mount hope bridge

On an outing last Sunday, the olive girls stopped to take pictures of this bridge-the Mount Hope Bridge (listed with the National Register of Historic Places), spanning the Mount Hope Bay and connecting both Bristol, Rhode Island and Portsmouth, Rhode Island.  I think bridge structures are beautiful.  I'm particularly fond of suspsension bridges.  Do you ever stop and notice designs in everyday life?  It's so easy to pass over this bridge without ever really thinking or looking at it.  I challenge you to really LOOK at the simple (or not so simple) things around you.  If you're so inclined, leave a comment in the comment section about things you think are beautiful that are often overlooked.   

Have a great weekend! 


tilapia taco thursday

Last night, the girls of olive (sans Gretchen -feel better!) got together on the East Side for some delicious fish tacos. Susie found the recipe and had already tried it out a couple of weeks ago. Despite both of our tired states, we managed to pull together a pretty awesome flavorful, healthy, affordable meal. In fact, they were so good, the proclomation "they don't even need cheese" came out. That statement is a rarity at olive dinners. While I was waiting for Susie, I figured I would whip up an appetizer. I had made salsa on Sunday night and hadn't used much of it so I used some of the extra tortillas and made my own chips.

I had never done it before but figured it couldn't be too hard. Oil+tortilla+salt+lime juice=homemade delicious tortilla chips. I don't think I'll be purchasing tostitos ever again. When you're frying the tortillas, it goes pretty quickly so keep your eye on them as they can burn in no time. My first batch came out a little more crispy than the second-trial and error is the best way to learn of course.

On to the main course. The taco itself is composed of a tortilla, white fish (we used tilapia), sour cream with lime juice, jalapenos, scallions, red cabbage and cilantro. The fish is traditionally battered and breaded, but we cut that step out and simply sauteed the fish with garlic and scallions. Cheese is optional and honestly not needed as the dish is fresh and flavorful. Pile the ingredients high, fold tortilla and dive in.
If you've made tacos before, you probably already know this: your kitchen will be a disaster. Well worth it of course, but with the chopping, sauteeing, and the construction of the taco, you're bound to make a mess...

and your table might look like this...

but you will be happy as can be.



stowaway storage

Turquoise case: Papersource, Yellow case: Pink Loves Brown, Orange case:Papersource

Using vintage and even new paper suitcases (above) are a great alternative to traditional means of storage. Fun colors are available in a variety of styles and can make even the messiest office organized.They are great for storing craft supplies, important documents, or perhaps books you are embarrassed to showcase( 4 Blondes, Something Borrowed, Quarterlife Crisis Handbook.....I own them all, and all are on proud display). 

Flickr user Tworiverssoap utilizes the boxes for ribbon storage

 Another option would be to stack the suitcases to make a functional and original table. See some examples of how people have utilized what may have been a garage sale find or a treasure from grandma's attic.

 Flickr user Memelodia uses a matching set to create a great display

 Mixing and matching works well too as seen here by flickr member Tovemichelle12

As far as finding a vintage suitcase to use for such purposes, check out your local thrift or vintage store; they pretty much always have a couple around. 

Side note: old suitcases tend to smell. Be sure to clean them after you buy them using Mrs.Meyers cleaning products or whatever you prefer.

Too bad my bags aren't packed and ready to go...hopefully soon!


olive loves: lumberjack prep

lumberjack prep
[created by susiekeller on polyvore]

Blog followers, meet Lumberjack Prep, the formerly unnamed fashion trend that has been gracing our presence for almost a year and a half, and has not yet shown signs of departure.

Formally, I would define the term Lumberjack Prep as a fashion style which integrates items from both the prep and lumberjack categories to form an eclectic, yet coherent way of dress that can be both hyper masculine and ad hoc, while simultaneously put - together and purposeful.  It favors function over form, but does not neglect the elements of style altogether; meaning that quality of product is more important than appearance, but that appearance is in no way, disregarded.  The style can be abbreviated 'L.P.'   This abbreviation is especially important when dissecting an outfit that is Lumberjack Prep.  For example, one might say, "Although I am dressed somewhat LP today, I have a lot more L than P going on due to the weather." Or, "In the summer, I tend to dress more P than L, due to the weather and my corresponding wardrobe."

[Despite the unknown origin of said style, it was first coined by Sandra Kreis, in reference to her brother, Jake Westermann's style during January of 2008.  It has since been used to describe the above definition.]

The abundance of flannel on the Brown University campus in 2008 made it clear than flannel was in.  And even more clear that flannel, when paired with lumberjack items, such as Caterpillars or even (gasp) Timberlands, was extremely cool.  But alas, the term Lumberjack Prep is not exclusive to fashion.  Lumberjack Prep is not just a style of dress.  It is a way of life.  Recently, I designed an entire room in an LP fashion, by using Hunter S. Thompson and the Woody Creek Tavern as inspiration for decor.  The idea was to create a rugged, comfortable 'man cave' that embraced all things LP.  Think Ralph Lauren Buffalo Print bedding, paired with hand-me-down leather couches (brass tacked, of course).

I won't drag on too much about LP, or why I love it, but heres a few things to consider as I wrap up this post.

Most Commonly Worn LP Items:   Mountain Khakis, Carhartt, Field and Stream Flannel                      
                                                                           (from Sam's Club or  Costco), boots, croakies (with  
                                                                           initials, university logo, etc.)

LP Drinks of Choice: Maker's Mark on the rocks, Budweiser, Arrogant Bastard Ale

Easiest Way to Make a Room LP:  add a deer antler or 7

Don't Travel Without:  your labrador retriever, Barbour Wax Jacket, latest Field and    
                                                    Stream periodical                    
I'd love to hear your comments on LP in the Comments Section under this post.  Also, I have not yet decided whether or not Bonobos is LP.  It might just be P.  Please let us know your thoughts.


a little piece of sailing history

This past summer, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting the Herreshoff Marine Museum/America's Cup Hall of Fame with my parents who flew out on one of their annual summer-time visits.  Located in historic Bristol, Rhode Island, the Herreshoff Museum looks a bit dilapidated and unimpressive on the exterior.  Housed in an old, somewhat grungy-looking warehouse, one might pass this by, never realizing the gems it holds inside.  Somewhat begrudgingly, I appeased my parents and decided to stop at this museum.  My parents, who had just flown out from central Illinois, have an uncanny interest in all things nautical, so any museum dealing with maritime history was a must-see! 

Well, I think it's safe to say that I am thrilled we stopped!  (thanks Mom)  Inside, the museum holds over sixty life-sized, classic Herreshoff sailboats, some with which you can climb aboard to see the boat in better detail.  I don't think you need to be an avid sailer to realize the fine craftsmanship the Herreshoff brothers are known for.  All around you are polished wood decks, shiny brass fixtures, and sailboats in every size and color imagineable.

Once inside, I learned that this warehouse was only a small part of the Museum complex.  The old Herreshoff family homestead remains intact across the yard, six of the former company buildings are still standing and surround the Museum, and the waterfront is still dedicated to the Herreshoff company.  As part of the Museum, the warehouse features the Hall of Boats (life-sized classic boats) and the model room, which features over 500 half models used for creating the yachts, and a gift shop.

In 1878 John Brown Herreshoff, a blind boatbuilder from Bristol, Rhode Island, went into partnership with his younger brother, Nathanael Green Herreshoff, a naval architect and steam engineer. The name of their new firm was the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. The partnership was an immediate and lasting success. The same love of competition and technological innovation that had made J. B. and Nat almost unbeatable when as boys they raced sailboats together on Narragansett Bay, brought them fame as builders of some of the world's fastest steam yachts and torpedo boats. (excerpt taken from here)

In fact, one of their most famous sailboat designs, Reliance, the 1903 America's Cup defender, designed by Captain Nat himself, is the feature image on the Rhode Island State Quarter!

For those of you that live locally, please visit this museum!  There is so much more to learn about this famous sailing family than I have space to post here on olive. The Herreshoff Museum has a great website here.  Also, please be sure to check out their online museum tour here.  The museum is closed during the winter season, but will reopen April 25.




great find: faux bamboo desk/vanity

The Salvation Army in Providence on Pitman St. is full of great furniture, and most of the time is a steal compared to what you would pay at an antique or consignment store. There is a huge room in the back just full of couches, chairs, desks, tables, cabinets, and accessories waiting to be snagged by locals, students, and bargain shoppers alike. Back in January, I was perusing the store and I stumbled upon a desk. The color was an eyesore and I passed by it at first. I made my way back to the desk because I saw it had potential to be something wonderful.

Salvation Army purchase

I live in a pretty tiny apartment and my bedroom is even smaller. I also live with men and a pretty horrible cat. These factors alone prevent me from being able to display my nice things. So, as any design-obsessed invididual would do, I bought the desk, despite the lack of space. For a mirror, a desk, a bench, and stool, it only cost $96.00 with tax (Susie later informed me you can bargain with them which I will do next time).

desk from 1st dibs

I picture the desk in a bright lacquered red finish, similar to above, but am willing to take other suggestions. I plan on keeping the original hardware but just polishing it up to make it brighter.For upholstery,I was thinking something like a black and white canopy stripe fabric or just a simple natural canvas. It doesn't need to match any particular room color as it won't be able to come out from storage until my next apartment (this summer).

fabrics from fabric.com

The final results will be posted when it's finally nice enough to actually refinish the piece (hopefully soon). If anyone has any furniture refinishing/upholstery tips, please comment below, I'm a first-timer.


fueling up on carbs before watching the olympics

On Thursday night, my newly married friends, Jo and Thad, invited some friends over to enjoy the Olympics and a nice meal.  In doing so, they were also able to show off some of their wedding gifts. And by show off I mean that they haven't really unpacked any of their gifts (sorry friends of Jo and Thad) and the boxes in the kitchen allowed us to eat our meal right in front of the television.  There were no complaints about the dinner table location.  Half-pipe snowboarding  followed by mens figure skating calls for dinner in front of a TV; even if you don't like the sports, the uniforms for figure skating are entertaining enough.  Jo and Thad made an amazing peppery pesto pasta with soy chicken, which we ate with a spinach salad dressed with blue cheese, cranberries and a vinaigrette dressing.  My contribution to the meal was far less healthy, and its only introduction was "Jo - do you have any butter?  This needs to be eaten with butter." 

No-knead bread was first introduced to me by one of my favorite blogs, Big Girls Small Kitchen.  You should check out the blog if you haven't yet.  It is GREAT.  This bread is extremely easy to make, and is an excellent addition to any meal (or a meal in itself).  Since I am on an annoyingly tight budget, making this bread has become pretty regular ; I think I have made 8 loaves in the last month (possibly 4 too many).  Since most of the ingredients exist in almost every kitchen, it is a good way to stretch a small budget, and it is always a crowd pleaser.  I like to put the whole loaf in the oven to reheat (although a toaster works just fine), and eat with butter, jam, or cheese...you can eat it with anything.  Find the recipe here.  And be sure to follow Phoebe and Cara's blog if you haven't  yet.

[photo credit: josephine sittenfeld photography]

The best part about this particular loaf is that I convinced Jo to photograph it for me.  Both Jo and Thad are photographers.  More of Jo's work can be seen at josephine photography.  And a blog entry about  Jo and Thad's New Year's Eve Wedding in Providence to come soon.

Enjoy your bread, and enjoy the Olympics.

saturday morning over-easy

Every Saturday morning should be started off right with a pair of over-easy eggs. This morning, I decided to top mine off with some chipotle cheddar cheese, red onion, and fresh cilantro, cracked pepper, and of course the Piranske Soline sea salt on toasted garlic and herb bakery bread. It was just the right fix for my morning-after-Susie's-gallery-night red wine headache. Off to start the day.

Happy Weekend!


it's science!

[photo credit: The Evolution Store]

Growing up without cable forced me to watch PBS as a child (thanks mom and dad). Such programs as "Bill Nye the Science Guy", "Nova" and "Reading Rainbow" were at the top of my list. As a result, I became a bit of a nerd. Elementary school Field trips to the Museum of Science in Boston were "it" for me.  Even if I went back today, I would probably find myself just as enthralled as I was as a child.

With that said, this scientific interest from my childhood never quite translated into wanting to study it, but instead just observe, enjoy and  marvel at those who DO in fact understand the make-up of our universe.

Museum trips and exploring nature are enough for me. Now I find myself not only intriqued in the content of science and natural history museums, but also in their aesthetic appeal. This has led to an interest in utilizing science relative to design such as botanical prints and posters, bell jars, and perhaps even a preserved insect.
design hypothesis
Interesting Scientific "objets d'arte"


[photo credit: Apartment Therapy] Bell jar montage  

[photo credit:Apartment Therapy] Design experimentation

I can remember being in complete awe as an 8 year old in New York City, Soho to be exact, visiting a specialty store known as Evolution, a shop dedicated to taxidermy, skeletons, anatomical diagrams, fossils, and the like. The shop in itself is a museum, full of incredible curiosities, enough to keep the attention of even the most skeptic critic. I left the store that day with a shark tooth, and a candy coated insect of sorts, poor choice. Ok, I would probably still get one if I went back today.

Here at our very own Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, there is a great natural science resource we hope to check out soon, the Edna W. Lawrence Nature Lab. The lab was founded in 1927 by Lawrence, an alumni and faculty member, to provide a resource for future students to not only be inspired by nature, but also to be able to study it for the Natural Science Illustration program at the school. The great thing about the nature lab at RISD is that there are no "do not touch" signs; everything is meant to be handled and studied. From fossils to feathers the lab has quite a bit of content for such a small space. We can't wait to visit the lab. 

Learn actively, experiment cautiously, and never stop exploring.

mrs. meyers- making cleaning fun!

I (unlike most people) truly love to clean.  Cleaning is therapeutic to me-a simple task that has a desirable outcome each and everytime.  What makes cleaning even more enjoyable are the products from Mrs. Meyers.  Mrs. Meyers' philosophy is to make, "straightforward honest cleaners that smell good and work like the dickens on dirt,"  all while being natural and environmentally sound.  M.M. has a slieu of different scents in a variety of products made for everyday cleaning. 

Scents include:
Baby Blossom
Lemon Verbena
Scent Free

[photo credit:  worldmarket] Geranium collection

My favorite scent is Geranium, and is pictured above, followed by a close second of Baby Blossom.  You can get Mrs. Meyers here.  Locally, you can find it in Whole Foods, Target, and if you're lucky- TJMaxx/Homegoods.  My favorite products in the line are the hand soap (FANTASTIC!), all-purpose cleaner, surface wipes, and dish soap. 

Here is a photo of Thelma A. Meyer, the orignial Mrs. Meyers herself!  Doesn't she look like a woman who knows how to make cleaning fun?!  She says after having nine children, she knows a little something about cleaning.  She still uses her garden-inspired cleaners today in her home in Iowa.   

So, as Thelma would put it, "Wishing you a Clean and Happy Home"


olive visits: the martha stewart show

That's right, olive has received 3 tickets to the Martha Stewart Show for Friday, March 12.  Although we aren't the featured guests (yet), this is certainly exciting news for the girls at olive.  We just received the confirmation e-mail today.  We are advised to wear bright colors, and to send in some responses to a couple questions:

1. When it comes to cooking, crafting or gardening - is there a skill or technique you would like to master with Martha’s help?

2. Are you a crafter?  Briefly tell us about your unique talent.

Have any ideas for us?  Post a comment on our blog (see below)!  We are so excited to share this news with you, and we hope you'll tune in to Martha when the episode airs...we will be sure to fill you in with plenty of details (and photos).  By the way, check out the new FOOD Magazine app (A Martha Publication) for your I Pod and I Phone.  It is getting rave reviews, and allows you to generate shopping lists digitally so you'll never forget anything at the store.

From Providence, RI, where 'good things' have really brightened our day, 


olive loves: target

Target has outdone itself yet again!  Coming soon (March 14) to a Target near you are Liberty of London's iconic floral prints in a bevvy of different colors and products.  Target will not only feature men and womens' apparel, but home goods in over 25 different prints.  Click here for a preview of some of the items Target will feature from this fabulous line!  Click here to watch Target's promotional advertisement for Liberty of London. 

[photo credit:  Travel Stripe]

To give you a bit of history about Liberty, it first opened its doors in 1875, in London, selling oriental silks and objects from the east.  Soon after, Liberty began creating it's own high quality silks and fabrics, and became quite the trendsetter with the Arts and Crafts Movement and Art Noveau style of the time.  It's first store was located on Regent street, but having outgrown it in 1925, was moved to its present location-a beautiful Tudor building on Great Marlborough Street.  It's quite different from that of the modern 'department store' in that the interior is dark and intimate.  You won't hear piped music playing here.  This store harkens back to an 'old-world' feel, all whilst shopping for the newest and most stylish merchandise and accessories. 

[photo credit:  Liberty of London]  side view of Liberty, covered in floral print

So, until we can all jetset off to the fabulous UK for a little piece of London history, we can thank Target for bringing it here!    Another alternative for those who are feeling crafty would be to buy the fabric at Tessuti Fabrics.  A little out of our price range right this moment, but definitely on olive's proverbial wish list.


olive imagines: the raven

I haven't read the poem The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe since 8th grade English class with Mrs.Wood. At the time, I really had no idea what the poem was about. Recently, the poem came to mind when I was browsing through some websites and and was somehow reminded of it so I decided to read through it again. It is truly an amazing piece of literature. You can read or re-read the poem here (it's quite long in case you've forgotten).  While reading, image after image kept popping into my head about what his chamber looks like, the noise of the rapping, rustling and tapping; I could feel the eeriness of the mood so carefully chosen by Poe. I decided it would be fun to compose what I imagine the scene to look like: mystifying and dark yet intellectually inspiring. It's not exactly what I would want my office or library to look like but it certainly evokes the chracteristrics of Edgar Allen Poe.

"This it is, and nothing more"


olive loves: salt

[photo credit: Filip Horovat, NY Times]

Adding specialty salt to basic foods is a way to transform a staple ingredient (read: bread, salad, pasta) into a designer meal.  I promote the use of kitchen staples, i.e., frozen spinach, and cooking them well, adding a specialty ingredient, and eating the finished product out of a well made, or at the least, a nice looking, vessel.  This particular salt, Piranske Soline, is being mentioned for two reasons.  Firstly, it is an olive kitchen staple, that has been added to nearly every meal we've shared since its purchase one week ago.  Secondly, my one pound container of Piranske Soline found at Homegoods in East Providence, Rhode Island, with a price tag of $4.99.  Not only is the ingredient unground and hand harvested, but it also comes at a reasonable price, in an accessible retail location, and is impeccably packaged.  In doing the natural, post-Homegoods 'let me see what kind of deals I just picked up,' I found this.  I have to say that this NY Times article was one of my better post-Homegoods finds; not only did I get an excellent deal, but I am now the proud owner of an internationally harvested salt, made by a company with a longstanding tradition of excellence.  

Enjoy your salt.  But please use it responsibly.



Susie, Lucy and Gretchen.  

Room 901A.  RISD Design Center.  Providence, Rhode Island.  15 September 2009.  7 PM.

Susie, Gretchen and Lucy met while taking a class at RISD.  We quickly bonded over the good things in life: interior design, architecture, organization techniques, food and....the list goes on.  

This blog will capture our daily conversations and allow others to interlude on our everyday obsessions - from interesting finds at the good will, to glass water bottles found at the local home goods store.  We have weekly dinners that allow us to share the things that we love.  We discuss visual store displays, and the blogs that we enjoy reading, while sharing a good meal.

These dinners and the ensuing conversations are energetic - bordering on hyperactive and erratic.  This blog is the perfect place for us to gather all of our thoughts and ideas in a calm, collected manner.  To blog for one another, and for you.

welcome to olive.