Monthly Archives: October 2010

Halloween Hostess Gifts…

As the More is More Mom®, I am all about…more parties! What better way to catch up with your gal pals than with a Witches Night Out and a little ghoul talk? More of everything is always better! Completely out of the blue, I had two fun parties to attend Thursday evening. So many cocktails, so little time……


When I’m invited into someone’s home I always like to bring a thoughtful treasure. Gift giving is truly an art form. Take for instance cocktails and appetizers in my neighborhood. A few weeks ago, I was chatting with my neighbor, Mrs. Lilly, and she was lamenting that with her youngest away at college this year there was no reason to put out her beloved Halloween decorations. Always one to be thinking (about parties) on my feet, I suggested she decorate as usual and invite the neighbor girls over for wine and snacks to enjoy her spooky best. And she did! Now I know how much Mrs. Lilly treasures time with her family, so I found for her a great picture frame, with “Trick or Treat” embroidered on the fabric mat. I thought it would be the perfect place for a photograph of her grandson enjoying Halloween.


Because I love everything, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I also love ribbon. I have bin after Rubbermaid bin full of it in my storage room. Whenever I’m at a fabric or craft store I always stock up on bright colors, fun patterns, and holiday themes. For these gifts, I grabbed a spool of 1/2” white ribbon embellished with black skulls. To add a little color and dimension to the presentation, I also used a very thin orange ribbon with white polka dots. Now, I hate to be a cheapie, but I typically don’t like to spend money on greeting cards (except that I am a total sucker for Hoops and YoYo those funny fellas from Hallmark). I prefer my vast collection of note cards and gift tags. Often times, I will even use a place card (they come in packages with very large quantities), punch a hole in the corner, lacing the ribbon through and tying a nice bow. The most important part is the endearing message you write to your hosts, thanking them for their generous hospitality.


Now, my second stop is at the home of my super fun and generous girlfriend, who is a theme girl too. Tonight, everyone must dress up as a witch! How fun is that? Witches brew and bat stew for dinner. I can’t imagine anything more delicious! She has a beautiful home, each nook and cranny lovingly decorated, so I knew at once when I had found the perfect gift for her. The petite footed, domed cake plate has so many possibilities. I’ve also have cookies for her family to enjoy, but you can get so much more creative than that. It’s a fantastic place to feature other decorative treasures. It would be darling with a collection of favorite, delicate Christmas ornaments or a bed of moss with a little birds nest with speckled eggs. In the summer, it would be fun to showcase an iron figurine inspired by nature, or even decorative rattan, grapevine or moss balls. The possibilities are endless!

More gifts, more girl time, more merry making….


Filed under Entertaining, Friendship, More is More Mom, Personal Style

The Return of the Lady…

As the More is More Mom®, I am all about…more lady like details! Who needs grunge when you’ve got Grace Kelly? It’s the little things that mean the most, especially in the way we dress. If that’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right…..

To me, it’s important to pay attention to the finer points; snag free hosiery, neat, evenly filed fingernails, chip free nail polish, a good hand bag and a smart thank you note are all points that make the woman. I’m thrilled that the fashion industry seems to agree.



Everything’s coming up classic! Jewelry, handbags, footwear and silhouettes; it’s all about shape, form and function. I’m crazy for jewelry, be it costume or fine. The more the merrier. In fact, I appreciate the juxtaposition of a fine piece with something fun and flirty. My favorite trend of the season is pearls, in all shapes and sizes. They can be an elegant simple, strand, or a wildly embellished piece. We’re seeing large baubles on a ribbon strand and pearls embellished with tasteful rhinestones and gemstones. Either way, it’s the confidence with which you wear them that counts the most.


A good handbag is another mark of a lady. I favor a large interesting piece with personality. One of my favorite bags is a raspberry, patent leather, large purse with several inside pockets. It’s smart and sassy! I also love my Kelly Green leather bag. What is so fantastic about these handbags is that they are chock full of personality and function. Anyone can use a black or brown bag, which is perfectly acceptable, but a neutral with a little interesting color speaks volumes about the woman using it; smart, full of humor, and confidence.

Shoes are an endless way to express your self. There is an appropriate pair for every occasion. No matter how you are feeling, a smart and snappy shoe can make a world of difference. A pointy toe, a rounded toe, a ballet flat, a loafer, a slide, a sling back, a gladiator or a great boot, there is a style for every gal, at every point in time of her life.



Silhouettes speak volumes! We have seen a return to the classics; tailored oxfords, updated with ruffle detail, cardigans with ruffles and sparkles, t-shirts with sparkly embellishments, and the lady like pencil skirt. Looks to me like a little sparkle goes a long way! While I’m not a Mad Men viewer (not that I don’t want to be, but we happened to miss the boat when the first season started, because of our hockey schedule and our lack of understanding of how the DVR works, which I totally get now!), I completely appreciate the class and elegance of the time.


More beautiful details, more shapely silhouettes, more lady like style…..

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Bruce Willis has me seeing RED!

As the More is More Mom®, I am all about…..more movie matinees! I’m afraid it seems as though it has been about 100 years since we have been to the movies, which is a shame because we are a movie going people. Our first apartment was above a five screen movie theater in Chicago’s South Loop (right by the police station at 11th and State). It was nothing short of awesome!

Seriously, the last time we went to the show was over the summer where we saw The Other Guy’s (which was pretty funny), starring Will Ferrell and Mark Whalberg. For us though, that is just way too long in between movie going experiences. Here’s the dilemma; when you have teenagers, you must always be available for carpooling, dropping off and picking up at a moment’s notice. The big car needs to be gassed up and ready to go whether you’re transporting two kids, or six, to parts near and far. Always on high alert, you must be ready to open your home for one pal or a party, and be prepared to almost never go out again, as you certainly cannot leave teenagers unattended. Other parents tend not to like that very much and neither do we. In the meantime, life for Chuck and me can be pretty boring. We decided to satisfy our movie going addiction by sneaking in a Saturday matinee. 

What to see, what to see? Our Nick suggested Paranormal Activity II (no way) or Jack Ass 3-D (not a chance, though Steve-O did win my heart on Dancing with the Stars, and I do like Johnny Knoxville when I see him on Late Night TV interviews. I’m just not loving their whacky hi-jinks and I’m pretty sure most of them have lost some of their teeth, along with most of their brain cells). Chuck wanted to see Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps (we saw the original Wall Street the day it came out back in 1987), but he reasoned that it had been out so long it would likely be on DVD soon enough. We then debated over Social Network and RED, but I don’t care if Justin Timberlake brought Sexy Back, I’m all about Bruce Willis. Ultimately, there was no contest…RED it was.


Now you know what a sucker I am for nostalgia and RED had it in spades!

Bruce Willis portrays retired CIA operative, Frank Moses, who is having a difficult time adjusting to life as a civilian. It seems the only bright spot in his day is chatting on the telephone with his crush, Mary-Louise Parker (of Weeds), about his retirement checks. When out of nowhere, a huge group of assassins turn up in the middle of the night, and try to kill him. What could they have possibly been thinking? This is Bruce Willis we’re talking about here. He’s cooler than cool and no one rocks a weapon better. Bruce is at his charming, self-deprecating, wise talking, gun slinging, action hero best! Though I suppose I am a biased fan, I even liked Hudson Hawk, The Whole Nine Yards and most recently, Cop Out.     

It appears that someone is out to kill him, so he whisks off to Kansas City to pick up Mary-Louise Parker (which is a surprise to her, as they had never met before in person) for safe keeping. When she protests, he simply ties her up with Duck Tape and keeps moving. He is retired CIA after all.

Soon it becomes clear that Frank needs to get “the band” back together; all the other agents tagged RED (Retired and Extremely Dangerous). Truly, how dangerous could Morgan Freeman (who will always be from the Electric Company to me) and Dame Helen Mirren really be?  Though I am going to call John Malkovich out as crazy, because he always plays crazy. Remember him as the bad guy in In The Line of Fire? For some reason, in RED, I felt that he was channeling a little Detective Wojciehowicz from Barney Miller, but I get easily distracted by such things.

Retired or not, I’ll give them that they sure did cover a lot of territory; Kansas City, New Orleans, NYC, Pensacola, Mobile, Langley, Chesapeake, Chicago. I don’t think Thelma and Louise logged as many miles! They strong armed, out smarted and Duck Taped their way across the country. At one point Mary-Louise Parker commented, “You can’t just go around Duck Taping everyone.” (Oh, but there are so many uses for Duck Tape, see my previous blogs: and  )

With all of the former CIA operatives on board it was time to out smart the bad guys. Along the way they run into Ernest Borgnine (of Mc Hale’s Navy fame) and the ever charming Richard Dreyfus (“I-don’t-like-the-panties-hanging-on-the-rod!” Goodbye Girl). How fun is that?

The most fun about the whole RED experience is that the good guys prevail, in an entertaining and action packed adventure!

More matinees, more time with my honey, more popcorn and more Bruce Willis…..

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Filed under More is More Mom, Movie reviews

Sugar, Pumpkin Spice, and Everything Nice…

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about….more pumpkin bread! Nothing says cuddle up and sit by the fire with cozy autumnal comfort better than nibbling on homemade pumpkin bread. My people would eat it everywhere, in a house, with a mouse, in a box, with a fox, on a log, with our dog…..

Pumpkin Bread:

Pre-heat oven to 350°

In a medium size mix bowl, combine;

2 ¾ cups of flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice


In a large mixing bowl, combine;

1 cup of butter softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar, packed

Add 4 eggs, one at a time

Blend in 1- 29 oz can of Libby’s solid, packed pumpkin


Add dry ingredients, being careful not to over stir


Grease and flour two loaf pans

Split batter in half

Cook for one hour



Cool, remove, slice and serve

I like to store the pumpkin bread in the refrigerator; it seems like the pumpkin flavors absolutely intensify. Delicious!

More autumnal traditions, more tasty morsels, more family memories…

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Filed under Family Life, More is More Mom, Recipes

(Appropriate) Teenage Romance….

As the More is More Mom®, I am all about…..more appropriate teenage romance. Friday morning, as my Nick was heading out the door for school, he reminded me that he and his girlfriend were celebrating their six month anniversary. Six months? Wow! That is like forever in teen-time. He asked, “Do you think you can do me a favor (why would this moment be any different than any other? Clearly, I am his personal assistant)? Can you please pick up a bouquet of flowers?” Flowers I can manage. I’m just glad he didn’t think that six months meant a trip to Tiffany’s.

Nick’s girlfriend is darling; beautiful, bright and an athlete. They have the perfect thing going. She’s busy with softball and her girlfriends. He’s busy with golf, hockey and the fellas. They both have such demanding and hectic schedules that when they do see each other, they are happy to hang out at home and watch funny or scary movies. The perfect situation!


I was happy to handle the floral bouquet for him. Truly, what does an 18 year old boy know about flowers (except that girls like them)? There’s this fabulous little shop downtown that creates stylish arrangements, so I gave them a call. Amanda, Rosebud, another gal pal and I stopped by to pick them up on our way home from school. The bouquet was smart; two red roses, yellow flowers, berries, greens and deep, purple flowers, all wrapped in leopard tissue with a great big red bow. While gorgeous, the arrangement was a little too sophisticated, not nearly youthful and festive enough. We girls decided we should take matters into our own hands….off to the market we sped.


More of everything is always better, especially gorgeous blooms. What could be more age appropriate than a super fun color combination of one dozen hot pink roses, bright green pom-pom flowers and lime green filler? I rolled up my sleeves, pulled out my sheers and got to work.

I think that a gift is only a gift when it doesn’t require any work to enjoy it. The best way to give flowers is with a vase, so I pulled out a pretty green glass vase with a wide mouth to accommodate a large bouquet.



After I unwrapped all of the bundles, I trimmed each stem so they would be about the same size. Here’s a little tip: remove any leaves or buds that will be underwater, particularly in a clear vase, so they don’t get soggy, slimy or stinky.


Once I was happy with the arrangement, I took a few sheets each of light pink and hot pink tissue paper and wrapped up the bouquet in a sweet little bundle, tying it together with zebra wire ribbon. So bold and sassy!

Nick is a good boy who was excited to present his girlfriend with his thoughtful gesture. She was touched and thrilled with her bouquet. How sweet!

More beautiful flowers, more tenderness, more appropriate gestures, more romance….

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Filed under Family Life, More is More Mom