hi, I'm Irene and this is my blog. all images and content © 2005-2019 Irene Nam unless stated otherwise. please do not use original images without permission. thank you!


in loving memory of
Oliver Yu-An Nam
Feb 1 - May 20 2014


how to have a fun vacation (Iceland edition) 

Get soak wet at Skogafoss.

Stand between two continents.

Have soup for lunch, every day (our favorites were wild mushrooms and asparagus).

Skip rocks in front of glaciers at Jokulsarlon.

Take a dip in this tourist trap.

Bonus: count sheep.


Oliver's trees

Oliver's trees are popping in places dear to my heart: at Iolanthe Alpaca Ranch in Sequim, WA, at Shepherds Schools in Arusha, Tanzania, and in Ivory Coast where this photo was taken. All places I have volunteered at or that our family has been supporting. Next on our list: Nepal and Haiti.


one year


best birthday present ever

Yesterday was sad and emotional and hard. Thinking that on this day last year I turned 37 and had three living sons to celebrate with. So seeing this photo of students at Kopila Valley School holding prints of a photo collaboration project I've been working on for the past 6 months, it lit up my soul like a Christmas tree. 

Thank you BlinkNow and Kopila Valley family. My life is immensely richer, and sweeter because of you.

Learn more about our collaboration here.


you're 13!

I could go on and on about how funny, thoughtful, patient, and wonderfully different they are. but today I just want to remember that 13 years ago I gave birth to two beautiful baby boys, that they are now healthy (and oh-so-hormonal) teenagers, and how incredibly blessed I am to be able to say those two things.

Happy Birthday my crazy monkeys. I'm so proud and grateful to be your mom.


Oliver's first birthday wish

On May 20, 2014, our beautiful baby boy Oliver Yu-An passed away to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) at age 15 weeks. Oliver was a precious gift who filled our hearts with so much love and joy, and we will forever miss him.

As his first birthday is approaching, and instead of the "doljanchi" (traditional Korean 1st birthday celebration) that we had planned for him, we would like to honor Oliver's memory and raise funds for BlinkNow Foundation's KOPILA VALLEY CHILDREN'S HOME AND SCHOOL in Surkhet, Nepal. We've been supporting and inspired by our dear friend Maggie Doyne since the day we first met in 2009, and although we ache for the day we can kiss Oliver's cheeks again, we cannot think of a happier, more meaningful way to celebrate his life.

We thank you all for your prayers and support during this most challenging time in our lives, and hope you'll join us.

To make a donation, click here.


how do you survive the holidays when there's a child missing?

how do you survive the holidays when there's a child missing? with the help of your framily. a beacon in the storm. my safety net. showering me with loving care. and taking the edge off that now familiar sting.

people often tell me that I'm so strong. but I am not, believe me. there are many hours spent under the covers after the boys have left for school. more hours contemplating dirty dishes, being angry, watching tv shows, crying in the shower, and ordering takeout food. the truth is, I am only as strong as the love and patience that my friends give me. and they're giving me plenty. and for that I am forever grateful.




"I'm starting to understand how these two are not mutually exclusive. that I can be incredibly sad and still happy. not quite there yet, but I see now how these two can co-exist"

Maui, July 2014.


how to have a fun vacation (Hong Kong edition)

I could go on and on about how you should take the Peak Tram (a 120-year-old funicular railway) to Victoria Peak and enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the city. or how you have to hop on the Ngong Ping 360 skyrail and meet the Big Buddha on Lantau island. and catch the Star Ferry. and visit Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road.

I could also tell you how grateful I am for the opportunity to travel with my boys, expose them to different cultures, and help deepen their understanding of the world. 

but really. what I want to say is.

Dim Sum heaven.