South Dakota Vacation

Have you ever taken a trip and loved it so much you have to go again in the same year? Well that’s how I feel about South Dakota.. If y’all recall I went back in May with Hudson and my little sister, Eulalia. We had so much fun we had to go back but this time I was taking Hudson, my Husband Brent, my Father in Law Charles and my step-daughter Marret. None of them had ever been to South Dakota and always thought it was desert-y.. Man were they in for a surprise..

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I planned the whole trip and booked the same Roosevelt Inn we stayed in earlier in the year because it was so amazing! We made the 5 1/2 hour drive from Colorado to Keystone, SD (The BEST city to stay in because it’s 3 miles from Mount Rushmore and about 25 miles from Rapid City but it still so quiet and gorgeous!) We arrived at our incredible hotel, Roosevelt Inn and were as usual greeted by the amazing staff there (They even recognized me!) and made it up to our amazing loft bedroom! Two queen beds downstairs and two twin beds upstairs.. The kids were SO excited to have their own space… And TV 😉

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We didn’t want to waste anytime at all so we headed straight out from the hotel to see the sights.. We headed through the gorgeous black hills to the famous Reptile Gardens, it holds the world record for most reptile species on their grounds.. The gardens are gorgeous and so well taken care of.. Even in the beginning of the cold season their flowers were blooming and beautiful.

They’ve got incredibly large tortoises for the kids the pet and pythons to feel.. Inside their monster dome they’ve got the most beautiful exhibits holding scary yet amazing snakes, crocodiles, alligators and more! It was SO cool for the kids to see up close!

After exploring for an hour and a half we decided to head out to Rapid City for a look at their Dinosaur Park (Y’all know how obsessed Hudson is with dinosaurs 😉 ) They were HUGE statues made in 1936 for the incoming tourism and the kids are able to climb, learn and slide down their tails! It’s at the top of a large hill smack in the middle of Rapid City so you can see the city in all directions. It was awe-inspiring!

We decided to head back to the hotel after a long day of driving and exploring – When you drive into Keystone you feel like you’re in a quiet, nestled mountain town with cute shops and amazing food.. But the best part is driving up to our gorgeous light house looking hotel.. The Roosevelt Inn is exactly how it sounds.. A hotel inspired by Theodore Roosevelt.. With quotes on the walls, decoration inspired by his interests and even a “Selfie with Teddy” spot 😉

We settled in and headed down to their wonderful heated pool and spent an hour splashing and playing without anyone else! It was a wonderful way to unwind after a long fun day..

The next morning we were greeted by amazing smells coming from the lobby. They’ve got a complimentary breakfast every morning and it’s amazing!! Always stocked, always delicious and always something different!

After filling our bellies with a hearty breakfast we began our next day adventures! Our first stop was right down the road at Mount Rushmore.. It was a little chilly outside so it was actually really quiet! We parked and walked up to the monuments and took in their grand and glorious faces.. It’s not like anything you’ve ever seen and won’t know until you see it!!

We shopped at their decently priced gift shop then headed to our next fun-stination (See what I did there? 😉 )

I’d ALWAYS wanted to visit the Cosmos Mystery Area.. I’d seen it in a text book when I was younger and always found it’s story so fascinating!

Their history states: “In 1952, two college boys searched the Black Hills looking for the perfect spot to build a summer cabin. Upon their search, they stumbled into the mysterious world of the Cosmos.

The old cabin areas especially piqued their interest as the laws of logic and physics seemed to be turned upside-down. They continued to experiment and develop the demonstrations until they eventually opened their discovery to the public in 1953.

Come experience for yourself what continues to amaze and baffle visitors for over 65 years.”

It is just as mysterious as it sounds.. Balls rolled upwards, water drained up, people were taller standing on different but same levels and it was so disorienting your head would spin! It’s like nothing you’ll ever experience anywhere else..

It was my step-daughter’s favorite part of the trip because it was just so different!! They had friendly staff and a cute dog named Albert to meet you once you were finished too 😉 We’ll absolutely be back next time we visit!

Once we left we had some delicious lunch at The Front Porch and it was some of the best food we had the entire trip!! ❤

After a quick nap at the hotel we walked around Keystone’s cute little shops for a few hours then ate some delicious dinner at the Ruby House for my birthday dinner! It’s a gorgeous old fashioned parlor themed restaurant with old paintings and guns hung all over the wall.

We were exhausted from the day so went back to our hotel and snuggled into our comfortable warm beds eager for the next days adventures..

We woke up to another morning of amazing breakfast which kickstarted our last day of fun!

I’d never seen so much fog than we had that morning! It was dense and really hard to see but we weren’t going to let that ruin our fun.. We drove into Rapid City for some sight seeing then on our way back decided to stop at the Dinosaur Museum.. They had over 50 life size dinosaur replicas.. Hudson was in HEAVEN! There was also a spooky mirror maze the kids wanted to go through and it was crazy cool! We were all so disoriented haha!!

After our dinosaur adventure we headed to my favorite part of our trip… Bear Country USA! It’s a drive thru park where animals roam free.. We had bears in the road, wolves ran right passed the car, elks were grazing and so much more… The fog had lightened up just a little but it actually made the experience a little more creepy and COOL! It was $55 for our vehicle but it was SO worth it.. Never will we ever get a chance to see a bear up THAT close again.. (Hopefully :p ) *I’ll add the bear photo as soon as I get it from my Husband’s phone :P*

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We wrapped up our trip and headed back to the hotel for naps, swimming and their game room!

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We were sad it was our last day.. So we went to do one last fun activity with the kids.. Some cosmic putt-putt at Putz n Glo.

After a fantastic night’s sleep we had one last breakfast, said our goodbyes to our amazing Roosevelt Inn staff and headed home.. This is a trip we’ll always remember.. It was the perfect weather and it was the end of their season so everything was quiet and slow.. Now that we’re back to fast paced Colorado living I’m already missing the sights and lifestyle South Dakota brings but we’ve decided to make a trip up every year as a new tradition.. And another tradition will be for us to always stay at the Roosevelt Inn because it was by far the most beautiful hotel we saw the whole time and added to the experience with it being president themed..

We highly recommend these adventures to anyone.. For only 5 1/2 hours away from Denver it makes for a perfect quick weekend getaway for families, couples or anyone wanting to slow down a little!

Thank you South Dakota for the best family vacation we’ve ever taken… We’ll be back!

Whitening Sensitive Teeth at Home

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Anyone else drink an exorbitant amount of tea and coffee?! Well, I’m a Mom so yeah I sure do. As much as I absolutely love it, it has caused my teeth to lose it’s pearly luster which has definitely hit my self-esteem a little.

So after using the same whitening toothpaste for the past 2 years with minimal results I decided I needed to look elsewhere for a solution! I’m sure you’ve seen all of the celebrities on Instagram with their whitening LED posts – They look promising but the at-home light is not the same frequency as the dentists’ so it definitely doesn’t whiten nearly as effectively so decided that was out of the question.

Same research, the strips seemed great but they create issues with not staying put long enough to have lasting effects as well as causing extreme sensitivity in some cases. (Which all whitening products do because of the gel but it sure wouldn’t be enjoyable for with those with super sensitive teeth like myself!) And the widely popular charcoal is just too abrasive for teeth – It can erode enamel regardless of how fine it is.

With all of these options I decided there was only one I really wanted to give a shot – Whitening Tray Kits. They are custom fitted to your teeth for a complete whitening coverage, are safe for gums and enamel and are the same methods dentists use. But there are companies out there that use the same dentist methods without the huge bill!

That’s how I found Smile Brilliant – It’s been a complete game changer!! I bought their T6 Sensitive System for average stains for only $175. It comes with one custom set of custom trays, 18 whitening applications and 18 desensitizing applications..

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You begin with creating your custom trays with the paste they provide and it only takes 15 minutes! You then send in your molds and they create a perfect fitting tray and you can begin your whitening journey!

My teeth were sensitive the first few days but the desensitizing gel nipped that in the bud real quick! And my gums never felt sensitive! I am so happy I decided to go with Smile Brilliant the first time instead of trying other methods I was already second guessing..

My confidence is back and my Husband has told me constantly how white and beautiful my teeth look! A HUGE self-esteem boost! Now I drink my tea/coffee through a straw and I don’t care how silly I look – I’ve got to keep these pearlies white

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Another random perk of this system is now that I’ve got these custom trays I use them at night for my constant nighttime teeth grinding and don’t have to spend the extra money on another set of trays!

Lucky for y’all, I am collaborating with Smile Brilliant to give one lucky reader of mine a $149 Smile Brilliant Credit towards which ever Whitening System they choose so they too can experience the joy that comes from being able to #SmileFearlessly ! Giveaway ends May 19th – So get those entries in and be sure to enter your email address! Enter HERE!

Open to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian Residents.

Their kits range from $139 to $189 depending on the type of system you’ll require and with my code: SIMPLYKARALIZ20 you can take off an additional 20% ! This is an amazing value when considering the price you’d be charged at a dental office!

Again, I am SO happy I chose Smile Brilliant as it’s completely changed my dental habits and my confidence – Try it for yourself, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

(I was compensated for this post, all opinions are my own!)


Tooth Whitening Gel
//www.smilebrilliant.com/widget-article/simplykaraliz

Eco at Heart

Anyone else part of the Anti-Plastic Straw movement? In our household we’ve officially given them all up – We’re huge recyclers and it really bugged us how bad for the environment they are! My Husband uses straws everyday for coffee and wine and I use them for my tea and smoothies!

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SO. We decided we were going to buy some reusable-goodfortheEarth straws! We found Eco at Heart on Amazon and they had such amazing reviews we decided to give them a try.

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We just got ours last week and we LOVE them. They’re not too long (Which is a problem I’ve seen with some of the stainless steel straws) and it comes with a brush so they’re really easy to clean!!

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They come with five so our whole family can have their own and we’re teaching our children to think about the Earth and not to be wasteful. I highly recommend the change to anyone – Especially in honor of Earth Day!

(Put one in your car and tell Starbucks, McDonalds, etc. to skip the straw!) You’ll feel better because you’re actually making a difference!

(I was compensated for this post, all opinions are my own)

Happy Spring Y’all!

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I love Spring! The trees are blooming, green grass is beginning to show, I get to TAN, and my family and I spend so much time outside together! It’s amazing and I’m so excited it’s finally here!

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Now that warmer weather is here I decided it’s time to plan a fun family mini-cation – I think we all could use it! So I went online to Great Wolf Lodge and booked us a room in May which includes full access to their amazing water park! We haven’t told the kids but we’re SO excited to have time for all of us and not have any other worries in the world!

I bought everyone new swimsuits (Got an adorable Mom appropriate swimsuit here, LOVE it.) and now we play waiting game.. But, my Husband and I have something super exciting to look forward to everyday and it’s really fun for us!

You deserve a mini-cation too! Book something for your family or for yourself! Something you can look forward to that excites you for Spring and new experiences!

Hygge

Do you ever find yourself needing a break? Ever? Yeah, same. I’m the type of person that needs a LOT of alone time. Just where I can de-stress and think of nothing. That time to myself means absolutely everything to me.pexels-photo-167701

I recently heard of a Danish word that I so very much relate to. It’s the word Hygge (Hue-guh), which apparently doesn’t translate well (Which makes it even more beautiful) But essentially is a feeling. The kind of cozy, warm, happy, cherished feeling you get when you’re at peace.. Or at least that’s how I’m interpreting it.

It’s associated with candles/warm string lights, hot cocoa, fires blazing, soft music, natural decor and honestly just anything that brings a cold-winter-day-in-a-cabin-while-you’re-surrounded-by-peace-and-love feeling. THAT is what I feel I need on a constant basis. That gorgeous Hygge feeling. I will try and live my life the Hygge way as often as I can as it’s simply to cherish the little things and surround yourself with peace without negativity.

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So, when I have the alone time I make sure to dim all of my shades, turn on my string lights, kick on the meditation music, pour myself a mug of warm tea, use my aromatherapy lotion and completely embrace the tranquility.

Look up Hygge. It’ll inspire you!

Coobie Seamless Bra and Giveaway

Y’all.. Ever since I’ve gotten my Coobie Seamless bra in the mail I’ve worn it every. single. day. It’s claim of “Most Comfortable Bra Ever” is 100% TRUE. It’s literally the most comfortable bra I’ve EVER worn! It has great support, soft fabric, is washable (with easy to remove pads), is really classy (I got the lace one!) and doesn’t look like a bra so can be used to look like an undershirt when layering!

28I’ve got only one but will soon be getting more because I can’t even stand my underwire bras anymore hahaha! AND I love them so much I am hosting a giveaway for TWO lucky winners to receive their very own!!571Want a chance to win? Comment below with which bra you’d choose and you’re entered! Winners will be chosen Saturday, December 16, 2017! Can’t wait? Use code USFG on their website for 30% off your order!

(I was compensated for this post. All opinions are my own!)

@usfg #shopcoobie #coobieluv #comfort #bra #usfamilyguide

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s that time of year again to stuff your face and eat DELICIOUS food. This year it’ll just be my Husband, Hudson and I (And it’s Hudson’s 2nd birthday!) So we wanted to do a low-key dinner and keep it paleo! I know that sounds ridiculous but our bodies are finally adjusting back to healthy eating and we wanted to keep it that way!

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And although paleo – We have some MOUTHWATERING items planned. Looking for a healthier alternative for your dishes? You’re in the right place!

  1. Turkey as usual. We’re doing a dry rub and injecting with some cajun seasonings (Duh, I’m married to a cajun 😉 )
  2. Paleo Dressing! Recipe here!
  3. Paleo Cranberry Sauce
    • Mix and boil 1 Cup Water with 1 Cup Coconut Sugar
      • Once boiling and slightly thickened mix in 1 whole bag of cranberries (NON-FROZEN)
      • Once all cranberries popped mix in 2 packs of fresh blueberries and cook til softened! Then serve and enjoy!
  4. Paleo Rolls Made with Chebe Focaccia Bread Mix
  5. Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup & Rosemary
  6. Fresh Green Beans with Bacon
  7. Homemade Paleo Pumpkin Pie (Hubby’s Secret Recipe 😉 )
  8. A mini cake for Hudson’s birthday!!

These are all traditional Thanksgiving dishes that we tweaked to fit into our healthy lifestyle and we’re happy we’re doing it! It takes JUST as much work to make as normal dishes but we’ll feel fantastic afterwards! Oh.. And GO COWBOYS!! 

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Hold your loved ones a little closer this holiday. Be thankful for what you have. Thank God for the blessings you have. I know I will. Happy Thanksgiving y’all.

❤❤❤❤