My New BFF: Nokia 7 Plus

Saturday, 13 October 2018  |  Gear + Gadgets

A few months back I made a new friend. He was quite impressive, arriving in all black, slim and elegant, and he offered to be with me every single day! Without thinking twice, I said YES! And we’ve been together ever since. His name is Nokia 7 Plus! Well, who did ya think?!

I’ll be honest with you. I was quite hesitant about switching to Android, but when I started using the Nokia 7 Plus, my worries were put to ease. I was happy to be using a more efficient phone with such awesome features. Here’s what I love about my new bestie:

Sleek and classy design. My Nokia 7 Plus is the Black/Copper model which is all black with curved copper edges and just the Nokia and Android One logo at the back. Love its minimalist and elegant look.

The Nokia 7 Plus actually comes with a protective case in the box

Big and clear display. My previous phone was much smaller so switching to the Nokia 7 Plus had me thinking: Why didn’t I do this sooner?! It has a 6-inch full HD+ screen, which makes viewing images, taking photos, and surfing the web not just easier but more enjoyable. One of my favorites with this phone is the fingerprint sensor at the back, which allows me to turn the screen on just by putting my index finger at the back as I am picking it up.

Great performance. The Nokia 7 Plus runs on Google’s Android One. Like I said, I was quite nervous about switching to Android, but within a few hours I was completely comfortable with it. Even better, the Nokia 7 Plus is a pretty powerful machine that allowed me to do my daily tasks, such as calling, texting and chatting on groups, setting my schedule and getting organized on my apps, and even using my workout apps with ease.

Awesome camera. Now for my fave, the camera! The camera on this phone is amazing. The camera is powered by Zeiss optics and the images are crisp and clear even when one zooms in or under low light. Plus, it has Live Bokeh, Pro Mode, and Nokia’s iconic bothie feature which allows you to take dual shots! (Mental note: Take a bothie at my next marathon finish line!)

Check out my bothfie!

Impressive battery time. The battery on this phone is the longest lasting I’ve encountered. It can last for over half a day even if I use it the entire time. They say the battery can last for 2 days without charging.

In summary, I’m quite happy with the features of my Nokia 7 Plus. It’s almost like having a friend that I can rely on daily. Definitely, my new bestie!

I Can See Clearly Now! Thanks to my Kids and Contacts!

Sunday, 27 May 2018  |  Gear + Gadgets

Li’l Miss TBR wearing contacts during a football tournament last year

I had 20/20 vision my entire life until a month before I turned 40.  I took it as a sign of aging.  I was hesitant to wear glasses and, even if it’s been two years now, I’m still inconvenienced by wearing glasses all the time.  Ugh.

On the other hand, my kids, both in their teens, have been wearing glasses early in their childhood.  Last year, it was Li’l Miss TBR that insisted on switching to contacts for her football.  At 13, I was hesitant at starting at such an early age.  We dropped by the mall to consult with an optometrist at an optical shop and they refused to give her contacts.  My daughter left frustrated walking away while showing me an article on google that allowed teens to wear contacts.  With her prodding, I consulted two opthalmologist friends who gave the go signal as long as she was taught proper hygiene in handling the contact lenses and that she only use quality brands.

She got her contacts!  And, soon after, TBR Jr. got his contacts too.  After seeing them free from the glasses, I started to get jealous over their freedom from their glasses! Hah!  It was perfect timing then that Alcon Dailies invited me to know more about their contact lenses which are perfect for people who lead an active life, like their endorser Gretchen Ho, and also active teens, such as the daughter of host Dimples Romana, Callie.

Dimples and Callie Romano and Gretchen Ho

At the event, they taught me how to put contacts on and remove them.  In fact, I wore my first lenses ever during the event!  I didn’t even feel like I was wearing contacts.  It was so comfortable!  Getchen Ho said that she used them during her volleyball tournaments, so I was excited to try mine while running and biking.  (OMG, I can finally see the road clearly while biking!  LOL.)  I didn’t know why I hadn’t done this any sooner, really.  You know what makes the Alcon Dailies even better?  They’re disposable.  Open them in the morning and throw them away at night.  No need to bring a big bottle of solution and eye drops in my office or gym bag.  No need to bring a contact lens case when I travel.  Just bring the packs of Dailies and I’m all set.

TBR Jr. wearing contacts at his first gym session at Fitness First with his Mama Coach lol

As for my teens, there’s a UK study that was discussed during the event that only confirmed what I saw at home.  The study compared teenagers who wore Alcon Dailies contact lenses to those that wore eyeglasses. It showed that Alcon Dailies contact lenses were easy for teenagers to learn to use, even if they have not handled contacts before. After wearing Alcon Dailies contact lenses, teenagers felt safe and comfortable wearing it. Also, teenagers wearing Alcon Dailies contact lenses believed that it was a good way to see well. Authors concluded that aside from improved overall quality of life, the study also showed that Alcon Dailies contact lenses provided several additional advantages for teen first-time wearers.  Aside from considering the move to contact lenses as a rite of passage, teenagers want contact lenses because they want to be free from eyeglasses for social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. They can also benefit from wearing contact lenses for special occasions and activities.

So now, all three of us at home wear contacts and we’re loving it.  If you want to try it too, a 30-piece pack of Alcon Dailies retails for only P1,495.00. It is available at leading optical shops nationwide. If you print the coupon below, you get 20% off two boxes of Alcon Dailies!

New Gear: Fitbit Versa

Thursday, 10 May 2018  |  Gear + Gadgets

Fitbit recently launched its lightest smartwatch to date: Fitbit Versa.

Fitbit Versa makes your daily and weekly health and fitness data even more accessible on the go with a redesigned dashboard, which delivers action-oriented motivational messages, tips and tricks and support to help you stay on track to reach your goals.

It’s my first time to ever own a Fitbit smartwatch and I was thrilled to even just wear one on my wrist! I used it for a couple of weeks and here’s my take on it:

WHAT I LIKED:

+ User-friendly dashboard and app: As a new Fitbit user, I’d say the Versa provides for easy and quick access to your most important health and fitness data. They say that some info previously on the app is now available on your wrist so that’s a good thing. On top of that, I love how easy to use and understand the app is!  Very simple compared to other fitness apps I’ve used.  The challenges and adventures are the best!  Virtual race in NYC?  I’m in!

+ Advanced health and fitness features: Versa has personalized workouts with Fitbit Coach, 15+ exercise modes including automatic SmartTrack™swim tracking, and automatic sleep stages tracking. Wow.

+ Personalize! You can choose your own clock face and apps from the ever-growing Fitbit App Gallery. Even more, you can also choose accessories that fit your style. There are classic straps in various colors that are swim-ready, leather straps, and even stainless steel for the office or special occasions.

+ Swim-ready: Versa is water-resistant up to 50 meters so you can wear it in the pool or open water swims. It tracks real-time laps, duration and calories burned.

+ Stores music: Versa can store and play over 300 songs from your personal music collection, download your favorite stations from Pandora, or your own curated playlists as well as Flow from Deezer. Just connect a pair of wireless headphones or Bluetooth speaker.

+ Monitor your heart rate: Versa’s PurePulse heart rate tracking allows you to see real-time heart rate zones, better measure calorie burn throughout the day, and view resting heart rate. PurePulse heart rate also powers other key features like Sleep Stages, Cardio Fitness Level (VO2Max), and Relax guided breathing sessions.

+ Notifications: Versa has app, calendar, call and text smartphone notifications so that you know when someone is trying to reach you even while you’re at the gym or running!

+ Good battery life. It lasts up to 4 days.

Starting this month of May, Fitbit will have the following new features:

+ Quick replies: Android mobile device users can respond to messages on the go using Fitbit Versa and Fitbit Ionic smartwatches. You can also create and send up to five custom pre-populated quick replies of 60 characters or less to text messages and messenger apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

And, last but not the least, calling all females…

+ Female health tracking: Fitbit can now track your menstrual cycle and symptoms. This makes it easier for us women to manage our cycle with a more complete picture of health and fitness data all in one place and not on a different app!

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:

+ Wallet-free payments via Fitbit Pay, supported by more than 60 banks and card issuers in 15 countries… BUT this doesn’t include the Philippines. So it’s pretty useless.

+ Connects to GPS: To get a GPS connection, you must use your smartphone’s GPS so that you can track your pace, distance, and speed more precisely while running. When it comes to choosing a great running watch, GPS connection is a must. This is a deal breaker for me.

+ Quick replies are only for android. I’m an iphone user. Boo.

TBR VERDICT

I love the sleek look, modern design, and smart features of the Fitbit Versa. I don’t mind using the Fitbit Versa at work, while lifting weights at the gym, or even on leisurely swims. The two things that standout for me are the user-friendly app and the new menstrual cycle tracker!  Love how innovative the company is and how in touch they are with the needs of their customers!

For running, however, I would absolutely not use this.  To be fair, I don’t think Fitbit intended this for runners anyway; they have the Fitbit Ionic with GPS, which I haven’t tried it.  Since running is my life, we have a problem here. Lol.

For a busy working mom like me who runs before work at least 4x a week and lifts weights, bikes, or does yoga on other days, I prefer to have just one watch for both workouts and work.  Just one watch to consolidate my steps, various workouts, calories burned, etc.  Since the Fitbit Versa can’t run with me, I’m happy to stick to my current running watch, which has GPS and can track the essential data I need for my day.

I recommend the Fitbit Versa for fitness enthusiasts who are into monitoring their health and enjoy a fun way to continue to motivate themselves on their health journey.  The Versa is one great looking active lifestyle smartwatch that functions well for both work and play.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

+ Available at: Digital Walker, Globe, Liberty, Runnr, Lazada and on Fitbit.com

+ Colors: black with a black aluminum case, gray with a silver aluminum case, or peach with a rose gold aluminum case. Price: PHP13,890

+ Fitbit Versa Special Edition in a lavender woven band with rose gold aluminum case or charcoal woven band with graphite aluminum case, both with an extra black classic band. Price: + PHP15,590

+ Accessories: from PHP1,899 to PHP5,499

COMING SOON: FITBIT ACE

To help the whole family become active together, Fitbit will be releasing its first activity tracker for kids, Fitbit Ace™ in Q2 2018.

Shoe Review: Nike Epic React

Sunday, 6 May 2018  |  Gear + Gadgets

When I’m testing a great shoe, I usually can’t stop myself from posting a great review as soon as I possibly can.  For the Nike Epic React, I was so busy training – and running in them as much as I could – that I apologize for the delay in posting; I didn’t get to share with you how awesome I think they are (although I think you would’ve read the millions of reviews by now).  Despite the tardiness, here’s my take on them. (Disclaimer: I speak so highly of them that you would think I got paid for this, but, nope, this is really my honest and unbiased opinion on the shoe.)

TECHNICAL SPECS:

Shoe type: Neutral cushioning
Heel to Toe drop: 10 mm
Weight: Men’s (size 10) – 239 grams / 8.43 oz | Women’s (size 7) – 233 grams / 6.2 oz
Price: Php 7,645

Whenever a shoe is released into the market with much fanfare and boasting of brand new technology, I always have one eyebrow raised. Running for over a decade and reviewing shoes for several years has taught me to always be wary of shoes that get everyone jumping on the bandwagon even if sometimes the shoes look like it came from another planet. Ugh… I truly hated it when everyone started going minimalist (remember, Vibrams?), then a few years later, everyone went maximalist with crazy thick midsoles. C’mon guys! When will we all learn that this is all marketing and experimenting with shoes usually lead to injury.

Anyway, I digress. When Nike came out with the Vaporfly, I was nonchalant. Of course, I was thrilled to watch the Breaking 2 effort of Eliud Kipchoge in his Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite and I was over the moon watching Shalene Flanagan win the New York City Marathon in her Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%, but I dunno the thick midsole of those shoes just didn’t (and still don’t) interest me at all.

Then, the new Nike Epic React appeared… with all the fanfare, and the social media hype, and non-stop comparison to adidas Ultraboost. I was hesistant… but it definitely piqued my curiosity.

Nike sent me a pair for road testing at the perfect time. Not only was I dying to test this shoe, I had also just recovered from my 3-month injury and was starting to build mileage and work on my speed again. I was ready to try out these babies.


– Used the Nike Epic React at Pinoy Fitness Sub-1 Hour Race. I felt like I was flying! –

FEATURES:

The Nike Epic React Flyknit combines Nike React foam midsole with a Nike Flyknit upper to deliver a lightweight, soft yet responsive ride.

  • Nike React Foam cushioning is responsive and lightweight. React boasts of 13% more energy return and is more durable than Nike Lunarlon cushioning.
  • Flyknit upper results in a featherweight, formfitting and virtually seamless upper. With the bootie-style construction, the tongue is seamlessly part of the upper.
  • Foam outsole resists compression and keeps its shape
  • Heel shelf stabilizes the back of your foot to help keep your heel from rocking as your foot lands
  • Synthetic suede heel lining helps prevent slippage and blisters
  • Fits true to size for a snug fit

TBR REVIEW:

PROS

After running more than a dozen runs in my Nike Epic React, with my longest run at 16k in them, here’s what I have to say:

  • BEST NIKE SHOE EVER in my book! I used to be a big fan of Nike Lunar Glide and ran more than a couple of marathons in them. I had over 8 pairs of those shoes lol. My next fave was the Nike Zoom Structure. But, the Nike Epic React is the best Nike pair I’ve ever tried. I thought it wouldn’t work for my flat-footed, overpronating foot with bunions.  But, since my injury, this is the only pair I can run with comfortably without the need for my customized insoles. Amazing.
  • The Nike Epic React fits snugly like a sock, just like other Flyknits, but this is the one shoe that I felt crazy comfortable in. I usually test a shoe first by walking around in the shoe store or at home and this one just felt right. It hugs your foot in all the right places, plus the Flyknit allowed for flexibility for my bunions and breathability during these hot summer days.
  • This shoe offers the right balance between cushioning and responsiveness. There’s something about the new React foam that provides just the right amount of bounce along with the soft cushy feel. I can run strong and fast in these lightweight shoes while still feeling secure and stable since it felt close to the ground.
  • I usually have a shoe for interval and tempos and another shoe for long runs. While I’d say the Nike Epic React is more for the former, I was amazed that it held up (and felt very comfortable) even when I ran long and slow in them.
  • These shoes are great to look at. How often do you find running shoes that perform and are also “japorm” at the same time? Truth be told though, I cringe whenever I see people using this as a lifestyle shoe. It’s such an amazing running shoe that I save mine for training and racing.  Using it for anything else is almost sacrilege.
  • I like the fact that Nike discussed durability this time since that’s always been an issue with me when it came to Nike shoes. I always felt they wore out fast and I always needed at least 3 pairs leading up to a marathon. While I’ve owned this pair for less than 6 months and cannot attest to its durability just yet, I’m impressed with reviews saying there’s no degradation on the running experience since React foam is more durable than Lunar foam. We shall see about this, but I’m hopeful!

CONS

  • Despite the comfort, I do get a weird blister underneath my big toe whenever I use my Nike Epic React. Thankfully, just a bandaid on the affected area prior to the run solves the problem.
  • Love the white outsole, but it looks old and dirty just after three uses.

TBR VERDICT

I love love love this shoe. This is, bar none, my favorite Nike shoe since I started running.

Sitting is the New Smoking. Take a Stance.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018  |  Gear + Gadgets

I can work non-stop on my Mac for hours. Hours, I tell you! I can zone out working on a design or a business plan the same way I do during a marathon. Before I know it, hours have passed. Now, multiply that by days, and weeks, and months, and I’ve learned through this recent CNN article that, despite my daily workouts, I still risk dying early because I’m sitting too long at my desk. Ugh. It freaks me out.

Thankfully, this new company made up of young, health-conscious, and forward-thinking individuals found a solution for us. Enter the Philippine’s first standing desk: Stance.

Stance offers different models of standing desks, but I’m quite happy with mine. It’s in black, sturdy yet sleek. I can easily adjust its height with the pull of a lever. When not in use, I can push it down so it isn’t even bothersome.

Working while standing took a bit of getting used to but, after a couple of days, I found that it allows me to focus better, keeps me more alert, allows for more blood circulation, and, if what all these experts are saying is true, then this standing desk is actually helping me to live longer!

For more info or to order products, contact:
Website: http://stancephilippines.com/
FB: Stance-Standing Desks
Instagram: StancePhilippines