All of my friends have left me but at least I have a bicep now

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Missed her so much I flew across the country.

During the summer preceding my first year of university, my brother gave me a piece of sage advice: don’t become friends with fourth year students, because eventually they will graduate and leave you.

Following my most human impulse, I ignored this impartation of wisdom, wanting to believe that I was immune to it all, an exception; the naïvety of my 17 year-old mind made me think I could neglect the risk.

And then one of my closest friends during second year graduated. And then the trend continued in third year.

And then I was in fourth year and I graduated. People who I used to see on a weekly  basis are now at graduate school in Montreal, living in North Vancouver, doing a semester in Copenhägen, living the big city life in Toronto with fancy jobs. My geographically-close friends and I are constantly struggling to find a time when our schedules aren’t in conflict.

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we’re sad girls because we haven’t seen each other in so long 😦

My social life was basically D.O.A. when I started working, but I think I have found one silver-lining. In my sheer boredom and ample amounts of free time, I actually go to the gym.

I literally just go to the gym because what else am I going to do with my evening? and in this process, I have developed the slightest hint of muscle definition. My experience, I fully believe, puts me in the place to develop a fitness plan to market to the masses (because, realistically, I have the same qualifications as most of the instafitness influencers out there).

BUY MY COMPREHENSIVE FITNESS PLAN: MAKE MY BOD GREAT AGAIN

1. As mentioned earlier, have no social life. Maybe, on the occasional weekend, you’ll see your limited number of friends, but apart from that you have to be SUPER alone.

PRO TIP: This is substantially easier if your friends, idk, move across the country so your ritual of going to Wine Wednesday with them ceases to exist! Instead, drink multiple cups of tea alone in your room at night!

2. Work in an office that’s located too far from any fast food locations for you to even CONSIDER walking to buy french fries. This inspires you to pack food for the day, and if you’re as lazy as me when it comes to food prep, this includes just eating a bowl of baby spinach and a protein bar for lunch.

3. Have a gym membership. You’re working full-time on entry-level/intern wages; you can’t afford NOT to use the gym you’re already paying for. You have to go. When you get there, lift weights/run/cycle/whatever-you-like-to-do-at-the-gym for as long as you can to dodge the growing sense of ~ennui~ you feel on a daily basis.

4. Rinse and repeat.

Now, many of you might wonder how I maintain motivation to follow such an intensive guide; motivation is unique to everyone, as we all have different goals that get our serotonin flowing. What keeps me motivated is that I own a ton of business casual clothing that I bought a few years ago, but doesn’t quite fit; I can’t afford to buy new clothes, so I guess I just have to get in shape :).

Jokes aside, I am in significantly better physical shape than I was throughout my final years of university. I spent the last two years of undergrad on a strict diet of $9 peach pinot grigio, Smoke’s Poutine, and pizza pockets (a guilty pleasure).

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ily ❤

I’ll be honest: there were many times in my fourth year where I thought I really wanted to get back to having a physically fit body. I’m also going to be honest to say I was wrong.

For the people who have known me for a long time, it’s no secret that I packed on a few (like 25) pounds over the course of undergrad; there are a lot of reasons behind that, including gaining muscle mass, changes in my medical health, recovering from disordered eating habits, and also, for the first time in over 10 years, not maintaining an obsession with my weight. I swear I truly would not take back any of the fun I had over the past few years even if it meant I could have had a size two waist instead.

So if getting fit and eating a healthy diet fits into your life right now, that’s great. I’m rooting for you. But if not, I’m also going to firmly encourage you to not let what your body looks like dictate your life. Have that glass of wine; eat that poutine; don’t turn down a night out with your friends; don’t feel guilty not going to the gym because you’re swamped with assignments. Your physical fitness may not be your priority right now.

And that’s okay.

Comment the best piece of advice you’ve ignored! One time my doctor told me I shouldn’t go to work because I was definitely sick, and after nearly throwing up I was forced to acknowledge that her and her 15+ years of experience may have been right.

Coming up next: professional Twitter is no fun: there, I said it

Time is money, and I have neither

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I really go too hard when listening to 7 Rings by Ariana Grande for someone who cannot afford most things.

My life as an ~adult~ has been in full swing for almost two months now, and I’ve been forced to realize the true value of time. As someone who in undergrad had a ripe total of five hours of class a week, going to a regular work schedule (and also trying to cook at home, go to the gym, maintain a social life, enrich myself by reading critically-acclaimed literature and watching documentaries, and generally maintaining a holistic, good life) has been hard. I am starved for time.

Multiply that by my severe lack of funds and, sugar, we are going down swinging.

I’ve become increasingly savvy with my $$$$ and time, as one does when they don’t have much to be savvy with, and I’ve come up with some ways to save on each one.

However, the Internet is saturated with listicles on how to save time and money, with useful, wholesome tips like meal-prepping, list-making, developing a monthly savings plan, etc. I’m not here to divulge information that a quick Google search could tell you. Instead, I’m going to drop the most original (and perhaps borderline insane) things I’ve done to stretch a couple bucks and save some minutes.

HOW TO SAVE TIME

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Can’t believe this movie never won an Oscar.

Okay, so I lied in the title: time is not money. You can’t store time you think you shouldn’t use just to keep it for later. “Saving” time is a hilariously impossible notion, and people who say it generally just mean they’ve found a way to do a task more quickly or just refocused their attention on something that matters more to them.

That means using time is a relative concept, and very difficult to prescribe solutions for its saving; therefore, I’m going to offer a universal tip, and give a couple examples on how to do it.

Any task can take just about any amount of time you want it to (if you believe in yourself). The degree of how well it’s performed is really just the difference. I’ve mentally developed three-five different ways to do just about everything in my life, depending on how much time I have.

For example, here is how I can do my morning routine, depending on how much time I have left after irresponsibly snoozing my alarm multiple times, systematically cutting steps as needed:

1h 30 min:

  1. Wake up (refreshed)
  2. Scroll through social media
  3. Wash face, moisturize, brush teeth
  4. Get dressed in something ~trendy~ and ~cute~
  5. Do my hair (either curl or straighten)
  6. Do a full face of makeup
  7. Put on jewelry and watch
  8. Organize tote bag
  9. Pack gym clothes
  10. Pack lunch, carefully curating a balance of healthy snacks and a nutritious, protein-dense meal
  11. Eat breakfast while scrolling through the news
  12. Leave home

30 min:

  1. Wake up (with minor panic)
  2. Wash face, moisturize, brush teeth
  3. Get dressed
  4. Hair in neat bun
  5. Do my makeup, but maybe cut out eyeliner
  6. Organize tote bag
  7. Pack lunch
  8. Leave home

5 min:

  1. Wake up (with a lot of panic)
  2. Brush teeth
  3. Dressed; outfit may not match
  4. Concealer for dark circles
  5. Leave home

The crazy thing is that the end effect isn’t even that different between all of these three. And the same can be said for a lot of things (i.e. what’s really the difference between a salad with fresh avocado and toasted almonds vs. a bowl of spring mix with some dressing?).

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I practice what I preach.

 

HOW TO SAVE MONEY

This tip is for the truly desperate. For the lowest of low moments. I’m sad to say that I have done this more times than I am proud of. In order to preface, this tip does not technically save money. It just makes it more usable.

Disclaimer: this tactic is for Canadians only. Americans, get better money!!!!

STEP ONE: if you’re anything like me, you have a bunch of useless change. I’m talking nickels and dimes. The kind of change you slowly collect but never use because when would you ever use nickels and dimes?  These coins only exist for the 1/85 chance you have the exact right amount of change. You’re never going to go to pay for something and think, I should throw this handful of metal at this tired, underpaid service worker.

Actually, one time I paid for coat check by giving the girl a ziploc full of $3 worth of dimes and nickels and I am deeply ashamed of that moment. Dear coat check girl, I am sincerely sorry.

STEP TWO: Collect all the rogue coins you own, and count them out. Make sure your coin count rounds up to a full dollar amount (preferably an even dollar amount).

STEP THREE: Scope out a vending machine. Preferably one in a secluded area so no one can watch you do this. Try a low-traffic hallway.

STEP FOUR: There are actually multiple ways to do this. I made an alignment chart so you can decide what approach fits your personal energy:

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I personally align with chaotic evil.

To elaborate, you’re going to slide that useless change into the vending machine until you reach the $1.00 point. Then you’re going to hit the return coin button on that bad boy, and if this is a ~good machine~ it will spit a loonie out at you. If it’s a bad machine, it will either a) eat your money, which means you just have to commit and make a purchase, or b) spit your gross, garbage change back at you. If this is the case, keep testing machines until you find a good one.

Once you’ve found that good machine, load it up with trash change until you reach the $2.00 point, and then hit the coin return. A toonie — a useable piece of change — will come at you.

Bing bang boom PROFIT. You’re welcome.

 

If you’ve made it this far, I truly applaud you. Thank you. As a reward, here are some actual things I’ve done to save some money/time:

1. I learned how to do my own eyebrows, which means I no longer have to deal with a) booking eyebrow appointments and driving there and b) paying for it. Are my eyebrows ever perfect? No. Do I always look a little busted? Yes. Do I care about either of these things? Not even slightly.

2. I only get my hair cut once a year. Granted, I have hair that doesn’t split easily, and I don’t dye it, so I don’t have to go in for touch ups. Every year in the fall, I go snip off about 6-10 inches; this is a double-win because I only spend about $60 annually on hair care, AND I get to donate the locks.

3. I prepare food based on the limiting agent. I don’t meal prep in the “common” way, where I make three to five meals worth of food and segment them into specific meal containers. While this works for many people, I find that I get bored of eating the exact same thing for a whole week, it takes a long time to prepare that amount of food at once, and I also don’t own enough tupperware for this method.

Instead I cook enough of the one food that takes the longest (i.e. wild rice) to last a full week, and then prepare the rest of the food in 10-15 minutes on a day-to-day basis (i.e. cutting up the veggies and making the dressing for a salad).

4. I plan and order what my next item purchases will be. For example, the next three items I buy are going to be loafers, a new pair of workout leggings, and a table lamp (in that order). Planning prevents me from impulse buying items I don’t really need and lets me focus money spending on specific goals.

 

Living in a culture where everyone seems to be spending their time doing exciting things (i.e. going on spring break trips, spontaneously flying to Paris) and owning luxurious things, it’s easy to feel a inadequate with my lack of funds and time. As much as I want to be perfectly content with my current situation, I’m not ashamed to admit I wish I could catch a flight to Bali.

And that’s okay.

Comment the biggest hustle you’ve ever committedOne time I paid for a slushie at Mac’s with a bus ticket.

Coming up next: all of my friends have left me but at least i have a bicep now

Pass off being too poor to own things as “Minimalism”

I was in between sets at the gym, scrolling through Twitter and generally trying to look busy so no one would think I was approachable enough to ask if “they could work in” when I came across this gem of a tweet:

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Courtesy of Twitter User @kathasty

Although I wholeheartedly laughed at the fact that there are people who think that this counts as “fully furnished” (albeit, they might add a Fight Club poster, a collection of empty alcohol bottles or something equally tacky), I also had a moment of terror that there is a very real chance that this is what my future apartment will look like.

To explain, I probably have a ripe $12 and an unreasonable number of haircare products to my name. That’s it.

Fortunately, I have been blessed to have my existence coincide with the growing lifestyle trend of minimalism. Here and here are a couple definitions of minimalism by practicing minimalists, but I’m going to summarize it as owning less things as a way to make your life better (? I still don’t fully get it).

 

This is what came up when I searched minimalism on pexels — my living space does not even remotely look like this

We (broke students/recently-graduated humans) live in a special time during which we have the ability to use minimalism to mask the fact we can’t afford basic things. Only one plate, mug, glass, and bowl? Minimalism. One lone chair in my living room? Minimalism. Not owning a T.V. and instead consuming all of my media on my laptop from the moderate comfort of my one chair while using my one fork to eat instant ramen? Minimalism.

Not only do you get away with having less items in your home/apartment than a small rodent typically has in its nest, you also are considered a trendy, with-the-times individual. Some might even go as far as to call you enlightened due to your lack of dependency on material things.

While I think there’s something to be said about mass consumerism and the way we have been conditioned feel the need to own certain things, your current living and financial situation may not be what you want it to be yet. You might be looking forward to being able to get that nice coffee table and couch set.

And that’s okay.

Comment the most tragic student living situation you’ve ever seen. Not so much a living situation, but a past significant other told me that his roommate mistook a container of aloe vera in their bathroom as hand sanitizer and effectively did not wash his hands for two months.

Coming up next: internship life is cool

What do you mean I can’t wear athleisure everyday?

I’m going rogue this week and dropping some actually helpful tips.

With my “big girl job” quickly approaching, I’m realizing that I soon have to start dressing in work-appropriate attire. This is a hard pill to swallow as someone whose daily outfit generally looks like this:

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Sports, but make it fashion

I like the idea of workwear, but have come to the conclusion that work clothes are generally uncomfortable and prone to sweat stains. More direly, they are EXPENSIVE. As someone who is #ballingonabudget and understands the no-money hustle, here ten tips to keep in mind when collecting your work wardrobe:

1. Be a basic b*tch. Acquire good basic items first, such as a black pencil skirt,  a structured blazer and a good button-up shirt. Honestly, if you don’t know why this is important, I can’t help you.

 

2. Buy clothes according to a colour scheme. By having items that are of similar colours, it’s easy to match most of your pieces to each other, increasing the “wear-ablity” of each item. I tend to stick to neutral tones and variations of my favourite “millennial pink” colour, and generally buy the same patterns. Is it kind of boring? Yeah, but better to be boring than broke 🙂

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I pretty much only wear these colours

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This arrangement took TIME so you’re getting it at two angles

 

3. Keep it classic. As tempting as it can be to jump on new trends, more classic pieces have better longevity. Stick to time-honoured prints and fabric cuts that will withstand changes in fashion.

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Looking like the love-child of Sandy and Rizzo from Grease

 

4. Quality is a priority. Get to know a little bit about fabrics and learn which ones are less prone to wear and damage. For example, rayon tends to pill faster than most materials. If you can, check to see if seams and sewing work are well-done. Sometimes it’s better to spend a little more on items knowing that they will be a good long term investment.

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Peep my chipped nail polish

 

5. Shop secondhand. Buying items from thrift and consignment stores is not only easier on your wallet, but it’s also better for the environment and, indirectly, increases ethical clothing production. So you’ll be a lil’ richer and, like, a ~good person~.

 

6. Shop like they’re going out of business–literally. Liquidation sales are an amazing way to get good products for dirt cheap prices.

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Snagged these bad boys for 50% off at Town Shoes last week.

 

7. Steal Borrow from your friends. Or, if you’re cleaning out your closet, give them items that you don’t want anymore or no longer fit and vice versa.

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I acquired this shirt and sweater while “helping a friend clean her closet”

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Thanks Bria!

 

8. Take care of what you own. Follow washing instructions–for the most part (if I’m being honest, I’ve only dry cleaned like one item in my life). Use appropriate protectant on your shoes/boots so that they last longer.

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Mink oil, suede spray and silicone spray are my holy trinity of shoe care

 

9. If you are in ~dire need~ of an item in the near future, load up your cart on a site you’re subscribed to (you get promotional emails from them), and then close the tab and wait. A lot of the time the brand will offer you an extra incentive (i.e. a discount or free shipping) to try to entice you to complete the purchase.

 

10. Most importantly, be patient while collecting items. I’ve been buying my “work wardrobe” slowly over the past three years. I still don’t have the full-fledged professional closet of my dreams yet.

And that’s okay.

Comment your best shopping tip! 

Coming up next: I’m going on a hiatus until the new year. Happy holidays pals.

JWB is the new FWB

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One time I tried to draw a happy face on the label of my antibiotics, but I messed up and instead it looked like it was screaming, which is a pretty big mood.

I have come to the horrible realization that I am about four months away from losing access to health and dental benefits.

Growing up, I always idealized workplaces that boasted “fun” perks, such as:

Of course, I still kind of want to have those things–who wouldn’t?–but in the past few years, I’ve started to idealize more practical benefits and perks of workplaces. You know, the ones that actually are necessary for my health and overall well-being.

I’m blessed to live in Canada, which has universal healthcare so broke bois like me can afford to go to the doctor as needed, but dental? Sick days? Prescriptions? That’s another story.

Here’s a list of things I plan to do with these final months that I have access to my mom’s health and dental insurance:

  • any dental work I can get done
  • get new glasses just for fun-sies
  • undergo physiotherapy for the IT band injury I got two years ago and never fully took care of ~oops~
  • get orthotic insoles even though I’m not 100 per cent sure I need them?
  • back massage? I’m not sure what exactly what my insurance covers

I kind of feel pathetic salivating over the idea of having flexible work hours, reasonable vacation time, healthy work-life balance, gym-membership coverage and health and dental benefits; however, I think part of growing up is understanding the value of practical perks over the flashy ones that don’t help you out in the long term. Basically, I’m becoming a boring person.

And that’s okay.

Comment the best workplace perk you can think of! I would sell my soul for a frequently-refreshed edible arrangement to be available at all times in the office.

Coming up next: What do you mean I can’t wear athleisure everyday?

Five Quick Meals for the Grad on the Go

Life is busy, and sometimes maintaining a regular eating schedule can be difficult. Here are some simple meal ideas!

1. The handful of diner mints (one unwrapped) that have been floating in the bottom of your bag for an unidentifiable amount of time make a quick breakfast. If you don’t have time to whip something up in the morning because you snoozed your alarm eight times, these borderline gross mints will have to do!

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I pulled this gourmet selection from the bottom of my purse.

 

2. Meal-prep for the first time in five months. Put together a well-portioned, nutrient-dense salad, pack it up, and carry it for lunch. Don’t eat it though: instead, cave in to peer pressure and join your friends/coworkers in heading out for lunch. Scarf down $15 worth of fish tacos and end up having to throw out your now-wilted leafy greens when you get home.

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Mmmmm, tastes like my bank account’s tears.

 

3. For a light snack, try the 2/3 empty bag of abandoned sunflower seeds that you bought on a whim three months ago and has since been sitting in the cup holder of your car. Shove those bad boys into your mouth like a deranged raccoon while parked behind the Chipotle your debit card just got declined at.

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These will not satisfy your hunger in the slightest!

 

4. Sleep. The only food items you have in your kitchen are a clove of garlic, stale multigrain Cheerios and seven tomatoes. In terms of quantity of ingredients, you could technically make a meal, but none of these foods go together. Sure, you could walk to the nearby fast food joint, but you can’t afford to drop $10 on chicken nuggets. Go to bed for dinner and hope that your growling stomach doesn’t keep you awake.

 

5. Hungry, but unsure of what you should eat for breakfast? Haven’t gone to the grocery store in three weeks? Unwilling to cook? Desperate times call for desperate measures: do like my friend Taylor and just eat a raw sweet potato.

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Low quality photo for a low quality meal.

 

In all seriousness, life can get busy and it’s okay to admit that you don’t always have the time, funds or energy to eat a healthy balanced diet.

And that’s okay.

 

Comment the most interesting “meal” you have resorted to eating! There was a three day period of my life where all I ate was a Costco-sized bag of oranges.

Coming up next: JWB is the new FWB

Who actually has time to be healthy and hot?

People emphasize the importance of maintaining a balanced lifestyle, but it’s realistically impossible to do everything.

Hi! I’m Stephanie, writer of The Stimac Report, and I’m guest-blogging this week.

As the start of my “big girl job” approaches, I’m wondering how full-time boss ladies have time to exercise.

After Insta-stalking women who seem to have their lives together and dragging my butt to one yoga class, I’ve concluded that it’s scientifically impossible that these women have good jobs, hot bodies, functional families, and time to grab drinks with the girls.

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The part blacked out in the middle? Yeah, she doesn’t exist.

It’s all about illusion. These women don’t have to do all these wonderful things–they just have to appear to. I’ve mastered pretending to know about sports and football, but faking #healthyliving is a new arena.

Here are four guises that make it seem like you are a healthy, well-balanced individual:

1.    Wear athletic gear all the time. Lululemon and Gymshark are the brands of athletic posers. Sure, they are great workout clothes, but they’re also cleverly designed  as cute streetwear.

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It’s me!

 

2.    Do a juice cleanse. Will you lose 10 lbs in a week? Nope. Will you have diarrhea for the next 36 hours? You bet! Will it make people think you’re healthy? There’s a 50/50 chance. If you do try one, make sure to post about it. How else are people to know you are #health?

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Courtesy of Instagram user @insta.single

 

3.   Own an unnecessary number of running shoes…

…and never be caught–or, at least, photographed–wearing the same pair twice; people will think you go to the gym and run outside daily, if not twice a day!

As a former Nike employee, I have over 100 pairs (oops!).

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This is my running shoe collection!

 

4.    Watch sports!

Plant yourself on your couch with a low-cal snack and a glass of water while the game is on. There’s an assumption that people who watch sports also play them or are at least active. Don’t know about football? Check out my blog for all your NFL need-to-knows! 

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Peep that “healthy” Halo Top ice cream

 

Maybe some of the women you see in the Starbucks line actually do have the time (and discipline) to wake up at 4am, workout, get ready for work, make cash money, care for their kids, cook dinner, and spend time with #hubby before bed.

But most of us don’t.

And that’s okay.

Visit The Stimac Report here.

Coming up next: My friends are getting married and I’m still seeing guys who have Saturdays Are For The Boys flags hanging above their couches