// Instagram Favorites: September

Here is my fourth installation of my monthly Instagram favorites. Each month I choose 5 accounts to highlight and I share a few of their most recent snaps that I've enjoyed. Some are highly curated, some include more "real" moments, and some are just really nice to look at. Hopefully you find a few new favorites to follow! As always, you're welcome to share your favorite accounts, or even links to your own, in the comments below! xo
 
Shauna's feed is SO dreamy. Not only does she have the cutest family (with baby boy #2 on the way!!!), but she has an incredible sense of style. The photos she posts of her home always have me drooling. She's one-half of the team behind Forage Haberdashery, Seed House Stationers, and Something's Hiding In Here. Crazy talented, right? But even better, she's one of the kindest and most supportive people I've ever had the privilege of knowing. Seriously, y'all. This gal is SUCH a gem. We adore her!


Marlyn's feed is just really really sweet. She's a total doll and she's expecting her first little one, too! (You'll notice a trend in my favorites, I'm sure. I'm a sucker for a Mom-stagrammer!) I really love the photos she shares of the California coast.


Beca and Doug post on the Tumbleweeds Instagram and if you don't know them already, you're probably living under a rock. They were the creators of the original wooden veneer sunglasses. They are such hard workers and so so kind. Beca made all of the delicious desserts for our wedding (!!!) and I don't think we could ever possibly thank her enough. There's little this girl can't do!


Honey and Fizz is a new account I've recently started following. I just love all of the "happiness" that is shared on her account! There's so much color and vibrancy. I really, really want that flamingo pool float! I know it's the last day of September and all, but seriously... it's awesome.


Alexis' feed is so cute. She's adorable and I love the photos she shares of her little family. I really dig all of the cool rope wall hangings that she creates! I really want to try my hand at one sometime. I think it'd be super cute in our bedroom! And those pipe vases?! Genius!

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And those are my September favorites! I'll be back next month to share another round of lovely Instagrammers. Feel like sharing your own or tossing your hat into the ring? Leave your links below! xo 

See other monthly favorites HERE!

// Tea Box Express

 
For the past couple of months I've been working behind the scenes on something super fun. It's neither my brainchild, nor my venture, but I've been lucky enough to play a small role in someone else's dream. At the very beginning of the Summer I had an interesting email in my inbox. It was from a gal named Andrea who was hoping to launch her own tea subscription box. She was the author of a tea-centric blog and website, and since she and her husband owned a shipping store she thought it would be a great way to marry the two. She was looking for someone to help with the PR and marketing side of things. You know, the social stuff. I was so flattered by her invitation to join. And excited, too! I was totally on board with everything she was dreaming up. I spent several weeks before Linden arrived getting things ready for the launch. We both knew that once I had a baby at home I'd be a bit strapped for time. Luckily everything has worked out wonderfully because the time has come to launch Tea Box Express!

Being part of the action from the very beginning has been so fun! The name, the logo, the box inclusions! I love getting a little sneak peek at the action, and being able to put my small little stamp where invited. Tea Box Express' first box will ship in mid-October, but in order to get your hands on the pilot collection, you'll have to order by the end of the day on October 1st! 
Each month there will be a new theme, and that's where the contents come in. October's theme is "Bee Happy" and includes a bevy of bee-themed goodies like the best tasting honey I've ever had, a honey dipper, a bright yellow tea bag rest, and some delicious black tea. Oh and I can't forget the gourmet bee shaped sugar cookie! There's also a little quote print with space on the back for you to fill out your own 'Happy List." October's box is all about positivity and trying to see the bright side of things. I'm so tickled with how it came out!

If you're a tea or subscription box fan, this box is perfect for you. But even better than that, it makes an incredible gift! It's thoughtful and useful without being "too much" or pointless. Whether it's for your mom, grandma, favorite teacher, or next door neighbor, they're sure to love it! And if you think October's theme is a good one, just wait until November! Let's just say it'll spice up your morning cup!
If you're interested in ordering your own box or giving one as a gift, pop over to the Tea Box Express website to learn more. You can keep up with the silly things I share on behalf of TBE by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. (The TBE Facebook page is seriously overflowing with AMAZING tea-inspired awesomeness! I'm totally biased, but it's true!) And just as a token of our excitement, here's a 20% off coupon, too! Use the code CLUELESSGIRL20 and let me know what you think if you order! I'm excited to share the future boxes with y'all!

// BAGGAGE: v.1 - Mike's Backpack

I'm a sucker for "What's in my bag" posts because I'm a naturally nosy person. I love seeing what people find important enough to carry around with them on a daily basis. I thought a fun new feature for the blog would be a "What's in my bag" feature that y'all could participate in! I didn't want it to be limited to just purses though, because that's pretty boring. I want to see what you have in your laptop bag, diaper bag, makeup bag, whatever! What do you consider an essential when traveling or going to school? I think the contents of someone's bag can tell a whole lot about them. Our first feature is Mike and his school bag!


Everlane backpack (c/o) // pharmacology + med/surg books // iPhone 5c // pen light // bandage scissors // student nurse ID // jolly rancher candies // flash cards // stethescope // Acer Iconica Tab 8 tablet (c/o Intel Tablets) // Vitapens highlighters // various pens // Denik notebook

Hey, I’m Mike. I’m a nursing student by day, and a father, business co-owner, wannabe musician by night. My backpack is a staple throughout my week. As I start my clinical rotations it will see less day to day use but will still be with me on classroom days, and will still be home to my always important study tools. Important because there is always studying. Always

My backpack is made by Everlane. I really like it because the thick canvas it’s made from can definitely take a beating which is important since I often sling my bag into the bed of my truck before heading out in the mornings. Aside from durability I also love the look of the bag. I think it’s a bit more stylish than a typical Jansport or whatever. It fits the “super smart nursing student that plays guitar on the tailgate of his truck between classes” look I’m going for. 

MIKE'S BACKPACK ESSENTIALS

Flash Cards - No nursing student's backpack would be complete without flash cards. They are one of the most effective ways to study for me. The combination of writing the cards, reading them and saying them out loud with Kaelah really drives in the information.

Stethoscope - I mean what could be more important for a nurse than a stethoscope? It’s one of the most valuable tools for assessing a patient, and let’s be honest, nothing feels more nursey than tossing a stethoscope around your neck. 

Tablet - I love carrying our Acer tablet (c/o Intel Tablets) in my backpack. It’s really convenient for studying on the go since all of my text books are available in PDF format online. It’s also great for looking up new terminology I may come across really quickly. Probably the most useful thing about the tablet is the apps available for studying or for quick reference. There's an app called Epocrates that is my favorite. You can find any drug information you need. Don’t know how much Fluconazole to give your pediatric patient? The answer is just a click away. 

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BAGGAGE is a new feature on The Clueless Girl's Guide where I invite folks to share the contents of their bags. We all like a little sneak peek at what others are carrying around, right? If you'd like to share what you tote around in your purse/backpack/makeup bag, feel free to get in touch! I'd love to have you!


#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 table c/o Intel - no other compensation was provided)

// Things I Love Thursday v.201

♥ this sounds like my kind of party ♥
this miiiight be my new favorite gif ♥
this new tea subscription box (!!!) ♥
these jackets! ♥
this. i love seeing peeks of people's workspaces ♥
this rad tattoo ♥
♥ this gorgeous photo (source?) ♥
♥ this! ♥

// Get your first and fifth Graze boxes for FREE by clicking here!

// Roxy shared a post on what you can find in her conference bag!




// Get stylish clothing delivered straight to your door... skip the long lines and fussy fitting rooms!

// This nightstand makeover is fantastic!


// My sister in law is a flight attendant and I would hate to be working any of these flights! What's the most inappropriate thing you've ever seen on a plane? (I don't have any juicy stories... but the NYC subway? That's a whole different ballgame...)

// Wishlist Wears: this dress would look amazing with any color cardigan // the mesh panels on these heels are fun // i love the fuschia on this little number // the pattern on this skirt is everything // clear galoshes! (do y'all call them galoshes? wellies? rain boots?) // this mauve scarf! // and this chunky knit one!


What are you loving this week?

// Linden Atlas - Two Months













Linden turned two months old yesterday! And today he's nine weeks! This past month has been pretty special because he finally gave me a big, gummy smile for the first time! He is all smiles when he sleeps (or poops... ha!) but I was waiting to get a really good one out of him while he was awake. I was the only one home when he finally did it, and I lost it! I started sobbing like a madwoman. Seriously I probably scared the poor baby. He gave me three big ones right in a row and I was pretty much hysterical. Mike came in shortly after and I was still a mess. 

Since we finally found the culprit to Linden's cries, he's been a much more mellow baby. We've got a steady rotation of Zantac for the reflux, hypoallergenic formula for his milk allergy, and Mylicon for his tummy. He's still sleeping quite a bit during the day, but the little squish likes to be held a lot so he's almost always in his wrap. Luckily wrap time while awake can be a great substitute for on-the-floor tummy time so he's holding his head up like a champ.

This month Linden:
+ is still in almost exclusively newborn clothing. 
+ finally broke 9 pounds (last week!)
+ measured 22 inches long.
+ started to coo and loves to have "conversations."
+ still loves to be soothed by mama in his wrap.

I can't wait to see what month three holds for this little guy. I'm hoping he'll finally be big enough to try out his cloth diapers by the end of this next month. Fingers crossed! By the time he packs on enough weight to wear his Winter clothes it'll already be Summer 2015. 

* RockaRoo + MamaRoo swings c/o 4moms

// 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.

MY NIGHTSTAND ESSENTIALS
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!

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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!