Her GadgetMatch

Samsung Galaxy S9 guide for the selfie lover

How to get the best out of the beauty mode

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The Samsung Galaxy S9 is a power-packed phone, but one great feature that is most overlooked is its front-facing camera capabilities. I’ve taken it upon myself to walk you through the wonders of what magic Samsung’s latest flagship can do to your selfies.

It all depends on what look you want to achieve. But first, the basics.

The S9 has a number of selfie modes but we’ll focus on two modes here: Selfie Focus and Selfie. Both can be found on the upper part of the camera app, when the front-facing camera is activated.

This tiny button, dubbed “beauty crystals” by one of our unboxing guests, will be your best friend. This unlocks a host of beauty filters and options that will allow you attain those flawless shots.

Now, let’s begin. On to the first look!

Au Naturelle

Sometimes, you need a no-fuss, natural-looking selfie for the times when you know you can’t be spending that much time on a selfie, but you still want to look cute.

Turn to the Galaxy S9’s Selfie Focus mode. This activates the bokeh mode which will blur out the background and make sure that you’re the center of attention in the photo. Find good, soft lighting, find your angle, and smile!

Ugh. Marvin and Rodney are always getting in the way of my work 😂

A big bright window was used in this instance, and though other GadgetMatch people were proving to be big distractions in this photo, the bokeh took care of their annoying intrusion.

Sometimes, you don’t necessarily have to up the beauty mode to take a good selfie.

Fresh finish

For times when your face needs a little boost, we turn to those “beauty crystals!”

The same Selfie Focus mode allow for a little airbrushing. Tap the “beauty crystals” found at the bottom right of the screen and this will allow you to toggle Color and Skin Tone.

Bumping these controls up can give you a fresh, glowing face, even on days when your face is nowhere near those two things.

With aforementioned settings, I managed to take a fresh photo as I was haggardly trying to navigate my way through an unfamiliar city by foot. A little beauty mode air-brushing does wonders, I tell you.

Basic makeup look

We move on to makeup looks! The following uses the Galaxy S9’s Selfie mode.

After navigating to this mode, tap the “beauty crystals” and a slew of themed looks will appear. Tap “Basic” and adjust intensity as needed. Tapping on the tiny “beauty pencil” will also allow you to customize the settings more.

On days when you need a tiny makeup retouch, this option works best. This setting allows for a filter that makes for a subtle but made-up look. The sample shown above is me at the end of a long day — my face still looks makeup fresh because of this mode, even when I personally wasn’t.

Beauty boost

For a more va va voom look, we turn to other settings on the S9’s Selfie mode.

Tapping each preset look will give you a fresh new makeup theme. The toggle at the bottom of the screen controls the filter’s intensity. Remember to take great care in making sure that the filter isn’t too much for your face; otherwise, you run the risk of looking fake.

After picking a particular look, tapping the “beauty pencil” brings you to even more makeup options — you can choose to change eyeshadow, lipstick, eyelashes, contouring, and more. Go crazy with the choices! And, you can even have a friend join in on the fun as the filters work for more than one person.

Friends that put makeup together, stay together

This is how me and Chay looked after a long day of shooting. In this photo, we’re fresh AF and makeup was definitely on fleek, which wasn’t necessarily true in real life.

Live your life on fleek with these Galaxy S9 tips. Seriously, I never thought a device could make application so easy, but here we are.

Technology, you’ve done it again.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S9 tutorial: How to make AR Emoji

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S9: An honest review of AR Emoji and more

Her GadgetMatch

Peloton: A cult I want to join

Can a Peloton bike replace going to a spin studio?

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I’ve heard and read about Peloton mostly from the hype in tech news and commercials on TV. When people talk about it, I hear them refer to it as the cult of Peloton. As someone who recently fell in love with spin class, my curiosity is peaked. If you’re a Peloton customer, you don’t just like it — you love it! It’s not a piece of exercise equipment; it’s a lifestyle.

On a recent trip to New York, I noticed my hotel was close to a Peloton studio. My hotel also had a Peloton bike in the gym. As I roll towards 40, I’ve accepted that my body needs me to pay attention to it. So I fed my Peloton curiosity and went to the studio to take a class. I also took a virtual one in my hotel — more on that later.

Peloton studio experience

If you’ve ever been to a high end spin studio you’ll be familiar with the set up at Peloton. For those who haven’t done a modern spin class, you basically get shoes, locker rooms that have many products, and someone to help you set up your bike. The experience screams premium and makes dropping US$ 35 seem justified.

Like most workout studios, the room is very cold when you walk in. Today’s spin classes are done in the dark with very loud music — almost like going to parties. At the Peloton studio, the bikes are set up around a stage on three sides. As we waited to get started, Jenn, the instructor, was already interacting with everyone online. I’ve heard and read of Peloton before, but I didn’t realize that the class I was attending was being live streamed to hundreds, maybe thousands of people.

“RoadCruiser, it’s your 400th ride! Congratulations and thanks for being part of the Peloton nation,” screamed Jenn. “RidnMama happy 100th ride, Pelotooooon!”

Hearing the word Peloton happened consistently throughout the ride. Like being in actual cults, being in a Peloton class felt a bit like being indoctrinated. The same way cults repeat ideologies and phrases, Jenn would randomly scream Peloton for all of 30 minutes. When I started counting midway, I heard her say it 11 more times.

What caught me off guard was the fact that Jenn essentially ignored the class and was in constant eye contact with the cameras around the room. One camera would slowly go from the left side of the room to the right, and her gaze would follow it. It was distracting and felt like I was watching something I wasn’t supposed to.

Having done no actual research on Peloton before going, I left the class confused. Being the journalist that I am, I asked the sales girl at the front desk a ton of questions. I found out that there are only two Peloton studios in the whole world: one in New York, and the other in London.

Suddenly I felt very lucky to have taken a class in one of the two studios. Then almost immediately I realized that I was doing things completely wrong. Most Peloton customers will never step foot into a physical Peloton studio, and they probably will never want to. Peloton’s main focus is giving virtual classes, and that’s what they’re good at.

Peloton only set up studios to livestream the instructor for the virtual classes. The London studio starts putting classes online in the morning and the New York studio has classes until late at night, covering all of Europe and US timezones. Unlike other spin studios, real world classes at Peloton are only a byproduct of content creation for their virtual community.

Virtual Peloton class experience

The next day I went to my hotel’s gym to take my first virtual class. When I logged on, there were no live classes about to start, so I took one of the many pre-recorded ones. The bike lets you choose by class type, instructor, genre of music, and style of ride — I chose a 90s hiphop class.

When the class started, I found Jess, the instructor, looking at me straight in the eye from the 21.5” HD display of the bike. Suddenly the thing I found the creepiest from the live class was the thing I loved most of the virtual class. The connection I felt with Jess was far stronger than the one in the studio — even stronger than I’ve ever felt at a traditional spin class at SoulCycle or ride.bln.

Being more engaged resulted in a much better work out compared to the one I did in the studio. Admittedly, I’ve only taken a single virtual class, but I’m already convinced Peloton can bring the same high end spin class I take in studios into my own home.

The traditional spin class experience

In Berlin, I take spin classes at ride.bln. They have beautiful locker rooms and attentive staff. The environment is pretty much identical to Peloton’s NYC studio, except smaller. That’s pretty much where the similarities end.

My favorite instructor at ride.bln is Malin. Her style of dancing around the studio, correcting people’s postures, and reading the room so that we’re getting the best workout we can are the little things that make going to a real world spin class great — things you won’t ever get from a virtual class. Seeing my instructor pushing through with her eyes closed honors my struggle. Her energy makes me want to give her spin class everything I’ve got.

Photo from ride.bln

I am genuinely curious what her take would be if she tried to adapt her style to Peloton. Closing her eyes through a tough segment is not something she would be able to do as a Peloton instructor. Her style would have to completely change and having gone to her classes, I fear they would become soulless. Can she bring the same engagement to a class while staring into a camera? I’m afraid not.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you were to get a Peloton bike and join the cult, you can probably replicate the dark room with the same loud music at home, but I’m not sure it would really be the same as going to a good spin studio. What Peloton is is not exactly a replacement, but an alternative for people like me who don’t have a 9-to-5 routine.

What the cult of Peloton has done is remove several barriers of having to go to spin class. Spin classes may only last 30-60 minutes, but you also have to factor in the time to go to the studio, get ready, and everything that comes after. Peloton also made it easy for its customers to start and do spin classes more consistently. You can be a newbie and not get intimidated by the people around you and just spin at your own pace. You can even do the same classes when you’re traveling, no matter which timezone you’re in.

The best part of being part of the Peloton cult is not the high end equipment nor the classes; it’s the strong virtual connections it’s been able to create to motivate you to achieve your own fitness goals — whether you’re on your bike at home or some other place in the world.

Cult or not, both Peloton and traditional spin classes are great workouts if you’re already into fitness. If not, hearing people talk about it all the time can be annoying and does you no good. All of these classes are just tools to achieve our goals, and no amount of tech is good enough a motivation as the one that comes from within.

SEE ALSO: Confessions of a non-runner


Editor’s note: This is a slightly modified excerpt of an article written by the same author published on MobileGeeks.com.

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Her GadgetMatch

7 gift ideas for pets and paw-rents on your list

Happy pets, happy paw-rents

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Know someone whose life has been completely run over by their fur-baby? With the holidays just around the corner, it may actually be a good idea to get a joint gift for pets and their paw-rents. That’s hitting two birds with one, perfectly-wrapped stone and making sure you’re always welcome when you visit.

If you’re a pet owner yourself, why not use these gifts to give your best buddy a treat this holiday season? We all know they deserve it. Here are some gift ideas that will make both your friend and their little bundle of fur happy:

1. Petcube Bites

As someone who has always been a fur-mama, I tend to wonder what my pets are up to while I’m away. Are they behaving at home? More importantly, is everything okay? With the Petcube Bites, there’s no need to be such a worrywart. You’ll get notifications when there’s been excessive movement at home or even when your pet is making noise. The camera also records these and sends the footage to a cloud, making sure you don’t miss anything. Watching my dog Juancho on the app gives me so much comfort when I’m away.

The Petcube Bites also allows you to throw treats at your pets and talk to them. Just be careful you don’t scare them with your new-found omnipresence. For our full review (and more of @JuanchoTheCorgi), click here.

2. Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

Give your stylish paw-rent friend and their pet the best of both worlds with the Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer. When Juancho was still pretty small, he would get scared of any normal hairdryer because of the noise. That’s something you won’t have to worry about with this powerful hairdryer.

It cuts drying time in half and makes sure the fur mom and the pet are frizz-free. It’s also gentle on the hair and regulates the temperature. This makes sure the paw-rent’s hair and their fur-baby’s fur aren’t damaged and that they maintain their natural shine. Apparently, we can have our cake and eat it too!

Available at the official Dyson online store, with prices starting at EUR 359. A little steep? Don’t worry. Monthly payments start at EUR 14,95 per month at zero interest.

3. Litter-Robot Connect 3

Cats are pretty much low maintenance. Cleaning the litter box, however, is still a chore most cat-owners would prefer to get easier. That’s where the Litter-Robot Connect 3 comes in. This litter box from the future does the scooping for you every time your cat needs to go potty. You only need to take out the drawer and do one massive throw every time it gets full.

It also connects to an app which will remind you to empty the waste drawer or if it needs a refill. Less time spent scooping means more time with your fur baby and we’re so on board this idea.

Check out the Litter-Robot Connect 3 here.

4. Alfawise V8S Pro E30B

For most cats and dogs, shedding can be quite the nightmare they give to their fur-parents. As someone who’s a corgi mama, I can definitely attest to this. Hair accumulating in corners of your rooms even after brushing and the often-repeated chore of vacuuming throughout the week.

Give the gift of a less-painful back and more time spent playing with their pet through the new Alfawise V8S Pro E30B. This robot vacuum even has a mop attachment which will be helpful to new paw-rents who are still training their dog on doing their business outside.

You can find the full review in this link.

5. Embark Dog DNA Test

Ever wanted to look in your dog’s ancestry as well as their biological family’s health history? Yes, that’s a bit too specific. However, wouldn’t you really want to know? If you’re one of the good souls who adopted a rescue, knowing what diseases your dog might get in the future could actually be helpful in your quest to prevent them.

All you have to do is use the swabs that come in the package sent to you after ordering. Then, you send it back to the Embark offices. After comparing your pooch’s DNA with about 250 other breeds and almost two hundred disease patterns, you’ll shortly get the results that will help you understand your dog better.

Prices for kits range from US$ 129 to US$ 199. You can order them here.

6. Whistle Go Explore

You love tracking the progress of your fitness goals using your own fitness tracker or smartwatch. Why not track your pet’s as well? The Whistle Go Explore is attached to a collar and monitors their health. This makes it easy to share their reports with your vet and that you’ll surely stay on top of your pet’s well being. It also records their daily activity, allowing you to set goals and gives you gentle nudges to ensure you’re walking your pet enough.

Love exploring the great outdoors with your fur-baby? You can also track their location through the app. This also comes in useful if your pet loves escaping from your backyard.

Get the Whistle Go Explore for US$ 129.95 here.

7. Cloud7 Dog Bed

Good sleep means healthier fur-babies so why not a gorgeous bed that will also fit with the paw-rent’s aesthetic? The Sleepy Deluxe from German brand Cloud7 has four single, circumferential chambers. These are filled with low-noise and dimensionally stable granule beads for a more quiet environment even when your pet loves to twist and turn in the night.

The separately inserted quilted mattress is sag resistant. The mix of undyed, untreated new wool and polyester in the cover ensures that it’s easy to clean and machine washable. You can view other colours and designs here.  For the ones who love to travel with their pets, there’s a portable version that will ensure your pet gets the same level of comfort he gets at home even when you’re in an AirBnB.

Our pets give us so much love and bring a lot of happiness into our lives. So, spoiling them a little this season is truly justified and will surely put a smile on their paw-rents’ face.

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Accessories

How to wear green: Autumn’s most underrated color

Some tips on how you can subtly incorporate green to your looks this season

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Despite everything I see on fashion editorials and on my feed, it’s always this time of the year when I become obsessed with green.  When I think of fall, colors of rustic countryside and foliage come to mind. I imagine deep but vibrant hues — earth tones like rust, mustard, a deep red, and the entire brown spectrum.

This is why there’s no more perfect time to add green pieces to your looks than during autumn to winter — it’s not anyone’s go-to. Here are some tips on how you can subtly incorporate green to your looks this season:

Play it safe with olive

If emerald green is too much for you to pull off, start with moss, olive, or army green first. It’s almost like wearing a neutral but it still adds a hint of color to your outfit. A parka in this color is an easy choice that will go well with a lot of casual outfits. For when you want to look a little bit more dressed up, try wearing a mini bag in this shade.

The girl in the green scarf

Adding a splash of color to a neutral outfit with accessories is the easiest trick to pull off on anyone’s styling book. Make a green accessory the focal point of an otherwise ordinary everyday look. If you have a signature styling item, get it in an emerald green color. I’ve been obsessing over silky scarves lately; I wear them with my ponytail, as a headband, or on my purse.

New phone, new color

If you’re due for a smartphone upgrade, get a new color option instead of black. A lot of smartphones this year come in a new shade of green, including the new iPhone 11 Pro. Like a statement necklace, it can be a great focal point for your outfit. When there’s already too much going on with your look and you’re not confident enough to pull off color blocking, it’s best to cover it up with a neutral case that matches your purse and shoes.

Go green, all-green

Here’s yet another tonal dressing suggestion. While I love an all-nude look, all-green is my next go-to — and it’s probably my favorite. It’s what started my love affair with tonal dressing to begin with. An all-green outfit is not as feminine as nude, but it’s just sophisticated. It’s not as much of a statement as wearing red from head to toe, but it will stand out just as much in a sea of blacks and tans.

Green was never something I would wear growing up; my teenager self never saw it to be flattering or versatile. Age changed that. It’s still a tricky color to wear — especially the bolder, more vibrant shades — but when styled right, it can be the most polished look you’ve pulled off in a long time.


HOW TO WEAR SERIES

How to wear red: 3 stylish pairings to try

How to wear pink: 4 ways to look chic and grown-up

How to wear nude: The perfect summer to fall transition


SEE ALSO

5 ways to instantly elevate your look

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