Bucking the Trend on Halloween: #FlannelFriday-Inspired Costume

There’s this bizarre expectation for women to wear “sexy” costumes every Halloween. There’s the “sexy” maid, “sexy” nurse, “sexy” witch, “sexy” whatever. “Sexy” suggests one has to be provocative, sleazy, or slutty (oooo, I said a dirty word!). Why can’t sexiness be seen in being wholesome, creative, and modest? (And no–don’t assume this means you have to be frumpy!)

Admittedly, I haven’t dressed up for Halloween since I was 18 during my freshman year of college. I feel as if I’ve outgrown the holiday as I’ve gotten older. However, a work-related party calls for dressing up. (Why not have fun?) So I decided to channel a #FlannelFriday look for my office party today.

Can you guess what I am? (Hint: it involves fishing!) Why did I choose this outfit? It’s comfortable, it’s classy, and it reflects who I am as an individual: an outdoorsy girl to the core.

I have to give credit to Bass Pro Shops for inspiring this Halloween getup:

There are other fantastic DIY Halloween costume ideas out there from others who are FAR more creative than I am.

I love reading fashion blogger and fellow OC native Lauren Conrad’s blog posts, especially her Halloween posts. She designs classy costumes each year and really outdid herself with a mermaid costume this year. Verily Magazine also profiled some great Halloween costume ideas in a post “Clever No-Sew Halloween Costume Ideas.

Are “sexy” Halloween costumes passe? Do they tire you? Weigh in below.

Happy Halloween!

Go Where the Wild Things Are With the Help of Outdoor Retailers

gab cabela's

 

Last week, I made my first trip to Cabela’s in Delaware after assisting University of Delaware’s newly-forming gun club at their Criminals for Gun-Free Zones event . This Cabela’s store is the closest location to the D.C. metro area, so I couldn’t resist making a pit stop there.

While some women go crazy for shoes, I – like so many others – go crazy for outdoor gear and supplies. (Don’t fret–I like fashion as much as the next girl, but there’s much more utility in the latter.)

I’ve been aware of this outdoor retailer for several years and have followed their activities over social media. Prior to Friday, I had only ventured to Bass Pro Shops in Hanover, MD  which is just outside of Baltimore, MD. (Sadly, back in California, the closest Bass Pro Shop was located several hours away from Orange County, while Cabela’s hasn’t open shop in the formerly Golden State yet.) Now that I live in Virginia, I can choose from three nearby Bass Pro Shops locations (Hanover, MD; Hampton, VA; and Ashland, VA) and two future Cabela’s stores in 2015 (Bristol, VA)  and 2016 (Henrico, VA).

As a recreational female angler, Bass Pro is certainly a better fit for me since it caters to fishing more. However, fishing is a gateway activity that has lead me to embrace guns–I expect hunting to follow suit! As a proponent of free markets, I like consumer choice and will shop at Cabela’s too.

“Go fish and hunt far and wide day by day – farther and wider – and rest three by many brooks and hearth-sides without misgiving. Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth. Rise free from care before the dawn, and seek adventures. Let the noon find three by other lakes, and the night overtake thee everywhere at home. There are no larger fields than these, no worthier games than may here be played.” – Henry David Thoreau

Though colder weather is imminent, get outfitted with the latest clothing and  fishing/hunting accessories, or just explore these outdoor retailers for fun.

Fellow D.C. area transplants who fish and hunt: do you plan to visit Bass Pro or future Caleba’s shops here? Weigh in below!

Angling Right: Fishing in the Fall? Do It!

As temperatures begin to cool and seasons start to change, opportunities to fish become increasingly limited.

Fall on the East Coast means shortened days and chillier temperatures, which don’t spell well for fishing. (Ay!) When I used to live in SoCal, my family and I would sometimes fish until early December. Although you have to go further south to enjoy decent fall/winter fishing back here, I’ve learned I can prolong my fishing excursions for another month or two.

Need incentives to go fishing this fall? Here are five great reasons to fish during autumn from Take Me Fishing:

1. Ideal Conditions: Autumn provides perfect weather for people and fish. Temperatures are cooler during the day for a picnic, and water temperatures are just right that fish are  active, which means a first-timer is more likely to hook their first catch.

2. Accessibility: More than 90% of Americans live within an hour driving distance of navigable water, which means a day or afternoon trip is easy and affordable. Find a place near you with the Places to Boat and Fish Map.

3. Stress Relief: Reports show that being near the water can naturally help lower anxiety, and fishing and boating are easy ways to naturally relieve stress, all the more reason to plan an adventure. In fact, a recent survey revealed 20% of Americans say relaxation and stress relief as the main reasons they appreciate fishing.

4. Conservation: More people fishing and boating means more funds for protecting, conserving and restoring our nation’s aquatic resources. This is because the funds from your fishing license and boat registration go back towards the natural places you love.

5. Health Benefits: Fishing and boating bring a wealth of health benefits. An hour of casting, an afternoon of kayaking or a fight to reel in a big fish can be great exercise for any age.

Taking these benefits into account, I definitely plan to enjoy a few more opportunities to unleash my angling potential. Hope you do the same! Also, expect some more “Angling Right” posts from yours truly as I explore several new fishing spots.

Will you fish this fall? Yes? No? Weigh in below!

Happy fishing!

 

Angling Right: Deep-Sea Fishing in Virginia Beach

I apologize for not keeping up with my ‘Angling Right’ posts of late! As a young professional in politics, I lead quite a busy life. Nevertheless, I do my best to allow time to enjoy the finer things in life like fishing.

I spent this past weekend down in in the Hampton Roads area of my adopted home state Virginia–specifically Norfolk and Virginia Beach. While there, I had the opportunity to go deep-sea fishing with my dad and my sister. I haven’t been deep-sea fishing since summer 2011 (I was still living in California then), so I was excited to board a deep-sea fishing charter and let loose.

Deep-sea fishing is more challenging and difficult than freshwater fishing, but is equally fun to participate in.

For purposes of affordability and higher likelihood of catching fish, we opted for Rudee Inlet Charters. Since we came before Labor Day, we paid $40.00/person for a half-day trip aboard the Rudee Angler. Our rate included a saltwater fishing license, tackle, bait, weights, and rods.

Here are the schedule and corresponding rates:

SUMMER:  Memorial Day – Labor Day, 1/2 day trips, everyday 8:00am-12:00pm and 1:30pm-5:30pm.  Adults $40.00  Kids age 4 to 11 $29.00

July – Mid August, Night fishing every  Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday from 6:00pm – 9:30pm.   Adults $35.00  Kids age 4 to 11 $29.00

Every Thursday June thru August 17 hr. Offshore Trip  3AM- 8PM  $200.00 per person. This trip is limited to 35 anglers. Reservations Required!

SPRING AND FALL:  3/4 day trips from 8:00am – 2:00pm  Adults $70.00  Kids age 4 to 11 $60.00

Full day trips from 8:00am – 5:00pm  Adults $90.00  Kids age 4 to 11 $80.00  Reservations recommended on this trip!

WINTER:  Every Saturday, Deep drop 17 hour trips 3:00am – 8:00pm  $200.00 per person. Reservations are required for this trip as we limit the number of anglers to 35!

Rudee Inlet Charters is located on 200 Winston-Salem Avenue in Virginia Beach. Below is a shot of Rudee Inlet from the Rudee Angler:

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Rudee Inlet

 

Here is our final catch!

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Our final catch: two croakers and a bluefish.

My dad did quite well for himself. He caught two decent-sized croakers but had to throw back about 9 smaller croakers since they didn’t meet the 12″ requirement.

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Of the three of us, my dad ended up the victor with his 18″ croaker and 13″ croaker.

It was my sister’s first time deep-sea fishing, and she did quite well for herself.

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It was my sister’s first time deep-sea fishing, and she caught this beautiful 16″ bluefish thanks to the help of boat mate James!

During August, you can catch the following species: Cobia, Red and Black Drum, Bluefish, Croaker, Trout, Flounder Croaker, Spot, Trout, Taug, Spadfish, Spanish Mackeral.

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Bluefish

And yes, I did catch a croaker! (Alas, it was too small to keep.)

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Here was my catch. Sadly, I couldn’t keep this croaker because it was just shy of 12″.

Before you decide to go deep-sea fishing in Virginia Beach, note several things:

1) If you’re prone to motion sickness, bring some Dramamine with you. I had a bad experience deep-sea fishing in Mazatlan, Mexico, in 2007 that led me to associate deep-sea fishing with seasickness.  I was spared seasickness this trip, which made my experience FAR more enjoyable. Don’t miss out on good fishing if motion sickness can be avoided!

2) Wake up early and be punctual. Fishing charters generally board 30 minutes before take-off. Make sure you arrive early for morning or afternoon trips. Trips are on a first come, first serve basis.

3) Protect yourself and keep hydrated. Looks can be deceiving with respect to weather. Even if it’s cloudy, bring sunscreen and drink plenty of water. Your body will thank you!

4) Tip the shipmates. They bait your line and are hilarious to boot. Don’t be cheap!

5) Have fun! Deep-sea fishing is intense and produces less dividends than freshwater fishing, but it’s not entirely worthless. Even if you don’t catch any fish, enjoy sweeping views of the ocean and breathe in some fresh air.

 

With summer winding down, I’ll be taking a break from fishing and spending more time around firearms. (Details forthcoming!)

I’ll have two more ‘Angling Right’ posts this year: one in late November and another in mid-December. Stay tuned!

Angling Right: Fishing in Occoquan Reservoir

My dad and I ventured to Occoquan Reservoir for the first time yesterday morning.

Below is a picture I captured at Lake Ridge Marina prior to fishing.

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Occoquan Reservoir is a 2,100-acre body of water that forms at the border of Fairfax County and Prince William County. It’s about a 25 minute drive from D.C. without traffic. This place is known for largemouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, crappie, northern pike, bluegill, and perch. Moreover, it’s been dubbed one of the best places to go bass fishing in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Here’s another shot of the mighty Occoquan.

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Compared to other fishing spots I’ve been to, Occoquan was more picturesque and tranquil. There were plenty of opportunities to see and hear wildlife. Blue herons (pictured below) are quite common at Occoquan Reservoir.

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My dad and I fished for about four hours. In the process, we caught nine crappie/bluegill fish collectively. (Pictured below.) Although we didn’t catch any largemouth bass and lamented over a lost catfish, we weren’t disappointed with Occoquan Reservoir. In fact, I enjoyed the frequency of bites my rod had. It’s a good indication that this place is replete with fish. (Arriving early morning is recommended for catching big game fish.)

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Before you decide to go fishing at Occoquan Reservoir, note several things:

1) Always have your Virginia Freshwater Fishing license on you. Yesterday, the local Virginia Department Game and Inland Fisheries warden made his rounds at Occoquan Reservoir to ensure all anglers were licensed. They will check up on you. Don’t forget to have it with you!

2) Rent a boat. It’s worth the $39.

3) Note limits on fish you can catch and keep.

Largemouth Bass

The daily bag limit for bass is five per day. There is no minimum size limit.

Bluegill

Bluegill (bream) and other sunfish may be harvested without size restriction. Anglers are limited to 50 per day in aggregate (combined).

Crappie

Black and white crappie may be harvested without size restriction from Occoquan. The daily limit is 25 per day in aggregate.

Catfish (Channel and Flathead)

There is no minimum size limit for catfish, but anglers are limited to 20 fish per day of each species.

Northern Pike

The minimum size limit for northern pike in Occoquan Reservoir is 20 inches and anglers are limited to 2 fish per day.

4) Don’t bring alcohol on your boat. (It’s a no-no.)  Instead, have water and light snacks.

 

I foresee myself coming here again in the future. Fellow Virginia residents should make the trip to Occoquan Reservoir if they are looking for good fishing, opportunities to kayak/paddleboard, and nature.  Undoubtedly, this is a great escape from the concrete jungle.

I’ll be taking a brief hiatus from fishing for a few weeks, so expect my next “Angling Right” post in early or mid-August.  Happy fishing!

New Townhall Column: Going Green In The Name of Tyranny

I’ve penned a new column at Townhall.com called “Going Green In The Name of Tyranny” today.

Here’s an excerpt:

It’s undeniable that most, if not all, Americans want to preserve and protect the environment.

No one truly wants to live in squalor or breathe in dirty air. No one truly intends to destroy nature or kill all wildlife. No one truly desires to harm the planet.

Modern-day environmentalism is perceived as a benign, “hip” cause. All the celebrities are doing it, so it must be great—right? On the surface “going green” seems harmless. We’re told that “going green” will absolve us for our supposed transgressions against the environment. Certainly Mother Earth will forgive us for developing our beautiful planet while creating opportunities for prosperity and social advancement!

What could possibly be wrong with the green lifestyle?

Continue reading at Townhall.com.

Stop Disparaging Female Anglers and Hunters

“Marry an outdoors woman. Then if you throw her out into the yard on a cold night, she can still survive.” – W.C. Fields

The relentless attacks on female anglers and hunters have gone too far.

From threats targeted at 19-year-old huntress Kendall Jones to 17-year-old Belgian teen Axelle Despiegelaere, anti-hunters–usually insecure leftist males–are calling on others to inflict harm onto young women who are self-reliant and independent.

This guy, who calls himself an “Agitated Texas Republican,” says women who hunt are ignorant and blood-thirsty. (Talk about elevating women!)

Another tweeted that hunting is out-of-date: “Hunting is so 1914! It stopped with Teddy Roosevelt!”

Attacking women who choose to fish and hunt hurts, rather than helps, females realize their potential. What happened to being pro-choice?

New York Post’s Eliyahu Federman wrote an article titled “The ignorant, sexist attacks on female hunters” to showcase the hypocrisy of guys who disparage female anglers and hunters. Here’s an excerpt:

1) Their hunting was perfectly legal. As a spokesperson for Jones pointed out, “All of Kendall’s hunts in Zimbabwe and South Africa were 100 percent legal, with proper tags and licenses awarded on a pre-approved quota by the countries’ officials and wildlife department.”

No, “legal” isn’t the same as “moral,” but attacking these young women in personal terms for lawful hunting is pointless. If you have a problem with big-game hunting, change the laws, don’t mindlessly attack individuals.

2) Hunting helps support poor local African communities. People magazine reported how Jones paid $160,000 in fees and services “provided by local trackers, skinners and assistants.” That money went to provide jobs, incomes and food in destitute parts of Zimbabwe and South Africa. Trophy hunting provides meat to local villagers and generates an estimated $200 million a year in revenue in poor countries in Africa and elsewhere.

3) African hunting helps conservation. It is poaching that poses a threat, not lawful hunting. In fact, the operators of hunting conservancies fight poaching to “protect the wildlife resources on which they depend.”

….

4) Animals aren’t people. Sport hunting isn’t murder, no matter how much some detest it.

5) Hunters are often middle-aged men, but the brunt of online outrage seems directed at young attractive women like Jones, Despiegelaer, Melissa Bachman, Olivia Opre, and Sarah Palin, not the male “Duck Dynasty” types. Sure looks like sexism.

Fishing and hunting are essential to sustainability and conservation. These activities promote the environment and encourage stewardship. The majority of fishermen and hunters abide by laws. Our license fees and investments in gear/equipment support charities and wildlife conservation efforts. What’s the harm in revering and replenishing nature? (Answer: Nothing!)

Even left-leaning National Geographic has praised and acknowledged the rise of female hunters:

Hunters are also quick to note that funds from purchases of licenses, equipment, and ammunition go to support conservation efforts for a variety of species. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, every year nearly $200 million is distributed from the federal taxes associated with hunting to support wildlife management programs, the purchase of lands for habitat conservation, and hunter education and safety classes.

There’s another factor, too: fun. Hunting is a way for women to be outdoors and enjoy nature while spending time with husbands and children who hunt.

“Women are realizing how much fun hunting is and how close it can actually bring them in their relationships with their families,” says Tiffany Lakosky, co-host of the Outdoor Channel hunting show Crush with Lee and Tiffany and a top bowhunter. “The whole concept is that I am shooting my family’s dinner tonight and we’re eating something I shot. I would say probably 90 percent of the meat we eat, we hunted.”

Whether or not you agree with fishing or big game hunting, be mindful that anglers and hunters are people too. We have feelings, compassion, and are fallible. (After all, we’re human.) Despite what the naysayers say, we respect our surroundings. We love nature. We want more empowered women and men. We don’t appreciate being pidgeonholed and threatened by jerks who have little to no regard for personal safety or tolerance of different beliefs. In fact, these attacks only encourage us to take up gun ownership and continue to speak out in favor of our beliefs.

Fellow female anglers and hunters: Don’t become disheartened by our detractors. Instead, go confidently in the right direction to enjoy the outdoors.