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):