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An Up North State of Mind

There’s a power to some places. They leave their mark in people’s hearts and minds. You don’t have to be there physically to, in fact, be there, because such places embody a spirit that stays with you long after you’ve left. Northern Michigan is such a place.

We are fortunate to live in Traverse City so that we can experience – from the outdoors, to the culture, to the people – the magic this region offers. It’s a place that empowers people to live purposeful, meaningful, and active lives. But you don’t need to live here to live this way.

Anyone, no matter where they call home, can “Live North.” That’s because Living North isn’t just about living in Traverse City. It’s about a state of mind that values the power of experiences, revels in the majesty of nature, and passionately chases big dreams.

Life and Whim was founded with an intrepid spirit and an ambitious objective: To unlock the essence of what it means to live boldly, simply and without regret. As we pursue our own path, we invite others to join us on this journey.

We are particularly passionate about children, and believe that the more time kids spend outside hiking in forests, skiing down mountains, and frolicking on beaches, the more they grow and prosper. The great outdoors inspires greatness in all of us.

All that we do, therefore, is in service of our mission to empower people to have fun while immersed in nature. From the content we produce on our blog, to the books we write, to the events we plan, to the products we design, we aspire to inspire others to live adventurously and with an Up North State of Mind.

Life and Whim was started by husband and wife team Jay and Heather Harrington, who moved to Traverse City for no particular reason (you could say on a whim) other than a desire to live a purposeful, meaningful, active and more simple life, and to expose their three young daughters to the magic this region offers.

They started Life and Whim as a blog which served as their vehicle to share their experiences – both good and bad – of moving to a new place for a new life, and the lessons they learned along the way. What started as a blog has now grown into a passion project through which they can pursue their love of community, creativity and craft.

In addition to founding Life and Whim, Jay and Heather also own and operate a brand strategy and design firm, Harrington, which serves a nationwide client base of sophisticated professional services firms.



Jay is a reformed lawyer turned writer, entrepreneur, brand strategist and public speaker. He is the author of One of a Kind: A Proven Path to a Profitable Legal Practice, published in April 2016. He enjoys sports and fitness activities – running, CrossFit, golf, skiing…pretty much anything outdoors. Passionate about family, cooking great food with fresh ingredients, reading, movies, good beer and wine (knows little about, but enjoys). Aspires, more than anything, to expose his kids to as many experiences as possible so that they can make informed decisions about the path – conventional, unconventional…whatever – they want to follow in life.


Heather is an award-winning creative director and entrepreneur. Lover of the Great Outdoors. She enjoys crafts with her girls, reading, sewing, fitness, graphic, interior and fashion design. Loves coffee in the morning, and wine in the evening. Appreciates all things creative. Aspires to live boldly, free of regret. To blend work with passion, so that all of life is a creative pursuit. Dedicated to teaching her girls that they can do whatever they want in life, but what they must do is be true to themselves.


Curious and inquisitive. Creative to her core. Loves bugs and monsters as much as ponies and princesses. Wants a chicken and a pony named Buttercup.


Three going on twenty three. Likes things neat and orderly (except for her bedroom). Loves music and animals. Already winning arguments with her parents, primarily through sheer will and persistence (qualities that will serve her well in life).


Sweet soul and killer sense of humor. Loves jokes and tickles. Good dance moves, especially the hula. Infectious laugh.


Mini-golden Doodle. Still hasn’t adjusted to the role of fuzzy big sister. Hates squirrels. Loves cuddling.