Archive | July, 2013

Too warm or too cold?

28 Jul

Photo 27-07-13 6 34 25 PMPhoto 26-07-13 9 14 15 AMIt’s heat wave in Paris. We are not used to have 30C or 100F so we had to avoid melting down and decided to buy the Dyson hot+cold.
Why this model ?
Because
. Mr Dyson discovered the Air multiplier technology (meaning faster cooling or heating).
. when is cold during the winter it’s also great to have an extra heater in the apartment that you can move from the sitting room to the bedroom, so I have a two in one (only one machine to store instead of two)
. there’s no blades to harm you or to clean (I’m not good at cleaning anyway)
. it’s looks sleek and cool (matching my style)

Let’s open the box! Inside I found the hot+cool, it’s remote control and a thick operating manual (only 2 pages are important, the rest will help you extend your language skills to Dutch, Polish, Russian, …).

Photo 28-07-13 12 42 05 PMThe remote control is small and light, you won’t lose it as it’s magnetised and Photo 28-07-13 12 40 59 PMwill rest on the top of the hot+cool.
The functions on the remote are the following:
. start/stop,
. choice between hot (red dot) or cold (blue dot)function,
. rotation
. setting of the temperature when on heating mode (you’ll see the temperature on the base of the hot+cool) or of the strengths of the wind when in cold mode (small dot to the big dot)

When you check online you will see lots of people complaigning about the noise. I decided to use the great app called “Decibel” to check it out.
Photo 28-07-13 12 47 30 PMThe hot+cool will warm you or cool you down with up to 10 levels of wind!
. Level1 57db (average quiet street),
. level2 59db,
. level3 61db,
. level4 63db (average normal conversation),
. level 5 66db,
. level6 68db,
. level7 68db,
. level8 70db (average inside car),
. level9 71db,
. level10 73db.
In comparison, I checked the noise made by the fans we use at the office. I picked different models, all working full speed due to the heat, and they go from 68 to 76db!

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So the Dyson hot+cool is noisy but just like any other standard fans.

Great to mention that the fan pivots on its own centre of gravity, so you can direct the airflow to your face, body or legs … really cool and handy.

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ChaseIt because
. It ‘s great to have a fan without the blades (no more stress for the kids or animals to get hurt)
. It’s easy to move it from one room to another
. It will cool you down and also warm you up, an all in one saving you storage space
. As with every Dyson machine, design and performances are the key

BChased because
. It’s expensive and if you only need a fan, you can get one below the 60$

Keep on driving and don’t forget to toast …

22 Jul

Photo 16-07-13 4 40 47 PMIt all started in New york and its hot dogs and Los Angeles with its tacos. In Belgium we didn’t have trucks but “Frit kots” (a cabin which sells french frites) and “charettes a escargots” (a wheeled table with a hot pot of sea snails boiling all day long).
Now, the food trucks revolution is on, and many food trucks are operating in Paris, London, … and even Brussels. I love food trucks, I would dream of a bubble tea food truck stopping in front of the office … Maybe one day …

Photo 16-07-13 4 33 17 PM

Anyway, I met Jean-Baptiste, the dynamic owner of @keepontoasting on a market in Brussels last Sunday and he told me his story from the kitchen to the steering wheel of his truck to sell the best toasties in the country!

How did you decided to go on the road and buy your truck ? Tell us about your truck ? The customisations you did.

The foodtruck industry is big in the US and in Asia already, I thought there were no reason that Belgian customers can’t get a decent Photo 16-07-13 4 42 56 PMmeal on the street.
So I decided to use my experience as a skilled cook to improve the current offer.

The truck is a tailor-made brandnew one that a bought from a specialised company. There are two big fridges, another for the drinks and a large gas griddle to cook the toasties.

Why did you chose to become the specialist of the toast ?

Gourmet toastie or grilled cheese is a classic that everyone can rely to.
But it’s very customisable as a dish so I can show my creativity to surprise and impress customers.

The menu is rich and changes depending on the market.
The bread is made with spelt flour and bio veggies, … Jean-Baptistery cares about you and uses the best products for his toasties.
Photo 16-07-13 4 41 34 PM

How does you day looks like ?

I wake up early around 5am then I go to the garage. The baker delivers my spelt bread directly in the truck there.
Then I start to ride the truck to the early market at 6am to get the best daily vegetables, dairy products and meat. I go park at the day’s location to prepare the toasties and the daily dessert. I usually open from noon to 2pm and elsewhere from 5pm to 9pm.

Where can we find you ?

You can easily find the truck on a daily basis on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. The weekly schedule is on the website http://www.keepontoasting.be

Into good street food ? So start chasing the food trucks around the world, my favorites are
In NYC,
@waffletruck, the best Belgian waffles in the world!
@PhilSteaks, the authentic Philly Cheesesteak

In Paris,
@lecamionquifume, the specialist of the burger on wheels
@cantinecali, the 1st bio food truck

In Brussels,
@keepontoasting, the best toasties
@welovemellow, frozen yogurt truck

In Miami,
@bobastation, the bubble tea truck

The Man-Pack, up close and personal

15 Jul

Earlier we were introduced to the Man-Pack thanks to an interview with its designer Aaron Tweedie.
This time, we will check it out closer and highlight every details that make the difference with a regular bag … Man-Pack, the test.

Photo 2-07-13 6 30 22 PMThe material is a soft cotton, looking good and not scratchy when wearing tank tops.

The inside, good capacity with enough space to carry
Photo 2-07-13 6 29 49 PM. an iPad,
. a solar panel Nomad13
. a Guide10 and Sherpa50 external batteries from Goal Zero.

The big zipped pocket in the back is great for wallet, cards, small change, metro card…
The other inside pockets (3) are small but great for cables and earphones.

To zip your bag you have 2 zippers easy to secure with a S-biner or a lock (this is handy when taking the metro and you want to avoid shoplifting).
Photo 2-07-13 10 21 45 PMThe outside, one front magnetic pocket ready to welcome my Blackberry.
Possibility to clip 3 pens. Also on the right side of the pack, there’s a smart retractable netted pocket where I can store safely my Brita bottle, love it!

Photo 2-07-13 10 28 35 PM (HDR)On the back of the bag, there’s an easy to reach zipped pocket where I store my metro card, business cards and small change. Very handy.
The strap is wide and distribute well the weight on the shoulder and back.
There’s a small magnetic pocket on the strap where I hide my tissues.

So … ChaseIt or BChased ?
ChaseIt because its a good product (plain and simple) you’ll have pleasure to carry around during your urban adventures.
It’s useful, and you’ll have plenty of spaces to store what’s important to you.

Don’t wait anymore, you still have time to back this project on Kickstarter, go back the Man-Pack 😉

Empty pockets but … full holster!

10 Jul

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Wherever you go, you always carry with you a phone and a wallet. With bulging pockets and sagging jacket pockets and ugly cell phone belt clips, the LD West team gives you another solution, the LD West Holster. Here’s their interview.

Photo 9-07-13 7 33 47 AMHow did you come up with the idea of a holster to free your pockets and store your phone and wallet safely during your busy day out ? What is the DNA of your brand and key values ?
The idea of a holster has always been something we all loved. It always looked so cool in movies, especially when worn on the original Miami Vice (we love that show!). One day while we were out to lunch, someone commented how they hated sitting on their wallet and emptying their pockets every time they took a seat. This got us to brain storm and we just happen catch a glimpse of a movie that same day where a guy in a suit was wearing a holster. The idea just clicked and that’s when we started with the whole concept of the holster to carry a wallet and your cell phone.

We strive to create a product that is superior in every aspect. We actually had a previous version of the holster which we dubbed V1. That model is obsolete and we no longer sell it. When we look back at that model, we laugh! It’s not comparable in any way, but if it wasn’t for that model, we wouldn’t be here today with the new one. The concept was cool and it stirred up a lot of buzz and we actually sold a few, but the utility, functionality and design of the product was sub-par, and it wasn’t the most comfortable thing to wear. All those issues have now been addressed with the new version. We have a solid team, each one of us is an over achiever in everything we do. We always do our best rather than trying to compete. When you compete, you never really do your best. The focus becomes on trying to finish first or be the best, but in the process, you end up taking short cuts and therefor never really doing your best. We took over a year to design this model. Our key values are to ensure we deliver a superior product in every aspect. At the end of each task, we ask ourselves; “did we do our best?” That’s how we approached this entire project and that’s how we continue to approach every task we encounter.

Why the name “LD West”?
The name LD WEST is somewhat of a mystery! The appropriate question should be: What do you think it stands for?

How many prototypes did you guys make before the LD West definitive Holster ? Photo 9-07-13 7 34 10 AM
We have large sized box filled with prototypes. To get to the final design you see today, we designed and built over 19 prototypes. That doesn’t include the samples we did once we were happy with the design we have now. We had so many minor tweaks and changes to do once we agreed to the final design that affected the overall functionality of the holster. You can actually see a glimpse of some of the prototypes in our Indiegogo campaign video.

Can you introduce us to the team behind this project?
The team consists of Julian Tamin, Justin Keszei and Jerry Surlaya.
Julian is a graphics and marketing genius (to say the least)! He hordes so many more talents and skills, that it amazes us every time he brings something new to the table. Half the time we didn’t even know he could do whatever the task at hand was! He has a lot of experience under his belt and is incredibly talented. He is a man of little words but when he does speak, you better listen because whatever he says is gold. The gears are always turning inside his head, 24/7! He barely sleeps! He is a born business man and has the ability to take anything he touches to the top! Throw him a room full of strangers, and by the end of the night, he will be everyone’s best friend!
Justin is an artist at heart with an eccentric but yet very likeable and animated personality. Anyone he comes into contact with is unable to break away. They just seem to want to be around him and hear what he has to say! He literally has a magnetic personally. Aside from being very talented in the arts, he has the motivation and ambition to succeed and perfect everything little thing he does. He was a key player in achieving to get the final design on lock down! He is a man with many talents and people should watch out for this one! If they don’t know about his work, they will very soon! Keep an eye out for him!
Jerry lives and breathes business. He is talented and informed in every aspect of business as if it’s instinctual for him. Money is his motivator and he has been on the grind ever since he was about seven years old. He has had several various business ventures and is always open to new ideas and avenues. He takes pride in everything he does and does not accept no for an answer! He is incredibly ambitious, motivated and a dedicated hard worker. He is a great salesman, leader, and entrepreneur and business man.

What guided you when choosing every component of the LD West Holster ?

How do you select the material used to produce the holster ?
Photo 9-07-13 7 35 07 AMWhat guided you when choosing every component of the LD West Holster ?
How do you select the material used to produce the holster ?
If you look at our logo, it has an old western influence, something from the Wild West as inspiration. We knew we wanted to use leather due to the fact that leather ages beautifully and is durable and timeless. Our original holster very much reflected the old western theme. Our new holster is sleek, refined, sophisticated, modern and functional. The design elements still stand; to create a timeless piece that will evolve as time goes on, while still maintaining to be a quality built product made with the best leathers and materials available. The suspender material is superior to the typical suspender type material you Photo 9-07-13 7 34 57 AMnormally find. We used a thick, tight weave, suspender webbing that allows for maximum comfort and assures confidence that your belongings are safe and secure but without compromising your mobility. The hardware will not rust or wear out. They are tough and easy enough to access but strong enough not to let go. All of our leathers and materials will not bleed or lose color. That was very important to us due to the nature of the product and how it is worn. We wanted to ensure we created a quality product over all, so designing it first hand and manufacturing it in North America was our plan form the beginning. We take great pride that everything is done within the GTA(Greater Toronto Area) and most importantly, keeping it North American to help stimulate our economy.

Where are you now ? What’s the status of the LD West Holster ?
At the moment, we are raising the remaining funds needed to complete our first large scale production run. We have decided to use Indiegogo as our main tool to accomplish this. Once we raise the capital and complete our production run, we will focus on getting the products delivered to our backers and getting our product into stores all over the GTA and the world. We truly believe that this will revolutionize how we carry our wallets and cell phones with the greatest regards to the corporate working world. Men and women are wearing tighter fitting business wear and carry larger smart phones and wallets, that using pockets to carry these items is becoming a big problem, especially when it comes to overall comfort. Cell phone belt clips or carrying phones in your hands is not the solution. The LD West Holster can be concealed when wearing a blazer or jacket and it will not pose any sort of discomfort to the user. The benefit of the LD West Holster is that we can tailor to so many different demographics. For example: hikers, construction workers, cyclists, motorcyclist, snowboarders, skateboarders, fishermen, chefs and even dog walkers, just to name a few. The possibilities are endless with this product!

The LD West Holster is a way to safely carry your personal belongings with you. It frees your pockets and hands. The crowd funding campaign that LD West just launched will help them grow and satisfy a bigger number of consumers.

Photo 9-07-13 7 34 46 AM

More infos on
. LD West Holster campaign on IndieGogo.
. Follow @LD_westinc for updates on the holster
. Visit the official LD West website

My travel kit

5 Jul

My travel kit
I am a frequent flyer and I’m packing again for a 5-days trip abroad, don’t like packing … I always forget something, always! It’s a rule, so lets make the exception and at least help you pack the “survival kit” and forget what you can easily buy at destination.

1. The hardware.
Cables and chargers.
photo-9You will of course bring your chargers and adapter with you BUT if, like me, you have 1 blackberry, 1 iPhone, 1 iPad, a Fuelband, …
You already need 3 plugs and you’ll have to search the room for plugs, unplug lights to charge your devices, scatter them across the room.
I don’t like to have my phones scattered across my hotel room!
So I bring with me my Belkin with 3 electric plugs and 2 USB plugs.
This is handy and you will gather  all your electronic devices in the same area so you don’t forget them when you leave your hotel.

Power.
Especially when you travel you need power. Power to charge your phone or camera or computer while visiting new countries and taking so many pictures.

Photo 27-06-13 11 57 51 AMI always carry my Guide10 or Sherpa50 depending my needs. Usually a Guide10 will be enought, but if you need to charge 2 phones, 2 cameras on the fly better go for the Sherpa50.
I also bring the solar panel that I tie to my backpack while walking, so I can charge my charger during my busy working day and enjoy free-from-plug charging.

2. The software, the travel apps.
Worldmate app will accompany you from the booking to the landing of your plane at destination. Delay, changes of gates, … You’ll be able to communicate the details of your trip (departure, arrival, gate, …) and if you want share it with friends (twitter, facebook) and LinkedIn contacts (no worries, you have the option to keep your trip private too), you can.
Currency convertor, tips calculator are included as well as weather forecast at destination and local searches are available thanks to Yelp!

You are not a star in languages and you didn’t take French or Japanese as 2nd language?
Don’t stress, great translator apps are out there ready to help you.
Of course there will be mistakes and it’s not perfect but you’ll get understood and your iPhone will become your personal translator.
Try Google translate, type or just say the sentence you want to translate and let it do it’s magic.
Lots of languages available, easy to use, and handy to read the translation.

Also, if you want to understand the local newspaper, give a try to Pixter which will scan the article and translate in to own mother tongue! Impressive results!

Need a cab? Get a personal driver with the Uber app!
Don’t book in advance, just on demand.
The closest car will pull down in front of you.
Prepaid fare and invoiced to your mail (no surprise with the price), you’ll receive a text on your phone to alert you when your driver (professional taxi driver) is there. You’ll love it ! Alittle bit more expensive than with a regular cab, but better driving and service.
PS: Uber works with iPhone, Android, web and even SMS (Canada and USA only).
The countries covered are France (Paris, Lyon and Cannes), UK (London), Australia (Melbourne and Sidney), USA, Italy (Rome, Milan), Sweden (Stockholm), Canada (Toronto), Germany (Berlin), The Netherlands (Amsterdam).

Passwords? Your passwords, bank cards details, and passports number will be always on you with the Dashlane app.
Lets say you lost you passport, your bank cards have been stolen, … You need to access your emails from a computer in a cyber cafe and don’t remember your password or credit cards numbers? Just launch the Dashlane app and all of your important informations will always be within reach, you got yourself an eVault! Free trial than 17,99euros a year.

The convertor
Centimetres into inches? Kmh into mph? Degrees Celsius in degrees Fahrenheit? You never got it? You are not the only one!
With Measures app, this is all a bad dream.

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3. Also don’t forget …

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a Knife.
Great to open a carton box, cut food or defend yourself. Don’t need a big one, I have a keyring Curve knife by Gerber  that comes with screw drivers and bottle opener.
Be aware that small knifes are allowed again on planes by TSA but I prefer to put it safely in my checked-in bags.

many Karabiners.
Great to hang my solar panel to my backpack or to my office balcony, but also great to tie your backpack to the chair you are sitting on so no shoplifter runs away with it or simply to hang the keys of your b’n’b. I use the S-Biner (lots of sizes, colors and durable).

a Rope.
Coming in the shape of a good looking and customisable survival strap, you will now always carry a rope with you. Ready to be unravelled when needed (hang your laundry while camping, tie stuff together, …).

a Drinking bottle.
Photo 25-06-13 7 02 55 AMAlways stay hydrated thanks to your vey own bottle that you carry with you wherever you go.
Klean Kanteen, Bladder bottles are great.
Brita bottle or Purificup bring added value with their filter. Brita bottle will take away the bad taste of tap water while Purificup will let you drink safely the water in the river, … Killing more than 800 bacteria thanks to its filter.

Nice to have, a sleeve for your bottle to keep it warm or cold.
I love the Built-in ones or the the Greenspan ones.

And of course, a flash light. Check the key ring size Swipe to Shine by Niteize.

I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, this should be your basic kit and you could face whatever situation.
Now travel safely and dont hesitate to share your travel tips with us 😉

Happy holiday!

My 10 favorite japanese food 4/10, agar agar

1 Jul
powerAgarAgar stripesAgaragar

Also called kanten in Japan, the agar agar is made from red algae.
It has no taste no oder and is full of minerals.
Agar agar contains lots of fibers (good for your intestine and it can be considered as a detox food).
You might know it for its powerful gelling power (8 times more powerful than gelatine from pork, but vegetal).

To use agar agar, you need to boil it with a liquid (it can be water, juice, …), then when it cools down that’s when it solidifies.

Agar agar is sold as a powder or dried strips.

FrameMagicI use the agar agar powder to make solid vinaigrette (shaped in space invaders) or jelly dessert.
I bought lots of funny moulds (I use the soft silicone ice cubes ones with funny shapes).

Now, let’s try to impress you with this super easy agar agar dessert recipe (low calories dessert).
You’ll need
. Agar agar powder
. Cane sugar ( more flavour then the white sugar)
. Kinako powder (roasted soybean powder, tastes like peanuts)

Just follow those easy steps and it will be done in no time.
. Boil the water with the agar agar
. Put the mix in a shaped recipient
. Wait for it to solidify
. Cut in cubes or shape them with a spaghetti maker like on the picture
. Then dust with kinako powder
. And eat in front of the TV 😉

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