pinterest instagram bloglovin

// My Nightstand Essentials: Nights with a Newborn

Having a new baby means getting up at all hours of the night... and sometimes it means staying up. Luckily for us Linden is normally really good at night. While he won't sleep 7 or 8 hours like some babies his age, normally he wakes up long enough to eat and then it's right back to dreamland. Sometimes he'll simply dreamfeed and not even open his eyes at all. But since he suffers from a pretty gnarly case of reflux, we have to hold him upright for at least a half hour after he's done eating. This kid can put away a solid 3 ounces in just 10 minutes, but that half hour still lingers for me and Mike to stay awake. Normally Mike and I alternate feeds. We'll take turns which is really really nice. But nursing school is tough and demanding and sometimes I know he has a really big test the next day so I'll be sneaky and do all three night feeds myself. Those are the nights I stock up my little shelf to the side of my bed and I catch up on a few of my favorite blogs while Linden rests on my chest. I thought I'd share my little "go to" items for when I know it's going to be a long night.

for nights with a newborn

+ Ice water + Graze snacks:  Being up for an hour at a time, three times per night can get exhausting. And it makes me thirsty/hungry. Since I can't really go whip myself up a big ol' meal at 2am, I like to have a couple of my Graze snacks set aside with a bottle of water for when I'm feeling a bit munchy. Seriously, these Graze snacks have been a heaven send for the newborn phase. Not just during the night. This kiddo doesn't let me eat very many full meals haha! I find myself snacking on them throughout the day as I bounce around the house with him in his wrap, too.

+ Extra pacifier: I've learned my lesson a few times too many... You can never have too many spare pacifiers. Linden likes to shimmy his tiny little fingers behind the pacifier and sling it into the air when he's ready for you to know he's awake. This means a lot of dusty, dirty pacifiers in the middle of the night. I always have one or two spare ones on my side shelf. If I don't let him get to the crying stage, he's a lot more likely to go right back to sleep. Gotta be prepared!

+ Tablet: Mike has been using our Acer tablet (c/o Intel Tablets) for the past few weeks and he brings it to bed with him each night to study for his Pharmacology class when it's his turn to feed/hold the baby. Since we alternate feeds and he snoozes while I deal with Linden, I often grab it and catch up on some blogs or social media. Toby normally has our iPad in his room since he earns screen time, so I've been getting to know the Android tablet. If Linden is totally passed out, I'll watch a little bit of Netflix to help pass the sit-up time until I can put him down to sleep. My favorite apps to use are pretty standard: Echofon, Instagram, Bloglovin, and Solitaire. (Solitaire gets me through a lot of nights!)

+ iPhone: Ever since Linden was born, I have kept up with every single feed, diaper change, and dose of medicine in my Baby Feed app. This app is amazing! I cannot say enough good things about it. It might seem a bit overkill to keep up with everything to the extent that I do, but it helps me track just how much food Linden is getting, and what might be causing the reactions that he has. Since he has reflux and a milk allergy, it's important for us to know exactly how many poopy diapers he has and when we last gave him his dose of this that or the other. I also use it to track his pediatrician visits and I keep up with his prescriptions, weight gain, and all that important stuff. It's not available via the Google Play store so I always have my iPhone by my side. The best part about the app? You can synchronize multiple devices so if Mike is up in the middle of the night feeding or changing him, he can put in that info and it'll automatically update on my phone, too.

For all of you past and present infant mamas, what are your midnight essentials?

#spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship between our site and Intel. This could include the Intel Corporation providing us w/
content, product, access or other forms of payment. (Acer tablet c/o Intel - no other compensation was provided)

// First Day of Fall

Yesterday Mike and I were able to sneak away for a few short hours to enjoy lunch and a movie together. It's sort of become a new Sunday tradition as of late. My parents love getting some quality kid time and we enjoy a nice little reprieve. We ended up seeing This is Where I Leave You and we loved it! It was so good. Adam Driver is easily one of my favorite actors. He always brings so much to his characters. After seeing the movie and chowing down on a little bit of popcorn, we headed over to run some errands and grab a nice, uninterrupted lunch together. Of course Mike chose Chinese food haha. While it was only a mini date, it's always nice to spend time just the two of us. I don't bother with my camera or phone, and we just enjoy each other's company. I know it'll be a busy week for him with school and clinicals, so we were both happy to round out the weekend with some quality husband and wife time.
  The mornings have been nice and crisp around these parts, and Autumn is "officially" here. Since we were going to be in a chilly movie theater I thought I'd top my outfit off with a lightweight cardigan and a gauzy infinity scarf. Of course by the end of lunch it started raining just enough to ramp up the humidity and I felt like I was going to die. They quickly got tossed aside in order to cool off. Luckily I didn't bother curling my hair yesterday because it would have undoubtedly been a big ol' frizz ball. But truth be told, this is what my hair looks like 90% of the time. If I'm at home or just running errands, it's up in a messy topknot. Mostly out of necessity since Linden likes to grab a big ol handful and pull himself up when he's in his wrap haha I'll probably have some nice bald spots by the time he's six months old. Anyway, this dress is the Pop Basic dress I last wore just before announcing my pregnancy. I don't know why I didn't wear it more because it's so lightweight and stretchy. It would've been perfect. I've worn it nonstop lately so I guess I'm making up for lost time. The cardigan and scarf are both from my most recent Stitch Fix box and I love them. My last box was so spot on (minus the earrings, though they were gorgeous!) Maybe I'll snap a few photos and share the box in it's entirety soon. I've also been wearing these boots pretty regularly, too. I wore them in my last outfit post even. Creature of habit over here!

I'm almost finished with the entire 90210 series (mid season five currently). Netflix and I are getting reallllll chummy. I've been saving a lot of my "work" for when Mike gets home from school that way Linden doesn't  get upset. Luckily he's really calm and sweet during the day as long as he's being worn haha He definitely likes to snuggle and be held. Now that the weather is slowly starting to cool off I'm hoping to get out and about in the mornings with the baby. Walking a few laps around the track at the park would be good for both of us. He loves being outside and goodness knows I need to get moving. Might as well take advantage of the nice weather while it's here. I'm totally not excited about Winter, but I guess I shouldn't get too ahead of myself, right? xo

Pop Basic dress (c/o - last year)
Honey Punch cardigan (via Stitch Fix)
Stitch Fix infinity scarf
Blowfish boots

// Rad Gal, Rad Gig: Teaching Artist

Hi! I'm Caro, a Chicago-based teaching artist who blogs at Like the Syrup.

In case you’re not familiar with the role of a teaching artist, it’s just that: an artist who teaches. They’re usually practicing creatives first and teachers second, but many of them go on to get formal credentials. The day-to-day schedule varies but most of us are employed full-time at one organization or work on a freelance basis at several.

I became a teaching artist by chance. I went to art school, graduated with a degree in Interdisciplinary Art, and landed at an ad agency after graduation. The short version is that it was a horrible experience. I quit without a plan B and found myself doing freelance design work to pay the bills. I did a little bit of everything but I wasn’t enjoying it and it felt like I was wasting time.
Then a mentor told me something that I still think about all the time. She said, "Nothing’s a waste. At the end, you know one more thing you don't want to do and that's just as valuable." It was a light bulb moment for me. I continued to take on odd jobs and freelance projects but started looking at each one as a process of elimination.

I ultimately realized that what I wanted was a creative job that allowed me to give back. Another thing I learned about myself is that I prize flexibility over stability, and that I don’t want to do the same thing every day. When I came across an open teaching artist position, it seemed like a perfect fit!
The Chicago Public Library has a program called YOUmedia that puts creative spaces in the library specifically for teenagers. Students can kick back, check out laptops and other professional-grade equipment, and attend free workshops on everything from music production to graphic design. There’s even a little recording studio at one of the branches!

I worked with YOUmedia part-time, Monday-Thursday from 2:00-8:00pm. I taught one hour-long workshop each day but I spent the rest of my time just hanging out with students in the space. I'd work on lesson plans while they worked on homework and we’d chat about their friends, families, or whatever TV show they were watching that week. Every day was different, whether it was helping a student use GoogleDrive or getting my ass kicked at Mario Kart. I lost count of how many prom dresses I looked at that spring!
My position at YOUmedia lasted seven months (the length of a grant that paid my salary). In that time, I taught six-week units on self-publication, graphic design, and creative writing. I also did some one-off workshops to help students create resumes and work on their college applications. Not only was it a great job, it helped me find the path I’m on now. 

Chicago has a large number of nonprofits working with underserved youth, most of which employ teaching artists or volunteers in a similar capacity. We’re basically one big extended family, which makes it easy for us to share best practices, collaborate, and connect each other to opportunities. That sense of community is a big reason I love what I do so much.

These days, teaching is about 25% of my work. The rest of my time is spent on the other side of the classroom. I own a small business that works with colleges, community organizations, and bloggers to develop online classes.  It’s a dream job that I never would’ve discovered without being a teaching artist! 

How to Get Started

All you really need to become a teaching artist is a portfolio that showcases your craft and some teaching experience. An art degree or teaching accreditation definitely helps but isn’t required for most positions. 
What is required is a lot of flexibility, patience, and the ability to make things work in less than ideal circumstances. Sometimes your lesson plan just doesn’t work and you have to adapt it on the fly. You’ll likely be working outside the standard 9-5 and may or may not have benefits.

If that doesn’t deter you, I recommend starting as a volunteer. It’s a great way to get experience! I got my job at YOUmedia because the interviewers liked my web development background (hard to find among teaching artists) and that I had planned my own workshops as a volunteer with Girls Rock! Chicago. 
Nonprofits like Girls Rock and 826 have chapters all over the country and are powered by volunteers. So are libraries! You can also check out Idealist to find local organizations looking for specific help. It’s important to find an organization that’s doing work you’re passionate about.

I also recommend asking a teaching artist if you can assist them—especially if they teach at multiple places! Many of the people that have assisted me have gone on to do their own thing and I regularly recommend them when I have to turn down a gig. 

If you’d like to chat more about teaching artistry, or just be buds, you can find me at Like the Syrup and as @carolinesyrup on Twitter or Instagram. Thanks for letting me share!


Rad Gal, Rad Gig is a new feature on The Clueless Girl's Guide where I invite really neat gals to share their really cool stories. Whether your gig is a full-time job or just a hobby, I want to hear from you! If you think you'd be perfect for Rad Gal, Rad Gig, feel free to get in touch or view the information on the Submissions page! Just submit a short description of what you do and why you think it's rad!

// I Fought The Law

In keeping with the neat Nude Portraits photo series, I thought this one from Olivia Locher was worth sharing, too! Olivia depicts some of America's strangest laws through her photography. I've included a few of my favorites below. Some of these laws are just hilarious. Be sure to let me know which one is your favorite! (I'm kind of partial to the bouncing pickles myself... I wonder who's job it is to test the bouce-ability [?!] of pickles?! haha!)

// Things I Love Thursday v.200

this! ♥
♥ this adorable photo ♥
this tattoo! ♥
♥ leslie knope quips are the best part of parks + rec ♥
this bedroom ♥
this stag photo ♥
this illustration ♥
this pretty bento lunch ♥
this needs to hang over my desk ♥

// Funeral home offers drive-thru visitation. Okay seriously?! This is so tacky.

// This is the best dog post on Tumblr of all time! You must look at it. Oh my stars they're too good!

// Living simply in a dumpster. Whoa! Forget Tiny Homes! Could you live in a 36 sq. ft. box?

// Why it doesn't matter how you feel about your friends. I need to be more mindful of this!

// I'm choosing a winner for the Ameda breast pump tomorrow. Get your last minute entries in!

What are you loving this week?