About



Hi and thanks for stopping by!  My name is Katie del Castillo Vail and I'm a West Point grad, a Captain in the Army Reserve, and a war widow.  All my hopes and dreams were shattered when my sweet husband Dimitri was killed in a firefight in Afghanistan in 2011, and over the past 4+ years I've learned the importance of choosing joy even when life knocks you down.  I'm also an interior design enthusiast and wanna-be fashionista at heart.  I've lived all over the place the past 10 years (New York, Hawaii, Afghanistan, DC...just to name a few), so I know the importance of getting settled and making a place cozy, no matter where in the world you live.  In the fall of 2014 I finished up my 5 years on Active Duty in the Army while working at the Pentagon.  Now, I'm happily remarried to an amazing man who is also an Army officer and I'm the mother to the sweetest baby boy ever!  

Despite my job in the Army (and the camo that goes along with it), I have a passion for all things pretty, whether it's a beautiful dress, an amazing sofa or a breathtaking sunset.  I love to entertain, run marathons, thrift, cook, and travel, and wish I could spend my life at the beach.  I'm a bit of a vintage-loving nut, so I also run the shop DashOfVintageWhimsy on Etsy.  I believe that everything in life should have a little pizzazz, and that a dash of whimsy is the key to a life well lived and enjoyed.  Welcome to my blog!


18 comments:

  1. Your blog looks great! Can't wait to follow.

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  2. Katie, I am looking forward to moving into our new home (a well-renovated late 1800's home in the hometown of Amelia Earhart)! Mostly, I'm trying to visualize a fun, whimsical, kid-friendly style that I can dress our new home up with. I have lots of nicely framed art work, so perhaps I should build up on that?? Or do I save up for new couches and build around those? What do you suggest? Thanks! - Elvis Lives!

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  3. Well, I just lost everything I typed! I'll have to take some time to post later ;-)

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  4. How did you create the signature button?

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    1. Hi Ashley! Thanks for reading. I didn't create it myself, but Marianne from M. Elle Creative (http://mellecreative.com/blog-design/) designed my whole blog, so if you are interested in help then I'd definitely contact her.

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  5. Love your blog! The design is so cheerful and happy!

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    1. Thank you so much Lora! I'm so glad you like it!

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  6. Hello. My daughter Jackie suggested I take a look at your blog. She is a Marine wife living in Hawaii, loves interior design and feels a connection with you. Jackie grew up at West Point! We were stationed there for 11 years. I taught in DPE, in fact I was the Master of the Sword ('97-'04). I really enjoy seeing former cadets and the lives they create for themselves after their military service. Your blog is excellent and your taste lovely. Well done Katie!

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    1. Thank you very much, Ma'am! DPE classes were actually the only classes I was good at while at West Point! I'm so glad to hear that Jackie enjoys reading my blog, and I appreciate you taking the time to check it out as well. I'll actually be heading up to West Point this weekend for the march back and a few other events because Beast was named for my late husband and is called "TF del Castillo" this summer. It'll be good to be back and I'm hoping for lots of happy memories. Thanks again for stopping by!

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  7. Katie - Appreciate the response, so pleased you enjoyed DPE, so many haters out there, ;). Wonderful about the March Back with USMA 2019, another memory for you. I am at USMA a lot, at some point will visit your husband. Fabulous news about the Ranger grads, so proud. Good luck with your move. If you are ever in the Raleigh area and want to connect my e-mail is: leboeuf76@gmail.com. Stay well.

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  8. Hi Katie! I found your blog a few days ago from theeverygirl.com Home Tour you did a couple of years ago. I was so inspired by your story! I'm just commenting to say congratulations on becoming a mother and to wish you the best of luck on your journey. Thank you for sharing your story :)

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out my blog and for leaving me this sweet note! I really appreciate it!

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  9. God bless you. Thank you for your service. God bless your husband in heaven and earth! Doing a great job. I love your use of color! Jenn, Army spouse (RET 1SG Ranger Sniper Pathfinder.)

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  10. I love your blog for so many reasons! I'd love to know more about your relationship with Tom- especially after your loss of your first husband and how you moved on, met Tom, and started a family. I've gone through a broken engagement and find your strength and positive outlook so inspiring! Wishing you all the best in Hawaii and with baby girl on the way!!!

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    1. Thank you so much for such a sweet note and I'm so sorry to hear about your broken engagement. Running helped get me through the darkness, and it's also what brought Tom and me together. I don't know how long you've been following but I published a post on it about 3 years ago here: http://www.lifewithadashofwhimsy.com/2014/10/running-through-darkness-my-health-and.html I found that signing up for a race 4-5 months in the future helped me start focusing on long term and it helped get me through the sad days in the beginning. I met Tom at work and after a conversation about distance running I couldn't get him out of my mind. I wasn't looking to move on, it all just kind of happened. Good luck to you as you figure it all out. Grief is a beast, no matter what kind of loss you've experienced, and I know you'll find joy and love again!! Just keep your eyes on the future and try to see the beauty in life.

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