restoration hardware look, walmart price

After a trip to Lowe's with Gretchen to get some fabulous peacock-blue paint for her new bedroom, we decided to schlep it and go to Walmart. The normal routine would be to go to Target, but Walmart has recently upped their style points to try to compete with Target, so we decided to switch things up and go there. Gretchen got a table lamp for her new "pop" style desk and I got a brass table lamp for...who knows what.

{Gretchen's Lamp-$25.00}

{Restoration Hardware Lamp-$169.00}

{pottery barn-$139.00}

{Walmart lamp- mine has a brass finish-$19.00}

Although the lamp bases and shades are different, they have the same look with the adjustable dial on the side and I actually prefer the Walmart drum style shade. The one I got is more similar to the Pottery Barn example. There were a couple of other cute and cheap options if you're looking for afforable lighting resources.

{wood base lamp-$25.00}

{open frame style-$25.00}

The above is similar to this lamp from Crate and Barrel:

{Crate and Barrel open frame-$279.00}

Lesson learned: Although Walmart can be a daunting experience, it's always better in good company. Not to mention, you can get great deals on lamps and also buy mouthwash and a waterbottle while you're at it.

Walmart-don't go it alone.


l.a. getaway

{we are family...}

I finally made my long awaited (3 years in the making) trip out to visit my sisters in Los Angeles. It was my sister Emma's 26th birthday, so I figured it would be a good time to go out and visit. (surprise!) This should not be a surprise however; what I have returned to blog about is no other, than the amazing food and restaurants I went to. My favorite places were not fancy, but rather casual, fresh, and quirky. If you ever make a trip out west, do stop at ALL of these places.

Warning: If you are hungry or dieting I would advise against reading this post as it defies all rules of healthy eating and may provoke sinful urges to indulge.


{Grace feeling well nourished yet freezing after a meal at Lemonade}

Grace picked me up from LAX and I was tired and starving after a 6 hour flight. Lemonade was the remedy. Lemonade is a cafeteria-style cafe where you choose from "items" and "proteins" and create your own meal from the assortment of salads, meats and desserts, and of course, gourmet lemonades. I got 2 items split, so 4 different samplings from the salad bar, all of which were incredibly amazing. A  broccoli and feta salad, ahi tuna and watermelon radish salad, soba noodle and lobster salad, and a chicken salad with tarragon. The meal was completed with a cucumber mint lemonade. The great thing is you can try so many different things without completely stuffing yourself, but you can also go completely overboard if you wish. I could eat here every day.

{"items" at Lemonade}

Father's Office

{Office burger}

The first dinner stop we made in my culinary tour de LA was a "gastropub" called Father's Office. The place was crowded, and there is no real order. You hover over people and try to get them to leave so you can sit there. (very discomforting to me, however this happens at a lot of places in LA and by the end of the trip I was a pro). There is a whole wall of craft beer taps to choose from of which I maybe had heard of 3 of them. With a beer, comes "the best burger" fully loaded with caramelized onions, bacon, lettuce, and a barbeque sauce of sorts. The beef was of course accompanied by the potato. Us Gardner girls got the regular fries, and an entire basket of sweet potato fries which were incredible. No ketchup in this joint...but none needed. The fries are served with a delicious garlic aioli sauce.

On the Waterfront Cafe

     {Side A }                                                                                 {Side B (Emma Missing)}

For Emma's birthday celebration with all of her friends, we ended up at the biergarten at On the Waterfront Cafe. The main meal served here was beer, with a side of pretzel and french fries. The appeal here was not the selection of food, but the experience and environment. We fit 12+ people at a single picnic table, kept the pitchers of Erdinger Weizenbier coming, and enjoyed the people watching of Venice Beach. It was the same situation where you had to wait and hover over people until they left and you could attack and take over their table. A very entertaining spot.

Abbot's Pizza Co

{Venice storefront}

My last day in California was spent wandering Venice Beach on a beach cruiser despite the foul weather. I ended up at Abbot's Pizza for lunch where my sister's claim they have the best pizza. I took their advice, and ordered a slice of the "salad pizza" which is described as follows:

Chopped Mixed Greens, Onion, Basil, Topped with Feta Cheese and Avocado on a Sour Crem and Olive Base with Lemon Dressing

And looks a little something like this

{salad pizza}

The pizza was clearly not "pizza" but was incredibly delicious and I honestly could've eaten at least two more slices. If you go there, the salad pizza is not on their menu at the Venice location, but trust me, just order it.

In-N-Out Burger

{Emma and I pre In-N-out experience}

My last meal of my left coast experience was at the ever so popular In-N-Out burger. I was advised by those who have been there before so I was set and ready for my experience. I was told to order a burger "animal style" as well as fries served the same way. This "animal style" essentially means added fat and deliciousness but it was completely worth it. They add caramelized onions, special sauce, and melted cheese to your burger and fries. I see nothing wrong with that. Hey, it was my last meal on vacation. Also could've eaten at least 2 more burgers... We were in a rush as a had a flight to catch (across the street) so in and out and off to LAX with my black and white milkshake I went.

If you are headed to the Los Angeles area anytime soon and are trying to find places to eat, look no further then Lucy Gardner's Blog Guide to Gaining Weight in LA.

Back East, trying hard not to eat burgers,beer or french fries...

a little bit o' this, a little bit o' that

*Warning*  This post will quite literally be, all over the place.  I have a lot of little things to share, and don't really care to structure them in a concise manner.  So, here I go...

First, a couple weekends back, I had the pleasure of dining out with two good friends-Sara and Mat.  I still have yet to discover "good eats" in my town of Warren.  Granted, there are a lot of little dive-y type places, and good pub food, and many a place for good chowdaH, but I didn't realize a great restaurant was right around the corner from me!  They took me to Tav Vino, which is three blocks down from my apartment on the water.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:

Tav Vino is simple and cozy-I love the open framework on the ceiling and the banquette seating along the windows.  If you're ever down in the East Bay, I defnitely recommend this restaurant.

Next, I have a little DIY project that is super easy, and will make a statement in any home.  My new hairstylist is quite the decorator (think Hollywood-glam), and this was in his home, in his guest bathroom:

Faux taxidermy!  Like I said, this is a super-easy project to do.  Head to Michael's or your local craft-store, pick up whatever wood plaque shape appeals to you.  Paint or stain it (or leave as is).  Find a branch outside you can cut to size, and screw onto said plaque.  Find a faux animal of sorts, this can be really anything- bird, reptile, insects, etc.  I happened to stop in Frog & Toad last weekend (one of my favorite gift stores in RI-but that deserves another blog post entirely of its own), and they have some fantastic faux ravens (similar to what is pictured above) that have feet that bend-which would be great as you can bend the feet around the branch.  If you stop at F&T, say hi to Asher for me!  Frog & Toad facebook page found here .  If you decide you want to attempt this project, send your results in to olive!  We'd love to see your creation!

Last, but not least, when getting off the commuter train in South Attleboro this week-when what to my wandering eyes should appear:  A butter, wooden Wagoneer!  Ha, that rhymes....Luc, this is for you: 

Oh, and one more thing (see-I told you this post was going to be all over the place), my Christmas Cactus is blooming!  I'm especially happy because this happens to be my great-grandmother's cactus that my mom brought me clippings of on her visits out to see me. Thanks Mom, I thought you would enjoy seeing how healthy it is!  Feel free to bring some more on your next trip out......:)



a little sugar goes a long way.

A rainy Sunday in Providence and a cloudy/rainy/cold weekly forecast has me feeling a little sad.  The 75 degree weather on Saturday had me craving sun tea and a beach picnic, but after an ugly end to the weekend, it appears that the only way to cure these rainy day blues, and a mild hangover, is to bake.  But the new working hours (while great) are cramping my cooking style enough as it is, so baking has really been out of the question.  But I (by way of Big Girls Small Kitchen) and some other great folks, have found a solution.  And I think you'll love it.

I don't exactly condone cutting corners and going for store bought baked goods, because the process of baking itself can be therapeutic.  But I will always, ALWAYS, always support a bake sale.  Since I'm no longer in school, it is quite difficult to come across a good old fashioned bake sale.  But the ladies at Big Girls Small Kitchen have teamed up with Baking For Good to offer a nice alternative. Baking For Good is online bake sale that allows you to purchase hand made baked goods online, while supporting a cause.  Phoebe and Cara have created a special Mother's Day Treat (Peanut M&M Blondies) to be sold on Baking For Good in support of The Valerie Fund, a nonprofit that provides support for the comprehensive healthcare of children with cancer and blood disorders.   A portion of the sales generated by this virtual bake sale will go to The Valerie Fund.

You can order these delicious treats for your mother (or yourself), by visiting the BGSK page on Baking for Good here.  I'm certainly ordering mine this week.  Because although this evening's purchase of semi-sweet chocolate chips and brown sugar at the store was a good attempt at baking this week,  I know it just won't happen. 

Today, buying > baking.  Join me in supporting The Valerie Fund, Baking for Good, and Big Girls Small Kitchen.



martha stewart paint line

As I'm sure you are all well aware by now, Home Depot replaced Ralph Lauren's paint line with Martha's.  I'm thinking this was an excellent decision, as Martha is no longer with Kmart.  Is anyone else worried about Christmas-time decor now that she's split with Kmart?  I'm assuming Home Depot will pick up some of her holiday-themed items, and I know Macys still has her product line, but what I'm most concerned about is the PRICE!  I am not a regular Kmart shopper, but for the holidays, I always, ALWAYS make a beeline for Kmart, specifically for Martha's holiday line.  Oh, what's a girl to do?  But, I digress....

So, the other day, I headed over to Home Depot to check out the new line of Martha paints.  I decided I needed to collect one of every paint sample to create my own fan-deck of paint colors to take with me to clients (unlike Benjamin Moore, you can't buy an already-made Martha fandeck).  While I'm quite pleased I acquired each and every one of her samples, I can't say I wasn't embarrassed while doing so.  A half-hour later, and a few awkward glances my way (people thinking, IS THIS GIRL SERIOUS?), I made it out the door with these!

These paint samples will make an excellent fan-deck, as the samples are large-about index card size.  I will just simply punch a hole (or two) in each and connect the samples with these  (Metal Binding Rings):

Oh, and while we are on the subject of Martha, she makes quite possibly the BEST wingback chair around.  I'm really wanting this chair from Martha's line at Bernhardt Furniture.  I have wanted a wingback chair to go in front of my desk for quite some time now.  I think having a desk chair that is actually NOT a desk chair is a very good design choice.  This one is perfect, as it is streamlined, tall (better height for sitting at a desk) and narrow, and the nailhead trim really draws the eye along the sleek contours of the traditional wingback sides.

That's it for now.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


everything's better in butter

Not only is butter a delicious additive to anything you can possibly cook or bake, but it's also an amazing color for anything shellacked and metal. The term "vanilla" is often used to describe objects in this color but I find "vanilla" not only incorrect as vanilla beans are dark brown in fact, but also very boring. Butter is a much better adjective in my mind. A classic, retro, and amazing all-in-one color. The following images are by far my favorite pieces of machinery dipped in butter. I want all of these things.

{Vintage Mercedes, the Original Inspiration for this blog, a la Shirley and Kendall Anderson, my fabulous Grandparents. I affectionately referred to theirs as "the Buttermobile"}
{Kitchen-Aid Mixer- I want}

{Fendi bicycle-$9,600, no big deal. Is this the one you're getting Gretchen?}

{espresso machine-to make cappuccinos to take with you on your butter-hued transportation method of choice}

{The classic Vespa- my ultimate dream ride. Cruising down the cobblestone streets of Firenze wearing a fabulous dress and some great sunglasses...Perhaps in my next lifetime}

And a few more "I can't believe it's not butter!" inspired objects:

better butter

Hope you've enjoyed these great dairy-infused pieces. My birthday is August 11 ;). Until next time.

Dreaming in buttervision.


olive learns all about gardening

In the past few weeks I have been busy with the winding down of gallery season at The Chazan Gallery, and beginning my new job at Garden Endeavors where I will be assisting a talented team of landscape architects and horticulturists with fine gardening and landscaping jobs in and around Newport, Cape Cod, and Connecticut.  On the team I am, by far, the least knowledgeable about plants and agriculture, but I bring good energy and strength to the table.  I seem appreciated thus far, but we'll see if this changes by the end of the summer; I need to pick up on things so I can stop asking so many questions. "What kind of plant is this?"  "Why do you hate peonies?  I love them."  "What is a Japanese Weeder, and where can I find one?"

Every morning I meet at Garden Endeavors 'headquarters' in Swansea, Massachusetts, and get to work.  Work includes: sorting good/bad perennials, tending to the home garden (about an acre), moving compost, and gathering plants, supplies and equipment that the team will use on the daily project.  So far I have been to three different job locations, each of them beautiful.  And I am proud to say that with the help of a co-worker, I dug 4, 35' trenches, each 12" deep on Monday.  Which were then filled with over sixty asparagus crowns.  Did you know that asparagus can take 4 years to grow?  And that it looks like sea anemone underground, with long tentacles spreading through the earth?  A twenty year old asparagus plant has roots like a tree.  No wonder it tastes so good.  I snapped a few photos of Garden Endeavors below.

So, I am taking on yet another new project, and learning as much as I can about gardening and landscaping this summer, in my quest to become a master of all domestic arts.  Since there is no MFA program in the Domestic Arts, I have been piecing together my own curriculum which includes: cooking classes at Williams Sonoma (hopefully also at Johnson and Wales), gardening/landscaping this summer and reading cook books the way post people read Dan Brown or Jodi Picoult novels before bed.  It feels normal to me, but I realize it is not normal.

But my new love of working in the dirt does not end with the new summer job.  I am now in the process of building a raised garden bed in my apartment complex at Union Wadding Lofts.  With the help of Eric and Ally, my neighbors, and some amazing folks at New Urban Farmers, it looks like this project will be a full blown community garden before May.  The cedar planks for the bed structure were purchased yesterday, and are being assembled tomorrow morning.  I am a little worried about their height and thickness, but so long as they create a stable container for my garden, all we be okay.  I am so thankful that the folks at New Urban Farmers will be helping me - not only by donating some compost and additional supplies, but also by providing some much needed confidence for the project.  My seeds were started inside my apartment, and I have jerry-rigged a growing apparatus that seems to be working quite well.  Within 6 days most of the beans, peas, and herbs have sprouted.  They've become my little babies.  I can't wait to get home from work and see how much they've grown in just a day.  It is truly an amazing feeling.  I believe that if I can grow food, anyone can grow food.  Check out my little baby seedlings below.  I used some old Martha Stewart Stickers (purchased at the Maxx, of course), to label each of my plants.  The stickers easily became waterproof with a layer of packing tape, and became perfect baby garden stakes by adding a match to each one.

My apartment smells like a terrarium.  And I dig it.  Get it?

diy church chair

A few weeks back, I noticed the Methodist church across the street from my new place cleaning and purging out some of their older, unwanted items.  A good friend Marilyn was there, so I decided to venture across the street to see if they were throwing out anything that could be salvaged, or, "repurposed."  Lo and behold, they were getting rid of this gorgeous chair above.  It has beautiful lines, and sits like a champ.  I can't wait to take it to the upholsterer to get it redone.  I intend on painting the wood (it's not the most ideal stain color) a cream or putty color.  On a trip to Ikea this past weekend, my girlfriends and I had a heyday in their fabric section.  Ikea has some of the hippest prints around, and for a very reasonable price, I scored this fabric pictured below ($5.99 a yard):

[photo credit for fabric-ikea]

The fabric is comprised of origami animals in grey, on a cream background.  The animals are moose (my fave), birds, wolves, and some sort of crane.  I think this fabric will give this very traditional chair a bit of edge.  From a distance, it looks like some sort of simple toile.  Up close, you can see the uniqueness of this print.  Can't wait to get this finished!  Items also scored from the church- an antique Eastlake chair, simple, white painted wooden mirror, and some old hymnals-for classic Christmas tunes, of course.  Thanks Marilyn!  I'll be sure to post, "after" pics when this chair is finished!



olive loves julia rothman illustration

[Julia Rothman via Apartment Therapy]

A 2002 graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Julia Rothman, is becoming quite the sensation in the Illustration world.  Her drawings are quirky and whimsical, and are now featured on various products such as lotions/perfumes, bedding, clothing, bags and accessories, stationary, etc. and more!  She now works out of her studio in Brooklyn, NY.  Click here to check out the examples of her work and its applications.  Oh, and yes, I'll take the picture above, and the wallpaper below.  Thank you!

[Julia Rothman wallpaper, above and below left, and the artist herself-below right]