Monday words: Be you


How do you begin? What is your best advice? Extremely normal questions; ones we all ask either internally or verbally and maybe even long to verbalize to those we admire the most. There is never a clear answer to these questions, but if I were to be asked I would tell you two words….BE YOU! It is where you begin your journey; it is where you will find shelter; it is where you will find direction; it is where you will find comfort; it is where you will find confidence, and it is where you will find your voice.

As a business owner, creative, and blogger this is the only place I can find what I need on the tough days. When I feel unsure and when I feel empty, I go back to the beginning-back to being me. It is easy to lose ourselves in the hustle, the dreams, and the expectations.

It seems simple, yes, but we must be willing to accept that being ourselves is what we really want. We must be trusting enough to know that what we do, what we believe, what we see, and what we feel is all worthy of trust. This is the hard part. I never began being able to trust myself, but what I had was enough people who trusted me that over time, little-by-little, I began to see and trust.

Being a creative and spending each day carving your own path is not easy and no one else’s path will give you direction. Instead, you must make it by being you. Continue to challenge yourself; learn to trust yourself; learn to forgive yourself, and learn to listen to your gut.

This is my best advice and it always will be. I value the fact that no one wrote my path for me. I value the hard times of figuring it all out because I have learned to trust myself and who I am as a creative and where I will continue to push myself. You find your strength and you find your limits, but more importantly, along the way you will find confidence to be you.

Happy Monday my friends. Be you. Fly that freak flag and own it because no one else will. Stop chasing trends and playing it safe. You know what you want more than anything and you know where you are meant to go. Trust yourself enough to let it happen.

Image Taken by Michael Newsted  
Type by Megan Gilger

Oversleep This Weekend

Oversleep This Weekend  |  The Fresh Exchange

Sometimes you just need to let loose right?! This weekend I plan to enjoy the cool breeze coming in through the window and just linger a little longer in bed.

Today we are heading out to do a really fun shoot. This summer has been full of so many creative and fun ideas already, and I cannot wait to see what else is around the bend.

Here are some good reads for you to enjoy this weekend while you relax one morning in bed as the breeze blows in, the birds chirp outside, and you sip your coffee:

1. Are you reading Cocorrina? No!?! Well change that. Seriously this is hands down my favorite read on the web right now. She has killer taste and is majorly talented. Also she lives in Greece…come on…what isn’t to love?!

2. Have you ever made zucchini noodles? Yeah me either, but you bet I am going to try in order to make this recipe from Ashley Neese this weekend.

3. You know that I am most likely pouring a Skinny Dipper at least a few times this weekend, but if I need something a little different you can bet I will be mixing this cocktail up.

4. Normally I want nothing to do with DIY projects because I am terrible at them but these Indigo Dyed Placemats by Lovely Indeed look like something I might be able to pull off.

5. Everlane never fails to disappoint me, but the execution of the Langley Collection was spot on and also the tanks look like the perfect staple for layering as well.

Finally before we jump in to the weekend, I want to congratulate the 4 winners of our Ugmonk giveaway from last week. You will be hearing from Jeff very soon about choosing your items! Thanks to all 346 of you for entering!!! I’m so glad so many people loved and both discovered us and Jeff.

Grand Prize winner: Danielle Gogh

Winners of a print or tee: 
Seth Eckert
Amber Ward
Katie Hanson


4 Years

Forever - Four Years  |  The Fresh Exchange

Today marks four years of marriage. It has been four years since we said that we plan on spending forever together. Four years since we knew without a shadow of a doubt there was no better partner for us than each other. As the years are passing I no longer am able to see what life would have been like without each other because honestly the only life either of us can imagine is this one.

The adventures we have had both home and afar have made us better. They have made us come to terms with what matters most and have brought us to make decisions that focus on building a life that not only makes us happy, but better for those we love and those we work side-by-side with. We have together chosen a life that is about living fully, creating things that not only inspire us but others, and more importantly we have chosen to live a life of purpose. There are so many ways this life could have gone both together or separate, but to me I think we found the right path. The path that is spent together.

It used to be that I wondered what would have happened if we had never chosen life together, and lately I no longer can even imagine it. Every year I am blown away by how far we have come together. Marriage isn’t easy and working together is at times more difficult than I think we care to admit, but there is no way I would change one second of this journey we are on.

This 4th year of marriage involved adding more than four countries to our passports (including one new continent), nearly 100 flights, over 40,000 driven miles, one moving truck, a new employee, stitches, multiple hotels and Airbnbs, making new friends, saying goodbye to old friends, new driver’s licenses, a new car, multiple fights that made us stronger, a few drunk nights, a lot of tears, lots of late nights and too many early mornings,  taking on new habits good mostly, one shipping container, embracing a new city, lots of cuddling and laughing, becoming even more adult, purchasing a piece of land randomly, lots of sleepy late night convos, making a new home, tons of hugs, celebrating victories and dusting off after failures, one cleanse, and just enough days spent wandering and getting lost together.

All of those things make this year of marriage just as special as the last, and more importantly they make me look forward to every other year and the gifts that each year holds. I look forward to all the adventures ahead! I look forward to the quiet nights on a porch in North Carolina listening to the crickets and old records while we drink a cocktail together knowing that all that matters is that moment. I look forward to where we go next and to the breezy Sunday mornings drinking coffee with you. All of it is special and all of it because of you.

Here’s to 4x a million more years as us and all that we will dream and do together. Here’s to forever and ever.



Recipe – Simple Vegan Summer Fruit Crumble

Simple Vegan Fruit Crumble Recipe  |  The Fresh Exchange

Growing up with parents from Northern Michigan and then spending nearly every summer here meant that every dessert in the summer consisted of an in-season fruit crumble and freshly made vanilla ice cream. We would first begin with strawberries and rhubarb then we would move on to blueberries and peaches, eventually we would reach the crumble that was basically every fruit you could imagine piled high under a thin layer of crumbly crust.

To me there was nothing better than coming home after a day at the beach with the aroma of a homemade crumble dancing in the air. Sometimes I helped prepare it and  my mom or aunts would make it, but no matter what it was good. It was a staple that, as I have grown older, I still love. I always hold out for the summer so I can make a crumble with the fresh fruit that was picked that day.

Simple Vegan Fruit Crumble Recipe  |  The Fresh Exchange

The only problem is that as I have grown older I have become extremely conscious of what I am consuming each day; not because of weight but because of wanting to help my body feel the best it can inside and out. That being said for a period of time summer was disappointing because I had not figured out my own crumble recipe that fit a healthy lifestyle. So, last summer I set out on the journey of developing my own recipe that included ingredients that didn’t upset my stomach or leave me feeling as if I just ate something I needed to detox from. Now, this is my favorite dessert and one that has once again become a staple for our summer days this year.

Who thought your favorite dessert might be a smidge good for you? I didn’t, but I think this one is pretty close in my book.

Not to mention this is a great follow up to our Almond Milk recipe post because I am going to share how to take your leftover almonds from making your almond milk and reuse them in a recipe like this.

Simple Vegan Fruit Crumble Recipe  |  The Fresh Exchange

Enough fruit to line the bottom of your baking dish.
2/3 cups coconut oil
1/4 cup organic brown sugar (or any sugar of your choice)
1 fresh lemon
1 cup almond meal (recipe below), but you can use this kind as well
1 cup organic rolled oats (have also used steel cut and they worked well)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

So, here is the thing, you cannot mess a crumble up so before we even dig in just know this is a fun recipe to experiment with and make your own. It literally works with EVERY type of summer fruit you would bake with. I have used everything from berries to peaches to apples. All of it works so truly you can use whatever fresh baking fruit you have on hand that needs to be used up.

To begin, if you are making your own almond meal, I suggest prepping it at least 3 days after you make your almond milk as it does go bad quicker than the milk does.

After finishing making your almond milk take the leftover almonds and spread them evenly on to a large edged cookie sheet. Set your oven to 200 degrees. Once oven is warm let the almonds dry out. This takes between 2-3 hours depending on how much meal you have. If you are wanting to keep your meal raw you will want to use a dehydrator, but if you are okay with it being cooked at a low temp this is the easiest way. Once dried you can keep it in your fridge for about 2-3 weeks in a closed container or you can place it in your freezer and it should stay good for about 6 months.

Simple Vegan Fruit Crumble Recipe  |  The Fresh Exchange

Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Choose a dish that is oven proof and take a small amount of coconut oil and rub it inside of the pan to coat it evenly and create a non-stick barrier.

Wash, dry, and chop all of your fruit. I used various types of plums. I like to cover the bottom of my dish about 1-1.5 inches deep in fruit. Obviously you can do more or less, but I like a lot of fruit because it will cook down.

Once all of your fruit is in the dish and it is evenly lined, wash your lemon and zest the entire lemon over the fruit and then juice the entire lemon evenly over the fruit as well. Next add 1/4 cup of the brown sugar evenly on top of the fruit. I lightly toss the fruit within the dish to evenly coat the fruit at this point. If you are a perfectionist and like doing extra dishes you could also do this step in a seperate bowl. I personally like to use as few dishes as possible.

Simple Vegan Fruit Crumble Recipe  |  The Fresh Exchange

Next, grab a medium size bowl and combine the remaining ingredients: oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, almond meal, shredded coconut, and coconut oil. To combine I suggest using your hands, but you can also use a fork. Your fingers warm the coconut oil and help it to more evenly combine the ingredients to turn it in to a crumble. If you feel it feels a little dry you can add a little more oil, but I don’t like adding too much because the juices from the fruit will be absorbed by the oats while it cooks.

When you have developed a “crumble” evenly pour over top of the fruit in the baking dish. Once the crumble is evenly spread you can then place it in the middle of the oven for 50 minutes.

Simple Vegan Fruit Crumble Recipe  |  The Fresh Exchange

I like to check my crumble at the 30 or 40 minute mark. Some fruit reacts a little different to the heat than others, so it is hard to tell when it is cooked well enough. If you are seeing bubbling and the crumble looks as if it has absorbed quite a bit of liquid I usually pull it out.

Let the crumble cool for 15-20 minutes on the stovetop before serving. This means it will be warm, but not too hot that it melts all of the ice cream. Since, Mike and I don’t eat ice cream we have gotten in to coconut ice cream. We personally love Coconut Bliss when we want to indulge, which is what we have been eating this Summer with our crisp. A few spoonfuls goes a long way, which I love.

Simple Vegan Fruit Crumble Recipe  |  The Fresh Exchange

Hope you enjoy my favorite summer treat!! As always if you make the recipe please share it with us! We love seeing and hearing what you create.