Costco? UnderRated.

In general, shopping is a struggle. 

Whether it’s grocery shopping, clothing shopping, furniture shopping, or anything else, it’s a struggle. Running from store to store for the greatest deal can be exhausting. Some stores are so far from one another, they are not in the same vicinity. It can be so time-consuming!

For me, shopping and running around used to be the worst. 

Until I started going to Costco. 

Costco has seriously been a lifesaver. 

When I moved out, I thought I couldn’t possibly shop at Costco. At Costco, you buy in bulk. I thought it would be WAY too much for myself and my partner. But wow, I was wrong. 

Costco has not only saved me money but time! 

I sometimes laugh at myself thinking about my newly found passion for Costco. I used to say to myself, I will never get excited about grocery shopping or buying furniture. But, here I am. 

I am now that person who will buy clothes at the same store I buy my groceries. 

Food-wise, my partner and I eat a ridiculous amount of food. I used to find it a real challenge to keep the fridge and cupboards stocked. Shopping for food at Costco has made a world of a difference. We buy fruit and vegetables, meats, crackers, cheese, and bread! 

I know, you may think, wow food must spoil. But surprisingly enough, we have yet to let food go bad. Keeping in mind, we do cook a lot of food that involves throwing everything in the fridge into a pot and calling that dinner, but still, we eat it.  

Shopping at Costco has allowed us to save money on food and allow us to buy more luxurious items with our savings. Sometimes we even buy organic! 

Grocery shopping at Costco also equals free samples, so that’s always a win. 

Clothing-wise, Costco has some great deals. I have found great clothes for everything. I have bought a layering jackets for hiking, everyday walking socks, and blouses for work. Who cares about the name brand, if it’s quality, I’d say it’s perfect! 

Furniture and fun items are something else. For instance, I went to Costco this weekend and I found the cutest Christmas snowman to add to my décor. The snowman is so cute, he is holding a little lantern. The funny part about buying my little snowman is I originally went in for groceries… Oh well, it was a deal.

Honestly, Costco is an adventure. I used to think I was too cool for Costco, but now I’m thinking Costco is too cool for me. 

The ONLY struggle with Costco is that you may come out with more than you bargained for. But honestly, that’s part of the fun. If you are struggling with shopping, I recommend trying a store like Costco. Make grocery shopping fun!

Costco? UnderRated.

A person posing with a shopping cart full of food outside of Costco
A person posing with a shopping cart full of items outside of Costco

Social Media Detox? UnderRated.

Technology is addicting, especially when it comes to social media. It is hard to go a day without logging in or checking in on various websites and platforms.

An interesting feature on my cell phone and laptop is screen time. My cell phone and laptop notify me of how much time I spend on my screen and the time allocated to each application

When I think about my screen time, I find it almost alarming. I find in the summer and on vacation, my screen time is so minimal. However, I find in my day-to-day busy life, I am on my screen for significantly more time. When I feel stressed or overwhelmed, I find I gravitate to surfing the web and scrolling on social media as a distracting tactic, allowing me to procrastinate my time. 

As I was thinking about my screen time in more depth, it brought me back to a time when I had no wireless internet on my phone. Back then, I was not ever able to check social media platforms unless I was at home or a place with wireless internet. I did not get internet on my cell phone till my second year of university when I needed the internet for work.

After considering my current screen time, I decided I was going to do a social media detox. 

I have done a detox unintentionally before or have done one when I was away on vacation. I have done several days without my cell phone and connection to the “real world” as I love backpacking and hiking trips, where for obvious reasons, there is no cell service. However, I have never done a detox with social media and technology while in town.

Before completely going cold turkey on all social media, I had to think of a plan. I knew before I started, I needed to do this within reason. For instance, I knew I needed access to my email and phone calls for work purposes.

However, everything else I decided I was going to cut back.

For my cell phone, I decided to temporarily delete all social media applications, such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snap Chat, Visco, and YouTube. For my computer, I decided to limit my access to only my work email and SFU’s canvas page. 

I decided to pre-emptively let some people know that I was planning on disconnecting my phone and computer usage so that they knew the best way to get a hold of me was through calling. From there, I just went for it.

Originally, I wanted to try a week or 5 days, however, based on my decided timing, I could only really allow for 3 days. So, I decided to try it on the weekend.  

It was quite weird. I found I would look at my phone as if something exciting was going to happen. I slowly realized, without social media platforms I did not need my phone throughout the day, except for school and work.

The first day was okay. I didn’t feel like I was not missing anything. On the second day, I was quite curious to know what was happening with everyone. By the third day, I had gotten semi-used to it but was still wanting to scroll when I was supposed to be doing my email for the day. I felt like I was able to see how much I typically gravitate to looking and scrolling on my phone. 

It was an interesting experience. I found I stayed busy with my day-to-day chores and activities. I found myself checking my phone less and less as I got used to having no social media access on my phone. I found I was able to get my work done a lot faster and concentrate my time more effectively. I enjoyed that aspect as I was able to have more free time.

Moving forward, I decided to limit my social media time on my phone and laptop. I have set up a setting that only allows for half an hour each day of social media time. That way, when I am scrolling or looking at social media it hopefully makes my time on it more intentional rather than just passively scrolling. 

A cell phone screen showing the different options to limit and track the type of screen-time on a cell phone.
A cell phone shows 3 screen options to limit and track the type of screen time on a cell phone.

Overall, it was a nice break from social media, even if it was just a couple of days. I found it was harder to be cut off when I was in town compared to when I have done it in the past on vacation. However, I feel like it was a good time to reconsider how much time I wanted to spend on social media.  

Personally, a social media detox allowed me to reflect on my time spent on social media. I was able to re-evaluate how much time I spend on it and how I want to change it. I think was a great experience. I found it not as intimidating as I thought.

Disconnect, try it out!

Social Media Detox? UnderRated. 

Making a To-Do List? UnderRated.

Have you ever been overwhelmed and had no idea where to start? 

Let me tell you, that is me in a nutshell. I find I can easily get overwhelmed with schoolwork, paperwork for my job, and just day-to-day life chores.

One incredibly helpful thing is a list. 

A good ole written to-do list on pen and paper. I find if I am stumped on where to start, I quickly jot everything down on my to-do list. Although it can be ambitious as I will write down all my chores and tasks, I find it makes me more productive. Writing it down creates a visual reminder of all the things I need to do. 

Once I write everything I can think of down, I make a mental note of 2 to 3 tasks that are “non-negotiables”. Meaning that the few tasks that I note, are the specific goals for the day, the tasks that I feel like I need to get done. That way, it narrows the focus of everything on the to-do list, making it easier to accomplish my goals. 

I find if I finish more than the 2 or 3 things on my list that I decided were non-negotiables then great! But at the same time, if I stopped after a couple of tasks, then that’s okay too. I remind myself, at least I started, and at least some progress was made. 

Here is an example of my to-do list from Sunday: 

To-Do List:

1. Start the application for PDP -> contact references/brainstorm essays/review resume

2. Put laundry on

3. Make a grocery list -> go to Costco

4. Group zoom meeting

5. Soccer game

6. Homework -> readings pg. 120-180/webpages, finish the brainstorming on assignments

7. Email boss

I find whether it’s brainstorming a sheet or starting my essay if it’s something, it’s progress. 

Sometimes my to-do list will have tasks that I know will get completed no matter what. For instance, on Sunday, I knew I had to go to my group meeting. Like technically I could have skipped it, but that would have been unacceptable to my group and myself. However, I still put it on my to-do list. 

A lot of the to-do list provides a task-oriented system of thinking. As I finish certain tasks or complete what I needed to do, I simply can cross it over my checklist. And let me tell you, the simple pen-to-paper cross out of a word or sentence brings a specific feeling of satisfaction. 

The satisfaction that progress is being made. 

When I am overwhelmed with things, I need to complete, I find making a list eases my stress. As I complete a task, I feel less and less overwhelmed because the visual list, gets shorter and shorter. 

To some extent, the long list days are super intimidating. It can feel super overwhelming when the life/work/school balance all collides. However, when I think of a task or a chore as one single thing at a time, the overwhelming feeling slowly goes away. 

Of course, it’s important to throw some fun or mind-easing things on the to-do list that are there just for you specifically. For example, a self-care practice, or time set aside for a break. I find I need to add some sort of movement to my to-do list every day. For me, that is my break.

Anyway, if you ever feel overwhelmed with your life, school, and or work, try making a to-do list. It may help!

Making a to-do list? UnderRated. 

Running in the Rain? UnderRated.

 Let me tell you, running shouldn’t end because of the rain. 

For the longest time, I hated running in the rain. It left me feeling soggy and cold. I hated being drenched and feeling worried about my phone or headphones getting ruined because of it. 

So, most of my running in the rain was only left to when I had to. Meaning, when I had to play my soccer game or had to go to practice. I know had to is a choice word as it was always my choice to go, but it was more a scheduled event rather than running just because.

If you live in the lower-main land, you may have noticed that the rain is here, and it’s here to stay. 

With the first couple rain falls, did I change my workouts to avoid going outside?


Absolutely yes. 

Why go out in the disgusting rain if you don’t have to? So, I didn’t. I stayed inside for my workouts and only went running if I had soccer.

This past week, I was tired of just doing workouts inside my tiny apartment. I was craving some fresh air and an open space. It was raining out and I knew I wasn’t really in the mood for a cold outdoor shower, but I decided, why not?

Why not embrace the rain? 

So, I put on my running clothes and a hat, I grabbed a plastic bag for my phone, because yes, I am a weirdo and I get paranoid about my phone getting trashed in the rain, and I headed out the front door. 

I knew the start of the run was going to be the most challenging. The start is always when your feet go from being dry and warm to pure wetness. But I decided to embrace it. 

Instead of focusing on all the reasons why running in the rain was a bad idea, I just decided to do it. Why not?

It had been so long since I had chosen to run in the rain.

Once the initial rainfall hit, I was relaxed. The weather was rainy, but I didn’t feel cold. I listened to the rain as it hit the pavement, the trees, and the puddles around me. I felt the rain drenching my clothing and my face. For most of it, I couldn’t tell whether I was sweating or if it was the rain. 

I ran about 9km and called it a day. Usually, I strive for a bit longer, but I wasn’t feeling like pushing my luck. 

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I forgot what running outside felt like and what it felt like in the rain. 

The trail was so quiet on a rainy day that I had all the space in the world to run. I was able to maintain a consistent pace and enjoy the quiet. 

When I got back home, I immediately jumped in the shower. I blasted the water so it was hot against my skin. I was able to quickly warm up. Afterwards, I felt so refreshed and relaxed from being outside. 

I don’t run every day.

I don’t run every time it rains.

But I realized there is no point in hating or avoiding running in the rain. You might as well embrace it because it’s honestly enjoyable. Why not try it?

Running in the rain? UnderRated. 

Crockpots? UnderRated.

Anyone who is living in the lower mainland will have noticed that the weather has taken a drastic turn in the last week. The temperature has dropped, and the non-stop rain is upon us. Fall is in full effect. 

The dark mornings and stormy weather make me crave hot comfort food. I love a good casserole, soup and grilled cheese, and curry. The perfect comfort food that makes you want to stay in bed curled up in blankets all day.  

For all the students out there, this time of year is prime time for midterms, papers, and big assignments. Not to mention two holidays which you may want to be present for… It’s a busy time of year, to say the least.

With all the busyness, time is valuable. 

You don’t have time to properly cook a dinner every night of the week and make sure you have something for lunch. Realistically, you don’t have that time luxury. 

I found I was struggling with making dinners and lunches for myself as I was constantly running out of time. Life is busy, I get it. But then I remembered… I own a crockpot! 

I own a janky old-school crockpot. It was gifted to me when I decided to move out. I honestly was not sure I wanted it in the beginning. It is bulky, it’s big, and kind of ugly. But let me tell you, it’s the best! Biggest time saver. I throw whatever I want into it in the morning, let it simmer all day and poof, by the end of the day, the food is enriched in so much flavour. 

Crockpots are great! If you are out and about all day long, they are perfect. You can leave them simmering and cooking all day long for 8 hours straight if you wanted.

My crockpot has never burned anything. The food always comes out perfectly marinated, never dry.

Some of my top crockpot meals must be chilli, curry, and chicken noodle soup.

One thing I love about my crockpot is that it’s a one-pot meal, meaning minimal cleanup. 

I love being able to throw all my vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates into one pot. Crockpots can be very versatile with proteins. Some individuals may be thinking of chicken, pork and or beef for protein, but chickpeas and tofu work amazing as well.

You can drop anything and everything into a crockpot and it works!

Simple and easy. The food is tasty and provides an abundance of leftovers. Leftovers are the holy grail of time-saving. I know it’s best knowing you have a meal in the fridge that you can quickly whip out, microwave and eat as soon as when you get home. 

Crockpots? UnderRated. 

Ingredients for a vegetable curry and an old crockpot.

Hiking Alone? UnderRated.

Hiking alone is a completely different experience from hiking with a buddy.

Hiking is pretty second nature to me. I love it and always have.

October’s weather has been surprisingly sunny and warm. I find October is usually full of gloomy rainy days that make you want to stay inside rather than go outside. Since the weather has been so nice, I have been trying to make my way outdoors.

Usually, if I am by myself, I typically go for a run or a quick walk around my neighbourhood. I hardly ever venture too far from home when I am exploring alone.

When it comes to hiking, I typically hike with friends. Mainly for safety reasons like the unknown trail condition and or running into wildlife. Having a buddy during those times, make it a lot safer.

This time of year always seems to be crazy busy. Whether it’s midterms, work deadlines and or basic life responsibilities, everyone is busy. Lately, I have realized my free time has not been aligning with any of my friends. So although I usually hike with others, I knew that if I waited a couple of weeks the weather could drastically change.

This past week, I decided to go by myself. I did not want to miss the opportunity of hiking in the sun. I decided to pick a hike that I knew fairly well and that had little to no altitude change. A hike where I knew ahead of time where on the trail I had no service. After I picked a hike, I packed my bag.

In my backpack, I carried the usual essentials with the exception of a couple of things. My partner usually carries the bear spray and bell, so I just switched it to my pack. I always carry a first aid kit so I kept that in. I packed some water, a snack, an extra granola bar, a sweater and a toque. I knew before I went, I was overpacking. However, I would rather overpack than under-pack.

After that, I headed for the trailhead.

Hiking alone is a different experience from walking around your neighbourhood. In your neighbourhood, typically there are a lot of other people around. When hiking, I find it is a lot quieter. Of course, it is dependent on the type of hike and its popularity as well as the time of year, but generally, the trails are a lot less populated than the joe average street.

Hiking alone was better than I expected. I was able to relax and just have time to think. I walked and was just content by myself. As I was hiking, I thought about all the different things I had to get done and thought about different ways I could accomplish them. Hiking alone allowed me to process my next move and relax about what I was doing. Hiking alone was a quick escape.

Honestly hiking alone is peaceful and relaxing. It is a great reset.

Hiking alone? UnderRated.

Socks and Sandals? UnderRated.

Let me tell you… This is an underrated lifestyle trick!

When you’re travelling, you NEED socks and sandals. First, you may think, fashion! But let me tell you, it’s a statement to wear socks and sandals.

I love my socks and sandals for running errands, soccer games, and walks. But travelling is a whole new ball game. 

This past weekend, my family took a trip to Disneyland to celebrate my mom’s birthday. This was the first time my family has travelled all together with everyone’s partners. It went from 5 to 8 people very quickly. Anyway, I rocked my socks and sandals all weekend long! I wore them not only on the airplane but in the world of Disneyland. 

You may think that’s uncomfortable. I beg to differ. Socks and sandals are so comfy. They are IDEAL for the airport and Disneyland. My family was jealous, not only of my style but of my level of comfort.

For the airport and airplane, there are 2 BIG benefits…

 First, when you are going through security, they are an easy slip on and off. No laces, no velcro, no problem. Then when you are walking through security, you already have socks on, so your bare feet don’t have to touch the yucky ground. Just an easy flick off the foot and you are good to go. 

Second, airplane. Wearing shoes on an airplane sucks! So, with socks and sandals, same as security, just an easy flick off and you’re good. It saves your feet from stretching out in your shoes from all the pressure. With socks and sandals, they are an easy on and off.

For Disneyland the benefit is…

Wet rides. For all my Disney fans out there, you know the splash mountain and the grizzly run. The super soaker rides! They soak you from head to toe. In runners... dang those get WET. But socks and sandals, your feet can easily stay dry! Before the ride, you just quickly slip those socks off and you’re good to go! You just have sandals which dry incredibly fast and easy. Even if you forget to remove the socks, they drive 100000x faster since they have breathable room to dry. Beats wet runners and socks. Those take FOREVER too dry.  

Overall benefit…

FASHION. How often do you ever get to show over your fun socks in public? Nobody ever gets to see the cool patterns, colours, or animals on your socks. But with your socks and sandal, you get to feature them! 

At the end of the day, socks and sandals are ideal for travelling. They are functional for all aspects of a trip. They are stylish AND convenient. Which is what we all want. Super ideal! Socks and sandals are the ideal combo.

Socks and sandals? UnderRated.

Picture featuring different shoe styles: runners, sandals, socks and sandals.
Picture highlighting on socks and sandals.

From Disneyland line-ups to airplane line-ups. Featuring the UnderRated: socks and sandals combo.

School Buses? UnderRated.

Over the weekend, I attended an event with a large group of friends. Several days before the event, we were deliberating on the best idea for transportation to the venue. We wanted to all get there safely in the most efficient way possible. The venue was far enough away that public transit was not an option. We considered several options such as an Evo, taxi, Uber and limo. Evo’s (car-sharing service) was not a great option as it would have required a couple of people in the group to volunteer to drive. Taxis, Uber and limos (car delivering services) were not a great option either, as they were both ridiculously pricey. We felt like we were out of options and almost had to bite the bullet on the amount of money until someone said “school bus”.

Yes, we rented a big yellow school bus.

The school bus conveniently fits everyone. It was spacious but not overly empty either. It was very nostalgic for everyone on the bus. For most, it had been a long while since we had sat on a big yellow school bus. The type of bus had brown leather seats without seat belts. The bus that we all cheered on as we left for a school field trip. It was fun. We were allowed to play our own music, chat with each other, and get excited about what was in store for the evening. It was great, knowing everyone was going to arrive at the same time, together and safe. Honestly, knowing you have a reliable form of transportation to an event and home provides a great level of comfort when you are going out.

I know school buses may not sound as cool and or as fancy as an expensive limo but they are an experience. A school bus allows your group to stay together and have fun. They look dorky in just the perfect way that allows you to still ride in style. I personally, highly recommend looking into renting a school bus for the next big event with your friends. It is affordable and an experience.

A big yellow school bus? UnderRated.

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