Monthly Archives: February 2012

Billy Crystal Rocks The Oscar’s!!!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about….more celebrating the movies! While I may by addicted to programs like Modern Family, American Idol and anything on HGTV or the Food Network, my all-time favorite show of the year is The Academy Awards.  Even though Eddie Murphy is awesome, I couldn’t be more excited with the triumphant return of the fantastically fabulous Billy Crystal as host, and he did not disappoint!

Billy always opens with a show stopping video montage; this year included a scene from The Artist, a kiss from George Clooney and a visit from the darling Justin Bieber. The best part, however, is Billy’s signature Best Picture Nominee’s Oscar tribute song; hilarious, clever, irreverent and poignant. We were off to a great start….

The stars were certainly shining tonight. Tom Hanks was dapper and adorable, J Lo and Cameron D were bootylicious and Sandra Bullock was lovely. But the first big award of the night was presented by the very handsome, yet super intense, Christian Bale (while he may be Batman, I lean more towards the delightful camp of a Batman by another name; George Clooney). While Melissa McCarthy was fantastic in Bridesmaids (not just because she is a Chicago girl) and Jessica Chastain was charming in The Help, the night belonged to Octavia Spencer, also from The Help. Her acceptance was emotional, beautiful and sincere.

With Amanda’s life in gymnastics, we are HUGE Cirque Du Soleil fans. Their salute to going to the movies was introduced by my childhood favorites Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, and it was incredible. To quote Billy Crystal, “I pulled a hamstring just watching that!”

The Fighter’s Melissa Leo presented the award for Best Supporting Actor. I must admit I only know Christopher Plummer from The Sound of Music (Edelweiss), so I was rooting for one of my all-time favorite’s Nick Nolte (love him in 48 Hours, North Dallas Forty and Down and Out in Beverly Hills), but Christopher Plummer won and, at 82, he was utterly charming. He and Betty White must be drinking the same Kool Aid!

On a side note, I just have to say that Angelina Jolie is a true, classic, Hollywood movie star. She is absolutely mesmerizing (Jennifer Aniston; eat your heart out!)! I’m just saying…..

Nick Charles, his wife Nora and their dog Asta

Michael (Greed is Good) Douglas is AMAZING! He presented the Best Director award to Michel Hazanavicius of The Artist (which was such a wonderful throwback picture, making me think constantly of Nick Charles (my Nick’s namesake) and his faithful companion, his darling dog Asta), though I was a little surprised that Martin Scorsese wasn’t recognized for Hugo.

The lovely Natalie Portman presented the award for Best Actor. While the competition was tough in George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman and Demián Bichir, Jean DuJardin was the big winner for The Artist. I was half expecting him to give a wacky acceptance speech like Roberto Benigni, but he was far too classy.

Colin Firth was wonderful last year in The Kings Speech. Tonight he presented the award for Best Actress. I adore Meryl Streep, but was really surprised that the statue didn’t go to Viola Davis, who was truly wonderful as Abilene in The Help.

Tom Cruise hasn’t aged a day since Risky Business. With nine Best Picture nominees he had the honor of announcing the winner. It was no surprise; the night belonged to The Artist, a truly delightful and entertaining film.

In just over three hours, Billy Crystal was fantastic as the host on the 84th Academy Awards!

More Billy Crystal, more Hollywood, more movie favorites, more Academy Awards…..

Please visit me at http://vanessanunleydesigns.com to learn more about my Interior Design services.

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, and for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Ladies Lunch; Tex-Mex Chicken Salad (and Chuck loved it too)!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more Tex-Mex Chicken Salad! One night Chuck and I were watching a little HGTV (he is such a good sport! Instead, I could be stuck watching ESPN), when the story of Selling Spelling Manor caught our eye. While it was fascinating getting a behind the scenes tour of their 57,000 square foot home, as a fellow hoarder, it was even more interesting watching them categorize, warehouse, and sort through all of her stuff!

 

Now, my dear friend and former neighbor, Mrs. Hobbs, is also an Interior Designer and first rate collector, so I couldn’t wait for her to join me for a special screening and a little lunch. I decided to make a Tex-Mex Chicken Salad and it was to die for!

 

Tex-Mex Chicken Salad:

 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts poached and shredded

Poaching is simple; place the chicken in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes with the pot partially covered, remove from heat and cook for another 15 minutes.

 

2 ears of corn, grilled, or broiled, with the kernels removed; simply brush with olive oil, grill until charred and remove the kernels, I use the corn zipper

Note: fresh corn is not plentiful this time of year, so I used frozen corn on the cob

 

Remaining Ingredients;

4 Tbsp sour cream

3 Tbsp lime juice

Hearty sprinkle of ground cumin

¾ cup diced cherry tomatoes

1 avocado diced

3 scallions chopped

1/3 cup fresh cilantro chopped

1 small jalapeno pepper minced

 

Romaine lettuce

Frito’s for garnishing

 

In a small bowl, combine;

Sour cream

Lime juice

Cumin

 

In a medium bowl, combine;

Chicken

Corn

Tomatoes

Avocado

Scallions

Cilantro

Jalapeno pepper

 

Toss the chicken mixture with the dressing

Season with salt and pepper

Refrigerate until ready to serve

 

When it’s time for lunch, place a generous amount of lettuce on a dinner plate, two scoops of Tex-Mex Chicken Salad and top with Frito’s.

Drizzle with your favorite salad dressing. We like a tangy Thousand Island, but a Western French or a Ranch would be tasty too!

 

While the salad was delicious, the company was even better!

 

More flavorful chicken salad, more HGTV, more hoarding, more wonderful friendships……

  

Please visit me at http://vanessanunleydesigns.com to learn more about my Interior Design services.

 

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, and for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Lotions and Potions…..I loved #DialNutriSkin #Walmart #CBias


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more lotions and potions! I’ve always loved to soak in a hot bubble bath, read a book and flip through my favorite magazines; afterward, slathering on luscious lotions. However, as a busy mom, I can’t remember the last time I even meandered into the bathroom alone. Why is it that while I’m brushing my teeth or drying my hair, even as teenagers these kids are always looking for Q-tips or toothpaste? If they’re not knocking on the door, Wrigley is my constant shadow.

Motherhood absolutely requires you to streamline your daily routines. While I may not be luxuriating in the bathtub, I need rich moisturizing lotions now more than ever before! Between handling fabrics and papers for my Interior Design business, doing mountains of laundry, washing dishes and keeping house, my hands are always in need of a little TLC.

 

Recently, I learned about Dial™NutriSkin™   Replenishing Lotion. The whole line was being featured in a demo at Walmart, and because Wrigley is my wingman, we hopped in the car and zipped on over to check it out.

 

When I arrived, I found the sweetest and most delightful lady demonstrating the merits of the Dial™NutriSkin™ line. As we were chatting, I asked if I could snap a few photos, explaining that I was a blogger, to which she replied, “What’s a blogger?” We soon became fast friends as I told her about blogging, and she shared with me the differences between the Soothing, Extra Dry Skin, Dry Skin and Ultra Hydrating for Men formulas.

 

While they were all rich, emollient a nicely fragrant, I decided that since I have sensitive skin, the Extra Dry Skin formula with Shea Butter was definitely for me. In fact, I slathered my hands with lotion on the spot (I also like to wear new shoes out of the store. I can’t help my compulsion for instant gratification).

 

I also picked up a coupon for $1.00 off, bringing the total to $2.97 for a 15 ounce bottle. I couldn’t afford not to try it!

We all love great products and fantastic deals, to learn more about Dial™NutriSkin™ and to be the first to hear about special offers, why not become a fan on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Dial?sk=wall or be super hip and follow Dial™NutriSkin™ on Twitter?

To see all the photographs from my shopping trip, please check out my Google+ story:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/109747774870459280271/albums/5711252099771513313

While this shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias, all experiences and opinions are completely my own. #CBias #DialNutriSkin

More visits to Walmart, more Wrigley as my wingman, more rich and luscious lotions, more Dial™NutriSkin™………

Please visit me at http://vanessanunleydesigns.com to learn more about my Interior Design services.

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, and for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Movie Date Night; Safe House with the Adorable Ryan Reynolds and the Amazing Denzel Washington!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more movie dates! Even though we’ve been working like crazy these days, Chuck and I found ourselves with a few free hours over the weekend. The big question, of course, was how to spend them? While eating out can be great, to us, there is nothing like catching a quick flick at the Megaplex. At the top of my list was Safe House.

 

Part of the movie going experience is the coming attractions………

  • 21 Jump Street Though I am a sucker for nostalgia, I never watched 21 Jump Street, so I’m just not invested. While Jonah Hill looks great, and I think he did a swell job in Moneyball, he’s not one of my fav’s. Selfish, stoned and stupid doesn’t do it for me. Apparently I am showing my age, because I don’t know Channing Tatum. I understand he was in The Notebook (not a fan of schmaltz) and I see that he can currently be found at a Cineplex near you in The Vow. He actually looks pretty cute. I may catch this one on cable….
  • Acts of Valor I’m mostly a comedy gal, but I have been known to be riveted by well told stories of war; Saving Private Ryan, Platoon, Navy Seals (two pictures starring Charlie Sheen!), Full Metal Jacket. Acts of Valor may be another winner
  • Good Deeds Though I haven’t followed his work, I have always liked Tyler Perry when I have seen him on Oprah. I’m just thankful this isn’t another Madea Movie!
  • The Bourne Legacy The Jason Bourne trilogy, starring Matt Damon, was really exceptional. I just love a good action hero. My favorites are Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon 1,2,3,4 and Braveheart). I’m old school.  I never did have a chance to see The Hurt Locker, but I thought Jeremy Renner was great in The Town. I would definitely pay full price on a Saturday night to check out The Bourne Legacy.
  • Battleship Seriously, another movie based on a board game? They tried it with Clue and that was a stinker (though Tim Curry is always awesome! The first time I ever saw him on screen was when I was a teenager seeing The Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight). What’s next; Monopoly and Candyland?

 

   

While the previews weren’t overwhelmingly exciting, I was pretty psyched to see my current ultimate movie-star boyfriend Ryan Reynolds (I like ‘em handsome, with height and humor!). The first time I ever saw him was on the TV series Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place. Since then I’ve adored him in Just Friends, Definitely Maybe, and The Proposal. He has that kind of Burt Reynolds type charm and humor (maybe it’s a Reynolds thing).

I know my boy has done action, but he’s reached new heights by teaming up with the incomparable Denzel Washington. That man is beautiful! He hasn’t aged a day in 30 years.

 

Ryan Reynolds plays Matt Weston, a rookie CIA operative who finds himself on the run with fugitive Tobin Frost, Denzel, a rogue CIA intelligence officer. With mercenaries hot on their trail, Matt Weston doesn’t know who to trust as he attempts to deliver Frost safely to the authorities. Fast paced intense action; it was awesome!

 

More movie date nights, more previews, more popcorn, more Ryan Reynolds…….    

 

Please visit me at http://vanessanunleydesigns.com to learn more about my Interior Design services.

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, or for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Dinner, Dessert and a Delightful Tablescape…..


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more Valentine’s Day celebrations! While we do make an effort to show our love and appreciation for one other most days, St. Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to give it a little something special. Although Nick’s not with us this year, a care package is waiting for him in his mailbox (whether or not he makes his way to the Hub to pick it up, we may never know).

My favorite way to set the tone for a delectable meal is to set a beautiful table, whether it’s simple or over the top. Here I chose a to start with a lovely runner; pink, green, brown, cream and yellow paisley. It has depth and personality. As a centerpiece, I combined cedar globe topiaries, simply slid into stone urns and covered with a little moss, cream candle-sticks holding hot pink pillar candles and a charming birdbath holding a host of rose petals.

Pretty in pink, I chose hot pink placemats for each place-setting, along with silver leaf chargers, my Lenox white scalloped edge dinner plates and mauve glass dessert plates. The finishing details were hot pink napkins run through pink beaded napkin rings and crystal water and wine glasses. Sparkly and colorful!

 

For dinner, I decided make Filet Mignon, Potato “Risotto” and our favorite veggie; broccoli. Normally we don’t make dessert, but, come on, this is our Valentine’s Day dinner, so Amanda and I made Chocolate Soufflés!

 

The Potato “Risotto” is so rich and creamy you will think you’ve died and gone to Heaven! The prep is a bit of work, but completely worth it.

 

Potato “Risotto”

Serves 3; you’ll definitely want to double or triple this recipe!

3 Tbsp butter

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes

Generous sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Generous sprinkle of salt

1 ½ cups chicken broth

½ cup heavy whipping cream

½ cup grated Parmesan

2 Tbsp chopped chives

 

Before you even get started, you’ll want to prep the potatoes. Once you’re finished, you can place them in a cold bowl of water and leave them in the fridge overnight. That will be a huge time saver when you are ready to get this dinner started.

 

Peel the potatoes. Cut them into 1/8” slices, then 1/8” cubes. They’ll look a little bit like Arborio rice.

 

When it’s time for dinner, melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat

Add;

Chopped onion

Cover and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes or so

Add;

Potato cubes

Sprinkle generously with cayenne and salt

Stir together

Add;

Chicken broth

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer

Stir until the liquid is largely absorbed, approximately 8 minutes

Add;

Cream

Simmer and stir until the liquid is reduced and creamy

Add;

Cheese

Chives

Stir until well combined

 

Filet Mignon:

While we like the grill, our favorite way to prepare steak is in the oven

Pre-heat oven to 400°

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp oil

Season both sides of meat with cracked black pepper and course sea salt, or my favorite steak seasoning; McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning

Sear steak in the skillet on each side for approximately 3 minutes

Place skillet in the oven

Cook steaks until desired doneness, for medium-rare, leave in the oven for 12-15 minutes (oven cooking times may vary)

Serve steak with a hearty helping of Risotto Potatoes and your favorite veggie

Chocolate Soufflés:

This is a very special dessert. While there may be a lot of prep, it can all be done in advance. When it’s time for dessert, just pop them in the oven.

 

Serves 6

 

Pre-heat oven to 400°

Butter 6 ramekins and coat with sugar. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use

Ingredients;

6 Tbsp sugar; 3 Tbsp in one bowl, 3 Tbsp in another

1 cup milk

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds removed

3 large egg yolks

2 Tbsp flour

½ tsp kosher salt

5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

6 egg whites

Powdered sugar

Heavy whipping cream

Vanilla extract

Sugar

In a small sauce pan, heat;

Milk

Vanilla bean seeds

Vanilla bean

 

Bring to a boil, remove from heat and allow milk to steep (flavors blend)

Remove bean and discard

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat;

Yolks

3 Tbsp sugar

 

Continue to beat until a pale yellow color and slightly thickened

Beat in;

Flour

Salt

 

Slowly, beat in half of the vanilla milk mixture

In the sauce pan, combine the milk mixture with the egg and milk mixture

 

Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly until thickened, approximately 2-3 minutes

Transfer to a large mixing bowl

In a small glass bowl, combine;

Bittersweet chocolate

Cocoa powder

 

Bring water in a small sauce pan to a boil

Place glass bowl on top and allow chocolate to melt

Pour chocolate into large mixing bowl

Mix together thoroughly and set aside

In a medium size mixing bowl, beat egg whites until frothy

Add 3 Tbsp sugar, one Tbsp at a time

Beat until stiff peaks form, approximately 6-7 minutes

Add egg mixture to chocolate mixture until well combined

 

Remove ramekins from the refrigerator and fill ¾ of the way

Either refrigerate until ready bake or place in the oven

Cook soufflés for approximately 15 minutes, until tops crack slightly

Remove and flip over onto a dessert plate

Top with powdered sugar a whipped cream

 

We LOVE our home-made whipped cream. It’s simple; pour the desired amount of heavy whipping cream into a bowl, add some sugar and vanilla extract and beat until thick and creamy.

 

Serve and enjoy….

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

 

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, or for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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