are approaching me with the very first thought on their mind. They pick me straight out of a crowd or corner me in the bathroom. It appears I wear an expression of someone who is keenly interested in what others have to say. Most times I am. But not tonight.

Continue reading “Editing Has Begun: The Fourth Happier Book is Well Under Way!” »

How to Screw up a Mango Salad

By | March 27th, 2017|Categories: Cooking Show, Recipes|Tags: , , , |

Costa Rica Cost of Living Update: Jar of Imported Bertolli Spaghetti Sauce— $3.90

If you want to stay on a budget, do not buy a jar of imported tomato sauce. This is a high priced item that I refuse to purchase, which is why Rob is the fun guy when he shops. When I asked why he bought it, all he said was, “It’s good.” My husband has absolutely no issue indulging his Italian appetite when he craves something.

Purchasing this is such a rarity that there was a herald of arms announcing the sauce when Rob arrived home. There may also have been trumpets, but all I could hear was my father’s voice declaring I’ll be homeless by Friday if I continue being irresponsible with my money.

Does a jar of good tomato sauce bring you joy like it does my husband? If the answer is no, move to Costa Rica. Things you normally ate in the States are too expensive here, so when you do purchase them, it’s like Mardi Gras. I promise to toss beads at you when you buy that really good mozzarella cheese.

So this video is me making an inexpensive Happier Mango Salad, one in which I screw up pretty good. This gives you great insight to my skills in the kitchen. I’m surprised I haven’t starved yet.

This mango salad is guaranteed to make you feel a little happier. And a little happier is better than any jar of expensive tomato sauce. Continue reading “How to Screw up a Mango Salad” »