dear you…brought to you by two point five days in az


IMG_2226Dear Chub-Chubs,
I realize I’m the one that decided to move to Tokyo, but I’d like to request that you stop growing up until I get back. I mean, I realize that you probably want to keep walking and that talking would make your life a lot easier, but seriously, if you could just hit the pause button for the next 18-24 months I’d really appreciate it. And I know you don’t know me quite as well as your siblings, but I promise, we are going to be the best of friends and you will come to realize just how fun I am. I swear.
Auntie Chlo-Chlo

Dear Boo,IMG_2245
Please continue to be the sweet girl you are today. It’s so fun to see you with your little cousins and the kindness and love that I know they can feel from you. I’m so lucky to be your aunt!
Aunt Chloe

IMG_2236Dear Sister,
Thank you for all that you do for me. I don’t know what I would do without you. Even from 6,000 miles and who-knows-how-many time zones away, you take good care of me. Thank you for running me around everywhere I needed to go and letting me ship things to your house and use your address as my “home” for all my USA needs. Thank you for staying up late with me (or letting me stay up late with you?) and for keeping your house stocked with all of my favorites and just being awesome. I know it sucks that we don’t have Mom around, but you do a pretty great job filling in.
Miss you lots and love you more,
Elizabeth (I’d rather go with that nickname than publicly disclose the other names you call me…on that note, thanks for always reminding me that I’m still your little sister.)
P.S. Tell your husband thank you, too. I know he sacrifices a lot when I’m in town and I really appreciate that, too.

IMG_2229Dear Mims and Pepperoni,
Thank you for still loving me as much as you do even though I moved to Tokyo. I love that you still want me to cuddle with you at night and that you still want to take baths in “Chlo-Chlo’s bath”. I love that you are so excited for me to get there that you start counting down the days weeks in advance. But more than anything, I just love you. There’s nothing quite as therapeutic as your laughter. I hope you both know just how much I love you even from so far away. I can’t wait to see you the next time I’m home (maybe in July…). Please don’t grow up too much while I’m gone. I hope you’re being good for your soccer coach these days. I’m sad I was there too early to see your games. I promise I won’t miss too many more seasons as long as you promise you’ll keep playing.
Auntie Chlo-Chloe

Dear Brittlit,
Thanks for ditching your friends to come to dinner with the fam. I know at your age that’s not always an easy decision, but it meant a lot to me.
Aunt Chloe

So, I maybe stole this from my sister-in-law's FB, but I needed a pic of the missionary.

So, I maybe stole this from my sister-in-law’s FB, but I needed a pic of the missionary and his sister.

Dear Elder Andersen,
We all missed you. It was weird not having you around. And it was a little hard to see how much all the kids were missing you (and your mom and dad, too), but we are all so proud of you and know you are exactly where you should be. I hope Texas is treating you well.
Your Favorite Aunt (and the one that writes you every week)


Dear Sister-through-Marriage,
Thank you for being from AZ and wanting to return there. And thank you for being such a good mom to my darling nephew and nieces. And for always being there when I need you. And for taking me to get my very first pedicure. And for introducing me to “good” makeup.
Love you,
Your Favorite Sister-in-Law (I won’t tell if you won’t tell)

Dear Arizona,
Thank you for feeling like home. Thank you for all of the wonderful memories and friendships that you still hold. Thank you for the multiplicity of drive-thru Sonics, cheap pedicures, my favorite chain restaurants, and warm weather in February. Someday I will be back for good, but in the meantime, please keep treating me as well as you do. And please keep taking care of my family. I can’t wait to see you this summer.
A girl who must apologize for how ugly she thought you were the first time she visited her older brother and his new wife all those years ago

Dear Big Brother,
Thank you for deciding to follow your girlfriend to AZ all those years ago. So many good things have happened in my life as a result of that decision, not the least of which was getting an awesome new sister, but lots of other things, too. And thanks for always being willing to pick me up and drop me off at the airport (even though it means you have to stay up late and/or get up early to do so). Our drives from and to the airport are some of my favorite memories and conversations.
Your favorite sister (Just like I said to Justin…it’s okay, everyone knows it’s true.)

Dear MTC Companion,
Who’d have guessed all those years ago that you’d end up living two miles from my sister and brother? Thank you for being so accommodating whenever I’m in town and making time to see me. What a blessing it was to have met you. I’m so glad you ended up on your mission a little later than you had planned. My life wouldn’t be the same without you in it.
The non-crazy one from our companionship of three
P.S. Next time we’re together we need to take a picture…it’s been way too long!

dear you…brought to you by two point five days in south bend


Dear Diet Coke,

I missed you so much! I know you aren’t good for me, but I can’t help myself. You are a part of me and I don’t think that will every change.

Sips and kisses,


P.S. Please don’t be offended when I return to the States permanently and lose much of my interest. I’m just your typical girl; always wanting what I can’t have.


ImageDear Delta,

I really, really like you, but things got a little touchy there for a minute (or five). I don’t blame you for my lack of upgrades. I mean, I can’t really compete with your platinum and diamond members. But the canceled flight that was so poorly handled? Things were not looking good for us. And then my bags that almost didn’t make it on the plane because your new terminal at JFK still needs a little more signage. I was seriously questioning my loyalty. But, thankfully, you made up for it in a voucher, bags that arrived on time, and access to the Sky Club. Hopefully next trip will be a little less eventful.

With some reservations,



Dear Dan, Bill, and college kid whose name eludes me right now,

Thanks for wanting to drive down to South Bend when our flight from Detroit got canceled. I would have been so sad to not be with my monkeys when they woke up Friday morning. And Dan, thank you for providing some serious laughs (on the inside…I didn’t want to make you feel awkward) when you awoke with a start because the car fish tailed just a little. I mean there’s nothing quite like an “Oh jeez!” flying out of someone’s mouth upon waking up. It was pretty much awesome. College Kid and me had a good laugh at your expense once we dropped you off. The best drive with three strangers at midnight in a snow storm that I could have every hoped for.


A girl who’s really glad you weren’t rapists or serial killers because that would have really ruined my time in the States



Dear Chili’s,

You are one of a few chain restaurants that I truly love. Not just tolerate or put up with, but actually love. Thank you for being in JFK and DTW. Diet Coke, chips and salsa, and a molten. What more could a girl ask for?


A girl who wonders why she struggles with her weight (okay, not really)



Dear Foreigner,

I knew you were an ’80s hair band when I saw you in the Sky Club, but admittedly didn’t realize which one (or that you were actually pretty famous) until I saw the CD you gave the concierge and verified via google images. Unfortunately, I also didn’t figure out in time to get an autograph for my older brother. He’s a huge fan of Mick Jones.

With much regret,


P.S. You guys all seemed super nice (crew included) and that made me happy.


ImageDear Hertz,

I just want to apologize for the damage I did to the very nice, 2014 Subaru I rented (well, I was upgraded into). I didn’t intentionally not see that the road narrowed or that there was a curb hiding under all of that snow as I cruised along at 40 MPH, but that doesn’t change the fact that I did it. Unfortunately for you, I did purchase the full insurance (a rule of thumb in crap weather) so I’m not paying anything to repair it. That said, given the number of other times I’ve purchased the insurance and not had any issues, I think you’re still coming out on top.

My sincere apologies,

A girl who is glad she errs on the side of caution these days

Dear Sister-in-Law,

Thank you for being into hair and makeup so that when I had to leave my luggage in Detroit I know it was going to be okay.


Your sister-in-law who is equally into hair and makeup and needs them both much more than you these days


Dear little brother (yes, I will always call you “little”),

Thanks for being awesome and changing out the flat tire in a snow storm before I even realized it had gone flat overnight and couldn’t be fixed. You know I could have done it because you taught me how, but I really appreciate that I didn’t have to.

Love your favorite sister (it’s okay, everyone knows it’s true),


P.S. Erika and Alicia, if you’re reading this, don’t be offended. It’s not like I’m winning by a lot. Just a little. But I am winning.


Dear Grandma,

Thanks for teaching me how to make Swedish pancakes. Mine aren’t nearly as good as yours (Brad says it’s because I don’t add enough love…), but the littles all like them just fine (as do the bigs) and I have you to thank for that. And yes, I do still eat mine like I did when I was four. They just taste better that way.



P.S. Happy belated birthday! (I did leave you a message, but the time difference makes things a little tricky…)

ImageDear Noodles,

Even with all of the varieties of gourmet mac ‘n’ cheese I have been able to try over the past few years, yours is still my fave. And I’m pretty sure a certain munchkin feels the same way.




Dear Nev,

Thanks for sponsoring another amazing dinner for your children. We really appreciate it. Sad you couldn’t be there with us! But, since you couldn’t, here’s a picture of the dessert Justin ordered. A delicious bourbon cup(literally)cake with maple frosting and bacon. Maybe not an ideal dessert, but an awesome breakfast idea. Anyway, it was lovely.


Your favorite youngest daughter


Dear muddy buddies,

Thank you.


ImageDear sick baby,

I’m sad you weren’t feeling well, but I can’t lie. The resulting cuddles were my favorite.


Auntie Chlo-Chlo

ImageDear Book and Run,

You are by far my favorite card game. I just wish more people knew how to play you. And thanks for working in my favor this go. It felt so good to beat both Justin and Cherity. If only Erika had been there, my victory would have been complete.

Hope to play you soon,


ImageDear Soccer,

Thank you for being an awesome sport (second only to swimming) and keeping my nieces and nephews busy and active and me entertained. I don’t know if there’s anything cuter than a bunch of 3-7 year olds running around the field trying to score goals. Adorable.


A girl whose mom ensured she would always love you


Dear Jimmy John,

I’m so sad I didn’t know you existed all of those years I spend in Arizona. I could have know the joy of a #9 so much sooner!

With much sadness about my sandwich options in Japan,


ImageDear Coco,

I’m sorry that you don’t love your little buddy as much as he loves you because seriously, he’s the sweetest. But maybe if I had a tail he pulled I’d try to avoid him the same you do.


A girl who hopes you’ll try a little harder

ImageDear Legos,
You are by far my favorite “children’s toy”. I had so much fun watching my niece and nephew play and build with you, their imaginations being the only limit on what they could do.
The girl who is so happy you made pink and purple Legos to get girls interested in building
P.S. I know there are feminist haters out there, but since Disney keeps telling little girls they should want to grow up to be princesses, pink and purple Legos seem like the much lesser of the two evils.
ImageDear Little Miss Munchkin,
Thank you for worrying about your aunt and the ninjas over here in Japan. And I super appreciated the brief education I received about the difference between blue ninjas and black ninjas with so much energy and enthusiasm. I would have never guessed that blue ninjas wore all blue and black ninjas wore all black. Very useful.
Auntie Chlo-Chlo
Dear SBN pilots,
Thank you for knowing how to handle the snow. I would have loved to stay in SBN a few more days, but I was on a tight schedule and getting delayed in SBN might have caused a minor meltdown (or major one).
A super fan of the SBN regional airport ever since my brother decided to go work there

dear you…inspired by two months in tokyo (part 1)

Dear Japanese women,
A few things I’d like to understand. Okay, mainly one thing. How the hell do you walk around in heels all day long? And not just in the city, but hiking up temples in Kamakura and getting onto boats to scuba dive in Okinawa. I really really really want to understand so can someone please explain it to me? Okay, and while we’re on the topic, reapplying makeup mid-day everyday at work? Seriously? A girl could get a complex. I mean, I am pretty into the whole “doing my makeup” thing, but you just take it to a new level. When I’m on my way home from work every night, having switched my heels for more sensible (i.e. less attractive) footwear and with makeup that was applied a full 10 hours earlier, well, I just can’t compete. No wonder there are so many gaijin men married to Japanese women. So, really, I don’t so much care about the why or the how. I’d just like it to stop so I don’t feel like a total slouch.
A girl who used to feel pretty put together…until she moved to Japan

Dear Don Quijote,
I’m so conflicted. You have so many great things and such great prices, and yet the assault on the eyes and ears upon entering your premises… Well, it makes it hard for me to be a consistent patron. I want to love you, but seriously…does every display have to talk or play music and flash lights? I mean, don’t you think it’s just a bit much? Even for you?
A girl who’s just trying to help you out (and not go deaf from trying to save a few yen)

Dear Roppongi,
You have been a fun place to live for these two months. Super entertaining. Always a lot going on. But I will definitely be ready to leave you when these first six months are up. With all of your bars and strip clubs and the men standing outside of them inviting men in. I will not miss that. Now, the view of Tokyo Tower, I may miss. So thank you for that. Oh, and the proximity of the subway. But I’m pretty sure I can find both of those elsewhere. Your saving grace is that there is a gym in my building that I’m just not willing to give up.
A girl who tries her best to not be disappointed with humanity while walking your streets every day

Dear Japanese food (in all your varieties),
I had this crazy notion that I might be able to lose weight in Japan. That’s when my definition of Japanese food was sushi. What an ignorant fool I was. If I had only known. And could you explain to me why it is that my Japanese coworkers can eat you every meal as if it were their last and still look the way they do? Oh, and could you also apologize to my Instagram followers who wish that I posted more than just food. It’s totally your fault. If you weren’t so delicious and so attractive, it would be so much easier to not post pictures of you. But you are both and so, I just can’t help myself. I have no control.
With conflicted feelings,

Dear Japanese men,
I apologize for not following your rules of hierarchy, but I’m a woman and where I come from, that means I get on and off the elevator first and I get the seat on the subway before you do. So, you can keep giving me your disgusted looks when I don’t do things the right way because this is one cultural difference I’m not willing to give up.

Dear Diet Coke,
I miss you dearly. I made a new friend this week who will be bringing you to me thanks to the U.S. Commissary her Air Force engineer husband. God bless America!!!
With great anticipation,

Dear gym on the first floor,
Thank you for being so convenient and helping me keep my weight gain to a meager 5 lbs as opposed to the 25 I’m sure I would have gained without you. And thank you for having two treadmills. I’d hoped for an elliptical machine, but life can’t be perfect all the time.
With intentions of seeing you even more in the months to come,

Dear Dreamcycle,
Thank you for being such a fun way to get around town on the weekends. I’m sorry I’ve left you sitting in the bike room these past two weeks. Hopefully the other bikes are being nice to you. Unfortunately, I’m headed out of town yet again tomorrow morning, but I promise I will make it up to you next Saturday.

Dear Union Supermarket (or supa maketto in Japanese),
Thank you for being open 24/7 and a block from my apartment. You are small and super expensive, but living in NYC has taught me that I value convenience over almost anything when it comes to grocery shopping. And thank you for having really good produce. Now, if you could just carry Parm Bars (think a Dove ice cream bar but with a chocolate coating that’s just a little more fudgy so it doesn’t crack or fall off), I would love/hate you just a little more. As it were, the convenience store just a few blocks away has them, so I suppose that’s all right. Actually, it’s probably better that we limit our relationship to produce, rice, and meat. I frequent you too often and the temptation would be too great.
A girl who’s rediscovered her love of cooking in a country that has much better ingredients than she’s used to

Dear restaurants with vending machines,
It took me a bit (and a Japanese friend showing me how to do it) to be willing to frequent you, but now that I have…man are you convenient. I don’t have to struggle through trying to order my food in Japanese because I just make my selection, pay, and hand my little ticket over to the guy/girl behind the counter. Talk about a perfect set up for a girl who’s very tired after her long days at work and the last thing she wants to think about is how to order her darn tonkatsu.
A girl who hates that she can’t speak Japanese

Dear little damp washcloths and towelettes provided at every eating establishment, be it cafe, fast food, or gourmet restaurant,
You are the best thing ever!!! I do not understand why the U.S. has not adopted this tradition. Seriously.
The girl who might have to start carrying wet wipes even though she doesn’t have a kid

Dear Japanese toilets,
It’s a love/hate thing. More love than hate though. Especially because you’ve provided hours of entertainment in the conversation form on Facebook, at dinner parties, and with my family/friends back home. I can unequivocally state that you will be missed someday when I leave this place. Even with your gross, germ breeding, heated seats.
With sincere gratitude,

Dear kanji,
You make my life hard.

dear you…inspired by the events of the last month (a whole month sans blogging? wthh)

Amanda, our waiter, Kelly, me, and Sarah J. at Graham Elliot
in Chicago for Kelly’s birthday!

Dear besties (all of you),
Thank you for being amazing friends. Thank you for being the types of friends I can see after a week, a month, a year, or a decade, and being able to pick right up like no time had passed. Thank you for not judging my choices. Thank you for always being supportive and having my back. Thank you for listening to get excited about a new boy (and then understanding when I need to talk about why it didn’t work out). Thank you for giving me so many fun memories throughout my life.
P.S. the rest of this post is not so sappy.

Dear Girl Scout cookies (particularly Samoas and Tagalongs),
With much regret for the number of you I’ve consumed in the past two days,
My arse
Dear Delta Airlines,
I understand why it takes so many trips/miles to get Medallion status, but that doesn’t mean you should board your planes in the MOST backward way possible. It’s faster for everyone if you just board the plane from back to front. Also, your terminal at JFK sucks. I mean, water catches and hoses to deal with a leaky roof? If I make Medallion status this year, it will be worth it, but only by a little. 
P.S. I’m only doing this because I’m hoping to move far away in the very near future and think it will be worth it since my company uses your airline.
P.P.S. Do your flight attendants really let people paint their nails on the plane and then ask me if I’ve said anything to the woman when I complain about the smell? Isn’t that what they are paid to do?

Dear lady painting your nails on the plane,
Seriously? Il y a des limites, quand même.
A girl who takes personal maintenance seriously, but realizes there are limits

Dear college band on my flight Sunday,
Was it really necessary to travel in your matching outfits on a red-eye? A RED-EYE?! And your outfits…not super attractive. And why were you all so chatty? Thank goodness for noise canceling headphones and Tylenol PM.
With hopes that you don’t bug other people as much as you bugged me,
A normally pleasant traveler (okay, maybe not lately, but Delta and their stupid boarding and ghetto JFK terminal make me mad!)

Dear 55+ year olds currently hitting on me online,
You are all old enough to actually have sired me. Yes. That word is gross. And that’s why I’m using it. It’s gross that you are hitting on me. You have children old enough to be my siblings and none of you have enough money to make me consider marrying you for it. What I’m trying to understand is how it is you think that I would actually be interested? Especially since I’ve clearly stated on my profile what the upper end of my age limit is in terms of a potential future spouse, and you are well outside that range. You like to say that age doesn’t matter, but when was the last time you went out with a 76+ year old woman? And I think I’ve made my point.
Thanks but no thanks,
A woman who still feels anything over a six year age difference is inappropriate
P.S. For those of you paying attention, there was a boy…there no longer is a boy (by mutual decision)…so it’s back to the drawing board (or internet, as it were).

Dear Spotify,
I’m pretty sure I’ve written you a letter before, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to adequately express to you just how much I love you. I LOVE YOU!

Dear Broadway,
Thank you for giving me a reason to love you once again. Seriously, it’s been a very dry year, but a few weeks ago, when the lovely Sarah J. (Sare, that’s your new nickname, btw) and Co. were in town, I got to see both Newsies and Once. I realize that Newsies is kind of a silly show, but oh how I loved it. So entertaining. And so fun to see some of the great Broadway dancers from SYTYCD. And then there was Once. I was worried I would not love it as much as the movie. I was worried that no one could be as good as Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. I had no reason to worry. Wow. Just wow. I can’t wait until I can see it again. 
With a song in my heart and a smile on my lips just thinking about you,
there are a number of things I would change,
but not bad for two hours start to finish

Dear Art Studio NY,
For many, many years I have believed that I have very little artistic ability, so finally, I decided to conquer my fear and just take a painting class. And while I definitely don’t think I’ll be winning any art competitions any time soon (are those even a thing?) or selling a painting, I had a fabulous time learning a little bit about painting and feel pretty good about my two hour painting. Hopefully I can find the money to take some more classes in the near future.
The girl who is so happy she manages to find 20 seconds of courage to sign up for things that scare her

best pea soup ever

Dear Graham Elliot (and Kelly),
Thank you for what was probably the most amazing dining experience of my life. I knew I was in for something special for Kelly’s birthday dinner, but I had no idea just how amazing it would be. And with the best company in the world (Kelly, Sarah, and Amanda) how could it not be enjoyable. But the food. Oh, the food. Fourteen glorious courses and several adult beverages (mine were of the virgin variety, but still pretty special) and I am forever changed. 
With much love (and much higher expectations for future tasting menu experiences),
A wannabe foodie

dear you (brought to you by the fact that i haven’t posted one of these in way too long),

Dear Instagram,
Thank you for helping me stay connected to people through photos. While my blogging has been rather neglected recently, I still have documentation of my life because of you. And thank you for making it so easy to post photos to Twitter and Facebook, too. And finally, thank you for enabling me to take a selfie that made me look so great. Pretty much, you are my favorite app ever.
I love, love, love you! 
P.S. In case you had forgotten since yesterday, here’s the pic I was referring to.

Dear body,
Thank you for somehow managing to deal with the sleep deprivation currently being inflicted upon you. It came to my attention last year that your ability to function without sleep had deteriorated significantly, and yet somehow, over the past few weeks, you’ve hung in there like a champ. I think the late nights might slow down eventually because even I know this isn’t sustainable, but thank you, thank you, thank you for pushing through. 

Dear obnoxious lady at the laundromat last week,
Yes, I did know that I set the dryer for 56 minutes. In fact, I set it for 70. And the reason I know that is that I put the quarters into the dryer to set it for 70 minutes. And the reason I set it for 70 minutes? Because I go to this laundromat every week. Because I wash my own clothes so as not to have them thrashed by sending them out to be laundered. Because I dry them on low to preserve the life of my clothing. Because I had towels in the load. Not that it was any of your business, but there you go. And when I explained that all to you (much more succinctly), you acknowledged that it was none of your business. And I agreed. 
With hopes that you learned your lesson, but suspicions that you did not,
The woman who’s been doing her own laundry since she was 10 years old
You have made it so I don’t think I can happily live anywhere but NYC as a singleton. And it’s not like I use you that often, but just knowing you’re there makes me happy. And tonight, you came in so handy. I’m knee deep in cleaning (um…and blogging obviously) and I don’t have any desire to leave my apartment looking the way I do and all I have in my fridge are applesauce and myriad condiments. Until one has experienced the convenience that is food delivered from just about any restaurant in a 20 block radius, one just cannot understand how easy life can be. 
I thank you and my soon-to-be-clean apartment thanks you!
Dear Julie (and Greg),
Thank you so much for letting me come hang out with you last weekend. It was exactly what I needed. Life has been a little stressful and chaotic the past couple of weeks and I just needed a break. I love my family and the new babies and helping out with them…which is why I just needed to reset. Because I had been helping out with them. And it is so nice that you now live in Boston and have a lovely home where I can just chill for a weekend. Thank you for the wonderful trip to the Finnish sauna and for allowing me to not do anything else the whole time I was there besides talk your ear off about a boy, eat ice cream and caramel popcorn, watch movies, and sleep. I’m so happy to finally have you on the east coast!
Love always,
P.S. Your home is dreamy! 
You can see why it would be so easy to just chill all weekend.
I’m not sure how you became The Bachelor, but somehow it happened. Thanks to you, this season has been, quite possibly, the most ridiculous one to date (I admit, this is based on my limited experience–I’ve only watched four seasons) and yet I can’t help myself. A few words of advice once this whole thing is over and we all find out that it didn’t workout with whomever it is you chose to propose to because I’m guessing you’re just dumb enough to choose Courtney. Cut your freaking hair!!! There. I said it. And now, in case you want to know what’s so bad about it, I give you this picture.
Best of luck,
A girl who actually hopes you find love eventually, which is why I gave you the advice I did
Dear Primary kidlets,
I adore you and I was so excited to see you after four weekends in a row out of town. Thank you for being so good upon my return and so excited to see me, too. And tomorrow I have a special treat for you. I’m bringing salt dough. It’s going to be so much fun! I can’t wait to see you. 
Sister Andersen
What a perfect season finale. Thank you for being such a joy to watch and having such interesting and complex characters. Thank you for proving that good entertainment doesn’t have to be crass or edgy. 
Until I decide to start watching you on Netflix again,
Dear soccer,
Thanks for making me feel so tough even though both my teams are relatively crappy this season. There’s something about having a ball shaped bruise with a hexagon imprint on my quad that just makes me feel really good about myself.
With hopes for a better season to come,
See the lovely hexagon. This was the night it happened.
And three days later there was a bruise showing exactly where the ball had hit.