Buckle up, everyone! Mercury is in retrograde once again. In Astrology, this means the planet that governs technology, communications, and our very own thought processes spins backward. In our reality, it means doomsday is coming.
When Mercury is in retrograde, flights and travels are usually delayed, people from the past pop back in our lives, communication systems break down, and our gadgets get into accidents or start malfunctioning.
More importantly, this season makes everything fluid. Nothing will be set in stone. Decisions are usually changed when the season ends, so it’s not a good time to sign contracts, schedule surgeries, have makeovers, launch a new project, or shop for electronic devices.
But fret not, this season shall pass. Here’s what you should do before, during, and after the Mercury retrograde.
Protect your gadgets and gizmos with trusty cases and accessories
Honey, this season makes us feel frustrated, agitated, and annoyed. Often, we’ll be rushing and getting into accidents. You might drop your phone on the toilet, break them, or forget them on a cab or restaurant. You gotta get yourself some strap to keep your phone with you at all times and dress them up with hard, shock-proof cases. Should they fall from your hands, you know they’re safe.
Back up your data, make sure it’s safe and secure
Okay, Jenny, listen up. Mercury in retrograde is the season where we lose important stuff moments before we actually need them. It can be your keys, card, or presentation for your next meeting. The point here is you should back up all necessary data. Flash drives might break, Google Drive and other forms of storage may not work properly at the time you need them. The next thing you know, your life is in shambles.
Another thing to worry about is security and privacy. This season is also the time when people’s secrets tend to get exposed, such as your affair with your best friend’s boyfriend or your intimate videos getting leaked in the deepest, darkest corner of the internet. Keep your reputations from being smeared!
Double check what you type and say
Be careful with miscommunication, my dear. It’s normal to feel there’s chaos in your head since Mercury in retrograde disrupts our thought processes. We become forgetful and more prone to mistakes, so double check your typos before hitting send. In addition, think twice before voicing out your opinions and emotions. Take a deep breath, and think before you click. Your words are powerful. Once you’ve hurt someone with it, you can be forgiven but they’ll never forget.
P.S. Be mindful of what you post or tweet if you don’t want to get dragged on social media.
Keep your emotions in check and block your exes
If you haven’t blocked your exes until today, you need to re-evaluate your life, Susan. During this season, we barely use our logic and just follow our emotions. There might come a time where you want to send a seven-paragraph message to your ex, please don’t. You owe it to yourself to move on from the past and stop them from coming back to your life.
Oh, one more thing: Stay open to possible opportunities. Sure, Mercury in retrograde brings our past lovers back from hell, but they also bring in colleagues we’ve worked with. Most of the time, they want to work with us again. Additionally, this is a good time to reconnect with old friends. Seriously, this period isn’t that bad.
Be extremely flexible (not just in yoga but also in life)
If there’s one thing you can learn from this, it’s that life doesn’t always work out in our favor. It’s a reminder to always find a way. Be flexible and adaptable to every surprise that life brings. If we’re going to give in to our emotions, we already lost. Take a step back and reassess what’s happening, compose yourself and think of a solution. This is just another storm that’s passing by. You will overcome this.
Take a moment to slow down
Lastly, like any retrograde season, it’s a cue from the planets and the stars to slow down. We’re all rushing from one point to another, and we’re moving extremely fast. Planets spin backward to remind us that we need to look back and slow down to appreciate how far we’ve come, what we’ve been doing with our lives, and catch up on what we missed. Above all, it’s a reminder to rest. You’re doing well, my friend. I’m proud of you.
3 must-haves when traveling, in case you want to be like ‘Emily in Paris’
Never ever forget these!
Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen Emily in Paris, please read with caution.
Bonjour, mademoiselles and monsieurs!
I’m certain I’m not the only one obsessed with French culture, and of course, the latest Netflix series — Emily in Paris.
In case you’ve been living under the rock, Emily in Paris re-awakened people’s lust for travel. A bit of escape from the horrific reality we’re currently facing; a year that has gone haywire.
Think croissants, cobblestones, fine architecture, chic fashion, good food, art, and sex. This is the surface of what Emily in Paris is about: Emily Cooper’s hilarious misadventures in navigating her career, romance, and friendships.
While the series showcases how Emily documents her life and adventures in Paris through Instagram, there are a few things she forgot to bring. For a supposedly tech-savvy millennial, Emily Cooper forgot some travel essentials. Or maybe she didn’t know she needed them.
Based on a few episodes from Emily in Paris, I realized what gadgets must be deemed travel essentials, so we don’t experience Emily Cooper’s misadventures next time we’re in another country.
A battery-powered vibrator (so you don’t blow up the fuse)
First of all, Emily was in a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend in Chicago. The couple was having sexy time via video call but crappy internet connection got in the way.
To continue pleasing herself, Emily pulled out an effin’ gigantic, old-school wired vibrator. After plugging it into an electric socket, the vibrator short-circuited the electricity in her apartment. The blow-up was so bad, it shut down the power in the entire neighborhood.
As funny as it is (and no, it wouldn’t really happen in real life), there are a lot of battery-powered, wireless vibrators. Some are even high-tech enough to be controlled by your partner through a mobile app.
Consider this next time when you travel. Although before you pack your sex toy, make sure it’s not illegal in the country you will visit. In some Islamic countries, they confiscate toys as they fall under pornographic material. Last thing you want is to get persecuted in a foreign land.
An instax printer or a pocketable instax camera
Paris is the so-called city of romance. You can literally feel the love in the air. Throughout the series, Emily captured streets, everyday moments, and her life in Paris and uploaded it to her Instagram account.
But to travel — or live — in a romantic city, moments should be captured in a sentimental and romantic way. For instance, preserving memories through a pocketable instax camera which you can bring anywhere, or an instax printer where you can print your photos directly from your smartphone.
That’s exactly what we did one Sunday morning along Upper East Side in New York City. That je ne sais quoi of summer in the city is not something anyone can describe with mere words or capture on Instagram without losing its essence. Of course, we weren’t able to, either.
But we caught some vignettes on film, complete with audio recordings using the Instax Mini LiPlay. We found a way to reminisce those moments. That’s something we believe should be part of any travel.
Get a smartwatch or other running essentials
Forgive me for crying out loud, but smartwatches are made to accompany you while you run. Not hold your gigantic phone with tiny hands, huffing and puffing along the river Seine.
It’s a good idea that Emily didn’t forget how important working out is. But it’s not exactly a good idea to hold your phone while you run. Better to invest in a smartwatch like the Apple Watch to measure your heart rate, track your miles, and answer calls while you listen to music through your wireless earbuds.
And if you’re not the smartwatch-wearing type, invest in pockets, running pouches, arm wallets, or wrist straps. There are different ways to safeguard your phones, keys, and other essentials without putting yourself in potential danger.
Besides, Paris — like any other city — isn’t exactly crime-free. You can’t keep running around like crimes don’t happen. Even when I was running around Taipei, a city with low crime rate, I didn’t let my guard down. The same goes for traveling to any other city. It’s always best to keep yourself safe, no one else will do it for you.
Here are our favorite iOS 14 custom home screens
Some inspo to get creative
The recent iOS update has taken social media by storm, shining a light on creativity expressed by iPhone users and designers.
In case you’re living under a rock, #iOS14homescreen trended in Twitter highlighting the prettiest and most creative home screens.
As of writing, many users are still having fun expressing their wit and style through custom widget designs. If you’re looking for inspiration to create your own, we’ve rounded up our favorite iOS 14 custom home screens!
If you love coffee and earth tones
— idk (@depressionrts) September 21, 2020
For those who love a minimalist approach
— KC🦋 (@kclaiire) September 21, 2020
— Leyla (@sevdaglow) September 21, 2020
It’s time to go green!
— meg ♡ (@meganegallimore) September 23, 2020
Making it futuristic and dystopian a la Vice City
— teju2909 (@teju2909) September 22, 2020
For party freaks missing the neon lights
— 𝘅 𝗶 𝗻 𝗶 (@xinilass) September 21, 2020
How about Karasuno High from Haikyu!!?
— ًَmia (@wasugawara) September 21, 2020
Paint the town pink!
— ʟ ʏ ʀ ᴀ ʜ ⁷ (@victaerian) September 18, 2020
Keeping it dark, eerie, and sexy~
— gracielle (@applepiezi) September 18, 2020
— poggy the froggy 🐸🌱 (@pogpals) September 22, 2020
That pastel and nude colors used by several Instagram aEstHetIc influencers
— 𝐈𝐍生 (@atinywols) September 19, 2020
When you just love the universe…
— ً (@jeonghanh8r) September 19, 2020
…or your idols
i made my homescreen fanfare themed 🥰 pic.twitter.com/f3gUIDdk21
— pj ☆ (@diorscy) September 20, 2020
And so far, here’s the best one… especially if you want to keep yourself from being addicted to your phone
Looking for a way to limit screen time? pic.twitter.com/VPqu3Tuc2N
— Michelle Broderick (@MichelleBee) September 23, 2020
Which one do you like best? Share your custom home screen designs on Instagram and tag us @gadgetmatch!
How I got fit with the OPPO Watch
Our goal is to survive
When the global health crisis struck the world into a colossal spiral while we all watched anxious in our homes, I decided to escape into a fitness challenge. Hey, I needed some form of healthy coping and I thought putting my frail, petite figure into the ringer was a good way to keep me distracted.
So, since the end of March of this year, I decided to do at-home workouts six days per week. And, by the end of April, I had somehow dedicated hours into working out consistently from Sundays to Fridays.
Deciding to be fit
If you’re thinking, “she’s mental,” hi. Yes, I am. I always knew I was capable of sticking to something I wanted to work towards. I’d go so far as to say I’ve always had an obsessive tendency towards things I set my mind on. There was, of course, a good incentive: my mental health.
I’ve always struggled with my mental health. Even when writing about how video games helped me through rough patches in my life, I’d spiral back into the same mental state over and over. I wanted to break that horrible cycle. And so, I set myself to use fitness to expend energy I would usually have to be anxious or self-destructive on something healthier and beneficial.
Oh, I almost forgot a tangent motivation to all of this: I was weaning off my medication. So, if you didn’t know, which you probably didn’t, I was taking antidepressants and mood stabilizers to get by.
Whenever I had teetered into fitness, I weirdly felt on-top-of-things. I brought this up to my psychiatrist and knew that if I wanted sustainable stability, I had to work on long term changes to my lifestyle.
So, back to the task at hand, I had consistently worked out, built muscle where I didn’t know I had and gained a ton of weight. By late August to early September, I had felt better mentally.
Tracking with the OPPO Watch
When I got the OPPO Watch, I had already checked out most of my personal goals except one: getting stunning abs. I went to work on journaling ab workouts I was going to do and healthy meals I wanted to treat myself to. I was planning on running outside to get my daily 10,000 steps through the watch’s Wear OS out of the way and was pretty excited to strap on the OPPO Watch.
Before we hop into my journey with the OPPO Watch, here’s a couple of things you might want to know. The Oppo Watch’s dual-curved 1.6-inch AMOLED display makes it look identical to the Apple Watch.
Elephant in the room finally out; let’s talk specs. It’s got a Snapdragon Wear 3100 SoC with an Apollo Chip. All of that runs on Wear OS by Google and is powered by a 300mAh battery. And, OPPO boasted the watch’s 21-day battery capacity. So, I was hyping myself up for a two-week ab workout program to accompany the specs and features the watch was decked out on.
Let me just get it out there: as much as the OPPO Watch has an identity crisis on potentially being an Apple Watch wannabe or clone, it delivers on looks. The watch is pretty and the interface never once stuttered while I used it. But I digress…
Road to getting abs
On day one, road to maybe getting abs, the watch flopped and stopped recording my run, and ab exercises because it had run out of battery. Frustrated but also quietly relieved, I dropped my plan for the afternoon and eased out of my workout quicker than I often would.
You see, I had become overly obsessed with working out. So much so, that I was scheduling everything else in my day around the 2-3 hours every single day I wanted to exercise.
Although it was a disappointing first day, it was a wake-up call. I had always felt fatigued and out of breath from just doing typical chores. I’ve long ignored this symptom of over-training and kept overworking myself.
As much as the watch didn’t get to keep up with my “typical” day, it drew red flags on the fact that I was unusually active.
Don’t get me wrong. The OPPO Watch is a great smartwatch. It’s got a ton of features I want a smartwatch to have. It had a training assistant, a heart rate monitor, a sleep tracker, sedentary reminders, and had a vast array of workouts you could track through Wear OS.
It was the best thing to help validate the hard work I was making on a daily. I would use and abuse installing the Google Fit app to track my strength training, workout sets, and footsteps. But, if there’s anything I slowly learned from over-training and “over tracking,” it’s that you tarnish your relationship to exercise if you obsess over calories.
More to getting fit than looking a certain way
If you’ve been hating yourself for not getting fit or not losing weight while the rest of the world is ablaze, let this be the reminder you need. We’re here to survive, not to pressure ourselves into losing weight, getting fit, building unhealthy self-images, or getting sick and injured.
This year, especially, is not the time. I know that being isolated can feel relentlessly daunting and peeking into social media feeds into unhealthy and toxic standards you might feel pressured to try to achieve. But, there’s more to health than trying to look a certain way — there’s the important bit about how you are and how you are feeling.
A lot of the ironically toxic parts of health and fitness is from building fundamental goals on visual validity: a number on the scale, a measurement, or aesthetic muscle development. When health and fitness should be about developing something sustainable: strength, flexibility, stamina, or better well-being.
It’s also good to note that quick and sudden fixes can show fast results but won’t be sustainable long-term. The quicker the change, the quicker it is to lose. Easing your way into small changes until you achieve a healthy lifestyle that isn’t restrictive of anything you want is the way to go.
For the past two weeks with the OPPO Watch, I decided to be more attuned with myself, mentally and physically. It was a good time for my body to recover from brutal stress I put it through.
The watch’s Wear OS features breathing exercises that helped a lot with this. I would find myself struggling with anxiety late at night and I’d go on the watch and do the breathing exercises until I calmed down. I know the feature is simple and I can do without it but, having something to guide me through deep breathes really helped.
Throughout my two weeks of what was meant to be non-stop ab exercises, I decided to work out on days I felt like working out and rested on days I wanted to. The OPPO Watch gave me a good feel of my health with my heart rate and step count even if I stayed indoors.
It monitored and gave me customizable daily goals which were less about reaching them every day and more about realistic and forgiving progress.
Oh! It’s good to note that the watch might be able to last about a week but it’ll need to be on power saver mode. You’ll be limited to viewing the time, checking your pulse when you want to, counting your steps, and getting notifications.
On that week, I kept active and went about my day without worrying about the nitty-gritty details of how much calories I burnt from walking, running, or lifting weights.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
I didn’t keep the OPPO Watch on power saver mode for long for a few reasons. To recover from over-training, I wanted to improve on my sleep and work on my relationship with exercise and calories so tracking my sleep was important to me.
On top of that, the breathing exercises weren’t accessible on power saver mode which was a huge bummer seeing as that feature helped me through some anxious nights — what a legend of a feature.
The OPPO Watch is decked out with so much to help you get better, happier, and healthier but only in ways, you choose to. So if you’re not a fitness fiend and are looking for a smartwatch to just track your pulse, steps, and of course, keep track of time, consider this watch. The OPPO Watch costs PhP 12,990/GBP 229.
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