Tag Archives: Candles

Great Gift Ideas For Mom…..

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more Mother’s Day celebrations! I consider myself extremely lucky to have been blessed with the Best Mom in the entire world. She’s so good that even my girlfriend’s tell me, “You’re so lucky; you have the world’s greatest mom! Can I borrow her for the weekend?” One of the many things that makes her exceptional is her complete and utter devotion to us. She’s our biggest cheerleader, greatest advocate, and most trusted companion. To paraphrase the prolific Marvin Gaye, “Ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low, ain’t no river wide enough, baby……to keep me from getting to you, babe.” That’s my mom; a woman that would move mountains for us. She’s totally my role model.

When Nick and Amanda were little I mistakenly thought Mother’s Day should be filled with all sorts of pomp and circumstance, like Christmas or your birthday. Now that I’m a little bit more seasoned, I recognize that it’s truly more meaningful and satisfying to celebrate in more thoughtful ways, by spending time together. Seriously, the greatest gift the children could give me would be; no fighting or arguing, picking up their rooms, not leaving a trail of personal articles throughout the house (glasses of orange juice and Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup wrappers…Nick) and actually listening to me before my voice reaches a ridiculously high octave and before I have permanent wrinkles on my forehead from my perpetual state of shock, anger, horror, confusion and incredulous-ness.

On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with a beautifully wrapped, thoughtful gift. We girls love it when our families consider our personal interests, wants and desires. We just want to be appreciated and remembered, so here are a few ideas (in no particular order, but the first one’s good);


  • Diamonds are a girl’s best friend: Jewelry is always a safe best, though it needn’t be diamonds. Sterling silver, 14 carat gold and costume jewelry are all welcome, by way of earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings. The pieces should just “look” like us.


  • Say it with flowers: While a bouquet is lovely, plants and perennials simply last longer. A container filled with her favored flora and fauna is fabulous, but why not spend a little time with mom at the garden center, dedicating the rest of the day to planting in your yard?


  • Now smell This: A beautiful new bottle of perfume is a luxury! Does she have a favorite or is she open to adventure? A quick trip to your local department store will do the trick! If you’re not sure about mom’s favorite perfume, lotions and bath products are a huge treat too.


  • This little light of mine…… Girls just like things that smell good (which is why we don’t care for your gym clothes)! Gorgeous candles in an array of scents are always a welcome luxury. I know that this time of year I’m totally a sucker for fresh scents like linen, lemon, basil and bamboo. 


  • Pajama games: After a busy day of working, carpooling, refereeing, tutoring, cleaning and a stint as a short order cook, there is nothing like a great pair of comfy pajamas. Buy for our comfort, not your enjoyment, and you’ll hit a home run!


  • For the bag lady…..I’m sorry. There’s nothing like a fabulous new handbag to perk up a girl’s spirits. While a purse is functional, it’s so much better when it shows off a little flirty personality. If a purse is too much of a commitment, how about a great wallet? It’s all about the best accessorizing!


  • Picture this….. As moms, we love our families. Framed photos commemorating important moments are truly a gift. Be a shutterbug and capture those special moments in time.


  • Mani’s and Pedi’s and Massages, Oh My!  A gift card to your gal’s favorite salon is a real treat! There’s nothing like a little luxurious pampering…..


While a beautifully wrapped, thoughtful gift is always welcome, spending time with your family is the best gift of all!

More Mother’s Day celebrations, more wonderful mother’s, more thoughtfulness, more love, more appreciation…..

To schedule an interior design appointment or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com


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Rock Me Like a Hurricane…….

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……….more fun with hurricanes! Not the 75 mile per hour tropical thunderstorms, but decorative glass candleholders. I love the shape and silhouette of a beautiful piece of glass. Such a simple object, filled with so many possibilities…..

I’m a total candle junky! Since more of everything is always better, I’ve got candles stashed everywhere; under the kitchen sink, in a drawer in the powder room, in a cabinet in the family room, an assortment of votives in a bookcase drawer, several Rubbermaid containers full in my basement storage room. The candles are nothing compared to my collection of candleholders! However, one of my favorite candle holders will always be; the hurricane.

What I love about the hurricane is that it always makes a statement. It’s not so big that it doesn’t pack a punch, but it’s not so small that it gets completely lost. There are so many perfect places for a hurricane; on a side table on your front porch, on a chest of drawers in your foyer, on your kitchen island, in your powder room, a pair on a coffee table (corralled by a gorgeous tray completely sweetens the deal), by your bathtub, at your desk, on your patio, the list just goes on and on.

As much fun as a hurricane is alone, think of the possibilities for greater impact when you have a pair, which can make for beautiful centerpieces.


While I appreciate the calm simplicity of a single pillar candle, one way you can make your hurricane display more interesting and appropriate to your design or party theme is through embellishment.   


River rock provides for a serene and organic quality.


Collections are personal and charming. My Amanda collects bouncy balls (over 400 and counting…), which make for a whimsical embellishment. This would be great fun for a kid’s birthday party!


One of our favorite family traditions is outdoor movie night in the summer. We set up a screen and projector on our deck and a huge movie theater concession stand in our kitchen, complete with all the fixin’s; popcorn, Twizzler’s, Junior Mints, Milk Duds, Sweet-Tarts, Hershey’s bars, Cookie Dough Bites, pretty much everything that’s good for you. As a centerpiece, I set up two hurricanes filled with popcorn. It’s sooooo cute! For Movie Night inspiration, please visit my website:



Sometimes, I’ll simply remove the candle and fill the hurricanes with inspirations of the season; faux lemons and limes (or other fruit), decorative Easter Eggs, raffia balls, moss balls, gourds, ornaments, pine cones. Whatever makes you happy!

More decorations, more embellishments, more beautiful homes…….

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Making My List And Checking It Twice….Gift Giving!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more Christmas shopping around town with the ladies! I made my list and checked it twice (some of the items were even gifts for people other than myself), and I am well aware of who was naughty and nice! To make the gift giving experience more festive and fun, my girlfriends and I headed to downtown Glen Ellyn for Ladies Night Out, on our quest for thoughtful and unique gifts for the holidays.


Sure, anyone can wrap up a gift card or a bottle of wine, but that’s just so ba-hum-bug boring. Good gift giving is an art form. Good gift giving reduces the potential of re-gifting. Good gift giving makes the recipient feel special and warm and happy and satisfied. Good gift giving requires hours of in-the-trenches-research. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it…….

Everybody appreciates a thoughtful and personal gift. It doesn’t take much effort to pay attention to the desires and dislikes of your family and friends. The most important element of the gift giving process is the consideration and the spirit in which a gift is chosen.

Ladies, little’s and teens are pretty easy to shop for. We love baubles that sparkle and shine; be they jewelry, handbags, accessories or tasteful items for our homes.


apothecary jars filled with ornaments


floral arrangement

glass, handblown ornaments

snowman figurines and lanterns

P.S. Flowers on Hillside has some of the most lovely home décor items around town. I was so inspired by the gorgeous floral arrangements! Keep in mind that you don’t need an enormous statement piece to add important detail. What makes a house a home is the layers and layers of beautiful and personal touches. A spray of greenery embellished with gorgeous ribbon finds a home on a lantern, a picture frame, a banister or anywhere else you can possibly envision. Candles, a simple bowl full of ornaments, picture frames, urns filled with natural elements, and petite apothecary jars with pretty little baubles that define the season are only a few elegant touches that would make lovely gifts for the important people in your lives.

serving pieces


decorative serving pieces

The AliKat Boutique has some of the most luscious personal items! Unless you know someone extremely well (or are willing to invest in diamonds), jewelry can be a bit intimate, but there are so many other possibilities. Whether we’re throwing a party, or simply serving our own little families, why not consider whimsical and festive serving pieces? These are items we should be using everyday to make our home lives a little bit more special.






doggie treats

Heavenly scented candles and infusers are a lovely gift. They can be incorporated in an Entryway, a Family Room, a Kitchen, a Powder Room. Anywhere! Of course there are a variety of soaps and lotions for use in the Kitchen, the Powder Room or to pamper yourself. Every girl likes a pretty hand bag, make up bag or jewelry roll. We don’t need just one; we need one for every occasion!



I love Christmas and cherish every ornament I lovingly hang from my many trees. One the best parts of Christmas is carefully unwrapping each ornament or decorative piece and reflecting upon the memory behind it. Are you gagging or weeping yet? Anyway, speaking of sentimental, if you have a dog lover on your list, there isn’t an owner in the world that wouldn’t appreciate a gift for their best pooch!


Vera Bradley


Mud Pie



Paisley on Main may be small, but they are mighty! It’s the place to go for the Vera Bradley lover in your life. Plus, Vera now carries skull caps! If you keep your head warm, the body will follow….. Paisley carries the cutest little line, Mud Pie, for all of your hostess gift needs; platters, chip and dip sets, appetizers plates, and cocktail napkins. Everything you might need to throw a fantastic soiree for you favorite friends over the holidays! Now, the best appointed homes are filled with thoughtful details that evoke a feeling. I was absolutely taken with the snow people and of course, Baby New Year!


women’s apparel



handmade knitwear



Now my most favorite stop in Glen Ellyn is always to see my friend Kim at M and Em’s. While she specializes in exquisite children’s clothing and accessories, she carries a number of amazing lines for women, specifically clothing, jewelry and accessories. You’ll find unique and stunning specialty apparel with high style, sparkles and ruffles. I absolutely love her lines of handmade knitwear; scarves, hats, gloves and mittens. However, nothing rivals M and Em’s selection of women’s costume jewelry. In a word; amazing. She features baubles, sparkles, statement pieces and a huge variety of groovy and stylish pieces.






Christmas ornaments



Holiday home décor would not be complete without a visit to Wheaton’s Paper House. There is something to be said for good old fashioned Christmas classics. I’m a total sucker for fun pillows that can be tossed anywhere to infuse a little cheer; Just Be Clause, Ho, Ho, Ho and Jingle. I adore their sassy aprons, dish and guest towels, which make charming gifts. We all appreciate delightful figurines that can be tucked into nooks and crannies, and of course personal ornaments that inspire reminiscing about our family and friends.

More thoughtfulness, more generosity, more giving, more celebrating important relationships…..

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Go Big, or Go Home (I Happen to Think You Can Do Both)….A Visit to the Arhaus Store

I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment in time in which we lost control of our lives. I suppose like anything it was a natural progression; Chuck and I dated, were engaged, got married and started a family. When Nicholas and Amanda were little tykes it was mind numbing, but relatively simple; wake up, keep the house, care for the children, cook the meals, bathe the babies, watch a little TV and head off to bed. The fact that we have a pocket door that separates our Family Room from our Kitchen has been both a burden (completely lacking in the “Open Floor Plan Concept,” hence limiting the “flow” when company is present……and, as I am the More is More Mom®, you can imagine that company, of some sort, is frequently present) and a blessing (in the beginning the pocket door was a wonder, enabling us to corral the children in the hours after dinner and before bed…our people are total night owls…..allowing us time to catch up on evening programming like Seinfeld and E/R, back in the day; while also allowing for peace and privacy in our Family Room for reading (ha,ha,ha) or TV viewing (far more likely) and permitting a flurry of daily activity in our Kitchen simultaneously.). One day, out of the blue, madness ensued…..

Then, it would appear, over night, it all changed; at the tender age of 4, Nicholas started playing hockey, and over the years, added baseball, added basketball, added cross country, added track, and added golf. Amanda begged to take a gymnastics class herself, at the age of 4 (must be a magical age), was instantly invited to attend class twice a week, and all of the sudden that was that, she became a full time competitive gymnast……life became pretty busy.

As if Chuck’s career pursuits haven’t been crazy enough, sustaining our family, eleven years ago I started my own little Interior Decorating Business. Plain and simple; I Am A Worker. This probably comes as no shock to you, but you are looking at your 2005, Our Lady of Perpetual Donations, Volunteer of the Year. Oh yeah! One of my mottos is: If it takes up all of our time, uses up all of our resources and makes absolutely no sense what-so-ever… sign us up!!

Now, like a hundred years later, I find myself with a little more free time than I’ve ever experienced before. Nicky drives (frightening and fantastic), Amanda is at gym 20hours a week (frightening and fantastic), leaving me with time I could have only dreamed about! So, what is a girl to do?

Well…I must share with you; one of my pursuits has been to take advantage of all of the wonderful opportunities to develop relationships in the world of Interior Design. I have been racing from cocktail party….with SWAG (!)….to cocktail party….with SWAG (!) and have learned of, and seen (oh bliss!), many wonderful and exciting things.

Last week I attended a soiree at the Arhaus Store. Their store in South Barrington, IL was a visual delight! I had an opportunity to chit chat with the Visual Art Director, Adam, who represented their three Chicago-land stores. What I observed was over-the –top, repetition-for-visual-impact Design….

A gigantic cylinder vase, filled with river rock, water and a fresh stem of greenery.

Another of their gigantic cylinder vases, this time filled with grass (organic and brilliant)!!

Simple green recycled bottles, displayed as a beautiful collection.

Back to the Beach: Bell Jars displaying a collection of sea-shells and an enormous hurricane filled with sand, a candle and more sea-shells! I am dreaming of a visit from Frankie Avalon (Venus, if you will….) and Annette Funicello (of Mickey Mouse Club Fame)….

Again (See my Cinco De Mayo Celebration and my visit to Home Depot), we are observing the whimsical spiky plant as a decorative element (can I pick ‘em or what?)…

Animal skins…. as rugs (lions, and tigers and bears….and zebra’s)…. Oh My!


What I adore is the over-the-top-fantasy of it all…

You know what they say…..Go Big, or Go Home! As the More is More Mom®, I think you can do both!

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