Category Archives: Personal Style

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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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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Fun at the French Market……


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more French Market field trips! I can hardly believe that our summer is practically half way behind us. The weeks have been filled with a flurry of activity, with Saturday mornings reserved for catching up around the house. Well, this past weekend, Amanda and I decided to throw caution to the wind, chores be damned, and head downtown to check out all that’s new and exciting at the French Market.

 

What I love most (other than the jewelry) is the real sense of community that the French Market provides. There are families passing through on their way home from soccer and baseball games, people walking their dogs (which is absolutely shocking to me. Our Wrigley could never be trusted anywhere that so much food is at eye level; practically a smorgasbord!), folks grabbing a cup of coffee, meandering up and down the aisles, passing time on a Saturday morning. This being our 15th summer here in suburbia, we invariably run into friends, and it’s always a treat to catch up.

 

With so many great booths, it’s hard to know where to begin. The produce is always to die for; beautiful yellow pears, robust red nectarines, gorgeous grapes, bell peppers in a rainbow of colors, and cauliflower pretty enough to use as a centerpiece! There are the greenest of green beans and broccoli and potatoes for mashing, baking and scallop-ing.

 

 

Baked goods abound with bread and pastries, as do jars of jams, jellies and barbeque sauces. Amanda and I fell in love with The Pickle Guy and brought home two jars of his garlic-y pickles that we promptly diced and used to garnish our grilled hot dogs for lunch. If you are a pickle aficionado; they are amazing.

 

I’m always a total sucker for the flowers. Whether you’re looking for perennials, a bouquet or a hanging basket, it’s so hard to decide because everything is so darn colorful and pretty!

 

An accessory girl myself, I tend to make a bee-line for the jewelry. The French Market is an excellent place to find artisans with unique pieces. It’s just fun to make a new discovery; jewels that you won’t stumble across at the mall. Of course, the purse lady has an interesting array of handbags, clutches and wristlets, while the pretty pashmina’s are to die for.

 

However, this week, my favorite stop was to MelkandCookies; freezer-to-oven cookie dough clusters. What an awesome treat for the whole family! It’s so simple, whether you take out one cluster (like who could ever stop at just one?) or bake the entire dozen, you get a warm, homemade cookie in just 9-11 minutes. As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about the idea of providing our children with the happy memories of an afterschool treat, or a tasty dessert for the whole family. My family has had the privilege of enjoying MelkandCookies as a homemade after school treat for the past 13 years! Founder and Innovator, Rochel Melka, is one of my dearest friends. If you miss her this summer at the French Market, you should check her out at http://www.melkandcookies.com/aboutus.html

 

With our pickles, produce and cookies in hand, Amanda and I had a thoroughly enjoyable visit to the French Market.

 

More shopping, more fresh ingredients, more friends, more community 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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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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Homegating; Popcorn, Peanuts, Cracker Jack’s and DiGiorno!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..more Home-gating! Why head to the stadium to tailgate with the kids piled in the car, packed with everything but the kitchen sink, when you can enjoy the big game in the comfort of your very own home? My mantra is more of everything is always better, especially time spent with family and friends. What better way to re-connect than nibbling and noshing over a tasty buffet while cheering on your favorite team……

I absolutely love entertaining and Homegating provided the perfect party inspiration! As an Interior Designer, I crave authenticity, which is why I was crazy about all of the little details that went into making our Homegating party a huge success.

 

Homegating Dinner Buffet

Popcorn, peanut's and Cracker Jack's

Charming decorations strike the perfect tone; a blue plaid stadium blanket, blue and gold rooter poms, home-made felt pennants and an apothecary jar filled with gumballs in our team colors graced the buffet and bar. A picnic basket, brimming with popcorn, peanuts and Cracker Jacks made for an inexpensive and delightful centerpiece.

 

Cold Beverages; soda, wine and Miller Lite....

To get the party rolling, I set up a little bar so our guests could help themselves to cold sodas, wine and long neck bottles of Miller Lite.

 

Wrigley, 92lbs of fun!

For a pre-game warm up, the teenagers amused themselves by playing running bases and Bago’s, while keeping the ball away from our 92lb Chocolate Lab, Wrigley, was the real challenge. To make the day a little more festive, we brought my homemade Wrigley Field replica scoreboard out to the yard so the kids could manually score the game.

 

 

With the concession stand serving as such great inspiration, the menu was easy….

 

Homegating Party Menu

Popcorn, Peanuts and Cracker Jack’s

DiGiorno Pizza

Homemade Nachos

Hot Dog Bar; Chicago Style, BLT and Philly Cheese Dogs

Ooey-Gooey Chewy Bars

 

It’s not delivery, it’s DiGiorno!

DiGiorno Pizza....

DiGiorno has so many great toppings to choose from, but my people are total meat lovers. They were so crazy for the sausage and pepperoni pizza that there wasn’t a slice left on the tray!

While nachos at the ball park are fine, nothing beats those that I make at home (and for a fraction of the price!). The beauty is that everything can be prepped in advance and tossed in the oven 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve. Ole!

Nachos:

Pre-heat oven to 400°

2 lbs of ground beef, browned.

2 packets of Taco seasoning, combined with the browned beef according to the package directions.

Refrigerate until ready to use. Warm up in the microwave for 2 minutes when it’s nachos time.

1 large bag of your favorite tortilla chips

1 – 8 cup bag of shredded cheddar cheese

Your favorite toppings, such as;

Diced tomatoes

Diced onions

Sliced olives

Coat a 13×9 baking dish with non-stick spray

Place a layer of tortilla chips in the baking dish

Smother with cheese

Pop into the oven for 3-4 minutes, until the cheese starts to melt

Add another layer of chips

Cover with browned beef and more cheese

Generously sprinkle with tomatoes and onions

Cover with more cheese

Top with sliced olives

Cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until cheese melts

Hot Dog Bar;

Grill hot dogs, slide into a hot dog bun or brat roll, and place on a serving tray

Offer a variety of condiments to build your favorite hot dogs

Chicago Style Dog;

Yellow mustard ~Dill pickle spears ~Diced tomatoes ~ Diced onions ~ Sweet pickle relish ~ Celery salt

BLT Dog;

Mayonnaise ~ Bacon Strips ~ Shredded lettuce ~ Diced tomato

Philly Cheese Dog;

Cheese sauce ~ Bell pepper and onion strips (sautéed in olive oil until tender, about 10-15 minutes) ~ Dash of hot sauce

 

And for dessert…….

Ooey-Gooey Chewy Bars (with Nestlé’s chips)

Pre-heat the oven to 350°

In a large bowl, mix together;

3 cans of sweetened condensed milk

1 box of graham cracker crumbs

Add;

1 bag Nestlé’s milk chocolate chips

1 bag Nestlé’s butterscotch chips

Blend well

Line a 13×9 baking dish with parchment paper and coat with non-stick spray

Spread mixture into the dish

Cook for 30 minutes, or until a light golden brown

Cool until easy to handle

Lift parchment paper out of dish, place on a cutting board and remove the parchment paper (no stick! No mess!).

Cut into bars (I prefer to remove the edges so the bars are nice and even)

Place on a serving dish and enjoy…….   

 

The only thing that beats a visit to your favorite stadium is enjoying a Homegating party with your closest family a friends! Let’s play ball…….

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

I’m excited to have been asked to be a part of this campaign for Collective Bias and DiGiorno; a Homegating Game Time Party! Hosting family and friends, enjoying our buffet and playing games as we cheered on the home team was a blast!

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