August 31, 2015

The Dog that Poops Rainbows

 

StinkerbellTink

Pink. Glitter. Sparkles. Giggles.

Those are the words that sum up our sweet girl. You’d never know it, looking at pretty much every photo I have of her. Apparently, she was as uncooperative in front of a lens as her mommy. But this girl was one of the brightest spirits that I have ever met. We always joked that she was so damn happy that when she pooped, rainbows came out. Her nickname was Twinkle Toes because of her ever present happy prance.

In December she developed a cough. She was quickly diagnosed with CHF (congestive heart failure) and we soon became what felt like constant fixtures at the vet’s office. It was so heartbreaking to watch our happy little girl battle her failing heart, but she was such a trooper through it all. She was progressing much faster than we had originally anticipated and we knew that as we constantly changed and added medications, we were simply buying time. And then last week, very unexpectedly, time left us.

We said goodbye. And now, my heart has a new hole in it.

Stinkerbell ♥

“Confess I’m not quite ready to be left.
Still, I know I gave my level best. 
 
You will rest your head, your strength once saving.
And when you wake you will fly away,
holding tight to the legs of all your angels.
Goodbye my love.”

-DMB

August 29, 2015

buggy

insect | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography insect | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

just a little bug saying have a happy weekend.

August 10, 2015

carrots are tasty

Sometimes, as I’m sipping my protein shake and snacking on a hard-boiled egg I think WHO HAVE I BECOME?!

You know when you are creeping, I mean, ummmm, checking in on friends, on facebook and you see One of Those People post about the amazing run they just had. The incredible salad they just ate. The pant size they just dropped? Well. Yeah. Hi, my name is Kristie and I have become one of those people.

I don’t want to say that those people annoyed me. Because really, they didn’t. I more just wanted to give them a little flick to the forehead. And then continue eating my potato chips. Because how dare they make me feel guilty about my potato chip habit? Sure sure, they weren’t intentionally trying to make me feel bad about those crumbs scattered about my body. But they made me feel bad nonetheless. How dare they?

But one day I realized that maybe I ate a few too many potato chips for my liking. Actually, if I’m being honest here, really what happened was one day I realized I wasn’t young anymore. *GASP*

WHAAAAAAAAT? and I realized that that realization? Well. It was bullshit. I didn’t want to get older. I stomped my feet and threw around some curse words. I researched Botox. I considered putting on my hiking boots and going on the hunt for the fountain of youth. And then I got slightly more realistic. I decided that I had a choice in how I care for my body. And I decided that I wasn’t about to go down without a fight. And so I have decided to fight for a healthy body.

I work out

And that is why I am writing this post. I know it is sort of annoying, but really I am just very excited about this journey I have begun. I’ve become one of those annoying people on facebook that talks about their amazing workout ;) I’m about to interrupt your potato chip snack time.

Struggling with weight only became an issue for me once I became an adult. I grew up an itty bitty thing. I never thought twice about my body, other than feeling self-conscious that I was too skinny. I ate a TON. I just didn’t gain. I graduated high school at 97 pounds. I was at my heaviest when I got married at 120lbs. And then in my mid-twenties I went on anti-depressants. And kaBOOM. My mind grew calmer, and my ass grew wider! At my heaviest I was 180 lbs. For the first time in my life, I felt immensely uncomfortable in my own skin. And every attempt to lose weight was spurred by the idea of getting skinny again. Why couldn’t my body bounce back to that itty bitty girl I used to be? I wasn’t focused on what the excess weight was doing to my body. I was simply focused on getting thin again.

Over the years I slowly lost the weight, even with the wrong mind-set. Slowly, with an on-again off-again relationship with cardio, quitting the medication, and finally, getting a job that was incredibly physical. Which brings me to the body I have today. Which is good and all. Fluffy around the edges, slightly jiggly, but gets the job done. But not great.

I have realized I will never in my wildest dreams be that skinny little thing again. It just isn’t realistic. But here’s the amazing thing. I also finally have realized that I don’t want to be skinny. I mean, come on. SURE it would be nice, but more so I want to be healthy. I want to be strong.

I work out

I am ten weeks into this journey and am going strong. I feel so very great, and honestly, so very proud of myself. And the best part? I am not overly concerned with the scale. Depending on the day, I have lost 3-5 pounds, which may not sound like much. and really, it isn’t. But the program I follow encourages you not to concern yourself with the scale, which has been so liberating. I am not losing many pounds, but my body is changing in so many other ways, and I am finding those changes far more exciting than watching numbers on a scale.

Getting healthy is my new priority. I have realized that in order to take care of yourself properly, it truly does have to become a way of life. It HAS to become part of your regular routine. I know what I need to get done in a week, and I just make sure it happens. I used to make excuses and all it would take is one curveball in the schedule to throw everything off. And once things are thrown off, I would simply quit. Today went bad, so why even bother trying tomorrow.  I have had lots of obstacles in the last couple of months, but I have worked around every single one of them because this is too important.

And then my journey hit a road bump when I was eight weeks in and it was an amazing reminder of why I am doing this. I tell myself on a regular basis that I will not go down without a fight. I have watched both of my parents struggle with health issues and it freaks me out quite a bit. And so I made a very conscious decision to make my body fight. About 6 months ago I was hit with very sudden back pain that knocked me quite literally on my ass. And then about two weeks ago I was hit with it all over again.

Is that a curve in your back or are you just happy to see me?

Turns out I’ve got a little sumthin’ sumthin’ going on back there. I was infuriated that my body was letting me down. I was frustrated that I couldn’t do such simple tasks as wash my face in the sink or put my own socks on. And I was pissed that I couldn’t work out. That’s when I knew I was in this for the long haul. THIS was a clear winner for the old me as a reason to quit. But the new me? THIS was a clear winner for exactly why I need to keep going. I think my chiropractor almost did summersaults after I told him that I prescribed myself a treatment plan of planks :)

So I literally leave a puddle of sweat on my floor three times a week. And I walk about three miles three to four times a week. And I weird myself out on a regular basis when I catch myself sipping protein shakes and snacking on carrots. WHO IS THIS PERSON?!?!

This person is a new version of me. With a cute little baby bicep and everything!

I work out

******

What IS my journey?

  • I am NOT dieting. I don’t believe in diets- I never have and I never will. I have vowed to be a conscious eater. Food is my biggest struggle and always has been. I cannot commit to eating plans. I just don’t stick with them. So instead I have evaluated my habits and have begun to make very conscious decisions on what I allow into my body. I do NOT eat amazingly well. When I eat poorly (DAMN YOU FIVE GUYS!!!!! You are my kryptonite!) I do it with a mind that is fully aware that I am choosing this bad food. I ask myself if all the sweat I left on the floor was worth this choice. I do not eat out of boredom anymore. I do not mindlessly snack. I think my poor food choices out thoroughly and make a conscious decision that yes, yes this fried chicken IS totally worth it right now. And the next time I want something bad, I think about how I already had something bad a couple of days ago, and so toobadsosad I’m just going to have to forfeit and go eat a carrot. It’s really been that simple.
  • I watch my portions. Which honestly, is my toughest battle. Because guys, I luuuuuurve food! But I no longer have bad food in the house- if it’s not there, you cannot eat it! I plan my food for each day and bring EVERYTHING to work. If I didn’t bring it, I don’t eat it. I bring protein bars with me when we are running errands on the weekends so that I am not tempted to stop for fast food. *ahem* damn you Five Guys! *ahem*
  • I sweat. I need a program to follow- I am not good at figuring out what I need to do on my own. And to add to that, I have an irrational fear of going to a gym. I know, I know. A friend had mentioned on IG that she was doing a program called Bikini Body Guide, and while normally a name like that would sort of turn me in the other direction, she talked about how freaking hard it was, and so I checked it out. Because I don’t know, bikini body guide just sounds sort of silly to me for some reason. But listen to me very closely. It is fucking hard. HARD. The amazing thing is you give it your all for 28 minutes, three days a week, and walk for three days a week, and AHmazing things begin happening to your body. I really wanted to be invested in a program where I did not have to go to a gym. That I didn’t need to buy a whole bunch of equipment for. I wanted to be able to work out in my home. In a park. In a hotel room. With this guide you can take it anywhere with you and I love that! And the great thing is once the program is complete, you can go full circle and start all over again, increasing your weights and gaining even more changes in your body. I am really in love with this program and encourage you to check it out. If you are an Instagram check out the hashtag #bbg…and be blown away by the transformations. And I will also say, don’t be daunted by all those young girls….I was worried that since I am *cough* older *cough* that maybe I couldn’t expect the same results…WRONG. Search #momscanbefit and be amazed.
  • I’m going to go eat a carrot now.
July 27, 2015

no friends for jack

Red next to yellow, you’re a dead fellow. Red next to black is a friend to Jack.

Jack has no friends here.

Costa Rica | Coral Snake | Kulik Photography Costa Rica | Coral Snake | Kulik Photography Costa Rica | Coral Snake | Kulik Photography

July 26, 2015

in the eye of the beholder

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. – Confucius

green eyelash viper | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography green eyelash viper | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

July 20, 2015

keep your head up

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | Kristie Kulik Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | Kristie Kulik Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | Kristie Kulik Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | Kristie Kulik Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | Kristie Kulik

I have recently started on a new journey of trying to become a healthier version of myself. I had a frightening realization that I am no longer a spring chicken WHAT?! and I have opted to not go down the road of aging without a fight. And so I am fighting. I have two mottos that I carry with me when I am in the middle of a workout that I am sure was designed to send me to my death, when I am sure that I. Absolutely. Positively. Cannot. Finish. I repeat to myself the words “Keep your head up” and “Finish strong”.

And on that note, you really should always keep your head up while vacationing in Costa Rica, as you never know what you may find up in those trees. *So totally and seamlessly brought those two topics together, didn’t I? No? Listen people, it’s a real struggle, this whole blogging thing. Take what you can ;)

June 29, 2015

Drop Sloths

I have visited Costa Rica on three occasions now, and on each occasion I head home with eyes that are exhausted. Because during the trips they are busy busy busy hunting for the one critter I absolutely adore. The sloth. These little stinkers are So. Hard. to spot. Unless you live in CR apparently. Then you can see them without trying, while speeding down a highway, while they are hidden atop trees, tucked into the greenery. Seriously. It seems they are always just out of my grip.

Costa Rica | Two Toed Sloth | Kulik Photography

On our first visit we visited a botanical garden and when we informed our guide of my desperate desire to see a sloth he got incredibly excited and rushed us to a particular spot where there is always a sloth. I was giddy with excitement. I was going to actually get to see a sloth! FINALLY!!! Except apparently today was his poop day. And he took a trip down from his usual spot. To poo. *sigh*

On my second visit I did get to see a couple sloths, but they were always just a touch too far away. I couldn’t get a good picture. I couldn’t see them well. I wouldn’t be greedy, I was still thrilled to actually see one in the wild. But.

So when we told Geovani that really, all I wanted to see was a sloth, and he said he guaranteed he would get me so close that I could touch one, I balked. While driving around with him, he quickly pointed out a three-toed sloth travelling along a power line. Three-toed sloths are harder to find, so this was pretty exciting, and honestly, I was pretty excited to have seen it, even though it was out of the reach of my camera. And then we carried on with our day. And saw lots of stuff. Minus one thing.

Until we were charging down a busy highway. “Stop! BackBackBack. My friend, I have found you your sloth.” Wait. Wha? Where?

Now imagine going 65ish down a highway, and being able to spot this from afar…

Costa Rica | Two Toed Sloth | Kulik Photography

HOW I ask? HOW?

Geovani gave me exactly what I wanted, and then some. I could not believe we were thisclose to a sloth!!!! GAH! He was awesome and grabbed hubby’s phone in order to take video for us…it is one of my favorite pieces of memory from this trip…hearing Geovani’s voice sweetly talking to the sloth, and the sloth just looking so intently at the camera ♥

Costa Rica | Two Toed Sloth | Kulik Photography

He helped my climb onto a barbed wire fence and balance precariously in order to get some of my favorite photographs I have ever taken…

Costa Rica | Two Toed Sloth | Kulik Photography Costa Rica | Two Toed Sloth | Kulik Photography

As we finished up Geovani said, “Now let us see the baby sloth.” Ummmm. I’m sorry…..wha? He walked us further down the highway where he had seen a baby as well while we were driving by. I MEAN.

This little bugger was MUCH harder to photograph (I may have walked away bleeding from being attacked by a tree and barbed wire) and in the end I had to walk away satisfied that I was able to spend time with him, even if I couldn’t be in love with the images.

Costa Rica | Two Toed Sloth | Kulik Photography

CR 11-2014-130-WEB

Costa Rica | Two Toed Sloth | Kulik Photography

 

June 8, 2015

froggy dust bunnies

red eyed tree frog | costa rica | kulik photography

So here’s a confession. I sometimes say I have a love/hate relationship with photography. Honestly though, I am head over heels in love with the actual process of taking a photo. I love how, the moment I look through the viewfinder, the rest of the world is lost to me. I only see what is on the other end of my lens. I love the challenge of getting The Shot. And knowing the moment when I have got it, then pushing to get something even better. I love all of that. I could make out with it on the couch for hours. I just would like to break up with all that comes after.

I hate loading the photos into the computer. Culling them. Editing them. Cropping. blah blah blah. I despise sitting at the computer for hours on end. I just want to snap my fingers and be done with it all. And I have the need to point out that this is not to say that my images require lots of editing…I am a firm believer that if an image requires any significant amount of time to make it look presentable, than it should just be deleted. But raw images need some basic attention. And when you have a gazillion to edit it sort of makes me want to run away. Which is apparently what I did with our vacation photos from *cough* eight months ago *cough*

I didn’t even realize my avoidance game was so strong until I went to blog about a day from our trip…and realized that I had only edited about 15 of the hundreds of photos I had taken from the trip. oops. So I have busted our the Swiffer and I am evicting these wretched dust bunnies. Have you ever tried getting dust bunnies off of frog skin?! Not easy.

red eyed tree frog | costa rica | kulik photography

red eyed tree frog | costa rica | kulik photography

red eyed tree frog | costa rica | kulik photography

red eyed tree frog | costa rica | kulik photography

June 1, 2015

once in a while

kulik photography | kristie kulik kulik photography | kristie kulik kulik photography | kristie kulik kulik photography | kristie kulik kulik photography | kristie kulik  kulik photography | kristie kulik kulik photography | kristie kulik kulik photography | kristie kulik

Once in a while, I still spend time with my camera ;) It is rare, but it does happen every now and then. I made a quick jaunt out to the yard with some new extension tubes…and realized that I don’t really know how to shoot with extension tubes lol. But I will admit, it was nice having the weight of the camera in my hands again.

May 30, 2015

oh my god, becky…

…look at that baby croc on the sidewalk!

Costa Rica | Crocodile | Kulik Photography

Costa Rica | Crocodile | Kulik Photography

Walking back to our room after dinner one night, I saw something up ahead in the dark. When vacationing in a country that has so much nature to offer, one always is prepared. So out came the flashlight. And the camera. And BOOM! Just call me the crocodile hunter, because this girl found us a croc!

We were SO excited, and introduced ourselves to our new friend. I am not sure that he was totally thrilled to be distracted from his peaceful evening, maybe we came on a little strong, but we just couldn’t help ourselves. We showed him around our room. He loved the curtains but felt the artwork on the walls should be updated. We discussed his plans for the future and decided that though he desperately wanted to meet our friends the following morning, we felt he may not be the best roommate Costa Rica had to offer. Plus, the cleaning people may not appreciate his stay with us too much either. So we swapped phone numbers and made plans to meet at some other time, and then gave him directions to the river bank out back…

Costa Rica | Crocodile | Kulik Photography

Until we meet again!

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