2023 / Mainly Marta :: A Motherhood + Lifestyle Blog



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 everything in between. Thanks for stopping by; I hope you stay awhile!


social media gurus + the ever changing algorithm

office lunch by roger wilkerson


we're starting to approach the end of the year, so I thought I'd end the year with a blogger hotline post that addresses Instagram, the ever changing algorithm and the concept of audiences. I'm inspired by something that happened this morning when I commented on a social media manager's thread. Some of the things I am about to say, I said on threads too, but I can elaborate and not be subjected to a word count via my little corner of the web.

here's what happened

a self professed social media guru wrote a thread about the algorithm how it pertains to the audience.
then, people (myself included) responded with differing opinions and started sharing experiences.
the guru deleted the thread and made new one -- claiming people were being negative in previous thread,  “eDuCaTeS” them on why they're wrong and ends thread with "hope this helps."
an open letter to the social media guru,
please stop acting like you've got it all figured out. your passive aggressive helpfulness isn't coming off like you're wanting it to. people are catching on that you don't have the answers and that you're monopolizing on the frustration of masses. if people didn't have these sentiments toward instagram, you wouldn't have an audience.

here's the deal --
if you can’t let people talk about their own experiences and strategies in the comments of your content whether it be under a thread, reel, or post, then I’d say you’re actually not trying to help people grow. 
it's not being negative to be frustrated with the current state of instagram, especially when it used to be a place you enjoyed. it's the reality of the people who want their content to reach the right people. instagram started out as a photo sharing app and a lot of people miss that. 

stop trying to shame people for feeling this way and then proceed to blame them for not doing enough. it's disgusting. a person's audience accumulates because they supposedly like the content that is already being produced. 
it's instagram algorithm's job to push out my content to like minded people while I simultaneously go out and find people to connect with. that's how it supposed to work. in an ideal world, the people I find, engage back and we mutually hit the follow button and a connection is made. the problem is, the algorithm doesn't do that anymore and engagement is hard to come by leaving a lot of people with questions, frustrations, and negative feelings toward the app + algorithm. 
people are tired of being a slave to the algorithm when the algorithm is constantly shifting the goal post.

my two cents on the current state of the instagram world

before I start, I just want to say that I've been on Instagram since 2010 when it first launched in October of that year. I used it to share random snippets of my life, and then I started using it as a blogging platform alongside this one in 2016. It became a source of passive income source for 6 years and I've seen + talked to a lot of creators in that time frame. the things I'm about to say reflect my personal experience on the app and what I've seen / heard throughout the years. I never claimed, or claimed to be an expert, just a long time user.

instagram is really hit or miss these days

when instagram first started, people grew because everyone had a fair chance and you could post what you loved, then the people who loved those same things could easily find you through hashtags and mutuals. I grew my blogging space during that time and it was so fun!

today, you can produce really amazing content and still be buried by the algorithm. not only that, but it’s gone from being a community based platform to content based platform.
the truth is that some people don’t have the energy to produce content all the time and experience creator burn out at much faster rates than before. not to mention that nothing is really “original” and issues arise when people start passing ideas or content off as their own when they were inspired by a smaller creator.
another to thing to note is that for people who have been on the app for years like myself, a lot of our followers have left + been inactive for years which in turn skews the engagement rate that the algorithm supposedly reads. 
to add, if people aren't sharing your content, then you're gonna be at a stalemate, which essentially means that you need to work fast and hard to push out content that is gonna catch the attention of someone bigger than you. 

Old Instagram vs. The New Instagram

Last summer, I was doing all the things over on my blogging page -- posting daily, active on stories, sharing, saving, engaging and I was noticing that my photos weren't reaching very many people. I ran ads, I posted reels, made guides, and still, it wasn't getting better. 

but, you wanna know what I was getting? messages from people that I connected with previously in my inbox saying, "hey.. I had to search you up because I never see your stuff anymore."
Why is that? I didn't change, in fact, I was doing more than ever and still running into the same issues. feeling defeated, I said okay and decided that I wanted to make a new page and start from scratch to gauge out all the inactive people. so last summer, I did just that.

here's what I've found

it’s a lot harder to grow because not only is the “audience” always changing, but you have push out content all the time to even stay afloat. in a year and a half, I’ve accumulated around 700 followers. When I first started, I started out swinging by doing everything they were suggesting, but I wasn't getting the numbers the gurus were promising, so I stopped. 
Now, I do the opposite of what they suggest. I don’t post consistently. I post more photos than reels. I seldomly get on stories. I like to support other creators and share the stuff I really like + love on stories. I engage with accounts I love and seek out people who are genuine. I unfollow those who aren't and I'm happier.
i’ve come to the place where I run my instagram account and it doesn't run me.  the numbers, the stats, the pressure of being on top has been tossed to the side. gone are the days when i look at my reach and panic. those numbers are just that -- numbers. they mean nothing on the grand scale of things, friends.
it's a great place to be because the truth is this — content is king these days and people trying to sell you something else are being dishonest. the stinger is that when gurus tell you to go engage and build your audience, a lot of time it is not reciprocated because it’s become about numbers instead of people. you can support someone for months and they’ll never follow back. you can reach out several times and then they’ll label you as spammy. there is just so much that goes into it. 
I've experimented with this too -- if I follow someone from my account that has 50k, they’ll usually follow back, but if I follow someone from my smaller account, they don’t follow me back. It's also been documented that a lot of people bought followers to fluff their appearance, they participate in engagement groups to saturate their comment section and so may other dishonest things. people like to create echo chambers of yes men and then prop it up as look at me and how successful I am. 
very rarely do people give out information for free -- you have to give them something in return. subscribe to my emails, sign up for my courses and subscribe for exclusive content. I'm not saying those things are inherently bad, but a lot of times, you sign up, and the information you get is information you can get for free. again, that's not always the case, but a lot of times, you'll find that it is.

trust me when I say so many of the people pretending to be positive on instagram and giving you all this inspirational content, in their private DMs groups, are grumbling about these things too. find your audience, girls girl, and community over competition have become catch phrases that don't mean much anymore. I've seen it first hand.
in short,
it’s literally a guessing game at this point. your best bet is trying to go viral — which is where all the trends come in. I for one refuse to prance around and record myself to become viral. I'm a boring lady with grannie hobbies and that's just not me, so why would I keep up with trends who don't reflect who I am? it's dishonest and not genuine, something that people are craving more and more each day.
bottom line-- I’m convinced that anyone who builds their platform on trying to help others grow is just monopolizing on the fact that people are finding it hard to grow. no one is telling you why it’s hard. they pin it on you’re lazy + not doing enough just to give you these simple solutions + quick fixes that don’t actually work. it's not true, and it's not fair to those of us who have been on the app since the beginning. 

when you tell us to play by the algorithm's rules and read the audience, you're invalidating people's time and experience. you're claiming to be an expert by regurgitating the same thing time and time again.

if we’re honest, once facebook took over instagram, that’s when it truly started to be a numbers game. before then, influencers and bloggers were making a ton of money via affiliate links and sharing pretty pictures. life was simple back then. sharing was fun.

Facebook saw the machine instagram was and wanted to profit from it too. they bought it out and all of a sudden, these new features rolled out. they consistently try to compete with other apps. first it was stories, to be like snapchat, then reels to be like tik tok, what's next? before reels, Instagram wanted you (and still does) to pay to be seen by running ads because going viral is hard and that's the one thing people don’t want to talk about. 

all that to say, 

if you're a business, I understand that you're trying to reach potential customers and you really want to grow. this post isn't meant to discourage you, but rather make you feel seen and heard if you're feeling frustrated. keep doing and creating what you love and the right people will find you.
the best way to grow is to slowly branch out to other platforms and build a cohesive brand. followers come and go, but a lot of time, if I like you on one platform, I'll check out your other pages too.
friendly reminder that slow growth is still growing and considered progress. :)
so, the next time someone tells you to do more, remember me, and this post  -- because you can be doing all the right things, and still feeling like you're coming up short. alright friends, that's all I got for you today. see you next year! 

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My Christmas Playlist

hello hello. welcome to day 23 of blogmas, can't believe we have just one more post to go! today, I'm sharing my Christmas playlist. I add to it every year, but as of right now, there are 4 hours and 25 minutes of retro, vintage, and modern Christmas classics that I love!

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18 Things To Do This Month In The Treasure Valley

HELLO! HAPPY DECEMBER PEOPLE :) we made it and the christmas countdown is officially on!

I thought I'd take this blogmas post to talk about our plans for the month. We're in a new city this holiday season and we're having the holidays without any close family this Christmas, so I'm trying to over compensate that sadness with doing all the local things! Here is a small list of things I'd like to do and see this month. 


the to do list :

1. Walk Through 45-Miles Of Holiday Lights At Scentsy Commons

2. Go to the Vintage Holiday Market

5. Go Sledding at Camel Back Park

6. Drive Through Christmas In Color

7. Take a Sleigh Ride in the Sun Valley

8. Watch a Journey To Bethlehem in Theaters 

9. Talk A Horse Drawn Carriage Ride

10. Walk Though The Christmas Light Maze

11. See Christmas Lights at Winter Wonderland 

12. Visit the Idaho Botanical Garden

13. See Christmas Trees @ Capital Building, The Grove + The Village

14. Go Snow Shoeing at Bogus Basin

15. Grinchmas Market

16. Down Home Country Christmas in Kuna 

17. Meet Real Reindeer

18. Visit Winter Wonder Village

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My Christmas + Birthday Wish list

hello again, welcome to another day of blogmas! day 21 -- we're almost at the end and just in time as tomorrow is the first day of december! I can't believe it. Christmas is really right around the corner!

Every year, I use a blogmas post to curate a birthday and wish list for myself and this year is no different. Fun fact -- I was supposed to be born on Christmas Eve and was a whole month late -- on the dot. I like to combine the two into one comprehensive list and I never really think about it until it's time to make this post, so it gives me an opportunity to sit down and think about what I want.  

this year, I'd like to start a brooch collection, so I added a few that I'd love to have, and of course, things for the home are always on the list. a few books, different type of candle holders + plates because I love the coziness of candles in the coming months made the list as well. I basically put things that I've been eyeing on the list, that's fair right? 

* as always, some links are affiliate!


Growing Seasons Book


Badger Brooch

Earthy Shades of Nail Polish

Beeswax Pillar Candles

Fox Butter Dish

Moth Brooch

Distressed Taper Holder

Mouse Salt + Pepper Shakers


Painted Measuring Spoons

Enamel Canister Set

Pie School Book 

Blue Scarf 

Enamel Taper Plate

Rabbit Brooch

Lore Pemberton Prints

Patchwork Kitchen Set

Black Bird Brooch 

Wooden Spoons

Botanical Shakespeare

Door Mouse Brooch

Mouse in Cup Figurine

Pillar Candle Plate

Vole Brooch

12 Days of Christmas Mug

Tiny Nativity Cake Toppers

* items lined through are  things that I bought for myself or someone already gifted it to me.
alright, that's about it friends! my current wishlist. I hope you've enjoyed a little glimpse into the kind of things that I would hope to see under the tree. and with that, I'll bid you farewell -- see you in december! 


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Winter Felted Friends + A Small Announcement

Gerda and the Reindeer by Edmund Dulac

one more day until december, eep! I cannot believe we've made it this far. today's blogmas is near and dear to my heart as I'm officially showcasing my woodland felted friends + announcing my upcoming small shop!

if you've been following on Instagram, you've seen that I've picked up needle felting as a hobby this autumn. I've surprised myself (and everyone who's close to me) with how well they've turned out. It's been so fun creating them and revealing the final product to friends and family. 

Several of you have asked if I'm selling them and I've decided to open up a little shop and sell them (as orders) come in. it'll probably open in the spring though as I have yet to figure out the logistics behind selling physical items -- things like packaging material, branding tools, marketing, etc. Keep an eye out for more updates!

Until then, here are a few of my creations that I am most proud of.

Darcy The Fox 

Winston the Mouse 

Clara the Chickadee


Milton the Mole

Otis the Opossum

Mildred the Squirrel 


Mildred is still a work in progress as I want to give her feet + tiny paws, but I thought I'd share her too as she's turning out so sweet.  I'm so pleased that I picked up this hobby because I am surprising myself with how well they're turning out. 

Anywaaaaaaays that's all for today's post. What little critter do you think I should make next?!

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Christmas Movie Line Up

hello again. we're really creeping closer to December, so it's time to ring in the Christmas movies! I'm big on holiday movies and I'd be lying of I said we haven't started watching them. I'm one of those have hallmark movies running all day during the holidays, but in addition to those, I love watching classics with the kids. here are the movies that are part of this years line up for holiday family movie nights!

and there you have it: a few films to watch the with the kids each night in december! but wait -- there are three bonus film that you have to see which are actually about the TRUE meaning of christmas.

okay friends, that's a wrap! Better get a head start on these because there are more than 30 films listed ;)

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Inventive Snow Day Fun


hello hello, happy monday! let's chat snow days. they're so fun and festive. snow makes everything feel so whimsy + magical. the sight of it instantly sparks joy. for the longest time, we lived in a place where we hardly got any snow, so I had to be inventive since I couldn't drive to the mountains each day. here are some ideas to bring the snow fun indoors.



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Small Shops To Support on Saturday


christmas shopping (1947) by Roger Wilkerson

hello there. welcome back. I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving! I cannot believe it's black friday already. I hope you've found some amazing deals. since we're resuming blogmas, I wanted to take today to shout out some of my favorite small shops and artists that could use your support tomorrow for small shop saturday. these shops are near and dear to my heart as they are ones that I frequent often.

I'll be adding some codes and links as i have them, but really just support these amazing without the links if you can because the revenue they make today and this season help pay their bills and support their families. I love supporting them and love the amazing work + products they consistently bring!

so enough blabbing, here's that list --

favorite small shops

happy place nature

I'm Irena's biggest fan. she makes wonderful play-dough stampers and wooden animals that we consistently reach for during the day. She also makes wooden trays and puzzles that are absolutely wonderful. She gave me a code to share with my followers a while back and it's valid for the rest of this year!

use code : 10MARTA2023 for 10% off your order 

the child's apothecary

another one of my all time favorites. Sarah creates the most beautiful fizzy kits and curates a collection of wonderful curiosities. She has seasonal drops that are literally jaw dropping. 


one of my favorite places to buy natural homemade play dough. the colors are gorgeous and the quality is amazing! 
my favorite mom and dad team! they make the most beautiful wooden toys and trays. Becky has become a close friend of mine and every launch she and her husband, Andrew, release with is so original and beautiful! I really love their commitment to using earthy and muted tones. they're on winter break right now, but I couldn't not add them to this list! 

my toy wagon

sells a beautiful collection of wooden and felt toys. we also love buying our connectix tiles from this shop.  

get $10 off your first order by clicking here!


a collection of beautiful books, clothes, and toys.


the first small shop I ever supported and bought from when I started homeschooling. they have wonderful educational resources in the form of white boards and wooden trays. they also have a wonderful selection of manipulative. 
our favorite place to buy play silks for capes and forts. The colors are amazing and we love the seasonal prints. We also use their subscription and get a play silk each month in the mail!


bella luna toys

the go to place for all my waldorf needs!  

get $10 off of $50 using this link or use code "MARTA" at checkout! 

YaYa Eco Designs

another favorite place to buy homemade play-dough. the colors + quality are always up to par with our expectations!

we love their selection of wooden open ended toys. they carry one of our favorite Romanian toy brands!

 my go to for colorful nature based toys. they have some great educational resources too.
they're based in canada, but I love their selection of items especially during the holidays
their seasonal toys are amazing! a great place to browse. I don't have a daughter, but if I did, I'd shop their doll shop on the regular.

this toy shop is the dreamiest, with heirloom pieces you'll cherish forever.

my go to place for maileg and grapat items. they have an amazing selection of toys! 
get 10% off your order by clicking here or use code "MAINLYMARTA" at checkout

a homemaker's paradise! I love this shop for so many reasons. they have vintage markets every month as well as household staples. I love shopping at this shop and wish they had a local brick and mortar store in my city.

hierloom art co

a little shop filled with vintage inspired pieces and books.

treehouse schoolhouse

this is the shop that sells our favorite seasonal nature studies!

mornings together / penpal clubhouse

they have beautiful digital resources that are inspired by nature. they also have penpal clubhouse which is a cute little subscription that gives you a letter pack each month that your child can send to their pen pal.

the wooden wagon

they have a wonderful selection of european toys + folk art. 

flying pig toys

this is a shop I love because they sell so many kinds of toys and books. I love browsing their selection of usborne books and wooden toys. 


timber and sprout toys

the most beautiful wooden heirloom toys -- name puzzles, push toys, homeschooling tools and so much more. all amazing quality and handmade!

favorite artists


pauline makes miniature needle felted companions that are completely magical. they're stunning creations and so creative.

@picwool on instagram


vanessa makes the cutest waldorf dolls.  

@lilalune on instagram / @lilalune.patterns on instagram

fable + forest

jamie is one of my favorite watercolor artists. her painting of whimsical little mice are magical!

@jamie.lauby on instagram



viktoriya make the sweetest fruit and veggie waldorf dolls that I have ever seen! 

@dollbelge on instagram

lamb little

another watercolor artist that does such beautiful work! 

@lamblittle on instagram

fauna clay

the sweetest little animal sculptures made out of clay

@faunaclay on instagram

rustles from the meadow

heirloom minature felted animal friends

@rustlesfromthemeadow on instagram

studio satsch

lovely illustrations of every day life and seasons

@studiosatsch on instagram 

Lavi Poder

such whimsical illustrations of the countryside 

@lavi_illustration on instagram


Brooklyn Swenson

she makes modern folk art . 

@brooklynswenson on instagram

fox children

some of the sweetest tiny waldorf dolls.

@foxchildren on instagram

gwen van knippenburg

beautiful illustrations + prints 

@gwens_illustrations on instagram

the sweetest most magical felt mice 

stunning illustrations of children and scenes from nostoglic stories
... well, this list could go on an on because there are so many creators, artists and shop owners that I love. I hope you check them out + consider support a few shops tomorrow. even a follow on social media helps a little bit. 

until next time, 

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