Tag Archives: Chicago

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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One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; A Day in Chicago!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more time with my favorite gal! One of the best things about high school is meeting new people and developing lifelong friendships. While Amanda’s met a gaggle of darling girls at St. Feels Right for Her, she is particularly close to two girls that are twin sisters (who hasn’t dreamt about how fun it would be to be a twin?). These three are practically inseparable. When the girls hatched a plan to have a mother/daughter day in the city, their mom and I jumped at the chance!

I am a hunter, gatherer and self-confessed hoarder. Shopping has always been my obsession! When I was a teenager about town, I was always headed to Marshall Field’s on State Street, the Century Mall and Water Tower Place. Amanda and her pals are far more curious, noble and serious.

All bundled up, we jumped on the Metra, destination; Ogilvie Transportation Center. While I love the quaint charm of living in the suburbs (we live in a bubble, within a bubble and it is awesome), I’m addicted to Chicago’s energy. It’s always buzzing! No sooner were we off the train then flying down to the concourse to buy our daily bus passes at the CVS/Pharmacy. Such a deal!

On State Street we hopped on the 146 which took us directly to the Museum Campus. The girls had a hankering to see the fish at the Shedd Aquarium.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish (Dr. Suess rocks!); we got up close and personal with beautiful (and not so beautiful) fish species from oceans, local waters, islands, lakes and rivers. My favorites were the seahorses. We decided, however, that our visit wouldn’t be complete without the 4-D experience and taking in a show at the Amphitheater.

For the 4-D experience, we joined every toddler in the Chicago-land area for a viewing of Happy Feet. While we thoroughly enjoyed the sensory experiences; water mists, wind, air blasts, snow, bubbles, steam, leg ticklers, seat vibration and enhanced lighting, many of our little friends were terrified to tears. On the other hand, everyone enjoyed the soaring dolphins, dancing belugas and the adorable sea lion at the Aquatic Show.

With all of this learning, we sure worked up an appetite. Amanda couldn’t wait to introduce her friends to our favorite place for lunch; Food Life at Water Tower. Back on the bus, we were there in no time. Public transportation is a beautiful thing.

My Amanda is frequently not her mother’s daughter. Rather than wander around the mall, these girls only had eyes for the Skydeck at the Sear Tower (okay….Willis Tower. Old habits die hard). They were dying to step out onto….The Ledge!

With absolutely no one in line, our visit was meant to be. We took the elevator up 1,353 feet (and the Merry Go Round gives me the willies). The closer we got to the window, the more I felt faint. When we made it to The Ledge (a glass box that extends 4.3 feet from the actual ground of the Skydeck), I had heart palpitations. Above, below and from side to side you are surrounded by glass. My advice; don’t look down.

After much giggling and nudging, all three girls made their way out onto the ledge. They pressed their faces up against the glass, lounged on the glass bottom floor and jumped up and down (tempting fate). While they loved it, I had never been so happy to step foot back onto Jackson Blvd in my life!

Friends, fish, food and fear; I can’t think of a better way to spend a day in Chicago!

More palling around, more time with Amanda, more days in the city, more memory making…….

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

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State & Randolph: Walgreens Grand Opening Party!


 

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more fabulous grand openings! This week, I was so excited to be a guest at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the brand new Walgreens at the corner of State and Randolph in Chicago. Visiting the city always makes me wax nostalgic; I am a city girl after all. When I was a kid, we would take the Red-line downtown to shop on State Street. It really is a great street. There was Marshall Fields, Carson Pirie Scott, Charles A. Stevens and Walgreens.

 

At three in the afternoon, I joined my fellow bloggers from Collective Bias for a guided tour. While Walgreens can always be counted on for a fine shopping experience, this new store really is fantastic. Walking in the door was like a wonderland! Who would ever expect to find a fresh sushi bar at Walgreens, but there it was. Beautiful seafood, rice and vegetables wrapped in seaweed; all prepared for the shopper on the go. The selection of upscale delicacies was plentiful; wraps and sandwiches, salads and desserts. The red velvet cake looked absolutely Heavenly!

There was a juice bar, over flowing with fresh fruits and vegetables. For those of us chocoholics, Walgreens was kind enough to bring back the original chocolate malt that they served at their soda fountain at the turn of the century. There’s just something special about tradition.

 

The fun continued at the frozen yogurt bar, with all of the toppings, and of course at the coffee bar. One of the things I really loved was the inclusion of Chicago vendors like Eli’s Cheesecake. Walgreens even teamed up with a local coffee maker to develop a custom coffee blend called State & Randolph.

However, my favorite feature was the wine and spirits shop. In particular, the virtual bartender concierge was extremely entertaining. All you have to do is punch in the flavors you have a hankering for, and out spits the recipe. How cool is that? They even had a generous selection of cheeses and sausages, which would be perfect to snag on your way home from work or as you head over to enjoy a concert in Millennium Park.

The best part of the night was yet to come. While we were touring the pharmacy department, we met the delightful twin sisters, Iris and Frances, from the Walgreens flu shot commercials. They were adorable! We met the beautiful Gabrielle Union, but my Amanda was much more impressed with the real life Red M&M. My evening was complete with my brush with greatness. As Mayor Rahm Emanuel was shaking hands, meeting and greeting, he paused, turned to me and said, “Nice necklace.” First Donny Osmond, now Mayor Emmanuel. I should play the lottery.

 

To see all of the fab photos from my visit to Walgreens, please click on the following link:

https://plus.google.com/photos/109747774870459280271/albums/5696201204048366401

 

More grand openings, more star studded nights, more tasty delicacies, more Walgreens….

 

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

 

This shop has been compensated as part of a shopper’s insight study by Collective Bias http://collectivebias.com #CBias

All thoughts and experiences are my own.

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Will Run for Chocolate…..


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more running for chocolate! It all started because I thought I was on to something; if I took Wrigley for a run, then he would be exhausted. It turns out that the joke was on me. Exercising him hasn’t made him tired. It has only built up his endurance. This animal is like the Energizer Bunny. After eight years of going for a run, this guy just keeps going, and going, and going, and going.

This summer, my old man met his match. We had a standing running date with my gal pal Maria and her 18 month old Chocolate Lab, Tagg. It was the best summer ever; Wrigley was exhausted! As a total bonus, Maria invited me to join her, and our friend Jess-a, to run in Chicago’s Hot Chocolate ~ 15K.

In my entire life, I have only competed in two races. Six and Seven years ago, Nick and I ran in a 10K to benefit the animals, and that was a looooong time ago. As far as I’m concerned, 9.3 miles is practically a marathon. What was I getting myself into?

Every week Maria, Jess-a and I would meet to run; on the path, on the street, through the park, around the neighborhood. It was awesome. Normally, I’m dragging a nearly 100lb animal down the street (I’ve since diagnosed myself with the need for rotator cuff surgery as a result) with my headphones nestled in my ears, listening to my favorite tunes on my I-Pod. As a rule, the only other people I ever run with are Nick and Amanda.

Training with Maria and Jess-a was an amazing experience. While I love the time I spend running with my baby, I absolutely loved training with the girls. It’ so much more gratifying (and way less expensive) than therapy!

 

Never having been to a race that was kind of a big deal, I was excited to be downtown Chicago with all of the runners, spectators and chocolate. There were people readying their endorphins everywhere. In fact, we were so pumped, there was even big, big talk about running a half marathon before we even crossed the starting lime.

And, we were off; running through the streets of Chicago, with the promise of hot chocolate and fondue at the finish line. We did what we always do, making the time fly by while chatting and laughing all the way. I didn’t know what to think when we passed the 3 mile mark. On one hand, we were 1/3 of the way finished, but on the other hand, WE WERE ONLY 1/3 OF THE WAY FINISHED.

After we made it past the United Center, I knew we were half way done. When we clipped past the 6 mile marker, I was feeling pretty good. By the time we got past the 8 mile marker, I was starting to think I’d never make it. We still had over a mile to go. With half a mile left, I asked the girls to please, please, please tell a story to make it go faster. Jess-s a suggested the alphabet memory game, “I’m going to grandmas house and I’m bringing….an apple, a bottle of wine, chocolate, a dog, an elephant, a helicopter, etc.” The closer we got, the naughtier the things we were bringing to grandmas got, which we shouted as we made our way to the finish line.

As if in slow motion, we finally crossed the finish live, where, as promised, they were handing out Ghirardelli chocolate. It was a little slice of Heaven. While the chocolate was certainly an incentive, the best part of the whole experience was bonding with my girlfriends.

More running, more training, more chocolate, more beautiful friendships……..

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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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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