Thursday, 21 September 2017

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Tricks for going to the Gym!

Goodlife membership and Les Mills ClassesI don't know if you've ever tried to lose weight, but it isn't that easy (for most people at least!) Somehow, after all my travelling and eating tons of good food, I came back with a few unexpected 'lbs'!  I don't regret all the wonderful opportunities to try new dishes and snacks; however, it is important for me to get back in shape.

Anyways, so I signed up for a membership at Goodlife and although I'm not a fan since they basically have a monopoly, they
have tons of locations and classes and I had no other choice,  and so I've been going regularly for the last two weeks.

Everyone says that it's good to switch it up - and this is so true.

Here are some Tips that will hopefully give you the push you need to actually go to the Gym: 
  • Try going to different locations. I'm fortunate that within a 10-15 minute drive, there are 3 Goodlife locations nearby my house.
  • Switch it up - Try different classes! Because of the first point, I have three schedules that I can choose from and this helps to make sure I'm not doing BodyPump everyday. In the last week, I've been really been making an effort. I don't know if I've ever gone this frequently, but maybe it's because I have so much time on my hands at the moment! This is what I've been doing to ensure my days are different:
    • BodyPump - This ones a classic, you work with barbells and do a full body workout that emphasizes reps. There's upbeat music and an hour flies by quickly as the instructor shouts words of encouragement. 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

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International Exchange in Singapore - Overview

Gardens by the Bay - an iconic photo for Singapore
Exchange is a phenomenal experience. Although it is a fairly expensive experience, you can really make it a worthwhile experience that's incredibly enriching and memorable.

So going into exchange, I had taken an additional course the summer earlier to have a reduced course load during my time in Singapore. This meant that I had four courses during my semester, and with a lot of strategic scheduling I managed to fit everything into my Tuesday and Wednesday - meaning I could travel from Wednesday evening until Monday and practically had a 5 day weekend.

Small note - the "BOSS" bidding that SMU uses is quite annoying, make sure you plan accordingly when you make your bids or else you might still have an incomplete schedule even as school is about to start.  Also, most courses are Pass or Fail for exchange students which explains the relaxed attitude and student demeanour throughout the semester. 

 I didn't leave every single week (although some other exchange students did manage to get away with doing so with some questionable behaviour) due to the cost but it was also because I did need to have a few weeks to catch up with my workload at times or else failing was a real fear.

Exchange is interesting - you go into it knowing that it will be a cultural learning experience, but I found that I actually learned more about other international cultures (European specifically), rather than Singapore's. The reason this happens is because people simply congregate and clump together based on common interests. Meaning, exchange students typically end up staying together with exchange students and don't actually associate as much with the local students - which can be unfortunate.

However, since SMU has a heavy emphasis on group projects (I had one for every single class) it is the only way where are put in a situation where you do meet local students in your class and work closely together. Although most students are going on exchange and are thus quite sympathetic, exchange students do have a reputation for being deadweights so you should probably try to contribute as best you can. With that being said, a group of only exchange students can be quite dangerous and unfortunate for whichever student is left to do all the work while others are out of country (this happened to one of my friends)!

Skyline of Singapore

Although I lived with the Finnish and the French, we had neighbours in the apartment which were Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Austrian, Irish, and German as well. It's no wonder that I ended up learning so much about European culture! It was interesting to hear about small little nuances in sayings, or customs, but there would also be discussions about the educational system, travel, values and politics. Having exposure and the opportunity to learn about this just through some light chatter and banter was something I truly enjoyed.

A lot of the Canadians would typically hang out with other Canadians and keep to themselves but it was pretty interesting because there was actually a slight difference that I noticed between the other Canadians and the Europeans. I was actually slightly older since my school does exchange in the last year and because I was completing my fifth year for my dual degree. In contrast the rest of the Canadian schools typically go during their third year, which meant that there was a bit of a gap. Interestingly enough, people were generally my age or older for various reasons, which included being in the army, taking a gap year to travel or to work.

Anyways in terms of living situation, I lived in Farrer Park, which is only about two stops from my campus through the MRT (25 minutes by subway approximately) or simply one bus (15 minutes). With the subway it did require one transfer each time, but it wasn't too bad as: Farrer Park -> Purple line -> Dhoby Gaut -> Circle Line -> Bras Basah.

Despite leaving the day before Christmas, I arrived in Singapore the day afterwards (effectively missing Christmas altogether). Since then I travelled from the first week of January onwards to the first week of June. I had my 'weekend trips' - which included one Recess week, as well as a six-week long backpacking trip after my exam was completed.

My weekend trips included the following cities:

  • Malaysia: Kuala Lampur, Malacca
  • Thailand: Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, Chiang Mai
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan: Tai Pei,
  • Vietnam: Ho Chi Min, Mui Ne
  • Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Kurashiki, Okayama, Hijemi, Kobe
My six-week backpacking trip included the following cities: 
  • Philipines: Coron/Palawan
  • Vietnam: Sapa, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay
  • Thailand: Ko Phang An 
  • Cambodia: Siem Reap, Phnom Penh
  • Myanmar: Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake
  • Indonesia: Bali (Kuta, Seminyak, Ubud, Canggu), Gili Islands (Gili T, Gili Air), Nusa Ceningan

Anyways that is my brief intro - and I will be back with more updates. Hoping to include itineraries, worthwhile attractions, hostels, and possibly food recommendations. 



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Venturing off in South East Asia - The Beginning

singapore skyline


It's starting to sound old, but again here is another post that seemingly appears to be coming out of no where. It's been almost a year and a half since the last post right? Some how this doesn't sound any different to my last post, which also had me thinking 'Wow, this is the first time I'm posting in a year'.

Regardless, a lot can change in one year. The last six months has been, what feels like a 'once in a life time experience' and will be something that I will not forget.

marina bay sands on the marina bay in singapore
An unmistakable view in Singapore.

I decided to do take part in the exchange program that was available in my program, and so for my last semester of undergrad I had the opportunity to complete it in Singapore! The fact that I've decided to give this blog an update at the very end after it has wrapped up is pretty unfortunate, but better late than never? 

For now I'm just hoping to do a brief update, to be honest I really do it owe it to myself to put some more in depth entries about my trip but for now this will have to do. For a lot of the travels, I do have some of our rough trip itineraries so perhaps I'll simply post them along with some photos. 

Some our outfits all looked pretty coordinated but it was really just a coincidence. 

Throughout this exchange I lived in a flat as group of six SMU students, which comprised two French girls, two Finnish boys, an American and a Canadian (me)! To be honest it was quite risky going into this living situation. We had never met and simply found ourselves in one group rather randomly, as a result of a Facebook group that had been created for the incoming SMU exchange students. 
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Thursday, 18 February 2016

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KOR Nava Bottle Review

Why, hello, hello!

It's been nearly an entire year since I last made a post. Which is frankly quite scary. How did I abandon it for so long? So much has happened since then!

Fortunately, it's my reading week, and I have had a review that has been waiting to be written for the longest time.

It all started with my search for the perfect water bottle. The thing about me, is that I could probably live on 1 cup of water a day. And what you probably know, is that most people survive on more - much more. It's actually quite unhealthy being so dehydrated all the time!

So what I first realized, was that: bottles with straws are much more effective. I know it's actually not just me. A lot of people have agreed in saying that they are more likely to drink water when their bottle has a straw attached to it. So that being said, this was the first criteria my bottle needed to satisfy. But this list actually had a few components which is what made it so hard

Water Bottle Criteria:
- Has a straw attached
- Has a filter (being able to refill it anywhere, is frankly quite convenient - you could even fill it in the washroom using tap and it would still be fine!)
- Aesthetically pleasing - it has to look nice!
- Not too expensive

That being said, it is amazing how hard it was to find a bottle that would satisfy these needs. Brita has quite a few bottles that are filtered, unfortunately, I find them to be quite ugly.

Currently S'well bottles are all the rage - unfortunately they don't meet the rest of my requirements.

Anyways, I came across the KOR Nava Bottle. And to be completely honest, I thought about this for a while. I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend the $20 or so on this bottle, despite the fact that most bottles including Camelbak do fall around this range. What I ended up doing was contacting KOR, and asking if I could have one for review, and I was luckily enough they obliged! So although, I wouldn't say this is a sponsored post, I do have to say that I was provided the bottle; however, if I didn't actually like it I would write exactly that! Instead, I am happy that I absolutely love it and bring it with me everywhere. I actually received in when I was on vacation in Miami which explains the pretty back drop.

My thoughts on this water bottle:
So first of all, it is so pretty! I love how it looks, and the fact that you can see through it with the clear panels. I feel like its look is incredibly unique. Of course it would look nicer, without the straw and filter in the middle of it - but that's something that I wanted. I believe that they do actually sell this without the filter.

Secondly, I love how it just 'pops' open. You press on the purple button, and the lid flies right back. It also has a really great seal. I can almost guarantee you that it won't leak - the only time it has was purely my own fault (I had screwed on the lid wrong).

It's also super easy to hold onto due to the moulding of the lid. If you had a carabiner you could easily attach it onto your bag/backpack.

I haven't used the Camelbak straw in quite a while, so I can't compare it directly, but I do really like this straw! It has a good texture, and I like the shape of the mouthpiece. The only problem, I find is that I think that sometimes the straw does require you to suck on it harder than with other bottles. I think, that this happens more so when there's only a little bit of water left in the water bottle.

The filter actually does work. Sometimes I'm feeling super lazy, and don't feel like going downstairs to the kitchen for water and will just head over to the upstairs washroom.  The tap water is safe to drink in theory, but I swear that there is a bit of a smell. When I drink out of the water it tastes great, with no strange tastes or smells.

Overall, I would give this bottle a 9/10. I would give it a 10, if the straw was a little bit easier to drink through!


KOR Nava Water Bottle Review

KOR Nava Water Bottle Review
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KOR Nava Water Bottle Review

KOR Nava Water Bottle Review

KOR Nava Water Bottle Review

KOR Nava Water Bottle Review

KOR Nava Water Bottle Filter

KOR Nava Water Bottle Filter

KOR Nava Water Bottle Filter
The filter just gets popped right in to the straw.

KOR Nava Water Bottle Filter



Tuesday, 3 March 2015

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Current 'Go-To' Makeup Products!

So I've seen plenty of bloggers post their February favourites (makeup) and that inspired me to do one myself! I always love to see what other products other people are using, or what they had in their makeup bag so I decided to show you which products I use the most frequently.

Favourite Makeup Urban Decay Nars Naked Palette Benefit Marc by Marc Jacobs

For some things I actually switch between two products if I'm being indecisive or I simply haven't decided which I like better.

So for mascara, as I mentioned I really like using my Loreal Voluminous and 'They're Real' by Benefit.

To curl my eye lashes I've been using this mini eyelash curler by Belvada that I actually got almost two years ago from a Topbox. Talk about a good find! I've actually tried the Shiseido curler that is pretty popular among asian bloggers but actually found that this works better. It has a flatter edge and it seems to just work better on me!


Sunday, 22 February 2015

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Tory Burch Shoes Reveal

There have been some brands that have come and gone after unexpected surges in popularity, such as Coach as Michael Kors, but Tory Burch is a label that I have continued to admire.

Near Toronto (emphasis on 'near', as it is about 30 minutes away) a Premium Outlets opened up about a year or two ago, and although it has no where the amount of stores as some of the American outlets there are still some pretty great perks to it. It's quite a bit closer, and more importantly they have a Tory Burch outlet.

This weekend I came home with this beauty.
Tory Burch Shopping Bag Design

Tory Burch Shopping Bag Design

Inside the bag were these two beautiful boxes:

Tory Burch Shoe Box


 Inside the first box was this pair of sandals:

Tory Burch Emmy Demi Sandals

Guess how much this pair cost me? It was definitely a steal! I liked a lot of the other sandals but found that most of them were flats. This pair has a small wedge but I find that even an extra 1" in height can make such a difference in the way you walk and feel. I also really liked the subtle nature of the TB logo and felt like it gave it a really great 'classy feel'. Oh, and this pair was $99. Can you believe it? MK sandals are usually over $115! 

I just checked, and Shopbob has these priced at $328 CAD or $250 USD. Whee!
Tory Burch White Emmy Demi Sandals

Just wanted to show you how the wedge looks since you can't really see it in the other photo.

Okay, and now onto my second purchase: Reva flats!! I've seen these shoes on everybody and have always been envious on how great they look. I know they're supposedly a pair of shoes that need to be worn in and can be painful on the first few wears - but I swear they seemed pretty comfortable when I walked around in them!

Tory Burch Black Reva Flats
I can't wait to wear them, but to be honest I'm not sure which outfits to wear them with ! It's winter right now so I'll have to wait a few months but hope that I can get some use out of them for the rest of the year.

I have a slight worry that the logo might be a bit 'much' and a bit too flashy but I think that I'll still have ample opportunity to wear them. Though I am still on the fence about whether or not it would be appropriate to wear to school, but I'm pretty sure I've seen other girls wearing them around on campus.

These were about $199 Canadian with no further discounts in store; however, I believe that in retailers they are marked at $250 so there are still some savings. For Americans who are reading this right now, our Canadian loonie (dollar) has really weakened these last few months. If you convert it, it's around $160! For comparison, I just looked at the US Nordstrom store and there it retails for about $225. Even though we, Canadians, have been driving down south for the savings these past years it might actually be worth it for Americans to drive up North! I mean the exchange rate itself is giving you a 20% discount (for every 1 CAD you only have to pay 0.80 USD).

Tory Burch Black Reva FlatsUnfortunately, this hurts our cross-border shopping habits dramatically. I mean, it affects our online shopping too, it's pretty painful to realize that everything in the shopping cart costs 25% more! I miss those days when the dollars were at par.




Tory Burch Black Reva Flats and White Emmy Demi Sandals
Tory Burch Black Reva Flats and White Emmy Demi Sandals
It was a successful shopping trip to say the least! It's too bad that it's Winter right now, just looking at this photo makes me want to put them on and to go out with them! I promise I'm not a shoe addict.


Tory Burch Black Reva Flats

Thanks for stopping by and reading! Who's your current favourite designer? Do you own any TB pieces, and if so what do you like the most about it?

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

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Manitobah Mukluks Review

In the last week, we had an extreme weather warning due to temperatures ranging from -20 to -30 degrees. It was cold. Fortunately for me, there was something that kept me extremely warm: my Manitobah Mukluks. 

If you live somewhere with really harsh Winters I highly recommend these boots! I had seen these around for a number of years but for some reason I never really took interest in it, until this year. This year, I was obsessed and made it my mission to buy a pair for myself. The challenge was to find it at the lowest price that I could - at full price these boots range from 200-300 before tax!

Manitobah Mukluks, specifically "Snowy Owl" in Charcoal
These are the "Snowy Owl"Mukluks in Charcoal.
So I was originally planning to purchase them from Browns shoes at $170 pre-tax and had actually placed an order. I honestly scoured through so many sites and looked for any possible price matching (I like to find the best possible deal). For your information, Sport Chek has a pretty shitty price matching policy. They won't even price match their own online store, since it doesn't apply to anything online. I was really disappointed to say the least. 

The next day, after ordering, I must have stumbled onto Becker Shoes accidentally, but I am so lucky that I did. I realized that they were selling it for $20 less and that it included taxes! Hallelujah, that means that if there was a tax I would have been paying a base price of ~'$130' ! Thankfully the Browns order had not shipped and I was able to cancel it in time. It was $150 including tax

That being said, I highly recommend Becker Shoes. They had such a great promotion going on (and I believe it is still going on/ I'm also not affiliated with them in any shape or form I'm just really happy about my purchase) and are a local Canadian store which I believe is located in Collingwood. It also included free shipping, which arrived within a couple of days - it was pretty quick.

Manitobah Mukluks, specifically "Snowy Owl" in Charcoal
This is how they look worn on.
I like to wear them with jeans or leggings 
So what I really wanted to note was that these are the warmest boots I have ever had. Granted, I have never had knee high (well almost at the knee) boots that were lined with fur but somehow, whenever I wear them the thoughts going through my mind are literally "wow, I cannot believe how warm my feet and legs are right now". 

Normally I wear a short pair of Sorels (which are also really great), they're the ones that are really light weight and only go slightly past your ankles. They're small enough that I don't feel like I'm wearing these huge bulky snowboarding boots  (like the rest of their winter boots) and are pretty convenient to put on and take off. And although I don't normally notice my feet being really cold, unlike a lot of my friends, I never notice them being really warm either.

These mukluks are so comfortable and so warm! I love the pompoms, they're so cute and fun! Albeit it might be a bit 'kiddy' but I've seen a lot of grown women walking around in them, so no judgement. People frequently comment on them as well telling me how nice they think they look!

I was a little worried that they would be too snug around the calves, since my Hunters don't have much room in that area, but after trying them on in store I relieved to know that they would be fine. For reference I think mine are around 14.5"-15". Also, the company advises you to by a  size down from what you normally buy. But to be honest, I was pretty torn and wished that they had half sizes as the 7 was a bit too big and this one is a bit closer to the snug side.

And a little note about the company Manitobah Mukluks, they're actually Aboriginal owned! This is a Canadian company which produces many of their boots in Winnipeg and works to support the Aboriginal communities. It's a great company story if you ask me!
Manitobah Mukluks, specifically "Snowy Owl" in Charcoal
The pompoms actually hang a bit lower, but I didn't want them to reach the floor and get dirty. 

Manitobah Mukluks, specifically "Snowy Owl" in Charcoal




Manitobah Mukluks, specifically "Snowy Owl" in Charcoal


What are your winter go- to boots? And if you don't have winter boots, what are your "winters" like if there is no snow!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

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The Hub - Bouldering Review

Over my reading week I decided to check out this place called "The Hub" with my friend. It's newly opened (say approximately 7 months) and what it is, is a bouldering, 'rock climbing facility'.

Rock Climbing or Bouldering at The Hub in Markham Ontario So as a kid, I had gone rock climbing before. I thought it just sounded like an awesome activity and begged my father to bring me somewhere (we had to actually drive pretty far out of the way), and I got to experience rock climbing with a belay and everything.

Now probably over a decade later, I found out that at this gym there is no harness! Apparently 'bouldering' is the new craze and it is getting a lot of attention.

Bewarned, this is a pretty lengthy post.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

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Loreal Mascara Voluminous Review

Sales work!

Well that's probably obvious, since the majority of people would leap at the chance to buy something at a discounted price, I mean who doesn't like to save money?

Loreal Voluminous Mascara Original Review
Honestly, the only reason I bought the Loreal Voluminous Mascara was because I saw that it was on sale at Walmart for ~$5. Most of the time I like to review things online (read up on MakeupAlley, check out blog reviews and etc) to see if it's good quality and worth the money. But with this, I hadn't even heard the slightest (surprisingly) and hoped that it would be worth at least the $5 I paid for it.

So I must have used it once or twice without really thinking much of it, because I know I didn't love to the same extent as I do now until recently, and put it off to the side. Up until now I had been using two other mascaras that I really like: Maybelline Falsies and Benefit They're Real (I know, they're on the two ends of the spectrum). They're both amazing for their similar yet also different qualities: Falsies has a really great curved brush, They're Real lengthens pretty well, and they both have pretty good layering qualities.

 But for some reason, I decided to give Loreal a try one day (to switch it up or something) and I was so impressed by it! It's a low budget product with what feels like a low marketing budget (I swear I don't see many ad placements for it), but it really is a hidden gem. The brush doesn't seem like anything special, but boy can it length and layer.

I have really short non-existent asian lashes, so when I can find a product that makes it look like I have a visible full set of lashes I'm usually impressed. To further put this into perspective, I recently purchased a 'Sephora Favourites' mascara boxset - in addition to my Falsies and They'reReal, nevertheless I can't stop using Loreal's Voluminous. It's become my new go to mascara.

This mascara is great for an everyday look; however, I have worn it going out on a few occasions as well. My only complaint is that sometimes after too many layers (3+) it does get a little bit clumpy, but I guess that's kind of warranted after applying so much product.

The funny thing is that, for a product that no one really raves about, somehow 3/5 girls in my house ended up using it! Two of us merely purchased it by chance while the third one bought it since she saw that we had it and liked it. So the first two (includes me) had it really liked it, whereas the third girl said it didn't seem as great as we had hyped it up to be. But she did say, that what she really liked about this mascara was how black it was! I have black eyelashes, so for me I guess the darkness/pigmentation of the mascara isn't something I really take into consideration; however, it can be an important factor for others like my friend on the who is brunette!
Loreal Voluminous Mascara Original Review
Love it!!




Loreal Voluminous Mascara Brush
Here's the brush, you can see that it looks pretty regular and unexciting but I assure you it is great!


So my question for you is, do you do online research before you make your beauty purchases? Let me know in the comments :)!

Monday, 2 February 2015

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Bloggers! Do you ever..

Just think of something that makes you go: "I have to write a post about this - like, right now?! "

A lot of times throughout my day, I'll think about something (usually a product or something) that I really just want to post about it - just because I love it that much. With school and other priorities, it's not always sensible to drop everything on the spot and to do just that. So instead, I'll post a draft with my idea as a header so I remember to write about it later.

But right now, in the midst of watching a lecture online, and eating, I really wanted to share this with you - I wanted to tell you about my lunch.After finishing both my snack and my lunch, I realized that everything I had was from costco!

As a university student it can be troubling to bring healthy lunches to school. Sometimes it's just more inconvenient, but at the same time eating out too much will definitely put a dent in your pocket.




So the problem with nut mixes, is that although they are full of great fats, they have quite a load of calories. I measured out the 'serving size' of 1/3 cup and packed it into a little container. Honestly, I don't even think I like the nuts that much - what gets me are the yogurt chips and dried cranberries, it actually just tastes like candy! Normally I eat way less than 1/3 cup (because I didn't know how much it was) I would eat small handfuls as I past the kitchen. Were you aware that just 1/3 of a cup has 200 calories??

Next, I had the most delicious salad. It's so simply but tasty at the same time. I bought a kale and arugula pack at Costco for around $4 - I feel like this is pretty normal price, but the size of the container was huge! They packed so much into it that you are definitely getting your moneys worth.


Inside the salad I put the most delicious chicken. Costco sells an entire rotisserie chicken for $8, and I swear it is one of the best chickens out there. I made my roommates each try some and they all agreed that Costco had magically locked in so much moisture and flavour. I've definitely been eating this every day; shredding it up for my salad was definitely a great idea. Did you know Costco Rotisserie chicken is so beloved that it has its own Facebook page? 

On top of this, I purchased these 'Love Beets' from Costco. They are amazing!! They come pre-cooked ( yes, there is no hassle involved) and pre packaged, making them extremely convenient. All I did was pop open a pack, and diced up a beet before dropping it into a salad. These beets last pretty long in the fridge, usually the expiration date is about 2-3 months from my date of purchase meaning that I'm not rushed to finish the entire case (since it is from Costco, it does come with a lot).

Finally, I top it with a raspberry balsamic vinegar. Yes there is a little bit more sugar than the regular one, but in all honesty I think it's fine because it makes a big enough of a difference in my level of enjoyment and it's not filled with as much cream and fat as other alternate salad dressings. I realized this was the one product that I used which was not from Costco. 

Anyways this salad really only has two things, chicken and beets. But the chicken has so much flavor, and the dressing just taste so good, that together it is still an extremely satisfying lunch. It's pretty healthy too, the bulk of the calories come from the chicken alone and because you are tear them into strips you don't even need to put in too much.

What are your favourite go to 'healthy' meals? Do you have a 'must buy' Costco item? :) Tell me in the comments!