Tag Archives: Millennium Park

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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It Takes a Long Time To Grow An Old Friend…


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…… more time with my gal pals! When your kids are little, you meet a million families, and as a parent, your hope is that your children make wonderful and lasting friendships. It’s a total bonus when you like the parents too. Well, when Nick began Kindergarten at Our Lady of Perpetual Donations Grammar School, I completely hit the jack pot. I met two amazing moms…..

We girls (and I consider us girls despite the milestone birthdays) did everything together with our kids. Of course they bounced around from house to house for play dates after school, but the real monkey business was reserved for those coveted days off.

I loved the fact that everyone was a gamer. Not a shrinking violet in the group. We would pack up for the day, hop on the train and enjoy all that the city had to offer. Amongst our (and by our, I mean the mothers) favorite spots were the Museum of Science & Industry and the Art Institute. A little learning, a little entertainment; what’s not to like? Though one such visit left the children bored to tears (real tears) so we salvaged the day and had one of our very best outings ever. We took the bus to Navy Pier and took a boat ride on the Sea-Dog (because Pluto’s a dog too……ruff!). What fun!

 

In the winter months, we were known to work up an appetite ice skating at Millennium Park. There’s something for everyone at the Food Life at Water Tower and you can never go wrong with dinner at Chicago favorite; Ed Debevic’s (and who doesn’t like to eat at Ed’s?). To me, there’s no better way to spend a summer afternoon than at the Friendly Confines. My furry son’s name is Wrigley, after all. These kids felt like big shots taking the Red Line, waiting for autographs and walking around the neighborhood.

While we always went to the Community Center pool, to the movies, out to eat and to seasonally fun outings such as the pumpkin patch, my very favorite annual tradition was sleeping over at a local hotel. We would arrive as soon as we could check in and head straight down to the pool, with our coolers full of snacks, beverages and cocktails. Who had time to get cleaned up and go to dinner when you could simply order a pizza to the pool deck? After dinner and a little more swimming, we would get cozy and comfy in our pj’s, break out the popcorn, and watch Pay per View movies (you know how much I adore Pay per View!), while the little girls had a blast doing spa treatments. In the morning the kids would swim again, after they enjoyed pancakes and hash browns, brought poolside, from Mc Donald’s.

The kids are all busy teenagers now, but we moms still get together for lunch, House-walks, shopping and birthdays. In fact, we celebrated a birthday with lunch in my home just yesterday (great new recipes coming your way next week!).

More shared experiences, more keeping up with old friends, more reminiscing…..

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Fearless and Fourteen


As a More is More Mom® you know that I am all about more of…….. everything! The way I see it is there couldn’t possibly be an event, big or small, that doesn’t deserve to be celebrated. It is the milestones that we achieve that in large part define who we become, and these experiences are important.

Amanda and her pal CC have birthdays in the same month, and coincidentally so do her mom and I. We call it December Birthday Club, and each December just the four of us girls go out to celebrate. We may spend the day in the city, go to the movies, go shopping and naturally there is always eating (and when appropriate, cocktailing, and when is it not appropriate to cocktail other than at say, a job interview?). Well, these two have been planning on having a joint birthday bash forever, and this was the year!

These girls love Taylor Swift, and when we all saw her live in concert in the fall, as she was making her way down the center aisle, she stopped and hugged Amanda! Amanda told her, “I love you!” With the sweetest and deepest of sincerity, Taylor replied, “I love you too.” Amanda was on cloud nine, and said Taylor (you know once you’ve hugged her you can call her Taylor) smelled sooooo good that she wanted to send her a letter to find out what kind of shampoo she used. Isn’t she too cute? Anyway, the concert was to promote her Fearless album, which was awesome! My throat hurt for days afterward from all of my singing in the car on the way there, with my head out of the sunroof like I was in a limo (and of an age where you might still stick your head out of the sun roof of a limousine), at the concert, and then all the way home again. I am sure everyone in the car was tired of my singing, as I am not Taylor Swift.

It was decided that the theme of our party was going to be “Fourteen and Fearless” (in homage to Taylor Swift, I haven’t hugged her so I still have to refer to her by her formal name). We knew customized t-shirts were a must, but the afternoons and evenings are so busy that I decided that I would pick both girls up from school, bring them lunch and take them to the custom t-shirt shop, which as luck would have it is only two blocks away from school. Serendipity! The dilemma then was how exactly does one sign out two students, one of which is not even your own (but who has permission from her mother in writing, so it wasn’t like it was kidnapping or anything), at lunch time? The girls were suggesting that I say I was taking them to the orthodontist. Really? They don’t even go to the same orthodontist, and besides wouldn’t it seem suspect that they just so happened to have appointments at the same time? And why then wouldn’t CC’s mother take her if there were in fact an appointment? No. Honesty is always the best policy so when I had to supply the school with a reason for their departure I said, “Monkey Business.” They picked out darling tie-dyed t-shirts. Amanda’s was a great cherry red and CC’s was a fantastic lime green. We picked out white iron on letters and white snowflake appliqués for a little embellishment. They read: “Fourteen and Fearless” on the front, and in big numbers on the back “09” to mark the year. They were darling. You truly cannot go wrong with a good keepsake!

Eight screaming teenage girls on the upper deck of a train headed in to Chicago is the fastest way to clear a car. They ate doughnuts, they told stories, they laughed and everything was a photo-op (naturally all had cell phones and digital cameras to capture each and every moment of our adventure, and capture they did). There are pictures of girls taking pictures of other girls. Great silliness I tell you.

We walked from the train to Millennium Park in downtown Chicago……an award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design, and they have an ice rink just like the one at Rockefeller Center in New York City, only better, because it is in Chicago. If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting, you should, because it is pretty sweet. All bundled up in varying styles and shades of pink hats, gloves and scarves, we were ready to take the town by storm (fortunately not a “snow” storm).

The line to skate was so very long that we took it as yet another opportunity to snap some more great pictures. We finally got on the ice and the girls had a blast skating, and falling and ultimately doing the Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey. Who doesn’t love to do a mean Hokey Pokey? ME! I had both of those dances banded from our wedding and opted instead for the much more elegant conga line…Hot, Hot, Hot! When the girls had had enough (or it may have been when CC’s mom and I decided to strategize about how best to beat and avoid the crowd at the skate rental return counter) we headed down Michigan Avenue, One Magnificent Mile (though after being outdoors all day, it seemed longer), to Chicago’s Water Tower, which is a beautiful mall, with all the best shee-shee-poo-poo purveyors. Our favorite place to eat, other than Miller’s Pub on Wabash, is the Food Life at Water Tower. This place has everything! And it’s not that icky, gross, greasy fast food stuff like at an ordinary mall. No the delicacies here are extraordinary, lovely and delicious. They have comfort food, a grill, pasta, pizza, a rotisserie, stir fry, sushi, Mexican, a salad bar, a dessert bar, a juice bar and most importantly a bar, bar. Did you know that they will only permit you to purchase two glasses of wine at a time? I’m just saying. The other great part is that they give each patron a little credit card so you don’t have to worry about your bill at each counter, but at the end at check out instead. So simple. The girls ate together and continued to snap more great pics, while we enjoyed our salads (and okay, you got me, two glasses of wine….each). We were on a tight time table if we were going to fit in all of our fun and be back at the train station on time. Faster girls! Faster!

For me the highlight of our day was our walk back towards State Street (you know….that great Street). Linked arm and arm, these girls were full of Christmas cheer as they sang every Christmas Carol they could possibly remember down the street. “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” was a particular hit with our little Catholic choir girls. The passersby were in such good spirits themselves as they chimed in with the various chorus’s. We made our way to Marshall Field’s (now called Macy’s, but it just seems so wrong) to look at their legendary Christmas windows, which were not great again this year. But what was great was that we bumped in to my mom as she was bustling down the street doing her last minute Christmas errands. Hard to believe that she didn’t notice the band of merry caroler’s, especially the little blonde one yelling, “Nana”, but she didn’t. We had to accost her on the street. Once when I was in High School my friend and I cut school to go shopping at the Old Orchard shopping mall (again I am seeing a theme here of shopping, eating and cocktailing….next time I’ll make myself look better by discussing what I am reading, when I am exercising, and if I am getting enough rest, but who’d want to read about that?). My partner in crime and I were only completely conspicuous wearing green and gold cheerleading uniforms in the middle of the day, and who do you think walked right passed us? MY MOM! However, lucky for me, she didn’t happen to notice the two girls in the green and gold cheerleading uniforms shopping around in the middle of the school day. I had a quite the chuckle when here I was, 27 years later, relating this story to her, and my mom was laughing as she explained to me that she must have been playing hooky from her job while I was playing hooky from school! Apple. Tree. As the next generation of girl in our family heads to High School, I will be sure to keep my eyes peeled for Amanda while I am at Target when she is supposed to be at school!

Walking back to the train we were laughing and reminiscing about our day. After having been gone for nearly ten hours, we gave up the pretense of caring whether or not eight noisy teenage girls disturbed the other passengers on the train. Like it or lump it. There was one little surprise left for the girls when we pulled in to the station; party favors. We debated about what we could do to commemorate our day and decided upon decoupage, personalized Christmas ornaments. A few weeks prior to the party, Amanda and CC got together and made the ornaments. They printed out their names, and each individual girl’s name, and sayings from the stories of their friendships in red and green ink. They cut out winter images from wrapping paper, like snowflakes and mittens and decoupaged everything onto clear acrylic round ornaments. They used fancy paper shredding scissors to cut up more red and green wrapping paper to make crinkly paper to stuff inside the ornaments. Once the modge podge dried they tied ribbon around the top, and placed them in red and green winter themed Chinese takeout style boxes, atop a soft bed of crinkly paper. Who doesn’t love something personalized?

The girls in Amanda and CC’s group of friends were so incredibly generous that they gave them obscenely huge gifts card each as a birthday present. Even the two friends that were unable to attend contributed, which was very kind and thoughtful. During the party we realized that we would end the day with so many wonderful photographs, that we decided we would do a double sided scrap book page as a way of saying thanks for the memories and the gift of their friendship (and the obscenely huge gift cards).

We have done some really great birthday parties over the years (remind me to tell you another day about the scavenger hunt at the mall!), but what I particularly loved about this party was that the focus wasn’t about consuming something or making grand gestures. It was about making memories with good friends that will last a lifetime. Every year when we have our December Birthday Club we will remember the hours we lovingly spent together creating our crafts and celebrating these moments. It was Christmastime, and It’s a Fearless and Wonderful Life………

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