Friday Afternoon Round Up


Growing up in the 90’s was totally rad.

I would be crying too.

Nothing better than a super cute dad.

Tiaras with Martha? Yes please.

I wear jeans – she wears this. Life just isn’t fair.

Perfect for housewarming gifts.

The dessert trifecta.

My mom is coming this weekend – I think we are going to do all 5!

Love them all – just need some outdoor space.

Gold sparkly nails? Yes please!

What a thank you note looks like when you are 84.

My Writing Elsewhere

Poverty Fighters

Going Green With Robin Hood

Friends of Robin Hood

Released From Prison into a World of Poverty

Robin Hood Tumblr

10 Things Guys Should Know by the Time They Turn 30

Yesterday’s post about the 5 Things Women Should Know By the Time They Turn 30 received a lot of comments – mostly positive. I decided to turn the tables today and tackle some of the life lessons being learned by my gentlemen readers.


Without further ado, I present, the 10 Things Guys Should Know by the Time They Turn 30:

  1. Even though she might offer, your mom shouldn’t be doing your laundry anymore.
  2. If you have a girlfriend or wife, don’t expect her to fulfill the role that your mother did for the first 21 years of your life. Despite what you might think, she isn’t there to do your laundry, cook you meals and clean up after you.
  3. Your refrigerator should contain more than PBR and Bud Light.
  4. You should know how to make at least 5 different dinners. And no, canned soup doesn’t count.
  5. Your body will not look like this forever. Please exercise, diet, and drink accordingly.
  6. By the time you are 30, if you decide to move, hire movers (don’t ask your brother, friend, co-worker to help you move. And certainly don’t ask your wife or girlfriend).
  7. Keg stands should only be done to teach your children.
  8. Out drinking you friends is no longer an accomplishment. However, cleaning the kitchen floor is.
  9. Despite the fact that you can produce children until your 80, your wife cannot.  It’s that time.
  10. Your wife/girlfriend is always right.

I am happy to report that Matt has learned nearly all of these lessons. I am still working on a few, but I am pretty sure by the time he turns 30, he will be on track!

5 Things Women Should Know by the Time They Turn 30


During this morning’s today show, they grabbed my attention when Ann curry previewed an upcoming story “What every woman should know by the time she turns 30.” As someone turning 30 this year (gasp!) I was immediately intrigued. I thought to myself  “I only have 7.5 more months, maybe there is a lot of information and knowledge that I am missing – and today Ann Curry will fill that gap for me.”

So I waited and waited for the story. I waited so long that I was the tiniest bit late for work. But don’t blame me – this was information I NEEDED to know. Finally, after waiting for more than 30 minutes, I was given 5 pieces of information:

1.The ability to fall in love without losing yourself.
2. The confidence to quit a job.
3. The comfort of living alone.
4. The knowledge your body is beautiful.
5. The belief you deserve it (read very dramatically by Ann)

Not going to lie – after hearing this, I was mad that I waited around for such  ridiculous advice. I am so sick of society telling young women to “love themselves” and “feel beautiful” – these positive affirmations aren’t helpful. Women approaching 30 are looking for practical pieces of advice. If we want holistic self-empowerment ideas, we go to yoga.

As a result, I have written my own 5 things that I think every woman should know by the time she turns 30:

1. It is probably time to take out your belly button/eye brow/tongue ring. I took my belly button ring out at age 25 because I felt too old to have it. I’ve given you 5 extra years of “self-expression” — time’s up!

2. You can’t eat like you used to. Face the facts, if you care about your body, late night food is a thing of the past.

3. You aren’t sick – you are hung over. Yes, even though you “didn’t drink that much,” you are hung over. It is much harder to recover after a late night out, especially since you now have a job that you need to show up at by 9am.

4. Support yourself financially. And if you can’t – don’t broadcast to the world that mommy and daddy are still footing the bill. It is embarrassing. Especially when you are buying design handbags, getting weekly manicures and spending insane amounts of money on alcohol. Try and have a little respect for your parents and their hard-earned money.

5.  Fighting with your significant other in public is not appropriate. You make everyone else around uncomfortable. Keep your drama to yourselves. This isn’t an episode of Jersey Shore/The Hills/Laguna Beach.

6. Yes, I’ll even add in a 6th for good measure – don’t text or call someone 18 times in a row. Just because you have unlimited minutes and text messaging, it doesn’t make it ok. The ONLY time this is acceptable is if there is an emergency (just so we are clear – drunk dials are not emergencies).

I could go on with more but I don’t want to totally steal the show from Glamour Magazine.

If you are offended by anything I have written, I have one more piece of advice. Learn to accept criticism with grace and dignity. Sometimes a long hard look in the mirror can reveal more than the wrinkles beginning to set in.

Brown Bag Lunch

From 1st grade through 8th grade I brought a brown bag lunch nearly every day. The only time I would even think about getting hot lunch was when they served SpaghettiOs and for about the first week that they added a salad bar in my middle school (the novelty of eating lettuce wore off pretty quickly there). I used a lunch box for the first few weeks of school in 1st grade but after a couple of trips to the “lost and found” my mother quickly switched to brown bags. I didn’t mind this too much because my need to be responsible went way down and my lunch box had already gotten quite smelly. However, there were two points of contention

1. My mom was always trying to get me to re-use the brown bags (always the environmentalist) which re-introduce the need to be responsible
2. Sometimes we would run out of the small bags and my mom would make me carry one of the larger ones that you used to get at the grocery store before reusable bags were trendy. I don’t think I need to explain how this made me an easy target. A giant grocery bag? Really?

But for the most part, bringing a lunch to school was pretty painless. I was perfectly content to eat the same thing everyday:

– Peanut butter and jelly on white bread
– Pretzel rods, baby carrots of if I was lucky, chips
– Some sort of fruit
– A dessert (usually homemade)

All I needed was 10 cents for my milk and I was good to go.

As an adult, I am not quite as good at making my lunch. Not only is this a detriment to my wallet, but to my waist line as well. Living and working in New York City, it isn’t a big deal to drop more than $10 on lunch. And it is never as healthy as brown bagging it, and let’s be honest, it isn’t as good. In an effort to save money, eat healthier and feel better about myself, I have been trying to bring a lunch to work at least 3 times a week. While I have done away with the brown bag – it is great to get back to this tradition from my youth.

Today’s lunch featured: Tuscan Tuna and Beans from Not Your Mother’s Weeknight Cooking (a Christmas present from my MIL – mother-in-law for those of you not up on post wedding acronyms)

Serves 4.

Cooking Method: None
Prep Time: 15 minutes

Three 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Three 6-ounce cans tuna packed in olive oil, drained well and broken into rough chunks
2/3 cup finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, crushed
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup olive oil (I accidentally forgot this and it tasted fine!)

Combine the beans, tuna, onion, and parsley in a serving bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, and salt; drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly. Pour the dressing over the beans and tuna; toss to combine.

I decided to make tuna melts using sandwich thins and sliced monterey jack cheese. I put it the toaster oven for approximately 8 minutes and was good to go. This is definitely not necessary but does increase the likelihood of point #3 below.

Today’s lunch was a good one for so many reasons:

1. It was yummy
2. It was relatively healthy
3. It made everyone else in the office jealous
4. I was able to use my awesome 3 compartment Tupperware!


Be on the lookout for more Brown Bag Lunch ideas! And feel free to leave a comment that includes your favorite workday lunch.

Friday Afternoon Round Up

(picture courtesy of Abby Glennan)

Should I enter Mom#1 or Mom#2?

Wind map

Rory Gilmore, you are my idol

This is what Matt does when I ask him to clean up

My wrist is begging me to get these

Goosebumps.  10-7-12.

Glee spoiler but it is so good, I just couldn’t’ wait.

Control your dreams.

Oh my gosh – so cute! (hey girl at 1:40, way to show everyone else up)

I want a para clock.

My writing elsewhere: Robin Hood Blog

Meet My New Mom


This comment was so good I decided it needed its own post:

I am officially applying for the position of adopted mother. Although I had not considered more children, your plea tugged at my heart strings. First and foremost, you are my favorite and always have been. Your sister is selfish to hog your birth parents like that. I promise I would never do that.

I have my cell beside my bed, so you can call me day or night. If I don’t answer on the first ring, I will by the third. I make the best chocolate chip cookies on the planet, just ask your new brother. I also like the idea that you are a married adult living away from home!!! This is so novel, I will want to visit you regularly, but especially for special occasions, birthdays, holidays, playoffs, NYC marathon, etc. I love to shop and spend time with my girls doing what they like, that brings joy to me. I must insist that when or if a grandchild arrives, I get to come and take care of both of you. I have my degree in early childhood education, so i am fully qualified to be baby opinionated like all great grandmas! Mostly I want a free place to stay while I’m in NYC, but would happily adopt you and welcome your husband into our family! xoxox

Love mom

PS- I miss you already :)

Thanks mom! You are the best. I can’t wait to meet you!

Available for Adoption


Recently, I have started to think that my parents, specifically my mother, aren’t up for the job of being my parents any longer. As a result, I am putting myself up for adoption.

It all began when I asked my mom if she would consider coming to New York City to visit me. I haven’t seen my parents since Christmas — I know, it has only been 3 months, but it feels like a long time to this homebody.  My work/life schedule has been pretty busy and is only going to get busier of the next couple of months, so I thought inviting her for a long weekend of mother-daughter bonding in the big apple would be a great idea since I probably won’t be getting home anytime soon. However, when I mentioned it to her, she didn’t seem very enthused about the idea – saying something about not knowing her work schedule and whether or not they (meaning her and my dad) had any upcoming plans. I told her that I would really like to see her (and my dad if he could get away from work) and left it at that. I thought I was pretty clear.

A few days later when I was chatting with my sister on the phone she mentioned something about how mom and dad were going to visit her the last week in April. I practically dropped the phone and fell over in the street. I immediately hung up and called my mom.

I questioned her out on their upcoming trip to see their beloved daughter – who was not me! I could hear my mom’s guilt coming through my iPhone headphones but I didn’t care. Why hadn’t she mentioned this trip to me earlier? And why had they chosen to visit Abby over me? Just because I am married doesn’t mean I don’t need my parents. Angry and hurt I hung up the phone with my mom and called Matt to complain. He wasn’t very sympathetic, but I do think he would have enjoyed a visit from my parents as well, at least to take the burden of “dealing with me” off his hands for a weekend.

Since this information was leaked, I have done nothing except make my parents, particularly my mother, feel guilty about this blatant display of offspring favoritism. I thought for sure she would put a visit to NYC on the calendar just to get me to be quiet. I am shocked and disappointed to report, that has yet to happen.

And today – it got worse (I know, I didn’t think it could either!) During my 15 minute walk to the subway this morning, I called my mother to have our daily morning chat. Thankfully, she answered the phone, which has become a rarity lately. She mentioned that she couldn’t chat long because she was meeting a friend at Panera. Most people know that Panera is my favorite suburban restaurant. As a former employee I hold this establishment in the highest regards. Whenever I am home, I make sure to squeeze in at least one trip to the mecca of the lunchtime soup and sandwich combo – usually with my mom. So for her to partake in this ritual with someone else – well I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt. At least it was with a friend and not my arch nemesis sister.

She was meeting a friend to strategize about an upcoming political fundraiser that she is throwing for someone running for Executive Counsel in NH (man I love local politics!). When I probed her about the event, it became painfully obvious that she needed my fundraising/event expertise. When I offered to review her invitation she seemed more annoyed than elated. Hmm – maybe she is forgetting that I work for a non-profit that throws THE most successful fundraising event – ever/period/hands down. Oh, and did I mention that since I am now on the communications team, me, Molly Brethauer – her daughter, is often the copy writer for our invitations/programs/newsletter/every form of communication that we produce (ok, so maybe that is an exaggeration, but what parent doesn’t embellish how important their children are?) Even after pointing out that these facts to her, I still had to practically beg her to let me help.

So that’s it — I am taking a stand and I am officially accepting applications for my adoption. Requirements for my future parents include (but are not limited to):

1. Frequent visits to see me
2. 24/7 phone availability
3. Weekly care packages (these can contain things like homemade cookies, interesting articles from the local town newspaper, and/or fun things from the dollar section at target)
4. Sympathy when I don’t feel well
5. A deeper and more genuine love for me than for my sister
6. Constant praise and adoration

What you will get in return:

Joy and pride for all of eternity (and I am certain that your friends will be insanely jealous at your incredible parenting skills — obviously they are amazing if you were able to produce me.)

My husband will be screening all applications. You will only be contacted if I think you are up for the job.

Thank you.



Ritz Peanut Butter Cups

Growing up, Ritz crackers with peanut butter were a popular snack in our household. And if you were rally lucky, you might even get Ritz peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. YUMMY! I love the classic combination of peanut butter and jelly. It just brings back so many memories of brown bag lunches and white bread (before we knew it was bad). The only thing I like more than peanut butter and jelly is peanut butter and chocolate! So last night I took to the kitchen and made some delicious treats to bring into work today – Ritz Peanut Butter Cups that I found here.

You only need 3 ingredients: Ritz crackers, chocolate (I used semi-sweet Ghirardelli chips) and peanut butter.

First, line a muffin tin with cute cupcake liners. I purchased mine at New York Cake – the most wonderful store in New York City.

Next, melt you chocolate. I don’t have a double broiler so I melt mine in the microwave. The microwave that came with our apartment is awesome and has a “melt” function specifically for chocolate. It heats the chocolate at a very low temperature and seems to work perfectly every time. I only wish that I had discovered this function earlier (before I burned multiple pounds of white chocolate during my holiday baking fest.

Pour 1-2 tablespoons of melted chocolate into each cupcake liner. I had to bang the tray against the counter to even out the chocolate. Place the tray in the freezer for approximately 5 minutes (of until the chocolate hardens).

While the chocolate is cooling, smear approximately 1-2 teaspoons of peanut butter onto the crackers. I didn’t measure this – I just tried to make sure the cracker was coated similar to a double stuffed Oreo like the recipe suggested.

Take the tray out of the freezer and place one peanut butter topped cracker in each cupcake liner. I did mine peanut butter side up, but I don’t think it matters (sort of like Dr. Suess’ Butter Battle).


I melted the second half of my chocolate and added another 1-2 tablespoons into each liner. I popped them back into the freezer to cool for another 5-10 minutes.

As you can see, the treats came out pretty well but I have a few suggestions/comments:

1. I think I prefer using milk chocolate (as opposed to semi-sweet) when melting. I have done a little research and it doesn’t look like one is suggested over the other. If anything, people suggest using semi-sweet so feel free to disagree.

2. I would probably add a teaspoon of vanilla to the melted chocolate. I find this helps thin it out a little and gives it an interesting flavor.

3. Ideally, I would have preferred to make these using a mini muffin tin — each cup is rather larger. However, you would need to find mini Ritz crackers and I have no idea if these, or something similar, exist.

4. Make sure you get chocolate on the side of the cups so it surrounds the entire Ritz cracker. You may be able to see in my final picture that the bottom chocolate part separated from the top. I think it was because the two chocolate layers didn’t touch – essentially gluing the sandwich together.

5. I wish I had put sea salt on the tops. It just makes everything better!

6. Matt was my guinea pig last night. His comment was that the chocolate was super melty. I am not sure why as they had been in the freezer for a while. I am not sure if a different type of chocolate would fix this.

Manic Monday


Six o’clock already
I was just in the middle of a dream
I was kissin’ Valentino
By a crystal blue Italian stream
But I can’t be late
‘Cause then I guess I just won’t get paid
These are the days
When you wish your bed was already made

It’s just another manic Monday
I wish it was Sunday
‘Cause that’s my funday
My I don’t have to runday
It’s just another manic Monday

My commentary on the Bangles’ hit, Manic Monday:

1. My alarm doesn’t go off until 7:30am. I am so lucky!

2. I have never dreamed about kissing Valentino. I would love to know who has…

3. I make my bed every day (unless Matt is still in it when I leave and in that case, he makes it).

4. I love Sunday because there is so much good tv on: Game of Thrones, Mad Men and the new HBO show, Girls. As Matt said last night, “it is unfair that all of the good tv is on the same night.”  Thank goodness for DVR.

5. Yesterday was my “runday” (13.1 miles in Central Park as a matter of fact!) It wasn’t pretty, but I made it!

 6. Today has definitely been a manic Monday. Crazy meetings at work, 78 degree outside (but I am inside) and allergy sneezing all day long!

It’s just another manic Monday…

How’s your Monday going?