A Week in Photos (#1)

Happy Friday! Congratulations on making it through another week. It can be tough, I know. So high five! ✋🏻 I’ve decided to make Friday’s super easy on myself & post photos from the week. I also think photos are a great way to get to know someone. So, here ya go. 

Last Friday night a few of us girls went out to celebrate my sisters 23rd birthday. We went to this amazing Mexican restaurant in the Irvine Spectrum called Javier’s. I had never been there before but ohh my goodness the was so good! I ordered two enchiladas; one with crab and one with lobster. I could have eaten two more, honestly. The margaritas were pretty good, too. Following dinner, we hit up a few bars and got my sister nice and drunk. That’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re young & can handle the hangover. If you follow me on Snapchat (@xhelloerin) you may have seen a bunch of obnoxious videos on my story. I do not apologize because we had a blast. 🙂

Sunday, I took a nice solo drive down one of my favorite dirt roads. Unfortunately, I was stopped by California Highway Patrol (what was he doing out there anyway??) for not wearing my seatbelt. In my defense, I had just gotten back into the Jeep and pulled out onto the road, and literally just hadn’t put it back on yet. I was going to, I promise! I’ve seen too many accidents out there to not wear a seat belt. Anyway, he gave me a warning for the seat belt thing but wrote me a fix it ticket because I don’t have mud flaps. Really? My tires don’t even stick out that much. BUT things usually go a lot worse when I’m stopped by law enforcement (always my fault, I accept that) so I’m glad all I got was a fix it ticket. 

Tuesday night I took myself out for a beer and a couple of tacos. We have 4 kegs on tap at my house, which is nice, but sometimes you just need to get out of the house. I really wanted to be alone, but that’s the downside of being a regular and a bar… You’re almost never alone. A few people wanted to sit and talk, which I guess wasn’t the end of the world. Maybe next time I’ll pick a different place. (I probably won’t, though.)

I don’t remember what day I took this picture, but how cute are my succulents!? I was hesitant to plant them because I have a habit of killing plants. Turns out these things are pretty easy to keep alive. They sit on a little table on our back patio where I enjoy them almost daily. 

This is my view this afternoon. I ran a few errands this morning, with no AC in the Jeep, and it was just too hot to handle by the time I got home. I didn’t even bother getting out the laptop. Just grabbed my phone, took a quick dunk in the pool and picked the chair under the umbrella. It’s perfect here in the shade. I’ll probably stay here all afternoon. 

I hope you all had a lovely week and hope it continues through the weekend. See you in August! 😉

My Favorite Instagram Accounts

Hi there! I’m having a particularly lazy week, so I thought I would take the time today to share with you my favorite Instagram accounts. Instagram is probably my favorite social media platform. (With Snapchat being a close second.) I spend a lot of time on Instagram on a daily basis, and I follow a lot of pages. It was difficult to narrow it down to just a few favorites, but here they are!

1. Helene In Between – She was one of the first bloggers I ever followers, and I just love her photos. They’re simple & cute, and she always manages to tell a story of some kind. I’ve loved following her, and her hashtag #PhotosInBetween.

2. The Dainty Squid – Kaylah, another favorite blogger of mine. She has an incredibly unique style, and while I am not stylish at all, I love seeing hers! She collects all kinds of weird things that I enjoy seeing, like teeth things, and gloves. She’s a badass photographer, and goes to all kinds of cool, abandoned places. (All of which are now on my bucket list) Plus, she’s got a lot of succulents, which I am currently obsessed with.

3. The Daily Tay – Yet ANOTHER favorite blogger. Taylor is HILARIOUS. She’s pretty obsessed with her dog, Harlow, and while I’m not much of a dog person myself, I’m actually starting to fall in love with hers. (Amazing, right?) I can’t really put my finger on why I love her photos so much… Maybe because she’s quite often holding a glass of wine. Probably. Yeah, that’s why. Oh, and even though she’s funny on Instagram, she’s about a million times funnier on Snapchat. Seriously, go follow her right now.

4. Succulent Obsession – Succulents have become my latest obsession, so it was pretty obvious that I had to start following a bunch of succulent pages. This one is hands down, one of my favorites. There’s a lot of different colors, things to plant them in, different ways to arrange them. Way different than a lot of other succulent pages. It makes me want to go out and buy ALL THE SUCCULENTS. I would if I could.

5. PNWOnderland – I love looking at photos of the Pacific North West. It’s gorgeous up there. While I’ve never really had the chance to explore the area, I think the PNW is absolutely gorgeous. The photos make me want to take my Jeep through every inch of those states. It’s definitely another bucket list item!

6. Hot Pink Pineapples – I can’t remember how I discovered this account. Probably via one of the many blogging hashtags that I follow. I love it because it’s just so BRIGHT. I mean look at this photo. IT’S SO PINK. And all of Cyn’s photos are like this. I have no idea where she finds all these places, things, and buildings that are so freakin bright, but I absolutely love it.

A photo posted by Cyn (@hotpinkpineapples) on

7. Jeep Hood Shots – I don’t know if I have any followers here that are into the whole off-road thing, but I certainly am. I follow a handful of accounts that post photos of very nice Jeeps, but one of my favorite accounts is Jeep Hood Shots. They are all photos taken from the view of the driver/passenger seat. It’s amazing the views you can see from the front seat of a Jeep.

So, there you have it.
What is one of your favorite Instagram accounts to follow? Maybe you’ll inspire me to follow it too!

Ps, follow me on Instagram!


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4 Must Have Photo Editing Apps


For those of you who don’t know, I’m kind of a photographer by nature. Not that I’m any good, but I’ve been known to take a LOT of photos. With the invention of smart phones, and their cameras, photo editing apps have become my absolute favorite apps. Right now I only have ten photo related apps on my phone, but there were times I have had many more. For blogging, all things social media, an eye catching photo is incredibly important. These apps can be a great way to get the job done.

1. Afterlight – This is my number one favorite photo editing app. It has everything you could possibly need. I almost NEVER post a photo to social media without it going through Afterlight first. You can edit the exposure, brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows, saturation, etc. There are a CRAP ton of filters.. I counted 43, but the app store is telling me there are 59. (I don’t know who’s math is wrong.. Just kidding, it’s mine.) It includes things like texture overlays, light leaks, a pack called “instant film.” I told you – it has everything. Hands down, best app ever. It’s $0.99, and TOTALLY WORTH IT.

2. Over – In my opinion, this is the best app for adding text to photos. It is also $0.99, with packages available to purchase within the app. You can change the font size, (obviously, what app wouldn’t let you do that?) line width, spacing between the letters, rotate the text, and opacity of the text. My favorite feature is the drop shadow, making the text look less flat. They also have packages of cute little stickers and overlays you can purchase, but I’ve found them to be better on other apps. I strictly use this app for text.

3. A Color Story – This is a free app with purchases available inside. I went ahead and bought the bundle pack of all the filters for $8.99 and have found it to be an great investment. This app seems to have different types of filters from Afterlight. For some reason, they seem like more “blogging” type of filters. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it does in my head. The filters are mostly light and airy, really making colors pop in your photos. As like any photo editing app, you can adjust things like exposure, brightness, contrast and saturation.

4. Photofy – This is my most recent favorite app! (Also free) Of course, like the others, you can actually edit your photo. (Exposure, brightness, saturation, blah blah blah) But what’s fun about this one is it has TONS of these stickers and overlays. I find myself spending way too much time looking through all of them. There’s lots of categories and they have stickers for just about every occasion. I typed in “camping” and found this awesome quote to put over a photo from my latest camping trip. Then you can change the color, size, and add a drop shadow to it. (Drop shadows are my favorite!)

Let’s talk. Do you use any of these apps? I’d love to hear about your favorites!


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4 Tips to Help You Succeed on Instagram


Instagram is by far my FAVORITE social media platform out there. I was a fan from day one. It’s pretty easy to use, but in order to be successful on Instagram, I think there are certain things you need to pay attention to.

1. Write a good bio.
Make sure there is enough information in your bio to let people know who you are & exactly what you do. Don’t forget to add your website, too!

2. Content.
This is obviously a given. Post content that people WANT to see. Avoid out of focus, dark, or other crappy quality photos. Don’t be afraid to go crazy with photo editing apps, either. I do it often. (You can find my top 3 favorites here.)

3. Engagement.
The best way to get people to engage is to ask a question. Try to avoid asking a yes or no question, but instead, a question that motivates someone to tap the “comment” button and type something in.

4. Hashtags.
This might also be a given, but I see so many people using the WRONG kinds of hashtags. I believe that in order to grow your Instagram organically, and avoid spam followers, you have to use the right kind of hashtags. In my experience, vague hashtags are the ones that drive in spam. Hashtags like #beauty, #love, #ocean tend to be the types that spam accounts are targeting. Instead, try to use more specific hashtags for your business or blog niche.

I run a successful Jeep community online, and when it comes to hashtags, I tend to stick to the ones we as a community have created. When I stopped using #jeep, the amount of spam I saw dropped dramatically. If you don’t believe me, try it yourself!

In the blogging community, a lot of favorite bloggers have created their own hashtags, and they definitely bring in real followers! Helene writes about them here.

5. Why the new Instagram algorithm shouldn’t scare you.
Again, this is just my opinion… But I believe that if you post content that people want to see and are interacting with, the new algorithm shouldn’t scare you. Yes, I agree that it sucks we don’t see photos in order any more. That was a bit of a luxury. But as far as your followers seeing your content goes, just continue posting what they want to see, and they will see it.

Follow me on Instagram to see pretty photos like this one! (Don’t worry, I post pictures other than of my Jeep… Sometimes.)