Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings…

..these are a few (more) of my favorite things from 2016.












What are some of your favorite things?! xo


Things I’m Loving This Week 1/29-2/4/2017

Starting something new called “Things I’m Loving This Week” because it seems like every week, I find more and more things that I become obsessed with. This is just as much for me to keep track of what I love, as it is for me to share those things with you. Hope you like it.

Here’s what I’m loving this week:

  • The Official Social Media Recap Show: FYN Creative 
  • Being super vulnerable and telling people how I really feel. (a.k.a. channeling my inner Brene Brown)
  • Single-serve almond butter packets (saving the day when I forget to pack lunch and find one of these in the bottom of my purse, or in the back of a desk drawer). Thanks, Justin’s. You can find them in the grocery store in the PB isle.
  •  Being able to take our pup for walks now that he is done with all of his shots.
  • These work pants. I’ve had 2 pairs (black and navy) for 6 years and they just got holes/wore out and I ordered more. Yes, they are called tummy-control. #noshame


2016 Happies and Crappies

Happies and Crappies.

When I was an RA in college, we’d go around as a staff and share our happies and crappies for the week as a way to get connected before our meetings. It was fun and I feel like even though 2016 was full of crappies but there were lots of happies too. Here’s my list of happies because I don’t really feel like reflecting on the crappies.

Finally learned how to do a real deal push-up on my toes.
Ran my 6th and 7th marathons.
Trained harder than I ever have before for 7th marathon.
Moved to California.
Got a puppy!
Became a Chloe + Isabel leader.
Took more selfies. Haha 😉
Met so many new amazing people.
Practiced prioritizing myself and #selfcare.
Spent a lot of time reflecting on what I want out of my career.
Dreamed bigger than I ever have before.grateful-heart-pink-02I’m the kind of person who is ready to welcome 2017 and all of my new goals/dreams without taking the time to think about what I accomplished in 2016. That is important too! What are you proud of? What are some of your 2016 happies? Celebrate your wins today. xo

It’s impossible to “just look” at husky puppies (& 29 other lessons learned during the first 6 months in Fresno)

6 months ago we packed up our lives in Bloomington, IL where we had lived for 2 years and moved to Fresno, CA. We drove ourselves and what could fit in our car while the rest of our stuff met us here 2 weeks later. We took our time on the road trip stopping along the way to see family and friends. #mancotofresno

Colin’s job spurred this relocation but it was something that has been on our hearts for awhile: the west. This past summer was a whirlwind and I feel like we are just starting to feel settled here and calling Fresno home. I didn’t spend much time blogging or reflecting on the experience of moving so I’m taking this time over winter break to do just that. Taking a deep breath and being so so so thankful.

Our roadtrip looked like this:

  • Bloomington to Ames, Iowa so I could show Colin where a piece of my heart still lies, at Iowa State. Go Cyclones!
  • Ames, Iowa to Lincoln, Nebraska. Not much to report there.
  • Lincoln, Nebraska to Denver, Colorado to stay with our good friends, DJ & Mariesha.
  • Denver, Colorado to Colorado Springs, Colorado to see Colin’s dad and go fly fishing!
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado to Flagstaff, Arizona.
  • Flagstaff, Arizona to Albuquerque, New Mexico to have lunch with Jenny!
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico to Phoenix, Arizona to to see my grandparents and Colin’s great aunt & uncle.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico to San Diego, CA.
  • San Diego, CA to Fresno, CA. #homesweethome

untitled-design-3It was a lot of car time but it was also a blast. We got to see some amazing people and places. We didn’t get sick of each other, but we did get sick of hotels. We were creative with getting our workouts in on the road. We spent a week in sunny San Diego exploring and relaxing. It was my first time to California since I was a little girl and was a flower girl in a wedding. Then, we made it to Fresno!

The list below just barely scratches the surface of things I’ve learned since we arrived here 6 months ago… Fresno is a pretty incredible place! I hope you’ll come visit us and check it out soon.

  1. The lack of humidity here makes 110+ in the summer not feel so bad.
  2. It’s impossible to “just look” at puppies. Meet Denver, our new husky puppy.
  3. Fresno is full of Bulldog pride.
  4. Heat rash is a thing and when it happens on your face, it’s awful. The cure? Copious amounts of aloe.
  5. Being a homeowner is exciting + scary + overwhelming + feels like real-deal adulting.
  6. California isn’t all “Hollywood” and actually people are super down-to-earth here.
  7. Trying to go for a run in the middle of the day when it’s 120 degrees outside  is not safe or smart.
  8. Being unemployed is awkward and hard.
  9. Job searching is tedious and exhausting.
  10. Sometimes, all the right pieces fall into place at all the right times.
  11. Making decisions based solely on what’s best for you isn’t always easy, but it’s better in the long run.
  12. Having the best realtor in the world made the house buying process so much better and a little less scary.
  13. My #chloeandisabel community continues to mean more than ever, no matter where I live.
  14. Running a marathon in the same town you live in is a super convenient thing.
  15. It’s still weird to see palm trees when I walk out of Target.
  16. The craft beer here is really great.
  17. I need to learn more about wine.
  18. If you’re going to run long distances in Fresno, you need to invest in a hydration pack.
  19. In & Out Burger is pretty amazing, but the line is always way too long.
  20. Having access to both the beach and the mountains is pretty incredible.
  21. Moving halfway across the country means my #snailmail has increased quite a bit! Let’s be penpals!
  22. People here are very dramatic about the weather. Foggy starts instead of snow days? I’ll take it.
  23. The Pacific time zone has it’s perks, but I’m still not used to it.
  24. A cross country road trip leaves plenty of car time to make a music video.
  25. It does get cold here, just not Chicago-cold.
  26. San Diego is one of the coolest places to spend a week. Use Groupon.
  27. Having an REI in the same town we live in makes us feel like “we made it”.
  28. I lost my “thick skin” already and I need a sweater if it drops below 75.
  29. We are very close to both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.
  30. Fall lasts forever here! There are still leaves on the ground at the end of December.


About Me

Hi! Thanks for stopping by! Call me Amanda or Mandi.  I currently live with my husband in Fresno, California.  I was born in New Jersey (cue Bruce Springsteen’s “Jersey Girl”), lived in St. Louis for a hot second, then spent a few awesome years in Colorado Springs.  I went to high school in a Chicagoland suburb: Crystal Lake, and that is where my family is currently.

Check out the categories above and explore! I’m all about DIY projects, running, eating, fitness, and family. Let me know your thoughts and reach out! I love connecting! You can find me actively tweeting & instagramming: @mandijstewart or reach me by email at amandajeanninestewart@gmail.com


I’m a graduate of Iowa State University where I jammed as many memories as I could into four years. (GO CYCLONES!)


I have my Master’s in College Student Personnel from Western Illinois University. While I was a #SAgrad, I worked in the OSA (Office of  Student Activities).


I met my amazing husband at NACA (National Association for Campus Activities), where he swept me off my feet with his extensive knowledge of block booking and taught me how to play improv games.  We got married on June 15, 2014!

Bursting with excitement, married to my best friend!

After graduate school I needed a creative outlet so I took a risk, and became a Chloe + Isabel merchandiser. It’s been amazing, brought amazing people into my life, and teaches me more about myself every day. (Instagram @candibymandi).

I can’t wait to get to know you better. Be well!