January 2024 / 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!


children's valentine's day books

Illustration by Norman Rockwell

hello my dears, today we're talking valentine themed books! 

if you've been here awhile, you know books are something that I love -- especially when it comes to children's books. there is something about a sweet story that gets me every time. so, in the spirit of sharing my love for books, I've curated a list of valentine's day books to share with you all! 

* inserting the disclaimer that some links are affiliate!

the books

hug machine

love is

valentine's blessing

happy valentine's day, curious george

the biggest valentine ever

the day it rained hearts

amelia bedeila's first valentine

valentine's day jitters

love, escargot

funny valentine

mouse + mole: secret valentine

cranberry valentine 

roses are pink, your feet really stink 

arthur's valentine

will you be my valentine?

junie b jones and the mushy gushy valentine

somebody loves you mr. hatch

god's love is a warm cookie

valentine's love bug

valentine party

franklin's valentine

the valentine bears

this is not a valentine

here comes the valentine cat

the love letter

god is love

extra special valentine

the friendship book

forever with you

clifford's valentine  

-- aren't these books just darling? we're not big on valentine's day around here, but we love a good story, so this is the one way we give ode to the lovey dovey holiday. I hope you enjoyed this little book round up.

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valentine's day inspired home decor

weldon valentine pajama ad from the 1950

hello my dears! 

valentine's day is slowly approaching, so I thought I'd share some heart shaped, valentine(y) home decor things to start off a little series inspired by valentine's day. I'm not big on the holiday, but I do love to add little hints of red and pink throughout the home in February. I'm a boy mom, so it's my excuse to get all girly for once -- and my kids approve all my holiday themes, so I'll take any chance I can get!

*friendly reminder that some links are affiliate!


hand vase

heart xoxo mug

blue heart candle

grapevine hearts garland

lavender hearts pitcher

heart appetizer plates

heart sherpa pillows

cookie heart serving platter

hearts dish

mossy heart wreath 

heart shaped rug

checkered heart cozy blanket

heart pie dish

heart ice cube tray

heart double wall latte mug

heart wooden spoon 

nordic floral heart pan

heart dutch oven 

heritage dinner plate with heart + birds 


and that's a wrap!

see you next week, where I'm sharing some valentine themed children's books. until then, xoxo

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10 Things I Left in 2023

The Intrusive Stranger by Lynn Buckham

hello friends, coming at you with ten things I left in 2023

there are no affiliate links today, just a little rambling on my part as I'm in a reflective mood since tomorrow is my birthday. what is it about birthdays that get you all up in your feels? Whatever it is, it's inspired this post.

10 things I left in 2023

prose hair care

not only is it expensive, but it made my hair super oily. I took the quiz and it just didn't work for me. It's too expensive and frustrating to keep reformulating and trying to "get it right." 

subscription boxes

they're fun, but they're usually a waste. I did FabFitFun for years and towards the end, I felt like I was just accumulating things + products. I'd rather subscribe to a service where I know exactly what I'm getting or can opt out of the service for a box that wouldn't fit my needs. 

plastic + glass water bottles

I am so tired of my water getting warm an hour after it I poured it and the bottle sweating bullets within minutes of adding ice. I've shattered so many glass water bottle + cups because it slipped.

portland, oregon

it's what I would consider my hometown since I've lived there since coming to the states when I was 5 year old. it was time to say goodbye, and though bittersweet, it's been a blessing to live where we are now.

oat milks + creamers

these things ravished my gut health and triggered so many gastro issues for me. I stopped using them early last year and majority of my symptoms are gone now, but it took (and is still taking) months to get back on track.


this year it's all about making life style changes and cooking healthy meals. no more fad diets, no more sharing reels, articles and studies with conflicting information. this year it's all about wholesome, healthy food with occasionally treating myself.

hiding + not sharing the things that make me happy

for so long, I've kept parts side of me at bay, with a select few people seeing the "uncool" hobbies. I feel like I am weird in that sense because while I love old vintage and rustic things, I also love non aesthetic things too. I'm a closet Disney adult in the sense that I love Disney figurines of the older nostalgic movies. I used to collect Funko Pops! until last summer when I sold my entire collection. I was kind of embarrassed at how much I liked them, and not many people even know I collected them. Truth its, I'm not a minimalist and I don't ever think I could be. I love collecting art, woodland figurines, and having trinkets all over the place. it's what makes me happy and it's okay if some people don't vibe with it.

trying to make relationships work with people who could care less

this one is a game changer, friends! last year, I decided that it's not me, it's them. it's hard to see yourself being rejected by people who you really want to have friendships with. I went through a bestie break up during the pandemic and it took a long time to reel from it, but I did it and am a better person because of it. I've been out of the fog awhile now, but  I often think about how grateful I am for that situation. It's made me appreciate the people who do care so much more. It's also given me the tools I needed to discard the relationships that don't edify and bring joy. it's a wonderful place to be.

comparing my homeschooling journey with others 

fully accepting that we are an unschooly bunch and no shame about it either. I am so glad that my kids love to learn and we love basing our learning process about the things that make them excited. it makes school enjoyable for them and I don't really care how people feel about it to be honest. we also take random week long breaks when we need to and I've tossed the pressure of filling up the day with school things.

expecting people to be genuine online

this one stings a bit because it sucks. last month there was this "women supporting women" trend that started on threads and I thought -- great! a moment to connect with like minded people. well, wrong. I mean, not all people are like this, but I am consistently seeing that most people just want to be followed, and though they may bark out the words "community," "girls girl," and "friend," they actually don't mean it. I've been burned so many times in the gist of being friends or finding a community that it's just made me feel like I will keep talking + posting to the wind until the right people find me. 

alright friends, that's ten things I'm leaving behind and now, looking forward to a new year filled with all the good things! see you next week.

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#1 | Round Up + Review | 01/24

lush, swoony, exquis by John Gannam

hello my dears, welcome back to my little corner of the gram! 

this year, I'm starting a little series called round up + review where I review all the things. I'm hoping to see these posts go live every month, but at the least, every other month. items will range from food, self care products, clothes, movies, etc. basicallyt anything that catches my eye, I purchase, and/or consume is on the chopping block.

I pride myself in honesty, so I'll be giving you that -- an honest, unfiltered review. all of the items reviewed in these series won't be swayed by partnerships or brand deals, so I hope that gives you a little piece of mind when it comes to reading these. 


this month's round up:

dabble + dallop bath  bombs + soaps

when I first saw these soaps on Anthopolgie's website, I instantly fell in love with the packaging; it reminded me of the L'Oreal soaps from my childhood. So, naturally, I went straight to their website. I searched their Instagram and tagged photos -- it was all so cute. Consider me influenced, because the nostalgia hit and I wanted to try them.

I couldn't decide on which flavor to try, so I opted to buy the bath set to sample them all. I also bought bath bombs, and received as holiday hand wash set as part of a promotion they were running. 

Once the box arrived on our doorstep, the kids were so excited! They loved the packaging and were so excited for bath time! We've been using this soaps since early December, so here's deal:


Would I Recommend it to a Friend? ☺☹ Sort of

Overall Rating: 6/10

The truth is, I like some of them, but most of them I won't be repurchasing and here is why --when it comes to the bath gels, the blueberry + strawberry flavors give off a super artificial scent, the coconut is very soft to the point it doesn't really smell like coconut, and the vanilla whip is kind of a waste because it's foamy and feels more like a hand soap

Another thing to note is that I'm finding that I don't really like using them as a shampoo because hair starts to smells weird after one day, so that's a turn off. They're marketed as a three in one type of deal, but I don't feel like it delivers on that promise. 
To me it's a cute and lush bubble bath for your little ones.Just one pump gives a decent amount of bubbles. Since we have a large bath tub, so we use two pumps and that gives the kids a chance to mix the scents -- something they find so fun! 

On the flip side, I would and will repurchase lemon, tangerine, and honeydew soaps to use as a bubble bath because they smell amazingly good. I also love that once you have the bottle, you can buy their refill bags instead of the bottle. I also feel like the vanilla whip would be fun for sensory play and bins for the kiddos, so I might repurchase that as well.
So, I guess it all comes down to a matter of scent preference. The good news is that they have sample packets for $0.01listed on their website of you want to do a trial run on your own! 

I bought these because I wanted to add some minimal glam to my routine. I like I stated in last week's refresh blog post -- I don't really wear that much makeup these days. I've never been a make up guru, but I am wanting to get back into it on a low maintenance scale. These eye shadows seemed like the perfect way to do that. They're marketed as easy to use, so of course, that sounded like it was right up my alley. Because I'm a neutral girlie, I purchased all the colors except Herb + Lily. 

Would I Recommend it to a Friend? ☹ No

Overall Rating: 3/10

if you're looking for an invisible color, with a hint of sparkle, then this is a good way to spend $18. if you're hoping for a little bit of color, then I'd pass on these. Guys, I really wanted to love them, but I just couldn't. I wanted a hint of color and the only bit of color I got was wracked up in the crease in the fold of my eye lid because the color is so patchy! The website says to blend out with your finger, and let me just say, the little color that is loves to stay on your finger rather than blending onto your lid. I'm still using them to not be wasteful, but I will not be repurchasing these.

we're big pretzel people here and we love Dot's original home-style pretzels, so when my kids saw this bag at Costco, it was an instant grab and add to cart type of deal.

Would I Recommend it to a Friend? ☺ Yes

Overall Rating: 7/10

if you like sweet and salty snacks, this one is pretty good and worth a try. I felt like they made me crave a warm cinnamon sugar pretzel from Aunt Annie's though, so it didn't hit the spot I needed it to. My kids, on the other hand, gobbled the bag up. 

we signed up to bring a hot chocolate bar to a thanksgiving dinner and didn't have a hot beverage dispenser, so, off to amazon I went. there are so many options to choose from, but I bought this because it the most affordable option.

Would I Recommend it to a Friend? ☺ Yes

Overall Rating: 10/10

my children love this machine and are consistently asking for hot chocolate now. we love this machine because it mixes the cocoa powder + warms the drink simultaneously. it takes less than 5 minutes to make several toasty cups. I love that it has a frothy option which makes the drink even more creamier. it was a purchase that the whole family loves!

I first came upon these slippers while watching one of my favorite you-tubers. She mentioned how cozy they are and I was intrigued. Truth is, mules aren't my favorite type of shoe, but moving to Idaho and experiencing daily lows that are in the 20s this winter made me feel like I need a cozy shoe. 

Would I Recommend it to a Friend? ☺ Yes

Overall Rating: 9/10 

And can I just say -- cozy they are! I actually really love these shoes. they keep your feet so toasty and warm. I find that you sweat in them if you don't wear socks, but if you have socks on, these are the perfect house shoe. They have a hard sole, that you could even wear them out, but I prefer to wear them indoors.

the film: don't worry darling (2022)
so this one was on my to watch list for awhile. it's finally on netflix, so I decided to give it a go. according to the movies IMDb page, the plot of the movie is as follows -- while her husband (harry styles) leaves home everyday to work in a top secret facility, a young 1950s housewife (florence pugh) begins to question her life when she notices strange behavior from the other wives in the neighborhood

Would I Recommend it to a Friend? ☺ Yes

Overall Rating: 6/10

overall, I'd day that the movie is a decent. it started off kind of slow and if I'm honest, within the first 45 minutes, I was internally debating whether I should cut my losses and turn it off.  I'm glad I didn't because the last hour of the film picked up and the ending wasn't one that I was expecting. it's listed as a drama, mystery, thriller, and I'd say that's pretty accurate. it's a rated R film and there was plenty of raunchy scenes at the beginning that I fast forwarded through. I'm sure it was to convince the reader of the utopia of a happy couple, but I rolled my eyes each time. florence pugh carried this film on her shoulders, so hats off to her, but I can't say it had me on my seat like a thriller should. the entire movie, you'll find yourself sympathizing with pugh's character, Alice and towards the end, you're hoping she achieves what she sets out to do. the final scene isn't what I'd call a cliff hanger, but it's also not one that leaves you satisfied either. so, if you have two hours to kill and you're looking for a film to waste that time, then give it a go. 

and that's a wrap!
I hope you enjoyed this little round up because I'm already looking forward to the next one! see you next time.   xoxo.

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Self Care Routine + Refresh

Her Morning Regime (1956) by Wayne Blickenstaff 

hello, hello! 

today we're chatting self care in the form of skincare, hair care, body care, and the make up that make me feel like I am pampering myself. I just want to preface this by saying that I am the most low maintenance person when it comes to self care and skin care which may or may not be a good thing.  

I have dry skin patches on my forehead, eye lids, eyebrows, and around my cheeks near my nose + upper lip. it's something that has appeared within the last two years and I've been trying to control / minimize . I also suffer from cystic acne and have many scars to prove it. random redness and wrinkles have also graced my face lately, so I feel like I am a mess.

I've stopped wearing make up because I felt like it looked terrible with the dry patches. I would also breakout the next day, so there's that. I've gotten a better grip on the dry patches, but have stayed away from make up in fear of breaking out which is why I only use mascara these days and eyeshadow. I've debated getting my lashes tinted and extensions to eliminate mascara altogether, but we will see if I ever do it.

so with this post, I am going to share the few things that I have found to help me my skin and the things I want to try as well as other products that I use in my "routine" if you can call it that because if I'm honest, I'm a mom and self care is always on the back burner no matter how hard I try to make it a priority.

*before we start on the routine, let's insert the FDA required statement that some of the links below are affiliate!



 things that are staying in my routine


Ahava Refreshing Cleansing Gel

this is the only face wash that does not make me break out, and for that fact alone. I am keeping it in my routine. I read somewhere that you should only wash your face in the evening and I'm gonna try and see how that pans out this month. I'll keep you guys updated. 

Ahava Hydration Creme Mask

I received this in a subscription box awhile back and it's become a staple. I love using it as an overnight mask when my face feels super dry and needs a pick me up. 

Differin Acne Retinoid Treatment Gel Adapalene 0.1%

this is my go to product when I see a cystic acne spot appear. it's the one thing that works for me. it's another staple for me. I love how efficient it is -- depending how big and deep the spot is, they usually disappear within two to three days.


Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel Moisturizer

I have been using this product since September and so far I really like it. I use it in the morning and throughout the day now that the winter weather is here. 

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Night Facial Serum with Hyaluronic Acid

like the moisturizer, I have been using this product since September. It's a thicker consistency than the moisturizer, but it really helps relieve the tightness + itchiness that those dry patches bring about. If I'm not using the ahava creme mask, this is the next thing I am reaching for. 


Smear by Brit's CLEAN Whip

first, let me start by saying that this is beef tallow and I've been using it over a year. it's the first product that helped fix the dry patches on my face and it's become a balm for all. it's what I use for my eczema flare up and after the shower on my knees and elbows to soften them up. It's great as a lotion and as a diaper rash cream for the kiddos. it's perfect for soothing burns and chaffing, it's really such a versatile product to soothe the things that most people often ignore. I just love it. 

for those days where I want to lather myself in lotion and smell divine. I know that most people say t stay away from fragrance, and normally I'd agree, but this is my one exception. I love how it smells and I'm keeping it. 


Ahava Shower Gel

you already know, I am an ahava girly and so of course, the shower gel is in routine. It smells so good and is my favorite shower gel.


Function of Beauty Shampoo

love that it's personalized and it's one of the three shampoos that I use on my hair for my natural curls! 

number two shampoo for my curls. it smells so good! I love it. 


Opalex Shampoo

the third and last shampoo in my round up! I know what you're thinking -- that's a lot of shampoo, but there is a reason to the madness being that my hair tends to get dull and oily if I use the same shampoo for a long period of time. I've perfected the routine and alternate these three.

like the shampoos, I have three products for curl definition that I use interchangeably. This mist is my go to for a curl refresh when I'm in a rush. 

this product is my absolute favorite and a staple. It's the one product that made me realize the potential of my natural curls. if I shower in the morning, this is the product I am always reaching for. It gives my curls so much definition and I cannot get enough!

Pacifica Swirl Curl Definition Cream

another curl definition cream that I like to use especially when I travel because it's so light and compact. 

in the flavors mango and birthday -- always on hand, a go-to favorite, must have lip balm! now, I do wnat to say that I bought all the lip balms flavors that they had because I've heard such good things. they're all good, but birthday + mango, those are the ones I will be repurchasing. 

if I'm honest, I've always been a lip balm girl, so trying these lip treatments was going out on a limb for me because they are more glossy that I typically like, but I love them. I literally bought every flavor + tint that they had. they're all amazing, but I am head over heels for the watermelon slice flavor.

like I said before, I loved the treatments so much, I bought all the tints too. I like them, I'm just not used to the tints, so I'm working on that. ribbon is my current favorite since it's the most sheer (and jellybean, but that's a limited edition flavor)! 

the perfect bath gel for those days when I need a pick me up. 

Sugars Lip Balm Treatment

this the balm I put on before bed, super hydrating and luscious feeling.

things that I'm trying out right now

Ahava Facial Renewal Peel

Ahava Purifying Mud Mask

Function of Beauty Personalized Conditioner + Hair Mask

Glossier Lidstar

Glossier Lash Stick Mascara

Thrive Causemetics Brilliant Eye Liner


things that I do for "self care" 

ᥫ᭡. drink tea in the evening
ᥫ᭡. take a bubble bath
ᥫ᭡. listen to a sermon / podcast / music 
ᥫ᭡. read the bible
ᥫ᭡. go for a walk 
ᥫ᭡. watch a cheesy rom-com; the typical chick flick / hallmark film
ᥫ᭡. de-cluttering my spaces (office, closet, dressers, cupboards, etc)
ᥫ᭡. take a long shower
ᥫ᭡. pray (aka, chat with Jesus)
ᥫ᭡. create something (draw, need felting, write)
ᥫ᭡. watch a period piece 
ᥫ᭡. bake
ᥫ᭡. have a fancy coffee
ᥫ᭡. sit by the fireplace. disconnect and stare into the flames
ᥫ᭡. put on some essential oils
ᥫ᭡. light some candles 
ᥫ᭡. watch documentaries 
ᥫ᭡. look for new recipes to try out
ᥫ᭡. look at home / cooking magazines
ᥫ᭡. do a hair / face mask
ᥫ᭡. buy fresh blooms
ᥫ᭡. paint my nails
ᥫ᭡. make the bed
ᥫ᭡. clean out inboxes (text messages, social media, emails, etc.)

and that's a wrap! 
that's my self care routine refresh -- it looks like a lot, but it's not that much. it's heavy on moisturizing products, relaxing baths, making my curls look good and balms for everything. pretty minimal, right? I like to think so.  until next week, I hope you get in a little self care yourself in there! xoxo

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updated birthday wish list

Domino Sugar advertisement from the 1950s

well hello there!

it looks like the first thursday of the year gets a post! starting off on the right track, and we love to see it. anywaaaaay, this post is inpired by my birthday since it is in 20 days! I feel like I already have changed my preferences since early December when I made my christmas wish list post. I typically combine the two (and did), but I thought, an updated list was in order.

a lot of things on this list are pretty home things, as being at home has become my whole personality at this point. it's another excuse for me to curate a list of things I really love, and having it all in one place when I have the urge to impluse add things to cart, so there's that too.

* inserting the reminder that some links below are affiliate!

sea salt scrub


fruit bowl

claw clip


^ gifted this to myself already

little women devotional

checkered lumbar pillow

butterfly ring

house basket

pasta bowls

sherpa heart pillow

anne of green gables devotional

stoneware serving bowl

cake stand


heart appetizer plates

hot grips

xoxo mug

striped cup

roasting pan

mortal + pestal

blue enamel cups

porcini basket

cast iron grill pan

measuring cups

cereal bowl set

three stacking crates [ pink / mint / navy ]

and that's a wrap! see you next time! xoxo.

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2024 New Year Refresh : Home Edition

Woman of the House by William Henry Margetson

hello friends, happy new year! 

We're finally in 2024, so here's to a wonderful new year filled with joy, blessings and adventure. I hope and pray that this year is a good one for all of us. Typically, the new year is filled with resolutions -- I only have one this year and it pertains to the blog. 

My goal is to have a new post published every tuesday. Part of me wants to add every thursday to that goal, but I think that's a bit ambitious for now and my schedule, so I'll just say every tuesday and an occasional thursday when time and opportunities permit. 

Today's post has to do with a home refresh. Obviously, I am not throwing out everything out of my house to buy new stuff, but I approached this post as if I would be building my dream home and the things that I would want in it. 

these guides are giving, clean + crisp, a mix of modern + vintage and cohesive look with splashes of neutral colors which is something I want to bring to my house when we purchase (or build) a home. so, without further ado, let's get to the guides!



I want to start off the first guide of the year with a reminder that some of the links listed are affiliate which means I would make a small amount of commission if you purchased through them. there is never any pressure to buy anything from these guides, but if something catches your eye and you buy it through my link, I am so grateful ! it's a small way for this stay at home, homeschooling mama to support her family.


The Guides

the kitchen

Tea Kettle

Ultimate Cookware Set*

Bowl Set*

Dutch Oven  

Agate Cheese Board

Mortar + Pestal

Measuring Cups

Measuring Spoons

Rolling Pin

Baking Dishes

Batter Bowl

Glass Bowls  

Measuring Glass Cup

Oven Mit + Pot Holder*

the appliances





Espresso Machine 

Dutch Oven Slow Cooker



the master bedroom

Floral Quilt

Gingham Pillow Cases

Floral Sham

Olive Tree


the boys room

Linen Quilts

Globe Pouf

Frog Basket

Checkered Rugs*

Rat Basket

Snail Pouf



the living room


Antique Cupboard

Plaid Sherpa Throw

Throw Pillows

Clock with Tray

White Chamberstick Candle Holder

Floral Pitcher

Coffee Table 

Pathos Plant 

Checkered Pouf

Landscape Painting


the dining room

Dining Table


Candle Holders

Dinnerware Set*

Chicken Basket

Matte Silverware

Highball Glasses

Blue Stripe Bowl




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