4 Unique Places to See in South Dakota

This post is sponsored by Hot Springs, South Dakota and the South Dakota Department of Tourism, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

This summer I’m planning a pretty big road trip, one that goes through South Dakota. (More on that to come later!) I visited the Black Hills, The Badlands and Mount Rushmore with my parents when I was younger on our way to Colorado. It’s definitely something every American should try to see at least once. There is more to see in the area though, which is why these lesser-known tourist destinations are on my list to check out in Hot Springs, SD:

Wild Horse Sanctuaries

There are two wild horse sanctuaries you can visit and see horses roaming free in their natural habitat. Ever since I read Misty of Chincoteague at age 10, I’ve found it fascinating that even today horses run wild in the United States.

Mineral Water Health Spas

I’ve visited natural hot springs in the Colorado mountains as well as mineral spas in Switzerland and I can easily say that it’s one of my favorite vacation activities. The mineral water spas in Hot Springs, South Dakota are much closer to home and open year round.

Pioneer Museum

The area has a ton of history, so it’s fitting that there’s a pioneer museum. It would be of interest to anyone who liked my Pioneer Park post. While I’ve been to several pioneer museums as a child and for article research, I never tire of them!

 Wind Cave National Park

Here you can tour one of the longest caves in the world as well as hike through a National Park that has buffalo, elk, deer, coyotes, antelope!

If wild horses, mineral spas and pioneer museums aren’t your thing there are way more attractions to check out including a mammoth site and fossil museum. If you’ve been to the Hot Springs area, let me know what you think is the best place to check out.

What to Wear

>Summer road trip advice from a Midwesterner – here’s what you might want to pack.

1. Summer boots – good for adventuring. These come in three colors.

2. An embellished dress for looking good in your Instagram shots 😉 This one will look like it fits right in at the Pioneer Museum.

3. Cat’s eye sunglasses

4. Embellished denim jackets are everywhere now, and they’re so practical for keeping mosquitoes off!

All photos used with permission courtesy of the South Dakota Board of Tourism.

Growing Succulents in Style

Starting your own succulent garden

While in California, I discovered the fun of growing succulents.

Walking around the beautifully manicured streets of the south bay, I saw so many gorgeously landscaped yards with cacti, aloe, and echeveria varietals just…growing. In the yard. (Can you tell I’m a northern gal?!)

I decided I would become a succulent hobbyist. (That’s a thing. I asked Pinterest.)

I went to SummerWinds nursery in my tropical themed tank from Merch Nerds (more on that later) and picked out a couple succulent plants. My favorite was an Echeveria Elegans, a native to Mexico succulent with frosty mint green rosettes that bloom delicate pink flowers with yellow tips.

After photographing them for Instagram (naturally), I researched how to take care of them and start a succulent garden.

Two Ways to Grow Succulents

They can thrive indoors in a pot anywhere or outdoors if you live in certain zones. Quick test: is it like a desert where you live? If yes, plant succulents indoors. No? Mmm, better not, but you can create an indoor succulent garden in a wide bowl. Potted succulent gardens can be gorgeous. Just look at these ones I found at the nursery:

For more inspiration, check out Succulent Garden on Pinterest.

Choosing Your Succulents

I asked the garden center and asked a ton of questions, because my succulent knowledge was low. Here’s what I learned. Some succulents spread on their own, like the Hen and Chicks variety, while some don’t. All are fairly similar in terms of the care needed.

I think just choosing the ones you like the best is the best way to start a succulent garden. See what’s available and go from there. You can add decorative landscaping rock for looks as seen in the succulent bowl above, but you don’t have to.

Caring for Succulents

I’m not an authority on succulents yet, but here is some succulent care advice I’ve picked up from experts so far.

Water them fully, then let them dry completely. If it’s a pot, put it in the sink and water it until the water runs out the bottom. Then don’t water it again until the soil is dry when you touch it. This will likely be about once a month but it could vary depending on how dry your air is.

Make sure your succulent is in a pot that drains! They don’t like their roots sitting in water. And if you have a rosette like my Echeveria Elegans, water the soil and not the rosette itself or the moisture can cause it to rot.

Obvi, they need a lot of light. Keep them away from cold windows, especially at night in cold climates.

Outfit Details

Big thanks to the clever graphic tee company Merch Nerds for this pineapple tank. It’s organic cotton and so soft and comfy! They have tons of other styles and colors on their website, including a cactus tee! How perfect is that? I also really love the Mermaid Off Duty style because if you haven’t heard, I like mermaids.

P.S. if you want to know why buying organic clothing is important to me, read this.

What do you think of my new found succulent gardening hobby? Drop your green thumb wisdom my way!

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!

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