Country Hipster is one year old today! ONE YEAR.

And up until today, if you had looked at my blog’s “About Me” page, you would have been met with a fairly cheesy story about the first pair of boots I ever bought and how, after falling head over heels in love with that candy apple red pair of Luccheses, I had become obsessed with cowboy boots and eventually decided to start blogging about them.

And while all of that was true, it wasn’t the REAL reason I decided to start this blog.

THIS is the real story behind Country Hipster.

Blue Old Gringo Canty Boots

It technically all started with ^^^THAT^^^ pair of Canty Boots.

About a year and a half ago, I was dating a guy from Three Forks, Montana, and one weekend when I went to visit him, his mom showed me this GORGEOUS pair of boots in her closet that had the shafts turned down and pretty belts around them. I HAD TO HAVE A PAIR. But I was hella poor at the time, so I just stalked Canty’s Instagram page and hoped a pair would somehow magically appear in my closet.

Long story short, I FINALLY bought a pair and they were more perfect than I could have ever imagined. I remember getting them in the mail and immediately prancing around my house in them and thinking, “I AM LITERALLY NEVER TAKING THESE OFF MY FEET.” Any time a pair of shoes makes you feel that way, you know something special is about to happen.

The first day I wore them was January 30th, 2015.

It was a Friday, and that Friday ended up changing my life in so, so many ways. I’m sitting here trying to figure out how to sum up that day and so many memories and emotions are flooding back and I can’t help but wonder how I’ll ever be able to really do it justice.

I guess I’ll start by telling you about my visit to Steve Fidel, who was my boss for more than a year when I worked at BYU’s newspaper. Steve has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders. From talking me into taking a job as editor-in-chief of the newspaper to coaching me through a discouraging pre-graduation job search, he’s always been there to give me encouragement, whether it was in the form of a pep talk or a handful of jelly beans from his stash.

For about a month leading up to that day, I had been feeling really out of sorts. I was sad all the time and found myself getting more frustrated at work than I usually do and I just felt really lost. So I decided to pay a visit to Steve on campus.

I won’t go into detail about that visit (it involved a lot of crying and a lot of me asking “can I go back to kindergarten now?!”), but one very important thing happened after our chat. As I got up to leave, Steve looked down at my boots. “Wow! New boots?” he asked. I regularly wore cowboy boots to work and class when I was in college, so he was pretty used to seeing me wear all different styles and colors. I remember responding about how cool I thought the boots were and how much I loved them.

Now, this is the important part. After I finished rambling about my Cantys, he smiled. “I just think it’s great that you have something you’re so passionate about,” he said.

I mulled over that statement as I left campus and drove to my house, where my boyfriend was waiting for me. Things had been tense between us for weeks, and as I got closer and closer to home, it became more and more clear that we were about to break up.

And I was terrified.

I was in love with that boy. And I don’t say that to make this story seem more dramatic or to gain pity from anyone. When I looked at him I saw everything I had ever wanted. All my hopes, all my dreams, all my goals. All wrapped up in one funny, charismatic, beautiful person.

So maybe that’s why I felt like I couldn’t breathe when, after asking him if our relationship was over, he looked at me and bluntly replied, “Unfortunately, I think it is.”

I’ll never forget the last hug he gave me. I’ll never forget watching his taillights fade as he drove away from my house. I’ll never forget sitting back down on the couch and just crying. But above all, I’ll never forget the lightbulb that went off in my head when, through puffy, tear-filled eyes, I looked down at those Canty boots. Steve’s comment replayed in my head.

“It’s great that you have something you’re so passionate about.”

The wheels started turning. The ideas started flooding in. Things started making sense.

“What if I started a blog about how to style cowboy boots?” I asked myself.

I would have tons of free time from then on. I had more than enough boots and clothes to build a library of several months of content to get started. I knew how to manage websites and social media profiles. “There’s really no reason not to,” I thought as the tears continued to flood from my eyes.

And so, the idea behind Country Hipster was born in one of my darkest moments.

The next day, I woke up feeling totally and completely awful but strangely excited. Eric Church was performing that night in Salt Lake, and as I got ready for the concert, I decided to perform a little experiment. I’d put together a cute outfit, take a picture of myself wearing the outfit, and post it to Instagram. If I got a good response, I’d move forward with the blog. If nothing happened, I’d forget the idea and move on with my life.

The picture got way more likes and comments than I anticipated. At the time I had like, 230 followers so 64 likes was HUGE. And on top of that, Nikki, the owner of Canty, reshared my photo, which I took as a sign that the idea for my blog wasn’t completely awful.

In the months following that photo, I was a complete and total mess. I regularly sobbed silently in my little corner desk at work. I felt empty and sad even when I was surrounded by my closest friends who were doing everything they could think of to cheer me up. I called my mom several times in the early hours of the morning because I was scared I couldn’t live without that boy.

But between all those horrible, dark, lonely moments, I researched blogging platforms. I worked on logo designs. I planned outfit posts. I came up with a name. A color palette. A posting schedule.

And now, 366 days later, Country Hipster is still alive.

My heart has (mostly) healed, my following has grown, and my style has evolved. I’ve gotten frustrated a few times, gone a few weeks without posting, and even thought about giving up. I’ve caught the eye of boot brands and western stores, collaborated with some of the sweetest girls on the planet, and learned so much about blogging and social media and style.

But above all, Country Hipster has come to mean so much more to me than I think anyone—including myself—will ever know. So here’s to another year, and hopefully many, many more after that!

COUNTRY HIPSTER YEAH

Check back in tomorrow to see what’s up Country Hipster’s sleeve for the next year!

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