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

letter to our little one // part 5

dear ‘nori’,

tomorrow you will be 28 weeks old. which means you will be born in approximately 12 weeks, or 84 days (!).  at any moment your impending arrival either stretches out like an e t e r n i t y before us, or feels as if it’s all happening so fast which causes me to panic because we don’t yet have a carseat! and i still have parenting books i need to read! and we need a name other than ‘nori’! so between that pendulum of “we cannot wait to meet you” and “omigoodness are we actually ready for this?!” your papa and i swing. daily. hourly. moment by moment.

sometimes i’ll just be walking past our bedroom and catch a glimpse of your little egg-shaped crib and it will literally take.my.breath.away. i can’t believe that you will be here so soon, and i wonder how on earth we, your already proud parents, will actually function. because i have this feeling that all we will want to do is curl up next to you, admiring every aspect of you, from eyelashes to tiny fingertips, while we try to learn who you are. and you will be so small and so screamy and we will feel helpless one hundred times over as we wonder what we got ourselves into.

last night we went to our first parenting class but because we joined the classes late and are playing catch-up, we were thrown into the 8th class of the 10 week series which (unbeknownst to us) was all about breastfeeding. it was pretty amazing to walk in thinking we were going to start nice and slow and instead be presented with a small pillow in the shape of a breast complete with nipple detail. and let’s just say it was a very informative two and a half hours!

first of all, i had no idea that you would be born with a marble sized stomach. i guess i imagined that after 9 months of being fed via some tube connected to your belly, you’d be all excited for your first real meal, but according to the instructor of the class, you probably won’t be super hungry when you first arrive on the scene. in fact, your only real job on your first day is to poop. and for this reason i now feel this pressure for you to be the champion of pooping on your first day. like there is serious intention on my part to make sure this happens. we also learned about latching, and the benefits of breast milk (it can be kept on the counter for around 4 hours without being refrigerated because of the antibodies it naturally has. who knew?). and then the instructor demonstrated ‘nutritive’ sucking versus ‘pacifying’ sucking, and i’m just going to come out and say that even though i’m well past my teenage years, i had this ridiculous desire to uncontrollably laugh as i watched a grown woman pretend to suckle on a breast. no one else in the class was amused at all, in fact they were all listening intently and being extremely mature, and there i was trying not to make eye contact with your papa because i knew we would lose it. #weareembarrasing #getusedtoit

at least 7 times during the class your papa turned to me wide-eyed and mouthed the words: ‘we are having a baby!’. it was like it was just now sinking in for him, in this room filled with other soon-to-be-parents, with snacks of grapes and trail-mix on the table, and a well-intentioned woman holding a fake baby to a fake boob that we locked eyes and realized yes, this, is happening.

oh and i should mention that because my emotions are all askew i nearly started to cry in the middle of class. why? because i started thinking about of all the mothers out there who don’t have supportive partners with them during this time. i imagined coming to this class alone, having no one to giggle with while the instructor demonstrated breasts shooting out jets of milk and i felt so forlorn for those who have to do all this alone. [sidenote : this also reminds me that i want to thank the amazing people who read my blog and send me words of encouragement and support. all the advice i’ve received has been offered with such humility and i’ve really appreciated it all. dev and i have been researching birthing options and having you guys share your experiences with me has meant a lot. so thank you!]

anyway, sweet nori, as you will note in the picture below you are now very prominent and i am getting used to your ‘bump’ belonging to the collective. you are constantly getting admired and rubbed by friends and strangers alike. as soon as someone asks about you your papa pulls out his phone to show off your latest ultrasound photo. the adorable thing is that this photo is a bit like those ‘magic eye’ pictures, where you can’t immediately ‘see’ the image. so often people will respond with an uncertain ‘aha..’ which i know means they have NO idea what they are looking at. and then your papa will point out your little hands, and your feet, and your adorable face. and when the poor person is finally coerced into seeing you it’s pretty exciting because they act like they’ve unlocked some code and are now part of the club “OH WOW there is HIS FACE! and his HANDS! and HE IS SMILING!” and at this point i’m usually trying to keep my shirt down while your papa is trying to lift it up so they can have even closer contact with you.

i’ve been told that the love a parent feels for their child is unlike any other kind of love we can experience on this planet, and i’ve certainly experienced an abundance of love in my life. i love my family and your papa’s amazing family too. i love my incredible friends. and on another level i love landscapes. and melodies. and rainfall. and excellent creme brulee. i love subtle moments when eyes meet in a shared wordless understanding. and i love wide open skies. i love creativity. and imagination. and dusk. and new zealand’s cold rivers. i love laughter and hot steaming showers and luxurious hotel suites. i love giant cuddly dogs, and trees with swings, and artists and adventurers. i especially love people’s stories. and i love my heroes – some of whom, i may not get to meet. but even as you, little nori, flail about in your womb world, i feel this overwhelming sense of love for you that springs from my deepest core and this love is so sweet and so honest, so pure and void of ego, that it colors everything i do, see, feel, and experience. you’ve basically opened up to me a channel of selfless love that is so precious and entirely intoxicating, and for that, my little one, i will always be grateful to you.





when dev and i first found out that i was pregnant we decided that while i was in the somewhat fragile early stages, we’d keep the news pretty quiet. which was incredibly hard for both of us to do. one day dev suggested i start writing letters to ‘nori’ (his codename for our baby) so that i could at least have some kind of outlet for my hard-to-contain-excitement. part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.

Nov 11
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i am not a big fan of overhead lighting. in an ideal world every home would just be filled with windows, sky lights and lamps. if you have to use a lightbulb then i’m partial to the old school ones where you can see the filament through the glass. word on the street is that these are going out of production because they are not energy efficient. which makes me want to stock pile a whole bunch of them, because i cannot stand the new energy efficient ultra bright lights. i know that’s not very green of me, but i’d honestly rather sit in the dark.

this art installation takes lighting to a whole new level. the artist, bruce munro, created an entire field of lights and it’s spectacularly beautiful. when i see things like this i’m so inspired for what we could do in future soulpancake episodes. and then reality sets in, and i’m guessing that 5000 bulbs are not cheap. but regardless, it’s pretty awesome.


Nov 11
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we are currently trying to decide where to go for a babymoon. a babymoon is a trip you take with your partner before you have your first baby. it’s also a nice way of saying ‘this is the last time you two can be wild reckless fools because soon you need to grow up and raise a CHILD’.

if this is a foreign term for you, don’t worry. i had no idea what it meant until a few months ago. the thing is when you enter the world of new-parenthood, there is a whole new lexicon that opens up to you and you are forced to learn things that you previously could not have cared any less about. like the fact that a good stroller has wheels you can pump with air which makes it easier to use in a grassy park. WHO KNEW? and WHO CARES? new parents that’s who.

so first we thought we’d go to one of our favorite cities, new york, where we would walk arm in arm and eat at overpriced hole-in-the-wall eateries in soho and frolic in the fall leaves and watch snow fall through windowpanes while we sip on hot (de-caf) lattes. and then we reconciled the fact that NYC right now is really cold. and we are now feeble californians, who are ill-equipped for freezing climes. i don’t think i have one ‘real’ jacket in my wardrobe and no matter how many pairs of leggings i ‘layer’ over each other, they don’t quite do the job of real pants.

so then we considered warmer climates. like mexico. or french polynesia. or costa rica. but then we heard a true story about a friend who went to costa rica and got infested with a spider that laid eggs under her skin and that was enough to put us off that idea while i’m with child. SPIDERS UNDER HER SKIN PEOPLE! plus any of these trips require at least a week, and we don’t have that much time before we need to get started on the next round of SP episodes.

so now we’re thinking we will stay in the state and just make a long weekender trip to the redwoods up north where we will stay in a cozy log cabin with a fire and eat a lot of sourdough bread and cheese. this idea appeals on many levels but the main advantage is that we will be sans internets. which means we will be FORCED into not working and spending quality time with each other which let’s face it, will be a luxury when baby gundry hits the scene. i’m also really pumped to hug a red wood. it’s been a while and i need to fill my lungs with some clean forrest air.


in other news, ash passed on this link to a product line that is full of cozy goodness.

i love this blanket modelled off eagle wings and of course i love the baby seal suit.

Nov 11


if i block out the fact that it took me about 7 hours to get lego people to ‘walk naturally’, this is one of my favorite SoulPancake episodes so far.

Nov 11

coffee snobbery & friend makery.

it was pretty weird/surreal to be checking out dailycandy deals last night only see me and dev buying coffee from our new local favorite – proof bakery. i posted the screenshot on facebook and in response a friend sent me this hilarious video shot at the same coffee shop.

although it’s over-the-top, this video is actually really on-point. there are certain people, especially in our area of LA, who take their coffee drinking/making VERY seriously. and although i too love a good espresso, i’m always a bit bemused by the amount of force and conviction and pure snobbery that people adorn themselves with when talking about, let’s face it, a drink. (albeit an addictive, delicious drink).

when i first told people we were moving to LA i was warned countless times about the superficiality of the city’s inhabitants, and how ‘fake’ everything was, and how no one wants to actually be your friend, they just want to use you for leverage. and although i’m sure this city has its share of all of that, i realized that wherever you go in this world you can be 1. selective in who you give your time/energy to, and 2. you can choose to look for the good and disregard the bad.

i was a bit hurt the other day when someone told me point blank to my face that they would NEVER have kids in LA. and there i am, 6 months along, obviously having a child here in this city. and then i had to step back and think about my own prejudices and assumptions about certain places and i felt sorry for this person. sorry that they haven’t yet found their ‘tribe’, sorry that they couldn’t see all the gifts this city offers, and sorry they were so disappointed with their current home. i think the it all boils down to  this fantastic quote i read somewhere that is so simple, but so true: “be the kind of  person you would want to meet”. i think that if we all try to be that person, then we will effortlessly come into contact with people who we connect with and who bring us joy – and at that intersection, true friendships are born. regardless of what city or village we’re in.

Nov 11

on doing what you love.

once upon a time a wise woman cornered me (even though we were on the phone) and asked me if i loved what i was doing. and i answered with a bit of hesitance “sure”. and she asked me again. and i defensively said “well, i’m really good at it, and it pays the bills, and i get to travel”. and then she asked again, “but do you love it?”

and by now i was a bit annoyed because at the time i thought it was a decent job. i mean, sure, i wasn’t springing-out-of-bed-to-my-alarm-clock in love with it. but it was a means to an end and it had its benefits.

and then she said something that i don’t think a lot of us get reinforced, “golriz. you deserve to have a job you really love. in fact, you should only be doing work you love. and if you are not doing what you love, then i suggest you go out and do it”.

her statement hung in the air, and i got off the phone, went back to my little cubicle and decided at that moment to make some changes. i didn’t have a game plan or another opportunity beckoning. i just knew that i had to start moving in a direction that utilized the talents that come naturally to me. i basically started the journey towards discovering the work that brings me joy.

i know that a lot of mystery enshrouds what dev and i do for ‘work’ but basically i, along with a micro team, spend most of our waking hours working on the many arms of SoulPancake. it’s the most fulfilling work i’ve ever done and the truth is, i do love it. for the first time in my life, i feel like i’m doing exactly what i was created to do. this doesn’t mean it’s a daily picnic, but it’s all worth it. the long hours, the ‘instability’, the risks…it’s all so damn worth it.

and now, seeing our work come to life in a tangible way through these minisodes on the Oprah network, is exhilarating and simultaneously exhausting because we know how far we still want to go and how much work it’s going to take to get there. it’s hard to watch our episodes and not be super critical and rather to see them as opportunities to learn from our mistakes, but that’s what we are doing. growing and learning and making mistakes and taking risks and getting confirmations that we’re on the right track.

SoulPancake: Air Orchestra

Nov 11
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we’ve been getting settled into our new abode and we are still taken back by how AMAZING it feels to be in this house. what with its gigantic windows and green garden, the lovely neighbors and the sheer amount of space, not to mention not having to deal with a crazy landlord, it’s seriously bliss. i love being here. in fact, we love it so much that even though we’re considering a little escape to an island paradise before baby-nori enters the scene, every conversation ends in “but, it’s so cozy in our house. do we really need to leave?”

below you will spy our dear friend emily price, who not only helped put together this giant shelving unit but did so with devon-i-won’t-read-instructions-but-it-better-turn-out-perfect-gundry. they listened to the new coldplay album on repeat and i hid in another room while dev struggled to reconcile the infinitesimally small scratch in the wood finish, and emily got down on her hands and knees to prove that not even from the baby-eye-angle could the flaw be seen. man, i love my friends.

and then add one ashley ludwin to the mix (who came armed with gourmet s’more fixings) and so naturally we had to re-enact the email our dear evbeff got from anthropologie that was littered with exclamation points about pattern mixing! because it’s the season! didn’t you hear?! where have you been! get your dots and stripes and checkers and faux fur out people! obviously, pattern mixing makes you lose your mind.

and then a bunch of friends came over and filled our pad with their awesome, hilarious energy.

and finally, here we are. the happiest new habitat dwellers with our raging REAL fire.

Nov 11

on what not to youtube.

1. anything involving spiders
2. anything involving wounds, infection, pimples, parasites
3. childbirth

for some reason, i lost all sense and sensibility last night and decided to end my run of watching cute kittens on youtube, by watching a few live births. you know…as you do, at 11pm, when you’ve lost your mind and you’re unchaperoned.

but before we get into that, here is the cutest cat/kitten video ever. if this video doesn’t cause you to audibly ‘aw’, then you need a hug. or several. maybe from this cat.

ok, so live births on youtube. well. let’s just say i now have a greater sense of fear and panic and overall concern about this whole process than i did before. i should have stuck to happily reading ina may’s guide to natural childbirth, but no, i decided to further educate myself. and now i’m rather traumatized. and even though i saw numerous births i still don’t quite understand how this is supposed to happen to me. me, the person who needs to take deep breaths during a DENTAL CLEANING let alone an 8 pound human exiting my body. one of the videos even had a soundtrack of thunder and rain which made the whole thing really ominous and horror movie-esque. why?!

but then i skyped with evbeff and she helped make everything better by showing me videos of cute dogs, and advising me to write a list of all the things i needed to do, including taking birthing classes. so this morning i was in a list writing frenzy. and that made me feel like i had some semblance of control. and then i called birth instructors in our area and all of their classes are SOLD out. little did i know that the bradley birthing method classes are 12 weeks long and since i only have 14 weeks left, i am a little late on the game. and so then i felt overwhelmed again. finally, i found one woman in our area who has been instructing for over 25 years and she was patient and kind and reassuring and told me that somehow she’d fit me into her class – and give me private classes for the ones i’d missed. whew.

now we are on the hunt for the right birthing center / hospital…and dare i say it, we are even considering a home birth with a midwife. i know that when it comes to the birth process people seem to have very firm and resolute ideas about how and where it should happen, and i’m doing my best to filter in all the info and not get guilted out by one camp or another. it’s the same with using pain meds, getting induced and even diapers. when it comes to babies everyone has an opinion and i get the sense that there isn’t really a true right/wrong, it’s basically about trusting your intuition and doing what feels right to you. and right now, what feels right to me is NEVER WATCHING LIVE BIRTHS ON YOUTUBE AGAIN.

and in completely unrelated news, our new habitat needs this couch:

Nov 11
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belly > buttons

i have a whole slew of things i want to post about and yet i can’t seem to find the time to sit uninterrupted for a moment and write.

so in the meantime, here’s the latest baby nori-bump shot, taken by the masterful ryan lashcakes.

Nov 11

letter to our little one // part 4.

dear nori,

today you are the ripe old age of 25 weeks.

when i was 25 years old i still had no idea what i wanted to be when i ‘grew up’. i wonder if you will have better luck figuring out that aspect of life out sooner than i did. at any rate, since your papa keeps talking to you about html (coding) and my idea of a being a rebel is eating an entire packet of sweet-tarts on a road trip, you will probably end up a complete nerd. my apologies in advance.

during these past few weeks we’ve been very busy wrapping up final edits on the the SoulPancake episodes, and in the spare moments we’ve been setting up our new habitat. there are still times when i feel like i’m seeing the world through a new lens. suddenly i’m noticing all the corners and sharp edges and worrying about whether your chubby fingers will get too close to the electrical outlets. i am thinking about how the light filters in through the windows in the mornings and whether you will feel cozy enough in your beautiful (oval!) crib.

in other news, your papa has bought his first drill and mastered the art of ambiguous ikea instructions while i keep re-opening your dresser drawers and inspecting the contents, totally in awe of your tiny wardrobe. thanks to your grandparents and our friends, you will most certainly be one of the best-dressed babies in los angeles. you already have an abundance of plaid overalls, a fine tuxedo t-shirt, and moccasins. so basically, you’re ready for any occasion life may bring.

you’ve started getting very wriggly in the afternoon and evenings. it’s like the minute i slow down, you get excited to show off your agility. you spin and flip and dance around, and i have to have conversations with people and act normal while it feels like there is rogue slinky climbing around my insides.

today you gave us the sweetest gift. we had our routine doctor’s appointment and during the ultrasound you turned and faced the ‘camera’. and then YOU SMILED. we stared at the screen spellbound and in that moment all time stood still and our hearts grew to ten times their normal size.

you have your papa’s nose for sure and, just maybe, my inclination to blatantly pose for the camera ;)



Nov 11
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bits and pieces.

it’s getting cool in LA. not to be confused with cold. but there’s enough crispness in the air to bust out jackets and scarves and drink steaming mugs of warm apple cider and that makes me oh so happy.


i’m excited about the soon-to-arrive flurry of visitors. emily.ryan.ladan. i’m looking at you.


this past weekend was spent in the bay area with some of the best people on the planet. i know i’m biased, but the truth is we have really high caliber friends.


fireplaces are awesome. #facts


i am enamored with the coldplay music video for ‘paradise’. the shot of chris martin cycling down the middle of the highway wearing an elephant suit is magic.


we’ve definitely picked the right new habitat because i can’t WAIT to come home to it after a roadtrip.


here’s the latest soulpancake short:

SoulPancake: Shout Out

Nov 11

halloween in our new habitat.

halloween isn’t really a big deal in new zealand/australia (or at least it wasn’t when i was there), so i’ve always been kind of bemused by all the hype surrounding the occasion. i mean sure, what’s not to love about candy and dressing up in costume. but i guess i had never quite ‘gotten into the spirit’ of it all. which means that if it had been up to me, kids that were trick or treating at our door would have gotten a handful of raw almonds and a stalk of celery. actually, they would be lucky if i didn’t stand in the doorway and lecture them on the evils of sugar and how it depletes immune systems. how’s that for a trick?

BUT enter ashley ludwin who totally saved our neighborhood rep by coming over early armed with two bags of candy and dressed in an outfit that i can only describe as the prettiest mom from the 1950s (complete with high-waisted poodle skirt). she even had cat ears for me to wear. and it was a good thing because all the families from our little street came over one at a time, introduced themselves to us with the disclaimer that they don’t usually look like this, and you know what? i all of a sudden kind of LOVE halloween.

i don’t know if it was seeing the cute kids in their outfits barely making eye contact as they dived into the candy bag or whether it was watching how their parents had dutifully turned themselves into witches, goblins and superheroes, but there was something really endearing about it all. everyone being out and about, laughing and making new friends. it was yet another confirmation that we totally chose the right place to live.

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