Extranjera Update: December 2019 (Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara & Tequila, Mexico)

Christmas Throwback
I had to share this Christmas throwback – I’m on the right, my sister is on the left, and my brother is in the middle. Cuties!

December was so busy and so full of love. I spent sooooo much time with so many of my favorite people, I don’t know how I got so lucky to have these incredible (mainly) women in my life.


31st Birthday Puerto Vallarta
Feeling so blessed

It’s no secret that Puerto Vallarta’s Sheraton Sunday Brunch is pretty much my favorite activity. How do you beat a delicious buffet and bottomless (holdtheorangejuice) mimosas? The already wonderful experience was made a million times better by having my amazing friends there to spend the day with me.

My birthday really was so much love, light, and laughter, and I felt so grateful.


Puerto Vallarta 12 Pubs of Christmas Tradition
(Most of) the girls of 12 pubs

Last year, I participated in my first-ever 12 Pubs of Christmas, planned and hosted by my friends James and Natalie. The tradition continued this year, with the same level of fun and Christmas-themed holiday wear.

James planned out an incredibly well-balanced bar crawl, starting at Monzon and ending at Colibri, and snaking through Puerto Vallarta downtown (including a pit stop at karaoke).


Christmas with the Ladies in La Cruz
Czech Christmas Eve dinner / the adorable Otis and Milo / Christmas girlfriend get-together

I love the holidays, partly because this time gives the perfect opportunity to reconnect with the memory of my mom (who was the ultimate holiday-er, and made every season so magical). I consider the “holiday season” to go from Halloween to Valentine’s Day, and I love every minute of it.

Holiday-specific decorations and foods and traditions are a must for me.

This year, though, I’ll admit I was a little anxious. This was my first holiday season as a divorcee, and I felt so strange.

At first, I expected that I’d be spending Christmas alone… until my best friend Jess invited me to spend it with her and her daughter and her mom at her home in La Cruz.

Jess also hosted a girl’s get-together one night, with girlfriends throughout the Bay, and it was such a blast.

It was one of the best Christmases of my life. I don’t know that I’ve felt so much love and “Christmas magic” since I was a child (also Jess is an incredible cook and the food was amazing which of course only added to the enjoyment 😉 ).


Tequila Town with Jency
Tequila Town! Next time, I want to stay in one of the barrels!

I haven’t lived in the same city as Jency since we were 21 years old – roommates in a townhouse in Mount Pleasant, Michigan studying at Central Michigan University. We’ve continued to meet up throughout the world, though (like in Grand Rapids, Bangkok, the islands of Thailand, and San Diego).

When I learned she’d be coming to Guadalajara and Mexico in the end of December, I knew I had to make a trip happen. I planned to take the bus to GDL (a city I’d never been to!) but luck struck and I caught a ride to the city with some people I’d met at the Diplo show the night prior.

Jency is the kind of amazing friend that you could go a year (or more) without seeing, or weeks or months without talking, but immediately it’s like no time has passed. We only had about 24 hours together, but made the most of it with a quick trip to nearby Tequila, where we wandered the streets and tasted the namesake liquor, of course.



SOOOOO good!

While I had some amazing meals this month, my best friend Jess’s Christmas dinner was hands-down the best.


Puerto Vallarta Drink at El Solar Barracuda
PV life 🙂

The little beach in front of El Solar/Barracuda for sunset. The drink was delicious (I like any of their mezcal or tequila drinks), the sunset was beautiful (per PV standards), but the whole experience was made better with the presence of friends (of course).


Puerto Vallarta Miriam Mexican Kitchen Cooking Class
First course, handmade by me! (I love cooking classes when you get to eat your own food)

Miriam is a close friend of mine and an incredible chef (and human being, woman, and friend). She has a bar/restaurant called Miriam’s Sauce and Spirits in 5 de Diciembre (with the best happy hour in town – handcrafted artisan margaritas for only 50 pesos each!) and also offers incredible cooking classes. They’re a must-do for any visitor or resident in Vallarta. The menu changes frequently, so you can catch more than one and learn something new each time.

First Work Posada Puerto Vallarta
What I wore on the left; what I ate on the right (veggie fajitas!)

Another new experience for me was attending my first-ever work posada. I’ve been in Mexico for 4 years, but this was the first time I ever got to dress up and see what the infamous holiday work parties in Mexico are all about.


I lost my voice for a solid week and a half this month. I was going going going nonstop and not taking enough time to rest or drinking enough water. Also probably talking too much (per usual).

This is another post in a new low-key series, designed to give a behind-the-scenes look into an expat life which, honestly, isn’t usually that much different than a “regular” life! I spend time with my friends, study/work, and still have to do the dishes… even in paradise.

The Extranjera Update series is laidback and uncurated – sort of the opposite of everything going on in blogging right now. The photos are all taken with my iPhone (or, a friend’s phone), and unedited (though I do sometimes go a bit collage-crazy).

With this series moving forward, I’m aiming to talk about a few main components/themes of my life that month, some favorites and at least one “reality check”, and what I’ve discovered here in Puerto Vallarta (or, wherever I end up moving forward). If you’ve got another idea for a section I should include – let me know!!

As always, let me know what you’d like to see more (or less!) of by sending me an email. I love to hear from you and I ALWAYS respond to emails.


A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. Nearly a decade later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta, Steph is on to her next adventure and living back in beautiful, cosmopolitan Mexico City. She is living, traveling, and working (both as an expat therapist and an international health insurance representative) around the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

Find me on: Web | Instagram | Facebook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.