Monthly Archives: July 2011

Who’s Your Caddy?


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more opportunities for hitting the links! While I personally don’t know the first thing about golf, other than that I can shag my own balls back at the driving range, my Nick is absolutely obsessed with the game. This is a kid that sleeps like a baby with his alarm clock blaring, walls reverberating, requiring a personal wake up call every morning, but when it came time for the British Open, he was bright eyed and bushy tailed at 4AM so he wouldn’t miss a moment. Anything for the love of the game……

His current player obsession is the fabulously fashionable Rickie Fowler (though his heart still belongs to Phil). As Nick’s style advisor, I have always been in favor of a buzz cut. When I call Rick the Barber to make an appointment for Nick I always tell him short in the back and on the sides with it a little longer on top. These days, my fella is letting his hair grow. It’s kind of a modified Justin Bieber, with it long in front, sweeping to the side, and he’s praying that the back does a little flip up over his baseball cap. He calls it “flow” ala his idol Rickie Fowler.

This past week Nick played in a golf tournament in Indiana; 36 holes in a day. His one and only wish was for a caddy. He offered me the privilege of the job, but the idea of schlucking that bag up and down the fairway for 8 hours sounded kind of like a drag. Besides, I don’t know anything useful about golf. I have no words of wisdom with regards to course management. All I can comment on is his anger management, and believe me, in the moment he’s just not interested in hearing about it. Nick also offered the job to Amanda which would have been a colossal mistake. Without question it would have come to fisticuffs and she would have been bored out of her mind after 4 holes max.  

Chuck has been up to his eyeballs 6 and 7 days a week building the awesome new Harley Davidson of Palatine with his partner (shoot me an email if you have a commercial project. I’ll hook you up.), but he knew how important this day was to Nick so he did the unthinkable….he actually took a day off of work to be Nicks caddy. With Nick heading off to college at the end of the month, I was thrilled the fellas would squeak in some father-son bonding. They went down the night before; golfed a round, went out to dinner, found a hotel, watched Entourage and hit the sack.

Wearing his favorite salmon colored golf shirt and lucky baseball cap (signed by Rickie Fowler and Rory Mc Ilroy at the 2010 BMW Championship at Cog Hill), Nick teed off on the first hole. He was in Heaven! As a practically professional caddy himself, Nick loved the luxury of having his very own caddy, especially since it was his dad. They talked strategy at each hole (Chuck actually plays, watches, cares about and understands golf….a much better choice.). Other than spending a quality and memorable day together, Nick loved having a caddy to rake the sand after he left the bunker.

I drove to Indiana at 6am so I could walk the first 18 with the boys. It was a really fun morning watching Nick play, seeing how much he’s matured as a player in the past year. Of course I was compelled to pull Chuck over to the side and suggest he ask Nick what was up with all of the spitting and scratching. He told me, in fact, that he had asked the very same question the day before, to which Nick replied, “Well, I guess I’m just a baseball player at heart.”  

More road trips, more hitting the links, more caddying, more family bonding….

To schedule and Interior Design appointment, a Life Style consultation or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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More of Everything is Always Better….Especially More Interior Design!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..sharing more inspiring Interior Design! I’m always so excited to write about all that’s happening in the design world from coordinating fabrics and paint colors to designing beautiful window treatments and vignettes. I actually love that in recent years we are placing more focus on creating beautiful homes as a haven to nurture our families and make more memories.

With so many amazing resources, tackling your design projects can be a daunting task. The volume of options can be absolutely overwhelming and the potential for costly mistakes intimidating, which is why working with an Interior Designer can be a great asset.

I thought I’d take you behind the scenes at my favorite showroom; Chicago Design Team at the Arlington Design Center. As an Interior Designer, designing custom window treatments is one of my specialties and CDT has the most beautiful selection of fabrics and trims; Robert Allen, Beacon Hill, Highland Court, Duralee, Fabricut, Vervain, Stroheim, Houles and Brimar. Of course they are also my go to resource for furniture for every room in the house, as well as gorgeous artwork, accessories and lighting.

I’m really excited to show you around……  

My mantra is more of everything is always better, especially great design.

At Vanessa Nunley Designs, I embrace the Art of Making a Home; creating spaces that are gracious, elegant, beautifully appointed and comfortable. It is important to me to learn about your greatest dreams and desires for your home, allowing me to help you develop and interpret a personal style that reflects the way you live. Drawing on twelve years of Interior Design experience, together we will transform a concept and vision into a stunning reality.

I hope you have a moment to visit me at my new website http://vanessanunleydesigns.com

More beautiful homes, more making memories, more glorious interior designs….

To schedule an Interior Design appointment, a Life Style consultation or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Fun and Festive Flip Flops…….


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..being a more thoughtful guest! After a lifetime at Our Lady of Perpetual Donations Grammar School, I love that high school has brought opportunities for Amanda to branch out and develop new friendships. She’s met a darling group of girls that, like her, likes sports, music, movies and a little WWF (Hulk Hogan would be so proud).

One of the families generously invited a gaggle of these girls to join them on their family vacation. The trip started as they hit the road in an RV (how else does one travel with 11 people?), making their way on the six hour journey to Michigan. With such a gracious invitation, Amanda and I decided to contribute to the festive spirit by providing an activity to help pass the time on the road.

A girl can never have enough footwear, so we decided to provide all 7 of the girls with the materials to make matching decorative flip-flops…….

 

Our first stop was a visit to Old Navy. They have the very best flip-flop selection, in a rainbow of colors. Armed with each girls shoe size, Amanda selected a pair of bright green flippies for each.

 

Now all that was left was a quick trip to the fabric store. We needed to get a few yards of fleece, to cut into strips, to tie around the straps of the flip-flops. Amanda grabbed three rolls of pink, orange and green striped ribbon as her color inspiration. We also snagged another three rolls of ribbon, only this time we fell for a delightful green animal print; a little something sassy to compliment the classic stripe. As the base of the design, Amanda chose both bright orange and hot pink fleece.

 

Now it was time for the real work; cutting all of the fabric into 1” x 5” strips. After some complicated math, we determined that each shoe would need;

6 ribbons

21 pink strips

21 orange strips

In other words, 48 strips per shoe, or 96 strips per pair. That was nearly 700 strips of fabric for 7 pairs of flip-flops. That’s a lot of cutting! Thankfully, I have a quilting cutting wheel, t-square and a mat to make all that cutting that much easier.

Because the fleece is stretchy, we only needed to cut the fabric into 1” wide x 5”long strips. We were in luck; cutting the ribbon was so much less time consuming. It came off the roll in the proper width, and as for the length, because its not stretchy, we cut the ribbon into 7” strips.

 

 

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…..Amanda is a very orderly little person. She organized the project by putting the 48 strips for each individual shoe in a small sandwich baggie, including two baggies of fabric in a larger baggie along with the flip-flops.

 

 As Girls love to match, the flip-flop project was a huge hit (as were the two trays of homemade brownies that we sent along for the ride).  

With the extreme generosity and thoughtfulness of the family, Amanda and her friends had the vacation of a lifetime; jet skiing, parasailing, zip lining, water sliding, fine dining, but more importantly, laughing, bonding and connecting.

More hospitality, more vacationing, more fun, more great girlfriends…….

To schedule and Interior Design appointment, a Life Style consultation or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Summer Grilling……Having a blast!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more summer grilling! It’s absolutely amazing to me that there are so many ways to prepare a fabulous chicken dinner. Braised, baked, roasted, smoked, fried, grilled; the possibilities are endless. However, with family life in the summer being so unpredictable, I’m a huge fan of streamlining my meal plans whenever possible, which is why I love to marinate!

Because more of everything is always better, when I know we’ll have a particularly busy week, I like to make enough of a dish to serve as two meals. On day two, just pop it in the microwave and dinner is served in a snap!

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken

Garlic Roasted Broccoli

Classic Mashed Potatoes

 

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken

Not only is this a delectable dish to serve for dinner, but it’s great for a party as well. Marinade your chicken and make the tasty drizzle the day before. Bring the drizzle to room temperature and toss the chicken on the grill. How easy is that?

Because the kids had friends over for dinner, I made 8 chicken breasts and 10 drumsticks with this recipe……

Chicken and marinade:

In a large bowl, combine;

1 cup lemon juice

½ cup fresh flat parsley, chopped

2 cups olive oil

14 cloves garlic, minced

3 tsp fine ground seas salt

2 tsp cracked black pepper

Place 8 chicken breasts in a 2 gallon re-sealable plastic bag

Place 10 drumsticks in a 1 gallon re-sealable plastic bag

Divide marinade between them to completely cover

Place bags of chicken on a rimmed baking sheet or pan and refrigerate over night

 

Drizzle:

8 garlic cloves, minced

4 heaping tsp of kosher salt

4 Tbsp lemon juice

 ¾ – 1 cup olive oil (depending how intense you want the flavor, more oil dilutes the impact a bit)

In a mortar, using a pestle, mash the garlic and salt to create a nice and thick paste (You can always use a small bowl and mash the garlic and salt with the back of a spoon, but a mortar and pestle is a great addition to your kitchen arsenal)

In a bowl (preferably with a nice lid), add;

Lemon juice

Olive oil

Garlic paste

Whisk together, cover and refrigerate over night. Bring to room temperature before using.

Meal prep:

I made 5lbs of mashed potatoes, peeling, cubing, washing and placing in a large stock pot, before I started the grill. Once I got the chicken going, I cooked the potatoes.

Pre-heat grill and reduce to medium-high

Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and place on the grill rack.

I like to place the breasts skin side up first so I can gage how quickly the grill is working. I like to avoid scorching the skin side especially because the grill is going to be smoking like a son-of-a-gun because of all of the oil in the marinade. Make sure your chicken is cooked all the way through (salmonella is always a huge drag, even if you’re merely enjoying a family dinner). Insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken, checking until it registers at 165°. It may take a good 30 minutes or so.

Remove chicken from the grill and tent with foil until ready to serve.

Garlic Roasted Broccoli:

I thought we should live on the edge by roasting our broccoli rather than blanching it in boiling water for a change of paste. It was light and tasty.

This recipe serves 4

12oz bag of broccoli florets

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

Dash of crushed red pepper flakes

Pre-heat oven to 425°

In a small bowl, combine;

Olive oil

Garlic

Crushed Red Pepper

In a large bowl, combine;

Broccoli

Oil mixture

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil

In a single layer, place broccoli on baking sheet

Roast in oven for about 15 minutes, watching to make sure the florets roast, but don’t burn

Remove and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper

On a plate, place a heaping, helping of mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli and grilled chicken, drizzling the drizzle all over the chicken……enjoy, floss, brush and repeat!

More easy marinades, more summer grilling, more meals for family and friends…….

To schedule and Interior Design appointment, a Life Style consultation or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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The List: Everything a Kid Needs For College…..


 

John Belushi; Animal House

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more preparing for college! I can hardly believe that in the next several weeks my Nick will be college bound; heading off to conquer his freshman year. While he’s definitely prepared for the rigors of his studies, excited for new experiences and looking forward to developing life-long friendships, we hadn’t quite considered the matter of all of the….stuff.

Shopping is one of my all time favorite past times, but what I really needed was a plan. I perused various lists on college websites, Bed Bath & Beyond, Pottery Barn – Dorm, Target and How to Survive Your Freshman Year.  My word; these kids need an awful lot of stuff! However, some of the suggestions seemed a little bit silly to me, which is why I made my own list for Nick. I’ve asked Nick repeatedly for his opinion, but he’s accustomed to life with a personal assistance, so he would just like for me to pick everything out for him.  Of course, he should be pretty darn thankful that his sister has accompanied me on my various college shopping sprees; otherwise he would be looking at a fairly girly room.

In the meantime, I’m making our list and checking it twice……………

Nick’s College List:

Bedding:

  • Thick foam mattress cover (not that your student is the Princess and the Pea, but……)
  • Mattress pad, preferably a zip up bag (who knows who’s slept on that mattress, and I didn’t even consider the bed bugs!!)
  • 2 sets of Twin size Sheets, Extra Long (are 2 sets overkill? I’ll totally have the heebie jeebie’s just considering the possibility that they’ll NEVER get changed!)
  • 1 pair of standard size pillow cases (the Twin Sheet sets only come with one pillow case)
  • 2 pillows
  • 2 pillow protectors
  • 1 Twin size blanket for layering when the weather gets cold
  • 1 bolster pillow for sitting up and studying in bed J
  • 1 lap desk for sitting up and studying in bed J
  • Throw blanket (Amanda made a fleece-y, hand knotted blanket; made with love from home.)
  • Bed lifts (making the bed taller to store more stuff)
  • Alarm clock

Bath and Storage:

  • Shower caddy (for easily transporting toiletries from the room to the communal bathroom)
  • Shampoo, conditioner, body soap, shaving cream, razors, deodorant, cologne, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, RETAINER, face soap or cleansing pads, moisturizer, acne treatment, all prescribed medications, nail clippers, lip balm, Q-tips, comb, brush
  • Shower shoes (a protective barrier between your feet and God only knows what is lurking on the floors)
  • Bath towels, hand towels, wash cloths
  • Bathrobe (really for the boys? Maybe an ascot ala Hugh Hefner?)
  • Laundry basket/hamper, depending upon your system
  • Laundry detergent……Maybe your child will use fabric softener or bleach, but I’m going to be super pumped mine can just manage to sort the lights from the darks)
  • Stain remover. Because I have a method for everything, I’m going to encourage my pal to treat any stains as they occur…..HA!
  • Hangers
  •  Space saving, swing arm hangers in case closet space is tight
  • Over the door hooks
  • Under bed storage boxes
  • Storage cart with drawers
  • Hanging closet organizer
  • Garbage can

Decorative Items:

  • Butterfly or disc chair
  • Storage ottoman/cube
  • Area rug
  • Floor lamp
  • Wall décor…..framed pictures, posters, etc.

Study Station:

  • Oscillating fan, even if your room has air conditioning
  • Desk lamp
  • Desk storage and organizers
  • Cork board or dry erase board
  • Dry erase markers, magnets and push pins
  • Flashlight (in case they loose power, or for midnight pranks)
  • Powers strip
  • Extension cords
  • Duct tape
  • Lap top
  • Chargers
  • USB cords
  • Flash drives
  • Printer and accessories? I’m not sure it’s necessary. Every school we visited has something crazy like a 500 page printing allowance, which can be used in your dorm building, the library, the student union, etc.
  • Calendar
  •  Calculator
  • School supplies
  • Backpack
  • Music
  • Speakers
  • Headphones
  • Umbrella

 Appliances:

  • TV
  • DVD player
  • Refrigerator
  • Microwave
  • TV stand
  • Footlocker…..that locks

 

Cleaning:

Hmmm…this one is a puzzler. If I’m iffy about how laundry’s going to go, I’m thinking housework may never happen.

  • Paper towels
  • Tissue paper
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Broom and dust pan
  • Swiffer Sweeper, wet and dry
  • Garbage bags
  • AIR FRESHENER

Pharmaceuticals:

  • First aid kit
  • Ibuprofen
  • Benadryl
  • Band-aids
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Triple antibiotic ointment
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Cotton balls
  • Thermometer
  • Cough medicine
  • Cold medicine

 

Misc:

  • Snacks
  • Bottled water
  • Dishes, flatware, glassware (disposable?)
  • Skillet and spatula if your dorm has a communal kitchen
  • Equipment and accessories for any of your hobbies and favorite activities
  • Books, music, DVD’s

 

Clothes:

  • However much you’re willing to wash
  • Footwear
  • Outerwear
  • Workout wear

Intangibles:

  • Positive attitude
  • Open mind
  • Sense of self
  • Patience
  • Discipline
  • Organization
  • Hard work

 

Thankfully, we have a pretty big truck so we should be able to manage most of this stuff. I hope we haven’t forgotten anything…….

More college preparations, more dorm living, more making a home away from home……

 To schedule and Interior Design appointment, a Life Style consultation or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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