“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 (www.iamanonymous.org), $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 http://www.iamanonymous.org 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.

 

 

R.I.P. Customer Service (Part 1)

My recent service experiences as a customer lead me to the cynical conclusion that we live in a world of assholes and assumptions. I posted this as my Facebook status yesterday and many people commented on their own gripes of the new millennium help standards. I have 16 years practice  in the service industry.  Each year I learn how to improve my level of assistance when working with clients.  At the risk of sounding high and mighty; I feel when I am the consumer and have a complaint, issue or question there are very few reps who meet my expectations on how they handle my concern. I shouldn’t have to elaborate that the title of this blog is an indication that customer service is dead. Some of the reasons for the demise are

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Jennifer Hudson….Weight Watching

WOW. 80lbs lighter, Ms. Jennifer Hudson looks unbelievable. After revelaing her weight loss on an Oprah appearance, I was inspired. I gained 60lbs when I was pregnant with my daughter and so far I have only lost 20lbs of that.  My daughter is now 10 months old so I will think of Jennifer’s journey while I continue working on myself.  Personally I thought Jennifer was gorgeous before she lost the weight, but the clothes she has been rocking are PERFECT for her new body and she looks ecstatic to model them.  I love this story so much because it reminds me of my own weight loss struggles & accomplishments.  Jennifer Hudson puts such a “Smile” on the face of weight loss. She was able to shine beautifully when she was heavier and she still has the same warm, can-do attitude as a size 6.   Continue reading

For Billy: The Movie

A 2009 study by the Indicators of School Crime and Safety showed that 1/3 of teens reported being bullied at school. An even more alarming statistic showed that school bullying can be related to violent actions, including suicides outside of school.  It is truly outrageous and heartbreaking to think of a young child or teen who thinks there is “no way out”  that they actually contemplate taking and in some cases do take their own lives.   A fellow WHS alum of mine, Michael Anthony is standing up and making an effort for change. It all started with this hilarious You Tube video.

Michael’s video sparked a reaction in many people and the documentary, For Billy: The Movie, was created.  After posting the You Tube video, “It Gets Better:” “Michael received over 100 responses from friends and strangers alike; however, one letter in particular changed the course of Michael’s life. Simply signed “Billy”, this semi-anonymous note was written by a boy from Michael’s hometown, one who currently attended his very same high school. In the letter, Billy shared his personal struggle with his sexuality and the sadness it has created in his life – a story Michael found all too familiar.” I urge you to go to the For Billy: the movie website and read Billy’s letter, find out how you can help, donate and mark your calendars for the event:  BE: The Exhibit on March 18th in Arlington Heights, IL.  I asked Michael if I could write this blog because it is such an important message to send to kid and adults. He was kind enough to let me share this story and his objective of this documentary: “What do I hope to accomplish from this? My goal is this…You can’t change the world, but you CAN change conflicted hearts, the people that are on the border of accepting everyone. Maybe I can change 10 people in Wheeling. Maybe my media coverage can change 100 people in Illinois. Maybe this documentary can change 100 people in each state. That’s 5,000 people who, before, weren’t accepting or aware of our culture of bullying, homophobia and ignorance. 5,000 people can change the world, I think. That’s what I hope to accomplish.” Michael’s open heart and kindness gives me hope and I feel so proud to support his vision with this movement.  If you have been following my blog, I hope you gather that I am a strong believer in accepting others for who they are.  This is the quintessential time to act on that belief ! See you on the 18th and special thanks to Michael Anthony for the message, movie and motivation to stand up for our youth!!

Girls are Sports Fans too!

The Bears won the Superbowl in 1985 and I was 4 years old. My parents dressed me from head to toe in boys Chicago Bears clothes. I look back on the picture proudly because to this day the Bears are my all time favorite team; I just wish my outfit was more girly & cute.  For many years I bought boys/men’s sportswear to pay homage to my favorite teams.   Don’t get me wrong, there was a very small selection of women’s apparel, but it was slim pickings for sure.  In 2007 Alyssa Milano (yes, Samantha from “Who’s The Boss,”) debuted her Touch collection which includes every sports team you could think of from the NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA & NBA!  Visit Fandalia to find your faves. It’s refreshing to see such diverse and trendy T’s, jackets, & tanks to represent your favorite sports team. Girls LOVE Sports too and now we can actually wear something fitting and flattering.

Noelle Vazzano: A Designer You Should Know

I was flipping through my mom’s address book when I was planning my wedding and I came across a name that rang a bell: “Vazzano.” The Vazzano family lived down the street from me when I was a little girl (5,6, & 7 years old I think). Brittany and Noelle were my first friends in the neighborhood. They moved away when we were still very young, but when I saw their name in my mom’s book-I decided to look them up on good ole’ Facebook. Both of the girls were on there, doing well and it was so cool to see what they were up to.

A couple months after I requested them as friends, I received an update that Noelle had a fan page. I couldn’t leave the Lush360 readers out on what I found when I visited Noelle’s page. She is an amazing, grounded, & talented designer & entrepreneur and she’s only 26. Her story is one that will motivate everyone and she was nice enough to let me share with you readers some pics on what she is doing now!

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Birthday Wishes

Bday Outfit

Cute little number I would wear as a birthday outfit.  Still kind of cold here in Chicago so all this would be required.
[photos:polyvore.com]