Taking Flight, The Single Life

5 Valentine’s Gifts for the Adventurous Girl


If you have an adventurous girl in your life, then you’ve come to the right place to find the perfect gift! I love spending time outdoors but apparel and gear for the next trek isn’t exactly the typical Valentine’s Day gift – which is what makes those kind of things the best kind of gift! Nothing says “I love you” or “You’re pretty cool” like a unique gift! Whether she is your girlfriend, your best friend, your daughter or your wife, show some love to the adventurous girl in your life with one of these five out-of-the-box gifts she is sure to love!

1. Chaco Natilly Boots: $140

Chaco boots of any kind are a great gift! They have the Chaco sole that are podiatrist-approved and super comfy. They’re perfect for casual day hikes. And they are fashionable on and off the trails.

I’ve had my Chaco Natilly boots for almost a year and I’ve worn them in just about every environment. I wore them all the time when I studied abroad in London and Paris. I’ve worn them on rainy days to class, in the snow, on a girls’ night out and to church. These boots are definitely not cheap, but the adventurous girl is sure to get a lot of wear out of them.

You could also spring for the Barbary style, which I’m in love with! They’re just $10 more at $150 and I’d be willing to bet they have just as much versatility!

2. Merrell’s Fluorecein Mid Waterproof Boots: Regular price $140, On Sale for $99.99

I know…another pair of boots. What can I say. I love shoes, especially boots and especially ones made with hiking in mind. I just got my pair of these lovelies for a New Mexico backpacking trip in June (because Chacos will not cut it on long treks like this one). It was love at first…wear??? Anywho, this would be a great gift to show the adventurous girl in your life that you love and appreciate her!

I know these first two gifts are a bit pricey and may not be the best thing for a friend or even your girlfriend unless it’s getting serious, but your outdoorsy wife or daughter will love you forever.

3. Doublenest ENO Hammock: $69.95

I love my ENO! But I got a Singlenest because I didn’t want to pay $10 more. It’s the tragic story of a poor college student. I know. The double allows for more room for a sleeping bag…or cuddling! But so far that has been my only regret!

An ENO will make sleeping out under the stars, taking an outdoor catnap or just chilling outside fun and relaxing! I love to take mine out even for a few hours to read and enjoy nice weather when it comes around!

Obviously, this would not be the gift you would get your friend unless you were the one who won the Powerball or you just REALLY loved them, but it could be the perfect and unique thing for a girlfriend, wife or daughter! I mean let’s face it…you’ll end up spending just as much money on a good bouquet of flowers.

(NOTE: You will also need to buy straps to suspend the hammock…and lucky for you that’s the next suggestion!)

4. ENO Atlas Hammock Suspension: $29.95

This is the perfect gift for the girl who already has an ENO but wants to take her hammocking to the next level. Eagle Nest Outfitters has what they call a Slap Strap for $10 cheaper, but you can’t use these traps in state and national parks. They’re actually illegal because they are too thing and can hurt the trees. At least that’s what the guy at Sun & Ski told me. But the Atlas straps or can be used anywhere you can physically get your ENO to stay hanging! So, give the gift that will let your friend or girlfriend hammock like a champion!

5. Adventure Essentials Care Package (Lip balm, hiking socks, + a few snacks)

This might seem like a weird cop-out gift, but if you’re wanting to get a gift for a friend or multiple adventurous friends, this is an inexpensive yet valuable gift. This is also where you can let some creativity shine through! I would suggest a stick of lip balm, a pair of hiking socks and maybe some peanut butter crackers or a Clif Bar.

A good lip balm is like gold for the girl who likes to spend her time in the great outdoors because sweltering heat, frigid air, bright sun and stinging wind can DE-stroy your skin, especially on your lips. The last thing she will want to worry about when she’s out on the trails or on the slopes is the annoying and unbearable stinging sensation that is chapped lips.

You can get any lip balm that you like, but I’m a huge fan of Burt’s Bees! It’s all-natural. It lasts FOR-EV-ER. You can get it in a lot of flavors (Peppermint is my favorite!). And unlike some brands of lip balm, it’s easy to pack and not an awkward sphere shape so your best girlfriend can slip it into a jacket pocket or side pocket in her pack and be good to go!

As far as the socks go, there one of those things that it’s a hard thing to justify buying for yourself because socks tend to be easily lost and there is always more expensive equipment to save up for. Thus, a good pair of socks tend to go by the wayside.

Finally, the snacks are just a no-brainer. Everyone loves snacks!

What gift would you add to the list?

Taking Flight


A few months ago, my friend Kathryn encouraged me in this journey to take flight. She probably didn’t know it at the time, but she told me a simple phrase that has stuck with me whenever I think I can’t, whenever I think something is too scary, whenever I think something is beyond my ability.

Do hard things.

Three words. That’s all it is, but it’s a phrase the really caught on for both of us, and I’d like to think that God used Kathryn and this simple phrase to help us both grow in new ways.

Growing up, I was a shy child. Hard to believe, right? Okay, maybe not.

When I was little, people would come up to me at church to say hello and I would quickly hide behind my mom or dad. I was that kid who was scared of falling, scared of heights, and scared of getting hurt long before I even broke my ankle at the age of six. I was so timid and so cautious that it was almost dangerous. I had my shell. I had my comfort zone, and I liked it there.

I never thought I would ever become adventurous in any capacity of the word…but I did.


On Monday, Kathryn and I went hiking in the Wichita Mountains in Southwestern Oklahoma. No, Oklahoma is not completely flat. Yes, Oklahoma has mountains…sort of. Any who, since we didn’t have classes because of the holiday, we took off to the mountains because we just couldn’t wait until January for a trip to the mountains. So we hiked, we bouldered, we got a little lost because we didn’t get a map first (I would not recommend especially for long hiking trips). And looking back I would have never have done five or more years ago what I did Monday.


I did hard things. In recent years, I’ve challenged myself to go out of my comfort zone. I’ve pushed myself to talk to that person or to go to knew heights or try something new. My senior year of high school I learned how to play golf, a sport I never thought I would play (seriously, that is). My freshman year of college I tried sushi and hiked the Wichitas for the first time. My sophomore year I went kayaking for the first time. This past May I traveled to a new country and continent.

I still have a ways to go, but I think the phrase “do hard things” has caught on so well that other people have taken notice. Just the other day at work, the other intern said she could see me taking a year after college to travel the world. “You’re just so adventurous!” she said.

All I could say was, “Why thank you! I try!”

So, take flight and do hard things. Climb a mountain. Hike for a week, a month, three months. Learn a new skill that terrifies you. Train for a race. Explore a new city, state, or country. Interview for that dream job you really want. Leave that job you actually hate. Break off that relationship and learn to be an independent, solo amigo, single for a year. Guys, boys, men…how ever you see yourself…ask that girl out!!!! Girls, ladies, women…learn to say no and raise your standards!!!

Find what is hardest for you to do and do it!

(Photo credit: feature photo, Kathryn Patterson. Check out her Facebook page!)