Archive of ‘Technology’ category

Share Your Fashion Dilemmas – and Your Whole Life – Easily with Skype

skype-intro-image

Connecting with people when we all have vastly differing schedules can be a big hassle… and being able to chat or share via video is a great way to connect. Skype is the affordable way to stay in touch about the things you care about – whether it’s just checking in, holding virtual meetings, or even deciding on a great outfit before a big event.

My parents are Australian, I moved to Japan when I was 11 and lived there 6 years, and I’ve also lived in rural New Jersey, Virginia Beach, Philadelphia, Tokyo, Yokohama, Honolulu, and now Portland, Oregon. All of my extended family lives in either Australia or Japan – and my friends are scattered the world over. Skype has been a necessary facet of my life for years as a way to stay connected with everyone – from my kooky friend Lenna in London, my East Coast bestie Jenn in Tennessee, my cousin Sam in Australia, and my mom in Tokyo. using-skype-at-computer

Since I’ve been writing Chic Steals for 7 years now, Skype has come in super-handy in a number of ways. For a year I was producing a podcast called Creatively Chic in partnership with WebTalkRadio.net, and Skype was instrumental in allowing me to conduct interviews with people in faraway places (including Tom and Cat from the CutOutandKeep.net team in London!) with crystal-clear, recordable voice quality.

using-skype-with-blogger

Checking in with fellow blogger Jenni of A Well-Crafted Party about an upcoming Portland Bloggers’ event

More recently as an active member of Portland Bloggers, it’s allowed me to connect with local blogger friends quickly and accurately – with bonus video. Sharing a new affordable find I scored at Goodwill? Asking a “what ideas do you have for DIY’ing this piece” with my blogging buddies? Touching base about outfits before a big blogging event so we don’t accidentally show up wearing the same thing? Skype has proven itself useful – and priceless – time and again.using-skype-in-mirror

What do you guys think of this sparkly cardigan? Too much?

I love that I can use it on my phone and connect with other people for a quick check-out-this-necklace-stack check-in… even if they have a different phone than I do! Skype works regardless – and it’s FREE. It’s fun, it’s quick, it’s affordable, and it’s easy – what could be more chic?

You can download the Skype app and follow along on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

xo

Carly

FTC Disclosure: This post was written as part of a paid campaign with BlogHer and Skype. My full Disclosure Policy is here.

Rock Your Music World with Monster Headphones and Enter to Win Your Own Pair!

 

monsterheadphones1Really, really love listening to music? Want to feel the music all the way down in your toes and immerse yourself in its world? Need to upgrade over the tiny and flimsy earbuds that came with your phone? Monster N-Tune Headphones may be just what you’re looking for! monsterheadphones2

I was recently sent a pair of Monster N-Tune HD Headphones to review, and was pleasantly surprised at the sheer durability of the product, and the quality of the sound through them. The headphones come packaged in this very slick case, with a soft microfiber pouch to house them in while you’re on the go. Just cinch the drawstring, and you can throw them in your bag without any worries over them being crushed or tangled. These headphones are practically indestructible – and no matter how much junk you’re carrying around in your bag (guilty! 😉 they still emerge intact. The band that goes over your head can be twisted, yanked, or even crushed – and it withstands everything that you can throw at it no matter what. monsterheadphones3

Since the headphones are available in 5 different candy-bright colors, you can personalize your ‘phones with your choice of color (and I was especially thrilled that the pair I received was in my favorite blue hue!). Giving a nod to the fact that many people use their phones for listening to their tunes, the tangle-free cord also includes a universal in-line remote that can answer phone calls (as well as play and pause the music).monsterheadphones4

The sound quality is fantastic, and the compact on-ear style allows you to become completely immersed in the music (and doesn’t mess with your ear adornments 😉 They block out the surrounding environment completely so you can focus. Plus they work double-duty: not just for music, I’ve also been using them for all my video sound-editing lately, and they’re a lot more comfortable and light than my old outdated “cans” [those huge ear-covering headphones used by sound editors]. monsterheadphones6

And with the holiday season coming up, a pair of headphones in the recipient’s favorite color would add a dose of awesome to their music – and thrill any young music-lover with your great taste. Just sayin’!

Enter to Win a Pair of Monster Headphones (ARV $150)!!

How to Enter:

1. Visit the Monster Headphones page on Walmart.com.

2. Leave a comment on this post telling me which is your favorite N-Tune color for a chance to win!

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post.
For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

BlogHer will pool entries from participating blogs and select a sweepstakes winner at random and will contact the winner with details about fulfilling the prize.

The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 10/2/13 – 11/1/13.Please let me know if you have any questions.
monsterheadphones5

Good luck!

xo Carly

To win your very own pair of N-Tune headphones (valued at $150), read all about the Monster headphones here and let me know in the comments of this post which color you prefer. The comments on this post will be aggregated with the comments on the posts from the other bloggers participating in this review, and 25 pairs will be given away. This giveaway will close on Nov 1.

FTC Disclosure: I was provided a pair of Monster NTunes headphones for review purposes as part of a paid campaign with BlogHer and Monster Headphones. The above opinions are my own. Monster Headphones is also providing 25 winners in their giveaway with a pair of headphones each. My full Disclosure Policy is here.

 

Introducing The Stories App – Upload a Holiday DIY and Win a Michael’s Gift Card

I’ve partnered with Echoed.com that produces this cool new application called “Stories.”  It’s an application that allows users to upload their own photos and write a “story” about the photos, vote on photos you like, and share content.  Kind of like Pinterest but with more space for adding information, and space for different angles or descriptive photos.  Plus it’s hosted right on your own site, so it creates a beautiful array of user-submitted content available to any visitor to see immediately.

You can now view DIYs submitted by Chic Steals readers (and submit your own!) in the bar appearing at the bottom of my site window.  Press the double-down arrow to hide it.  Reload the page to view the bar again.  Click See All Stories to view all the DIY projects submitted by the community and get some great inspiration!  Up-vote projects you like, and leave comments.  I’m dying to see what all of you are making – and it’s a great way to get your DIY’s featured immediately on the front page of my site.

To promote this partnership, Echoed.com is offering a giveaway of a gift card to Michael’s Arts & Crafts to help someone create that fabulous DIY.  Here’s how to win:


One Lucky Reader Will Win a $25 Gift Card to Michael’s

{just in time for the holidays!}

Mega Crafting Supply Giveaway!How to EnterMega Crafting Supply Giveaway!

1. The Stories app appears as a gray bar at the bottom of your browser window while looking at my site.  Click on the RED BUTTON on the right that says “Add Your Story.”

2. Register with your email address, Facebook login, or Twitter login.

3. Upload a photo of a Holiday-themed DIY you’ve done into the app.  It can be a photo of any project that is holiday-appropriate (ANY holiday, even Halloween or Fourth of July!).  It can be fashion, food, crafts, decorations, kiddie project…ANYTHING.

4. I will be randomly selecting one entry from the submissions (once the entry period is closed) as the winner.

Mega Crafting Supply Giveaway!RulesMega Crafting Supply Giveaway!

Entry period is from now until midnight PST on Tuesday, December 3, 2012.

Winner will be randomly chosen from the entries posted until then.

Anyone over the age of 18 can enter – and you can enter multiple times, with a photo of a different DIY each time, to increase your chance of winning!

Giveaway is open to anyone, worldwide.

DO NOT post separate entries that use photos of the same project.  Each time you “Add Your Story,” make sure it’s a different project!!

Total entries allowed: as many holiday-themed projects as you want!


Good luck!

xoxo
Carly

FTC Disclosure: I have not received any compensation for this post.  One $25 gift card to Michael’s Arts and Crafts will be provided to the winner of this giveaway, courtesy of Echoed.com.  To see my Disclosure Policy, click here.

Announcement: Chic Steals is Disappearing

from your Google Friend Connect.

Yes, friends, note that blue box in my right-hand sidebar with pictures of all your lovely faces in it…

it is disappearing for good.
Google has announced that they are eliminating products and services they feel are not profitable successful enough for them.  And they’ve determined that the Google Friend Connect widget, one of the main ways that people follow blogs and keep up with their online reading, is not worth their time anymore.

So for blogs not hosted on Blogger (like mine!) the widget will disappear….which means for all of you who follow my blog through Google Friend Connect, my blog will disappear from your reader.

Yikes!!

I, like many people, am very unhappy about this.  I don’t want to say goodbye to you all!:…(

Blogger-hosted blogs still have use of the widget for the time being.  (However, Google may decide to get rid of that for them too in the future…ya never know…)  As you all know, I switched from Blogger to WordPress last year (after being on Blogger for 3 years!) because Blogger made blogging…somewhat difficult.  Non-automated.  Time-consuming.  Difficult to code.  But that’s a whole ‘nother quibble.

I don’t want to part ways with all of my loyal readers, so please, if you’ve been following through Google Friend Connect up until now, please consider adding my blog in BlogLovin, subscribing through Feedburner (another Google product – aaaah!!), or signing up to receive email digests of Chic Steals content.  You can of course cancel any of these at any time – I certainly won’t hold it against you!!;-)

Please let’s not say goodbye just yet.  I’d love for you stick around – I have some great content coming up in the next month, including a giveaway bursting with goodies from Japan for my readers, new products in my Etsy, guest posts, a new blogging venture of mine, and some fabulous DIYs!!

Please choose a new way to follow:

[subscribe2]

Thanks so much for reading, and here’s to the next chapter!!

xoxox
Carly

~Please share this post to let everyone know about the changes happening to the Google Friend Connect Widget!!!~

Growing Leather…from Bacteria?

I was floored by this video of Suzzanne Lee’s efforts into creating textiles utilizing bacterial cellulose (formed by fermentation in kombucha tea).  Yup, “fabric” – well, more like leather – from BACTERIA.

What an amazing step forward in technology – I’m super-interested to see where this innovation will go once more R&D labs get ahold of it.

So this also begs the question: If they worked out the kinks in the fabric weight and texture…Would you wear clothing made by bacteria?


found via GirlieGirl Army
xoxox
Carly

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Try on Dresses Online: Miss Selfridge's Magic Mirror is Here!

 I was so impressed with this innovation that I had to share with all of you.

I never thought I would see the day that one could try on clothing “virtually”…but it’s here.

Miss Selfridge has implemented an online application where you can snap a photo of yourself and overlay their clothing onto your photo…all on their website platform.  (Up until now this was more than possible if you felt like messing about in Photoshop or some other graphic-editing program [i.e., taking a photo of yourself, then downloading product photos from your favorite online store and layering the items over your body in the program].  But to have this functionality self-hosted on a clothing e-tailer’s site, especially one as big as Miss Selfridge, is huge.  I hope other sites jump on this bandwagon stat!)

You need to first wear a neutral-colored, tight-fitting sheath.  You position your computer’s camera device so that you are about 3 steps away from it, and align the dress that appears onscreen with your body.  Using the touch-sensitive virtual buttons that appear to be suspended in midair on your screen, you resize the dress so it fits the lines of your body, and then choose the camera button, which snaps a photo that you can then share on Facebook.

Pros: 

Fun!  It’s really neat to see how a piece of clothing will look on you before you actually buy it, and once you get the hang of it, it’s quick to try different pieces out.  Saves the hassle of putting on and taking off clothes entirely.  Plus, it helps with the decision-making…for instance, that beige dress I tried on above I really didn’t like until I tried it on…and now, I’m more inclined to get it since I thought it surprisingly flattering for my body type.

Cons: 

1.) Doesn’t work in Firefox (I have the latest version).  I had to use Safari as my browser to allow the application to work.

2.) The Resize and Camera (“take a photo) buttons have an extremely tiny area of sensitivity.  You have to fumble about in midair for awhile until buttons respond – and sometimes they don’t at all.  I found that I could get the buttons to respond only by moving super-close to my camera and trying to “touch” the buttons with my head.  Only then would they respond and I had to rush back to the exact spot where the dress was aligned in time for the photo to be snapped. AND, you can’t use the mouse to click on the buttons when they don’t respond to touch.  MAJOR programming drawback.

3.) Building off 2.), the application takes photos too quickly.  I had trouble fitting my pose and the dress size correctly with only a 3-second countdown.

4.) You can’t take a photo to share on email, or save on your computer, or in an online MissSelfridge.com account. You can only post them on your Facebook profile, and the photos that you can post end up SUPER-TINY.  In order to share the above with you, I had to take a screenshot (of the photo of me wearing the dresses, that for some reason the application tilts, shrinks, and adds a polaroid-style border to – MOST ANNOYING).  Thus, you only have small photos of my 20-minute try-on session to look at.

5) I noticed at least one of the dresses was a different version when you go to buy it – the peacock-print caftan does not have a cut-out shoulder in the version that’s available on the MissSelfridge.com site.  Consistency, please!

6) You can’t try on separates.  Forget about creating whole outfits…and the dresses you can try on are just a tiny fraction of all the pieces they offer for sale online anyway.

7) Unless you have really good lighting, your photos will be really dark and grainy.  The more neutral the background, the easier to see as well.

You may or may not have seen this already, but Wieden + Kennedy Tokyo’s ad for Google search employs a similar technique…though not necessarily usable unless you have a projector. 

If you have a spare 15-20 minutes to play around, this is a super-fun way to spend it!  (I just hope they address some of the technology issues and add more clothing pieces to “try on” soon!)

xoxox
Carly

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DIY: Laptop Sleeve from Leather Jacket

As you may recall from a previous project I posted, we still have the rest of the thrifted leather jacket leftover to something fantastic with!  So with my Hubby’s birthday quickly approaching, I decided to make him a homemade sleeve for his laptop computer.  Sure you can buy one from the store – and I did scrounge up a tutorial for using some neoprene from an old wetsuit [and here, too!] (like I have many of those laying around!)…but I wanted to try a different material.  Leather is cushioning and sleek – but if you prefer manmade leather or vinyl (or even fabric, corderuoy, or denim!) this project will work just as well.  I was inspired by those wraparound manila envelopes – but you can always use a strip of material and velcro as a closure, or fashion a long strip with a parachute buckle around the entire laptop, or extend one side of the outer material and use it as a closure flap, or even add a couple inches to each end and use a zipper as closure, turning this sleeve into a simple zippered bag.  The possibilities are endless!

You Need:

 

*leather jacket with lining (or leather/other material + lining fabric, if you are not repurposing a jacket)
*quilt batting (I used Low-Loft crib-sized batting, and had quite a bit left over)
*1 button
*black elastic cord
 and…
*marking chalk
*leather shears
*fabric scissors
*matching All Purpose thread
*sewing machine needle for leather
*sewing machine needle for wovens
*hand-sewing needle (not needed if your button is not shanked)
*leather/vinyl glue
*tape

Optional
*matching upholstery thread
*walking foot or Teflon foot for sewing machine
*clothespins or binder clips

How To:

Prep Your Parts 

 1. Place laptop on your sleeve material, right side up, front edge facing away from you.  Trace around laptop on all sides, adding 1″.

step2b

2. Lift and rotate laptop up on its back edge towards you, then wrong side up on top of the material.  (Front edge will be facing towards you.)  Keep drawing 1″ around all edges.  (I know this sounds somewhat confusing, so I included the diagram above to show how the material was measured.)

3. Cut the rectangle out of the material (cutting through both outer and lining if you are using a jacket), using leather shears.  If you do not have a lining, place this rectangle on top of your lining material, trace around, and cut using fabric scissors.

step1b

4. Cut a small piece of leather about 1″ square.

step2

5. Unroll batting from package, and leave it doubled up as you flatten it out.  Place rectangle of material on top of the batting.  Cut a piece of batting the same size as the lining, then trim batting about 1/2″ on the sides only.

Time to Sew!

step4

6. Fold material rectangle in half, and machine-stitch the edges together, using a needle for leather and upholstery thread.  (Upholstery thread is not a must-have…but it is a lot stronger that regular cotton/poly mercenized, and is more suited to sewing leather and taking the stress of repeat usage.  Also, f you have a walking foot or Teflon foot for your machine, it can help the leather from sticking.)

Clip corners and turn right side out.

7. Fold lining rectangle in half, and machine-stitch the edges together, using a needle for wovens and regular thread.  This will make the lining into a “pouch.” Do not turn right side out; the right side needs to remain on the inside.

step7

 

8. Wrap batting around the outside of the lining pouch.  Fold upper edges of lining pouch down and overlap batting piece at top edges.  (Trim batting top edges if they are too bulky or long.)

step9

Machine-stitch the lining edges down over the batting, at about a 3/8″ hem.

Closing It Up

 
9. Sew button to the material pouch you made in Step 6), about 2″ down from the top edge on the front of the pouch.

step11

10. Slide the lining into the material pouch, and slip the laptop inside to check for sizing.  On the back side of the material pouch, tape one end of the elastic cord to the center, about 2″ down from the top edge.

11. Wrap elastic cord around button, and bring the other end to the back, cutting it and gluing it down next to the other end.  Make sure the cord is taut around the button and will keep the laptop from falling out.

step14

12. Trim the cord to meet the taped-down end.

13. Re-tape cords down with the ends free.  Place a dab of glue under the ends and press them into it.

step16

13. Remove tape and glue the small square over the ends of the cords.

14. Remove laptop and lining from the material pouch, and machine-sew the square over the elastic cord ends, first sewing a square around the edge, then an “X” shape in the center.

Finishing

step18

14. Spread glue on the inside of the outer pouch, close to the top edge.  Turn down top edge about 3/8″; clamp until dry.

15. Slip the lining back inside the outer pouch, pushing the corners all the way in.

Stitch around upper edge of laptop sleeve to secure the lining to the outer material, using a needle for leather and upholstery thread.

Et voila!

Finally, a homemade FUNCTIONAL accessory that my husband will actually use!  (And it’s unisex, so can be a great gift for a man or woman!)

done3done4

Happy DIY’ing and Happy Birthday, Hub!
xoxox
Carly

This is my last post for Threadbanger – wish I could do more! Hasta la vista, TB!

The Future of Shopping?

I’ve just wasted 3 hours internet surfing and watching dumb stuff on BlameitontheVoices.com. (Just an FYI, the site does feature some NSFW videos/photos, and NC-17 language, so be forewarned. Plus – it’s a huge time sink, as I’ve discovered.)

From a cat playing a piano concerto to a hidden rude gesture in Back to the Future 3, to Shaolin monks balancing on two fingers and an expressionist Donkey Kong painting, I now feel amazingly edified.

Check out the future of shopping from Cisco’s new Integrated Services Router Generation 2 below. Now that’s how I want to shop!

What do you guys think? Will this be happening within our lifetimes??

-Carly J. Cais

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