It was a lazy Friday morning when I woke up to a 9GAG article. Chuckling on its narrative, I saved the article in hopes of reading it later again so I can decide if I will share it with a close friend of mine. However, saving the article meant posting and sharing it, according to Facebook. I was given a warning for violating their community guidelines.
Shocked and confused, I unsaved the link. To find out if it’s the real culprit, I saved the link once again and then boom! I was banned from posting, liking, and engaging in any posts on Facebook.
At first, I thought the ban would only affect my profile. Little did I know, the ban would extend to the pages I handle. I couldn’t post, not even the scheduled posts I prepared for the day were posted. It affected my job as a social media manager.
Locked up and grounded
Que horror, the only word I uttered after realizing I screwed up. I asked someone to cover for my work while I channel my frustrations on Twitter and Reddit. Mindlessly, I scrolled through Instagram and I repeatedly had the urge to switch apps and browse on Facebook so I can share memes, just like what I would do on a normal day.
“They know everything, they can see what’s happening, but they just can’t tell the world the situation they’re in.”
However, I couldn’t handle it anymore. Not being able to share or at least react, I felt disconnected from everyone. To free myself from the negative feelings circulating inside, I uninstalled Facebook and did the rest of my work for the day.
For 24 hours, I was impatiently waiting to get my ban lifted. Being in Facebook jail didn’t feel like being cut-off from the world, but it was more like being grounded. It’s like my parents decided to stop me from seeing and contacting my friends just because I sneaked out of the house past 10pm.
But more importantly, being in Facebook jail made me reminisce the prison life in the TV series I used to watch. How people — both criminals and victims of injustice alike — band together in a different, locked-up space, watching the world outside prison quietly. They know everything, they can see what’s happening, but they just couldn’t tell the world the situation they’re in.
To make it through the day, I casually searched for people who experienced the same situation — unjustly banned for using a feature that isn’t directly hurting anyone. If I would have said something explicit or any form of hate speech, I would understand. But I didn’t.
“Facebook is just an authoritarian organization doomed for failure.”
If the article I wanted to save and read for later was violating the platform’s nudity policy, then why was 9GAG not reprimanded for posting it at all? Why did it have to be me? Up until today, I still can’t fathom the reason. Not even on Facebook’s useless Help center. It was reading stories that shared the same fate as I did that made me feel better. They made me feel that I’m not alone. “I’ll get through this,” was what I told myself.
It’s funny how being connected through the world’s largest social media platform made it both a good and a bad thing for everyone. It’s good in a way that Facebook helped us maintain the connection and relationships despite the distance. It’s bad in a way that we depend on Facebook to get updates from people through the posts they share and the stuff that goes viral; that we need to stay online and check on everyone through our news feed just so we don’t miss anything that might be discussed in real life.
What I learned
The ban was lifted after what felt like forever and I learned my lesson. It’s like being given a second lease on life. But what I learned, first and foremost, is to never use Facebook’s save feature. Without any strict, proper guidelines on what constitutes a ban according to their policies, Facebook is just an authoritarian organization doomed for failure — a dictator deciding what to censor without any justifications or proper explanations.
Of course, it’s their platform. They can do whatever they want with it, but Facebook is more than a platform. It’s a whole new way of connecting with everyone around the world. A lot of realizations dawned on me through this incident, and there is one more lesson to learn here: Life without Facebook can be a good one, too. One where we rely on real, physical, and intimate connections. One where we only catch up with the people that truly matter.
Now I know what people feel like when they claim they have found freedom after deleting their Facebook accounts. I’m still far from deleting my account, but slowly, I’ll figure it out. Maybe, for now, what I can do is step away and disconnect, and live a day or two without social media.
adidas Ultraboost 20: Great just got better
The ISS National Lab collab is straight 🔥
It’s almost a new year, and here’s the Ultraboost 20 — the latest version of my favorite sneakers.
Ever since they were announced in 2015, the Ultraboost has always been my go-to everyday sneaker. They’re just so comfortable to wear and they look so darn good as well.
Adidas has been making small changes to the shoe every year but they were mostly just changing the pattern of the upper which wasn’t really that big of a deal.
A sudden design shift
It wasn’t until 2019 when Adidas redesigned the Ultraboost to create the Ultraboost 19 (UB19) which was a huge change in the line.
Initially, the Ultraboost was more of a casual lifestyle pair first then a performance running sneaker second. This changed with the UB19 when Adidas decided to focus on making a performance running sneaker.
It was a controversial change at the time since the aesthetics of the shoe really changed. Some fans of the line didn’t receive the news well.
Admittedly, I was one of those people. But then the reviews started coming in and everyone kept talking about how comfortable they were — much more comfortable than they have ever been which makes them a better performance sneaker overall.
Design-wise, I still prefer the Ultraboost 1.0 more than the 4.0 but the new ones are definitely way more comfortable — an all-out performance running sneaker.
With the 2020 version, Adidas decided to make a few more tweaks. Somehow they took something already great and made it even better. As an aside, I’m happy these were minor tweaks because I don’t think we would have survived another dramatic overhaul.
One of the best things about Ultraboost back in the day were the collaborations, so I’m happy to see Adidas trying that out again.
Ultraboost X ISS National Lab
I got the ISS National Lab collaboration to check out, which is the official collaboration to launch the Ultraboost 20.
First thing you’ll see is the Light grey Primeknit upper. This is usual with Ultraboost and it does get small tweaks every year. This time it feels like there’s more give in this version vs the UB19.
One major difference in the upper this year is the addition of the Tailored Fiber Placement technology or TFP. It’s the thick embroidered looking details around the edges of the toe box area which gives you more stability and durability.
These areas aren’t as flexible and stretchy as before but they do a better job at containing your toes. So the upper is still stretchy and soft, but holds your foot in place better.
There’s still a sock-like fit but it’s slightly thicker and less flexible than the older ultraboost 1.0 to 4.0 uppers. I really like the arrow shaped ventilation pattern in the toe-box area which is a very subtle throwback to the ‘ol Ultraboost 1.0.
There’s the white or light grey Ultraboost laces going through an updated midfoot cage. I definitely like the new midfoot cage, I think it’s better looking than the UB19 cage. It’s a cleaner, better look vs the mesh used on the 19. This also has some TFP detailing as well to help contain your foot better.
At the top of the tongue is the ISS National Lab collab tags which says ISS National Lab Adidas CRS Boost in Space. ISS stands for the International Space Station and this is a collab with their National Lab. Adidas is apparently going to send some Boost up to the National Lab in space — which is crazy but hey maybe those hypebeast astronauts will appreciate it.
In the ankle area of the shoe you see another big difference vs the UB19. There’s still a prime kit tongue, but in the back you have a padded neoprene material which is really appreciated because it really adds to the comfort.
This extra padding around the heel feels great against your foot but also makes your foot feel more secure in the sneaker as it pushes it forward. Apart from that, your foot is up against primeknit for a very sock-like fit.
It does feel a little bit more snug than the UB19. This helps make it more performance oriented than before which is definitely helpful for runs.
If you’re going to want this for lifestyle wear as a shoe sneaker I’d advise going up a size. Same is true if you have wide feet like I do. It’s always best to try the shoe on in a store first to make sure you get the best fit possible.
The insole comes in black with Adidas and ISS National Lab branding in white and orange. Each insole is different which is a nice touch.
Coming to the heel counter, it seems to be just an outline just like the UB19. Adidas calls it their “3D Heel Frame” which cradles the heel and holds it in place. I like that the heel counter spills over onto the boost midsole and gives you more stability because it really keeps the boost in place.
At the back of the shoe you have a nice padded neoprene material instead of primeknit. I definitely like the way it feels against my foot vs just primeknit in this area.
Another new addition is the bright orange accent. It definitely stands out but ties in nicely with the ISS collab.
Speaking of eye-catching — moving downwards, you have the good ol’ white Boost mid-sole. The ISS collab Ultraboost 20 actually comes in seven colorways, four of which have an iridescent boost midsole which looks pretty neat.
It’s really flashy, and you’ll either love it or hate it but I actually like the implementation here on my Dash Grey colorway.
Instead of the iridescent boost midsole, this colorway has an iridescent heel frame and midfoot cage, which I think looks much nicer. It’s minimalist and more my style.
Either way it definitely looks very space-like. I guess it’s meant to make you think of outer space and it definitely does that. If you’re wearing them out, people are definitely going to ask you about your sneakers.
Coming to the outsole, it is the usual Stretchweb outsoles with Continental rubber for multi-surface traction and the usual lightweight Torsion Spring construction for support when the foot lands to propel runners forward.
Still a top-tier midsole cushioning
Boost is still boost — it is still the best midsole cushioning tech that I love. There’s 20 percent more boost in this shoe than the older UB 1-4, just like the UB19.
The Boost feels the same, but that’s okay. If it ain’t broke, why fix it, right?
In case you haven’t tried out a sneaker with Boost yet, I encourage you to go on over to an Adidas store and try one out as soon as possible.
The big deal here is the cushioning and energy return. You can feel it absorb the impact as you run, and then spring back to return some of that energy to help you take off.
It’s this reason why Boost and the Ultraboost series in particular are so popular amongst runners and gym goers. They’re not only some of the most comfortable shoes around but it also really helps with running and aerobics. I even wear Ultraboost for my dance fitness and boxing classes. I totally recommend it.
Is the Ultraboost 20 your Sneaker Match?
The UB20 is an iterative but meaningful improvement to the Ultraboost line in comparison to the UB19.
It is even more performance oriented, and even more comfortable at the same time. Honestly just go into an Adidas store and try them on — I’m pretty sure you’ll walk away impressed.
The ISS Collab is really exciting, and while it may or may not all just be marketing hype, it is definitely an exciting way for Adidas to launch the UB20.
While I’m always going to be a fan of the aesthetic of the older Ultraboost 1-4 more, you have to admit the new Ultraboost 20 definitely looks crazy futuristic. It’s the best performance sneaker out there, and I can’t recommend it enough.
10 gift ideas for the bookworm on your list
Gifts that are not books
If you have friends or family who love to read, chances are other people will already give them books this holiday season. It’s that or they already bought the book they want to read next. If you want to give something different that they will appreciate, here are some other ideas to help you out:
For the friend who has too many books but not enough shelves, get her the new Kindle. It’s also perfect for that friend who brings a book or two when traveling. She always managse to finish reading on the flight leaving herself book-less for the rest of the trip.
If she already has a Kindle, how about a case inspired by classic book covers? Not only will it protect her gadget from scratches, it also gives her the feeling of holding a book while reading. Smell of an actual book not included.
Some people will always prefer reading over listening to audiobooks. For those who are open to the latter, Audible credits are a practical, yet thoughtful gift you can give. If you know of a specific title they want to listen to, there’s also an option to get that book as a gift either through your own Audible credits or using a credit card.
A pair of noise cancelling earphones is one of the best gifts you can give this year not just to bookworms, but to almost anyone on your list. Bookworms will especially love being able to block any noise and concentrate on reading (or listening to) their book.
Plenty of great options came out this year, including the Sony WF-1000XM3, which retails for SG$ 349.
Help decorate one’s home with cute bookends. For someone who lives in a smaller space, a multi-purpose bookend is your best bet — maybe one that doubles as a flower vase for the living room or a kitchen utensil holder. You can also get an upcycled one using old records. For a more personal touch, you can even do it yourself and you got yourself a crafty project this holiday season.
Lumio LED book lamp
Any bookworm will appreciate receiving a lamp to help them read when the sun starts to dip. What if you give them something in the shape of a book? They sure will love you more than they already do!
Another gift idea for that special someone is a book-inspired sleeve to protect her laptop. Make it more personal by making her favorite cover made. You can even add the first and last pages of the book to make it feel more like one. There’s also an option to add a smaller but similar case for the charger and other accessories.
NYPL Library Card Pouch
The New York Public Library store has a ton of useful knickknacks you can buy as gifts. There’s a pouch inspired by the original library cards from the 1940’s that any bookworm will appreciate even if you bought it at the last minute!
NYPL Library Card Socks
Another option is this cute pair of socks that will surely make any bookworm’s heart and feet warm this chilly season. It comes in small and large and is priced at US$12 for non-members.
Black NYPL Ruth Bader Ginsburg Tote Bag
Know someone inspired by the Notorious RBG? This tote could not be any more perfect. It can carry not just that heavy hardbound book, but her groceries or gym clothes as well!
5 gift ideas for the stylish women on your list
Give the gift of style!
Finding the perfect present for the stylish women in your life is quite the task. But don’t worry – we’re here to make the process a tad easier. Here are some gift ideas that will make the stylish women in your life love you more. Well, much more than they already do, anyway.
The hair tool of almost any stylish woman’s dreams is definitely from Dyson. This tool gives the gift of quick, salon-quality styling. Drying your hair as you style for voluminous waves and natural-looking curls cuts prep time in almost half. After all, their hair should be as fabulous as their outfits.
A complete set is currently at EUR 499 but that includes all 11 attachments that will let her save from all those dry bar visits. Get the Dyson Airwrap through this link.
Hër Bluetooth In-Earphones
Listening to music while on the go doesn’t have to clash with one’s outfit. We’re in love with the discreet, nude colour of the Hër Bluetooth In-Earphones and its ease of use. The case that doubles as its charger is also pretty and rather minimalist. Connection to a smartphone is quick and painless via Bluetooth, giving the freedom to move while being in a call.
Pose for OOTDs while listening to music and order a set via this link.
Laura Mercier Paint with Light Radiant Face Illuminator Trio
The holiday season means glitz, glamour, and of course – shimmer. There’s no other season that allows for shimmer overload than the holidays. What better way to do it than by using the perfect highlighter palette. We’re in love with the Radiant Face Illuminator Trio from Laura Mercier’s Paint With Light Holiday 2019 collection.
There’s a hue for every skin tone and outfit. The buildable glow is also something that will make anyone a stand-out at all the parties. Get it here.
Mejuri Organic Pearl Large Hoops
Pearls are not just for the grandmas anymore. Pearls are so in fashion right now and letting them dangle on hoops gives them a modern, edgier update. All without losing their elegance.
This pair from Canadian brand Mejuri has us drooling with their use of organic pearls. You’ll definitely get a unique pair from them as no two organic pearls can ever be exactly the same. As far as we know, stylish women love individuality so this gift is definitely a hit. Get a pair here.
A Rent the Runway subscription
It’s hard to pick a particular outfit as a gift for the stylish women on your list. Preferences and sizes can get in the way. But that shouldn’t stop you from giving them the gift of designer fashion. A subscription with Rent the Runway makes sure they have access to the latest pieces and you’ll never hear them complain about having nothing to wear ever again.
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