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paper.

today i have been married to my handsome, loving, wonderful husband for one year. when did that happen? how has it already been a whole year since we walked down that aisle together? i guess that cliché, “time flies when you’re having fun” is true. and if the rest of our lives are anything like this year, we’ll be at our 50th anniversary before we know it.

the one-year anniversary is traditionally known as the “paper” anniversary (why?), so i’ll be writing some nice things on a card to give to Mister Man this year, but i also wanted to share a few of the reasons why i feel so lucky to be his wife here on this virtual paper.

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i love the way you make our bed every.single.day. even when we’re in hotels.

i love how you have dance parties with me in the kitchen when we’re cooking dinner together.

i love the smile that comes over your face when you realize i’m about to start ranting and raving about whatever i feel passionate about at that moment.

i love that instead of saying, “you’re welcome”  when i say, “thank you”, you say, “you owe me big time”.

i love that you watch “dr. who” on netflix with me, no one else has ever wanted to put in the time or nerd out with me like that.

i love your face when you haven’t shaved for a few days, it’s so scruffy and gingery and perfect.

i love when you cook me breakfast on friday mornings before i leave for work.

i love that you know exactly when to cut me some slack for not working out, and when to kick my butt into gear and get to the gym.

i love the way you say goodnight to me over the phone when you’re away on a work trip.

i love all of you, and will forever.

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happy anniversary my love. you are the butter on my popcorn. thanks for being my husband.

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coffee cake and long weekends.

happy memorial day weekend everyone! i hope all of you are able to do some type of barbecuing/bonfiring/beer-drinking with your family and friends. and i hope you’re all making sure to toast the memory of the brave men and women who have fought, even to their last breath, for your freedom to do all those things. it’s a sacrifice i can’t imagine, and am so thankful to them for!

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because the tundra is still warming up (i think it keeps forgetting that it’s supposed to be feeling summery already…), we have been keeping a pretty low profile this weekend in terms of the above activities. but the crappy weather hasn’t stopped us from keeping very busy around the z household. there was some house hunting on saturday morning (unsuccessful), followed by golf for me with an old roommate and dear friend (she just bought a house, and made me feel tons better about the whole process!).

on of the highlights of the weekend was that some of Mister Man’s college friends were in town from texas and maryland, and we managed to get a big group of people together for a last-minute saturday night reunion! i love his friends so much, but we don’t get to see them very often, so it’s such a treat to have them all in one place. i probably owe them big time for making sure he made it out of his college years alive and in one piece…

this morning i had a major wedding planning brainstorm with the lovely bride-to-be, ashley, or as i’ve called her since middle school, bitchface. the invitations are printed and ready to assemble next weekend, the bachelorette party list is made, and the wedding shoes are purchased. all that’s left is flowers, shower planning with the mother of the bride, and planning the most kick-ass bachelorette party ever, and the marriage can commence! both of us talk a mean streak, so what would normally be a one hour planning session turned into two and a half, but i wouldn’t have it any other way.

sometimes after a morning/weekend like this, you have to decompress though, you know? so i decided to go on a baking spree. two loaves of banana bread went into the oven, and i still didn’t feel like i was done decompressing. and that meant it was time to keep my promise to sally and test out her coffee cake recipe in comparison to mama hools’ recipe. (see, i told you i’d let you know what i thought!)

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the main difference between sally’s coffee cake and my mom’s is that my mom’s coffee cake is a very basic recipe made with sour cream, less butter, and no buttermilk. oh, and sally’s coffee cake happens to be called “super crumb coffee cake”, which basically means that it’s half crumble topping, half cake when you take it out of the oven. it’s pretty crazy and will put you into a sugar coma.

i’m just going to link you all back to her website for the recipe, because there are some very specific instructions re: the temperature of the egg and the buttermilk and she does a much better job of explaining it than i would. but i will note that when i made the recipe, i used raw cane sugar instead of white sugar, and i used 1 tsp. of vanilla and 1 tsp. of almond extract instead of 2 tsp. of vanilla. other than those two minor changes, i followed the recipe to a tee. and the result was a very sweet, flavorful coffee cake, that was so moist and so decadent, Mister Man and i were in disbelief when we tasted it. i was not expecting this to taste so much like an actual cake. it was definitely more of a dessert than a brunch food!

(please ignore my christmas themed spatula that never got put away…)

the verdict between the two is that it’s a tie. i honestly cannot decide which recipe i like better. i was so surprised at how different they were, because really, coffee cake is kind of difficult to improve upon, and you think when you’ve tasted one, you’ve tasted them all. i will say that my mom’s recipe is a lot easier to throw together and get an awesome result (especially if you’re like me and never think about things like bringing your egg to room temperature). you will never go wrong with hers. but if you ever needed to impress someone at a breakfast or brunch, say, a boyfriend, a husband, some girlfriends, etc., it would probably be worth the extra time and thought for a “fancy” coffee cake like sally’s.

let’s be clear though. i will never be shy about how much crumb topping i put on my coffee cake again, no matter what recipe i’m using. that stuff is bangin’.

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breakout(s, i get them).

hi, my name is erin, and i have bad skin.

that’s such a typical girl thing to say, isn’t it? but when i say i have bad skin, i mean i am one of the people who actually has a dermatologist and has been to them for something other than to get a funky-looking mole checked out.

because of this, i have a pretty strict skin-care regimen, which my husband will tell you i’m religious about. i do the same thing every morning and every night, even when i’m traveling. oh how i wish i was one of those people who could just use a dove bar and call it a day. if any of you reading right now are one of those people, what is that like? i imagine that it feels a bit like heaven.

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i somehow was able to keep my breakouts at bay in the months leading up to our wedding last year, which was no small feat. it was so good (for me) that i was even able to do my own makeup. this is momentous people.

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then i did something stupid and tried a raw apple cider vinegar toner because i read somewhere that it was the most amazing treatment ever. you guys, if you have even slightly sensitive/problem/demon skin, DO NOT DO THIS. it basically destroyed any progress i had made in making my breakouts stop, and i had to start the process all over again.

so now i’m back to a good regimen, which i thought i’d share here. i’ve had a lot of people ask me what to do for breakouts, since i have so much experience with them, and i’m happy to share any tricks i have. let’s be honest, i could basically give facial treatments in a spa, i’ve done that much research.

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morning:

  • rinse face with warm water
  • moisturize with cetaphil lotion
  • apply eye cream (because wrinkles you guys!)

evening:

  • wash face with cetaphil daily facial cleanser
  • every other day, apply either proactiv repairing treatment (make sure you only buy white pillow cases and sheets, unless you want to ruin a few colorful sets while you learn your lesson the hard way) or origins drink up intensive overnight mask, depending how gross your hormones are making your face look
  • apply eye cream (see above)

once-twice a week:

  • wash face normally
  • steam your face with a hot, damp washcloth to open the pores
  • apply clay or charcoal face mask (bonus activity: freak your husband out while you walk around the apartment)
  • apply proactiv repairing treatment

like i said, this stuff is what’s working for me right now, and even though i might get breakouts here and there, my skin is good enough to go outside my apartment with no makeup on my face. i feel like those of you with beautiful skin may not understand how awesome this is, but again, it’s momentous! i get giddy just thinking about it!

any awesome tips out there that i’m missing? any miracle products i should be aware of for the future? (i’m planning on trying out a norwex facial towel that i’ve heard is like a miracle, which you better believe i will be talking about if it works!) i’m totally willing to try new stuff, even if it might make things worse. i’m a risk taker like that.

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humpday happy list.

because we need a little happy in our month, especially right now. in addition to everything else, as a really good start to my workweek today, i made it halfway through my bus ride to work before realizing that i left my laptop at home. my superhero husband picked me up on the side of the road with it and drove me to work. so i owe him huge, because it was COLD this morning! love you my dearest…

i’m clearly craving colorful and fresh and fruity things right now. i mean, look at those photos. someone is clearly going through withdrawals from the best things in life. i was talking to a friend who came to my grandma’s wake, and we both realized that we’ve been buying really bright flowers for our apartments in the past couple weeks, which we don’t normally do, just because it’s been so miserable here and we need all the color we can get.

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1) humpday want: gap camo pants.

i can’t explain to you all how much i wanted these pants. they were in my shopping cart in the morning. i was ready to purchase them that same evening. and i got home and they were SOLD OUT. and they just went away completely. i’ve even tweeted at gap to beg them to bring back these gorgeous things, and i don’t think i have enough pull to make them happen. any other huge bloggers out there want to give it a try?

2) humpday want #2: striped maxi.

hi, my name is erin and i have a maxi skirt problem. i can’t help it! they just make me look really long and slender and at 5’3″ i will take that wherever i can. and these look so comfortable, like you would be walking around looking all cute but feeling like you’re in your pjs. and stripes!

3) humpday craving: bruschetta.

my mother-in-law made some amazing bruschetta the other day, and it tasted like summer. something about tomatoes and olive oil, you know? this recipe is from the pioneer woman, and she can do no wrong in my world. if i ever meet her, i will lose my ability to speak.

4) humpday cocktail: this sangria.

first of all, if you ever want a delicious, albeit time-consuming cocktail recipe, you need to visit “how sweet eats”. she is hysterical for one, and amazing at creating awesome recipes for two. i would venture to say that she is my most pinned blogger that i read. anywho, this pomegranate-vanilla sangria looks so mouth-watering. smooth and fruity at the same time.

5) humpday flowers: ranunculus.

i had ranunculus for our wedding flowers, in the bouquets and the boutinierres. i love the way they look beautiful from right when they start blooming up until they open up all the way. these particular ranunculus are from my lovely cousin who came over to watch pitch perfect with me on the day my grandma died.

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6) humpday zen practice: not caring about the snow.

i am being very calm and accepting about this snow. because it will melt. and it will no longer be here. maybe even by next week. deep breath in, deep breath out. all on a count of 10. whoosh.

7) humpday flowers #2: tulips. (can you tell i need some color in my life?)

i mean, tulips look you in the eye and scream “SPRING!” at you at the top of their lungs. and isn’t that really the theme of this entire thing? how could i not include some tulips?

8) humpday travel plans: pittsburgh.

to visit my darling dove in her adopted stomping grounds. i’ve been to pittsburgh twice now, and love it so much more than you could imagine. maybe it’s because she lives there now, and i like it better because she’s made it her home, but i really do think it’s a lovely place! each neighborhood has its own personality, and there are so many gems scattered all throughout. so excited to visit again!

9) humpday DIY: gold-leaf terracotta pots.

let me be clear, i have not done this yet. because i don’t have a patio or a garden, or even a deck. but these would be so cool sitting on the front steps of a little house in the city, wouldn’t they?

10) humpday craving #2: peanut butter bacon pancakes.

i’ve already informed Mister Man that he needs to put these on the list of pancakes he will make me next. he is the pancake guru of the ‘z’ household and aren’t these just made for a sunny (or snowy) saturday morning, paired with a steaming cup of coffee? joy the baker, your recipes make me so happy. so so happy. will you be my friend?

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my work uniform.

get yourself ready for an attempt at a fashion post. i didn’t get my butt going fast enough tonight to take photos of my actual outfits like i planned, so outfit collages it is. 

most mornings i try to wake up as close to 6:00am as possible. it’s easier when Mister Man isn’t here, because then there is no one keeping the bed warm, and then what’s the point of hitting snooze, you know? so the intention to get up and ease into my day is totally there. but you know, the best laid plans and all that nonsense, there are a lot of mornings i roll out of bed closer to 7:00am.

and it’s on those days, when i’m hurrying to finish my makeup and waiting for the dry shampoo to rub out of my hair, i’m so thankful that i have a work uniform. obviously not prescribed to me by my work, but a self-imposed uniform that i’ve developed over the past four years. (sidebar: how am i old enough to have worked at the same place for four consecutive years?)

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work uniform 1
i like to call my work uniform “comfy business casual”. it consists of skinny black pants, a t-shirt/cardigan combo or a sweater. it doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter, my office is freezing all the time, so my uniform never changes. i make all my work clothing purchases based around this fact and am in the process of collecting enough skinny black pants that i never have to wear anything else. can i just tell you that when i first started wearing them, i felt like i was doing something wrong? BECAUSE SKINNY PANTS WERE  SOMEHOW SHOCKING. yes. that’s what i’m dealing with here.
work uniform 2
i try to get more creative with my style choices outside of work, but i always try to dress to flatter my shape, which for me means fitted shirts with everything. when you’re top-heavy like me, you don’t get to wear those cute button-up shirts that make you look automatically professional. and you just have to be okay with that. layers are definitely your friend if you’re in this situation, unless you want to get to know human relations really well. it’s amazing what people think passes for acceptable work clothing. i once saw a woman in my building who was wearing a purple body-con minidress and hooker heels. i wouldn’t even have worn this outfit to a club (do people still call them clubs?), that’s how bad it was.
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i couldn’t live without the really skinny premium pant from GAP. they are amazing. fit like a dream and hold their shape so well. one of the most flattering things i’ve ever put on my body. if they ever need a really short, average shaped spokesperson, i’m their girl.
gap really skinny
the long cardigans from banana republic are my favorite as well. that layer thing i mentioned up there? these are basically the best substitute for jackets you can get, and you still look really put together. (i suppose i’m kind of a GAP brands slut when it comes right down to it, aren’t i?.)
banana republic long cardigan
is that weird that i wear the same thing just about everyday to work, or do other people do this too? my work uniform basically keeps me from being late to work 90% of the time, because when you’re a bum like me, you need to cut corners when you can.
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