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// she's only happy in the sun.
Apr 12

monday mish mash.

i must be doing a half decent job expressing my interests/loves/inspirations on my blog because i often get emails from readers with suggestions of other things i might like and 99% of the time they are correct. this link, sent to me by lea (hi lea!), is one of them.

check out these awesome installations in nature by cornelia konrad:

(this would be a very cool wedding ‘threshold’ of sorts)



people that ‘sulk’ when they pose for a photo. you don’t look mysterious, or aloof, or hot. #youjustlookangry.

being required to send a fax.



1. suggest we go for a walk.

2. take me to where wide open expansive skies are.

3. laugh. a lot.

4. dispose of trash. even if it isn’t yours.

5. have a positive attitude. smart people can learn anything. but i don’t think a good attitude can be ‘taught’.

6. harness the power of great storytelling.

7. relish in the simple things. like fresh guacamole.


valentino fialdini has also wooed me with the ‘rooms’ that he created out of legos.


i love my books a bit too much to carve them up, but i have to admit, i really like these creations by thomas allen.


if’ you’ve ever lost a camera, you know how devastating it can be. that’s why this site is such a good idea. you can upload photos you’ve found on a stray camera in hopes that the owner of the camera (or someone who knows that person) sees them.

Apr 12
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broken doesn’t always mean bad.

any mention of a polaroid camera usually makes my heart happy, however this story is exceptional. william miller buys a polaroid SX-70 and to his dismay it doesn’t work right BUT it creates amazing abstract art instead:

see more here.


also, a few readers of my blog have asked if i have an instagram account and i do! you can find me under the username: cozyhunter. be warned however, 9 out of 10 photos lately are of a certain chubby cheeked baby.

Apr 12

letters to phoenix // 4

dear phoenix,

it is the 27th of april, which means that today you are TWO MONTHS OLD!

i usually refrain from using exclamation points but this statement deserves all caps and an exclamation point and perhaps even a flashmob. so i’ll get on that. oh you know, right after i’ve changed out of my uniform of maternity leggings and a t-shirt covered in spit-up stains that has morphed into a wide scoop neck because i just pull it down to feed you. not exactly satorialist approved.

it’s safe to say that you are the cutest two month old baby i have ever laid eyes on. i don’t want to place too much emphasis on your physical attributes every time i write you letters, because it’s temporary and we live in a world that places way too much importance on looks, but baby boy, you’re a stunner. dark flicky hair, indigo blue eyes, cheeks for days, and a certain smirk that some might say you’ve inherited from your mama.

last week i made you pose for your thank you email. (sidenote: i had planned to get beautiful letterpress cards printed, but that plan has gone on a hike along with the plan to attend yoga classes, and the plan to catch up on work emails. in fact, i imagine all these plans are now lounging about enjoying a picnic in the sun and laughing at my naivety.)

anyway, you were such an expert poser that it was hard to pick just one photo, so i went with this triptych approach:

and in response to your thank you email, you now have a stock pile of responses to read from friends and family that already love you so much. no pressure or anything, but your inbox awaits.

all your eating has paid off and you are now TWICE the weight you were when you were born, which means you are 12.5 pounds of cute. this makes you even more squeezable, however the multitasking i used to be able to do when i could nurse you with one arm while iphoning/tea drinking/eyebrow plucking with the other, is no longer possible. so basically i’m forced to focus on you and the cacaphony of sounds you make as you nurse – which are all pretty hilarious actually. there is one particular ‘snorting’ sound that makes your grandma laugh. i imagine it’s the same sound that those pigs that dig for elusive truffles make. and i mean that in the nicest possible way.

and while we’re on the subject of nursing – you now recognize when i have you in the horizontal-you-are-about-to-be-fed position and you get very eager to get started (this is why i just pull my tops down. you have ZERO patience for zippers and buttons and modest disrobing). as soon as you realize what’s about to happen your eyes get wild and you start shaking your head from side to side before lunging at me and clamping on. (this is probably far too detailed for 99% of the readers of this blog, but there you go. i’m also sure our mailman wishes he wasn’t privvy to all the nuances of breastfeeding either but our house just happens to have a lot of windows. sorry!) anyway, your papa calls this move of yours ‘the piranha’ because it really is quite a frenzied attack. we’ve tried to capture it on video, but since we’re not exactly national geographic camera ops, we can’t ever get it. you’re too fast and there’s only so much space between you and i, and once your papa’s giant orb of hair starts encroaching and you add an iPhone to the mix, i hit my limit.

watching your relationship with your papa is probably the most heart expanding thing i’ve ever experienced. he absolutely adores you. the moment he steps through the front door he starts yelling MY BOY, MY JOY! MY BOY, MY JOY! like a siren until he locates you in the house. when he does find you, his skin can’t contain his excitement and even if you are sleeping you will sense his energy in the room, and you’ll wake up. which just excites your papa even more. within moments he has you propped against the couch cushions while he plays you made-up songs on his guitar. and you watch him mesmerized as if you are his number one groupie. and my heart can barely handle the sweetness that surrounds a papa and his son.

last week mamani and i packed up your newborn outfits. i fingered the tiny sleeves and collars and couldn’t believe you were once so small. everything you’ve worn for the past two months fits into a small plastic package that once contained the fitted sheet for our bed (mamani’s resourcefulness means that no packet/container/box is ever thrown away as there is always another way it can be used). the package is now stored in our wardrobe awaiting baby number two or someone else’s newborn, or perhaps a day when i need a good cry because i miss my once-baby.

i aspire to be honest and vulnerable with you in these letters little phix. perhaps for no other reason than to one day remind you that i’m human, and flawed and fragile at times. i’m doing the best that i can but sometimes my best feels nowhere near enough. yesterday, for example you spent the entire day annoyed with the world. nothing soothed your nerves – not baths, or cuddles, or walks outside. we even gave you colic calm drops to no avail. even though you were bleary eyed with fatigue you refused to sleep with every ounce of fight in your body. so when your papa came home you grumbled in his arms as well and so he turned to me and asked why you were crying. his innocent question sliced through the remaining threads of sanity i was holding on to and i fell apart. i went into the bathroom, held my head in my hands and i cried.

i cried because you were uncomfortable and i couldn’t fix you. i cried because i miss my job and i cried because that makes me feel guilty. i cried because it doesn’t seem fair that the baby next door sleeps through the night. i cried because the shower needs to be cleaned. i cried because i haven’t had a decent cup of coffee in a year. and i cried because i realized that there are barely any photographs of the three of us as a family. but most of all, i cried because i was more tired than i have ever experienced in.my.entire.life.

when i finally resurfaced i had just enough strength to crawl into bed and that’s where i stayed while your papa and grandma entertained you and hugged and kissed your blues away. i pulled the covers over my head and tried to fall asleep, which you’d think would be easy when you’re so exhausted that even your eyelashes ache, but no. so instead, i checked my emails and saw a video someone had sent me of a baby having his first bath. and it was so beautiful, so serene and sweet, and i burst into tears all over again. tears of remorse that your first bath was not this experience, tears because the person bathing the baby was SO present and careful and attentive, and i felt like i’d been none of those things that day. tears because you will never be that tiny again, and i only get a certain amount of time with you and i don’t want to fail you in my small window of opportunity.

so that was yesterday. last night you slept for a stretch of six (count ‘em) hours(!) and today is a new day. you’re figuring out how to be a baby and i’m figuring out how to be a mama and ahead of us lies another million chances to get it right.



Apr 12

hidden agendas.

i can’t remember who it was that first mentioned the term ‘hidden agendas’ to me, but it basically refers to people who present one thing, when they actually feel/believe/want something else. it’s a little different to being hypocritical or superficial however, because at the core of it there lies a seedy longing to bring the other person down or to ‘take’ something from them (the ‘agenda’ part). i’m not sure if hidden agendas are a by-product of envy, or anger, or just deep insecurity. but regardless they are insidious and a barrier when it comes to establishing a healthy relationship. like most human interactions, i feel this as a sort of energy. and these days i find myself attuned to this kind of dishonesty more than ever before. i think my sensitivity has something to do with becoming a parent. suddenly i’ve been forced to place a huge amount of value and trust in my intuition, and as i have given myself license to do so, my intuition emits a pretty clear signal over the landscape of my heart/head.

i would say that i’ve spent many of my former days ‘people pleasing’. conflict makes me anxious and i prefer to know that everyone i interact with is happy. and not just happy in general, but moreover, happy with me. knowing that i’ve caused pain/hurt etc. bothers me. the kind of bothering that keeps me up at night. the kind of bothering that i can’t shake off with reasoning or hearing that “it’s their problem. not yours”. and i think it’s important to own that i myself have often operated from an approach that isn’t 100% honest just for the sake of “keeping the peace” and not making waves, and that oh-so-human desire to be liked. and the sad part is that my people pleasing approach didn’t really discriminate, so i smiled and hugged and tried to find common ground with people who i *knew* did not have my best interests at heart.

but then a shift happened. not overnight. but gradually. i started releasing the need to make sure i made everyone happy and as i did so, i started showing up to my relationships from a much more honest place. and yes, i still slip up. but i’m getting more conscious of the times i’m operating behind a facade and i’m actively trying to do better. i’m realizing that i can still love in abundance, and yet i don’t need to cultivate friendships with e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. especially not the people in my life who carry an arsenal of hidden agendas. the hard part for me has always been creating boundaries and sticking to them. but as dev and i create our family culture i find we have no time for energies that dissipate us or leech from our joy, creativity, and general excitement-at-being-alive.

so there’s that.

i want to also mention how thankful i am to have this little patch of cyberspace where i can share the things i’m dealing with. almost every other day, i receive an email from a reader of this little blog and though i don’t have the time to personally respond to every note, the messages do not go unread. i’m so touched to have a circle of friends (and also many strangers) who support and follow my journey – the good, the bad, and the screamy.

Apr 12

our 8 week old smoochling.

when i was pregnant i had an app on my phone that would tell me “your baby is the size of an olive/plum/butternut squash etc.” it seems now my baby is the size of a ukulele. awesome.

Apr 12
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things that make me feel a certain sudden sadness. a list:

+ lost pet flyers. especially lost pet flyers in children’s handwriting.
+ bookstores closing.
+ fake flowers. fake plants. fake anythings.
+ the wetness of tear remnants on my baby’s eyelashes.
+ what was left unsaid.
+ weak hugs.
+ scant tea options.
+ dull company staff rooms where microwave dinners abound.
+ barren refrigerators.
+ deflated balloons.
+ airport goodbyes.
+ fluorescent lights.
+ empty playgrounds.


i’ve always loved lists. and now that my time in front of a screen is somewhat limited i think i will be writing more of them. one of the BEST list writers i know is Quddus. here and here are two of his. and here are a two others i liked:


– chess grandmasters
– the Justices of the High Court of Australia
– spiders (freaking creepy)
– Bertrand Russel
– child geniuses, people who get perfect 1600s on the SATs, that kinda thing


(1) these shoes are uncomfortable as all hell but i look sexy as all hell in them (and taller too)
(2) leave me alone, i wanna stay in bed a bit longer
(3) grass stains are the most annoying to get out. (actually, cherries too)
(4) i like well made beds. they make sleep so… formal. like an invitation.
(5) i’m lonely. consequently, i think i’ll stream internet videos of other people having sex and hopefully just fall asleep quicker
(6) dude, i’ll call you back, i’m just watching the news
(7) sushi beats pizza.
(8) i have nobody i can talk to about this. this is my problem.
(9) maybe i should just get it terminated. it’s nothing, then life will go on. again. ish.

Apr 12

ready. steady.

it’s not safe (because it can blind other drivers) but i still think this is an awesome helmet:

(thanks courtney craig for knowing me oh so well).

this toothpick holder is super kitschy but also kind of fantastic.


i feel like there is an invisible string tied directly between phix’s bottom lip and my heart, so when his lip quivers in sadness all i want to do is find a way to make it better. the responsibility of ‘making it all better’ weighs on me. sometimes it feels like a warm coat on a cold day. heavy and reassuring and ever-present. and other times i’m suffocated by the sheer bulk of it. i want to cast it aside and revel in a summer haze where i am only responsible for myself. like every other aspect of parenthood i am caught between wanting and un-wanting. i know that’s not a real word, but i don’t always have the real words these days.

i find myself thinking that i can’t wait until he’s older. and then the next moment i’m folding up his newborn outfits with tears in my eyes because he is growing far too quickly. even when he’s sleeping i’m divided. i’m so glad he’s finally asleep. i have my arms free. i can catch up on work. i can make our bed. but then i stare at his serene little face and i miss him so desperately that i want him to wake up just so i can hug him.



whoever thinks babies are boring has not met our phoenix hugh. he is passionate. attentive. wide-eyed and observant. he relishes warm water trickling on his back and he likes his feet to be held while he naps. when he graces you with his smile it feels like double-rainbows just exploded all over the room. his cries are loud. he knows what he wants. while his papa plays the guitar he listens and watches him with an intense gaze of concentration – dev’s captive audience of one. he mimics mamani’s facial expressions and his fussiness is appeased when she takes him outside to ‘see the birds’. he eats every meal as if it is his last. voraciously gulping faster than his little body can take it in and when he’s done and his head is too heavy for him to hold up, we laugh at his milk-drunk stupor.


we hosted an open house for the launch of our official soulpancake office last weekend. we served up custom made pancakes on the skillet and invited a lot of folks who are friends of SP. rainn gave a little welcome speech and a bunch of thank yous to people who have been a huge help in getting SP to where it is today.

it was a really fantastic event and we are all so excited to finally have a place to work out of that isn’t a car/coffeeshop/our bed. you can see some photos from the brunch here. as you’ll see we have most of the furniture installed and we are now putting the finishing touches on the decor and personalizing the space a bit more. i think it’s pretty awesome that all the art elements you see in the photos we created ourselves. i really love this piece that one of our web designers and dev built out of hot pink and white string at 4am the night before the event:

we also gave out copies of soulpancake’s 2012 reel and my mum sewed ‘cases’ for the dvds out of an old dictionary i had:

i’m now getting to the juncture where i need to figure out how i plan to divide my time between mamahood and my role with soulpancake. it has come as somewhat of a surprise to me that i really miss my work. in my absence, dev and shabs have forged on with all the demands of our rapidly-growing company, and although it has been wonderful having this time to focus on phix, there are some pretty insane opportunities on the horizon for soulpancake and i can’t imagine not being involved in them. i read most of the work emails that flurry into my inbox and try to sit in on conference calls, but it’s not quite the same. i guess it boils down to the fact that i want one foot in each world, and i’m not sure if that’s realistic.


future album art?


Apr 12

because everyone deserves to feel validated.

i’m sure you’ve seen this video doing the social media rounds. it was posted on my facebook wall by the lovely calla and not only is the story super heartwarming, but i also really appreciate the filmmaker’s visual style. there is SUCH an art to good storytelling in film…and i am instantly won over when cinematographers compose their shots carefully in order to make each scene look like a beautiful photograph.

watching this little film, i see a ‘caine’ in all of us who are diligently doing our ‘work’ (whatever that looks like), striving for excellence and offering our creations to the world with wide-eyed optimism. i love that this young child persevered and followed through with his passion project even without any customers, and how much care and thought he put into his inventions. i am inspired by his unbridled imagination and his dedication. and i was also struck by the beautiful simplicity of the message at its core. basically one person decided to unabashedly validate another person. and i think that’s why our hearts are touched. it is truly as simple as that.

and i find it a bit sad that it takes videos like this for us to be reminded of what is actually important…but i’m not sure that championing and upholding another person’s worth isn’t always top of our ‘to do’ lists. i feel like we are conditioned to place emphasis on ourselves and told to ‘stand out from the crowd’ by championing and upholding what we do and what we’ve accomplished. and while i think having a healthy sense of self worth is absolutely essential, i think that the pendulum has swung a little too far in that direction when we forget to applaud and lift up and serve those around us.

on a daily basis i watch as my mother selflessly takes care of every.single.household task so that i can focus entirely on phoenix, and there is no better example to me of how to give tirelessly without a single trace of self. she serves the people around her so joyfully, so innocently, so readily, without need for reward or praise or even acknowledgement. she is, for sure, one of my living heroes.

in the past few months i’ve found myself magnetized even more strongly towards projects and people who have that outward orientation, who walk the talk with their desire to better the world in both big and small ways. i want to be part of a culture that is supportive and engenders growth and since i believe we create our realities, i have found myself aligning with people that offer themselves without calculating give and take. and perhaps because i’m now a mama with even less time to dispense, i have started to gently release from my life, people who are wholly self-involved and have ulterior motives or false facades. instead i ask to be met with honesty, with heart, and without agenda. the people-pleaser in me is going to take a backseat, and my boundaries are going to be more resolved so that my energies can instead go into doing my part to validate all the ‘caine’s’ i encounter on a daily basis.

Apr 12

letters to phoenix // 3

dear phoenix,

lately both you and i have been wearing some pretty awkward-looking ensembles. it seems that overnight you grew out of all of your newborn outfits, however you are not yet filling out your 0-3 month old threads either. and i’m sort of in the same boat. i’ve shed most of my pregnancy weight but i’m not back to my pre-you body. so we both live in this limbo land between sizes, and while you look adorable no matter what you’re wearing, i look like i need a stern talking to, because leggings are NOT pants, and furthermore, maternity leggings are NOT really leggings meant for non-pregnant people.

and since we’re on the topic of clothes, it was only a matter of time before you rocked a yellow headband. i’m surprised it wasn’t already programmed in your DNA to come out of the womb with one, but here you are with your proud papa styling not one, but TWO different yellow headbands that you received as gifts. #andsoitbegins

you are definitely an active little creature and one of your superhuman skills is your ability to escape out of even the most sophisticated swaddle. i wasn’t really familiar with swaddles/swaddling before you came along, but one of the first pieces of advice you get as a new parent is to wrap your baby up tightly – like a burrito. supposedly this reminds you of how you felt in the womb, and that is supposed to be comforting. the nurses at the hospital were masters in the art of swaddling and dev and i would watch in awe as they wrapped up your tiny body in a matter of seconds, even tucking in the extraneous fabric like you were a neat parcel ready for the mailing. so we followed suit, watched instructional videos and took swaddling seriously. however, what we didn’t anticipate were your incredible de-swaddling skills. to this day, no matter how tightly you’re wrapped, and how architecturally sound the swaddle is, you will figure out a way to escape from it. you insist that your arms be up by your head in a superman pose, and so within minutes, they are back up and waving around. which would be all well and good if they didn’t do such a splendid job at keeping.you.awake. and let me tell you phix, along with eating, and music time with papa, being awake seems to be your most favorite thing in the world.

after a few weeks of your houdini antics, i decided to go to the internet for help. (sidenote: the internet is simultaneously a new parents best friend and worst enemy. there are the wonderful aspects like when i read through a thread where other mama’s discuss an aspect of parenting that i’m being tested with, and i am so relieved to know i am not alone. and then there are the terrible aspects, when i look up some innocuous information, like whether babies can drink water, and next thing you know i’ve headed down a dark spiral of scary that almost always ends in “your baby might die”. i forgive the internet for its pitfalls however due to the legion of addictive apps on my iPhone (currently topping the charts is ‘draw something’) which help me stay awake while feeding you at 1 in the morning. and 3. and 5. and did i mention that you really like being awake?)

where was i? oh yes, the perils and pros of the interwebs informed me about a swaddle that uses velcro as a fastener. a few moments later i had ordered one and was excitedly anticipating the night that i would place you inside this cozy (let’s be honest here) straightjacket, and have you unable to wrangle your body out of it. but the internet was WRONG. you quickly figured out just the right technique of shuffling and wriggling and within minutes, you have unleashed your arms which you then wave about as if to say “take that stupid swaddle. i see your velcro. and i raise you two arms. and a WIDE AWAKE BABY!”

the other night your papa and i decided to go on a date to celebrate our 2 year wedding anniversary. it was the first time i’ve left you for a substantial period of time, but we armed your mamani with a bottle of breast-milk and while you slept we slipped out of the house. my initial emotion was exhilaration. i was free! it was just like the old days! but as soon as we started pulling out of our driveway i turned to your father and said quietly “i miss phoenix” and he gently applied the breaks and replied “yeah…me too”. we decided to forge ahead with our date but we spent the entire time talking about you. how adorable you are. how much you’ve grown. how excited we are for our future as a family. we stared at your pictures on our phones. we looked anxiously at the clock and wondered if you’d woken up. and when we finally couldn’t take it anymore we raced back to you. and when we saw you it felt like every special occasion all rolled into one. we snuggled with you on our bed and traced the outlines of your face and decided that being with you > everything else.

yesterday i went into our room just as you were waking from your nap. when your eyes found mine you looked up at me excitedly as if you’d been waiting for me your entire life. i want you to know that every time i see you i feel exactly the same way.


Apr 12
Apr 12

embracing now.ness.

hello. yes, i’m still here. and although i would really like to blog more often my hands are a little preoccupied with a certain cuddly baby boy who smells better than oprah. and i know this because 1. i got to smell (and hug) oprah a few months ago, and 2. she smells amazing, but 3. baby phoenix scent still wins.

even when i do get a moment of time to myself there is so much i need to do. i mean, these persian/armenian eyebrows are not going to pluck themselves, and so my blog sits forlorn and unattended. which reminds me, HOW DO SINGLE PARENTS DO IT? they are my heroes. seriously. the whole ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ is not just a nice idea, it’s oh so very true.  i need a village worth of people just to take turns swaying and shushing my child to sleep. which brings me to another point – the only people i can tolerate ‘hanging out’ with right now are those that do not treat our baby like some new piece of living room furniture, but rather, roll up their sleeves and ask how they can help. couch-sitters who want to discuss their failed work romances need not apply.


we are throwing a party for soulpancake. a pancake party. obviously. we are celebrating our lovely new office AND some hugely exciting prospects on the horizon. i can’t yet discuss the details, but chances are high that there will be a lot more soulpancakey goodness on a tv screen near you. i am excited. you know, as excited as you can be when you’re also entirely exhausted.


a few people have asked how we decided on the name phoenix hugh. well, besides how awesome it is that phoenix means a sacred, mythical fire bird, i think the other ‘deciding’ factor was this passage from the baha’i writings that dev and i fell in love with:

O Son of Spirit! Burst thy cage asunder, and even as the phoenix of love soar into the firmament of holiness. Renounce thyself and, filled with the spirit of mercy, abide in the realm of celestial sanctity.

his middle name, hugh, was devon’s grandfather’s name, and also dev’s middle name. and we felt it was a nice balance to phoenix.

when we first starting considering the name ‘phoenix’ i used to write it with my finger in the steam on the shower door. i would try various handwriting styles and consider how hard it would be to teach him how to spell it. for about two seconds i even considered ‘finix’. but that seemed a little too out there, even for a woman named golriz.

i think about all the times i traced phoenix’s name as i hold him in the shower. ‘tub time’ together is part our new routine. my mum brings him to me after i’ve gotten the water temperature just right and as the warm water trickles over his back he closes his eyes blissfully and relaxes his little body into my arms. and now i have a whole new definition for contentment.


dev’s favorite new saying in relation to phoenix is: ‘my boy, my joy!’ which is he prone to yell out excitedly whenever he sees his child. even at 3 am. even if we have guests sleeping in the next room. even if i’m desperately trying to put phoenix back to sleep with soothing hushed tones. you really need to hear it in person to get the full effect, but there is something about this phrase that is, in equal parts, endearing and annoying. luckily, the friends who have stayed with us the past few weeks and been been startled awake with dev’s middle-of-the-night MY BOY! MY JOY! anthem all see the humor in it. or they pretend to. and that’s what friends are for. :)


on a daily basis i fall into these beautiful eyes.

Apr 12


one of my favorite soulpancake episodes aired recently. i feel pretty confident that you could never guess how many balls it took to fill the pit.

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