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

letters to phoenix // 6.

dear phoenix,

today you are a grand four months old. and your smiles bounce off the walls of my heart.



oh wait. you’re sleeping! i might actually be able to write a real post during this precarious window of 30-45 minutes before you wake up. but all the things that vie for my attention while you nap are vying. the plants need watering. the dishes need doing. the calls need making. the dinner needs defrosting. and as for the fun stuff…don’t get me started. where am i supposed to find the time for the FUN STUFF?! i mean, those documentaries in my netflix queue aren’t going to watch themselves. but here we are. you sleeping and me typing because of this gnawing fear i have in my core that if i don’t record your milestones and moments, i’ll wake up one day and you’ll be a teenager and all of this will feel like remnants of a dream.

so here we go. where to begin?

at four months old you are still a curious, attentive, observant little being. you watch the people around you with interest and fascination and take note of e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. i don’t know if it’s because i wore the same uniform of maternity leggings and tank tops for the past four months, but now that i’m actually wearing a variety of clothing, you feel the need to inspect it all. the patterns of my dresses. my necklace choice. the belt. nothing goes unnoticed by those giant blue eyes of yours.

your dad and i are still regaining our footing. finding our equilibrium as a family of 3. figuring out schedules and strategies and the exact scientific formula that curbs your carseat fits o’ rage. right now, the cocktail of rhianna’s cd, cold air blasting and a friend in the backseat seem to help distract you enough from the torture that is being in a car. but you see little phix, when you do comply, we get to go on mini excursions to seek out colorful walls, and in case you haven’t noticed, your mama LOVES HERSELF SOME COLORFUL WALLS.

last week, my friend ladan visited. she calls you ‘googooly’ and is a big fan of your chunky thighs. it was so lovely having her here – she’s known me for nearly a decade and seen me through some of my highest highs and lowest lows.

she also took this photo which might be one my favorite of the two of us, ever.

in other news, you have discovered your feet. yes, even more appendages to chew on. and i don’t blame you. your toes were made for nibbling on and since you’ve been born i’ve been gobbling you up, so the fact that you are now following suit just means that you are a fast learner. and maybe i can get a bumper sticker for our car that says ‘future honors student’ or something equally braggy and annoying.

i’ll be honest and admit that the past few weeks have been hard. i’m still feeling this incredible pressure (from myself and no one else) to do.it.all. to be there for you and for my partners at work. there are so many moments when i’m distractedly holding you while my head is focussed on my never-ending task list, my fingers typing an email on my phone, and my shoulders heavy because there just doesn’t seem to be enough time.

today as i was leaving for he office, you stared up at me and i saw a look of concern flash across your face. you didn’t cry but you definitely registered that i was about to leave. it’s the first time i’ve ever seen that look and it slayed me. for a split second i thought about dropping everything. my laptop, bag, keys. kicking off my shoes and just holding you. but you were in the safest of hands and i needed to go. and when i returned home a few hours later you gave me one of your 1000 watt smiles and i felt like in your own way you were telling me that it was ok. that you understood that sometimes i have to leave, because in your heart you know i’ll always come back to you.



Jun 12

my parents = the original hipsters

i just found these two photos of me with my parents. my dad’s woolen knits are incredible right?

and just to assert that phix DOES look a tiny bit like me (if you ignore his bright blue eyes and brown hair) i present exhibit A:

Jun 12

show and tell.

i find myself having less and less time to sit and just write. for this blog. or for myself. emails sit in my inbox unresponded to, which drives the OCD vein in me crazy. also, ‘unresponded’ isn’t a word but i can’t think of the word to use that is the right word for this? is there even a word?

so in lieu of lots of words, here are a few snapshots that sum up some of the highlights from the past few days. it’s all good stuff – since i haven’t taken a photo of our broken garden sprinkler, the huge load of laundry that i’m ignoring, and phoenix in his car seat. let me pause for a minute and talk about this last situation because it’s a situation that is giving me some anxiety and i’ve scoured the depths of the internet for answers to no avail (i have, however, learned how to take stains out of microfiber – so the internet redeemed itself once again). the problem is phoenix HATES being in the car. hates in all caps doesn’t give the word the weight it deserves. underline it and circle it in neon highlighter. and then etch it into your arm with a dull blade. yeah, that is how serious his loathing is. as soon as we put him in his car seat he becomes the valedictorian of screaming. if you happened to roll up next to our car at a stop light you might actually think he’s being tortured. he scrunches his eyes tightly, balls his hands into little fists of rage and just yells with full face screamy screams. the only trick we’ve found is dev sitting in the backseat playing songs on his ukulele. this distracts him for trips less than 5 minutes (it also distracts the people in cars passing us). but if the trip is too long, or he is too hot, or the air just happens to be touching him from the wrong direction, then little phix lets out the most heart-wrenching, ear hurting screams that i’ve ever heard. needless to say, if we need to drive anywhere with him there had better be a really.good.reason.


lovely ash is helping us take care of phix while i’m at the office and you know what’s more fun than taking photos of my boy? taking photos of my boy with his fashionista nanny. she has totally inspired me to ditch my maternity leggings.

dev had his first father’s day!

so we recreated a photo of devon’s dad and him when he was a baby. it’s crazy that 30 years have passed between these two photos.

our drooly little boy found his toes. these have usurped his hands in terms of the focus of his intense fascination.

phoenix is now big enough for his high chair and he seems to like sitting at the ‘big kids’ table.

yesterday we woke up to the exciting news that Super Soul Sunday won an emmy! this is really exciting for SoulPancake and we are pumped about our future with the network. :)

Jun 12

the flip side of security camera footage.

my lovely friend kat recently sent me this link to a fantastic ad by coke – a collection of sweet moments caught on security cameras. and before you launch into a mental diatribe about the perils of corporate america (i get it – i wish it wasn’t a coke ad either), i still think the idea itself is fantastic. taking something that people usually associate with negativity and showing the positive side.

Jun 12

because i know mamani must be missing this.

most of our mornings start off a bit like this. a wriggly phix wearing his high-waisted pj’s being entertained by his dad singing him cute songs written just for him.

also, do you know what is better than one dimpled delicious hand? TWO.

Jun 12
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3 happiness-inducing discoveries.

1. a whole site dedicated to tiny houses.

2. this man’s entire purpose is to bring happiness to others. (found via ashtastic)

3. beautiful light installations by bruce munro. these will be inspiration for our next SoulPancake street stunt for sure.

in other news, phix has scored the next best thing to a mamani – our sweet friend ashley has moved back to LA for the summer and is going to be helping us with soulpancake work and looking after phix each day.

she’s an absolute natural with him, and he’s so happy with her.


Jun 12


if you’ve been keeping up with the adventures of our little household, you know that my mum has been staying with us since about three weeks before phix was born. so, for as long as we’ve had a baby, we’ve had a ‘mamani’ in our house.

two hours ago she left to go back home to australia. and i have been a weepy mess ever since. if she was here, she would tell me to stop crying because she’d worry that it would affect my milk supply and that phix would sense my sadness and he’d have a difficult night’s sleep. because this is who my mama is. she is always thinking of others.

while she’s been here i’ve had the chance to observe her closely. after all, i’m learning to be a mama, so it’s like i’ve gotten to ‘job shadow’ someone who is pretty well-versed in this role. and to this day, i am still in awe of the way she interacts with the world, the relationships she fosters with friends with strangers alike, and her uncanny ability to see the beauty in every.little.thing. (i always tease her about how she  smuggles rocks, shells, and plants from country to country. only my mama would see an entire universe in a pebble.)

my mum constantly strives to make other people’s lives a bit brighter. within days of her moving in she had planted flowers in our backyard, along with a little herb garden and tomato plants. she took pancakes over to our lonely neighbor, fixed all of dev’s favorite shirts that had worn thin and made a hammock for phoenix in our backyard. each morning, she would come into our bedroom and whisk phix away on a long walk so he could see “the doggies” just so dev and i could catch up on sleep for another two hours each morning. she made us every meal and quietly took note of all our likes and dislikes (extra brussels sprouts for me, none for dev), did all the dishes in our dishwasher-less house, took care of all the laundry and not one time did she make us feel like ANY of this was a burden. in fact, just the opposite, she makes it so clear that her happiness comes from taking care of those around her. chances are, that if you stepped inside our home in the past three months my mother will have called you darling, and tried to feed you.

here’s just the tiniest example of how my mum operates. every tuesday evening an elderly man walks up and down our street and goes through all the recycling bins looking for bottles. he wears gloves, but obviously it’s a dirty task. i imagine he is collecting these to take them to a recycling station and get the 5c returns on each one. after watching him do this one week, mamani decided she would separate out our bottles from the rest of our recycling so he didn’t have to forage through our bin (she sees such dignity and nobility in every.single.person). not only did she put all the bottles in a separate clean bag, but she waited for the man the following week, went outside to greet him and handed him the bag of bottles she’d collected. as you can imagine, his entire face lit up and he was so thankful. and so, this became their weekly routine…and of course, something that we need to continue.

mamani wove herself effortlessly into the fabric of our everyday-lives. as dev said tonight, “phoenix has never known this world without his mamani” and i’m so, so grateful that we all had this time together.

there are moments when i’m really scared about being a good mama, but i know i have been given the best example first hand.

i love you mum.

Jun 12
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bleary eyed describes me well today. not teary. but a bit blurred. and a bit weary. so altogether bleary.

i want something to blame. like a babyyoutubechanneloprah. but it’s not due to any one thing. there are just a whole bunch of things that all need to happen right now. or yesterday. and i’m finding it difficult to figure out a way to do.it.all. or do even half of it.


i think i’ve mentioned that dev and i took a 10 week ‘bradley method’ labor/baby class to prepare for phoenix’s birth. yesterday we had a class reunion with the parents in our class and their little ones. getting all the babies to all stop fussing and sit (up) on the couch was a little harder than it anticipated. i was laughing so much all my photos turned out blurry. but they are still pretty damn cute.

hey babies, grow some necks. thanks.


i went to my first estate sale. it was fascinating and poignant and a great reminder of what is important. and what is not.

a 79 year old man up the street passed away in december and so his brother was selling all of his possessions. in part, it felt just like a typical yard sale –  a lifetime of memories crammed into boxes labelled ‘dishes’ and ‘books’, splayed out on the front lawn. but because it was an actual estate sale, we were encouraged to walk through the house and go through drawers, shelves and cupboards to find things we might want to buy. dev found an atari console with games, controllers etc. and i picked up two polaroid land cameras, an original pan am tote bag, some bright blue serving spoons, and a mid-century gray enamel dining table with four chairs that need reupholstering.

i had such a sense of out-of-body-ness as i walked around the house. firstly, it feels intrusive. like i was spying on the intimate details of someone’s life. the brand of mouthwash they used, and how they had a whole box of unopened green tea. and for some reason that made me sad. the thought that they’d purchased it to drink, obviously, but never got around to it. but i also felt like i was being faced with my own mortality. i thought about all of my stuff. and how one day it would all belong to someone else. perhaps someone like me, looking through drawers and deciding what they liked and what they didn’t, and getting excited about a collection of analog cameras, and pissed off that you can no longer by film for them. and it got me thinking about the things we save for special occasions, and how each day is actually one of those occasions, because hey! you’re alive. what better day to pull out the earl grey creme tea that emily bought for me from chicago and use my prettiest mug.

we expend so many energies and resources accruing mere ‘stuff’. this experience was a good reminder that what i really want to keep and create are the moments that make for the best memories.


speaking of moments, one minute phoenix was a baby, and suddenly he became a little boy with deep blue eyes that i fall into on a daily basis.


Jun 12
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friday re.cap.

i love the magic that is iphone-meets-instagram [you can find me with the username ‘cozyhunter’], but i desperately want to go back to this magical patch of earth armed with one of my film cameras. IMAGINE the possibilities!


list of things i can’t wait to do with phoenix hugh. (in no particular order).

appreciate a great cup of coffee together.
swim in the ocean.
read his first story.
sleep in the fort he crafts out of furniture.
visit australia so he can meet his grandfather and uncle.


this weekend we have our baby class reunion, which means that all the parents-to-be have now given birth to their bundles of joy and we’re getting together for what i can only imagine as a circular conversation that begins and ends with: ‘how much is she/he sleeping? eating? pooping? napping?’ i’m so excited to see phix interact with little ones his age.


how to stress me out in five words: mamani leaves in five sleeps.


we have a fantastic sofa in our office that reminds me of mad men.


Jun 12

get out[side]

for a couple of years i lived in maine. it’s possibly the prettiest state to live in during the summer months – patches of lush green earth sweeping into romantic rocky coast lines. however, during the fall, but it starts getting pretty cold, and i remember winters there as a long dark passage where no matter how many layers i wore, i still found myself cold. in the morning, i had to account 15 extra minutes just to start my car, and de-ice the windows. i wore snowboots inside and my toes and fingertips were perpetually numb. and that lasts until, oh about may. it was there that i realized i have S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder) which means that if i don’t get to frolic in regular bouts of sunshine my mood becomes pretty somber/apathetic. my doctor actually recommended i start taking anti-depressants, or go to a tanning bed. errr – what?!

in california i get all the sun one could want. seriously out of 365 days there are probably a grand total of 30 days when it is either raining or a bit too cold to want to spend much time outdoors. but there are still some weeks where i feel the familiar tug of sadness cascade down and lace my shoulders. and since it’s not sunshine deprivation, i think it might be the effects of N.A.D. yep, nature affective disorder that i need to consider. this article talks about how not spending enough time outdoors can take it’s toll on our physical, mental and emotional health. i’m a believer.

which leads me to this – a tree house restaurant in thailand that i need to frequent one day.

Jun 12
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on being the birthday grinch.

i have always had a bit of uneasiness when it comes to celebrating my birthday. interestingly, it’s not the getting old part that trips me up – i think it’s all the attention that makes me a bit nervous. it wasn’t really part of my family’s tradition to make a big deal out of birthdays (which is why one time i faked it just to get presents), and so i guess it always feels a bit ‘much’. i think it also has to do with expectations. trying not to have them. trying to live up to them. i felt the same way on mother’s day this year. i mean, i get it. it’s lovely to be celebrated as a mama. and i’m ALL for celebrating other mothers. i would by lying if i said i don’t love waking up to treats and thoughtful gestures…but honestly, i also met that day with a bit of anxiety. a feeling that i don’t want me/my role amplified. a sense that marking the day means i have to live up to something that i’m still messily figuring out how to do.

and don’t even get me started on valentines day ;)

in lieu of making big birthday plans this year i told dev i wanted to keep it simple. all i wanted was to go and get massages with my mama, and have family nature-time. and that’s what we did. and it was perfect. low key and serene. in the evening sweet dev threw together a little soirée in our backyard with a handful of close friends. and it all felt easy. fluid and manageable. and as the messages came in throughout the day via text and facebook, email and calls, i felt loved, and overall – grateful.

grateful for this amazing year i’ve had. grateful for my mother & father. grateful for my health. grateful for my incredible friends. grateful that day-by-day, i am figuring out how to metaphorically juggle a job i love while literally juggling a little boy i adore more than i ever knew was possible.


Jun 12
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the sentimental part of me loves this idea of a memory bank. a little ceramic vessel that you can fill with things like concert ticket stubs and notes.


my mum made me paperweights – pretty smooth round pebbles encased in crochet. yes, my mum is magical.


such a simple and effective DIY idea:


presenting the camera of my dreams:


i think i need a ‘tinker house‘:


clever creative cat, jason hull, turns vintage cameras into night lights:


Jun 12

way to woo me, los angeles.

so we found a babbling brook and gazed up at big blue expansive skies. yes, right here in los angeles!

here’s to birthday adventures.

actually, scratch that. here’s to everyday adventures. here’s to packing up your car, partner-in-crime, and coffee, to find a tranquil place. a place where your soul feels lighter, and the air is cleaner. a spot that reminds you who you really are. i want to seek out more of these places and make them part of our family’s routine.

Jun 12
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bits and pieces.

i’m think i might be a reformed extrovert. i adore people and i’ll always be fascinated by how we all ‘work’. why we do the things we do. how we approach the world and each other. the subtleties of human interactions are never lost on me. in fact, i consume them hungrily. i love sitting in airports and coffee shops and libraries and places where you can be a nobody amidst so many somebodies, and just watching. observing. taking.it.all.in.

but my thirst to be part of large crowds and big events has dissipated. i have grown to appreciate and enjoy my own company, and even crave it. i always believed more was in fact, merrier, but now find myself preferring intimate gatherings, one-on-one conversations, focused dialogue. the superficial chit chat i used to excel at engaging in, over music too loud, with people half-listening, is now tedious to me, and i’m exhausted just thinking about that scene. is this what happens when you get old?

this is perhaps why all i want for my birthday tomorrow is a trip to the angeles forest – i want to sit by the most cliché babbling brook that LA can provide, with my baby boy on my lap, my sweet husband by my side, and mamani enjoying the shade of a big tree, while we all drink iced chai.


i adore this tiny little ceramic dish that my dear friend leili made for phoenix. doesn’t it look like a treasure you’d find in the ocean?


i know i’m totally biased, but holymoly our baby is cute:

even when mamani dresses him in super awkward outfits like this:

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