A Week in Photos (#2)

I’ve been slacking a little the last two weeks.. I’m a little off my blogging game. Since it’s Friday, I thought I’d share some photos from this last week with you.

On Tuesday, I got myself some iced tea from Starbucks and took a drive through one of the canyons here close to home. There’s a few that kind of wind and loop together, and I absolutely loving cruising through them. If you go at the right time, there’s hardly anyone else out there. It’s so quiet and peaceful, even with my music turned up and the windows all down. I drive these canyons to unwind or think, or even just for a change of scenery. It’s one of my absolute favorite things to do.

Wednesday night I went to an Angels game with a few of my friends. These are friends I’ve met in the Jeep community, and these three in particular are a bit younger than I am. I’m 27, and they’re all under the age of 22. Sometimes I feel old being around them, but most of the time, I feel like I’m 22 again. It’s interesting to be around people who are in different stages of life than you are. Even though I felt old at times, (and sober – I was the only one choosing to not drink) I always have a great time with those kids.

Thursday night, my family & I went to the brand new Karl Strauss Brew Pub in Anaheim to celebrate my brother being the SOLE brewer there. They don’t open to the public until Monday, August 22nd, but we were amongst a handful of people who received a special invite. My brother has been in the brewing industry for a little while now, and was just given the opportunity at Karl Strauss to essentially have his own brewery. He’ll be the only one brewing there, AND everything brewed on site will be his own recipes. As his big sister, I am BEYOND proud of him. Words can’t even begin to describe the feeling. The food is amazing, and all the other beer is good as well, so if you’re in the Anaheim area, GO CHECK THEM OUT.

So here’s kind of a funny story… I found these cactus PJ pants (above) at Target, weeks ago. I’m kind of cheap, and couldn’t justify spending almost $17 on a pair of pajama pants. (Especially since I wear shorts most of the time. It’s hot in SoCal!) I knew there was a good chance of them eventually going on clearance, so I waited it out. Yesterday, (Thursday) I FINALLY saw them on clearance! I quickly grabbed a pair, finished my shopping, and headed home. When I got home and put them on (because I had to) I realized they were a bit tight. Usually I get pajamas in a bigger size so they’re comfy, but apparently in my excitement, I forgot. So I took them back to Target, returned them, and went to find a bigger size. I was then very disappointed to see that they didn’t have a bigger size. So what did I do? Went to another Target. They didn’t have my size either. Neither did the next Target I went to. That’s right.. Three Target stores, no cactus pants. I could have cried. I woke up this morning feeling a little antsy and almost immediately decided I would go hit up another three Target stores. I got some coffee and have my route all planned out. I was SO EXCITED when I found them at the first Target I stopped at and didn’t have to drive all over SoCal! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. They’re just too freaking cute. Now I’m starting to think maybe I should make the rounds again, buy them all on clearance, and get them up on Amazon. Seriously people. How freaking cute are they!?

That’s it for this week, folks. I’ll try and be a better blogger next week, I promise!


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10+ Places to Find Free Stock Photos

When I first started blogging, the most frustrating thing was trying to find good stock photos. I know the “blogger” thing to do would to take all your own stock photos. To be honest, though, I just don’t have the time or energy for that right now, and I’m sure others are with me on that. In my time blogging, I’ve come across dozens of sites for free photos. For this post, I’ve narrowed it down to my top 10 for you. (To my best knowledge, you do not need to give credit to the author when using these photos.)

1. Lock and Stock Photos

2. Kaboom Pics

3. Stock Snap

4. Jay Mantri

5. Magdeleine

6. Foodies Feed

7. Picography

8. Skitter Photo

9. Stock Pic

10. Get Refe

Subscribe to the newsletter to get 5 EXTRA free stock photo sites!


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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! 😉

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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Photo a Day June – RECAP

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!