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!” »

Paradise Cookies

By | February 28th, 2017|Categories: Recipes|Tags: , , |

Costa Rica Cost of Living Update: 150 grams of coconut flakes — $2

Paradise cookies (or Coconut-Lemon Cookies)

What’s better than cookies? Paradise Cookies made in Costa Rica at The Happier House. And if you don’t like cookies, well, watch anyway for the snazzy banter. I made this recipe while Rob was fighting a wasp nest. The duel ended in a draw.

What I love about this cookie recipe—besides the fact that it’s easy—is that the flavors are not overpowering.  You don’t have to be a serious coconut lover or lemon fan to enjoy them.  They have a light crispness to them.  Great for grownups and kids.  Awesome with a nice strong cup of coffee.



1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

½ cup butter (one stick actually) softened

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

1 egg

¼ cup lemon juice

½ tsp lemon zest if you are using a real lemon if not you can leave this out

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 ½ cups sweetened coconut flakes

Continue reading “Paradise Cookies” »

Looking Up at The Happier House

By | December 10th, 2016|Categories: The Happier House|Tags: , , |

Brasilito Moon

Costa Rica Cost of Living Update: Bag of Sun Chips that Rob and I devoured in one hour—$4.82

The Happier House recently hosted two wonderful guests, Jim and Dawn. As we were showing them around the Sunset Suite’s outdoor kitchen, Rob began a very long and tedious explanation on how to light the barbecue.

“You see here Jim, the automatic lighter switch is broken so you will have to use this Bic lighter,” Rob explained, holding up the device in case Jim has started fires in the past using only flint and kindling.

“Okay, I think I got it,” Jim replied.

“Well, you have to light it where the gas comes out underneath, somewhere in the middle.”

“Yeah, I’ll remember…”

“It’s important Jim, that if the gas is on too long, you will want to shut it off and wait a few minutes then start again.”

Rob continued rambling to our guest, even suggesting the “Righty-Tighty, Lefty-Loosy” rule of turning the propane tank nozzle on and off when I finally interrupted.

“Honey, didn’t Jim tell you he works for NASA?”

“So you’re like a rocket scientist?” Rob asked.

“Yes. My job involves dealing with jet fuel when necessary.”

Well played Rocket Man. Well played.

Continue reading “Looking Up at The Happier House” »

Happier Than A Billionaire in Costa Rica: 5th Anniversary, The Book, and The Journey

By | September 6th, 2016|Categories: Cost of Living, The Happier House|Tags: , , , , , |

Happier Than A Billionaire

Costa Rica Cost of Living Update: 15 ounce Country Crock margarine — $3.33

It’s been just over five years since the official release of my book, Happier Than A Billionaire. Some things have changed, while others have stayed the same, and this may cause some confusion to many who are new to our story. This post is a short recap to clarify why we started this journey, how it has changed along the way, and where we hope it will take us.

So why did I name my first book Happier Than A Billionaire? After working seventy hours a week in order to live the American dream, we were still stressed out and miserable. We had no time for each other or anything else outside of work. We started to suspect that more stuff was not the key to finding real happiness.

Studies prove this, and it is evident by stories like those of the Tyco executive who stole his company’s cash to fund lavish parties, complete with Jimmy Buffett playing guitar and an ice sculpture of Michelangelo’s “David” urinating Stolichnaya vodka. The executive was later convicted of embezzlement and spent six years in jail, where I’m certain his urination issues did not involve vodka or ice sculptures. And our suspicions were correct. We moved to CR with a few suitcases and started living the happiest times of our lives. We were not billionaires, but happier than the ones we read about.

Happier than a Billionaire is about making the most of our resources and being grateful for everything we have. It was never our plan to be “living in a van down by the river” although we did live near a river, where Rob tested our handgun that he had just set on fire after hiding it in our fireplace. He shot into the ground, blew out our water pipes, and at that point, I’m sure our landlord would have preferred we lived in a van down by the river. Continue reading “Happier Than A Billionaire in Costa Rica: 5th Anniversary, The Book, and The Journey” »

Happier Than A Billionaire: 2.0

By | June 12th, 2016|Categories: The Happier House, Utilities|Tags: , , |

Costa Rica Costa of Living Update— $59 /month for Internet Service (2Mbps download speed and 1Mbps upload speed)

Welcome to the Happier Than A Billionaire reboot! After careful consideration, I decided to overhaul my website so that I can share more information with all of you, preferably in one easily navigable space. In the process of doing so, I deleted an entire database, screwed up the margins on most pages, and created collateral damage across the blogosphere. So, if you were trying to contact me or visit my page in the past couple weeks, it was a mess and basically reflected how my brain works, like that guy in A Beautiful Mind, but without the fancy equations and high IQ.

Yesterday was the day of the website launch, and with much excitement I pressed a button and my site went live. This reciprocally caused the Internet to crash. I quickly logged onto my phone (that has a different Internet provider) and checked my emails. Apparently, the Internet company for my house had sent out a message that they had blown a fuse. In fact, this was their exact wording, “Our primary fiber connection seems to have gone down this morning.” Quite the timing.

One of the most frequent questions I get from those who want to move to Costa Rica is if I have fast and reliable Internet. And for the most part I do… except for the day of my launch… and then I didn’t. But I remember moving here and having to drive down a mountain, to an Internet café, so that I could send emails to my parents to let them know I have not been kidnapped… yet. Then when the Internet did come to my house, it was really bad dial-up. Do you even remember what really bad dial-up was? Exactly. You’ve blocked it out of your subconscious. Sorry I mentioned it.

Technology has come a long way here. Although you still may need to buffer a little, you eventually get to watch all those cute cat videos in a reasonable time frame. And for the most part, I have enough speed to download and upload all my monkey pictures with ease.

One of the traits you acquire in Costa Rica is patience. All sorts of patience, whether in line behind a dingbat at the bank who can’t understand how to pay her water bill (that would be me in that example), or sitting staring at a blank screen on your computer for an indefinite amount of time. Some would say it’s part of the charm of living here, and I have to agree. Because having more patience generally makes you a nicer person. You don’t snap as quickly at people, and you cultivate a “we’re all in this together” sort of attitude. It’s a nice way to live, one that I would prefer never to lose.

Eventually, my Internet returned and I called my parents to look at the new website.

“The blanket on your bed is wrinkled. Don’t you have a better photo?” my mom said.

“Okay, I’ll use another picture. In the meanwhile, what do you think about the rest of the site?”

“Unbelievable! I touched something and now I’m on a New Jersey newspaper.”

“Mom, you must of hit a link on your iPad.”

“It’s broken.”

“Your iPad is not broken. Just hit the arrow and go back.”

“What arrow?”

So the rest of my day was spent teaching my mom where the back arrow is located, and learning that I should be ironing my comforter.

This is then next phase of our happier story, one that finally includes The Happier House. I’m diving into this new chapter with a few of the lessons I learned since moving to Costa Rica:

  • There are infinite amount of adventures one can cultivate in a lifetime.
  • Believe, even when you think you’ve stop believing.
  • Sometimes you have to last through the buffering to get a clear picture.

And thankfully, all that buffering was worth the wait.