About Olive Juice

This is a journal of sorts of our ideas (as the design goddesses that we are) that don't necessarily get executed and instead just live in our heads. Punctuated of course with things we just plain love, covet, or if you will..."Olive Juice".

Monday, December 20, 2010

Non-Traditional Christmas Wreaths

Happy holidays, everyone! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas with loved ones...and that Santa treated you well!

I had such a great response to the Non-traditional Christmas Tree(s) post that I did a search for non-traditional Christmas wreaths and found some really creative ideas. But then got too crazy with the holiday rush and never got around to posting it. My deepest apologies. Check out some fun “wreath” ideas below for next year! Maybe you can even stock up on supplies at this years after Christmas sales. ;)

PS: One of my MANY New Year’s resolutions is to be better about updating this blog. I love writing it but I always fall short on time. So please feel free to keep me on task in 2011!

{images from around the web}

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Non-traditional Christmas Tree(s)

I have a non-traditional Christmas tree this year. I mean, I have a REAL tree too of course to fulfill the child in me’s favorite holiday activity of lying by the tree and watching Christmas movies for hours on end. Bonus if there are Christmas cookies involved. But for the fun tree, the one that you see first thing when you walk in my front door, I wanted to do something a little different. I arranged a bunch of branches in a tall clear vase filled with Christmas lights. I left the lights sort of messily wrapped around the end of the branches to add interest. I was forced to use smaller ornaments so that the branches didn’t break, and went with a mix of greens, turquoises and blues which really pop against the dark branches. It sits on my mirrored chest that reflects the light glow into the living room.

I did a quick search for other non-traditional (and wildly creative) trees. Check out some fun ideas below...

{books, stacked}

{pencil shaving}

{books, leaning}


{wall art}

{wine bottles}

{pull apart shelves}

***all "tree" images from the web***

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Celebrity Holiday Homes

I’m feeling very uninspired by design these days. Which is terrible as its Christmas, my absolute FAVORITE time of year and everywhere I look should fuel creativity in me. So I’ll lean on the creativity of other designers tonight.

I caught part of HGTV’s Celebrity Holiday Homes special the other night. Though the celebs were sort of ho-hum, (why won’t the decorate Jennifer Aniston’s house or something?!?!) the designers had some sort of cute ideas. The special runs periodically throughout December so check your listings.

{Brooke Burke and David Charvet's White and Silver Christmas}

{Sherri Shepherd's Gold and Champagne Holiday Motif}

{Trisha Yearwood's Simple Southern Christmas}

*All images from the HGTV website*

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Apron Chic

I love daylight savings. With my extra hour this morning I am lounging in bed with a steaming cup of coffee and watching an old episode of Charlie’s Angels. Kelly Garrett just sauntered out in an adorable 70’s chic apron and in made me think about all of the retro-inspired aprons that I have been seeing at Anthropologie lately. I did a quick Etsy and internet search and cute, feminine aprons are EVERYWHERE. How much more fun would holiday baking be in one of the lovely styles below? I might have to bust out the sewing machine and get to work on one of my own for the Christmas cookie season.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Buffalo Mac n Cheese

I have accidently created greatness. Since it’s FINALLY feeling like fall around here, the crisp, chilly weather has me craving comfort foods. Now a girl’s got to be careful with comfort foods as they tend not to be a friend of the waistline. Creams, cheeses and butter seem to be constant players in the soups, stews and casseroles that I’m yearning for. I’m always looking for a lower fat alternative that still tastes NEARLY as good as the real thing.

I found a lighter mac n cheese recipe online and while doctoring it up with some alternate ingredients, my own creativity literally got away from me. I decided that it needed a little heat so instead of simple hot sauce; I opted for some red pepper flakes and a few dashes of buffalo sauce. Well that buffalo sauce comes out faaaast, so before I knew it, I had a quite different dish on my hands. I went with it. I added in some sweet tomatoes to cut the heat. If I had had some crumbled blue cheese, I would have added that as well for a little rich kick at the end. My Buffalo Mac was great on its own, but could be even better served with some chicken for added protein…maybe marinated in the buffalo sauce and sliced on top? This comfort food will certainly be in the dinner rotation at my house this fall/winter!

Buffalo Mac n Cheese

12 oz uncooked elbow macaroni
2 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
¼ cup flour
¾ tsp table salt
¼ tsp onion powder
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
1 cup low-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup low fat blue cheese crumbles (optional)
1 tbsp buffalo sauce (I prefer Frank’s), or more to taste
cherry tomatoes

Cook pasta in lightly salted boiling water according to package directions; drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, whisk together milk, flour, salt and onion powder and red pepper flakes until blended. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat whisking frequently; reduce heat to low and simmer stirring often until thickened (about 2 minutes). Remove pan from heat and whisk in cheese and buffalo sauce. Add sauce and tomatoes to pasta; toss to mix and coat.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


One of my favorite parts of Halloween is decorating with pumpkins and gourds. This year, I am using all white pumpkins on my table for a very clean, monochromatic look. We have all seen (and done) the classic jack-o-lantern carving with the triangle eyes and sparse teeth. If you feel like changing it up a little this year, check out some creative pumpkin decorating ideas below from around the internet. So cleaver!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Readin' Pretty

I’m sure that you’ve seen these all over the design blogs:

They are Penguin’s Clothbound Classics series featuring the designs of Coralie Bickford-Smith. Basically they have taken a collection of wonderful classic books and suped them up with bold colors and fun cover art. Each cover features a pattern design significant to the story (Alice in Wonderland sports flamingos, Oliver Twist’s are clocks). Each design is stamped onto linen with beautiful matte foil.

Originally only available in the UK, they have sloooooowly been released in the US over the last year. You can purchase them on amazon.com or in some Anthroplogie stores. My mom ordered a bunch of them for my birthday back in June. And then low and behold, another three showed up on my doorstep this week. Five new designs were recently released.

I can’t decide if I actually want to read them and risk creasing the pretty little spines or not. For now I am using them as art. They live on top of my armoire with a vintage suitcase that I picked up at a junk market last winter and my stainless steel curly-cue initials from Ballard and Design circa 1999.

{book images from here}

Friday, October 1, 2010

Orange and Grey

There is an episode of Seinfeld in which George Costanza states, “I would drape myself in velvet if it were socially acceptable." Well, if it were socially acceptable (and wouldn’t kill me), I would drench myself in charcoal grey paint and saunter around town. I love the color grey. It can be warm and rich or cool and dark. It pairs with everything and is a much more dramatic neutral than say, beige. Blah.

One of my favorite colors to mix with grey is orange. Any shade really. A deep pumpkin shade can create a cozy room. A soft sherbet shade can create fresh, vibrant space. I thought being that’s its now October and orange is pretty much the star of this month, today would be a good day to take a look at how well orange and grey compliment one another in these spaces.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Today my family and I had a lovely Minnesota autumn day. We busted out the fall sweaters and made the trek down south to an apple orchard. We enjoyed a hearty country breakfast, sampled all of the apple varieties, made our way through the fall/Halloween décor at the General Store and even saw a camel. That’s right, Minnesota apple orchards have camel rides. Totally normal. It was a lovely morning and we left armed with more apples than any one family needs. Ever. (Expect to see some apple recipes coming up!)

On the way home we spotted this:

{image borrowed from here}

If you know us at all, then you know that OF COURSE we stopped! It’s Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store. I don’t even know what it’s really called other than that as that’s what the huge sign off the highway said…maybe that’s its name? I just did a quick Google search for it and nothing really came up. It’s off of hwy 169 about halfway between Jordan and Belle Plaine, MN. Or maybe it exists only in my dreams?

As you enter, you are greeted by a giant indicator light letting you know whether or not fresh pies are baking (they were). Inside is a haven of pies, strudels, nut rolls, jams, cookies, cookie cutters, apples (who even needs to go to the orchard), salsas, hundreds of kinds of root beer and other pop in real glass bottle etc, etc, etc, etc. Oh yes, and CANDY. Serious candy. Hard candy, gummy candy, gross candy, vintage candy, new candy, candy that you probably couldn’t even dream up. Chocolate that guarantees no weight gain? Yep, they have that. Candy cigarettes? Yep, multiple varieties actually. Bacon flavored bubble gum? Gross, but yep. Bubble gum flavored Mike and Ikes? Yep. Also gross sounding but indeed a real thing.

I now have a kitchen full of apples and candy and a serious test of willpower ahead! If you are up for a little Minnesota adventure, check it out!

{pies are baking}

{papa Tewks scoping out the root beer}

{candy cigarettes}


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Long Distance Design

Long distance relationships?...done it (it’s hard). Long distance phone calls?...yup, we do it every day. Long distance interior design services? …from your computer? Ummm what?

My dear friend, Rebecca and I met in design school in Chicago years ago. She was telling me recently about her firm’s newest venture of interactive online design called Pushpin Revolution and I knew that I had to spread the word.

Rebecca, Steve Johnson and Sarah Soler are wicked talented designers with over 20 years of design experience (check out some images of their work below). After years of working together at a hospitality design firm, they started up their own gig, Johnson/Soler, last spring. Their simple philosophy that design should be less complicated, more personal and more affordable is just what we need in this crazy long distance relationship having, phone call making world. Pushpin Revolution is their latest endeavor to bring good design to the masses in the most convenient way. I asked Rebecca to share a few words about how it works:

We think that great interiors should be available to everyone. At Pushpin Revolution, this is as simple as a click to get you on your way to the space you love.

Whether you need help picking paint colors, arranging furniture or getting the details pulled together. We offer straightforward solutions and advice to help you shape your space.

At Pushpin Revolution, we use the internet to complete this process. First, you give us some basic information about your space, your budget and your likes and dislikes. Then we use our years of professional design experience to get to work creating a design solution especially for you. Quickly and affordably. Like it should be.

We have a range of design options tailored to meet your needs. Our ‘Style Guide’ helps narrow down the choices and provide some specific direction for your individual style, and colors and materials that work for you.

Our ‘Room Remix’ provides a more comprehensive design package. Complete with a detailed room layout, custom color palette, furniture, lighting and accessory selections and a complete shopping list to help you get the job done quickly and efficiently, this package does it all.

Pushpin Revolution also offers additional services if the above packages don’t seem to fit your needs. Send us a note and we will get back to you with ideas and options that work for you.

Design really doesn’t need to be complicated. Check it out for yourself at www.pushpinrevolution.com Start YOUR revolution today!

{all images from www.johnsonsoler.com}