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// she's only happy in the sun.
Apr 11

5 things on a friday.


firstly, thank you to all of you lovely people who entered the giveaway for a farideh song. i really enjoyed sharing farideh’s amazing talent on my blog and reading your comments always makes my day.

due to the selection powers of the mighty randomizer, the winner of the giveaway is allyn. hi allyn! i can’t wait to hear/see the song farideh creates just for you.


today we went kite flying and if it’s not obvious enough in the above photo, i had SO much fun. even the unnerving moment when i thought our kite was going to nosedive and knock out a bunch of hipster offspring was fun.

[sidenote: one of the things that really amuses me when i meet hipster parents are the names they choose for their kids. they are always quirky and unusual. not like ‘golriz’ unusual but like: mazie, arabella, clementine, and flannery.]

anyway, there’s a really interesting phenomenon that happens when i am exposed to the outside.

quite simply: i become happy. like really, truly, grinning from the inside-out-happy.

it’s such a sudden transition: one minute i’m sitting inside at my computer, feeling grouchy, annoyed and creatively stuck. but as SOON as i step outside – tah dah! look at the sky. look at the blushing pink cherry blossoms. look at our vespa gleaming in the sun waiting to go on an adventure! i get delirious. i want to sing. i want to fill my hands with glitter and shower the strangers i see with it.

some people need drugs, i just need a cocktail of oxygen, sun and skies.

the cute part is that whenever this transition from monster to merry-maker happens – devon always mentions it. he stands there in bewilderment, his eyes still adjusting to the brilliance of the sky, and stunned he just stares at me. like i’m a magic trick happening before his eyes. he looks around because he really can’t believe that the feisty female with the furrowed brow who was pacing around the house just seconds ago, is this same smiling individual.


my friend layli has started posting a series of photos titled: ‘here’s to longing’, where she overlays her photography with quotes from powerful/meaningful conversations. each friday layli publishes a new piece from her ‘longing’ series. i feel like there is such universality to the quotes she selects, and i love the way her photographs are not only a canvas for the words, but also how the imagery evokes a feeling. check out this week’s piece here!


things that matter. a list:

+ making eye contact and saying thank you. and meaning it.
+ honesty
+ bravery
+ telling those you love, that you love them.
+ forgiveness
+ finding time to play
+ kindness
+ laughter
+ connection
+ community


i definitely don’t need one more film camera, but i certainly want this one. first of all it’s called the ‘sprocket rocket’. which is amazing. and second, look at the photos it can take. long panoramic shots that INCLUDE the sprocket holes. ooh la la. i’m sure there’s an iPhone app that can do this. but i don’t care.

Apr 11


lately, i can’t get enough of bright, bold, colors.

here are some colorful things that have caught my eye:

there’s too much i love about this.

pretty outdoor wedding set up.

spied on ashley’s lovely tumblr.

these incredible stairs.

neon satchels spied here.

magical jose villa engagement shoot.

Apr 11
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parents = the original hipsters.

i recently stumbled upon this tumblr and it got me thinking about my own parents. i don’t have access to our family albums but in the few photos i do have, it’s obvious that my parents were 1000 x cooler than i can ever hope to be.

Apr 11

before i die.

in an ideal world, i would roam the world high-fiving the creative people who make public art installations that push deeper thought and meaning.

candy chung would be one of those people. in her ‘before i die‘ project, chung found an abandoned building in new orleans that looked like this:

and covered it in blackboards that have ‘before i die…..’ written on them in white with blank spaces for people to fill in the rest.

she then included little dishes with chalk and the public who walked by the building started filling in the blanks leading to this incredibly powerful installation:

learning about projects like this gives me so much inspiration for the SoulPancake video series that we’re currently working on.

if you come across other public art projects / art installations that inspire you, please share them with me!

Apr 11

farideh danger song giveaway!

when farideh (pronounced fair-a-day), a self-proclaimed, ‘guitar & banjo songstress’ reached out to me about featuring her music on my blog, it was an easy-peasy HECK-YES-I-WILL kind of decision.

farideh is awesome. and not just because her name on facebook is listed as ‘farideh danger’, but because she is a creative sprite who hails from freezing cold places and sings awesome tunes. and she knows how to wear red lipstick well. on her music site her sound is described as part “howl at the moon” vocals, part Motown rhythm and part finger-pickin guitar. what’s not to love about that? you can listen to some of her music here.

so farideh has generously offered to write a song specifically for the winner of this giveaway! as in, she will sit with her guitar or banjo and strum/sing a song written JUST for you. she will even make a video of it and you can show off to all your friends how this lovely singer from saskatoon wrote you a song. that’s like the greatest giveaway prize ever. move over oprah.

also – how beautiful is the cover of her latest album? i want this on my wall please.

here is some more about farideh:

list 5 things farideh is and 5 things farideh isn’t:

Farideh is my real name (it means unique in persian).
Farideh is a 2002 goat milking champion (beating the mayor and a 9 year old!).
Farideh is a fan of prunes and has many other things in common with 80 year olds.
Farideh is very shy and reclusive and prefers to be on stage then out in the crowd.
Farideh is color bind and therefor afraid of khaki.
Farideh isn’t a prostitute (though she has been mistaken for one while wearing a skirt that covered her whole leg including the ankles and a bunnyhug [that’s Saskatchewanian for hoodie]).
Farideh isn’t prepared for the zombie apocalypse and doesn’t plan to be, she thinks brains could be tasty.
Farideh isn’t Michael Faraday the scientist…though she likes that a farid is a unit of POWER!
Farideh isn’t sure that the 5 second rule is accurate, she’s thinking more like 30 seconds.
Farideh isn’t sure what the plan is, but she is sure there is one.

don’t you live in the icy climes of canada? tell me a bit about your ‘home':

I live in Saskatchewan, right in the middle of Canada.  Every year, between December and February, we have a number of days we celebrate being colder then Mars. Those days it is between -50F and -60F, so our celebrations are merely getting out of the house and trying to start the car.

I’m not a fan of the cold, I have experimented with other cities – the weather and people are fantastic, but my songs don’t turn out as well and it all seems a lot less intense.  Turns out I prefer a landscape that is trying to kill me.

Above you will find a photo of myself and my brother in a sleigh in the dead of winter. No reindeer necessary! Our dad pulled it around town with his van.

what 10 songs are on your perfect road-trip mix-tape?
I spend many days of the year on the road promoting my records and performing,  this is a mix tape that features quite a few Canadian musicians, songs about poverty, moving on up and a little bit of bluegrass Metallica.  Just what the road calls for!

The Long and Winding Road – Aretha Franklin version
Road Regrets – Dan Mangan
The Gallery – Joni Mitchell
Down the Line – Jose Gonzalez
Poor – Meaghan Smith
Challengers – New Pornographers
I Need a Dollar – Aloe Blacc
Shallow – Fred Eaglesmith
It’ll All Work Out – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Ride the Lightning – The Iron Horse

i’ve “started” trying to learn the guitar about 5 times. do you have any tips to push through the ‘my fingertips hurt’ stage?

Dear Golriz.  You are terribly talented at many things – writing, photography, fashion. Possibly not being able to learn guitar is the universe reassigning such skills to the rest of us.  I invite you and your readers to consider if they haven’t been able to learn guitar, maybe it’s because they are ridiculously talented at other things and to stop being so greedy.

But if you insist, the best way to learn a new instrument is to keep it out in your visual space so you see it all the time.  Then to remove all other distractions in your life so that you are so bored you start playing.  This is why people usually learn the guitar when they have no friends or are backpacking through Europe.

who is your musical muse?

I suspect it’s the weather and Fred Eaglesmith.  The landscape of Saskatchewan is full of silence, wind and 360 degrees of sky. That open howling kind of sound is present in my music and the silence is one of my greatest inspiration. Fred Eaglesmith is a Canadian songwriter who I was obsessed with when I was 15, he is an incredible story teller, performer and songwriter.  As I age I see his influence spill into my words, melodies and stage persona. Otherwise I look to the music of older times – currently I am into 1940’s gospel music like the Golden Gate Quartet – such creative vocal ideas!

the giveaway!

to enter to win a song written JUST for you by farideh, all you have to do is:

+ become a fan of farideh on facebook and/or follow farideh on twitter.
+ leave a comment on this post about what you’d want the title of YOUR song to be.

it’s as SIMPLE as that. entries will close on friday april 29 at noon when a winner will be picked at random, by the randomizer!

Apr 11

the misadventures of a beginner ballerina.

at the beginning of the year, along with a horde of dutiful new years resolution making minions, dev and i joined the hollywood ymca.

prior to getting our membership we had carefully weighed up our options. they were:

+ attend expensive hipster yoga classes in our neighborhood but then not have enough money for hipster pho.
+ ride walk our beach cruisers around the slopes of silverlake.
+ keep sitting in front of screens and become hunchbacks by the age of 35.
+ join a gym.

traditional gyms don’t really appeal to either of us. too many mirrors and fluorescent lights and muscled people discussing the best spirulina protein shake recipes. boring. we were both really drawn to the idea of a community gym. a place which was home to chubby toddlers doing gymnastics and ambitious 90 year old power-walkers. if you are like me and sometimes overwhelmed by the slickness and shmooziness that you can encounter in LA, the hollywood ymca is an oasis where you actually see families and a cross-section of society that is primarily there to quietly work out, not ‘network’ and flash snow-white teeth hoping to land a role in the next sitcom. and so in this maze of a multi-storied building, i actually feel like i live in a normal city, with normal people, and even god forbid, imperfect people. people who don’t have perfect smiles and perfect hair and perfect pilates bums.

and so there we were in early 2011, at the ymca membership office with shiny expectant eyes and shoes made for exertion, and a naive belief that within a few weeks we’d be two lean, mean, fit machines.

and then reality hit. and my excitement about going to yoga every.single.day was hindered with the fact that i have to drive all the way there. and classes are 90 minutes and my attention span only lasts 60 minutes. and i am exhausted from yet another road trip. and modern family is on tonight. and you see how it goes.

however, in the past few weeks there has been a resurgence in our ymca attendance. i don’t know if it was dev’s brand new neon green sneakers that prompted the trend or the fact that we keep watching House and realizing we shouldn’t take our health for granted (beware the sarcoidosis!) but something kicked in, and now we are routinely back at the Y. we both spend our time at the gym very differently. i generally go to a yoga class – and i’m not fussy about the specific practice: ansura, bikram, ashtanga, kundalini…it’s all great. as long as there’s an instructor who actually cares about the philosophy of yoga, i’m happy.

dev’s ymca routine however, looks a little more like this.

1. buy a hot cup of black coffee from the vending machine.
2. slowly drink said cup of coffee in the outdoor courtyard.
3. respond to emails/continue working/take over the world using all available gadgets and free wifi.
4. eventually source an eliptical machine in the coziest nook of the gym.
5. stream an episode of the office on the iphone while elipticalling.

i think someone might be taking a more ‘subtle’ approach to exercising, but i’m not going to be critical since i’m just glad that me and neon-green-shoes-gundry, are doing something to prevent muscle atrophy.

[sidenote: found this photo at the ymca from 1979. it scares me just how much the man on the right bears an uncanny resemblance to my spouse]

and now we get to the good part. the part about how i decided that it’s never too late to be a ballerina. except for the time when it is. [heads up, this might be the title of my autobiography].

basically, every monday as i would walk into my yoga class i’d spy on the ballet class that was warming up. i was romanced by this class. by the classical music. the legwarmers. the french words that i couldn’t understand. it also didn’t help that i’d watched black swan (twice).

so, after weeks of talking about going to ballet, ash and i set a date and made it concrete. there was a class on wednesday and we were going.

i should mention that a few weeks beforehand ashley had given me ballet slippers as a gift. they were pink and soft and perfect. when i first put on the slippers i felt graceful. i felt poised. i felt like a ballerina. actually, i felt like a princess bride ballerina. how’s that for magic slippers?

on the day of class i sewed the elastic of the slippers into the shoe just like the somewhat creepy instructional video taught me. i planned my outfit. white tights. leg warmers. comfortable long sleeved top. hair in a bun on top of my head. i stood in front of the mirror, i put on my ballet slippers, and i twirled around in my bedroom, while dev stared on adoringly.

[sidenote: the problem with having someone love you no matter what kind of ridiculous antics you’re up to is that it’s MISLEADING. like a mirror that’s leaning on an angle and therefore makes you appear taller and thinner, a person who loves you and thinks everything you do is charming, is actually leading you astray. loving partners should definitely come with warning labels. something along the lines of ‘the way she/he looks at you does NOT reflect how the rest of the world will look at you. think twice before leaving the house’.]

ash picked me up in her mini and in a cloud of pink slippers, water bottles, and excitement we headed to the class.

the first moment of uncertainty was when we found that instead of being in the dance studio, the class that evening was going to be held in a racquetball court. no mirrors. no real barre. just a white square box. however, i was determined not to let this sully my first foray into the world of long dancer limbs and pirouettes. then we met one of our classmates – a dismissive man ballerino* who made it very clear he had no tolerance for us fresh-faced newcomers. our cute eagerness was completely lost on him and he barely made eye contact with us while he intently warmed up. what he lacked in conversational skills he made up for in a series of loud, disconcerting, ‘grunting’ sounds, which i think were supposed to impress us.

*update: ash just informed me that a guy ballerina is a ballerino. who knew?!

a few other students trickled in and i began to notice something unnerving. everyone looked kinda bored. where was the excitement? the pizazz? sure, this was ballet which requires discipline and structure, but where were the other eager excited students like me and ash? the teacher was all set up and so we sidled up to her, to do the customary ‘we’re new here’ introductions and she was lovely and sweet and made us feel right at home.

however, she forgot to mention one rather important piece of information: we were not just in a ballet class, but rather, the intermediate slash advanced ballet class.

what that meant is that for the next 75 minutes this lovely, patient, teacher rapidly rattled off ballet terms in french, while the rest of the class nodded and executed her choreography perfectly and there was me. a frenetic jumble of hands and legs and feet and a crooked back. all the magic of the slippers drained away and it took every ounce of my focus just to figure out where to put my legs, let alone my flailing hands.

this was definitely not a class you could talk in, much rather bust out laughing, but ash said that in between the guy’s grunting and my jerking limbs, she nearly lost it multiple times.

mid-way through the class we moved downstairs to the actual dance studio. and i realized that it had been a blessing being without the mirrors, as now i could not only imagine but actually see how uncoordinated i was compared to the rest of the experienced dancers in the class. it was like someone had shot me with a giant injection of humility. straight to the heart. because the truth was, i thought i could handle ballet. i am reasonably strong. i do yoga. i am flexible. i can hold half moon pose for half a day. but all that meant NOTHING in the face of ballet.

the last 15 minutes of the class was ‘floorwork’ which basically translated for me as: ‘how to be singled out and humiliated’. the dancers gathered in one corner of the room and, one by one, grande jetted and pirouetted across the floor. legs were leaping. backs were straight. arms were floating gracefully. and finally, in a moment of clarity that had arrived 60 minutes too late, i realized the only option was to sit this part out. and so i did.

at the end of the class ash came up to me all concerned that i was too defeated to ever try ballet again. but during those last 15 minutes of watching bodies leap across the room with perfect form, i realized one thing, i wanted to learn how to do what they were doing. sure, i would find the beginner class but, more importantly, i would be coming back for more.

because, some lessons, like ‘you’re too old to begin ballet’ are obviously only learned after repeat humiliation.

bear & ballerina.

Apr 11
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the sulk.

firstly, i should admit i don’t know really who ‘the sulk‘ is or why i started following him on twitter. i think i heard somewhere that he’s one of the writers for the family guy, but heck if i know. i have never even watched one full episode of the family guy. i know. i’m a paltry excuse for a human fed on a diet of inane pop culture. sorry.

anyway, his tweets are some of the only writing on the internets that actually makes me laugh. here’s a sample for you to read.

and maybe a large percentage of you will think hmm. he’s not that funny. gol’s standards need work. and you might be right. but nevertheless, without further ADO – here are ‘the sulk’ tweets – best of in april (and the months not even over yet!), as compiled by me.

Apr 11
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there are tree houses.

and then there are tree houses. whoa.

found here.

Apr 11
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art with heart.

hey internets,

i just found out about this amazing initiative: ‘Art Feeds‘. the whole vision of the organization is “to empower children through creativity.”

how awesome is that?

Art Feeds began as an outreach to one simple classroom, and now provides art for many in need classrooms, after school programs and across the globe to our partners in Africa to provide children the tools they need to develop creatively. Through music, art, writing, photography, dance and performing arts, Art Feeds teaches children how to express themselves in a positive and uplifting manner. We seek to allow children to build themselves up through unique expression and creative passions. We create programs that are relevant and meet the needs within the communities we serve. These communities include- special needs classrooms, behavioral disorder classrooms and after school care. Our focus is to make a difference in each child’s life through mentorship and community engagement. Art Feeds does this by bringing art back into the classroom and making art an accessible outlet in children’s lives.

you can help out this project by adding the organization as a friend on facebook and/or bidding on the adorable works of art created by children in ghana!

Apr 11
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using nature as a canvas.

last week i highlighted the work of darren rigo who uses elements from nature as a backdrop for his photographs, and today i stumbled upon filippo minelli, another photographer who also ‘decorates’ the landscapes he photographs.

i’m currently enamored with minelli’s series of photographs titled shapes. i’m not sure how he creates billows of colored smoke, but i love the juxtaposition between nature and the man-made explosions of color.

these photos *almost* make me want to bundle up and walk aimlessly through snowy woods.

oh and how awesome is this approach for promoting your bike business in lieu of a sign:

spied here.

Apr 11
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masako miki.

i was instantly smitten with masako miki’s beautiful illustrations. i love how she incorporates pencil sketches with vibrant lines and colors and shapes.

Apr 11

art installation appreciation.

if you attended a certain wedding with a certain drop down paper chandelier ceiling, you might be aware of the fact that i have a very special place in my heart reserved just for art installations. i know that ‘art installation’ is a pretty generic term, but chances are high if someone has creatively filled a space, then i’m going to be excited about it.

recently, dev and i can’t walk past an anthropologie store without going inside to inspect the window displays sneak photos of the details. you know, for that one day when we just have to construct a gigantic cascading ceiling of paper & wire coat hangers.

with this in mind, it was no surprise that i would fall head over heels for the artwork of yuko takada keller – a japanese paper artist who currently resides in denmark, and brooklyn based artist, tara donovan.

keller uses tracing paper as the main material for her artwork, because she says: “it creates a sense of transparency and etherealness”. i couldn’t agree more. aren’t these creations so delicate and pretty?

donovan also uses everyday materials for her beautiful, larger-than-life installations. in this new york times interview she says that the ideas behind her art are often “discovered in accidental ways”.

drinking straws:

styrofoam cups:


paper plates:

who knew paper plates could be so beautiful?

Apr 11
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we’re not leaving LA. but jon jackson did.

in a series of posters, aptly titled: Adiós LA, jon jackson plastered his goodbye messages to LA on huge billboards all over the city just before he moved to nyc.

i think they’re incredible.

the blurbs on the website are hilarious too:

“LA, I think we should just be friends. I’m looking for a city with a bit more edge. I know that is super hard to hear, so I thought it might be easier if you read it on a billboard placed on Highland Ave just south of Willoughby. We have a lot of friends in common and I am sure we will run into each other from time to time especially around the holidays, so let’s not make this any more uncomfortable that it already is. I guess it is true, nice cities do finish last… especially in air quality.”

Apr 11

bringing the inside, outside.

bed + nature = perfection.

here are few that have caught my eye lately. now i just need a backyard.

first gazed at here.

swooned over here.

drooled over here.

where i want to be always, spied here.

Apr 11

cowboy, damsel, bear.

i have been organizing all my photographs because they are currently spread over about 7 different folders on my computer, and stored on 3 back up drives, and quite frankly, this has inflamed my OCD.

and, ok. so maybe i’m also putting off doing our taxes. don’t look at me that way. i know there isn’t much time left. and i will get them done. (in my defense, i thought dev was working on them. but he is also procrastinating by learning how to code in ruby on rails. whatever that means.)

sorting through the zillions of photos was a surreal trip down memory lane. i’m that person that shakes her head and quietly says ‘where does time go?’ with an exaggerated sigh. i don’t think i’m allowed to be that person until i’m a grandmother of 16. but here i am, prematurely being that person.

in the midst of it all i found all the scans of the polaroids that were taken the day after our wedding. dev and i had decided we weren’t ready for the wedding festivities to be over, so like any self-respecting adults-who-refuse-to-grow-up we had a ‘cowboy, damsel, bear’ party. (in case you are out of the loop: cowboy, damsel, bear is a modification of rock, paper, scissors, but a LOT more fun.) for the occasion, i was a damsel-bride, and dev wore a bear hat and a white tuxedo jacket with a plaid shirt because he was obviously a conflicted cowboy/bear.

the awesome thing about our friends and family is that they take dress up parties super seriously. people had invested time, money and resources into looking the part and they showed up legit.

here are some of my favorite shots from that amazing day.

and for those of you who love polaroids as much as i do, here is a great diy post by jenn kirk on how to make tiny polaroid magnets:

Apr 11

ferraby lionheart.

when i moved to nashville i met all sorts of wonderfully creative people –  ferraby lionheart being one of them.

ferraby had moved back to nashville from LA to work on his music and i had landed in that city because the universe has an awesome way of reminding me to never say never. while in nashville i had the chance to see ferraby perform live a couple of times and i was instantly impressed by his talent and his originality. he is an artist in the truest sense – and now that i’m watching the music videos he’s creating i’m realizing that his artistic expertise goes far beyond music to visual expression also.

it’s also pretty awesome that ferraby moved back to LA around the same time we did and lives within walking distance from us here in silverlake! #neighbors.

Apr 11

on what you leave behind. and what you take with you.

image credit: laura encursiva

there are moments when you’re reminded with acute clarity, about what actually matters. it might happen in a really obnoxious way, complete with fanfare and fireworks, a horn section, and tears both sad and happy, like at funerals and weddings. and sometimes it feels like a more gentle reminder – like when you tightly hug a friend who’s just told you she’s pregnant, or watch an incredible film/concert feeling breathless and captivated at the same time. on occasion, the realization arrives abruptly – one minute you’re up late snacking on  cereal on the couch, and the next, you’re watching horrified as part of japan gets swallowed whole by the ocean. or you’re on a plane packed full of strangers and a chubby baby returns your smile with a toothless grin, and suddenly everything is ok with the world because you’ve made a connection with this tiny being.

i will forever remember what a friend shared with me a few days after watching her father pass away. she told me that when he was ‘gone’ it was so abundantly obvious to her that none of the stuff we have/acquire/collect, matters at all. every.single.thing. we own stays here. these vintage stores i like to forage are just full other people’s stuff. and one day that will probably be my stuff. cameras, books, gadgets, the perfect coffee mug. it all stays. but the relationships we foster, the friendships we grow and cultivate, the children we tend to and labor over, the love that we offer indiscriminately and without pretense. these interactions and exchanges are the only things we take with us. and what others carry with them once we leave.

keeping in mind how fleeting and fragile life is, only reinforces my decision to accept nothing less than authenticity in relationships. to embrace spontaneity and adventure and road trips where we show up without much notice on a friend’s doorstep – just because. to hug fiercely and laugh fully. to never hold back affections or attention. to smile sincerely. to make and hold eye contact. to always say thank you.

Apr 11
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do you see what i see.

we desperately need to do our taxes. to put off the inevitable, i chose to spend the last hour looking up photographers who inspire me. i figured that if i got my dose of creative fuel for the day i’d have an easier time tackling this gruesome chore. and guess what you guys?


well, not in the anticipated way. but in the way that whenever dev looked over at my desk i was so absorbed in some image that he decided to take the reigns and autonomously do our taxes: reason #298557 marriage is awesome. so now he’s busy collating receipts and calculating and reviewing invoices. and i’m sitting here blogging about my photographic muse o’ the day: randy p martin.

i have always loved capturing solitary figures in wide expanses of land. and when i look at these pictures all i want to do is pack a rucksack, head to the wilderness with nothing but a wide angle lens, some picnic food, and a devon.

all photographs by randy p martin
Apr 11
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per request.


ever since i left blogspot around 2 years ago, a few of trusty cozyhunter readers have informed me that they frustrated that they can’t get my blog updates on their little google blogspot reader-bot updater thingee. (er. can you tell i’m not the tech head in this family?)

so. to appease the people that like following their blogs in one place, i’ve joined bloglovin. i think this means that if you have a bloglovin account you can follow my blog and all the other blogs you like to peruse. and your life will be oh so neat and tidy.

so have at it. clicking this will take you to bloglovin.


i’m a big fan of the archaic foot warming device known as the hot water bottle. i know there are other options – like electric blankets or heating pads, or turning on the heat in your apartment instead of turning on the oven and hoping it will heat the place (that’s another blog post). but my feet warmer of choice has always been the trusty ‘hottie’.  maybe it’s a new zealand thing.

when we were kids we only had one hot water bottle in the house. i don’t know why. i mean it’s not exactly a luxury item, but, oh yeah wait – that’s right, meet my parents: frugaldore and frugaldee. so my dear mother would instead fill empty plastic bottles (like 2 liter coke and 7Up bottles) with hot tap water, and then wrap them in sweaters and lo and behold: homemade hot water bottles were created.

albeit frugal, and ‘upcycled’, there were several problems with this solution. sometimes the water was too hot for the plastic causing the plastic to morph and twist and then the bottle cap wouldn’t fit on. the other problem was that if the cap wasn’t put on tightly, the water would leak out and you’d wake up in the middle of the night wet feet. wet feet in bed is worse than cold feet in bed. and finally, in the mornings the once-warm bottle was now cold. there is nothing much less appealing than waking up with a cold bottle of water pressed against your back.

you’d think that with all the cons outweighing the pros, i would have learned a lesson. you’d think that i would head to the store and buy a $5 hot water bottle and we’d all live happily ever after. but no. i am my parent’s child after all. so for the past 4 months of LA’s winter (and yes, i know LA winter is an oxymoron but keep in mind we live in an apartment that we heat by turning on the OVEN) i have been filling up plastic bottles (1 gallon new zealand artesian water bottles from trader joes to be specific) with hot water and using them as hot.water.bottles.

for our anniversary dev surprised me with a hot water bottle cozy from the fromtofrom etsy store. not only is the cover made of fleece and shaped like a creature, it also includes a pocket with a little heart in it. OH and real hot water bottle inside! we’ve named him ‘mottle’.

this is what happens kids. when you get old and married and weird. you get excited about hot water bottle cozies. so excited in fact, that you NAME them. oh geez.

Apr 11

traipsing & traversing.

so there is a part of me that would love to sit down and write up an elaborate recap of our wild adventures up north, but then there is the exhausted-haven’t-unpacked-yet part of me that is like ergh. screw it. i need sleep.

so these photos and incoherent captions will have to suffice.

first stop was sisters, oregon. and yes, you guessed it – these are plastic ponies. shabs gave them to dev because he once told her he wanted a pony. (as you do.) and of course, she found a way to get him not one, but two of them. i am enamored with these little foals so they have quickly become my go-to photography subject matter. here they are in their ‘natural’ habitat, which is a lot prettier than the time we stuck them into a stale berry muffin that had been sitting in our car for 2 days and then tried to balance them on dev’s head.

this is c-gu and d-gu in a field. they both patiently put up with my field photography antics. which first involved finding an adequate field. cort drove all over the town of sisters, through forests and winding roads leading to the middle of nowhere, while i snubbed my nose at all the flora and fauna insisting that i had seen a field someplace, and now desperately needed to find it. i assured them it was a very special field. and i described in great detail how the flaxen gold grass was thigh high and how it would bend and sway in the wind.

suffice to say, we found said field. and the grass wasn’t quite as high as i had remembered it. in fact it barely reached our ankles so the part about the bending and swaying in the wind was a lie. but it was still wonderful.

also wonderful was getting to spend time with c-gu and her family. the main reason for our visit to sisters was attending cort’s papa’s memorial and as dev and i sat in the auditorium listening to the stories of the countless people whose lives troy gusick had changed for the better, tears spilled down our cheeks and we both felt incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to learn more about this amazing, huge-hearted giant of a man.

our next stop was portland, oregon. based off a friend’s recommendation, we stayed at the mc menamins kennedy school which is a historic school converted into a unique hotel. the rooms even contain chalkboards where you can leave little messages to each other, or the person that cleans your room i guess. how charming is that?

the hotel has a large in-house movie theater complete with cozy couches, and a heated outdoor salt water soaking pool. it was so lovely to spend dusk sitting in the pool as the steam rose up and the rain drizzled down around us.

after a couple of days of adventuring in portland (which reminds me, dear people who left comments, all your recommendations were SO great!), we were then supposed to turn around and start heading back to LA, but we realized that seattle was only a measly 4 hour drive away and also home to one of our dearest friends – elizabeth. so plans were rearranged. calls were made, and the next thing we knew, we were driving north to seattle.

this is a photo of elizabeth (of evbeff notoriety). she’s beautiful. smart. and belly-laughs-guaranteed-hilarious. i already miss her.

elizabeth and devon have known each other since they were little kids, which means that if there’s anyone on the planet that understands the man i’ve married (besides his immediate family), it’s her. i don’t need to explain any of his idiosyncrasies. she has a knowing look that assures me that she gets it. completely. in the heyday of high school they even attended two proms together and dev loves reminding elizabeth about the time she left him in the bathroom throwing up while she danced the night away.

feeling empowered by our never-ending roadtrip shenanigans, all responsible adult behavior was discarded. instead of just settling for delicious seattle-really-does-do-it-best-coffee we also gorged ourselves on pastries loaded with sugar. and then we convinced elizabeth to call in sick to work the next day. which was awesome for a multitude of reasons, one being that in the morning she was ready at the helm with a blowdryer to try and tame devon’s locks.

we had the most amazing breakfast, conducted conference calls for SoulPancake from our ‘mobile’ office, exerted a lot of energy making friends out of strangers, and meandered around the public market oohing and ahhing at all the fresh produce and seafood. and then i tried to take the perfect picture of elizabeth & dev on a fantastic red seat in front of a green wall, but someone (who shall remain nameless because i don’t know the crazy lady’s name) had other plans for my photoshoot.

at some point during the day i told elizabeth i wanted an alleyway to take photos of. and boy, did she deliver. she lead us to a city alleyway where the walls are COVERED in bubble gum. it was actually really amazing. although, a bit disturbing. especially when you got close and could actually smell the gum.

after stretching out our getaway for as long as possible, we had to return south. on the way home we stopped in san francisco for a night and managed to squeeze in a delightful art show by hooper dunbar and a quick coffee at the flora grub gardens which i’d heard about from the lovely kimia.

whew. i’m now officially exhausted. and glad to be home in sunny LA, although if we’d had our passports with us, chances are high we’d be in canada right now.

Apr 11
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darren rigo’s displacement series of photos is inspiring. right? except the part of me that is my mother is concerned about the environmental impact and whether he picks up the balloon/string remnants after his photoshoots. and i’m going to pretend that he does in fact clean up the mess. because if he didn’t he’d be  irresponsible and i’m not championing that on this here blog. no sir.

so i think that’s all i can muster tonight. it’s 2:11 am. i’m sitting on evbeff’s couch. yes! the same evbeff that i outed for having an amazing blog. she’s been making fun of dev’s hat and we’ve been discussing why she should call in sick to work tomorrow. sleeping in and having a giant breakfast together being two great reasons.

what else? well, seattle is rainy and freezing. but the coffee is spectacular. so basically every cliche you’ve ever heard about seattle is true. tomorrow i’ll take photos. and we’ll find dev a new hat. it will be a great day.

Apr 11
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johan rosenmunthe takes images of people he knows, pixellates them and places them in various settings, creating these unusual and quite fascinating photographs. why? well – i’m not quite sure. i read some interviews and what i took away was that it’s an exploration/deliberation on how we live in an overly-digitized world. and how we are neither here nor there. something about the unreliability of our physicality?! i might be making stuff up now. but the thesis is something along these lines. here’s an extract from rosenmunthe’s statement about the project:

In ’Off’ the persons are only visible through a digital representation, while the surroundings are as analog as possible. These pixelated persons are isolated from the rest of the world and often find themselves in foggy, strange milieus.


in other news, know i’m a bit of nerd, but i think these pixel oven mitts are pretty great:

Apr 11

my blog-shelf.

a lot of the blogs i check routinely these days are just collections of images mostly – photos, pretty pictures, style inspirations etc. it seems everyone has some cyber-real estate to post the stuff they like. and i’m all for it. the more the merrier. however, when i first started reading blogs back in 2002, i was doing exactly that: reading. people who were blogging back in those days of yore were expressing themselves with actual words. sure there was the occasional photo to go along with the post, but the majority of the post was writing. good writing. and i’m still a big fan of this particular approach. sure, i love style boards and seeing what some stranger wore as much as the next tumblr-ite, but i also want to celebrate the bloggers who are carving out a space to write, share stories, and describe experiences. so, if you’re anything like me and craving some blogs to read, i’m going to recommend that you visit these four blogs today (i’d also love to get your recommendations to add to my blog-shelf):

1. the submerged submersible

this is my friend Q’s blog. he writes without many filters and so and at any moment you might be endeared, outraged, surprised or smitten by something you read on his blog. Q has this uncanny ability to describe feelings that most of the time i (we all perhaps?) walk around not knowing how to give voice to. i’ve been a fan of his writing since we were teenage penpals and i’m still hooked on the way he masterfully paints with words.

2. evbeff

this blog is written by one of dev’s oldest and dearest friends, elizabeth, who, i met at thanksgiving in 2007 and instantly adored. it’s actually pretty hard not to fall in love with elizabeth. not only is she beautiful and charismatic, she is also a sublime accent imitator and 100 percent hilarious. which makes her one of the world’s best ever story tellers and the kind of person that you hope you get to sit next to at social gatherings. if you haven’t yet been regaled by an in-person elizabeth story, then i’m sorry, but you haven’t really lived. however, you can start making up for it by reading her blog.

3. que sera sera

i’ve never met sarah brown and anything i do know about her i only know from reading her blog (did someone say STALKER?). but that’s not the point. the point is that i stumbled upon her blog many years ago and she became a fast-favorite of mine. sarah hasn’t been writing lately, but if you ever have a spare oh, 7 hours, just head to her archives, pick a date, and enjoy. one of my favorite posts is when she collates some of the amazing text messages she receives.

4. mimi smartypants

i cannot express how awesome i think the brain behind this blog is. below is just a short extract i just pulled from the blog and if this doesn’t get your blog reading juices going, then mimi may not be for you.

1. Already cranky just because of being on my way to work, and then some guy spilled coffee on me. Yeah, you’re sorry, Coffee Guy. I know you’re sorry. Sorry does not do a damn thing about my COFFEE LEG. (I did not express any of these thoughts, because I am polite. Bitter, dark-roastedly fragrant, damp-thighed [sexy ed. note: oh MY], and annoyed: but polite.)

2. On another day, I was at the gym doing my treadmill thing, and afterwards I cooled down by walking around the track. Two old ladies in sweatsuits passed me, and one nodded in my direction and said, “She’s walking awfully slow.” Excuse me, rude senior citizens, I am right here and I can hear you. I am walking this way because I just ran three miles, and let’s see you try to do that, oh wait you can’t. BITE ME.

3. Of course you can’t say any of that. Old people and apologetic coffee-spillers get away with everything.

oh! i just remembered one more: toothpaste for dinner. it’s not really a ‘reading’ blog, because the words are accompanied with brilliant images. but reading is still involved. so it counts.

here are a few favorites:

Apr 11

fools in fields.

so that could be an apt title for this video. but before you click play and then wonder if i’ve finally lost my mind in the great state of oregon – here’s what you need to know: it was a freezing day but i was determined to find a field for our one-year anniversary photo-shoot. after much gallivanting and ballyhoo, this video was created in about 2 minutes and without any preparation (don’t let the fancy footwork fool you). dev didn’t even realize the video was happening until the shoot was over.

the choreographer (and by that i mean she kept screaming at me: ‘jump around! faster! wave your arms!’) slash mastermind who captured my ridiculous field festivities, is our dear friend cortney gusick. who we fondly refer to as ‘c-gu’ and ‘oobam’. now that cortney’s been a fixture during both our honeymoon and 1st year anniversary i think she has also earned the title ‘sister-wife’.

and yes, i know it looks like i am on drugs, or that i should be on drugs, but i promise there were no drugs involved. unless you count fresh oregonian air and love as drugs. and if you do, then i was oh.so.high.

Apr 11

one wonderful year.

// april

// may

// june

// july

// august

// september

// october

// november

// december

// january

// february

// march


over the course of the year i’ve been greeted with the most amazing coffee cup love notes. i’ve started documenting them – mostly for our future children. warning: if you are cynical, bitter, cold-hearted and/or anti-love, clicking on this link may cause severe eye-rollage. your eyes might actually fall out of your head, and roll under your bed and then you will not be able to see. consider yourselves warned.

Apr 11
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we’ve arrived at sisters. a.k.a. storybook land.

things i already love about this place. a list:

1. that we were greeted with a sign that said: ‘welcome to sisters. population 1706′. i mean, what happens each time there is a birth in this town? a new sign gets created? that’s a lot of work. or do babies only happen so few and far between that it’s not a concern? what happens if someone leaves?

2. it’s easier to breathe here. as dev and i ate copious amounts of snacks and rolled down our windows to stay awake during the final homestretch of our roadtrip we were taken back by how much more oxygen it feels like there is here. the air is truly sweeter and it feels nourishing. i know this sounds like hippy dippy talk, but believe me. after six months of LA my lungs have obviously been craving some clean air. [oh. sidenote, remind me to tell you about the experience that this med student told me about where a cadaver was cut open in class and all the students took a look at the black lungs and oooed and ahhed and said knowingly:  ‘oh he must have been a life time smoker.’ to which the instructor said ‘no, actually. he didn’t smoke. he just lived in LA his whole life’.] [actually, that’s the whole story so no need for a reminder].

3. cort’s parents house is a giant cozy log cabin that is entirely heated with a log burning fire. enough said.

4. i could go on a long walk and not see a single soul or hear any other noise besides trees rustling and birds chirping. OH THE SERENITY! [an inside joke for anyone who has watched the australian classic movie ‘the castle’]

5. the wide open skies. hello stars in a night sky. i’ve missed you!

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