a daily insight.

Tag: Lifestyle

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!

A Subscription-Based World

Question: How many subscription services are you currently subscribed to?

With the ever-growing amount of subscription services now available to us, millions of people are taking advantage. From beauty and fashion to vitamins and makeup, the many types of subscriptions are endless and they’re only growing in numbers day by day.

Need undies sent to you monthly? No problem.

Need food sent to you weekly? Consider it done.

Need vitamins sent to you monthly? You got it.

I’m more than guilty of partaking in this fad, as I have tried out a few or more of these subscription services myself. I’ve done the whole customized vitamin packs, the cool new makeup boxes, the customized color and scented shampoo and conditioner with my name printed on the bottles, the electric toothbrush and replacement heads, and much more. I had actually not realized how many subscription services I’ve tried up until typing this. It never seemed like much but now I realize how much of a sucker I am for these neat subscriptions. But who wouldn’t be interested in something like this when we are led to believe it will save us time, money, and is customized just for you?

This topic really came to mind after recently discovering a new subscription service for razors. Yes, disposable razors. You know, those things you get in a pack of four at the store for less than $6.

Instantly, I was wondering what this new company had to offer that would be so much more efficient and effective than simply purchasing my razors with the rest of my household items at the store.

Now, this subscription service would have to take up less of my time, be cheaper than the razors I’m already using, produce less waste and use less resources when distributing them for me to consider it beneficial.


Let’s break it down.


Time: Was this really going to save me any time? I actually visit the grocery store at least once per week, most often for fresh produce. My personal and household products are purchased online because I like to price compare. I buy from Amazon or Target, because I have Prime and Target offers free shipping on orders over $35, which includes my razors. Therefore, I don’t make additional trips to the store specifically for razors, making my total purchase time for razors about 35 seconds as I search, select, and click “add to cart” on my Target app.

Money: Was this cheaper than my 4 for $5.99 razor pack from Target? Well, the “Get Started” price on Billie is $9 and includes the razor handle, holder, and 2 razor cartridges. After that, they’ll send you 4 replacement cartridges for $9 when you need them. There are many different brands and types you can buy from the store, but majority are much more cost effective than this 4 for $9, including the extra two cartridges you’re missing out on with your starter kit.

Waste: The cool thing about the Billie razors is that you keep the handle and only replace the razor cartridges, so you’re not throwing away the entire plastic razor. If you’re not shocked by this environmentally friendly option, it’s probably because it already exists. You can purchase a pack of razor cartridge refills at the store, too. After looking at the prices, it’s also more cost effective to buy the replacements from the store. You’re also saving packaging by not getting razors singly shipped to you when you need them. Although I purchase beauty and household items online, I wait to order until I have at least several products in my cart before doing so, not just shipping myself a single package of razors. You can also bring reusable grocery bags to the store to save on bags when shopping. Magical.

The Hook: They’re actually stating that us ladies have been over-paying for our razors! Say what? They call it the “Pink Tax” Rebate. I was instantly curious how much I have been overpaying, only to realize this was their way to get us to advertise for them for free. What a creative name, Pink Tax. If you use their referral program, get everyone you know to sign-up for their services, you get money off your next order. Let’s get this straight…the more you work for them, getting people to give them their money, they’ll lower their prices for us. How sweet, right? So, if you feel like working for free and you’re great at advertising, you can lower your quarterly disposable razor budget from $6 to $0! But the number of people you can convince to sign-up for this is limited, especially since they’ll start trying to get everyone they know to sign-up so they can start thriving off that possible discount.


So, like I was wondering from the second I discovered this new subscription service, what is the point of this? Who was subscribing to this service?

I quickly returned to the well-known fact that people love new and shiny things. We’re only human. New and innovative ideas are exciting. These companies also provide a more unique, modern, and aesthetically pleasing appearance to their product. Instagrammable things!

Instagrammable is right. This is exactly where I first saw this product. TONS of women posting photos of their cool, new razors as they try to get others to sign-up. After all, this is how most things work these days. Referral programs are everywhere. I am all about utilizing referral benefits, but ultimately, this one appears slightly far-fetched to me.

Would you subscribe to a disposable razor subscription? Is it truly worth it or have the subscription services gone too far?

People are often quick to believe this wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t going to benefit them, that it must be better than purchasing these items in-store ourselves. Remember to take a few minutes to break it all down before committing to that new subscription service the next time one catches your eye. Your bank account may thank you.





How Millennials Save Money

My full-time job is in the field of Personal Finance. I handle over 60 individual’s finances daily. I have been doing this for almost five years which would lead one to believe I have my own finances in tiptop condition, but one would, in fact, be wrong.

The infamous “they” say that us millennials are less about saving than most others. They find this to be true due to our “one life” mentality that prefers to spend our money on experiences and traveling. Because we could work every day, contributing to our 401K and retirement funds but what if we die tomorrow and never get to enjoy that money?

Well, I’d like to not live with the idea that I’ll be leaving this Earth tomorrow which entices me to want to improve my saving habits.

If you have a car, who is to say the transmission isn’t going to go out tomorrow. Or maybe you’ll take your car to the dealership to get new brake pads put on and walk out having spent $500 more than you ever would have imagined. This sounds familiar because this was me a month ago. I’m still drying my tears.

If you have a pet, who is to say that some accident doesn’t occur next week where you have to spend a couple hundred or even thousands in order to keep them alive. I have a friend that actually saves to make sure they have enough money set aside to cover any unexpected medical expenses for their dog because they’re responsible and that’s how much they love their dog. People run into this sad dilemma every day. I started to feel awful that I didn’t have money saved in case of this kind of emergency and so I’m now on my way to being a better dog-mom.

Now, I don’t have so much money that I just don’t know what to do with and just decided to start saving. I actually classify myself as the broke college graduate that often laughs when current college students refer to themselves as broke college kids because I feel poorer now than I did in college. Cue school loan payments kicking in.

My point is that even if you’re only saving a few dollars here and there, you’re still saving. It adds up.

I create budgets daily at my job. And yet, I am still awful at budgeting my own money.

So, I started using apps that save for me. I first tried Digit. I loved the idea of saving without noticing, except after the first so many days of using it, they charge you a monthly fee. That seemed like an oxymoron to me. Even if it was just $2.99/month. Their features were alright, but I found something better.

Cue Qapital.

I’ve been a dedicated user for a couple months now. Long enough to feel confident in sharing about how well it has worked for me, without any problems or complaints.


  • Easily link it to your bank account
  • Your funds are FDIC assured
  • You can have as many savings accounts/goals as you want (ok, I have at least 4 and they haven’t stopped me yet)
  • They stop withdrawing money from your bank account the moment the balance is less than $100 to avoid overdrafts
  • Pause your savings at any time
  • It’s an app on your phone you can access at any time
  • You can create several different “rules” for your goals (this is how it saves for you)
    • My favourite rules to use:
      • a “round-up” rule saves the change every time you make a purchase (not noticeable)
      • the “set & forget” rule saves just $1 (or however much you want) every day, week, or month ($1/day adds up!)
  • There is an option to get a Qapital VISA debit card where you’ll earn interest on all your savings (I didn’t opt into this yet, it’s not necessary but a good way to earn more money)
  • Easily withdraw and transfer your savings to your bank account at any time (only taking 2 business days to arrive)

FullSizeRender (4)

Thus far, this has been the best discovery of 2018 for me. I mostly enjoy that I can separate my savings goals, instead of just having $2,000 in one savings account. That makes me think, “Oh, I have savings!” but when you break it down, would that cover a pet emergency, a medical emergency for myself, and a car breakdown expense? I’m a visual person, so seeing my goals and savings separately makes me feel a lot better. I even started a Christmas 2018 savings goal, because if I save just $2 per day, I’ll have enough to buy all my presents by the time Christmas comes. Cool, right?

You can get $5 toward your first goal just by signing up through my link. Because that’s already like a free cup of coffee and you’re maybe just insane if you turn that down.

If you’ve found any better savings apps or have any tips on ways to save, please share!

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.