This Pioneer Town is Like Going Back in Time

Antique kitchenware in Pioneer Park

My latest article for Minnesota Parent magazine is one close to my heart because I based it on the camp I attended at age 7. It’s a historical park created to replicate 1880s pioneer life. While researching the article, I snapped a lot of the meticulously curated antique details. These previously unpublished photos show that when you visit Pioneer Park in Minnesota it’s exactly like stepping back into time–take a look:

Pioneer Park day camp

More than twenty years later, day camps for kids still happen every summer. The children cook and wash dishes in an authentic log cabin, even churning their own butter. And there’s a whole village waiting to be explored. Each of the buildings on the Pioneer Park campus showcases a different aspect of 19th-century life in the Midwest.

Visit Pioneer Park Minnesota

There’s a schoolhouse, barn, Finnish church, jail, and more. When you visit Pioneer Park in Minnesota in the summer, the buildings are open for tours. If you’re into the rustic farmhouse look, this is the real thing.

Antique hats

This shows the inside the millinery shop with hats, gloves and dresses in the store window.

Vintage millinery in pioneer park

Not everything is dresses and lace. The funeral parlor, doctor’s office and dentist’s office display some tools too creepy to photograph.

On the shelves of the General Store, not everything is quite from the right era. This bag of Snow White flour must have been from the 1930s at least, but it gives an overall picture of what the shops in the village must have been like during that period.

Vintage pantry on display in Pioneer Park

And there is even a blacksmith’s shop filled with horse shoes, wagon wheels and farming tools.

antique blacksmith's shop in Pioneer Park

There’s something just so fascinating about peeking into the past. To visit Minnesota Pioneer Park in Annandale, visit PioneerPark.org.

There are historical destinations like this one all around the United States. If you’ve visited one, let me know where. I think rustic places like this are beautiful and full of character. What do you think?

Visiting the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco

What is the Palace of Fine Arts?

This downtown San Francisco destination features a Greco-Roman style rotunda and colonnades on a peaceful pond. It was built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific Exhibition and is now used for concerts, events and as a public park.

This place is STUNNING. As soon as I saw a picture of it two years ago, I knew I had to go. Two trips to California went by before I was able to make it, and I’m so happy I finally did. I was in no way prepared for how magnificent it is in person. It was easy to imagine I was in Europe, it so reminded me of things I’d seen in Rome and Greece.

At sunset, the sun setting over the bay illuminated the rosy columns with gold light. The structure sits on the edge of a pond, and a walking path encircles it. Families brought bikes and scooters for the kids. It’s situated near the Golden Gate, Golden Gate Park, and the Disney Family Museum so it’s easy to swing by if you’re visiting the popular tourist destinations in San Francisco.

Visiting the Palace of Fine Arts

Visiting the Palace of Fine Arts

It’s a perfect place to take a stroll, and it’s free. We even got a free parking spot nearby. We were a little cold and hungry so we stayed for a half hour, long enough to take these pictures and enjoy the sights. Looking back I think we could have stayed longer. If it’s a warm day you could do a picnic here.

How to Take Photos at the Palace of Fine Arts

This is one of the most popular photo shoot destinations in the Bay Area. On a sunny Sunday afternoon, we saw an engagement shoot, another fashion blogger, and a wedding shoot during the half hour we were there! That said, you’ll probably get other people in your frame. The inside of the rotunda is amazing, but make sure to check out the grounds surrounding it too for some other great shots.

What to Wear

Such a magnificent location called for a special outfit. When I found this dress at Nordstrom it instantly reminded me of Belle from Beauty and the Beast, which was perfect because the new movie came out that weekend. I definitely wore this dress to the theater for the premiere.  (The dress also comes in black and a pattern, by the way.) I added a couple layers of tulle over it just for fun, but it also looks elegant without it.

If you saw the movie this weekend, what did you think?

Visiting the Palace of Fine Arts

Tech Fashion Week Recap

I got the opportunity to take part in San Francisco’s 5th Annual Tech Fashion Week and I’m so excited to share a little bit about the experience. The above picture is of my co-panelists at the Fashion Bloggers Connect event. They traveled from as far away as Hungary just to be there! When I was preparing for the panel, I thought my experiences and insights as a blogger were unique and different. Turns out, there was a lot of commonality in what each influencer shared. A few highlights we covered in the panel:

5 Insights from Fashion Bloggers Connect

  1. Engagement is going to be the next important metric in blogging.
  2. Video is increasing in influencer importance.
  3. Starting an Instagram account first to grow your following is now a valid way to start a blog.
  4. Followers are interested in who you are and your story–not just what you’re wearing.
  5. Blogging is a type of journalism, so we have to keep up those standards. We also deserve to be fairly compensated.

There were so many bits of wisdom imparted by these influential ladies! I was so impressed by what they shared and humbled to be part of it.

Fashion Industry Awards

Awards honoring local talent in the industry were announced at opening night to stylists, models and designers in the San Francisco area.

Tech Fashion Week Shows

The week had multiple fashion shows showcasing local talent as well. All the events happened at different spaces around the city. Opening night was held in a hair studio after hours, with a loft for the models to descend from for the runway show.

The models were local men and women, some who actually work in tech and were made over into models for the evening.

This is just such a sliver of all the happenings at Tech Fashion Week 2017. If you can make it next year I highly recommend checking it out!

Best Gluten Free Treats in the Bay Area

Bay Area Gluten FreeI try to eat as little sugar as I can, but sometimes you just want a delicious treat! Eating gluten free means passing up many, many delicious treats. You have to look a little harder to find them, but gluten free goodies can be found in almost any city. The Bay Area has its share of gluten free delicacies, and these are my favorites.

1. Zest Bakery

I found this gem while searching for the elusive unicorn: the Gluten Free Donut. I found that and so much more at Zest Bakery in San Carlos. Everything in this place is gluten free, and some things are even dairy free, soy free or sugar free to boot. The prices were reasonable, and there was plenty of indoor and outdoor seating on a cute and quiet street. Parking was fairly easy too, even mid day on a weekend.

But let’s talk about what really matters–the quality of the gluten free baked goods! The muffins were indistinguishable from regular glutenous muffins, not an easy feat. The sandwich I bought was absolutely delicious and kept me energized for a day of sightseeing in downtown San Francisco. But most of all I want to rave about the bread–it was soft, fresh and not overly crumbly. The only disappointment at this place was the Oreo cookie, which I would skip. It wasn’t bad, but not on par with their other A-list goodies. If you are gluten free, you must try this place when you’re in the area.

2. Chantal Guillon

All macarons here are gluten free! Chantal Guillon has shops around the Bay Area, including San Francisco and Palo Alto. The hardest part is choosing which flavors you want. This is a best gluten free Bay Area destination for sure.

best gluten free bay area

3. Flour Chylde Bakery

This bakery has been around for twelve years making breads, desserts, cookies and pastries that are all gluten free. I haven’t been to their Novarto location, but I visited their booth at the Palo Alto Farmer’s Market and sampled delicious cake. Their facility strives to be zero waste, which is a nice thing to support.

4. Sugarfina

A candy store for adults is the concept behind Sugarfina. Candies in little clear boxes labeled to show where around the globe the candy is sourced from are showcased around the store. The minimalist decor style is the main draw of this place, so stop in just to see the layout of the merchandise and snap an Insta-worthy pic or two. Oh, and free samples! Three locations to choose from in San Francisco, one in San Jose and more sprinkled around the U.S.

5. Timothy Adams

A picture perfect place for a first date or a friend date, this shop lured me in with its hot pink and blue decor and tempting counter full of truffles. The price is steep ($2.50 per chocolate) but the experience made it feel worth it. The truffles are smooth and memorable. Ask for your truffles to go or enjoy them in the cute dining room located at 539 Bryant Street, Palo Alto.

6. Ghiradelli

Fairly obvious, but what would a list about San Francisco be without Ghiradelli? Get a free chocolate square just for walking in the door. I’ve been to a store downtown and also Ghiradelli square. Both are fun but Ghiradelli square is a waterfront tourist destination with street musicians, shopping, and views of the Bay. There is a Ghiradelli chocolate souvenir shop and ice cream cafe there, but the actual chocolate factory is no longer onsite.

Have a favorite place you want to share? Make sure to contact me in the comments below.

You Be the Stylist – Tech Fashion Week

Tech Fashion Week San Francisco

So I’m in San Francisco and so far I’ve gone to a little town north of Marin to see a relative’s new award winning bar, Duke’s, and spent a day in Berkeley. 

But one of the main reasons I’m here is Tech Fashion Week. There are a few days left, including the day I present on a panel of fashion bloggers. I feel like I need to keep up with these super trendy west coast industry tastemakers, so I need your help!

I found this white skirt at Goodwill of Silicon Valley and I’m trying to decide if I should style it up for Tech Fashion Week, or wear something else! You can vote at the end of the post.

Option 1 – Feminine

The leather jacket is pretty much non-negotiable. It’s cold in San Francisco! I bring this jacket every time I visit the Bay Area. Black is a really common color to wear here, so I like wearing something a little different. In this case, white. The skirt is on the puffy side, so it’s quite different from the next option below.

Jacket – Anthropologie (Similar)

Skirt – I found a similar one from my all time favorite brand, Chi Chi London. It’s so beautiful and only $47!

Boots – Similar on sale

Option 2 – Glam

The same black jacket, but with a black dress with cutouts is another viable option. I think it fits in more than stands out. I’ll wear tights with both outfits because again, cold.

Jacket – Anthropologie (Similar)

Dress – Macy’s, majorly discounted, and a long version of the same dress.

Boots – Similar on sale

Option 3: Lace and Glitter

SPARKLY SHOES. That’s pretty much all I have to say about this outfit.

Shoes – Betsey Johnson, Top – F&F, as seen in this post, Leggings – Kate Spade

You be the stylist: vote!

Now there are a few days left of Tech Fashion Week, so there’s definitely a chance I could wear both. But just in case, I need your help. What should I wear? If you have styling suggestions let me know in the comments, even if it’s just a simple “go home to Minnesota these outfits are horrifying.”

And hey, while you’re here check out my favorite places to shop in San Francisco.

Thanks for the input, stylish readers! More updates on my experience at Tech Fashion Week to come soon.

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