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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New Pieces Available at Little Luxuries!

If you’ve been looking at the online shop this winter, you’ve probably noticed the growing selection of fun and trendy clothing! 

Little Luxuries will never be a clothing store, but we do like to carry a selection of stylish sweaters, cute t-shirts and similar accessories. Since we don’t have a dressing room, we work to provide you with clothing selections where you don’t need to try something on - and if you do, it can simply slip over what you are wearing.  

Here’s a round up of some of the new pieces that have entered the shop! 

  1. The Dani T-Shirt: Rayon spandex t-shirt features V-neckline, short sleeves, side slits and curved hem. This stylish t-shirt comes in four different designs!
  2. Greer Striped Hoodie: French terry hoodie features drawstring neckline, cotton ribbed sleeve openings and curved hem. 
  3. Memphis Cocoon Cardigan: Comfy acrylic knit cardigan features dolman sleeves with ribbed cuffs and curved cocoon hem. It comes in three different colors: blue, cream and gray.
  4. Noah Jersey Top: Viscose jersey knit top features long sleeves, front chest pocket, high-low hem with side vents and back pleat channel.  
  5. Dixon T-Shirt: Super soft French terry t-shirt features cuffed short sleeves and side slits at hem. It comes in three different designs! 

We are so excited about these new offerings that are now live in the shop and will be available in the storefront when we open in May! 

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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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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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