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

SLIDER

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

4.28.2017

Check In | 24 weeks + Baby's First Easter


It's time for a check in! I cannot believe I've had my little guy around for 24 weeks. He'll be 6 months next week -- seriously?! Where has the time gone?! It feels like just yesterday I was quickly rushing to the hospital because I thought my back was going to break from the labor pains. Now he's this big boy, filling mommy and daddy's life with so much joy!

Felix is such a happy babe. The little man loves watching children and watching home videos of himself. He has all the heart eyes for daddy, but he also needs some serious mommy cuddles. He usually sleeps through the night, waking mom and dad up only once, but since teething has gone full throttle on us, we're waking up at least two times a night to a fussy babe.

Felix was also sick for the first time every time in these past 12 weeks and that was scary for mom and dad. He took the sickness and visiting the doctor 3 times in the span of a week like a champ.

My little guy is a super active baby, always wanting attention and to play! We're no longer taking multiple long naps during the day -- just two: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The rest of the day, momma is alternating us between activities because baby gets bored quickly. We've also gone from hating bath time to loooooving bath time, and that make mama very happy.

Milestones

Can Roll Over.
Two Teeth -- on the bottom
Eating Solid Food.

Baby Talk -- Sounds like "buh" and "tah." 

Can Grab Toy & Pick It Up.
Running Around In His Walker.
Sleeps On His Own.
Doesn't Normally Feed At Night.

Since the last check in post at 12 weeks (read it here), I've observed two things:

1. How Fast Babies Grow. I feel like this one hit me like a bag of bricks. I don't know what it is, but  every morning when I go to pick up my little guy, he looks so much bigger and more mature than when I put him to bed last night! Little man is just growing way to fast. It's really bittersweet.

2. How Much Baby Needs Mom + Dad. This one seems like a given, but hear me out. Babies are so smart. They know and feel the vibes in the home. Felix picks up on everything. My husband works a 32 hour shift during the weekend and the way his eyes light up when he sees daddy is just melts me -- it's like "oh, hey, you're home, and I'm so happy about it" type of look. When my husband isn't home, he's always eyeing the door. Little man is always wanting to play and be loved by mom and dad. It's just the cutest thing when those little hands grab your face (or in dad's case, beard) and he comes in for a snuggle or slobbery kiss. He's our personal little teddy bear.

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First Easter: We ended up not going to the Easter Morning (or Evening) service at church because Felix was not feeling very well due to teething. He had barely slept at night and didn't take a nap until 4, so I wasn't going to take a fussy little to church. We did go to the Last Supper service on Thursday that week and Felix was such a good baby, I was so impressed with how well behaved he was. As for his first Easter, we didn't do very much. Our families aren't really into Easter baskets and all that jazz, so we had a nice family lunch and that was about it. I can't wait until next year though, hopefully spring will come faster and we can take pretty scenic spring pictures for Easter!

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Here are some pictures from the last 12 weeks of my little sweet Felix Eli:








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4.25.2017

Wedding :: Anniversary + Photos

It's April 25th :: the day I married my best friend. 

Since our wedding day, my husband has been my biggest blessing, my strongest ally and my greatest support. I am super thankful that God gave me someone that exceeded my expectations in ways that I could have never imagined. 

Florin, I've loved the laughs and the joy being married to you brings, and am super grateful to have walked alongside you during the hardships we've faced thus far. You've been an exceptional husband, I cannot tell you that enough -- you're altogether wonderful my dear.

2 years and a baby later, those same feelings I had when I first saw on our wedding day emerge every time I see you walk through the door. I loved you then, I love you now, and I'll love you always. Here's to 80 mores years of being together!


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Since this is my first anniversary that I have a blog, I thought I'd share some wedding pictures!



















& there you have it, some of my favorite wedding pictures!

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Here's a little bonus -- videos of the service & reception 
just in case you were curious about what a Romanian Pentecostal wedding looks like. 
watch the first 5 minutes and then skim through it because it's two hours long! 

SERVICE:



RECEPTION:


oh, the memories. 💕



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4.22.2017

Brand Rep :: Baby Bamboo Towel


Hey Friends!

Felix got his first brand rep opportunity with Bamboo Baby Towel! We're so excited about it.

I was contacted by the owner Amanda who was super sweet and quick at getting me ready to rep her towel.

I didn't buy the towel right aways as I was having a bit of a hectic week, but when I did, my discount codes weren't working.

When I contacted Amanda, she was such a big help and really made me feel like she cared about the customer rather than just the profit.

I bought the towel off of Amazon and because I have prime, I got my package super quick! The towel is white and it's hood has this cute elephant print. It's a super soft towel. I really liked the way it felt to the touch! It's also a decent size.

I tossed it in the wash and then went in for a trial run. You guuuuuuuys, this towel is so effective! It wrapped around Felix (who is a long baby) really nicely. One quick pat down and Felix was dry! I was actually surprised at how well this towel worked. It's a lot more absorbent than a 100% cotton towel -- which up until was my holy grail!

The towel Bamboo Baby Towel is 70% bamboo. 30% cotton. 100% amazing! Seriously, you need this towel in your life! I read on Baby Bamboo's Instagram that they're working on more designs. I can't wait to see them and stock up on these awesome towels!

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If you'd like to buy this towel, you can do that HERE.
& if you use the discount code "48JBI6VR" at checkout, you'll get a little discount! 🎉

You should also go follow the sweet mama behind Baby Bamboo Towels on Instagram: @bamboobabymama



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4.18.2017

Unboxing | Origins VoxBox + "A Perfect World" Event + HAUL

Heyo! It's another unboxing post! I know I need to be more consistent with these unboxing posts, but my boxes come late in the month so I just put it off and then I never get to them. I will be better though, I promise!

This time, I was selected by Influenster to receive a complimentary VoxBox filled with products from the brand Origins. This voxbox was a little different because in order to get this box, I had RSVP to  Origins' "A Perfect World" Event that was held in my city on April 1st.

I was pretty excited to be selected for this voxbox because I had always heard AUH-MAZING this about this skin care brand, but the prices always kept me away. I have this thing about having to try a product before I buy it if it's pricey. Because let's face it, money doesn't grow on trees and there's nothing worse than spending a fortune on a product that you end up hating and not using!

The box came with five samples (in the order they are shown in the picture above): GinZing Energy Burst Moisturizer, Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask, GinZing Eye Renewal Cream, Night-A-Mins Night Cream and Checks & Balances Face Wash.



Here's What I Thought About The Samples In The Origins VoxBox





GinZing Energy Burst Moisturizer: I thought this did fairly well on my skin. The bottle I received is .5 fl oz, but a little goes a long way. It left my face feeling moisturized and the orange citrus smell was really pleasant. This retails for $27.50 for 1.7 oz on the Origins website.

Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask: I really loved this product. It cleaned out my pores on the first try. I really like that you don't have to slather a ton of product on your face for you to notice results. I applied a thin layer at first and it dried up in less than 10 minutes which was great. 3.4 oz of this retails for $26 on the Origins website.


GinZing Eye Renewal Cream: This is was the smallest sample I received and the only product that I probably will never buy from them -- at least not now. It's supposed to brighten and depuff your eyes and if I'm going to be 100% honest I didn't see any results when using this, but this might because I don't suffer from puff eyes or dark circles under the eyes. 0.5 oz of this stuff retails for $30 on the Origins website.


Night-A-Mins Night Cream: I don't usually use night creme but I liked this. It's not sticky and applies really nice and smooth. I really like that it's a lightweight creme too, so the skin on your face doesn't feel heavy and dull. Your skin feels very moisturized after application. This also has a citrus like smell to it. This retails for $51.50 on the Origins website.


Checks & Balances Face Wash: This was my favorite sample from the voxbox because I washed my face and it left my face feeling so clean and fresh. It has a minty smell to it and foams up when you wash your face with it. When I used this face wash for the first time (before I went to bed), I was starting to break out. In the morning, my breakout had minimized and that made me super happy. I've been using this face wash almost every night and I've noticed that it clears up break outs before they get a chance to take over your face -- which is great. It's quickly becoming a beauty routine staple. This product retails for $22 on the Origins website. 

Overall Impression of the Voxbox: I really liked this box. I was allowed to try products that I've been eyeing for awhile, but never had the courage to buy because of it's price tag. Origins is quickly becoming one of my favorite skin care lines because they really invest in their product by using natural ingredients. I really love that the products they sell don't promote results that they can't deliver. I found a few products that I think I'll be repurchasing in the years to come, so thank you to Influenster for this great voxbox!


When Influenster told me that I qualified to recieved the Origins VoxBox, I was asked if I would be able to attend an event at an Origins store. Luckily, I have a store about 15 minutes away, so I quickly r.s.v.p.ed to the event and marked my calendar.

Origins was launching a new line of products called "A Perfect World" -- these products all have SPF in them and are made with white tea

In the email, you also could book "mini free facials," so I did that as well. 

The VoxBox came a few days before the event so I was able to try a few products and figure out what I liked and didn't like.

When April 1st rolled around I was beyond excited! I took my sisters and all four of us went to the event. 



When I got to the event at the Origins at Bridgeport Village, there was a long line for the mini facial. The Perfect World products were on full display in the front of the store and I noticed that there was along line for the mini facial. I looked around to see if there was someone I could check in with because I reserved a time slot for a facial -- and I found no one. The store was extremely cramped. There were to ladies at the front desk checking people out, a woman at the facial stand giving facials, a tea reader in one corner of the store, and a sketch artist in the opposite corner of the store. Disappointed, I got in line and waited for my facial. 

view of the launch party from the entrance of the store
 As I waited in line, I noticed that the mini facial consisted of the woman rubbing Origin products on your face -- something I could do at home, so after a waiting in line for 45 minutes and still having 3 women in front of me when I reserved a time slot 3 days prior, I gave up on the facial. I went and got a sketch of myself done (since they were free) and browsed the shelves for the products that I wanted and went to the register to pay for my products. Because I was with Influenster, they gave me a free notebook and a 20% discount off my entire purchase. On my way out, I grabbed a cupcake from their refreshment table and dashed out of the store.


the free notebook and sketched portrait
Overall Impression of the Launch | Event: If I'm going to be honest, I felt like the whole thing was a disaster because it was very disorganized. What was the point of having me r.s.v.p for a time slot if I didn't get my facial at that time? I made sure to be there for 5 mins early, and ended up waiting 45 minutes before I decided it wasn't worth it. That was the most disappointing. The only redeeming part of it was the 20% off the entire purchase -- had that not been part of the party I would have disappointed and left empty handed.



While I was at the Origins event, I bought three full sized products: the Checks & Balances Face wash, the Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask and the Original Skin Retexurizing Mask with Rose Clay. I really loved the Checks & Balances Face wash and the Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask samples from the Origins Voxbox, so I got the full sized products and passed along the samples to my little sister who has troublesome skin.

I bought the Original Skin Retexurizing Mask with Rose Clay because I love anything with roses in it and it smelled absolutely wonderful. I couldn't resist the purchase! Once I got home, I didn't regret it. The moment I tried on this mask was the moment I instantly loved it. Like the charcoal mask, only a thin layer was needed when applied to the face. After application, it only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to dry. It dries this pretty light pale pink color. This mask doesn't make your face feel very tight, so don't worry about if you can still move your facial muscles. When I was ready to wash my face, I took my sonic facial brush, wet it and then rubbed my face in circular motions. As you wash it off, this mask gently exfoliates your skin which is a bonus in my opinion. After I got it all off my face, my skin felt super smooth and soft! This mask retails for $26 on the Origins website. 




About two weeks after the event, I got an email saying that if I bought $65 worth of Origin products, they'd send me 5 free samples and a free full sized United State Balancing Tonic! So, I took that as an opportunity to stock up on a full sized Night-A-Mins Night Cream, the GinZing Brightening Mascara to Lengthen and Lift, and Underwear for Lashes the Little Lash Builder.  After reading that email, it instantly became an "add to cart" type of day!


I've grown to love the GinZing Brightening Mascara to Lengthen and Lift! I heard really great things about it and I was was so eager to try it out. I really wanted to see what all the hype was about. Welllllllll, let me just tell you -- this product does not disappoint. First impression will make you kind of nervous because the wand is quite big (it looks almost unusable), but if you're careful, you can be successful with it. This mascara gives you the illusion of falsies (aka false eyelashes) without the hassle of falsies and for that alone I love it. I've never been one to wear falsies, but always envied the way they make lashes look and this is the best product to achieve that full look! It makes your lashes look so full and long, it's just gorgeous. It doesn't flake and isn't a heavy wear so application is just a dream! I also love that it's not hard to wash off. This product retails for $19.50 on the Origins website. 

The Underwear for Lashes the Little Lash Builder retails for $18.50 on the Origins website. I feel like it's worth the investment because it is the perfect eyelash primer. I honestly love it! My mascara doesn't smudge when I have this on underneath and this product aids in making my lashes look significantly longer. I feel like this product makes any mascara life longer than when it's worn on it's own and it just beautiful. The best element of this product is that when you apply mascara over it, it looks natural and you get less clumping -- the mascara just glides on after placing this on your eyelashes. This mascara primer is literally a beauty routine staple that allows you to have those gorgeous long lashes you've always wanted!

The United State Balancing Tonic is the product I got for free with this purchase and it's 5 fl. oz. which makes me one happy camper! I love me some freebies ladies, you don't even know! After trying this tonic a few times, I have come to the conclusion that this toner is one of the best toners on the market right now. I really love how it doesn't dry out your face and if you use it after you wash your face with Origins' Checks & Balances face wash, it'll leave your face squeaky clean! I use it right after I wash my face to close up all my pores -- especially when I feel a break out coming on. Your skin will feel so clean and fresh after using this tonic -- it does a really great job of taking off the make up your face wash left behind. I also noticed that my face feels super hydrated after using it. Another thing that I absolutely love about this product is that it doesn't have that burning sensation when you use it. It just feels super fresh and clean! This product retails for $22 on the Origins website, but since I got it for free, I love it that much more!

In addition to the free tonic and the eyelash products -- Origins let me pick out five samples (those freebies give me allllll the heart eyes). But when I opened my happy mail, there were no samples in the box. Disappointed, I quickly contacted customer service and am now awaiting their response. I'll let you guys know what happens with that!




So there you have it! My experience with Origins, their VoxBox through Influenster and their "Perfect World" event. I'd say that my first impression of them is a good one -- minus the missing samples. I would definitely recommend Origins to a friend and I'll be buying from them in the future. I really love their products. 

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UPDATE: 
Origins got back to me and was super sweet in their reply.
They said they don't know what happened, but they're sending me 5 free sample free of charge! YAY.
Such an awesome brand, you guys -- super awesome products and really great customer service!

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NOTE: 
I was given a complimentary Origins VoxBox from Influster in exchange for an honest review. 
Attending the Origins event was mandatory to receive the Origins VoxBox.
All commentary made on the VoxBox, the event and Origins products are my own honest & personal opinion.
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4.12.2017

Visual Verse | Intro to Series + Proverbs 31:25

I've been on Instagram for about 7 years now. I stumbled upon it when it was browsing the app store in 2010. I quickly downloaded the app and started uploading pictures of my every day life with what I liked to think was my artistic eye.

That year was a year that I encountered the Lord as He helped me through my very first heartbreak. I had talked to this boy and false promises were made promises were broken -- I found myself alone and hurting. Long story short, the only place I found peace was on my knees and in His word. Because I was so consumed with being in the word, I neglected Instagram until I had an idea! I started making these pictures called visual verses. It was how I memorized scripture. I would find a verse I loved and then I'd take a picture that would interpret that very verse. I'd carry that verse throughout my day and constantly be dwelling on it until I'd stumble on something that made me go "AHA! THIS IS IT" and quickly take a snapshot. I'd then go place the verse on the picture and by the time I was done, I could recite the verse and it was then hidden in the depths of my heart and showcased on my Instagram profile.

I compiled over 100 visual verses, until one day, I stumbled on an Instagram page that was posting my pictures as their own and was taking credit for them. I confronted the person behind the account and was blocked almost instantly. I was so upset about it that I went ahead and took down every single visual verse I ever posted.

I never placed a watermark on my photos because I thought it's God's Word, no one would steal it. I wanted God to be glorified through my pictures, and was hurt when I saw that people were being dishonest.

One day, I logged onto Facebook and was scrolling down my timeline when I stumbled upon one of my visual verses and saw that 20,000+ people had interacted with my photo. This christian page had shared the picture and through that share, people were saying that they were encouraged and really needed that reminder -- it was such a humbling experience. I went to Pinterest and saw a lot of my creations being pinned to encouraging boards and I felt such joy. At that very moment, I remember hearing God say, "see Marta, you are reaching people by the thousands just by creating art that glorifies Me."

That was a few years ago, but now that I blog, I want to get back to sharing the verses I've created, as well as create more of them. I'm a bit older now, so "taking credit" doesn't really affect me as much. It's a collaboration with the Lord as I continue to memorize the Word. So, I'd like to share my first visual verse with you, and talk a little bit about it means (a sort of devotional type of post if you will).


I really love this verse because it's all about empowerment. I feel like many times people think women of faith are weak because we submit to our husbands, enjoy serving others and preach things like obedience.

This verse (and all of proverbs 31) talks about a woman who is bold, courageous and has no fear. She looks upon the unknown with joy and contentment and I just love that this is in the Bible!

Whenever I feel a little shaky whether it be in faith or of the future, I always think about this verse and about how my attitude as a follower of Christ, as a wife, as a mom, as a friend, and as a sister affects those around me.

Our attitudes can help and encourage those around us and its so important that we stay strong in the faith especially in times when a lot of people look down on us for our beliefs.

It's important to look ahead, with faith and boldness while declaring the future as ours because if God is on our side, who can stand against us?!                                                            no. one.                                                                    hallelujah! 

I hope you have a blessed Easter weekend dear friends! 



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