Monday, December 21, 2009

The December 2009 ILIA Portfolio Show

Friday, December 18, 2009:
After two and a half years of classes, plenty of nights without sleep and just enough energy to get through the day, the time had come for The December 2009 ILIA Portfolio Show! I had been working diligently all quarter to complete my work for the show. After many hours spent in a computer lab (and quite a bit of "change" spent on the materials) it was finally time to present my work to industry, friends and family.

The show began at noon and the Fall 2009 graduates anxiously waited at their respective tables for industry professionals to have a look at their work. Being one of those graduates, I was also poised and ready to share my experiences and knowledge with the pros that mingled my way. After three hours of talking with any interested parties, the room was open to the friends and family of the graduates. The first to arrive at my table was the lovely Darleen Saam, a friend of the family (and one of the Beshel's favorites.) It was nice to have a chance to catch up with Darleen before the rest of the family arrived.

Just after 3p.m., I began to nervously look around to catch a glimpse of any other Beshel's in the room (who, like me, are quite tall and easy to spot.) The first Beshel I saw was my Dad and I just about fell over when I saw him wearing a bowtie. (Side note: the last time I saw my Dad dressed up was, well, I'm not quite sure!) Following my Dad was my brother, my sisters, my step-Mom and my Grandparents--you guessed it: all wearing bowties! My Mom and my step-Dad showed up shortly after, and had also joined "the bowtie club." I couldn't believe that every person that came my way was sporting my most favorite neck accessory (and I must say, they all looked sharp.)

(L to R) Grandma & Grandpa Beshel, Dad, myself,
Sandy (step-Mom), Nicole, Eric and Shannon (siblings)

Before the show ended I had the chance to introduce my family to some of my favorite teachers and my good friend and mentor, Barbara Glass (who also showed up to meet the bunch.) Friends and fellow classmates came by to say hello and have a look at my work.

My good friend, the lovely Barbara Glass and myself:

It truly was an amazing day. I had completed a college degree and was surrounded by my family and most cherished friends. The support I have had over these past years has been priceless and having my family by my side was really all that I could have asked for to share the immense sense of accomplishment I felt that day.

Even now, as I sit and write this post, I am overwhelmed by all the love and support that so many of you have shown me. In return, I vow to keep moving forward with a sense of integrity and pride in everything I do. The lessons I have learned over the years will stay with me as I grow and the commitment I have made to myself to become everything I dream to be has only grown stronger.

The Graduate!:

I look to the future now with a sense of excitement and opportunity. I have found myself overcome with such an intense wave of freedom that I have never felt before. The possibilities are endless, the journey is unknown and I couldn't be more ready to move forward with my path in life. My college degree is my ticket to the success I will achieve and I'm ready to begin this journey into the future, one step at a time.

Thank you to everyone who showed up to support me Friday and a special thanks to my family for taking the time to join me on such a momentous day in my life.

I love you all...


R.M.B., The Graduate.

(L to R): Don (step-Dad), Mom, Shannon,
myself, Eric, Nicole (siblings):

My table display at the Portfolio Show:

Myself and one of my favorite instructors (and
personal mentor), Ms. Williams:

All smiles at the Portfolio Show:

Grandpa & Grandma Beshel and myself (in bowties!):

Don, myself and one of my greatest supporters, Mom:

The Beshel bunch!:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Shop for a Cause at Original Penguin

Wednesday, December 9, 2009:
Chicago's young and beautiful gathered tonight to "Shop for a Cause" at the Original Penguin store located at 901 North Rush Street. The event brought together a stylish mix of industry, ready and willing to shop in support of Vital Bridges, a charity that fights to "help people throughout metropolitan Chicago impacted by HIV and AIDS to improve their health and build self-sufficiency by providing food, nutrition, housing, case management and prevention services." Michigan Avenue Magazine was the media sponsor for the event and the team showed up to support such a great cause.

The event began at 6p.m. as guests piled in to escape the cold, grab a glass of wine and mingle with the crowd. The handsome Robbie Martin, a member of the Vital Bridges Junior Networking Committee, was the man of the night. Other guests included Alex Razzano (Lead Buyer for Bonnie&Clyde's), Pascale Wellin (Director of Public Relations for Bonnie&Clyde's), Bill Pritchard (Senior Vice President of Community Affairs at GoPride Corporation (, Stephanie D. Castagnier (President and Founder of Child Cause) and Anastasia Bullinger (Director of Public Relations for Child Cause.)

Robbie Martin speaks about Vital Bridges:

To motivate the spending (other than the tall glasses of wine) the shop offered a very impressive discount for the evening and a raffle to win a $500 Original Penguin gift card. The lucky winner (and personal friend of mine) was Enrique Crame III, a menswear manager at the Zara on Fifth Avenue, who just happened to be in town working at the new Chicago location!

Enrique Crame III, the dandy man of mystery.
aka: Winner of the gift card giveaway!:

After a few spilled glasses of wine, a great set by the energetic DJ and lots of pictures--it was time to shuffle back into the snowy Chicago night. I hope the event was very successful for Vital Bridges. It's such a great organization, supplying medicine, food and housing to people who cannot afford such essential necessities. It puts life into perspective as we shuffle through our busy days with a coffee in one hand and a cell phone in the other. There are people in this city, our city, that can't even afford to buy the medicine to keep them alive. Please support Vital Bridges by giving your time or money to help the individuals fighting to live with HIV and AIDS. As the holidays come and go, let us not forget how fortunate we are to have the support of family and friends around us. To give to the charity or to learn more about their mission and influential work, please visit the "Give" page on their website by clicking here.

Another great event for a truly fantastic cause.

Happy Holidays, my friends!


Original Penguin:

Alia Rajput and Kiki Allen,
Michigan Avenue Magazine Interns:

The fitting room area at Original Penguin:


Male model reading Michigan Avenue Magazine
in the storefront window:

These things happen...

p.s. It wasn't me. ;)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Holiday Issue

Tuesday, December 1, 2009:
Copies of the new Michigan Avenue Magazine began to show up in fine hotels and influential residences across Chicago and the suburbs. The issue profiles some of Chicago's "change agents" on the scene who are evolving the face of our city. Featured on the cover is an Oak Park native who rewrote the A-List with her name at the top: talented "D-Lister," Kathy Griffin.

I had the opportunity to transcribe the interview that my editor-in-chief (who wrote the fantastic piece) had with Kathy Griffin. It was such an experience listening to a recording of the two talking candidly and laughing together. Kathy Griffin is absolutely hilarious and I admire her strength as a person and a woman who says exactly what's on her mind.

I also wish to direct you to page 34, where you will find my byline in this month's December 2009/January 2010 issue. It was an amazing moment tearing open the plastic that protects the new issues and opening up the shiny cover to find my name. So grateful for my internship and all the wonderful people who have pushed me forward. Thanks again to each and every one of you!

Please--waste no more time! Go and get your copy of Michigan Avenue Magazine and see the city through the eyes of such a diverse and talented team...

The Michigan Avenue Team.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An Evening at J. Mendel

Tuesday, December 1, 2009:
Chicago's elite gathered for an intimate evening at J. Mendel, 919 N. Michigan Avenue. The holiday'ed sidewalks were lit on this surprisingly beautiful night on the first of December. Inside the high-end fur and ready-to-wear boutique, guests sipped cocktails and tried on the glorious garments for themselves. The "Wish List" event brought out the best in Chicago, including the host of the evening, editor in chief of Michigan Avenue Magazine, Susanna Negovan.

Nadia (Kopenhagan Fur), Susanna Negovan (Michigan Avenue Magazine), Maggie Rei (J. Mendel)

I had the honor of assisting talented photographer and friend, Jeff Schear, as he photographed the beautiful people and mingled among the guests. (Check out the December issue of Michigan Avenue Magazine to see the ad Jeff shot for The Red Head Piano Bar with "Red Head Revue" winner, Megan Parker aka: Deirdre Doll.)

Garments from the current collection were worn by Chicago models, Marguerite Keefe and Angela Carroll. (These two women were really the lucky ones--with fabulous outfit changes every few minutes displaying the current collection to the swooning attendees.) Laurie Davis, (owner of Lulu's) was in attendance, alongside other fine Chicagoans including Lynn McMahan, Trevian Kutti, and Whitney Lasky (get the scoop on these gorgeous and driven "Surreal Housewives" here.)

Models, Marguerite Keefe (L) and Angela Carroll (R):

When the event came to an end, guests strolled down Michigan Avenue carrying a swag bag fit for a Chicago queen. Inside was a purple heart of fur, made by Kopenhagen Fur, the company that supplies the fine goods for the J. Mendel designs. I left as the event was ending and took the long way home for a stroll down Michigan Avenue. As I passed over the bridge approaching Wacker Drive, the soothing sounds of a saxophone filled the air and a thought came to mind: "I love this city." Another great event with Michigan Avenue Magazine and another gorgeous night out in Chicago...


p.s. I support faux fur, as well as the luxurious offerings at J. Mendel! Try H&M or Zara (both on Michigan Ave.) for some great faux finds...

Lovely ladies, including one of my favorites, Lynn McMahan: (R)

The beautiful Angela Carroll (L) and Marguerite Keefe (R)

Maggie Rei from J. Mendel describes the "Wish List" event and thanks the guests for coming:

Myself and one of my favorite models, Marguerite Keefe:

Bird's eye view:

Laurie Davis (L) and Susanna Negovan (R):

Angela Carroll (L) and Marguerite Keefe (R):

Thursday, November 26, 2009

30 Floors: UP

Wednesday, November 25, 2009:
The day began like any other at the Michigan Avenue Magazine office. I got in before anyone else arrived to share a "good morning" over the sounds of keyboards and phone calls. I love being the first one at the office. There's something enchanting about walking into a room untouched from the bustling day before. Almost immediately, the stories of the office come alive as I pass layouts to be edited, glossy stacks of current issues and computer screens with email inboxes full of waiting questions. Yes, it was a day like any other, but the conclusion would prove to be much different than the ones before...

It was my last day as an intern at Michigan Avenue Magazine.

As I sat at my desk answering the questions on my screen, the Michigan Avenue team began to arrive. It was the day before Thanksgiving, so it wasn't the full house I've become accustomed to. Editor-in-chief Susanna Negovan arrived and came over to chat with me about our time together. In just two and a half months I have learned so many things about the inner workings of a luxury magazine and many more lessons about myself along the way. Together we laughed and talked about some of the experiences and she shared her thoughts about my performance and my future career aspirations.

The Michigan Avenue Magazine lobby:

Though it was a calm day, there was still plenty to be done (magazines don't write themselves!) I worked with Susanna to complete a project for an upcoming issue, had lunch, took down my "inspiration wall" and it was almost time to go. As I sat at my desk, I recalled the experience that I have had over the course of my internship. In such a short time I have learned so much about myself and have met some of the smartest, most hard working, dedicated and influential people I have ever come across (and they're gorgeous to boot!)

Never a bad view from the conference room:

As I write this now, only an hour after arriving home from Thanksgiving dinner, I realize that I have so much to be thankful for. To the many people I have met along the way who have continued to support me on my journey, I thank you. To my family that has stuck by me when I didn't know who I was or where life was taking me, I thank you. To the many true friends that humble me and keep me laughing through it all, I thank you. To the people I have had the honor of working with at Michigan Avenue, while growing and learning more about myself and the city I love, I thank you.

As I sign off for now, I am left feeling nostalgic about the past, yet optimistic about the journey that begins after graduation. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. My time at Michigan Avenue Magazine may be done for now, but there is so much more ahead.

Watch out "real" world.

Here I come.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Success: The Seminar

Friday, November 20, 2009:
The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago presented the "Student Success Seminar" to further prepare students for their future careers in the fashion industry. The seminar was perfectly guided by the wonderful Mr. Richard Petrizzi. As a professor at ILIA, Mr. P is an inspiring individual with an attitude so positive, he can raise you out of a homework meltdown with just a smile.

The day began with an introduction by Pat Giller and Jill Hinrichs from Career Services offering guidance and assistance in helping us to shape our careers. They were followed by a panel of current students speaking about their internships at some of Chicago's most exciting companies. Sherry Roath spoke about producing fashion shows and handling aspects of marketing at Water Tower Place. Jessica DeGolyer shared her experience with GenArt, a company that strives to give a voice to emerging designers and artists. I spoke about my time at Michigan Avenue Magazine as an intern for the editor-in-chief, working with many other fantastic interns and industry professionals.

The panel was followed by some inspiration from instructors Dan Robison, Shireen Musa and personal mentor of mine, Sandra Henderson-Williams. They shared their insights on the industry and how their careers were shaped. (They also made us laugh quite a bit.) Later, Michael Johnson shared his top tips for staying sharp in the job market and Richard Petrizzi made us think deeper. (He also reminded us of all the fantastic acronyms he uses.)

Mr. P, you're FABE.

Mr. P and his bag of fantastic prizes:

After lunch, a panel of industry professionals joined the seminar to share stories and answer questions. David Ginople (owner of Store B), Troy Parrish (Visual Manager at Gap on Michigan Avenue), Beatrice Moore (sales and visuals for Gap), Kevin Sullivan (owner, Kevin Sullivan Events), Sandra Henderson-Williams (instructor at three of the city's top art colleges, former Senior Buyer for Sears), Lidia Wachowska (ILIA instructor with a background in academia) and Barbara Glass (Image and Wardrobe Consultant, contributing NBC5 reporter and blog writer of

The seminar wrapped up with a clever speech from Mr. P and the students and professionals had some time to network and learn more about each other. I got the chance to meet some some fantastic fellow students and was able to share with them my experiences and successes as I approach graduation. With only one official day left* at Michigan Avenue Magazine and less than four weeks of school, I find myself diving quickly into the unknown.

Which is just fine by me.


*I will may come back to Michigan Avenue Magazine for a day or two a week. :)

Dan Robison schools us on Team Work:

Michael Johnson gets us ready to interview:

Back: Kevin Sullivan, Barbara Glass, Sandra Henderson-Williams,
Lidia Wachowska

Front: Troy Parrish, Beatrice Moore, David Ginople

Two of my very favorite people, looking gorgeous!
Barbara Glass and Sandra Henderson-Williams:

Myself with one of my best buds, Barbara Glass:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jimmy Choo + H&M + Barbara Glass = FREE SHOES.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009:
A contest has been announced on, a Chicago fashion blog kept by the fantastic Barbara Glass. The offering? A chance to win a pair of Jimmy Choo for H&M flats (size 39;)! Luckily, Barbara and I are are like family, so she asked me to pass along the details to all of you!

Have a look at the video and then read on for further instructions. (Unless of course you don't like FREE shoes.) Did I mention that when Jimmy Choo for H&M launched in the Chicago market at the Michigan Avenue location (11.14.09) it sold out in like, 30 seconds?! (Extra credit: It's also the first time Jimmy Choo has offered a women's AND men's clothing line, as well as men's shoes (in addition to the fantastic selection of accessories and women's shoes that the brand is known for.) H&M also has plans for a collaboration with Sonia Rykiel to produce an exclusive collection of lingerie, and, for next spring, a knitwear collection for women, and girls, aged 18 months to 8 years. So even your little nuggets can be chic.)

So, now that you've learned and earned your extra credit, have a look at the video and get moving on winning yourself a pair of Jimmy Choo's!


Barbara pretty much covers the details in the video, but just in case you missed it, I've posted the Contest Rules here:

1) Check at now to find the Jimmy Choo x H&M Giveaway Contest!!!! post and leave a comment under the video.
2) Send an email to (12 sentences MAX) explaining why YOU should win the Jimmy Choo shoes.
3) You MUST become (or already be a fan of) the
Barbara Glass Facebook Fan Page!

**Only the first 50 Facebook fans who both comment and email will be eligible.**

Good luck and thanks for following!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hey Designers! Get Creative.

"The Creative Lounge Chicago hosts the virtual conference Threading the Needle. Fashion Research Institute & Chicago Creative Lounge invites you to attend Threading the Needle: The Future of Fashion Design, the first virtual world-based fashion design conference in history.

Threading the Needle gathers eight fashion industry thought leaders to present their views on a range of topics designed to help a global audience of fashion businesses and fashion designers 'thread their needle' and launch their careers. And as anyone who has ever had hand sewn a hem knows, there is a trick to threading a needle.
Please join us on Thursday, December 3rd from 7 am - 4 pm at this free conference for designers, fashion design students, and fashion related businesses.

The Creative Lounge Chicago, located at the corner of Damen, Milwaukee & North Ave, will project the conference live at their 3rd floor loft. Skype will be set up for participants to interact and ask questions to the guest speakers live. Take part in this free opportunity, gain insight into the fashion industry and interact with successful leaders in the field and your peers. To read more about the conference:

1564 N. Damen Ave, 3rd Floor
Please RSVP or direct questions to:
Include the subject line: Threading the Needle"


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Casey Gorham Photo Shoot: Behind-the-Scenes Preview

Sunday, November 15, 2009:

A few weeks ago, I was asked to help organize a photo shoot for friend and talented photographer, Casey Gorham. We met between classes and shifts at work (Casey is also a co-worker of mine) to discuss the project that she envisioned. She wanted me to assist her with a fashion photo shoot to broaden her body of work and sharpen her skills as an artist and a photographer. I quickly agreed and signed on as Assistant Stylist and Creative Director. Together we discussed the end product she desired, scheduled the time and I got to work finding models and garments.

It took only seconds for me to decide on the perfect talent and I immediately reached out to friends, Chelsey Carter and Christina Mighty. (Not only are these girls gorgeous, talented and intelligent--they also have style for DAYS.) Chelsey is a model and emerging fashion designer of her own line, Alex Carter. Christina is a Chicago model with an eye for styling. Both have attended the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago as my fellow classmates. Needless to say, I was thrilled and eager to work with all these creative women on this project.

Standing-in, as Casey Gorham set the lighting and began test shots:

We went to work setting up the space for the shoot. Casey assembled and placed the lights and I hung the backdrop (which would later be cut out of the photos.) She wanted tight shots, so we were able to use a very small amount of space to achieve her look. The girls brought a stunning array of their personal garments--vintage pieces, original designs, hand-me-downs--plenty to choose from. Together we chose the clothes, make-up, accessories and shoes for each shot and the girls got to work.

The result is a series of fantastic images that Casey will use to produce an art installation and thesis project. Included here are just a few behind-the-scenes photographs from the shoot. Keep an eye out for the final images, posted here, as soon as I get my hands on them! A big thanks to Casey for allowing me the opportunity to help bring her vision to life, and a big thanks to Chelsey and Christina for their positive attitudes, hard work--and gorgeous closets.

Have a look!

The shoot begins:

Models: Christina Mighty (L) and
Chelsey Carter (lookin' smashing in my bowtie!) (R)
with photographer, Casey Gorham:

"Excuse me sir. I'm going to need you to stop right there.":

The "warm" (hot!) color-story:

R.M.B. checks the details:

Chelsey Carter (L) and Christina Mighty (R):

Ms. Mighty:

Jewel tones, anyone?:

Casey Gorham photographs Chelsey Carter:

A collar-ed Christina:

Fringe and sequins, what could be better?:

Christina takes a stance:

Chelsey in vintage fringe:

Remember to check back for the final photos..
As always, thanks for reading TBM!