I kind of feel like Oprah with a favorite things post, but hey, maybe I might help you find your next best thing!! How awesome would that be? So these are just randomly some of the things in my life that I use/do/visit that make me smile. I'm giving ode to some of the things that give me life. Check it out...and yes be prepared for a part 2...& 3.. and so on... because obviously I'm a work in progress and discovering what makes me happy is an ever changing task (as it should be for all of us). So check out the latest...
-I recently started using this food delivery service because it is unlike any other I've experienced. I get real, nourishing fruits & veggies (frozen) delivered to my door in the form of delicious smoothies, harvest bowls, soups, lattes, chia bowls and oat bowls. You seriously just add a little liquid (like almond milk, coconut water, etc.,) and blend your smoothie or warm up your soup or harvest bowl and they are incredibly delicious! I've been eating a lot more of a vegetarian, sometimes vegan diet as of late, and this fits perfectly with that! It is seriously making my life easier. You can customize how many items you have delivered, what kind and how often. It's convenient and delicious. Check it out at www.daily-harvest.com
-Almost 5 years ago I had the pleasure of listening to, my now friend, Trevor Ragan, speak to my colleagues and I at our opening day ceremony to kick off a new school year. I was anticipating the usual "make this year great" kind of speaker. As soon as Trevor started speaking I was completely hooked! His entire message about growth mindset, not being afraid to fail as it is apart of learning and getting better at anything you want as long as you are willing to work at it completely spoke to me. His message literally met me where I was in the journey of my life and I have spent the last 5 years learning so much from Trevor! Train Ugly has been a lifeline for me as I have and continue to grow through my cancer experience. He recently started a podcast called "Learner Lab" and it is phenomenal! He is a great friend and has an extraordinary message that can meet you wherever you are in your life. Check out www.trainugly.com You won't regret it!
*Josiah's Coffeehouse (Sioux Falls, SD & The Mill (Lincoln, NE)
-I love coffee. Even more, I love going to a really hip coffeehouse that makes me want to sit down, people watch, read a book or just chill and love just being in the space. These two establishments are my all time favorite coffeehouses!! You seriously don't even have to love coffee to go to either of these. They do have other items on the menu. In college I was one of those granola hipsters that studied for hours on end at the Mill. It was and still is one of my happy places. Josiah's is my go to spot when I have time between treatments, scans or doctor appointments. They have the best avocado toast and make me enjoy the days I get to go to Sioux Falls. Honestly, just thinking about both of these places is making me a little stir crazy for a road trip!
*Beautycounter Skin Care
-I was one of those people that found a cleanser and moisturizer that worked for my skin and didn't cause me to breakout about 15+ years ago and I stuck with the same regimen because of it. Seriously, I'm not super proud of this, but it was cheap and it worked. Fast forward to present day, when I was questioning everything that goes in and on my body to try to figure out how the hell I got cancer. A lot of the information I was reading was talking about makeup and skincare. Specifically, the chemicals that are in so many of the products that we use on a daily basis. Chemicals that are NOT allowed in other countries...countries that have lower statistics of disease/cancer rates. This not only freaked me out, but it completely disgusted me. I realized I needed to make some changes. The fact that I love makeup and taking care of my skin meant this needed an upgrade. I met a woman in Sioux Falls at a boutique that I frequented during treatment (retail therapy is a thing), and she had a sign that said 1 in 8 women in 2018 will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It had another sign that said like 1 in 25 or something and it was from 5+ years ago. I spoke right up and told her I have cancer and what is this about? She introduced me to Beautycounter. Not only does Beautycounter limit and closely monitor what chemicals go into their products, they ADVOCATE and lobby for better beauty in our nation's capital. A friend of mine started selling Beautycounter products and the more we talked, the more I felt like I needed to make the switch and now I'm selling it too. I was skeptical about making a clean sweep to something totally different, but my skin seriously hasn't felt this good...ever! Long story short...if it's not Beautycounter, just make sure you are making an educated decision about the types of products you use. With that, you can't go wrong. If you're interested, check out www.beautycounter.com/miatardive
*All Natural Body Butter
-Along the lines of cleaning up my act with the products I use, I found this Body Butter at the Inner Path store at my Cancer Center. This store is known for providing a path to natural healing. It is incredible!! I use this body butter everyday after I shower and on my hands all the time. You can add a hint of a preferred essential oil to your daily dose of body butter or purchase a tub with some already in it. I have it with Eucalyptus and I'm completely obsessed! The nice lady at the store told me that the company that makes it sells it exclusively at the Prairie Center (Avera Cancer Center) BUT you can also buy it at www.gofreya.com.
*Icebug Running Shoes
-I've said it before and I will say it again...running is a lifeline for me. I need it to feel strong, to deal with my emotions and to feel at peace. A treadmill will work for me when it has to, but I prefer to run outside. Being that I live in the Midwest, this means I often run in less than ideal environmental conditions. The trickiest time to run outdoors is when there is lots of snow and ice to deal with. I found a company that advertised using their shoes while running on a glacier...interesting and yet so very accurate! My Icebug running shoes have graphite spikes that make it so easy to run on ice, snow or whatever else might leave me on my rear end if I just went out in my dear old Nikes! They are a little bit of an investment, but running in the snow is magical...and so completely worth it! https://icebug.com
-I've always loved having my nails done, but I'm so hard on them that they would chip in no time. I had a friend suggest that I get a "dipped" manicure. Game changer!! Go to your local nail salon and ask for one of these. They last forever and look so good! I'm a huge fan of a super dark color, white or even the natural ombre. You deserve to look good...and I love the illusion that I appear to have it all together when may nails look good! haha!
-About 4 years ago I decided to try snowboarding. I have been a skier since before I can even remember, but snowboarding was something I always wanted to try but never did. I made a promise to myself that every year I will go somewhere that I can practice this new skill and hopefully improve. I gear up, take a lesson and let 'er rip! The first two years of doing this were great. Last year I felt completely defeated. I was mid chemo treatment and my body was tired, achy and could barely keep up. I remember sitting on the chairlift and telling my daughter I needed to call it a day (much earlier than usual). I remember telling her that next year would be better. This year I felt like Hannah freakin' Teter! I didn't look as good as she does, haha, but I had more energy and had the time of my life! This year on the chairlift I said out loud with a great big smile "thank you, thank you thank you, God!". Moral of the story...find something you've always wanted to do. Challenge yourself. Don't give up on it...Ever.
*Awaken Yoga Studio
I'm a yogi! Who would have thought it....when I first started going to Yoga classes in New Jersey I was completely self conscious and my mind NEVER SHUT OFF when it was supposed to! It was so frustrating. Fast forward to last February when a new Yoga Studio in LeMars, IA opened just as I was getting going with my chemo treatments. I decided that a heated, candlelight yoga class once a week would be the answer to my prayers. I could hideout in the darkness and try to make sense of my life while engaging my body in the stretches it would need to endure the torture it was being put through during treatment. I discovered some friendships and a support system that has gotten me through the best and worst of times. I finally understood the importance of meditation and taking the time to just "be". I've been moved to tears by my own strength and self reflection during shavasana (my favorite part of class). Most of all, I found an outlet that I seriously look forward to each week. I encourage you to find a studio/class near you! Heck, I will take you if you want to go with me!
*TOTALLY Worth Reading
-Finally, I want to leave you with some of my favorite reads. I'm currently reading 3 new books at the moment that might make the next list. I am reading all 3 at once because I love them all! In the mean time, you MUST read the following:
*The Obstacle is the Way (Ryan Holiday): "What matters most is not what our obstacles are but how we see them, how we react to them and whether we keep our composure". I actually gifted this book to my oncologist when we met so that he would better understand me. We've had a great partnership and I think his knowing how I choose to approach challenges has made all the difference. I also think the fact that I read this one before my diagnosis, ultimately saved my life. My friend Trevor Ragan actually recommended this to me and I really believe some people and experiences are meant to cross your path at a certain point for a specific reason....case in point.
*The Alchemist (Paulo Cohelo): "People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of." Ok, so I totally read this one because Macklemore tells us to in his song "Growing Up",(haha!) but again, it was totally worth it! It's a great read with a great message. I wish I would have read this one when I was younger, but better late than never.
*Girl Wash Your Face-(Rachel Hollis) "I don't believe everything happens for a reason, but I do believe it is possible to find purpose-even in the absence of explanation." Wow. This book blew me away with how relevant it was to me! I actually read this after chemo and my surgery, but before radiation. I really didn't expect to take away much from anyone that wasn't going through what I was, but I was wrong. She makes some great points that you can totally apply to whatever you are or have experienced in your life. I'm excited for Rachel's next book that I preordered any day now! Check her out!
*Love Warrior (Glennon Doyle Melton)-"We must do what we need to do. Those who disapprove will either come around or stop coming around. Either way, lovely." Wow. Glennon's story is nothing like mine, yet I took SO MUCH away from this read. I have recommended it to friends and have actually gone back and repeatedly looked at the notes I took in the margin. My favorite take away is that sometimes making decisions is hard. Really hard. Life altering hard. There is no magic formula for how quickly we need to figure our shit out. Rather, know that whatever decision you need to make can come to you in your own time. It is your truth and that in itself makes it beautiful and ok. To hell with what others think...do you and things will work out the way they are supposed to. (ok so maybe that last part was me..)
So clearly I have a lot of favorites!! Stay tuned for more.I hope some of these things are new to you and leave you wanting to check out a new path. We are meant to change, evolve and grow. Embrace it..it's a beautiful process. -M