914DD8BA-0E7A-4835-937B-0AF625C6A4D6A question I have been asking myself, sorry for the lack of posts….lots of reasons, primarily a dead computer….a learning curve of doing nenasnotes on my iPad, let’s just call it frustration, confusion and loss of clear focus…let’s talk about it, shall we.

Perhaps it’s the lack of spring blooms, yes, they will come (I took the above photo last year in Harbor Country…I’ve referenced the grounds in many other posts), but then we rarely have spring until later, if at all. So I guess that’s not it.  I made a decision when I began my blog, a year and a half ago, that I wouldn’t do negative posts and I have stuck to that philosophy….so please let me vent this one time.  I decided to ask a consultant to help me toward my path to monetize nenanotes. I found the perfect person and we “clicked” immediately as friends.  During our delightful meetings over a period of time and lots of glasses of wine, I was advised to do lots of selfies, makeovers, talk about product, etc.  None of which is my style at all.  I’m not a pretty young thing who will have followers to buy what I  wear or droll over tutorials on how I apply my makeup …who cares!!! It has nothing to do with age but rather a preference of what my “mission/goal is”.  I think it is best to leave that to those who do it well. Guess what, I decided not to follow that advice (and it was excellent advice just not for me!) but continue on the path of my original plan to share my experiences in the world of fashion, do book reviews, explore collections, interiors (mine and others) share profiles of interesting people, my travels, in general talk about what interests me.  I do, however, have (suggested at my meetings) a smashingly glorious Media Kit produced by my dear friend, the extraordinarily talented, Christine Hawley, who also worked with me to produce my exceptional logo. I will use it for potential sponsors for nenasnotes. I’ll be happy to share the MK with any of you who are interested.

Okay, rant over. What do I have planned going forward, actually lots!!!  High on my list is to kick off my nenasnotes Fashion Book Club with Loulou & Yves by Christopher Petkanas. I will do a review, Christopher has asked me if I would post my review on the actual date of publication which is Tuesday, April 17th, I’m excited to do so.  It will be the first in my monthly Fashion Book Club choices and Christopher is interested in joining the discussion via Skype, too exciting for words! I will be announcing that May date soon along with the rest of the year’s exciting selections and surprises. Stay tuned!!!!!97B4DD29-93F9-46AC-AA9A-49F169C68071

I’ve been lax in sharing recipes with you lately…..sorry, I’ll correct that shortly. I love to make brownies and think mine are THE best (don’t we all!!!!!), I’ve made them forever.  For some unknown reason I had purchased a box of brownie mix as well as a can of fudge frosting and thought why not give them a try….I added pecans and vanilla to the brownies (sorry Tommy I was naughty and changed yet another recipe!!!) They were absolutely delicious and I think they are my new best!!!!!57807917-295B-4FE7-849E-EE9CDE411161

I am obsessed with looking at other peoples homes and gardens so you can bet you will see more of those, what did we do before Pinterest, I have zillions of clippings from magazines through the years as well as complete issues of some of my favorites, that is what we did. The photo below is a corner of my home (it was taken by Christine Hawley, I told you she is talented in so many ways!)…I’ve already done a post on paisley, there will be several on my needlepoint (some of which you can see on my built-in daybed) textiles, my lily of the valley collection in the breakfront and all over my home.  You can also see how I house some of my obsessive book collections, the two vintage bamboo shelves are mostly fiction and the tall slim bookcase (made for me by Harold Hawley, whom I profiled in my post on page-tuners) holds my collection of needlework books. You can also see lots of art on all surfaces. 3A576191-CDE5-4A95-9A76-C3124C09E84D

Gardens, of course….here is my favorite tree, in spring bloom, in Blue Island at the Tom Hawley and Tom Mantel home.  It is spectacular each season 9BB99CCF-DDB1-49FB-ABD5-3B44A670EAB8

As for my Profiles, I have a couple coming up that I know you will enjoy, waiting for photos on several and transcriptions on others. They are really, really outstanding and worth waiting for.  And always profiles of designers I have had the pleasure of working with.  Below I’m with Bob Mackie who has just launched his exquisite fine jewelry collection and is busy at work on the costumes for The Cher Show which will open in Chicago pre-Broadway in June…all too exciting for mere words!!D3B0A1F7-B99B-47B7-88BA-02BE1144DB92

Collections, of course, mine, and others and those found, like the assemblage below, at my favorite go-to monthly event Randolph Street Market



From a magnificent private collection of English Ironstone.

Of course, I’ll continue to share fashion shows past and present such as the benefit for RefuSHE on Thursday, April 12th at The Cultural Center. The photo below is from last years show with a gown incorporating fabric produced by the members of the RefuSHE ccommunity in Africa and created by one our talented Chicsgo based designers. 1E65F7B4-9A5E-479F-A96C-806C2A046734I think I’ll cross out the makeup and keep wine…well maybe keep both on the top of my list…..your thoughts my friends!!0589C2AE-6CB4-4D43-B87E-3937333C121C

To sum up, in addition to the aforementioned topics, I’ve been asked to redo my Fashion Show Production class at Columbia College Chicago which i am very excited to do as well as a couple of other CCC projects, we shall see how they develop.

If there are topics you want to explore with me let me know.  Until Spting arrives…..0B5F6705-23E6-4917-B449-380810FA655D                      Photo from Pinterest credit unknown



  1. Mary Ann April 9, 2018 / 9:09 pm

    Hi Nena,

    How much vanilla did you add to the brownie mix?

    I really enjoy your blog, just the way it is!


    Mary Ann

    • nenasnotes April 9, 2018 / 9:47 pm

      Thanks Mary Ann.
      . A teaspoon of vanilla and a hand full of pecans didn’t have walnuts. Very good, taste as good as my go to recipe if not better and really easy.
      Lunch please!!!!! N

      • Mary Ann April 10, 2018 / 5:11 pm

        Thank you Nena, I can’t wait to try the brownies! Would you mind sending me a media kit also ( I have been reading the other comments)? My email is

        Thank you!!!

      • nenasnotes April 10, 2018 / 5:15 pm

        Sure I’ll forward it to you. Let me know how you enjoy the brownies.

  2. Kay Whitfield April 10, 2018 / 1:56 am

    You are such fabulous inspiration, Nena! Please do arrange me to receive a media kit.

    • nenasnotes April 10, 2018 / 2:34 am

      Thanks so much Kay, what a lovely thing to say and I so appreciate that you are following me. Please give me your email and I will forward my Media Kit.

  3. Mary Ann April 10, 2018 / 6:24 pm

    Thank you! I will!

  4. Marcia Buchanan April 11, 2018 / 9:23 am

    As always I enjoy your blogs. I think you should do what you do best and that is what you have been doing with mixing it up a bit like you are going to do. “Carry on “as they say! All the best.

    • nenasnotes April 11, 2018 / 12:16 pm

      Thanks Marcia….I appreciate your kind words.

  5. Mary Ann April 22, 2018 / 12:40 am

    Hi Nena, I tried the brownies and they were great! Thanks!

    Mary Ann

    • nenasnotes April 22, 2018 / 12:45 am

      I know, right!! Glad you enjoyed them.

  6. Cindy Weis June 9, 2018 / 3:03 am

    Nena, please don’t change your blog, it is so far to find blogs that actually speak to my interests. I adore all of your collections (speaking from someone who loves to collect), and your recipes are very coveted. thank you for doing this wonderful format.

    • nenasnotes June 9, 2018 / 3:40 am

      Thanks Cindy…I’m not going to change it…I so appreciate your comments and I’m always open to suggestions of new topics…as you know I do wander. Your comments mean a lot to me. Starting a Fashion Book Club…let’s see how we can tie in La Prarie…goodies, drawing…. ounce back….only 20-25 in attendance. Let’s talk! I so appreciate your support of nenasnotes.

  7. Cindy Weis June 10, 2018 / 3:18 am

    Hi Nena, I had lunch with Missy yesterday and she was telling me about the delightful lunch you had with her. I would love to be part of the book club. I recently lost my beloved husband, and I need something that will give me a renewed interest in things that I hold dear, and of course fashion, home, garden and cooking top my list. I am going to learn to needlepoint, something I have wanted to do for sometime now. For sure that’s keep in touch, My best – Cindy

    • nenasnotes June 10, 2018 / 1:16 pm

      Cindy, I’m so sorry to learn of the loss of your husband. My heartfelt sympathy goes to you.
      I would love to have you join our small The Fsshion Book Club Group, please give me your email and I’ll get info to you. I can also teach you needlepoint, that would be fun.
      You can email me a
      Fondly, Nena

    • nenasnotes June 15, 2018 / 10:48 pm

      Hi Cindy, I’m so sorry I gave you the incorrect email for nenasnotes it is I want to send you The Fashion Book Club info in the hope you can join us. Stay cool and hydrate over the weekend. Hugs, Nena

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