Brethauer Girls, LLC

If you put my sister and I together, it is often a deadly combination. Not deadly for us, but deadly for everyone else who comes in our path.

Over the holidays, we often play charades with our best family friends, the Possees. When Abby and I are on the same team, no one else really stands a chance. All Abby or I need to do it is look at each other and we instantly know what the other is thinking. In a blink of the eye, we are yelling out the right answer.

For one year in high school , we had the opportunity to swim together representing our school. At the state meet we won both relays and we came in first and second in the 100 yard backstroke. Talk about family domination (no, it isn’t worth mentioning that NH state swimming really isn’t that competitive – I want to seem impressive).

Whenever Abby and I are both home at the same time, within 5 minutes my mom can be heard saying, “I hate when you are both here. I just don’t even stand a chance.” Sorry Mom, but you are the one who created this.

So when Abby and I talk about going into business together, I know that we would be an unstoppable duo. Forget “D.C. Cupcakes,” The Kardashians, or Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen – we would create an empire than no other sisters could match. All that’s left is to come up with a business plan, raise some capital and launch our business. That shouldnt’ be too hard…

Anyone have any suggestions for a business idea? And no, starting a swim lesson empire is not an option.

Little Things Turns One

Last week I passed an important milestone; my blog, Focus on the Little Things, celebrated its first anniversary. My first post was written on March 2nd, 2010 as I was seating on the couch contemplating my life. I had become so wrapped up in the negative aspects that I was unable to see the countless positive things I had. Thankfully one year later, I was so busy enjoying my life that I didn’t even realize a year had passed.This past year has gone by so quickly and I am certainly in a much better place now than I was last year.

I have found a job that makes me excited to out of bed in the morning. I believe so passionately in the work that I am doing and the organization’s mission. I work with people who have high expectations for me and for themselves and people who strive to make a difference in the way other people live their lives. I am proud to say that I work for Robin Hood.

Matt and I are getting ready to celebrate our wedding in less than four months. And while the planning process got off to a rocky start, things are smooth sailing from now until the big day. Just this morning we were able to check off the last “big ticket item” on our checklist. We can not wait to celebrate this occasion with our friends and family. Already the excitement that other people have shared with us, particularly the two amazing people planning my shower, has been incredible. It is such a good feeling to know that so many other people are just as excited as we are, for us to get married.

After two and a half years, I am slowly starting to adjust to life in New York. No, I am not a Yankees fan, and never will be. But I have come to terms with the fact that Matt and I don’t live in Boston, and probably won’t in the near future. Instead of focusing on the things that I like about Boston that New York lacks, I am trying to focus on the things that New York has that I do like. These things include the following: Central Park, Bleeker Street Pizza, the fact that the Today Show is my local news, Union Square farmers market, Matt Kinsella, riding my bike to Piermont, Rubix Kube and frequent visitors.

This year has been incredible. I owe that to my family, friends and of course Matt. I couldn’t imagine a life without him. He has truly helped me focus on the little things, and sometimes the big things, that make life so amazing.

So thanks for following along… hold on tight, this year is sure to be a good one.

Bling

I have been a delinquent blogger of late. My last post nearly two weeks ago, and even before that post, I wasn’t hitting my 4-5 posts per week goal. I really don’t have a good excuse. I guess I can say I have been busy at my new job learning all about the world of development, but mostly, I just don’t want to look bad by blogging all day long.

Well, this past weekend, I had something happen in my life that was blog worthy. On Saturday, naturally, I was celebrating National Marquette Day with some of my favorite people. I was texting with my sister, as per usual, when she suddenly seemed a bit more anxious than usual to know what I was doing. Text flooded into my phone: “what are you doing? what are you doing later? how long are you going to be doing that for?” It was like I had my very own stalker. Soon enough, Abby revealed to me that she herself was in New York City! She decided to come up for the weekend and thought it would be fun to surprise.

While I was slightly sad to cut my celebration of National Marquette Day short, I will basically drop ANYTHING for my sister. So we decided to meet for some shopping and a mani. We didn’t buy much, put the few hours of sister time was priceless. And while our time together was brief, the memories will last forever and the sweet manicures we got lasted well into the week.

When Matt purposed, I was impressed with how much though he put into the actual proposal. A private sailboat at sunset – it doesn’t get much more “straight out of a movie” than that. But what really impressed me was Matt’s choice in ring. It was stunning, so much more than I deserved and fit perfectly. More than that, it was super sparkly. And anyone who knows me, knows I love sparkle. Whether it is on a “work appropriate tiara” (aka headband), a poster cheering on HWSD or announcing my candidacy for class officer, or a jar of Martha Stewart glitter, I love it. And this ring sparkles!

Well, my sweet manicure might actually down play the ring. As Abby described it, “it is like a disco ball on your fingers.”

Thank goodness for sisters, bling, and sparkly nail polish!

Be Your Own Boss – Cupcake Kids!

When I was in college, I had a friend, Jessi Walter, who was a few years older than me, that I looked up to like a sister. She was one of the nicest people I had ever met, extremely smart, and would give me advice whenever I asked for it (which was probably too often!) I loved hanging around her room – it was clean and organized and she had the most amazing hand-painted furniture.  I always felt like I was in a real house, as opposed to a dorm room when I went over there. Whenever I was there, I just felt happy.

I am so glad that we have reminded friends over the years. She is still one of the nicest people I have ever met, extremely smart, and she still gives me advice on life. Now, instead of hanging out in her dorm room,  we hang out in the Cupcake Kids! kitchen.  Every time I walk into the space, I feel that same sense of happiness, that I felt when I walked into her dorm room many years ago.

The idea for Cupcake Kids! was born when Jessi Walter decided to combine her love of kids and food in a practical way. Jessi set out to create a company that would provide students with hands-on cooking experiences designed to provide them with the opportunity to have fun in the kitchen while learning about food and nutrition. Jessi believes that creativity and education in the kitchen play an important role in a child’s development and help kids to build self-confidence and independence. For 4 years, she has been giving this experience to the kids of NYC.

Formerly a Vice President on Wall Street, Jessi’s passion for kids and food and her entrepreneurial spirit have taken her on a new adventure. Jessi graduated from Harvard in 2003, where she earned an economics degree and was a member of the Women’s Swim Team. As one of the oldest of 23 cousins, she has a passion for kids and their development. In her previous life as a swimmer, Jessi started a company offering technique lessons for young swimmers and brought the same enthusiasm and fundamentals to the pool as she brings to the kitchen today.

What sets Jessi and Cupcake Kids! apart from other child-centered companies is the pride that Jessi takes in her work and ultimately in her company. I’ve had the pleasure of helping out with Cupcake Kids! for the past 2 years. Jessi’s focus is on coming up with lessons that entertain, as well as educate, the “budding chefs” who visit her kitchen. She wants them to walk out of the kitchen with a smile on their face and a new appreciation for food and a sense of accomplishment. They gain confidence through measuring, mixing and baking. By combining ingredients to make a delicious treat, these children are able to see their successes right before their eyes, and taste them too! The excitement that Jessi, and her teachers, have for cooking and food is passed on to the children.

 I am so proud of Jessi for all that she has accomplished. I am also honored to have been a part of it  and I can not wait to see what the future holds for Cupcake Kids!

Please visit the Cupcake Kids! website to learn more about classes and birthday parties and, visit Facebook to become a fan of Cupcake Kids!

House Hunter

Growing up, I lived in the same town from the time I was born right through high school. We moved from a small cape house into my parent’s current house when I was about 5 years old. I was young enough when we moved that I don’t remember much about that process, and I am certain, I wasn’t much help to my parents during it.

After graduating college, I moved to Boston and got to experience the fun of searching for an apartment. The process didn’t take too long and I liked adventuring to different areas of the city. I lived in the same apartment for two years before moving to NYC.

When I moved to the “big apple” I tried to convince Abby that would could find a better apartment than the one she had been living in. Boy was I wrong! After looking at 4-5 places that were smaller than the bathroom I had in Boston, I decided that her place, although old and very far north, was the best we could do on our limited budget. Obviously, we had a great time living together – it didn’t matter where the apartment was or what it looked like.

After moving out, Matt and I were lucky enough to find our current apartment right away. It was a newly constructed building and we got a great deal since construction wasn’t totally complete when we moved in. Although Matt was almost taken to small claims court because he refused to pay our broker the “fee” (yes, he is THAT stubborn), it was a great move. We have now been there for just over a year and just renewed our lease for another year. 

While I would love to buy our own place, and put some of skill to use that I have learned from watching hours and hours of HGTV, it isn’t very realistic since the average place of an apartment in New York City is more than 1.6 million dollars. so until that time I will watch House Hunters, My First Place and Property Virgins on HGTV. At least then, when the time comes for Matt and I to buy a place, I will be fully prepared!

I posted last week that Abby got a new job that will require her to move to Virgina. The area that she will be moving to doesn’t have a lot of places to rent, as it is fairly residential. This means the she will be in the market for a new house. We spend part of day looking online at places online. I found one that I immediately fell in love with: two bedrooms, two bathrooms, newly renovated, a back deck, multiple skylights, a fireplace, and a white picket fence!

Without even seeing the place in person, I was sold. I sent the link to Abby and she shared in my excitement. Unfortunately, after reading the fine print, she informed me that my dream house was in an “active living” community for adults 55+.

Hmmm, maybe I should spend more time watching HGTV to better hone my house hunting skills. Or maybe I should just stop having the same taste as senior citizens.

Toast Worthy!

I went to 6 different bridal salons (one of them three times) and tried on approximately 60 different wedding dresses, and spend nearly 15 hours in total before I finally decided on one. All for a dress that I will wear one time, for 5 hours. It was a major sense of accomplishment when I finally picked “the one.” The best part is that it was one of the first dresses I tried on, and the one that Abby knew was going to be “the one” the minute I put it on. Once I made the decision to buy it, I felt excited, relief and a sense of accomplishment. After returning to my parents house, my mom and I busted out some champagne to celebrate. My whole family toasted to this monumental occasion. As we raised our glasses, “to the dress” it hit me… I was turning into one of those girls.

Earlier that weekend, Abby made a trip down to Virginia for a job interview. She rocked it out and left the University of Mary Washington with a good feeling. On Sunday, she was offered the position of Head Coach for both the Men and Women’s Teams at the school. After being an assistant coach for 7 years, she is certainly ready for this. While moving to a new state is scary and taking on the responsibility of her own team can seem daunting at times, I know she will be amazing. I am just so happy that someone finally sees in her what I have seen for years. Now that news, is certainly champagne toast worthy!

abby brethauer

A couple of months ago, I blogged about my FSIL (future sister-in-law for those of you not down with wedding lingo) graduating from Nursing School. Now unlike push over liberal arts degrees like Matt and I got, Courtney’s degree required her to pass her boards in order to put her hard-earned degree to use. For some reason, going to class, studying for countless hours and passing all of your finals, don’t mean anything unless you can pass the 6 hour medical boards. After committing herself to intense studying for weeks, Courtney finally took her boards on Tuesday. Her results were supposed to be posted 2 days later (meaning tomorrow). Thankfully, Courtney’s anxiousness got the best of her and she decided to look up her results online a day early… just in case.

Tonight, we are toasting (along with our tacos) to Courtney, RN !

Suddenly, my feat of buying a dress doesn’t seem so toast worthy. I promise, I will not become that girl. I even gave in and updated my checklist!

Apartment Therapy

I am not sure if I should thank my friend Jessi for introducing me to the blog Apartment Therapy or if I should blame her for getting me hooked onto another blog with amazing decorating and cooking ideas. Either way, I have wasted away my entire morning and much of my afternoon searching through the site and I am now sufficiently jealous of anyone who:

1. Owns their own place, allowing them to have free reign over their decorating abilities. I am stuck adhering to apartment rules and temporary designs.

2. Lives in the suburbs and has SPACE. My 850 square foot apartment can’t hold all of my creative ideas, much less the products of those ideas and inspirations

3. Has more than a small desk and a sewing machine to create amazing works of art. I am still trying to figure out how to bring more “craft supplies” into the apartment without Matt noticing.

Here are a few of my favorite things from Apartment Therapy:

If only I had a garage with a work bench. Matt has it in his head that when we register for wedding gifts he is going to get all sorts of sweet tools. Considering that we live in NYC, and most likely will live there for at least 5-6 more years, I think tools and a workbench are out of the question! However, I am willing to let him register for them and store them for that length of time if he promises to make me this!

Honestly, who wouldn’t want an all pink kitchen? It would be like living in the Barbie Dream House!

This reminds me of the forts that Abby and I used to make out of blankets in our living room – only it is the grown-up version. I still think that I should move to Africa so I can justify hanging a mosquito next over my bed (which I did in middle school). In my mind, the more things you can do to make your bed resemble a cocoon, the better.

I can not imagine having this playhouse in my backyard. Not only is it bigger than my apartment, but it is in a tree! My father promised to build Abby and I a treehouse when we moved to our “new” house when I was 4 years old. My parents still live in that house, and there is still no treehouse. Adding to the list of things my dad promised but never delivered on: tire swing, sky light for Abby’s room and swimming pool… Ok, I don’t think he promised the last one, but Abby and I REALLY wanted a swimming pool (like we didn’t spend enough time swimming without one!) We found a solution to this problem by filling a huge plastic trashcan with water from the hose and “swim around” in it. The water never got above 65 degrees and you couldn’t do anything besides dunk your body. For some reason, we thought this was a good substitute for a pool (clearly Abby and I were very “special” growing up).

Anyway, I would like to cash in on my father’s promise of a treehouse. I have a nice spot picked out in Central Park, so Dad, whenever you are available please bring your tools to NYC and get started!