Monthly Archives: December 2011

Ring in the New Year in Style!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more ringing in the New Year! What better way to celebrate than with beloved family and friends? While a night out on the town is fun, there is nothing like entertaining guests in your home. Last month, I was the featured speaker at the Arlington Design Center where I shared my tips and inspirations for setting beautiful holiday tablescapes. One of my designs was a New Year’s Eve Cocktail Buffet; bold, graphic and sparkly!


After all of the traditional colors of Christmas, I decided to mix it up by developing a color scheme of black, white and silver. With such a simple palette, I decided to shake things up a bit by starting with a base layer with a large scale pattern. When I didn’t find any interesting table coverings, I headed straight to the bedding department at my favorite store, Target (I should be so lucky to be the Target Christmas lady!), and snagged a queen size zebra flat sheet. It was the perfect size to serve as the foundation (and washable too).


Texture is an important element in creating an interesting and dimensional design. I chose a soft, white, fluffy throw blanket as a secondary layer. It reminded me of snow. Now I was ready to really start building.


I love these tall, black iron lanterns. They are perfect flanking your front door or hearth, in your powder room or foyer, out on your deck or patio, or as an anchor to your tablescape. Here, I enhanced the pillar candles with silver sparkling ornaments. Since butterflies are kind of my signature thing, I included a few butterfly ornaments as well. Tying a great big bow on top would have been predictable. When I was a kid, we always watched Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers movies at midnight to celebrate the New Year. In homage to Fred, I topped each lantern with a sparkly black top hat.


An organic quality to the table adds an interesting juxtaposition. Instead of fresh flowers, I chose to incorporate these silver leaf branches. They add both height and style as a centerpiece. As a complement to the branches, I snagged two raffia balls from the craft store and spray painted them silver to match. Then, I wrapped battery operated LED twinkling lights around the balls to add a little illumination. I then placed each ball in a black urn at the end of each side of the table.


The focus of my table is, of course, the bar. Trays are a fabulous way to corral stemware. Here I chose one of my all-time favorite pieces; a mirrored tray. It’s so glamorous, yet versatile. I placed champagne flutes, a silver ice bucket and my small apothecary jars together as a vignette. I filled one jar with silver ornaments, another with clear crystals, and then threw in a teeny, tiny cream colored bird bath, which held a few more silver ornaments. The whole scene was absolutely precious!


Now it was time to include a few serving pieces to display our appetizers. Because of the symmetry of the rest of our display, I decided to use an identical arrangement on either side. One of the most important elements is elevation. It’s so much more interesting and appealing than dishes, sitting flat, on the table.


All that is left are a few finishing touches. I found these adorable silver leaf cherubs. They reminded me of Baby New Year. I placed one on each side of the mirrored tray. Lastly, I draped silver laurel leaf garland around the tablescape.


What better way to ring in the New Year than with style!


More sparkle, more graphic pattern, more beautiful tablescapes, more celebrations with family and friends…….


To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, or for any questions or comments, please email me at

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I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream at #Target

As the More is More Mom® I’m all about……more treats at Target! While I may be an equal opportunity to shopper (I love, love, love the mall. It is my Mecca.), when it comes to choosing between groceries and gifts, shopping for gifts absolutely wins hands down. However, if I head to my favorite Super Target I can do both. There’s nothing I love more than a two-fer.

What a crazy and fantastic week; Nick’s home from college (yay!), which means big family dinners (and more laundry), and the countdown to Christmas is on! Target is my all-time favorite store. Aisle after aisle I’m sure to find inspiration for all that’s left on my list.

A visit to the toy department leaves my head spinning! With teenagers at home, I’m much more in tune with my inner DJ and fashion stylist, than what’s the latest and greatest hot pick for toddlers. My last big score was a Tickle Me Elmo, so it’s been a while. After much pondering (and consulting with mothers and their young children) I found the perfect gifts for all of my little people; nieces, nephews and cousins.

A strategic shopper, I hit all of my favorite departments. I snagged wrapping paper and bows, thermal shirts for the boys, and of course, no visit to Target would ever be complete without cruising through home décor. As always, I loved it all and couldn’t keep myself from artfully rearranging a few things, creating beautiful vignettes. I’m sure Security must have been tailing me on their surveillance tapes!

When it came time to do my actual grocery shopping, I had a brilliant idea. My pals love treats, particularly of the chocolate variety. In fact, most nights, Amanda scoops herself a bowl of ice cream as a just dessert. As I made my way to the freezer section, I noticed the Nestlé’s break and bake cookies. I decided to make my very own ice cream sandwiches!

Once home, while I popped the cookies into the oven, I left the ice cream out on the counter to soften. As soon as the cookies were cool, I scooped a healthy serving of Edy’s chocolate ice cream onto a cookie, then topped it with another cookie to make a sandwich. I wrapped each in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer to firm up until it was time for dessert.

Amanda and her life-long gal pal, Mrs. McGoobles, were starving when they got back to our house after a run and a work out. What better way to reward yourself than with a homemade ice cream sandwich (oh, to be young with a great metabolism)? To make their snack a little more special, I whipped out the darling snowflake paper plates and Santa napkins that I picked up at Target for just such an occasion. The girls said their frozen treat was delicious!

More Christmas inspiration, more homemade frozen treats, more making dessert special, more fun at Target…….

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, or for any questions or comments, please email me at

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insight study for Collective Bias #CBias

All ideas and experiences shared here are my own.

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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…….


To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, or for any questions or comments, please email me at


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Shades of Christmas

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more colors of the season! While autumn speaks to warm and earthy tones, Christmas is a time for luxury, sparkle and rich, bold hues. Inspiration is absolutely everywhere! One of the simplest ways to transform your space is through color.

When working with my Interior Design clients, I am frequently called upon to develop a color palette. I’m never without my Benjamin Moore fan-deck!  There are so many wonderful ways to incorporate color; paint the walls, the trim, a light fixture, accessories or a piece of furniture. This season, I’ve been inspired by an array of colors in ornaments, home décor and gifts…..

Christmas ornaments always make me happy! What I love most are the whimsical shapes and beautiful colors. This collection of ornaments is so vibrant; a veritable rainbow. The hot pink, bright blue and happy green tones are fantastic!

1348 Razzle Dazzle

791 Paddington Blue

427 Napa Vineyards

Gingerbread is a Christmas classic! Why not envelop your room in a warm caramel color. Red is a happy and gorgeous compliment.

1118 Classic Caramel

Stockings should always be hung by the chimney with care, and these Jester stockings are adorable! Red and green is the ultimate Christmas color combination.

1308 Red Parrot

538 Vienna Green

While ornaments bursting with personality are certainly inspiring, why not look to rich neutrals as a way to express your family’s story? This pillow may be simple in design, but its tones reflect a feeling of calm that would be the perfect back drop to any number of complimentary colors.

HC-79 Greenbriar Beige

One of the season’s greatest luxuries is warm and sumptuous shearling. Several of these colors would be fantastic on your walls, but they all lend themselves to being infused throughout your home by way of throw pillows and blankets, artwork and accessories.

1342 Mardi Gras



1117 Guest House

HC 71 Hasbrouk Brown

1588 Gray Pinstripe

1603 Graphite


With so many amazing inspirations all around us, it’s easy to bring a little bit of the season into every room in our homes.

More Christmas inspiration, more bold hues, more rich neutrals, more creating beautiful homes……

To learn more about Vanessa Nunley Designs, please visit me at

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, and for any questions or comments, please email me at

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Finger Lickin’ Chicken Parmesan…..

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..more Chicken Parmesan! Winter is the perfect time  for a warm and hearty meal, and what is more comforting than an Italian classic? I knew this was a winner when Amanda (my red meat carnivore) said, “Compliment’s to the chef!”

Chicken Parmesan and Pasta

Serves 4 Chicken

I chose to use the whole chicken breast rather than pounding them into cutlets, leaving the breast intact and juicy. However, to be certain that the chicken is cooked through, you’ll need to pop them in the oven after browning them in the skillet.

4 chicken breasts

1 cup or so of flour for dredging

1 egg

¼ cup water

3/4 cup breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

4 Tbsp grated parmesan, 2 for the breadcrumb mixture, 2 for topping with the mozzarella

4 oz sliced mozzarella

2 Tbsp oil

Pre-heat oven to 350°

Prepare a baking dish by coating with non-stick spray Line up three bowls or containers for dredging

Bowl one: flour

Bowl two: beat egg and water together

Bowl three: mix breadcrumbs, parsley and parmesan together Dip each chicken breast in flour, then egg and finally in the breadcrumb mixture

Transfer to a plate Heat oil in a large skillet Brown chicken breasts until nice and golden, approximately 3 minutes per side

Transfer to prepared baking dish

Cook in oven for approximately 15 minutes

Pasta and Sauce

1 lb angel hair pasta

1 Tbsp oil

6 cloves of garlic, minced

15 oz can of tomato sauce

8 basil leaves, torn, plus more for topping

1 ½  cups water

½ cup or so of heavy whipping cream

In a stock pot, cook the angel hair pasta until desired doneness

In a sauce pan, heat the oil and sauté the garlic for a minute Add; Tomato sauce



Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer until thickened, about 12 minutes

Add heavy whipping cream, stir well

Pre-heat oven to broil

Return chicken breasts to skillet, covering with sauce Top the chicken evenly with slices of mozzarella and sprinkle with remaining parmesan

Place skillet in oven and broil until cheese is just melted, maybe 2 minutes

Transfer chicken to plates, leaving the sauce in the skillet

Drain the pasta and toss with the remaining sauce in the skillet

Add pasta to each plate and top with torn basil I like a sprinkling of grated parmesan on top Serve and enjoy…….

More hearty meals, more classic chicken parmesan, more family dinners…….

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, or for any questions or comments, please email me at

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