Posts tagged ‘random’

April 13, 2015

that long-lost vacation…

Forever and a day ago (or maybe it was about 6 months ago) I went on vacation. And I didn’t tell you about it! WHAT?! I hinted. I posted a couple pictures. And then I got in a fight with my blog. We stopped talking for awhile after we called each other some unfortunate names. But then my brain started wandering back to those lovely vacation days, and I thought it was quite rude of me to not share those lovely memories here. *ok. can we just be honest? I really want to go back on vacation, so this allows me to re-live these wonderful memories. There. I said it.

For some reason, this vacation induced So. Much. Stress. beforehand. Our last trip was planned incredibly last minute. As in, tickets were bought before I even received my renewed passport. We had little time to plan, which in normal circumstances really should cause my OCD to break out in hives. But no. And then this trip? With plenty of time to plan? I wanted to throw up at times. I stomped my feet a lot. The packing?! Only I can make vacation planning so very….grrrrrrr.

I won’t even try to tell the tale of my arguments with a traffic cop at the airport. Or my attempting, yelling really, to just pay the airport guy for my oversized luggage already. I have never had someone NOT want to take my money! Our start to this trip was not a pretty one. And then there was the little stop at customs upon our arrival. Trying to explain our luggage situation. I am pretty sure if it wasn’t for the man carrying our luggage for us, we would have been short some items. A $20 bill can get you far in a developing country 😉

Really, the only luggage I truly care about on these trips is what is on my back every day…the cameras.

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

Well. that and my motion-sickness medicine 🙂 For a girl that gets carsick *very* easily, these are a must on these trips!

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

One of our biggest concerns while planning this trip was nailing down transportation from the airport to our lodge. After not much luck, we discovered our friend’s coworker’s cousin just so happened to have a tour company. I love Costa Rica! Someone always knows someone who can help you! So we contacted Wilson, and made a new friend. He picked us up at the airport. Happily brought us on some quick errands we needed to do before hitting the road. And made the looooong drive much better by being in his company. He brought us to a local soda for lunch and it was delicious, and we made some furry friends while there as well. He took us on some detours and made the drive fun, instead of a tedious drive from point a to point b.

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

While we were eating lunch Wilson had the owner make us these plantains…these were the most delicious plantains I have ever tasted! Best I could decipher, they are simply boiled. That seems too easy for the amazing flavor. If anyone knows the secret to these plantains, I will be your new best friend!!!

IMG_7828 IMG_7830 IMG_7831 IMG_7833  IMG_7838

We finally arrived at our lodge, Arenal Lodge, and made tentative plans to meet up with Wilson, and possibly his friend, the following day, depending on the weather. The weather was cooperative for us, and our first full day in Costa Rica was more than I ever could have asked for…

Just for a taste of the greatness…this was the view from my bed. I mean!

IMG_7848 IMG_7851


February 2, 2015

I will always return

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

I have been met with surprise each time that I tell someone that we will be going to Costa Rica for a vacation.

Again?” they will ask.

Yes. Again.

“But didn’t you just go last year?”

I will always return to Costa Rica. It will always be my go-to vacation. There are so many places on this beautiful planet that I would love to see and explore and experience. But I will always choose to return to Costa Rica. This country has had such a strange hold on me since my first visit. When I first set foot on it’s soil. When I first met the warmth of it’s culture.

On my first visit more than 10 years ago,  I was no more than 5 minutes in my friend’s home when the wife of one of his friends grabbed my hand and whisked me away down the city streets, winding through a maze of walkways and neighborhoods until I found myself in her family’s neighborhood, in the home of her mother, surrounded my a mass of women asking me questions in a language I had absolutely no grasp of. I sat in pure terror. And spoke to them in English. And they spoke to me in Spanish. And I swear we managed to have a conversation. We still somehow managed to understand each other.

I am a person that is forever uncomfortable. In her surroundings. In her own skin. I can always feel the edge of my anxiety, threatening to cut. And somehow, in a country that takes me miles and miles outside of my comfort zone, I feel more at home than I feel anywhere else. Costa Rica is good for me. It does something to my mind. It quiets it. It settles it. It reminds me of what is important and where my focus should be.

Costa Rica let’s me know that I am always welcome, and for that I will always return.

September 8, 2014

well *that* took a while!

I am a sloooow crafter. I mean, really slow. I sheepishly look at photos on Instagram that start in the morning with some fabric cut out and end in the evening with an entire quilt top done. DONE! In one day. That just seems absurd in my world. I don’t know if the procrastinator in me would allow such a silly thing to happen. No. I need months. And in this case, years, so finish my projects. Thankyouverymuch.

Quilt | Handmade | Heather Ross Mendocino | Kulik Photography

This quilt took me longer than any other project. In my humble defense, when I began it I was in school full time, as well as working, as well as, well….coming close to losing my mind! This project had a lot of starts and stops. I was nervous because technically this was my first gift quilt. And it was for my mom. And really people? I have No. Clue. what I am doing with this quilt stuff! No pressure. None at all. And honestly? I had a love/hate relationship with the color scheme. I still sort of do. But the pattern. The pattern! *swoon* It is so perfect for my mom, who is such a beach bum. On one of her visits I gave her a couple fabric options, and she immediately gravitated to this Heather Ross collection. And so a quilt was born.

Quilt | Handmade | Heather Ross Mendocino | Kulik Photography

This has become the largest quilt I have made to date. It fits the top of a queen size perfectly. I love the mermaids in this collection so I decided to use them in each corner, as well as in my tag.

Quilt | Handmade | Heather Ross Mendocino | Kulik Photography Quilt | Handmade | Heather Ross Mendocino | Kulik Photography

While I was binding this beast I had a vomit-inducing moment when I happened to flip one section over….only to see that when I had machine-sewn the binding to the front of the quilt the binding did not completely cover the fabric. Basically…I had a hole. A hole. In my mom’s quilt. WHAT DO I DO?! Did I mention that I have no clue what the hell I am doing with this craft? That I fly by the seat of my pants each time I sit down at the machine *ahem* hence the hole *ahem* SO. Do I rip out 300+ inches of binding? Hmmmm. Ummmmm. NO. Do I did the best I could and made a little patch. I think it came out pretty good. Insert pat on back HERE.

Quilt | Handmade | Heather Ross Mendocino | Kulik Photography Quilt | Handmade | Heather Ross Mendocino | Kulik Photography

In the end, I’m pretty happy with this quilt. And today it is supposed to arrive at it’s rightful owner. I am biting my nails waiting to hear what she thinks!

Quilt | Handmade | Heather Ross Mendocino | Kulik Photography

A secret about each quilt I make…when I am assembling the quilt sandwich (backing + batting + quilt top) I tuck a small piece of fabric from my own baby quilt, that was hand sewn for me *cough* thirty-some-odd years ago *cough* inside the sandwich. It is not something that you can physically see in my quilts. And I like it that way. It is my little special secret. I like to think that my Bucki would be incredibly proud of me that I picked up our family tradition of sewing, and it is my way of honoring her. And so for my mom’s quilt I wanted to take it a step further and see if I could get her to let go of the only shred of fabric she had of my brother’s baby quilt. He passed when we were teenagers, and all of these years she has carried with her through various moves this one small shred of his red and blue plaid baby blanket that Bucki has sewn for him.

When I sent my fabric bit along with my brother’s to the quilter, I was secretly terrified. How would I even know if she actually had sewn these important little bits into my quilt? When the quilt was returned to me she had pinned each spot, and included a note letting me know that when I hold the quilt up to the light I would be able to see my and my brother’s fabric. And sure enough. There. They. Were. goosebump moment. I added actual safety pins and ribbon to make sure there would be no missing these spots when it arrives at my mom’s.  Knowing her, the safety pins will stay in that quilt ♥

Quilt | Handmade | Heather Ross Mendocino | Kulik Photography



79 x 72 “Shirley Sells Seashells”

Fabric: Mendocino by Heather Ross for Free Spirit

Backing: Kona Cotton Azure & White

Binding: Squared Elements in Mandarin for Art Gallery Fabrics

Quilted by: Kathy Olkowski Stitch by Stitch


July 22, 2014

giving the gift of your creativity…and how it makes you want to vomit.

I’m not one to have a whole lot of confidence in what I do. I never really have been. At times, I am able to acknowledge that I can do something well(ish). But to think I am great at something is a foreign concept. And to think that anything I do is worthy of another is just downright insanity! So the sudden idea I had to make quilts for a family member? Completely unsolicited? ABSURD!

What if they hated them? What if they went straight to the re-gift pile? What if What if What if?!?!?! My confidence issues added to my good old fashioned anxiety was about to equal vomit-inducing fears of rejection. Who knew quilting could be so high-stress, right?!?!

I have barely made anything for myself, let alone for someone else (which is exactly why I expertly deflect every suggestion/request I get to create a quilt for anyone 😉 ). But I had this grand idea to make a quilt for the children of our Aunts Sue & Karina. We love these women so much, and Sue has made such an impact on so many of our lives. One day I was thinking about them and trying to figure out something we could do for them. They have a new baby and a toddler, and I suddenly knew that I should use this new hobby of mine to gift them something special.

Baby Quilts - handmade

I sent out a sneaky text simply asking for nursery colors for him, and her favorite colors. The response? Her favorite color is rainbow, and we don’t have a color theme for him. SIGH! Come on people! Help an indecisive girl out. Obviously, this response induced all sorts of anxiety. Now what?!?! I knew that these environmentally conscious chicks would appreciate if I could somehow incorporate that into this gift, so I took to the internet and narrowed down my choices by deciding to use organic cotton only. I quickly decided I wanted their quilts to coordinate, and I wanted a simple design (because this girl is a slooooooooooow poke crafter!). I settled on my new obsession- orange, and then worked around that theme. I knew I was taking a risk with the bold colors- I feel like most baby quilts I see are much more subdued, but that word doesn’t really exist in my vocabulary, and really, these kids are Cool Kids. They needed Cool Quilts. I only had to hope that Moms agreed!

In the end, I am in loooove with these quilts, but still, I might have gone into a cold sweat as I packaged these up to send off to California. Again, what if? what if? what if? And then? And then I got the most beautiful text, along with a video, that made me realize sometimes it is worth taking a risk and sharing your craft with others. Even if it does make you want to vomit.

And so…my first gift quilts…


Baby Quilt | Handmade | Quilting | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

I am slightly obsessed with the backs of both of these quilts. The patterns are so sweet ♥

Baby Quilt | Handmade | Quilting | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

Baby Quilt | Handmade | Quilting | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

With each quilt I make, I add a tag to the back. I covet some of the custom tags I have seen out there and at times I toy with the idea of ordering some. But in the end, I enjoy using the fabric from each quilt to make a unique tag.

Baby Quilt | Handmade | Quilting | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

And his…

Baby Quilt | Handmade | Quilting | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Baby Quilt | Handmade | Quilting | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Baby Quilt | Handmade | Quilting | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Baby Quilt | Handmade | Quilting | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

October 1, 2013

waking up in Costa Rica…

…I mean, ok, we are on day 3 already. Clearly on day 2 we woke up in Costa Rica too, but not really. We woke up in Heredia, which is on the outskirts of San Jose, which while sure, teeeeeeeechnically it is Costa Rica. It isn’t really Costa Rica. I mean, it’s a hotel on a city street. I woke up to the sounds of people in the hallway. And the air conditioner that, clearly, this foreigner had no clue how to work, because it might have been snowing in our room. No…waking up in the Country Inns and Suites is not the same as waking up in El Ferry, Costa Rica.

We arrived at the house late the night before. We couldn’t see much because, well, we were in the country. You forget how dark the world really is at night, until you go out into the country, where city lights don’t litter the sky. No, we didn’t see much. But we did see the Milky Way. And what I thought were light bugs but were actually some sort of beetle that lights up. So if that is all I got to see, I’ll take it. We also saw that we would not have air conditioning. As an a spoiled American, I’m not going to lie, this was slightly traumatizing for a brief moment. I mean, it was HOT. Like, Florida hot. With no air conditioning. But I am on an adventure and I am in Costa Rica and if that means I am going to sleep with no blankets and all the windows open, then let’s do it! I also got to sleep under mosquito netting. And not because it looks pretty and added to the effect. No. I got to sleep under mosquito netting so I wasn’t accosted by insects in my sleep. I feel like this should have creeped me out, but it really didn’t. I’M ON AN ADVENTURE!!!

So we were informed that since the windows are open, we should expect some noises that might be slightly foreign to us. There is a small group of bats that live under the roof of their patio that surrounds the house. We should expect to hear them return in the morning. There is a chicken house across the street, so we should expect to hear the roosters first thing. Oh, and don’t panic when you hear the howler monkeys. Howler monkeys? I get to hear howler monkeys???? YES!!!!

And then, at what I can only guess was probably about 3 am or so, I heard the howler monkeys. And in my sweaty, sleepy fog I felt like a 5 year old who really wanted to run into her parents bedroom and hide under their blankets. These didn’t sound like happy little monkeys swinging around in the trees. Clearly, there was a colony of DINOSAURS out there just waiting to come and drag me out of bed. I had never heard anything like it. It was so prehistoric sounding. That first night, it frightened me. But every night, and morning, after that, I woke up with a smile on my face when I heard them. Most of the world wakes up to the annoying beep beep beep of an alarm, and here I was waking up to birds that might as well have been fake for how foreign they sounded to me, and persistent roosters, AND HOWLER MONKEYS.

I present to you…my alarm clock:

Nothing to see…just the sounds that we woke up to every morning in Costa Rica

September 25, 2013

day 2…the twisty turny road to bliss

Ahhhh, Day Two. The travel is over. We had a lovely evening lounging by the (chilly) pool, just soaking in the fact that Oh. My. God. We are actually in Costa Rica. We took this crazy last minute idea and actually did it and HERE WE ARE.

We enjoyed a yummy breakfast that consisted of mostly unknown foods and AH-mazing fruit. (Have I mentioned that by the end of my trip, I actually had sores covering the inside of my mouth because I ate an excessive amount of pineapple?  The pain was SOOOO worth it!)

And so we enjoyed our breakfast. We listened to the sounds of birds as they sang their foreign songs. We were filled with anticipation for the coming days. We were also filled with nerves…you are a liar if you say that you wouldn’t be nervous in a new country. We do not speak the language. We are unsure of all the customs. It is exciting and nerve-wracking all in one!

Random fact that we learned the night before: In Costa Rica, your waiter will not bring you the check unless you ask for it. I mean, you could throw your napkin on your plate, cross your knife and fork over each other in the middle of the plate, “AHEM” loudly numerous times. No. No check. Here, it would appear rude to ask for a check, but there, well, you will sit for a looooong time if you stay mum. LOL. Lesson one of numerous.

So we kicked back, hung by the pool, and relaxed. I did something I hadn’t done in a year…I. Read. A. Book. And we waited for our friends to come pick us up.

And this is when you are reminded that you are in another country. We received a message that they were on their way. And then we received a message that there was a terrible accident, and so they would be a bit late. Because that accident? It was blocking the only road that would get them from there to here. And so they would have to take a dirt road in the opposite direction in order to bypass the accident. Here? People would be absolutely beside themselves. There? What are you going to do?

So we are picked up. We begin our journey to their home…with one stop. The grocery store in San Jose that has many American treats.


Yeah, ummmm, Mtn Dew is a SPECIAL treat! 🙂 The one and only place that is seems to reside is in this store. And so, clearly, Mtn Dew needed to be bought. Priorities people, priorities. And then after a jaunt through the city streets (YIKES! Seriously, I should have taken video! Juggling with machetes? Sure, why not?! Driving with your fingers crossed because that seems like the best safety measure there is? Absolutely!) we were off.

And let the motion sickness set IN! To get to our friends home we would take the Pan American Highway(with random goats tied to the side of the road. For. Real.) and then a twisty turny road through the mountains that was absolutely gorgeous. And turny. And so pretty. But twisty. Ummmm, did I mention twisty? Our ride was probably about three hours and we were able to see lots of Costa Rica as it REALLY is, not just the postcard images. And that, I love! It is such a poor country, but so beautiful. People have very little, but it seems so long as they have their family, they have all they need.

Because I had been once before, I already had an image in my head, so it was not all totally new to me. But it still takes a period of time to adjust to this different world with different rules and standards. As a dog lover, Costa Rica is a very difficult country to be in, but I will touch on that in a later post. It is normal to see random dogs at the side of the road. And I mean, AT THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. Why aren’t they scared???? Men adore peeing on the side of the road, and it becomes a kind of game to see what we can peep 😉 A home without bars on it’s windows is, well, not a home you see in Costa Rica. Giant pot holes are the norm, dirt roads are not a nuisance so much as just another road, and the theme is “We’re in Costa Rica…we do what we want!” And so we were overstimulated and over twisty-turned and I was just trying to jam it all in my brain and lock the key so I didn’t lose any of it.

because it is pretty

And so…second day in and I am still busy taking photos with my phone! Oops! I promise day three has real, live PHOTOS *gasp* But no adventure can begin without a start to the journey. So this was our start.


September 17, 2013

shall we begin?

I mean, it has been over a month now, right? It only seems right that I should probably begin making some vacation posts, yeah? Because let’s be honest here, I know you having been laying awake at night, staring at the ceiling fretting over the fact that you haven’t gotten to read about my gloriously fabulous trip. It’s ok, don’t be embarrassed, we’re all friends here.

I took soooo many photos. I still have soooo many photos to edit. But if we wait for me to finish before we begin these posts, you may have a few more grey hairs. You might even have grandchildren at that point. So we will begin. But begin where??? Did I mention soooo many photos? How to share them all? I have decided the easiest way will be to post a day-by-day chronicle, with little diversions here and there where we dig a little deeper. Oooooh, sounds exciting doesn’t it?

And so, let’s start with DAY 1.

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

Ok…so Day 1 isn’t very exciting. And, ok, we’re all friends here, so I’m going to be honest right here. There are Day 2 photos in there too. GAH! I know, I know.

Really, Day 1 was full of travel and settling in. I am a pretty daring girl, so I really wanted to live on the edge and start our trip out right by eating a Floribbean Tuna sandwich. I know how to live!!! So we travelled. We arrived. We amazingly found our driver immediately. SCORE! Communicating with our driver? eeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. He deserted us at one point curbside at the airport. WHEREDIDYOUGO????? This might be a good spot to pause and fill you in on one tidbit of information: We don’t speak Spanish. At all. I mean, I can tell you good morning, and thank you. Annnnnd, that is about it. The people of Costa Rica are insanely patient and accommodating and will make every effort to communicate with you and make things easy. And our country could learn a LOT from that. And that is all I am going to say about that 😉

We make it to our hotel, and we settle in. We discover you can watch the city traffic on tv. Say what?! It’s kind of like the food channel. You know you are bored. You know you want to change the channel. But you don’t. I can tell you all about the traffic patterns of San Jose.

We ventured. We grocery shopped. I stumbled upon a pet store a mere one minute walk from our hotel, because clearly I have doggy radar even in other countries. We bought tasty snacks that we bought solely on looks. We froze (damn Floridians!!! Ha! We were even called out by some Midwesterners at the hotel who noticed we were in long-sleeved shirts….”you must be from Florida?!”) We lounged by the pool and for the first time in a year I just sat. I just stared into space and thought of very little. And gasssssp I got to read a book!!!!

And so that was our first day. Is your mind blown? I knew it would be!!!

September 16, 2013

it feeds my soul

Without music life would be a mistake.  ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

GOTR | Mumford & Sons Gentlemen of theRoad | St. Augustine Stopover

Most people think I go to concerts because, well, I like to go to concerts. Wanna know a secret? I hate concerts. Like, I efffffffffffing haaaaaate them. I hate crowds. With a passion. They push my anxiety button and don’t let up.

But music? It feeds my soul. Some people go to church. I listen to music. I have pages and pages of song lyrics written down that grab my soul and shake it up. I have to really (REALLY) like a band to want to endure hours of anxiety…and so there are a very few that I stalk, waiting for them to come near, so I can pounce. And so, when back in February tickets went on sale for Mumford & Sons, this girl pounced. Their first time ever in Florida? This girl POUNCED!

So, the girl that despises concerts bought tickets for a music festival for this past weekend.. HA! That went over well. I spent approximately 5.3 minutes on the field on Friday before I declared boredom and headed home. And then, almost kicking and screaming, I re-entered a crowded field of people the following day to see the band that I have been smitten with for years. I declared boredom once again. And then aggravation knowing that the only other band I wanted to see had cancelled. And then John Fogerty came on stage as a replacement (sigh…come ON you silly young peeps! Nothing? Nada? Creedence Clearwater Revival? No? Fine…go Wikipedia it…I’ll wait….). Then I was a happy girl. This was WAY better than the band I was hoping to see! However, I was still hot, tired, and daydreaming about how nice the hot tub back at the hotel would feel on my weary feet and achy knees.

And then. AND THEN. Mumford & Sons took to the stage. And this moment right here, this is the reason that I spend the money, that I endure the anxiety. Because then the music starts. And the crowd comes together as one incredible energy source. And I have a moment. Every time. I have a moment where I am overwhelmed. I can feel it from deep within. If I allowed it out, I would probably be the girl in the middle of the crowd sobbing. This moment here. This is my religious moment. Some people go to church. I listen to music.

*and for the record? They sound AH-mazzzzzing! I mean, mind-blowing, holy shit, ah-mazzzzzing. I mean, the BEST sounding live band I have ever EVER heard. {gasp} don’t tell Dave I just said that, k?

August 22, 2013

someone get the dustbuster…

…it’s time to wipe the dust away!

It’s been a loooooong year. Exhausting really. It’s all been rather blurry and dreamlike and now it is over and I feel dizzy from it all. And now I am back in the real world, and feel like I require some sort of transitional therapy to help my integrate back into the world of normal people.

And so here I am. Time to jump back in, heh? Lots has happened in the last few months…

I chopped all of my hair off…

where did it all go?!

The lesson learned with this one? Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, make a drastic change to your hair when you are emotionally spent. Seriously. Just don’t.

And after 12 years, 173,000 miles, and too many to count oops-I-almost-broke-down-again moments, I bought a new car!!!!

well look at that!

And finally, this happened…


I kind of felt like this moment was never going to come!

And in coming posts I will tell you about this…

pura vida!

When you finally finish a hellish year, you need to celebrate, right?! We chose to celebrate for 10 days in Costa Rica.

Stay tuned….


oh, and hey? It was nice seeing you again 😉

August 16, 2012

Setting Sea on an Ocean of Doubt…

If you could translate all the things I have recently been feeling into the face of a pug, this is the face that you would see.

It has been a strange time for me, a girl that runs like the wind in the opposite direction of change, as I face all sorts of changes. When I was younger I got in a huge argument with change. Things may have turned physical. There was hair pulling and shin kicking, and I may have even fought a little dirty and handed out the stealthy move of the “pinch and twist” to the back of the arm. Obviously, after doling out such a shady move as that, I promptly ran. And never looked back.

I know that no one likes change. But I don’t just not like it. It makes me itchy. A little twitchy. It steals my breath and inturrupts my regularly beating heart and replaces it with a chest full of butterflies. It makes me lose focus and question everything and see nothing but the bad outcomes. I want to move out of town and change my phone number so that change can never find me again.

I am looking at all sorts of changes. Big changes. Little changes. Changes as recent as yesterday, some as soon as Monday, and some further down the road. Change is change. I want to tell it to piss off, go bother someone else. But I am trying to just take a deep breath and take it all in. Because I know it is going nowhere. I suspect it is going to be my constant companion for a bit, so I guess I better get to know it. Maybe take it out to dinner. Find out what it’s favorite color is, when it’s birthday is, what it likes to eat.

I am a pro at just closing my eyes, choosing not to see what is right in front of me. I loooooove building walls, as anyone that knows me well can attest to. But that isn’t really going to get me anywhere, now is it? So I may wear a weary face like little miss pug up there, but hopefully I will be breathing a little easier soon. Hopefully me and change will get to know each other a little better and we will be surspised to find that we are really quite compatible.