New Home Tour – The Before

Homeowners 2

Hi Folks! It’s been a busy month for le petit Rynning family, partially because of our mission trip to Mexico and partially because we just bought a house! We feel so blessed and humbled by this home, especially after building small homes in Mexico without plumbing or electricity for families in need – quite the contrast. I will share more on that amazing trip in a later post.

Here is our little bungalow in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle.

For Sale

Here are the For Sale pictures with staged furniture – they give you a better idea of the space and scale.

For Sale 1

For Sale 6

For Sale 2

For Sale 3

For Sale 4

For Sale 5

Here are some house pics “in the nude,” as we were just about to move in:





Does everyone see the size of that closet?! Yeesh. Tristan and I didn’t even try to share it.

“DINING” ROOM (TBD if it will actually fit our kitchen table)






Here’s a wide angle looking towards the front door:

Wide Angle Door

And here’s a shot looking away from the front door.

Wide Angle From Door

If you look really hard, you can actually see that my topiaries have already found a new home by the sides of our kitchen sink! I know you were all concerned.


Oh, sweet ecstasy! I cannot believe I finally have my own washer/dryer.


Our place is actually a duplex, but the downstairs isn’t exactly livable as is. Tristan’s been hard at work demo-ing the downstairs so that we can get renters in. It’s very manly work and I’ve been so impressed by him.

This renovation is a good exercise for me because I won’t be able to immediately decorate, like I usually can. We hope to redo the upstairs floors and walls as soon as the downstairs is done, so we aren’t even taking some of our furniture out of storage or hanging things up on the walls. Eek! #mustnest #buthow

UNIT 2 (around behind the house)

Here’s the door to the downstairs:

Basement 1

Here are some interior shots from before the demo.


basement 2

OFFICE (this will likely turn into a kitchen nook)

basement 6

basement 5

I wish you could all experience the smell of the carpet. Time will tell, but the most dramatic before and after transformation may just be the aroma.


basement 8


basement 9

basement 7


basement 12


basement 14

We have fairly traditional gender roles in this household. The morning after we moved in, Tristan was ripping out carpet and flooring in the basement. Meanwhile, I was organizing the kitchen.

DEMO (1)

DEMO (2)

DEMO (3)

Though the upstairs is in a lot better shape than the downstairs, we both look forward to renovating that next. Tristan purchased a home before we got married and remodeled that, which we currently have renters living in. He’s been itching to smell the sawdust once again. Here are his plumbing plans – so advanced :).


This blog was originally designed to incorporate Tristan’s interests as well as mine, and this house project will be the perfect way for you all to get to know a little bit more of what makes Tristan tick! We’ll be documenting our progress and sharing photos, of course.

More to come!








A Star-Spangled Third

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Tristan and I had a few friends over on July 3. It was 4th of July-themed, but on a less chaotic night (i.e. less parties to compete with). None of my friends had to work on the 4th, so it was a great night to relax and enjoy some BBQ and bevvies! I talked about my Orondo Ruby Sangria recipe here, and I still have to share the super special strawberry BBQ recipe we made. This post is focused on the party itself, and of course, the decor (is there a difference?).

4th of July Eve Party

I’d done some Pinterest perusing, and gathered some 4th of July decor inspiration, then promptly ran out of time to do anything I’d planned. BUT, our friend the Star also appears during Christmas and New Year’s Eve, allowing for easy re-purposing of existing decor when in a bind.

In this picture, we see how I painted some letters and glued them onto some ribbon I already had, and draped them across a glittery star I’ve had on my front door SINCE CHRISTMAS. I would not kid about this.

Torie and Tristan July 3 party

I also was able to re-use the festive stars I had hanging during our New Year’s Eve soiree. And I really wanted to do this centerpiece, but went to three different places looking for blue bottles (no luck), and my amazing husband brought me home flowers that weren’t red (but stunning nonetheless, and still alive, almost two weeks later!). I took these as clear signs that my centerpiece wasn’t meant to be. Here’s what I came up with instead:

Torie and Tristan July 3 party

Lantern, cookies, Orondo Ruby cherries, pit bowls and firecrackers (again, left over from New Year’s Eve!).

Here’s the BBQ station (AKA Tristan’s Turf) before it was overrun with amazing food and condiments.

Torie and Tristan 4th of July cocktail party

Yay for market lights!

Torie and Tristan 4th of July cocktail party

We inherited this flag from some family members (don’t worry – it wasn’t folded into a triangle in wooden case or anything), and it was such a fun, vintage touch!

Torie and Tristan 4th of July cocktail party

Let’s zoom in on those snacks!

Yummy treats

Our little apartment reached capacity at 13 people, inside and out. Here are some brave souls who were willing to appear on our blog.

July 3 party pic 2 July 3 party pic 1

Up next, the recipe for THE best burger I’ve ever had. Tristan and I have been eating the leftovers for two weeks and could continue through winter. It’s THAT good.





Patio After

I’m so excited to show you our patio today!

Here’s what you will NOT find on our patio:

I’ve seen an overwhelming amount of cute patios and cute ideas for patios on Pinterest and blogs this year. And I’m sure I’m just hyper-sensitive, since for once I actually have a patio for comparison. But like, stop taunting me!

I decided not to try to compete, and instead see what I could forage for free from friends and family (turns out, a patio table set and a fountain, yay!). Or from my recently vacated neighbor’s adjacent patio (hint: all my pots and a watering can). Given that I have never gardened before, I figured I had my work cut out for me just keeping the plants alive, let alone accessorizing them.

If you haven’t seen the before picture, here it is (mind you, taken a full year ago, before winter storms). And, after a solid weekend of hard work, here’s the after!

Torie and Tristan Patio (9)

Torie and Tristan Patio (5)

Torie and Tristan Patio (7)

Here’s a closer look at some of the plants (primarily impatiens), which are barely visible at this point.

Torie and Tristan Patio (1)

I found this metal sun on my ex-neighbor’s patio. I plan to spray paint it yellow to match my patio furniture. And because I love being literal.

Torie and Tristan Patio (2)

And, as you’ve previously read about, my beloved herb garden:

Torie and Tristan Patio (11)

Looking toward the other side of the patio…

I am still interested in purchasing a reclining outdoor chair, which would go in front of the BBQ (facing away), and Craigslist frequently has these for around $20. Whenever I do get the chair, I have a side table on stand by that can hold my magazine and drink.

Torie and Tristan Patio (12)

To the left, those spikey leaves are dracaena and the taller pot is filled with sweet potato ivy, coleus and something else, I can’t remember. Apparently these plants will be quite large by August. All I know now is that I have to water them every other day and fertilize every two weeks. And slug bait, always. Thanks, mom!

Torie and Tristan Patio (14)

Torie and Tristan Patio (15)

Including plants, soil and the one non-negotiable accessory (market lights, as if you had to ask), I think we spent around $80. The market lights were from Target and on sale for buy one set, get one half off – totaling $20. I spent about $40 on flowers and $20 on soil (organic, for the herbs) and slug bait. My mom hooked me up with some fertilizer. If I had to purchase my own pots, the cost would have drastically increased, so I recommend checking with family, friends and Craigslist if you’re not picky about matching.

Is my patio everything I could’ve hoped and dreamed of? Not quite. But I love that I was resourceful with materials available to me, got my hands dirty, and took a chance on growing sh!t. It’s an ambient place to eat dinner with Tristan, visit with friends, and cran my neck to see the water.



Adventures in Herb Gardening

I get worked up about all kinds of things, and lately, it’s been the cost of buying herbs. And sometimes, the store is out of the herb my meal plan depends on. Real serious issues here, people.

So, I decided to try growing my own kitchen herb garden. I was inspired by Amy Pennington’s Apartment Gardening book. I haven’t read it, but knowing there’s a whole book devoted to the topic must mean that I, too, can garden from my apartment. Plus, I recently found out that the author lives on the same street as me – her weather is my weather!

I began by purchasing starter herb plants at Fred Meyer. I got cilantro (x2), basil (x2), rosemary, lavender and chives. I sadly forgot mint for mojitos.

Herb Garden

I kept these suckers indoors for a good week and they were definitely growing. The nice thing about having them in the kitchen is that it’s extremely easy to keep them watered. When my mom came over to show me how to plant plants on my patio (more on that later this week), I decided to make the move from Apartment Gardening to Just Outside the Apartment Gardening.

Here are my herbies right after transplantation (just outside of that same window):

Torie and Tristan Patio (3)

Those pellets are slug bait. Not my fave look, but if I want to actually eat the herbs, I can’t fertilize or put any chemicals near the plant itself. So I made a soggy moat of poison. One perk of kitchen gardening: no slugs!

Here are my herbs a few weeks later, with the addition of colorful drainage trays and still sans slugs:

Torie and Tristan Patio (11)

I think they need more water (apparently it’s too hard for me to open the window and reach out). But they are alive … and tasty!

The most recent research I’ve done is how to properly clip each type of herb when you want to eat it so that it grows back. Have you grown herbs before? What were things you were surprised to learn in the process? I need all the help I can get!




March 8, 2014

It’s finally starting to feel a bit like spring in Seattle. Which doesn’t mean much; maybe just less frost in the morning. Occasionally the smell of grass wafts by. It does mean that there’s a new occassion for which to decorate – Easter!

I am slowly adding new holidays to my decorating stash each year. Halloween/Thanksgiving was an easy first, since all of my belongings were black, white and rust anyway. Christmas came next (chronologically) and I forced myself into a metallic color scheme so that I wouldn’t be tempted by all ornaments ever. Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Day were added in 2013. This year, I’m exploring Easter and potentially 4th of July. St. Patty’s Day is more of a 2015 project, I think. Any holidays I’m missing?

Anyway. Here are the ideas I’m looking at to inspire my Easter decor this year:

Torie and Tristan - 4 Spring Decor Trends - TREND 1- Burlap

Easter is about the only occasion where I will permit myself to use this material, likely because burlap is actually used in springtime activities such as gardening.

Clockwise from top, L-R: Shabby Chic Easter Bunny; Rustic Burlap Easter Bunny Sign (cute dollar store DIY here!); Bunny Burlap Runner; Easter Carrot Glittered Burlap Banner

Torie and Tristan - 4 Spring Decor Trends - TREND 2 - Hanging Eggs

A fun alternative to a bunting sign – embrace it! Top: Top Dreamer Bottom: DIY Showoff

Torie and Tristan - 4 Spring Decor Trends - TREND 3 - White Ceramic Bunnies and Moss

White ceramic bunnies JUST got added to my thrift store hunt list. How chic next to greenery, and for those of us who love bold contrast? Of course, these could also be quite subtle against a white backdrop. And, you can even spraypaint them brown and they look like chocolate bunnies!

Top: Setting for Four Middle: Martha Stewart Bottom: Martha Stewart

Torie and Tristan - 4 Spring Decor Trends - TREND 4- Candlesticks and ClochesI have built quite a collection of apothocary jars, candlesticks, cloches, and glass platters from – I know, broken record – thrift stores. For $10 at Michael’s, you can buy kraft eggs and “nesting branches” (? I just made that name up) and create a beautiful Easter-themed vignette. I know this because I just bought these two items at Michael’s today and it was $10.

Clockwise L-R: Easter Eggshell Votives; Glittered Egg Candlesticks; Apothocary Eggs; Speckled and Guilded Easter Eggs; Apothocary Eggs 2; Purple Easter Scape


I am feeling excited for my Easter/spring decor this year! Are there any other trends you’ve noticed that I’ve missed? I will probably incorporate garden creatures such as bunnies and birds so that I can keep the decorations up throughout spring, but will incorporate phrases such as “He is Risen” and perhaps some crosses for Easter itself. I’ll be sure to share my results with you!



Top 3 Ways to Live With Less

My mom and I are different in that she is a saver and I am a spender. She has a natural inclination to save her money until she finds an item truly of value. I agree with this concept in principle, but just seem to have a broader definition of “value” and therefore my savings have historically been scarce. This doesn’t mean that I compulsively blow all my money, or that I can’t understand having a savings or preparing for the future financially (Tristan and the angels rejoice!). It does mean that I have a lot of things.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned a bit more about what items are worth spending money on – I have a better sense of what style of clothing is most practical for my lifestyle; I no longer have an eclectic college decor palette and have instead edited down to certain colors and textures; I research thoroughly to know whether a particular item is truly an amazing deal and/or hard to find. I’m better at distinguishing the ACT-NOW-CRUCIAL-PURCHASE feeling from the ooooo pretty! impulse feeling. Does that make sense?

Back to my mom. One way she has majorly influenced me is by giving me a love of purging. She is constantly getting rid of unnecessary items for the sake of “being tidy.” I too love editing; partly because my petite apartment sizes to date have necessitated it (and I like the challenge), and partly because I firmly believe that we are more creative when we have less options. For instance, we both loved this tiny RV-sized apartment (click the picture for a photo tour):


That website led me on a several hour tangent looking for tiny inspiring homes. I found this video from Life Edited founder Graham Hill on his 400 square foot Manhattan apartment that is six rooms in one and can host a dinner party for ten:

Here’s a quick 5-minute video where he explains how Less Stuff Leads to More Freedom:

I’m constantly looking for new ways to push myself in this area. Getting rid of clothing can be tricky, because we’ve all told ourselves that most trends eventually come back around and our currently outdated sweater could one day be vintage fabulousness. I personally am pretty ruthless when it comes to getting rid of clothing (and Buffalo Exchange has rewarded me) and am fortunate to have had very few regrets. Here are my top three tips for living with less if you’re a spender like me.

TOP 3 WAYS TO LIVE WITH LESS - Torie and Tristan

1. Temporarily store it. For the last two years, I’ve only unpacked half of my fall/winter clothing from storage. The pieces that are packed away, I don’t miss. The pieces that are in my closet, I completely love. I am used to living without the extra clothing, but without the anxiety of getting rid of them altogether. I then enjoy looking at the options in my closet, finding new creative outfit combinations, and actually being able to move the hangers on the rack (…).  I feel far more comfortable getting rid of the items stored away at the end of the season. I’m currently doing a similar experiment with my candle/candlestick stash.

2. Make a list. Us spenders are not going to just stop buying things to “live on less” – no fun at all! But figure out what you tend to buy extra of and make a shopping bucket list. For me, this is clothing. I have a bucket list of 10-12 classic items that I completely love and am slowly procuring. There is no deadline, so I have a lifetime to find a way to get a St. John suit, but I still have a sense of purpose when I’m shopping. I also have a “trendy” shopping list for each season (so, 4x/year). I used to do this in jr. high and high school, when I had to strategize how to get the most out of my clothing allowance.  When I started earning my own money in my early 20s, I went a little crazy with the clothes spending, and I have since returned to having a seasonal list to help me focus. This type of list helps you take advantage of trends in a thoughtful, less impulsive way. You can even develop a fashion mood board for yourself. And limit the amount of daily deal sites you allow yourself to subscribe to!

3. Focus on upgrading versus adding. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve honed in on what types of clothing are most suited for my lifestyle. As such, many of my purchases are replacing and/or upgrading current items in my closet. I do work out, but do I need 12 college T-shirts for the gym? Or, would I prefer a small rotation of cute sport bra tops from Lulu Lemon or Zella? A less expensive example of this would be DIYing furniture you already have. It looks new, but it’s not taking up any more space in your home. When I’m thrift shopping, I almost always check the sweater rack to see if there’s a cashmere version of a sweater I already own. The black jersey wrap dress I recently purchased has replaced a cheapie jersey swing dress with holes from overuse. And so on. You already know you’ll wear/use the item, so it’s a safe use of a shopping obsession. 🙂

You might have already seen this gal’s amazing DC studio apartment tour, which proves that one doesn’t have to be a minimalist to live on less.

425 Square Foot Apt

Here’s a shot of my old 400 square foot studio apt. I’ve posted a full tour on the Torie & Tristan Facebook page.

Torie Studio 5- Torie and Tristan

I’m also totally loving the Tiny House Swoon website right now.

Do you have any tricks for getting yourself to live with less? I’m well aware that I don’t have all of the answers. Do you know me personally and find it hard to believe I am such an avid purger? 🙂



DIY Manicure #5

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Strips

Salon Effects - torieandtristan  Salon Effects - torieandtristan  Salon Effects - torieandtristan


I received (by request) Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Strips in my stocking this Christmas (same as top right photo, Misbehaved 350, $9). I was wearing silver tones on New Year’s Eve, so obviously that was NOT the time to debut these gold-tone strips.

The next opportunity was at Seattle Metropolitan Magazine‘s Best Dressed Party a few weeks ago. Let’s be clear: I was an attendee, not a nominee. But given the theme, I still wanted to bust out all the stops! The event actually showed promise of being devoid of any Costco-brand jeans and sandals, which is guaranteed to appear multiple times at nearly any Seattle event, no matter how formal. Such is life in a tech company hub.

Anyway – back to the nails. The night before the event, I busted out the strips and got to work. There are several steps.

DIY Manicure 5 (1)

Here’s the real scoop: for each nail, you need to first figure out which strip fits the best. When you’re ready to go, you peel off a back layer and a front layer and are left with a flimsy piece of dried nail polish. It even smells just like nail polish! You squish it on to each nail and file off of the excess. It took awhile to figure out how to best maneuver each strip, but I somehow made it through without completely butchering any nails (and there are eight extra strips in each kit in case you do mess up). In some cases, I also had to try to remove excess polish from the sides of my nail because the strips ran really wide. Admittedly, my hands are on the small side, and trimming was not the end of the world, but like, who are these wide-fingernailed people they are trying to appease?! They are really wide, people.)

About an hour later, mission accomplished!

DIY Manicure 5 (3)

As you can see in the below photo, some of the tips didn’t look very secure, and I’ve since heard that adding a top coat is a game changer. Even still, they didn’t peel up for several days, and since it was a pattern, chips were very difficult to detect even when they did start to peel. I would definitely try them again!

DIY Manicure 5 - Torie and Tristan

This concludes our 3 DIY Manicure Trends series and now I’m over nails, onto vegetables. I have some Farmer’s Market vegetable side dishes I’m excited to share with you. If you thought Honey Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts was amazeballs, you’ll want to meet my new friends, the carrot and the squash.



DIY Manicure #4

Metallic Ombre

Metallic Tip - torieandtristan  Metallic Tip - torieandtristan

Metallic Tip - torieandtristan

At the last family get together a few weeks back (okay, it was Thanksgiving),  all of the girl cousins decided to pretend it was a slumber party and go in the hot tub, watch a movie and paint our nails. And whenever there’s high schoolers involved, let me tell you – the glitter nail polish quota goes up, by like, a million.  Here’s our stash:

DIY Manicure 4 - Torie & Tristan

Ever the strategist, I thought this would be a good time to try a sparkly metallic look I’d seen on Pinterest. There was a Husky football game the next day, so I thought shades of purple and gold would be appropriate. I started out trying to do purple with a gold french tip (see third example photo). Two fingers later, when I botched my attempt at free-hand french tip, I re-strategized. Ombre look! Way easier to execute.

Here’s the after photo, with my mug o’ cider:

DIY Manicure 4 - Torie & Tristan

I chose that picture because it conveniently shows the nails I had yet to pick off.

DIY Manicure 4 - Torie & Tristan

I failed to remember that I can’t handle manicures that aren’t smooth. Remember this manicure I did? So, like, a day later, my nails looked like this:

DIY Manicure 4 - Torie & Tristan

Ug. Oh well. I’ll give the trend another go when I grow up and stop fidgeting all the time.

Up next: the final DIY manicure trend in our series, Sally Hansen Salon Effects.



DIY Manicure #3

Today, I’ll show you my “Natural Sheer Shine” DIY. As a refresher, here are the inspiration images.

Natural Nail - TorieandTristan

Natural Nail - TorieandTristan

Natural Nail - TorieandTristan

But the real inspiration is my coworker. She had the privilege of attending the Golden Globes this year and had the most flawless nails when she returned to the office. I assumed some LA manicurist-to-the-stars was to blame, but imagine my delight when she said she did her nails herself, and did I want to borrow the polish? DID I?! OMG!

She used Deborah Lippmann’s Sarah Smile ($18).

I gathered up my nail tools including my new top coat obsession, CND Vinylux Weekly Top Coat ($6.95 here).

DIY Manicure 4 (3)

After two coats of Deborah and my top coat, voila!

DIY Manicure 4 (6)

Some natural skin-toned polishes clash with my skin tone or end up looking the exact same color as my skin (barf!). I was really happy with how this particular polish looked on my skin tone. Plus, neutral tones aren’t nearly as obvious when they chip :).

I don’t know about you, but when I’ve used a nail polish that is truly sheer, it often ends up looking uneven depending on how many brush strokes each part of the nail had. OVER IT! This nail polish was fairly opaque, but with the shiny top coat, it still gave off the desired natural affect.

Overall, this was an easy one. A warm up, if you will. But if it’s good enough for the Golden Globes, it’s good enough for me!



3 DIY Manicure Trends

Let’s just admit it – shellac is the best nail beauty development to hit the earth since perhaps the chemistry miracle of nail polish itself. The only problem is, as with all beauty routines, there is a recurring cost involved, and it’s more expensive than just a standard manicure ($25-35 in Seattle).

When I got married, I thought I’d help us cut costs by quitting shellac and instead hype myself up about trying new nail trends I’d seen on Pinterest. As I type this, I have shellac on my nails. BUT I’ve only had it twice since I’ve been married (seven months now!) AND it was a birthday present. Nobody’s perfect.

Anyway, I have hyped myself up a few times and tried some new nail trends. Throughout the week, I’ll show you a backlog of manicure trends that I’ve attempted to DIY over the last few months.

Three DIY Manicure Trends - Torie & Tristan

A sneak preview of the trends are:

Natural Sheer Shine

Natural Nail - TorieandTristan

  Natural Nail - TorieandTristan

Natural Nail - TorieandTristan


Metallic Ombre

Metallic Tip - torieandtristan

Metallic Tip - torieandtristan

Metallic Tip - torieandtristan


Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Strips

Salon Effects - torieandtristan

Salon Effects - torieandtristan

Salon Effects - torieandtristan


None of these are pictures of my nails, so stay tuned for the reveals in three upcoming posts. Share in the joy of my successes and weep alongside me at my failures. And in case you’ve missed previous posts in this series, here they are:

DIY Manicure #1

DIY Manicure #2