I'm Nicole. I am a wife, mother, shop owner on Mackinac Island, and lover of handmade. The little things and little moments inspire me. Follow me on my blog as I write about shop news, my travels, island life and motherhood.

Read a little more about me.




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little luxuries

In Northern Michigan, believe it or not, today is the first day of Spring! We have been thankful for some sunny days recently, but the temps are still pretty cold up here. 
But we can only HOPE for warmer and sunnier days ahead! 
A few days ago, we drove along M-119 to catch the sunset. It was beautiful. My son Louis, loved jumping down onto the beach and walking along the snow that's left. 
We only have two more weeks until we are in the shops getting them ready to open (April 27th Opening Day)! Behind the scenes, I am busy placing orders, working on new designs, hiring, and making a few changes in the shop interior that will hopefully make a big difference! I am eager to get on my bicycle and walk through town and the boardwalk with my family. Soon, very soon. 
Have a happy day!
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Last week we hopped in the car and drove to Nashville for a mini family trip before our busy season begins. My best friend and her sweet family live in East Nashville. I had to make a second visit to one of my favorite shops, White's Mercantile owned by an inspirational woman, Holly Audrey Williams. 
Louie, my 4 year-old son, wanted to join me inside White's Mercantile. He even took the photo of me above! He did a pretty good job!
The baby section - had just enough to find a sweet baby gift. 
I loved the tall book shelf style displays and the long old farmhouse tables. It's a one-stop shop. 
In August 2017, Audrey opened another location of White's Mercantile in Leiper's Fork TN. This tiny little shop is only 150 square feet in an old smokehouse. It was really neat to step inside this historic building and tour the village town of Leiper's Fork. 
I love how 'local' Nashville is and has become. I can't wait til my next visit. 
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March 5, 2018

Meet Nicole

Hi! I'm Nicole. I am the curator behind Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island, our sister store, The Artists Market of Mackinac Island and Canvas & Paddle. I grew up in a small town north of Lansing called St. Johns in mid-Michigan. My family and I would spend as much time as we could at our family cabin just an hour and a half south of the Mackinac Bridge. Just like my older brothers, I have always had a love for Northern Michigan. 
I graduated from Albion College with a bachelor of Arts in Communications and English in 2008.  The summer of 2006, I decided to do something different. I got a job waitressing (for my first time) at the Gatehouse Restaurant on Mackinac Island.  After an amazing summer experience on Mackinac and earning as much money as I could to be able to spend the winter semester in Australia, I decided to spend my last 'college' summer on the island again before entering the 'real' world. 
That summer goal of just wanting to have a good time ended up being a little bit more than I had imagined. Andrew, my husband and I, met. After a very memorable summer, I graduated in May 2008, and got a job at Grand Hotel. Working for Grand Hotel was such an amazing experience. But I did know it wasn't what I imagined doing for a long time. My first winter on the island, a retail space came up on Main Street. It was a very good deal and just a 600 squre foot space.  Andrew asked me if I wanted to create a gift shop. With no experience in retail and during a time the economy was not the best, we still took the risk. {We had both never really worked in retail before besides Andrew's grocery experience.} In 2009, Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island was born. I was most nervous about working the cash register my first day open! After learning SO much and working my butt off, three years later I expanded into the space that was next door to me, previously Michigan Peddler. It was a big risk for me to take and I am SO glad I did it. I now have a beer and wine license and was able to take over the prominent Michigan-made store. 
In 2015, The Artists Market of Mackinac Island was created. This was unplanned as well. The space was available and I was asked to do something with it, but what? After much thought, I decided a community home to several independent artists and makers from across the country would be a unique fit to downtown. 
You probably think I am either crazy, like to be busy, or enjoy the challenge... well, I would say all of those observations are correct. In 2017, I opened a small gift shop next to Little Luxuries called Canvas & Paddle. It is a rustic, up north-themed gift shop. 
In between, my business adventures, Andrew and I married in December 2010 on Mackinac Island. Our first son, Louis or Louie, he likes to be called, came into our world in December 2013 and Thomas {Tommy} was born in May 2015. 
I now enter my 10th year of business with Little Luxuries. At age 23, opening a business on Mackinac Island, I have learned SO much as a young entrepreneur. I have been through many ups and downs through the retail world and I am so very thankful for my awesome support system which is my family, friends, customers and most of all, my husband, Andrew. I would not be where I am today without his passion in small business, his loyalty, and his strength. 
I should probably mention that Andrew and I lived on Mackinac Island year-round for 11 years and now we live in Petoskey, MI from November-April and we commute to the island often during those months. 
Looking back over the years since 2006 when I decided to work on Mackinac Island, I still can't fully comprehend our lives. We have lived a very unique lifestyle, yet I wouldn't change it. 
Thank you for taking the time to learn about my story. If you are not a customer in one of my shops or lover of Mackinac Island, I really hope you can visit this beautiful island one day and make my shops one of your must-do's.
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I enjoy baking when I have the spare time and when my treats turn out! This afternoon I decided to make cupcakes with the boys since I have been promising them I would the last couple of months. We tend to always end up making muffins instead. (They are easier and quicker) 
I have to admit, the cupcake recipe I found today on Pinterest was SO GOOD!! All three boys (including Andrew) LOVED them! They are very sweet and fattening, so when you are in need of that amazing cupcake and you don't mind the extra calories, you must try the recipe below! 
PS: The frosting is amazing!! 
Banana Cupcakes
1 1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup mashed over-ripe bananas(from about 2 medium bananas)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup butter , at room temperature
2 Tbsp vegetable oil , divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt for 30 seconds, set aside. Mash bananas together with lemon juice, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter, 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, granulated sugar and brown sugar until pale and fluffy, then mix in remaining 1 Tbsp vegetable oil. Blend in egg, then blend in egg white and vanilla. Mix in banana mixture. With mixer set on low speed and working in three separate batches, add in 1/3 of the flour mixture alternating with 1/2 of the buttermilk and mixing just until combined after each addition. Divide mixture among 14 - 15 paper lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean, about 18 - 22 minutes. Allow to cool in muffin tin several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 
Nutella Buttercream Frosting
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup Nutella 
In a large bowl beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Add Nutella and beat until light and fluffy. Frost cooled cupcakes and enjoy! 
Recipe by Cooking Classy.
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Happy March! 
Our opening day countdown has begun! Look for our doors being open beginning Friday, April 27th! The Artists Market & Canvas & Paddle will be opening then as well! 
We are working hard this year at bringing our customers the best shopping experience possible with the best products! 
Follow our Instagram pages as well as Facebook and Pinterest. 
Can't wait to see familiar faces in just a few months!! 
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