san diego (toddler-friendly) travel guide


we had the best little last minute trip down to san diego a couple of weeks ago for our birthdays!! it was such a perfect place for the three of us, super arlo friendly and a quick drive! we debated going to the zoo or legoland but ended up keeping it low key, which was just perfect– meaning we ventured out in the mornings, got back to our rental house for naps in the afternoons and then left again for dinner.  Read More

motherhood / printables

first day of school printable sign


a very last minute little printable i designed (because a friend asked me to haha) — a fun little sign to fill out for all your kiddos heading back to school! arlo is starting preschool in a few weeks so obviously i had him model, he doesn’t talk a ton but we were able to pry these opinions out of him lololol. he will make a fantastic elmo blue car someday when he’s a grown up.

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our house

our playroom : before and after with amazon home


this post is in partnership with amazon home

the playroom is done! i am so excited to have this shared space, we’ve already used it a lot– and arlo has more than enough toys in here to keep him occupied while we get work done, i’m so glad to have it finished!

again, let’s take a look at the before…  Read More


arlos mamma mia themed 2nd birthday party


YAY! arlos 2nd birthday party was so much fun, excited to finally share it today!

after spending the better part of a year watching mamma mia 2 (but then transitioning to the original for the last few months), it just seemed obligatory to theme his party around it. the day was super fun and chill with friends and family and an… unforgettable live performance by his grandparents lol. it was perfect cloudy weather all day until an hour before the party started and the sun started blasting, as you can see in the photos!

we had the party at my mom and stepdads house– it was a pain to schlep everything over, but their backyard couldn’t be more perfect for the theme. for the weeks leading up to the party, the bougainvillea at their house was giant and thriving, and then right before the party it all died. so that was a bummer but it was too late to cancel the party lol.

(ps you probably don’t recognize those silver ARLO letters from last years party because if you do thats like a little crazy, but they’re from last years party!)

in the second movie she calls the hotel “the hotel bella donna”, so i loved the idea of using the bella arlo (yes i know its bello but bella sounds cuter!) as the central theme. i hand wrote the logo for the party and used it on all the custom goods. i focused on making the party feel greek but with nods to disco and dozens of obscure references to the movies that only someone who watched mamma mia 800 times would understand. so me and gid basically.

i decorated all the tables with little boats and disco ball ornaments straight from our christmas decoration box. i got the seashells from the dollar store and i casually threw those all over the tables too.

i actually had more blue vases and dishes than i realized, so i used all of them and for florals, i just foraged olive branches from my backyard and bougainvillea from our friends jeff and kellys house— you know, since we needed some!

my friend sophie made that insane mezze board! the rest of the food was catered from a place we love to get takeout from– last year we made most of the food and it was a GIANT PAIN so i was happy to spend some extra money this year and relieve the stress. but gid made salmon and it was delicious.

i had the hotel bella arlo logo printed onto cups from for your party. we did these for arlos first birthday too and i still use them for water every night so i was excited to make more.

my sister in law made the cookies— can you believe them?! i had her do two greek inspired designs and disco balls of course. so in love with them.

i made the cake– it turned out REAL wobbly because i broke it multiple times, you can’t really tell from photos but i added a light blue wash to the frosting and had the cutest custom cake topper made by everlaser. course i also plopped a boat on it.

the custom cocktail napkins were also from for your party– i designed the little terazzo pattern for the evites and reused here– probably spent too much time considering that this was the only place at the party you saw them lol.

arlo mostly enjoyed the ball pit and the cookies his cousin kept feeding him (and denied it but now we have photographic evidence hahah)

and then my mom and my dad put on the performance of a lifetime– despite both having practiced for weeks, neither of them seemed to know the words to their songs and you couldn’t really hear them singing and wow, i’ll never forget it hahah. they love arlo so much and proved it big time.

the posters were so fun to design — we came up with each movie reference and thought they were sooo hilar (again, probably just to us). i wanted them to feel like they were posted in an european alley in the 70s lol. i had them printed from mixbook!

despite being pretty overstimulated for most of the day, arlo actually blew out his candle– we were very proud of him.

anyway, next year we’re skipping the party… jk prob throwing another party while i still have some damn say in it!!


custom cups / custom cocktail napkins / custom lunch napkins / disco ball balloons / inflatable pool / white balls / posters printed from mixbook / custom cookies from salt and flour / ARLO cake topper from everlaser / striped plates and cups from daydream society / wood letter board from madera modern / my overalls / arlos overalls (similar) / miniature boats / blue white striped table runner / drink dispensers

photos by brandi welles

our house

our studio : before and after with amazon home


this post is in partnership with amazon home

wowowow this is a long time coming, but finally! the studio is done and usable and i love it so much. years ago, we refinished the space by insulating, drywalling and adding laminate flooring, added a couple of windows, but beyond that– not much was done. i always planned to use it as an office space, but i didn’t invest in AC and the wifi signal was never that great, so i just never really used it whatsoever unless i was shooting in there.

the older arlo is getting and the more toys we’ve acquired i started to think about how nice it would be to have a designated play area away from our main living spaces and realized we had the perfect place for that– so i put “convert studio into playroom” on our bucket list and then maybe a week later amazon actually reached out! kismet. the studio (which was once just a shed) is two separate rooms divided, so it seemed like the perfect place for us to all co-exist, for gid and i to work and arlo to play and all be together. it seemed like the perfect chance to actually spend the money and install an AC unit and ACTUALLY use this amazing space, finally.

i never actually shared it on the blog, but after we added the flooring and windows, we also had a wrap around floating wood desk built for the office side, i got a couple pieces, but i never actually finished the space to my liking and as i’ve now said multiple times, i never really actually worked here. it was always a goal, but always more comfortable to sit in bed and work lol. here is what it looked like when we first bought our house:

and after we added the wraparound desk and the flooring (please excuse the mess): Read More

our house

our backyard : updates


been meaning to share the evolution of our yard over the years, because i never really documented how everything grew in and now we’ve removed all the sharp cactus! oops. but still fun to share how much it’s changed over the years. and now that the fence has been refaced, it feels like a giant breath of fresh air where no aspect is ugly!

we are still happy with the decomposed granite ground covering– mostly, in retrospect it would be nice to have some grass for arlo to run around on, and even though people warn you, before you have a kid you just really don’t know how you’re gonna feel! i still love the look of it though, it’s just not the most comfortable so we don’t usually sit on the ground. luckily we have lots of furniture to lounge on!  Read More

our house

updating our old fence on a budget


this post is in partnership with ace hardware

when we redid our backyard three years ago, we put off replacing the dingy old fence that totally didn’t belong whatsoever, but was functioning just fine. it always stood out as the only eyesore and it was always on my list to fix someday, but my neighbors on the other side of the fence didn’t want to replace it since it is in fine condition (and is much less ugly on their side since we’re on the backside of it).

but when we updated our backyard recently and replaced all the cactus with softer toddler-friendly plants, we started spending so much more time outside and the ugly fence started bothering me more and more. so i made some calls to fence companies and realized i could reface it instead of replace it!

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