Tag Archives: Flowers

Fun at the French Market……

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more French Market field trips! I can hardly believe that our summer is practically half way behind us. The weeks have been filled with a flurry of activity, with Saturday mornings reserved for catching up around the house. Well, this past weekend, Amanda and I decided to throw caution to the wind, chores be damned, and head downtown to check out all that’s new and exciting at the French Market.


What I love most (other than the jewelry) is the real sense of community that the French Market provides. There are families passing through on their way home from soccer and baseball games, people walking their dogs (which is absolutely shocking to me. Our Wrigley could never be trusted anywhere that so much food is at eye level; practically a smorgasbord!), folks grabbing a cup of coffee, meandering up and down the aisles, passing time on a Saturday morning. This being our 15th summer here in suburbia, we invariably run into friends, and it’s always a treat to catch up.


With so many great booths, it’s hard to know where to begin. The produce is always to die for; beautiful yellow pears, robust red nectarines, gorgeous grapes, bell peppers in a rainbow of colors, and cauliflower pretty enough to use as a centerpiece! There are the greenest of green beans and broccoli and potatoes for mashing, baking and scallop-ing.



Baked goods abound with bread and pastries, as do jars of jams, jellies and barbeque sauces. Amanda and I fell in love with The Pickle Guy and brought home two jars of his garlic-y pickles that we promptly diced and used to garnish our grilled hot dogs for lunch. If you are a pickle aficionado; they are amazing.


I’m always a total sucker for the flowers. Whether you’re looking for perennials, a bouquet or a hanging basket, it’s so hard to decide because everything is so darn colorful and pretty!


An accessory girl myself, I tend to make a bee-line for the jewelry. The French Market is an excellent place to find artisans with unique pieces. It’s just fun to make a new discovery; jewels that you won’t stumble across at the mall. Of course, the purse lady has an interesting array of handbags, clutches and wristlets, while the pretty pashmina’s are to die for.


However, this week, my favorite stop was to MelkandCookies; freezer-to-oven cookie dough clusters. What an awesome treat for the whole family! It’s so simple, whether you take out one cluster (like who could ever stop at just one?) or bake the entire dozen, you get a warm, homemade cookie in just 9-11 minutes. As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about the idea of providing our children with the happy memories of an afterschool treat, or a tasty dessert for the whole family. My family has had the privilege of enjoying MelkandCookies as a homemade after school treat for the past 13 years! Founder and Innovator, Rochel Melka, is one of my dearest friends. If you miss her this summer at the French Market, you should check her out at http://www.melkandcookies.com/aboutus.html


With our pickles, produce and cookies in hand, Amanda and I had a thoroughly enjoyable visit to the French Market.


More shopping, more fresh ingredients, more friends, more community experiences………


To schedule and Interior Design appointment, a Life Style consultation or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com


Leave a comment

Filed under Family Life, Friendship, More is More Mom, Personal Style

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Family Life, More is More Mom, Personal Style

(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….

Leave a comment

Filed under Family Life, More is More Mom

The First Day of Summer? I’m Already Tired!

Ah, June 21st, the first day of Summer; more sunshine, more flowers, more baseball games, more barbeques, more ice cream, more watermelon, more water fun, more bike rides…..more college visits?

I am sooooo tired! I was up for three days getting ready for our Father’s Day celebration. My family has been very patient with me, as I can’t wait to share a fantastic 4th of July party with you. So, for Father’s Day, I planned an amazing menu, with a beautiful buffet and tablescape, and my family indulged me by celebrating the Faux of July! Next week I will be showcasing delicious recipes and party planning tips! Yay!

In the meantime, Nick and I hit the road at 6:00 o’clock Monday morning for a quick road trip and college visits. Again….Yay!

The days are inching closer and closer to the time that my Nick heads off to college and that makes me very sad; I’m not ready to let him go (and clearly it’s all about me). My Nicky is amazing…he’s bright and funny, with a wicked sense of humor, he’s talented, he’s exceedingly kind and he’s quite handsome (if don’t say so myself…). It is impossible to imagine what our household will be like without him (other than very quite), and it makes me exhausted just thinking about it!

If I’m looking at the glass as half full, then I appreciate the time we’re spending together. There’s nothing more fun that coercing a cranky teenager out of bed in the morning (or afternoon), and hitting the road, just the two of you. Monday, our day was exciting (especially the 40 minutes we spent in the most awful, torrential down pour EVER! White knuckles and everything!). There was no Donny Osmond sighting, so I should have known; we visited a very small school, and it reminded us of how much we enjoyed another small school. We visited a large campus and it reminded us of just how much he enjoyed another large campus.

Five hours in the car, two campus’s, an audio book (Who’s Your Caddy, by Rick Reilly, was great, but it was no Confessions of a Shopaholic!), and more time with my fella….what more could I ever ask?


Filed under More is More Mom

Chicago Blackhawks Win the Stanley Cup…Need I say More?

Imagine that you are enjoying the musical stylings of the Fratellis playing Chelsea Dagger (or link here now):

Philadelphia Flyer, Chris Pronger, is to the Chicago Blackhawks as Syracuse Bulldogs, Ogilthorpe, is to the Kansas City Chiefs (in other words….he’s a real meanie! Can you tell we’re in ACT prep mode? By the way, you have seen the best sports movie of all time, Slap Shot, haven’t you?).

To quote Frank Valli and the Four Seasons, “Oh what a night…..” Vince Vaughn on the glass, Jeremy Roenick all choked up and misty eyed, Duncan Keith toothless, Patrick Kane with the game winning goal; Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup!!! Finally Eric Fergusson can shave his beard and Kathy Hart can shave her armpits (of Chicago’s WTMX Eric & Kathy fame). The only thing better would have been to win it at home.

17,951 days have passed since the Hawks have won the Stanley Cup, and there are so many people to thank; Joel Quenneville for his fabulous coaching, Niemi and his mad goalie skills, Big Buff’s big hits, Olympians Seabrook, Keith, Kane and Toews, and Marian Hossa’s showing at the Stanley Cup Finals, on three teams, in the past three years (I guess the third time’s the charm!). What could be more exciting than seeing the 22 year old, team captain, Jonathon Toews winning the Play-off MVP!?!

In keeping with hockey’s greatest tradition, each player is allowed 24 hours with the Stanley Cup, to do with whatever they see fit. As the More is More Mom®, if I had 24 hours with the Cup, I would fill it to the rim with Pino Grigio and we would visit every TJ Maxx and More in the tri-state area. As a hockey fan, a hockey mom and a native Chicagoan I couldn’t be prouder and happier for our Chicago Blackhawks!


Please click on the link below, and view my audition for “Your Own Show” on the OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).  Vote early and often…that’s the Chicago way!

Vanessa’s Audition: Vanessa – The More Is More Mom – OWN TV http://myown.oprah.com/audition/index.html?request=video_details&response_id=5227&promo_id=1

Thank you for your support!! I truly appreciate your help and friendship!

Leave a comment

Filed under More is More Mom