Merry Christmas from Technically Sweet! (BONUS Tips to Prevent Overpacking for Holiday Travel)

December 23, 2016

Hope you all find yourself somewhere nice for the holidays. This year, my family celebrated in Texas where I found myself trapped in many rain showers! Thank goodness I brought this hat.

Stella Printed Shift Dress shown here is on sale from Free People 


Where are you heading this holiday season? If you're leaving town and not sure what to pack, here are a couple of great curating packing tips I found on Pinterest. I for one, am always guilty of being overly-prepared which inevitably leads to overpacking. Check out these great links to prevent it this year:


    


Wherever you end up and however you celebrate I hope it's amazing (and that your baggage is light)!




Merry Christmas.
XOXO Julia & Lukas


The Last of Fall - Friendsgiving Outfit and the only Wearables to Consider before Black Friday

November 24, 2016

This year I have a lot to be thankful for. I live in a city wear diversity is not only accepted, it is celebrated. I'm spending my Thanksgiving with friends from all over the world, whose first languages are not English, and who I can learn from and laugh with and nationality and religion and race simply do not matter. This Thanksgiving, this 'Friendsgiving', I really pray that the rest of the world can soon forgive each other their differences and instead, celebrate one another as an opportunity to grow and develop as a human race. That's what Thanksgiving is really about anyways right? It's not so much about a good harvest and eating, but it's really an ode to this season of togetherness

Anyways, this is what is going through my mind as I sit down for coffee from my favorite place in the Sunset (AndyTown Coffee Roasters). Now, if you're wondering what to wear to a Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving Holiday - here are a few ideas:  

Wear something loose and comfortable like this floral romper with long sleeves. Here is one that I've been eyeballing recently and it just went on sale.


Keep jewelry simple with a statement necklace - this one (you can find it here) is my good luck charm.

The only wearables I'd recommend you gift this year... I like the Apple Watch Sport and Bella Beat Leaf for two different reasons. The Apple Watch Sport is a great way to keep track of the time, weather, and incoming phone calls without always carrying around your phone. And the Bella Beat Leaf is the only activity tracker that is cute enough to pair with any outfit. 

Add accessories like fall booties and a hat to polish of a look.

If it's chilly you can also throw on a jacket. This military-style lightweight cover will go with anything.



Playstation® VR is the Most Comfortable (and Frightening) Way to Leave Your World Behind

October 29, 2016

A couple of weeks ago I tried out Playstation's latest Virtual Reality headset for PS4. The headset itself was lightweight and extremely comfortable! Bravo guys - finally something I don't mind wearing.

That being said, it is very clear that the headset was not designed for someone with a lot of hair. As you can see in this photo below, any hairstyle is doomed to be pressed and flattened down, and it's also quite painful when a few flyaway strands get stuck in the headset's plastic casing.


The set itself came with Playstations® signature wands, that look pretty silly and are not the best tools for manipulating virtual objects. This will take some getting-used to.


I moved through all of the demo games, some of them requiring these little balloon wands and others needing the dualshock® control. It was really a new and incredible way to game. A full 360 degree playing experience quickly became addictive as I was completely immersed in a virtual world.


Some of the games were really cute and playful, a few of the demos spun like movie reels where you could sit back and watch, and others allowed you to move through the game and manipulate objects or interact with characters. 

It was all fun and games however, until I came to something called "The Kitchen". This was a secret demo to advertise the latest Resident Evil VR experience, but also one of the more virtually terrifying experiences of my life. 


As you sit to watch the demo, your characteris tied to a chair, completely weaponless, helpless and able to only shake tied hands up and down. These are pictures from the way an outside person might watch you play, but inside the VR game it is a completely realistic and terrifying experience. A bit borderline in terms of acceptable in my opinion. 

About 7 minutes in, I had to drop the controller and tear my headset off, extremely nervous that any further gameplay would actually harm my life (or at least give me unrecoverable nightmares). 



The Bellabeat Leaf - Full Review (Plus a Little Fall Fashion to Match)

October 18, 2016

The one thing that bothers me the most about wearable devices is the way they look, the second is the way they feel. It's fun to track my fitness, sleep activity, and more - but when I planned a trip up to Northern California for olive tasting and sightseeing, my main thought was:

Problem: No activity tracker will ever match this outfit, but I need to monitor my personal daily data patterns! 

Bella's Leaf amongst the leaves turned out to be quite a camo choice for functional jewlery


You can see it in detail here, this was actually before I learned the proper way to tie it around the wrist. The device came with a long heavy silver chain (very heavy and uncomfortable) and this neutral leather strap. The strap was overly complex to tie and ensure the tracker stayed firm to the wrist. I hacked together what you see here in order to keep it on.


For a hot day in northern California I also had to make sure it was completely sweat-proof. The leather band wasn't ideal, but not too uncomfortable. Here are the pros and cons of the tracker:

Pros:

  • Great marketing! 
Yes this is a pro, without it I wouldn't have known there was a Fitbit® alternative out here. I was practically ads-bombed on Facebook but TBH didn't really mind it.
  • It doesn't look that bad ... 
So the current wearables market is littered with devices that are so hideous and huge, bloated with useless features, that its exciting when something new comes out.
  • Key differentiator stands out
For Bellabeat, the key differentiator was that it tracked activity, sleep, STRESS, and ..  women's periods. In other words, they did not attempt a 'This will fit everyone' model,  and my hopes began to soar. Stress tracking seemed especially useful. That being said, this brings me to the cons.

Cons:

  •  False advertising
The Bella offers a lot of 'differentiators' but at the end of the day, its the same Bluetooth Low-Energy device that connects to your phone. I'll admit that I was totally tricked with 'bella - beat', convinced that it was linked to your heartrate. (How else to measure stress?) 

After further use, I found heartbreak after finding out there was no real key differentiator. The stress is just assumed after it sees how much sleep you got and fitness was snuck into your day. (Also if you tapped the button to tell it you'd started your period. A very unfortunate way to track... completely manual.)

  • Bulky! 

First - it is nowhere as delicate as an actual leaf. Heavy, bulky, it kept getting caught on things - and as much as I wanted to wear it to bed to test- I couldn't comfortably sleep with it on..


Out With the Old, in with the New - A Headphone Recommendation Retraction

October 5, 2016

So back in January, I thought that I'd met and fell in love with the world's perfect pair of headphones. Parrot Zik by Philippe Starck promised to have the best sound quality, technology, and a phenomenal accompanying app. (Previous post here) However, after wearing everyday for just half a year, my beautiful headphones began a speedy decay, until eventually, there was nothing left but a slight ringing when I turned on any audio.

Visual of what happened to my gorgeous headphones after only a short period of time:


     Look fine from the outside...


Parrot Zik 2.0 after only months of use.



So now it is time to find my next pair of headphones. My only requirements are the following (in this order):

  1. Bluetooth connectivity is a must - this is especially important for listening to audio books as I clean the house. My only entertainment during this inevitable task, I can't have a cord getting in the way of my dusting or a phone falling out of my pocket while vacuuming under the couch.
  2. Good sound quality - it doesn't have to be club-level ready, but I appreciate  good sound when my favorite songs come on and I definitely don't want to have to subject my hearing to damage from needing to turn the volume up on high.
  3. Comfort with Aesthetic appeal - ok so they have to be a little cute (I am a product designer) and comfortable enough to wear over glasses, while running, and during an 8-hour workday.
So to start, I contacted my favorite gadget rental place, Lumoid.com, to see what the most recent must-haves in audio were available to try out. The three I chose were the following (from top left): 
  • Sennheiser Momentum Over Ears
  • Master & Dynamic MH40 in Black Metal/Black Leather
  • Harman Kardon Soho Wireless in White (I'd ordered black but they only had white available)

The runners-up.

After only two weeks, I was surprised to find the winner was Harman Kardon Soho Wireless! All I can say about the others, is bulky..heavy..and just far too big. While the sound quality of all was fairly decent, the Harman Kardon's came through with flying colors whether connected via bluetooth (great noise-cancellation for the size, very surprising) or connected via the cord for long airplane rides.

Finally, these were the only pair of headphones that made it to Milan with me. Pictured below, you can see how the size fits my face perfectly, and the white adds a nice feminine touch.


Now, before you go out and buy these, I'm going to continue to test for a few months to see if any quality issues arise.

A Sci-Fi Scene in Switzerland

August 21, 2016

On a recent trip touring parts of France and Switzerland, I came across the most wonderful place. The beautiful and completely unassuming village of Gruyères. This 400 year old city is mostly known for it's delicious cheese, but is also the birthplace of Swiss Science Fiction artist and designer, H.R. Giger. You have probably seen his work if you have every watched one of the most epic films of all-time, Alien. (If not, please go rent or stream it immediately.)

Gruyères was basically like opening the first page of a fairytale. This is a peek at the castle, Château de Gruyères.

The entire village. 


First entrance to the museum sits at the far edge of town


Even though the place itself felt very much like a fairytale with a happy ending, walking into the entrance of the Giger legacy turned the scene quickly from fairytale into an exciting nightmare.


It's unfortunate that I could not include photos of the museum itself as they are not allowed and I wanted to respect that rule, however the Giger Bar allows anyone a glimpse at the style and intricacies of the interior. Enjoying a quick cappuccino here felt like I was in an Alien ship about to take off into outer-space.






The Quickest Way to Get to a Cocktail Party? Go by Hoverboard - 3 Easy Steps to Mastering it

June 13, 2016

Safety Tip: do not wear high heels while hovering

The first time I saw a hoverboard, I was thinking to myself that it looked so silly and I couldn't imagine why people would ride them. That being said, my initial plan to write a post making fun of hoverboards completely changed after riding one around for a day.

Here is a peek at my journey captured via drone footage (more to come here later):



Why did I find hoverboarding helpful and fun you ask? For me, it's simply not practical to take a car to something that is just a few miles away. So while walking would take too long, and since a dress like this one is a bit too snug for a bike or a skateboard, the hoverboard was a perfect solution to an immediate requirement.

It was also really fun! For a moment, I forgot I was on a hoverboard and it felt a bit like floating or flying. This is a little terrifying for 2 reasons. 1: sometimes, to fly is to fall. 2: have you ever seen the movie "WALL·E"? I'm curious if we might forget how to walk one day. ;)

...

So yes, try it immediately and know that it does take some practice and some getting used to, so for you, I've outlined how to ride one here in a quick tutorial:



Step 1: 

Get situated. This is a hands-free machine which is really nice, but once you're on you need to focus. So purse strap should be secure, heels firmly grasped or safely hung behind one shoulder.


Get situated.


Step 2: 

Imagine you're about to walk up a flight of stairs. You don't think the stairs will move away from you right? In order to master this board, you have to become a bit fearless - this mental trick will help.

Step on quickly! No fear. 

Step 3: 

Lean slightly forward, always looking ahead. 

Don't look at the ground, look ahead at where you want to be.

So thats it! Easy as pie. Now stand up, relax, and always be punctual for those expecting you to show up on time.

XO -Julia



Thanks for reading! All photos taken by photographer and engineer Giuseppe Ottaviano.
Find my live updates on Instagram and TwitterThese opinions are all my own.

More Pockets for Your Gadgets - Fashion to Transition Spring into Summer

May 10, 2016

Lightweight jackets and structured minis are what to live in as the windy, misty spring starts to transition into an upcoming summer. In San Francisco, layers are key - and the most important trend is having enough pockets to stuff all of your electronic trinkets into.


This look is in-part inspired by the Coachella music festival, with faux-suede (I'm opposed to wearing animals) mini skirt and boots, but made city-ready without additional fringe and topped off with a military jacket. 


This jacket goes with everything and I find myself wearing it every day. Big buttons running down the front keep it closed, and long drawstrings tighten the waistline, making it purely functional.




Quick look at the great pockets on the skirt as well as the jacket.


City boots keep your feet warm and dry, with just enough of a thick wedge so that you can walk anywhere for a couple of hours.

A Fresh Take on Diversity in Fashion - #techstyle - Part I

April 24, 2016

The Spike - artificial leg (2015) by Viktoria Modesta


#techstyle featuring the Airplane Dress - get ready for takeoff...

Main exhibition floor 1

Fashion and technology have always been linked. From the Singer sewing machine (patented in Boston in 1851) or the inventions of synthetic dyes and manmade fibers like nylon and polyster. These have slowly shaped the way we live everyday, and yet we don't stop and think twice about it.

Fashion is something that has been so ingrained within our lives that it has become invisible. Because of this veil, we have stopped paying attention to the effects of perceptions, judgments, and the quest for conformity born in the deepest, darkest places of slave labor and poor intent.

Exhibitions such as #techstyle surfaces manufacturing, prosthetic innovation, and take a giant leap forward in this bold, new arena of the things covering our body, and really, invisibly shaping our lives.



Forget what you know about disability, and welcome in a new era of superheros. A place where losing a limb becomes an amazing opportunity to reinvent yourself as something that has evolved past normal human constraints. Here is one woman that is shaping the way society perceives amputation as not loss, but something precious and a symbol of self empowerment. 




Here is the video she put on display. I highly recommend it, completely beautiful and groundbreaking.


I'm not going to talk about every dress or tech piece here, because everything really deserves it's own spotlight article. Here is a quick peek preview at some of my favorites.


Crystallisation Water Dress by Iris van Herpen
I often wonder if we will keep wearing fabrics in the future, or if dressing will become something non-material, something that is visible, but not tangible or touchable." - Iris van Herpen

Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen has created a dress modelled from splashing water, and is rethinking materials altogether.


3d printed kinematics Petal Dress by Nervous System (2016)
"Petals" protrude from the underlying framework of tessellated triangular panels, sheathing the body in a directional landscape of overlapping plumes. Each interlocking component of the dress is rigid, but, in aggregate, they behave as a continuous textile. The dress is 3D-printed in durable nylon plastic by Selective Laser Sintering. While the design is composed of more than 1600 unique pieces interconnected by more than 2600 hinges, it emerges from the 3D printer fully assembled and ready to wear. Seriously.

Dress is completely customizable, using a design interface on the company's website: n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com

Ensemble by Noa Raviv (2014)
Israeli fashion designer Noa Raviv has integrated 3D-printed elements into ruffled garments influenced by distorted digital drawings.

On a model

Laser cutting works by focusing a laser beam on a material which the beam melts, burns, or vaporizes away, leaving a finished edge. Though typically employed in industrial manufacturing applications, the process has begun to have an impact on fashion over the past 10 years. Here are a couple of examples from the exhibition. 

Bodice (2013) by Manish Arora
This is #33 from his 2013 collection, inspired by both traditional clothing and modern technology, this sophisticated laser cutting created the exquisite scale-like layers and fanciful flourishes in his signature pink palette. <3

Metallic Leather Fringe Dress (2012) by Giles Deacon

London-based designer Giles Deacon is known for cerebral fashions incorporating cutting-edge technology. Here he creates a Swarovski crystal-encrusted dress with the appearance of hard metal. In reality, it is made of soft leather coated with silver pigment and laster-cut to form an intricate lace underskirt and collar with trailing fringe.

I don't want to take away any of the impact from these amazing pieces, so I will continue the article in part II. Please let me know your thoughts so far! Beautiful? Too different? Where is fashion tech heading with this impactful preview! Talk to me.


XO Julia

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