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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…..

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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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Donny, Marie, Nurse Terri and Me…..


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more Donny Osmond! When my cousin, Nurse Terri, asked me if I was free Friday night, I had no idea that we were about to celebrate one of our best nights EVER! My heart belongs to Donny. I have adored him and his purple socks (really Justin Bieber, you had to pick purple as your signature color? Donny already set that trend….) my entire life.

 

I don’t care how old you are, there is nothing like a teen idol to make you lose your mind. As soon as we sat down to dinner, Nurse Terri proclaimed, “I hope the theater has a two drink minimum!” Even though they didn’t, we were happy to oblige as we toasted our good fortune and headed to our seats…….. 4th row center! The curtain opened and there they were; Donny and Marie. They were absolutely mesmerizing.

 

After nearly five decades, they’ve still got it. Their voices were fantastic as they belted out Christmas tunes such as their homage to Stevie Wonder’s What Christmas Means to Me and The Beach Boy’s Little Saint Nick. However, you know I am a total sucker for nostalgia, so I went wild when they sang their chart topping hits from the 70’s!!

 

To us, Donny and Marie: Christmas in Chicago was a good old fashioned concert, as evidenced by the many middle aged women in the audience who brought their album jackets for Donny to sign. In fact, poor Marie even acknowledged, “I know you’re here to see my brother.” Nurse Terri and I were joyfully singing along (because this is a joyful season) to Puppy Love and Go Away Little Girl. Then, across the big screen, flashed an old clip of Donny and his brother’s singing and dancing to Yo-Yo. We jumped out of seats! Four backup dancers burst onto the stage to join Donny, each of them holding a mask of an Osmond brother; Wayne, Jay, Merrill, Alan and, of course, Donny dancing with his Donny mask, circa 1971;

 

Turnin’, turnin’ love keeps a-burnin’
like a fire in my heart when we’re apart,
but when we’re back together,
you keep changin’ like the weather.
Whoops! Now……
Just like a yo yo.

 

Well, I am a yo yo, but it was totally worth it! Donny came down into the audience, Sharpie in hand, and ASKED ME MY NAME. Standing, with a spotlight shining on me, I was remarkably calm. Gazing into his eyes, I told him, “I am a blogger and I have christened December 9th (his birthday) as the Feast Day of the Patron Saint of Teen Idols. I am a Sagittarius too.”  He couldn’t have been nicer, as I am certain he is accustomed to bizarre interactions with crazy people, and smiled as he said, “We have a show to do. What is your name?” On the back of his Donny mask he wrote to Vanessa, love Donny Osmond! LOVE DONNY OSMOND!

While some of the patrons in our section were not nearly as excited as we were, Nurse Terri and I went crazy! In fact, one such grumpy guest, turned to us and suggested, “Vanessa and her friend, please use your inside voices.” But to everyone else, we were practically rock stars! Walking through the theater, as I clutched my coveted Donny mask, women were asking me, “Are you Vanessa? Can I see your mask? Did Donny sign it? What did he say?” Groups of women asked if they could take their picture with it. One women staring longingly into Donny’s eyes as her husband looked on.

 

We screamed, we sang, we danced and we laughed. While in the past two years, Nurse Terri and I have seen Justin Bieber (adorable) and Katy Perry (charming) with the teenagers, nothing could possibly beat our night with Donny.  What a way to celebrate the holidays!!

 

More memorable moments with my beloved cousin Terri, more fabulous concerts, more fun than I can remember, more devotion to my delightful and darling Donny…….

 

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Pomp and Circumstance….


 

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more pomp and circumstance! With the last uniform ironed and peanut butter and jelly sandwich packed, all that remained was the graduation. While my mantra is more of everything is always better, my children tend to have adopted a more minimalist approach to life. I was totally ready for a rockin’ graduation party, the graduate, however? Not so much. Nick’s preference was for an intimate celebration, in our home, with family and a few extremely close, life long friends.

Never one to be deterred, I would just make our small party extra special! When you’re taking the celebration on the road, with dinner reservations out on the town, the party planning is a piece of cake. Pick your favorite restaurant, select a few items from the menu, make the reservation, invite the guests and enjoy. A party at home, particularly one where the guests make it back to your doorstep before you do, is extra complicated, which is why it takes extra amounts of planning and careful consideration.

I am a purist, so I like for everything to be as complicated as humanly possible. Planning the menu was easy. I knew I could only make dishes that I could prepare in advance, would feed a crowd and were easy to cook. Because it was Nick’s special day, I wanted to be sure to serve food that he liked, which could have meant scrambled eggs with toast, and Reece’s Peanut Buttercups, but instead included; a cheese platter, veggies and dip, homemade salsa and guacamole, 106 little twice baked potatoes, 79 slider patties and an amazing chopped salad, which is just as good as Portillo’s. I swear. I made it for our Super Bowl party and it was AWESOME!

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After days of food prep and house cleaning, I had earmarked those last 15 minutes before Nick and I had to scoot to school, in his cap and gown, for putting the final touches on the buffet and fussing with the decorations (all black and yellow, with Mumms, Begonias and tiger skins, in honor of Nick’s college mascot; the Tiger). For a kid that had nothing to do but caddy, golf and work out for the past several days, and who had just strolled in the door from a leisurely breakfast with his grandfather, he had a lot of nerve racing into the kitchen, informing me we were in a huge rush to run a quick errand. What could he possibly need? Cigars……A Be All and End All Academy graduation tradition.

Where, I asked, did he think he’d find a fine cigar between here and school? The gas station, naturally. For a kid that doesn’t smoke, he wouldn’t know a Macanuto from a Tiparillo, but really, the gas station? You have to figure that anything that comes out of a vending machine, can’t be very good for you. Fortunately as we jumped into the car, Nick’s pal texted the boys that his dad had it covered.

The ceremony was a dream; the procession, opening remarks, the Salutatorian, the presentation of nearly 330 diplomas, the Valedictorian and the recessional, all clocking in at approximately 80 minutes. Rock on! After a few photo op’s, the boys puffed (choked) on their cigars, patting each other on the back and giving one another grief. Chuck and I left with my parents, while Nick took a detour to the Dairy Queen to get rid of the nasty taste of cigar residue left on his tongue.

We came home to family ready to toast Nick and celebrate his success! Dinner was simple and delicious and the party really got going once my cousin Terri and I opened up the dance floor to Amanda and my nieces, as we grooved to the likes of Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Michael Jackson and Wham!

It’s hard to believe Nick’s high school career is now just a thing of the past, when that first day of Pre-School seems like it was just a few days ago. While I might not be ready, it would appear that Nick is preparing to soar. Maybe I can talk him into a going away gala!?!

More pomp and circumstance, more celebrations, more family milestones…..

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The Mysterious Case of the Broken Pagoda….


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……….more hidden, broken treasures! Last weekend, in a rare stolen moment, Chuck, Nick, Amanda, Wrigley and I were watching the Grammy’s (and how exactly did Justin Bieber not win New Artist of the Year? He’s cute as a button, and Amanda just informed me that his favorite color is purple…….the favorite color of the Patron Saint of Teen Idols; Donny Osmond. With such a winning combination, how could he lose?). Somehow, as these things tend to happen, our friendly conversation turned to the kids giving me grief about all the things I would never let them do when they were little, like watch Boy Meets World (too racy), say f-a-r-t (I insisted they sat “toot”) or go into the woods at the end of our street. They giggled as they informed me that whenever they had the chance they would watch Boy Meets World, say f-a-r-t and tempt fate by darting into the woods, if even for just a moment.

Suddenly, Amanda had a huge case of the giggles. She was practically hyperventilating as she asked Chuck, “Dad, didn’t you tell her?” Hmmm. “Tell me what?” I asked. “No, no, no,” they insisted they would go to their graves with their big secret. As they continued to laugh, they decided their big secret was too good to keep to themselves, so they spilled the beans.

For some reason, since Nick was in the 5th grade (which would be for the past 7 years), his life’s work has been to increase his vertical jump. Why, you may ask. He’s not a basketball player or a track star. The last time I checked, there was absolutely no need for jumping in golf or hockey. So what is his obsession with improving his vertical maneuvers? There are finger prints all over our house; on our woodwork, walls and ceilings. One time (Nick must have been in 6th grade) I was holding the ladder for Chuck as he made his way up the scuttle hole into our attic and I noticed pencil markings on my wall, marking off one foot increments. As a control freak, I happen to like things “just so” (which excludes writing on my walls). I could have killed him.   

Apparently, a few weeks ago, while I was downtown preparing for my engagement at the Merchandise Mart, a minor accident happened in our home. Chuck was watching the news in our Family Room, Amanda was reading in our Living Room and Nick was running through our Foyer. Never one to miss an opportunity for an imaginary lay up on our light fixture, he jumped up into the air and as he came down, the carpet at our front door slipped out from under his feet. He flew into the air, landing on his back, but not before he managed to karate-chop collide with my treasured red pagoda étagère.

While Amanda tried to stifle her fit of laughter, Chuck went berserk when he heard the commotion and realized what Nick had done. Never mind the potential injury, my family is acutely aware of my obsession for order. This was a Brady Bunch moment if I’ve ever heard of one. You know, Mom always says, “Don’t play ball in the house.” There was no time for glue, the best they could do was spin the red pagoda étagère around and pray that I didn’t notice that the wood work was hanging on by a thread. I didn’t; though I would have been mighty surprised when I got to my dusting.

Truthfully, with three very busy kids in our home (which includes Wrigley), it’s a miracle more things haven’t been broken. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of casualties (a decorative plate, bumble bee sphere, a trompe l’oiel box and the window in our Den are the only items that come to mind. Not too bad for 18 years.). Fortunately, Chuck was able to glue my red pagoda back together, so it’s as good as new. I dare say that when my Nick is off to college in the fall, I am going to miss him jumping around, imaginary slam dunking my light fixtures and getting his finger prints all over my woodwork, walls and ceilings.

More mishaps, more glue, more harmless secrets, more family memories…….

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Long Live the King!


 

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……….more Academy Award nominated movies! The Oscar’s are my very favorite television program of the entire year (I’m such a life-long fan that I didn’t even mind Rob Lowe’s disastrous duet with Snow White). With only two weeks to go until “show-time” I hope to squeeze in as many Best Picture nominated films as possible.

This weekend, while Amanda and her pal saw Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never-3D, Chuck and I snuck in a matinee of The King’s Speech. I’m not normally a Merchant and Ivory, Masterpiece Theater kind of a gal. That’s just way too intellectual for my pea brain to process. Give me a good, fast talking and glib Vince Vaughn; I go weak in the knees. However, from the moment I saw the preview (the Coming Attractions are one of the very best parts of the movie going experience) for The King’s Speech, I knew it was going to be amazing.

I must say it was refreshing to see Helena Bonham Carter in something other than a ghoulish Tim Burton movie. She was wonderful as Queen Elizabeth I; devoted, supportive, insightful and encouraging.

Now, because of my extreme affinity for pop culture and short attention span, I’m most familiar with Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa in the swashbuckling Pirates of the Caribbean and the dark (of course it’s dark; it’s a Coen brother’s picture) Intolerable Cruelty. I had no doubts that Geoffrey Rush was an incredible actor, but he amazing as the speech therapist, Lionel Logue, in The King’s Speech.

Radio was becoming a formidable and viable form of communication prior to the onset of World War II, and became a popular way for the King to reach the masses. Prince Albert “Bertie”, The Duke of York, was terrified of speaking in public, nearly paralyzed, due to his life-long stammer. After seeing every renowned specialist in England, Bertie’s wife, the future Queen Elizabeth, enlists the aid of the innovative Lionel Logue. Throwing convention to the wind, Lionel Logue was able to connect with the King, befriend him and provide him with the tools to overcome his stammer. Geoffrey Rush was incredible in his portrayal, certainly an Academy Award winning performance, though my vote will go to Christian Bale in The Fighter (there’s still time if you haven’t seen it!).

Again, I’m a little light on highbrow movie going experiences, though I’ve found Colin Firth absolutely delightful in The Bridget Jones Diaries, Love Actually and of course, Mama Mia. And let’s not forget the Amanda Bynes classic What a Girl Wants. I know he’s portrayed Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and other smarty pants movies, I just didn’t happen to see them. However, as Prince Albert, Colin Firth was mesmerizing. Never one for a loss of words myself, I was nearly speechless as he conveyed the pain and embarrassment of his stammer. Bertie’s story, the dedication and lengths he went to in order to overcome his fear and lead his nation during its darkest days, was nothing short of inspirational. Colin Firth absolutely has my vote for Best Actor in a Motion Picture.     

With 10 Best Picture nominated films, I’m not sure I’ll get to them all, though I know I’ll have fun trying.

More movies, more popcorn, more stolen moments, more inspirational stories……

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