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march/april Chicago

E sca p e

th e

o rd i n a r y.

Have you gone into overtime playing by the rules? You haven’t talked back, talked too loud, talked about yourself.

You’ve done the housework, the homework, the work-work. You’ve fed the kids’ dog, walked the kids’ dog, cleaned up after the kids’ dog. You just can’t say no to ugly bridesmaid dresses. You read every page of other people’s boring bookclub picks.

You give up the last brownie, the best seat, the first place in line. You use the ingratiating exclamation mark that says, “Please like me!” on all your emails. Are you programmed to please? You need a little naughty in your nice this month. Take over the meeting, skip to the end of the book, walk the hound to a dog-friendly bar. Good girls follow the rule book. Great ones write their own. Cover copy by Nikki Hardin, art by Kristen Solecki

“You always had the power, my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself.” Glinda the Good Witch

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123 march/aprilw2014





Founder Nikki Hardin Publisher Kathy Mitchell


Creative Director Caitilin McPhillips

Don’t Be Like Me


Editor Elisa Drake Regional Vice President Patti Ruesch

Lorrie Goldin ......................................6 On Being A Badass Ingrid Steffensen ...............................27

Account Executives Christine Griffith

In Every Issue

Andrea Bubolo Ad Design Cristina Young


Contributing Writers Tracy Marks Beth Geraci

He’s So Original ...............................10

Photography Shelby Kroeger

Splurge ................................................11

Heath Sharp Advertising Sales 312.566.5221 Calendar Submissions Send information to, or mail to skirt! Chicago 224 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 370, Chicago, IL 60604 skirt! is published bimonthly and distributed free throughout the greater Chicagoland area. skirt! reserves the right to refuse to sell space for any advertisement the staff deems inappropriate for the publication. Unsolicited manuscripts must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Letters to the editor are welcome, but may be edited due to space limitations. Press releases must be received by the 1st of the month for the following month’s issue. All content of this magazine, including without limitation the design, advertisements, art, photos and editorial content, as well as the selection, coordination and arrangement thereof, is Copyright © 2014, Morris Publishing Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this magazine may be copied or reprinted without the express written permission of the publisher. SKIRT!® is a registered trademark of Morris Publishing Group, LLC. We’re on Facebook and Twitter!

Thou Shalt Not ................................12

FROM THE PUBLISHER Did you know there is a law in Chicago that says it’s illegal to give a dog whiskey? Or that in the Pullman neighborhood you’re not allowed to drink beer out of a bucket while sitting on the curb? And in Cicero, humming on public streets is prohibited on Sundays? These laws and rules may seem a bit silly today, but at some point someone felt it was necessary to enforce them for public safety. We live by rules everyday: rules of the road, rules at work, in the classroom, rules for dating. All put in place for our safety or wellbeing. So why do some of us try to skirt the rules? Is it our nature or nurture to be strong-willed? The “rules don’t apply to me attitude” often comes at the cost disappointing our parents, teachers, coaches or bosses. I have to admit, I learned early in life that it is easier to “ask for forgiveness then to beg for permission.” This simple phrase has given me that wiggle room to get around the rules and navigate through life with at least some satisfaction that I am able to think independently, bend the rules from time to time, and still succeed. Kathy

skirt! Style ........................................16 Local Loves ......................................18 Skirt of the Month ...........................21 Menu ...................................................23 Calendar.............................................28 About the Cover Artist


The Smile List ...................................14

Kristen translates small moments and stories into paintings and illustrations with strong, changeable line work. She works with a variety of clients creating paintings for gallery exhibits, spot illustrations for print, and private commissions.

XOXO Kathy ....................................30

In fifth grade, my best friend was lovely, blonde, wealthy and exotically not originally from the neighborhood. So, naturally, at 10 years stupid, I did what she did, liked the things she liked, and duly giggled and passed notes back and forth to her in class. Until the day we got yelled at by our horrible, nasty teacher who fully shamed me in front of everyone. My friend poopooed the guilt. But I’m a rule-follower by nature and it made a lasting impression. Even these 30-odd years later, hostility aimed at me turns me queasy. But the older and slightly wiser me understands that, while breaking certain rules gets you in trouble (darn that red-light camera), some rules beg for destruction. Which is why I love what our profilee Josephine Lee says about conventional workplace hierarchy: “Never be a boss, but a coworker with different responsibilities.” She pairs that with the jaunty, “Drink a beer.” In others words, it’s OK take a break from the grind. Even Tara Giuliano, the superyoung Morningstar exec we profile, fits in tennis and play time with her baby. Not sure how to spend your recess? Check out our events-filled calendar. And if your teacher (or boss) chews you out today, we’ll meet you at the bar. Elisa skirt!magazine



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Okay, listen up. We need to talk about the rules. Yep. These are the rules. The ones to live by. Rules that rule. Who makes the rules? We have no idea. The unwritten rules? You’ll just have to figure those out on your own. Do rules make the world a better place? Does “No white after Labor Day’’ make the world a better place? Yes. Don’t question the rules, please. These are the only rules you need to live by. And once you completely embrace the rules it’s best if you break them.

Sorry, them’s the r ules.

t! skir s! rule




Why couldn’t she wear pantyhose or slacks like a normal mother? Lorrie Goldin

Lorrie Goldin is a psychotherapist and writer in the San Francisco Bay Area. She appreciates more and more the ways she is like her mother, although the rules she has imparted to her own daughters run more along the pragmatic lines of “Pay off your credit card balance in full and on time each month.”

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Don’t Be Like Me

Don’t be like me,” my mother warns. “Don’t worry, I won’t,” I mutter grimly to myself, adjusting the waistband of the maternity sweats I still wear even though Emma’s been crawling for months. I take another swig of Diet Coke, lukewarm and metallic. Keeping my eye on the snarl of traffic merging onto the rain-slicked freeway, I rummage in the trash bin, burying the crumpled Snickers wrapper under old shopping lists and baby-spit tissues. Who the hell is she to judge? “Remember, the doctor urged me to gain weight when I was pregnant with your brother, and look at me now.” Pretending to concentrate on the road, I steal a glance at my mother in the front seat. Her drab green coat hangs open despite December’s chill, the buttons long gone. They’d popped off from stretching over a stomach gone soft after three babies and the relief Hostess cupcakes brought to the black hole of suburban housewifery. “You look fine,” I lie, taking another sip of Diet Coke. Emma begins to whimper, her pacifier lost again in the dark recesses of the Cheerio-and-juice-encrusted car seat. She, too, needs something to stick in her mouth to ward off the tension beginning to fog up Grandma’s annual Christmas visit. “Damn, this defroster’s worthless,” I sigh. “Let’s pull off at Denny’s so I can nurse Emma. You must be starved after such a long flight. We can get a bite to eat.” While I struggle to untangle the now-wailing baby from her car seat, my mother grips the door frame. After a few false starts, she heaves herself out of the car. Her naked white calves glow softly in the fluorescent pools of light as we make our way across the sodden parking lot. And there I am, ten years old again, trudging behind my mother down the exhaust-blackened snow banks on Boston Common. I’d feign delight at the bejeweled Christmas windows while the wind reached through my wool coat and tore my guts out. How I hated the dry white flakiness and purply gooseflesh of those pale naked, calves braving the elements ahead of me. Why couldn’t she wear pantyhose or slacks like a normal mother? She seemed as impervious to my embarrassment as she was to the cold. It took me years to realize that it was just too hard for her to squeeze herself into constricting clothes. Now with Emma growing frantic, we crowd into the booth, my mother’s hips sweeping the flatware onto the floor with a clatter. Instinctively reaching for it, she freezes mid-swoop, unable to maneuver beyond the table edge pressing into her stomach. “Never mind, the waitress will bring us more,” I snap, lifting up my sweatshirt and planting the now-screaming baby on my breast to shut her up. My mother is shocked. “Your generation is shameless! Don’t you have a blanket or something? You just let it all hang out?” “I don’t even care anymore,” I shrug as Emma begins to nurse. The bland comfort of Denny’s plastic foliage and maple veneer gives way to the house where I grew up. There I am, sprawled on the floor sorting jigsaw puzzle pieces while my mother fills in the boxes of the Sunday crossword from her sagging corner of the couch. I’d pretend to search for edge pieces among the hundreds left in the box. But all I could see was the white bulb of my mother’s stomach, her shirt riding up as it strained but failed to conceal the pale flesh of her drooping breasts. She seemed almost defiant in her immodesty. It never dawned on me that my embarrassment couldn’t hold a candle to hers. Emma, oblivious now in her milk-sated sleep, stirs in my arms. “She’s a beauty, just like you were,” observes my mother. “Just be careful you don’t let yourself go to seed like me.” We order. The waitress brings huge slabs of chocolate layer cake with vanilla ice cream. I listen to my mother talk about her flight—the race through rush hour traffic to the airport, the long delays due to the storm, the lively conversation she’d had with her seatmate. Just like that I’m back in the kitchen where we spent so many hours of my childhood. My mother taught me bawdy drinking songs and reminisced about growing up during the Depression as she ironed. She’d let me sprinkle the rumpled linens with water from the perforated top of an old soda bottle while we laughed and chatted for hours. Even the mundane was magical under the spell of being together. Now with my own baby nestled in my arms, and lulled once again by a full belly and my mother’s stories, I drift off into oblivion for a moment. Back to a time when love, unsullied by shame, cared nothing for appearances and knew only bliss.

energet i c optimistic

h u n g ry

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No phone calls, please.











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National Louis University is Chicago’s original adult-focused university. For more than 125 years, NLU has been preparing adults to lead, inspire and educate in communities, classrooms and companies. NLU offers online, on-campus, day and evening courses. Connect with accomplished instructors and peers as you build your professional credentials and career network. Spring term starts March 31— call or visit online to connect with an Advisor today.

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Stroll around The Block in balmy, climate-controlled comfort and enjoy modern shopping indoors—in the center of the city. And with an array of enticing eatables and direct access from the indoor Pedway, you can shop all day dressed in spring fashion...even if old Chicago winter wears out its welcome.





"Remember that not getting what

you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck." H. Jackson Brown Jr. ďż˝






Photo by Shelby Kroeger Skirt courtesy Carolina Herrera


Charles Blackstone writes it like it is—sort of. Readers of Charles Blackstone’s latest novel “Vintage Attraction” may jump to certain conclusions. After all, protagonist Peter Hapworth is a writer, lives in Chicago and sends a gushing email to a celebrity sommelier, then meets and marries her. Charles is a writer, lives in Chicago and really did blind-email his now-wife master sommelier and former “Check, Please!” host Alpana Singh. But Charles’ fictional character is a hapless, jaded adjunct professor when he sends his note; Charles was a legitimate published writer.“He was a version of me, without the extra credentials,” says Charles who is also author of “The Week You Weren’t Here,” co-editor of “The Art of Friction” and managing editor of popular book review site, Hyde Park native works from his airy Gold Coast home with his constant companions: an impressive wall of books, a glass of wine and the couple’s pug Haruki, who likes a light vino. What do you like about reading skirt!? “I write a lot of female characters…Putting on a skirt gives my research ‘legs.’” What do you like about wearing a skirt? “The essays are fun and provocative. The profiles are engaging and insightful. The products are fun to look at.” 10  march/aprilw2014 skirt!magazine




Vintage Stainless Steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust Rolex 636 N. Michigan Ave. 312.951.1041

Red Door Professional Age Defense $403 919 N. Michigan Ave. 312.988.9191

Mossi Crystal Vase $3,950 Lalique, 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 1867 312.867.1787 Seated Copper Buddha $7,950 Primitive 130 N. Jefferson St. 312.575.9600






Commence the day without coffee. Type hashtags that take up two lines. Text for 30 minutes when thou could talk for 5. Post Facebook status updates every hour.

Thou shalt not...

Use emoticons in professional emails. Say “That’s funny.” Instead of laughing. Campaign about juice cleanses. See thyself as less than perfect. Eat a cookie and complain about it. Suggest an alternate restaurant when a dinner spot has already been selected.

12  march/aprilw2014 skirt!magazine

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IRISTOCRACY’s TryLive kiosk at Glasses Ltd. at 900 Shops.

2 Blue Jeans Bar home delivery subscription.


Highland Park’s new Tesla station.

5 Anti-aging eye treatment from Veneffect.

Caffeinated Club: No sugar, no calories, no artificial sweeteners.



8 9

The ancient Greek-styled pool at InterContinental.

Wacoal bras in black lace, still comfy.

Fancy Circ-Cell Transdermal Delivery System at Leah Chavie Skincare.

Morton’s Spa-tini. Long lunch?

Eating our spinach at 2Sparrows.


thesmilelist 25 Things That Make Us Happy What Makes Us Happy.






Deterring iPad theft with a cute StacheBook.

Bangers and beer from Links.

Firecakes’ gluten-free doughnuts.

Photo by Nicole Ess

Luxury leather from Chicago’s own JGeren.


Photo by

Adler After Dark events.





Chicago Children’s Museum’s new Zoom Room.


18 Sexy Fifth Avenue Man men.

Doc B’s baked polenta fries. No more high heel blisters; thanks, Danielle Lutz.

American Laser Skincare “Gentle Max Pro” hair removal.


beperfectionists bepassionate bepersonal

25 23

becreative beconnected Amen. 14

march/aprilw2014 skirt!magazine


The Dawson’s housemade sodas.

Too fun.

Pelvic floor therapy at Gynecology institute of Chicago.


Hop on in...


1747 Orchard Lane • Northfield • 847.446.4244 Mon-Fri 10-5 Sat 10-4 Visit us online at:

Escape the Winter Blues... Discover the springtime pleasures and treasures of Charleston, SC, celebrate Easter in Greece, or begin your summer in Spain... follow your dreams.

Handcrafted itineraries for women traveling alone but

together in a group of no more than 12 women per journey. ConCiErGE traVEl | SoutHErn HoSpitality | FaSCinatinG DEStinationS Visit to sign up for our newsletter, travel tips and more info about 2014 destinations. Follow us:




Vineyard Vines

Milani, CVS


Vineyard Vines


Echo Design, Nordstrom


march/aprilw2014 skirt!magazine

Luxury Garage Sale


Chicago Architecture Foundation Shop

Peruvian Connection

Alcala’s Boutique







localloves Big Fun for Little Ones We could power the entire city with the energy coursing through Kidville, the latest indoor play space where pint-sized urbanites, newborn to age 9, get off-the-charts fun.Theme-your-own birthday parties, cool classes like “I’m With the Band” for future rock stars, a preschool, summer camp, and a boutique.

Need to change your look? Or just glam it up?

Ahem…salon coming soon, moms. Early registration for camp and fall Kidville University ends May 2. 1030 W. North Ave.,

Vending Reinvented That single, sad-looking hardboiled egg has long been vending machine-land’s healthiest option. Any guesses how long it’s been rotating? You don’t want to know. Thank you, Luke Sanders for launching Farmer’s Fridge—gourmet salads and snacks at the push of a button—fresh-made each morning, sourced from local farms when possible, and packaged in recyclable plastic. In cute cases at 201 N. Clark St., the Lake Forest Tollway Oasis and more coming.

Gotta Dance! At 40 this year, the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago is hotter than ever. Case in point: Some of the world’s best contemporary dance companies perform there this month including Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, an unprecedented co-presentation with the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University; the Joffrey Ballet; and Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group. Got little groovers? FamilyDance is a great way to experience dance together. Check the schedule at

18  march/aprilw2014 skirt!magazine

Style to the Max Maxine salon boasts some of the world’s best colorists and hair stylists. Leslie Shores takes it a step further. As resident fashion consultant, she’s the salon’s hidden gem. Leslie’s passion is providing thoughtful, on-target advice for complete and captivating, head-to-toe style. Post-breakup, mid-life and new career transformations are her specialty. 712 N. Rush St.,



Photo by Shelby Kroeger


Janice Corley is an asset property. As CEO of RE/MAX Premier Property, Janice Corley is that rare and potent leadership mix—driven, competitive, a “got-your-back” boss and a genuine dynamo. She’s thrilled that, in just over two years, her real estate team has closed more than $150 million, but among her truly greatest professional accomplishments is “supporting agents to be their best and watching them fly,” she says. It’s working. Last year, Janice’s office boasted the highest per-person productivity of all Chicago offices with more than 50 agents. Her staff jokes that Janice remembers everything. That laser-sharp attention to detail means she knows, without hesitation, which accounts each team member is working on. They also appreciate her approachability and sincere concern for everyone on her team. Her motivation? “Desire and competition—but not competition with others, only with myself.” Five rules Janice lives and works by:

1) Commitment. 2) Loyalty. 3) Focus. 4) Passion. 5) A drive to finish first.


march/aprilw2014  19



Photo by Shelby Kroeger


Tara Giuliano shapes the future of marketing.

At only 32, Tara Giuliano has done more than most of us have by retirement. These days, she’s director of marketing at Morningstar and president of the Chicago branch of the American Marketing Association. In free time, she’s mentor and consultant, author (aptly, “The Little Helpful Guide on How to Have Everything You Want by Your 30th Birthday”), graduate student, and mom. How’s she manage it? To start, she rises at 5:30 (for tennis) and excels at time-management, scheduling her day by 15-minute intervals. “It’s really all about planning and having supportive people in your life.” Her self-help book includes these five rules she lives and works by: 1) Be prepared, overly prepared. 2) Nothing gets handed to people without hard work. 3) Plan, plan, plan—on a daily basis, and five years out. 4) If you’re not good at something, find someone who is good at it to help you. 5) Show passion, confidence, enthusiasm and leadership in everything you do.

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Illustration by Monkey Mind Design.

I dreamed I packed my skirt (and a danish) and had breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Roam 1419 N. Wells St. 312.664.2222

WHERE Will Your Skirt take you



march/aprilw2014  21



Photo by Shelby Kroeger


Josephine Lee conducts social change through music. At age 3, Josephine Lee learned violin and piano. She began conducting at 15. At 22 years old, she walked into the offices of the Chicago Children’s Choir—and 16 years later, she’s still there. The Chicago native of Korean descent, now president and artistic director of CCC, was drawn to the organization’s philosophy that music can be a tool for social change. The choir currently serves 3,500 children in nine Chicago neighborhoods and 65 public schools. “We’re teaching kids how to be positive world citizens and our next generation’s leaders,” Josephine says. “We speak different languages, but come together and create perfect harmony.” Josephine’s staff regales her as a true visionary, part inspirational leader, part rock star. Five rules she lives and works by:

1) Create a positive work environment. 2) Never be a boss, but a coworker with different responsibilities. 3) Compassion is a better motivator than bonuses or promotions. 4) Never be afraid of radical ideas. 5) Be real—drink a beer!

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Letterpress coasters from

Squeeze the limes with a lever juicer or use an electronic citrus juicer to get the most out of each lime. Our recipe served 8 glasses— invite 8 friends, or 4 with designated drivers— this is potent.

A deceptively strong drink and a delightful dip kick your evening off with a bang. If you’re hosting party hoppers, we liked that this fresh dip with salad ingredients was light enough to leave room for dinner once guests are out and about. When choosing ingredients for the salad, our Whole Foods cheesemonger recommended a Bulgarian feta, which is different than your typically strong Greek versions. And when you’re prepping that pitcher, get your biceps ready and roll those limes on the counter a few times to make sure they’re juicy. For the recipe you could need upwards of ten to fifteen limes depending on their size.

1 bottle of Prosecco 2 cups Sauza Agave Silver Tequila 1 cup Triple Sec 1 1/2 cups of lime juice

Pitcher from

From the skirt! Office Test Kitchen

1 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded 1 each red and yellow pepper, chopped 2 avocado, diced 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained 1/2 cup of feta cheese

Don’t use a food processor to chop lettuce; it’s easy to liquefy that way. Rough chop by hand so you can control the texture.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and thoroughly mix. Serve with Natura plantain chips and enjoy.

Make sure the feta cheese is made mostly from sheep’s milk.


Combine 1/4 cup of lime juice, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tbsp of honey, 2 tbsp fresh cilantro.






#2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere.


is Everything.

Joyce A. Myers




“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little


HOLD ON TO THAT I t ’s n o t a b o u t having the best people, i t ’s a b o u t h a v i n g t h e right people.


COMMITTEES “If you want to kill any idea in the world, get a committee working on it. ” Charles Kettering

invest in yourself. you are your greatest asset.


Irma Kurtz

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.


John Lennon

“Lead, FOLLOW, OR GET OUT OF THE WAY.” Thomas Paine


march/aprilw2014 skirt!magazine

own your life, it is 100%

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

[see J]

your responsibility Steve Jobs


“Never . If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.”

Procrastination is not a virtue.

be the reason someone smiles today.

Victoria Holt

You create your opportunities by asking for them.

“If you are not willing to risk the u n u s u a l , you will have to settle for the ordinary.” Jim Rohn

“Don’t raise your


Shakti Gawain

Improve your argument.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“No matter how good you get you can always get better, and that’s the e

your health is your life. Commit to 30 minutes of movement a day.

xciting part.”

zZZzzZ..... Getting a good night’s sleep will make you feel ready to take on the world.

Tiger Woods

[see I]


Z, , Z.......... Z, z, Z..........zZZZZZ Z, z, Z..........Z, z, Z..........Z,

[see J]

Take it seriously.



march/aprilw2014  25

20 14


5 Favorite Things:

1. Pepperoni pizza (thin) 2. Children’s laughter 3. Anything on bravo 4. red velvet macarons


5. Finding a great deal


Photo by Shelby Kroeger

Trust your instincts.


march/aprilw2014 skirt!magazine

I lived for 41 years on this planet content with being The Good Girl.


Ingrid Steffensen

help the pretty blonde, a dental hygienist from Baltimore, get securely strapped in. She wedges her helmet on, I hand her the communicator, and she’s ready for some action. “Can you hear me now?” I ask, in a dorky echo of that stupid cell phone commercial. “Yeah, I can hear you,” she answers. “You good to go?” I check in again. “I sure am!” she enthuses. “Right then, we’re off!” I affirm, and as I’m waved onto the track, I swing into the tight, rhythmic esses that initiate this track’s complicated sequence, and which my light, nimble car was born to conquer. This is my most favorite racetrack: not that fast, highly technical, and with a banked carousel that, to me, is worth the price of admission. If you aim your front left wheel in just the right spot, the entrance angle yanks the car down into the bowl as if it were on a chain, and then it pins the car to the angled surface, holding it down with momentum as it curls you around 180 degrees and then spits you out at the other end. “Yee-haw,” I yell, telling her it’s obligatory each time we go around this carousel. “Yee-haw,” she agrees, obediently. I like this girl. I pass a number of other drivers, because the tight, technical layout favors my weaponry—which is extremely nimble but not that powerful. A couple of times during the 20-minute session, I check in with her, to make sure all this tossing around isn’t threatening to upend her lunch. “Feeling OK?” I ask. “Fine,” she says. “Still having fun?” I inquire. “Oh, yeah,” she replies. I like this girl very much, I decide. The checkered flag is waved; we reach the end of the circuit, and I pull regretfully off the track. A most satisfactory session, I think. My passenger extricates herself from the car. She removes the helmet, fluffs her gleaming, golden hair, and pronounces—with gratifying volume: “Oh my gawd, you are such a badass!” Oh, I like this girl a lot. Here’s the truth of it: I am as far from a badass as you can probably dig up in this age in which marijuana has been legalized, pregnant teenagers get their own reality shows, and suburban soccer moms get tattoos and wear stilettos. When Stockard Channing sang “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” in Grease, I knew in my heart of hearts that she was singing about me. I’ve never smoked, never slept with any man other than my husband, never even colored my hair. I’m not necessarily proud of all this (actually, it’s a little embarrassing)—it’s just who I am. I’m a nerd, a pleaser, a cocooner. My idea of getting really risqué is to add some cayenne pepper to my chocolate cookies. (Awesome, incidentally: The hot pepper interacts with and enlivens the suaveness of the cocoa like Lucy does to Ricky Ricardo.)

I lived for 41 years on this planet content with being The Good Girl. The world needs its Angelina Jolies, its Bonnie Parkers, its Rizzos and Jessica Rabbits. If we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t know where the boundaries were. But I was happy enough not being one of them. Their lives may be a great deal more exciting than mine, but they also seem to invite a lot of heartache, poor fashion choices, and regrettable tattoos. When I trepidatiously began my high-speed odyssey on the racetrack, it was not as a way of thumbing my nose at society or rebelling against the self-imposed strictures of being a loyal wife, responsible mother, dedicated educator, or organic-kale-eater. Rather the opposite: I just thought this was a good way to understand my gearhead husband a little better. Oh, the things we do for love! A curious byproduct of the entire venture, however, is that the world’s perspective seems to have shifted in the way it regards me. Before, I was a completely unremarkable woman, someone who toed the line of conventional societal expectations in every way. But now, as someone who drives racecars as a hobby, I have become something of an oddity: a woman who challenges the status quo, who dares to flout the conventional ways a middle-aged, law-abiding wife and mother is expected to behave. I seem to have gone from Sandra Dee to Badass in 4.3 seconds simply by donning a helmet and pushing my foot down to the floor. It’s not just cute blond dental hygienists who have called me a badass. “Read my friend’s book,” posted one sandbox friend who lives on the left-hand coast and whom I have not seen in a quarter of a century, “she’s a total badass!” It is very strange for laundry-list me to see myself in this new light, and it has made me wonder: What, exactly, constitutes (to coin a term) badassness? If you turn to the great and powerful Internet and look up “badass” on the openly edited Urban Dictionary, you will find that its contributors provide exclusively male examples with which to define the term: Dirty Harry, Steve McQueen, Sam Elliott. The badass smokes, drinks beer or whisky (definitely never a nice Merlot), wears jeans that are torn by the wearer and not the designer, rarely speaks, and when he does, he lets his fists or his pool cue do the talking. Urban Dictionary, it appears, has completely missed out on the phenomenon that is the female badass. So what makes a female badass? I think, like pornography, we know it when we see it. The hard-rockin’ Joan Jett is most definitely a badass, likewise Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Pink. The butt-kicking, motivational fitness guru Jillian Michaels is a badass. So is Jeannette Lee, the nationally ranked professional pool player. Hillary Clinton—badass. Michelle Obama—not so much. “Badass,” when applied to women, seems to be reserved for those who are tough, daring, even brazen, and it’s also a term, as far as I can tell, of high approbation. I’m a little in love with my newly acquired badassness. I never went in search of it, and you mustn’t look too hard at it or it will dissolve in the light of my neatly organized recipe binder, but after decades of quiet rule-following, I certainly enjoy thinking I could join such illustrious company. Ultimately, if you want to be a badass, you have to embrace your bravest, most authentic self. If that’s what being a badass truly is, then yeah—I’m a badass, and proud of it.

Ingrid Steffensen has translated her newfound passion for racing and life into a book, Fast Girl: Don’t Brake Until You See the Face of God and Other Good Advice from the Racetrack, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, New Jersey Monthly, and The Wine Enthusiast, among others. skirt!magazine

march/aprilw2014  27


6. 8.

Bridal styling by Liv Hart, mini hair trial by Magnificent Brides, wine, treats, 10% off orders and luxury swag bag at Bella Bleu in Park Ridge.

Lumberjack Jill. Killer Bee. Anne Hackaway. Bust Your Tooth Bluth. They’re the Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLLAW) and they battle it out, tongue in cheek, for charity. $10. Cash bar.

28  march/aprilw2014 skirt!magazine

11. 13.

The Women Chefs and Restaurateurs conference sets up at the InterContinental Hotel. Focusing on green topics, it covers cooking demos, mixology tastings, seminars and book signings.

Eden Laurin and Patrick Smith of the Violet Hour guest-bartend at CH Distillery with a CH spirit and wildcard ingredient.

Conjure spring during the trend event at neapolitan collection, whose racks glitter with luxury designers like J. Mendel,Valentino and Naeem Khan. 715 Elm St., Winnetka, 847.441.7784


19. 20.

You know Redmoon puts on incredible shows. The annual Spectacle Lunatique gala pulls out all stops, raising money to support its many free public performances.

Delia Ephron is featured speaker at the Women’s Board of the JUF book and author event at Green Acres Country Club in Northbrook. 312.357.4821

No matter the weather, the equinox is here: Celebrate at the 21-plus Adler After Dark for an exclusive peek through the Doane Observatory telescope.


Ban wine list confusion at City Winery’s Introduction to Wine Tasting class. Lots of sips, plus light cheese and charcuterie available. $60. 7 pm.



Ever fantasize about writing a screenplay? Get it out for the Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition. First deadline March 3, final April 21.



Revel in the retro at Randolph Street Market’s indoor lineup of vintage clothiers, antiques dealers and indie designers. $8 in advance; $10 at the door.


Support the arts education in underserved CPS schools by Barrel of Monkeys at its annual fundraising event, The Big Prom, at the Drucker Center. 1535 N. Dayton Ave. Tix $50 or $75.




4. 12.

Hey, busy ladies. Get tips for a five-minute flawless face; you even get a brush set. Sonia Roselli Makeup Studio, 7001 N. Glenwood Ave.

It’s OK to talk at the library when it’s Night in the Stacks, benefitting the CPL Junior Board Foundation. Winter Garden, 400 S. State St.

Home project concept, but no tools? Hit the ReBuilding Exchange Shop Time to use their stuff and get advice too. 2:30-5:30 pm. 1740 W. Webster Ave.


13. 18.


Autohaus on Edens merges Mercedes and fashion at its annual spring style preview benefitting the Auxiliary of Highland Park Hospital/ Kellogg Cancer Center. 847.272.7900

Hand-painted needlepoint gifts are on display at The Canvasback’s Susan Roberts trunk show. 1747 Orchard Lane, Northfield, 847.446.4244

Jazz at Symphony Center features Grammy-winner soul and gospel queen Mavis Staples. Tix $28-$88.


21. 24.

South African Johnny Clegg brings his unique blend of Western pop and African Zulu to City Winery.

It’s the start of National Spa Week’s spring installment with $50 treatments at the Peninsula Spa, Lincoln Park Aesthetics, Heavenly Massage H M Day Spa and more.

Bling out to benefit the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at a champagne preview party to the International Art, Antique & Jewelry Show at Navy Pier.


27. 30. skirt!magazine

Converse with the trees for Earth Day on a free walk through McDonald Woods at Chicago Botanic Garden. 1 pm.

Hobnob with the Haute Couture Club of Chicago, celebrating its 50th anniversary with fashion show, reception, silent auction and more.

Round up the posse, chow down on Tex-Mex samplings and sip margaritas in support of Boundless Readers at a fundraiser at High Noon Saloon.






"Do unto others as they would do to you." The Golden Rule. Seems simple enough; but as I gave it more thought, I realized I see less and less evidence of it. Ask yourself, when was the last time you opened the door for someone? Gave up your seat on the train to someone older? Stopped long enough to give a stranger directions? Wiped down the treadmill after using it? We go from point A to point B without engaging in conversation or acknowledging another human being. It's time to follow The Golden Rule. A smile is contagious. Pass it on!

W h a t ’s k e e p i n g m e a w a k e a t n i g h t :

Looking forward to:

The New Harry Caray’s Sports Museum and Restaurant The Turning of the Chicago River Green for St. Paddy’s Running Along the Lake Shamrock Shuffle

I am jealous of:

“Scandal.” Can’t wait to see what happens next! Time to pay Uncle Sam That song in my head that just won’t stop playing! Finding a dress for the spring galas “Chicago Fire” drama. GRRRR! Spring fever To cleanse or not to cleanse Sandal shopping: where to begin Michael Kors

W h a t ’s o n m y i Pa d : I can’t remember how I found but now that I have, I check it most every day. Medium is for people who love good writing and who are still hungry after reading Twitter tidbits. It’s designed to showcase little stories and manifestos, and it’s also a powerful and easy publishing platform if you want to post your own writing. There are thousands of stories on Medium so you’ll never run out of food for your brain.

Running out of computer memory

W h a t ’s o n m y m i n d :

It seems like just yesterday we were falling back an hour for daylight savings time and now we’re springing ahead, giving us an extra hour of light at the end of our day—and rewarding us for a beast of a winter.

Note to self:

“If I'd observed all the rules, I'd never have got anywhere.”


break Springvelers. tra

$4.00 Macadamia deep repair hair masque from Ulta.

—Marilyn Monroe

Must haves this month: Tory Burch Rodeo Drive Collection Tote Organic GROH hair Treatment, Mario Tricoci

Xen-Tan Luminous Gold Gel

Brian Atwood Ponyhair Pumps from Luxury Garage Sale

Kathy Mitchell is the publisher of skirt! Chicago. She can be reached at 30

march/aprilw2014 skirt!magazine







The March/April Rules Issue  

The Rules Issue features local Chicago women, events, products and loyal advertisers

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