Her GadgetMatch

What night outs are like when you’re older and wiser

Featuring the OPPO R17 Pro and my waning patience for clubs

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There comes a time in every party girl’s life when you realize you’ve lost it. By “it,” I mean the overwhelming urge to go out and stay out late, drinking as much alcohol as a thirsty camel that just escaped the desert.

A few years ago, you’d be lucky to find me home on a weekend. These days, times have sorely changed — Friday nights are spent indoors in the comfort of my bed. Clubbing has been replaced by Saturday brunch meets and coffee dates with friends. It’s been many hangover-free days, but all that was about to change because of a smartphone.


Just another normal day, phone and coffee in hand

This is the OPPO R17 Pro, or in Europe, the RX17 Pro. At the launch event in Milan, OPPO explained that this phone and its new night mode were made for you to be able to capture every moment in your life — including those that didn’t happen in good lighting. At that point, all the badly lit club snaps and the party selfies I’ve ever taken flashed into my mind.

The phone that’s forcing me to leave my bed

Touted as the phone which could “seize the night,” as its slogan had suggested, I decided to test it out in a realistic night out. Time to break my hibernation and finally get out of my very cozy and inviting bed.

I know, this is either my best idea or my worst idea yet.

Prep

Of course, any night out starts with an outfit. And since gone are my tiny dress, stiletto days, I opted for full coverage (and comfort) with a flowing navy skirt which matched the Emerald Green R17 Pro, topping the look off with a pink bag to match my hair and gold details.

And no, I didn’t even attempt to wear heels because the effort in finding a comfy-cute outfit alone was too much for me.

A quick note: This will be the last #OOTD section. As much as I wanted to shoot a phone-coordinated #OOTD for each of my night out attempts, 2018 Isa was just not having it and couldn’t be bothered.

First try: Wine and cheese night

Since I didn’t plan on, nor did I think I would have survived, visiting an actual bar just yet, I called on my friend Nikka for an evening of chatting and unli-wine. I know, I know. You expected a crazy party when I said “night out.” But, this just seemed so much more appealing to me — no chaos of the club and random strangers in a tight, sweaty space — just two girl friends chatting with cheese and tall glasses. Besides, the spot we picked gave us an al fresco table that was perfect for us: It was spacious and dimly lit.

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Since we were seated, I was only able to take sample photos from my seat, of Nikka, and my food. As the night progressed, however, photos got blurrier — but I can attribute that to me getting drunk and wobbly. Who would’ve thought you could get drunk with wine? Newsflash: You can and it can get messy.

The phone did pretty well that night, so much better than I can say for myself. The R17 Pro even took a nice group shot of the people on the other table I drunkenly started to make conversation with (my new friends, if I can remember their names 😅) despite me being a crappy inebriated photographer.

I woke up the next morning with a massive hangover (copious amounts of wine do that) and doubting this whole article pitch altogether but I had to soldier on. I have to say that OPPO’s custom beauty mode really worked wonders for me that day. The selfie below cannot even begin to show the sh*tstorm I felt inside.

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I was so over everything that day that I couldn’t even be bothered to turn the Portrait mode on the front-facing camera to blur out the crap that was behind me. Thankfully, I am to learn later on that the R17 Pro has a host of built-in editing tools, one of which allowed me to selectively blur parts of a photo. I literally drew my own bokeh effect on this selfie. Brownie points for me fixing my hangover mistakes!

We move on to my second night out attempt.

Second try: Birthday celebrations over tapas

When you’re older, you resort to adulting tactics to ensure you don’t inadvertently have a crazy night of drinking. The adulting tactic my friends pulled was the have-a-quiet-dinner-drinks-setup-on-a-Sunday-night-so-that-we-have-to-go-home-early-for-Monday-morning tactic.

Two of my friends, Ian and Shy, celebrated their joint birthdays at a quaint Spanish restaurant. Of course, there was wine, tapas, and even more drinks.

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I’m proud to say I didn’t drink a drop this evening, also because I was still reeling from that previous wine night. Hence, better photo samples with steadier, non-drunk hands. I can’t say the same for my friends, though. The photo below was quickly snapped by one of my drinking friends who decided that the people in the background also wanted in on the shot. 😅 Nevertheless, I fixed it with my newfound R17 Pro editing skills.

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Not drinking and pulling a Cinderella (leaving for home at midnight) did wonders for me. Who knew this was actually a choice? (Early twenty-something Isa who drank at every night out didn’t.)

I woke up Monday morning and was this fresh. This selfie is still with help from the custom beauty mode on light settings, but who’s checking?

Third try: Cocktail tasting

When my friend Sky invited me to a cocktail tasting event, I was about to decline the drinking invitation based on my newly learned no-saying adult capabilities. But, when I learned there were going to be pretty pink cocktails, I was sold. I found myself in a great-looking bar catching up with friends. This, sans a crazy crowd, was usually the type of place I’d have trouble photographing but lo and behold, the photos turned out great.

Three great-tasting strawberry sampaguita cocktails and some fun conversations later, the bar was filling up with people and it was time for me to go home with just the right buzz.

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No hangovers and yummy pink cocktails seemed like the best night out combo. Proof of life the next day is below:

And because I was actually functioning, there was a conscious effort to turn on an actual front-facing portrait mode this time. Though it cut out my earring and part of my glasses, nothing could dampen my non-hungover mood.

Key takeaways

A lot of things are to be learned from this little writing project and drinking experiment of mine. First and foremost is that I cannot, even if I tried, drink as much as I used to. I’m not the invincible twenty-something party machine I once was, and that’s okay. We all slow down; parties come and go but true friends and never-ending cheese platters remain.

I learned that in adulthood, I am seeing more wine and cocktails and fewer shots — thank goodness. Nevertheless, know that a wine hangover will kill you, or at least your will to function for a whole day. Even if a good beauty mode can cover up said hangover in selfies, you still feel it intensely.

I also learned that I’m still very friendly when I have alcohol in my system (some things never change), drunk people will never, ever take good photos (my drunken selfies will never, ever see the light of day), and the OPPO R17 Pro is a good night out companion.

Despite all these findings, life lessons, and great photos, I feel like I’m ready to crawl back into my bed and switch back to hibernation mode. This is the only “night mode” I’m willing to do for a while.

Her GadgetMatch

5 coolest Airbnb places you can rent in Tagaytay

For when you want to escape Manila’s heat

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Image credit: Airbnb

Tagaytay is one destination you can visit when you’re looking for a weekend getaway. It’s popular for its cold weather, picture-worthy cafes, and an overlooking view of Taal Volcano, the world’s smallest active volcano. In addition, it’s just a two-hour drive away from Manila.

If you’re planning to stay in this city for a couple of days, here are our top five Airbnb rentals:


Dalton’s Lakeview Point

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Dalton’s Lakeview Point is a stylish, modern-themed Airbnb. It’s spacious enough to fit groups up to six people, and its artistic interior design gives you that cozy and calming feeling. Stay here when you want a refreshing view of Taal Lake.

Book it here.

Nordic Jewel

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Couples might enjoy staying at Nordic Jewel, a Scandinavian-inspired Airbnb located in Tagaytay Prime Residences. Despite being small, every corner is Instagrammable. If that doesn’t convince you, let me tell you this: Small spaces make you closer with a person. Now go and have a good time with the love of your life!

Book it here.

Unit 217, Tower 1, Wind Residences

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Even though it looks like a hotel room, Unit 217 in Tower 1, Wind Residences exudes an elegant, contemporary vibe. Its yellow accents give life in this Airbnb’s dominantly black and white design, and its patio invites you to relax and take a peek outside. This is perfect for those who want to feel that hotel vibe with a touch of the usual bed and breakfast.

Book it here.

Chalet de Tagaytay

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If you want to retreat from the hustle-bustle of life, Chalet de Tagaytay is a rustic Airbnb that oozes privacy. Perched on a mountainside, it has the perfect view of Taal Lake for when you want to contemplate about life. Take the time to forget the world and your problems, and just relax during your stay.

Book it here.

Windsor Vacation House

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Windsor Vacation House is the perfect place for get-togethers. It’s spacious enough to let everyone have their own space, and every corner is definitely picture-worthy. Next time you have an occasion to celebrate, bring your families and friends here for a wonderful experience. It can comfortably fit people up to 12 people, and it’s guaranteed you’ll make new memories with a beautiful Airbnb like this!

Book it here.

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Cameras

4 reasons the new Instax Mini LiPlay is perfect for any occasion

Small but packed with features

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Fujifilm recently announced their new hybrid instant camera, the Instax Mini LiPlay. It’s the newest addition to the company’s lineup of Instax instant cameras and by far the smallest and most lightweight in its series.

Despite being small, it’s packed with features that every girl would love to have in different situations. Here are the reasons why:


1. You get to celebrate occasions in a special way

The Instax Mini LiPlay is not your typical instant camera. It comes with an LCD so you can review photos you’ve captured, and choose which one to print.

It also has a “Sound” button which is capable of recording up to ten seconds of audio. The Instax Mini LiPlay then converts the audio’s data into a QR code and adds it to the photo printed. Users can play and replay for at least a year by scanning the QR code. This function is perfect for adding greetings, songs, and other messages you’d love to share through the printed photo.

2. Definitely a travel companion

This hybrid instant camera is different compared to Fujifilm’s instant cameras. Its promise of being the smallest and most lightweight makes it an easy-to-carry travel-sized camera (that won’t take too much space in your bag).

In addition, solo and group travelers can enjoy the remote shooting feature, which remotely takes a photo and print it on the spot using your smartphone. Furthermore, it has a direct print feature so you can transfer your photos from your smartphone and print it using the instant camera’s film. Whatever device you use, the Instax Mini LiPlay is a travel companion you’ll love to bring anywhere you go.

3. For the times when you want to express yourself

If you love shooting flat lays or OOTDs, the Instax Mini LiPlay may be useful as a prop or as an accessory. It has a stylish design that matches your aesthetic, and it comes in three beautiful colors: Stone White, Elegant Black, and Blush Gold.

Moreover, it has an array of design frames. The camera comes with ten pre-installed frames, which you can select during or after taking a photo. When you download the free Instax Mini LiPlay app, you get to enjoy 20 additional design frames.

4. Enjoy taking photos wherever you go

Say goodbye to AA batteries that make you feel like you’re using a device from the early 2000s. The Instax Mini LiPlay uses micro-USB for charging and takes two to three hours to fully charge the device. Its battery can last up to 100 printed photos. Photos are also saved onto a microSD card so you can keep on shooting until your memory card is full!

The Instax Mini LiPlay is priced at PhP 9,999 and will be available around late June to early July in the Philippines.

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Her GadgetMatch

Xiaomi makes your dream home more attainable with new appliances

Beautiful and affordable

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As a struggling, single twentysomething, imagining what life would be like after 30 can be difficult. On rare occasions when my bank account looks more promising than usual, I fancy my future self as someone who can afford a living space that I designed myself — from picking wall colors, to getting minimal Scandinavian furniture, to hanging my own art, to breathing more life into it with plants.

Even if I’m surrounded by new technology all the time, the thing I find hardest to imagine is filling up that space with home tech — mostly because it’s hard to find well-designed appliances that don’t cost a fortune. While we put so much thought in getting furniture and accents that go well together, it rarely ever matters that we have a combination of a green stove, a white washing machine, a silver refrigerator, and a maroon fan — all in one household. But it does matter, and Xiaomi, once again, saves the day (or in this case, my future) with four new smart products for the dream home we all deserve.


Mi Smart Door Lock

Your dream home should only be unlocked with a mechanical key during emergency situations. The Mi Smart Door Lock offers up to six different unlocking methods, including fingerprint scanning and NFC. This means the new Mi Smart Band 4 or any phone with NFC can be used to unlock the door. This also means saving extra space in your purse for more important things like your lip balm.

The Mi Smart Door Lock retails for CNY 1,699 (US$ 245).

Mi Smart Combo Wash Dryer Pro (10kg)

Let’s face it, none of us like doing the laundry but it shouldn’t be a chore. The Mi Smart Combo Wash Dryer Pro supports voice control to activate or stop a washing cycle. It also sends a notification to your phone when your laundry is ready, so while waiting you can do a home workout or make yourself a hearty meal instead.

Washing machines should also not be an eyesore, and this one from Xiaomi sports a minimalist design and a singular OLED smart button. Oh, and it’ll be able to receive over-the-air updates in the future, too. The Mi Smart Combo Wash Dryer Pro starts at CNY 2,999 (US$ 433).

Mi Smart Kitchen Exhaust Hood and Stove Set

Any grownup kitchen should be a smart one so you can braise beef without forgetting about it and potentially burning your dream homes down. The Mi Smart Kitchen Exhaust Hood and Stove Set supports remote and voice controls, so you can monitor and adjust temperatures even from the toilet. The set is available at CNY 2,298 (US$ 333).

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