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Sweet tea is a tradition in the South, and almost always the welcome refreshment at social gatherings.

For over 150 years, we’ve consumed this iced beverage of simple ingredients that has the unique ability to make any Southerner instantly feel at home. The first known recipe for sweet tea was printed in 1879 in a cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree, who was born in Texas.

My round-up of sweet teas include recipes we debuted earlier this summer in our Fruitful Summer series. You can still sign up for our newsletter here to receive the Fruitful Summer e-book, all about deepening your relationship with your partner this season.

Summer is not quite over, and these sweet tea recipes are worth a second look if you have not had the chance to try them yet! They’re all fun, fruity twists on the classic recipe. Today, I’m highlighting a new recipe to add to the line-up: Watermelon Sweet Iced Tea.

The key to this recipe is watermelon that has a sweet flavor. Personally, I find that organic watermelons tend to be sweeter and juicer than others. My favorite part of this recipe, besides how refreshing it is? The pink hue that the drink takes on, of course!

Find all of our fruity sweet tea recipes below!

Cheers to closing out summer sipping sweet tea in the shade with your sweetheart!

Written with love by Amber
1 Comment
  1. avatar Rebecca reply

    These are perfect. Going to make one each day with my day campers! Thanks for the sweet tea tips. :)

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Longtime readers know that we very rarely feature guest posts, since we prefer to talk to y’all directly! But when I read this post from our friend T.J. Mousetis a few months ago, it resonated with me deeply – probably because I couldn’t agree with him more! He graciously agreed to let me share here, and I hope his words will inspire you, too! – Emily

Brooke and I go on 3-5 walks a week. Our loops vary in distance and time; we choose one depending on the day. Our longest loop is about five miles and our shortest is around a mile. While walking, my amazing wife and I will talk about EVERYTHING.

We walk and talk, talk and walk. I wasn’t a big walker before I got married. I never saw a point of going on a walk unless it was utilitarian in nature. If I was walking to get a candy bar then it was TOTALLY worth it, but a walk to just walk – no thanks.

Then Brooke and I started going on them and I realized that something was happening as we walked together. First, I noticed that we were off our phones and away from screens so there weren’t any distractions. A distraction-free environment with someone is becoming more and more difficult in our society. Then, I noticed that our walks became about more than just chit chat. Our walks became a safe place for us to vent about frustrations in our life, dream about things we never said out loud, and open up about our struggles. Our walks became precious to us, and the more we go on them the more we open up and talk to each other. And the more we talk to each other, the stronger our marriage has become!

I sometimes feel like marriages fall in the crapper because of the “schedule” they get stuck in.

The schedule usually looks something like this: get up, go to work, come home from work, eat dinner, work on something else, watch TV, go to bed. Repeat five days a week.

There are times in that schedule to talk, but they are either rushed or full of distractions. I’ve found that a simple walk eliminates all of that and gives you the ability to be a little more open, a little more real, and a little more honest. The longer you spend distraction-free with your spouse, the more likely you are to get to a real issue, problem, or idea.

Last night, Brooke read something online that really frustrated her and was feeling “swirly.” Feeling swirly is the worst. It can really only be described by this emoji: 🌀. So, I got June ready, and we went on a walk. As we walked, she begin to express why what she read got to her, and by the time we got home, she was totally over it. Surprisingly, on the walk I didn’t do much talking about the issue and just tried to listen, which is really hard for me. I LOVE TALKING! But, Brooke just needed to talk, and if we stayed home, she probably wouldn’t have gotten to the truth of the issue that she needed to get to. That would have lead to a whole night of swirliness, and that is THE WORST!

Sometimes we expect really profound things to change our marriages. We look for the Hail Mary when working the ball slowly up the field will do. A walk is just that. It isn’t glamorous, but it works. It provides a distraction-free space to be open, honest, and real. Isn’t that what we wanted when we got married? Someone to be open, honest, and real with? Let’s start giving ourselves the space to do that, and let’s start with a few more walks!

T.J. Mousetis is the owner of Walk in Love. You can follow along with him on his blog and on Instagram! Big hugs to Caroline Ro for these engagement photos (which are not actually of T.J. and Brooke, though they are lovely :)) See more on our Facebook!

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Nicole reply

    I LOVE this! Some studies suggest that physical activity like walking makes people more likely to share things they otherwise wouldn’t have :)

  2. avatar Tricia reply

    I love this article! Taylor and I take our dogs on walks about 3-5 days a week as well, depending on the weather and how our days go. We often take the dogs to the beach on Saturday mornings right as the sun comes up so it’s even more peaceful, and this is where some of our greatest conversations take place.
    PS* – we love that our pictures are featured here! That day was another “walk on the beach” and thankfully, Caroline Ro made it so easy to be ourselves and enjoy the session.

  3. avatar Sally K reply

    Who is that adorable couple?

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Today’s Southern Newlywed post felt a lot like getting together with a friend to catch up over coffee…and for good reason! Y’all may remember Meredith from the wedding planning series she guest posted for us while she was working as Lara’s nanny a few years ago, or from her and Beau’s gorgeous Florida wedding. Well, shortly after said wedding, these two moved a short drive away from their venue and settled into newlywed life in beautiful Rosemary Beach. It was so much fun to hear from them now that they’re two years into marriage, and to get a peek at their cozy, beachy home!

Thank you so much to Dear Wesleyann for capturing these photos!

The couple Meredith (25) and Beau (25)
Years married: Two years as of 7/11–yay!
Where you live We live in between Destin and Panama City Beach, Florida on a little 18-mile strip along the Gulf called Highway 30A.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Beau and I are originally from Norman, Oklahoma. We grew up there, but after we got married, we moved to Florida two years ago this past 4th of July. When people ask us how or why we came this way, it’s hard for me to explain. It just all sort of happened, and that’s kind of how our life goes! We take big leaps of faith prior to having a place to land, and the Lord is always faithful. We currently own and run three growing businesses: Beau has his hands in real estate, and I have my hands full-time in our vacation rental company, Benchmark30A, and work part-time growing a business with Rodan + Fields. These things definitely keep our plate full, but it is exciting to see the fruits of our labor come to fruition over time. We have been blessed with an amazing community of friends down here on 30A, which has been such a sweet gift, since both of our families still live in Oklahoma. We have lived in our new home on 30A for almost eight months, and it has been such a joy to make it feel like a home. We hope you enjoy a peek inside!
Tell us your love story in one sentence. High school sweethearts fall deeply in love senior year, choose long distance for three years, separate for one year, come back together spring of senior year of college, get engaged six months later, married six months after that, and move to the beach! (Find the unabridged version here.)

Do you rent or own? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? Tell us a little bit about where you live. We own a sweet little triplex (like a duplex, but three) unit in north “Prominence” on 30A. It’s about four miles west of where we said “I do!” in a town called Rosemary Beach, and is walking distance from “The Hub,” a new development that has some fun restaurants, shops, and live music almost every night. It also has a mega-screen, so in the fall, it’s the best place to watch football with our friends! Trying to pinpoint our plans and dreams is slightly comical to think about, because I don’t think either of us could have ever guessed we would be where we are today: running three businesses of our own (none of which relate to our education), and living at the beach almost 1000 miles from where we had always called home. But God knew, and that’s all that matters! But, if I were to take a moment to dream, I would hope to start a family here, build a home on some sort of water, and continue to grow in community. Our area is filled with some of the most peaceful waterfront areas (Gulf, Dune Lakes, Bay), so it seems silly to not take advantage of the beauty!
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Do you have any tips for blending your two styles? Moving in together was a lot of fun. When we first got married, we were knee-deep in the process of flipping a condo. When we moved in, we didn’t have any countertops, a sink, or finished tiling, and definitely were without furnishings. But, it was a fun process, and we did it together. During that process, we quickly learned three things: I tend to lean towards a lighter style, Beau tends to lean towards a darker style, and we both wanted something nice and home-y. When combining our styles, we picked darker wood floors and wood accents to contrast with my lighter choices of furniture, but ultimately, Beau knew that making a house a home was something that brought me a lot of joy, and he wanted me to have fun with the process–it was sweet.

What is your favorite part of being married? Morning coffee time, hands down. It was the thing I looked forward to most before we got married, and it is the thing we still cherish most each day. We were long distance for the majority of our relationship, so we never got to experience the simple joys of dating in person. Getting to wake up with Beau, grab some coffee, and set aside some time to pray and talk together each morning is the best.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? There are so many surprises–ha! You think you know your spouse after dating for five years, but then you live together, and it opens up a whole new can of worms! For instance, I had no idea that Beau was slightly obsessive about his teeth…brushing, whitening, mouth wash, etc.?! But, in all seriousness, I think I had this slight fear of the unknown with marriage. I knew what I hoped for, but the world often tells you of all the hardships, breaks, and struggles, and that you need to prepare, or else! But marriage has been such a blessing. It refines you, restores you, and brings so much joy. Beau is my best friend. Every day is different and just plain fun :)

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? What are some of your favorite sources for home things? Since we live in a vacation area, a lot of people sell homes fully furnished. So, when we left our first condo, we left everything and had to start over from scratch–yikes! Because of that, the furnishing process was a little harder than usual. We wanted to fill all the rooms, but we also wanted to stay within budget. To help with this, we waited for big holiday sales, had two items that were gifted from both of our parents (such a huge help and very generous), and would search furniture sites that made items that looked like the fancy stuff, but at a much better price tag. Some of my favorites are Birch Lane, Wayfair, Overstock, Joss & Main, and Home Decorators!

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? We registered for some great Juliska dishes from a local boutique back home that we use daily. I love all my dishes, but specifically, the “pasta bowls” are something that I definitely want more of…they’re a great depth and width (like a plate with sides) so you can use them for more than just pasta! I also love our Le Cadeaux plastic glasses and our Cuisinart blender–they’re all used daily!
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? We rotate through some easy ones pretty frequently. The crockpot is my best friend, so we do taco bowls with crockpot chicken fajita meat often! We also love an easy meat and veggie combo: steaks, pork chops, and bun-less burgers with brussels sprouts or green beans are other go-tos!
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? I don’t really have a particular blog or cookbook that I go to regularly. We try (keyword, try!) to eat a paleo diet as much as possible, so when I search, it will often be “paleo (fill-in-the-blank).” I follow PaleOMG and Lexi’s Clean Kitchen on Instagram, does that count?!

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? Oh, dear. This is something we are still working on, and something that has taken some definite trial and error. Our businesses are so intertwined, so it has taken intentional effort to try and separate marriage from work, and even life from work. In the process, we have come to realize which (work-related) conversations will work best with me stepping out of them, and which are best discussed between just the two of us as a husband listening to a wife, or vice versa. Although this is something we are still working on (tips welcomed!), it is really sweet to work with your best friend who understands your job through and through, can celebrate the progress with you, and pray with you in the times of uncertainty. But at the end of the day, he is my husband first, and I am his wife, and that is our main priority–the rest pales in comparison.
How does your family handle finances? Do you use a set budget? When it comes to budgeting, neither of us is naturally skilled with finances, and we recognize that. I am the more detail-oriented person between the two of us, so it was quickly decided that I would manage the finances. To help with this, we have taken a financial class as a couple through our church, sought counsel from people who have similar professions, looked into some books that could help us, and often have to reach out to our amazing accountant with any questions we may have. The thing we struggled with most in the beginning is that neither of our incomes is a set amount. They are constantly changing, and in a town run on tourism, our spring/summer far outweighs the rest of the year. So, we make sure to save accordingly, never suppress a generous thought, and always, without question, give 10 percent of our increase back to God.

What most makes your house feel like home? Definitely pictures of family and friends and wall decor. When we first moved in and all the walls were blank, it just felt empty and a little bit cold, lacking life. But, once we hung items, it really made a difference!
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? To be honest, that day was slightly a blur! All the pretty details and things were displayed, and when I look back at pictures, I can picture seeing some of those things around…but honestly, the best part was the experience of both of our worlds colliding for a night. We were long distance, so my friends had never met his friends, and vice versa, and it was a sweet experience to spend a weekend celebrating with all of our favorite people!
How do you remember your wedding in your home? (Pictures, mementos, etc.) I’m sure it’s a combination of the fact that we are newlyweds and that our wedding day was such a sweet day for us, but I have items everywhere! Pictures, paintings, guest signings, and even our wedding invitation framed on display (I loved it so much)!

Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… Beau: Marriage will refine you and bring forth any and all selfish tendencies you may have had as a single person prior to marriage. Before, every decision you made was based on your own thoughts or opinions. When you get married, it’s no longer about me or the decisions I will make, but us and the decisions we will make. Seek God to help you to be selfless in all your actions and words. Meredith: It’s okay to not be prepared or perfect prior to marriage. I was so concerned with the fact that we were long distance, and that maybe we weren’t getting adequate education or preparation for what was ahead. Is preparation great–yes! But will you ever be perfectly prepared for what lies ahead–no. And that’s completely okay. Seek God, give grace, and choose love.
This year, our family is most excited about… Beau: Seeing the fruit of our hard work over the past years come to fruition in our businesses has been really exciting–we look forward to what’s to come! Meredith: A vacation :) Somewhere all-inclusive with lots of chips and guac!

Thank you so much for sharing your hearts and home with us, Meredith and Beau! We miss y’all!

A little reminder: we’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – not just folks who write blogs (though we love them, too!), but also your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Vicky reply

    This is seriously the cutest place! We have a similar color scheme and style in our home. It just gave me some great ideas and some inspiration. :) Thanks for sharing!

  2. avatar Elizabeth reply

    LOVE Meredith and Beau’s decorating style! Their home is gorgeous. <3

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