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2019 | Reaching Higher

Time so down! I can remember sitting at my desk writing out my 2018 plan as clear as day. Now, a year later, I sit doing the same time for 2019. 2018 was a monumental year for Outdoors With Her and for me personally. In 2018 there was a lot of changes, growth, learning moments, even more fun & fishing!

I knew at one point I would need to make a decision about where to put my focus. 2018 proved to be that year. I went into January with the word “fruition” on my mind. How can I create - execute- and see the rewards of all my efforts within the 12 months I had. My 2018 goals were lofty, they were bold, they pushed me out of my comfort zone multiple times but they were so rewarding!


Attend 4 Industry Related Shows as Staff - DONE

SHOT - Outdoors With Her

GAOS - DSG Hunting

VA FF & Wine - Green Top Hunting and Fishing

The Fly Fishing Show, Edison NJ - Orvis #5050onthewater booth

Green Top Kayak Days


Teach 5+ Fly Fishing 101 Classes - DONE

Orvis Women’s 101 Class

2 Ohio Classes

2 Virginia Classes


Build Programs for Fly Fishing - WORK IN PROGRESS


Get More Involved with My Local Conservation Community  - WORK IN PROGRESS

Joined my local TU & BHA chapters


Grow my Firearms Knowledge - WORK IN PROGRESS


Throughout 2018 I found that education & mentorship were at the heart of everything I was doing. It is mentorship, that keeps propelling me forward. Seeing growth & learning in other people is what continues to keep me teaching, sharing, and running this business! There are a few goals I did not get to fully accomplish and that is OK! That is why they are WORKS IN PROGRESS!


in·ten·tion - noun - a thing intended; an aim or plan.

I choose the word “intention” for 2019. My focus this year is to execute each of my goals with intention. Do more things with intention and be intentional about what I choose to spend my time on. With that being said, here are a few of my public goals.

Teach 10 Fly Fishing 101 + 201 Classes 

Build More Programs for Fly Fishing

Get More Involved with My Local Conservation Community  

Continue Growing my Firearms Knowledge 

Shoot a PA & MD Eastern Turkey

Work on Tying my Top 10 Nymph Patterns

Hunt & Harvest in A New State

Help with The Mayfly Project - PA

Provide More Weekly & Monthly Content

The New Year is already off to a great start for Outdoors With Her & myself! What are some of your goals or resolutions for 2019?

The Year of Fruition | 6 Month Check In

Your life is not a competition with others, it is a journey with YOURSELF!
 

In the fall of 17', my dear friend Brooke (@brooke.averill) challenged me to find a word that would represent my goals for 2018. I initially thought she was crazy then as I let it sink in, I realized how motivational it would be to pick one word and intentionally work toward setting and making goals with a purpose. The word I choose;

 

fru·i·tion: noun. the point at which a plan or project is realized

 

In my blog, Coming to Fruition, I set a handful of goals for twenty-eighteen. As I round out the end of six months since I set those goals, I wanted to do a quick check in to see how far I have come! 

 

Attend 4 Industry Related Shows as Staff - DONE 

Teach 5+ Fly Fishing 101 Classes - DONE

Build Programs for Fly Fishing & Hunting  - under construction 

Guide 80 + Days of the Water - getting there! 

Continue Growing my Firearms Knowledge - coming soon 

 

Just as I started to get comfortable in the New Year, God laughed and decided to teach me life lesson, the lesson of walking away. For years, when things hit the fan I would RUN away, I would turn on my heels and sprint in the opposite direction without looking back. This time, He taught me how to walk away with my eyes wide open. To see the negative in the situation and to deal with it the healthy way. It was within this lesson, I learned to walk away from the negative people, the negative situations, the negative behaviors and clean up the negative areas lingering in my life. And you know what? The minute I rationally walked about from all the negative in my life, I found an overwhelming sense of relief. For the first time in a long time, I was truly happy with where I was, not only from a business standpoint but in my personal life. I no longer felt like I had to carry the burden of other peoples negativity & my own self negativity. I made a choice to realign with what truly matters. 

It has been six months of truly believing in the power of self-love, self-care, and building even more self-confidence in who I am. As I begin to tell my story on a more public platform later this year, I will be sharing snippets of "my story" and how I continue to find motivation and inspiration in my daily life. 



I had always known I wanted a non-traditional career, always. As a kid I dreamed of having one of the "fun" jobs; marine biologist, dolphin trainer, zookeeper. If it was out of the ordinary, I wanted to do it. Fast forward two decades, my career may not be any of those jobs. But it is so much more than I could have dreamt up. I am no longer chasing my dream job; I am living my dream life. I set my own rules, my own hours, my own schedule & I absorb the outdoors on a daily basis. 

In 2015 when I decided to pursue a career in the outdoor industry full time, I was terrified. There I was at 25 years old, managing a customer service division, living in my parents home, and longing to be on an adventure rather than at work. I spent the larger part of the four years after college in the Insurance Industry living the "American or Cooperate Dream" climbing the ladder, shaking hands, and for what? A corner office one day? That was not enough. I wanted to break the mold, go my own direction and create the life I wanted, free of restrictions and boundaries. I simply wanted a life I did not need a vacation from. 

"


 

Need Inspiration? I Do! 

 

How do I juggle it all? The outdoors is my life - but what sits at the cornerstone? My story is unlike others, it is unique. I created this life, I forged the way for where I am. But now what? I am good at so many things, but a master at none {or some} ... And in today's world, is that enough? 


I think everyone battles with that same question, what is enough? Have I done enough? Have I accomplished enough? The varying forms of this question go around and around in my head on an almost daily basis. When the pressure of trying to answer that question builds up and I begin to feel overwhelmed, I turn to Youtube & Podcasts. My first stop... a video by Eric Thomas.

 

How Bad Do you Want It? 

 

For me, I need the reminder to stop seeking a reward for what I am going to do, to stop seeking validation for what I am trying to do. My feelings of being overwhelmed come when my focus has shifted from my why and on to my how. When I let the unnecessary parts of my business take control, the reminder that it is not about the product, but rather the process, I can regain the control. It will ALWAYS be enough if you are giving all of yourself to the process. Not the end goal, not the pot of goal at the end of the rainbow, but the process. 

This is your life, this is the life you are creating! In the moment that you understand that life is a gift you elevate yourself to that standard. This "process" is about the legacy you are trying to leave, the good you are doing for other people, the positivity you outpour to others, not the approval of everyone and the collection of things. 

The process is the rapture of being alive. 


What do you use to maintain daily motivation? What do you do to consistently get better. Let me know! 

xo

Summer Bucket List

Hello SUMMER... well the unofficial start of summer! Memorial Day Weekend has always marked the start of summer for me. The weather changes, my mood changes and all things fun are on the horizon & this summer is no different. Being on the East Coast this summer, means more family time, more time to relax, a bit more freedom, a TON more fishing and more outdoor EVERYTHING. Last summer I was too busy... surviving... just kidding... I was too busy living life that I never made a summer bucket list. 

This summer, my main goal...

Do more fun shit! Say YES to more nights out, YES to new adventures, YES to more family time, YES to treating myself and YES to more travel! 

 

Several items on my Summer List can be crossed off in a few weeks, but y'all know I get so much satisfaction from crossing things off a list. That movement of sliding a pen across a piece of paper is such a feeling of accomplishment! Here, I electronically cross off bucket list items as I reach each one & I will write about each one as I complete them! 


Wild Game Dinner 

Explore Local Hiking Trail 

Change up Fitness Routine 

Find Perfect Swimsuit 

Family Vacation

Pick Berries With My Mom

Fly Fish a New River in a New State 

Paint Night  

Finish a Wood Working Project 

Concerts

Camping 

Vineyard Tours 

Shoot a 3D Tournament 

Get New Bow Dialed into 60 Yards 

Beach Trip


Have you made your list yet? What are you waiting for? 

Make a list & make it an epic summer! 

The Toll It Takes

It seems so far away. It's been 4 months since I left the west, and I feel different. 

Montana changed me; it broke me, but it also made me whole again. It breathed life back into my body. Death breaks you, it changes you, it rewrites the very fibers of your being. I did not know it at the time, hell I still don't feel it changing me, but it has. The west gave me the ability to cope. 

Since being back on the East Coast, I have become inspired. My desire to produce meaningful evergreen content has never been stronger. With this desire comes an internal struggle to sort out the purpose of it all, the "why". 

I was given a voice, a platform one could say. But what do I do with it? Am I good enough to have my story told? Or am I just a farm kid with a dream to do something great, something different than everyone else. 

I crave to live a life I do not need a vacation from.

When I look at my life presently; Do I want to guide full time forever? No - I'd be broke. Do I want to fly fish, hunt, hike, travel & explore the world, fly through the sky in the cockpit of a helicopter - damn right I do, but how do I capture the essence of my career and turn it into a cause? How do I use this platform for education to inspire others to live out their dreams? If I am not truly exclusive to one sector, how do I own the right to make a stand in that industry? Isn't that cheating? I am going for broke but as a whole, not just one part of me. I am an advocate, a resource, but how am I giving back? How do I corner this market from a different angle? 

How does one juggle it all; this is my life. The outdoors is my life - but what sits at the cornerstone? My story is unlike others, it is unique, it is genuine, it is mine. I created this life, I forged the way for where I am. But now what? I am good at so many, a master at some... and in today's world, is that enough? 

I'd be lying if only talked about the aspirations of inspiration. This path of entrepreneurship has its hurdles. 

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Time, money, resources, where does it all collide? What is the cost? 

Late nights, early mornings 

Lots of associates, very few friends

You will be misunderstood 

You will be single, unless you're lucky enough to find someone who understands your lifestyle 

People will want you to do good, but never better than them 

The price it pays? For these reasons, you will do many things alone. 

 

As I move further and further into this unchartered world of self-employment the quote above becomes truer. You see the highlights on my social media accounts, the picture perfect seconds that were captured. What you do not see, are the weeks of insomnia that follow a writing stretch, the friends who turn on you after a win, the nights at home not out spending money, rather saving for what matters. I won't ever complain about any of it, it is those negatives that keep me driving forward. It fuels me to be more, find more, & surround myself with more people who share the same mindset.

This may seem like wild ramblings, but I urge you to find your own truth in it all. Choose a path that begins to light a fire in your soul. You were given this one life to make a difference and to live it out at your own discretion. When you take steps to design and build your new life, people may not understand, but keep building. For today you will do what other's won't, so tomorrow you can do what others cannot. 


Over the next few weeks, I will be releasing content about finding inspiration, getting the most out of your life, and some how-to guides for what has worked for me so far.  

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Let's Get Social.

More and more frequently I get asked,  "how do I do this on Instagram, I want mine to look like that" or "tell me your secrets". Well, I am finally sharing some of them with you! I have been in the professional Social Media/Brand Management industry for over 5 years, I know the ins & outs of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc., & I can tell you with 100% certainty they CHANGE ALL THE TIME. However, these 5 apps have remained constant and are key applications to keeping me on track, consistent, and ahead of the game. Keeping up with social media can he hard, but it is not impossible. Life was meant to be enjoyed off your phone... so do it, plan ahead, use tools to help & get to living

** Descriptions of apps are taken from iTunes -- no use reinventing the wheel

 

VSCO



For creators, by creators, the VSCO app helps you reach your creative potential within a community that values honest and imaginative expression above all else.

As a member of the VSCO community, you can: 

Create — Use VSCO’s creative photo editing and journal tools to share your unique perspective. 

Discover — Draw inspiration from content curated by the VSCO team, as well as stories told by fellow community members.

Connect — Follow and engage with a diverse group of creators from around the world. 

Fees: Yearly subscription of $19.99

 

 

Typorama

Typorama lets you create amazing visuals by "automagically" transforming your text and photos into beautiful typographic designs. No design skills needed!

Just choose a background, type in your words and your creative typography is ready!

Use Typorama to:
- Make beautiful typographic text layouts
- Create Instagram, Facebook, Twitter posts with stylish text designs
- Create flyers and posters for your events or organization
- Make headers for your blog or wallpapers for your iPhone
- Enrich your family photos adding creative text styles and share your love

Features: 
- 47 different, randomly generating typographic text styles
- More than a hundred different fonts and typefaces from the world's top designers
- Badges, ribbons, curved text and artistic ornaments enriching your designs
- Ability to 3D distort, apply gradient colors, shadows to your text
- Ability to gradually delete parts of text, useful for placing your text designs behind other elements in your photos
- Professional photo filters, overlays and adjustment tools to polish your photo backgrounds
- Hundreds of pre-installed quotes to inspire you
- Fun color combinations for your words
- Thousands of completely free stock photography from Pixabay
- Endless stylish randomizations
- 2048 x 2048 high resolution super crisp output
- Advanced crop options to create the perfect size pictures for social media posts, wallpapers, posters, flyers and postcards.
 

Fees: FREE

 

Wunderlist

Wunderlist is a simple to-do list and task manager app that helps you get stuff done. Whether you’re sharing a grocery list with a loved one, working on a project, or planning a vacation, Wunderlist makes it easy to capture, share and complete your to-dos. Wunderlist instantly syncs between your phone, tablet and computer, so you can access your to-dos from anywhere.

Key Wunderlist Features:


• Add, organize and schedule your to-dos from your phone, tablet or computer
• Set due dates and reminders to ensure you never forget important deadlines (or birthday gifts) again
• Use subtasks, notes, files and comments to add important details to your to-dos
• Create lists to help sort your to-dos for home, work and everything in between
• Share lists and collaborate on your to-dos with family, friends and colleagues
• Be productive from anywhere, thanks to Wunderlist’s apps for your phone, smart watch, tablet and computer
• Swipe down from any app to get a glance of your due to-dos with our Today widget
• Quickly capture to-dos, and peek & pop tasks with 3D Touch on your iPhone 6S
• Save web pages and articles for later with the Add to Wunderlist sharing extension

Fees: Wunderlist is free to download and use. Wunderlist Pro upgrades your experience and gives you unlimited access to Files, Assigning and Subtasks to help you accomplish even more for $4.99 a month through an auto-renewing subscription.


Planoly 

Planoly is the first visual planner and scheduler for Instagram. We're the end to end visual management platform for Instagram. 

Manage your Instagram’s marketing campaigns and content visually before pushing it live. View your data and engagement rates for each post. Track and reply back to comments directly on the app. 


WHY PLANOLY IS THE BEST:
• The complete end to end platform for your Instagram account.
• Visually see how your Instagram profile feed will look like with our drag and drop feature. 
• Effectively manage all your content on our web dashboard or phone app.
• Schedule your Instagram posts days, weeks, or months in advance.
• Upload all your photos and videos directly from your computer, Dropbox, Google Drive, or phone.
• Upload multiple photos at once. 
• Upload videos and gifs.  
• Splitter feature to splice up a photo to create mini-campaigns.
• Discover user-generated content.
• Auto-populate #hashtags and @Instagram handles. 
• Manage multiple Instagram accounts.
• Add team members to help manage. 
• View your engagements for each post. 
• Track and reply to your comments.
• Plan your Instagram Stories.
• Create multiple Draft grids to play with the layout.
• Plan your Carousel multiple media posts.
• Create and save Hashtag groups to reuse

Fees: 

All accounts will start off with the FREE plan. You can upgrade to a paid plan at any time.

FREE plan features:
• 1 Instagram account
• 30/mo upload limit
• 1 month of Metrics and Analytics
• 5 latest posts for Comment Inbox

SOLO Plan features:
• 1 Instagram account
• Unlimited uploads
• 1 year of Metrics and Analytics
• 15 latest posts for Comment Inbox
• Subscriptions are available at a rate of $8.99 monthly or $22.99 for 3 months. 
 


Hootsuite

Share and schedule posts from your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts all from one app.

Hootsuite is the world's most popular social media management app and is FREE for up to 3 social network accounts.

Use the Hootsuite Mobile App to:

* Bring the power of Hootsuite into the palm of your hand
* Post messages to your favourite social networks within one app
* Use AutoSchedule to spread messages out over a number of days, which is great for time management
* View and manage all of your favourite social networks from one place
* Use the Ow.ly link shortener to track click-through stats

Fee: Start your free trial or upgrade to Hootsuite Professional for $29 USD per month. This will give you access to manage more social networks, remove ads, and access additional powerful features on the web.
 

Filter AV8. Find a filter you love or two filters you love, use them consistently on ALL your photos. This creates a more visually pleasing account.

Filter AV8. Find a filter you love or two filters you love, use them consistently on ALL your photos. This creates a more visually pleasing account.

 
Add beautiful text to images, overlay images with 47 different text styles.

Add beautiful text to images, overlay images with 47 different text styles.

Stock option from Typorama background library.

Stock option from Typorama background library.

 
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My top 5! My gift to you! These apps keep my life, my business and my brand growing without a huge sacrifice on time! Spend more time working your business than working in your business! Not all apps are free, but for a nominal fee you can simply your time and be more intentional about your screen time. If you found this useful or would like more content about Social Media, leave me a comment

Tricks of the Trade. SHOT Show 2018

Did you read that title twice, I sure did when I wrote it. Sounds crazy right? Vegas & budget usually are not synonymous or at least used infrequently in the same sentence. For most vacation is the time to splurge, forget the budget & dive into relaxation! But for those in the outdoor industry budget is our best friend! With 8 plus weeks of show season, watching your budget is a must. Uber/Lyft, Food, Shows; it all adds up and very quickly when in the city that never sleeps. Now I am no expert, but I did just manage to come home from a week in Sin City, feeling relaxed and with a few extra dollars in my pocket.
 


Food //

My best kept non-secret... planning ahead. When traveling, I pre-plan breakfast, lunch & snacks and do all my shopping before I even leave home. This usually costs me between $30-$40 depending on the duration of my trip. Doing it this way, allows me to stay on track with my eating habits, avoid over eating, eating the brands I am used to and not spend $20 on pancakes. As for dinner budget roughly $30- $50 for a decent meal out. That range accounts for a main entree and a drink. If you are in town for meetings - coordinate them over the dinner hour or plan to eat in a large group. Portions can be large, so sharing is always an option. The dining options in Vegas are world-renowned, so with one easy step before you even get to town you can enjoy a delicious meal of your choice every night guilt free!

 

Transportation //

Travel in packs! Uber or Lyft are the best bet when getting around town. A typical ride from one end of strip to the next is $8-10. The benefit of using one of these services is that the meter is not running while waiting in traffic. And trust me... traffic never ends. 

 

Use THIS code for a FREE ride with Uber or code laurelm222ue

Use THIS code for a $5.00 ride credit with Lyft or code laurelmcode

 

Gifts //

avoid them! Unless you are there to shop, you don't need it! Sightsee, walk through the shops, hotel lobbies or take a gondola through the Venetian. There is so much to see that spending money on gifts should be the last thing on your mind. 

 

Extras //

This is what Vegas is known for! Shows! See them! Chances are that if you plan ahead and use apps like StubHub or TicketMaster you can find killer deals on some of the hottest shows in town. 

 

Alcohol //

This can blow your budget. If you do drink, I would suggest finding a shot machine or table of choice and spend a few dollars. As long as you are gambling the drinks are free for you and your group. (they usually only serve 3-4 guests with you). 


Choosing Brands

It is that time of year again; the season for change. From November to February the outdoor industry erupts; with contract renewals on the table, the newest and most innovative products hitting showroom floors, and influencers starting to look for new brands & companies looking for new professionals to promote their products. For some this is a welcomed season; new partnerships, new products, exciting opportunities for the year ahead. But for others, it is an uneasy season and not all good change. I have been on both the positive and the negative side of this season over the past several years. I have made mistakes and have learned some valuable lessons along the way when it comes to choosing brands. I am no expert when it comes to influencer marketing but when it comes to choosing brands I follow the big 3. 


B.A.G.

My simple acronym for choosing the right brands 


Be Authentic

Chances are if you picked up your phone, scrolled to Instagram and opened your account; you would see thousands, if not tens of thousand of followers watching your every move. They look to your account for your latest adventure, your go-to products, or who you are wearing. (let's be honest we all do this) Your audience follows you for a specific reason, whatever it be, they chose to actively partake in your social life. When choosing a new brand, be conscious of your audience! After all are they the ones you should be taking into consideration; they are the ones who will aid you in spreading the word about what you are promoting and purchase items using your discount code (if you have one). If you choose to partner with a new company, how much will you have to change? Will you be giving up your authentic vibe in exchange for product? Will you lose your authentic value just to post 2-4 times per month for a company? 

 

Add Value

Value. This may be the single most important item when choosing to partner with a new brand. What value will this bring to you, your business, personal brand, company, etc? Will this product/company add any value to your audience? If the answer is yes; it will enhance my audience's education, awareness, skill set, then go for it! That sounds like the perfect brand to align with. If the answer is no, step back. If this is a one time partnership, or a product for post, or sponsored post, think about the people who look up to you for advice. Does this brand help you gain anything or did you simply say yes to gain free product? Let me pause. I am NOT saying your followers are the only people you should aim to please, but as an influence marketer or a "InstaFamous Celebrity" your focus should be on producing the best, most current content you can provide. Adding value serves your audience in an authentic way, which in turn makes you more successful. 

choosing brands should be like dating. get to know one another, develop a connection, decide if you want to move forward.
— Me

 

Go Deeper - Not Wider 

Who am I kidding, we all love receiving the emails or DM's offering us free products, hunts, gear, etc. You name it, Instagram has now made it possible to sell anything using influencer marketing. Now more than ever, it is crucial to choose brands that deepen your connection to your industry. For instance, if you are fully emerged in the outdoor industry, dig deeper into that! Do not start picking up companies like; Skinny Tea, Vitamin Gummies, or Teeth Whitening Devices. What value does this add? Rather, choose companies that will enhance your outdoor experience, whether that be a new pack or new bow, choose a brand that will build on your well laid foundation, not spread you thin.  

 

Social media marketing is not a race, let me repeat, IT IS NOT A RACE. It is also not a competition! There are 10's of thousands of outdoor companies, clothing companies, footwear companies, you name it, they are using social media influencers to develop their brands. There is enough to go around! And there are brands out there that are suited for different people. You are unique, you bring a different skill set, mind set, and background than the person next to you. Take the time to find companies that fit; both for you and for them. As an influence marketer, it is your job to be the voice for your audience. They have chosen to follow along with your journey for who you are, not who you are wearing or what fly rod you have in your hand. Be authentic! Choose brands that add value, align with your personal values, and brands that build up your foundation.

 

These are simply my options, my thought process, and what has proven to work for me. It may not work for you and it may not be your style, and that is 100% ok!

Coming to Fruition. 2018 Goals

A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him

At times it feels like I am an imposter, living a life that is foreign to me. I didn't grow up in a bait and bullet family, I didn't hunt with my dad, or spend hours in the woods learning calls as a kid. I did however choose to explore the "world" of hunting and fly fishing. It was an active decision to alter my life, for the better, and create a legacy of my own. When I started getting more involved in fly fishing and hunting, I did not have many female role models, or male role models for that matter. I had myself and some really nice people at the sporting goods store. If I wanted to know how to do something, I sought out my own answers. I can remember sitting on the floor in Barnes & Noble reading book after book (purchasing way too many of them), spending hours watching YouTube videos, searching Instagram for the girls who were providing informational content, and calling and asking companies for advice. That was my foundation. I built it. It was not an over night job, it took me years to feel comfortable with my abilities! Thankfully now I have the tools I need to teach others, run my business, hunt different species and be educated while doing so. & I surround myself with the smartest people in the industry. You know that ole' saying, you are the company you keep? Well I keep my tribe full of highly qualified badass people! 

I get asked time and time again, "How are you qualified to guide?" "What makes you a guide?" "How do I become a guide?" My answer to all of that? It is my FOUNDATION. I run my guide service and my outdoor career just like I would a Corporate 9-5. I have a development plan, I have career goals I set for myself, trainings I schedule to better myself, workshops I attend, and a whole list of other bullet points. And every state I work in requires that I provide documentation backing up the above (they check that you are capable of guiding). I have a Bachelors in Biology, I studied Trout Entomology, I went to a reputable guide school, I applied for my guide license, and I show up everyday at my Outfitters ready to be the best "employee" possible. Do I know everything about fly fishing or hunting? HECK NO! But then again who does? I have a passion for aiding people in the outdoors, teaching them how enjoy the outdoors on their own, and I keep them safe while doing it. And at the end of the day, that is what being a qualified guide is. 


fru·i·tion: noun. the point at which a plan or project is realized

2018 is all about seeing my plans come to fruition. Twenty-seventeen was a milestone, I made a few very good business decisions that enabled me to be where I am right now. While I cannot share them all just yet, I will be sharing more soon! Here are some of the goals for this year that I can share: 

Attend 4 Industry Related Shows as Staff

Teach 5+ Fly Fishing 101 Classes 

Build Programs for Fly Fishing & Hunting 

Help with Raise Em' Outdoors Camp

Get More Involved with My Local Conservation Community  

Guide 80 + Days of the Water 

Continue Growing my Firearms Knowledge 

Complete Grand Slam for Turkey 

Get Better at Tying My Own Flies

While that list is short, I ensure you, most of those will take up months if not the entire year to complete. I encourage everyone of you to make a list of goals for the year. Not resolutions, goals. Create a plan, make actionable step, and then work on them. You are in charge of your growth, your education, and your foundation. Lay the ground work & get to work! 

 

 

A Year In Review. 2017

2017 you win & not in a bad way, this was a year for the books. A victory chapter. In January, 2017 looked like a lot of change, a lot of driving, a logistical nightmare, and a whole lot of trial and error. While it was all of those things and a handful more, this year turned out to be the most rewarding and gratifying. It held so much growth, positivity, & showed me just how much I am capable of doing on my own. There are certainly many things still left on my "to-do" list that will be rolled over into 2018, but all in all 2017 turned out alright!  

7,878 Photos & 377 Videos 

That is the current count from 2017 on my iPhone. Hundreds of photos serving as time capsules, memories forever remembered and the funny videos & landscape panoramic from the road. No picture or video will ever serve justice to the emotions of 2017, but they do remind me everyday how thankful I am to have this life. How thankful I am to my support group, my best friends, and my family for allowing me to lead this life. It is not easy, it is far from a cake walk, but every ounce of frustration is worth the small rewards that come along the way. I laid the groundwork this year for 2018. Everything I did this past year was to get me to where I am now. I see in hindsight that every closed door was to guide me to an open one. This is me going for broke, risking it all to have what few do... I created this life & I wouldn't have it any other way. 


Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle
- Napoleon Hill

In no particular order, the recap of 2017 

 

fully relocated to Montana 

saw Mt. Rushmore at dark.... just mom & I & the quiet of falling snow 

worked in a fly shop --- tied a lot of knots 

adopted Onyx, the most lovable little Black Lab German Shepard Mix 

caught my first cold smoke day...skied more in 2 months than in 10 years

road tripped to Kansas for an all girls turkey hunt... one of the most memorable hunts to date 

laughed until I could feel my abs weekly ... cried as a result of laughing more than ever before

fished with my best friends in West Virginia... multiple times 

FINALLY got my mom and sister catching fish on the fly 

braved several solo road trips across the county 

learned family history while in Omaha, Nebraska  

put the fly rod down and snowshoed through Teton National Park

got my nose pierced... love it!  

stood by my sisters side as she married the love of her lift  

put myself first: mentally!  

 
 

kept all my clients safe & alive & happy during guide season 

met the most rad ladies on the water and in the field 

learned A LOT about love, about losing love, and what I expect next time 

said yes more times than I said no 

shot my first West Virginia Black Bear & Canada Goose 

found the best sushi in Ogden, Utah 

guide life is not all its cracked up to be.. but it sure is rewarding 

fostered some very meaningful relationships 

left love alone when it was time to go 

worked with some outstanding companies in the outdoor industry 

 
 

watched the colors of the sun rise over the mountains many a mornings 

said adios to the negativity.. BYE BYE BYE 

ate the best breakfast from Jam! 

paddle boarded down a freestone 

hunted in 5 states 

visited my favorite guide in Canada twice 

took a job with Orvis! 

attended my first NHL finals game... GO FLAMES GO 

fished the Missouri River, Madison, Yellowstone, Gallatin. Montana's greatest waters 

taught children how to fly fish in Oregon 

set the hook on my first small mouth bass on the fly.... watching bass eat dry flies never gets old  

experienced the adrenaline of my first elk hunt & the rush you get hearing a 380 inch bull bugle 

 
 

I am not much for New Year resolutions, but I do set goals. Goals that are easy to achieve, ones that make me think long and hard about how to achieve them, and then the goals where it will take all year just to chip away at it. Write them down, discuss them, work on them! Cheers to 2017, let's write another victory chapter for 2018. 

 

Tomorrow I will be sharing my goals for 2018 & what I have on the calendar so far. 

Top 10 Instagram Accounts. Promoting Women the Right Way.

Within the past year Instagram has become flooded with accounts "promoting" women in the outdoors. From country girls to arctic anglers, women hunters to cowgirls, there is a page to promote every kind of women in the outdoors. Unfortunately not every account is doing it with what I like to call "role model" standards. However, I am happy to report that there is an entire online community for both hunting & fishing that is raising the bar & standards! 

These 10 accounts in my opinion are the best ones out there. They genuinely support, encourage and grow the number of women in the outdoors. Each account has a different mission, but rooted at the core of each company is the same sole purpose; to educate and encourage women to get involved in the outdoors, be it hunting or fishing. These accounts are positive, clean, and pride themselves on putting out content out that all generations of women can use.  

This is not to say that there are not other accounts out there, but for me, these are my top picks!

If you are new to the outdoors, welcome! If you are a veteran, welcome! & if you are simply looking for an encouraging community to share ideas, ask questions, or simply connect with other like minded females, these account below will provide just that! 


Huntress View is a place where women hunters, whether they be experienced or beginners, can go to gain insight on hunting and shooting from a woman's point of view. I know women have a different outlook on things than men and hunting is no exception. After introducing some of my friends to hunting they told me they were glad that they learned about it from another woman rather than from a man. With this concept in mind I created Huntress View in October of 2013.

At Huntress View we field test hunting products and give honest feedback, letting other women know what products are working for us. We share our hunting experiences, good and bad, give hunting/shooting tips, and share what we have learned along the way. By doing this we hope to encourage more women to get involved in hunting, shooting, and the outdoors.

 

Sportswomen United was created with encouragement in mind. Although we have seen a rise in the number of women in the outdoor industry, I fear beginners may get discouraged early on. it is still very common to see women put one another down online with the rise in social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. I know everyone has been guilty of judging others at least once, but I hope that Sportswomen United can help women come together and support each other.

We will provide reviews and honest feedback on products we have used before, letting others know what has or has not worked for us. We will share our hunting, fishing, or outdoor stories and experiences, whether they are good or bad. With these reviews and stories posted to our blog, we hope this will provide tips and support that will ultimately encourage more women to get involved in the outdoors.

 

The Women’s Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. With a band of columnists and reviewers, photographers and female correspondents, The WON engages its readers through a blog format and we invite you to talk to us. Network with us. Let us know what you’re doing outside and what you’d like to learn about.

 

ADVENTURESS is a free digital magazine tailored for the outdoor woman and country lifestyle. With articles written by and photos showcasing fellow outdoor women, it is intending to inspire women to try new things and inform them for greater skills in anything outdoors, including hunting, fishing, gathering, gardening and do-it-yourself projects ~ HUNT. FISH. EXPLORE. LIVE.

Currently, ADVENTURESS is a quarterly magazine, releasing an issue each spring, summer, fall and winter. The magazine can be viewed from any digital device (computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet) as well as downloaded as a PDF for personal storage and offline viewing. Past articles can be found in blog format and searchable on the website.

 

It’s news to no one that society imposes values and expectations on women that are rarely more than skin deep. All too often, we are judged by our outer, superficial selves, and our real beauty – that which lies within us – goes unnoticed. Even though we intuitively know our real value and the beauty of our inner spirit, the weight of it all can sometimes make even the strongest of us weary. And that’s where Able Women comes in.

Able Women is a public outreach initiative designed to spread the word about fly fishing and the many emotional, physical and spiritual benefits it brings to women. Fly fishing teaches independence, strength, and creativity. It is a sport very much defined by grace. And who understands grace better than a woman? Fly fishing binds us to astoundingly beautiful creatures that live in remarkably beautiful places. And fly fishing binds us – perhaps most importantly of all – to our inner, most beautiful selves.

 

Welcome to the official She On The Fly website. Our company was born in the winter months of 2016. The brand started as an idea with the intention of sharing, creating, and collaborating with other female anglers from around the globe. By 2017 we experienced some amazing growth and changes.

Our mission will always be to uplift women, inspire them to learn more about the sport, from novice to expert. Over time our image and intention has taken an organic shift that has brought us many opportunities to get our message out there. SOTF now has the opportunity to sponsor charity events with merchandise, collaborate, create and promote with some incredible companies in the industry.

 

Personal Post. She's Married!

Falling in love was the easy part for these two! They love to love, laugh more than any other couple I know, fight fair, and truly enjoy each others company. I honestly do not know any other couple that spends more time together than these two. From work to play, they are always together. This was inherently clear when looking back at all the events leading up to the wedding! 

Now, to truly know my twin sister, is to know that she plans everything! Not one detail about this wedding was out of place. From the beginning, it was her goal to bring their friends and family together. Something I think most brides forget when planning such a big day. Let me explain, yes weddings are about the bride and groom, but what Heather & Ron did will always stand out to me. The engagement party, bridal party meet & greet, wedding planning weekends, dress fittings, food tastings, a group bachelorette/bachelor party, and a truly inclusive wedding weekend, family & friends were at the core of all of it. By the time the wedding happened,  everyone was family.  How many people can actually say that? I have spent more time with my brother-in-laws family during holidays and weekend dinner parties, than most do in a lifetime. Simply because they have fostered it! They believe in unity, they stand for family, and they make it a priority!  

Sharing some of my favorite captures from the day & my toast to the new bride & groom. Enjoy! 


“It is such a happiness when good people get together -- and they always do.” 

 

Details. Let's Get Down to Them. 

Photography: Photography Jensen

Hair: Meghan Quinn & Mariela Pano Gomez 

Make-Up: Russell Borns & Emily De Stefano & Sarah Thacker

Venue: terrain (Glen Mills, PA) 

Event Designers: terrain gatherings: KB & Sara & Schuyler



I was so honored to stand by my sister as her Maid of Honor. Here's what I had to say: 

No matter how far you have traveled to be here with Heather & Ron this evening, know that it means so much to them! Have you ever seen a more beautiful bride? And I don't just say that because we look alike; let's be honest, most of you at some point have probably confused Heather & I, and today, it's more than all right because there's no one else I'd rather be confused with. 

I’ve got to admit, Heather didn’t think I had this toast in me. (Little did she know, I had a public speaking element in every college class I took). After the eulogy last August for my dad, she came around.. or realized what I was capable of. (haha) - pause (laugh)  I think her exact wording was; “ok, you can give your maid of honor speech at the wedding now, not the rehearsal dinner.” (Upgrade!)  Her only request, just make me cry… I am not sure when that became a measure for how good a toast is, but lets give it a try!  

Everyone in love talks about the “moment”, you know the one where time stops, & the clouds part, and you just know you have found your soulmate. Well, I had that moment…. but it was more of “I just found my next brother”. In the fall of 2014 when our dad planned his first “sneak attack” & backed out of our surprise family vacation at 4:00 am… Ron didn’t panic. Rather he took care of all of us, and when mom, heather & I all get together, that’s no small task. But he did it. He cooked more food than we all could eat, stocked up on candy, bought movies on demand, and surrendered his living room to all of us so we could regroup. It was then, that I knew he was the one. He would be able to provide for my sister, protect her, and always put her & our family first when we really needed it. It was that selfless act in a time of need, that I knew, "he was the one".  

Ron by now, I am sure you have mastered the art of "Heather"... How she only eats two colors of Sour Patch kids, you've realized that grace... well isn't her middle name.... & falling, tripping, and losing her balance is all part of her charm... and that in 5 years you'll need a whole linen closet for all the throw pillow she collects.. 

All kidding aside, Heather - Time has given us stories and memories that only we have and that only we can share. Time has given use a deep understanding of the importance of family and unbreakable loyalty through hardship and unwavering love and joy in each others happiness's. Time has made two girls into two women. And now time has given you the love of her life, and given me the honor of standing next to you.  

I read a quote the other day, that said, “If a guy can’t handle a girl in sweats then he doesn’t deserve her in a wedding dress.” So if that’s true, Ron you have earned every bit of this because we all know much Heather loves her some sweats and Sunday afternoon family time.    

So I will close with this: 

May the most you wish for, be the least you get. I pray your love breaks the tie, a love that gets the last word when you come to the crossroads, and above all else that you choose love at the end of the day. Not just the love that is a feeling, not just the love that feels good. But the love that is a choice, love that is a verb and an action, a willingness - to never fail one another in love.  And always be as persistent in the way you love each other as the moment you both fell in love. 

Here's to Heather & Ron! 


All photos used are copyright of Jensen Photography. 

A Year in Review


I am not big on making New Years Resolution, I usually find myself writing down a whole list of to-do's rather than actual goals. Most are tasks; read more, learn to use Photoshop, get a puppy, or put more money into savings. Each of my typical resolutions required very little alteration to my normal habits, so when the time came to start thinking about what 2016 would bring, I made one resolution. Make 2016 the year of you.

Simple: do what makes me happy. 

As I scrolled back through thousands of photos from the past year, I accomplished just that. I put myself first, I traveled the most I have in years, changed careers, closed doors & opened many new ones. I have learned that putting yourself first, while at a glance may seem easy, is one of the hardest things I have ever done. When you stop and focus on yourself, not in a selfish way, but one where you place your happiness & needs first before others, you will be shocked at how easy it is to help others. I remember being told in college; " first you must make yourself happy, if not, how can you make others happy." I never fully understood that until this year. Putting myself first was not a punishment to my family & friends, rather it was the biggest gift I could have ever given them. 

 

rang in the New Year with rad musicians Tim Williams & John Valerio in Vegas 

walked on the wild side & colored my hair purple 

celebrated my ham of a nephew turning one  

broke out my dancing shoes for Man Jam's 

was serenaded under the stars by Jason Isbell & Chris Stapleton 

... added SoCo to our home 

I braved a Solo Road Trip to Atlanta  

checked off Savannah, GA & Charleston, SC from the travel list 

...... left half my heart on Folly Beach

said adios to corporate america.. and hola to FUN EMPLOYMENT

watched the 76ers... almost win from row 2  

drank PBRs from the end zone cheering on the Flyers 

played field hockey in Miami, Chicago, Atlanta & Rhode Island 

woke up in the woods

helped my beautiful sister find the most perfect wedding dress 

mastered the art of shoveling snow  

found my balance on the Bote Board  

experienced heart break at the deepest level... I will love you forever dad 

soaked up the sun all summer on the beach 

learned camo is my favorite color

new traditions were born.. where will 2017 take mom & i?... 

back to Montana I went 

got hooked on the outdoor life...this one is catch & keep 

spent the best weekend with my family in Vermont, memories I'll cherish for life 

accepted my first field staff position

But above all, I found my way on the path.  

 

If 2017 is anything like this past year, I welcome it with open arms! & remember God will point you in the right direction whether you realize it or not. Many of us have set out with one thing in mind and ended up somewhere else because the path simply went that way. I believe in moving, and letting God move the pieces around you. It's harder for God to work if you are standing still, it's not impossible, but boy must it help Him when we move. 

 

 

The Speech You Never Want to Give

This is as raw as it gets. When I started documenting this journey back in 2015, I promised myself I would share it all (within reason of course). This journey is more than just hunting trips & days on the water. It is my life, my story & my day-to-day.   

Another day I will share the story of his life & how the two years I spent at home with him have shaped me & changed me. But for now, this is all I can muster up. This is the speech I never wanted to write, the one I absolutely dreaded but the one I knew I needed to do.  

On August 11, 2016 I lost my father. Five days later I stood in front of a congregation full of all my fathers loved ones, colleagues, friends & community members and delivered these words. 


Thank you all for coming today to celebrate the life of my father.

Each of you sitting here today had your own relationship with my Dad, each of you have your own set of memories, and your own set of words to describe him. It is hard to put into words how lucky we all are, how blessed we are that we had him in our lives. He was the greatest man I have ever known (now I may be biased) but I challenge you to find another man like him.  He was honest (sometime too honest), passionate, and most of all ever loving. That is one thing I think everyone here can agree upon. The love he had for all of us poured through him.

Summing up my father’s life, I keep coming back to one thought. Never will you meet a man who more faithfully lived his values.

My father was a teacher (and a knower) of all things. His method was simple. He taught by example. At any age, when faced with an ethical dilemma, after reflection, study, or even rationalization, I found myself coming back to one simple question. What would Dad do? His character is the foundation of my conscience.

One of my favorite qualities about my Dad was his ability to love everyone for where they were. He didn’t care about your past, your mistakes; he just cared about you and how he was going to help you make it better moving forward. He always made those around him want to be better. There is a saying in sports; a talented teammate doesn’t show off, but tries to show talent in other teammates, by showing them their potential. And that is exactly what he did.  He was at the center of all of our great plays. When you were with him one on one, that office door closed and those sparkling blue eyes locked in on you, and only you, I’m not sure if I know of a better feeling in this world. He cared, he was listening, and he was going to help in any way he could. I’m going to miss that so very much. My Dad was a connector. He saw relationships, but he also saw potential relationships; with people, with opportunities, with careers. He saw things other people didn’t see.

Now if you knew my dad, you would have known that after that sentence, he would have rolled his eyes or shook his head, or most commonly would have turned to the guy next to him, and said something like, “ they must be talking about you”. He never missed an opportunity to make someone laugh or lighten the mood.  

I'd like to say that he was one of my best friends, and I know he would say that about me, but if I’m honest, he was a best friend to many.

Now I would be remiss if I didn’t speak about the green chair in his office at home. Important conversations could only take place while he was sitting in the green chair. And if you were invited to spend some time with him in the office, you knew that you had something serious coming. Life decision coming up? He was in the green chair. Changing jobs again? He was in the green chair. Some of us may have spent more time in that office than others. But he truly enjoyed giving counsel, and he was a mentor to so many people. In so many ways I see him so comfortable sitting with someone, helping them with their career issues, their goals, their problems, their feelings. I never made a big decision in my life without him by my side every step of the way. The outpouring of stories that we have received from those he touched, mentored and moved is nothing short of remarkable — he improved the lives of so many: a claim few can make.

Because of him, I know more useless answers to trivia questions, how to work on tractors, use power tools, that working hard is a way of life, and that your morning coffee should taste like ice cream.

I’ve gathered a few statistic for you:

 0 – the number of times he missed one of my college field hockey games

400 – the number of antique stores he and mom walked through on the way to and from my field hockey games during college

100 – the number of time he let me self diagnose an injury on WebMD until I thought I need amputation

countless numbers  of times I got flicked in the forehead & 1: the number of times I successful got him back

26 years of poking me under the table with a fork when I started to play with spare silverware on the table 

Too many to count are the number of times, I heard “ don’t hurt my car” or “ oh boy, she’s got the boots on. 

I could go on an on about my father, but I will close with this.  A great friend of mine said to me in the final months, it is never easy to see a parent pass, but when a man like him has raised the caliber of daughters you all are; smart, educated, compassionate, beautiful, he has done his job. And he sure has. My father not only left a legacy, but an empire of the strongest women I know. Dad, we will continue to make you proud, to always think, “ What would Dad do”, and always share memories of your life with our littlest generation.  

I love you.

 

 

September Update

When I got started I didn’t have a mentor, or know any other females that did what I wanted to do. I knew plenty of men who fished or hunted recreationally, but none that ever dared to do it full time. To them my ideas were far fetched, and the center of most jokes. But I am out to prove them all wrong! 

 

I started learning, blogging, but mainly sharing my journey of how I got started, tips, the products I love, and advice I can give to anyone starting out. It is  my hope to evolve and become the person that I myself needed when I was starting out. I want to be a role model for younger generations of females & peers alike. The outdoors shouldn’t scare women, it is one place where we [ females ]  have the potential to really find ourselves, our independence and build confidence. I want to help others find that same spark in themselves.  

 

As for me I am in the DIY and education part of my journey. I want to absorb as much as I can about fishing, hunting, and how to help others do both successfully. I have spent the better part of the last year, trying things on my own, making mistakes, testing products, brands, and every piece of gear you can imagine. Now, it’s time to step it up. In October, I will be embarking on my biggest journey yet. Montana, here I come! I chose to start my formal education with Fly Fishing Guide School, put on by Montana Fishing Guide School. Both Gallatin River Guides  and  Montana Fishing Outfitters have a reputation like none other. They have produced highly skilled guides for years. I am extremely humbled that I get to learn from such knowledgeable professional like  Pat Straub  and  Garrett Munson.    

 

Guide school is only the start! I have a jam packed few months ahead of m so be sure to follow along!   

My Thank You

All the things I want to say that a "thank you" won't illustrate.  

Chances are that if you go through my call history, the last handful of calls are "Daddy", "Mummy" or "Home Sweet Home". I've talked to you both on the phone today, I've sat next to you on the couch tonight during Jeopardy, and passed you in the kitchen this morning. But today, was one of the first time in a long time that I've talked to you.  I finally said I needed a change, I finally felt comfortable being honest, being real. I said "thank you", for voicing your support when I needed it most, and for placing a gene in me called, "I refuse to settle because one day I will build a life I am proud of and I will stop at nothing to accomplish that".  

I’m writing this because I don't think the daily phone calls, nightly dinner conversations, and almost hourly texts do justice. I've been home for over a year, living under the same roof, eating the same meals with you, but I don't think I've given you enough of my time. And when I do give you time, it's rushed, it's interrupted and more often than not it's when I'm multi-tasking. I'm picking what state I'll be moving to next week, part of me is focused on just getting through the next hour, and the other half is partly engaged in you, in your words and your response to my generic question, "how was your day".  

All the while, you drop EVERYTHING (especially you mom) you're doing to listen to me yell, cry, scream with excitement, or just ramble. You listen because it is important to you. I make my life busy, I add activity after activity in search filling gaps and voids, and I keep myself so busy that I forget how much you mean to me, how much my life depends on you both being there. And how often you are always right. You tell me to slow down and things will become clear. Well clear they are now.  

Where do I even begin to express my gratitude? Thank you. an exclamation. A polite expression used to acknowledge a gift, service, or compliment. This may be the definition of "thank you" but it is so much more than a simple expression. It's a thank for you for life lessons & forever memories. Thank for both the good and the bad times. For putting me first, no matter where we are, no matter what's going on, and no matter how it affects you.  For loving me, for you love me no matter where I've been, no matter what I've done, and no matter how much I have hurt you. You forgive me, even if I have wronged you similarly before, and even if I do not deserve your grace. For giving me an example that I will one day (try against all odds) to be for my own children. For teaching me kindness and trust to a fault. For sparking adventure at any cost.  For subliminally making me a better person, for making me question my choices, my fears, and my self-doubt. It was your raising, your parenting, that got me here.  

And how do I even begin to repay you? To express how much my happiness is wrapped up in the two of you. I can only say thank you and hope that I have given each of you a fraction of the happiness that you have given me. You have blessed me beyond measure with a welcoming place to come home to and with people who I know will always greet me with love. No matter what happened to me, you knew I'd find refuge and peace at home, and you patiently waited until I was ready to accept that. You  waited for me to come home. You knew I could stand on my own, but you made sure I was never alone. You are both my pillars of strength and my comfort zone. You are my home.   

Thank you for loving me so well that I got used to your love and cannot image a life where I won't be able to take it for granted. Thank you for standing in my corner, no matter what stage of life I'm in, and thank you loving each other so well, it is your unwavering example that started it all.  

I love you both.  

 

The Beginnings

When the year started, I had grand plans, a bucket list a mile long, and determination that this was going to be the year I finally put myself first. Well, all the planning in the world could not have prepared me for what happened my first day back to work. 

Happy New Year and welcome to unemployment. Here I was living in a friend’s spare bedroom, my personal belongings spread out in their basement, across two storage units, I was single, unemployed, and hundreds of miles away from home. This, this is what being hit with a load of bricks looks like. In an eight-minute conversation, my grand plans for the year came crashing down. What am I going to do now? Where do I go? What, what, what? 

Now, if you know me, you know that EVERYTHING in my life is planned; I've thought it out, rehearsed it a million times and all but carved it in stone. But, this, this could not have been planned, I had no time to prepare, the only thing I could do is react. And surprisingly enough my first reaction was relief. I was finally able to walk away. Away from a town that had once brought me so much joy and hope, that now was the same town that harbored a broken future, a failed long-term relationship, unhealthy friendships, and no hope for escape. I was finally out. 

Two weeks and a 17' U-Haul later, I was on my way home. Home to where my roots lived, my family thrived, and a town I had been longing for. As I pulled in the driveway after packing (again) all my belongings into yet another storage unit, I took a minute to decompress. I began scrolling through my Instagram feed and I found this, 

"I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more time than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been the victim of my own optimism".  

 

It is as if this was placed here, these were the words I needed to hear, the words that I couldn't have said any better to myself, and the words that would start me on my path to settled. 

 

This is just the beginning.