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Content creation isn't all it's cracked up to be 😂

Me, mid-social media sabbatical, on an awesome vacation with my husband.

As most of you know, ThinBlueLifestyle is what I like to refer to as a "side hustle." I have my career as a Sheriff's Deputy and I do TBL stuff daily for fun. Luckily for me, it has started to generate a profit. Small, but still something I am proud of and something I see that has the potential for growth.

I started TBL in August 2020 and it can be EXHAUSTING coming up with content ideas. No one warns you of the *dark side* of content creation (note to the reader: I loathe the title "Instagram influencer" so I will never call myself that...I think "influencer" has more of a negative connotation, while "creator" sparks more dignity...if you disagree, let me know in the comments lol.) Granted- yes, there is only so much one can discuss in the 2A and safety world, but I was getting sick of posting on a topic and then seeing a larger account (who happened to be following me) post on the same exact thing (with verrrry similar talking points) a week later and have their post blow up while I sulk over my two dozen "likes." Call me crazy but thats some Grade A copying and although I love the concept of learning together, I would appreciate a shoutout like, "I saw Fran from TBL discuss this and she has some great ideas" rather than just copying and pasting with no street cred 🤷‍♀️ I was always very big on giving credit where credit is due. I learned from my mentor, Emily (you can catch her over on that it was best to just block and move on in situations like that.

I quickly adopted the "block and delete" mindset for all the negativity in the social media world. As a woman in law enforcement, I was used to the hate. I've been called every name in the book and rarely bat an eye but it never ceases to amaze me how filled with hate someone can be towards me when they 1) don't even know my full name and 2) have never met me in person. During my first social media sabbatical, someone DM'd me saying they hope they see my Instagram stories capturing my utter devastation while I sob over my husband's dead body because he had been murdered at work. *Pause to pray for this guy's sanity because he CLEARLY needs some help...or a swift kick to the side of the head...* This man proceeded to DM me NINE separate messages telling me how he hoped to see my life become miserable. Some people really need mental health help. I'm not telling you this story for pity but I received that disgusting, hateful message when I had less than 3,000 followers. As TBL continues to grow, so does support for my page but unfortunately the haters grow with you as well.

Because of this, I found that a social media sabbatical was really beneficial for my mental health. Getting away from the negativity and constant pressure of having to be "on" all the time for social media was an amazing feeling. I took a little over a month off and it was great to not feel obligated to post every other day or respond to DM's immediately. If you're a content creator I highly recommend you do the same. It was a great feeling to just be me, and not "Fran from ThinBlueLifestyle" all the time.

My husband and I, living our best Disney life on vacation day 1, long before our feet started to hurt😂

While on my social media break, I focused my free time on my husband, my family and our pets. My husband and I went to Florida and had an amazing vacation. I did do occasional posting on stories while I was there because I couldn't help but share the amazing time I was having.

Was the Beach Club Resort disgustingly expensive? Yes. Would we stay here again? Also yes.

My break from social media gave me a chance to recharge and fill my tank. I had no idea I was running on empty until I took a step back and realized it was time for myself and my loved ones. Social media is great and I love the connections I've built through TBL but it is important to remember to put yourself and your needs first at times. I've only been back for a little over a month and I'm already looking forward to my next social media sabbatical 😂

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Picking the perfect firearm is easier said than done. When I'm searching for a new gun, three top requirements come to mind: round capacity, quality, and how the gun feels in my hand. If this is a firearm I'm purchasing for the sole purpose of concealed carry, size is also a factor and my ability to conceal the firearm will be considered as well.

Although those factors are at the top of my list, picking the perfect firearm starts long before going to the gun store to purchase it. I do tons of research on reviews of that weapon system to see what people who have purchased it and used it think. I look to see if there are problems or malfunctions that are common with multiple users. If a specific make and model of a gun have multiple negative reviews, I dig deeper to see if I really want to deal with this potential issue in a firearm as well.

“Picking the perfect firearm starts long before going to the gun store...”

I stick to a weapon system I am familiar with. A base model pistol with the ability to customize and upgrade as time goes on has served me well over the last 5+ years.

My top pick could be different from yours

Remember, just because a firearm works perfectly for me, does not mean it will be great for everyone. We all have different requirements and priorities in different order based on the wants and needs for that specific firearm. If you are struggling to find one you like, go to a gun store that offers a range facility where you can try before you buy. The way a gun feels in you hand during and after you're pulling the trigger is far different when compared to doing a few reps of dry fire in the store.

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Updated: Mar 1, 2022

Wearing something comfortable, practical and not too flashy is always my go-to for a day of firearms practice.

Shop the look: Camouflage flag hat Link, 5.11 cargo pants

When I am going to the range, the top priority for my outfit is to 1) be comfortable and able for me to move in, and 2) Not be too revealing or inappropriate. I want other people at the range to see me and think, "She dresses the part so she must know what she's doing."

Do I normally care what other people think about me? No. Do I recommend that other people care about how others feel about them? Also, no. BUT the one, rare time I am self-conscious about my choice of clothing is the range. We've all seen the girls who show up to the range with their bodies on display more than their firearms skills. Yes, it is great that they love their body BUT the range is a very judgemental place for everyone, especially females- don't give anyone else extra ammo (no pun intended) to pass judgement upon you.

Keep in mind- I dress for the type of range day I am going to have. If I'm going to an actual training day that I'm attending, I will wear a pair of 5.11 cargos (preferably in a color that can hide dirt well because I'll probably end up shooting prone or kneeling at one point during the day), a long sleeve t-shirt, and a hat to shield my face. The sun can beat down on you during an outdoor range day and theres nothing worse than coming home sunburnt after the range.

If I'm going to the range with just my husband for some target practice I'm a little bit more stringent on my wardrobe. I have a pair of 5.11 range leggings (they've been discontinued but if you can find them on eBay or Poshmark they're the "raven range tight") and I LOVE them. They're leggings but made out of a very thick material (not sheer when you bend over) and the waistband is double the thickness with belt loops. The only way they could be more perfect would be if they had pockets. Those are my go-to with a long sleeve tee or sweatshirt. There are other brands that make carry-wear or active wear geared towards carrying a firearm and I've tried them and never have been a fan. All of them unfortunately have just been ridiculously overpriced, horrible quality, and the waistband is never strong or stiff enough to hold up my range belt and feel secure. I love the 5.11 leggings because the waistband is sturdy and stays in place. If you can track them down on the resale market, I *highly* recommend them.

I steer clear of v-necks, low rise pants, or anything that is going to over expose me. Keep in mind, you will be shooting from lots of different angles and positions so a shirt that feels "just a tiny bit revealing" standing straight up could potentially be WAY more revealing if you're leaning forward/shooting laying down/etc. Besides, if you've ever taken hot brass down your shirt you will realize REALLY quick that a high neck line is always a better choice 😂

All in all, yes- it's important to practice at the range wearing what you typically do BUT I wouldn't recommend it in a class setting. I've even seen classes have a dress code, which is geared more towards safety, but still-dress for the range and you will never have anyone judging you on your choice of fashion.

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