Insert Snappy Title Here // Monica Geller-Bing is My Spirit Animal

I didn’t start watching ‘Friends‘ regularly until it was in syndication. The reason this show is still relevant is because each character is relatable and funny (except for Ross, does anyone like that guy?). But in watching and re-watching every episode I realized that not only was Monica Geller-Bing relatable, I was just like her.

Monica is witty (natch), beautiful (check), career-driven (duh), and loving (of course), but she also highlights some of the not-so-great qualities I’ve developed over the years – to an extreme degree.

Cleaning & Organizing
My mom would laugh at this considering the state of my room most days when I lived at home, but I am a stickler for having everything in its place. There are nights I can’t go to bed until everything is put away or there aren’t any more dishes in the sink. I wouldn’t say that cleaning is my thing — I can go weeks without dusting (yeah, I said it) — but I LOVE to organize and label. Come to think of it, I don’t have a label-maker… how is that even possible?!? This trait spills over into my work life, too – I consider it one of my biggest strengths. You should see some of the Excel spreadsheets I’ve created, they’re beautiful.


As much as I’d like to say I’m not competitive, I’ll scratch your eyes out if you beat me in a game. Well, maybe not that extreme… but I’m definitely not the most gracious loser. As a kid I’d take part in any contest, whether it was a spelling bee or pie-eating, just to beat someone. I’d be the first one to yell out answers in class (or Sunday School) and would race to finish my test so I was the first person to deliver it to my teacher’s desk. Even as an adult I  can get more into winning than actually playing… just like my good friend Monica.

Being Bossy
Especially when I was younger, if you asked my family to describe me in 5 words, bossy would definitely be one of them. I was older than most of my cousins and definitely louder than everyone. My poor sisters got the worst of it, though – they basically had to wait on me hand and foot (I’ve since apologized for that). I always wanted to decide where we were going to eat for family dinners, what we did during vacations, what we were going to rent from Blockbuster. I have now learned how to take the back seat and it feels good. But every once in a while that little control freak in me rears her ugly head and I force my husband to watch an episode of ‘The Voice’ with full commentary throughout. He still loves me though.

Bonus – Fat Monica
Monica was overweight growing up, something I can relate to (then and now). I will always be a fat kid at heart and will sometimes let myself become a fat adult before I snap out of it, start eating healthy, exercise regularly, and shed the excess. It’s a vicious cycle I’ve been in my whole life. Even now, though I’m not at my heaviest, I could stand to lose another 20ish pounds. I can still dance though, just like Monica.

Thankful for My Roots

Just before Thanksgiving Alex and I made another trip to Michigan – this time with my BFF Ashley in tow, to show her where we grew up, spend time with our friends and family, and eat at all our favorite restaurants (of course). Driving around our old neighborhoods brought back a lot of memories (some good, some bad) and made me stop and think about how much my hometown shaped who I am.

One afternoon at my parents’ house, my mom brought out a few boxes of old photographs. We sat on the couch laughing at changing hairstyles and silly faces, reminiscing about family members we’ve lost over the years, smiling as we remembered family vacations and holidays together. It was beautiful to share those moments with my husband and best friend, showing them a little more about who I am, where I came from.

Even though my family ties are much different now, I look at those photos and hold the memories dear. I’m thankful for those memories and grateful for the people I share them with, even if they aren’t an active part of my life any longer.

Below is one of my favorite family vacation photos (minus my mom, who was frequently our photographer). It was during a small hike in the Smoky Mountains, we stopped to wade in a creek. 


Gratitude in Writing


It’s a bit too early for New Year’s Resolutions, but a big focus for me in 2015 will be being better at keeping in touch with friends and family. More texts, more phone calls, more trips… and more letter writing. As technology has given us instant access to every person we’ve ever met, we’ve in turn forgotten the art of handwriting letters. Who wouldn’t swoon if they received a beautiful, handwritten love letter?

In spirit of this month’s theme, I thought it would be a great project to write thank-you notes and notes of gratitude to get started in the letter writing business. We have another trip to Michigan coming up, so why not send a handwritten thank-you to our hosts once we get back? With Veteran’s Day on Wednesday, I plan on writing a letter of thanks for one or two of our service men/women, as part of Operation Gratitude.

I remember writing our thank-you postcards after our wedding. It was important for us to write each one by hand and specifically thank each guest for their contribution to our special day. Here are my tips for writing the perfect thank you:

  1. Get the greeting right. Always triple-check your spelling of names, use nicknames when appropriate (my sister will always be “wee-butt” to me), include everyone from the household who contributed to your gift/good fortune.
  2. Begin with thank you. Focus on the purpose of the letter or note, why the recipient(s) are receiving your note. Thank you for the lovely glass bowl…  or I can’t thank you enough for attending my birthday party… 
  3. Include details. Describe how you’re going to enjoy your gift – or better yet, include a picture of it in use! If you received cash or a gift card, tell them what you plan on spending it on (if appropriate, of course!). If they showed up for an event, thank them for being a part of an important day for you. A small sentence of gratitude can pack a big punch.
  4. Make plans. If you will see this person in the near future, include that you are looking forward to spending time them again soon. If it’s a long-distance friend or family member, tell them you miss them and are thinking of them.
  5. Go out with a bang. I’m still working on my signature sign-off (so far, love+light is the frontrunner), but you don’t need one to end on a happy note. A good ole’ with love or many thanks will do the job.

I plan on making my own stationary, but there are plenty of options out there for beautiful paper products. I’m most excited about the new Happy Mail monthly subscription from A Beautiful Mess + Studio Calico. I pre-ordered the first month’s kit and think it’s such a sweet idea – a little motivation to help me maintain my year of staying connected. Do you still send letters or are you all digital? I’m curious if anyone out there is keeping an old tradition alive!