Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Happy List

things that make me happy today:

{} that the friends i love can marry the people they love.
{} that i'm proud of my country today.
{} today is a perfect excuse for a cocktail.
{} on sunday i get to toast to baby charlotte and her wonderful parents and sister.
{} it's muggy outside.  i love muggy.
{} it's summer.  officially.
{} my phone case.  best $3 spent ever.
{} san francisco.  i do love this city so.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


with all the excitement surrounding andrew's marathon last week, i didn't get a chance to honor my dad on here for father's day.  well, here's the first thing you should know about him: he never uses computers, so it doesn't really matter to him either way.

if that doesn't sum up my dad, this should: he's an intellectual mountain man from new jersey.  and i love him to death.

my dad can sit next to the radio listening to npr for hours with a book in one hand and a cigarette and beer in the other (what can i say?  he's a great multitasker). he has an answer to every question, and his answers are always right.

from the beginning dad encouraged me to read and write and think for myself and go for my dreams.  he also gave us kids tough love in only the way a transplant from new jersey could.  i like to think i'm a better person for it.

dad taught me the importance of being true to myself instead of trying to please other people - life's most important lesson.  most people go through their whole lives never knowing this valuable piece of information, while it was my bedtime story.

some people call my dad a grump.  i call him a character. he is, strangely enough, one of the vainest people i've ever met.  but obviously, as you can tell from his picture, it's working for him.  back in the day this insistence on perfection created some really amazing woodwork. 

dad was always there to pick us kids up from school, give us a home cooked meal (always burnt to perfection), share his worldly views with us when my sister and i were homeschooled, and exemplify the virtues of keeping quiet rather than using noise to fill the void.  instead, when you're mad, just roll your eyes and burp.  you'll get your point across better that way.  i wish i inherited more of his wisdom, but at least i can say i'm related to him.

i love you dad.  thanks for being awesome and having a sense of humor about life.

Monday, June 24, 2013

This Week in Pictures

what a great week!  i love birthdays and the people born on them.
(and yes, i did bake a giant donut cake.  it was delicious.)

Friday, June 21, 2013


last sunday andrew woke up at 3 o'clock in the morning, ate breakfast, put on some running shoes, grabbed a cab, and drove down to the ferry building.  then he ran 26.2 miles.  consecutively.  in four hours.  he is barking mad and i couldn't be more proud of him.

andrew is one of those people who sees or hears about heartbreaking events on the news and actually, like, gets inspired to do something about it.  what's up with that?  so it wasn't a surprise to me at all when, after the boston marathon bombings in april, andrew decided that he was going to run a marathon for the first time in eight years.  and wouldn't you know it, but this great city of ours hosts a marathon every summer.

the sf marathon started at 5:45 in the morning and looped around the entire northern half of the city.  my body just wasn't capable of joining andrew at the start line (being this fabulous takes enough energy as it is), but i did manage to be his surprise cheerleader when he ran through haight street, so that has to count for something, right?  ok, i might have been sipping leisurely on a latte and nibbling on a pastry as he ran by, but still...
andrew at mile 19 coming in for a congratulatory kiss.
i think now is a good time to apologize for the horrible quality of all of these photos.  i was taking them while flailing my arms about and jumping up and down shouting "go, andrew!".  oops.

our moms and my sister joined in the festivities to welcome him to the finish line along the embarcadero with throngs of other people cheering on runners from all four corners of the map.
baby's first marathon.
it really was cool to see people being so supportive of all these incredible athletes, even if they were complete strangers.  the runner's high was contagious.

of course, the most impressive runner of the bunch was our andrew.  after only a month of training, he managed to average 9 minute miles for the entire race.  he's definitely an inspiration to us all.

crossing the finish line!
after the race, andrew's mom treated us to a delicious brunch at momo's, complete with much-needed cocktails to toast to andrew's success.  and then the best part of the day happened (sorry, andrew): i fell in love with this adorable stranger named pumba.
i just can't even.  where has this dog been all my life?!

also, today is andrew's birthday.  looks like he just kicked 28's butt as he ran right into his last year of being a twenty-something, meaning he's oh so close to those sweet AARP discounts.

happy birthday, andrew!   i'm continually amazed by your strength and willpower.  you rock! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, Sister!

i would have turned out a much sorrier excuse of a human being if i hadn't grown up with siblings.  my older brothers taught me about bugs, dinosaurs, thorping, and not getting to be the center of attention all the time.  my younger sister taught me about responsibility and what it's like to have a true best friend.

i don't know what i've done to deserve her friendship after all the mean things i said and did to her back in the day (ah, childhood), but here we are.  hopefully if i just keep buying her pitchers of beer at blackthorn, i can buy her complete forgiveness.  we are part irish, after all - mixing beer with family is the irish way.

having a sister is the best.  i highly recommend it.  especially when they come as independent and funny and beautiful as my sister is.  i can only hope that some of that awesomeness is because she's spent so much time hanging out with me, but who am i kidding?

happy birthday, zoe!  love you lots and thanks for being such a great sister.  cheers to a great year!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dry State

this picture makes me cry every time i look at it.
last night i decided to follow some friendly advice and pour myself a glass of red wine before bed to try and cure my insomnia.  that's when i realized, to my absolute horror, that our wine rack is empty.  empty!  how could i let this happen?

not having any decent alcohol in the house really doesn't sit well with me.  i mean, what kind of hostess would i be if a guest stopped by and i couldn't even offer her a glass of cabernet?  i feel like i'm living in some sort of alcohol-free alternate universe, and i'm really not ok with that.

that being said, i need to stockpile tout de suite.  our little rack looks so bare and lonely, and it's starting to call me a bad mother.

anyone have any good wine suggestions?  buying wines in my price range ($15 or less/bottle) is really like aiming a hunting rifle while blindfolded.  i'd love any suggestions anyone has!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


crazy, dangerous, scary yet exciting things are happening in turkey right now.  are you following the story?

i was so lucky to have had the chance to visit istanbul with andrew two years ago.  such a magical city.  i can't help but imagine how the social landscape has been transformed since these protests started.  it inspires me to see so many countrymen and women get together peacefully and stand up for what they believe in, despite the odds.

and then there's this video, which features eye-opening images of the protest, as well as my love of musicals:

(if the link doesn't work for you, you can find it here.)


i often get this song stuck in my head.  it's one of my favorites.  the lyrics and melody are so simple, but always cheer me up.  then i saw paul mccartney on colbert tonight.  now i can't stop singing it to myself (thankfully both andrew and sid are asleep, so i'm not hurting anyone's ears).

i apologize in advance if you, too, get this stuck in your head after watching (no, that's a lie.  i hope you get it stuck in your head.  it's a great song).

(if the link doesn't work for you, you can find it here.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Long Live the Queen

meet queen sid.

she's a cat.  she adopted andrew from the humane society back in 2001 when she saw him stranded there one day.  she took pity on him, stuck out her paw and wrapped him around it.  andrew likes to say that he found her, but we all know the truth.

other than your royal highness, queen sid also answers to sidney-lou, sidney, sid-cat, baby girl, kitty, wantsomefood?, dinner!, treat or simply sid.

sid's formally named after former giants pitcher sidney ponson.  she still won't say whether or not she likes being named after a 6'1", 260 lb. dude.  andrew picked the name.  andrew's obsessed with baseball.

andrew, the humane society and lots of doctors like to guess that sid is 15 years old, but a true lady never reveals her age, so she's not talking.

sid likes the finer things in life, and has taught andrew and i about having impeccable taste.  her favorite things include:
  • mackerel straight from the can.
  • fresh water only (preferably dripping from the bathroom sink or shower).
  • long naps in the afternoon.
  • long naps in the morning.
  • long naps at night.
  • leaving her fur on our clothes.  and our bed.  and our bathroom sink.
  • long, luxurious tongue baths.
  • exploring the great outdoors on our front stoop from behind the comfort of our security gate.
i used to have a cat of my very own and i loved her very much.  she died far too soon and it's safe to say i was absolutely devastated.  i still miss her terribly. 

sid took care of me during this hard time and gave me lots of purrs and cuddles.  she is very kind and i'm forever grateful.

andrew and i are pretty obsessed with sid.  and no, i'm not going to become a crazy spinster cat lady someday.  i'm already a crazy spinster cat lady.  duh.  so yes, expect plenty more posts and pictures of her on here.  i can't help it.

for the record, life is infinitely better when shared with animals.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Day I Rediscovered My Inner Culinary Goddess

tonight i made dinner using this delicious black and white bean chili recipe.  i think i might have accidentally added more than a "dash" of cinnamon, but andrew and i cleaned out our bowls in no time so i don't think i messed it up too badly.  also note the frito chips - i really pulled out all the stops for this meal!

it felt good to spice things up in the kitchen again.  i really haven't spent much time on the stove since classes started in january, and i forgot just how therapeutic it is to chop up vegetables and sauté them in oil (or better yet, butter!).

i love the blog a beautiful mess.  not only did it give me the easiest chili recipe in the world (seriously only 30 minutes from start to finish), but it also convinced me to soak some gummy bears in apple flavored vodka for the weekend.  this week is shaping up already!

tomorrow i'm going to attempt cannelloni.  this will be my first time stuffing cheese inside of pasta shells, so it will probably be my biggest mess in the kitchen yet.  wish me luck!

  i think this new obsession with cooking is my body's way of putting off exercise for as long as possible now that i have a bit more free time in my day.  which, honestly, is fine by me.  gym memberships are expensive and running is hard.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hello, Sunday.

for some reason sundays always feel a little lonely to me, and today was an exceptionally quiet, foggy sunday in the city.  

i started the day with a latte and a walk through the sleepy neighborhood streets.
see?  empty.
 somehow during the walk i talked myself into getting some spring cleaning done before spring officially turns into summer.  i am really, really good at putting things off until the last possible minute.

no leith cleaning project would be complete without buying some completely unnecessary supplies first.  the anticipation and preparation of a clean apartment is the best part, after all.  the actual cleaning is lousy, in my opinion.  and in my house it never stays clean for long.  but our apartment needed it in the worst possible way - seriously a safety hazard thanks to all my clothes everywhere.

on my shopping list: a new vase from daiso (only $1.50!  what?!) and some peonies from the market down the street.

aren't they pretty?  

now my apartment looks exponentially more cheerful, and i'm positive that not having all my clothes all over the bedroom floor anymore has nothing to do with that whatsoever.  it's amazing what a vase of freshly cut flowers can do.

i hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Happy List

a new day, a new chance to list things that make me happy:

{-}chocolate milkshakes - and the best coworker in the world who brings me milkshakes just because she knows i like them.  i am spoiled!
{-}my sister for coming out with me just to chat.
{-}warm weather.  
{-}manicures.  they're my guilty pleasure.  for an hour every couple of weeks i get a warm lotion hand massage and painted nails that look perfect - how is anyone able to be so precise with a brush like that? 
{-}holga prints.  i got them.  i feel slightly more accomplished and talented because of them.
{-}the cute snores sid makes when she's fast asleep.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Little Plastic Camera that Could

so i picked up my holga prints today.  this is what i ended up with:

it's the little plastic camera that could.  

i have to admit, i'm impressed that all the prints turned out (i double-exposed the one in the upper-right corner on purpose).  i started with black and white because that's what amazon suggested and i was too lazy to look around for anything else.  next time: color film for a little adventure.

now i'm even more excited to play with this thing.  let the clicking begin!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


just received this in the mail today.  i love getting things in the mail.  it's like a little piece of christmas every day.

the camera is a holga.  it's cheap, it's plastic and it uses 120mm film.  that's right: i am single-handedly bringing film back from the dead.

the best thing about 120mm film is the prints turn out square.  in the square v. rectangle debate, squares are obviously the far superior shape.

the holga works in such a simple way that each frame ends up with unique sun splotches, bursts of color, and random imperfections on each print.  basically, the holga is like instagram for fine art photography students.

i know nothing about fine art photography, but i'm a user of instagram and would love some printed photos to hang on my wall.  the holga is my attempt to mix these two things.

this one pound wonder, $30 on amazon, will either be my new best friend or worst enemy.  i cannot wait to see what prints i end up with!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Rules for a Successful Life

hello, my name is leith, and i'm obsessed with animals.  i can't help it, they're just so much better at life than i am.  what would i do without their endless lessons on living according to the rules?

for example, my dogs have taught me that:
  • not saying hello to a stranger is rude.  if there is someone within a quarter mile radius of you, you should either stop in your tracks and wait for them to approach you, or if you're in a rush you may charge toward their butt for a quick sniff hello.  it's simply common courtesy.
  • never underestimate the kindness of strangers, especially when barbequed meat is involved.
  • poop happens.  do it with dignity and pride.
  • there's no such thing as "ugly".
  • "no" is simply an invitation to act cuter.
  • do whatever the cat tells you.

                                                    and my cats have taught me that:
  • naps are mandatory for sanity.
  • if you're being ignored, just yell more often and twice as loudly.
  • shiny things deserve your immediate, undivided attention.
  • show no fear...unless the doorbell rings.  then the couch or bed are good hiding options.
  • you hold the power to make a man weep and fall to his knees if you keep your nails sharp enough.
  • nothing wakes someone up for breakfast quite as well as a good poke in the eye.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Happy List

i tend to be a "glass half empty" kind of girl at times.  i mean, why be satisfied by what you have when you can always want more?  

as attractive as this personality trait of mine is, i also want to be able to imitate those people who wake up without hitting the snooze button eight times and smile about the fact that they're alive, rather than curse the fact that it's only tuesday.

being negative had it's cool phase, but being positive is so much better for my complexion.  and since i've got that "ethereal" irish/scottish splotchy white glow kind of skin, i need all the help with my complexion that i can get.

so, without further ado, i am going to attempt a semi-weekly "happy list" of things throughout the week that put a smile on my face--an idea i stole from this blog.

things that make me happy:

  • meeting four-month-old puppy named dozer at blackthorn.
  • waking up to the gentle shoves of sid's paw against the back of my skull as she tries to wake me up for breakfast.
  • having my sister live so close.
  • knowing that when i get home today i have david sedaris' "let's explore diabetes with owls" waiting for me.  i love everything david sedaris has ever written and i will do anything he tells me to do.
  • my parents are "home".  at least for now.
  • celine dion's rendition of "it's all coming back to me now".  because some nights you just feel like singing your heart out.
  • the hills of san francisco.  who needs a boring old gym membership in this city?
  • summer birthday season.  lots of fabulous people born this time of year :)