Thanksgiving: At Home and Abroad

Thanksgiving Decor

It’s that time of year– let the holiday family, fun, cooking, and traveling begin! I always look forward to the holidays for several reasons, one of which is time spent with family. Another is time spent with friends. Every holiday break, my college girlfriends and I meet for brunch to catch up. It is particularly special as it is one of the few times of the year that we are able to see a friend who grew up in Michigan and is currently living in England with her husband and children. She also spent three years in Norway. She and her family typically come home at Christmastime and in the summer for a few weeks. Meet Katie. I’m embarrassed that this is my first time asking these questions but am excited that she agreed to let me share her insights with you… Continue reading Thanksgiving: At Home and Abroad

Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road, Take 8: A Family Who Travels Together…

Finish this sentence… “A family who travels together…. “ Continue reading Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road, Take 8: A Family Who Travels Together…

Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road, Take 7: Planes, Bread, and a Reno Revelation

“Food matters because it’s one of the things that forces us to live in this world– this tactile, physical, messy and beautiful world– no matter how hard we try to escape into our minds and our ideals. Food is a reminder of our humanity, our fragility, our createdness.” Shauna Niequest, Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes. 

Planes, Bread, and a Reno Revelation

Perhaps the same could be said of Travel. Continue reading Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road, Take 7: Planes, Bread, and a Reno Revelation

Travel-Inspired Shared Bedroom

Shared Kids' Room

Again, this may be a stretch… But I’m going to go ahead and write this post anyway. Just a little backstory… My kids are like puppies. They love to be wild and then snuggle, snuggle, snuggle. “Alone time” just really isn’t a thing with them, and my introverted self is amazed by and loves them for it. 

So, while they are young and think that sharing a room is fun and special, I’m more than happy to oblige. As I’m sure you have been able to gather from reading Mackinaw Road or following along on Instagram, most of our travels take us lake/oceanside. I tried to incorporate this “feel” without being to nautical or coastal.  Continue reading Travel-Inspired Shared Bedroom

Modern Traditional Mudroom Makeover

Are you ever inspired by the design in the places you visit? Even if it is just a hotel bathroom? I am. It is so much fun to see different design elements put together to create luxurious accommodations. Speaking of luxurious, our laundry room is the opposite. We live in a 1920’s home. Apparently in the 1920’s, laundry rooms were in the dungeon basements and mudrooms were non existent… Continue reading Modern Traditional Mudroom Makeover

Inexpensive Flooring: How to Stencil Concrete Floors

Inexpensive Flooring How to Stencil Concrete Floors

Yes, this is still a travel blog. I just am grounded and started a basement laundry/mudroom project back in February that needs to be finished asap. I hemmed and hawed about the flooring, looking into a million and one different options for our ugly, uneven concrete floor. They were all not technically going to work or were too expensive for a room that, let’s face it, only I’m going to see. I looked into everything- wood, vinyl, laminate, large tile, small tile, stamped concrete, stained concrete, etc., etc. I was disappointed that the Portuguese tile I really wanted wasn’t going to work out. How fun would it have been to have a tiled floor inspired by travel! Dreams dashed… Continue reading Inexpensive Flooring: How to Stencil Concrete Floors

Winter 2017 Giveaway Time!!!

It’s Giveaway Time! I want to know… what is the biggest risk you have taken? What was your motivation? Inspiration? Any plans you are unsure of for 2017?

Whatever it is, I hope that your 2017 is off to a fabulous start! And I want to give you this sign to remind you to stay positive. I hope you all find your wings and fly this year. 

Tag a friend over on this photo on Instagram and subscribe to our updates (it’s over on the left side by the menu), and, just like that, you are entered to win. 

Only caveat…. you must have a shipping address within the continental USA.

Winner will be announced on Friday!

Oh, and one more thing, if you already subscribe to our updates, as a Thank You, you are automatically entered to win 😉 If you’re not interested, that’s a-okay too. Just shoot me a quick email or say No Thank You should your name be chosen. 

Wondering who the talent is behind this sign? It’s Angela from Angtiques. She is awesome to work with and I would highly recommend her. You can check out her store over here on Etsy or her Instagram feed here

Decorating with Travel Trinkets

Full disclosure (again): just the word “trinket” makes me cringe. And, yet we find ourselves tempted to buy souvenirs or street art all the time. Luckily, my inner voice often stops us. That said, we have found ourselves in possession of said trinkets because they do remind us of a fabulous beach vacation or a memorable experience. Here is how we have decorated with them…

We have tried to be somewhat discreet. I almost feel like it is more fun for guests in our home to “find” these trinkets than to walk into a room and have them front and center. (I promise, we won’t make you play too many games if you ever come to visit.;)  We have our Indian elephants that we picked up at the Dillihut on our desk in the corner of our living room. I also have a tea cup that my grandmother purchased for me from the Bahamas in our butler’s pantry passthrough. Again, in full view, but not front and center.

We also have decided to leave some things for our own enjoyment. While we love telling people where the elephants and tea cup came from, it is also special to us that we keep some of our “treasures” to our more private rooms. We just moved my husband’s home office into the children’s previous playroom on our second level. It houses, well, another wooden elephant (I think we may be slightly obsessed) and a chess board my husband got from India that he and our daughter have enjoyed playing with lately. We have a framed sketch of India Gate from Dillihut in one corner, too. While we gladly show off his office, it is also a space that is mainly for our family and our special “trinkets.” Oh, and there is a password to enter, too… of course.

Some “souvenirs” are readily identifiable, clearly the elephants are from India and the tea cup with the huge hibiscus flower is from the Bahamas… but did you know that the anchor hooks and sea creature decorations in the kids’ bathroom are from New Orleans? Yep, I went all the way to NOLA just to choose some bathroom decor. In all actuality, it was a bit of a fluke. At the time I had a 4-year old and 1-year old at home, so shopping by myself was, well,… AMAZING!!! I had been looking for something for this small space and found it on a trip. Bonus? Every time I’m giving the kids a bath, I think of our New Orleans trip.

I’m embarrassed to even admit how many photos we have saved on our computer… for our computer’s enjoyment maybe? But we have managed to pull a couple off and find time to have them printed. We have our Lake Michigan photos scattered throughout the house as well as some favorites from our jaunts to Chicago.

How do you incorporate your travel “trinkets” or “souvenirs” or photos into your home?

Feel any of this is pin-worthy? I have a pin for that 🙂

**As always, this post contains affiliate links, meaning that, if you click on them, I may receive some compensation.

Christmas House Tour 2016

 

Well, as the picture above may indicate, this is not really, truly a travel post, and, yes, I will stretch it to make some connections, but in all honesty, this is a house tour. And my first one at that, so there are two things to forgive right there. While I’m apparently confessing, come on in, let me show you around, and share some decorating admissions, one for each day of Christmas.­­

Admission #1: I love wooden signs! And just discovered a new small store in town that sells these made by local sisters. Aren’t they great?

Admission #2: I am a plant killer. However, since discovering the beautiful benefits of jasmine, these mason jars aren’t even moving for the Christmas decorations.

Admission #3: I’m not crafty. But one year, I tried. I bought travel-stamped burlap and cut a runner and placemats.  I also spray painted the bases of the topiaries. And then settled down for a long winter’s nap.

Admission #4: Dasher lost his head on the first day we put up the stockings courtesy of the 3 -year old’s inability to “just look” at his stocking, and I think it’s just an Oh Well. Dancer and Donner have been on their best behavior ever since.

Admission #5: I love white feathered trees but love the family tradition of cutting down our tree even more. So, this beauty on the mantle will have to suffice.

Admission #6: I’m not good with small decorations. I get nervous our house is going to look kitschy. But for reasons I can’t explain, I love these elephants from India and think they go perfectly with the other decorations on the desk.

Admission #7: I’m a new fan of ornaments from places we’ve traveled. When I put them up, I’m reminded of our travels, far and near.

Admission #8: I love a nice smelling house but am cautious with candles. Herein comes this lovely, wintry mix.

Admission #9: I’m crazy for wooden signs (did I already mention that?). I really had to cut myself off this year, but not before I purchased this sweet nativity. Bonus: no risk of losing Baby Jesus to the aforementioned 3-year old.

Admission #10: My love of signs also carries over to metals.

Admission #11: But back to the wooden signs. I love this JOY sign. It will probably stay up past Christmas just to keep the joy going. I also love and have read the interior design books under the sign. Isn’t it great when purchases can pull double duty?

Admission #12: The jingle-bell wreath will end up being used as toy more often than a decoration.  Oh, and I kept my Lake Charlevoix pillow out this year to help me think happy thoughts to get through our 5-month Michigan winters.

Happy Holidays!

 

The List

Wooden Signs (Christmas Trees and Nativity)

Gather sign

Watercolor Burst art

Habitat, Modern Mix, Styled

**This post contains affiliate links, which means that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

Global Christmas and Holiday Traditions in 2 hours or Less

global-traditions

 

This week we headed to our local gardens to check out their annual Christmas and Holiday Traditions from Around the World exhibit. If you happen to be in the Grand Rapids area, it is well worth the trip to Fredrick Meijer Gardens. And, I’ll be honest, I had a 3-year old with me, so it took us far less that 2 hours.

Whenever I’m with my kids, I try to remember to give them a “job”; otherwise, they tend to find their own “jobs” that don’t always jive with what I had in mind. Today, the task was to find all of the displays from their 5 nationalities. All information shared comes from the information signs provided by Fredrick Meijer Gardens. There was considerably more information than I am sharing, so head on over and check it out.

Italian Nativity

Italy– The most important symbol of Christmas in Italy is the Nativity scene. A presepio is a 3-dminesional nativity scene, and Meijer garden’s presepio was created by Francesa Niccacci in the maiolica tradition.

Netherlands Tree

The Netherlands– Santa Claus is known as Sinterklass in the Netherlands. Gifts are exchanged on St. Nicholas’ Eve on December 5 while Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are reserved for church and a family meal in the evening. December 26 is called Second Christmas Day and is a holiday of relaxation.

Diwali

India– Diwali is a five-day Hindu celebration, also referred to as the Festival of Lights. Occurring between mid-Ocotber and mid-November, it includes fireworks, lights, and special worship (puja). Diwali’s true meaning is rejoicing in the inner light. It is often celebrated with rangoli; the one pictured above appears to be made of colored sand.

English Christmas Tree

England– Kissing under mistletoe is an English tradition. It is thought to date back to ancient times when the plant was a symbol of peace and indicated that enemies must maintain a truce until the next day if they met under it. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe remains an indication of friendship and goodwill. Another English tradition, began in the 1840s by Tom Smith, is opening Christmas crackers, which are cardboard tubes holding small gifts or trinkets.

Spanish Christmas Tree

Spain- In Spain, it is not Santa but the Three Wiseman who come bearing gifts. On January 5, the Eve of the Epiphany, children fill their shoes with straw, and the Three Wiseman come by, leaving gifts in the children’s shoes. Christmas is a very religious holiday and the most noticeable decoration is the Nacimiento, or Nativity scene.

What a great way to spend the morning! Looking at Holiday displays and learning about different cultural customs is quickly becoming a tradition in our family.