Archive for June, 2013

Five Years Ago…

Before I had any idea Graham wrote a post, I wrote this one.  So it’s a bit of a love fest today.  Can you believe that man?  Truly the best gift I have ever received.  No, scratch that.  Best gift ever was when he got all of my friends and family to write a letter to me and put it into a book for my 30th.  Second best gift ever!!  Hands down best guy ever!!  For those of you who receive the post this morning from Graham via e-mail, and the pictures weren’t showing up, I fixed that so please take a gander…I do love my photos!!

Five years ago today, I stood before this handsome man and I said “I Do”


Little did I know what I was in for…

I didn’t know we would end our wedding reception singing “American Pie” at the top of our lungs.

I didn’t know we would sing “Friends in Low Places” on honeymoon in a Paris karaoke bar.

I didn’t know we would find the perfect one bedroom in Lincoln Park and be charmed by the red dining room.

I didn’t know we would have more fun outside the stadium at the Notre Dame/USC game than inside of it.

I didn’t know that  you would repeatedly fly from Chicago to SF for the weekend to comfort me.

I didn’t know we would stay up late with my dad and scheme for the F Fer’s club.

I didn’t know you would be with me, instead of at school in Chicago, the night my dad passed away.

I didn’t know you would tell me stories and try to distract me as I was afraid of the hippos walking outside our cabin in Botswana.

I didn’t know you would read my blog every day; let me know the days it was funny; and proof read the important ones.

I didn’t know you would strongly nudge me into asking Julia Edeleman for coffee, take me to the meeting and wait in the car to get the full report afterwards.

I didn’t know you would make me a giant book filled to the brim with letter and pictures from family and friends for my 30th birthday.

I didn’t know you would also fall enchanted with New York and fantasize with me about what neighborhood we would live in, if only we were younger.

I didn’t know you would look so dashingly handsome in a Paul Smith cardigan.

I didn’t know you would teach me to fall in love with the city by the bay.

I didn’t know we would battle with infertility and end the journey with a beautiful baby girl.

I didn’t know you would surprise me with first class tickets for our babymoon to Hawaii.

I didn’t know my favorite New Year’s Eve to date would be you, me, a large pregnant belly and a massive laughing fit.

I didn’t know we would love Josie more than ourselves from the second she was born.

I didn’t know my favorite time of day would be when I make dinner and eavesdrop to you reading to Josie.

I didn’t know my love for you would multiply tenfold.

Five years ago today, we took a plunge into a world of unknowns and boy am I glad we did!


June 28, 2013 at 7:45 PM 3 comments

To You…

Guest blogger: Graham handyman Graham
For those who don’t know, today is Kate and my 5th wedding anniversary. Pretty big deal, right? And, since Kate often writes posts for other people, of which I have been a frequent beneficiary, I thought that it was about time to write a post about her. Quick thanks to Allie for helping me sneak this on here without Kate knowing about it… Here is hoping that she actually goes on to her blog to check!
The happy day in 2008:
As you may know, life hasn’t always been kind over the last five years as we have faced our fair share of hardship since we got married back in 2008. From having to do long distance for the first few months of our marriage because Don was sick to Don dying to the grief that followed to dealing with infertility problems for a year and a half – it was tough at times. By no means am I complaining though. Despite all of that heartache, travesty and pain that we have had to endure, it has still easily been the best five years of my life. That, friends, is all due to this lady:
You see, life is always fun around Kate. Her laugh is infectious and hyper Kate is always entertaining:
Being silly is a requirement:
And for those who haven’t seen her dance? You are missing out. Her ability to spaz on a dance floor is second to none. Well, maybe second to her mom. Maybe. Actually no. The student has officially become the master.
Example #1 (Kate teaching them young):
Example #2 (I think the arm pointing on the right of the picture must be someone in awe seeing it for the first time):
Spontaneity and adventure are staples in our life. It is one of the things I love about her most. Never a dull moment…
From Croatia:
To Mexico:
But Kate is more than just fun. She is THE most supportive person I know. Not only is she gracious enough to laugh at my stupid jokes, but she always knows when to provide the shoulder to lean on. And family is always the most important thing on her list. There is no one more selfless. Oh yeah, and for a non-sports lover, she also has become a DIE HARD 49er fan. She is loving and smart!
We spend a lot of time together but it is never enough. Take Sundays as an example. Sundays are kind of our thing. We try not to schedule anything else if possible so we can make it just our little family’s day. It is the best. But, and there is always a but, as the day is ending, it is so bittersweet knowing we have to wait 5 days until the next weekend. Simply put, life is just better being married to Kate and I love being around her.
A couple of gratuitous photos before moving on. Photos are Kate’s favorite thing…
So, now that you have gotten a glimpse into the past five years, you may be wondering, “what could be better than being married to Kate?” Great question but an easy answer. Watching her as a mother. When Kate walks into the room, guess whose eyes are on the prize? Josie’s. It is like her mom is a magnet. Plus, all of the things that make Kate a great wife and person are even more amplified when you watch her do them with our little girl. One of the most unexpected but nicest things about having a child has been watching her as a parent. It is truly awe inspiring.
Good use of child as prop – gratuitous sunglasses photo:
So Kate, on our anniversary, I wanted to let you know that despite having a marriage front loaded with a lot of heartache, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. You have shown me that out of every hardship there is good to be found if you look hard enough. Watching you make new friends, create this blog, build a thriving business, be a wonderful daughter, sister, friend, wife and mother – that sure is a lot to celebrate. So, until we toast us tonight at dinner, here is to you. Thank you and I can’t wait to keeping living the rest of my life with you.

June 28, 2013 at 5:30 AM 16 comments

Josie’s Nursery Reveal

Yesterday, Josie gave me this look…


You know why?  Because I haven’t shared the finished shots of the nursery yet and she finds it a bit pathetic.  So sorry, Jos – not sure why I’ve been so tardy at showing the finished look…maybe it’s caring for a baby.

This is my absolute favorite spot.  It’s where we read stories and it’s where Graham feeds Josie at night time…

Josie's-Newborn-Photos-Nicole-Paulson-Photography-10124-2-copy (3)-002

The beautiful print is near and dear to me because it’s from my amazing cousin – Julia Lynn.  The pillow is from Caitlin Wilson Design.  I snagged the elephant side table from my mom’s pool house (when she wasn’t looking) and that fun Giraffe was our first purchase for the nursery.  The giraffe was bought at a local small boutique: Lotus Bleu but they picked it up in Africa on a buying trip and so I love that Josie has some Africa in her room with her South African heritage.  The picture ledges are from Ikea and they have worked out beautifully for housing Josie’s growing book collection.  As a reminder, here was the glider before…


It was a Craigslist steal that just needed some tender loving care…new fabric and some Lulu DK ticking tape.

Moving right along, next to the little chair and reading station, we have baskets that house Josie’s dirty clothes and her many blankets and stuffed animals.  The black out blind roman shade is an absolute favorite of mine and it really helps to keep it dark for nap time.


Next to the window and baskets is the closet that I changed into a changing station.  Four plus months in, I couldn’t recommend this highly enough, especially for a tight space.  It keeps everything organized and easily accessible and it works like a charm.  Josie even seems to love this spot the most.


I simply removed the closet doors and put in two shelves.  The top shelf with the baskets houses Josie’s onesies, burp clothes, sleep sacks and extra diapers.  The second shelf is where I change her and there is plenty of room for necessities close to the changing pad.  Below there is her clothing rack for hanging clothes and her shoe collection (girl after mammas heart).

Next to the changing closet, is a spot for more clothes for Josie.


The dresser is an antique that I found at a shop in Aptos.  The monkey lamp came from a candlestick that I found at Goodwill and had converted into a lamp.  The paper dress was from this shop on ETSY and I had it custom shadowbox framed.  The little block with her name on it and the cute pink car were both awesome gifts from stylish friends.

As a reminder, here was the monkey before it was changed into a lamp…


For the crib, I went with the tried and true Jenny Lind crib and I’m so happy that I did.  I love it!  I found all of the bedding at a resale kiddies shop and it helped to dictate the color palate of the room.  The sheep head came from a local shop and the “Snug as a Bug” came from a shop in Oakland – Nathan & Co.



Josie and Olive say, “thanks for reading”

PS – I’d like it to be noted that the bumper came with the crib set and we do not use it.  Also we never have stuffed animals in the crib when Josie is sleeping.  These were just for the photos.

Photos taken by Nicole Paulson and Allie Reiter

June 26, 2013 at 5:44 AM 8 comments

Stand Out Stencils

Have you ever stenciled anything before?  I haven’t.  But, I”ve been really impressed with what people are doing out there and I’m tempted to give it a shot.




4 Men 1 Lady






Rachel Goddard

Isn’t this inspiring?  Ever since we went to Turkey, I’ve fallen hard for Turkish tile and I’d love that as a backsplash to a kitchen one day.  But since we’re rental living I could do a stencil and see how much I like living with the look, which would be much cheaper and less permanent.

June 24, 2013 at 5:22 AM 2 comments

Happy Birthday to my Big Bro

If you’re a long time reader, you know I have a lot of siblings, nieces, nephews, extended family, etc.  As such, I decided to only write a birthday post for Graham, myself, Josie and at times my mom.  But it’s not every day that your oldest brother turns 40 and I feel this is an age to be celebrated and therefor a great time to let him know how much I love and respect him.


When I was born, Donald already had the world figured out.  He was eight years old…compared to a newborn, he knew everything.  So I’ve been happily following in his footsteps ever since.

My absolute dream college was Georgetown.  You want to know why I was obsessed with going to Georgetown?  Because my brother went there.  When I was in the eigth grade, we took a class fieldtrip to Washington DC.  I got to sneak away from my class one night and spend the night with Donald.  I felt like the most special kid in school.  Donald took me around campus and introduced me to all of his friends.  I felt alive with college fever.  Donald has this amazing energy to him and I fed off of that energy all day.  I remember I didn’t sleep a wink that night.  How could I?  I was with the coolest kid on campus doing the most rad stuff ever.  No doubt in my mind I was going to be a hoya.  I even married a Georgetown grad; at the first Georgetown wedding we went to, Graham’s friends started calling me an “honorary hoya” – they had no idea how much I LOVED that.


I went off to Whitman College, which was indeed the perfect fit for me.  Even though, I didn’t end up following directly in his footsteps, I still look up to Donald.  When I was graduating from Whitman and venturing out into the “real world,” I asked Donald for advice.  I really felt as though he had set up such a wonderful life for himself and again, he knew everything compared to a newbie like me.  He wrote me the most heartfelt, beautiful e-mail back; I wish more than anything I still had it.  But, I’ll never forget a line that he wrote that I have carried with me every day since reading it, “you create your own luck.”  Boy was he right.

I often hear from people, “you’re so lucky.”  And I think to myself about Donald and what he taught me.  Yes, I’m lucky but I really owe a lot to myself for getting here.  Thank you Donald for letting me know that.  The power we all have within.


Take a wild guess who pushes me to keep this business chugging and to continue to dream bigger?  Donald has been a wonderful support from the beginning.  Always reading the blog, even commenting; reaching out to his friends to let them know about my decorating services; coaching me with ideas on how to expand or refine my business.  And I listen because Donald has done wonders in his own career.  Imwalle Properties is thriving because of him.  Even though he works in commerical real estate, I’ve also found he can time the residential market like no other.  He is incredibly smart, passionate and diligent in his work and it shows.


It’s not all work though.  The man can play.  When graduating from college, he lived in Aspen for two years to be a ski bum.  When the tech boom hit, he was living in up in San Francisco, working for Oracle and having the time of his life.  When he met the love of his life, he fell hard and fast.  Together, they went off for another adventure and lived in Australia.  They lived in Sydney, on a bluff overlooking the ocean and Donald would hop into the surf before work in the mornings.  Even with three little boys, he still finds the time for a heli ski trip in Alaska here and there.


Now, I’ve got my little one and again I look to Donald.  He is a wonderful hands on Dad who loves his little boys with all of his heart.  He loves to see them shredding out there on the slopes, or getting filthy dirty at the ranch, he gives them snuggles when they are tired and he always has an answer no matter how many times they ask “why?”  His boys look up to him with such admiration and I know that they too will grow to be great men.


To my big brother, a very happy 40th birthday.  Thanks for teaching me how to do it right.


June 21, 2013 at 5:45 AM 7 comments

Help Me to Convince…

Hello lovely readers, I’m calling in a favor.  Can you help me to convince my mom that she absolutely needs a pair of Jenny Lind twin beds?


Oh Happy Day


Opal Design Group


Here’s the deal.  My mom has this little house up in Shasta area that is so cute and a wonderful spot.  She has one room that is for the kids and it currently has two twin mattresses in it without any sort of headboard or bed.  She mentioned that she wanted headboards.  I heard that she wanted Jenny Lind beds and I promptly showed her why that was the correct decision.  Mom was onboard until she went back up to her little mountain home and came back saying she didn’t want jenny Lind; she just wanted a headboard.  Mamma Mia.  Jenny Lind!!!  Please help me to convince her it’s the correct choice for a mountain home…

WHat I would pair it with –


June 19, 2013 at 9:33 AM 4 comments

Managing The Spit Up

This little monkey…

photo (39)

Spits up A LOT.  Like a lot…think of a ton of spit up and then double it and that’s my girl.  Not to worry, it’s Dr. approved – it’s just kind of her thing.  The only problem is that cute outfits, like her father’s day outfit…

photo (40)

get covered in spit up.  But the burp bibs that we have really aren’t that cute.  So, I decided to do some investigating on fashionable bibs.  Did you know they have bandana bibs?  I’m the last one to the baby train on this trend?


Image from Purl Bee

Love them!

Now this is an accessory that she can wear all day….her cute outfits may be saved after all.





All bibs available here.

June 18, 2013 at 9:00 AM 2 comments

To My Dad

“Allowing yourself to be happy is one of the great joys of the world.  Don’t stifle it, but rather encourage it and enjoy.”

– Don Imwalle Sr. (my dad)

Allowing yourself to be happy is easier said than done.  My dad worked hard at it all the time.  He set a brilliant example.


Weekends at the beach, never went by without a volleyball game.  When it came time for the final serve to win the game, you had to serve doing the flamingo (your foot resting at the knee of the other) and saying, “game point hanna shannana”  If you forgot to do those things, the point didn’t count and you didn’t win the game.

Seldom a week passed when dad didn’t rally the troops for an evening hot tub.  He loved to use the hot tub at night when the stars were out and you could hear the crickets.  He would always have a beer in hand and a story to tell.  When we would protest the hot tub because we were getting ready for bed.  He would say, “twenty minutes in the hot tub is equal to an hour of sleep”  It didn’t even make sense but boy oh boy did it.  We’d all just be so relaxed chilling out as a family and we’d sleep like little babies those nights.


Twenty minutes.  That right there is my dad.  There isn’t a single task that took longer than twenty minutes.  Not a single one.  “But, Dad, I don’t want to go for a hike.”  “Twenty minutes, that’s it.”  Three hours later, we’d all come home with huge smiles on our faces.  Duped into a good time.


Not that our protests really mattered because when it came to having fun, Dad always had the final vote.  Sometimes at dinner we’d discuss where we wanted to vacation.  A favorite line of dad’s was, “you each have one vote and I have six” (there were six of us in the family).  He’d win and we’d find ourselves floating down the mighty Missouri for a week long flyfishing trip.  In the end, we all won.


Car rides with him were always an adventure.  He was a backroads kind of driver.  Taking them wherever they lead him as long as they were nice and slow.  If he saw a pretty lady, he was going to slow down and wave, with his four children and wife next to him saying, “oh Don” every time.  He did it to get a rise out of his Kaky and to teach his boys how to flirt.  But, as he said at my wedding, he wound up teaching me to flirt instead and it scared the bajesus out of him.  Ha ha.  Guess I could get a rise out of him as well.


Going to the grocery store with him was an opportunity to stock up on any and all junk food that was not allowed in the house.  Say good bye to the natural rolled oats aisle that my mom stuck to and hello to the jelly bean bins.  Whatever you wanted, you could get.  My cousin Allie recently told me a story of how when she was a little girl, she was in Safeway with my dad and they were checking out, my dad looked at her and said, “What the hell is wrong with ya child?”  She was confused and probably a little scared and I’m sure he gave a long pregnant pause as he did.  “You haven’t asked for any candy.  Don’t you want any candy?  Go ahead and get anything you want.”  THat’s my dad.


Man, he was hilarious.  He’d come out with these brilliant one liners that would have you rolling on the ground with laughter.  Clever as all get out.  However, he wasn’t just one liners.  He’d recount days of old with long drawn out stories but you’d find yourself captivated and laughing the whole way through.

He was energizing.  He drew crowds around him.  He loved whole heartedly.  He allowed happiness in when and however he could.  I miss him today and every day.  Happy Father’s Day, Daddio.  I’ll aim for a full belly laugh today in your honor.


June 16, 2013 at 5:51 AM 3 comments

Happy Father’s Day

I am at a loss of words to say how blessed I feel to be able to include my husband in a Father’s Day post.

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You should see how crazy Graham is for Josie.  From the day we got the positive pregnancy test, he has been extremely excited and proud.  He used to love talking to my belly and feeling her kick.   The day she was born, she stole his heart forever.

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I think a way to express what a wonderful father he is, is to show the family rituals that have developed over the past four months.

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Graham gets up while Josie is still asleep so he tiptoes into her room every morning and checks on his little sunshine, watching her sleep.  While Graham is at work, he requests photos of Josie.  If he has gone a few hours without seeing a pic of his little love one, I inevitably get a text, “more photos please.”  He can’t get enough of her.

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As soon as he is in the car, headed home, I get a phone call saying that he is en route and asking how his little girl is doing.  The moment he comes in the door its hugs, kisses and mutual delight as Josie and Daddy are reunited for the day.

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Then it’s bath time before bed.  This is truly the cutest time of the day as Josie smiles and giggles and puts on a show; we both watch with absolute delight and pride.  We are completely smitten.

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After bath time, Josie and Graham get some very special one on one time as he gives her the nighttime bottle.  I know that he cherishes this time where he truly shuts down the world.  No blackberry.  No sports articles.  No chatty wife.  Just him and Josie hanging out.  He cuddles her, rocks her a little and tucks her in for sweet dreams for the night.

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Once it is our bedtime, we each go in to watch Josie sleep before nodding off ourselves.  Then we discuss how cute she is and exactly how she was sleeping.  Graham will often imitate her arms or movements with such joy.  Once we are tucked in to bed, we finish our day looking through all of the pictures and videos I have taken of her that day.

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Our lives revolve around this little bundle of joy and we couldn’t be happier.  Nothing is more special than watching Graham’s love and joy for our baby day after day.  He is a loving, adoring father and Josie is the luckiest girl in the world to have him as her dad.  And I am incredibly lucky to share the experience with him.

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Happy Father’s Day to my wonderful husband and to all the fathers out there.

June 14, 2013 at 8:21 AM 8 comments

Raw Dezign

There are some amazing things on ETSY – true talent.  I stumbled upon this British shop and it’s too good not to share…


This branching globe chandelier reminds me of Lindsay Adelman chandelier’s but a bit different and without the sticker shock…


Lindsay Adelman

I also love the faceted pendants that they make and you can choose your color chord…


Wouldn’t those be fun in a kitchen?  Speaking of kitchen’s, they also make clocks that I think would be nice in my own kitchen…



All items available at Raw Dezign on ETSY.

June 12, 2013 at 5:10 AM Leave a comment

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