Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road: Local Lens, Ornaments, Snapseed, and a Drink (or 3)

Welcome Back!

I hope that you have all had a wonderful holiday season and are enjoying a new adventure or just some cozy time at home…

Christmas Table

As you are planning your 2018 trips (perhaps you are motivated by this 0 degree weather as I am), don’t forget to check out all of the Island Travel Interviews here from last year. Where would you like to go in 2018? Continue reading Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road: Local Lens, Ornaments, Snapseed, and a Drink (or 3)

Midwest Christmas Tour

Winter in Chicago

Snow days and travel difficulties signal that winter has officially settled into the Midwest. People working on the Beach Cabin had trouble getting up the hill and even had to shovel their way in. (But just looks at this beautiful progress!) Continue reading Midwest Christmas Tour

Holiday Gift List for Traveling Kids


Once again, I am scrambling to get last minute gifts. Often, I want my gifts to not only be thoughtful and fun but also practical and useful. This is especially true when shopping for my traveling kiddos. Here is a short list of suggestions for possible Holiday Gifts.

Continue reading Holiday Gift List for Traveling Kids

Holiday Gift List for Your Traveler- Photography Edition

Happy Holidays! This post is coming a little late but for those who are still scrambling to pick out those last minute gifts (as I am), here are some ideas for your Traveler/Photographer.

I am currently in the midst of trying to make several photo books, etc. and am incredibly grateful and frustrated with ALL OF THE PHOTOS to choose from and my lack of organization. Remember the days when you took just one photo per event, dropped off the film, picked up the photos a week later, and immediately stuck them into a photo book. Easy peasy. Those times are long gone, but here are some fun photo gifts that your Travel Photographer (amateur or professional) may be happy to unwrap.

Travel Gifts | Photography
Photo Credit- Pixabay

The Fujifilm Instax Camera. This camera immediately pushes out a self-developing print (Just like the good old days!). Perfect to hang on the fridge for an instant reminder of a trip. Some of the camera styles are a bit too whimsical for my style, but this one looks classic and very traveller-esque to me.

I mentioned Chatbooks a few posts back but feel that they are worth mentioning again here. If your Traveler is also a Post-er (as in he/she posts photos fairly regularly to Instagram or Facebook), Chatbooks is a nice way to get your photos out of your camera/social media account and into a physical book. For every 60 photos that you post, Chatbooks automatically sends you a photo book. They also have stylish covers from designers like Kate Spade and Rifle Paper Co. 

Chatbooks to Document Travel Travel Gifts | Photography
Photo Credit- Chatbooks

Another way to display your travel photos almost immediately is through a photo frame like this Nixplay WiFi Photo Frame. Or, there is also this less expensive version with fewer bells and whistles but the main idea is the same. You can even share to other people’s frames (maybe don’t send photos from Bali to your family in Michigan in February, though).

While we are talking about photo organization and loading, I just recently learned about WiFi Enabled SD Memory Cards that allow you to take photos with your DSLR and immediately send them to your smartphone, computer, or tablet, taking that “loading” step out of the equation. Perfect to save time when you are getting ready for your next adventure. Check one out here

Travel Gifts | Photography
Photo Credit Pixabay

Lightroom. I love it. Admittedly, I’m quite certain that I am only using about 20% of the available functions, but I feel that it really does make a difference in both travel and everyday photos. With the side-by-side comparison while editing, you can immediately see that your time is well spent. And it starts at only $9.99 per month. You can look at the various options here

Holiday Gift Guide | Travel | Photography
Photo Credit- Moment Lens

Moment Lens. Easy and convenient to attach to your phone when on the go. The wide angle lens has served me well this past year and makes my phone photos noticeably better. 

Already have your gifts bought? Here is a pin for future holiday/gift reference 🙂

Holiday Gift Guide | Travel | Photography
Photo Credit- Pixabay

**This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you click and purchase, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

Philipsburg, Montana, Philipsburg Blue, and How They are Related

Travel | Philipsburg, Montana

My brother has always been the adventurous one- in fact, at one point, he accused me (the definite homebody) for not preparing our parents at all for what was to come. So, it shouldn’t have been a surprised when he headed west to Montana after college. Just his packed car, his dog, Georgie, and hit the open road. Now that was brave in my book. He quickly settled into life in the small town of Philipsburg, working during the week and camping and fishing on the weekends. Aside from the somewhat regular June text that it was snowing, he seemed to enjoy being out west. I tagged along with my parents one June (thankfully, it wasn’t snowing) and could see why he liked it. Just look at these photos… Continue reading Philipsburg, Montana, Philipsburg Blue, and How They are Related

Island Travel Interviews: Pacific Ocean Islands, Take 1: Savai’i


Located in the South Pacific and part of Polynesia, the Samoan Islands are an archipelago taking up 1,170 square miles. There is evidence of the islands being inhabited as far back as 1050 B.C.

Read on as Laura from Escapes Etc. gives us more info…

What to do in Savi'i
Photo Credit- Escapes Etc.

What Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Savai’i in Western Samoa. I chose this little tiny island as I feel it is often overlooked for the more well-known pacific islands such as Fiji. But Savai’i offers a true break away from hectic life and a chance to experience time as a local without much effort. It’s full of wildlife, beautiful beaches, forests and waterfalls to explore but above all it’s the ultimate place to chill out.

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

As it is very small, I would stay here again for around 4 days, so a long weekend would be perfect.

What to do in Savi'i
Photo Credit- Escapes Etc.

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Travels to This Island?

I visited Samoa when I was on my 8 months round the world trip and it was the break we needed. There’s no phone signal  (unless you buy a local sim), limited internet and super chill. When I think about this island I just think of the detox from gadgets and rushing around I got. It made me stop, chill out and really appreciate the nature surrounding me.

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

You have to take a swim in the To Sua Ocean trench! It is a giant hole in the ground in Lalomanu where sea water enters. You have to climb down a big ladder to get to the water but it was just awesome to see and go to!

What to do in Savi'i
Photo Credit- Escapes Etc

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

I stayed at Joleen’s Beach Fales, which is a family run business and absolutely amazing. Food was included in the cost of the stay so getting to eat the local everyday food was the best! You become part of the family if you stay here which made meal times even better.

What Surprised You About this Island?

To be honest, my friend and I booked this part of a trip on a whim. We wanted to go to a Pacific Island different from the norm, so we just pointed to Samoa on the map and that was set! So really, I had no expectations or knowledge of the Island so everything was a surprise!

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

Western Samoa is made up to 2 islands – Opolu and Savai’i, with the airport on Opolu which is the larger of the 2. To get round the Island I rented a car and used Jeepneys, and you need to get a boat between the 2 islands. Bear in mind that the boat times are not regular and work to Pacific Islander times (by that I mean a fantastically relaxed schedule). The currency is Samoan Tala and is covered in tropical designs such as palm trees. Most people speak English so it’s easy to ask for help if you need it. Make sure you stay in a Beach Fale if you get the chance The beautiful clear blue waters are too good to not have on your doorstep while you’re there! The 2 downsides to Samoa are 1) The mosquitos – make sure you take good replant and 2) the guard dogs which are everywhere!

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

The Ultimate guide to visiting Samoa

Thanks so much to Laura! Here is a pin if you want to save this for later like I do 🙂

What to See in Samoa
Photo Credit- Pixabay

**This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that if you click and purchase, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road, Take 10: Vintage Travel Magazines, Chatbooks, and a Travel-Related Gift

Happy Friday (again)! I have to admit that I really do look forward to these Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road days. I hope you do too!


I also have to admit that almost all of these finds happened two weeks ago, but there was just so much to share around the Thanksgiving holiday that I decided to save it for this week.

Vintage Travel

Christmas is right around the corner and I’m already nervous I am going to forget someone’s gift. Luckily, the parents are taken care of with tickets to shows and sporting events and I have most of the other gifts too. I was visiting a friend to pick up a cake she made for my mom’s birthday (it was nothing short of amazing!!!). Her house had so many of my favorite things including lots and lots of books and travel relics tastefully placed throughout. This particular personalized wall art captured my attention… How perfect is this for the travelers in your life? Now, since my entire family travels… Continue reading Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road, Take 10: Vintage Travel Magazines, Chatbooks, and a Travel-Related Gift