Tuesday, September 15, 2015

#newin: Lepow's U-Stone Portable Charger

A few weeks ago I received Lepow's U-Stone portable charger. It couldn't have arrived at a better time - I had just lost my previous portable charger (from thecoopidea) at uni, and, as someone who is constantly having to solve stuff from her phone, I was quite annoyed at the fact that around 4pm, everyday, I'd have to find a place to sit and a wall to plug in a charger and recharge my phone. So, thank you, Lepow ♡. Now - onto the review: 

lepow u-stone portable charger power bank external bateria carregador portátil bateria externa resenha dica review

Biodegradable, made from recycled materials, you open the box, you get an oval box thingy that looks like a dinosaur egg, you open this thingy, you get another oval package thingy, you open it, you get the portable charger that looks like one of those stones you often see in Chinese films. It came with the user manual, the charger and a micro usb flat cable (that fits into the charger). No wall charger included.

lepow u-stone portable charger power bank external bateria carregador portátil bateria externa resenha dica review sony z1
lepow u-stone portable charger power bank external bateria carregador portátil bateria externa resenha dica review kindle amazon

The 12,000mAh capacity puts Lepow's U-Stone ahead of smaller rivals, being able to fully charge my phone (Sony Z1) almost 3 times. Operating at a 1.8 Amp speed, it quickly charges my phone. I usually use it around 5pm, when I'm getting ready to go to uni & the phone's either already dead or dying. My class starts at 7pm and by the time I get to the classroom, the battery's already up to something around 90%.

I've used it once to charge an iPad (second generation; had to use the iPad's own cable), and Lepow's U-Stone brought the iPad from 17% left of battery to 82% in about an hour - it only didn't get to 100% because the U-Stone was not fully charged. It also fully charged my Kindle in less than an hour once. I think the speed and capacity of the U-Stone are quite impressive. ^.^~

Other than that, the U-Stone "uses a safe, high quality lithium polymer battery (...). The smart circuit in the U-Stone protects against overcharge, over discharge, and overload.Oh, and to check the battery life, you have to shake the U-Stone. Yes, shake it. 

Lepow's U-Stone won the Red Dot Design Award - which supposedly means the product is both stylish and very functional. The U-Stone is, indeed, beautiful. According to the description, "the product also features a unique texture that feels like smooth white sand and a unique curved body for easy grip." Yes, it has a smooth texture, it's like a river rock - but it also gets dirty quite easily, and it shows. I rarely use it outside a little cloth bag I have, fearing it'll get dirty. When I first started using it, I made the mistake of pulling it out of the bag right after getting off a bus, before washing my hands at uni. It got sorta brown-ish. I felt frustrated. 

lepow u-stone portable charger power bank external bateria carregador portátil bateria externa resenha dica review

This is how the flat cable is kept when you're not using it - one "in" (micro USB) port and one "out" (USB). So, as you can see, it only has one USB port. An external battery pack bigger than my Sony Z1 and a bit heavy (6.7 x 3.1 x 1 inches & 12.8 ounces, to be exact), with a 12,000mAh capacity would definitely be better if it had more than one USB port! 

lepow u-stone portable charger power bank external bateria carregador portátil bateria externa resenha dica review
lepow u-stone portable charger power bank external bateria carregador portátil bateria externa resenha dica review

Long story short:
It's beautiful, its got a great texture. 
If you're obsessed about little dirty spots like I am, you'll feel like you have to clean it all the time or wrap it in something to protect it from the cruel world getting dirty. It doesn't come with its own bag.
It's got power - lots of it. You can go on a 3-day-camping trip in the middle of nowhere that it'll be able to charge your phone and keep you connected - not if you keep streaming Netflix, though (but why would you wanna stay connected during a camping trip?)
It's big - probably can fit into some men's pockets, but I always have to carry it in a purse/bag and I have never seen women's pants/shorts/whatever huge enough to fit an U-Stone in. 
I strongly recommend it if you're the kind of person that frequently stays a long period of time outside, working from your phone or a tablet. I can go 5, 6 days without recharging it - btw, it takes one night to fully charge (7 hours..?). 

However, if you prefer things a tad bit smaller and easier to deal with, I'd recommend for Lepow's Moonstone portable charger. It's smaller; it also has a great design, cute colors and all; a 9,000mAh capacity, which is very good considering how small it is; comes with its own little bag; and, most importantly, it has two usb ports - all this at the affordable price of $30.*

Do you have any portable charger? Is it good? Do you need one? Of course you do, who doesn't these days. Tell me, tell me!

* All opinions and suggestions in this post are my own; I was not paid to write this post.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Loneliness and a trip to the countryside

I've been feeling quite unwell lately. I had put myself on autopilot to get through the semester, it's what I always do. Law school just isn't that interesting, and between working and studying, I try to keep everything on the surface. I don't dwell, I don't do loads of thinking, I try my best to avoid any writing at dawn else the tearing is just never-ending, and, honestly, who's got time for that? 

Then the semester came to an end, I was supposed to have 2 weeks off uni until said uni went on a strike. No big deal, we just have no idea when our classes will resume. Not a problem, since I tend to fill my days with working and languages and everything that keeps my mind quite busy. 

I feel displaced, I feel lonely, I rarely fit in anywhere. I constantly wonder if I'll always feel this way, if I'll ever not be afraid of spending the rest of my days working and studying a ton because I like doing it. I'm not a huge fan of socialising, people bore me easily. Don't wanna linger on that. 

However, I am lucky. I have this huge family and this family owns properties in beautiful places; places I can escape to. So, the other day a few friends of mine and I went to my grandpa's property on the countryside. I've posted about this place before. Here. We went to a bunch of waterfalls, and I could just sit on the grass (or rock) and avoid all sorts of thinking.

serra do cipó mg brazil nature cachoeira waterfall water river beautiful viewserra do cipó mg brazil nature cachoeira waterfall water river beautiful viewserra do cipó mg brazil nature cachoeira waterfall water river beautiful viewserra do cipó mg brazil nature cachoeira waterfall water river beautiful viewserra do cipó mg brazil nature cachoeira waterfall water river beautiful view

Spending a two days without touching my laptop, without opening my email accounts or worrying about deadlines was just what I needed. My body didn't react so well, though - I got a cold and my blood pressure went oh-so-low. A couple of days without a bunch of caffeine and super contracted blood vessels and my body goes weird.

Anyways, the other night a guy told me "You're gonna end up alone if you keep acting like this" (after being slightly rejected by this person that now rants - me). It was like a knife had just gone through my heart. I am constantly scared, yes. I'm not a very pretty girl, I'm not an easy-going person. I'm an introvert. I don't trust people easily, I have a this issue with understanding people - I never remember to read between the lines, so if one is not completely frank with me, I'll never know what one is trying to tell me. I'm insecure. I'm still trying to find a way to stop hating my body. I answered "I'm fine on my own". And it bugs the hell out of me that people are always assuming you need companionship - theirs, especially, when you reject them. I don't need people to be happy, but I'm not a hermit. It's like Jon Krakauer wrote, "We like companionship, see, but we can't stand to be around people for very long. So we go get ourselves lost, come back for a while, then get the hell out again.And downhill the 'avoiding all sorts of thinking' went. 

That place, grandpa's house, reminds me of dad. A gazillion memories come to mind whenever I'm there - maybe that's why I hate and love that place. I think about the day he taught me to ride a bike. How that's where I learned how to swim. I remember how I never felt scared, because I was surrounded by family, because dad would always have my back. I remember how fighting with my brother never really mattered, because at night we would be playing cards together again. But my dad's gone, my brother's moved away and mom's never been the same. No one has. And sometimes, I am alone. It gets bad, when someone just slaps your face with said truth saying you should feel bad about it & when you're not a big people person and you end up feeling like omg, I need company and I should have loads of people surrounding me, even when you don't want to. It's hard to do the "come back for a while" that Krakauer mentioned, because sometimes there's just nothing to come back to. I like wandering, so I don't ever have this urge of coming back to something. I like the idea of constantly moving forward, even though I have no idea where I'm going to. For a moment there, things got quite messy and my head was bursting with a million thoughts and faces of everyone I've ever let go of. Then I talked to Ems, a friend of mine in SF, and realised how wrong it all was. Saying that sentence to me; me believing in it, dwelling on it, and forgiving that jerk. I can be scared, but not of loneliness, because I'm don't feel lonely. I like being who I am and I have to learn to stop feeling guilty or bad because of who I am.

serra do cipó mg brazil nature cachoeira waterfall water river beautiful view sofia chang

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Favourite Food Blogs

Last year, I made a "learn how to cook properly" resolution, amongst other things. Did I achieve that goal? Not really, no. I'm still relying a lot on recipes. I wish I had mom's cooking skills, so I'd be able to come up with anything yummy even if there were only 3 ingredients in the fridge, but I can't. I still lack the imagination and the confidence to branch out from recipes. However, I've picked up a few things so far and almost everything I've learned came from the Internet. Or, to be more precise, it all basically came from the food blogs I'm about to list below (pictures are linked!). 

annies eats food blog
Ally recommended me this blog (actually, I think she recommended all of the blogs I'm listing today). It was love at first sight. I like to see the recipes' step-by-step, but in pictures. I feel it's more organised. Annie's eats is amazing when it comes to keepin' it straight & short. The posts are all very well written and the pictures are fabulous - so fabulous I have yet to make something look exactly like it looks in Annie's pictures. Aside from that, the blog separates everything into categories - and it has all sorts of recipes. I first went there looking for desserts, but then I tried the salads and some beef dishes and ended up loving everything. The blog has a special holiday category which might come in handy for people who, well, are like me. Oh, I love the blog's beverages category too. And, yes, Annie also shares some vegetarian recipes. (^.^)

gimme some oven food blog
I love, love, love this blog! It's so Sofia-friendly. As in "beginner"/"people who have no idea of how to cook" friendly. It has it's recipe index, which is very organised - you can pick the recipe by course, occasion, diet or even by ingredient!!! How cool is that? I just love people who categorize, heh. Anyways, when my mom was away for about 6 months last year, a lot of the recipes I made came from this blog, because it has many delicious and lighter dishes. It was very hot back then, and when it's hot I a) don't get very hungry and b) get super lazy (which affects the cooking). So I just made the easy recipes, which were all very healthy, by the way. Aside from being a kickass food blog, Gimme Some Oven has two other very amazing sections: DIY and Life, both packed with interesting reads and tips on, well, basically everything. Here's my favourite Gimme Some Oven post.

oh she glows food blog
"Hi, I'm Angela and this is my recipe blog where I celebrate my love for vegan food. In addition to being meat and dairy-free, most of my recipes are free of gluten, soy, and processed foods."  Need I say more? Well, I'm just going to add that oh she glows is also very organised and Sofia-friendly. I think I'm just going to add "organised" to the "Sofia-friendly" label, given that I'm a bit of a neat freak. Anyways, my favourite post is this one, because, well, given laziness and living-alone-ness, I used to make way more than I could possibly eat, so freezer-friendly snacks are always a plus.

I know there are different weight/quantity measuring ways throughout the world, and that is a pain in the ass when it comes to cooking and following recipes. So, in order to help with whatever conversion issues you may stumble across, I suggest that you download the free/printable Baking Conversion Chart from Java Cupcake. Aside from being really cute, it's also very helpful! Get it [here]. On a side note, Java Cupcake is another food blog I like a lot, but since the majority of the recipes found there are dessert ones, I rarely visit it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fun in Taiwan: Fort San Domingo

fort san domingo taiwan tamsuifort san domingo taiwan tamsuifort san domingo taiwan tamsuifort san domingo taiwan tamsuifort san domingo taiwan tamsuifort san domingo taiwan tamsuifort san domingo taiwan tamsuifort san domingo taiwan tamsui
Emily, moi & Nicola. I miss these girls... ):

Fort San Domingo is located in Tamsui, a sea side district in New Taipei City. The fort represents the foreign involvement in Taiwan. Built in 1629 by the Spanish, in wood, it's main objective was to aid the imposition of Spanish rule over the local Chinese and other populations from that area. However, the fort was taken by the Dutch in 1642, who then replaced the original wooden monument with a fort made of stone. 

The weather was very pleasant when my friends and I went there. It was yet another trip from the study program I went to in Taipei. Inside the buildings, there were some pictures/items exhibitions related to the Dutch occupation. Not that interesting, if you're a western kid who's spent an entire lifetime studying Western History and watches a lot of western made films. 

I loved this place because its gardens and the architecture are extremely beautiful. It'd be an amazing place for a photoshoot - I regret not annoying more random people and asking them to take pictures for me. (Notice that I only appear in very few pictures, so sad soooo sad.)  It's also a nice place to go to because it's near a very fun (and crowded!) street market with lots of traditional snacks for you to get (like all touristy places in Taiwan, heh), it is right beside a Starbucks and you can get there by using the Taipei MRT. (The MRT can probably get you anywhere, I think.)

Have you ever been there? Would you ever go there? Lemme know! :)