Lifestyle

Shelter dogs get their portraits taken for a good cause

All shot with a smartphone!

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This was not your ordinary smartphone photo session.

In the wake of the Chinese New Year and with the start of the year of the dog, a special project was born. Famed animal photographer Ernest Goh took portraits of dogs with his iPhone X. But, these are not just any dogs.

These photographs show the everyday lives of dogs in shelters. Ernest explains the story behind these pictures:

“The images give a glimpse of the life of a sheltered dog. From morning runs to stretch their paws to lazy naps in the afternoons to moments of joy when a visitor comes to the shelter. Chinese New Year is about celebration, but what is a celebration without the company of loved ones. Ask any dog owner and he or she will tell you their dog is very much part of the family. Sheltered dogs are not so lucky to have a family so more importantly, this photo-story goes to anyone who would like to get a pet dog this year — do consider adopting sheltered dogs!”

Mutts and Mittens, an animal shelter, explains that there are hundreds of cats and dogs living in shelters in Singapore. It’s their hope that this series of photos will be able to show the world the plight of these lovable creatures and hopefully inspire people to adopt these pets.

See the rest of the photos below:

In an effort to find these gentle creatures homes, Mutts and Mittens will also be having an adoption drive. (Details on their Facebook Page)

It seems that the iPhone X’s Portrait Mode worked wonders even on non-person subjects. What’s more wonderful, however, is how this whole project came together because of well-meaning people and simple technology.

SEE ALSO: These TIME covers were all shot from iPhones

Her GadgetMatch

Miss Universe 2018 is the Philippines’ Catriona Gray and we stalked her on social media

All you need to know about Catriona!

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Photo by Patrick Prather | Miss Universe

All 7,641 Philippine islands (more or less depending on low tide, or high) are celebrating. Miss Universe 2018 is Catriona Gray and we couldn’t be more proud!

And, because we’re still reeling from the win, we stalked her on social media so that you wouldn’t have to. Here’s where you can find Catriona online:

Instagram: @catriona_gray

The 24 year old is no stranger to pageants. Catriona was crowned Miss World Philippines in 2016.

 

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Ready for my Preliminary Interview ✨🧡🇵🇭 Styled by @justine.aliman19 in @jearsond Filipinana top and ifugao skirt, @jewelmer

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She has numerous advocacies. At the Miss World Pageant Q&A, “If I am to become Miss World Philippines, I would dedicate my voice and essence to carry that torch and to set charitable causes alight, such as my advocacy, the Paraiso Bright Beginnings Project, and I would focus on passing on this torch to empower others because I believe together, there is no darkness in this world that our light cannot overcome.” Other advocacies include HIV awareness.

That’s definite beauty with a purpose.

 

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5AM Friday wake-up! ⏰ 7AM 6 Hour land trip to Baler 🚗🌊🌴 2PM-10PM Chairman of the Board for Binibining Baler 2018 👑✨ 10:30PM Land trip straight back to Manila Airport 🚗😱🛫 6AM Saturday: Flight to Ho Chi Minh City 🇻🇳 5PM Charity Event 💙 11PM Snapped this photo after taking off my makeup 😊 a crazy two days for me! I may get stressed but my skin doesn’t have to cause my Olay Night Ritual comes to the rescue! It has the Regenerist MSC Cream and Serum that help my skin fight different stressors like UV and pollution and helps boost skin renewal. ✨💛 You can get your own set plus a free limited edition tote on Lazada by clicking the link in my bio! #Olay

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During the pageant, Catriona hit one million followers on this platform. Honestly, I’m not surprised.

Twitter: @catrionaelisa

Aside from sharing about her travels using the hashtag , she also tweets about her pageant journey and frequently retweets features she’s taken part in.

Yep, this is the perfect place to stalk our new queen.

YouTube: Catriona Gray

Yes, Catriona has a YouTube account! Aside from the awesome Philippines series she starred in that was released during the Miss Universe pageant, she also posts travel videos.

There are even makeup tutorials to help you achieve her flawless looks.

She sings, too! Talk about multi-talented. An old Catriona YouTube account even features her singing covers.

All the social media stalking is making me love her even more. Congratulations, Queen! Keep slaying! 🇵🇭

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Lifestyle

These aren’t your typical Christmas decorations

But they’re pretty cool!

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It’s that time of the year again: the time when everywhere you turn you’d probably see bright lights, and anywhere you go you’ll likely hear Mariah Carey serenading you. It’s time to bring out the trees, wreaths, and time for celebration. We thought it would be fun to check out some quirky, kind of extra Christmas decorations to maybe inspire your decoration game, so here we go!

Programmable Christmas lights

Lights are a pretty essential aspect of Christmas decorations, and commercial establishments tend to utilize more high-tech lights for their shows. But did you know that you could do this to your home, too? We found the Twinkly Starter Light Set which connects to your phone so you can program the lights on your Christmas tree (or wherever you decide to put it) to have your own personal indoor light show.

A laser show on your house exterior

This is probably the most discreet extra way you can share your excitement for the holidays with your entire neighborhood. The Star Shower Laser Magic has six designs (four Christmas, two Halloween) that you can put on your lawn to project onto your house. It’s a pretty easy and low-maintenance way to decorate the outside of your house.

A snow projector for inside the house

If you want to play in the snow but don’t really want to deal with the cold, or if it doesn’t snow where you live, you can pick up this snow light projector. It displays moving snow designs across whichever flat surface you point it at, and adds something techie but also kind of simple to your decorations.

Geeky tree toppers

Why put a regular star or angel on the top of your Christmas tree when you could channel your geekiness onto this particular decoration? We found these two “Stars” that would subtly but surely pay homage to your favorite game or movie. The first is the Power Star from Super Mario Bros., which is closer to the traditional tree topper but at least five times cuter. The second one is this Death Star tree topper which isn’t very festive but is definitely iconic.

Inflatable decorations

Lastly, we have this general category of blow-up decorations. They come in many different designs and with different extra things, too. (I’ve seen one that’s a giant snow globe with “snow” blowing inside and one that rotates.). These will definitely put your lawn decorations on a whole new level. Some options are here, here, and here.

 

You probably already have your Christmas decorations up as you read this, but it’s never too early to start planning for next year. Or, you can always add more to what you already have. This season, there’s no such thing as too much, right? We hope this helps you if you’re wanting to change up your decorations but don’t know how to, or at least entertained you with these not-so-typical options.

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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.

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