March 2017 / Mainly Marta :: A Motherhood + Lifestyle Blog

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Welcome

What started as a digital diary to document a newfound journey as a stay at home mom / wife has quickly evolved into my own little corner on the internet where I share all that life brings my way -- the good, the bad, and those "aha!" moments. All with a hint of sarcasm, a dash of truth and bold European wit. Thanks for following along!

NEWSLETTER

3.31.2017

4 Affordable Products for Acne Breakouts



It's your worst nightmare: looking into the mirror and spotting a red mountain taking over your face -- usually just in time for an important event in your life. panic! You're life is officially over.... unless you can get rid of it! So out comes the smartphone and start looking for the fastest way to get rid of those pesky pimples.

I don't know about you, but acne breakouts always come at times when something big is going to happen. Pimples love appearing for photo ops -- they're not camera shy in my experience either. Here are 4 products that make life a little bit easier when that happens:

 e.l.f Acne Fighting Spot Gel with Aloe or e.l.f. Zit Zapper
I love these little guys! They really work for me. Whenever I see a slight red bump on my face, I attack it with one of these e.l.f products and it dries it up! These roll-on products kill the bacteria before it gets a chance to get bigger and more noticeable. I usually use this when I see a pimple trying to emerge, but if you wake up with a huge zit, I'd still say give this a try -- just apply it multiple times throughout the day for a few days.

Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion

If you've read my blog from the beginning, you know that the Drying Lotion is one of my all time favorite products to use on acne. All you have to do is take a Q-tip and dab it in the pinkish clay. The clayish mixture is not hard, so don't try to dig in because that doesn't do anything. You then proceed to dab all the zits you want to dry out. After application, I let the mixture dry a bit (be warned, it's a little tingly at first, but that goes away after about 3 to 5 minutes after the initial application) and then to to sleep. When you wake up, your pimple should have shrunk in size or have completely have vanished.


Smile's PRID Drawing Salve
This product has proven to be a miracle worker -- especially for those who have (or suffer from) cystic acne. I know it to be 100% effective because it saved my life! Here's the story: four days before my engagement party, a huge cystic pimple took over my entire chin from the stress of planning. I didn't even have a chin anymore to be honest, it was just a huge red throbbing zit that you could not hide no matter how hard you tried. Cystic pimples are deep, so you can't see the pore that's infected. It's just this red spot and boy, oh boy does it hurt! With my engagement party coming up, an even that would have 100 of our closest family and friends -- I was soooooo desperate to get rid of it, and I tried literally everything you could possibly think of: it just wouldn't go away. Luckily my fiancé (now husband) took it upon himself to read about remedies and he found this miracle worker. When I first put it on, the smell really bothered me, but I was desperate, so I lathered it on my chin, covered it up with a bandage and went to sleep. When I woke up and took off the bandage, I was shocked to see the pimple half the size it was 8 hours earlier. It took two days for the pimple, the size of an egg, to completely vanish! Whenever I see a cystic pimple, I grab this stuff and lather it on.


Baby Aquaphor or Desitin :: Diaper Rash Cremes
 I know this sounds strange, but I live by this method. When I break out, I take a little bit of my son's diaper rash creme (I have the brands Desitin and Baby Aquaphor at home) and apply it to the areas that I broke out. Don't put to much creme on your face because it is rather thick. You want to take a little bit of the creme and rub it on your pimple until your skin has absorbed most of the creme. Do this at night after washing your face and before going to bed for best results. If you'd like to use this method, then make sure you buy diaper rash creme and not healing ointment -- the creme needs to have Zinc Oxide in it.

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These products have helped me throughout the past few years when it came to getting rid of acne. I've tried each of these methods and they've worked for instant acne relief. I'll eventually write a post about brands that claim to help with acne and whether or not they've helped me because I've tried quite a few! Until then, I hope that you find at least one of these methods useful. 

How do you cope with pimples? Tell me all your beauty secrets in the comment section!


  NOTE:
  the commentary given in this post is my personal opinion. 
there was no compensation given to me for writing about these products.
each product that is mentioned in this post worked for me personally.
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3.28.2017

Monthly Favorites | March



Here are somethings that I've been loving this month:



Item #1: Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment
I really love this lip treatment by Fresh. Normally, I wouldn't pay $26 for a lip balm, but I've been eyeing this beauty for a few months now, dying to try it. I finally mustered the courage to grab it off the shelf regardless of the price. Usually the price was a total turn off for me, but I caved this month and bought it. This lip treatment is something else. The application is so smooth, like freshly churned butter smooth and the smell is just heavenly. This balm is super hydrating, and I love that it's clear because most of the other Sugar lip products have a tint to them. If you have dry lips or are an avid lover of lip balm (it's like an addiction for me) then I'd recommend it. 

You can find this product online at Sephora, Fresh, and Amazon.

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Item #2: Aquaphor Baby Diaper Rash Creme
That's right, diaper rash creme ladies. Get your ladies on this stuff -- ASAP. Not only does this creme help your baby's little buttocks heal when they get a diaper rash, but it can also be implemented in your beauty routine! That's right: you heard correctly, I'm using this as a beauty product. I have one of these tubes on my night stand and every night I dab a little bit on my acne. I'll be talking more about this in an upcoming post about quick acne fixes -- so stay tuned!

You can find this product online at Walmart and Amazon.

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Item #3: Hanalei Sugar Lip Scrub
I got this lip scrub in an ipsy bag a while back and it's been a beauty routine staple ever since. This scrub is amazing on your lips. It smells lovely and tastes even better. I use this once a week or sometimes I forget and only use it when I feel like my lips have some dry skin on them. It leaves your lips feeling so soft and smooth. So far, it's the only lip scrub that I've tried that hasn't made my lips bleed, so it's a winner in my book.

You can find this product online at Hanalei and Amazon.


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Item #4: Kopari Coconut Body Glow
I am really loving Kopari's Coconut body glow this month. Since spring hasn't made an appearance in PDX, this product has been a perfect pick me up. When applied, the body glow gives your skin a slight shimmer and it smells amazing -- which is always a plus! I usually put this on right after I get out of the shower on a day where I want to wear minimal make up, but still want a bit of sun kissed glow. This is also great for when I don't want a full face of make up,  I'll grab this instead of a highlighting product. 

You can find this online at Sephora and Kopari.


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Item #5: Burt's Bees BB Cream 
I've heard a lot about this BB cream, so naturally, I wanted to try it for myself. I think Burt's Bees is a brand that always puts out great products and the BB cream was no different. It has more coverage than your typical BB cream which I love, but the smell is strange. If smells don't bother you and you want minimal coverage, then this is the stuff for you. I get the light shade as well as the light/med shade and mix them together because both shades alone don't match my skin tone.

You can find it online at Amazon, Target, and Burt's Bees



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Item #6 Maybelline's Volum Express Colossal BIG Shot Mascara   
This mascara is amazing and you can find it at any drug store that sells Maybelline products -- score! I love how voluminous it makes my lashes look and it doesn't take a million layers for that to happen. I also love the shape of the bristles, because it's made to work with your lashes and avoid clumping! Out of all the Maybelline mascaras on the market, this one beats them all. 

You can find this online at Target, Amazon and Ulta.






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&
that's all I have for you for this month's monthly favorites, 
what items have you been loving? 
I'd love to hear from you, so comment down below!
don't forget to come back next month to see more items 
that I've been loving!

2 comments

3.17.2017

Review | Lessy Messy Diaper Changing Mat



Changing a baby when you're out and about can be a such hassle -- germs everywhere, yuck! I've always avoided changing my little one in public places because those changing tables in the restrooms are super hard and they don't provide any time of towel to cover up the plastic. I'm not a normally a germ-a-phobe, but public changing tables really gross me out.

If I've ever changed my little one anywhere, it was in the back seat of my car, but most of the time, I'd just waited until I got home. When I received the Lessy Messy Diaper Changing Mat, that all changed.

The first thing I did was throw the mat in the wash because that's what the packaging told me to do. I washed it with Dreft: Active Baby liquid detergent and the mat really absorbed the smell which I thought was great. The packaging stated it was washer and dryer safe which I can attest to. I didn't change any of my settings on my washer and dryer. To my surprise, the mat came out the same way it went in -- soft and the same size.

After it was clean, I set out to test out the following claims I read on the packaging:

  1. Absorbent
  2. Leak Proof

Here's What I Did To Test Those Claims. I took a bottle of water and spilled a bit on the corner. I then proceeded to spill more water in the middle of mat. I also changed my son on it because it is a changing mat after all.

Verdict. I thought the mat did exactly what it claimed to do. It absorbed the water and there was no leakage, so that makes it 100% accurately advertised. I really liked the fact that even though I spilled a decent amount of water on the mat, it didn't get the other side wet which was my biggest concern after I saw the wet spot. I thought the back would be wet too since the front looked soaked.
 
When I changed my little one on the mat, he seemed to really enjoy the pretty polka dots which I thought was pretty cute.  It's soft mat, so my little guy wasn't bothered by it when hi skin was touching it.

The mat is 20 in. x 30 in. which makes it a decent size. I prefer placing the changing mat vertically when I'm at home and horizontally when I'm using a changing table in public.

I checked out the Lessy Messy website and found out that they sell even larger mats -- score! They have mats for your trunk, for gardening and for outdoor events which is pretty cool. If I could give Lessy Messy any advice, it would be to enlist in more patterns and designs because as of right now, their site is showcasing only three -- the polka dots, plaid, and a colorful letter + shapes design.

I've really grown to love this mat and it's definitely become a diaper bag staple! It's made changing my little guy when I'm not home an option and it's made life a little bit easier -- I'm happy to report that I no longer fear the bed being peed on when he's on this mat. It's really a great product that all mamas should have whether it be in your diaper bag, in your car or on your changing table.



NOTE:
  I received the Lessy Messy Changing Mat free of charge in exchange for a review.
However, this review is my own personal & honest opinion.
This review was not influenced by the fact that I received the mat for free.

1 comment

3.14.2017

How To Deal, Manage & Cope With Postpartum Hair Loss




I woke up one morning, two months postpartum, and ran my fingers through my hair which led to what looked like half of my hair on my hand. I took a brush and brushed my hair which led to even more hair falling out. I had heard about postpartum hair loss happening and wasn't very worried about it when I was pregnant because my hair fell out a ton before, so I thought no big deal, right?

Wrong. I found it to be a pretty big deal because I was not prepared for the amount of hair that was and still is currently falling out. It's been 4 months since I had my babe and I am still losing a ton of hair. I find it a complete miracle I still have hair on my head actually. For someone who has always loved styling their hair, postpartum hair loss is something that hit me like a bag of bricks -- it was fast and it made me wanna cry.

If this is happening to you right now, I am so sorry. It's painful to watch all that gorgeous hair fall out. It's gross to see the entire contents of your scalp on your hairbrush and it's really annoying to find out that the reason you're itchy in weird places is because of loose strands of hair. I feel for you. Luckily, I have some tips on how to deal, manage, and cope.

How To Deal. 

I mean really, just do it. The truth is there is nothing and I mean nothing that will stop this process, so just accept it. When you were pregnant, you most likely had voluminous, beautiful locks and you know what they say -- all good things must come to an end, so say hello to being bald! Haha, relax mama, I'm teasing. What's really happening is that while you were pregnant your estrogen levels where off the charts and that resulted in your hair "freezing" or resting. All that means is that hair that would have normally fallen out stays on your scalp -- resulting in thicker hair when you're pregnant.

How To Manage. 

Managing the hair loss can be tricky because it depends on how much it bothers you and how long your hair is. I had semi-long hair when the hair loss started, so one of the first things I did was go get a hair cut. The reason I opted for a chop is because when I'd wake up, my entire pillow would be covered in hair. When I got out of the shower, my entire body would be covered in long strands of hair that seemed to never end when I'd try to get rid of them. Now, thanks to the new hair do even though I'm losing the same amount of hair, it looks like a lot less and that's helping my sanity quite a bit.


Another thing I did was invest in some good hair products. I went out and bought products from the brand Kristin Ess at Target. I now use volumizing mousse when I style my hair and thickening spray the moment I get out of the shower. I also don't condition the roots anymore because it weighs down your head, instead I use weightless leave in conditioner and that really makes all the difference! If you can, stay away from heated styling products and anything that can damage your hair.

How To Cope.

The good news you're not going bald and your hair will most likely grow back. It's not the end of the world even though it seems like your hair is thinning -- focus on the fact that all this hair loss is because you brought a beautiful little human into the world. Beauty comes from within anyways, so should we even be freaking out about this?!


How'd you deal, manage and cope with postpartum hair loss? I'd love to hear your tips and thoughts!



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3.07.2017

How To Clean Your Beauty Blender & Make Up Brushes


If you do your make up, you'll know how dirty and messy the methods of application can be. In this post, I thought we'd talk about how to clean your beauty blenders and make up brushes because personal hygiene is super important -- especially when we're referring to your skin! Cleaning your tools will prevent rashes, redness, break outs and even infection!

Beauty Blender. For those of you who don't know what a beauty blender is, it's an egg like sponge which are used for applying foundation and contouring. The good news is that you don't have to buy a new beauty blender after each time you use one because they are easily sanitized.



To sanitize your beauty blender regularly, you can combine warm water with hand soap or shampoo. If you have sensitive skin, you should look for products that are organic or are gentle for the skin because the blender will absorb the product and it could irritate your skin. After you mix the soap and water, submerge the blender in the mixture and let it absorb some of the water by squeezing it a couple of times. Leave the blender in the soapy mixture for about half an hour, but make sure there is enough soapy water to cover the sponge. You'll notice that the color of the water will start to change -- that's because all the foundation and powder from your beauty blender is slowly dissolving. Keep an eye on your blender during this time and make sure to add more water if needed.

After 30 minutes have passed, dump the soapy water and rinse your beauty blender with warm water and squeeze until the water is clear. When you're done with the rinsing, get a paper towel and wrap the sponge, squeezing it to get the excess water out. Place your beauty blender in an airy location where it can fully dry.


Another thing you can do when you need to clean your beauty blender is do a quick wash. For this method you need blendercleanser solid or ivory soap -- scented or non depending on how sensitive your skin is. Turn your water to as hot as you can bear it and soak your beauty blender in the water until the sponge is fully wet. Grab your soap and your blender and rub them together for 5 seconds and rinse. Repeat this cycle until the rinsing water is clear.

You can purchase the blender cleanser solid online at: Sephora, Amazon, and BeautyBlender.com, but if you're not willing to spend $16+ on the cleanser, then an ivory soap bar will do the same job without breaking the bank.

While these two methods are to be used every time after you've used the beauty blender sponge, the sponge should also be deep cleaned and disinfected at least once a month. It is crucial to do this because the sponge becomes a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

To disinfect the beauty blender sponge, first thoroughly wet it and place it a bowl of water. Take that bowl and place it in the microwave -- please make sure the sponge is wet before you place it in the microwave or you may start a fire. Again, the beauty blender sponge needs to be wet before being placed in the microwave. Run the microwave for 30 seconds to "bake the sponge," but make sure you don't leave the room and watch the process. If you notice smoke, stop the microwave immediately!

After you remove the bowl from the  microwave, let the beauty blender cool down for a couple of minutes then dry the sponge with a paper towel to the best of your ability and leave in an airy location to fully dry before using it again.

Make-Up Brushes. Cleaning your brushes isn't as complicated as cleaning your beauty blender. You should clean your brushes daily, and then at the end of the week (or every two weeks at the latest) do a deep cleaning.

Make-up cleaning spray is a good way to clean your brushes daily. To clean, you spray your brush generously and then take a tissue or paper towel rubbing your brush clean. There are many sprays on the market, so your biggest dilemma in this process will be choosing which one to buy.



Another way to quickly clean your make up brushes is to use the EcoTools Makeup Brush Cleansing Cloths. These cloths save you time because you don't have to waste time spraying the brush or finding a tissue/paper towel. You just take it out of the package and start to clean your brush! 


While the cloths are super convenient when you are short on time,  I personally think that the sprays are much more efficient at cleaning the brushes because you can spray as much as you want and repeat the process as much as you need to. If you're like me, you spray 4 to 5 times, rub a good minute and then repeat that cycle at least one more time! A brush can never be too clean!

To deep clean your brush, you need running hot water and the blender cleanser solid (the same one we used for the beauty blender sponge), but don't fret -- you can substitute ivory soap  once again!

Wet your brushes, lather it in the blender cleanser solid (or ivory soap) and then rinse. Repeat. Do this until the water runs clear.

Another tool you can implement in this process is the "brushegg." The brushegg is a small silicone glove called that has ridges on one side. To use this glove,  you lather your brush in the cleanser or soap, when you get a good amount of cleanser, you take it to the glove and rub against it under warm/hot running water. This way the brush is getting heat as well as friction to dissolve and remove left over make up embedded in your brush.


You can buy this brush on Amazon -- as there are several brands that are selling it. I opted to buy the 1$ because in my opinion they are all the same. I've seen heart shapes and mats that have the same concept which you can buy online, but those are more expensive. If you're about the aesthetic appeal of your cleaning products, you may want to consider all your options.

After you wash your brushes, leave them on a towel to air dry and then you're ready to beautify yourself once again!

If you use these steps when cleaning your beauty blender sponges and make up brushes, you'll be doing your skin a major favor. There's nothing better than a healthy skin and to have healthy skin, we need to make sure that the products and tools we are using are safe!

How do you clean your make up products? Do you have any favorite beauty tool cleansers?
I'd love to hear about it -- leave me a comment below!

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NOTE:

This post was a collaboration with Domestic Cleaning Services in London, England.
This post was not written for compensation or reward. All comments made about products are my own.  
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3.03.2017

Quote of the Month | March


It's March already lovelies! I honestly cannot believe we are already in the third month of 2017 -- just wow! Time really does fly.

This month's quote was inspired by my little sister Ruthie who happens to be autistic. I really love her attitude when it comes to life. Her contagious smile and her "I don't care what you think about me if I'm different" attitude really takes my breath away. I remember one time a few years back (before I was married) my family and I were at church. After an amazing performance by the brass band, Ruthie stood up and said AMEN in her loud booming, but joyful voice. The lady in front of us turned around and gave Ruthie, my mother and I the meanest of looks. I know I was in the house of God, but I wanted to take my shoe off and throw it at her the moment she turned around. Ruthie, however, just let out a sweet giggle and didn't that grump ruin her Sunday morning service. I looked at her with complete awe because she was teaching me an important lesson -- you can choose peace and joy over worry.

This month, I am looking back at that memory and reminding myself that it's up to ME to choose peace and joy -- no matter the circumstance!


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