a daily insight.

Category: Life

Learning to be Grateful

We are constantly yearning for more. This is natural and entirely OK. It is a good thing but it can also be somewhat of a bad thing.

We constantly want more, new, and better things. This does not allow much time and attention to the things we already own and have around us.

I have struggled with this all my life. It’s almost like FOMO but instead of a fear of missing out it’s a fear of the possibility that something better out there always exists. And most of the time, it does. There is always going to be something better out there. Or so we think. Don’t get me wrong, something better probably does exist but more often than not, what you already have might be worth holding onto. So often, I lose something I had, something I always end up wishing I realized how good it was until it’s gone.

Yearning for more never ceases. I do not believe it is something that humans will ever be able to “turn off”. I don’t think it would be necessarily good to stop yearning for more, that would certainly lead to a lazy and unmotivated being. This is natural and not something we should beat ourselves up about. It is mindfulness and being present that helps us remain in the moment, helps us to recognize what is right in front of us.

So, today I ask you pause and think about what you may already have right in front of you. I have come to realize that I miss the things most that I allow to walk out of my life. I don’t doubt that some of you also have experienced this. We have matured when we realize what is worth fighting for to keep in our lives and what is worth letting go.

What is meant to be will always be. Whatever is yours will come back to you even if we weren’t exactly paying attention to it but not everything comes back. This is a one of the sad truths about life. It can be difficult to accept that some things we weren’t paying enough attention to may leave our lives forever. Those things exit our lives to teach us to notice what we do have when we have it.

Nothing is permanent. And nothing is forever. We like to use the word “forever” quite often because it sounds so nice. This is one of those things I wish they had taught us in grade school. Life is a learning experience. May or may not have learned that from a Big Sean song. The sooner you acknowledge this and learn from it, the better.

It’s not alway easy to do, believe me. It is something that comes with many mistakes and many losses. But eventually, it will stick.

Failed Resolutions

Guess what?!


I have done a terrible job with my February resolutions…but I’m perfectly OK with that because I ended up gaining a lot by realizing restricting yourself from things that bring you a little joy isn’t exactly accomplishing or even a “good” thing.

If you follow me on twitter (@karamariedan), it’s possible you saw my tweet about choosing something to give up for the month of February. I obviously attempted to overachieve by giving up the use of social media, drinking soda, eating fish AND consuming alcohol for 28 days straight (I couldn’t even make it through the shortest month of the year?!).

However, so far, I’ve only been successful in one category…but I’m not even mad about it. Please allow me to explain.

I always find it inspiring when my friends give up alcohol for the month of January (because for whatever reason that’s a popular thing) or when Joe Rogan almost convinced me to do sober October (best podcast hands-down).

I always like to ask a person doing this why they feel the need to give something up for a month because if it’s not creating any issues in your life, why give it up? If you do something, chances are you do it because you want to do it and the last time I checked, doing things you enjoy is good for the soul.

The whole “everything in moderation” could not be more true. Although a subjective word, I believe this is the answer, at least for myself, to this sort of lesson I decided to teach myself.

I am a very creative person, so Instagram is an outlet for me and I truly have missed being on it. I’m a writer, so I love to tweet. I love a good Coca Cola every once in a while, I just don’t keep it in my refrigerator so I won’t overconsume. I don’t drink soda daily, so it hasn’t exactly ever escalated to a problem. I don’t eat meat and started as a vegetarian over a decade ago but soon after found myself consuming fish which truly saddens me. On the other hand, there are so many health benefits from eating fish and I rarely find myself eating it daily or even weekly. As for alcohol, I enjoy my (large) glass of red wine most nights but you won’t find me binge drinking Friday through Sunday or even on a thirsty Thursday.

Overall, I think it’s a wonderful little test for oneself to give up a habit or two for a month just so you can see how it may change the way you do things, how you spend your time or how you feel without those “things” clouding up your headspace.


The takeaway: everything in moderation.



No-Excuse Ways to Donate

I’m always trying to find ways to give back, but at first, for years, I felt like it was always just this line on my to-do list that never got done. I only ever got as far as the application process required by my local Humane Society to be a regular volunteer that would help clean cages and walk dogs. Even after applying and being accepted, I was only successful in volunteering for one adoption event and after that, nothing.

Honestly, I have a dog of my own that I feel I barely get to spend enough time with. I’ve consistently worked 2-3 jobs at a time and usually put more than 50 hours a week in, which pales in comparison to some other people’s jobs but yet I still cannot seem to find the time to volunteer.

This truly bothers me.

So, overtime I’ve discovered simple and easy ways to donate that work with my busy schedule. Tasks that we have no excuse for not doing because they require little to no time at all to complete.

Here are some simple ways you can give back:

Do you shop on Amazon? Of course, you do. You buy and Amazon will donate. Click on this link here to connect your Amazon account to a charity of your choice. Then the next time you shop, type smile.amazon.com instead of just amazon.com and they will automatically donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases. My browser now remembers the link and it’s easy to get used to. Even if you forget, Amazon will recognize you’re signed up for Amazon Smile and will have a pop-up ask if you want to switch to the Amazon Smile site.

Do you shop at Kroger? If so, you can link your Kroger Card to an available charity/organization of your choice and each time you shop using your rewards card, Kroger will donate. Go to their website here, create an online account that links to your rewards card, then choose your organization of choice by going to your account settings by clicking on “Welcome, your name” at the top right-hand corner. Under “Account Summary” scroll to the bottom where you’ll find “Community Rewards”. Here you can select from a list of local organizations in which Kroger will donate to when you use your Kroger card to shop.

Do you shop at Nordstrom? Follow this link and you can donate your clothing by mail with Give Back Box. Nordstrom has partnered with Give Back Box so you can reuse the box from your recent Nordstrom order to donate to local charities. When you order from Nordstrom, save the box your order came in. Fill the box with any gently used clothing, accessories and shoes you’d like to donate. Print a prepaid shipping label from GiveBackBox.com then close up your box, attach the prepaid label and drop it off at a UPS or USPS location. That’s it! Give Back Box partners with various charities—and your donation heads to the nearest one in need.

Do you have old towels and/or blankets you no longer use? For whatever reason, we never throw away old bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths because we often keep them in a separate cabinet for when we bathe our dogs or wash our cars. This cabinet was overflowing, so I needed to get rid of a lot of towels but they were still in such good condition that I couldn’t imagine throwing them away. I called my local Humane Society because I had heard that animal shelters use old towels and blankets for the animals as well as for cleaning up the kennels. They confirmed they DO accept them and even thanked me for thinking of them. So, don’t throw those old things away! Drop them off at your local shelter to help the animals in need.

Do you have old prescription glasses you can no longer use? I’ve had prescription glasses since middle school, unfortunately. As I was cleaning out my bedroom, I came across two old pairs that I figured I would end up throwing away because what else do you do with them? So, I Googled it and found out several organizations that put them to good use, including your local Lion’s Club. Follow this link to choose the organization you’d like to donate to.

Please comment any other ways to donate that others might not know about. I’m always looking for more!

Go with your first choice, always

I had a friend remind me of something very important the other day as I found myself trying to make a tough decision. He said, “trust your gut” and I remembered just how important doing that can be.

I am superstitious. I am a strong believer in the power of intuition. I think trusting your gut is incredibly important and not something to be ignored.

Have you ever found yourself staying in one night because you didn’t feel like going out for whatever reason? You changed your plans and stayed home only to wake up to a story on the news about an accident that happened on the route you would have taken on the way to your friend’s place or wherever you had planned on going that night and thought, wow, that could have been me. I strongly believe everything and everyone has its own time and place.

Your intuition exists for you to pay attention to it. Feel it.

Go with your first choice, always.

This brings up a memory from grade school when I had been told to always go with my first choice when taking multiple choice quizzes. They said that in a lot of cases, people second-guess themselves, changing their answer when their first answer had actually been the correct one. How crazy is that? Do we possibly not tune-in to what our mind and body is telling us enough?

Stop over-analyzing things. Don’t try to over-correct things.

Things don’t work out for a reason. You are where you are because you’re supposed to be.

One thing leads to another and it’s beautiful.

A few other things I’ve learned as of late:

  1. Maturity does not come with age. This was a disappointing one to discover.
  2. Call your friends, your family, and don’t miss that birthday party. It means more to them than you realize.
  3. There is a time for travel and adventure and there is a time to sit still for a while to get your ducks in a row.
  4. Read more. Watch more documentaries. Listen to more podcasts.
  5. Listen to people without judgement. This is difficult but important.



Much, Much Later…

I‘m baaaaack. Thanks for waiting more than a year on me and for still being interested in my blubbering thoughts. Let’s get down to it.

Do you remember growing up and being so irritated if someone copied you?

Maybe this mostly applies to girls, but I distinctly remember thinking it was SO annoying when someone copied me, or when I thought they had gotten an idea from me. If I had a super cute shirt on and some other girl asked me where I got it from, I’d reply with “oh, I don’t remember” just so they wouldn’t go buy the same shirt as me. What a laugh it gives me now.

Of course I was much, much younger and we all think in an ignorant, childish way at that age, so I accept my younger ways. But I think it is safe to say I have grown up, I hope. Especially because I can laugh about it now. Side note: it can still be frustrating when someone blatantly copies an idea of yours, even when you’re older, but that mostly applies to art. I still struggle with that. But all ideas come from somewhere.

Nowadays, I love sharing new things I discover. It feels like some small life purpose or something. When I find something I love, I now want to share it with EVERYONE.

I take pleasure in discovering and testing out new things. Things that will make life easier. Things that make me more productive. Things that are good for the body and soul. Things that make me happy.

Life is short and can actually be pretty tough most days. And if I can help someone along their journey and make it a little easier for them, I do. I add to my own happiness by making others happy or helping wherever I can.

Maturity is a beautiful thing. Especially when you realize you’ve hit that stage in life where you become a little more selfless.

Whether it’s an app that truly helps me learn a new language or save money, or a face mask that took years to find that I think every human needs in their life, these are the things I like to share. I realize this is what bloggers and influencers do, which I never considered myself to be. But after a few different people approached me recently asking about different types of advice, I wanted to share that advice with everyone that may be searching for it, too.

So, as before, I’d like to continue sharing my new finds (that actually work) or personal pieces that might help others know they are not alone when it comes to certain topics.

Stay tuned, xx.

Living in the Present

It’s one thing to have a dream, but it’s another thing to actually fulfill it. Not everyone follows through with their dreams. Life always seems to get in the way, that is for certain.

After following my own dream, I soon realized something. I began to almost envy those that have a dream but never chase it. Half of the dream is the expectation we create in our mind. We think of how it could be, how much better life would be if that dream were to come true. But have you ever followed your dream only to find yourself not as fulfilled as you had always expected to be once obtaining it?

Half of the fun of having a dream is just having it in mind. Something to work toward, something to wake up for in the morning, something that keeps you going even on your worst day. Still in our mind, having yet come to life, there are no disappointments.

Our dreams make us who we are. If you didn’t have something you were working toward, you appear pretty lazy and unmotivated, right? We must have something to tell everyone around us that shows that we are working toward success in life. But what if we stopped worrying about what everyone around us thought? Not what they think of our hair or our clothes, but of what we do and why it is we do what we do. Because there is no better feeling than doing exactly what you want to do and not having to explain why to anyone but yourself.

I quit both of my jobs, cancelled my car insurance, froze my cell phone account, packed two suitcases and left my car, home, and family behind to move to an island. It took about two weeks to realize that I did have a pretty great life that I just up and left. I suddenly felt terrible that I took my wonderful job(s), nice car, and beautiful family for granted. At least that was what it felt like. You can call it homesickness, culture shock, or a mental breakdown, but it made me rethink life pretty quickly. There I was surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the nicest mega yachts, and infinity pools overlooking the entire island and it all felt…wrong.

The grass certainly does always look greener on the other side.

I had always heard that it takes about two to three weeks for something to become a routine, to become a pattern. Although there has been much debate about how long it actually takes to get used to something, by the third week I found my mind in a much better place. This came after my slight meltdown, where I decided a trip back home was what I had needed. The best way to realize your love for something is to let it go. Just be mindful of how many times you let something go, because you may not always be able to get it back.

They say every road you take will always lead you back home. However true that may be, who says you can’t go home? Home is always a ticket away. I finally began to understand that you have to appreciate things in the moment, while they are directly in front of you. Unfortunately, I had already booked my flight to return home after I became comfortable with my new life. A couple hundred dollars later, I found myself back in the heart of America, surrounded by corn fields and old familiar places.

Home will always be there, but adventures will always be waiting. To live in the present, you must live slowly and savor your life. Enjoy what is right in front of you at this very moment. Stop worrying about the future and focus on the present. You could work 40+ hours a week in an office to build up your retirement fund and die before you get to use it, or you could be doing exactly what makes you happy right now and say that you lived your life to the fullest. Clichés have proven true more often than not, right?

Here Are My Must-Haves

Man oh man, am I ready to get to the island.

Moving can be such a process, but moving out of the country is another story. Obtaining a copy of my “criminal record”, my birth certificate, ss card, etc. I have certainly learned a few things along the way. Starting to feel like such an adult, it’s weird.

How does one MOVE their stuff to an island? The great part about it is the more simplified way of life. Alright, not entirely but definitely different compared to the states. Some clothes, lots of sandals, even more bathing suits, and that is about it. After stocking up on my favourite bb cream and LUSH products, I think I’m set. And who even needs a hair straightener when you have salt water to give you beachy waves every day?

I can say the second best feeling, next to booking my flight, was putting in my two weeks notice at both of my jobs. Don’t get me wrong, I love my jobs, very much so actually, but after three years in Finance, I am thrilled to say my goodbyes. As a bartender, I meet and talk to many people every day. We always end up talking about our careers, life, work, etc. When I tell them about my plans to move, they each say how they wish they could be that “fearless”. To just up and leave, move to the islands, create a change in their lives. This strikes me as so odd, each and every time. I think we all have different dreams and things we want, but it is always so strange hearing people say they wish they could do something when they can do whatever it is that they want. I’m just following my heart. Everyone should, it will never lead you astray.

So, for the next two weeks, I am cutting back on working so much. 14-20 hour work days are finally becoming too much. Yesterday I ate two gas station donuts for breakfast, I had left over birthday cake I found in our office’s kitchen because I didn’t have time for lunch, I got a quesadilla to go from the bar that I ate while driving home from work at 10pm, only to return to my bedroom where I plowed through all of the dirty clothes on my bedroom floor to get to my bed that hasn’t had clean sheets on it in over two weeks because there is just no time for that, and then I suddenly realized how out of control my life had become. And gross. Being a workaholic may be one of my downfalls. Maybe.

And so, commence eating as much Chipotle as I can before moving. Because there is no Chipotle where I’m going. Cue tears.

Curious what LUSH products I had to stock up on before leaving? Here are my MUST-HAVES.

Shampoo bar. After trying a few, I’ll always go back to my favourite.

Conditioner bar. Because YES they finally came out with them. And bigger the better, right?

Face cleanser. Out of them all, this one stuck.

Serum. Because a dry face isn’t cute. I always take this guy when I travel.

And if I could take every bath bomb in existence, I would. I promise you can’t go wrong with any of them. But if you need a recommendation, this is it.


I Feel Bad That I Don’t Feel Bad

When you start making choices tailored to your desires you become a little more happy. This is self explanatory.

“Go chase your dreams”, they say. Then they proceed to ask, “but why that?” Keep people happy, do things for them, be there for them 24/7 and never get to do what you want in life? Or be a little selfish and go live your dream? The choices.

Why is it when we start doing what we want to do, we get such backlash? Is it because we’re actually doing what we want to do? Because people forget they’re also allowed to do the same? Because no one else was brave enough to cut loose?

You’re moving?

Aren’t you going to miss you friends and family?

You won’t be here for family things, you want to miss all of that?

Sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the things we want. We’ve all been there, done that. But it becomes increasingly difficult when people make you actually feel selfish for going after something you want. This is why it requires a little bit of fearlessness and bravery to go out and do exactly what you want to do in life. Fearlessness for trusting that everything will work out in the end. Bravery for trusting that everyone that is with you now will stick with you until the end.

I feel bad that I don’t feel bad. Possibly because the satisfying feeling of doing what you’ve always wanted replaces all other feelings. You can’t beat it.

Go out and do something you have always want to do. And don’t look back.

It Doesn’t Just Magically Happen

Someone asked me the other day what gym I work out at, to which I responded, “none”. I did the whole gym membership thing and never had time for it, at least it wasn’t as convenient as doing workouts from my home, so I got rid of it. I workout occasionally, but I’ll admit it’s not part of my daily routine.

I believe greatly in the 80/20 rule. Your weight is 80% what you eat and 20% exercise.

Can I just say how incredibility annoying and rude it is when people say, “enjoy that metabolism while it lasts” to me because I’m at a healthy weight? Here’s a fun fact, I’m a vegetarian.

I don’t eat meat. I am not feeding my body unnatural fed, hormone, antibiotic grown animals. You do not find me preaching to others that they should also not eat meat. That is not my job and I am not particularly fond of people shoving their own beliefs down others throats. But I am at a healthy weight because of how I eat and what I put into my body. It doesn’t just magically happen. You have to take care of your body.

I could easily go on and on about factory farming, but I won’t. I wouldn’t want to ruin meat products for everyone. I’m all about leaving the smallest footprint on this Earth when I leave it, and this is the way I do it.

As for the individuals that do not understand why some vegetarians still eat veggie dogs and other “fake” meat products, maybe it’s because we know what is going into the product. Plant-based proteins. No hormones. No antibiotics that put the human population at risk for chronic disease, obesity, and drug-resistant bacteria. I didn’t always hate hot wings, but I’d rather a plant-based fake meat product that doesn’t harm the Earth as much just to produce.

Everyone has a choice. Some make choices different than your own. That’s what makes them choices. Respect them.

If you’re interested in learning a little more about it all, I suggest this great, informational, easy-read.

I wanted to share my biggest health tip because I do get asked how I maintain and keep my body in good shape. So there it is.

Why Being a Free Spirit Hurts the People Around You

Lately I’ve been noticing how my thoughts and actions differ from most others. Of course, the older you get, the more you learn about yourself. This is true for myself as of late, especially; constantly feeling like I’m on a different page than everyone else. Sure, I like to do what every 24-year-old does, but maybe just a little less than the usual ones.

I hate feeling the pressure of having to do something. By this I mean any pressure. Making “plans” and following through has become my biggest challenge. I love being a productive person. Upon making many to-do lists and planning everything out a week in advance, I’ve started to realize that no longer  works for me, or anyone else because I end up cancelling plans. Knowing I’m living by a schedule, having to do something, makes me not want to do it that much more. So. Much. Pressure.

I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it. 

Most people seem to find this difficult to accept, and I totally understand that. I feel like everyone around me is constantly going out, hanging with friends, searching for a relationship. This overwhelms me. I used to know how it was to be like that. Then something changed, apparently. I no longer feel the need to have someone else to make me happy. I am happy. I don’t find happiness relying on others any longer. I can’t say when it happened, but it did.

Everyone knows that feeling all too well. I remember a past breakup, years ago, that had me in tears for hours because I thought I needed that person. What a strange thought that is to me now. Now the most difficult part is explaining this to other people. People like to feel needed. And I can no longer give them that.

I never want to wake up and need something. I want to always be able to leave my job tomorrow, if I wanted to. I want to be able to book a ticket on the next flight to another country in a matter of hours. Anything that disables me from doing so seems unnecessary. The feeling of being restrained is suffocating.

It is hard to explain this to the important people in your life. And I have the most amazing people in my life. Relationships aren’t for me, not at the moment at least, and that’s a tough one to explain. Maybe your 20’s are your selfish years, maybe something or someone will hold me down some day, but for now  being a free spirit is who I am. People will understand your choices because they care about you, accept you, and love you. Anyone else just doesn’t need to be in your life.