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!!


October 13, 2019

It’s the beginning of year four of nenasnotes amazing how quickly a year goes by…..I must admit I am basically in the same position I was when I wrote last year’s updated post. I have been remiss in doing regular posts and for that I apologize. The nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club has taken on a life of its own and the monthly meetings are continuing to grow. I was beyond thrilled that the Uber talented Victor Skrebneski joined me in conversation about his sensational new book SKREBNESKI DOCUMENTED: 1948-2018. I will be doing a post in the near future, I promise, on the friendship we have shared for many, many years….stay tuned.

I finally had my first guest post with Barbara Varro’s nostalgic trip with her fabulous reminisces of her celebrity interviews while fashion editor at the Chicago Sun-Times. More guest posts to come, again, I promise. I know you like my book reviews…you can count on more of them.

Okay, your turn what would you like me to concentrate on….by now you know when I post I do have a lot to say…I’d love to know what you want me to research for you….or do you prefer when I take a trip down memory lane with designers I have worked with, personality profiles, book reviews, or just my ramblings about things I find interesting….please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Year four… we go!

October 13, 2018

Another year has flown by and I am now starting year three of NENASNOTES.  I must admit I haven’t been consistent of late, computer issues, other obligations, etc.  I plan to continue my same schedule with more tweaks.  I am asking the people I have profiled over the last two years to do a guest post on whatever subject they like.  I think their thoughts will be of interest to all of us.  I do like my Tuesdays posts, BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS, and will continue them and probably expand to an additional day.  This has led to the formation of NENASNOTES The Fashion Book Club a monthly gathering to discuss all manner of fashion books, featuring fascinating authors and a throughly engaged audience, I will do monthly posts on these books as well.  More recipes, more decor, more fashion….yes, all of those along with interesting personality profiles.  If you have something you would like me to discuss please let me know.  By now, if you follow me, you know I have a wide range of interests that I like to share with my readers.  I now also do two monthly posts for the Randolph Street Market blog, one on collection trends and one on fashion trends these are totally different from my NENASNOTES posts.  Do follow me there, on Instagram, (I’m having a blast there!) and Pinterest.  I am in the process of launching a sponsorship program with unique incentives based on level of funding.  So lots to look forward to…I do hope you will continue to join me in my ventures and do recommend NENASNOTES to your friends and please make comments, they are invaluable.  Here we go….welcome Year Three!


October 13, 2017

Here is what I wrote one year ago today when I launched NENASNOTES, as I begin my second year, my goals remain the same.  I have tweaked the daily themes a bit but the concept hasn’t changed. I will be adding new features and ask that you watch for an upcoming announcement of how you can supoort me and what incentives you can expect.  I hope you are enjoying my thoughts on the variety of lifestyle things that interest me…so I say, Happy Birthday NENASNOTES and I hope you, my followers, will continue to join me on a regular basis and invite your friends to have their morning coffee with us as well.

October 13, 2016

Well, here we go….I have been waiting to start my blog NENASNOTES for what seems like ages, actually, it has been ages!

I, therefore, feel it is necessary to give you my thoughts on what you can expect on what will become daily postings.

It began with the current trend of focusing on people reinventing themselves, through career and/or lifestyle changes.  I realized that there are so many of my friends and acquaintances whose diverse lives now are totally different from how they started.  First up were my many former models who were superstars in the myriad shows I produced during my lengthy career as Fashion and Special Director at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago.  Most, if not all, have totally changed careers and become successful with their new life choices.  You will learn their stories, reminiscences and photos from then and now.



I thought why not carry this further to my other friends and people I know who had fascinating stories to tell and was I correct in that assumption!  I began this process with a handful of people, which soon became many more, by doing an in person hour long taped conversational interview and Proust-like questionnaire.  Again, I asked for photos and this time a favorite recipe. I hope you will enjoy these posts as much as I am enjoying gathering them.  They are riveting.

These two groups of conversations will be my Monday posts, here is what I have planned for Tuesday through Friday:


Tuesday….Books, books, books.  I’m afraid I have a book fetish, especially fashion books. It seems to be my goal in life to own every fashion book printed!!! So we will start there.  I do read a lot, particularly historical fiction, I love fiction about “real” people, we will go that route as well.  Nothing like a good English mystery but don’t mind a “Cozy” once in awhile and can never miss Louis Penny’s newest (who doesn’t love Armand!).  So much to read so little time.


Wednesday….Miscellany day could be a great recipe, restaurant, movie, play….whatever strikes my fancy that week.



Thursday….Homes and Gardens, again tapping my friends and their eclectic styles, mostly self-decorated homes and brilliant gardens.  A glimpse at my tiny space as well.



Friday….Fashion Flashback.  I’ve worked with over 150 designers and fashion personalities through the years and want to share some of these experiences with you.  I’m sure those of you who know me thought the blog would be all about the “glamorous” fashion shows I produced, yes, there is that but the nitty gritty as well and only one day a week.

Nena, Pauline Trigere, Bill Blass
 Nena, Pauline Trigere, Bill Blass

Here we go….I hope you will join me on my on reinvention.


                                                      HAPPY FALL!


Repost with permission from the Randolph Street Market blog.  A reminder the last outdoor vendor portion of this year round market is Saturday and Sunday, September 28 and 29, 2019.  Do go it is chocked full of treasures in vintage clothing and everything else under the sun!

From “Greasers” to high fashion and everything in between, let’s look at where the leather jacket began and see it developed into a fashion wardrobe classic.
Obviously leather has been with us for centuries but the jacket we are featuring today we are tracing back to “modern” history.

The brown leather jacket made its entrance on the scene on the aviators of World War I.


Then again for the air women and men as the Bomber jacket for WWII.

In 1928 Irving Schott designs the first motorcycle jacket and sells it for $5.50 at the Harley Davidson store in New York. He named it after his favorite cigar, The Perfecto. And perfect it was, on and off motorcycles.

In 1953 The Wild One starred a sexy Marlon Brando in a classic leather motorcycle jacket. Often the jacket became its own character.


And other stars jumped on the bike, so to speak, definitely defying the norm and defining the person on and off the screen…James Dean


Steve McQueen…..


Tom Cruise….


Elvis, of course…..


Henry Winkler before he was The Fonz (notice Stallone) in The Lords of Flatbush…


And as Fonzie….


And then there was Grease…..(my era!)


The Beatles before suits and Ringo….


The English Punks and, of course Sid and Nancy and The Sex Pistols…


The one and only Michael Jackson…



From the outrageous to….David Beckham….

And so many more celebrities….
Three blonds….Madonna, Glenn, Lady Gaga…..who wears it best, I’ll leave it to you…

Haute Couture, why not….a bit of Schiaparelli…

Some embellished jackets…they have come a long way baby, how shall you embellish your Randolph Street Market Finds… many options…here are a few suggestions…


I must admit my favorite of the bunch, although the feathered piece or hand painted or……





Let’s look at a few ways to style and update your vintage jacket…..

I’m obsessed with this on Elizabeth Moss…DA30D24B-A3E8-4B8C-BCFF-F57832335FDD


Robert Mapplethorpe Self Portrait…a recent Retrospective at New York’s Guggenheim Museum.

Self Portrait 1980 by Robert Mapplethorpe 1946-1989
For your own research some books (you knew I would have some suggestions didn’t you!)

The one and only Ralph Lauren who exemplifies “Always Classic Always New”


And your blogger in one of four black leather jackets, a motorcycle piece needs to be added if only to embellish!!!!! RSM here I come!!


All photos with the exception of the one of me, from Pinterest photos credits unknown.


I asked the best reporter I know, actually the best all round writer and editor I know, my long time BFF, Barbara Varro, to write a post or two or more…on her reflections of celebrities she interviewed while fashion editor of the Chicago Sun-Times. Her wit, wisdom and total honesty make her a perfect person to do my first nenasnotes guest post.  She sent along some tear sheets of her interviews with many of the icons of the 20th and thinking of Streisand, Tomlin, Twiggy and Shrimpton into the 21st Centuries.  I have added some head shots of her interviewees.  I know you are going to enjoy her reminiscences….perhaps I can convince her to do more in the future.  Here we go on a trip down memory lane…



Nena has prompted (pushed) me to reminisce about my life as a newspaper writer and editor. We go way back when I was the fashion editor of the Chicago Sun-Times and she was the fashion maven at Saks Fifth Avenue.

    In reflecting on my newspaper activities I remember interviews with designers, but some of my fondest memories are those with celebrities. Colleagues at the paper used to say, “follow the stars with Barbara.”

    Of the models I interviewed one of the standouts was the British Twiggy who came to Chicago for a promotion for Gamble/Aldens catalog. The narrow-as-an-arrow model with huge eyes enhanced with multiple pairs of false lashes was only 17. She giggled and seemed vacuous. But she was very popular at the time. She was sweet to a group of teenagers crowding around her when she arrived at the Ambassador East Hotel, saying in her cockney accent, “Oy love Chicago. Never been here before.”



  Jean Shrimpton, another wildly popular British model of that era, was classier than Twiggy. She retired from modeling after a few years and ran a bed and breakfast in Penzance with her husband. On a vacation there one year I ran into her and she was friendly but did not want to talk about her modeling days and the adulation she experienced.  She said she was happy just being a normal woman living in Cornwall.



  Whenever I went to California to cover fashion I had opportunities  to talk to celebrities. Once we fashion editors were invited to a clambake on the set of the TV series, Peyton Place, and we hobnobbed with such stars as Ryan O’Neal, Mia Farrow, Dorothy Malone and George Peppard.

    Another time we hit a jackpot of stars at the discotheque The Factory, set in an old furniture factory in Hollywood. We were guests of actress Polly Bergen, who was hawking her Turtle Oil cosmetics at the time. We were gaga whenever the elevator stopped and out came stars such as Rock Hudson, Sonny and Cher, Liza Minnelli, Rosalind Russell, Fred Astaire, Tony Curtis, Joan Collins, etc. Polly had asked the editors not to bother the stars, but one of the women had the nerve to ask Astaire to dance, and he did. The rest of us were too chicken to do such a  thing but what a story she had to tell.



   Debbie Reynolds was a delight, brash and witty.  We fashion editors were invited to her home (when she was married to shoe magnate Harry Karl) for dinner and a showing of the Helen Rose collection.  Standing next to Helen by her pool, Debbie said, “Years ago Helen told me that I looked terrible. I had been wearing $11 Lerner dresses at that point. Today, whatever I know about dressing this lady taught me.” Later, Helen said, “Over the years I have designed for a lot of stars, including Elizabeth Taylor, oops…I forgot.” Debbie shot back, “I didn’t.”


                                         Debbie Reynolds and Helen Rose


  I interviewed singer/actress Doris Day twice. She was lovely and talked a lot about animals. She was weepy when she told a story about Strongheart the German Shepherd. She said that friends referred to her Beverly Hills home as “the canine country club.”  She also said that whenever she was on a movie set people would say, “here comes that animal nut whenever I went around looking to see if the animals were properly cared for and fed.”




  I spoke to Barbra Streisand by telephone just before she gave her first concert  in Chicago at Soldier Field in 1966. She mentioned that her sleek, short hair was styled by Chicago’s Fred Glaser and she had bought three gowns by Sarmi at Saks Fifth Avenue. She said that she had attended the fashion openings in Paris and  had bought several Diors but had to had them altered because she was pregnant. At the time she was married to actor Elliot Gould. The Sarmis she would wear for the concert were all tent shapes to accommodate her growing mid section.



  Zsa Zsa Gabor was a stitch. She was holding forth at lunch in Booth One at the Pump Room and was flattering a male friend, telling him that she loves a man who knows how to order, when she actually did most of the ordering.  She was her usual bubbly self and was wearing a lot of jewelry including a humongous diamond ring that I said was big enough to give her hand a hernia. She told me that she had always been impulsive. “I even get married and divorced on impulse,” she said.



  Ginger Rogers came to Chicago to do the play “Forty Carats” at Drury Lane. She was very particular about how she was to be photographed. When the photographer and I entered her suite at the hotel she was seated on a sofa surrounded by four big lights on poles. She said we could not take candid photos. She looked fine but her hair was long and platinum, billowing on her shoulders like cotton candy. She told me that she did not relish talking about the chiffon and feathered gowns she wore when she danced with Fred Astaire. “That is over,” she said. But she did mention the old saw about how she danced as well as he did but she did so backwards and in high heels.



  Singer Rosemary Clooney was a great interview subject, so warm and self deprecating. She talked freely about her disturbing marriage to Jose Ferrer, who was abusive. She spoke about her former addictions to Percodan and about the rehab treatment that saved her. She also spoke fondly of Bing Crosby, who appeared with her in the movie “White Christmas.” And he wrote the forward to her book, “This for Remembrance.”



  Lily Tomlin, who was performing on the TV hit “Laugh In” at the time, was a witty interview. She said, “I have no taste. I like comfortable, raggedy clothes.” And she said she hated to shop. Her idea of heaven would be opening her closet and finding “all new clothes that someone put in it and all in my size.” Asked about her character Ernestine, the telephone operator who wears 1940s clothes, she said, “Ernestine likes the 40s look. It was the look she had when she was young and she never changed.”



  It was fun to walk down memory lane with the stars, some who have passed and some still present.”

A nenasnotes…Yes, Barbara it was fun to walk down memory lane with you and here we are friends  for more years than we care to admit, still sharing a giggle or two, good food and always…always a bit of nostalgia!  I’m going to work on her to share some of her incredible travel stories, fingers crossed.  Good times….to be continued.


 All Chicago Sun Times tearsheets courtesy of Barbara Varro.  All other photos from Pinterest no photo credits available  Barbara and Nena photo taken with Barbara’s camera several years ago at one of my visits to her home.















I wanted to do this post in advance of what I always think of as the new year when all of us say good bye to summer and head back to full time work and the new school year, after our summer breaks (we will leave pumpkin spice everything for another post…it is a season unto itself…I just learned that there will pumpkin spice SPAM……now really!!!!!)


This strange looking thingie is called a typewriter (I’m obsessed with her hair!!!!)….remember them, no, well let me explain a bit….long before the technological age we live in, they were the devices used to communicate with others using the written word via type…..I know inconceivable but true!!!! Yes, we did get in touch that way for a zillion years….the typewriter, in its first of many guises, was introduced in 1829 in Detroit but it is said to have officially evolved in Milwaukee in 1867….another “tool” that advanced women in the workplace. Progress was fairly quick and many, many different manufactures jumped on board, Royal, Smith-Corona, Oliver, etc. It was one of the reasons women could respectfully enter the workforce.




I want this, isn’t it stunning….I, by the way, didn’t learn on this particular machine but must admit I did learn to type on a standard keyboard, not an electric. I switched high schools to be able to do two things, art classes and “office” skills, typing and shorthand. I was an excellent typist, still not too bad and I do love technology, (did a lot of thesis papers for Northwestern U students while I was in high school on my portable Royal)….but sucked at shorthand, I could always write faster in long hand…once I proved that, my teacher gave me a pass!!! We had electric typewriters in the classroom, but had to learn manuel first pretty much like a shift car (I also learned to drive a stick shift) with special permits for automatic…yes, pretty much the Stone Age….but I digress! Let’s look at some machines.  You will find many vintage office collectibles at the monthly Randolph Street Market


Decoupage….love it!! Notice the ribbon…to be discussed later (the disks on either side of the carriage that round thing at the top..)


A decorating idea for a vintage piece…stunning for an office accessory.



The two photos above taken by me at Randolph Street Market at Jocelyn Reimann’s The Green Door Booth…always perfectly merchandised and styled.




More from The Green Door Booth…a Hermes portable…to die for… perfection mine was similar but a Royal…green, naturally.

A couple of books on the subject, of course….and one by the gentleman who only uses and collects manual typewriters, Tom Hanks!!!! He loves the sound of hitting the keys and has even done an app! Check out his YouTube pieces…they are delightful.


Vintage Office Collectibles

Vintage Office Collectibles

Vintage Office Collectibles

Speaking of keys…..or perhaps do jewelry with finds at RSM….

Vintage Office Collectibles

Vintage Office Collectibles

The aforementioned ribbons….in their decorative tins another collecting thought…

Vintage Office Collectibles

Oh my….look what you can do….

Vintage Office Collectibles

From pencils to…

Vintage Office Collectibles

Staplers to erasers to chalk and rulers, think of vintage in your collecting to add a bit of charm and nostalgia! And guess, what they all work to perfection….who needs new?!

Vintage Office Collectibles

Vintage Office Collectibles

Vintage Office Collectibles

Vintage Office Collectibles

These found in Marci’s Green for Style Booth at RSM, the inspiration for this post.

Vintage Office Collectibles

Vintage Office Collectibles

Two more images found at the Green Door Booth at RSM.

Vintage Office Collectibles

Vintage Office Collectibles

Here is little Nena writing fashion show scripts for her boss!

Vintage Office Collectibles

Today’s technology combined with a “real” keyboard…my dear friend, Barbara Varro, would love this. Vintage meets modernity!



All photos from Pinterest photo credits unknown.