Summer ’17 #RWRunStreak

Who’s in?! I LOVE THIS STREAK! #rwrunstreak
This will be my 4th summer participating in this streak. Last year, we were on the road so it was tricky. Runner’s World also hosts a winter streak, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. These streaks always come at the best time, when I need that little extra boost to get out the door.

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Run at least 1 mile a day from Memorial Day to July 4th ☀️☀️☀️  I made a little calendar so you can cross the days off or write how many miles you run each day in the circles! (I have a PDF version too, let me know if you’d rather have that!) More details on the Runner’s World site here: http://www.runnersworld.com/rwrunstreak

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The last few years I’ve started a Facebook group but I feel like we’re all in so many Facebook groups so I launched a Slack channel instead to try something new! If you want to participate in our channel, join here: http://bit.ly/rwrunstreakslack Slack is a messaging app for teams/groups/shared interests etc. It’s kind of like a giant group text without all of the notifications. There are different categories or “channels” where we can talk about different topics. There are multiple channels I created so we can chat about different running related (and non running related) things. We can cheer each other on and shout out our miles and make new running connections! If you’re not into that, totally cool!

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Whether you’re walking or running or run-walking, I hope you’ll join us! xo

 

How to Style a #Lularoe Julie – Let’s Count the Ways

It’s no secret that I love Lularoe. I think the clothes are designed for comfort and style, which I love. When I wear Lula to work, I feel like I’m cheating. The dresses, skirts – totally comfy and work appropriate!

Julia is stretchy and form-fitting which is not usually what you’ll find me wearing. I love looser, flowy clothes so this was a bit out of my comfort zone. After trying it on a few different ways though, I realized there are so many ways to take a fitted Julia dress and style it in a way that makes you feel more comfortable. I felt happy and confident rocking all of these stripes.

This Julia is unique, with stripes going 2 different directions and I wasn’t sure I could pull it off with my curves. Here are a few ways to style your Julia – which is your favorite?

My friend Sarah, from Lularoe by Sarah Merrill can hook you up with one of these dresses or a big selection of others, if you’re interested! All bling from my boutique @ www.candibymandi.com xo

Chambray shirt. The 90’s called.
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Long vest. A TJ Maxx find.
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Pup not included. Army jacket and vest.
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Basic Tee. Solid Tee from Target.
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Just add a Blazer. Fancy it up.
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With an Irma. Also, Lularoe. The high-low of the Lularoe Irma is great for this fitted dress.44

With coffee + a Lularoe Lindsay. Perfect pair.
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A #StitchFix of Comfy Jeans

Ever since I can remember, getting to wear jeans has never really been something that I’ve been excited about. I’d rather wear a dress – to me, that’s much more comfortable. Too short. Too tight. No stretch. Too many holes. Too dark. Too light. Call me picky but finding jeans is nearly impossible for me. Everyone I ask has a different recommendation and none of them seem to be just right.

I want to come home from work and want to put on jeans. I want to wear jeans on the weekend.

This is the note I sent my Stitch Fix stylist:

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I knew they’d nail it! What’d I get? 3 pairs of boyfriend, stretchy, comfy-but-cute boyfriend jeans. They all fit and I felt great in all of them! I wanted to keep them all but I just chose 1. I also got a cute tank and blazer – both which fit well and I wanted to keep them…but my budget told me not to do it and I listened.

This is how excited I was about this fix.
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Try it! You don’t have anything to lose. They subtract your $20 styling fee from any one the items you choose to keep. Send me pics when yours arrives, I love seeing what is in everyones fixes!

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More posts on past Stitch Fixes here:
My latest #StichFix
Stitch Fix Review: My First Box

 

 

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.

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My latest #StichFix

I blogged about my first-ever Stitch Fix here. I had a lot of fun sharing my pieces and hearing what you all thought! I’ve had a few awesome fixes since then, but I also took a break for awhile. One of the things I love about Stitch Fix is that it is super easy to manage your account and postpone, schedule, cancel fixes.

Also, their customer service is top-notch.

Thought I’d share my fix from this week because it was an all out home run. If you haven’t given it a try, you totally should. You pay a $20 styling fee which is then subtracted off any of the items you want to keep. Don’t want to keep anything? No problem! Just mail it all back. Shipping to and fro is free. Love that!

You have all the customization options you could want. I tell them not to send jewelry, shoes, or purses. I got a cardigan, a pair of pants, a sweater, and a top in my latest fix. All fit. All I love.

Note: My pictures are terrible. I didn’t have the best lighting but hopefully you get the idea. 

Item #1: Slub Knit Open Cardigan
Love the color, the fit, and the style.

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Item #2: Raglan Knit Top
SO cute. Love stripes. Nice and long too.

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Item #3: Lace Detail Dress
Didn’t need a LBD but I also don’t own one. And they say every girl should right? This one fit like a charm and I feel like I could wear it dressed up or down to any event.

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Item #4: Anita Printed Skinny Pant
Okay, you can’t tell in the pictures but these are actually like dark brown striped. Super fun! And classy. AND LONG ENOUGH SO I HAD TO KEEP THEM BECAUSE, FINDING PANTS IS IMPOSSIBLE. They also have all the stretch which I love! I am not sure how #StitchFix can buy me pants but I can’t find any myself when I go shopping at stores. #magic

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Item #5: Striped Crew Neck Sweater
Hello fall. (Fall seems to last all winter here. Not complaining about that or this sweater.)

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If you sign up, be sure to share pics of your fix with me! xo

I Don’t Understand.

I didn’t plan to “live blog” this election. I never planned to ever blog anything political, ever. But I’m sitting here at the kitchen counter tonight at 8:04PM, with a sick feeling in my stomach and I don’t know how else to process what is happening.

Saying, “I don’t understand” over and over doesn’t seem to be helping. But that’s all I’ve got. I don’t understand.

States are turning red and I don’t understand.

I don’t understand how come this election is even a close one. I don’t understand how come so many logical people who I love and respect are voting/have voted for him. I don’t understand how come someone who is a self-proclaimed rapist; a sexist, racist, arrogant asshole has gotten this far in the first place. I don’t understand what American values are anymore.

Maybe it’s because my close-knit community is full of people who work in student affairs, who value things like social justice, who love all people. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman. Maybe it’s because I have dreams. Maybe it’s because I’m sitting here texting some of my best friends in the whole world and my heart hurts for them too, in many different ways. Maybe it’s because I work in education. Maybe it’s because I want little girls to grow up seeing a woman in The Oval Office. Maybe it’s because I want to see a woman in The Oval Office

As a white person, I also don’t understand how it feels to be a person of color watching this unfold. I don’t understand how it feels to identify as anything other than heterosexual and be watching the states turn red. I don’t understand how it feels to be anything other than me tonight, but I still can’t make sense of any of it.

This is not the kind of history that I want to be watching unfold tonight. I still have hope. I am still with her. But even when Hillary wins, I’m not sure I’ll ever understand what I’ve seen so far tonight.

Love the Skin You’re In

I can honestly say I feel like I’ve been in a skin crisis for the last 5 years.

All the skin woes.

Fast forward: I’ve been on a clean-up rampage lately. Cleaning up my life all around. 

  • Colin and I have been eating a lot cleaner, consistently now for a few months.
  • I’ve been doing one closet clean out after another trying to get rid of clothes that don’t fit, don’t make me feel good, or that don’t serve a purpose anymore. (A move halfway across the country helps with that.)
  • I’ve been doing more yoga and taking more deep breaths.
  • Making decisions for me and not everyone else, choosing to prioritize and make changes that are for me (and to not feel selfish about it).

My skin has been a battle for the last 4-5 years. I’ve tried everything. Whole 30. A million different products. Multiple dermatologists. Primary care physicians. More lotion. Less lotion. Aloe. Heat rash (okay, I think Fresno is to blame for that one).

It’s been exhausting and disheartening. My problems are minor – bumpiness and unevenness. Some eczema.  A few pimples (those I don’t mind). An overall sense of dullness. I don’t even know if I can explain it 100% but I just haven’t been feeling like my skin is reflective of the healthy body I work hard to have by eating right and exercising.

All of the products dermatologists have prescribed me have made it worse. Harsh acne medicine that dries out my skin and leaves it blistery. The latest prescription was because the doctor said I had a fungus. That was new. The prescription has done nothing.

I’m tossing all that aside for awhile and going back to basics. I’m cleaning up my beauty routine because once I started to really learn about the projects we put on our skin, it really hit me: our skin is our largest organ, covering the entire surface area of our body. It absorbs whatever we put on it, right into our body. Shouldn’t I be worried about choosing what products go from the outside, in as much as I try to be conscious of the food I eat?

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I’m hosting a Beauty Counter party with my friend Jess on this Thursday 10/13 at 8:30pm cst but you can check out the posts all week. She introduced me to Beauty Counter: who cares about our health, and the chemicals/harmful ingredients that they don’t put in their products. Would totally love for you to join in and learn more with me about this journey. I’m just trying to replace one product at a time with one that is better for me. You in? Join us here. Or shop here: It’s all online, all about fun and knowledge, and all about health.

Time for me to love the skin I’m in, and to feel good about what I’m putting on my body. As my friend Amanda said, “if I can’t feel confident in my skin at 26, when will I?”. Well said.

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Do you use Beauty Counter? What has your experience with skin care been?

 

I am a badass.

I am currently reading: You Are A Badass (thanks, Alice!) and am vowing to live my life as a more badass version of myself. If you haven’t picked up a copy of this book yet – do it today! Get it ordered because you are going to want to read this. It came highly recommend from my friend Amanda, who loves it so much she changed her Instagram bio to include a quote from the book:

“Never apologize for who you are – it lets the whole world down”. Love it.

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My marathon is coming up in 4 weeks. I’ve trained harder than I ever have but I’m still filled with thoughts of self-doubt. They come and go. I try to push them away.

After a less than stellar run yesterday morning, I was feeling bummed. I felt slow and sluggish and didn’t want to be out there. I shared on our Running Tribe** Facebook page that something was up – maybe I’m coming down with something? maybe I’m overtraining? maybe I’m just bored? Help!

A woman on the page suggested that I go out and run a mile as fast as I can. “It’ll make you feel like a badass”, she said. Badass. How fitting. I had just started this book this weekend. I decided to give it a try. I hadn’t showered yet from my failed run earlier that morning.

BAM! THE FLASH WAS UNLEASHED. A badass flash.
I ran a mile in 6:56 – something I never thought I was capable of. I haven’t ever run a single mile in less than 8:15, but then again, I’ve also never really tried. WOW. Makes me think about how much more we are all really capable of, amiright?!

I am a badass.

Being comfortable saying to myself, and out loud “I am a badass” is more about self confidence than anything else. It’s about a belief that what you have to offer the world is valuable, and the world can take it or leave it. I’ve been journaling about this in my Passion Planner. When I think of myself, “badass” is generally the last word that comes to mind. What if I started to live my days like I was a badass, confidently going about the world sharing my gifts, talents, and greatness. Wow, what a way to live.

Anyways, I’ll update you on the progress of my own badass-ary but for now, I’m just trying to be comfortable with the fact that I am indeed, a badass.

xo

**Side note: If you’re into running, or want to be, we’d love for you to join our Running Tribe. This group started as a way for us to stay motivated during the summer Runner’s World run streak but it has evolved to becoming my running family. These ladies range from brand new beginner runners to women who go out and run crazy mileage weeks. We all need breaks. We all need to be supported and lifted up. We talk about chafing and sports bras. We talk about food and weight loss. Some have even met up and run together in person!

 

Why I’m Going To NicheCon

I’m sure you’ve seen me post about The Niche Movement. Many of you have reached out to me to learn more. In October I’m headed to Washington DC for our first ever conference: NicheCon. Why?

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I found The Niche Movement through a tweet when I was in graduate school. I was drawn to the authenticity of the community and of course, I wanted to find my niche. I became a contributing editor and wrote a few blog posts here and there. I remained engaged with the community throughout graduate school and after, when I got my first “real” job.

I started working in Admissions at Benedictine University at Springfield. That didn’t last long. Reading blog posts from the NM community and remembering that I wasn’t alone helped me through the weirdness of losing my first job post-grad school after only 2 months.

I moved on quickly to my second job in admissions at Lincoln College. I was there for 2 years. Post-grad life started to take shape and I needed more: to be challenged, to be more creative, to find energy in my work. I became a Chloe + Isabel merchandiser because I needed a creative outlet. I reached out to Kevin from The Niche Movement to see if he needed any additional help or if there was any way I could get involved further. My involvement has grown and I’m thankful every day.

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Back to NicheCon. The conference is going to be the first time ever that our community, which spans coast to coast, is going to get together in one place. It will be the first time I’m meeting many people face-to-face who already feel like lifelong friends.

I’m on a continuous journey of finding my niche. I’ve learned that maybe I’ll never be done, and that’s okay. I have a master’s degree in College Student Personnel but there are days that I’m unsure what my Higher Ed path looks like. I’m now in my third professional role in Admissions and some days I’m scared to death that I’m boxing myself in. Chloe + Isabel has taught me that I have an entrepreneurial side that I didn’t know existed. The work that I am so fortunate to get to do with The Niche Movement ignites me in a way that no full time job has ever done. I need to be challenged. I need to feel creative. I need to be thriving. That kind of energy is what keeps me on this journey of finding my niche.

NicheCon is going to be all about transparency and authenticity. Bringing people together and telling stories. Learning from one another. Connecting with people who love their jobs. Remembering that you aren’t alone if you’re struggling on this journey. Career happiness, sure it’s what we’re all about. But we are also about life happiness. Because if you spend 37% of your adult life at work, shouldn’t you love what you do?

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 10.42.47 AMI haven’t been to DC aside from a quick trip for a wedding a few years ago. I’m excited to explore the city, connect with people, learn more about myself and continue my journey on the path of finding my niche.

Hope to see you there.
(Ticket prices increase 9/8)