Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

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.

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

A New Minneapolis Hotel + A Giveaway

I love saving money on travel, but what I don’t love is scouring the internet for hours to find the best deals. I just became a member of a rewards program that offers Members Only Rate Exclusive (MORE) – 10% off the best available price on hotel rooms within the brand. Which means saving more without scouring, thank goodness. Make sure to enter the giveaway below for a chance to win 30,000 rewards points of your own!

Club Carlson Perks

This program was ranked one of the top three hotel rewards programs by by U.S. News and World Reports for 2015-2016. One of the reasons is the program’s flexibility. You can use points not only for free hotel stays, but for other travel costs like TSA Pre-Check application fees, airline miles and more.

Radisson Red Opening in Downtown Minneapolis

I’m also excited to share that one of the Carlson hotel brands is opening a new hotel in downtown Minneapolis December 2016. It’s kiddie corner to the Old Spaghetti Factory which was a total staple of my college life, but I’m way more excited to check out the Radisson’s onsite kitchen + bar serving fresh, locally sourced, sustainable food inspired by global street fare. I like the trend of more hotels sourcing food from local farmers.

minneapolis travel itineraryI have some other suggestions for a Minneapolis travel itinerary. This hotel is steps away from the Guthrie Theater, Mill City Museum, and Gold Medal Park which are all right along the river and within walking distance to my favorite destination, the Stone Arch bridge (pictured above). So it’s going to be ideal for Twin Cities vacationers, but it’s also just a short cab ride or from the convention center and the University of Minnesota (pictured below). And if you’re wondering, yes, the hotel is pet friendly!university-of-minnesota-the-pink-paperdoll-blogGiveaway!

Congratulations giveaway winner Tracie Cooper, I hope you enjoy your 30,000 rewards points on a getaway somewhere you’ll love!

What to Wear In: San Francisco

What to wear in San FranciscoI was inspired to share this look today for a couple of reasons. First is that it’s the time of year I need to remember how to dress for fall. Like, I’ve actually forgotten. Please send help and something pumpkin spice flavored to jog my memory. Second is that today is Felt Hat day! I’ve been getting a lot of cross-seasonal use out of this felt hat that I first featured as part of a snowy winter ensemble.

Whenever I travel somewhere new, I always make note of what the locals are wearing and what I’m comfortable wearing in that city. If I make a return trip, I feel way more prepared with what to pack. Here is what I personally recommend for what to wear in San Francisco.

What to wear in San FranciscoWhat to Wear in San Francisco

Downtown is almost always windy and chilly, so I like a lightweight scarf and a hat.

A leather jacket is pretty perfect because it provides the right amount of wind protection and style.

Flat shoes or short boots are a must have. Promise me you won’t even try to wear heels, unless you bring a backup pair in your bag.

The perfect accessory for this outfit was a gold bar necklace courtesy of A-List Greek. The company specializes in sorority lettered jewelry. They can also custom stamp your initials, roman numerals of your anniversary, or map coordinates. Mine has my initials on it. The modern and minimal design just felt right with the black outfit. I’ve since experimented by layering it with other necklaces too which also works really well!

What to wear in San FranciscoCompared to other cities, I describe San Francisco as fashionable yet casual. Wear what you want and make being comfortable a priority, because you won’t enjoy the pretty views of the Bay if you’re cold!

For inspiration creating your own SF look, I compiled these same or similar products.

What are your tips for things to do and what to wear in San Francisco?

For more travel explorations, check out where to shop in San Francisco.

Twin Cities Vacation Tips & a Giveaway

Twin CitiesSo you’re going to plan a Twin Cities vacation. As a local, I’m divulging my best tips for your stay. And there’s even a really exciting giveaway involved with Country Inn & Suites. Are you in?

Where to Stay

twin cities vacationThe post sponsor’s Minneapolis West location in Plymouth which is nicely situated just west of Minneapolis. It’s a quick drive downtown, but it’s also even closer to the beautiful Lake Minnetonka, which picturesque in any season but especially summer. You might end up spending some quality time in the hotel though since it has an outdoor fireplace patio, indoor pool and other amenities.

Things to Do

The Lake Minnetonka area has been a premiere tourist destination since the 1800s. See downtown Wayzata’s Lake Street for shopping, ice cream, boat tours and stand up paddle board rentals.

In Minneapolis, you have to check out the Stonearch Bridge, St. Anthony Main and Boom Island Park–three of my absolute favorite places.

Where to Eat

twin cities vacationMy favorite hotel amenity? Free breakfast! It’s such a time saver while traveling, leaving more precious time for sightseeing. Keep reading to see a photo of the Country Inn & Suites breakfast room, it’ll make you hungry for waffles.

If you eat breakfast at the hotel, you’ll only need to find lunch and dinner. My out of town guests have enjoyed Brasa in Minneapolis and St. Paul and Hell’s Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis. For a sweet treat during your Twin Cities vacation, check out Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe in Hopkins.

Hotel Stay Giveaway

This might be my biggest giveaway yet! In partnership with Country Inn & Suites, I’m giving away a 2-night hotel stay at any Country Inn & Suites location. To enter, just follow these steps:

      1. Visit Country Inn & Suites to find a location you’d love to visit.
      2. Comment below which location you might choose to stay at if you win!

Ends 8/1/2016

twin cities vacationIf you love to travel, check out my guides for San Francisco and the Oregon coast.

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