Modern Martha About Me

Hi, I’m Kelsey Smith!

From beauty to cooking, I’m all about simplicity and shortcuts. If a recipe calls for more than a dozen ingredients, I’m out of here! I’ve always been passionate about cooking and crafting, but who has time for it all? With that question in mind, Modern Martha was born on June 18, 2012. Whether it’s beauty, food, fashion, or fun, it is my mission to track down the latest trends and serve them up with a twist of simplicity.

A Modern Martha is Born

When I was in third grade, my mom fussed at me for not doing my chores. She said, “Do you want to vacuum your room, or do you want to make dinner?” as a joke, thinking I would be so terrified at the prospect of making dinner that I would quickly agree to take care of my own mess. Little did she know, I would do just about anything to get out of cleaning (this is still the case!).

“I’ll make dinner…”

She was so tickled at the idea of her 8-year-old cooking that she let me into the kitchen and swapped chore with me. I made a dish that I called “salad,” marshmallows and red grapes. And boy was I proud.

Shortly after that, my mom turned my desire to help in kitchen into a full-fledged hobby. She started by teaching me how to boil pasta and brown ground beef. Then we upgraded to Kraft Shake ‘N Bake. Then we upgraded to stovetop macaroni and cheese and tuna crescent ring, and so on and so on.

By the time I was in fifth grade, I was making dinner once a week. Kids cook Wednesday.

My Makeup Obsession

This was around the time I found my next love: makeup. One of the girls on my cheerleading squad threw a Mary Kay party (is this normal? still not sure). The (oh-so patient) Mary Kay representative gave us little pink plastic trays filled with makeup samples and walked us through how to apply the basics: lip gloss and mascara. I used my own allowance to buy myself lip scrub (what a wise child), lip balm and a bronze cream eyeshadow.

While this kicked off my makeup collecting days, I wasn’t actually allowed to wear makeup for a couple more years. The next year after the party in sixth grade I snuck out of the house and went to school with that Mary Kay eyeshadow on, and man did I feel like a rebel. All of my friends had started wearing makeup, and I wanted to put my “play” makeup to use.

When I finally worked up the nerve to ask my mom for permission to wear makeup outside of the house, she said yes. No begging, no pleading, no whining necessary, I got a simple, easy “yes.” It made me feel so silly for sneaking around behind her back.

Once I got her seal of approval, I then became terrified of applying my own makeup. Was I doing it right? Were my lashes supposed to look like spider legs? Did I need this bizarre liquidy substance called foundation? Are coverup and concealer the same thing?

My mom, who had never been a huge makeup fan like I would become, helped me with the basics, but I still felt a little lost. In fact, I distinctly remember how to apply eyeshadow from a diagram on the back of a Maybelline eyeshadow quad. It wasn’t until I was 18 or so that my friend Sam introduced me to the world of YouTube makeup tutorials.

For the Love of YouTube

The summer before college I became a YouTube addict, watching every Michelle Phan video available at the time. The most monumental thing I learned about that summer was eyeshadow primer. I couldn’t figure out why my eyeshadow looked amazing at the beginning of the evening and greasy and creasy by the end of the night. I was hooked.

A few months later I decided to dye my hair red (think The Little Mermaid red). Everything I read online said I needed to use professional dye and developer to get that type of color. I searched and searched YouTube and Google for anything that would help me learn how to mix my own dye, but I ended up empty handed.

Instead, I asked the advice of a girl’s group on LiveJournal (remember, 2008 guys), and then filmed the process of dying my hair so that there would be a public record to help anyone else in my shoes.

I uploaded it and was shocked when the views started rolling in. Thousands of views. I guess I hit on something. I continued to film and upload videos to my YouTube channel, mostly about my hair, but then I began sprinkling in a little makeup talk, some nail art and easy craft projects.

Even though I had a successful YouTube channel, I felt embarrassed about it. I still can’t really explain it, but I thought my friends would think it was weird that I filmed videos for strangers on the internet. In 2010, instead of telling all my friends about the secret I’d been keeping, I pulled the plug on everything, deleting the majority of the videos on my channel.

While I stopped making videos, I never stopped watching, and a couple years later, in my last year of college, I got the itch to begin again. While most of my viewers had moved on, the vibrant, uplifting YouTube community I remembered was still there. I finally started talking about it to my friends, and they actually thought it was cool! Or, rather, if they thought it was uncool or lame, they certainly didn’t say it to my face. So, that’s basically a win.

Denver Blogger

In the summer of 2012 between graduating college and landing my first “real” job, I created my new space on the web, Modern Martha, a home for all of my passions. More than five years later, I’m still at it, and I don’t think I will walk away anytime soon.

I currently reside in Denver, Colorado with my husband Xavier and our fur babies, Scrappy CoCo and Beta. We moved here from Florida in 2012 and haven’t looked back. When I’m not blogging, I like to listen to a good audiobook, hike with Xavier and Scraps, and explore the city of Denver.


You can find me on FacebookTwitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at kelsey[at]

All guest blogging, PR, advertising, and sponsorship emails are welcome. All reviews I write contain my honest opinion. I do not guarantee positive reviews. I am happy to provide site statistics upon request.

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The original Modern Martha logo was designed by Erin Horn.


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