65F5FA3A-A0DD-4A39-B7D5-75E9AA4FD24AEvery day is Independent Bookstore Day to me, at least every day is “Book Day”! The above photo is almost my to be read stack….and I think it is short!  I thought I would just do a short post of what is on my list.  I never do negative reviews, so you may see a title that doesn’t get space on my blog or in reviews.  Being a Pollyanna, perhaps, but too many to read, to read books I don’t enjoy.  With a minimum (and yes, it is a minimum) of 12 fashion/lifestyle books per year for nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club plus everything else I want to share…it becomes a bit overwhelming and I’m not a full time book reviewer….well here goes!

I’ve written about my life long book obsession and now I have the privilege of doing book reviews and recommendations on nenasnotes.  And nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club will celebrate its first anniversary in May!  Where do the years go…I can’t answer that for you.

I have been so fortunate to have The Book Stall as my partner for the monthly nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club.  They are fabulous with their cooperation and the staff is extraordinary in their knowledge and helpfulness, (they are not a sponsor of this blog!)  I want to start taping my conversations with the authors to share with all of you in some format, probably a nenasnotes podcast….stay tuned for further details, a great way to begin year two!  If you are interested in learning more about nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club you can leave your email in the comment section of this blog or email me at

The April book selection was the just released Yves Saint Laurent: The Biography by Laurence Benaim, the first originally written in English.  A very long and minutely detailed accounting of Saint Laurent’s life…filled with quotes from those who knew this iconic designer.  It chronicles his life from birth to death and was sanctioned by Saint Laurent’s late partner, Pierre Bergé.  My group loved Saint Laurent’s life timeline as well as notations at the back of the book.  It isn’t a one day or one weekend read, extremely through and one that will enhance your growing fashion library.  The only negative from my group is that it isn’t illustrated…they do like “pictures” to emphasize the text…I can’t disagree since we are dealing with visual items….clothing and interiors.  I hadn’t planned on ending my first year with a Saint Laurent biography having begun the journey last May with Loulou & Yves: The Untold Story of Loulou de la Falaise and the House of Saint Laurent by Christopher Petkanas, who discussed his wonderful book in conversation with me.  I profiled the book on the blog last May.  I would highly recommend you read both being the fashion savvy readers you are!


Next month’s selection is the newly published POINT OF VIEW: Forty Years in Fashion by Tonne Goodman and yes, it has “pictures”!  I haven’t read it as yet…looks fabulous. The cover alone makes it a must have, stunning!


What am I reading right now and will review in detail…Ruth Reichl’s new Memoir Save Me the Plums…so far I am absolutely loving it and highly recommend you put it on you To Be Read list, I know you will love it too.  Reichl is an engaging, brilliant and beautiful writer.  Do you miss GOURMET as much as I do?!


Here are some my upcoming books in no particular order…full disclosure, I purchase many (all my fashion/lifestyle books), am given Advance Readers Copies (ARC) to review, and also use the Chicago Public Library…I’ve been a Library hound since birth!!!!  I, of course, prefer to have a book in my hands but often my ARC’s are ebooks.










Yes, I do read a “cozy” now and again….clears the mind and I like a series when doing them, often I turn to Laura Childs.

I’ll post reviews on each….obviously it will take a bit of time to do them all and this is just the tip of the TBR pile…I obviously need to take a deep breath and jump in….bear with me!

This Books Books Books post, like all my book posts, is underwritten by an anonymous sponsor.  If you are interesting in supporting nenasnotes please contact me for detailed information.


I’m so excited to share the following information with you and hope you can attend the first RETROSPECT Vintage Modern Fashion Chicago events.
I have written many posts on Randolph Street Market and have featured it’s brilliant founder, Sally Schwartz, in a nenasnotes Profile. Her home and personal collections are beyond fabulous, go to the archives if you haven’t read it.  Sally and I have been friends for more years than we can remember and when I retired she asked me to join her in various capacities at  RSM .  I now write two monthly posts for the RSM blog , one on fashion and one on collecting…please check it out, they are exclusive to that blog (once in awhile I repeat here but always there first!!!).  nenasnotes is not sponsored by Randolph Street Market…just to be clear. I happen to be a fan and find lots of information to share here and on Instagram and Facebook at the monthly Markets and now I will share my finds at RETROSPECT as well!
As you can see, there are lots of activities during RETROSPECT, including Tom Mantel’s extraordinary 1940 Packard always a show stopper….the Vintage Fashion Show with our fashion influencers wearing their own vintage pieces, an unbelievable line up of  International vintage clothing and accessory dealers many of whom have never shown in Chicago…..enough to make you join us?  I hope so.
Oh wait, there’s more…we begin the celebrations with a stop at the iconic The Music Box with THE fashion film we all adore…FUNNY FACE featuring the beyond gorgeous designs of Hubert de Givenchy worn to perfection by his muse, Audrey Hepburn while Fred Astaire photographs her every move and emotion….”Think Pink”, my friends and bring all your fashion savvy chums, be prepared for amazing fashion a bit of frolicking and spend the weekend with RETROSPECT….I guarantee you won’t regret it!  Here are all the details…..

Retrospect Vintage Modern Fashion Chicago

Retrospect vintage modern fashion chicago

RETROSPECT VINTAGE FASHION MARKET, Friday May 3 from 3pm-10pm and Saturday May 4 from 10am-6pm will be held at 2260 South Grove Street on the Chicago River, just west of Chinatown. Sponsored by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers with their Director of Luxury Accessories and Couture, Timothy Long, Media partners Modern Luxury/CS and Michigan Avenue Magazine and Luxe Bloom.

The evening event will benefit The Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum and will feature a fashion show, produced by RETROSPECT’S Ambassador Historian and MC, Nena Ivon, with Chicago’s vintage loving Influencers wearing their own vintage looks augmented with picks from the unique participating vendors…

A quote from Nena, “Our local fashionable set, on the whole, are more intellectual than most any other place and more discerning. Chicago fashion hunters are well heeled and well hatted, creative, unique, and deadly serious about adorning themselves. Chicago is a different realm altogether and RETROSPECT reflects this.”

2260 S. Grove at the foot of I90/94/290/55

For further information and to purchase tickets visit us at and our Instagram @RETROSPECTchicago And mark your calendars for the Fall RETROSPECT event November 1 and 2.

Retrospect weekend events and ticket information


Thurs May 2 – 7pm-10pm


Come dressed in your vintage best to Chicago’s oldest movie house the MUSIC BOX THEATREfor an exclusive showing of the 1957 Stanley Donnen directed movie “Funny Face”! A night at the movies with your friends from the Randolph Street Market and RETROSPECTvintage modern fashion will be just what the style doctor ordered! The evening will open with a brief panel discussion led by noted and witty Chicago fashion historian Nena Ivon and friends. “Funny Face” features Fred Astaire as fashion photographer Dick Avery, who is sent out by his female boss Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson) to find a “new face”. It doesn’t take Dick long to discover Jo (Audrey Hepburn), an owlish Greenwich Village bookstore clerk. Dick whisks the wide-eyed girl off to Paris and with the help of an extensive wardrobe by Hubert de Givenchy transforms Jo from waif to supermodel.  A classic for all lovers of movies and fashion! And following the movie, join us in the cafe for further discussion, drinks and coffee available for purchase. Hope you can join your new and old friends at this raucus and fun evening!!

$12 per person PURCHASED at

Fri May 3 – 3pm-10pm

RETROSPECT time to paRty shop

Come with your serious shopping party shoes on! The night has just begun and the shopping is the best date you ever had! Meet our superstar dealers, hear their stories and shop the finest, most gorgeous selection of vintage fashion, jewelry and other adornments ever assembled in Chicago! Enjoy bubbles and light snacks, dj, fashion show, photo ops galore and complimentary onsite parking. Ticket good for Fri May 3 + Sat May 4.

$30 per person

Sat May 4 – 10am-6pm

RETROSPECT the gReatest day of vintage shopping eveR

Now the fun can really begin when you shop till you drop and then you plotz with your new wardrobe improvements! Enjoy the view, you’re seeing an ocean of the most exciting vintage fashion, jewelry and adornments ever assembled together in Chicago! Bring friends and make a day of it! Onsite cafe, informal modeling, dj, photo ops galore and complimentary onsite parking and free street parking.

$15 per person or MOTHER’S DAY SPECIAL – Mother + 1 Offspring $25

Sun May 5 – 11am-1pm

RETROSPECT: exclusive tour of silveR scReen to mainstReam exhibition / chicago histoRy museum

Exclusive private tour and lunch at the Chicago History Museum with tour of current Costume Collection exhibition Silver Screen to Mainstream! Showcasing fashions from Paris, New York, Chicago, and Hollywood, Silver Screen to Mainstream tracks how Hollywood’s glamourous reach extended to all classes in the 1930’s through the 1940’s. The exhibition tells a tale of making it big, making do, and maintaining appearances during a tumultuous era in American history. Featuring thirty garments by designers such as Chanel, Vionnet, Valentina, Paul du Pont, Howard Greer, and Adrian. You will be introduced to a time when sophisticated design lent a perception of stability as the nation grappled with its reinvention and created the “American Look”.

$35 per person LIMITED TICKETS



I know, I know I haven’t posted like forever….please forgive me. I will be up and running soon…I promise! To make up for it how about a couple of recipes from my recipe box….one brand new that I recently concocted, the other from Ruthy, my Mom.  I did both today in somewhat of a cooking frenzy and now I am exhausted and writing this with wine in hand….yes, yes, yes!  I know I should be doing Easter or Passover recipes (for some unknown reason I’ve never done a brisket, do send a good recipe along, but I do have a fabulous noodle kugel, that one of mom’s sales associates, a million years ago, gave her, it is amazing….which I’ll find and share later).  I usually do either a ham (I love ham!) or leg of lamb, but I’m going out for Easter supper this year and what would I do with an entire ham….which I insist on doing because you need the bone in for the flavor…at least I think so..and how many ham sandwiches, salads, soups, etc. can one do. I’m not fond of freezing ham. Leg of lamb a different story I did one last year because I wanted to do my lamb curry, which I am mad for…so no big deal and cold lamb sandwiches…yum, yum, yum!!

I didn’t think to take a photo while preparing what I have named Nena’s Concoction…which it truly is….a no recipe, recipe….here you go…


This takes minutes to prepare and is perfect not only when you want something quick for yourself or your SO or a dinner or perfect for a buffet in a chafing dish.

The basics for one serving….

Throw a good gob of butter into a skillet, add a hand full of diced onions  (I use already chopped onions saves time), a generous teaspoon of garlic paste (thanks Tommy for turning me on to this magic ingredient) cook until slightly brown, add a handful of fresh sliced mushrooms of your choice (I buy them already sliced…my knife skills aren’t the best…need a class), brown them, add a protein of your choice…I’ve used chicken (rotisserie chicken again my choice) dark or white or combination, shrimp (super yummy in this dish) could be all veggie, etc.  Combine, add a hand full of frozen peas, add a generous splash (be generous!!) of Bristal Cream Sherry (again my preference, never use cooking sherry….dreadful stuff…always cook with wine or liquor you would drink don’t skimp) and heat through then add a generous amount of whole fat sour cream. And voila you have a meal  I serve with any kind of rice that  suits my fancy, which is cooking at the same time.  I have become addicted to Uncle Ben’s  Ready Rice, its really good, (this is not a commercial, just a handy suggestion!) a zillion flavors or egg noodles or pasta.  CC4C2F9F-6A95-46F1-B1D6-A1C8F5FCF3DD


Is there anything more nostalgic than using recipes that you have done all your life, I think not.  And when I find Mom’s handwriting I get a warm glow.  All of you would have adored her….everyone did.  Here is her spaghetti sauce, yes, I know everyone has their own but this one is especially tasty.  It is on the stove as I write this, just saying, and is smelling delish!  I haven’t made it forever but had a taste for it. I’ll have at least two nice containers to freeze in addition to my Saturday supper.  It was her go to when we had big informal gatherings…unless Daddy was doing something in his repertoire!

Serves 8 (easy to double or triple depending on # of guests)

2 Tablespoons parsley

4 medium size onions chopped

4 cloves garlic (I used a teaspoon of the minced in a jar)

1/4 cup butter

2  8 ounce cans tomato puree

3  6 ounce cans tomato paste + 3. 6 ounce cans of water water

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2/3 cup red wine (your choice perhaps a Chianti Classico)  that you would serve with dinner

1 finely crushed bay leaf

1 box sliced fresh mushrooms

1 pound ground beef

1 pound long spaghetti

Parmesan cheese

Cook parsley, onions and garlic in hot butter until soft.  Add tomato purée, tomato paste, mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, water and wine.  Add browned meat( cooked in additional butter, then cook slowly for three (3) hours.  Cook spaghetti according to directions, drain and place on warm plate, pour sauce over spaghetti, generously sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, fun to do at table.  Serve with tossed green salad and Italian bread, a light fruit dessert and, of course, bottles of Italian red wine, Salute!!