Several months ago I shared my dear friend, Barbara Varro’s  Celebrity Interviews.  She has been kind and sent me her travel stories…I have saved them, for whatever reason, and thought at this point in time we needed a breath of fresh air and some thoughts on where we can go when our confinement is over…..enjoy!!!!

Barbara Varro’s Travels…

Travel has been one of the great joys of my life: the adventures, the thrills, the discoveries, the amusements and amazements. All of these I have experienced though the years all over the world, and written about them in travel articles for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. Among the highlights…

Seeing elephants in their natural habitats, families of them with their young, in Kenya and Tanzania was thrilling. Like a zoo, oh no. It is different. Sitting on a veranda of a lodge in the bush, sipping a gin and tonic at sunset, watching hundreds of wildebeests and zebra rushing by is like being in paradise. At various times we saw giraffes, leopards, hippos and rhinos.


Once our Land Rover stopped within several feet from a pride of lions. They just yawned at us. Another time we followed three cheetahs on a hunt for a gazelle. They caught it—ugh!

At one dinner I ate zebra pot roast—not bad . At one point I met a bush pilot named John, and at dinner at the famous Stanley Hotel in Nairobi he regaled me with tales about flying over the Serengeti plains. He was no Robert Redford, but it made me feel a bit like someone in Isak Dinesen’s “Out of Africa.”

Talk about amazing. Seeing the pyramids and sphinx in Giza were awe inspiring. Crawling up a rickety ladder to see a small upper room with an empty tomb was more scary than stunning. I was amazed to find that the three great pyramids are so close to the bustling city of Cairo. But the sphinx and pyramids are even more spectacular during a light show in the evening with a narrator reciting the history of these ancient monuments.


Sailing on the placid Nile to Luxor to view the magnificent temples, and then to the Valley of the Kings to see King Tut’s tomb was a thrill of a lifetime. It is nice to see Egyptian artifacts in a museum, but seeing them in person is special.

I had always wanted to go to Russia because I am enamored of Russian literature. Tolstoy’s description of St. Petersburg came alive when I visited. The beauty of the baroque pastel homes along the Neva River were remarkable. The city was known as Leningrad when I was there and I stayed in the Leningrad Hotel, that played host to Elizabeth Taylor for a movie she was in that year. The art collection at the Hermitage is vast and gorgeous, especially the malachite room.

Moscow was an amazing sight with the colorful domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral and the imposing Kremlin. At the time, every day we saw hundreds of Muscovites lining up to view Lenin’s tomb in Red Square. One of our discoveries was the splendor of the elaborate marble walled subway stations, some with sparkling chandeliers. We found the people to be friendly and helpful as we tried to read the names of the stations in the Cyrillic alphabet.


I have gone to Poland several times because I have relatives there who live in a rural area south of Krakow. The first time I was there in 1972, they were living in old wooden homes without running water. I heard stories from older relatives about how oppressed they had been during the Nazi and Russian occupations. The next time I visited they had indoor plumbing. And when I visited in 1993, they had new brick homes with two bathrooms. They are much better off since the fall of communism.

One year was memorable because I was the maid of honor at a cousin’s wedding. Our entourage rode to the wedding reception in a horse-drawn cart while we were serenaded by a band. During my last visit in 2015, there were major changes in Krakow and Warsaw, with new buildings and businesses flourishing in the booming economy. One memory: walking down the main street to Old Town, you can rest on benches with a button to press to hear glorious piano music by Chopin.


I came here as fashion editor accompanied by a photographer and two models wearing Israeli styles that were from Carson Pirie Scott in Chicago. A highlight of the trip was staying in the town of Sodom (of Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah) overnight, then waking at dawn to have the models photographed at the salt-encrusted beach riming the Dead Sea. Later they posed below Masada, the place where Jewish zealots committed suicide rather than surrender to the Romans.


Then they were photographed at a Bedouin encampment, and various locales around the old city of Jerusalem. Once we stopped for lunch of fresh fish at a cafe on the Sea of Galilee. A few of us had fun riding a smelly camel. I had our driver make a side trip to Bethlehem so I could see the Church of the Nativity, and I bought a carved olive wood creche from a peddler outside.

I have returned to this sceptered isle many times. I sometimes stay with friends who live in Islington. I enjoy the teas at Harrods and the Savoy. I love the Victoria and Albert and the British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, where a friend often lectures. I also love taking the boat up the Thames to Kew Gardens. One pleasant discovery was seeing the huge “Saying Goodbye” bronze statue in the renovated St. Pancreas train station. The chunnel train to Paris leaves from this station.

On one trip to England I visited a friend in Wales who has an old stone home in the shadow of the Snowdon Mountains. It was awesome.
Another time I spent time in the South West in Lyme Regis, and I took side trips to Bath and Penzance. I was impressed by Mount St. Michael, where the walkway gets inundated at high tide. I almost did not make it back across in time to catch my bus.

Florence is my favorite city in Italy because of its breathtaking multicolored marble churches and spectacular art, especially Michelangelo’s David. And watching fashion shows in the Pitti Palace was a special treat.

Rome’s fountains and squares are exceptional, as is the pasta. I have thrown many coins in the Trevi Fountain, which has brought me back to this golden city often. I think of it whenever I see the opera, “Tosca,” and see Castle Sant Angelo on the Tiber River. It is always a thrill to see Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. I am in awe of the canals and St. Mark’s Square in Venice. But I was gobsmacked in Pompeii with is people frozen in place when Vesuvius erupted eons ago. And Milan has two marvels: Leonardo DaVinci’s Last Supper and La Scala Opera House.

Paris is a dream with its distinctive architecture, and at the Louvre I was awed by the Winged Victory at the top of the steps, more visually exciting than the Mona Lisa. I saw a lot of the city when covering fashion shows, flitting to the salons of Dior, Givenchy, Balmain, Chanel, etc. on the Right Bank. But I love the Left Bank in St. Michel and Saint German with its cafes such as the Deux Magots.

One of my favorite places in France is Villefranche sur Mer, on the Riviera near Nice, where I spent a month learning French at the Institut de Francais. I had a view of the gorgeous bay from my studio terrace. I would have learned more if I had studied more.

7B4C1A6F-2CB8-4D62-8D1A-606B0EF28D4CBut I was distracted by the food and wine, ooh la la! One must is going to see Monet’s beauteous gardens at Giverny, it is a worthwhile trip just as is viewing the opulence at Versailles.



Unexpected things sometimes happen when traveling. For instance, once I, along with my mother and aunt, were thrown off a train from Poland to Hungary. We had been told that we only needed a visa to Hungary and not to Czechoslovakia, which we were only passing through. But at the border of Czechoslovakia an official boarded and reprimanded us for not having a visa. He made us disembark
So there we were in the middle of the night, three women on a dark, deserted platform. We waited for more than an hour for a train back to Poland.

An amusing thing happened on a tour in Morocco. While some of us were touring the souk (marketplace), a Moroccan man approached a woman and her well-endowed daughter, and he asked if she would like to trade her well-endowed daughter for his dozen camels.
She indignantly said, “NO WAY!”

In Moscow I was approached by two young girls who wanted to buy the blue jean skirt I was wearing. I declined their offer but they followed me to my hotel. So I told them to wait outside while I went to my room to change. I returned with the skirt and told them they could have it for the equivalent of $5 in rubles. They agreed and went on their way with my skirt. At that time in the 1970s young Russians were gaga over American jeans, which were scarce in their basic stores.

1970‘S Russian youth in blue jeans.

A million thanks Barbara, I know my readers have throughly enjoyed joining you in your travel adventures….I wonder what reflections you will share with us next (soon I hope!)….I can only imagine!!!!!

Barbara’s own photos and newspaper clippings are supplemented by photos found on Pinterest phot credits unknown.





With all of us self-isolating our thoughts, or at least mine, are concentrating on food and drink….I need to understand the obsession/hoarding of beans…..

Need some recipes (check the archives for past posts), okay, but I need you to share yours with me as well or no deal!!!!  Here are a of couple thoughts…..


In a tall glass pour as much Cucumber Vodka, or regular vodka, as you like…let’s not get carried away here…but….fill glass with Original V-8, 6-7 dashes Tabasco, and a squeeze of Mike’s Hot Honey (I told you I’d share how I use it!!!!! Here is use #1), stir.  Drink and enjoy.  Note…I’m not including ice, it dilutes the drink too much in my opinion.  Garnishes only if you want to.  I’m enjoying one while I write this.


I don’t think I have shared this before primarily because it is very special to me….but these are unusual times so why not.  Beware, there aren’t measurements here, I do a lot of recipes by taste, sorry Tommy, but here are the basics….adjust as you like.  Understand, most borscht recipes are family recipes. Serve with a banquette and a lightly dressed salad, if you wish.

Serves 1-2

2 cans Original V-8 (seems to be my go to…)

1 can shoestring beets or beet chunks with juices

6-8 beef meatballs homemade or frozen (if frozen bake first, I use frozen) do not do either raw must be throughly cooked and drain off fat before putting into soup

A few dashes of Angostura bitters

Maybe a “bit” of red wine…up to the cook (since I’m the cook what do you think!!!!!) .

Combine, heat to almost boiling….serve hot with a dollop or more of sour cream and fresh dill.

Taste and adjust accordingly.  If you want the exact taste you will have to come to Chez Ivon for dinner….

Double or triple….freezes well. Most  of all, enjoy.



My everyday wine of choice is Ménage A Trois, the red blend in particular and the white blend as well…but I’m a red girl, my new favorite white in a Sancerre, love it!!! Please no Chardonnay for me!  Almost out of wine and I’m uncomfortable with having delivery in cardboard am I becoming paranoid?  You know I do love my wine, am I whining…yes, yes I am.

We are in this together…so start sharing!










My go to sources, all the time, whether I’m totally home bound or not.  Of course, I watch regular channels such as all PBS channels, HGTV, Food Network, DIY (love Restored!) Ovation, etc., etc., and, of course, Hallmark Christmas Movies!!!

I am not use to doing movie/TV show reviews, (I do love doing book reviews) and will do thumbnails of some I have found of interest especially when we are home bound. I must admit I don’t usually stream entire series with binge watching but have found myself doing so and am having fun with it!  It has become addictive and almost obsessive.  And most importantly a respite from continually watching constant news reports.

The series I finished last night (actually, early this morning!!!!!) and really the reason for this post is The English Game….loved every bit of it.  In a nutshell it is the story of the beginnings of the UK’s Football Association, FA, and it’s transformation from a totally “gentlemen’s” game to become the game for the working class as well to the worldwide phenomenon it has become!  It is not the football we know it,, it would be soccer to us.  The reluctance of the upper classes to relinquish “their sport” to the “masses” and, therefore, become modern, all inclusive and finding the best athletes no matter their social position.  Reading what I just wrote makes this sound rather uninteresting and perhaps a bit boring.  I can assure you it is anything but!  It is the product of the mega-brilliant Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey fame among many other accomplishments), so how can it go wrong…it doesn’t! You may or may not not know I do love sports, I’m the only child of a major “jock” and if I wanted to be with my Father I needed to like sports…and it so happens that football is my favorite.  As a child I went to the Chicago Bears games at Wrigley Field and, of course, still follow them, but I digress.  Back to the series….the actors…excellent, the story…engaging, the sets and costumes…fabulous.  I was unfamiliar with most of the cast except for one that I haven’t seen forever and realized how much I missed him…Anthony Andrews, love him, not a huge part but he plays it well.  The story basically follows two players on the opposing teams, one the “gentleman” who feels it is exclusively their game and they are very, very good and the other is the “working class” man who feels they can equal their “betters”.  We see them in their homes, work and, of course, the playing fields.   No spoilers here, you need to watch this 6 part series.  It is filled with so many levels of society, you see the progress of women becoming independent (the men as well), the pathos of the workers and, I might add, of the so-called gentlemen.  The struggle of social classes in 19th Century England wonderfully discussed.  Do I recommend it…I highly do so.


Anthony Andrews as he appeared in Brideshead Revisited, 1981, and today.

This new found luxury of filling time began with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, I am beyond in love with this series, I’ve stopped myself from starting series 3.  It’s like loving a book and not wanting it to end.  It is charming, fun, the characters engaging, the clothes and sets spot on….I could definitely go on and on about it….someone needs to tell me why I waited so long to engage with this fabulous production…definitely superb in all ways.  The Catskills episodes are particularly delightful, spot on and joyful.  If you are celebrating Passover and haven’t watched it now is the time…but then anytime is the time!!

I’ve been watching Murdock Mysteries from the beginning, again love the cast, the period costuming and sets and the unique storylines.  I usually watch it on OVATION but you can find it elsewhere.  This season (they just celebrated their 200th episode!)
wraps up with a two hour finale on March 28th  I don’t binge on this program, but if you aren’t familiar with it you might like to do so.  It’s definitely on my not to miss list.  Filling it’s Saturday time slot is a newer favorite The Frankie Drake Mysteries, all female detective agency….glamour, costuming terrific, delightful plots….add it you won’t be sorry



Here are what I’ll be watching next, in no particular order…..I’ll report back after I watch them.  I’m open to your suggestions….PS, I watch most of these on my iPad…regular TV, of course, on my television.




Actually I’m usually at home…however I could go out when I wanted to, get my mail, packages, have Instacart, GrubHub, etc. come to my door, have friends in for drinks night, lunch, tea, do my monthly nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club and my brand new nenasnotes The Fashion Film Club (thinking of doing them virally!!!)…at the moment I can’t do any of those things.


So what to do beside worrying about getting toilet paper, paper towels, let alone food in the near future….and oh yes, my staple, wine!!!!!!

6F5813EC-040A-4A28-836E-AA54CE67C8B1Pinterest photo credit unknown.

Learning to teach remotely, (a subject that needs to be personal, a major learning curve for me and my students),…streaming shows that I haven’t had time to watch (more on that shortly)…hearing from people wanting to shop, etc. for me that I wouldn’t think would care and not hearing from others who I would think would! An interesting time to say the very least.  The best part, if there is a best part, all of us and that includes the entire world, are traveling this unknown road together!  The better news, this too shall pass, and our world will be changed, how is basically up to each of us.


Columbia College Chicago Fashion Show Production class Spring 2020, venue visit to the Hilton Chicago.

So why you ask, am I writing this post.  For several reasons, because lately  I haven’t been a good blogger, and I miss it, and I’ve heard from many of you that you miss my rambles, so why not!  I would LOVE you to help me with some suggestions on topics, by now you know I love to do research, post lots of photos, talk about books, profile people, etc.  One of my dear friends wants me to talk about Fabergé eggs, a perfect topic for Easter, so yes, I’ll do that.


Pinterest photo photo credit unknown.

That makes me think about my trip to Russia several years ago and other trips I’ve made, so I’ll do a travel series.  I’ve been saving my friend, Barbara Varro’s, travel stories so they will fit in perfectly.  She has been everywhere and has great stories to tell, I know you enjoyed the post I shared with you on her celebrity interviews.


I’ll continue my book reviews, my To Be Read pile, both physically and on my Kindle, is about to “fall over” on me, now is the time to tackle that “stack”.


Recipes, please share some, yes, of course, I’ll include them…getting rather tired of how to use our pantry’s stash, aren’t you, but maybe you have made something that will become a permanent addition to your recipe box.  I have become addicted to Mike’s Hot Honey, more on how I use it, basically on everything, later (no, not a sponsored mention…unfortunately I don’t have any sponsors…hint, hint!!!! Except for my book reviews) A question, why are people hoarding flour….or anything for that matter, so selfish!  I would love to bake something…how about you.

Well, My Dears, enough rambling for this post, I think so!  Keep in touch, stay well and safe until we meet again in person but for now stay tuned and keep in touch through the wonder of how we can communicate…we are t alone!


Photo by Victor Skrebneski used with permission.

All photos taken by me unless otherwise noted.



Yes, I admit, I’ve been absent without leave from blogging….I can give you excuses but I’m sure they wouldn’t be of interest….let’s just say life has gotten in the way!!!!  I wish I’d been doing the tango with my mystery man, but alas, not the case!

Interestedly, several of my friends and followers asked me, in the same day if you please, if I wasn’t blogging any more…that gave me a knee jerk reaction that I actually have people who are interested in what I do.

What has been going on, teaching, of course…83EB0CEB-342D-4612-A048-DD3C0F961479

Columbia College Chicago Fashion Show Production class venue visit at the Chicago Hilton with the fabulous Robert Neubert sharing his expertise on event planning.

Preparing and doing lectures, ✔️ just did my Hooray For Hollywood on Oscar Sunday for The Blue Island Historical Society

Sarah Bernhardt as Elizabeth I dressed by Couturier Paul Poiret early 20th century.


Up next the story of The Little Black Dress.

Of course working on my monthly nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club and the brand new nenasnotes The Fashion Film Club, happily yes ✔️✔️!

The February book selection and March film


March selection…5C3FE5C5-67D1-4543-A339-58CB8D14596F

In addition, I am continuing my twice monthly The Randolph Street Market
 blog posts, the most recent fashion feature is on Gloves and the collectibles post is on American Pottery, especially Roseville Pottery ✔️ and ✔️!


I am also doing a monthly fashion book review for The Fashion Map.  A blog you must put on your list especially if fashion is your passion.


The last in-depth post I did here was on the first of my new series of book discussions at my Independent Bookseller The Book Stall next up in April…


Finally got my home back to being my home and have been doing a bit of entertaining, one of my favorite things to do….

I’ll try to post more on a  regular basis….if you have topics you might like me to delve into don’t hesitate to let me know.

Until next time….stay well and know Spring is on its way!!!!!!!  Cheers, my dears….





By now you know I don’t review, or for that matter finish reading, any book I don’t enjoy….life is just too short.  And you also know that I host a monthly nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club, that I have a blast doing  and have very engaged attendees.  In addition you have, if you follow this blog, been exposed to my Independent Bookseller of choice The Book Stall

As luck would have it, The Book Stall owner, Stephanie Hochschild, invited me to lead an occasional Fashion Book discussion at the store.


                        Stephanie Hochschild Chicago Tribune photo.

I gave her several titles to choose from which she presented to her amazing staff and their choice was The Other Side Of The Coin The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe by Angela Kelly LVO.  It wasn’t my first choice, but guess what….it was definitely a fabulous choice, I LOVE the book!!! And the attendees did as well.  I happen to be a major Anglophile and love the Royals, especially Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  This book gives us insights that we might not have known and makes Her Majesty very human, it’s a delight.  It is a MUST add to your fashion or your British Royals libraries.


Here I am with some of the attendees at The Book Stall Fashion Book Group Discussion.  Photo taken with my iPhone.

The author, Angela Kelly, has been with The Queen for twenty-five years and is Her Majesty’s Personal Advisor and Curator and In-House Designer, the first in history to hold this title.  She enjoys a very close working relationship with The Queen.   Many of the photos have never been seen before and some are from Angela’s personal collection.
When Angela started Her Majesty’s wardrobe was not documented, a fact I can’t even imagine, she has over the years made sure each piece of clothing is labeled and catalogued, of course, including the accessories…the omnipresent hats and the exquisite jewels.  This is a story unto itself.  By creating The Queen’s wardrobe “in-house” has become a major cost saving.

Choosing a more modern approach to a modern monarch has evolved over the years and working with someone who trusts your judgement has taken time, but there seemed to me to be a connection from the start.  With just a glance they understand each other.

Here are some of my favorite parts of the book…

It opens with paragraphs written by Angela’s four teenage grandchildren telling us how proud the are of their Gran and what it has meant to them growing up at Windsor and visiting Buckingham Palace and other royal residences, I truly enjoyed their charming recollections and obvious love for her.

The Queen’s sense of humor and that she loves a good laugh with Angela and others.  Let’s remember her in the 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony with James Bond (Daniel Craig)…not easily forgotten!


Fact…Her Majesty dresses herself…she might need a zip up or a hook hooked.  Of course, the State occasions with the royal robes are a different issue and Angela is there to assist.

Fact…The Queen does her own make-up, the exception her Christmas address.

Fact….someone needs to “break in” The Queen’s shoes…Angela just happens to have the same shoe size!

Fact….The Queen attended London Fashion Week with Anna Wintour and Angela.  She presented the inaugural The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Fashion to Richard Quinn in February 2018.


Fact…The Queen wanted to be photographed more informally with her hands in her pockets, a secret she had since she was a young girl…never done before and to me one of the most endearing stories, and there are many, in the book.


From the chapter Inspiration Is Everywhere…Angela was walking through Windsor Castle and saw a wonderful Wedgwood collection, the color was the exact blue that she had selected to do a garment and hat for Her Majesty’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee tour to Northern Ireland.  She trimmed the coat and hat with fine lace replicating the delicate pattern on the Wedgwood pieces.  One of my favorite outfits…don’t you agree!!

Obviously The Queen has been photographed by all the great photographers during her extraordinary reign…we would be hard pressed to find any better, well maybe Cecil Beaton, than Annie Leibovitz and the magnificent Vanity Fair spread….here two that hold my heart. And to my mind’s eye show us both sides of the coin….the private Queen Elizabeth II and the ceremonial Royal.



I was given this little gem of a book (pun intended!) by my friend and super supporter of nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club, Mark Olley….thanks to him I have had a wonderful magical tour not only with Her Majesty but with her designer, friend and so much more, Angela Kelly, who has shared an intimate insight into one side of the coin which is Royal and on the other side of the coin is a woman who wants to put her hands in her pockets!!


All photos from The Other Side Of  The Coin unless otherwise noted.


I received an email from my friend, Barbara Varro, with a blog post from her niece, Dr. Jeni Waeltz, suggesting it might be of interest to me….not only is it of interest to me, I wanted to share it with all of you. I know you will enjoy this eloquently written informative piece. A nenasnote…..I was fortunate to meet Aunt Lillian on several occasions and found her to be the gracious, charming, well informed woman described in this post. We should all aim for such a full, productive life. Thank you Jeni for allowing me to share your insight…it is brilliant! Do visit and subscribe to Jeni’s blog you are in for a treat…

My Why and the Wonder of Life

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.”


“I remember feeling the knot in my stomach as the thought flashed through my mind, 

“This is probably going to be the last time I’ll see her.”  

I was not ready to fully accept that thought.  

Instead, I sat in the hospital room with my mom, my two very little girls, and my Great, Great Aunt Lillian, and I talked about the girls and how tired I was as a young mother.  I asked her how she was feeling and talked about how she’ll get better.  

I tried desperately to keep the girls company and entertained with toys and stories and looking out the big window, down to the cars below.  

I look around the room that day, took in the beauty of such wondrous women present.  I thought of my two little girls, Lilli just about to turn 2, and Madi only 8 months old. I thought about the presence in the room of one life ending and two just only beginning.  

I ignored what my heart knew.  That this time my 97 year old aunt wasn’t going to make it back to her assisted living home.  That those beautiful 97 years of life were coming to an end.  

But the words of love, gratitude, and awe of her life were never spoken aloud.  

Oh — the goodbye I could have said.  

The words never came that day, but I think of them often.  

I think about all the women like my Aunt Lillian that came before me and all the worldly changes she was able to see and live during her life.  

I think about my mom, who went back to school at age 42 to finally get that college education that so many people didn’t believe she could get.  And how she now has a major role as grannanny to my two little girls.

I think about me, a millennial woman, who was taught as a little girl that I could do and become anything I wanted to, but had no idea what doing and being anything they wanted to would feel like and look like after kids came into the picture.  That the “real world” was nothing I was prepared to experience.  

And I think about my two little girls now and how they will become the women of the future.  

And oh how exciting that future will be for them. 

You see — the opportunities and potential for innovation, social justice, equality, and expanding the human consciousness are just beginning to take on a new level that my Great, Great Aunt never will be able to see.  

My Aunt Lillian was born February 12, 1920.  Almost 100 years ago. 

One hundred year’s ago women didn’t even have the right to vote.  It wasn’t until half a year later on August 18th, 1920 that the 19th Amendment was finally certified granting women the right to vote.  

Aunt Lee in the WAC Army.jpg

When my Aunt Lillian was just 22 years old, she joined the WACs (Women’s Army Corp).  It was 1942.   

The WACs had been formed by Oveta Culp Hobby, US Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, just a couple of years before to offer support to the military. She was the only woman from East Chicago to join the WACs, and she left by train for Fort Meade, Maryland, an Army Training Camp. 

The courage it must have taken to leave home all alone and travel to an Army Training Camp as such a young woman.  No cell phone. No GPS. No text messaging.  

During her career, which included clerical jobs in Boca Raton, Florida, she was selected to be a recruiter for the WACs in Pittsburgh, PA.  She lived with other WAC colleagues at the William Penn Hotel downtown. While there, she was selected to be on a recruiting poster with Commander Kelly, who was an important Army officer. She had attained the rank of Technical Sargeant. 

She stayed in Pittsburgh until she was discharged in 1945, when WWII ended. She always said that she was extremely proud of her Army service because she had learned so much and had made good friends while she served the country. 

When she returned home, she got a job as a secretary at LaSalle Steel in Hammond, Indiana, then worked for many years as a clerk/analyst at IBM, in Calumet City, Illinois, then in Hammond, Indiana.  

She had loved traveling with friends, mostly to cities in South America and Europe. She often went to Poland, where she had relatives. Her mother and father had been born in Poland, and my Aunt Lillian was fluent in Polish.  

My Aunt Lillian never had kids.  However, she loved all her nieces and nephews with all her heart and she played such a big role in my family’s life growing up.  

My Aunt Lillian lived through one of the most progressive 100 years in women’s history.  She witnessed and watched so many BRAVE women blaze the trail towards equality. From Amelia Earhart, to Rosa Parks, to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to Sally Ride, to Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and to Hiliary Clinton.  She herself was one of those BRAVE women. 


And yet, almost 100 years later, there is still work to be done.  America is still a patriarchal society with men holding the majority of leadership roles and political positions.  Women, just like you, are still trying to find their place, working to find the courage to have a seat at the table, and finally be heard and seen.  

As a millennial, I’ve heard time and time again how entitled, lazy, and needing feedback we are as a generation.   Add that to being a millennial working mom, and I’ve heard countless times, oh — “we’ll see how long she comes back after maternity leave.”  

As a recruiter for two major veterinary corporations, I’ve been blown away at the negotiation difference between male and female counterparts.  Not that I was offering my male veterinary candidates more, but that my female veterinary candidates didn’t even ask for close to what the male doctors were asking. 

And the thing is, even with the best of intentions, our work systems are just not working!  We are a society that is more burned out, more stressed out, and suffering from our environments than ever before.  Female veterinarians are between 2 to 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide than the general public.  

We women are not broken!  Our systems are broken.  

Instead of trying to fit the mold and status quo of what has come before us, it’s time to rock the whole systems and create a life and career that works for the 21st century woman.  

And do I think that’s possible?  


Why?  Because of all of those the leading ladies that came before us, just like my Aunt Lillian, blazing that trail of progress. 


It’s time to actually be taught how to handle our broken systems to where we either have the tools and resources to deal with them or the courage to create new businesses and become leaders that support these new needs.  

It’s time for those bread-winning working ladies to celebrate their victory and drive versus playing down their successes. 

It’s time for those stay at home mamas to snuggle their babies and nurture their teenage children as long as they want to, and then not be scared to start over and follow a dream when they decide their ready.   

It’s time to stop pretending that you don’t care about money and letting it scare you. It’s time to protect and claim your financial freedom.

It’s time for those working mamas to to stop striving for balance and instead focus on work-life satisfaction. 

It’s time for those workaholic ladies that can’t say no to their work demands to stop defining their self-worth by their work success and start setting boundaries and find the confidence to strive for progress not perfection.

It’s time for women to love their bodies as is and start eating healthy and exercising to feed their soul instead of defining their self-worth by a number on a scale. 

AND it’s time to evolve our mind. It’s time to continue the mental health discussion and invest in the resources to adopt a more conscious mindset.  


My girls have reached an age where they’re asking about life and death.  I tell them all the time if your lucky you’ll live to be 100.  

But the reality is that we have no control over when our lives will end.  Yes, it would be great to make it to be 100, but how would those 100 years have been spent if you didn’t live fully?  

Lived that width and not just the length.    

To stop foreboding JOY and really feel the highs of life.  

To stop trying to mask and numb the pain but allow yourself time to grieve, be angry, depressed, and sad.

And to take daring risks and go after big dreams and leave fear of failure behind.  



My goal is to create a dialogue about women’s empowerment and to offer coaching, leadership, and education to as many women as I can as my contribution to this world.  

This new business adventure is in honor of my Aunt Lee, in honor of the other strong women in my family, my girlfriends and coworkers, and to those whose lives were taken too soon because they just couldn’t see another way out.  

And in honor of my young veterinarian self.  For the years of suffering in silence due to lack of confidence, fear, and anxiety that she just wasn’t good enough.  

And most importantly, in honor of my two little girls.  My why is for them. For the future be so bright.  

In the coming weeks and months this blog will be filled with actionable strategies that will inspire you to make the change to a more fulfilled and conscious driven life and to step into the leader you were destined to become. We’ll cover mindset, emotions, goal setting, fulfillment, time management, productivity, confidence, money mindset, positive body image, decluttering, thought work, physical health, relationships, and more.

Are you ready for this mindset revolution? If so, leave a comment and tell me about your journey and your dreams for the future.”

Be sure to subscribe to Jeni’s blog for more in-depth perspectives on life….I know I am looking forward to getting a new slant on the now and the future!!