Welcoming in the Weekend.

A Feature on Camille Styles  |  The Fresh Exchange

Last week, we opened up our home and invited some friends over to pull together our first dinner party in our new home. As many of you know, it can be a little scary to have that first dinner party, but when Camille Styles asked us to talk about how we like to entertain, how could we say no? With boxes still needing to be unpacked we set it all aside, poured a cocktail, and kept it simple. We had the honor of working with our new friends Brett and Jessica Donar on this shoot in our new home and city. We felt like this was a great way to kick off the weekend and the beginning of November. You can find recipes and all of my entertaining tips on the Entertaining With series on Camille Styles.

A Feature on Camille Styles  |  The Fresh Exchange

A Feature on Camille Styles  |  The Fresh Exchange

As you may be able to tell we really enjoy having friends over for dinner, in fact last week we threw 3 dinner parties. Over the years of entertaining, I have developed a couple ways to eliminate the stress and exhaustion that can come with entertaining. I love the energy of planning and executing a beautiful evening and it is something that never grows old, no matter how many times Mike and I work together to create these nights it still feels special. There is nothing we love more than a meal with those we love and care about. However, by Friday I’m sure you’d understand when I say I was ready for a night out.

A Feature on Camille Styles  |  The Fresh Exchange

A Feature on Camille Styles  |  The Fresh Exchange

As fall settles into North Carolina, the nights are becoming cooler, the are leaves swirling along the streets, and the markets are filling with some of my favorite fresh produce. This week, I found myself inspired to cook with savoy cabbage, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, leeks, apples, and other seasonal items that landed on our doorstep, from our crop share. The cooler weather also makes me crave different types of cocktails. Right now, I am back on my cool weather kick of rye whiskey and bourbon. This means I am really enjoying the White Whale Mob Man and we recently began mixing The Skinny Dipper with Rye Whiskey. Seriously, so good and crazy easy for weeks with a lot of dinner parties!

A Feature on Camille Styles  |  The Fresh Exchange

A Feature on Camille Styles  |  The Fresh Exchange

With the onset of a new season, we have been working hard to eat healthy and get fit. For the first time, we are really in one place for more than a month. Isn’t that crazy?! Nearly every single month for the past two years we have had a trip, or have been on a plane at some point. Other than a quick two day photo shoot in Philly, we currently have no plans for any travel more than a weekend trip to the beach or mountains. What this means is that we are buckling down on building a healthy routine, eliminating any extra stress, and planning out what our next year looks like for the business and the blog. It feels good to be settled long enough for plans to be made and once again we can define a routine.

A Feature on Camille Styles  |  The Fresh Exchange

A Feature on Camille Styles  |  The Fresh Exchange

The best part about being back, is the opportunity to be present in our community. It is something really special, when you find people who keep you grounded, remind you of what really matters, and who make those chilly nights a little warmer with the laughter and joy they bring. We have been excited for a while to have this first dinner party at our new home, and I am so glad we were able to capture it and to collaborate in the process. Honestly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It helped make it that much more special.

A Feature on Camille Styles  |  The Fresh Exchange

A Feature on Camille Styles  |  The Fresh Exchange

This weekend, we have our good friend, Michael Newsted coming in to collaborate with us on a few upcoming shoots, as well as just spend some quality time with us. We are planning a trip up to the mountains for a night and some other adventures to get inspired.

A Feature on Camille Styles  |  The Fresh Exchange

I hope you all enjoy the full story on Camille Styles and that you each have a wonderful weekend. I am not a huge Halloween fan (have you noticed I never post about it?), but I am going with some friends to a Halloween dance party that just sounded like too much fun to say no to.

What are your plans? Are you getting dressed up for Halloween? Are you planning anything fun? Do you have any exciting gatherings coming up?

 

Thanks again to Brett and Jessica Donar for killing it on these images! Yall are the best. 

Also a big thank you to those who came and helped us make the evening so special!!!

Joshua Tree – A Style Story

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

I have been holding on to this post, I’m not sure why, but today felt like the right day to let it out. Maybe, I just loved the time in the desert so much that by waiting as long as possible I’d be able to hang onto those moments for as long as possible. Needless to say, the time we spent in Palm Springs, Imperial County, and Yucca Valley was very inspiring. The light in the desert is something from a dream. If you have ever made it out there, you know exactly what I mean. We couldn’t get enough. So in the middle of DesignerVaca we hopped in the car and just drove into the desert without a plan and without a direction. Our only goal was to capture the sunset. What came of it, is this little style story of our sunset walk in Joshua Tree.

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

I fell in love with Joshua Tree back in college. I went on a spur of the moment trip to the desert one night while I was in California for Spring Break. We woke up at dawn, drove to the desert, spent the day off-roading and hiking, and then setup camp in the shadow of one of the many boulders that covered the landscape. It was a moment in life that if I had thought about the dangers I probably wouldn’t have gone for it, but am so glad I never gave myself the chance to say no.

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

This was Mike’s first trip to Palm Springs and I had to make sure we made it to Joshua Tree for at least one sunset over the hills. Sure enough it was incredible. The day was warm, as in 110 degrees warm, so all I could think about wearing was my Emerson Fry Kaftan. The flowery, loose, and barely-there feeling was perfect for the heat. I am not sure how you could wear much else.

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

Joshua Tree - A Style Story  |  The Fresh Exchange

We also shot a small video to give you a view into the inspiring landscape. We hope this makes you excited to head out on your own desert adventure and see a sunset for yourself. Just don’t forget to pack your kaftan!

What I wore:
Emerson Fry Kaftan in Cerulean
Everlane Leather Sandles
Bracelet Torchlight Jewelry

Monday Words: Gratitude

Thoughts on Gratitude  |  The Fresh Exchange

A few weekends back, we found ourselves around a campfire with friends, as you do on cool fall weekend nights. While sitting there, someone brought up the word gratitude. Our friend shared that when you try to find gratitude in life it can make you a healthier person because of the happiness and contentment you feel. Since that conversation, I have been thinking a lot about that word and working to make it apart of my day-to-day thoughts.

My personality is one that spends a lot of time internalizing ideas and thoughts. This has a tendency to be a good and bad thing, but the bigger the idea the more time I spend thinking it through. For instance, even the idea of gratitude has been something I have sat on for a few weeks now. As we head into November and toward Thanksgiving, I felt this was a good time to bring this word up. It seemed fitting. I think many times we get caught in the moment, in ourselves, and in what isn’t happening in life that we forget to appreciate what is. I know I do. So, I think being reminded this time of year of the necessity to have a demeanor of thankfulness is very important. I always hold fall as a sacred time of year, since it usually holds major shifts in life. As the cooler winds begin to blow in, I am usually reminded of what really matters.

As the calendar begins to come to a close it feels like the last opportunity to make this year really what you wanted it to be. Kind of like the last hurrah. For instance, I am kicking ass at getting fit right now, because I feel this year left me with little time to do what I had set out to do for myself (remember it is the year of intention for me.) I plan to spend the next few weeks working on being thankful and reminding myself of how this year has changed me, taught me, and left me stronger and with a clearer perspective. I know things don’t always go as expected, but that doesn’t leave any reason not to be thankful, because many times what came about unexpectedly is what makes us all the better and more thankful. Maybe in fact, the unexpected is what can leave us with a feeling of gratitude.

Right now, many things leave me feeling full of thankfulness. Today, I am hoping to inspire myself and and you to think more about the things that are good and perfect right now, rather than what hasn’t come to be or has fallen short of expectation. It is good to expect and desire, but it is equally important to enjoy and be thankful for what is.

I hope you have a good Monday. I am feeling so thankful to begin a new week, to have crisp cool air blowing in, and for the comfort of great friends. It’s the little things in life we must always remember to be thankful for. Make today a good one.

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Company

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

When you walk through the doors of Yellow Dog Bread Company, you are greeted by the smell of fresh bread and warm hearts. An artisan bread shop in downtown Raleigh, NC. owned by husband and wife bread makers, Matt and Tanya Andrews, Yellow Dog Bread Company, is focused on traditional hearth breads and Southern inspired pastries. When you bite into a slice of jalapeño cheddar bread or a maple bacon scone, you can taste the love and passion that Matt and Tanya mix into their business. Opening a bakery in an area of Raleigh that was yet to be discovered, Matt and Tanya truly took a real Wild Measure and saw the vision of what North Person Street could become. Now, Yellow Dog Bread Company sits on the corner of one of the hottest up and coming neighborhoods in America. Their perseverance led them on quite a journey. Tanya took the time to candidly share all the details about the long, sleepless nights that has led to their dream becoming reality. 

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN? AND HOW DID IT GET TO WHERE IT IS TODAY?
We were apprenticing at a bakery 45 minutes from our house, and the owners agreed to let us rent time in their kitchen to bake and test product. It was wonderful, exciting, humbling, and simultaneously frustrating. We had access to the work space and appliances of our dreams, but it was a lot like camping. We had to bring everything with us, and as the Boy Scouts say, leave no trace. We would pack everything we needed in to the Subaru, drive 45 minutes down to the bakery while holding the starters in our laps, and then proceed to have the most intense bake of our lives. We had a short window of time that we could be in the kitchen before they would need the space again, so we would hit the ground running. Eight to 12 hours later we would load the Subaru with dozens of fresh baked loaves, placing them onto a makeshift rack that Matt built to fit inside the trunk, and drive home. Needless to say, we ate a lot of Cookout.

The days didn’t end with our Cookout dinners. After transferring the fresh baked loaves from Subaru to the house, we would have a bread packaging marathon. I don’t know how we did it, but we would manage to fit in a few hours of sleep before heading to the farmers’ markets. It’s amazing what you are willing to do or endure when you are in love. That’s what it was; it was love. It was intense and exhausting. I’ll admit a few choice words certainly slipped out from time to time, but the experience was wonderful. We would sell out at every market. We’d bake more. We’d sell out again. I can’t express the joy it brought to us, the encouragement it gave us, and the boost it provided us when things got tough. I wish I could hug and thank every person that bought bread from us at those first markets. They gave us far more than we gave them.

It was those markets that gave us the confidence and the legs we needed to chase after this dream. It took 5 and a half years from that point until we would walk through the doors of our own space, but we finally did. Not much has changed from those early days. The shifts are still crazy, we still don’t get much sleep, and the Subaru is still always full of bread!

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

WHAT DROVE YOU TO BEGIN YOUR BUSINESS AND INVEST IN IT?
We had graduated college, got married, and found jobs in our “field of study”. Even though we were checking off the boxes, we felt unfulfilled and generally dissatisfied with the direction in which we were heading. We both came from entrepreneurial families, and we were starting to feel that pull. We didn’t know where we were headed, but we knew we wanted to do it together and we were ready to start moving.

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

WHEN DID THE DREAM OF BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS HAPPEN?
The dream of Yellow Dog Bread Co. took shape very slowly. It started with some chickens. We had purchased a few backyard chickens, and they were laying a lot of eggs. So, we started baking. As time went on, the baking got more serious, and we started baking bread. Neither of us thought much of it or even realized how much it had started to take root. It was on a hike in the woods with Ellie, our yellow dog, that we first dreamed what it would be like if we owned a bakery. That idea took hold, and it became all we could talk about.

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

WHAT RISKS DID YOU TAKE ALONG THE WAY THAT WERE HARD?
Everything was risky. From the moment we said yes to make Yellow Dog a reality, we made the conscious decision to put all our chips on red and roll the dice. That’s terrifying. We both left salaried positions with benefits for apprenticeships that barely paid minimum wage. We had to get comfortable with the idea that we might lose everything, and there were times where we almost lost everything. Two years into trying to make it happen, we had exhausted all of our savings and were faced with the reality that we could no longer afford our own home. We had to make the decision to rent out our home in Raleigh and move back to Eastern NC to live in Matt’s grandmother’s farm house. Things were just taking longer than we ever imagined. We had to take a step back. We both went back to work full time, and we had to stop baking. There was a period when we thought our dream was done. But when we thought the dream was over, things slowly started to right themselves. We quit our jobs again. The second time was just as scary as the first. Soon things were happening at such a fast pace that there was no time to assess the risks. And to be honest, it no longer mattered. We were all in.

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

WHAT WAS THE SPECIFIC MOMENT THAT TRIGGERED YOU TO DECIDE TO MAKE YOUR DREAM A REALITY AND TO VALUE THE OUTCOME OVER THE RISK?
Two college friends had opened a bakery and we went to visit them. As soon as we walked through the doors, we were overwhelmed with excitement! All the dreaming, all the “imagine if’s” and long conversations had taken shape. We saw it was possible. It was during our trip home that we decided to make this happen. A week later I quit my job.

WHAT ALONG THE WAY DO YOU SEE NOW AS BEING MAJOR PIECES TO YOUR STORY?
Patience. Humility. Perseverance. Three things I didn’t truly understand before we embarked on this journey.

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

DURING THE PROCESS OF GROWING AND DREAMING UP YOUR BUSINESS DID YOU FEEL ANY RESERVATION? IF SO, WHAT MADE YOU QUESTION YOUR DECISION?
My parents took the responsibility of “devil’s advocate” very seriously. They were not initially sure of this idea. Watching us deliberately make choices that in many ways made our lives harder was difficult for them. Because I respect their opinions so much, it made me seriously question if we were on the right path.

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

NOW THAT YOU ARE IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING THIS DREAM BECOME A REALITY, WHAT DO YOU SEE NOW THAT WASN’T WORTH THE WORRY? FOR OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE DREAMING OF TAKING A LEAP TO CHASE THEIR DREAM, WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO THEM?
I don’t know. This is a hard one for me, but I will tell people to fully invest in their dream. If you don’t, how do you expect anyone else to invest?

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

WHAT LESSON HAVE YOU LEARNED IN THE PROCESS THAT YOU WISH YOU KNEW BEFORE YOU BEGAN?
We live in a time where we expect things to happen immediately or we give up. Some dreams require a longer journey before you arrive at your destination. Be patient and trust the timing of your story. Don’t rob yourself of the things you will learn along the way.

Wild Measures: Yellow Dog Bread Co. in Raleigh, NC  |  The Fresh Exchange

WHAT ARE THE NEXT BIG DREAMS FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
Pie in the sky? To be featured in Garden & Gun, Southern Living, and Bon Appetit!

Learn more Yellow Dog Bread Co. and follow along with their journey at the places below:
Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter