What Is The Olive Shoe? The Short and The Long-ish Version…

“When I stopped trying to find what was perfect for me, perfect showed up.”  – LAC


“Sooooooooo (higher pitched – very long ‘o’ sound)… what IS the olive shoe? Do you sell shoes?” We get this a lot. I’ve actually had people tell me to change the name of my business because it’s misleading. Valid point. But, no thank you.

Actually, a good portion of this post typically resides under our “ABOUT” or “START HERE” pages depending on whether you’re on the home page or blog, but coming up on 4 years of this little dream becoming a reality…I thought it was worthy of an “informative post” with a little expansion, a refresher for some, and just a little update for all.

The Olive Shoe has always been a bit of a work in progress, but it has taken a more solid shape in the last couple of years with the growth of my invitation and stationery business and the addition of Lauren Cop to the blog. (We seriously have had a blast, y’all!)

The adventure started as about 100 post it notes on my dining room wall, set to a soundtrack of The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, and Adele. It was a creative voice while I was finding my footing again after a ginormous life shake up. It was a realization of a calling, a stir within, and a sweet spot to explore all the things creative through writing and photos on the interwebs and share with whoever wanted to follow along. I have always known I would do something creative for a living, and when I stopped trying to find what was perfect for me, perfect showed up…in ALL aspects of my life.

One by one friends, and family, and friends of friends began to ask for things I designed – especially my invitations and stationery. I started dabbling more in acrylic painting. I looked up how to do this and that and then how to produce this and that. A little more recently, as a gift for a dear friend, I picked up watercolor painting again after a near 10 year long hiatus…and what I had first taught myself came back just like riding a bicycle.

So what IS The Olive Shoe?

The short answer is that The Olive Shoe is a serving dish. This…drumroll pleaaaaasssseee…is the olive shoe:

But, as evidenced by the company name, it means a little more than that, so here’s a little back story…This is me and my Grandma when I just a wee little thing…



{Grandma and I in 1981}

We have a shoe thing. You see, she is quite a fashionable woman…one of the most stylish, polished, classy, kind, generous, ladylike women I’ve ever met and probably ever will. It is truly an honor to know her, and it’s an understatement to say that I’m lucky to have her as my Grandma. Tear. Whew!

Anyhoo, like I was saying, we have a shoe thing. She began commenting on my shoes when I was in middle school and started wearing something more than the white Keds® that everyone used to wear wayyyyyyyyy back in the late 80s and early 90s (and apparently they’re coming back?? Hellllooooo age check. *facepalm. Sometimes she approved of my shoe choices, and well, sometimes…she…didn’t. It was always fun to wear a new pair to see her, though, and gauge her reaction. Honestly, I still choose my shoes thoughtfully when I know I’m going to see her.


{The illustration above is of a pair of shoes I had in college. I adored them. Sadly, one of them broke after I had owned them for about a year…sigh…I still miss them…}

Over the years, we’ve given each other shoe themed gifts as kind of a running joke, and just for fun, and well, now I have quite a few eclectic items – a clock, a shoe matching game (like Memory), shoe note cards, shoe dessert plates, shoe towels, a shoe cell phone holder, shoe wine charms, shoe wine stoppers, shoe throw pillows…. And enough shoe ornaments to decorate a 3’ Christmas tree, which highly entertains people….and THE olive shoe dish is one of said “eclectic items”.

In the more recent past, the olive shoe (the dish) has come to be expected when I entertain, filled with olives of course. It is one of my favorite things, and it has come to represent several additional values, ideas and meanings:

–          A bit of an obsession… I love shoes. (You’re probably at this point thinking, well yeah, obviously)… but I really do love them. New shoes, old shoes, comfy broken in shoes, shoes that you only wear once a year, kitten heels, ballet flats, wedges, flip flops, suede, patent leather, canvas, pumps, peep toes, stilettos OH MY! I love them. My heart skipped a beat writing all those adjectives…I’m a shoe nerd. Lawwwwwwdd knows I can’t afford all the shoes I want (or have the space to store them), but oh how I do love them….

–          A reminder… I am quite a sentimental mush when it comes down to it, and little things like a serving dish shaped like a high heel can grow to embody so much more than what they are to the naked eye over time and usage. For obvious reasons, it reminds me of my grandmother and how dear she is, and as a result, of family… and FRAMILY  (Oh, and side note, I often use non-Oxford words, soooo…please just bear with me). The olive shoe, as a dish, could easily get knocked off a counter or hit in just the wrong way and shatter, so I have to be careful with it…which is true of my relationships with those important to me. With care, it will last a lifetime; it’s also a reminder that some things aren’t always what they seem at first glance (I have definitely gotten “Is that a high heel? With olives?” a few times), and that a simple dish for olives can be in the shape of a shoe because…well… life just needs a little whimsy and maybe even some eyebrow raising now and again.

–          A metaphor… the olive shoe is itself a piece of art AND it’s functional AND it’s fun AND I love it dearly. That’s how I try to live – creatively, to the art-fullest, with heart, purpose, and a sense of humor. That’s how I try to create, too.

The blog is run by my sister-in-law, Lauren, and myself…and yes, we’re both Laurens and we are more like sisters than in-laws. The blog is a creative collective that focuses on family, home, gardening and entertaining…and well, just celebrating life.

To read more about Lauren Cop Carlisle (on the right), click HERE. To read more about me, Lauren {LAC} James, click HERE.

The Olive Shoe Paperie and Goods is a thoughtfully curated online boutique and home to all of my stationery designs and folk art, as well as some fun goods to gift yourself or someone else. We are adding new items to the shop every week, and it is so exciting! I pour a lot of love and care into every piece of stationery I design, and the gifts and goods you’ll find here have all been hand picked by us especially for you. There is too much muck and yuck in the world today, and the intention of this space – and our mission – is to help you celebrate life’s little and large moments with the people you love.

You people – clients, friends, readers, “cheerleaders”, prayer warriors, and especially family, have built The Olive Shoe…and it’s still growing…and I thank you. Truly. We have big plans, and big ideas, and big expectations for this little baby, and we’re only getting started.

So that’s the long-ish version. The really long one will hopefully be a book one day. 😉 Thanks from the bottom of my heart for stopping by. How can we help you celebrate today?


The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Goods | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2016 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Please subscribe to receive emails, and of course, come back and visit again soon!

Other popular posts by LAC:

Shameless plug: If you don’t see something that suits your fancy, festivity or event, please don’t hesitate to contact me for a custom design. We can meet almost any request for printed goods from birthdays, baby showers, bridal luncheons, moving announcements, holiday cards, valentines, wedding invitations and suites, personal stationery, napkins, favors, labels, seating charts place cards and everything and anything you would need to brand your event. Don’t see it here? Please ask! I love new ideas and am always willing to try or help you find what you’re looking for…and if I can’t do it, I’ll help you find someone who can.

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