Hi!
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.
Nicole
xo.

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little luxuries

I’m always curious to know people’s make up routines and what they use for their beauty products! 
I like it to use all-natural products and have a quick and easy routine! 


Here are my favorite beauty products that I use daily:


Eyeliner

Mascara


Foundation

Lipstick

Eye Shadow

Dual Foundation

Face Accent

Eye Shadow

I love having my go-to’s that make my routine something that can be done fast and effortlessly. It’s hard with the boys to have longer than a 15 minute routine. 


I’d love to hear what you use for your routine! Let me know in the comments!  

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Another year of visiting the AmericasMarket in Atlanta has come and gone! 
To all of you that filled out the survey that we sent before we visited the show, thank you! That gave us so many ideas of what you love to shop for when visiting Little Luxuries!
This year, we have beautiful new home goods, baby clothes, accessories, spa products and more arriving in the shop!
When at the market, we work hard to meet with current vendors, but also find new vendors to bring into the shop! 
One of my favorite places to visit while there is the Made in America section, where all the smaller, artisan lines are. We visited with Nola Watkins, a Christmas ornament  vendor that we have had for years at Artists Market. She will be bringing fun, new ornament designs to Little Luxuries this year! We also found beautiful new candles and fun new rubber toy soaps for the kids! 
We can’t wait to show you what will start arriving this spring! Be sure to follow along on our Instagram to see what’s arriving. Also, if you haven’t signed up for our weekly email, let’s be email friends! We promise not to spam you - we just love to let you know what’s new, what’s on sale and what events will be on Mackinac during the summer!
We can’t wait for another amazing year at Little Luxuries! 
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I love going to Pinterest to find tasty and easy recipes to make when I'm in a rut! Since it's the new year, I've been looking for easy, but delicious week night meals to make! I want to be able to feed our entire family great and healthy meals - even when we are on a time crunch. 

Chicken Fajitas Bake from Seeking Good Eats

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 (4 to 6 oz ) boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts,  1" to 2" pieces. If using pre-cooked chicken, you will need about 5 to 6 cups.
  • 4 bell peppers, sliced (vary the colors to make it pretty! I used green, yellow, red, and orange)
  • small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 recipe of Fajita Seasoning Recipe or Copycat Taco Seasoning Mix Recipe (feel free to use store-bought packets if you're short on time)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • optional: sour cream, avocado slices or guacamole, cilantro, and salsa. Don't forget hot sauce for the spicy lovers!

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In an oven proof skillet, over medium heat, saute the chicken in olive oil until the chicken is done. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. Add onions and peppers and saute until tender, (approximately 3 to 5 minutes depending upon your preference). 
  3. Add chicken back to the pan and stir in the fajita seasoning, sour cream, and cream cheese. Mix well.
  4. Sprinkle the top with cheese and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. 

This recipe + picture are from Seeking Good Eats. 

 

Taco Lasagna Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 green pepper finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium taco seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups tomato sauce plain, no salt added (400ml)
  • 1 3/4 cups mild chunky salsa (400ml) or hot
  • 12 Catelli Express Lasagne Noodles
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup water
  • sour cream, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, etc, for serving as desired

Instructions

  • In a large pan over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef, green pepper and onion until beef is browned and vegetables have softened (10-15 minutes).
  • Add the taco seasoning, garlic and salt and cook 1 minute.
  • Stir in the tomato sauce and salsa, and cook over medium-heat for 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9×13″ pan. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan, then top with 3 lasagna noodles. Top with ¼ of the remaining sauce, and 1 cup of cheese. 
  • Repeat layers 3 more times for 4 layers total. End with remaining sauce and cheese on top.
  • Just before baking, carefully pour ¼ cup water around the edges of the noodles in the pan (not on top of the cheese) — this will help to cook the noodles and keep the lasagna moist! Spray a piece of tin foil with non stick spray and place (spray side down) on the lasagna. Bake for 45-50 minutes.
  • Uncover the lasagna and bake 8-10 more minutes, until thickened and bubbly and cheese has browned slightly. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

This recipe + picture are from The Recipe Rebel.

Mediterranean Nachos

Ingredients:

  • 4 pita pocket bread sliced into 8 triangles each
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas drained and rinsed, pat dry
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil + more for drizzle
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 medium cucumber diced small
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes julienned (I like the ones in oil and I just dab off the oil before using)
  • 1/2 cup banana peppers sliced
  • 1 small shallot thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup feta crumbles
  • 2-3 green onions sliced for garnish (I use white and green parts)
  • 2-3 Tablespoon fresh parsley chopped for garnish
  • Hummus & Tazatziki Sauce for serving 

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line one baking sheet with parchment paper and spread pita triangles across. Drizzle olive oil lightly across the pita bread, along with salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly. 
  • On a second baking sheet, spread out the rinsed and dried chickpeas. Toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Place both sheets in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, tossing each halfway through.  Check for desired crispiness and remove from oven.
  • Meanwhile, prepare toppings and dips, if making homemade.
  • When the pita chips come out of the oven, transfer them to a serving tray/plate (or just leave them on the tray!). Top pita slices with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, banana peppers, shallot slices, and feta crumbles.
  • If desired, put the nachos back in the oven for 3-5 minutes if you want the toppings to be warm, too. Garnish with green onion and chopped parsley. Serve immediately with hummus and/or tzatziki sauce.

This Recipe + Picture are from Fork in the Kitchen

It’s a new year and I’m sure you’re craving some healthier newer dishes! I hope you enjoy these meals. Let me know what you think! 

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I started choosing a word for the new year a couple years ago. It helps me really think about a theme for the year that I want to focus on. For 2022, I have chosen the word 'grounded.' After choosing to close two of my businesses to slow down, I hope this year brings me joy, more family memories and doing more of what I haven't been doing. Staying grounded to not get caught up in the unnecessary things. I hope to read more, play more sports, have more date nights, laugh more and create more. I hope this new year brings you more of whatever you wish it to be. 
Nicole 
xoxo
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They always say, the older you get the faster the years go by, and it seems to be true!

Especially after a very busy summer on mackinac Island a few of the months are a little blurry!
Our family is growing and trying new things. New first teeth have come out, new sports, new friends, and new places to visit. One of best parts of being a parent  is introducing our children to new things.
I went a little lengthy in recapping the year, feel free to read below and enjoy learning about our 2021. I am so happy you are here and wish you a very merry holiday!
Cheers!
Nicole
Xo
January:
We started the 2021 off with a clean slate, ready to take on the new year! I attended my annual buying show in Atlanta, finding all the fun goodies to bring into the shop. Going to buying shows is one of my favorite parts of the business! It's exciting seeing the new trends and inspiration. The boys skied often and I did some cross country skiing as down hill skiing is not my thing. Haha! Andrew went on his annual guys trip to Florida. January also starts the hiring process and ordering for the new season. 
February:
February is my favorite winter month living in northern Michigan. We hope for an ice bridge from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island where we can get to and from the island by snowmobiles. Andrew and his team haul the groceries over on the ice bridge when this happens and island residents are thrilled for the freedom. There was an ice bridge, however, it did not last very long. Our family was able to make the memorable trip across mid-February. It is such an exciting event for the boys and me! We really hunker down into organizing our businesses for the new season and work more on hiring, buying and new ideas. Besides working, we had a few winter campfires, evening ice skating, and cozy nights inside drinking hot cocoa and watching movies. 
March:
We started the new month of with a trip to St. Augustine, FL! It was our first time visiting the oldest city in the country. We loved it! We highly recommend the area. The boys and Andrew and I had an amazing getaway together. Then we got back into our work for preparation for the season. The boys did swimming lessons and soccer and we made a trip back to my hometown to see family before our busy season begins again. We spent spring break and the Easter holiday on Mackinac Island. The store got a little facelift with fresh paint on the shelving and adding new displays.
April:
April is not my favorite month I have to admit! Early April is always my start time to get the stores back into shape and restocked. I had very little staff to help in April and early May. Andrew's season starts earlier than mine as employees and seasonal residents make their way back to Mackinac the grocery store gets busier. In April, the ferry boat to the island is still only running from St. Ignace and takes 40 minutes to get across so our work days were very short. Andrew and I had to both spend time staying the night on the island just so we could get more work done with the limited boat schedule. Louie started playing little league baseball for the first time which made our schedules extra busy, but it was a ton of fun watching him! 
May:
My three shops reopened again for the 2021 season! We managed to run the three shops with very little staff the first three weeks of being open. Looking back I don't know how we did it, but we did! A fresh group of young ladies arrived to Mackinac Island to work in my shops so the training began! We celebrated Tommy's 6th birthday the end of May with an island hay ride and cook out with family and friends. 
June:
The boys finished school in Petoskey and we were SO excited and ready to all be on Mackinac again full time! Lilac Festival is the second week in June, one of my favorite times of the year! Unfortunately, not all of the annual lilac festival events took place this year, but just seeing and smelling the beautiful lilacs was enough for me! We made sure we took daily walks where the lilacs were most abundant and tried our best to share with our customers and friends from afar how beautiful this time of year is on Mackinac Island. Tommy lost his first tooth and the boys attended swimming lessons, art classes at Watercolor Cafe, visits to the library, time on our boat (they love to sleepover on the boat!), and sports at Turtle Park. The busy season seemed to arrive earlier this summer; the rest of June seems like a blur!
July:
The 4th of July is ALWAYS a blast on Mackinac! We celebrate by hanging out at Windermere Point watching the stone skipping contest, hot dogs at The Dog House and watching dad grill burgers and hot dogs for The Dog House! We have a family cookout and end the day watching the mini parade downtown and then closing the night out watching fireworks. My staff was well trained by now and I loved the team I hired this season. It made the days fun knowing my staff was having a great experience on Mackinac Island. We escaped as a family to Paradise, MI in the upper peninsula with my family for a long weekend. It was SO nice for some peace and quiet along the shores of Lake Superior. The rest of the month was just busy, busy, busy on the island!
August:
The summer countdown begins now! We know school is starting again in just four weeks so we start to really tackle our summer bucket list. The boys spent a lot of time at Grand Hotel pool (the new renovation of the pool was incredible!), we went on more bike rides and picnics, boat rides, and the boys went to Round Island camping with Andrew and some friends for one night. It was the ultimate all boys camping event! LOL I am still hearing stories! 
My summer staff starts to head back to college and now the yearly pattern begins: we are short staffed again and just work our way through it til Labor Day when the island starts to slow down.
September:
We survived the busiest summer I have ever experienced on Mackinac Island! Woohoo! Our routine changes now with the kids back in school and we move back to Petoskey and start commuting to the island during the week and the whole family is on Mackinac for the weekend. It remained busy in the fall, just a different kind of busy. With less team members it was a different vibe and we focused on bringing fall items in and cozier products. The island is gorgeous in the fall. September is one of my favorites months on Mackinac. 
October:
With only one month to go before the island starts to close back up for winter the weekends are BUSY! Stores are putting summer products on sale and we have our annual Witch's Brew event in mid-October. Jenna Kator brought 50 women to the island for a women's retreat and we hosted all 50 women at Little Luxuries to sip and shop! It was a blast! October 25th was our last day open for the season. Then it was time for inventory, cleaning, closing up and preparing for the online holiday season. We said good bye to our amazing staff and they all went different directions: back home, back to school, or to relax in Florida. 
November:
After experiencing one of the busiest summers and watching our boys grow so fast I made the BIG decision to close two of my stores, The Artists Market and Canvas and Paddle. I made this decision public in early November. As much as I would love to continue growing with three stores, I know I just can't do it anymore. I know I need to backtrack and focus on Little Luxuries, our family, and enjoying life a little more! Saying good bye to 'my babies' was not easy, but I am eager to have new fresh ideas for 2022 at Little Luxuries! I turned 36 in early November and my team surprised me with a little breakfast party inside the shop! Then I escaped to Traverse City, MI with my good friend Jenna Kator for a girls weekend away searching for inspiration for our businesses and just some 'me' time. Johnny, our youngest, turned 3 years old in mid November which took us to an indoor water park with some close friends! We then celebrated the end of a crazy season in Florida for Thanksgiving. We took the boys to Lego Land and then we ended up on Anna Maria Island the rest of the week soaking up the sun and beach. Aside from all the fun we had in November, the online shop for Little Luxuries became busy for the holiday season. We shipped out several orders and worked hard at marketing our little store. 
December:
We made it to the last month of 2021! We spent the first weekend on Mackinac singing Christmas carols as the Christmas tree was lit downtown. Douds Market and Little Luxuries were busy shipping orders and preparing for the holidays. I opened the store once a week in December and will be open all next week for those visiting. I love the holiday preparation making our home magical for the boys and taking them to do memorable things, but those simple things. We celebrated Christmas with my family last weekend and will now enjoy the rest of 2021 on the island. 
As I reflect back on 2021, I am so grateful for our family, staff, and support system of friends. As we live in a different world these days, we have to find joy in the little things. Those are the things that really count and we will remember forever. I am excited to start another clean slate for the new year approaching. Thank you for supporting my little shops and our family over the years. We couldn't do what we love to do without YOU! I hope your holiday is extra cozy and special with your loved ones whether they are near or far from you this holiday. Remember to choose JOY. 
Love + prayers, 
Nicole
xo
 
 
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