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Category: Southern Newlywed

There are some labels that I wear proudly, and being a bookworm is certainly one of them! One of my favorite questions to be asked is “what should I read?”, so you can imagine my delight when Emily assigned this post to me!
 

Whether you’re spending the part of the summer on your honeymoon on a tropical beach somewhere or hanging by the pool, these are some of my favorite summer reads! Enjoy!

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple. This book might be five years old, but it’s still at the top of the list when I’m asked for summer reading suggestions. It’s delightfully funny while still speaking to greater narratives such as family dynamics. It will make you fall in love with the quirky characters and have you looking at flights to Antarctica.

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. This is one of my most beloved books, and if I ever see it at a used bookstore, I immediately purchase it to pass along to friends. Written with warmth and humor as a series of letter, this is a touching story about the power of community in a seemingly dark season. After finishing this novel, I searched high and low for one as endearing as this one to no avail.

 

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. If you’re a fan of thrillers, this is the book for you! This novel is intense and full of twists and turns that will leave you as the reader wondering what happens next. Not to pat myself on the back, but I’m normally pretty good at predicting plot lines, and this one caught me by surprise in the best possible way!

 

Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life by Lara Casey. Our wonderful founder’s second book release at the end this month, and our team had the privilege of reading the final draft a few months ago. If you’re looking for encouragement and practical ways to embrace the season you’re in, look no further than Lara’s heartfelt words.

 

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner. This is the only book on the list that I haven’t read, but Amber just finished it on her vacation couldn’t stop singing its praises. She’s dropped it in the mail for me, and I’m already anticipating its arrival!

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. If you’re looking for a testament to how enthralling Hannah’s novel is, look no further than the fact that I experienced a pretty intense sunburn last summer after spending an entire afternoon with my nose in this book by the pool. The Nightingale is a beautifully written account of two French sisters–one in Paris, one in the countryside–during WWII and their account of surviving the Nazi occupation in their own ways.

 

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I admittedly had a hard time getting into this novel because of its post-apocalyptic nature, but I’m so grateful I pushed through. The story shifts between a fragile post-apocalyptic world and decades earlier, before the virus hits. The description does the most justice to St. John Mandel’s work: “At once terrible and tender, dark and hopeful, Station Eleven is a tragically beautiful novel that both mourns and mocks the things we cherish.” Find a friend to read this alongside because you will want to discuss it with someone when you’re finished!

 

Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. This novel might be categorized as young adult, but the storyline is about being an outsider, coping with loss in the midst of a horrible tragedy, and redefining what family looks like. It’s a quick read, even if you aren’t a fast reader, but even more importantly, it’s a powerful story about family, community and the power of love.

 

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. This book is immediately engrossing, which is quite surprising given that it is driven by character development and not based on twists and turns in the plot. This novel reminded me that all families have their own stories–some that are worth sharing and others that are better left unsaid. It’s a powerful story about love and family, death and heartbreak.

If you’re more of a magazine reader in the summer (and no judgment if you are!), look no further than some of our past issues of Southern Weddings from the SW Shop. Use the code SUMMERREADING through Friday, June 9th for 40% off Volume 5, Volume 6, and Volume 7.

 

Call me biased but these are some of the best magazines around! They’ll have you ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the beautiful images and stories in these pages while soaking up the sunshine! :)

 

I’d love to hear from you! Have you read any of the books I mentioned above, or do you have other recommendations to add to this list?

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
4 Comments
  1. avatar Kelly reply

    Yay! I love book recommendations! I just finished Save the Date by Jenny Jones and its an adorable quick read, and the setting is Charleston. Doesn’t get much cuter than a love story in Charleston. Highly recommend!

    • avatar Jess Metcalf reply

      Oh! I’m headed to the beach later this summer, and that sounds like a great one to add to my list! Thanks for the recommendation, Kelly! Xx!

  2. avatar Gloria dabolt reply

    I read several of those listed above: The knightingale, the Woman in Cabin 10, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. Liked all of them. Also enjoyed A Bridge Across the Ocean very much!
    The best book I have read in a long time is The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo. I could not put it down and it was all I could do not to read the end first! Please read it. Promise you won’t be disappointed. Check it out in Amazon and Barnes and Noble to get a quick overview So good. I may read it again! Also read A Man Called Ove but unlike most people I wasn’t very fond of it! I should give it another try! I really like southern authors and at this moment I can’t think of a single one!

    • avatar Jess Metcalf reply

      Gloria! What a joy to see your name here! :) I’ll have to add The Light We Lost to my list for the summer! Xx!

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I think it’s a bit dangerous to hold someone up as a “model wife” – after all, no one’s perfect. But for many people I know, that’s who Sarah Tucker is. Or, if we don’t want to use that term, let’s go with “beloved inspiration” :)

And for good reason – Sarah adores her husband and is not afraid to tell you about it. She’s smart, she’s stylish, she’s a great friend, a gracious hostess, and curates a welcoming home in Florida. It has been a joy to get to know her over the years, so if this is the first time you’ve made her introduction, I’m excited for you! Get ready to be inspired :)

Thanks to Shannon Kirsten for sharing these photos!

The couple: Sarah (33) and JB (35)
Years married: 7
The kiddos: John (4) and Wesley (2)

Tell us a little bit about yourselves. We live in an old colonial home in Palmetto. JB is a financial advisor for Edward Jones, and I’m currently a stay at home mom and blogger. We have two of the sweetest boys in the world and one Boston terrier puppy named Lola.
Tell us your love story in one sentence. I was five and he was seven when we first met, and we’ve pretty much been crushing on each other ever since.

Tell us a little bit about where you live. We bought our house in 2015. I honestly think this is our forever home. I love what our area has to offer, our family is close by, and our neighbors are the sweetest.
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Do you have any tips for blending your two styles? We had a long distance relationship until we were married, so we had no idea what living with one another entailed in the day-to-day sense. We lived abroad for the first two years of our marriage, in tiny apartments with zero style. When we moved back, I was excited to start collecting and decorating. JB is definitely the muscles behind anything I want to do, and he is a good sport about it all. He doesn’t care too much about style, but he does care about function. He has helped me make more practical decisions when it comes to design.

What is your favorite part of being married? Having someone to make the coffee ;) Just kidding…but that is nice! I just love JB. I love sharing my life with him, seeing things through his eyes, and sharing our joy and sorrows TOGETHER.

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? I love our sleeping porch. We have a sleeping porch swing bed, and I love sitting out there on cool nights with JB and watching the boys be silly.
What most makes your house feel like home? It’s imperfect, just like us. And that is part of what gives it its charm. Our house is a home people can love in, toddlers can be toddlers, and people can spill a glass of wine and no one is going to cry.

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? Our leather couches are the priciest pieces we’ve purchased. Everything else I save on. I love things with a bit of a history, and I prefer shopping at thrift/consignment stores and Goodwill for unique pieces. I also, of course, love Target! I get a ton of inspiration looking through Serena & Lily and Ballard Designs magazines, but rarely buy too much from either.

What is your favorite memory from your wedding? I loved walking down the aisle with my father, and seeing the smiliest JB at the end.
How do you remember your wedding in your home? (Pictures, mementos, etc.) We have pictures of our wedding on the walls and on our bedside table. We also have an oil painting that an artist did of one of Jessica Lorren’s photos.

Which item from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Our cast iron skillet.
Who cooks dinner? We often share in that. I’ll do the salad and sides, and he’ll grill the meat.

What’s your favorite place to find recipes? Real Simple’s Great Food Fast is my all-time favorite.
How does your family handle finances? Do you use a set budget? Finance is in JB’s wheelhouse, so he works the budget. We do talk about finances freely in our home, which I think is important.

What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? I pretty much force anyone within earshot to know what an amazing person he is.
Do you have children? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? Yes! We have two darling boys. We do hope to expand our family, but we shall see.
This year, our family is most excited about… Adding a new brother in-law AND a new sister in-law! They are the perfect additions to our family.

If you aren’t already a fan of Sarah’s blog, you’re in for a treat! You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook. Have a wonderful weekend friends!

emily Written with love by Emily
4 Comments
  1. avatar Stephanie Shaul reply

    This is such a beautiful, beautiful: curated but lived in! And I am all for gushing openly about how wonderful your husband is!!

  2. avatar Sarah Tucker – Exterior Paint Colors on a Colonial – Sarah Tucker reply

    […]  More of our home on Southern Weddings […]

  3. avatar Britt | Southern Mama Guide reply

    love love love sarah tucker!! her home is just gorgeous and i loved getting another peek! such a sweet family!!

    xo. britt

  4. avatar Rebecca Wilson reply

    Ahhhh…. the welcoming Red front door. Just the beginning that opens up to such great taste. Sarah’s style is a statement of warmth both personally and in design

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When I moved to the South ten years ago, I fell in love with the beautiful blooms and fresh veggies of the spring and summer seasons. I couldn’t wait to grow all this beauty for myself! I dove right in, but of course, it did not come easy. I’m excited to share some tips I’ve learned in my own backyard, through trial and error, as you set out to start your own first newlywed garden!

The type and scale of gardening that makes sense will largely depend on the space you have to work with. Here are my best recommendations for a few different scenarios…

If you have a small patio or balcony:

If you’re hoping to grow vegetables in containers, you’ll need six to eight hours of sun a day. If you’re in a more shady spot, look instead for plants and flowers that are fans of the shade. You can easily spot these at your home improvement store because they are under the tented areas of the outdoor area vs. the varieties in the open sun!

Recommended container-grown vegetables for a sunny patio: cherry tomatoes, peppers, herbs like basil and chives, lettuce, and radish.

Tip: Purchase soil bags labeled “potting soil” for container gardens. This soil is specially created to help retain water longer vs. traditional garden soil. Look for food-safe varieties if you are growing consumables.

If you have a yard:

If your new home has some room to grow, give square foot gardening a try. A gardening kit such as this one will be the perfect start to your first vegetable garden. My own first year of gardening, I started with two 4×4 kits and grew tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and peppers. Every year after, I’ve added a bed or two — and now have 10 beds with over 115 square feet of growing space! Yes, you could say I really enjoy this gardening hobby :)

Raised beds in Lara’s garden.

Cucumbers, carrots and green beans are favorites for canning! These are pickled veggies from Lara’s garden.

Wherever you decide to place your raised bed, make sure it’s near a water source so you can easily give your plants a drink.

Tip: If you are a DIY kind of gal, you can purchase untreated cedar wood planks at your local home improvement store and have them cut to create your own 4×4 raised bed (or any size configuration) for about half the cost of a kit.

If you are interested in growing flowers:

I tell friends the best flowers to grow are ones that are offered at your local home improvement store. The varieties will be specific to your growing area and more likely will thrive in your environment. While I love the look of sweet peas, they would never tolerate our warm Nashville springs and are much more suited for my friends in the north!

Hydrangeas are always a great Southern favorite and especially wonderful if you love the idea of cutting them for arrangements in vases in your home. Limelight Hydrangea grows well in sunny spots and produces dozens of branches of lime and white blooms. Come June, my home is brimming with vases of the branches!

I’ve also had great luck with zinnias and dahlias because they generally tolerate the hot summers and will bloom until the first frost in November.

Tip: For a better and longer investment, look for flowering plants that are listed as perennials so they will come back year after year.

The best part of gardening besides enjoying the fruits of your labor? Finding friends who enjoy it with you, too! Our founder, Lara Casey, and I love to chat all things garden.

If you’re eager for more gardening tips, Lara just wrote a great three-part gardening series on her blog that dives even deeper into this topic. From how to get started, to her favorite resources, and even a sample garden plan, you’ll find lots of growing tips over there.

Of course, if you’re looking for a place to track your garden growing wins and adventures, give my very own Joyful Garden Planner a try!

I’m so excited to see what you dig into this season in your own garden! Have a garden question you’d like answered? Drop it in the comments below. You can follow along with Lara’s garden adventures at @GraciesGarden and my own garden at @JoyfulGardenPlanner.

Written with love by Amber
2 Comments
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  1. avatar Jessica Peddicord reply

    This is exactly what I needed!! Thanks so much for sharing Amber!

  2. avatar Olivia reply

    This was so helpful! Me and my new hubby just moved to Southern California and I can’t wait to plant a garden! Thanks for sharing!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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