Renee, Event Planning, and Beauty


“There is no rule on how to be on social media so just be yourself. There is no guideline on creating boundaries with social media. People spend so many hours on social media and don’t know why they don’t have time to get things done.”

Where did you grow up?

“I grew up with a single mom. I was very close to my mom. I literally grew up in a trailer park with my mom. It was a quintessential Midwest life-style. I loved horse riding. When I was young that’s what I did. I would go to school and then I would go to the barn. So much of my being comes from horse riding. That was a big portion of my life growing up. I went to junior college back home and then went to Loyola in Chicago.

What was your first job?

“I was working at Banana Republic in St. Louis during high school. I followed the head of PR for Gap Inc. and my dream was to be the head of PR for a big brand. I thought Banana Republic was the coolest place. I was very focused. I knew education was my way out. During college, I went to school full time, worked at Banana as a floor manager, and had a PR company internship that focused on restaurants. After I graduated I worked at a marketing firm for the first few years of my career. It emphasized integrated marketing with on-site events. It was a very corporate desk job. I remember sitting at my desk and thinking, “This is so boring.” During that time the budget got cut and I was laid off. I took the opportunity to find a more creative job. Right around the same time, I had really developed this love of baking and cooking. So, when I was at Loyola I had a little kitchenette. People at work started asking me to make a cake for their sister’s birthday etc. I started a little business on the side called Sugar Bliss. I continued doing that on the side. I was living in Old Town. At the time there was a cute storefront called Cobey Foods & Catering. It was just down the block from where I lived. While I was looking for a real job, I went in blind looking for a part-time job because it was near my house. When I went in he said he wasn’t hiring. Instead of just writing a thank you note, I baked him a cake and brought it in. Then he called and hired me. I worked for him for nine months. He let me bake anything I wanted as long as I made things that he sold in his store. I was in the back, in the kitchen, hair up, not glamorous. I realized from that I loved baking, but I did not want to be a baker for my living.”

How did these jobs feed into your career as an event planner?

I got a job at Wolfgang Puck in Chicago. It was an exciting couple of years. I was the operations officer and organized a lot of the big events, which is how I meet the owner of the company I am at now. I was just out at these events meeting people. Now, I am at Kehoe Designs. That kind of combined my events marketing skills with the food interests. Kehoe is an event design firm, so we design the flowers, decor, fabrics, and more. I have now been there for more than 10 years. That is what led me to where I am now. Kehoe Design saw what I do. I have developed a representation in Chicago as the person to plan very high-end luxury events.

Do you have any other passions?

So, the other part of my life that really is my passion is the cooking and traveling. I have done these travel food workshops. I have gone and done workshops in France and Italy. Something I also love is helping people get recharged and slow down. People don’t take much time anymore to slow down and breathe. I really want to shift that. I love taking time to ride my horse, take walks, and enjoy the day.

Everyone is on their phone and connected but people need to find a way to disconnect. We don’t have boundaries in our culture. There is no rule on how to be on social media so just be yourself. There is no guideline on creating boundaries with social media. People spend so many hours on social media and don’t know why they don’t have time to get things done. I have a side hustle and workshops and cooking things. Cheval & Lion is what I started. I have a website. The Instagram is my side thing. I am not super focused on it. It is just my creative environment. It is focused on food and cooking and a lifestyle. I have been focused on alternative baking with no gluten, no refined sugars. Now, I am baking things that are healthier for you, but they are still beautiful.

What inspires your event design, cooking, baking, and travel?

I love beautiful things. I am really driven by beauty.

What influenced your love of beauty?

My mom was always into pop culture and fashion. She would always look at magazines with me. When I think of being young it was in the days of 90s fashion models. They were not super skinny. I would watch this fashion show on TV every weekend. I would practice a model walk watching that show. I lived in a trailer park, so I wasn’t surrounded by money and beauty. I have always been drawn to beauty, such as images, poetry, writing. I have always been a bit of an introvert. I love things that are thoughtful. My definition of beauty is very thought out. Every detail is thought about. But authenticity is a big theme in my life. I am drawn to things that are true and the basic beauty of things. I am not super trendy. I am into beautiful things in writing, interiors, baking, art, and fashion.

What does it mean to you to be powerful?

I would say individuality. When I think of my moments when I felt filled with power, control and voice, it was because I felt like an individual. I am doing something that does not feel like anyone else. I am drawn to things that are not mass-produced stuff. I love it when things are individual, when you are kind of your own thing and not following anyone else. There is a lot of power in that. I have always tried to be myself and not like everyone else. That has always come from my mom. She has always encouraged me to be myself.

What is a product you love?

I love bras and lingerie. Wearing a perfectly-fitting bra is key. I think it so important to wear things that are true to your size and fit you well. I love bras that are very beautifully done. I think it is so important to be fitted. You do not need to wear a bra. It is totally fine to go braless, but I think it is so important to wear something that fits you, so it is comfortable.

I love also Macadamia Nourishing hair spray. It smells so good and it makes my hair shiny. I love this product and have been using it for many years.



Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin