Friday, October 23, 2015

Season 2, Ep 5 Three Items on a Deserted Island

Maddie's boyfriend with some gifts for the ladies.
This week, host, Andrea Chesley asks each of the guests, "If you could only have 3 items of sustenance for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?" It is easily the lightest topic we broach, but the guests had the hardest time with their answers! Some of them were logical choices and some of them were just plain weird. From Stove-top stuffing to green tea lattes, the items these ladies could not live without may surprise you! Tune in to this fun episode! You can play the episode below or download us on iTunes!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Backpacking and the Humbling Art of Burying Your Poop

John Muir: The reason we have to bury our poop. 
I have to admit, hiking 60 miles of the John Muir Trial (JMT) in the forest over 5 days with a backpack was not my idea, it was my dad’s. I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I’d been camping before, I’d even been backpacking before, but not for this duration or length of hike. For some reason, I was not intimidated. (I’m typically convinced I can do everything.) Even amidst my father’s repeated warnings about being “in shape” enough or the need for bug nets, water filters, and “Bear Mace,” (yup) I had visions of camp fires, swimming holes, meditating on rocks, and mornings spent writing in my journal, creekside, with my steaming hot Starbucks Via. A relaxing escape to become one with nature. Well, I was wrong. (If I was right, this post wouldn’t be any fun, would it?) Any second you’re not hiking or sleeping, you are pooping, looking for a place to poop, or figuring out what to do with your poop after you’ve pooped.  And I did become one with nature, but not in the way I expected. Nature and I are closer than any two entities can possibly be now. Nature has literally watched me with my pants down, angle it just right, and hard squeeze, (because I'm trying to do it as fast as possible for lots of reasons) to get a poop in the 6 inch hole I just dug in to Nature, with a stick, while I lean against a tree or rock (because my legs are so fatigued, they have literally become noodles in protest, rejecting their host body,) and try, TRY not to let anything coming out get on your one pair of pants, socks, or shoes. Nature has some serious dirt on me. (Real, sad pun.) It will be a while before I can look a tree in the eye. I realize I am not the first person to do it, nor will I be the last, still, the entire experience changed me. If you ever feel like you’re getting a little too big for your britches or you’re finally at that place where you’re handling with ease all that life is throwing at you and you need to feel challenged, I suggest the humbling experience that is backpacking.

Day 1. I started the first leg of this hike with confidence. I left the reading of the topographic maps to the experts, my father
and cousin, who assured me that while we would be doing “a little climbing” this day, this would surely be the worst of it for entirety of the 60 miles. So, we began. We climbed out of Yosemite Valley toward Half Dome. It was one of those cute, little uphill climbs that lasted forever, had a set of never ending stairs like an M.C. Escher painting, and forced me to call into question whether or not life was worth living. It was very sweet. After approximately 7 miles, I volunteered to watch backpacks while the other 3 members of my group ascended the Half Dome cables. (See photos) I totally would’ve done it, but SOMEONE NEEDED TO WATCH THE BAGS. They went another 1 ½ miles round trip while I waited. We then hiked the additional 1 ½ miles to our campsite. We set up our
tents in the late afternoon at a beautiful spot next to a creek. I had not yet pooped, and I began to think I could, quite possibly burn exactly enough energy per caloric intake to never poop again or maybe have one of those mind-over-matter experiences and I could just hold it in for 5 days. Which was going to have to be the case for at least the evening because there were no bathrooms in this particular campsite. Confident and energized, I took a whore bath in the creek like a good backpacker and ate my Mountain House beef stew. A few hours later, as we retreated for bed, it hit me. Hard. I was
Dad and cousin, Tyler on top of Half Dome.
not a super human and I was going to have to use nature’s restroom. It was dark so this meant choosing a location was going to be challenging. You must go far enough away to find privacy, but not so far that a bear eats you before you can pull your pants up and call for help. Keeping my poop training in mind, (no joke, they train you, those crazy national park people,) I found a tree and began to dig my 6-inch hole. I looked around one final time to ensure privacy. There were some lights from some guys at a campsite across the creek, but they were too far away to see me in the dark, for sure. So, I went to work as swiftly as possible.  I should mention here that I was wearing a head lamp.  A hands-free flashlight experience is ideal for nighttime restroom use. HOWEVER, because of the nature of wearing them correctly, they illuminate everything in the direction you’re looking. I looked down at my situation to make sure it was all going well and IT WAS. Just then, I heard some light laughter off in the distance. I shot a glance in the direction of other camp to find 4 bright headlamps shining in my direction. OH SHIT. (Literally.) I HAD JUST USED MY OWN HEADLAMP AS A SPOTLIGHT AND I JUST POOPED IN FRONT OF 4 STRANGERS. I quickly turned my headlamp off and began rustling my pants back on in horror! Hearing this fussing and rustling, my boyfriend, the 4th, and not yet mentioned member of our party, began to walk with his flashlight in my direction to make sure I was ok. I hadn’t told him I was going to the bathroom, dammit! Thankfully, I had my pants back up before he could light me up for our neighbors to see again,
"Leave no Trace" is a real, important thing, I guess.
but I had not yet buried my poop! (Part 2 off the “pooping in Yosemite” lesson.) Furiously, I began to bury, but I was too late. He was there. Shining a flashlight upon my handiwork. We’ve been together a long time, and I like to think we still have a little spark, but whatever was left of that spark was permanently extinguished as we looked at each other, then at my poop, and then at each other again, and all I could think to say was, “That’s not mine.” He made sure I was ok and left me to my work. I buried it, in shame, in the dark and came back to the tent. I slept surprisingly well despite the evening’s events. I had conquered the first day and it was hard, but this “was the worst of it,” so I was not worried.

Miles hiked: 8 ½

Total Poops: 1

Pride: All time low

Lessons Learned: 1- Turn off headlamp during nighttime outdoor restroom use. 2- Tell people you’re going to the restroom so they don’t try to come find you.

Day 2. I poked my head out of the tent to see if our neighbors who got the hilarious show from the night before were still there and thankfully, they were not! I could eat breakfast with my dignity intact. We had a long day ahead of us. Today, we would be hiking 17-18 miles. That is crazy, I know, but according to our topography experts, my father and cousin, it would be “relatively flat.” I’ll interject an early lesson learned here and tell you that they are both liars. There were not 1, not 2, but 3 different climbs that day. Sure, 11 miles of it was flat or downhill, but the other 6-7? Big, fat, annoying climbs. Fine. No problem. Surely this was the worst of it. At about mile 8, we came upon High Sierra Camp and it had a bathroom! Do you have to poop? I thought to myself. I did not, but that was ok because that evening, we were staying in the well-developed campground in Tuolumne Meadows, where I could surely have a peaceful movement with a stall and flushing toilet. I just needed to hike 10 more miles. Upon arrival and further reading of our map, we realized that the ranger station where we had cached our food for the remainder of the trip was actually 1 mile FURTHER than our campground. Now, I don’t know what super-human strength came over me, like the kind where people lift cars off of other people who are trapped and the like, but like a true hero, I said, “Not to worry, Father. You stay here and relax. I’ll go get our food so that we might eat.” (Truth: My dad was done, so my cousin and my boyfriend volunteered to go. In delirium told my cousin I’d go instead because I was “feelin’ it” and I stumbled like a freshly walking baby, 50 paces behind my boyfriend for 2 more miles.) But I did it! We finally got back to camp and happily ate our bean burritos, provided by my dad. (Quickest way to my good side: Beans.) Full and happy, I waited for my bowel movement to come. It would be a lovely evening walk to the restroom and undoubtedly a good sleep. But it never came. I went to the restroom and stood around the toilets, looking into each stall to encourage my body to take the opportunity, and to my ultimate dismay, I didn’t have to poop. Dejected, I went back to camp and crawled into bed. Surely that bean burrito would work its magic over a good night’s sleep and I could poop in the morning. Just as I drifted off, a drunken group of campers began to play the guitar and sing. (The worst kinds of people are those who bring guitars to campsites.) The star of the show had a heavy (comical) accent and was from Poland (I would find out later) and was a BIG fan of American music of the 90s. After a version of “Santeria” that surely had Bradley Nowell turning over in his
"Oh, maybe yuf heard VunderVall?" 
grave, I broke my cardinal rule of cool and like a very old, very tired lady, I reached my head out of the tent and screeched “SHUT UUUUUP!” at the top of my lungs. I would’ve gone over in person and asked them nicely, but it is A LOT of work to get in and out of a sleeping bag, especially when it’s cold. I’m not proud, but I have no regrets. Shortly after, another camper backed me up with some similar verbiage, and the music quieted. But my night of sleep was already ruined. Tomorrow would surely be a bad day.

Miles hiked: 20

Total poops: 0

Pride level: Non-existent

Lessons Learned: 1- Do not believe a word my dad or cousin says about a topographic map. 2- I need to learn how to read topographic map. 3- There is a Polish guy on the John Muir Trail that needs to die.

Day 3. I emerged from my tent very groggy. In fact, this morning was somewhat of a blur. If I had to poop, I had forgotten how and never did. The stench on my clothes had become potent but was still in the “you like your own scent” stage. I put on a fresh pair of socks and my dad assured me today would be flat. Whatever. In this case, thankfully, he was right. This hike was pleasant. We stopped for lunch by a creek and I finally got to get in a “swimming hole.” I splashed around and soaked my feet and happily ate my trail sandwich while I dried off. Re-energized, I finished the day’s hike with ease. We stopped to camp by another creek. I paused for a moment to admire the beauty around me, and it HIT me. Before I could get my bag down, I knew it was finally time. It was still daylight, so I had to walk pretty far off to do my business. “I’m going to the bathroom!! Do NOT come find me!!” I called to my boyfriend. I walked with haste, scurrying to find a good tree or rock, all the while checking the sightlines of my group. If I go here, can they see me from the waist down and am I okay if they see me from the waist up or if we accidentally make eye contact while I’m pooping? I was not. Thankfully, there were no other hikers around because that would have made this even more difficult. After about a ¼ of a mile, I
Me, pooping in the woods. 
began to set up. Without going into even more detail, that bean burrito had, in fact, worked its magic. In a desperate attempt to protect my clothes, I hoisted myself in a position no human should have to ever have to be in to use the bathroom. Not an inch of it made it into my freshly dug hole. I tell you that so you know, so it’s clear, that I had to scoop it in. All of it. With a stick. Because a scary ranger lady told me to “leave no trace.” It was one of those surreal moments where you wonder what terrible things you did in life that lead you to this exact moment. I 
The beginning of the Donahue Pass climb. 
cleaned up and headed toward camp. During that walk, I decided right then and there, that at this point, it would be impossible to assimilate back to normal, toilet using society so I might as well get used to this. We set up camp, ate, talked, and went to sleep. Tomorrow was Donahue Pass day. It would be a hard day.

Miles hiked: 11

Total Poops: 1

Pride level: There will never be measurable pride again.

Lessons Learned: Only 1- Bean Burritos are not a good hiking meal.

Day 4. Consider this the "montage" paragraph. I could not yet read a topographic map and my dad and cousin are still liars. Mountains appeared out of nowhere. I would celebrate the summit of a climb only to be met with an even bigger, dumber mountain. I pooped upon waking, on the trail, and
Me. Because I pooped outside once. 
upon arrival at that evening’s campsite. My holes got shallower out of sheer fatigue. I was so sore and smelled so bad that I wondered if I should burn my clothes and just Jungle Book/Dances with Wolves this whole thing. I decided to sleep on it, but not before one more poop.

Miles hiked: 12

Total poops: 4

Pride level:

Lessons learned: 1- Four days is plenty for a backpacking trip. 2- Four poops is plenty for a backpacking trip.

Day 5. The last day. The only thing that got me out of bed on this morning was knowing that I was near the end. We packed up, and headed out without a morning “movement.” Maybe I’ll make it to the end where I can use a real toilet?! I hiked so fast and so hard, I surprised my group and myself. However, about 7 miles in, hiking and chatting with my dad, I couldn’t hold it in anymore. Of course not. Now nature was just one big toilet with running streams everywhere and beautiful big rock and tree toilet seats, and my body knew it.
Me. Between poops. 
 In broad daylight on the trail, I had to stop my dad, and go find what would be my last bathroom. This time, I didn’t care. I was looking for waist down coverage only. I angrily dug my dumb hole, and tried to hurry. I heard my dad call, “Hey, Andrea! There are people coming!” I closed my eyes and sighed. This is a process you can only rush so much and at a certain point you can’t interrupt. I looked over my shoulder and saw them coming. I didn’t care. Who was I trying to impress at this point? I thought about picking it up and throwing it at them, like our ancestors did, but I didn’t. I just waved and turned to look vacantly into the distance. I used to have dignity. I thought. I used to be somebody. They passed in awkward silence. Everyone knew what I was doing. It was the pits. We finished the hike at Devil’s Postpile where again, with a beautifully functioning bathroom, I did not have to go. I had blisters on my feet, dirt caked on my body, a weird rash on my legs (that went away after a shower,) a slight sunburn, and no feeling in my legs. I sat for a second, looking at my car, my beautiful car, trying to figure out if I remembered how to drive it. And then, for a moment, I looked back at the trail, at the trees and majestic mountains. And I whispered, “Sorry I pooped all over you.”

Miles hiked: 12

Total poops: 2 (1 came later on at home.)

Pride level:

Lessons Learned: 1- I can hike 60 miles. 2- California is beautiful. (See Photos.)  3-Pride is overrated.

Idiots on Half Dome.

More Idiots on Half Dome. 

Me. Between Poops. 

Me. 18 hours since last poop.


Campsite # 1

Me and Tyler. Morning of last hike. 

"Trees are Dyin'"

Two lucky ducks.

Cookin' future poop.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Season 2, Ep. 4- Your Alternate Universe

I ask each of the guests to speculate and delve deep inside the "What If's" in their lives. I asked them to describe their Alternate Universes and asked them to describe when those pivotal moments would have taken place. There are some amazing stories on this episode! I can't get over it! I am beyond grateful these women shared their stories with me, and with YOU! Listen. Be entertained. Be inspired. Find out who gave up a private jet and a real life Sex And The City! Who fell for their producer on a high profile reality show and couldn't talk about it until THIS PODCAST! Who almost left America for good! Who could've been an Olympic soccer player! Who could've been an Opera singer! What a blast! And as always, you can listen here or download us on iTunes! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Season 2, Ep. 3- 7-Year-Old Dreams

This week, host, Andrea (me) asked each of the guest what they wanted to be when they grew up; What did 7-year-old them want to be? Find out who wanted to be a cowgirl, a ballerina, or an allergist. Find out who performs a monologue, who learned a very hard lesson in Kindergarten, and more! Don't forget, you can also listen on iTunes! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Season 2 Ep. 2: HOMETOWNS!

This week, I asked each guest about their hometown. I asked them to tell me What is special about it and if they would ever decide to move back. Not only was it neat to learn about different cities and towns from the people who actually lived in them, but that the word, “Hometown” did not necessarily mean “where you were born” or even “where you grew up” but more “where you felt most at home.” Some say they’d go back. Some already have. And some are glad to be as far away as humanly possible. Listen and enjoy! Follow ITB on Twitter @insidetheboxPC or on Instagram @insidetheboxpodcast and like us on Facebook! Email us at

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Season 2 Premiere!

It has arrived!

The 2nd season of Inside The Box is in full swing with the season premiere, "Introductions!" In this funny, heartfelt, edited collection of interviews, I introduce you to the 11 women who will be featured throughout the season. This extended episode gives you a peep inside these inspirational women's lives and to mine! The women of this season are, Amy Adams, Tara Donovan, Lisa Starry, Charlotte Crow, Carla Delaney, Kimberly Condict, Katie Walder, Sierra Delgado, Fara D'aguiar, Madelynn Elyse, and Stephani Casey. These women are fascinating as they discuss both their careers and personal lives and the attempt to find the perfect balance. Enjoy and tune in every Monday for new episodes. Next week: "Hometowns: and what makes them fantastic... or not so fantastic."

Monday, July 20, 2015

The 2nd Season of "Inside the Box"

The spirit of Inside the Box is that of female empowerment. Initially, I tried to carefully word the description so that, while there was no hiding it was a show about women, it might be appealing to men too. Now, I don’t really care. Unfortunately, as soon as I called it a show about women, by women, with a euphemism for vagina in the title, I may have alienated most male listeners. But women make up most of the population anyway, so I’m not too worried. So, “So long, dudes!” BUT, I will say this, if you (boys) stick around, you must be a very enlightened males with very good taste and thanks. Also, it will probably be a very pleasurable listening experience. Nevertheless, I have always felt a call to the plight of the female. At a very young age, I remember being called a feminist as if it were a dirty word. Then, looking up the definition: “the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men,” and I was like, “Yeah, I am a feminist and why isn’t EVERYONE else?” I am still dumbfounded by the threat that word holds even today, some 20 years later. Later on, as a high school dance teacher, essentially helping mold and shape young women in some of their most delicate years, I learned both, how important it was to help them develop a healthy sense of self-worth and what it was like to work as a female in the educational system and in the high school sports system. The inequality was there, clear as day. I was a burlesque dancer for some time in my 20s and got to explore an art form that was essentially an answer to the oppressiveness women felt in the early 20th century and how that translated to today’s perceptions of the female body and nudity and the choice to do with our bodies what we wanted. All the while, watching the way women treated one another, competing and undercutting rather than encouraging or creating partnerships. It was these life experiences that lead me to want to create a podcast for women. One that simply addressed us as humans, embraced our similarities and differences, and showed what the face of feminism truly looks like. And hopefully, there will be an episode or a story and a listener will think, ‘Oh great! I’m not the only one who …feels that way! …. went through that thing! …failed at something!”

If this is your first time hearing about Inside the Box and
This is Randi. Randi = trooper.
you’re like, “2nd season? I didn’t know there was a first!” It’s alright. The “1st season” of Inside the Box was an experiment and huge learning experience. The podcast started as a discussion style show. I hosted alongside my carefully selected co-host, Randi Straight and each episode featured a special guest with a panelist or two for good measure. We had topic bullet points, but no script. This meant, as does it mean for most discussion podcasts, some of them were long and some of them were confusing. Far too many cooks in the studio, if you know what I mean. I knew a podcast was to be a part of my future, and the name, Inside the Box, was too good to let go by the wayside for its delightful lady pun. So, after much thought (and a move to the desert where no one visits me,) I decided a crafted, edited podcast format was going to be much more my speed. I actually prefer listening to edited podcasts more than discussion podcasts so why shouldn’t my own show be something I’d actually listen to? You can hear the shift to this style in the last episode of season one, where I edited a one on one interview. I decided to wrap up those 10 episodes and affectionately call them, “season 1,” so I could completely revamp the format.

The 2nd Season of Inside the Box will be a 12 episode series. I’ve completed recorded interviews with 11 women over the last couple of months and I asked them all the same series of questions. Each question will be the theme of each episode. Each episode will include a forward from me and an edited collection of their answers. The questions (and answers) varied from the silly to the serious. The answers were hilarious, heart-felt, riveting, sweet, and emotional. For that, I am so grateful. It was an incredibly fascinating experience to be able to listen to these women open up about life’s ups and downs. I can’t wait to share their answers with you this season. To meet this amazing cast of women, click here or on the “Inside the Box- About” tab.

In an effort to bring some “cool” the worst month of summer, The 2nd season will premiere on August 10th. New episodes will be released every Monday. Tune in each week and as always, you can find episodes here or find “Inside the Box Podcast” on ITunes. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Inside the Box: Episode 10- Christina Barsi

Artwork for DIMENSION by Sebastien Rossouw
Sorry for the delay in posts as I moved to the desert and things are different and weird now. However, now that I've finally developed a bit of a routine, I should be able to post more frequently. Episode 10 is the first of many episodes of "Inside the Box" in the new edited format. (Because none of my LA peeps are willing to drive to Joshua Tree every week.) Each week will feature a new guest with a forward from me, your host, Andrea Chesley. This week's guest is actress, writer, and fellow podcaster, Christina Barsi. She talks about her Sci-Fi podcast, Dimension, and the re-release of seasons 1 and 2. We also get to know her and the road she's taken to get here and what the future holds. Enjoy. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Inside the Box Episode 9- The Lone Star Chuck Wagon Reunion

At the USS Alabama in Mobile, AL
This week's episode of Inside The Box is hosted by Andrea Chesley and co-hosted by Randi Straight with special guests, Andrea's teammates from the popular Food Network show, The Great Food Truck Race, Chef Lance Kramer and Rachel Young-Kramer! This week we discuss food, the behind-the-scenes excitement of the 5th season of the Great Food Truck Race, Lance's BBQ company and some of his exciting future plans, and we ask Rachel what she thought of the controversial movie, "50 Shades of Grey."

Monday, February 9, 2015

Inside the Box: Episode 8- Julie-Joy Voss

This weeks episode of Inside the Box is hosted, as always by Andrea Chesley, co-hosted by Randi Straight, with panelist, Katy Likovich and special guest, actress and THE "force of fun," Julie-Joy Voss. Tune in as we discuss internet trolls and courage behind the anonymous veil of the internet. We also discuss the purpose of this podcast and the difficulty of being open and honest, forever on the internet. Julie-Joy dishes about the making of her popular webseries, Fake Geek Girls. We keep forgetting to take a picture, but we'll get our act together someday. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Inside the Box: Episode 7- Katie Watson

This week's episode is hosted by Andrea Chesley, co-hosted by Randi Straight with returning panelist, Meagan English. Our guest is Katie Watson, business affairs coordinator at David&Goliath, and one of Andrea's friends from high school. Listen in as she reveals her path to success, from top athlete and student body president to landing a job at one of Los Angeles' top Ad Agencies. The two martini lunch is back for Katie! Also, she reveals her secret love for a good, girly cocktail. Things also get a little steamy as we discuss one of The Huffington Posts most "scandalous" lists. Thank you to Katie for letting me use her high school photo from our yearbook for the player photo! See what our student body president has been up to. (Go Knights!) 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Inside the Box Episode 6- Jenny Cadena

From right: Ana, Andrea, Jenny, Randi
Episode 6 of Inside the Box is, as always, hosted by Andrea and co-hosted by Randi. This week, new panelist, Ana joins us with special guest, Colombian-born actress and activist, Jenny Cadena! We discuss the purpose of Inside the Box, Randi's new segment, "Randi's super irrelevant movie review," late-life religious conversions, activism, female roles in film, the tough business of acting, and how to survive in Hollywood with "unpopular" political views. Listen here or download us on Itunes! 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Inside the Box- Ep. 5 - Amanda Maddox and Zak Dunn

Episode 5 of Inside the Box is hosted by Andrea Chesley and co-
Front: Amanda, Zak  Back: Randi, Andrea, Stephani
hosted by Randi Straight with panelist, Stephani Casey. This week we welcomed Kentucky born Actress and Singer, Amanda Maddox, and ultimate outdoorsman, Zak Dunn to discuss the upcoming movie, Gripped, starring Maddox with production and rock climbing expertise by Dunn. On this week's show, we discuss why we shouldn't discuss Shia Labeouf in Sia's new music video, Amanda's NEW film about OLD Hollywood, a Queer Noir, if you will,  in pre-production called, Sleepwalk, the climbers who are attempting to climb the Dawn wall of El Capitan, and Zak surprises us with the story of how he became a "Dirt Bag." Everybody tune in and don't forget you can download us for free directly from Itunes here! 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Inside the Box: Episode 4- Andrea Hansen

(from left: Randi, Andrea (Host), Stephani, Andrea (Guest))
This week's episode features my fellow "Andrea," best friend, and the unbelievably accomplished, Andrea Hansen. She joins me, my co-host Randi, and panelist Stephani for laughs about life, adult family relationships, dance, and beauty pageants! We got so caught up in conversation, that I completely forgot to add in my new "ITB Woman of the Week" segment, so be sure to catch my TWO honorees for next week!  You can also tune in on Itunes here.