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

In last week's blog, I talked about ways that Andrew and I have been spending our time with the boys, while they are learning from home. Spring is always busy for me, as I prepare to re-open the store fronts on Mackinac Island, but this spring is looking differently for all of us. Today, I want to share a few ways that I have been caring for myself during this rather crazy time.
Northern Michigan Walk
 
1. Taking walks alone, even if it's 10-15 minutes long while pushing the stroller. 
2. When I find an extra ten minutes in the bathroom either in the morning or before bed, I am taking a longer shower or using a facial mask. I LOVE face masks! When my skin is extra clean, it makes me feel like I am going the extra mile to take care of my skin. My favorite face masks are by Farmhouse Fresh - their Pumpkin Dirt Mask is incredible! I also love Lollia, as it's always a treat for your skin. Mackinac Bath and Body, our exclusive line is also always on hand! Did you know we have a new scent coming out this spring? Keep your eyes open for that! 
3. Once the boys are in bed, I am choosing to spend time with my husband talking and watching a show or even the news together. Just that alone time together is helpful! 
4. While teaching the boys what they need to be learning, I am including ideas that I enjoy doing too. Such as, baking cookies, scavenger hunts outside, going for a drive, or just dancing to music and being silly! Those belly laughs sure help! 
5. Reading - reading and listening to podcasts is very calming for me especially when the topic is about restoring our health. I also enjoy reading about business and how I can improve what I am doing in my own business. 
Nicole Doud
6. Organizing - organizing ALWAYS makes me feel like I am ready to take on the next project. It's such a good feeling to de-clutter and organize your chaos!
7. Facetime or Phone calls - one positive from being at home is being able to talk on the phone more to friends and family. Those short or lengthier calls sure do help!
 
8. Snail Mail - I have sent out more cards to friends and families this week than I have in a long time! I really enjoy sending loved ones a happy message. We have a great selection of cards in our online shop to choose from too! 
9. Instagram Love - for me instagram is a happy place. It's great to see the small business support and love out there lately. I do have to limit myself on it, but seeing happy photos and what other friends and business owners are doing inspires me.
 
Northern Michigan
10. Nature - raking leaves, sweeping, or any type of yard work to me makes me feel good! Give me all the house chores :)
I hope that we can see the simple things as joyful things right now. Tell me, what ways are you caring for yourself during this time?
xo Nicole
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We are so excited that the First Day of Spring is on Thursday, March 19th! The time change with spring forward was confusing for everyone's schedules, but now that the boys and I are finding the new rhythm, we love that it is lighter later and a little bit warmer for us to be able to play outside after school!
Soon, we will start the commute back up to Mackinac Island for a new season at our favorite place! I am excited that John will be older this summer and will be able to keep up with the boys a little bit more! We've started a Spring Bucket List and here are a few things on the list!
1. Play with Sidewalk Chalk! Once the sidewalks are dry, the boys will love to be able to create art outside!
2. Plant Flowers. This is probably only on my bucket list, but the boys will like to play with the dirt while I plant the flowers! There is something about looking out your front window and seeing beautiful and colorful flowers each morning!
3. Fly a Kite. The boys love doing this on Mackinac Island at Windemere Point. It's one of their favorite Island activities when it's nice outside, so I know they are anxious to get back to flying their kites!
4. Decorate Easter Eggs. I feel like I just wrote this blog here about our Easter Traditions. I can't believe how time flies and that we will soon be celebrating Easter again!
5. Have a picnic. One of our favorite family actiivities is to have a park (with provisions from Doud's Market and Deli!) in Marquette Park. The boys love to run around after they have finished eating and I love to just look out and see the water, the beautiful flowers and people biking by! 
Spring time is a time of newness - especially with a new season on Mackinac upon us. But there's also so much newness in the air, in the flowers, and just in a feeling of the cold winter ending, where now we can spend so much more time in the sunshine outside! I'm so excited for spring this year, to do more with the boys outside and to be back on Mackinac working for another great season! 
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Hey guys! I hope your getting through the winter blues okay. I know February can be a tough month, especially in Michigan with not many sunny days. Our family is trying to stay healthy. I've been working hard at that. Baths with Epsom salt almost every night, I diffuse Doterra Breathe oil for Louie and Tommy and I run humidifiers in both of their rooms. The humidifiers really make a difference! Louis, our oldest gets cold easily, like myself. I try to keep away from dairy as much as possible as that causes inflammation and I try to cook at home most of the time. As well as diffusing Doterra's On Guard oil in the kitchen area and disinfecting tables and chairs and the bathrooms often. What kinds of things do you do this time of year to stay healthy? We also drink lots of water! I don't let the boys drink anything else. Call me crazy, haha, but the extra sugar isn't needed, especially for growing little ones. 
Nicole Doud
I wanted to get a little personal in this blog post. During the winter months, it can be a big transition from working non-stop April-October. You really have to stay focused and motivated. I also have time to think. I think about my vision of the stores, I wonder sometimes if staying home with the boys is a better option. I almost have too much time to think! 
Nicole Doud
Retail can be sticky, anywhere. I've learned over the last 12 years, whether you are in high school or you are middle aged, the unkindness doesn't go away. That is one big thing that I am very surprised by as I get older. Looking back to my high school days, I never imagined the drama that exists the older you get. It's in the work place, friendships, marriages, and so on. This makes me really sad to see this in our world. For me, I have to have a positive outlet. I can only surround myself with positive people, I can only hire people that are hard working and kind, and I turn to motivational quotes or podcasts to keep myself in the right lane, the happy lane. 
I opened Little Luxuries when I was 23 years old. I'm sure this did not make other island business owners very happy. The new girl to Mackinac opening a gift shop on Main Street. I tried not to pay attention to the side chatter, I put my head down and I did the work. Andrew as my support team and yes, he was nervous about me opening a business on my own; I reassured him everything will be fine. I never once felt like I wasn't going to make it. I just worked and did what I knew I had to do to make customers happy and made sure bills were paid. In the business world, there is a lot of competition, which is normal, especially on a tiny island. I truly believe if you work hard, stay focused on your dreams and not anyone else's, good things will happen.
Nicole Doud
You probably wonder why I am writing about this today...I guess it just makes me sad to think about all the negativity in this world and the unique ideas that are taken so often and used again by someone else. I hope my blog post today makes you think about kindness (as it is Kindness Month) and being true to yourself. So many of us assume so much about other people. Nobody knows what anyone is going through behind closed doors. We are all trying to make life work. My advice from my own personal experience in business and living in a small town, is to stay true to YOU, follow your dreams, work hard and stay unique. 
I hope your week is a happy, healthy and productive one. 
Nicole
xoxo.
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Doud Boys SkiingDoud Boys Sledding

We love every season in our home, but winter is especially fun because we have a lot more time together just as a family, without having to be in the shops every day! 

We have written out a Winter Bucket List of things that the boys want to do this season! It’s fun to see them get excited about getting outside or doing a project inside. Here’s our list:

  1. Sledding at the Winter Sports Park in Petoskey. The Winter Sports Park is a fun afternoon activity! They have a sledding hill, ice skating rink and even a spot to get hot chocolate and warm up! 
  2. Skiing at Boyne Highland’s or Nub’s Nob in Harbor Springs. While the boys are learning to ski, I’ll hit the cross country trails! They have great classes for the kids to start out with and they have a lot of fun learning to pizza down the hills! Watch out, in a few seasons we may have some awesome skiers in the family! 
  3. When the boys want a day of water sports, we load up the car and hit the Avalanche Bay Waterpark at Boyne Mountain. This is a fun spot for kids of all ages - and it is fun for the parents too! It’s nice to escape the cold winter for a day and splash around inside! 
  4. The boys are at the age where they all love being outside, so we love to try to take Winter Hikes as often as possible! Michigan has so many great spots for hiking year-round. One of our favorite spots is the Petoskey State Park, which has winter accessible trails, which lead down to the waterfront! The boys love to see the water starting to freeze on Lake Michigan! 
  5. When the boys are ready to stay inside for a little while (after playing outside all day long!) they love a mug of hot chocolate and making a winter craft! The old art project of making a snow flake out of a coffee filter never gets old! 
  6. Last night, the boys wanted to write a letter to their very best friend, so they all pulled out the art supplies to mail him a sweet card! I love snail mail and I’m so glad that my boys love it too - I hope they never outgrow that sweet spirit of having a pen pal. 

It’s so fun as the boys are getting older to see what they enjoy to do when they aren’t at school! Along with playing legos for hours upon hours, this is their winter bucket list! What’s on your winter bucket list for 2020? 

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With the holiday countdown on, this week I wanted to share a few of my favorite places that I have been doing my Christmas shopping with this season. 

While I love shopping small and supporting local business, sometime as a busy mom and business owner, it can be hard to get out of the house and shop in person.  This year, I have mixed my small business shopping with some online shopping. My go-to online shops this Christmas season are Amazon, Target and Land’s End. 

I love to talk about my favorite small businesses that I support in the state of Michigan, but I also have a few that I like to support that are across the United States.  Some of my favorite small businesses that I have been supporting this season are:

  • Grandpa Shorters & JW Shorters  These local Petoskey shops have many personalized Michigan items and unique gift ideas. They also offer beautiful pieces of jewelry that feature Petoskey Stones. 
  • North Goods in Downtown Petoskey offers locally made artisan goods. I find inspiration in this store and so many creative gifts. As you know I love handmade, North Goods is my go-to handmade shop to visit. 
  • Freckled Hen Farmhouse: I love to shop Freckled Hen Farmhouse’s online shop! I have yet to make the trip down there, but I love to follow them on social media and see what beautifully curated gifts and products that they carry! Recently, I bought an adorable A-frame wooden ornament for our tree. It's so cute! 

Magnolia Sign

  • Magnolia: I had the opportunity to go to Waco and visit Magnolia and absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to go back again! This year, I am loving their metal holiday signs that are in their shop! 
  • Vogue Salon offers Aveda products that I really enjoy and like to give as presents. Or I treat myself during the cold, harsh weather in Northern Michigan! The travel size hair products make great little gifts and I'm a fan of Aveda's make up line. 
  • Kilwin’s in Petoskey has the cutest Christmas decorations! Not only that, they also have wonderful baskets full of treats, or smaller pieces of sweets if you need some filler for your holiday stockings! If I am in need of a small chocolate gift, Kilwin's is my go-to. 

Check out all of theses shops to see all the unique products that they carry! In addition to these stores, I wanted to share with you some great deals and gifts I have ordered online recently.

Melissa and Doug

Over the Black Friday / Cyber Monday weekend, Target had Melissa & Doug toys for Buy One, Get One 50% OFF! John just turned ONE recently (read about his birthday party here!) and absolutely loves the wooden toy collections from Melissa and Doug. I can’t wait to see him open the toys we got for him this year. 

Another line that I love at Target is the Hearth & Home line from Magnolia! If you follow me on Instagram you know that my personal style aligns very closely with that brand. So I loved scrolling online to see what their holiday decor looks like.

Land's End Bean Bag

Land’s End is a classic. I tend to forget to shop here. They were running an amazing sale over the Thanksgiving weekend and I was able to purchase awesome bean bag chairs for the boys - and they are embroidered with their names on them! I love the quality and customer service of Land’s End. Their items last for years and they are always so attentive to help if there is an issue. I also was able to find the perfect personalized gift for Andrew (but shh! Don’t tell him!) 

While Marshall’s has an online shop, I usually just run in there to find the perfect hostess gift (when I’m not on the island and can't pick something up from Little Luxuries). This holiday season, I have found so many beautiful hostess gifts and some wonderful pieces of holiday decor. Marshall's can be dangerous for me as I go in looking for one item and walk out with much more!

I hope that you find some great holiday gifts!

xoxo,

Nicole 

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