What’s the Deal with Pineapples?

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Pineapples seem to be the “in” thing right now, especially in the blogging community. They are EVERYWHERE. I don’t quite understand why, but I think I’m rolling with it…

I guess they’re kinda cute.
I did a quick search on Etsy, and holy wow, you can find almost any item with a pineapple on it. Pineapple printables, jewelry, apparel, phone cases, balloons, wine glasses, clocks, temporary tattoos, washi tape.. I mean seriously, I could go on for a while here. It’s insane!

[ Cookie Cutter | Phone Case | Be a Pineapple Printable ]

Pineapples are apparently pretty healthy… Who knew?
Alexis at Chemistry Cachet posted 7+ Scientifically Proven Reasons Why Pineapple is Beneficial For You. They’ve got tons of vitimins, plus they boost your energy level and immune system. Sweet!

Pineapple themed party!
Yes, pineapples are so popular that Sarah from Venus Trapped in Mars wrote an entire post on how to throw a pineapple themed party. It’s totally something I plan on doing someday.

Grow your own pineapple!
According to this Instagram post I’ve seen making it’s way around the internet, you can actually grow your own pineapple. I’m a little skeptical, so I might have to try it for myself.

Pineapple soaked in Malibu rum.
This is my personal favorite! Cut up the pineapple, let it soak in Malibu rum for a while, and then eat it pool side, ocean side, or lake side. 🙂
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(Image found here)

Let’s talk! Are you obsessed with pineapples like everyone else seems to be? Do you have anything pineapple related? Have a favorite recipe? Comment & let’s chat about pineapples!

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4 Tips to Help You Succeed on Instagram

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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.)

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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. 🙂

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

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June Photo a Day 2016

Since returning to the blogging community, I haven’t accomplished much. I have a list of “blog post ideas” that I’ve taken from Pinterest & other bloggers that I follow, but I keep running into the same problem.. “Who wants to read that coming from? I don’t have a following!”

I feel that because I’m new, and no one knows me yet, I can’t really write the more personal posts. Then when I really think about it, isn’t that the best way for people to get to know me?

So in the coming weeks, you’ll probably see some pretty cliché posts from me. I’ll share my hobbies, favorite TV shows, music, and my favorite things about social media. I also plan to jump in on the linkups & writing prompts that so many of you have going on.

The first one I’ll be joining is the June Photo a Day 2016 from Fat Mum Slim. I love photography, and I like the idea of being given a prompt and having to think outside the box a little. And what better way to connect with other bloggers than through my favorite social media platform!? (That would be Instagram…)

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You can participate, or just follow along, on Instagram with all the hashtags OR follow me personally! Chantelle has even given every day a specific hashtag to cut back on spam. Awesome!

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The only weird thing about this challenge is Chantelle lives in Australia, so her posts are about a day ahead of me. Which definitely through me for a loop before I paid attention to her location. Regardless, this will be fun! Can’t wait to see what the month will bring.

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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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I Don’t Like New Year’s Resolutions.

Happy New Year! Better late than never, right?

Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions. Well, I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I think waiting for January 1st to make a change is, well.. Kinda stupid. I get that people see it as a blank slate, a chance to start over maybe. But hey, if you want to lose 10 pounds, learn a new language, or save more money, why wait until January 1st to do that? I also think people tend to set New Year’s resolutions that are a bit unrealistic. So, I don’t like resolutions. However, there are a few things I would like to accomplish in 2015. They are things I think are totally attainable & that I am pretty excited about!
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1. 365 Project. I’m sure most of you know what I’m talking about.. The photo a day challenge. I have completed one already, from August 2012 to August 2013. I had tried to do it many times before, but I always failed. For reasons I won’t get into, it was difficult for me to take my camera everywhere with me. But in 2012, I found an iPhone app called “Project 365” that allows you to track your project. I take TONS of pictures on my phone, so completing the project was easy. I do still want to complete the project with my actual camera, but I know that’s a bit unrealistic for me at the moment. SO, I am going to do this again, from January to January. Just looks a little neater. (:
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2. This is Not a Book. (From the creator/writer of “Wreck This Journal”) I’ve had this “book” sitting on my bookcase for YEARS. I think it was actually a Christmas gift.. Seriously, years ago. I’ve told myself hundreds of times that I am going to open it up, and complete it, but have never gotten around to it. Well, 2015 is the year! IT WILL BE DONE. There’s some info on it here. It looks like an awesome project.

3. Go to Big Bear. I know. It sounds like a ridiculous goal. I live 2 hours from the mountains, and have only been twice, MAYBE three times, but have never seen snow up there. I have a Jeep, and have never done any of the trails. It might be a while before I am able to drive myself around up there, but at the very least, I need to tag along on someone else’s trip. I’ve been saying this for years, but I swear, this will be the year I actually do it.

BLOGGING GOALS: As some of you know, (and can probably tell by looking around) I’m still quite new to this whole blogging thing. I launched my blog in October of 2014, and still am quite clueless on a lot of things. In the months to come, I am going to…

-Learn how to generate blog post ideas & organize them.
-Take more photos of the boring crap I do. (Which shouldn’t be hard)
-Really get on this SEO crap.
-Spend time learning how to utilize WordPress plugins.
-Get more involved! Tweet like crazy. Comment on other blogs.
-Do something about my blog design. Whether that means saving change until I can afford a custom design, or even just purchasing a graphic to do in the header. I need to do something to spice things up around here.

I hope everyone had an amazing 2014, and I wish you all the best in 2015!

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2014 Review Extravaganza Week #4

WARNING: This is a long post, and I have no problem with that. (: This is the last week of the 2014 Review Extravaganza I have been participating in. I have to admit, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.. As some of you may know, I didn’t start blogging until October, so months January-September I was just re-capping stuff I did throughout the year. (Thanks to Facebook, I was able to easily remember what I was up to in the previous months.) It was pretty fun to go back on my Facebook timeline and see what I was doing, posting about & taking photos of. I haven’t blogged much over the last two months, so there isn’t a lot of blogging related things to talk about in this review. But that’s okay. (: Be prepared for a lot of Jeep related photos to come, because I did a lot of that. I will not apologize, though, because this is my blog & I’ll post what I want!

trabucocanyoncaliforniaI’m not sure when I took this photo in October, but it’s definitely one of my favorites. I’ve written before about how much I love Holy Jim canyon & that I would probably go crazy without it. Fall is ABSOLUTELY my favorite time to be back there. The leaves are bright orange & there’s lots of mud. (:

In October I wrote THIS POST titled “When In Doubt, Dance It Out.” It was pretty much me rambling about love, my crappy dating life, and what I do to get myself out of a bad mood. But for some reason, it was slightly popular.

indesperateneedofahugWhenever you are feeling alone, I suggest posting something like this on Facebook. It amazes me just how many people will step up & say something nice & encouraging. For whatever lame reason, I was having a pretty rough night when I posted this. I was actually hanging out at the bar. I don’t remember why I was sad or needed a hug, but I needed one. I think hugs are incredibly underrated, and as a society, we should hug more often. So I posted this. As you can see, a bunch of my friends commented on it. The comments you can’t see, (there’s 7 more up there) are much like the ones that are in this screen cap. Minutes after I posted it, I walked up to the bar to order another drink. I was standing right next to my friend David, who was on his phone. I really wasn’t paying attention, and what seemed to be pretty random, he threw his arms around me. Not gonna lie, I was a little confused at first. Turned out, he had literally just seen my post, as I was standing next to him, and he hugged me. It was one of the sweetest moments of our friendship. (Don’t tell him I said that, though.)

November 24th, I gave to you 5 Things You Might Not Know About Facebook. I still stand by them.

cleghornoffroadtrailNovember was the month of JEEPS! I took this gorgeous photo in Cleghorn. (In case you are wondering, the trail is in San Bernardino, off the 15 & the 138.) So, some of you know that I started a Jeep group called Jeeps of SoCal. We’re on Facebook & Instagram and everywhere else on the internet. The meet & greets I plan are pretty well thought out and planned weeks ahead of mine. The off-road trips, however, are a little more last minute & random. This one was exactly that. For weeks I had been trying to plan a trip with other people. But my friends always have excuses, or we can never agree on a date or WHATEVER. It’s complicated and annoying. So, I picked the trail, date, time & meet place and put it on our Instagram page. I pretty much said, this is where I am going to be, I’m hitting the trail by 10:30, everyone is invited. I talked to one guy who said he would definitely be there, and he was bringing a friend. I said cool, see ya there. I had a few other people comment on the photo on Instagram and say they would be there as well, but no actual conversations about the trip took place. I thought at best, a few other people show up and that’s good enough for me. The Jeep community once again blew my expectations out of the water – we had at LEAST 18 Jeeps show up that morning. By the way, I had never met any of these people. The guy that I had talked to before the trip assured me that he would have my back throughout the day, because I’m not nearly as experienced as every one else that showed up that day. That was incredibly comforting, considering this whole trip was out of my comfort zone. I HAD A BLAST THOUGH. It was my second favorite trip this year. I did about 80% of the obstacles on the trail, completely alone, no man riding shot gun telling me where to place my tires, and I only needed to be spotted twice. One of those times I’m convinced I almost died. Anyway – it was an epic trip and here’s some more photos from that day because I had so much fun.
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That’s the picture of me almost dying. It was a terrifying moment, even if most of my Jeep friends say it doesn’t look that bad.. It was scary. And amazing.

foursonsbrewinghuntingtonbeachNovember 8th I had another very successful Jeep meet & greet, held at Four Sons Brewing in Huntington Beach. There aren’t very many exciting pictures from that day, though. I won’t bore you with all the parking lot Jeep photos. 😉

**Random side not here.. Most of November & December was pretty boring for me. I’ll probably talk about that at some point on the blog, but I won’t get into the details now. That’s why there’s really nothing between the beginning of November and the end of December.**

December 9th, I wrote THIS POST celebrating my two years of being anti-depressant free!

20141225_161347000_iOSMy dad did this on Christmas morning. We do have a fireplace in the house, but the Christmas tree was in another room. So my mom put out the stockings like this, and my dad found that fireplace thing on Netflix.
20141226_000055000_iOSEventually, we got my entire family in the same house. (Immediate family, at least) My parents, two sisters, my brother, my Grandma, brother’s fiancé, sister’s boyfriend and my adorable niece. It wasn’t this crowded for very long on Christmas day, but I enjoyed every second of it. (:

trabucocanyonholyjimDecember 28th was my second day back in the real world, so OF COURSE I had to get out to Holy Jim. My sister bought her brand new 2015 Chevy Colorado a few weeks prior, and despite almost crying whenever it gets dirty, she did it anyway. Her truck makes my Jeep look TINY. It was cold and pretty out there, and even though it hadn’t rained in a while, still a little wet. How gorgeous do our vehicles look together, by the way?

I plan to end my year at the bar, where I usually spend New Years Eve.. With the people I call my friends, plus my sister & her boyfriend. It’s not a very exciting night, but it’s something I enjoy. Overall, 2014 was a pretty damn good year, and I’m absolutely looking forward to 2015! (More on that later.) Hope you all had a wonderful year, as well.

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2014 Review Extravaganza Week #3

YAY week 3 of the 2014 Review Extravaganza is here!

cleghornJuly 19th – It was a pretty boring Cleghorn trip, but I managed to have fun. This is the first offroad trip I went on that I hadn’t planned myself; someone else did. There was a LOT of people that met up for this one. The guy running the whole thing split us up into two groups, and had all these weird rules, and wanted to get the whole thing done in 4 hours & said last time it took two long.. I thought that was all weird. My group went first, and then later we got word that the second group didn’t even make it, for reasons that are still unknown to me. My tires were pretty worn out when I took this trip, so I stayed on the main trail most of the day. It was cloudy and a little rainy that day, so there was some mud. It was an okay day, nothing too excited. Late that afternoon though, was when my parents informed me that the boyfriend I had living with me was the one who stole my dads camera equipment (worth a LOT of money) and took it to a pawn shop. So that was a bit of a blow. I had to spend the next 48 hours ignoring me, and then figuring out how to tell him he’s a lying, scheming sack of shit and that I never wanted to see him again. Okay, that wasn’t too hard. And I was necessarily heart broken, either. (We hadn’t been dating that long) Still sucked, though.

vegas-july24-27July 24th – My mom, sister, sister’s best friend & myself went to Vegas for a couple days to celebrate my sister’s 21st birthday! I’m not a big fan of Vegas.. it’s hot, and expensive and there’s way too many people for my taste. But my mom said something about being there for support, so I went. We didn’t even really do much.. Hung out by the pool, did some window shopping. ate dinner at Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill. It was a pretty mellow weekend with the girls. (:

august16-fobAugust 16th – I saw Fall Out Boy live for the 8th time. Yes, you read that right. I’ve been to EIGHT Fall Out Boy concerts! My two best friends & I have been going to their concerts since high school. Every tour they go on, we make sure to go to a show. We’ve been to a couple without each other, and I saw one of the tours twice, once without them. BUT this is our thing. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen them, I am always just as excited as the first show when they get out on the stage. There is no feeling like seeing your favorite band live. One of the best things ever!

august23This picture was taken on August 23rd. I made a lot of new friends over the year, all through the Jeep community. Between the months of May and September, we had TONS of bonfires out in the canyon. We spent hours sitting out there, drinking beer, watching the stars, making inappropriate jokes.. Every once in a while we did a little off-roading, but it was more about just being outside & with good friends. I took a lot of pictures of the fires over the months, but on this specific night, I finally brought my actual camera out. I set up the tripod and everything, and probably took close to 100 pictures of the fire. I HAD SO MUCH FUN DOING IT, TOO. I won’t bore you with any more, because they almost look all the same. How cool looking is it, though?

september1September 1st – We had my bestfriend Alex, her boyfriend, and their two kids over to celebrate Alex’s birthday. We hung out in the pool, took some shots of fireball, and had one of our awesome Hicks Family YouTube nights. It may not look like much, but these nights are some of my absolute favorites!

september6September 6th – I saw the Ataris at the Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. I also saw them back in March, but seeing this band live never gets old!

september14September 14th – This is me, with both of my little sisters, and our niece. Our parents were on vacation in Hawaii for 10 days. We are definitely not the “throw a party when our parents are out of town” kind of kids, (mostly because we don’t have that many friends) but we did have a couple people over that day. My brother & his girlfriend were there with their daughter. I had a few friends over and we hung out in the pool most of the day. We had all been drinking throughout the day, and come dinner time, my sister Lauren, (on the right) was prettyyyyy drunk. I was too, especially after teaching Madelyn, (the other sister, she’s 17) how to take shots of fireball. And then we thought it would be a good idea to take a bunch of selfies. Obviously this isn’t a selfie. No one really needs to see those. They’re blurry, and our faces aren’t in them completely. In fact, I can’t even remember who took that picture. It was a good day, though. Things always get a little interesting when Lauren drinks too much. Pretty entertaining, though.

That concludes this weeks review.. I’ve had so much fun doing it, I’m actually a little sad that next week will be the last. But don’t forget to come back & see what I was up to in October, November & December. (It’s super exciting, I promise!)

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The Best Songs of 2014

Today I’m linking up with Helene over at Helene in Between to bring to you the best songs of 2014, as told by me. I’m sure so many of you have a different taste in music than me, so this link-up should be interesting! Can’t wait to see what every one else things, but for now, here’s some of my favorite songs from 2014. (In no particular order)

1. Centuries – Fall Out Boy. Because they’re my favorite & anything by them is automatically amazing.
2. Rollercoaster – Luke Bryan. Or really, any song by Luke this year, because who doesn’t love watching this butt?
lukebryansbutt3. Neon Light – Blake Shelton. Because everyone loves a good drinking song.
4. One Hell of an Amen – Brantley Gilbert. A real tear jerker.
5. Shotgun Rider – Tim McGraw. A favorite for personal reasons. Brings back some memories, too.
6. Leave the Night on – Sam Hunt. Super catchy, and super cute.
7. Shake it Off – Taylor Swift. #SorryNotSorry, I’m a T-Swift fan, and this song is catchy as shit.
taylorswiftshakeitoffgif8. Talladega – Eric Church. For some reason, it’s always stuck in my head.
9. Too Fast – Jason Aldean. Hits a little close to home.
10. I Don’t Dance – Lee Brice. Everyone loves a sappy love song, right?

What are some of your favorite songs from 2014?! Don’t forget to link up with us over at Helene in Between!

The Best Songs Of 2014

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