Serial Thoughts and References

I have come to the conclusion that Adnan is innocent and there has not been a podcast, interview, comment or thread that has swayed me from that belief.

I’ve heard opinions that Sarah Koenig and the Serial team have shown bias. “Jay was painted a criminal while Adnan was strongly favored in the series” and I overall disagree with these opinions.  By the end of episode 12 I feel like we are left to consider that either Adnan is guilty or has really bad luck. This did not sit well with me. Contrary to what many believe I thought Serial was the hardest on Adnan.

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American Sniper

American Sniper. Wow. Incredible movie. While I’m sitting here in a heated home pondering my decision to post this or not-there are US soldiers in situations right now that we cannot even begin to understand. Further to that they come home from this completely different way of life and watch civilians debate or celebrate the most ridiculous subjects (myself included). We can argue all day about the US’s place in any war, but that’s not what this post is meant for. When a man/woman signs up to protect our country-they make the decision (no matter what leader is in office) to defend us. They willfully put their lives on the line for our freedom. I’ve always had the utmost respect and admiration to our military force, but i still can’t comprehend their sacrifices. And I quickly forget when I’m dealing with stupid trivial shit that our military is out there with such a greater responsibility to bear in conditions unknown, away from their family, making decisions a majority of us would never have to consider. Then I try to imagine adjusting to civilian life. Culture shock, PTSD, people who judge you but do not walk a mile in your shoes. I plead ignorance, but my mind is consumed with what our soldiers go through, what the families of the military go through. My father in law always tells us stories about Vietnam that blow my mind. It just really hit hard and consumed my awareness. And the whole point to this is-at the beginning of this blog I contemplate even posting this because my daily thoughts/decisions can be so trivial and dumb compared to what these individuals live through.
In the end I don’t think soldiers are looking for sympathy or to be celebrated-they are most of the time humble and don’t look for recognition but are proud to do their jobs. They are our true heroes though and our “hard days” at work have nothing on theirs. (Doctors, Nurses, Rescuers, Law Enforcement aside)
The country is an uproar for what Michael Moore and Seth Rogen tweeted and I thought what they both said were thoughtless and knee jerk reactions to a jaw dropping, leave the theatre in silence masterpiece. The movie is a great eye opener and way to start these conversations, but it’s so much more than a well written, beautifully performed film. It is a wake up call.
We speak from experiences. It has been 8 days since I watched the film and my mind is still racing. Our attention span in the digital/Internet age is extremely short. We forgot about the Ebola crisis, the missing MH370 plane, and other sensationalized/non sensationalized media blitzes, but we cannot forget to be grateful for these men and women. We cannot forget to recognize the sacrifices & courage of those in the US military.
I get what Michael Moore so ignorantly tried to convey to us and that was, “don’t you feel bad for the Iraqi people who were invaded?” “would you call an Iraqi sniper a hero?” And “if Iraq invaded us would you stay behind and fight for the US?” And his freedom of speech is just that: his Freedom. Our soldiers uphold that freedom. It is naive and entitled to be the one who thinks these rights cannot be taken from us without our government & military presence. Moore’s attitude seems sure he’d have the same liberties without the military’s impact. I do sympathize with innocent victims of any crime/conflict or war, but it is clear to me that the reason I can vote, bear arms, be in a workplace with men as my equals , wear a skirt above my knees, show my face, write this blog will come back to the military and our government protecting my right to do so. In a perfect world we would not need to go to war to protect these liberties, but we are not in a perfect world and when it comes time that the nation is forced to take action-they do so with us, our constitutional rights and this land in mind to protect. Iraqis can and may celebrate their forces Michael Moore (if they are free to do so) & we as Americans will celebrate & honor ours & when I’m aware of the privileges I have because of them, I will always hold our military in the highest regards.

“anthology of anonymoUS” (What Is It That Bullies You?)

Memories of my childhood  make me smile, laugh, cry, cringe, regret, regress, and reflect.   There was someone in Jr. High who bullied me, and during that time I was a tornado of negative emotions with no real understanding of why it was happening.  A classmate of mine, Michael Anthony (who you have read about before For Billy: The Movie) made it his goal to show people who have had a bullying experience that we are not alone.

“The anonymoUS initiative  is a non-profit anti-bullying movement dedicated to helping all people — all ages, all races, all demographics and all orientations — come out, come together and overcome the things that bully them. What began as a simple letter writing campaign has since exploded into an artistic movement, inspiring a feature-length documentary, a book, a musical soundtrack and a live stage show; all focused on exploring the most painful bully of all.”

anthology of anonymoUS (The Book): A powerful collection of 99 responses to the question: “What is it that bullies you?”   This book is a unique look into raw, uncensored truths, experiences, and emotions that will amaze you.  Each story, poem, email, confession is different, yet we can all relate.  Michael Anthony inspired these anonymoUS authors to band together and show us all “Even in our darkest moments, we are never alone.”  Order your copy of this book today! For each copy of the “anthology of anonymoUS” that is purchased through this site (, $1 will be donated to an anti-bullying program that operates within the delivery zip code.  It is extremely important to consider that by referring this book to your friends, parents, grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts, teachers you could be helping someone going through a difficult time.

anonymUSe (The Music): “An 18-track musical collection that explores our inner bullies through an eclectic mix of folk, jazz, new age, R& B, spoken word and dance music.”  Anthony asked a group of talented musicians to respond in song to a variety of the anonymoUS written pieces. Beautiful music has been created to release and re-illustrate the pain someone has once gone through (if this isn’t Karma for the bullying, I don’t what is!) The pain someone has felt, has now been turned into a candid,amazing song.   This is also one of the first non-profits EVER to release a soundtrack along with its book. Show your support to these artists by ordering your soundtrack today and be sure to get a listen preview at the anonymoUSe site.

Let’s face it, we know Michael Anthony is not stopping with a book and a CD.  The anonymoUS initiative isn’t even CLOSE to being done yet.  Plans for a play and workshops are also in the mix, so keep visiting for more information, updates and news.    I also recommend you follow Michael Anthony on Facebook, or YouTube.

Since I could not word it better myself (to describe the incredible achievements and drive this man has), I will end this blog with more information on Michael Anthony and why he is making my generation PROUD!

Michael Anthony Nalepa is a Wheeling, Illinois native who now works as a professional writer and producer in Los Angeles. His work has been featured in Glamour, The Advocate, Reader’s Digest, TV Guide and TMZ, as well as on NBC, Country Music Television, Sirius Radio and TV Guide Network.
For four years, he served as Creative Director of Alternative Programming for the Celebration Theatre and now hosts and his own award-winning theatrical variety hour at Lilly Tomlin’s LAGLC theatre in Hollywood.
His work as an equal rights activist launched the “anonymoUS initiative”, an international letter writing campaign dedicated to helping people of all ages, races and orientations overcome what bullies them through art and activism. An anti-bullying documentary based on Michael’s childhood in Wheeling, IL is slated for national release in 2013.





Circus Themed Birthday Party ~ My nugget turns 1!

I love party planning. When I have a party to plan, I take it very seriously, and go crazy over details. Most people are not like that, but I just can’t help it. So when my son’s 1st birthday was coming up, it was another excuse to throw a Continue reading

How an iPod Touch is changing my life….

On my 30th birthday my sisters, brother in law, aunt and mom all pitched to get me an iPod Touch and it’s changing my life.  I constantly have internal battles with myself on what I did prior to the “technology” era.  At times I find myself rushing home to go back on the computer instead of the gym.  I often think, “I should try to give up the computer for a couple a weeks and see how productive I could be.”  I never end up staying away from it, but I’ve been able to cut down on computer time.  You would think the iPod Touch would be another distraction; however it’s one of the best inventions of our generation and here is why:

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You Should Be on HGTV (part 2)

The next phase of our home re-dec was the bedrooms.  Althought this is a 3 bedroom home, we have only completed the Master Bedroom and our daughter’s room. The office is our next project.

Reese’s Room

Reese's Room (Before)

Reese's Room (After)

Reese’s Room (What We Did)

1. Stripped Wallpaper [ for more details on How to Strip Wallpaper cite:  You Should be on HGTV (part 1)]

2. Carpet: We removed the brown carpet ourselves and picked out a beautiful gray short-shag carpet from Home Depot which had the BEST deals. We used our HD credit card and got a free installation with 0% interest plan.  From what I hear it is “all about the padding” when picking out your carpet.  We went with the higher end padding and middle end carpet which looks perfect and is very comfortable.

3. Paint: I am standing up in a wedding in September and a friend of mine chose her colors as Pewter and Yellow.  She got the idea of these colors from Tori and Dean’s vow renewal. I loved the colors and thought they would go perfect in Reese’s room.  We chose Behr paint again in the colors Bicycle Yellow and Porpoise keeping the chair rail and trim white.

Ryan and Krissy’s Room

Ryan & Krissy's Room (Before)

Ryan and Krissy's Room (After)

Closet (Before)

Closet (After)

Ryan and Krissy’s Room (What We Did)

1. Same as Reese’s Room (See above)

2. Paint: We picked our colors out based on our bedspread which we ended up loving. I was not sure about the colors at first, but it ended up being one of my favorite rooms.  Colors: Pencil Point & Hazy Skies

Thank You, Gracias, Danke, ありがとう(How to say “Thank-You” in a Card)

As I prepare to write close to 100 Thank-You cards for my daughter’s 1st Birthday, I get overwhelmed with gratitude.  I am truly a thankful person and the generosity of others amazes me.  The problem when I write thank-you cards is that I write too much, they take forever and I never end up sending them which is completely embarrassing to me. It is so important to give thanks!  A few tips/tricks I am using for this go around:

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“You Should be on HGTV”

My aunt’s mother passed away in 2009 and in April of 2010, my Uncle suggested I consider buying her townhome.  We had so much going on at the time, I was due to have my daughter the following month and buying a home seemed IMPOSSIBLE.  We didn’t think we had enough money or credit to even entertain it.  After viewing the townhome which was VERY rough on the eyes Ryan (my husband) and I talked about our options and thought it wouldn’t hurt to apply for the loan.  Although the townhome wasn’t “move-in” ready, my uncle assured us most of the work him or my other uncles could help with.  We loved the layout and neighborhood. It was 2 blocks from downtown Mt. Prospect and the Metra train station, we couldn’t ask for a better location.  It was 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths with a basement.  “What’s meant to be, is meant to be” was the way the next 6 months went.  We were approved for the loan while I was on maternity leave and from that time in June it took over 5 months to actually close. On 11/9/2010, we signed on the dotted line and became first time homeowners.  We started work on the house the last week of December.

Dining & Living Area 

Dining Area (Before)

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My Life in the Fat Lane

I have been on a diet since I was 13 years old.  A kid actually called me fat when I was a size 2 in Jr. High and ever since that moment I have been striving for a more perfect body. I have tried the following to lose weight over the last 17 years: Dexatrim, cabbage soup diet, slim fast, Metabolife, Xenadrine, Hollywood Diet, Weight Watchers, HCG, Atkins, Cayenne Pepper Cleanse, & the Isogenix Cleanse. I even  tried my “hand” at throwing up after I ate (due to a rapid weight gain in highschool). That lasted about a day. (Good thing I never committed to that method) Most of the diets I tried-worked, but I could only adhere to the them for 30 days at the most and then I’d go back to overeating. Since I graduated highschool I have ALWAYS worked out and to be honest, I love working out. I was a great, healthy weight throughout my 20’s, the sad thing was-I didn’t appreciate it and still thought I could spare to lose a few lbs.  I would give the nuts I don’t have to be at the weight I was in my 20’s.  I ranged from 128-138 throughout my early 20’s and 138-154 in my late 20’s.   My clothes always fit and when they started getting tight, I would endulge in 2 day Hollywood Diet to lose 6-10lbs. Maybe this is how I ffffed up my metabolism so horribly.

I am 2nd from the left, (Red Skirt & Striped Shirt) at 128lbs at 23 years old

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