July 4th Weekend 2016

Hey there! I hope you all had an awesome Fourth of July weekend. I certainly did. I checked two major items off my bucket list in a matter of three days, and it was AMAZING. My boyfriend, John, and I drove from Santa Clarita, CA up highway 395 to Lake Tahoe, CA. We both love road trips and 395 has gorgeous scenery. The main attraction was completing the world famous Rubicon Trail, which we did in John’s Jeep. It was a very long weekend, but my goodness, we had a ton of fun.

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The first item we checked off my bucket list was visiting Bodie Ghost Town in Mono County, CA. I first heard of Bodie a few years ago after seeing an image on the Bing homepage. I immediately knew I had to visit some day. I love abandoned places, and this one is the coolest of all. Bodie was a mining town that boomed in the late 1800s. Although the last mine didn’t close until 1942, it is said that the town’s decline began in the early 1900s. Finally, in 1961 it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

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Bodie has an eerie feel to it, which is a given. The buildings are so beautiful, but seem like they could fall over if you got too close. A few of them you can actually walk into, if you’re not afraid of falling through the floor boards. Regardless, it’s an incredible experience.

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This 1937 Chevrolet Coupe is probably the most known thing in Bodie. If you do an image search anywhere online, you’ll find TONS of photos of this car. So naturally, I needed my own photo of it.

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Our next stop was the Rubicon Trail. We camped Friday night near the trail head, and were up early on Saturday morning. We half expected the trail to be congested due to the holiday weekend, but it was surprisingly quiet. It made for a very nice, mellow two days on the trail.

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We camped at Rubicon Springs, which was beautiful. The water was FREEZING, so I refused to get in. Parts of the trail are pretty difficult, (to me, at least) and there was a time or two that I got pretty freaked out. But I survived! We made it all the way to the other end of the trail, where of course, I had to take a picture of my mini Jeep.

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Sunday night we stayed in a Super 8 in Carson City, which wouldn’t be my first choice of motels, BUT I was incredibly desperate for a shower. Monday morning, we hit the road again, headed home this time. We stopped in Bishop, CA to eat at Erick Schat’s Bakery, recommended to us by Ashten over at Just Go Left. First of all, the place smells AMAZING. And the sandwich was pretty freakin good, too. We got a turkey club to go, so we could eat it in the air conditioned truck.

Funny story… We get into the truck and the first thing I say is, “I need to take a picture of this sandwich!” Then, as John is trying to take the box out of the paper bag, the sandwich falls out of the box. It was a disaster! While laughing my butt off, I pick everything up and put the sandwich back together. I take my half, snap a quick picture, and then immediately knock the box and my half of the sandwich onto the floor of the truck. Then I about died laughing. How we managed to drop this sandwich twice, I do not know. BUT it still tasted amazing. And I think the picture is pretty good, too.

Another side note here, I’m still new to this whole blogging thing, so of course I forgot to take a picture of the outside of the building until I got back to the truck. I snapped this picture out the windshield, trying my best not to get any of the cross traffic in the frame. It was difficult, and clearly, it’s not the best quality photo. But whatever, it works! Maybe next time I’ll remember to get a good picture. I also LOVE that there’s an old Willy’s truck parked out front. WINNING.

It was absolutely a great weekend, and I can’t wait to hit the road again. Where we’re going next though, I have no idea!

Let’s talk. How was your 4th of July?

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Photo a Day June – RECAP

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I can’t believe June is almost over! Incase you missed the memo, I’ve been participating in Chantelle’s photo a day challenge. She blogs over at Fat Mum Slim and she’s pretty rad. I’m pretty sure she does this every month, as part of the 365 day photo challenge, and I just happened to join in June. But I’m here now! And it’s super fun. I’ve kept up via Instagram, my favorite social media platform. You can see all my photos there. But here, I thought I would show you 9 of my favorite photos from the month.

1. Key – They key to happiness is the key to my Jeep. It sounds so weird, saying the key to a vehicle is the key to my happiness. And it’s not necessarily the key to my ENTIRE happiness… but it’s a big part of who I am. Not only the fact that I love driving – it helps me think, or clear my mind – but the Jeep community has introduced me to so many good people who have turned into great friends.

2. Mistake – This was such a big deal for me. This one word, part of such a simple photo project, brought up so many emotions. I actually wrote an entire post about it. (You can read it here) But to give you the reader’s digest version… I’m really good at making mistakes. One of those mistakes was getting a DUI. I’m not as bad as I sound, so please, before you judge, READ THIS POST. (I’m not an awful person, I swear)

3. Cute – I just recently got really into succulents. My mom and I went down to Green Thumb and bought a bunch of little succulents. I painted this flower pot a pretty purple color and we planted all the succulents in there and they’re just SO DARN CUTE, I can’t take it. The whole pot sits on the table in our backyard and I’m constantly out there, just staring at the plants… Gah, I love them.

4. Partial – This is just a weird, artsy type photo I attempted. I took this photo at about 7am. I stopped for a Red Bull before heading up to the mountains for a few hours of off-road fun. I got very little sleep the night before, which is why I stopped for the Red Bull. Regardless of the lack of sleep, I had a great day in the mountains.

5. The Floor – I had a hard time trying to come up with something to photograph for this prompt. It wasn’t until the end of the night that I snapped this picture. I had come home late from a friends, was in the kitchen making something to eat, and I glanced down at the floor. I laughed again, because my mom bought this rug for the kitche, but it isn’t a kitchen rug. (I actually have the same one in my bedroom) But it’s so pretty and different, I decided to just take the picture. Not bad, if ya asked me.

6. No Filter – This was also a last minute photo. The sun sets around 8pm (ish!) around here this time of year. It was after dinner, and I had just pulled this popsicle out of the freezer and sat down on the couch. I thought, “oh crap, I didn’t take a picture today!” and just then, saw the gorgeous sunset that happens every night in our backyard. So I went outside, snapped a few pictures, and this was the one I liked the best. Simple enough.

7. Delicious – The beer I was drinking was only a Blue Moon. (Nothing special when your dad & brother are two of the biggest beer snobs ever) BUT, I finally gave myself a break from technology to sit and have a beer (or a few) with some friends. Turned out to be a very nice night.

8. Loud – I watched the hashtags for each of these photos this month, and for the prompt “loud” I saw a lot of photos of kids. I don’t have kids, so I had a hard time figuring out what to photograph. I went for a drive that day, like I do from time to time, and happen to pull over to snap a few photos of my Jeep. I got home later and was looking back at them thinking, “gosh that would have been such a peaceful moment on the side of the road, if it weren’t for that giant hole in the muffler.” Yeah. There’s a softball shaped hole in the muffler of my Jeep, making it… Loud. At least louder than normal. One of these days I’ll have the muffler replaced.

9. Sunshine – I took this photo today, but really, it sums up every day here during the summer. We have an awesome backyard, in my opinion. The water temperature is generally around 82 degrees, which I think is perfect. This is one of the main reasons I love working from home. It’s great to wake up in the morning, get a few hours of work done and then take a short break to hang out by the pool before returning to work. Okayyyy, it’s AWESOME. Summertime around here is clearly the best.

Well anyway, that’s it for the month of June. I’ve already seen July’s list of prompts and I’m SO EXCITED. It’s going to be easy somedays and challenging on others. I’m definitely looking forward to it.

If you’re interested in joining, check out Chantelle’s blog Fat Mum Slim for the July promps and hashtags. It’s fun, trust me!

Also, follow me on Instagram. I’m cool, I promise!

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20 Facts About the Unsophisticated Blogger

Hi! Since I’m still a bit new around here, I thought I’d throw ya some random facts about myself. So without further adieu…

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1. I am currently 27 years old.

2. I just recently started to figure my life out.

3. I am working on building my own business in the world of social media marketing. (I love being self employed!)

4. I suffered from depression for almost 10 years. In 2012 I found my cure. (Read more here)

5. I have two DUIs on my record. It’s not something I am proud of at all, but it is something I embrace as part of me, and now use it as a sort of “cautionary tale” because really, getting a DUI sucks. (Especially two. Don’t do it. Not even once.) You can read about it here.

6. I still live with my parents! Because of my history with depression, and a few shitty decisions I’ve made (everyone’s got one) I’m not ashamed of this at all. I have awesome parents & awesome siblings, and for the most part, I love living here.

7. I have a pretty cool boyfriend, John. We’ve only been dating a few short months, but I think it’s going pretty well…

8. I have a slight obsession with all things Internet and social media, but I know when to put my phone in my purse and have a face to face conversation with someone.

9. 3 years ago I got a 1991 Jeep Cherokee, and discovered the real world of off-roading… I LOVE IT. It has become one of my biggest passions in life.

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10. That passion in life led me to start a little group/online community called Jeeps of SoCal. It’s my baby and pride & joy. Check it out, if you’d like.

11. I love Star Wars. Although, it’s the only thing Sci-Fi I can stand.

12. I have a thing for true crime. I always loved psychology, and I really love the dark side of psychology. That being said, I could watch Investigation Discovery shows 16 hours a day and be totally content. (That gives me 8 hours to sleep!)

13. I didn’t really go to college. I took classes here and there, always for a different major, but nothing ever stuck.

14. The only sport I enjoy is baseball. People ask why and the only explanation I can offer is that I take after my dad, and the only sport he’s ever really been into is baseball.

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15. I’m an Angels fan, although I’m the worst fan ever. I know they suck and I have very little faith in them. Awful, I know.

16. I love writing. Journaling, being creative, and literally, just the physical act of writing words on paper with a pen.

17. I have pen pals! It’s something I’ve been doing about 7-8 years. I love getting something in the mail that isn’t a bill or a “pre approved credit card”.

18. I love living in Southern California. I like the idea that I can visit the ocean, desert, and mountains all within a day. (Doing so is on my bucket list!)

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19. I’m still unsure of this whole blogging thing. I keep asking myself, “why does anyone care what I have to say!?” That’ll pass, right?

20. I consider myself lucky to be in the world of bloggers. From what I’ve seen, these ladies (and maybe some guys??) have each others backs. That’s quite encouraging.

Let’s talk. Comment and tell me something about you! Or, if we have something in common, PLEASE tell me. I’ll feel less alone. And it’s awesome to feel less alone.

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It’s Okay to be Sad

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Confession: I’m still not really sure what I’m doing with this whole blogging thing. I haven’t quite found a rhythm yet, but I decided while I’m figuring it out, I’m just going to write about whatever pops into my head. Lately I’ve seen a few posts about how to cheer yourself up when you’ve had a bad day, or when you’re feeling sad or depressed. While those posts are great, (please do not think I am bashing anyone here) I have a different approach.

Scenario One:
Person: Hey! How are you?
Me: Oh, I’m okay. How are you?
Person: What? Just okay? Why, what’s wrong?
Me: Nothing is wrong.. I’m just not GREAT. I’m okay.
Person: Well you should be great!

This is one of my biggest pet peeves in life.

Prior to December of 2012, it was rare that I had a good day. I was severely depressed and honestly, I didn’t know what joy was. I didn’t know it was possible to feel happy for no apparent reason. Then I found Brainstate Technologies. The short story is, it saved my life. (Read more of that story here) I am no longer depressed, but that doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to a bad day every now and then. The difference is that now, I am aware of the difference between depression and just a bad day. IT IS OKAY TO JUST FEEL OKAY. When I respond to “How are you?” with “Okay”, that does not mean I am sad or depressed or feel like crying all day. It just means I am okay. Not bad, not good. Just okay. AND THAT’S OKAY.

Scenario Two:
Person: Hey! How are you?
Me: I’m alright, just a little bummed out today.
Person: That’s no fun! What can we do to cheer you up?
Me: I don’t need to be cheered up.. This will pass.
Person: Well it’s not good to be bummed out all day!

Another thing I’ve come to realize since emerging from the dark hole that is depression, is that it is okay to be sad. I’ve had plenty of bad days… Days when I’ve been upset, irritated, pissed off, or even just bummed out and feel like crying. I’ve learned that those days are normal. Other people are always so concerned, though. When I’m feeling a bit blue, there are a few people in my life that will try anything to make me feel better. (Can’t really blame them though, I guess it’s sweet.) But I say the same thing every time; I am not afraid of a bad day. I am not afraid of being a little sad. I know that these feelings are temporary. If they don’t pass today, then tomorrow is a fresh start.

Inside Out is now one of my absolute favorite movies. I laughed so hard, I cried. And then I cried for real because it hit so close to home. I even keep this little Sadness figurine thing on my desk to remind me that it is absolutely okay to be sad from time to time.

What do you do when you’ve had a bad day? What do you do when you just feel sad? Do you let it happen, like I do? Or do you have a routine set in place to make you feel better? Let’s talk. I’d love to hear from you. (Comment away!)

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Mistakes

This month, I’ve been participating in the Photo a Day June challenge with Chantelle, from Fat Mum Slim. Today’s prompt was Mistake. There’s only one thing that comes to my mind when I hear that word, and I knew there was only one photo I could take.

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In November of 2014, I received my second DUI. Yes, you read that correctly. Two DUIs. Yes, I was stupid enough to make the same mistake twice. I’ve always been the type of person who has to learn things the hard way, and unfortunately, the consequences for the first DUI didn’t exactly teach me a lesson. The consequences for the second, however, kicked my ass. Which is apparently how I learn best.

The toughest part about making the same mistake twice is that others go on believing you’ll make it a third time. I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on my mistake, and I know that in my heart it’s not something that is going to happen again. Not only is it incredibly dangerous – seriously, I’m lucky to have just gotten a DUI – but it’s time consuming, expensive, and worst of all, you’re left without a drivers license. When it comes down to it, drinking and driving isn’t worth it. AT ALL. Unfortunately, that was something I had to learn the (incredibly) hard way. I wish people would have more faith in me. Even now, with this interlock device on my ignition, people still ask how I’m getting home from the bar. “You’re not driving home, are you!?” I couldn’t even if I wanted to, but now, I simply don’t want to.

My DUIs are nothing that I’m proud of, but I’ve come to a place in my life where it’s better for me to be open and discuss them. I have little shame left about the whole situation. I hope that by talking so freely about this it may stop someone from making the same mistake.

Through all this, I have made a new best friend… Uber. It only costs about $7 to get home from the bar, and there’s always someone around to drive me back for my car in the morning. πŸ™‚

PS, you can follow me on Instagram to see all my Photo a Day pictures! @ErinMichelleHicks

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New (ish) Blogger Re-Introduction

Hi there!

After about a year and a half, I’m back. I started this blog in October of 2014 and only a few short months later, decided to stop for personal reasons. (I’ll explain someday.) I knew I wanted to come back, but the timing had to be right. Recently, things have positively turned around in my life, which led to my decision to come back to the blogging world.

I may have been out of the game from a blogging stand point, but I didn’t leave entirely! Over the last year and a half (ish) I’ve continued to watch a few of my favorite bloggers grow their communities, and few of you specifically have inspired me to get back to it. You guys are awesome and I’m very excited to be here.

With that said, I’d like to take a minute to re-introduce myself.

My name is Erin, I’m 27 years old and I live in wonderful Southern California. I recently started working for myself in the world of social media marketing, and I LOVE it. I have a passion for being outdoors and more specifically, being off-road. I own a Jeep, and almost two years ago started a group called Jeeps of SoCal. It’s pretty successful, if you asked me. I have a pretty cool boyfriend, too. While the relationship is still new, I’d say it’s going pretty well. I enjoy the little things in life like, binge watching Netflix, driving down a dirt road that leads to nowhere, the ocean, reading a good book, watching a baseball game and even drinking a little wine.

I don’t have a niche, so I’ve given myself the title of a Lifestyle Blogger. I had a blast doing this the first go around, and I can’t wait to see what comes next!

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If you’ve made it this far, be sure to find me on social media! (All links to the right.) And Snapchat, too! @xhelloerin.

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My Biggest Fear

I have a hard time talking about my fears. They aren’t small and they aren’t petty. Irrational, yes. But aren’t all fears irrational? Okay, maybe not all. But most. Like fear of spiders.. What are we really afraid of here?! Spiders can’t do much damage. (This is just an example.. I’m not afraid of spiders. Unless they’re really big.) So, all that being said, I am going to talk today about my biggest fear. It’s one I think some can relate to, which makes me feel less alone. However, that doesn’t make me feel less pathetic for this being a fear.

I have a fear of failure.

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Don’t we all? Again, maybe not all. But a lot of people have a fear of failure. For me, though, it feels so real. You see, all through high school, I never had a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I still think high school is a joke, and I know not a lot people end up actually doing what they wanted to do when they were in high school. But still! When you’re young, you think you know what you want to do.. I didn’t. Most high school kids go on to college, take a few classes, and figure out what they want to do.. Some change their minds once or twice, but they figure it out.. I didn’t. In high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I waited a little bit to go to college, and once I did, I STILL DIDN’T KNOW. My life changed; I got married, I got divorced, I moved out of state, I moved back to California.. My “passion” changed so many damn times over the years, I can’t keep track anymore. Back when I thought college was somewhat necessary, I wanted to be a teacher, and then a professional photographer, and then a forensic psychologist, and then a photographer again, and then for like ten minutes I thought about going to beauty school, and then I changed my mind back to photography. I think it’s safe to say, I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING. Even now, at 25 years old, I don’t have a clear idea of what I’m doing in life. I have my ideas and my short term goals. But those have changed so many times over the years, that I don’t trust them anymore.

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I know what you’re probably thinking… “But Erin, even if you don’t know what you’re doing, that doesn’t mean you’re a failure!” I know. I haven’t technically “failed” at anything. But if there’s one thing I’ve recognized over the years, it’s that every time I decide not to do something, a tiny bit of that decision is based on the fact that I don’t think I’ll be good enough at it. I think I will fail.

Even when it comes to this blog, I’m afraid I will fail. How do you fail at blogging? Seriously? Can someone answer me that? I’ve LITERALLY been blogging since October 1st, and I still, daily, am afraid I am going to fail at this. I think, I won’t have good ideas, my posts are going to suck, no one is going to want to read whatever the hell I decide to write about. It’s a real fear for me. Whether its legitimate or not, that’s up for debate.

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Recently, I have learned how to fight against those fears. I’ll give you an example.. Not too long ago, I started a Jeep page on Instagram. TONS of people have done this. I am nothing special here. I started “Jeeps of SoCal” and really all I do on Instagram is share photos of other people’s Jeeps. People like that, though. Recently, I decided to turn it into a Facebook group, as well. I was hesitant to do this, though, because there are so many out there already. Even just in southern California specifically, there’s a few Jeep groups that people are a part of. My fear was that people wouldn’t want to join yet ANOTHER Jeep group on Facebook. My fear was that it would fail. But I did it anyway. I can’t say for certain that it’s been a success so far, but it didn’t go as bad as I thought it would. It’s never as bad as we imagine it will be, right?

I’m learning how to fight back against my fears. Learning how to do something, regardless of being afraid that I will fail. I’m learning to just, DO IT ANYWAY. Who cares if I end up looking like an idiot.. At least I tried, right?

erinmichelle

Helene in Between Blogtober

The Little Things in Life

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So, today is day 13 of #Blogtober14, and the prompt is something about fall recipes. As some of you may know, (and others will find out) I don’t do recipes. Like, at all. Unless it’s alcoholic. And even then, it’s as simple as vodka and cranberry juice. But since I am trying to keep up with the challenge of blogging everyday, I want to post something today anyway. (Ps, I know I haven’t posted every day. But it’s the effort that counts!) So today, I’ve decided to give you some insight to who I am. I believe it’s the little things in life that keep us sane. Without things like our morning work outs, trying a new beer, photographing something awesome, going for a hike, or brand new pens to draw with, I think our lives would be a little less bright. Here’s a few things that bring a smile to my face.

This is Jerry the Jeep. Some of you know him already. If you don’t, I wrote about him here. If I go longer than day without being in the Jeep, I start to go a little crazy. And I’m obsessed with taking photos of him. Seriously. I have tons. I generally smile just looking at it. Couldn’t tell ya why, but I freakin love this thing.
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I love fish! And my fish tank. I’ve gone through quite a few fish since getting my tank set up almost 2 years ago. But it’s a learning process. The tank sits kind of next to my tv, and I swear I look at the tank as much as I do the tv. And how cute is the snail!? I love going to tropical fish stores and the Aquarium up in Long Beach. I could probably spend hours there, just walking around in circles looking at fish.
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Fun fact: Hobo Co Pizza is THE BEST PIZZA EVER. No doubt. No competition. Best. Pizza. Ever. They’re a food truck here in southern Orange County. Check out their Facebook page, track them down, eat their pizza. Seriously, people. It’s worth it. Their pizza makes me insanely happy. (And full)
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I couldn’t live in southern California without being a fan of the ocean. Isn’t everyone? Who knows. But there’s something about standing next to the ocean that makes me feel so.. Small; like my problems mean nothing. There’s a certain calm I get near the ocean that I don’t get anywhere else.
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Last but not least – Holy Jim Canyon. The very first time I went here, I was drug out of my house at like, 10pm with a friend. She wanted me to meet some guy and told me we were going offroad. I told her she was crazy. I thought going offroad sounded dumb and a complete waste of my time. Well, that guy is now one of my best friends, (HI MIKE!) and Holy Jim is one of my favorite places EVER. A lot of more experienced offroaders will argue and say that this isn’t “real” offroading, and that it’s just a lame fire road, so it’s boring, and blah blah blah. But this is where I fell in love with offroading. I learned to offroad here. Learned to use my 4wd here. (With the help of Mike.. Thanks again for saving me that one day I got stuck.) I’ve spent a lot of time with friends here. No matter how into this offroad thing I get, I will always consider Holy Jim to be home.
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So, that’s kind of me in a nutshell. Well, plus a few other things. But you’ll learn more as time goes on.

What are the little things in life that keep you sane?

erinmichelle

Helene in Between Blogtober

The One Thing I Can’t Live Without

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Over the years of dealing with depression and anxiety, one of the most important things I’ve had to learn, (and sometimes have to keep learning) is how to cope with the anxiety. One of the ways I’ve learned to cope is to just get out. So naturally, the one thing I can’t live without is my jeep. Really, I’d settle for any vehicle that runs. But since getting my jeep in March of 2013, I have absolutely fallen in love with it.

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I can’t tell you how many days I’ve felt claustrophobic in my own house, or stuck inside my own head, even. I’m sure some of you know the feeling. My escape is driving. And of course, good music. Driving is insanely therapeutic for me, and I don’t know what I’d do without it. Actually, scratch that. From 2013 into 2013, I went 9 months without driving, and it was HELL. I never want to be in that situation ever again.

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The jeep specifically gives me a freedom and joy that I’ve never felt before. My vehicle is better than most (in my opinion) because it’s taken me to some pretty cool places. I’ve been to the top of Saddleback Mountain (here in Orange County, CA) more times than I can count. There’s nothing better than being out in the dirt, with the windows down and the music up. I’ve been in the sunshine, watched the sun set, and seen the stars and city lights from over 5,000 feet of elevation.

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What can’t you live without?

ErinMichelle

Link up with us for Blogtober14!

Helene in Between Blogtober