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

Black Bean Brownies
Recently, the boys wanted a sweet snack, so I tried a new recipe for them - brownies with a twist! On Pinterest, the recipe was just called “Healthy Brownies”, so I was intrigued and thought we would give them a shot! The secret that made them healthy: black beans! 
Ingredients:
  • 1 Can of Black Beans
  • 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil) 
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips (Can be Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips)
Directions:
Melt the coconut oil, then mix all of the ingredients together in one bowl with a mixer to make sure that the batter is smooth. 
Bake in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes 
Black Bean Brownies
I loved them! The boys missed having more of a sweet treat and maybe thought they were “too healthy”!
Do you have any “healthier” brownie recipes that you would recommend? 
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Nicole's Favorite Salad
This week, I wanted to share one of my favorite (and easy!) salad recipes!
I make this salad for special occasions like Christmas, Easter, or really any special gathering. 
Nicole’s Favorite Salad
What You’ll Need:
Romaine lettuce
Sliced red onion
Broccoli florets
Cooked bacon
Tomatoes
Dressing: 
In blender mix:
1 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped onions
1 tbls. celery seed
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp salt
Blend together just before serving
Add any of your favorite salad ingredients. You can add shredded cheese, cranberries...the dressing is what makes this salad really good!!
My mouth is watering, just thinking about making this salad for our family’s Christmas gathering! I hope you enjoy this scrumptious healthy dish!
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  John DoudBlueberry Smash CakeJohn Doud

I can’t believe that my baby, John turned ONE this past week! We celebrated with family and friends on a chilly Sunday afternoon. 

John loves blueberries SO much, so I decided to make his smash cake a blueberry one! I love turning to Pinterest to find inspiration for such occasions. I found the perfect Blueberry Smash Cake for him.

The recipe is from a site called ChowHound and was so easy to make! 

Ingredients:

For the Cake

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium ripe banana (about 3 ounces)
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

For the Frosting

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Butter the cake pans and then lightly dust them with wheat flour. Two 4” spring form pans are recommended.
  3. Heat frozen blueberries on medium / low heat until blueberries are soft / burst. Estimated time: 8 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once they are cool, use a blender to smooth out the berries. Allow mixture to continue to cool.
  4. Whisk together flour, baking power, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, mix banana, applesauce, milk and maple syrup in blender.  Add in the egg and almond extract.
  5. Combine the wet and dry ingredient bowls. Don’t worry about overmixing!
  6. Split the batter into two of the 4” cake pans. Bake for approximately 20 - 30 minutes. Check with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes our clean, let the cake cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Place a knife around the edges and transfer to wire racks to cool.
  7. Mix the frosting ingredients with a mixer, carefully folding in the blueberry mixture. TO frost the cake, the best way to do it is to start from the bottom layer first, then add the second layer and frost with a spatula.
  8. Now, prepare to serve to your ONE year old for them to smash!

John loved his cake so much, that I might just have to make it again - we probably won’t have him eat it as a smash cake this time though!
                    DoudJohn Doud

We love this time of the year, as we celebrate birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, our wedding anniversary and just having more time to spend together as a family with those we love close by.

We hope that you’re surrounded by loved ones this weekend, doing all the fun festive things.

Xoxo

Nicole 

 

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Artists Market of Mackinac
The 2019 season is rapidly coming to an end - I can't  believe how fast the seasons seem to go here on Mackinac Island. This was the Artists Market of Mackinac's fifth season in business and it was such a great year! Every year, we have the opportunity to represent over 100 emerging artists from all over the United States and Canada. Some of the artists are one person operations, while other's are made up of small teams.
Artists Market of Mackinac Artists Market of Mackinac
We had artists make live appearances in the shop throughout the season like Mary Lou Peters, The Barn Social, Mulberry Pines, Genesis One Designs and Red Cabin Studio! Favorite products this season included "Married on Mackinac" ornaments, Iconic Detroit coasters, unique jewelry, block prints, Mackinac inspired mugs, "Been to the Beach" framed artwork and so many other treasures. Each year, it is my pleasure to be able to represent these artists on Mackinac Island. To all the artists that trust us with your artwork, thank you! My staff and I love getting to know your work, being able to share the process of how it's made and tell more about your company to each customer that comes in the door! Thank you for making such wonderful products and for such an amazing 5th season!
Artists Market of Mackinac Island
Artists Market of Mackinac
To all our customers, thank you! We would not have had such an amazing 5th year without your support! As we do close for the 2019 season, we look forward to a season of rest and preparing to welcome back artists in the spring of 2020! We look forward to bringing back many familiar faces and incorporating a few new ones, as well. If you saw something in the shop that you liked this year, remember to shop directly through the artist this winter! A full list of all the artists in the shop can be found here
xoxo,
Nicole
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As you know, fall is one of my favorite seasons, yet it goes by so quickly! The weather in northern Michigan has recently seemed to turn colder and rainy. We are hoping for a few sunny, beautiful fall days to enjoy this month. 
Each year, October seems to be a whirlwind month. Our fall sale keeps our staff busy, tourists flood the streets on weekends, our fall shopping event takes place, and we close out the season celebrating Halloween October 25-27. With restaurants and shops closing up the end of the month, our family tries to go out to dinner a little more. With kids, we love the Yankee Rebel, Gate House (where Andrew and I first met), Millies and Mary's Bistro. They all have great options for kids and mom and dad too!
Women's Wellness Weekend 2018Women's Wellness Weekend
Jenna Kator Trunk ShowJenna Kator Trunk Show
Jenna Kator Trunk Show
Now, the most important event of the month and season really, is the Women's Wellness Weekend. Seven years ago a group of like-minded business owners got together to create a refreshing, women's weekend focused on health, friendships and a little bit of wine! My close friend and vendor, Jenna Kator has a huge love for Mackinac Island. When she learned about the event, she thought, "I want to bring a group of women to this great weekend getaway." We carry Jenna's beautiful handbags in Little Luxuries. To tie her handbags into this event, Little Luxuries' hosts a private trunk show for her group of women. This year's group is her largest - 120 women! Since we can't fit all 120 women inside of Little Luxuries at one time, the trunk show shopping event will also take place inside The Artists Market and Canvas and Paddle. We are very excited to host this special event and have so many women in our stores at one time! Best of all, the Women's Wellness Weekend supports the Mackinac Island Community Cancer Fund. In these short seven years, we have raised over 170,000! Last week, there was an end of the season women's dinner at Grand Hotel supporting the Cancer Fund. Over 100 women attended and it was such a great time! What a special way to close out the 2019 season. 
Women's WellnessWitches BrewWitches BrewWitches Brew
As I mentioned before, fall is my favorite season and now you can see why! There are too many great events taking place this time of year before the island hibernates. 
If you have never visited Mackinac Island in the fall, add it to your bucket list! 
Nicole
xo.
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