Category Archives: Entertaining

Back to School Inspired Home Decor….


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..more back to school home décor! I have always been in love with the rituals of starting a new school year. Perhaps it’s my obsession with footwear, but to me, the very best part of back to school shopping is the quest for the perfect shoe. When I was a little girl, my mom would take me to Chicago’s Kotz Shoe Store at Lincoln and Belmont. I was like a kid in a candy shop; shiny cordovan penny loafers, topsiders, saddle shoes (I like retro), clogs (it was the 70’s) and sparkly white tennis shoes.

 

The next best thing to shoe shopping is finding the perfect school supplies; designed to help you stay organized and motivated in style! While Nick has always been perfectly happy with boring solid colored notebooks and folders and those standard orangey-yellow Ticonderoga #2 pencils, Amanda is much more like her mother in her desire for flights of fancy; patterned, colorful, glittery, hip and happening.

 

But why should the kids have all of the fun? With reading, writing and arithmetic as my inspiration, I was scouring the aisles of my favorite haunts for ideas for bringing the back to school experience to our home décor.

 

I think a globe is a great addition to any home. It’s perfect on a shelf, a counter or an end table. Easy accessibility is the key so the kiddies can become geographically literate. Maybe I should have spent more time at the library rather than at the shoe store!  

 

Reading is, of course, fundamental. As an Interior Designer, I’m always surprised when clients ask me what they should put on their book shelves. The answer is obvious; BOOKS! However, we can make our displays more interesting by intermingling treasured photographs, objects and bookends. I am a huge fan of elephants, which is why I was immediately drawn to these bookends in particular, but there are so many different options allowing us to express our individual personalities.

 

For the math and strategy minded, why not a little game of Tic-Tac-Toe? Even though pencil and paper is simple, a statement game goes a long way. Why not keep it on the kitchen counter or on the coffee table in the family room?

 

It’s always a good idea to get on your teacher’s good side by bringing her an apple (or to sweeten the deal, a caramel apple!). I came across this fabulous three tiered basket, which would be perfect for storing apples, amongst other things. If you are a fan of going big or going home, why not snag this apple sculpture and perch it on your kitchen island or counter to bring in a little flavor of the season?

 

Pretty fabric desk accessories will keep you organized, yet stylish. Rather than stick all of your family’s artwork and important notes on the refrigerator, why not pin them on a fabulously framed cork board or French memo board? So much more beautiful! While you’re at it, replacing ho-hum yellow legal pads with decorative and ornate paper makes all of our prose, be it a laundry list or a love letter, a little bit more important.

 

What better way to shed some light on your reading, writing and arithmetic than with sassy new table lamps? Bright colors, bold stripes and striking silhouettes make a powerful statement in any nook or cranny.

 

The most memorable addition to our back to school home décor preserves those treasure moments in time. Capture those memories with candid shots, displayed in frames on an end table, shelf or artfully arranged on the wall.

 

More reminiscing, more re-living our innocent youth, more back to school shopping, more home décor……

 

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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Filed under Entertaining, Friendship, Hostess Gifts, More is More Mom

That’s Entertainment; Cowboys Vs. Aliens or Friends With Benefits?


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about….more entertainment! While an evening out, being waited on hand and foot, at a fabulous restaurant might sound like the perfect way to spend a beautiful summer evening, Chuck and I were super psyched to have two, count ‘em, two, movie going experiences within 16 hours! So far this summer, we have seen exactly two movies together; Bad Teacher (naughty and somewhat hilarious) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II (absolutely amazing story telling, made all the sweeter because Nick asked us if we’d like to accompany him to the show……YES!).

This weekend, however, it was hard to decide; Horrible Bosses, Cowboys vs. Aliens, Crazy, Stupid, Love or Friends with Benefits. As a devotee of Harrison Ford and his fabulous matinee idol-ness, I was all over Cowboys vs. Aliens. Besides, I adore director John Favreau (one, for his guest spot on Friend’s as Monica’s boyfriend, Pete, like 100 year ago, and two, as the director of my all time favorite Christmas movie, Elf.).

 

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I’m not exactly sure what I expected, but Cowboys vs. Aliens was exactly that; COWBOYS vs. ALIENS. I was kind of hopeful because, as I said, Harrison Ford is the ultimate (next to my all time favorite movie cool dude, Bruce Willis. Nobody is cooler, not even Cary Grant, and I think he’s pretty cool.). Sam Rockwell, well….rocks, and while he’s kind of a sleeper, I love Keith Carridine (why you may ask? Because he was totally stellar in one the best Broadway musicals of all time; The Will Roger’s Follies….maybe you would consider a revival Broadway smarties?).

On the other hand, I think Daniel Craig is a total stiff. He may be one of the worst 007’s next to Timothy Dalton, ever; absolutely no charm and no humor, which are hallmarks of James Bond’s persona. So, as the robotic lead of Cowboys vs. Aliens, I was kind of unimpressed; desperately trying not to nod off in the theater as it’s expensive to go to the show. I sure hope he is better suited to the role of Kalle Blomkvist in the much anticipated The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (all three Stieg Larsson books were AMAZING).

 

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On the other hand, our Saturday matinee, Friends with Benefits, was outstanding! Shockingly, as a gal with a special place in her heart for teen idols, I’m just not that familiar with Justin Timberlake. I think I must have missed the In Sync invasion while I was a little more focused on Barney, but Justin is Da Bomb! He is so talented and so incredibly charming, delightful and funny. As a long time devotee of Saturday Night Live (even though it has stunk for the past 20 years; hope springs eternal), his performances are serious highlights; Single Ladies and Motherlovers. Need I say more?

Friend’s With Benefits was charming, delightful and hilarious. JT and Mila Kunis have wonderful, and completely believable, chemistry. They were so stinking cute that we were just totally rooting for them. I love the “in the know” nod to their previous projects; Patricia Clarkson from Motherlover and Jason Segel from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. FWB is side-splitting fun and I give it two thumbs way up!

More disappointments, more hilarity, more charming leading men, more movie going experiences!

 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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Filed under Entertaining, Family Life, Hostess Gifts

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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Filed under Entertaining, Family Life, More is More Mom, Recipes

Tuna Steaks; Chicken of the Sea…….


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more tuna steaks for dinner! While Chuck is a huge fish fan, there is not a chance that I could possibly get our kids to eat fish (not even fish sticks dipped in ketchup, and my people consider ketchup one of the food groups…… right next to chocolate.). Every now and again, however, I throw caution to the wind and make them hamburgers so we can enjoy a delicious and healthy dinner full of fresh fish.

 

Tomato and Onion Smothered Tuna Steaks

Grilled Vegetables

Brown Rice – Who doesn’t love a little Uncle Ben’s long grain brown rice?

 

Tomato and Onion Smothered Tuna Steaks

As a rule, summer makes me dream of grilling, but this recipe is quickly whipped up in a skillet right in your kitchen.

Serves 2

 

2 ahi tuna steaks, approximately 1” thick

5 Tbsp olive oil

½ large onion, diced (about 1 ½ cups)

4 garlic cloves minced

3 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 1 ½ – 2 cups)

½ – 1 cups of rough chopped basil

1 Tbsp capers, rinsed

 

In a large skillet, heat 3 Tbsp of oil over medium heat

Sauté onions, until tender, for approximately 5 minutes

Add garlic and sauté for an additional 3-5 minutes

Stir in tomatoes, basil and capers

Simmer for approximately 15 minutes, until the mixture thickens

 

In the meantime, heat 2 Tbsp oil in another skillet

Sprinkle fish with course sea salt and cracked black pepper

Cook until golden brown on each side, approximately 6 minutes total

Remove tuna steaks and place in pan with tomato mixture

Simmer until the fish is opaque in the center, about 5 more minutes

 

Plate fish and smother with tomato and onion mixture

 

Grilled Vegetables

This is super easy and super tasty. Slice and dice your favorite veggies and marinade in a balsamic vinaigrette for a few hours or overnight. I like to use a Zip-loc baggie for quicker cleanup.

Pre-heat grill to medium-heat

Place vegetables on grill, horizontally, to make nice char marks. Grill until cooked through, approximately 10-15 minutes (beware that your grill may smoke like a son-of-a-gun because of the salad oil).

You’re in for a real treat if you sprinkle your grilled veggies with a little crumbled feta cheese. With any luck, you’ll have leftovers!

 

Plate your fish, veggies and rice for a Heavenly summer treat!

 

More tasty meals, more fresh fish, more summer dinners……

 

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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Filed under Entertaining, Family Life, More is More Mom, Recipes

Run With It…..


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more carpet runners! This week I was working on an Interior Design project for one of my clients, which brought me to my absolute favorite place for carpet, Superb Carpet in Wheaton, IL. I was looking for a runner and I had come to the right place. What makes Superb, superb, is the beautiful selection of flooring enhanced by the knowledge and personal attention from owners Mike and Jean Loewe.

 

The Foyer is an all too often overlooked space. While the function of the entryway may be particular to every family, aesthetically it should always be a reflection of the people that live there. After curb appeal, it’s the very first impression your guests have of your home.

 

This is the entryway to my home. I absolutely love the tiger print runner on the stairs. It's fabulously neutral with a great big pop of personality!

Though typically a small space, furnishing your foyer can pose decorating dilemmas. The foyer serves as a bridge to many other rooms in your home, and as such needs to compliment a variety of personalities. Whether neutral or bathed in color, the walls needn’t be ignored. An entryway is a great place to display artwork that resonates with the homeowner, expressing their personality.

 

A small space doesn’t offer much room for a myriad of furnishings, though carving out a nook for a chair or bench provides a place for your guests to rest while adjusting their footwear. A chest of drawers is another useful little item for more storage (and as the More is More Mom®, I’m always looking for more places to stash my treasures). The top of the chest is the perfect place to perch a table lamp and favorite decorative items.

 

One of the best opportunities for offering BIG impact is through an amazing runner that sets the tone for the rest of the home. Why settle for boring beige when you can add personality and interest through color or pattern or both? There are so many fantastic options:

 

A classic oriental is an interesting pattern that is extremely forgiving regarding wear and tear. As a total bonus, the variety of colors in the pattern will provide inspiration for a gorgeous color palette.

 

While some patterns may be symmetrical, they can still be very interesting. For instance, a smartly placed medallion works beautifully in a more traditional setting. On the other hand, a trellis pattern is stunning in a less formal home.  

 

I’m always a fan of a scroll pattern. I really appreciate the interest in the movement as it makes its way up the stairs. Customarily you’ll find this pattern with either a solid background (which can tend to show lint) or a strie effect (which has more depth and is significantly more forgiving of family life).

 

Of course, my personal favorite is a touch of animal; tiger, zebra, leopard, cheetah. These patterns are really rather neutral and add a great big pop of style. If you really want to go wowie-zowie, consider and animal print in a great color such as green or red. Now that’s daring!

 

The fun of Interior Design is taking chances and exploring and experimenting as you create the home of your dreams.

 

More welcoming entryways, more beautifully appointed rooms, more expressing your personality…..

 

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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Filed under Entertaining, Interior Design, More is More Mom, Personal Style