Loving for the Home

Loving for the Home  |  The Fresh Exchange

You want to know what I am doing in my free time right now or what our constant conversations are over breakfast lately? Our house. This time we aren’t talking about where we will live. Now we are talking about how we will live in this new space. Honestly it has been very interesting even after 4 years of marriage to realize how much our tastes have changed both as individuals and as a couple. We are slowly choosing pieces together. This process consists of one secret board between Mike and I filled with all the things we have discovered and loved. The next piece of the process has been us chatting about what we love and what we don’t. It has been interesting in this first week as home owners. We have realized we own very little furniture and how we would rather keep it that way until we find the right pieces. Thankfully after almost 5 years of waiting for a space that is truly ours, we have saved up and kept lots of notes about pieces we love. Thus, the process of furnishing and making our house a home has begun.

More to come on the house, but for now I wanted to share a few things I have recently loved while discovering pieces for our own space. Find the links below.

1. Round Leather Wrapped Mirror from Rejuvenation 
2. Overdyed Rug from Carpet Vista
3. Brushstroke Pillow from Rebecca Atwood
4. Tillandsia Airplant from Garden in the City
5. Maison Louis Marie Candle from Steven Alan
6. Campaign Chair from World Market
7. Mid-century Side Table from Chairish

Happy Tuesday friends.

Why I Choose to Run

Why I run   |  The Fresh Exchange

Take it from me, a self-proclaimed, “I will never run distance” kind of person: I never thought that this was a post I would write. You may remember when I wrote about the lessons that becoming a runner had taught me. The response from all of you was so crazy that I felt like needed to open up even more to keep the conversation going. Your stories about trying to be a runner and finding peace and fulfillment in it were inspiring. So today I wanted to explain and SHOW you why I run. It has become important for my mental clarity and daily rhythm as a creative entrepreneur.

None of my past workout adventures have left me craving the intensity of sweat more than running. But when Mike and I read Born to Run  and decided to change our mindset and style of running, I felt ready to go back to the basics. I picked up a pair of minimalist running shoes, downloaded a running app and gathered my willingness for a new challenge. I began the journey of becoming a runner and started to enjoy the process more than I ever expected.

Why I run   |  The Fresh Exchange

What I never expected when beginning this journey was that it was indeed a journey. Each time in the past when I ran, it was  hard and forced. A mile was enough. With a new mindset and a shoe that let me connect and feel the ground beneath me, running became less about getting my sweat on and more about resetting each day. There is nothing more fulfilling when all you have to focus on is getting in the right rhythm, feeling your legs pull you forward and thinking about nothing more than how it feels when your body is doing what it is designed to do. There is a very basic and primal feeling to running that other workouts have never offered. You are reminded that you are meant to run and move like this when all is aligned.

Why I run   |  The Fresh Exchange

While being up north this summer, our runs have been longer, more purposeful and some of the most spectacular moments of the year. Many times when we head out, we take nothing but ourselves. We go for a drive and find a dead end road, orchard, dune or forest, then strap on our shoes. At that moment, we let go of all that’s behind us. We focus on our breathing, smell the summer air and watch the water flow freely. Sure we’re sweaty and our bodies are working, but after more than 100 miles in the last few months, running has become a release. I crave the sweat and the feeling of power when I conquer a hill. Plus, ending our three to five-mile runs by diving head first into Lake Michigan feels like nothing money can buy. It’s pure and refreshing. It makes it all that much more rewarding.

Why I run   |  The Fresh Exchange

Becoming a runner has made me realize a workout is not a checklist item. Instead, it’s a reward for a job well done and a positive moment during my day. Running has become part of my life just like my morning cup of coffee and smoothie. In the past, running was just a means to an end. The connection running gives me to the world outside of my work and beyond my computer can sometimes save my day, releasing stress and offering reward. Reaching goals that don’t pertain to work but leave you feeling and seeing results each day can give you confidence. Running keeps me sane when thinking about jumping off the cliff on a big idea. And I know if the idea fails, I can still succeed on the trail.

Why I run | The Fresh Exchange

So this fall I set a new goal: conquer a half marathon. It’s one I never thought I would set in my life. Actually, I remember saying to Mike, “I will never run a half marathon.” Hitting five to six miles a day at a solid 10 to 11-minute pace, I feel confident that this is attainable. I’m a little scared, but I know on the other side I will feel an accomplishment that only I can give myself. I don’t want this to be about pushing my limits, but about learning to enjoy the process of challenging myself.

Why I Run  |  The Fresh Exchange

I plan to conquer the half in November, so all my training and dune running will hopefully come in handy. I hope when I am running on the streets, I will remember how much fun it was to leap down a hill and navigate my way around the trees while dodging roots on the ground. Although I can’t end the half with a dip in Lake Michigan, I realize that just like life, running is a journey. It’s a journey that has different experiences that can only happen one step at a time. I am excited to cross the finish line and feel the confidence and strength that will pour through my sweat of accomplishment.

Why I Run  |  The Fresh Exchange

It’d be wonderful to hear more from you about running: have any of you finished a specific distance race? Do you have any guidance? Not only that, have you read Born to Run? What kind of shoes do you wear? How has running changed your perspective on life and working out? It’s all interesting to me. I never expected to fall so in love with something as this kind of workout, especially when I remember those days as a soccer player dealing with the “punishment” of running for two hours as a team. Funny how just a slight shift in perspective can make all the difference in life sometimes.

To find similar workout wear see these links:
Tank from Target  |  Sports Bra from Target  |  Leggings from Athleta  |  Shoes from New Balance

This story is brought to you by vapor-distilled Smartwater, who found unique inspiration for their water by looking up to the sky. We hope the change in perspective this piece offers will help inspire you.

Sailing Style

Sailing  Style  |  The Fresh Exchange

We have started settling back into Raleigh, but I wanted to share this sailing post today with y’all in order to inspire some adventures this weekend whether they be stylish or not. I am not going to lie that the warm days in Raleigh make me wish I could have the best of both worlds, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Sailing  Style  |  The Fresh Exchange

To be perfectly honest with you Mike and I shot this post in June. It was our first sail this summer and it was literally 55 degrees out on the water. It was very chilly, but the light and crisp air felt more like fall and less like summer at the time. So, I thought I would save it for September when cooler sailing days are a common occurrence for those living near the water in the fall.

Sailing  Style  |  The Fresh Exchange

Every time we go sailing, I am always the one jumping on the boat with a full wardrobe. I typically bring jeans, a sweater, a scarf, shorts, a bathing suit, a tshirt, a tank, sandals, and topsiders. You just never know what will happen out there and the water can either make your sail cooler or warmer depending on the wind, weather, and water temperature. Thus, I try to bring at least one of everything to cover my bases.

Sailing  Style  |  The Fresh Exchange

This time I was really glad I brought all my favorite chilly weather pieces such as my Bridge and Burn waxed cotton coat. Mike brought his Pendleton waxed cotton as well.

Sailing  Style  |  The Fresh Exchange

Sailing  Style  |  The Fresh Exchange

Not to mention I was glad to have a warm over layer. If you haven’t given one of Everlane’s boyfriend sweatshirts a try, I highly suggest it for fall. More coming on that in the coming weeks, but for real y’all, this sweatshirt has been a true staple in my closet since I got it last spring.

Sailing  Style  |  The Fresh Exchange

Sailing  Style  |  The Fresh Exchange

No matter how many times I go sailing I am always surprised by how important your wardrobe is to having a great experience. For those chillier days layering is a must. Mike always has layers on hand that are easy and relaxed to wear but still look good and sporty. I mean you are still kind of active, right?

Sailing  Style  |  The Fresh Exchange

For Mike, crossing the line between active life on the sail boat and staying warm has meant always having his Levi Commuter jeans on hand. He swears by the fit, strength of the fabric, and the whole “I can sweat in them and they don’t stink” thing. I am still not convinced of this, but I will let him roll with it :)

Sailing  Style  |  The Fresh Exchange

Sailing  Style  |  The Fresh Exchange

Footwear is the other big thing for Mike and me when we sail. You need shoes that don’t slip and let your feet breath. Mike is all about the canvas Vans with gum soles. For me I am all about my Sperry Topsiders or my Soludos. Both are meant for the boat life and keep me happy while we cruise around.

Sailing  Style  |  The Fresh Exchange

Though our attire during the summer months on the boat is much different, there is something about sailing this time of year on the water. I am so thankful for the time we got this summer to enjoy the water as much as we did so that being away from it won’t be as hard. Plus, these images are taking me back in all the right ways.

Sailing  Style  |  The Fresh Exchange

Happy Weekend friends. This week we have lots of exciting content coming. It’s been busy this week with getting settled but today we are fully back in the groove of life, which feels great.

Find all the items from this post below:

Megan:
Waxed Cotton Coat  |  Bridge & Burn
Sunnies  |  Rowley Eyewear
Scarf  |  FashionABLE
Sweatshirt  |  Everlane
Jeans  |  Gap
Topsiders  |  Sperry

Mike:
Sunnies  |  Ray Ban
Waxed Coat  |  Pendleton (similar)
Tshirt  |  Gap
Jeans  |  Levi’s
Shoes  |  Vans

Hanging Rock State Park

Hanging Rock State Park |  The Fresh Exchange

If you can’t tell by now, Mike and I really enjoy a good road trip. Over the last few years we have taken our able and willing Subaru Forester all over from northern Michigan, Raleigh, and New Orleans to Houston, Austin, and Dallas. In all the miles we have put on the road we have learned a lot of things about how to make the most of these times. It’s not only about arriving to the destination, but about creating fun and inspirational moments that you will remember forever. The beauty of America is the wide expanse and how diverse various regions are from vegetation to geology to culture. Go 250 miles in any direction, and I promise you will find a piece of our country that you have never seen before. It is a really exciting thing.

I have always felt that getting in a car offers an opportunity to see things you never would otherwise. When I was growing up, my parents didn’t always have the money to fly us for family trips (my first flight was when I was 13) so instead we would do 2-3 day road trips to visit family in Cape Cod or Florida. It was always fun and exciting.

When we did Mille Mitten we realized that you don’t always have to take the highway. Sometimes it’s more meaningful to take your time getting to your destination. This time we decided to make some fun pit stops along the way by using the app Roadtrippers. If you have not seen it, we highly suggest downloading it and using it on your next trip. It has made our goal of seeing and finding something new extremely possible.

Hanging Rock State Park |  The Fresh Exchange

Hanging Rock State Park |  The Fresh Exchange

This time we decided we wanted to see some of North Carolina. After we decided to make our move to Raleigh permanent, we knew we would need to make it a priority to find new places for adventures. We know North Carolina offers it’s own unique beauty. It was sad to let go of Lake Michigan, but we knew we could find new soul filling places in this state. Thus, I have been making a list of places to discover and explore. First on that list was Hanging Rock State Park.

Hanging Rock State Park |  The Fresh Exchange

Neither Mike or I have lived near the mountains, so first up on our list was to explore the Blue Ridge. I wanted to find an epic view and Hanging Rock offered that. On our trip down we drove from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Beckley, West Virginia (just north of the Virginia border) and stayed the night. We woke up and drove 2 hours south through the Appalachians and landed at Hanging Rock before coming into Raleigh.

Hanging Rock State Park |  The Fresh Exchange

The day was hazy, but not warm. It felt as if it was the first cool day in the mountains in quite a while. Everything was lush from a lot of rain and humidity, but the air had that first wave of fall on it. It was perfect. The mist rose above the edge of the mountains. By the time we reached Hanging Rock the mist was subsiding. We headed down to the waterfalls with the dogs and let them explore and have a good romp in the water to cool off after being stuffed in a car. They loved it and so did we.

While walking amongst the falls I felt really lucky to call this state our new home. I felt like I had truly come home. Have you ever felt that feeling? It is so magical and warming.

Hanging Rock State Park |  The Fresh Exchange

After the falls we put the dogs back in the car so we could hike to the epic hanging rock view. We were worried about letting them explore too much because of the cliffs. It is an environment they are not used to because it is different from northern Michigan.

Mike and I began the 1.3 mile hike up the mountain, which was absolutely one of the best hikes I have done in a while. It was rugged and really fun to leap between rocks and walk along the cliffs.

The rock formations along the wall were gorgeous. As someone who is incredibly in love with the Earth and how it was formed, I was loving the textures and colors coming from these formations. I just kept stopping to just take it all in (and catch my breath). Poor Mike thought I was crazy.

Hanging Rock State Park |  The Fresh Exchange

Hanging Rock State Park |  The Fresh Exchange

When we finally reached the top I felt overwhelmed by the beauty of North Carolina. The view was out of this world and may only be topped by our time in Cape Town when we hiked Lion’s Head. The colors were something only North Carolina can offer with the blue haze over the mountains, the lush green below, and the multi layered quartz under our feet. It was one of the most inspiring things I have seen this year.

Hanging Rock State Park |  The Fresh Exchange

We spent a solid hour just sitting and watching the view and letting it soak in that this is our new home. We get to enjoy this now, and we felt so happy about this choice we had made.

Hanging Rock State Park |  The Fresh Exchange

Hanging Rock State Park |  The Fresh Exchange

I realized while sitting and watching the light mist and fog roll through the valleys that life truly is a grand adventure. We may choose a path ourselves, but we never know where it will lead and what beauty will really lie on the otherside. No matter the sweat and struggle along the way the reward of that is sweet and beautiful when we follow our hearts.

Hanging Rock State Park |  The Fresh Exchange

Getting to see that view and experience such a gorgeous place only 2 hours north of Raleigh made me realize how intentional we must be about making life what we want. Each day we have choices about how stressed the day will make us and how we will live out where we find ourselves in life. It made Mike and I really begin to talk about our perspective on this new chapter in life. We set goals of spending more weekends getting out to new, beautiful places and focusing on enjoying the morning without urgency. It felt good to roll out of the mountains and into Raleigh with a clear head ready for this next stage of our journey.

Hanging Rock State Park |  The Fresh Exchange

I hope you an amazing Tuesday and are finding time for yourself these days heading into a new season. There is always opportunity to reset and change direction. We just have to make it happen, right?!