We're getting hitched!!! Finally!!!!

A little catch up: I got engaged in November.  Redneck homeboy proposed on the beach on Sandy Hook, our favorite place.  He hollowed out Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to the chapter titled "The Unbreakable Vow" (geek girl squee).  My ring is stunning and aquamarine, which has elicited completely inappropriate responses ("oh, well, it looks like a diamond, especially in this light", or "well, if that's what you wanted").  We love the outdoors, so we wanted all our festivities to be under the summer sun.  Unfortunately that meant we had to wait for an engagement party.  I'm now in the midst of planning it.

You already know my story.  Redneck Homeboy is the morning web producer at a local news station.  We live together and have 2 dogs.  In our spare time I play roller derby and he runs into burning buildings. 
He's pretty sexy.  Here's our fairy tale. 

We met a couple times before we actually met.  The first time was in 2006.  I was in a car accident and 2 ambulances responded.  He was an EMT in one of the ambulances.  Unfortunately, he took the jerk that hit me to the hospital and I was too stressed out by the destruction of my beloved Jeep to notice anything else.  Nine months later I was at the local dive bar with my friends on St. Patrick's Day.  During the shenanigans, this guy bought me a drink and struck up a conversation.  But, possibly due to the volume of alcohol in my blood, that still wasn't it.  We became friends, spending tons of time together, while I was dating someone else.  We went on our first "date" a couple months later to the county fair: I was bummed after having a fight with loser boyfriend.  RH decided to cheer me up, winning me the biggest, stuffed Nemo you will ever see, and helping me eat my feelings, in the form of cotton candy, butterfly chips, funnel cake, fresh squeezed lemonade and fried Oreos.  I realized when I got home that I had more fun with him than I ever had with the current boyfriend.  It took me another 2 months, but Labor Day weekend, 2007, he finally kissed me, and we've been inseparable ever since.  He's my greatest cheerleader, my best friend, my soul mate, my confidante, my partner in crime, my coach, my therapist, my personal chef, my life.  He hates olives, I love them.  He's my lobster.  Our relationship is like a long book that you never want to end and are fine with that because you never ever want to leave it.  Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same. 

Our wedding style was recently described as polished organic, and that's so spot on.  We are planning on an outdoor wedding and reception with a lot of DIY, a lot of help from our friends, and a little luck.  We're walking that fine line between spending too much and giving up too much from our vision.  We have so many ideas, and trying to lay them all out and figure out how to incorporate them is challenging.  Since I have all this suddenly free time (I was recently laid off), I'm planning on reviving this blog.  In addition to all the other topics I wanted to write about, I'm going to include adventures in wedding planning. 


Product Review: Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox Pore Penetrator

I have to admit, I'm a little obsessed with Dr. Jart+.  I was first introduced to the products from the Korean dermatologist in my first Birchbox, in February.  I got a tiny little tube of Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm.  Instant love affair.  It's been a slippery slope since then.  I realized I actually do care what I look like, after years of telling myself I didn't.  It's awkward to realize you've been wasting your natural beauty well into your 30s.  I mean, I think almost every woman is gorgeous in her own way, with or without make-up (though some repulse me for other reasons, such as their lack of a soul or conscience, or terrible personality), but to realize that you can enhance your own is a feminist revelation.  (Maybe we'll discuss politics later.)

So back to the miracle brand.  I had never heard of a BB until I opened that box.  I fell in instant love.  I've always felt my skin was dull, and this really made it shine.  In a good way.  I purchased the full-size immediately.  It's wicked easy to apply (did I mention I lived in Boston for a spell?), provides great coverage without looking caked on, and gives my skin a nice dewy finish. 

I received another Dr. Jart+ product in my last box (Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream), and while I was doing some research (did I mention I'm a scientist?) on the Birchbox website, I came across something that looked interesting: Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detx Pore Penetrator (why are all of these products such a mouthful?).

Before I go any further, here are the important facts to know about  my skin: I have what I like to call "porcelain", and the rest of the world likes to call "pale" skin.  But, I look much younger than my 34 years because of my abstinence from the sun, so put that in your juice box and suck it.  I only have one real wrinkle, between my brows, from squinting and frowning (the exact same place as my mom, and my sisters are starting to get the same, so it's safe to say it's genetic).  I have huge pores, large enough to drive a truck through, on my nose and the area of my cheeks directly adjacent, and I am prone to the blackheads that accompany that situation (though mine are petite clogged pores, not the big gross ones I to refer to as "boy blackheads").  I also get the same small blackheads around my mouth and chin, and baby whiteheads around the base of my nose.   I'm prone to cystic acne, but there's not a whole lot to be done about that.  I get good old fashioned zits around my jawline, mostly.  I used to have oily skin until I started using oil as a moisturizer a couple years ago.  Now, it's perfectly normal during the summer and slightly dry during the winter (I plan on writing a post about my skincare regimen at some point, which I think you will find interesting if you have skin issues and use conventional products).  Finally, because of some health problems I have, I get scaly patches along my neck and throat and lower cheeks.  (I never in a million years thought I would write about my skin in such intimate detail on the internet, but the details are important to understand my review.) 

Pore Penatrator
This product is easy to use.  Just squeeze 2-3 pumps into your hand (it's the consistency of shine serum, which I thought a little odd, but I don't have a whole lot with which to compare it), and apply it wherever you are prone to blackheads (for me my nose, under my eyes, and my chin around my mouth).  Then relax for 5-10 minutes - you won't feel anything, as there are no harsh ingredients*.  It will sort of dry out a little bit (Remember those old peel-off masks from Freeman's that we all used in the 90s, not so much because they worked, but because it was fun to peel off once it was completely dry?  This mask won't do that).  Then you massage it in, and rinse it off with warm water.  Pretty simple.  Afterwards, I took a close look in the mirror at my nose and was shocked to find that there was nothing left in the pores.  I even grabbed my Tweezerman Extractor to see if I could get anything out.  Nothing.  This was unprecedented.  And I was in love.

The Birchbox website says this will also shrink my pores.  I've not had it long enough to see if this is true.  Even if it doesn't, who cares?  I certainly don't.  The fact that it sucks the gunk out of my pores with such efficiency, with no burning or tingling or unpleasantness at all is plenty for me.  And, since I used my accumulated Birchbox points, and took advantage of the free shipping for monthly brands, AND had a coupon,  it was a grand total of $3.40 (which means it wasn't a product supplied to me for the purposes of reviewing - I purchased this with my own money).  This is definitely a win. 

ps If anyone is interested in trying out Birchbox, or Ipsy, fill out the contact form to the right.  I'd love to send you an invite, which I think helps get you past the waiting list, and I get credit for it, so I can buy more products to review for the 5 people that read my blog. 
*It may not have felt harsh on my skin, but there are definitely some ingredients I don't agree with, like phenoxyethanol and parabens, plus a couple I haven't heard of before.  I try to be cognitive of what I'm putting on my skin, because it has a tendency to react poorly (i.e. I break out in hives), plus I think we're all exposed to so many environmental toxins that we should limit them as much as possible on a personal level. But on occasion, I find a product I like so much I look past it's chemical inadequacies.  This is one of them. 


An Intro, and some easy wall art


Thanks for checking out my blog.  My name is Heather.  I live at the Jersey Shore, which is not as bad as you've heard.  Well, sometimes it is, but I do love living here anyway.  If you know anyone from Jersey, you'll endlessly hear them list NJ's attributes: close to NYC, Philly, the beach, boardwalks, mountains, forests, great restaurants, hiking, biking, really, I could go on for sentences and sentences, but you get the picture.

So what else...?  I'm a scientist, a vegan, a dog mom, a girlfriend (well, technically domestic partner - it was really glamorous and fancy.  Redneck homeboy and I filled out some forms and I got health insurance), a roller girl, a do-it-yourselfer.  I try to live a green, clean, adventurous, fun life.  I love books, music, movies and TV (even though it's not cool to say that), the color blue, and anything vintage.  I've recently figured out that I love clothes, make-up and things that makes my hair look pretty.  I'm pretty sure I have a touch of obsessive-compulsive disorder, and I hate clutter.  I'm socially awkward and I'm missing the gene for a filter from my brain to my mouth.  I travel for work, and sometimes for fun, and I wish I could do it more.  I have a spate of hobbies that I'm marginally talented at, but I'm constantly trying to be better.  I used to hike, and bike, and do other stuff that got my heart pumping and the endorphins flowing, but I've had to stop, for a multitude of reasons.  I'll get into that later...Oh, and I love the Yankees. 

Onto the blog content!
So, growing up, I had a neighbor that I called Tante.  (That's aunt in German.)  She emigrated with her husband from Germany to the United States sometime around the mid-century.  As a wedding gift to my grandparents, her husband (who died before I was even born) hand-carved a beautiful mirror that's been hanging in my family's dining room as long as I could remember.  I off-handedly commented a few weeks ago while visiting that I would someday like to inherit that mirror.  My mom surprised me by telling me it had a twin that was carved for another (now deceased) couple for their wedding and would I like it?.  Um...It's since been hanging in my dining room.  I love the old wood and the classic feel that it brings to my house.  But it was the only thing hanging on the wall, and it looked sad, so I turned to Pinterest for some inspiration, as I usually do when I'm in need of motivation.  And the result is awesome.  So awesome.  It couldn't have turned awesomer. (Sorry about the terrible wall color.  We rent.)


- Embroidery Hoops (In whatever size/quantity you want; I used a bunch of different sizes for some randomness in the pattern - or whatever)
- Scrapbook Paper (whatever strikes your fancy - enough to fill your hoops; mine came from Michael's and A.C. Moore, and some other stores I can't remember.  I gravitated toward texture and sparkle, but grab whatever makes you happy when you look at it.)
- An X-Acto Knife
- Scotch Tape

What to do:
1. Separate the embroidery hoop. 
2. Position the scrapbook paper the way you want it to look in the hoop.  Lop off the extra paper, and save it for whatever other projects you might come up with. 
3. Make some cuts in the paper, so that when you pull it up, it looks smoother and doesn't bunch.  (There's physics at work here.  The outside of the circle is longer than the inside of the circle. Science is everywhere.)
4. Bring up each section of the paper and fold it over the inside hoop.  Use the Scotch tape to secure it.  It doesn't have to look neat (the tape), just secure it temporarily.  Work your way around the hoop, pulling the paper up as tightly as possible, without bunching. 
5. Flip it over, and smooth down any bumps.  (It will look neater once you secure the top part of the hoop)
6. Replace and tighten the top hoop.
7.  Once you are confident it's in place, flip it over, and take this last opportunity to "tighten" the paper over the bottom hoop, by pulling the individual pieces.  Then use your knife to remove the extra paper, carefully peeling off the tape as you go.
8. Admire your art.  Hang it on the wall.  Get to work on the next one.  Or don't. 
Here's one that I love so hard.  It's made with this really cool glittery peacock paper from Michael's.  I think it's my favorite one.   

Thanks so much for checking out my blog.  I hope you'll find it less awkward than a hug from Voldemort.  Which is exactly how awkward I am in real life.  Come back soon.