Tag Archives: Road Trip

Spring Break Movie Review: It’s A WIN WIN!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about………more entertaining movies over spring break! While the kids are away, the parents can play. We are a movie loving people, but with a busy family that needs to be driven here, or would like to have 6 friends over for dinner there, it can be nearly impossible to eak out time to head over to the Cineplex. Faced with a little free time, Chuck and I whipped out the movie section of the Sunday paper to check out what was playing on the big screen.

I really owed Chuck big after asking him to sit through The Black Swan. He is a good sport of mammoth proportion, because after all of that acclaim, Black Swan was a real stinker. No, this time, I had to pick a winner. I was so disappointed after perusing the selections. There was virtually nothing good to see. I was kind of up for Paul with Simon Pegg (of Run, Fatboy, Run fame), but that seems more like a movie that we might enjoy with Nick, as it is from the same makers as Superbad. If we had a little one in tow, I would totally have seen Rango, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or Gnomeo and Juliet, but, alas, we were childless. There were a few extremely dumb looking teenie-bopper movies (a great big NO THANKS. Somehow I have managed never to have seen High School Musical I, II or III. No reason I should backslide now).

How incredibly disappointing! The only movies left were Limitless with Bradley Cooper. I didn’t like him in The Wedding Crashers because he was mean to Vince Vaughn, so that kind of ruins him for me in other movies. Plus, his character was despicable in He’s Just Not That Into You. After I heard Matthew “Do you want me to take my shirt off?” Mc Conaughey remark in an interview that he hadn’t been in the courtroom since A Time To Kill,  it made me have no interest in seeing his latest legal drama, The Lincoln Lawyer. I thought, “You do know you’re not actually an attorney, don’t you?” Clearly you are smoking way too much….cannabis. Then there was Matt Damon’s The Adjustment Bureau, but I’m more of a Ben Affleck gal. Ben was great in The Town and you can see it in the comfort of your own home now On Demand.


The one movie that I did want to see was WIN WIN with Paul Giamatti, but it was only playing in three theaters in the entire Chicago-land area! Normally, this would be a real deal breaker for us, but since we are home alone, with no one to consider but ourselves, we decided….Road Trip.

WIN WIN is the delightful story of a down on his luck attorney, Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti), who also happens to be the coach a fledgling high school wrestling team. Through a series of events, a young boy named Kyle (played beautifully by new comer Alex Shaffer) comes into the Flaherty’s lives, where Mike and his wife Jackie (Amy Ryan) welcome him into their home. As they help him sort out his troubles, they discover that Kyle is an amazing wrestler who joins Mike’s team. Kyle’s arrival makes an interesting impact on all of their lives. Both Jeffrey Tambor (who makes me cringe) and Bobby Cannavele (who played Vince, Will’s boy friend, On Will and Grace, and is darling) costar. WIN WIN is a total feel good that was absolutely worth the drive into the city (and paying for parking)!!

More road trips, more free time, more popcorn, more great movies……        


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Tag, You’re It…..

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more exciting opportunities! There’s no greater feeling than to like what you are doing; that way, no matter how many countless hours you log in, it never exactly feels like work. In my Interior Design business, I love being invited into someone’s home, getting to know them and helping them create the home of their dreams. In my speaking engagements, I love to share my passion for design and over the top entertaining. This month, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to address an enormous crowd at the Chicago Merchandise Mart’s Living and Giving Show, their biggest trade show of the year.


I was tickled pink when the Mart contacted me in October. As much as I love to entertain, their vision was to pair me with a showroom with great home décor and accessories; Tag. It just felt right. They are a Chicago based business, in my parents neighborhood, Lincoln Park. I’ve been shopping their fabulous Outlet store for years, so working with them is a real treat.

Last week it was like take your dog to work week (forget about your daughter!). After the kids were off to school, Wrigley and I hopped in the car for a Chicago Road Trip, destination; Nana’s house. Since my parents are around the corner from the Tag showroom, I thought Wrigley would love an outing to the city. Our neighborhood is sooooo boring. He even needs a vacation once in a while. After I dropped him off, I zipped over to Tag to get to know them.

Now, there’s nothing I like better than browsing around and imagining all the potential and possibility, but having a personal tour of their warehouse was a dream. I got to look at, touch and salivate over all of their fabulous product lines, deciding exactly how I would highlight them at the show.

My presentation is all about Meaningful Experiences through Merchandising; teaching people how to live in a more thoughtful and meaningful way. I can’t wait to tell my story through the use of Tag’s beautifully designed and affordable lines of home décor products. More of everything is always better, especially more work that you are passionate about.

If you find yourself at the Merchandise Mart on Tuesday, January 25, stop in, I’d love to see you!

More great home décor, more Interior Design, more entertaining, more doing what you love…   

To schedule an Interior Design appointment, please contact me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered…I’m Yours (College Applications)!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more college applications! How could this really, actually, be happening? Five minutes ago my Nick was grinning from ear to ear, making new friends and settling into his cubby as a Kindergartener at Our Lady Of Perpetual Donation’s Grammar School. Suddenly, here he is, putting the finishing touches on his college essays and hitting the “send” button (but not before hitting “payment options” and calling to us, “Can I have your credit card?”). In ten short months he’ll once again be making new friends, this time settling into his dorm room. I’ve said it for years, “I’m packing up and going with him.”……. And he thinks I’m kidding.

Back in the olden days, when I was a youngster, this whole college thing wasn’t the complicated labyrinth that it is today. By and large, you simply considered the schools that your parents attended (like mother, like daughter in my case) or some of your pals had older siblings in college and you decided to check out those Universities, not with your parents, but on a Road Trip with a car load of teenagers not wearing seatbelts; very safe and very informative.

Today, we are on information overload! All college all the time! There are University representatives at our High Schools on a weekly basis, envelopes are spilling out of our mailboxes, with thick packets of marketing materials, we are contacted daily on the internet and then there are the actual visits. It’s not nearly as simple as loading up the car, taking a trip and checking out some schools on your way to a family vacation at Wally World. No. You have to register on-line and schedule an appointment for a tour, and do it early because they book up fast.

No matter the size of the school, the tours are all the same; campus traditions, classrooms, lecture halls, cafeterias, Starbucks (even the smaller schools have their very own campus Barista’s), library, cultural center, student union, dorms (always small and furnished by Bed, Bath and Beyond) and a stop at the gift shop. Okay, you’ve totally got me with the gift shop.

With so many wonderful options and opportunities, how do these kids decide where to go? Nick has a top choice, but he applied to nine schools. We are the More is More Family after all. I suppose the next few months will be exciting as his story unfolds. Until then…..more homework, more curfew, a few more months with our favorite fella.

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Business and Pleasure….

As the More is More Mom®, I am all about….sharing my philosophy about how to make life more special! Today, I’m off to Chicago’s Merchandise Mart to set up for a speaking engagement. Tuesday, I will be the featured speaker at a meeting of the International Furnishings and Design Association. I can’t wait to share my tips and inspirations about how to make celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas more meaningful…

You know that my mantra is; More of everything is always better, which includes making more memories with your family and friends. There is absolutely nothing better than sharing good company, good food, good music, good wine (with an emphasis on the wine) and good times! In my mind, every event, big or small should be celebrated. What better way to honor your family and friends?


For days I have been trolling my attic, basement and every nook and cranny in order to assemble the perfect setting for celebrating the holidays! You should see my truck. It’s stacked to the rafters with table linens, dinnerware, glassware, flatware, napkins, serving pieces, busts, urns, pumpkins, candelabras, floral arrangements, ornaments, accessories, and even scary critters. If possible, it’s even more full than the time my gal pals and I road tripped for my first ever girls weekend, instead, this time, I am road tripping to the Design Capital of Chicago; the Merchandise Mart.

It’s a magical place, full of beauty, opulence and possibility. As a designer, I think that’s what I like the best; the idea of endless possibilities for expressing yourself, and creating a safe and happy environment for nurturing your family. It’s an idea that is certainly very appealing. Life is serious business. The very least we can do is make our surroundings lovely.

That’s one of my favorite parts about entertaining…allowing yourself to indulge in the fantasy of your gathering. Hosting friends in your home should be fun! I can’t wait to share with you all that I have in store; over the top tablescapes meant to make your family and friends feel special.

The very best part of my day tomorrow is spending it with my Amanda and her pal Coco. They are kind enough to spend their day off of school, celebrating the life and times of Christopher Columbus, with me, settling in for my big day at the Mart. These two have been thick as thieves since the first grade and now they are enjoying the journey of high school together. How fun is that? This is what’s it all about; spending time with the people that you love. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, as long as you’re doing it together. They are planning to head into the city with me and take the Merchandise Mart by storm!  We’ll be unloading my car, visiting the showrooms, borrowing a few items to put the finishing touches on my tablescapes. I’m looking forward to it. We’ll start our day with some doughnuts and hot chocolate from Starbucks, do a little work, and have a little lunch. Most importantly, we’ll be doing it together.

More work, more interesting experiences, more bonding together…..

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Nicky and Nana Take A Road Trip!

As the More is More Mom®, I must say that water in the basement certainly creates…..more opportunities.

My mom is amazing. She is everything a mother and grandmother should be; loving, encouraging, supportive, humorous, engaging, nurturing, involved, and devoted. My people are her only grandchildren and they swear that “NANA” stands for Nick-Amanda-Nick-Amanda. Even Wrigley makes out like a bandit. He never has to check in to a doggie motel, because he gets to be a city dog and vacation with his Nana and Boppa in Chicago. We’re lucky he’s willing to come home with us. Our cul-de-sac is sooooo boring; it’s nothing like Wisteria Lane.

This was the plan: Sunday night my mom would zip out to the ‘burbs in her Zoom Zoom Car (her Mazda 5, which she is crazy for!) and chauffer Amanda around town for a few days while I took Nick to his golf tourney in Wisconsin. Chuck of course would have to go to work (it’s a four letter word for a reason). Wrigley was super pumped to have time with his Nana. He likes her best because she holds his rawhide for him while he gnaws at it and she takes him for lengthy, leisurely walks.

When the floodgates opened up to our basement, I called my mom and asked if she would mind taking Nick to his tournament instead. Mind? Absolutely not! She’d be delighted. Time with a busy teenager can be rather elusive and she’d been missing her Nicky Boy. Sometimes she will come for a quick sleepover to get her Nick fix, even if it’s just to look at him do his homework (though they usually stay up extra late and have a Will Ferrell marathon. Apparently napping is never frowned upon during 1st period.).

 Now that I am a semi-professional golf spectator, I gave her the lowdown. Sunday night they would play a practice round and ride in the golf cart. Then, the following two days she could walk the 36 holes and admire Nick (in the nearly unbearable sun and heat). She was thrilled! We are a city people, accustomed to the concrete jungle, so three days on the links sounded like a vacation. Nana loved her time with Nick in the golf cart, cruising around from hole to hole. She is a woman that loves a good souvenir t-shirt and was hopeful the tournament would be selling one to commemorate her time with Nick.

Apparently, I’ve not given my mom enough credit; she is actually very good at locating the ball and keeping score….of everyone playing in the round. I can never find the ball and after each t-shot turn to Nick and ask, “Where did it go?” As we move on to the next hole I inquire, “How many strokes was that?” Not irritating at all.

They found a hotel that they both liked, while I complain about everything. If we don’t move to another hotel, at the very least, we change rooms. Each night they ate at one of Nick’s favorite establishments, Buffalo Wild Wings. One night they spent 4 ½ hours at the Cineplex enjoying Inception and Salt.

 As it turned out, Nana brought Nick good luck. He shot a 78 the first day and a 74 the second. She was down with the lingo and would text us things like, “37 on the front 9 with a double bogey.” I barely know what that means!

 The best part about our basement flooding (other than the overdue spring cleaning) was that Nick got to spend a few quality days with his Nana. What could be more meaningful than that?

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