The Fresh Exchange Blog

A Simple Evening: Mcclure’s Style


Every seasons brings new memories, new friends, new lessons, and new value to life. This Summer has brought me many realizations about myself and the true importance of taking time to celebrate relationships. For quite some time I have seen this movement of my life and this blog going simpler and simpler and on some level it seems quieter and quieter, but more and more beautiful in my eyes. This party was the culmination of so many things this Summer. When I planned it with Mcclure’s back in the Spring I never dreamed what all would have changed as a blogger, creative, and person by the time we sat down for that meal. You can never plan how your perceptions will change in life. I never guessed I would see the value in this simple evening of friends, food, and great drink. It felt like the most magical celebration of everything that is of true value to me. I cannot think of anything better than a meal shared with the dearest people under a starry sky.

Partnering with Mcclure’s fit perfect. They are an amazing company with a recipe that has been passed down for generations. They make one hell of a bloody mary mix and the best part, Joe (co-owner) came and mixed them up special just for us. It was the best way to begin our evening and everyone was in love with the spice and refreshing cocktails. They have tons of amazing combinations. Head on over to their website to get some for yourself or buy it locally from your favorite store. If you cannot find it locally you can always order it from Terrain as well.

The evening was centered around creating a community meal from what was fresh and local as much as possible. Sam Porter of Porterhouse Productions was awesome and made a killer paella. We picked many of the veggies from the garden for the paella such as the green beans, peppers, and fresh tomatoes. Literal garden to table, which is always so yummy!

We brought in pails of wine for later in the evening to have with the dinner. We focused on drinking whites to compliment the spicy and seafood based paella. It was the best balance.

It was so good to have so many of our talented friends who push us everyday at the party. Many were missing but it was so awesome to have so many of them there. Bryan and Mae above were kind of adorable so I had to share their picture. They also grabbed a picture of me with my favorite photographer who was working so hard all evening to grab all these images and video below all at the same time.

This night made me think deeply about the kind of story that we are all writing and telling of life. I thought about what of this evening we would share and what made it so magical. Was it the food? Was it the drink? Was it what we wore? Yes to all on some level but to me it was honestly the people there laughing, telling stories of Summer, feeling the cool breeze come in as the sun set, and the stars that began to appear so brightly in the sky. Those things make moments like this one so much better and more magical than I think we plan as we put together details of an event.

Did I mention how awesome the food was? Yeah I want to eat it all all over again?

We had the tables made by a friend who is opening his store very soon. He was amazing at put these together the day before. I cannot wait to share more of his work with you all as we are beginning partner together on many things in the near future. Him and his soon to be wife are incrediably talented and very close friends so collaborating is only natural, but those tables made the evening so fun and exactly how I envisioned it. It was so great to sit as a group together around a table, on blankets, and without shoes. It brought the most relaxed and homey feeling to the party.

The evening ended with a toast to friendship and more evenings like this as a community. We listened to remixes of Bon Iver and danced silly till midnight. It is crazy how when you live in the moment things seem less stressful, less planned, and more about just honestly having a great time. It was what I needed in every way. My friends are so good on keeping my mind wrapped around not getting too busy and recentering my perceptions on life. This was probably one of the greatest reminders of what I hope to inspire you all to be doing every day.

The candlelight, the blankets, the flowers in milk jugs, the old barn wood table. It all was right. It all was how it should be. Nothing overly planned. Nothing overly done. It was simple, inexpensive, and most importantly based on making the best and happiest memories even in our busy schedules.

Once again, thank you to all that made this possible, Mcclure’s, Milled Handmade Goods, and Porterhouse Productions. Also a big thanks to the hubs for making the evening come to life for you all here. Couldn’t have made this possible without all involved.

Should we share a bloody mary mix recipe sometime?

If you want to see EVEN more make sure to check out The Fresh Exchange Facebook for all the extras!


Leave a comment

  1. This looks pretty much perfect. I can’t get over how pretty the whole thing is, how good the food looks… and you even had a puppy in attendance. See? Perfect. Can you come plan one of these where I live?

  2. mae

    i loved this night. i love the photos and video to relive it by. Mike rocked that video! summertime went out in style.

  3. Liz

    This looks like the perfect evening! Thanks for sharing :)

  4. hehe I couldn’t have done it with such awesome friends! They made it really happen. I just came up with the idea ūüėČ

  5. it did that it did. So glad you were there to make it so stylish!

  6. wow Megan this post was AWESOME. The video really captured the feel of getting together with friends to cook. I love that. Fantastic job!

  7. I want do spend every evening like that! Pails of wine all around, please!

  8. The definition of perfection? I think so.

  9. Let’s do that again this fall! Harvest Party…ish? Thanks to all who helped make it happen, those Bloody Marys were mind blowing! It was great to get a chance to do NOTHING and have fun with all the great people in attendance. Nice work on the photo/video Mike! P.S. Megan, I know the photo you’re referring to, that being said, I earned that look! Ha.

  10. […] feel like fall (just in time for the first football game tomorrow! i live for tailgate season) so megan’s post was the perfect way to punctuate summer 2012. i can’t imagine a better finale than a backyard […]

  11. This is so so beautiful. I could read posts like these all day long! I love your typography and dreamy photos! So good!

  12. Looks like an amazing night and one that has been captured so beautifully. This is exactly what my husband envision our life to be once we move to our little island and start building our home :) You looked beautiful Megan xoxox

  13. This is such a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your enchanted evening. The video is such a nice addition. I love northern MI in the fall … well, truthfully, I love it here all seasons!

  14. I mean seriously?? This is a dream! So impressed with all of the details, setting, and even the cute outfits everyone was wearing! So inspired:)

  15. This is such a dream! Everything is gorgeous!

  16. selina

    Love it all..truely beautiful in every way…welldone…x

  17. Tan

    This is so incredibly beautiful! I’m trying to calculate if I have enough summer hours left to plan such a beautiful dinner!

  18. Love that video!!! This all looks so perfect! The food looks amazing!

  19. Dream evening!!! So beautiful and whimsical! Loved it all! Perhaps you can take this on the road and visit us out here in LA? :)

  20. MEGAN! This is pretty stinkin perfect! Wish I lived near you so I could be the recipient of all this awesome. ūüėČ I want to hop right into that video…

  21. I’ve been waiting for a peek at this night and…A-MA-ZING This night is perfection. Two thumbs up, five stars, A++! I would a wedding like this someday.

  22. […] This late summer party at The Fresh Exchange […]

  23. THIS is FANTASTIC. I mean, come on! What a beautiful setting, and looks like a beautiful community. I would love to do this with my friends.

  24. Hong -Y

    HI, Could you tell me your friend who made the table? I’ve been looking for a coffee table with that same look for months! Would love to connect with your friend about it. Thanks!

  25. Yes he is actually launching a shop in a few weeks after he gets married. you can email his fiance at hillaryburns [at] gmail [dot] com

    they run the business together :)

  26. Hong -Y


  27. Hong -Y

    hi Megan, sorry for posting here..but seems like that email does not exist…email was kicked back. :\

  28. So weird! Shoot me an email through my contact page. I will get you in touch with them!

  29. This is an incredible post! Thanks for sharing! I loved the feelings this outdoor dinner evoked…so beautiful. It’s always been a dream of mine to be able to host lovely outdoor get togethers like this.

  30. this is naturally stunning!

  31. […] for better or worse. Lately, Brian has been hitting them out of the park. The table was inspired by the fresh exchange, with a gutter in the middle for icing drinks. It’s nice and low so we can sit on the ground […]

  32. WOW! This is perfection.

  33. […] loved meeting¬†Megan Gilger¬†& listening to her panel about offline events… check out¬†A Simple Evening. This girl totally inspires me to throw more dinner […]

  34. can i just say this is the most beautiful party, i love throwing parties as well so this is a dream for inspiration, the lighting and editing are simply gorgeous xoxo

  35. […] few months back to make a trip to Raleigh, North Carolina to style a special edition of her “A Simple Evening” dinner series. I jumped at the opportunity, as I admire both Megan and her husband […]

  36. This looks so lovely & easy going! Makes me look forward to summer even more… Beautiful pictures & video too!

  37. […] primera es del blog The Fresh Exchange. La llaman “A simple evening”, pero conseguir esa sencillez con tanto encanto me parece […]

  38. […] is one of my current obsessions. White goes with everything and his has a great summery vibe. TWO // We are so ready for the carport renovation to be over – even though we’ve barely […]

  39. […] My good friends Megan and Mike Gilger of The Fresh Exchange orchestrated the event as part of their A Simple Evening series. This farm-to-table dinner was a launch party for Clyde Oak, a company with a refreshing […]

  40. […] posts? They create suppers that focus on simplicity and local produce. It really looks like something special is being created in these […]

  41. […] “simple” evening from the Fresh Exchange is just […]

  42. […] The Fresh Exchange:: A Simple Evening […]

  43. […] DIY no one will believe you did via For Chic Sake a beautiful summer evening we could all use via The Fresh Exchange a chocolate chip cookie recipe to end all recipes via For Me, For […]

  44. […] out this absolutely inspiring al fresco dinner party from The Fresh Exchange. The images, (and video!) left me pining for summer like […]

  45. So beautiful! It really does look like an awesome evening.

  46. Love this and it inspires me to host more this summer:)


  48. […] photo from this beautiful post on The Fresh Exchange […]

  49. […] V√≠a […]

  50. […] photo: ¬†The fresh exchange blog,¬†Style Me Pretty¬†et¬†Rachael Ray […]

  51. […] Photo by Megan Gilger via The Fresh Exchange¬† […]

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