Meeting someone and dating during the pandemic. It hasn't been easy for many, that's for sure. Online dating platform, Dating.com has released data revealing how single women have changed their approach to dating since the start of the pandemic.

Post-pandemic, 85% are intentionally seeking a steady partner. 30% have changed their relationship goals because of last year's dating experiences. 77% are not interested in settling for anyone who doesn't meet their standards, even in the short term.

Lauren Conaghan, director of New Jersey Singles, agrees with all of it. She said she's seen a change in the dating scene during COVID-19.

The pandemic has given people time and a lot of clarity into what they want in their lives. It has shown that life is short and at the end of the day, relationships are what's important most in life. So, people are making this a priority, Conaghan said.

During the pandemic, she said people had to find creative, new ways to meet, whether it was via Zoom, virtual bars and virtual hangouts. The excitement was still there to meet potential partners, but they just needed to be creative and find different ways to do so, she added.

But now, a lot of people are safely getting back out into the traditional dating game. With fall here, there are so many wonderful, romantic things to do like outdoor dining and winery visits, she said.

"People are taking stock of their life. They're realizing that time is of importance and they don't want to waste time anymore," Conaghan said.

She thinks people are re-evaluating who they have in their life. If they are not good people, then they want them out of their lives to find better people, and not settling for just anyone.

"I think not settling really is so important because at the end of the day, if you're not completely fulfilled, don't waste your time. You never know what tomorrow is going to bring," she said.

While physical attractiveness had usually been the main draw in the past when first meeting a potential dating partner, Conaghan said that's not the main concern or the driving force in finding a life mate these days.

Looks are not important as they used to be because it's so vain, Conaghan said. People have realized what's important is how others treat them and whether or not they are going to be a good partner in life.

She said looks are fleeting but having good, positive influences around each and every one of us on a daily basis is the key to true love and happiness.

The best outdoor beer gardens at NJ breweries

There are more options than ever for enjoying a Garden State crafted beer in an outdoor setting.

New Jersey tied for first place (with Kentucky) with 43% growth in the craft beer scene from 2015 to 2019, according to C+R Research.

The following is a roundup of breweries around the state with scenic, dedicated outdoor seating as weather allows.