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.

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little luxuries

Happy Friday from our store to YOU! 

September is off to a great start and I am loving the coming of fall this time of year! For this blog, I wanted to share what my family and I would consider a perfect September day on Mackinac Island! Read along for a taste of beauty and some ideas for your next island visit:

First, a morning wake-up drink from Lucky Bean Coffeehouse is a must...

... Then, a bike ride around the island on M-185, taking stops at your favorite scenic photos...

...If you've never been inside The Grand Hotel, you must! It is worth the $10 to take a self-guided tour through the famous historic hotel. Head to the very top, to the Cupola bar, for more beautiful views of the island and the Straits of Mackinac and for a delicious cocktail or mocktail! The News Stand in the hotel is a cute little shop with magazines, books about the Grand Hotel, cards, snacks and beverages. I like to look at the sweet cards and pick up a homemade caramel... 

...On your bike ride or walk back downtown, take a little detour in the 'forest' just before the hotel. It's a peaceful walk through trails that leads you to the famous Esther Williams Pool and even a 'Secret Garden'... 

...For lunch, I suggest the Tea Room inside Fort Mackinac. The Tea Room has some of the best views, the food is light but delicious and then you can tour Fort Mackinac following lunch...

...Of course shopping has to be on your agenda! Hit the local shops on Main Street and Market Street. Make sure you visit Little LuxuriesArtists Market and Canvas and Paddle!...

...While downtown, visit the famous  Pink Pony bar and America's Oldest Grocery Store, Doud's Market... 

...Need a rest? Find a spot in Marquette Park to relax and watch the boats in the harbor, or just people watch along Main Street... 

...For dinner, if you want to escape downtown, head for a leisurely bike ride to the Woods Restaurant, or the restaurant at Stonecliffe Inn. After dinner, go to Sunset Rock, which is behind Stonecliffe Inn, for some stunning sunset views overlooking the Mackinac Bridge ...

...On your ride back downtown, take a bike ride through the Annex, a historic neighborhood just past the West Bluff. There are beautiful homes and landscape to enjoy...

...By this time, it's probably time to catch an evening boat back to the mainland. Hope these insider tips for a perfect day on the island are helpful! 





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Hi all! 

The end of August is approaching very quickly which only means one thing-the beginning of fall! I feel like it was just yesterday that our "beginning of the season" post was being sent out! But no worries,

our stores will still be open and full of life until October 29th, the same day the Grand Hotel closes for the winter. We are looking forward to meeting more of you in person before then! 

**Also, I want to note that our Little Luxuries online store will remain active all winter. Instead of bringing your gifts home with you, we will have them shipped right to your doorstep!**

I hope you and your family can soon feel the summer craziness begin to slow down as autumn approaches. I know my family can! Although, this fall feels a little bit different because we have a new family member to prepare for [Baby Doud's due date is mid-November]. We are getting so excited to meet our newest little angel!  

It does sadden our hearts to watch the summer season come to a close, we LOVE when autumn makes its first appearance on the island. The cooler weather, the beautiful change of colors in nature, a stronger sense of community among the island residents, and pumpkin added to everything!!

[See some of my favorite fall recipes below-Click the link to check them out]

Pumpkin and Sage Stuffed Shells

Pumpkin Pancakes 

The pumpkin stuffed shells are so easy to make and have such a delicious flavor! And my boys absolutely love the pumpkin pancakes-they add a healthy twist to breakfast which I love as a mother. I hope you and your family can enjoy them too! 

Happy cooking! 




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This year was our 8th summer trunk show with Jenna Kator from the Jenna Kator Collection! It is always a favorite event for myself and our staff. We had two giveaways throughout the afternoon - one of Jenna's wristlets and one of our Island Girl handbags. Customers had a chance to pre-order from the new fall collection which will be available next month! 
Jenna and I have become lifelong friends from our working relationship. We started our businesses at the same time, our children are very close in age and we can connect on many levels through work and life. She has been a positive influence for me and I am very grateful to be able to work with Jenna and carry her beautiful handbags. I also had the privilege of co-designing a line of custom handbags together that you can find here.   
Jenna is a big part of the Mackinac Island community, especially the Women's Wellness Weekend which takes place every October. Jenna brings a bus full of women from the Detroit area to Mackinac Island for a fun girls getaway! We host a private trunk show for her group and this year her group is over 70 women!  The weekend benefits the Mackinac Island Community Cancer Fund. You can find more information here
We look forward to welcoming Jenna to the island again very soon! 
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My team and I cannot believe how quickly this summer is flying by! But amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, I sat down with my communications/marketing intern this summer to talk about some of my favorite moments and memories of being a store owner as we continue to celebrate the 10th year of being established on the island!

Continue reading below to hear some of the great experiences we have been reminiscing on all season here at Little Luxuries:

1. What connection do you have to Mackinac Island? 
My family visited Mackinac Island a few times while growing up and I always loved the history and charm of the island. In 2006, I spent my first summer working on the island at The Gate House restaurant. I loved the experience so much that I came back for another summer in 2007. That is when I started dating my now husband, Andrew Doud. Andrew's family has a deep history to Mackinac Island. America's Oldest Grocery Store, Doud's Market, has been in his family since 1884. Andrew took over the family store in 2007. We lived on the island for eleven years year-round, and now spend our winters in Petoskey and commute to the island for work from November-April. We love Mackinac. We have two boys and one on the way (due in November)! 
2. How did the idea come to you to open a gift shop on the island 10 years ago? 
During my first winter on the island I was helping my husband (then boyfriend) work at Doud's Market and substitute teach. A friend of ours was selling his shop. He asked if we were interested in purchasing the business. After long conversations and a business plan with Andrew, I decided to go for it and take the risk. I had no prior retail experience at this point and really just had a love for shopping 'small' and handmade. In January, I went to my first gift show and I opened Little Luxuries May 1st, 2009. I was most nervous to use the cash register on opening day! 
3. What was your inspiration behind the vintage theme of Little Luxuries? 
I have always had an eclectic style. I am attracted to items that tell a story or I may just love the pattern or design. Not to mention, I am not an expensive shopper. I love finding good deals, but unique items. When opening Little Luxuries, I knew I wanted to fill the store with 'little luxuries' or small gift items that were affordable for everyone and with items that I loved. I think it's easier to sell a product that you love yourself! 
4. How do you feel like you've grown as a store owner over the past 10 years? 
I can't believe it's been ten years! I remember the night before my opening day like it was yesterday. I have definitely grown in many ways, but also have stayed the same. I think that is why Little Luxuries is the way it is. Small things always change each season, but it's still the Little Luxuries it was in 2009. I pay attention to little details, I love unique displays, I have to have a clean and tidy store, and of course, a fun environment! Now with owning three stores, the ordering, websites, social media, and employees have definitely added a lot to my plate and I learn new parts of retail and customer service continuously. 
5. What is it like to raise a family on the island? 
Our boys are young still, 3 years old and 4 years old, but there are challenges to raising children on Mackinac Island and there are advantages. After spending two winters in Petoskey, I love being able to have both. Living around a boat schedule can be difficult and getting from point A to point B in a hurry or in bad weather can be not so fun. However, the beauty of the island beats those difficulties usually. If you enjoy a small community where you can say hello to everyone, Mackinac Island is just that. 
6. In what ways has the island changed since you've lived here? 
Since 2006 to 2018, many businesses have changed and our lifestyle has changed as we have a growing family. However, the charm of Mackinac has remained the same and I believe it always will. Good friends we have worked with or spent time with have moved off the Island, but Mackinac overall still remains the same. 
7. What is your favorite place on the island to relax and spend time with your family? 
There are a few :) We enjoy biking around the island as well as walking up to Anne's Tablet on the East Bluff. It's a gorgeous view and quiet. I really love anywhere on the island where we can escape the hustle and bustle. 
8. What is one product you have continued to feature throughout these 10 years? 
I have carried Lollia, a beautiful bath and body line based out of Denver, CO since 2009 and it continues to be a top seller. I also still carry Beth Mueller, a handmade ceramic collection that is made exclusively for Little Luxuries with Mackinac-themed designs. Beth is very talented, based in Vermont, and her items are customer's favorites. 
9. What is a future goal you have set for the growth of Little Luxuries? 
My goal is to continue to offer my customer's the best, unique products for home and heart. I try to keep up with the ever-changing social media to keep our shopper's in the loop and for cistomer’s to be able to purchase our little luxuries easily from home, not just in the shop. 
10. What is one of your favorite moments that has occurred at Little Luxuries? 
Hmmm...this is a good question! I have several as I love seeing repeat customers over the years. But a big moment, was when I expanded Little Luxuries in 2012. We doubled our size and this made Little Luxuries much more visible to foot traffic and it allowed me to offer my customer's with many more choices of products. Little Luxuries' original space became very crammed over just a couple years! In 2015, The Artists Market of Mackinac Island opened and in 2017, Canvas and Paddle opened. Little Luxuries will always be my 'baby'. The up-beat environment, wide variety of products to choose from, and little touches I have created over the years makes it my happy place. 
Thanks for reading this week! I hope you enjoyed our little question and answer session! 





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Yesterday, my good friend Carly Woods from Pearls and Paint took a trip to the island to visit my three shops! She wasn't only coming to make a visit, but also to film video tours of her favorite items throughout the stores. 

Pearls and Paint is a home styling company that is based in the eastern portion of the Upper Peninsula. Carly began this company as a pursuit of her passion for home styling, although she still dedicates time to being a real estate agent full time and a mother of two. 

"My favorite thing is listening to [my clients] tell me how they need a space to work for them, hunting for how to achieve that, and then watching their face light up when I show them my design."

Carly spent time in all three stores-Little Luxuries, Canvas and Paddle, and The Artists Market-giving the viewer tips on where select items would work well in a home as well as how she would use those home goods in her own house. We had a blast hearing her thoughts on how to style with our products! 

When asked what her favorite home styling tip is to give someone, she responded with, "I love to tell my clients to 'design your space to fit your function. You should love the space you live in, whether home or office.'"

We encourage you to check out her other "how-to" videos on her Facebook Page if you are looking for a home-styler to bring ideas to your next house project! Carly also does personal consulting for specific room arrangements. Her business card information is displayed below:

Thanks again for visiting, Carly! 




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