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Luxury retreat experience lets you sleep with the koalas

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Image via Taronga Zoo Wildlife Retreat

The Taronga Zoo is opening a wildlife retreat in Sydney at which zoo guests will get a truly immersive experience thanks to the luxury retreat and its 62 eco-friendly rooms.

Who doesn’t love cute and cuddly animals? But of course, we do. And now, it’s just become easier than ever to see them being so cute up close and personal in Australia at a new zoo – and you can practically even sleep with them.

In Season

Beginning October 10, guests staying at the open-air retreat situated just across from the zoo can get up close and personal to many of Australia’s native wildlife free of charge during their stay.

The retreat’s designer rooms and suites come with free admission to the zoo, while guests get to take advantage of a bunch of other perks too, such as guided tours after the zoo has closed, daybreak and morning walks and tours, and a daily buffet breakfast.

koala, sydney zoo
Koala — Image by Ignacio Catalina via Wikimedia Commons/CC-by-SA-3.0

Luxury Retreat with Zoo Tours

As part of the tours, guests of the retreat will get to view the Sanctuary – an area of the zoo closed to the general public.

The Taronga Zoo, a non-profit organization, runs various conservation programs including various breeding and preservation programs, and they even help sick and injured animals. From the hotel, guests have a beautiful view of Sydney Harbor, and they can enjoy local cuisine at its on-site restaurant Me-Gal.

RECOMMENDED READ: A luxury App that could let you skip signing the check

The zoo is home to indigenous animals such as the iconic kangaroo, koalas, Tasmanian devils, and a host of exotic birds and other wildlife. Yes, even platypuses.

Image by Stefan Kraft via Wikimedia Commons/CC-By-SA-3.0

According to the CEO, Cameron Kerr:

“Through the Wildlife Retreat, we will foster genuine connections between people and Australia’s fascinating wildlife, and inspire them to care as passionately as we do about our most precious residents.”

This, he says, will allow the retreat’s guests to not only learn about conservation and wildlife but also to know that they’re helping to play a part in conserving wildlife.

If you want a truly immersive zoo and cultural experience at the Taronga Zoo, you can choose from one of three different rooms and suite combinations. But, sleeping with the animals in these exclusive luxury rooms and suites is going to cost you.

Although you’ll have to contact the zoo for info on pricing and availability for the safari-style stay, other packages are available starting at $780 and range to $1,000 and up, and a portion of the profits goes back into the zoo’s conservation programs.

Featured image via Taronga Zoo Wildlife Retreat

The Story of the Dior Lipstick and the Famous Women Who Represented It


The giant fashion house of Christian Dior is a modern brand that boasts an incredible, rich fashion history and timeless designs. From its very beginning in Paris to its gradual expansion to the global level, Dior has never stopped surprising its customer with their magical collections and innovative approaches to fashion.

In 1955, Dior opened the Grande Boutique, a fancy boutique shop between Avenue Montaigne and Rue François ler. That year also marked the launch of the very first Dior lipstick. Ever since then, the company has never ceased to amaze women with their lipstick releases. Lipstick is one of those items that is undeniably feminine. Countless women of all nationalities, backgrounds, income levels and social status’ wear lipstick work, to feel pretty for their significant other, or just to feel good about themselves! Dior lipstick has become a household product because of its quality and long-lasting reliability to stay on your lips and keep you looking flawless for hours at a time.


Dior Addict Lipstick – Jennifer Lawrence & Kate Moss


Women who dream of the perfect shiny pout used to have to apply lipstick and then a second coat of gloss. Those days are gone, since Dior researchers claim to have invented the most ‘technologically advanced’ cosmetic product that meets the two needs at once.




Launched in the fall of 2015, the Addict Lipstick soon became one of the best sellers of this make-up giant, Dior. The collection presents a line of lip gloss within a standard lipstick. The result is a shiny, moisturizing gel core that combines with a traditional lipstick outer layer. The application is simple and satisfying.

Adding 35 shades to the Dior lipstick line, Jennifer Lawrence was featured as the headliner of the campaign and the basic price started at £26.50 in Britain. According to Dior experts, they spent about 12 months in the laboratory trying to perfect the two separate formulas that make up the final product that is available for purchase. When you apply it on your lips, the moisturizing hydra gel core melts into the more traditional lipstick outer layer and leaves you with a super glossy look.




Dior says the lipstick features a fluidity that ensures you can easily glide it onto the lips. In other words, this was the first time when women were finally able to save money and time by buying a single cosmetic product instead of two (a lipstick and a gloss).

According to the trials conducted on 30 women in 2015, around three quarters said they were happy with how their lips softer and seemed more voluminous after four weeks of regular use.



Dior Rouge Lipstick – Natalie Portman & Monica Bellucci


The first formula for Dior Rouge Lipstick was launched in 2006, with Monica Bellucci as the face of the collection. The sultry Italian model and actress promoted Rouge Dior as a long-lasting, smooth lipstick. The ingredients are meant to moisturize, soothe, and protect your lips with a creamy and soft texture.

The Rouge line promises maximum comfort for all women. Meanwhile, the 2006 collection seemed to offer an endless range of trendy and creative colors that made it incredibly easy to find the ideal lip shade. But things got even better last year, when Dior decided it was time for a do-over.




So, in 2016, Dior released a new formula for Dior Rouge Lipstick. The revamped collection brought 35 luxe satin and 15 long-wearing matte formulas launched in five different categories of shades. By now you’re probably familiar with “Iconic Reds,” “Natural Nudes,” “Stunning Pinks,” “Splendid Corals,” and the street-style “Extreme Mattes.”

One of the best things about the new collection was the fact that #999 made a comeback in a pure matte finish. This lipstick is the modern reincarnation of Christian Dior’s original and oh-so-iconic #9 shade, which took color cues from the designer’s red couture dresses.

The new formula introduced 32 couture signature shades, providing your lips with full coverage and a superb satin finish. The innovative collection also boasted the addition of a marine crista extract that encourages cellular renewal, as well as hyaluronic acid for the plump feeling and moisturizing of the lips.



Dior’s Newest Lip Stain

In 2018, Dior launched a new line of lip stains, called the Rouge Dior Ultra Rouge lip stains. This is a lipstick that becomes a lip stain as you wear it. It is described as a “weightless, colored film” on your lips, and has a semi-matte finish. This will give you decent coverage without leaving your lips feeling dry or heavy.

This formula is much like an overprint, and is as close as you could get to tattooing your lips without actually tattooing your lips.

There are currently 25 shades available in the Ultra Rouge lipsticks, ranging from a soft nude to an orange tone to a bright pink.

Additionally, there are 12 shades of Rouge Dior Ink Liners. These are liquid lip liners that can be used under lipstick or on their own.

Finally, to round out the collection, there were two new nail polish shades released as part of the Dior Rouge Ultra Rouge line.

Sixty Decades of Dressing Women’s Smiles


Christian Dior opened its doors many decades ago and it’s not surprising lipstick was the first beauty product he created. The stand out shade in the collection is, evidently, #999 (which Natalie Portman sports in both of the pictures). Dior No. 999 is the star of the collection. This lipstick got its code from the first red shades created by the label – the number 9 and the number 99.

Known as “The Dior Red”, this shade is said to be the right kind of red shade, one that every woman can wear. And when you see Natalie Portman’s glam, you really start to believe it can be true. The weight and the creaminess of the new formula is what impressed thousands of women so far.

You might think you’re not a “red” person, but this shade is truly wearable. It looks slightly different on each woman (depending on skin tone) and it’s highly versatile. You can wear in various ways, such as full-on color out of the tube, or a little dab for a lighter, more “stained” look. You can even combine it with a light touch of clear gloss or Dior Lip Maximizer.


Monica Bellucci


Below are some of the bestselling Dior lipsticks that you should invest in. Not only will they make you feel like a goddess, but they will also make a great addition to anyone’s lipstick collection. One can never have too many, right?


Rouge Dior – Shade 671 Deauville


You wouldn’t usually think that this hot pink shadecould be a daily wear, but Dior pulls it off splendidly. It works perfectly with most shades and suits pretty much all skin tones. The solid pink gives you a natural shine without appearing overdone. The creamy texture is also quite satisfying and it allows the lipstick to spread easily and evenly. The #671 shade is luxurious, richly pigmented and highly hydrating. It’s enriched with marine crista which gives it a smooth look on the lips.

Buy now


Rouge Dior – Shade 543 Rendezvous


Neon is incredibly trendy and in fashion now, so this shadeis an excellent base that complements your neon garments. It works better with extreme skin colors than dull complexions. However, the shade presents itself as a casual-only party wear. The shade provides superior moisture and full coverage, while also creating a soft and radiant pout.

Buy now


Rouge Dior – Shade 565 Vogue


Natural pink and glitter particles for the win! This Vogue shade lives up to its name and gives your lips and amazing shine lips. It features natural extracts that protect the delicate skin of the lips and their original color. The lips are also highly hydrated while the lipstick manages to prevent problems like bleeding and cracking. It’s a pure expression of color with a tiny touch of couture. Yet again, Rouge Dior’s luxurious formula provides full coverage for smooth and supple lips.

Buy now


Rouge Dior – Nude Lip Blush Voluptuous Care – Shade 618


The make of this range of lipsticks is its specialty. Surprisingly, the entire Rouge range of lipsticks boasts ten times more hydrating properties than any other lipstick, as well as a high degree of care for your skin. Trust this shade to mix pink and red undertones to give your lips a vibrant look.

Buy now


Serum de Rouge – No. 215 Primrose Crystal Lip Treatment


Lip treatment sounds fancy, but so does Christian Dior. This slightly nude shade steps off the beaten path of the red couture and it does it in style. Everything about the hues spells “soft” and “glamorous,” allowing your lips to look lighter and vibrant. If you use it right, the shade will make your entire face look youthful and illuminated. Thanks to its high moisture content, the lip treatment is suitable for regular use.

Buy now


Rouge Dior – 771 Radiant Matte


The fresh and luminous red-coral is an irresistible must-have in anyone’s make-up bag. Inspired by the 080 Red shade created in 1959, this Rouge Dior product is a perfect illustration of the cult formula of 16h of comfort. No matter the color, no matter the finish satin or matte you choose, you’re bound to feel good wearing it. The formula is rich in natural hydrating mango butter and Aroelat Samphira for revitalization. As always, the highly pigmented couture matte finish never compromises on lasting comfort.

Buy now

Rouge Dior Baume – 538 Boréale


One of the freshest, most easy-wearing and protective of Rouge Dior products, this category is about ten times richer in natural origin lipcare ingredients than any generic brand of lipstick. Rouge Dior Baume promises comfort and heightened color radiance and it also delivers. Natural origin Crystal Oil lies at the heart of the formula, allowing revitalization and protection for the lips. In the end, what else do you wish for if not fine consistency and flawless hold? Your lips will be smoothed, plumped and intensely full.

Buy now

Dior is a household luxury brand because it truly is as high-quality as its marketed. You won’t be disappointed.

Fitbit Flex 2 Review: Motivation for a Healthier & Happier Life Right Now

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Credit: Amazon

Are you looking for a new technology device which can actually improve and enhance your life?

Well, the Fitbit Flex 2 is designed with that sole purpose in mind. In fact, it's created and engineered to monitor your health and fitness while jumping in during times when you need a little more motivation. The best part? -- It’s suitable for everyone! Let’s take a look at the history of the brand and why exactly you need one of these in your life.

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Credit: Amazon

A Bit About the Fitbit Flex 2

It doesn't matter who you are, sometimes we all need that extra push to get up and get moving. If you're looking to lose some weight or just become a bit more active, the Fitbit Flex 2 is the perfect solution for this. Let's find out about the brand and who this product is wonderful for.

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Fitbit's Background

Fitbit is headquartered in California and sells activity trackers and wearable technology devices to measure fitness data. The founders, Eric and James, realized that wireless technology had advanced into the fitness and health industry. In 2007, the founders began a journey to create a wearable product which could change the way people moved. The first product they ever released was the Fitbit Tracker.

Since their beginning, the company have introduced numerous fitness trackers to target different audiences and provide alternative features to a wide spectrum of people. In fact, Fitbit have won many awards, including ranking at 37 out of the 50 most innovative companies in 2016. They also landed a runner-up prize at TechCrunch50 in 2008.

Amazingly, a Fitbit actually helped to solve a murder in 2015. A man murdered his wife and framed the situation, telling the police that an intruder had broken into their home and shot his wife. However, her Fitbit tracker showed that she was at home at the time she was supposedly at the gym. Using her Fitbit data, analysts proved the husband’s story was false.

Beyond this though, the company is dedicated to designing health and fitness products which transform people’s lives. They believe that reaching your goals should feel possible, helping you feel empowered and strong along the way. 

Who is the Fitbit Flex 2 Great For?

The Fitbit Flex 2 is a great fitness device for people who need some additional health and fitness motivation. However, it’s also suitable for fitness advocates who want to see their fitness data in order to improve. If you’re someone who’s looking to push themselves when working out and wants to improve their form and results, the Fitbit Flex 2 is a great product for you.

This device is smaller than previous models, which is great if you’re looking for a basic version which you can wear daily. The band is narrow to contour the wrist snuggly, and is made of more supple materials than previously. Consequently, it’s great for anyone searching for an elegant design which doesn’t look too obvious. You can wear it in the gym, whilst sleeping and even at your local bar, without looking out of place.

Designed for functionality and an attractive appeal, it’s the ultimate solution for a fitness tracker which looks like jewelry. The bands are less plain than they used to be, so it doesn’t feel coarse against your skin. So, anyone wearing it doesn’t need to worry that it’ll be uncomfortable and irritating after a few hours. You can even customize the bands to suit your outfit each time.

What Are The Best Uses for the Fitbit Flex 2?

Using the Fitbit Flex 2 is easier than competitive fitness trackers. For the ultimate use of this device, we recommend informing the app which wrist you’re wearing it on, since extra movement can impact your records. Put the wristband so that the coloured LED light is closest to the outside of your wrist. Make sure that the tracker isn’t constricting on the wrist, as this can restrict blood flow. However, it shouldn’t be so loose that it doesn’t recognize each step.

The best use for this device is to create daily goals suited to your lifestyle. When you are setting it up, determine where you are in your health journey and where you’d like to be at. The Personal Goal Setting helps you set realistic and achievable targets around exercise, sleep, diet, weight and even daily steps. If there are ever any changes to your weight or health, ensure that you communicate this with your app for the most accurate readings possible each day.

We love that you can set a sleep goal and a sleep schedule. Scheduling a 30-minute alert before your bedtime target helps you to maintain a consistent sleep pattern each night. Experts found that this may benefit your health and improve your mood the following day.

Features & Benefits of The Fitbit Flex 2

The Fitbit Flex 2 received an immense amount of positive feedback during its launch, and we’re not surprised why. This device arrived in late 2016, and added more customization and water resistance qualities compared to previous models. All of this is squashed into a smaller band which some say is more practical for daily use.

1. Activity Checking

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Credit: Amazon

The Fitbit Flex 2 features an all-day tracking system for a variety of activities. This includes: steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, hourly activity and even how much time you’ve remained stationary. Naturally, this is one of the best features of this product and the main reason people purchase it.

Specifically, the Fitbit accurately counts how many steps you achieve each day. It also sets friendly reminders to encourage you to get up and move once an hour. As many of us lead a sedentary life, this is a motivational feature to get your heart beating and give you the chance to burn some extra calories each day. Also, by presenting how many hours you’ve actively moved each day, you can reflect on this using the data charts presented to you in the app. As the Fitbit Flex 2 also informs of how much time you haven’t moved each day, this is excellent motivation to improve your fitness for the following days.

This device accurately calculates how many calories you burn during exercise, movement and just according to your body size. Consequently, you can monitor how hard you’re working during vigorous exercise to improve your fitness/weight-loss goals. Subsequently, you can even input the type of exercise you’re undoing for an even more accurate read. For example, this includes: aerobics, cardio, weights etc.

2. Smartphone Notifications

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Credit: Amazon

Another of our favourite features of the Fitbit Flex 2 is that it automatically receives smartphone notifications. Get call and text notifications at your wrist each time someone tries to contact you. With a unique vibration pattern and colour-coded LED lights for calls and texts, you can easily differentiate between the two.

This is a great feature of the device because it reduces the amount of time you check your phone for messages. It’s also a handy method to receive a notification without having your phone to hand.

By having smartphone notifications, it enables you to get on with your day and workouts, without having your phone right next to you. Although you can’t reply to texts or answer calls from the Fitbit Flex 2, if the call is important enough, you can stop what you’re doing and proceed to respond.

3. It’s Water-resistant

fitbit flex 2, fitbit flex, fitbit 2, flex 2, fitbit bracelet, fitbit wristband, fitbit flex 2 bands

Credit: Amazon

Unlike previous Fitbit products, the Fitbit Flex 2 is water-resistant. Consequently, you can wear it in the shower, pool or ocean with up to 164 feet (50 meters) of water. This amazing feature means that you don’t have to take your watch off when you’re showering or washing the dishes. As a result, you can constantly track your fitness activity all day, every day, without even taking it off.

We recommend installing the Fitbit mobile app if you enjoy swim workouts. The app automatically detects swimming after 15 minutes, although you can change this setting. It’ll then calculate the number of lengths you swam during your workouts, as well as including additional details such as calories burned and the amount of time you swam. Many past users confidently said that this accurate records swimming workout data. There are certain limitations in which it’ll work in water. For example, we don’t recommend harsh water temperatures, or placing it near water jets.

4. Sleep Tracking and Silent Alarm

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Credit: Fitbit

The Fitbit Flex 2 automatically tracks your sleep quality when you wear it overnight. Instead of taking it off before bedtime, keep it on to analyze your sleeping pattern each night. This is a great feature because you can see how much sleep you are actually getting each time to encourage yourself to get up early or hit the sack earlier.

This device records different sleep stages. This includes light and deep sleep. When there’s less brain activity then REM sleep and non-rapid eye movement, you’ll be in and out of light and deep sleep. REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) is a stage in which you experience vivid dreams, and this stage is typically longer as the night goes on. The Fitbit Flex 2 measures each sleep stages using a software to detect brain activity in addition to eye and muscle activity. When you haven’t moved in around an hour, the tracker assumes you’re asleep. Additional data, such as rolling over and the time you move confirms if you’re asleep or not. Whilst you’re asleep, the device tracks your heartbeat, which regularly fluctuates as you transition between the different stages of sleep.

Sync your device in the morning to look at your sleep cycles from previous nights. The published data shows how your sleep stage compares to other nights and compared to other people with a similar age range.

5. Specifications

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Credit: Fitbit

The Fitbit Flex 2 comes with a removable tracker and two classic wristbands (in small and large), plus a charging cable. You can customize its appearance to your preferences and tastes. The LED display with five indicator lights is a stylish screen to see your fitness activity and calls and texts on your screen. Simply tap the screen twice to see your progress against your main goals so you can see if you’re on track for your daily goals.

With a battery life of up to five days, it’s a great device to wear on a daily basis without taking it off each day. It only takes around one to two hours to fully charge, so you can give it a boost during your rest days. Of course, this battery life depends on your activity and how much time you spend on the device.

As for memory, the Fitbit Flex 2 saves seven days of detailed motion data minute by minute and saves daily totals for the past 30 days. We love this feature because it ensures that you can reach your past data without it taking up too much storage space on your phone.

The Fitbit Flex 2 wristband is made from a flexible, durable material similar to that used in sports watches. It also has a surgical-grade stainless steel clasp and comes in a modern design. Using Bluetooth wireless technology, the Fitbit sends smartphone notifications and syncs automatically to computers and over 200+ mobile devices.

6. SmartTrack

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Credit: Fitbit

The Fitbit Flex 2 automatically recognizes select activities and records them in the exercise section of the Fitbit app. Specifically, it recognizes: walking, running, outdoor biking, elliptical and swimming. It does this by categorizing the activity into sport or aerobic workout. For sport, this includes high-movement sports such as basketball, soccer, tennis and more. For aerobic workout, this includes activities with continuous movement, such as dancing, cardio-kickboxing, Zumba and more.

Look at your Fitbit app dashboard afterwards to see your exercise history, and look into how many calories you burned and duration. However, distance and pace aren’t included. If you’d prefer, you can stop your device from automatically recognizing your exercise types. For example, turn off the Swim recognization when you’re not at the pool so you can preserve battery life. If you find that your Fitbit Flex 2 mistakes movements as exercise, you can turn off this automatic recognition. It’ll recognize any exercise which lasts for at least 15 minutes. You can adjust this time to 10 minutes, or increase it to up to 90 minutes.

7. Thin and Light Design

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Credit: Fitbit

The Fitbit Flex 2 is thin, light and 30 percent smaller than the first Fitbit model. It’s a great option for those who are looking for a fitness band which isn’t as large as traditional smartwatches. As it’s small and dainty, it looks similar more like an elegant bracelet, which doesn’t get in the way. As it’s slim and comfortable, it’s a great device to wear daily and is even small enough to wear with a watch alongside without looking like you’re wearing too much jewelry.

The band is around one centimeter wide and the width is more-or-less the same across the entire tracker. However, the make-up of the Fitbit Flex 2 is the same as before. But it does come in a small and sleeker package. You can replace the bands and get versions which are more colourful and exciting than the one it comes with. These rubbery straps add flexibility and durability to the watch, so you can move your wrist around without even feeling like you’re wearing one.  

What Users Have to Say About Fitbit Flex 2

Most comments surrounding the Fitbit Flex 2 focus on how it motivates them to exercise and get up and move around. Many even commented that it focused them to sleep better and get enough rest at night. The main reason people might purchase this particular Fitbit model is because it’s a fitness tracker which resembles a bracelet. At the same time, it’s successful at measuring sleep and workouts activities.


  • plus
    Waterproof and works extremely well
  • plus
    Accurate calorie tracking
  • plus
    Resembles a bracelet, and is thin and stylish


  • close
    No on-screen data to check throughout the day
  • Battery doesn’t last as long as previous models

Some may be disappointed that the Fitbit Flex 2 doesn’t have a screen like other trackers. As such, you’re can’t familiarize yourself with your activity throughout the day. On the other hand, this is because this model targets a different user type, and it does sync automatically for the app for you to regularly check. If you’re wondering how it reminds you to move, it comes in a vibration mode or light. This is similar to previous Fitbits, but without the additional on-screen text.  

Alternative Fitness Trackers to Consider

If you’re looking for an alternative product to the Fitbit Flex 2, we’ve found some excellent devices which offer some additional features. Let’s take a look at three of our best findings…

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Credit: Amazon

If you’re looking for a fitness tracker with a screen, then the Fitbit Charge 2 might be a suitable alternative for you. Similar to its sister Fitbit Flex 2, this previous version provides an excellent understanding of your fitness level so you can see how you might need to improve over time. We love the additional connected GPS function during run mode to see real-time stats, such as pace and the distance. As it doesn’t offer as many features as the Fitbit Flex 2 – such as water-resistance, it’s battery life lasts a lot longer.

The OLED display helps you to read texts and calendar notifications unlike the Fitbit Flex 2. You also have the option of reading data on the go, instead of waiting for the analytics to sync to the app. This device is also more suited to athletes. If you like to track your data instantly and monitor your heart rate whilst you’re working out, you’ll love this device. It accurately and instantly reacts to location of device, heart rate, step counts and calories burned. Keep on track throughout the day by regularly checking the data on your wrist. This device also looks like the part, unlike a dainty accessory.

Credit: Amazon

The Aneken fitness tracker offers you the abilities of a Fitbit at a more affordable cost and then some. If you are looking to keep track of your activity level all while monitoring your health, this wrist device will give you what you have been looking for. Capable of operating for 6-8 days on just a single charge of the battery, this tracker watch is especially useful to those who wish to keep an eye on their heart rate, which the device will automatically keep track of so you can share the data with your doctor if you have concerns. It also monitors your sleeping data so you can work to improve the quality of your slumber. 

In addition, the device can alert you to phone calls and texts once you connect it via Bluetooth, so you'll never miss a call again, and provides social media notifications as well. You also don't have to worry about getting it wet because it is sealed by the highest level IP68 waterproof material. Just understand that it won't be able to monitor your heart rate while under water. And it comes with a clear viewing screen with the perfect brightness so that you can look at your tracker watch despite bright sunlight or the dark of night.

Compatible with Bluetooth 4.0, IOS 7.1 or above and Android 4.4 or above, this device comes with a 60 day money back guarantee and a two year warranty complete with lifetime technical support. 

Perfect for men, women and kids, this watch is like having multiple devices in one on your wrist at all times. And, again, it's one of the most inexpensive options on the market, so you're getting a lot for your hard-earned money.

3. LYOU Fitness Tracker

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Credit: Amazon

This multi-function fitness tracker comes with a variety of functions which can track your daily activities, at a cheaper price to the Fitbit Flex 2. In addition to an alarm clock alert, it also features a low-battery reminder, anti-lost alert and remote camera control compared to the Fitbit Flex 2. These are useful features if you’re prone to losing your devices. We love that the app supports a variety of smartphones with Bluetooth, though their friendly customer service will always assist if you encounter any compatibility problems.

The control feature enables you to control the phone shutter to take pictures, as well as tap the screen to switch to the next song. This is particularly useful if you enjoy listening to music whilst working out. As such, you can continue exercising and alter your playlist. Also, the real-time vibration reminder is a lot more accurate than the Fitbit Flex 2, with no delays between texts and a notification.

Would You Purchase the Fitbit Flex 2?

After reading the features and benefits of owning a Fitbit Flex 2, are you interested in purchasing one? When setting it up, it will flash and vibrate to greet you. The top light changes colour several times before continuously flashing blue. When you put the tracker in the wristband and pair it to your phone, all five lights flash until you’re promoted to tap the tracker. It’s that simple to pair it to your phone.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this fitness tracker. Leave a comment to keep this conversation going.

Recession-proof your wealth the low-risk way

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Image via Pexels

All signs are pointing to an imminent recession, despite how good the economy looks at the moment. No doubt if you pay attention to the news, you’ve noticed it as well – and you may be asking yourself what you can do to protect your wealth in the meantime.

Of those who have already noticed, they’ve taken specific actions to protect their assets, and it’s not too late for you to do so too – although keep in mind that everyone is different, and no two portfolios are alike.

One financial planner, Ashley Folkes, who is senior vice president of the Arizona based Moors & Cabot wealth management firm, said that the pattern of protecting and growing wealth among the “high-net-worth clients” has become commonplace. However, the way they do so depends entirely on how much risk the clients are willing to take.

She said:

“Currently, I’m seeing the conversations with investors shifting to a slightly more defensive stance.”

Folkes added that “high-quality fixed income and even alternatives” are one way to go in a market that’s volatile. So how do they do it?

Moving away from bonds

According to Business Insider, bond yields seem to have reversed as of August, meaning short-term bonds are more valuable of late, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Instead of increasing wealth, the increased volatility in the market could mean loss – and a lot of it in a recession. In other words, limit your bond investments to limit your risk of loss.

Keep your cash

Another financial planner, Samuel Boyd, says that holding onto cash is the way to go to “maintain liquidity” and stay recession-proof. Or at very least, mitigate your risk during a recession.

Low-risk ETF investments

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are another type of low-risk investment that wealth managers are directing their clients‘ investments. This offers their clients the ability to buy and sell with market fluctuations just like they can do with stocks. Folkes says of investing in ETFs that they could also:

“…Shift more to high-quality dividend-paying companies that have shown historically he can handle prolonged periods of weakness in the market by having low debt and solid balance sheets.”

Reduce debt

A New Jersey financial planner says that those clients who aren’t changing their portfolios to mitigate recession risk are instead paying down debts. By doing so now, clients can save a bunch of money because interest rates are still so low.

Don’t play to emotions

Avoiding knee-jerk reactions is something every wealth manager and financial planner try to instill into their clients. In other words, while protecting your assets is always the best course of action, you don’t necessarily want to reallocate investments simply because the market changes on a whim.

It might be to your advantage to wait out any fluctuations and keep with your original long-term goals after weighing asset allocation, portfolio mix, and tolerance to risk.


Featured Image via Pexels

Go off-roading in style with this custom-built luxury RV: Meet the Commander 8×8

commander 8x8, luxury RV, two story rv
Image: Courtesy SLRV

Just about everyone dreams of traveling somewhere for fun at some point in their lives. Some people even go as far as to pack up and live life to the fullest in an RV, forgoing the usual amenities. Often, those who do tend to want to downsize. There are those, however, who want to turn their “downsized” RV into a palace, complete with all the amenities they could ever want or need so that they can live it up in the same luxury that they do at home. Enter the Commander 8×8, a luxury RV by SLRV Expedition Vehicles.

Built to custom specifications for an eight-person family in Australia, this is a two-story RV built for luxury and off-road fun. SLRV Expedition Vehicles has been building it since May of this year and said that it took a full six months to come up with the final design.

commander 8x8, luxury RV, rv blueprints, custom rv, rv design
Image: Courtesy SLRV

Its two-story design sits on a chassis that has military-grade truck specs and is German-made. SLRV said of the build that is:

“…One of the biggest, most technically advanced expedition trucks to wander this planet. This two storey (sic) beast will use some of the world’s latest innovations, to provide the owner with a fully equipped, self-sufficient, luxury mega machine.”

Because the family that ordered the custom made luxury RV essentially wants a “self-sufficient house on wheels,” the company is using a power system by Mastervolt, which is made especially for this custom design. This system will run various voltages as well as a three-phase system, a 48V alternator that can charge while driving – the first alternator of its kind, according to SLRV. Additional power elements include a gas generator and a photovoltaic setup complete with “six 360Ah lithium batteries.”

Also custom built is the “marine-style” AC system that will cost upwards of $35,000, and the actuators needed to lift the second story.

commander 8x8, luxury RV, electrical
Image: Courtesy SLRV

According to reports, the second story will cater to the family’s kids, complete with two beds and television. To access the second story, a stairway will be built. The first floor will house the master bedroom and ensuite, a kitchen, and a lounge, complete with all of the amenities from home — and then some. Additionally, a second king-size bed is available that easily pulls out over the cab that sleeps an extra two people. Other amenities include double everything – cooktops, convection ovens, and fridges, among others.

When finished, this luxury two-story RV will be about 30 feet long and just over 12 feet tall while driving. And, while this certainly isn’t the most expensive RV in the world, it does come close. According to SLRV, the vehicle’s price before converting it is about $500,000 by itself. When all is said and done, it’ll come in somewhere between $1 million and $2 million for the 20-ton luxury off-road RV.

Although no images are available of the custom interior as of yet, you can be sure that SLRV will want to show it off as soon as they do become available.


Featured Image: Courtesy SLRV Expedition Vehicles




Is Haute Couture Still Relevant Today? Definition and Examples

Marion Cotillard Dior Magazine

There’s a complex meaning behind the label “haute couture”. The two words represent fashion in its most rarefied form, clothing made entirely by hand, and the use of designing techniques unimaginable elsewhere. Nowhere else in the fashion sector do people spend hundreds – sometimes thousands – creating a single garment. Therefore, this elevated segment of fashion is crucial as it keeps specialist crafts alive and well. But even though it’s a direct link to the 18th and 19th centuries, many people have starting asking Is haute couture still relevant today?

“I think there’s still a fantasy element to haute couture that makes it the pinnacle of fashion,” said Susie Bubble in a Vogue interview. “In an age when fashion is so readily available in many guises and forms,” she says, “haute couture with its petites mains, time-consuming processes, and ateliers is the diametric opposite of fast and accessible fashion.” And her simple words manage to elegantly capture the transformative essence of this centuries-old tradition.

Definition of Haute Couture

According to Paola Di Trocchio, haute couture the transcendent expression of fashion blending with art. It is fashion presented on the body and worn for the pleasure of the eye. On the other hand, it’s also a sector that perfectly represents a high level of craftsmanship. The medium really shines through the specialist skills behind haute couture. The couturiers – in the original, pure sense of the word – illustrate the best that fashion has to offer.

As with other types of fashion, haute couture claims several schools of thought. The unequivocally French craft demands recognition, since it can be traced back to the court of Marie Antoinette. However, the first official couturier was not French. It was an Englishman, Charles Frederick Worth, who in 1858 opened the very first couture house. Worth also receives credit for establishing what we know today as the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. This official body is responsible with deciding which fashion houses may enter the ‘haute couture’ segment. These maisons must meet rigorous criteria, including employing over 20 full-time staff, creating made-to-measure clothing with several fittings at least twice per year, and opening an atelier in Paris.

Chanel couture fall 2016
Chanel couture, Fall 2016 / Credit

Is Haute Couture Still Relevant Today?

But times have changed. We now live in an age where immediacy dominates over everything else and everyone considers choice as a basic human right. In a time when “here and now” rules, people have started debating the relevancy of haute couture. Some argue this fashion segment is nothing but a dusty tradition originating in French arrogance. Meanwhile, others believe it is and it should be preserved as an art form. Haute couture is, for the latter category, the fundamental expression of a designer’s skill and talent.

But it is perhaps more significant to ask what haute couture represents for fashion today. These ideas have been gradually absorbed into ready-to-wear collections. Many high fashion houses have caved in and created their own ready-to-wear segments, allowing the fantastical and haute couture to step into the realm of the everyday.

Haute couture is a French term (it means ‘high sewing or tailoring’) representing the highest, most select work of a major fashion house. However, not all fashion houses create a haute couture line. The term describes only those outfits custom-by one of the big designers of the time. When we say big designers, we think of John Galliano for Dior, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, or Yves Saint Laurent/Tom Ford for Yves St Laurent. Most haute couture houses produce only about 1,500 dresses each year.

Examples of Haute Couture Houses

The clothes designed by major fashion houses continue to offer the best examples of haute couture handcraft. The craftsman skill transpires through the garments encrusted with microscopic sequins, glimmering with iridescence, hand-embroidered flowers, and degrading into ostrich feathers. Chanel is one of the champions of these well-preserved artisan-forms. They even bought several specialist workshops – including the embroidery house Lesage – to make sure Chanel survives the twenty-first century. As a result, their hard work has become essential to the magical terrain that is haute couture. Here are some other fashion houses that create elegant haute couture collections.

• Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent is one of the couturiers that simply revolutionized the 20th-century fashion. Like many others, he started out his career under the watchful mentorship of another designer: Christian Dior. Yves Saint Laurent showed great eminence from a young age, which is why he became Dior’s haute couture designer when the designer died in 1957. He took the reins of the fashion house when he was just 21 years old. All throughout his career, Saint became the greatest designer in the industry.

• Christian Lacroix

Ever since Christian Lacroix became a couture house in 1987, its style was popular for standing out in its exuberance, uniqueness and baroque nature. The Hispanic inspirations and colors, the innovative forms borrowed from theatrical – these are just some of the features that make Christian Lacroix an absolute sensation in fashion circles. The House of Christian Lacroix today still conserves its heritage of exceptional richness. With innovations and talent, the Studio of the House is pushing its limits by reviving the signature themes of the Lacroix House.

• Chanel

Chanel is the name that instantly springs to mind when one thinks of luxury, high fashion, and to-die-for glamour. Famous for Little Black dresses, quilted bags, and that iconic double C logo, the French haute couture house is one of the most well-known brands in the world. Chanel revolutionized haute couture by creating comfortable, casual suits and dresses. The label made them popular at a time when the fashion world favored constricting corsets and frowned upon casual attire. Chanel will always be one of the most glamorous fashion houses in the world, creating new designs for us to lust after season after season.

• Christian Dior

The house of Christian Dior is more than a leading modern fashion giant. It’s also a brand that boasts timeless designs and an incredibly rich history. From the very beginning in Paris to the steady global expansion, this label has never stopped surprising the fashion world with its magical collections and original approach to fashion. In 1995, The Dior Haute Couture founded its standalone division for high fashion called Christian Dior Couture. Starting with Christian Dior himself, Yves Saint Laurent and then John Galliano, the house never lacked a genius mind at the helm.

• Givenchy

“His are the only clothes in which I am myself. He is far more than a couturier, he is a creator of personality,” is what Audrey Hepburn said about Hubert de Givenchy.

Praised by some of the most iconic stars of the 20th Century – from Grace Kelly, and Elizabeth Taylor to Jackie Kennedy and his most famous muse Audrey Hepburn – Givenchy speaks of a legacy synonymous with Parisian chic for over 50 years. In 1952, he established a couture house called la Maison Givenchy. It was soon after that when he launched his debut Separates collection. Two years later in 1954, Givenchy became the first couturier to extend into the luxury ready-to-wear sector. After Givenchy sold his label in 1988, the business only went from strength to strength under some of the industry’s most brilliant designers.

Valentino Haute Couture
Keira Knightley for Valentino Haute Couture / Credit

Haute Couture Today

In spite of the incredible success of haute couture among the wealthy, the fashion community in general, has slowly lost interest. One of the reasons is the gradual sterilization of individual style. Trends have become the norm. Therefore, luxury fashion houses cannot ignore them, forced to create clothing collections based on the year’s biggest trends. That’s how major haute couture houses have started creating fewer collections based on genius and innovation.

For instance, the legendary Christian Lacroix fashion house used to dominate the industry from the late 80s up until its concluding collection in 2009. But even though Lacroix was one of the most iconic designers of his time, his brand failed to turn any profit. Ultimately, the house closed its doors, plagued by massive debts and ebbing public interest. Other design houses like Hanae Mori, Ungaro, and – most recently – Saint Laurent, have also halted their production of haute couture. The expense of creating such pieces combined with the lack of clientele is no longer enough to justify its production.

In the end, if we question the relevance of haute couture, we question fashion itself. Without couture, fashion will soon start to become irrelevant. There is no story to tell. Without haute couture, the fashion industry will turn into yet another industrial engine, pumping out plain clothes that simply represent profit and uniformity.

Header Image: Marion Cotillard Dior Magazine, vogue.com



Style Hunter

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