The Best Shirt Ever

I’m here today to talk to you about something very serious: my new favorite sweater.

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I have a mild likely for elephants.

I’m also very low-key about this ‘mild liking’ too. Do I squeal and jump up and down when I see baby elephant videos on Youtube (like this or this)? Nope. Do I have to buy everything I see with an elephant on it? Absolutely not. Do I have an elephant statue on my desk so I can stare at it all day? Don’t be ridiculous.

Paying no attention to what I was wearing, I posted a photo on my Instagram about a week ago of the Wolf and I and everyone told me how much they loved my elephant shirt!

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So, going on the belief that you all are amazing people who adore (*ahem* I mean mildly like) elephants too, I just had to share this amazing sweater with you!

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Not only is it lucky (trunks up, people) but it’s the softest and by far the most comfortable sweater I’ve ever owned.

It’s fitted but not tight. Can be dressed up or down. Perfect for the weekend or a day at the office. Honestly, it’s one of the best (and one of my most complimented) pieces I own.

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Today, I have it on with white linen pants (similar) and (wedges). Perfectly summery, comfortable and professional.

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You can find it here (plus it’s on sale! You have no excuse not to get it now).

I’m warning you now, after you buy this, all your other shirts will become irrelephant.

The Easiest Summer Dessert

When I need a break at work, am standing in a long line and actively avoiding eye contact or sitting at home with the baseball game on, there’s about a 99% chance you’ll find me on my phone, scrolling through Pinterest.

It’s not an addiction because it’s not a problem . . . at least that’s what I tell myself.

In my (not so) humble opinion, Pinterest is the supreme happy place. Full of artsy pictures of your favorite things – I can think of no better place to destress.

Mine is full to the brim of geeky memes, fashion, quotes, weather (yes, just go with it), books and, of course, food. Okay, it’s mostly food. This means that I’m never at a loss for a new recipe to try.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this about Pinterest but it seems once you see a recipe that looks good, almost overnight EVERYONE is posting about it! This just happened to me with the perfect summer dessert recipe, so I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon and share with you.

I’m sure you’ve seen this a million times by now but here it is, sautéed peaches:

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Beyond easy with a tad bit of guilt (dessert isn’t dessert if it’s guilt free) but not nearly as bad as other indulgences.

All you have to do is slice your peach in half and place them on a non-stick pan over med/med-high heat until they caramelize

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Depending how healthy/naughty you are, add a smudge of butter or coconut oil and cook until peaches are soft and golden.

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Place in a bowl with a dollop of vanilla ice cream (or yogurt – I’d recommend whipped coconut greek yogurt) and drizzle the buttery, peach juice on top.

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That’s it! I know, I could hardly believe it was the easy when I tried it.

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The peaches are as soft as butter – you can cut right through it with a spoon and the warm peaches and cold ice cream make the most perfect combination since peanut butter and honey (you thought I was going to say jelly, didn’t you, you saucy little minx).

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Have you tried this recipe before? Let me know how you cook it – I can’t wait to try it again and would love to try your variations of it!

 

Office Tour

When it comes to having my own space, I’m a bit OCD. I can’t rest until everything is in it’s proper place and I’ve created an environment that’s entirely my own.

Every apartment I’ve been in, I’ve spent the first week of living there running on a minimum amount of sleep because I become obsessed with cleaning, organizing and decorating.

When it comes to office space, I’m even worse. At my last job, the VP of our department put forth this big cork board initiative, where he asked everyone to pin up what inspires them, pushes them to do better or reminds them what they’re working for on hard days.

I loved that idea and ever since have strived to create that in work environment.

I think an office should be a place you’re comfortable but inspired.

When I started at my current job, I didn’t take decorating lightly. I was on a whole new career path and needed every ounce of inspiration I could get. Finally . . . FINALLY, I’m done and thought I’d share.

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What’s more inspiring than that face! Just look at it!

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Years ago, a roommate of mine bought a candle warmer and I haven’t gone anywhere without one since! You don’t have to worry about forgetting to put out a flame but still get the benefits of a soothing candle!

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I’m also a big believer in decorative office supplies. It’s the same idea as getting bright colored running shoes. You want to put them on and then once they’re on, you have no excuse not to run.

The brighter and prettier your folders and notebooks, the more likely you are to be organized. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

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If your office doesn’t have an elephant than I don’t think we can be friends.

They symbolize wisdom, strength and good luck – all things essential for a good work day.

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Then finally, my necessities. Photos, coffee, tea, clorox wipes.

Oh. And a Finding Nemo kleenex box because, honestly, who wouldn’t want that?

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Another pro-tip, get good coffee mugs.

They make all the difference.

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How does your office look? Any pictures to share or decorating tips you think I need?

A New Look

First things first. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll already know this but . . . I cut my hair!

I went in and said, “I’m sick of this, I’m hot and I don’t want to worry about it.”

She cut it initially at my shoulders. I told her I wanted it shorter. She cut half an inch off. I told her to do what she thought would look best and she did not disappoint.

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What do you think?

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To be totally honest with you, I always feel my most sassy and confident with short hair.

You know what else makes me feel confident? A good outfit.

I found this dress a few months back at Ann Taylor (you can find it here) and fell in love.  Typically, I’m a black dress girl but the lilac color was too beautiful to pass up.

Extremely faltering and light weight, it’s the perfect summer dress.

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And no outfit is complete without killer shoes.

I had been eyeing these beauties from Aldo (here) for months and finally purchased them at the start of June and have to remind myself every morning that I have other shoes that need love too.

Beyond comfortable, you can wear them with pants or dresses and are light and open which is perfect for these humid summer days.

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And no outfit would be complete without obnoxiously matching your nails.

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Do you have a go-to dress or shoes for summer too? If so, send me the link! It’s payday and I could do with a little online shopping therapy!

My Dear Lucy . . .

 

In an effort to focus on and post about the little things this month, I thought I’d tell you about my saving grace last night.

You know there are some days when you get home from work and the last thing you want to do is talk to people. You’re not mad at anyone but you just have nothing to say and want to be left in peace for a few hours?

That was me yesterday.

As you can probably tell, I’m a bit of a bookworm and nothing makes me happier than a book that lets me escape the world for a few hours.

There’s something so calming about diving into a favorite, dog-eared book that you’ve read so many times, you could practically recite it from memory. It has the same feeling as coming home after being away for a long time.

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For me, one of my very favorite escapes is to Narnia.

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From the first page, I’m sucked into a world of far-away lands, talking animals, battles and evil witches. All the things a good story needs.

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I have a nice copy on my bookshelf but when I need a good adventure, I always go for my beat up copy that’s perfect for curling up with, big mug of tea in hand (don’t worry I don’t treat all my books like this).

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If you’ve never read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, you’re sorely missing out.

A book written for a little girl but perfect for any age. It’s reads like a story being said out loud and gives you an incredible adventure where you don’t even have to leave the couch.

Only about 100 pages, it’s the perfect place to go to to escape your daily life for a short period of time.

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Even if you’re not into adventure stories, you should get a copy just for the inscription.

I’s by far the best I’ve ever seen.

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Tell me, what are your favorite, dog-eared books? Your go-to reads that you’ll never get sick of?

Wednesday Walk

The worst thing about summer is working. An obvious statement right?

Sitting under fluorescent lights, in a room where it’s permanently too hot or too cold, without a window in sight but knowing that just beyond that wall, the sun is shining bright and warm.

I’ve mentioned before that I think all cities look the best in the rain but, let’s be honest, they don’t look too shabby in the sun either.

Most summer days, the call of the sun is too tempting for me and I have to get out, even for a little bit. So today, I thought I’d take you with me today for a little walk (plus, you know I can never pass up an opportunity to take you around Detroit).

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Recognize this building?

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Isn’t it funny how a little sun can recharge you to tackle the rest of the day. Go for a walk, grab some coffee, put on Beyonce and then watch out world!

The Long Weekend

Happy day back from a long weekend! It’s going to be a rough one.

How was your fourth of July? Did you do anything fun?

After a morning of eating coffee cake and singing along to Perry Como, the Wolf and I spent the afternoon lounging outside.

He, snug as a bug in a rug in the dewy grass.

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Me, nestled amongst the flowers, book in hand.

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I wrote in my last post about The Little Paris Bookshop and how the main character is a literary apothecary who prescribes books for people as a form of medicine.

I said that if I were to have met him in real life, TLPB is the book I think he would prescribe for me.

Well, I think he would have also prescribed the book I read this weekend as well.

Coming off a pretty bad week, all I wanted for the weekend was to relax and escape reality, so I picked up Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I devoured it in 2 days.

I will tell you nothing about the book, just know if you want to escape reality for a little bit, you must read it!

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I didn’t just love this book because of the escape. There were a few lines in it that spoke to my soul. I know what you’re thinking, “a young adult, fantasy book spoke to your soul? Really Caitlin?”

Yes. Yes it did.

You may have noticed I haven’t been blogging much. In fact I think I had less than 10 posts last month.

The thing is, life has gotten so hectic that I had to eliminate something otherwise I would never sleep and in the end, that thing ended up being the blog.

I haven’t been anywhere or done anything exciting recently. When I’ve gone out, I’ve gone to the same restaurants. My nights are spent in PJs watching TV and my weekends are filled with running errands and walking the pup.

Nothing special and nothing I thought was worth blogging about. In other words: nothing extraordinary.

How does this fit in with Miss Peregrine’s? Well I’ll leave you with one of the last lines of the book and, hopefully, it’ll strike a cord with you the same way it did with me:

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.”

So, this July come along with me and find the extraordinary in the ordinary.

The Little Paris Bookshop

Albus Dumbledore (one of my very favorite literary characters) said, “words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic”. In all honesty, I don’t know if I’ve read something that resonated with me more. In fact, I have an amazing print that I found on Etsy of this quote that I framed and hung above my reading chair in my old apartment.

Ever since I can remember books have been my home. No matter how bad I felt things were at any given time, I could open a book and escape into a different world if only for a few moments.

You can imagine my uncontrollable excitement then when I stumbled across Blogging for Books. I nearly broke my computer in my haste to register and scroll through the endless possibilities of choices to make my first selection.

My choice: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George.

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Now, I’ll be completely honest with you: I knew nothing about this book when I selected it.

I’m a sucker for anything set in Paris (but come on, who isn’t?) and the phrase “literary apothecary” jumped out at me from the description. I was sold.

I’ve been purposely (and agonizingly) holding off reading it until I started my new job. I figured, the first few weeks are always stressful but what better way to unwind at the end of the night than a trip to Paris.

I envisioned a story full of quirky characters, cats, literary quotes and Parisian streets in the rain.

The book had all that but not in the way I was expecting.

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The plot revolves around Jean Perdu, a literary apothecary (can you think of a better career title for you business card because I sure as hell can’t). A man going through the motions of his life but not living.

He owns a bookshop on a barge floating in the Siene where he recommends books like medicine for people to help them with where they are in life. Can’t sleep? Going through a divorce? Feel like life is boring? He’ll find the book you need. The book that will speak to you.

I don’t want to spoil anything, so all I’ll say is that Jean has a rude awakening one day and impulsively sets off on an adventure through France with his quirky sidekick, books and cats. See – it did have those few things I was hoping for.

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Now, what’s the book about you may ask (the plot of a book and what it’s about are completely different things)? It’s about love and loss. Picking up the pieces of yourself when you feel like your world has been torn apart piece by piece and the importance of living your life – not going through the motions but living each and every day.

What did I think? I loved it. Ironically, I think if I were to meet Perdu in real life, this is the book he would tell me to read for where I am in my timeline. I laughed. I cried. I reread passages because it felt like they spoke to my soul.

If you’ve ever lost anyone – a friendship that’s drifted apart, a bad ending to a relationship or losing someone to death, you must read this.

If you want a book that makes you think about your life and the path you’re on, you must read this too.

If you need inspiration to break out of your comfort zone and do something for yourself, get this book immediately.

It’s beautifully written and if you appreciate the beauty of a thought-provoking sentence, you’ll love this.

As a lover of words, let me leave you with one of my favorites:

” We are loved if we love, another truth we always seem to forget. Have you noticed that most people prefer to be loved, and will do anything it takes? . . . If only they loved with the same energy; hallelujah, the world would be so wonderful”

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Mackinac Island, MI

I have been anxiously awaiting to share this post with you since the day I booked my hotel reservation.

Confession: I’ve never been to Mackinac Island (pronounced like ‘Mackinaw’). If you’re not from MI you’re probably thinking “so?”. If you are, you’re probably scandalized.

For those who don’t know, Mackinac Island is a gorgeous island nestled in the straights of Mackinac between the two peninsulas. Ask any Michigander and they’ve been there.

When I moved home, one of the goals I had was to travel more and the top of my regional travel list: Mackinac.

So when the day finally came to set off, I was ready.

There is only one way to get to the island: ferry.

Most people, calmly sit around waiting for it to show, thankful that there’s always that one person, fervently on the lookout too make sure the ferry doesn’t miss them by.

Did I mention the ferries (we took Shepler’s) are dog friendly?

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You can sit on the first level, enclosed with no fear of mist, severe wind or water splashing on you. Or you can sit on the top for the full effect.

Some of us were thrilled. Others, a little skeptical

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As was the theme of our trip, it was gray, cloudy and with mist so thick you couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of your face.

However, after what felt like a lifetime (a few minutes) the island slowly came into view.

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You pull into the dock, walk down the pier and through the entrance to the ferry yard and right onto Main Street which is lined with every type of shop you could ever want.

Clothing, coffee, ice cream, sweets, restaurants, books. You name it, it’s there.

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The coolest part of Mackinac?

There are no cars. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

No traffic. No loud noises. No worries crossing the street. No stop signs. No flashing traffic lights. No exhaust fumes. Nothing.

To get around, you can walk . . .

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Ride bikes. . .

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Or hop in a  horse and buggy.

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Mackinac is an island filled with history and arriving there feels like you’ve stepped back in time.

But what is Mackinac really known for (besides the lack of cars)?

Fudge.

There are countless fudge shops on Main Street and people tend to pick one and be fiercely loyal.

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You can sit and watch the fudge being made, cut and packaged by hand as you’re engulfed in the sweet, rich smell of chocolate.

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Even in the rain and gloom Main Street is gorgeous.

Whether you’re window shopping, actually shopping, people watching or doing what the Wolf and I do best – eating ice cream, you will feel relaxed, at ease and content.

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If you walk down through the end of Main Street to the left you’ll see the harbor, Fort Mackinac (founded during the American Revolution where actors recreate it’s history every day) and the cutest cottages and homes you’ve ever seen.

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I found my dream home. Honestly, what’s better than  mint house with a yellow door? (Nothing)

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If you exit Main Street on the other end you’ll come out on a boardwalk that leads you right to the edge of the water and around the island.

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The waves of the lake lapping agains the shore on your left and endless trees on your right. It’s the perfect place to wander.

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This is the face of pure, unadulterated bliss.

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If you decide to stray away from the lake and head inland, you’ll reach the Grand Hotel.

The immaculately manicured laws, historic front porch and the fact that it was the background for the Christopher Reeve’ Movie Somewhere in Time makes it the most visited spotson the island.

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If you want to get anywhere past this sign however, be prepared to pay.

I’ll be honest with you, it’s beautiful but I didn’t care enough to pay to approach it. The island itself is so incredible, I wanted to spend more time exploring that rather than a hotel.

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One of my top Mackinac tips for you.

No matter how tired you are, you must explore the island in the evening.

The sun goes down, lights come on and people migrate to their hotels.

It feels like the island is yours and yours alone. The waves are lapping on the shore, bugs are humming in the trees, you may pass a person here or there who will give you a friendly wave as you take in the quiet with the occasional sound of horse hooves clapping in the distance.

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Do you remember that scene in Midnight in Paris when Owen Wilson says he likes Paris best in the rain? Well, I agree and even more, I like most places better in the rain.

Mackinac was no exception.

However, the next morning when the sun came out, I wasn’t complaining.

The sun made the greens of the trees, the pinks and purples of the flowers and the pastel on the cottages pop and look like something straight out of a painting.

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All too soon, the sun hid itself again behind layers of clouds and we had to pack up and head back to the ferry.

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My whole life, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to new and beautiful places.

I’ve seen mountains, rivers, lakes and oceans and I have to tell you, Mackinac has to be one of my favorite places.

It’s like no place I’ve ever been. It’s beautiful and serene.

No one on the island (tourists and native alike) care about dressing up, putting on makeup or looking their best.

People walk around in jeans and t-shirts, no makeup, no frills or heels.

All their focus is on their loved ones, pets, family, whoever they came with. Time seems to stand still in the best way.

Plus, the island is one of the most dog friendly places I’ve ever been. Most restaurants have patios for you to eat out on with your furry friend, shop owners enthusiastically let you bring them in and everyone on the street is so excited to see them, they can’t help but smile.

Even Lupin, my little nervous nelly, loved it there. Despite the bikes and people, he strutted around happy as a clam. Although, I’m sure the ice cream helped with that.

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I’m already planning a trip back when I can stay more than 1 night on the island.

It’s one of those places, you can come back to over and over and still feel like you’re coming home.

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As you sail past the Mighty Mac and back to reality, you can’t help to whisper a “see you soon” rather than a “goodbye”.

Hidden Gem of Mackinaw

Before we head over the straights to the island (you should be pretty excited) I wanted to share my absolute favorite place in Mackinaw City.

Right on the edge of town, you’ll find a little coffee shop.

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It may look like your typical northern beachfront coffee shop . . . because that’s exactly what it is and I promise it’s the best shop in Mackinaw.

Run by multiple generations of women who sell everything from teas to cappuccinos and homemade pastries.

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To your left, you’ll find any type of tea you could ever want.

Between the herbals and the flowers, the smells are out of this world. You’ll never want to leave.

It definetely puts your incense candles to shame.

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To the right, you’ll get the good stuff.

Carbs and coffee.

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And not just any carbs.

Sweet, sugary, delectable, finger-licking homemade sweets that will have you staring at the counter creating a line as you try to pick just one!

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There’s everything from big, fluffy bagels to crunchy cookies to donuts that leave you with a sugar mustache.

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I had to take one of these home to my donut loving grandpa.

If you’re wondering how this travels – I can attest to the fact that pastries will still in perfect condition by the time you get home. . . at least I’m assuming considering he inhaled his donut before I could even get it out of my hands!

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My favorite though?

Oh, let me tell you.

Actually no. Just look at this. It’s a work of art I swear.

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Sweet, sugar glaze, puffy pastery and spicy cinnamon. Every bite was better than the last and, despite my desire to try everything they had to offer at the bakery, I kept coming back to this work of art.

There’s something so amazingly indescribably about having a true bakery pastry with your morning coffee.

When you plan your trip to Mackinac you absolutely have to add this bakery to your bucket list. I promise, it will be one of the best decisions you make all trip!