a month on mealpal

In a previous post about how you can save money on food in Toronto, I had mentioned this service called MealPal but couldn’t give a first-hand account of what using the service is like. Since the start of the new year, our house had been a little slower to get back to our regular routine of weekly meal plans + preps. MealPal finally lured me in with a 40% off code so I decided to give them a shot.

Hot Tip: If you sign up for an account but don’t commit to a plan just yet, MealPal will try to woo you with email discount offers. I received emails starting with $20 off my first month, then $40 off, and then finally 40% off.

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eating in toronto on a budget

Holy moly, Toronto is expensive. Who knew that and didn’t tell me before I moved here? I’m just kidding, I knew it was going to cost me some serious cash to live + work + breathe in this city. Maybe you are like me and have student loans + a deep fondness for oysters, or maybe you just want to save because that’s the reasonable and mature thing to do if you have the means. Toronto is expensive, but here are my tips for when you’re inevitably here and aren’t leaving and want to avoid overdraft fees.

This is part 1 – eating in Toronto on a budget.

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your guide to bunz in toronto

Bunz is a trading platform/app/community that started in Toronto but has since expanded to a number of other major cities in Canada. The Bunz philosophy is focused on building communities by encouraging people to trade instead of buying. Maybe you don’t wear that one coat anymore but it’s still in great condition. One man’s trash, etc. etc. Basically, Bunz made bartering cool again. And it’s not just people’s furniture and clothing available for trade on the platform, there are users who even trade services like photography sessions and home cooked meals. Why trade? It can be a great way to meet other people in your city while also keeping your expenses down. Reusing and trading are also more environmentally friendly than buying new!

I really immersed myself in the Bunz community when I first moved to Toronto back in May. While packing and unpacking during that time, I saw how much clothing had gone unworn in the last year and was realistically never going to be worn. I donated about half the pile and turned to Bunz for the other half.

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getting started on sustainability

Companies are doing it, governments are doing it, but you as a private consumer are the most important factor in creating a sustainable world! This is something that is brought up often in my seminars, especially in my recent ones on global environmental governance. As much as states and governments should be laying the groundwork for sustainable infrastructure and the large-scale changes needed at the global level, at the end of the day what truly needs to happen is people deciding that the future of our planet is important enough to change the way we act.

Obviously, a super easy task, let’s just all get started with that right away.

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best photo locations on campus – self-timer edition

So you’re on campus and you look cute but you have no friends willing to take your fit pic. If this is not a story you are familiar with, then you are very lucky. Or you don’t really care about taking outfit pictures so this post might not be for you.

If you do have pals on campus who love (tolerate) #OOTDs, you can obviously still partake in photography in these locations but you already have the benefit of another human who can hold the camera. The campus is your oyster in that case.

However, if you are like me and you either feel bad about making your friends take the outfit picture or they don’t happen to be around, here are some places you can go to!

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guide to thrifting in kitchener/waterloo

Cards on the table, I was definitely one of those people who started thrifting before Macklemore decided to make it a whole thing because secondhand is cheap and I loved the weird thrill that comes with finding something unique or something that’s actually way more expensive than the thrift store thinks it is. As a student, thrifting lets me shop within a limited budget and also lets me practice slightly more mindful consumerism. As accessible as fast fashion is, it’s hard to justify the price tag when you are (painfully!) aware that the company isn’t 100% ethical in their practices. Talk about problematic faves.

So if you’ve been wanting to get into thrifting I have some tips for you in this post as well as recommendations on where to go if you’re in Kitchener-Waterloo!

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apartment tour – v. 2(017)

Hi Waterloo, it’s us, we’re back! We moved all of a block down from our last place and added a new roommate – hi Hannah! The apartment hunting process itself was a headache and a half and it did not help that all three of us were working in Toronto during the spring term and couldn’t physically be around to do viewing and scope things out. There were envoys, countless photos and videos, a revival of the house hunt Trello board, and a truly bizarre leasing signing situation but ultimately we were not living in the SLC this year and for that, we are truly grateful.

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what’s in my bag | june 7th 2017

This is the Millennial Working in the Big City™ edition of What’s in My Bag. (Here is the previous edition if you want to take a peek. I also did not realize until just now that it’s been 2 years since my first bag post.)

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

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3 instagram hacks that aren’t clickbait (probably)

Header credits: https://unsplash.com/search/phone?photo=YsJkVNMH_Q4

It’s pretty difficult not to sound like a clickbait article as soon as you bring numbers into the equation (ha!) so I decided to just steer into the skid. Also because my alternative title was going to be the 3 (Instagram) Hackmigos which feels like it would’ve been worse. You’re welcome.

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1 // POSTING FROM A COMPUTER

I’m just going to start with this one because it’s obviously the most exciting one. For too long Instagram users have been unable to post from anywhere other than a phone/tablet. This is obviously fine if you’re a casual user or if you don’t do extensive editing on your desktop but if you do fall into that category of users who have always had to hop their files between camera > desktop > phone for posting, you’re probably going to be super pumped.

Here’s how you do it on Chrome: open an incognito window > more tools > developer tools > click on the mobile/tablet icon in the right section to toggle the device > log into Instagram > rejoice

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The area where your device toggle button (read: salvation) lies.

Okay now that I’ve gotten you all excited, here are the drawbacks:

  • you can’t post multiple pictures/album yet
  • you can only seem to rotate your image
  • there is no editing function not even for resizing or repositioning which part of the picture you want, so you better be uploading the exact thing that you want to be posted
  • you can’t save as a draft

But still, rejoice if you are ready to post the picture as is when you upload it!

2 // USING THE COLLECTION VIEW FOR POSTING SNEAK PEEKS OF NEW POSTS

Ever since stories became a thing on Instagram it seemed like everyone has switched from telling users to turn on post notifications (which is sporadically accurate and irritating at best) to posting notices in their story that there’s a new post. It makes sense since the stories are right at the top of the main page and it’s easier to tell people news that way than waiting for them to scroll down to your post (if they ever do – thanks algorithm).

I’ve noticed that most people just post a screenshot of their feed with the new post blocked out. I found a much nicer method of presenting your newest post in your story, it’s much less cluttered.

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Just save your post and then go to your saved posts and screenshot while doing a long press on the picture. It’ll blur out the background and present you with a nicely framed picture.

3 // SWIPE AND HOLD (CONTINUOUS ALBUM)

Honestly the first time I saw anything like the continuous album picture it was one of the top posts on r/Tinder.

“I hear girls like it when you have more than one picture in your bio.”

But then Instagram rolled out the functionality of posting multiple pictures and some super creative people (not me) immediately picked up on how it could be used in a similar fashion. My favourite examples are this comic by @adamtots and all of @camtwo‘s posts. She’s really where I picked up on the term #SwipeAndHold. My awkward screen recording doesn’t really do it justice, you should go check it out for yourselves!

I did give this method a shot myself which yielded pretty cool results that don’t translate well when you’re on desktop. The trickiest part is cropping your picture to the x:1 ratio before then further splitting it for the multiple posts.

ImageSplitter is the best site that I’ve found so far for this task – you can easily crop it to the correct aspect ration first then download and split that file. It’s also super handy if you want to make a 3 in a row pictures on your feed or a 3×3 square.


And that’s the three cool Instagram hacks (tricks) that I’ve learned recently! I hope it helps you with your ‘gram game. If you know other cool things that I should check out let me know in the comments!

xoxo, Vick

spring cleaning vol. 2

// food //

Now that your closet is a little leaner (check out my post on cleaning out your closet if you haven’t read it yet!) let’s chat about food! I know that spring tends to be when everyone starts trying out new diets and cutting back. We may all have differing opinions on the necessity of a diet but I think we can all agree we can at least assess the things we’re eating to be a bit more mindful. My personal weakness is processed meats – salami is just too delicious for its own good. But I also like trying out new foods and eating cleaner at least helps balance my overall diet so I feel a bit less bad about the number of Oreos I can consume in one sitting.

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