Confessions of An Affiliate Flop

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Have you ever participated in an affiliate program? Or maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m over at Allume today sharing some lessons I’ve learned from my less than favorable experiences with affiliates.

I’d love for you to hop over & join in on the conversation.

A Picnic on the Beach

beach picnic cousins

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably noticed that our family spent some time together at the beach last week. Once a year, we make the trek to South Carolina to spend time with some family, relax & enjoy the ocean air. My parents generously provide the accommodations and we provide the chaos!

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beach picnic tygar

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beach picinic wave watching

During the day we do our own thing. We spend some time at the beach & the pool & sometimes participate in a random activity offered by the resort. But we always meet up together for dinner & the adults take turns making the menu & preparing the meal.

This year I had a grand idea – let’s have a picnic dinner on the beach! Hot dogs & chips & carrot sticks & lemonade & s’mores.  Easy, right? I guess the meal itself wasn’t grand, just the location. It was something we hadn’t done before in all our years of gathering at the beach.

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Here’s why it seemed like a grand idea at the time, at least in my mind:

1. The grandparents can spend time with the kids without the crazy midday beach crowd & overwhelming heat.

2. For me, the photography nerd, it’s twilight hour – the perfect time for photos.

3. Eden & Stone could fly their kites that they have been saving since they received them as Christmas gifts without the fear of crashing them into someone sunbathing.

4. The relaxing ocean breeze & cool sand.

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beach picnic crazy eden

What I didn’t take into consideration when I had my grand idea to have a picnic dinner on the beach:

1. The amount of stuff you need to trek down for a picnic on the beach for all 9 of us – chairs, blankets, beverages, condiments for hot dogs, a hammer {to crack a coconut, of course!} a camera & a tripod {for the family group pictures & twilight hour photos, of course!}

2. The wind – yes, the wind was PERFECT for flying kites! but not so perfect for trying to spread condiments on hot dogs.

3. Even though I’ve done this before & I’ve read about the perfect settings for my camera during twilight hour, I still manage to forget all I’ve learned when I start clicking. I decided to not let it fluster me this time and just take pictures. Some came out with the right exposure, some didn’t. Oh well.

beach picnic G&C
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The kids didn’t care that they had to eat their dinner in stages because there was no possible way to eat off of a paper plate in that crazy wind. They grabbed the hot dog bun, slapped on a hot dog & their favorite condiment and walked around in the sand and the wind and enjoyed every bite of that hot dog! Even if it had a few grains of sand in there.

beach picnic full moon

When the week comes to an end, to help ease the pain of driving away from the beach, we talk about our favorite things that happened that week.

Guess what? This year, the hot dog picnic dinner on the beach was one of their favorite things.

Sometimes, as adults, what we perceive as an inconvenience can become a lifelong memory for your kid.

Here’s to more “inconveniences” this summer!

Pass the mustard!

 

inconvenience

TFIOS

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Have you read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green?

I finished it in a weekend so obviously it is a quick read, but the content is not quick.

Skimming back through the pages, I realized that I had highlighted several sentences & even paragraphs. This is a novel that I will return to & savor the words.

As I read TFIOS, I found myself wishing I could be as articulate with my spoken words {& even how I write sometimes} as the main characters in this book. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be one who was quick witted. My witty come back comments come to me the next day, way to late to mean anything except maybe to me. Sidebar :: Makes me think of a line from the Pride & Prejudice movie {2005} when Elizabeth {Keira Knightley} says to Mr. Darcy {Matthew MacFadyen}, “Perhaps you should take your aunt’s advice and practice?”. Touché Caroline.

I had to remind myself {several times} that I was reading the words of teenagers thoughtfully brought to life through the written word of John Green {the 36 year old author}. Hazel Grace Lancaster {16} & Augustus Waters {17} are mature beyond their years because of their present circumstances.

A few examples of their thoughtfully eloquent words that I highlighted:

Hazel Grace – “The weird thing about houses is that they almost always look like nothing is happening inside of them, even though they contain most of our lives.”

Hazel Grace – “You gave me a forever within the numbered days and I’m grateful.”

Gus – “My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.”

Van Houten – “Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.” {technically, this character is not a teenager, but he acts like a spoiled rotten one!}

Gus – “The real heroes anyway aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention.”

Gus – “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.”

With just a few examples you can see why so many young adult fiction fans have been swooned. Those of us who love fiction {myself included} tend to allow some unrealistic expectations seep into our daily lives looking for the swoon.

As with any fictional writing, allow yourself be drawn into TFIOS story. Be swooned.

Fall in love with Hazel Grace Lancaster & Augustus Waters.

Laugh.

Cry.

Gasp out loud & grab the tissue box for extra tissues or to throw it across the room, depending on how you feel about the way it ended…

Then put the book down & take a walk.

Savor the words & moments that spoke to you.

Leave the unrealistic expectations inside the pages of the book {or inside the movie theater}.

“Okay? Okay.”

If you read the book or will see the movie, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below {let’s try to keep them spoiler-free for those that haven’t read/seen it yet}.

Let’s Talk About Blog Ads

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Today I have the opportunity to share a few things that I have learned about Blog Ads with the Allume community. I’d love for you to stop by!

Have a great Wednesday!

Commend

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Commend :: praise formally or officially; entrust someone or something to;

What does the next generation hear you saying?

What I Learned in May

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1. The month of May went by incredibly TOO FAST. It was April. I blinked & today is May 30. Goodness gracious. Anyone else?

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2. The winter lasted so long here that my peonies haven’t bloomed yet. Come on beauties!

3. This one may scare some of you away and you may never come back again. I learned that sleep study tests are not glamorous. At all. I found out last month that I may have sleep apnea so my doctor told me to see a pulmonary doctor & have a sleep study test. After talking to a friend who had a sleep study test, I felt somewhat prepared for what was about to happen but I was fairly certain I was going to be able to fall asleep just fine in a bed all to myself for one night. Oh boy, was I wrong.

Ready for my 2am sleep study selfie?

sleep study selfie

I can’t believe I’m sharing this with the internet forever.

It was part of my month of May and it was incredibly humbling and I may be the first person in the history of sleep study tests to fail because I COULDN’T SLEEP.  I was there from 8:45 pm until 6:00 am. It took at least 45 minutes for me to get hooked up so I was finally ready to fall asleep by maybe 10:00 pm. The facility & the technician were great. The room was nice & comfy, like a nice hotel room.

3 reasons I couldn’t sleep: 1) see the picture above {sorry I made you look at that again!}  2) the room was too quiet. I am a mother of four and I am married so I am normally sleeping next to Greg. I’m used to the night noises that come with my house & neighborhood. I’m not used to complete silence. Maybe I should have brought a recording of Greg breathing to help me fall asleep? 3) I was on camera. Every sound & movement was being recorded. I tried to push that out of my mind. I tried to push it all out of my mind.

Enough about my sleep test. Maybe next month I’ll be able to tell you if you can fail a sleep test after I get my results in a few weeks. To be continued…

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5. Joon {our 1984 CJ7} is sick. She has a crack in her engine block because of the harsh winter we had here in Chicagoland & she needs a new engine. {insert a sad face or my sleep test selfie – they’re one in the same for me} To be continued…

6. I love grilling season! I marinade, Greg grills. If the weather is nice, we’re grilling. Our favorites: smoked salmon, ginger & cilantro grilled chicken, filet mignon, grilled pineapple slices, roasted red potatoes, shrimp kabobs…I could go on & on. We love to grill. Have a favorite grilling recipe? Please share it with us!

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7. Driving home from the sleep study test {sorry to bring that up again} I had to stop on the side of the road and make sure I captured this scene & to double check that I wasn’t asleep even though the scene was dreamlike. I am partial to sunsets but this sunrise was stunning. How often do you get a chance to catch the sunrise and really pay attention to the day dawning? I know for the most part it’s an accident that I see the sunrise. I’m always looking for the sunset but I should always be looking for the sunrise as well.

teselle kids may 2014

8. Greg and I are extremely proud of our kids & how they have finished strong this school year. As their mom, the emotions are high as I look at these pictures. I would love to bottle them up and freeze time because I know I’ll blink and it will be 11 years from now & Eden will be graduating from high school. 11 years. Whoa.

What did you learn in May?

Be sure to read more What I Learned in May posts from Emily & her community over at Chatting at the Sky.

Road Trip Playlist Summer 2014 Edition

summer 2014 roadtrip playlist

Ready for a Road Trip this summer?? Here’s my latest {family friendly} playlist!

If you’re a fan of American Idol, Nashville, Grey’s Anatomy & Dancing with the Stars, you’ll notice a few familiar tunes.

Enjoy!

{if you’re reading this in an email or on a mobile device, find a computer to listen to the Grooveshark player below or click here}.

Summer 2014 by Caroline TeSelle on Grooveshark

Ain’t It Fun :: Paramore
A Sky Full of Stars :: Coldplay
Animals :: Martin Garrix
Where Does the Good Go :: Tegan and Sara {this is my Grey’s Anatomy shout out to Christina & Meredith! Friends that “dance it out” together are “my people”!}
Let it Be Me :: Ray LaMontagne
Feel So Close :: Calvin Harris
Human :: Christina Perri
I Ain’t Leaving Without Your Love :: Nashville Cast feat. Sam Palladio, Chaley Rose & Jonathan Jackson {Season 2 Vol. 2}
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) :: The Proclaimers {every playlist needs a throwback classic & this is perfect for summer road trips!}
All of Me :: John Legend
Joy Parade :: Nashville Cast feat. Lennon & Maisy {Season 2 Vol. 2}

The following are not available on Grooveshark yet:

We Are One :: Jena Irene {American Idol Season 13 Runner Up, but in my mind should have been the winner!}
Love Someone :: Jason Mraz

 

Dancing with the Stars is the reason the Calvin Harris song made it into this playlist. I wanted to show you the video of Meryl & Maks dancing the tango to this song but embedding the video made my blog all wonky so promise me that you’ll click here to see the video. Take my word for it, you’ll want to watch it! {I’ll wait while you watch it…..see! You want to grab your man and learn the tango, am I right??}

This was the first time for me to watch Dancing with the Stars for the entire season. I wanted to watch Candace Cameron Bure & Danika McKeller but as each episode aired, I was blown away by Amy Purdy! Then every time Meryl Davis & her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy danced? Goodness gracious! Mesmerizing. The video above was one of my favorites. Who am I kidding? They were all my favorites!

Have any tunes you’re loving right now that you’d add to the Summer 2014 playlist?

What I Learned in April

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1. Goldfish can survive by eating saltines. – Every year our kids win goldfish at the school fun fair. Every year I grab some fish food at the grocery store. Every year the goldfish die within a few days of coming home with us. I clean their bowl. I give them fish flakes. They die.  This year I decided I wasn’t going to do what I normally do & grabbed the first thing in my pantry that I figured those little guys could digest – saltine crackers! Guess what? They didn’t die right away! Those little suckers lived for almost a month.

 

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2. Francine Rivers has a new book out! Bridge to Haven – can’t wait to read it!

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3. I love the smell of lavender + lemon. This particular candle {I found it at Target} smells like fresh air & cotton candy. The only downside about this particular candle is the wick burns out way before the wax is gone. {insert sad face}

4. Vinyasa Yoga is intense. Did you know there were different kinds of yoga? That’s what I learned this month. Vinyasa Yoga isn’t Hot Yoga but for me, any temperature above 80 degrees is hot! So my first experience with Vinyasa Yoga {where the temperature ranges from 80-85 degrees for a detoxifying effect} was intense & most certainly detoxifying. I sweat when I’m sitting in any 80+ degree environment, so put me in a room with 40 other sweaty people AND we’re doing yoga poses! I was a sweaty mess & sliding all over my mat by the end! Intense, but I can see why so many people love it. I have to give it a few more attempts before I can give you my full opinion. My favorite part was the end. The pose where you lay completely still for a few minutes. It’s called Shavasana, also known as the “corpse pose”. I think I’ll go practice the corpse pose now.

shavasana{source}

 

5. The state of Illinois took our word of the year! Whoa! {video above}

6.  Our new favorite show to watch as a family is Flip or Flop on HGTV. Do you watch it?

7. Wrigley’s Field. Wrigley’s gum. Never made the connection until I glanced at the address on the gum packet the other day…#duh Clearly I haven’t lived in Chicagoland long enough!

8. Breathe right strips can save marriages. Or at least allow your husband to be well rested…

 Be sure to read more What I Learned in April posts from Emily & her community over at Chatting at the Sky.

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And now I get to announce the winner of Myquillyn’s book The Nesting Place! The randomly picked winner is Lorin!  Congratuations Lorin! You’ll receive an email from me shortly!

Everyone else that didn’t win? Put this book in your cart and bring it home with you. Or have your mailman deliver it to you. Your home & heart will say:

“I’m home.”

 

My Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Buy Myquillyn’s Book

The Nesting Place - It Doesn't Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful

My friend wrote a book. I am 100% biased because she is my friend. A dear heart friend. Her friendship has taught me so much but one of the biggest? Letting go of pleasing people. It has been a life long struggle for me & she has given me permission to let that go through her friendship & through the words in this book. Myquillyn, thank you.

This book, is available to purchase & is appearing on bookshelves in bookstores across the country {the official release date is tomorrow!}. Go buy one. Or two. Grab one as a gift for your mother or mother-in-law or friend or teacher or neighbor. Your house & heart will be blessed.

Toss that friendship bias out the window and pay attention now…here are my

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Buy Myquillyn’s Book:

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10. The photographs – every single one! Myquillyn took them! How many design books do you know of that the author took the photographs? So, if you hate to read & love to look at the pictures in a book, this book is perfect for you! {but I hope you read it too!} Myquillyn states in the book, “If we feel bad after looking at a pretty photo, then we are looking at it all wrong.” {page 44} Watch out – your perfect world is gonna get rattled!

9. The cover photo has a plastic dinosaur & a covered chair with strings hanging off the bottom. The strings might drive perfect people crazy. If you struggle with perfection – buy the book for therapy.

8. Have you moved more than once in your lifetime? {I’m raising my hand – 11 times in 17 years}. Chapter 2 is for you.

7. You can be connected to Compassion International with a quick scan from your smart phone. Her sweet story about visiting Topiwo’s home in Tanzania is breathtaking & life changing & brings me to tears. every. single. time.

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6. On page 51, she gives you permission to rest. Amen.

5. What are the signs of life in your home? {page 56} Every home should have them.

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4. This book makes an imperfect home feel like home. {I purposely did not crop out the broom in the corner or the box of allergy pills or the towel that’s been sitting on the ledge to soak up leaks on rainy days when I forget to put the towel there…}

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3. This is a book that your husband will enjoy reading too!

the_smiths2. We love her and her family – you will too after reading this book!

1. Your view of striving for perfection will be turned upside down. Aren’t you ready to let that perfection go? I’ll answer that for you…Yes! “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”

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If you want to order the book & learn more about it, go here.

Guess what? I bought an extra copy to Giveaway! Leave a comment below & I’ll pick a random winner sometime this week!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED! WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED HERE!

When Words Fail

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I have been writing on this blog since 2007, with the main purpose for it to be a place of encouragement & a reflection of the life I’m living portrayed through my photographs and my writing.

I know this is silly but as an encourager, when I fail to find words of encouragement to share with you, I feel guilty.

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What I have learned along the way is when life is hard and full of Whoa’s and it’s difficult to dig deep & be an encourager with my words, I listen to the beauty of the art I see around me.

Sometimes I try to capture that beauty with my camera or on Instagram. Sometimes I grab my journal or write about it here.

Either way – I listen and I let go of that guilt.

peach

Can I encourage you to listen today? What do you hear?

* flower arrangement: Petal Play Design