Year: 2019

Our Planet: Real or CGI?

What it’s about?

I recently watched the Netflix Documentary, Our Planet. It was very informative and spectacular. I learned some things about the planet I didn’t know before. It was definitely well done. They spoke about every part of Our Planet, from the depths of the ocean to the driest of deserts. The documentary talked about the ways we affect different species of animals and the environments in which they live.

Some of the animals are losing their habit due to overfishing and global warming. Since the waters are warmer the glaciers are melting at a faster rate. Since it is hotter periods of rain are not happening as often as they need in certain areas of the world, causing animals to not have access to fresh water. Sharks are being hunted to make shark fin soup. Our biodiversity is not what it used to be.

Is it too real to be true?

As I watched the documentary, I thought to myself… THIS SEEMS TOO PERFECT! So, I googled “Our planet Real.” There are hundreds of articles questioning whether it was real or not. Netflix says “It took four years, planning, and perfect timing to make it happen.”

They had video of fish up close and personal. How did they get that close without scaring the fish away? How did they get a group of dolphins swimming in such a huge pod and they the different shots they had? I would understand if they had one position from above, but how did they get it from below, above, and up close without disrupting the animals in action?

They had a Siberian Tiger. Many shots of the Tiger. They said, “it is a rare occurrence to see them in the wild.” If this is true how did they get such perfect video? I know some of the shots of the Tiger were probably done with hidden cameras, but what are the odds they got that amazing perfect shot? They had a leopard as well. Its coat was so perfect, it looked unreal.

The birds are so up close how did they not fly away?

Can we believe what they say?

It is Netflix we are talking about. They are a big name corporation (that I love), but if they admitted to using CGI, would people trust their documentary? Do you think they would actually tell the truth about whether or no they used CGI, even if it is for one or two small portions?

I would still love the documentary even if it was part CGI. It is a beautiful way to show what Earth is like or could be like if we took care of it. It could be used as an inspiration for us to aspire too. I know, I would love to be on a boat and see a huge pod of dolphins a 100 strong rather than two or three dolphins.

My main point is, can we trust Netflix when they say; they didn’t use CGI at all? Can we just take their word for it? Where is the proof?

In a world of fake news, can we believe everything we see?  Can we believe everything people say?

You can BE YOURSELF

Being yourself in a world full of people telling you how you should be is difficult. You have TV programs that give you an image that you need to find love or success. You have commercials trying to sell you that cream to get rid of wrinkles or the perfect hair dye to cover up the gray hair. You have magazines giving you tips on how to find the perfect relationship. It can be overwhelming and frustrating to be yourself with all this information bombarding you all the time.

I am here to tell you it can be done. YOU CAN BE YOURSELF even in this materialistic world. I have been able to BE MYSELF even when the world tells me otherwise. It takes practice, self-discipline, and awareness to make it happen.

For the last 7 years, I have been digging deep within myself to let go of what the world tells me I need to be. I have been truly answering the tough (and easy) questions like who would I be if I never drank alcohol and who would I be if I never had children?

There have been so many questions that took me hours to years to answer honestly without the weight of the world. There are things I used to do that I thought I needed to do because everyone else around me was doing them. Dying my hair, getting married, drinking and partying, and having the most clothes to name a few.

Here is how I did it…

Making a List:

I wrote down all the questions I had. This allowed me to see and organize the different questions. Then I grouped the questions together and did research to find the answers. I started with reading personal development and spiritual books. When books didn’t provide the answers I attended workshops and events that promoted a different perspective.

Meditating:

Meditating was and is one of the main ways for me to find answers. Most of the information you want to know is already within you, you just have to quiet your mind to listen to the soul. Meditation allowed me to be within myself and not in the world. Meditation took place as breathing exercises, yoga, and body relaxation techniques. All of these allowed me to process what I was learning in books and workshops. It gave the power of thought back to me.

Limiting Media:

Limiting what you watch and listen too can have a huge affect on being able to be yourself. This can happen in many ways. Watching Netflix instead of TV so you don’t watch the commercials. Listening to Pandora Premium so you can go ad free. Not watching the news and choosing which articles you read online. Giving yourself a time limit on how much time you spend on social media and watching TV and movies.

Change your mindset:

Changing your mindset is the biggest and hardest thing for you to BE YOURSELF in this world. It has to be done. You have to go from I NEED the WORLD to I NEED ME! I have come to understand that I don’t like drinking, dying my hair, or having the most clothes. Those things don’t make me happy. Deep down, they give me a feeling of unease and neediness. I have given up many activities so I could feel content and elevated. They were things I did because everyone else does them. It wasn’t who I was or wanted to be. I learned that I can have fun and let go without drinking. Allowing me to be free to be myself. I will always have ME, every second and minute of the day for as long as I live. People and things are temporary. If I make myself the priority over people and things, it gives me a happier and more fulfilling life.

It CAN BE DONE!  I am proof. Living the life you truly want is possible. I encourage you to make a list, meditate, limit media, and change your mindset. Give yourself time, love, and patience. Find the people who live as you want and spend time with them. You are more important than anyone or thing in this world.

Dating in Costa Rica

Dating in Costa Rica, I have found to be complicated. There are specific criteria that I want in a man.

No lying, no cheating, spiritual understanding, personal depth, independent, and willing to work on themselves.

The level of spiritual understanding and depth in men here is limited. Don’t get me wrong there are some good men here. There are men that don’t lie or cheat are here, just hard to find. Jonathan never lied or cheater, but his spiritual and energetic understand is very low.

From my understanding, men with a higher educational background tend to be more highly evolved. They have some knowledge of higher thinking. I think it allows them to think outside the box and question things in their lives a lot easier than men with lower educational background.

Don’t get me wrong this seems like I am stereotyping the men here. I have talked to and dated a good diverse background of men here. There are probably some men that defy this fact, I just haven’t met them yet. Even locals have told me that if I want to find a guy that has more of an open mind than I need to find someone with higher education.

Cheating and lying happen at all levels. It can happen with doctors, tourist guides, or fishermen. It is just part of their culture for some reason I don’t understand. I have met quite a few men that don’t do this. There are just more that do than don’t.

Since I live in a tourist town, it is easier to find people who are here on vacation than people who live here permanently.  There are a lot of bars too, but I don’t drink. They aren’t my scene.

So, what does a girl do?

She uses tinder.

Tinder isn’t perfect because a lot of men want just sex, are on vacation, or live far away. It does allow me to see a few things.

  1. It allows me to be picky about who I talk to. I can easily stop talking to them if things don’t go the way I want. If I am not feeling a conversation, I can just ignore them. If I like the conversation, I can keep it going and possibly meet them in person.
  2. I don’t have to see them if I don’t feel comfortable.
  3. Blocking a number is much easier than blocking a person. (which I have had trouble with in the past)
  4. With Tinder, you generally are talking to more than one person, which gives perspective on the different types of people. I have enjoyed seeing how the different guys are in terms of depth or neediness.

So far, I haven’t met anyone in person. I am not sure this will be the way I meet that perfect person I am looking for. It is worth a shot so I can understand more about the culture of the men here. I am open to what it may bring. Maybe it brings a travel buddy or a good friend. It is a learning process.

F*@# Yes…. isn’t enough

I have written two posts on this topic in the past. I am learning a deeper meaning to that because sometimes F*@# yes isn’t enough. (At least for me)

Someone can do everything possible to be with you because you are exactly what they want. You can be a F*@# yes for someone and it is awesome. It does need to be a two-way street. If one person isn’t a fuck yes for the other, it can cause resentment and disappointment.

As you all know, Jonathan was a fuck yes for me, for a long time. Since we took the trip to Nicaragua things have changed. I love him and I care about him, but I need more. I am still a fuck yes for him, and he keeps doing everything he can to win me back. (Yes, we broke up about a month ago.) He is trying to feel energies. He is trying to have deeper conversations with me. And it just feels forced.

The energy I want isn’t there. I don’t feel the connection or understanding that I want. It is possible her could learn; I know that.

However, don’t want to wait because it is not a guaranteed thing to happen. We are still friends so if he accomplishes it I will know.

In the meantime, I need to stay true to myself. I have said this before…. I need to be a fuck yes for my needs and wants. If I did everything I could to make it work and still wasn’t happy with who I was becoming; it’s my responsibility to leave. Taking responsibility for myself is the main priority. I cannot lose myself just because I want something to work.

A F*@# YES isn’t enough for me because I need connection and depth. I need someone who asks questions and doesn’t give up until they find the answer. If I am stuck when I am writing, I want someone who can create a conversation to inspire me to write.

I had the fuck yes with Jonathan, but not the depth I want. Shortly after we got engaged, I wrote an article about taking marriage seriously. I talked about things I wasn’t sure about. With time, I knew the answers would come to me. And they did.

Again, don’t settle for something mediocre. Fight for what you want in every way. Whatever you want, find it. If I never get married because I didn’t find everything, I am okay with that. Just because society tells you what you need or want, doesn’t mean it is true.

Ask questions and find everything you want…. F*@# yes… can be more. Sometimes F*@# Yes isn’t enough.

Finding the Hidden

Finding the Hidden

This week has been full of many adventures. My life is incredible.

This girl from my TEFL school was looking for hours to complete her practicum hours. I invited her to my school to observe or tutor a few of my students. She spent Monday and Tuesday at school with me learning the ropes.

I had off school Wednesday so we decided to go on an hike to a spectacular waterfall with some of my other friends.

We rented a Toyota Yaris that got upgraded to an SUV for free since the Yaris wasn’t available. (due to an accident). I am so glad this happened because we needed it to get to the waterfall.

This waterfall is about 30 minutes away from Liberia. Other than that, I can’t tell you how to get there. My friend’s boyfriend was our guide. There is no way I could find my way back to the waterfall.

We hiked about 10 minutes to the first swimming hole. The water was a little blue due to the sulfur in the water. We striped down to our bathing suits and jumped into the water! It was incredible. Cold, but refreshing. Nina was with us and she almost jumped off the ledge after me.

We swam for about 15 minutes before continuing on the hike. The hike got a bit more treacherous after that. We had to climb our way through caves that had bats. We trekked through different small rivers. I don’t have the words to describe the hike was. At certain points, we had to pass Nina across a river or up a huge boulder. At one point, she ran up a huge boulder alone and couldn’t get down.

We saw monkeys, a racoon looking animal, bats, and these beautiful blue dragonflies.

There was another place to jump into the pool of water about halfway between the waterfall and the beginning of the hike. It was a higher jump and a bit more scary for me. I made it though. Once in the water, it was refreshing, risp, and a sight to see. We were below these huge rocks. The only way out was to climb down, around, and up again. I had to crawl through a tight space.

We hiked some more, finally reaching the entrance to the waterfall. The pool of water leading to the waterfall was a celeste blue color. It was surrounded by rocks. The current was coming towards us so my friend’s boyfriend swam ahead and used a rope to pull us through the current. All I could do was stand in awe once I enter the cave where the waterfall was. It was loud and perfect for swimming.

Nina was not very happy. She doesn’t like to be in water if she can’t touch the bottom. She scratched my back up really bad. She was trying to swim the other direction which made it very hard to get anything done. When we were pulled by the rope she stood on my back.

The hike back was quicker as we didn’t stop to take photos as often.

After the hike, we headed home. I got to my house and there was a wild fire about 100 feet from my house. We called the fire department and they showed up right away. They contained the fire by cutting down brush and creating more fire close to my house. After that burned, they used water and a leaf blower to keep the fire from reaching my house.

It was a bit stressful. I had seen wildfires in the area many times. It has never been this close to my house. Pretty surreal.

If you ever travel to another country, make friends with locals. Go see the secluded spots and test your strength. Do what scares you, and make the most of life. Seeing places like this are a once in a lifetime opportunity that can change your life. Go and find the hidden, within yourself by pushing yourself to do new things.

How to Get a Work Visa In Costa Rica

It was a little difficult to navigate how to get a work visa. A few people have told me that I needed a lawyer to do it, which costs about $1,200. That’s way too much. I decided to do it on my own and pay less. I paid about $600 that is including airfare back to the states for some papers that expired.

I have had a few people ask me how I did it. To make it easy, I want to share with you the process. I went to the office in Liberia. I am not sure if it is the same in San Jose. I would assume so.

There is a bunch of paperwork you need before going to the office. Three or four (if you are married) are from your home country that does expire after 3 months. The paperwork must be filed before the 3 months or you will need to get the paperwork again.

  1. Birth Certificate: This needs to be a recently ordered birth certificate. I ordered mine online from the State of Maryland, where I was born. They sent it to my house. This needs to be APOSTILLED by the state department of the state you were born. **
  2. Background Check: This can be from either your home state or the FBI. The FBI takes a minimum of three months to be processed and needs to be APOSTILLED by the State Department in Washington DC (It can be mailed. Just adds more time). If you get one from your state you can take it or send it to the State Department for APOSTILLE, you take your Birth Certificate to. **
  3. Comprobante de inscripcon ante consulado: This is printed from the internet (doesn’t expire). You need to go to the STEP website (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) and register your self. You want to print the page that looks like the photo below. It took me many calls to different people trying to figure out what they wanted. **
  4. IF YOU ARE MARRIED, you need an APOSTILLED and LEGAL marriage certificate.

** These will all need to be officially translated into Spanish. I use a lady in Liberia. If you are in San Jose you will need to find someone else. (Ana Sayagues Delcore- anasayagues@gmail.com)

The next set of papers are done in Costa Rica.

From your place of work:

  1. Declaracion jurada de parte del profesor indicando que se estara haciendo cargo de la manutencion de la persona dependiente en donde se especifique los rubros cubiertos. (your school or place of business will know what this is. Mine was in Spanish so I really can’t say what it is.)
  2. Your signed contract with your school or company

From you:

  1. 4 passport sized photos
  2. Photocopy of every page in your passport
  3. A letter of why and where you will be for your work. (carta de solicitud de permanencia legal indicando las calidades del interesado, su intencion, direccion fisica de domicilio actual, la cual debera venir autenticada por un abogado) I never had it authenticated by a lawyer. It needs to be in Spanish. I had the office lady at my school rewrite it in Spanish for me. (see below for example)
  4. Fingerprints from the Ministerio de Segurida Publica: When I had this done you could go at any time Monday thru Friday. Now, they only accept a certain amount a day, starting at 8 am (I believe). I would get there early because once the quota is filled they will send you away.
  5. You need to pay Ministerio de Hacienda (#242480-0, BCR) $200, with your name. You need the receipt.
  6. You need to pay them again but 500 colones (same number as above) with your name. You need the receipt.

Example of letter:

Name: _____ Birth date: _____ Nationality:________ Marital Status:________ Occupation: _____ Costa Rican Address: _____

To whom this may concern:

My name is ____________. I would like to obtain a work visa to work legally in Costa Rica. I would like to be an English teacher so that I could help children learn English here in Costa Rica. I taught in the United States and would like to have the opportunity to experience a different culture. I want to immerse myself into the Costa Rica culture to learn Spanish as well as other important ways of life here. I plan to stay in Costa Rica for a year or longer if possible.

Thank you for your time and consideration in accepting me for a work visa.

Sincerely,

_____________________

You will take all these papers to the office. They will give you a paper back with your photo and information on it. At this point, you do not need to leave the country every 90 days, unless you need to drive a car while here. Your driver’s licence from the states expires after the 90 days. Once you get the official work visa, you can apply for a CR driver’s license.

If everything is in order, you will have an email notice for the next steps in about 90 days.

You will need two things:

  1. Pay $98 to BCR #242480-0 with the reciept
  2. Proof that you have been paying in to the CAJA. To get this, you go to the CAJA in Santa Cruz and ask for a paper with your payments on it. Your school should have set this up for you and has the number to give the CAJA.

You take those to the office in Liberia, they will take your photo and give you information on getting the work visa card. I took the paper they gave me to the local post office in Tamarindo (the closest to me), paid like 4,000 colones, waited 2 weeks, and picked up my card from the post office. That was it. If you live near Liberia, you can pick up your card there.

Next, you can get your CR driver’s license. See here for information

Life in Costa Rica

Life in Costa Rica

Easter is a huge deal here in Costa Rica. So much so most of the government shuts down for a week. As a teacher, I had off for two weeks. It was a great two weeks. I got a lot of stuff done for the website, went on a mini vacation with friends, and got my CR driver’s license. It was two weeks full of adventure and growth.

Getting a CR License

Getting my driver’s license was probably the easiest thing I have done with the Costa Rican government. (getting things done here is hard, keep reading). Since I had my US driver’s license, I didn’t need to take any tests. I simply went to the office with my paperwork and got my new license. It was easy for the most part.

First, I had my US driver’s license translated into English with the local official translator. I did this ahead of time so all I had to do was pick it up and pay for it. ($20)

Second, I had to get a medical health check done. I did this directly across the street from the Cosevi (driver’s license building). As soon as they opened, I walked in. She asked me for all my personal information and any health issues current and past. The doctor gave me a quick eye exam, a reflex test (you know the one where they hit your knee with the little hammer), listened to my breathing and asked me a few mental questions. This was the most interesting part. The doctor asked me to repeat 3 words: casa, manzana, and gato. Then I needed to spell the word “Mundo” backward. Lastly, I needed to repeat the same 3 words again: casa, manzana, and gato. I almost forgot the words!! I paid around 27.000 colones for the exam.

Lastly, I took the medical report, translated driver’s license, my Costa Rican credula work permit card, and my original driver’s license to Cosevi. They looked over all my stuff, put it in the system, and took my photo. I walked out of the building with my CR license in hand.

No craziness, no returning, and no issues. Simple, straightforward, and done!

Motorcycle Impound

Before I met Jonathan, he lost the plate to his motorcycle. We tried to get a new one a few months back, and they told us he needed a paper from a lawyer. Since we were in Liberia (an hour away by motorcycle), we tried to get a lawyer there to do the document for us. All the lawyers in Liberia wanted over $50. The lawyer in Brasilito close to our house wanted $25. We decided to wait. Since I was getting my driver’s license in Liberia, we got the paper from the lawyer so we could get it all done and over with. That ended up a nightmare.

We got my License and were headed to get the new plate for his motorcycle when the traffic police stopped us. Jonathan had the paper from the lawyer and a sticker on the back with the correct plate number. His plates were up to date, he just didn’t have the plate. The police took the motorcycle and gave us a ticket. He pleaded with them to let us keep it. They didn’t care. We got the new plates, got on the bus and headed home.

We tried to pay the ticket three days later. The system wouldn’t allow us to do it because it was a Saturday. Monday morning Jonathan went to Liberia to pay the fine and get the motorcycle. They told him since it was Semana Santa they couldn’t release the bike as there was no one there to do it, but allowed him to pay the fine. They also told him that they are charging him 4.000 colones (about $7) a day for the bike being in storage.

Fast forward to this past a week later, he goes back to Liberia and they tell him they don’t know where the bike is and he needs to make an appointment online.

We thought “okay cool, let’s make the appointment, pay the storage fee, and listo.”

NOPE!!

I was UNABLE to make the appointment because the motorcycle ISN’T IN THE SYSTEM. I tried for three days and kept getting the same error.

We called our lawyer to see if they could help. They could for $20, but Jonathan wanted to go in person one last time.

He goes this morning and FINALLY, he was ABLE to get the motorcycle. But before paying 70.000 colones which is $116.

SO a word of advice…. Don’t get your car or motorcycle taken away by the police in Costa Rica. It is a pain to get out of impound.

Mini Vacation

I wanted to go to Limon, on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. It was too expensive for my budget to do it alone so I asked a friend and her three friends. Since most of the inexpensive places were unavailable or didn’t allow pets, we decided to go to the Osa Peninsula, which is south near the Panama border.

I found this amazing little hostel in the jungle. It was $11 a night. We rented a little Toyota Corolla from Alamo for $37 a person (we split the total cost 5 ways) and off we went. It is about an 8-hour drive including stops for food and gas from Liberia. We had no plans or expectations, other than to have a good time.

Nina came with us which was such an amazing experience. She was overwhelmed a little bit since it was all new for her. Nina had never been in a car for that long and never experienced the jungle as we did.

After the long drive, we arrived at our hostel. It was pretty much a camping experience. The toilet was a bucket with a manmade wooden box around it to sit on. After we went to the bathroom we had to put sawdust on it to keep the smell down.

The rooms had bunk beds in them with a nice mosquito net around them. The “walls” were made of green see-through material (see photos). The only place with light and electricity was the kitchen so we had to use flashlights once it got dark. We had banana trees and other green and beautiful plants all around us. Just past the bathrooms, was a river that was great for swimming in.

Nina had plenty of room to explore and run. She was in heaven. Since there was no fence she free access to the whole place. At night, I put a headlamp around her neck so I could find her easily.

The first day we went grocery, found dinner, reserved a tour for the next day and relaxed in the kitchen playing cards. We didn’t have much time to do anything else as we arrived there mid-afternoon and it gets dark around 5:30 pm.

We wanted to go into Corcovado National Park to an amazing waterfall I read about online. We found out four things. One we need a guide to enter the park and since it was Semana Santa we couldn’t do so. Second, a guide was around $75- $90 a person. Third, the waterfall I wanted to go to was closed to the public as it was used for drug purposes a while back. And lastly, Nina can’t enter the National Parks here in Costa Rica. Which means she would be in her cage for most of the day. (Not good for her)

Since Corcovado Park was not going to happen, we decided to do a kayak tour to see bioluminescence in the evening and hike the river by our hostel in the morning. The kayak tour was $35 a person for 3 hours and the river hike was free.

The river hike was a sight to see. We simply directly walked the river. Nina was able to come with us. She absolutely LOVED IT! The hike led to a small waterfall off to the side. Not huge and you couldn’t swim at the bottom, but it was worth it to see. Once you walked a little past the waterfall there were pools of water perfect for relaxing and swimming.

Nina was such a protector because every person we passed, she barked. We met some gold miners as that river has some gold. She didn’t go far and she came back every time I called her name. We did this for most of the morning and afternoon. By the time, we needed to leave for the kayak tour, Nina was knocked out. She slept the entire time we were gone.

The kayak tour was worth it. We weren’t sure if we would see the bioluminescence because of the full moon. When the moon is full, it’s too bright to see the lights in the water. Bioluminescence is plankton in the water that glows when moved. We got lucky that the thunderstorm had such dark clouds that covered the moonlight. They were like stars in the ocean. It is a must see!

On our last full day, we went to a beach called, Playa Pan Dulce and another waterfall. That was an adventure for sure, we got lost. The man said the waterfall was to the right after the second bridge. We walked over the bridge and kept walking looking for the right to turn. We walked this HUGE MOUNTAIN!! I was so slow and Nina was right by my side the entire time, barking at anyone that passed.

Finally, we decided we had enough and asked a taxi that was driving by. We passed the turn a long time ago. We turned around and spent some time on the beach first. Nina and I were exhausted so we skipped the waterfall for a nap in the car. The others went to the waterfall.

I was able to hang out with some amazing woman. Nina got exercise and showed me how perfect of a dog she is for me. We all got to see a beautiful, lush, and tranquil place.

Website Work and Taxes

I had my first coaching call with Evan. He is such an amazing coach. In one session, I learned so many new things. I learned my post to the Death Row inmate is at the top of the second page on google. I know how to look at my website privately without messing with the stats. We got a game plan for the theme. Did some small changes to help my google legitimacy better.

I am working on two different items to sell on the blog. I am super excited to share them with you when they are ready! I have been putting good energy into making them happen!

Since I am still technically a resident of Maryland and I am still a citizen of the US, I need to pay taxes if I make over $12,000. I made $12,220 last year. SOOOO…. I paid $21 to the US government and a whopping $552 to the state of Maryland!!!! It is ridiculous. And there is no way out of it until I become a permanent resident of Costa Rica. Then I will qualify to an exception.

There are only 4 ways to become a permanent resident of Costa Rica .

  1. Marry a Tico or someone with a residency here
  2. Have a baby
  3. Own a business
  4. Buy land or a house that is worth over $150k

None of those options work for me so I will be paying taxes to the US government every year.

Life in Costa Rica is fascinating, ever-changing, and beautiful. It is stressful and crazy, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I am in love. Would you want to live in a place like Costa Rica?

Recipes to Make Life Easier

Recently, I have been wanting to make my life a little easier. One of the ways I have been doing this is by planning my meals ahead of time. Sometimes I cook and freeze a bunch of meals on Sunday. And other times, I put my meal plan on the refrigerator. Either way, it saves me time thinking about what to cook for dinner. Allowing me to focus my energy on other tasks.

I wanted to share my favorite recipes to inspire you to simplify your life by planning and/or cooking ahead. Here is a list of my goto recipes for a quick meal.

Baked Oatmeal

This is my go-to for breakfast because it’s so simple. You mix all the ingredients, pop it in the oven, and wait.  May cook this on a Sunday and eat it until Tuesday or Wednesday. This recipes normally lasts me (one person) about 3-4 days. Baked Oatmeal is so tasty and delicious. It is healthy and filling as well. Click here for the recipe

Arroz Con Atun

This is a recipe I have started using since I moved to Costa Rica. It is a one pot deal. Quick and easy. Less than 15 minutes depending on how long the rice takes to cook. Unfortunately, all the recipes I found online are in Spanish and none where exactly how I make it. This recipe makes enough for dinner and lunch for me. I eat this with potato chips. You can always double the recipe for more people or more meals. (This recipe may be a little hard for people in the US to make as two of the ingredients may not be available)

  1. Add rice, oil, and salt to a rice cooker (can be done on the stove according to directions on package). While the rice is cooking heat frozen vegetables in a pan or microwave.
  2. Once the rice is cooked, add tuna, vegetables, ketchup, and seasoning. Mix until well combined. (You can add more ketchup on top if you want for extra flavor)
  3. Serve with potato chips or toast.

One Pot Chicken, Rice, and Broccoli

A simple and easy recipe. I love it because it’s healthy. It does take an hour or so to cook. With that said, I think that it could be an option for the slow cooker (not tested). There isn’t much mess to clean up because it is all in one pot. It is useful to have leftovers for lunch the next day. I haven’t tried freezing it, so I am not sure if freezing is an option. Click for recipe here.

Make Ahead Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches

This recipe is super easy. You make them ahead of time, put them in the microwave, and eat. It is better than the store bought ones because you have control over the type of ingredients you use.  You can use bacon, ham, or both. If your vegetarian, you can add vegan meat, or veggies to your sandwich. IT’S COMPLETELY CUSTOM! Click here for the recipe.

Cold Pasta Salad with Tuna

This is a recipe I make when I am short on time and I have nothing planned. It’s simple, easy, quick, and tasty. I normally eat this with potato chips. This recipe lasts me for lunch and dinner.

  • 1 small can of tuna
  • ½ bag of pasta shells or macaroni
  • ½ small onion diced
  • 1 small cucumber chopped
  • 1 small carrot shredded or diced (optional)
  • 1 cup of mayo
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook pasta according to package. Cut onion, cucumber, and carrots while the pasta is cooking. Once pasta is ready, wash with cold water.
  2. Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Put into the fridge for 15 or more minutes to chill.
  3. Serve with potato chips and enjoy.

I hope you enjoy these recipes. Leave a comment below with your favorite recipe. I would LOVE to hear what your go to dishes are!!

How to stay TRUE to YOUSELF

Staying true to yourself is the most important and loving thing you can do. It isn’t easy because we can forget ourselves in the activities that we do. I know that I am one to forget myself. Over the past few years I am staying true to myself more and more. It can take many forms, some harder than others. The harder the task the more deeply I grow within myself. It is a beautiful, peaceful, and rewarding event to do.

Someone close to me has been having a hard time staying true to himself (or listening to himself). He has become sad and angry because he was scared to do what he needed to do for fear of losing me. I wanted to share with you the ways I have learned to listen to myself.

1. Say NO!

Saying no is a huge deal. When someone says “no” it can upset other people. If I don’t want to kiss on the first date, I will say no. Saying “no” gives you POWER. It also can show you about the other person. When someone hears “no”, they can either respect that or push you. If a person can’t handle hearing no isn’t your place to give in and do what they want. You lose respect for yourself.

DON’T GO AGAINST YOURSELF TO PLEASE SOMEONE ELSE! Say NO and MEAN IT

2. Set Boundaries and Stick to them

Know what your limits are and don’t break them. If I don’t like sleeping in the same bed with someone, I need to set that boundary with my partner and keep the wall up. This does two things. It lets me know that I AM IMPORTANT and WORTHY of my personal space and needs. Second, it let’s the other person know how they need to RESPECT ME. If I am constantly breaking my own boundaries, it will shows others that I am weak and will cater to them. PEOPLE WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE!

3. Know what you want and why

One of the only ways to stick to NO and your boundaries is to know what you want and why. I know that I can’t sleep in the same bed with someone for more than 4 days because it causes me to lose my energy and strength. I become irritable and lazy. Since I do not want to feel that way I set these limits and I say NO. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT AND WHY YOU (truly) WANT IT! This is such an important factor in being able to do the first two points. You LOSE YOURSELF every time you don’t know what you want and why.

The why is just as important as the want. Knowing why gives you strength during those times you need to say no. Knowing why creates a strong bond within yourself because there is complete clarity.

4. Never lose yourself for someone else

This is probably one of the hardest to do. It creeps up slowly. You do this by giving in to tiny things over and over again through time. If you love to volunteer and your partner doesn’t, you may find yourself slowly finding excuses to not do the charity work you always did. Going to see his parents one Tuesday night instead of volunteering at the local soup kitchen, turns in to canceling three or four times to never going again. THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME! If you love dancing around the house when you feel an energy flow, but are too afraid of what your partner will think (if they live with you), DON’T STOP! You want to keep this part of you because it is the part of you that loves and breathes. It is who you are at the core. Yes, it is true people can help you find yourself. If you are doing it because you know deep inside it’s better than who you were before.

5. You don’t need to care about the same things are your partner or friends

It is okay to have different interests. Why would you want to spend all your time doing stuff together? I used to do EVERYTHING with my ex’s and friends. I never did things I liked to do because it was easier to go along with the ride. I learned over time that having different interests kept distance in the relationship. Distance isn’t a bad thing. It can create desire and a chance to miss the person you love. Jonathan rarely does things without me. This caused a great deal of tension in the relationship because he wouldn’t put his needs first. Instead of going to basketball every Wednesday, he would watch movies with me all night. I know he wants to get the exercise and hang out with friends, but he was afriad to leave my side. (I never wanted to go because I am not a big fan of basketball.)

It is PERFECTLY FINE to not like or care about everything your partner does.

6. Walk Away when needed

If something doesn’t suit you any more for whatever reason, WALK AWAY! Do not stay in a relationship because you are afraid to lose love, money or attention. Only be in a relationship if you feel it is what you need to do for you. If someone is disrepecting you constantly, leave them. If you know you need to move out the house because you need space to think. DO IT! Staying in a relationship that doesn’t serve you on a deeper level is more damaging to your soul than leaving. Leaving when you feel trapped is freeing and can open your mind to something bigger.

Take it from someone who spent 5 years with someone not following every bullet mentioned in this article. When the marriage ended, I HAD NO IDEA WHO I WAS! I cried. I felt lost and confused. It took me years to build myself up again. It was the best thing that happened to me. I wouldn’t let it happen again. It’s terrifying not knowing who you are because everything you thought you knew about you was gone. Gone because the one you gave it too was no longer around. STAY TRUE TO WHO YOU ARE! It is not worth losing.

(These can be used in intiment realtionships, friendships, or even the jobs we have)

Top 5 TedTalks

I have come to love TedTalks. The stories and information is transforming and inspiring. There is so much to learn and understand about the world and TedTalks allow us to have access to that information easily. I have five of my favorite talks listed below. I struggled with giving you an overview of what each talks about with our giving away too much information. I hope you enjoy. If there is a TedTalk you want to share with me, write it in the comments. I would love to watch your favorites.

This TedTalk talks about the link between desire and sex. How do we keep desire and sex alive in long term committed relationships? Esther Perel does just that in this fantastic TedTalk. She answers questions about why sex fades over time in most relationships. I am in awe of what she suggests and states in this talk. It is perfect and exactly what most people need to understand about relationships and how to keep them alive. Check it out and see what you learn. (about 20 minutes)

An amazing TedTalk by Dan Pallota that I did not expect. The title is “The Dream we haven’t Dared to Dream.” I was thinking it was going to talk about dreams we want to do that haven’t done yet. It was surprising about doing the extraordinary by living in two dimensions. Going deep and loving the world in a way you never have before. An inspiring and surprising talk. Watch the speech and see what greatness can be if we live our deepest dreams. (about 12 minutes)

Alyssa Monks talks about how she can find the beauty in the unexpected, sad, or unknown. From personal experience, I know what she is talking about. After moving abroad, I learned to embrace and love the unexpected, crazy, and unpredictable. It makes life more worth living. It makes life more alive. Listen to her TedTalk and find inspiration in the story she tells about her experience with her mom’s death. (about 13 minutes)

Brene Brown has an amazing Ted Talk about vulnerability. Her life’s work has been researching and finding what vulnerability is and how it affects us. She talks about what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. Connecting or the ability to feel connected is important and linked to purpose. It is a really amazing talk about the different aspects of vulnerability and connection. I would recommend this Ted Talk if you struggle with being vulnerable. Amazing and eye opening. Click Here to watch. (about 20 minutes)

An amazing Ted Talk about the difference between happiness and meaning. She goes into why chasing happiness doesn’t make us happy. We all want happiness but what creates a lasting happiness? Emily gives another perspective on happiness and how meaning is more important for you to find your happiness. Her pillars are the main four. Here is a brief overview of the pillars. To learn more listen to her Ted Talk by clicking here. (about 15 minute)

4 Pillars

  • 1 Belonging- comes from being in relationships that you are valued for who you are and you value others. Leading a life with LOVE!
  • 2 Purpose- Purpose is more about what you give and not what you have.
  • 3 Transcendence- Transcendence is stepping beyond yourself. The moments you feel connected to a higher reality.
  • 4 Story Telling- We are the storytellers of our lives. We can choose how we tell our story. People who tell their stories with a positive and changed attitude. Bad is redeemed by the good.