Tag Archives: Billy Crystal

It’s Better to Look Good and Feel Good! #ClearBeauty #Allegra #CBias


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more feeling fab! In all my life, I have never battled allergies until this year. The sneezing, the itchy throat, the runny nose, the watery eyes! It’s such a total drag. One of my favorite parodies is Billy Crystal doing Fernando Lamas, “It is better to look good than to feel good. And you look…..mahvelous!” When you don’t feel well, it’s one thing, but when you aren’t looking your best, it’s time to head to the CVS Pharmacy!

Rather than self-prescribe, I decided to pay a visit to a professional; the pharmacist. After explaining (and complaining about) my symptoms, she recommended Allegra #ClearBeauty. Sneezing? Check. Itchy throat? Check. Runny Nose? Check. Watery Eyes? Check. And, when using your CVS card in the month of May, a 30 count pack of Allegra is just $17.99. YAY! If I am going to be feeling better, I should celebrate by looking better too.

I just haven't been feeling like myself lately. Treating myself to a little make over is just what the doctor ordered!

In fact, why not check out the Allergy Makeover Game

Today was my lucky day; my Amanda just so happened to be my shopping companion. Who better to help me investigate the cosmetics department than a teenage girl? They are practically a walking encyclopedia of beauty trends. Besides, I am always admiring her eye make-up. Perhaps today is the day I learn her secrets……

There was shelf after shelf of magic potions. While I didn’t know quite where to start, Amanda jumped right in. Oh, to be young. She has a perfect peaches and cream complexion (I remember those days fondly), so she is all about the smoldering eye. We looked at eye-liner, eye-shadow and mascara; every color, every color combination, every texture, every finish.

Excitedly, I settled on a new eye-liner, REVLON Luxurious Color in Sueded Brown, and stocked up on my newest favorite mascara L’OREAL Voluminous Million Lashes. Seriously; if it’s good enough for Gwen Stefani…. Anyway, for me, I am always really confused about eye-shadow. That’s where Amanda came in. After perusing CVS’s enormous selection, we decided to try Milani’s RUNWAY Eyes in Fashionista Pinks. But Amanda always has this little bit of sparkle, so we also tossed Milani’s Peaches & Cream sparkly shadow into our cart as well.

To check out our entire shopping experience, please visit my Google+ story

It was like beauty make-over Christmas! As soon as we got home, I spilled out all of my new cosmetics on the counter and flipped through the latest issue of In Style magazine for further inspiration. I am the type of person that wears new shoes out of the store, so I was really excited to play with my new make-up.

As my own harshest critic, I must admit that after I started taking the Allegra, and tried on my new face, I felt happy and refreshed (with just a little dash of sparkle!).

You can feel refreshed too by checking out Allegra at their website, on Twitter and Facebook.

More allergy relief, more Allegra, more new cosmetics, more feeling fab…….

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

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ #CBias #SocialFabric. All ideas and experiences are my own.

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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…..

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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I Would Like to Thank…..


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about………more 83rd Annual Academy Awards!!! Amanda and I were in the city early in the day, stopping by Wildfire on our way home to pick up dinner for our very own Governor’s Ball (I had the Chicken Club and it was amazing). With a glass of wine in hand, I settled in for my favorite night of the year….the Oscar’s!

 

It stared off kind of slow for me, Dawg, but how do you not love Kirk Douglas? The man is 94 years old and he’s still got it; amazing and inspiring. Mr. Douglas presented the award for Best Supporting Actress to Melissa Leo in The Fighter. She was incredible as Alice Ward, mother and manager of Boston boxers Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund. While she made an incredible transformation to her real life glamorous self, my favorite part of her speech was when she dropped the “F” bomb.

Who is more adorable than Reece Witherspoon to present the award for Best Supporting Actor? While you know I was completely taken with Geoffrey Rush in The Kings Speech and thought he was the only possible upset, my vote still went to winner Christian Bale as crack addicted boxer Dicky Eklund in The Fighter. Rarely does an actor completely transform himself for a role and succeed so amazingly. I’m not sure what was up with the Grizzly Adams beard, but for someone who has been kind of volatile in real life, he gave a very touching and heartfelt acceptance speech.

 

I’m not high brow enough to have seen any of the Foreign Films, but I was captivated by its presenters; the charming and delightful Russell Brand and the classy and elegant Dame Helen Mirren. I can’t wait to see them together on screen in both The Tempest, and Russell Brand, particularly, in a role that was made for him in the movie Arthur.

Blah, blah, blah. The next hour or so was extremely boring save for a visit from 8 time Academy Award host, Billy Crystal. His brilliance, along with the musical styling’s of one of our personal favorites, lyricist and composer Marc Shaiman, were sorely missed. Always a sucker for nostalgia, I loved the old clips of Bob Hope. We are huge fans of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby’s Road To….pictures. They sure don’t make them the way the used too; charmingly corny and entertaining.

While Celine Dion makes me want to poke myself in the eye or step on a rake, she was lovely as she sang Smile (the old Charlie Chaplin classic), honoring all of the talented people that we lost this year; Lena Horne, Lynn Redgrave, Jill Clayburgh, Blake Edwards (I always loved the Pink Panther), Dennis Hopper, Robert Culp (of I Spy fame, with America’s most beloved dad, Bill Cosby), Tony Curtis and one of my all time fav’s, Leslie Nielson (and please stop calling me Shirley).   

 

I think that Jeff Bridges believes he is either Rooster Cogburn or The Dude with his crazy hair and beard, but for decades he’s been consistently pretty darn cool (I think never better than in Tucker; A Man And His Dream). Mr. Bridges presented the award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture. It was a real nail biter, with Annette Bening as a potential upset, but ultimately the night belonged to Natalie Portman, otherwise known as Queen Amidala. Saturday night Chuck was a saint for accompanying me to the movies to see The Black Swan. I had to know what all the buzz was about! Even though I didn’t love the movie, Natalie Portman also made an amazing transformation as the prima ballerina that slowly lost her grip on reality. I knew she had it in her because we loved her in her first movie; The Professional.

 

Sandra Bullock, America’s Sweetheart, presented the award for Best Actor. While the other nominees were great, the night belonged to the very talented, humble and handsome Colin Firth. His performance was truly mesmerizing and inspiring. Rarely do I believe that there was one “best”, but I do believe that this year there was in Colin Firth.

The Best Picture was directed by the Best Director (which, unexplainably, is not always the case), The Kings Speech by Tom Hooper.

I must say, that even though the 83rd Annual Academy Awards was extraordinarily dull (PLEASE bring back Hugh Jackman), I’m still swept away by the magic of the movies.

More movies, more inspirational stories, more memorable performances…..

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Amazing, Academy Award Winning, Appetizers……


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more Academy Award celebrations! The Oscar’s are seriously my very favorite television program of the entire year. I can only imagine one event that might possibly rival this experience and that would be watching my Cubbies play in the World Series (a girl can dream). What I love about the Academy Awards is the fantasy of it all, the old fashioned Hollywood glamour. I can’t wait for the red carpet interviews with gorgeous starlets in beautiful gowns, fabulous jewelry, fancy up-do’s and the handsome and dashing leading men (such as my favorite; the charming, fast talking, Ryan Reynolds!).

Mine is a movie loving family. In fact, my parents were so taken with Vanessa Redgrave in Camelot, that I was named for her. My Nick is actually named for Nick Charles, the lead character in the 1934 classic; The Thin Man (based on a Dashiell Hammett novel). My earliest Oscar recollections are of my beloved Johnny Carson hosting, but I’ve absolutely adored Billy Crystal and Hugh Jackman too. I can’t wait to see how Anne Hathaway and James Franco fair hosting this year, the 83rd annual Academy Awards.

This weekend, we enjoyed a pre-Oscars feast! Tasty appetizers paired with a little something sparkly……..

  • Chopped BLT Salad Spears
  • Pigs in a Blanket
  • Shrimp and Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
  • Hot Crab Dip and Crackers
  • Chicken Chili Wontons

 

 

To get the party started I draped my Dining Room table with a red satin topper trimmed with red marabou feathers, a nod to the glamour of the 1940’s. Red roses, mirrored candlesticks with damask patterned pillar candles and a mirrored tray, displaying crystal champagne flutes and a zebra ice bucket, set the tone for our elegant soiree. Adding a bit of whimsy were bouquets of licorice, glass bowls of popcorn and rhinestone studded tea-light candles.

Chopped BLT Salad Spears:

Who doesn’t like bacon? It makes everything better!

 

6-8 slices of bacon, crisply cooked, and chopped

1/3 cup of mayonnaise

½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

3 plum tomatoes, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cups of chopped lettuce such as arugula, but baby spinach will work nicely too

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

16-20 endive spears

In a bowl, combine;

 

Mayonnaise

Balsamic vinegar

Mustard

 

Stir in the tomatoes

Season with salt and pepper

In a large bowl, toss;

Arugula

Tomato mixture

Bacon

Cheddar cheese, if you so choose

Spoon the BLT mixture into the endive spears

These can be assembled a few hours prior to serving and refrigerated

Pigs in a Blanket

The thought of the Cubs in the World Series must have subconsciously inspired me to make hot dogs! Though these are elegant little cocktail wieners……

 

3 Tbsp butter

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 egg

1 Tbsp water

1 package of thawed, but still cold, frozen puff pastry (2 sheets)

1 package of cocktail wieners, or regular hot dogs sliced in half vertically, sliced again into 1 ½ – 2” pieces.

Fancy mustard for dipping

Pre-heat oven to 375°

In a skillet;

Melt butter

Sautee onions until a beautiful golden color

Sprinkle with salt and pepper

Once cool enough to handle, chop into small pieces

 

In a small bowl, whisk together;

Egg

Water

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Working quickly, one sheet at a time, unroll puff pastry

Cut into triangles, 2” wide at the base, 3” high at the point

Place 1 tsp of onion mixture at the base of the triangle

Place hot dog on top of onions

Roll from the base up to the triangle, sealing at the top with a little egg wash

Line up on the baking sheet and repeat with second sheet of puff pastry

Lightly brush each piece with the egg wash

You can prepare the Pigs in a blanket up to this point and refrigerate until ready to cook

Place in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until golden and puffy

Transfer to a platter and serve with your hot mustard

Shrimp and Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

1 lb cooked and deveined shrimp, if frozen, thawed (I used the smallest, salad size so they were really easy to eat in one bite)

½ cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp red pepper

2 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano

2 Tbsp fresh chopped basil

2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

Olive oil

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

1 loaf French or baguette bread, sliced

In a Zip-loc baggie, combine;

 

½ cup olive oil

Garlic

Oregano

Basil

Add;

1 lb thawed shrimp

Marinade in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight

Pre-heat oven to 250°

Spray a small pan with non-stick spray

Place 1 pint of cut tomatoes

Drizzle with olive oil

Sprinkle with salt and pepper

Roast for one hour

Place the other pint of tomatoes in a mixing bowl

When you remove the roasted tomatoes from the oven, add them to the fresh chopped tomatoes in the bowl

Pre-heat the oven to 350°

Place marinated shrimp in a small oven safe pan

Roast for 20-30 minutes, until golden

Cool slightly and add to the tomato mixture

 

Pre-heat broiler or grill

Slice French bread into 1” pieces

Lightly brush one side with olive oil

Broil or grill until a light golden brown

Top each slice of bread with a generous Tbsp of the shrimp and tomato mixture

Plate and serve

And the Oscar goes to…….the tasty and delicious Academy Awards feast!

See you at the movies……….

For the recipes for my Hot Crab dip and the Chicken Chili Wontons please visit me at my website:

 https://moreismoremom.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/and-the-oscar-goes-to-red-carpet-appetizers/

More movies, more stars, more entertainment, more tasty morsels…..

Chopped BLT Salad Spears

Fancy Pigs In A Blanket

Shrimp and Roasted Tomato Bruschetta on FoodistaShrimp and Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

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Throw a Great Memorial Day Party…..Part Two: The Main Course Menu


Setting the stage for a fun-tastic, blow out bash is only half of the equation. While I completely agree with Billy Crystal’s sentiment (channeling Ricardo Montalban), “You look mahvelous; absolutely mahvelous. You know, it’s much better to look good than to feel good”, while entertaining I want everything to be visually attractive, but it’s equally as important that everything taste good too.

I love the fantasy 0f a party and satisfying all of the senses. The visual presentation should be a feast for the eyes. The different textures incorporated in to your bar, buffet and table should be interesting to the touch. The sounds should be soulful and thoughtful, be they subtle or obvious; music to your ears. The scents should be reminiscent of the theme of your party through candles, or the heartwarming smells wafting through your kitchen. The final detail, of course, is a menu lovingly crafted for your guests to savor.

As the More is More Mom®, I am a huge proponent of……more food. Throwing a cocktail party is always a blast. It’s the perfect opportunity for a dazzling array of interesting appetizers. Dinner on the other hand can be a tad bit more complicated. Once you have developed a menu suitable to the occasion, there is still the matter of determining what little snicky-snacks to offer your guests while they are gathering and the finishing touches are being put on the meal. Then of course there is the ever important matter of dessert. While dessert may seem like an after thought, I think it is the perfect opportunity to end the evening on a high note….even if the note is small, it should be meaningful.

Today I would like to share with you my main course menu for a Memorial Day Celebration. I want for you to have plenty of time to consider incorporating these delicious dishes in to your own celebration this coming weekend.

Lemon and Herb Marinated Chicken:


This chicken smells so ridiculously good while cooking on the grill your neighbors are going to invite themselves over for dinner (so make extra!). It’s always great to find a dish that serves a crowd, so feel free to double and triple as needed.

3-4 lbs of chicken (my family really prefers breasts and drumsticks, but you can choose whatever you like.).

You know I am totally obsessed with Zip-Loc Baggies. Rather than use a bowl, or a large lidded container, I mix all of the ingredients in a gigantic 2 gallon Zip-loc baggie (much easier cleanup!). Combine:

• ¼ – ½ cup of olive oil
• 2 tsp finely chopped lemon zest (fresh is best)
• 2 tsp soy sauce
• 2-3-4 tsp rosemary, finely chopped (it smells sooooo good!)
• 1-2 tsp thyme, finely chopped
• Lots of garlic, 5-6 cloves pressed or minced
• 1 large shallot (or 2 very small) finely chopped
• ¼ tsp cayenne pepper……Hot! Hot! Hot!
• Salt and pepper to your liking….

 

Add your chicken to the bag and marinade over night, flipping over a few times to make sure the marinade is well distributed. You could allow for just a few hours of marinating time, but that would scarcely allow all of the fresh flavors to infuse the chicken.

You have the option to do one of two things here.
1. Roast the chicken.
Preheat the oven to 425°.
Place the chicken on a rack in a large roasting pan, pouring 1 cup of water into the bottom of the roasting pan.
Baste occasionally, until the outside of the chicken is a nice golden brown and an instant read thermometer registers at 180°, for somewhere in the neighborhood of 45-60 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Transfer to a platter and garnish with any leftover sprigs of rosemary.
Tent with aluminum foil until ready to serve.

2. Warm up grill.
Reduce heat to medium and cook for approximately 45 minutes (when you poke a fork in to the chicken, you’ll want for the juices to run clear.)
Remove from the grill.
Place on a platter, adding garnish if desired, and you’re ready to serve.

I almost exclusively have employed the grilling option as I grill 12 months a year. Everything on the grill is super tasty and clean up is a snap!

Bacon and Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes:


These potatoes are so good it’s criminal! I frequently make your basic D0 Ahead Mashed Potatoes (especially for the holidays when the need for planning ahead is at a fevered pitch), and have never made this particular recipe before this weekend. After eating a spoonful of mouth watering goodness my family has informed me that I should only make the Bacon and Smoked Gouda variety forever more……

This is yet another recipe that could easily be multiplied, even if just for yummy leftovers. Some things are even better the next day.
Ingredients:

3 lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped up in to cubes

 

8 slices of bacon (or more…..and who wouldn’t enjoy more?). I like a nice smoky flavored bacon, but maple is good too for a sweet treat.

A bunch of scallions….you choose how many you like. I used about 6 onions, finely chopping them until I got to the dark green ends

¾ cup sour cream
½ cup of milk
¼ – ½ stick of butter

2 plus cups of Smoked Gouda (I used a peppercorn flavor enhanced Gouda and it was to die for!), coarsely grated. Reserve ½ cup for topping at the end.

Cook bacon in either a skillet, or my favored method for making pounds and pounds of bacon, on a rimmed, aluminum foil lined, cookie sheet (for pounds and pounds of bacon you’ll need several….) cooked at 350°, for approximatley 20-25 minutes. It depends on how crispy you like your bacon. I’m a fan of more crispy……. Truly, if you are going through the mess of the bacon, make enough to warm up through the week; great with breakfast, on a sandwich, in a salad or even by itself. In any case, drain the bacon on a paper towel to soak up some of the grease and chop it up. Place the chopped bacon in a bowl.

Chop the scallions, add to the bacon and combine. Set aside.

Place the peeled and cubed potatoes in a large pot, fill with cold water, place lid on pot slightly ajar, and boil for 20 minutes or so until tender.

Drain and return the potatoes to the pot. On a very low heat, cook potatoes until all of the moisture evaporates. This should only take a minute or so.

 

Add the sour cream, milk and butter. The potatoes will be nice and hot, and the good creamy stuff should melt in quickly. Mash with a potato masher until nicely smoothed.

Stir in both the shredded Gouda (reserving ½ cup) and 1 cup of the bacon mixture (reserving the balance). Season with a little salt and pepper….you know me, I love, love, love the cracked black pepper for a kick (and a field goal!). Mix well.

 

Butter a 13x9x2 baking dish and evenly spread the potato mixture.

At this point, I topped the Heavenly mashed potatoes with the remaining shredded Gouda and the left over bacon and scallion mixture. It was so pretty!

Now, you will either be covering up the pan, refrigerating and cooking the potatoes later, or plug ahead and heat your oven to 375°. Cook until the cheese starts to melt a little bit and the edges begin to turn a warm, golden brown (about 30-40 minutes fresh, 45-60 minutes from the fridge, but either way…watch ‘em.).

Parmesan Balsamic Vinaigrette:


I must confess, unless I mix up a quick bottle of Good Season’s Italian Dressing Seasoning with vinegar and oil, most nights we douse our salad with bottled dressing (we are fans of the Western French). When company is expected it’s always nice to prepare a little something different.

This dressing is lovely with the fresh basil and grated parmesan. It is special enough to simply toss on a bed of pretty greens. For this particular meal I have enough flavors colliding, that the richness of this vinaigrette doesn’t need to be complicated with a medley of other vegetables. How about that? Simplicity from the More is More Mom®? (Though I would prefer to view it as a well honed matter of restraint.).
Ingredients:
• 2-3 cloves of garlic
• ½ tsp or so of salt
• 2 Tbsp good balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp lemon juice (again, since there are so many other rich, fresh flavors, I don’t think it’s worth the time or mess of squeezing fresh lemon juice. Sorry).
• 3-4 Tbsp fresh, chopped basil (little smells as delightful)
• ¼ – ½ cup of finely grated parmesan
• ½ tsp cracked black pepper (I’m going through this stuff like crazy!)
• ½ cup or so of olive oil

With a mortar and pestle mash the garlic with the salt.

Whisk together with the vinegar, lemon juice, basil, parmesan and salt and pepper.
Slowly add olive oil and whisk until well blended.
Toss with greens and serve.

Fruit Kabobs:


The beauty of the kabob is that you know from the get go just how many servings you are preparing. You can select any number of different fruits, or stream line the process and select two or three, alternating them on the skewer for a pleasing display.

Over the next two days I will be sharing with you ideas for setting up your buffet and recipes for versatile, easy starters and dessert.

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