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 Clubbing has been replaced by Saturday brunch meets and coffee dates with friends.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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Entertainment

YouTube Original Series to feature TWICE

First K-Pop girl group to be featured

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Image from JYPNation at Naver

K-Pop continues to be more popular than ever and it’s now making its way to YouTube Originals. TWICE, who constantly tops Korean charts, will be featured in a YouTube Original Series. They are the first K-Pop girl group to star in the award-winning series.

The series will feature the North American leg of their 2019 World Tour called TWICELIGHTS. This might prove to be an emotionally charged content from the group as one of the members — Mina — took a leave in the middle of the tour due to anxiety.


According to Billboard, the series is “unlike anything released by TWICE before. The series will showcase exclusives, in-depth interviews, as well as an “intimate and personal portrayal of all of TWICE’s members.” It will also dabble into the group’s four-year journey so far. The series will launch in the first half of 2020.

Image from JYPNation at Naver

TWICE debuted in 2015 with nine members namely Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu. The group first hit their stride following their first comeback Cheer Up. The group has consistently released hit songs since and have been tapped as endorsers by multiple brands including tech-related ones like LG.

YouTube Originals and YouTube Premium

YouTube Originals had previously worked with K-Pop boy groups, most notably the one with BTS called BTS: Burn The Stage. It features various shows produced by YouTube itself. The show series was launched alongside YouTube Premium — a subscription based entertainment platform akin to Netflix, Hulu, et al.

YouTube Originals are currently only available to YouTube Premium subscribers but the content will soon be accessible for free but with ads starting September 24.

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Hands-On

Sights and sounds of summer in the Upper East Side

Capturing New York City on film

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“You need to come back, New York is different in the summer,” a friend urged one absurdly cold day back in May. “It has a different energy to it; it’s more alive,” another friend noted with excitement about the magical effects of the impending warm weather on the city.

Living in a tropical country my whole life and enduring constant humidity year per year, I never really understood the hype. What could be so special about spending yet another summer in another city, I thought.  On the contrary, it’s lower temperatures that always excited me. The thought of layering with soft wool sweaters and thick coats, and wearing thigh-high boots on vacation was ideal. It was something I never get to do on the daily, so I longed for it — until I was forced to live out of a suitcase from winter to spring, that is.


Having gone through the chore of exactly that — wearing wool sweaters, thick coats, and boots just to get eggs at the nearest bodega or go for a coffee run next door — made me appreciate being able to wear just about anything I want in the summer including the potential sweating that goes along with it. After months of freezing weather, summer just feels so liberating that you’ll appreciate the heat even if it means smeared eyeliners and a face so oily you could fry two eggs on it.

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. This article certainly doesn’t, but here are some vignettes I caught on film, complete with audio recordings, using the Instax Mini LiPlay, one Sunday morning stroll along Upper East Side.

One large cold brew to go

Like any other day, I start with a nice cup of cold brew. Cafes like Bluestone Lane usually gets packed for brunch. It’s especially nice when the sun is out that friends and families eat al fresco. Listen to the audio recording here.

Hotdogs and city performers

Hotdog stands can be found at every corner of the city. This one is outside the Guggenheim Museum, which tourists flock and buskers frequent. Listen to the audio recording here.

Honking yellow cabs

The sound of the train arriving or cabs honking is normally unbearable, but in New York it’s part of what makes the city full of character. Listen to the audio recording here. 

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

This spot in Central Park is beautiful whether you’re there to see snow falling or flowers blooming; hear trees rustling or dried leaves crackling. Listen to the audio recording here.

Pick a spot at Central Park

Central Park is so big of an oasis that you can have your quiet little spot for reading and alone time, or watch kids and dogs play if you wanted to. Listen to the audio recording here.

Sun’s out, bikes out

Whether it’s for cardio, getting from one place to another, or just for leisure, everyone seems to be on their bikes during summer. Other locals take advantage of this and sell ice cold water for $2 in the middle of the park for anyone who needs to cool down. Listen to the audio recording here.

Grab something quick and cheap

For those who might want a quick bite after a long walk or bike ride, there are food trucks everywhere. Tacos? Check. Gyros? Check. Ice cream? Check. Listen to the audio recording here.

The Met

It can get too crowded for my taste, but The Met is quickly becoming my favorite place in the city. It’s where I can run to for shelter when it’s below freezing outside, or when temperatures get higher, walk around the vicinity for no reason or people watch on the steps. I can get trapped here for days and not feel like I’m wasting my time. Listen to the audio recording here.

Witnessing New York City transform from a dark, cold abyss in the winter, to a city with blossoming tress in spring, to the vibrant concrete jungle that it truly is in the summer, is special. If you live in this city, or travel here a lot, it’s something you will learn to cherish once you see and hear it for yourself.

WATCH: Winter in New York

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Automotive

She implanted an RFID tag in her arm to operate a Tesla Model 3

A new way to never lose your keys again

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A software engineer who goes by the name Amie DD on YouTube wanted to do an ultimate Tesla Model 3 hack — one that involves implanting an RFID tag in her own body so she could unlock and operate her vehicle with just a wave of her arm.

She released a short documentary on her thought process and how she began the project. According to her, she’s not new to playing with RFID tags and implanting them in her body. So when she got her new Model 3 and found out it uses RFID to unlock and start the vehicle, she immediately came up with the idea.


To make this possible, Amie DD reached out to a body modification place capable of performing such procedures. You may watch the implant process here but be warned that it’s a bit graphic and shows blood.

She didn’t actually show in her video that it actually works but she told The Verge that it does. Amie DD even tweeted Elon Musk jokingly (probably) that she could run Musk’s Body Hacking Division.

It may sound cool and all — and props to her for having the courage to do something like that — but as for me, I think I’m okay with using standard keys right now.

 

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