Simply Dakota Uprising » Inspiring a Life of Love + Adventure in the Black Hills

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the rockerville burnWe were heading south on Highway 16 before the sun had risen. We got to Rockerville early and the dozen or so firetrucks had already beaten us there. We stumbled through the deep snow and circled the old historic buildings on last time and then patiently waited for the burn to start. Understandable for the land owners, but just a sad situation to lose a piece of history like that.

It’s a reminder to live in the moment, live for your current season, and do your best not to take anything for granted because tomorrow it could be gone.

the rockerville burnthe rockerville burn


the rockerville burnthe rockerville burn

For those of you that asked, the buildings that were burned down were the ones directly across from the Gaslight Saloon, one directly west of those buildings, and one directly west of the Gaslight Saloon. I believe these were the buildings from the 1950s. The other historic buildings (east of the Gaslight saloon) are still there.

For more info on why the burn happened, visit the Black Hills Travel blog or the SDPB post about it.

From Wikipedia:

Rockerville was founded in 1876 as the result of a gold rush.[1]

It was a tourist town in the 1950s and 1960s because of its key location on US Highway 16 between Rapid City and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. It had a variety of tourist attractions, including a “Mellerdrammer” (Mellodrama) live theatre, a “Ghosttown” of various buildings with tourist shops and small amusements, “It’s a Small World” Museum (featuring an 1880 Tiny Town model and other miniature collections), a motelcampgrounds and RV parks. However, in the conversion of US Highway 16 to four lanes in the mid-1960s, the original townsite was placed literally between the two separate roadways, as there was no way to widen the original highway through the town without completely destroying it. Despite the construction of at least three exits into the town from both directions, the town virtually died because travelers on their way to and from Mount Rushmore never saw the town when whizzing past at 55 miles per hour. Every business closed, and many remain abandoned to this day, although the “Gaslight Saloon” remains a local restaurant and attraction. 

dakota uprising + one tree planted

It was always my goal with Dakota Uprising to “do good” with the business. Profit isn’t a thing. I have an 8-5 job. Dakota Uprising is and always has been for fun. So thank you for supporting the business, buying my tees, liking my posts, and straight up being awesome.

I stumbled upon an amazingly cool nonprofit organization called One Tree Planted, and I am happy to announce that you will have the opportunity to plant one tree for one dollar when you checkout on How kickass is that?

One Tree Planted has the mission to reforest our planet and provide education, awareness and engagement on the importance of trees in our ecosystem.  Their goal is to make it simple for you to take part in reforestation – a cause most everyone seems to care about, but don’t have an opportunity to actually make happen. Well, now you have that opportunity.

With climate change such a huge topic these days (and I highly recommend watching “Before the Flood” – plus, you know, Leonardo DiCaprio), planting trees is more important than ever. Did you know that 80,000 acres of forests disappear from the earth every day? And did you know that 4 out of 10 trees will be chopped down for paper products?  Read more tree facts here. The stats are staggering.

One dollar. One tree. Let’s do this.

a year in review - dakota uprising

What a year it’s been! From my first print ads and interviews to a crazy holiday season to gaining over 3500 followers on Instagram – 2016 was an exciting year. The bar has been set high, and it’s a goal for 2017 to raise that bar even higher (in my own little Dakota Uprising world, kind-of-way).

Thought I’d do a little post with some stats from the year. Mostly so I can do this again in one year and see what’s been accomplished.



Social Media Stats:

  • Instagram followers: 3,538
  • Facebook followers: 852
  • Instagram total likes: 65,600+
  • Instagram total comments: 1,500+

The “Most Liked Photo” on Instagram in 2016 was by @laurophyll:


The “Most Commented Photo” on Instagram in 2016 was this one, which is cool, because I totally listened to your guys’ feedback and the bottom design is now printed on the back of your shirts, and I can’t tell you how much easier ya’ll made that decision for me:





Dakota Uprising was featured in a few different places this year, which was super fun, and I appreciate the support each of these places gave to me this year:

dakota uprising real deal

605 Magazine
A South Dakota-based, youth-focused magazine featuring South Dakota culture, entertainment and events, and people making a difference.

Black Hills Lifestyle Magazine
Celebrating local women and businesses with a fun splash of fashion, design, health, and other local topics.

Couture in the Suburbs
An inspiring blog out of Phoenix, New York City, Sioux Falls and Tuscon seeking to expose talented individuals excelling within the fashion, beauty and culture industries.

DakotaChic Blog
A local South Dakota lifestyle blog that brings together all of Sarah’s favorite things – food, fashion, beauty and home decor.



The Shop

The top product of 2016 was the BLCK HLLS Sweatshirt:

blck hills sweatshirt

Your second favorite Dakota Uprising tee of 2016 is the Cities and Towns tee:

cities and towns tee



2017 Goals

My goals for 2017 include a steady social media following growth (similar to this year), organizing a few fun meet-ups, collaborating more with talented local people, and getting into my first shop (selling wholesale).

If there’s something you’d like to see from Dakota Uprising in 2017, comment below.

Thanks for all the positive vibes you’ve sent this year – from likes on social media, to personal messages, to sharing posts, to buying shirts, to doing photoshoots. I know who you are, and I appreciate you.

And just to see if you were listening, here’s a coupon code for TEN DOLLARS OFF the BLCK HLLS Sweatshirt: BYE2016. (Today and January 1st, 2017 only). Surprise and happy new year.
Shop now.

Cheers to 2017.


I’m not a Snapchat expert. In fact, I would rate myself a 3/10 for Snapchat quality/interest/doing it right. But I know what I’m doing wrong, and I know what I can do better. The hard thing about Snapchat is that you have to do it in real-time. And I’m a planner. So spontaneity, vulnerability and let’s be honest, authenticity is something I have to genuinely work for and practice at.

This post is probably geared more towards small business owners and story-tellers (someone looking to build an audience) than someone who simply just uses the app (and snaps at their friends). So there’s that.

Here’s what I’ve learned, and observed, on what makes someone’s Snapchat successful:

Tip #1. Tell stories with your snap story.

Duh. But no, really. Do you tell stories with your snaps? Stories don’t consist of a single snap. They consist of a series of snaps, aligned into a storyboard so it takes the viewer on a journey. For example, if you are out hiking, take a series of snaps throughout the process: getting ready, packing your gear, driving there (don’t snap AND drive, though), actually hiking, driving back, and crashing after a long day’s adventure. See what I did there? It’s not always about that outrageously epic view from your hike (save that for Instagram), it’s about the process of being in the moment, and not having everything published perfectly. To do this, you have to train your brain to think in terms of a storyboard and be prepared to capture those significant moments along the way.

Tip #2. Get in front of the camera.

This tip is for myself. Maybe it’s for you too. I’m an awkward turtle in front of the camera which is why I don’t do selfies, don’t model my own Dakota Uprising clothing, and don’t narrate on Snapchat. Who feels me? But stepping in front of the camera brings that authenticity to the platform. Hiding behind it does not. These are facts. Goals for 2017.

If you don’t have Snapchat, you might have Instagram. These tips would apply to using the Story feature on Instagram, as well. They seem obvious, but are we doing them?

My favorite snappers

If you want to see how some awesome peeps are using Snapchat: follow these people (totally random list, but I enjoy their snaps) – @shopwalkinlove (t-shirt shop), @laurynevarts (blogger), @snapsbyreese (Reese Witherspoon), @snapbackbean (Kaitlyn Bristow). If you have other favorite snappers you enjoy, comment with them below.

Follow me. 


Love Snapchat? See my list of 2016 Snapchat tricks here.


white chocolate mocha organic clean living recipe coffee latte tutorial
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp organic white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 oz shot of organic espresso
  • Begin by melting the chocolate chips on the stove top on low heat.
  • Once melted, stir in the water and agave nectar. This will be your coffee syrup.
  • Once completely mixed, pour one tbsp of syrup into your coffee mug. Depending on how sweet you like your coffee, you can extend or lessen the amount of syrup used.
  • Next, add the shot of espresso (or double the strength dark roast coffee).
  • Steam the milk, and pour it on top (if you don’t have a milk steamer, heat it on the stove at 150 degrees, whipping it vigorously the last minute to create a foam. Be sure to not let the milk boil, which changes the taste of the milk). 

Imagery and Recipe by Sincerely, Kinsey. See more of her coffee diaries here.