Lansing is our Home Sweet Home


I love to travel. I always have. There is something exciting about going off to destinations unknown and learning a little something about a culture or a place that you didn’t know before. It’s an adventure. I recently traveled to Cabo, Mexico, and stayed with a friend who actually lives there. Let me just say that there is a big difference between a vacation to Mexico and living local.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast. We got up late, spent the day at the beach or the pool, loafed around and ate tons of local cuisine. (Okay, so it isn’t much different after all). The best part was having the local knowledge at our disposal. Not only could she get the “hook up” at the beach (we were in the best beach chairs and locations. Oh, did I mention the massages on the beach. Does it get better than that?), she knew who to call to get the deep discounts and was able to steer us in the right direction for hot spots that only those who call Cabo home would know. I highly recommend making friends with someone who lives in Cabo … it is a super friendly place, so it won’t be too hard.

Of course, the very best part of any vacation is coming home. I love going away, but I equally love getting back to my three little dogs, two energetic boys and one unruly husband. I know some women don’t do this, but every year I go on vacation by myself or with a group of girls. I adore spending time with my family and we always go on vacations together, too.

In fact, I predict that my husband and I will do a crazy amount of traveling when we retire. Especially when we both give up working full time (can’t really imagine it now), I’m going to encourage my husband to take a “guys” trip and I will continue to hang with the girls. What do they say … absence makes the heart grow fonder? I think it also helps to keep the marriage strong. I’ll take one for the team and plan a tropical vacation with my friends with the goal of a stronger married life. Gosh, I wonder if he appreciates the sacrifices I make.

On a much more serious note, Michigan has had to make sacrifices recently. The state has made tough budget cuts, businesses are making hard decisions and our communities are looking at ways to do more with less. Despite all of that, I’m so proud of the people who live in Mid-Michigan, and there really isn’t a place I’d rather be. There are those who truly try to help people in need, band together to make things happen and never let the naysayers get to them. I’ve always been a super positive person, but frankly with the doom and gloom you hear all the time, it is difficult for even me to stay happy. But, I simply focus on the big picture and know that people who love Michigan will remain here and work toward a brighter future.

One of Michigan’s true bright spots is Michigan State University women’s basketball head coach Suzy Merchant. She definitely works hard to make sure she is on top of her game with her team, but Suzy is so much more than a local sports figure. She is dedicated to maintaining her role as mom, wife, daughter and community supporter. Suzy has been in the Lansing area for a couple of years and has really shown herself to be warm, caring and accessible. Suzy shared her down-to-earth style with me recently and I can’t wait for you to read her story. And, if you come out to the Hike for Hospice on October 4, you’ll get a chance to see her supporting a cause that is really important to her.

You can’t really talk about this month’s theme, “Home Sweet Home,” without discussing the desire to make changes — sometimes drastic — to your dwelling place. It doesn’t matter what style you have or how you decorate, most women are continual nesters. We are always looking for the next idea: new furniture, flooring and so on. Eight years ago, I moved to Lansing and left my dream kitchen. We moved into a house that I loved, except the kitchen was not quite what I wanted. My husband said, “don’t worry … we’ll fix it.” Well, that hasn’t happened yet. But, I’m on a mission this year.

In fact, I visited IKEA recently. Oh, if you’re in the market for change, IKEA has a remedy for whatever is ailing you (or your house). It was so much fun to go in and dream kitchens. Normally, I’m a gal who likes to shop locally, but I have to say that IKEA has a lot to offer and their organizational tools and gadgets are second to none. And, frankly, I can use all the help I can get in this area. I definitely have a few things going on, and my husband wonders how I’ll fit in a kitchen remodel before the holidays. Don’t worry about me; I think I’ll be able to fit this (important) project in.

Whether you’re taking vacations or planning a (terrific) remodel, October is a good time to warm Lansing homes by gathering the people in our lives and putting some goals in place.

Tags: cabo, community, dowling, events, hike for hospice, home, ikea, lansing, shopping, sparrow, tiffany

Tiffany Dowling

Tiffany Dowling

Tiffany Dowling is the Founder and President of M3 Group, a full-service branding agency located in downtown Lansing, Mich. She is also owner and publisher of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. Dowling has helped businesses and organizations with branding needs for more than a decade. Learn more at

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