Torie’s Fave FREE Things


Image from This Is Glamorous

Every Christmas, I come up with a list of my Favorite Things, clearly inspired by Oprah. I give different combinations of these gifts to my friends and family for Christmas. Since I was busy this week “building content” for the blog (AKA too busy to blog!), I wanted to post a Thanksgiving-inspired list of my favorite FREE things – experiences and items that are free which I’m thankful for.

1. Looking at photo vignettes including some combination of the following: coffee in a mug, wine in a glass, book or magazine, laptop, a cozy couch, soft blanket, roaring fire. Bonus points if a Parisian dessert is featured. I think it just transports me into the relaxing moment, wherever I am. My favorite blogs that frequently include these pictures are The Mannequin and Classy in the City. Instagram usually has something, in particular, follow Paris In Four Months (also has a blog).

2. The smell of salt water. As a Seattle native, I grew up going on boats and have lived within walking distance of a marina for the last several years. It just smells so fresh and so clean clean!

3. When the house smells good. I am partial to amber/spice/fig type scents, but this time of year, I’m all about the pine needle smell and orange cinnamon. I am currently using an amazing Glade plugin that makes the house smell of Christmas trees, though ironically called Fall Walk or something like that (can’t find a link – bum bums!). I am eager to try this new DIY Clementine Candle as well. I also love the way dinner in the oven makes the house smell – doesn’t necessarily have to be a candle involved.

4. Walking through Watson Kennedy. See entire blog post devoted to this subject here. I’m sure you all have some destination that just tickles your creative fancy.

5. Google Image baby animals. Do it. It’s a great 3 p.m. mental break at work – I do this at least twice a week.

6. Re-purposing old furniture or doing crafts using supplies I already have. A simple example of this would be taking an old picture frame, painting it another color, and putting my new wedding pictures in it.

7. Sleeping in and waking up to cool, crisp air. So often (especially now that I permanently share a bed), the air ends up a bit… stuffy. I love cracking the window just a tad so that my face feels refreshed the rest of me is engulfed in layers of fuzzy blankets and down, especially if it’s past 9 a.m.

8. When someone brings in treats to work, or if there’s lunch leftovers from a meeting.

9. Laying out on the beach.

10. Free sites online. Laughs at BuzzFeed, Some Ecards and Happy Place. Many new artists found through Pandora. And DUH – Pinterest  (please-stay-free-please-stay-free!).

11. Making Lists. Didja see that coming?!

I started building this list when I did a women’s group study on One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. The premise is that you write down at least one thing you are thankful for each day – “embrace and chronicle everyday blessings” – so that you can find moments of joy in the midst of our chaotic lives. At times it got a little artsy fartsy for me — sorry, I’m just not going to get that excited about wind whistling through a mountain top accompanied by the smell of fresh moss (this is an example I made up, but perhaps you get the idea). The book comes with a free app where you can record your own moments of joy, and once those moments are your own versus reading the author’s, it becomes a lot more fun.

What are your favorite free things? Have you read anything that inspired you to be grateful?



Breakfast at Watson & Kennedy

Holly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?

Paul Varjak: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?

Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

Paul Varjak: Sure.

Holly Golightly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!

Well folks, my “Tiffany’s” is a Parisian-inspired paradise in downtown Seattle called Watson & Kennedy. Thankfully, they have a website and blog, for when I can’t go in person.  But a few weeks ago, during some down time at the IFBC conference, I took the opportunity to feed my non-food obsession – decorating. These pictures only show half of one location (the one on 4th Avenue; there is a très petit location near Pike Place Market).

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NOT surprisingly, I found about a bajillion crucial items for our future house. However, I created an apartment-sized wishlist for our current apartment.

1. Bitter Orange Diffuser by Agraria, $48, also available on the WK website.


I’m always on the quest for the perfect fall scent…pumpkins, orange, cinnamon, maybe some apple spice. None of that sugar cookie cake crap. This year, I will probably try to achieve the scent with this DIY simmering pot version, but I would dare say this diffuser encapsulates the season with one whiff. There, I said it. Judge me.

2. Okay, a small departure from decor — Olivier Napa Valley Dipping Oil, $16, in Blue Cheese & Mission Fig and Toasted Parmesan, Garlic and Herb (can’t find online – help anyone?)


I am such a sucker for gourmet-in-a-bottle, and I’m pretty sure my friend Jen was just raving about this same Parmesan dipping oil. Add une baguette, et voilà!

3. ANA Taper Candlesticks, $22, also available on the WK website.


Okay, so technically I already have these. But they were so worth the money, and they come in many colors.

4. All things horn. Look at this display!


5. Tortoise & Abalone Sauce Dish, $34, also available on the WK website.


I love me a good small dish – perfect for a book of matches, a pair of earrings, or just lying around being its gorgeous self. And shells are totally more unisex than, say, a china dish! These are the things I tell myself to convince me that yes, Tristan would definitely want me to take advantage of this co-ed decorative piece…for the both of us.

6. Scented Incense Paper Books, $10, available online here.


These tear-out fragrance sheets smelled so unique yet familiar, like something from my childhood. I also liked that the booklet was written in French, as if all of France  infuses their homes with these mysterious tear out sheets, and if I purchased the booklet, I too would ooze European. AND it was only $10… sometimes, it’s the little things. 🙂

What are your favorite spots to unwind, check out, and/or get creatively charged? What Parisian items are on your wish list?