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  • Aug14

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    Squamish Valley Music Fest-Monopod-11

    Vancouver-based Get Snap and Go has entered the self-portrait (aka selfie) market with a selfie stick monopod for your smart phone or point-and-shoot compact digital camera.

    Squamish Valley Music Fest-Monopod-3

    The idea came about earlier this spring when Snap and Go’s founder was on holiday in Paris. Trying to get just the right angle proved challenging (likely for others too), and at that moment, the proverbial lightbulb went off.

    Squamish Valley Music Fest-Monopod-7

    Those who know me realize how much I cringe whenever I hear the word selfie. It’s not a word that’s about to go away anytime soon, and the concept of taking your photo without having to ask anyone in public (with the potential risk of having your smart phone or camera run off with) is the best reason I can think of to check this product out.

    Squamish Valley Music Fest-Monopod-4

    The Snap and Go Selfie Stick is portable, lightweight, and works with Android models with the built-in timer in the camera app. For iPhone and iPod users, it’s a matter of downloading the free Camera360 app and using its self-timer feature to grab shots.

    Squamish Valley Music Fest-Monopod-1
    [Get those great overhead shots by turning the camera away from you too!]

    Once the app’s launched, you can tap on the screen to set the timer to fire the camera at 3, 5, 10, 15, 30, or 50-second intervals.

    Get Snap and Go Monopod-1 Get Snap and Go Monopod-4

    Screw in the tripod insert, clamp the phone in, and you’re good to go. I did find that either with or without an iPhone 5s case, the clamp, while solid, isn’t super solid, so I’d hesitate to take it over water or out on the deck of a tall building.

    Get Snap and Go Monopod-2 Get Snap and Go Monopod-3 Get Snap and Go Monopod-5

    We had a blast taking it around the Squamish Valley Music Festival last weekend.

    Squamish Valley Music Fest-Monopod-2

    The Snap and Go Selfie Stick is 8” when compact, extends to 38” (97cm), and weighs a mere 150 grams. It’s excellent for travel, video blogging, hiking, camping, weddings, parties, concerts, aerial shots, sporting events—just about anywhere you’d like one to 100 people in your frame!

    Squamish Valley Music Fest-Monopod-9

    Get Snap and Go’s monopod retails for CDN $24.95; their website offers free shipping anywhere in North America. Future plans include offering a remote that can be used with the iPhone.

    I was given a Get Snap and Go monopod to test-drive for this feature.

  • Aug13

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    Omni Wearable Light collections

    Though Vancouver’s summer may seem never-ending at this point (soak it up while you can!), fall is just a few weeks away. Australia-based design company TwoWheelCool recently sent us some cycling gear to preview: three colourful silicone accessories for safety and warmth.

    TwoWheelCool bike gear-1

    Founded in Balmain, one of Sydney’s inner harbour suburbs, TwoWheelCool aims for performance and innovative design in a product line created for cyclists and motorcyclists alike.
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  • Apr4

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    Torcal landscape

    A geological formation created by nature’s whim and modified by water and wind, the imposing Andalusian “torcales” rise up on the southern Spanish horizon. El Naturalista’s new Torcal shoe is inspired by nature’s wonderful contours and bent shapes and comes to life thanks to a new Dual-Density technology in an attractive, comfortable, and simple sole.

    El Naturalista Torcal shoes-2

    When I received a pair of El Naturalista Torcals in black last week, my first impression was that they’d be super comfortable from the start. I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I wore the shoes pretty much all weekend long. The shoe’s unique shape features one side slightly higher than the other, with a simple side velcro closure.
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  • Apr3

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    Fossil Sydney satchel-1

    Texas-based Fossil is now entering its third decade of men’s and women’s fashion accessories and essentials. The founders, brothers Tom and Kosta Kartsotis, named the company after a nickname for their father. Fossil started out as a fashion watch company with a retro twist, using colourful tins to package their line. Since then, the company has grown tremendously to include jewelry, wallets, belts, clothing, shoes, sunglasses, and coveted handbags.

    Fossil Sydney satchel in camel

    From the moment that I spotted the Fossil Sydney Satchel online, I knew it would be the perfect accessory to wear around town. The shape is classic and not too wide, its unobtrusive profile preventing you from bumping the bag into everyone else on busy streets and on transit.
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  • Feb18

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    Le Meadow's Preserves-15
    [Le Meadow’s Preserves: Pear Quince Honey, Pear Citron, Claire de Lune, Balsamic, Classic British Trio, Banana Gone Gourmet]

    I recently had the chance to experience Geneviève Blanchet’s Le Meadow’s Pantry artisanal jams and marmalades. The Québécoise mother of two girls moved to BC 16 years ago, having worked in several kitchens, serving in fine dining, gourmet, and traditional restaurants. Classic foods have been of interest to Geneviève since discovering them on European adventures as a young woman.

    It was there that she learned to enjoy and preserve food according to season, exploring a bounty of great new ingredients and flavours. Once in Vancouver, she studied traditional Chinese medicine, and later received a traditional herbalist diploma. In addition, she’s a registered holistic nutritionist. Armed with all that knowledge up her sleeves, she’s now producing a line of handcrafted, small-batch preserves, cooked in copper jam pans and made a dozen at a time.
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  • Dec4

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    Kobo Touch e-Reader

    Winter reading list adding up? Looking for a compact way to take your favourite books to a warm winter getaway or ski adventure? Either way, London Drugs and Vancouverscape have got you covered this month.

    Kobo readers

    London Drugs has provided me with a Kobo Touch e-Reader in silver to give away to a lucky reader this holiday season. Cozy up near the fireplace with your favourite bevvy and enjoy some downtime, or fill someone’s stocking with some gadget love.
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  • Nov12

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    White Wedding Green tea
    [White Wedding Green tea]

    Tea Sparrow’s co-founder/tea connoisseur Michael Menashy’s 15-year passion for tea began in China when a factory owner showed him how to brew tea in his boardroom. That day still holds fond memories for Michael, as he remembers the floral-scented oolong that tasted like toasted walnuts. The experience left Michael with a desire to explore the world of tea.
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  • Oct25

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    KEEN Delancey boot El Naturalista Iggdrasil Boot
    [L to R: KEEN Delancey boot; El Naturalista Yggdrasil boot]

    Shopping for a pair of fall-to-winter boots is a yearly ritual for many Vancouverites. There’s no shortage of styles to match our wardrobes, tastes, and budgets. Our two wettest seasons are just around the bend and with it, I thought this would make a great opportunity to check out a couple of pairs of boots perfect for casual, urban wear.
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  • Sep17

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    Tovolo TeaGo tea press-1

    I recently came across a pretty nifty tea accessory for enjoying loose-leaf tea on the go.

    From Seattle-based Tovolo, makers of a wealth of kitchen gadgets and cookware, comes TeaGo, a mobile tea press that stores, steeps, and plunges excess water straight from your backpack or purse to a tea cup.
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  • Mar6

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    ZAGGsparq 6000-3

    I was on the hunt for a universal USB charger that would work with all my devices, to charge on the go as well as having an extra charge supply on hand. The ZAGG Sparq6000 will hold four charges when its battery is at 100%.

    ZAGGsparq 6000-2

    The ZAGG Sparq6000 is part of a series of three USB chargers that differ in size, amount of charges they’ll hold, and price. The 1220 holds one charge, the 3100, two charges, and the 6000 can keep four charges on its two-USB port device.

    ZAGGsparq 6000-1

    All three Sparqs: 1220, 3100, and 6000 are named for their capacity. The 6000 ($99.99) has 6000 mAh and up to 2.1A at 5 volts. The other two, while smaller and with one USB port, each carry less charges, but are slightly smaller and are priced at $39.99 and $69.99 respectively.

    The Sparq charges smartphones and tablets four times faster than a standard USB charger, and in the case of the 6000, can charge more than one USB device at a time.
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  • Jun20

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    SwitchEasy Avant Garde iPhone 4 Case-10

    After seeing SwitchEasy’s Avant-Garde 3D iPhone4/4S cases, I just had to have the Chateau case for review in time for summer. Before I proceed, I’d like to let my readers know that I tried taking product shots with three different cameras. Not one shot came even close to this case’s actual greenish-turquoise colour.

    Chateau colours

    The above photo shows the three colour choices more accurately: White, Turquoise, and Mican (a nice deep yellow colour).
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  • May8

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    Bamboo stylus range

    Wacom, pioneers in the digital tablet market (and recent interactive displays) for creatives, also carries a range of Bamboo tablets and stylus pens for the iPad. There’s two stylus versions available: the Solo and the Duo. The $10 price difference between the two includes the Duo’s additional built-in ink tip on the opposite end of the stylus. I was sent the Stylus Duo for review (currently only available in black).

    Bamboo Stylus duo-1

    As a comparison point, the Solo is only slightly longer at 120 mm than Griffin’s stylus at 110 mm. The Duo is 131 mm (I chose not to include a photo with the Griffin, as I’m only comparing the Solo’s length with their model).

    Bamboo Stylus duo-2

    From a design perspective, the Bamboo is both sleek and modern, with a minimalistic thin Bamboo logo emblazoned on the pen cap. The tip is more pointed than others I’ve seen, and on the iPad, very responsive to movement. The cap can be placed on either end depending on your needs. The ink is black (my personal preference over blue), with a fine point.

    Bamboo Stylus duo-3

    It would be great to see the Duo offered in a few colours, perhaps in a more refined colour palette than the Solo’s current range.

    Bamboo Stylus duo-5

    Bamboo Stylus duo-7

    Overall, I preferred this slightly longer stylus for added control when using the iPad. The stylus also responds well to pressure, perfect for drawing and adding textured lines to your work. It’s also easy to jot down notes using SketchPad Pro HD.

    Bamboo Paper app screenshots

    Speaking of sketch apps, I’ve also been playing with the Bamboo Paper iPad app (free limited version; $1.99 full version includes 20 notebooks as well as cloud archiving and notebook sharing). The app’s a fun way to create journals with doodles, photos (from your iPad’s camera rolls), and text.

    I’m not sure what the full version offers in the way of colour choices, however the free app has a limited range of brush and pen colours to choose from. Wacom is also working on a future version of the app for Android devices.

    Wacom Stylus Duo

    The Stylus Duo weighs 20 grams and its nibs are both replaceable and compatible with the Bamboo Stylus solo (the version without a built-in pen).

    The Bamboo Stylus Duo retails for US $39.95. London Drugs sells the Solo for $29.99, as does Staples. In Canada, the Stylus Duo is available online; local retailers will be added in the near future.

    Disclosure note: I was sent the Bamboo Stylus Duo for the purpose of writing this review: cmply.2

  • Apr12

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    Jill-e Everywear Gadget Bag-13

    As gadgets keep churning out of the tech world, so do bags that can carry them all securely and comfortably. Case in point, jill-e’s Everywear Gadget Bag. I was just sent the black version (also available in Nougat) for review.
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  • Apr3

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    Griffin stylus-5

    With both Sketchpad Pro HD and Autodesk’s SketchBook Pro installed on my new iPad3, it was time to test drive a stylus. Griffin sent me a stylus in Poppy to check out, along with an IntelliCase.

    Griffin stylus-1

    I realize that Steve Jobs was opposed to a stylus being married to any Apple digital tablet, however I view sketching apps as the exception.

    Poppy coloured stylus

    The Griffin stylus is meant for both left and right handed writers and artists. As a southpaw, the stylus felt very comfortable in my left hand as I proceeded to work within both sketch apps.

    Griffin stylus-8

    I haven’t worked with photography or game apps yet, but the stylus is ideal for any situation that requires more precision and control than your finger. It can be used on any iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, or onscreen device.

    Griffin stylus-7

    The stylus also comes in a range of bright and fun colours: White, Desert Pink, Blazin’ Yellow, Pool Blue, Leaf, Poppy, Peacock, Violet, and Black.

    Griffin stylus colours

    The stylus and its soft rubber tip are solidly constructed, with an integrated clip for attaching it to a bag pocket’s pencil loop, which many laptop and accessory bags currently have.

    Griffin stylus-4

    Griffin stylus-3

    Would it benefit from a cover or small sleeve to carry it around? I will have to take it out and see how well it wears in order to know the answer to that one. For now, it’s a small, easily portable stylus that will be great for what I got it for: sketching and taking notes.

    Griffin stylus-9

    Griffin’s stylus retails for US $19.99.

    Disclosure note: I was sent the Griffin stylus for the purpose of writing this review: cmply.2

  • Apr2

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    Griffin IntelliCase-1

    While waiting for the delivery of my new iPad3, I hunted around for new cases both online and at shops around Vancouver. I was looking for something that would incorporate Apple’s smart cover concept as well as functional protection for the back.
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  • Mar12

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    Nikon Coolpix S1200pj-1

    Nikon Canada recently provided me with a Coolpix S1200pj to check out its features, particularly great for a Mac user (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch compatible) who embraces social media. Since I fall into both those categories, let me start by saying that this is a feature-rich point and shoot with 5x wide optical zoom and 14.1 megapixels.
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