Nokia N900 Running Windows 3.11

Toni Nikkanen managed to install Windows 3.11 on the Nokia N900 and the installation process completed smoothly. It did however become a little slow, and the mouse support was not good at all, so he ended up using a laptop with X11VNC for controlling the mouse for the video. The device has great potential, and its interesting to see how far enthusiasts can ‘push’ their N900′s.

N-Gage | Wreak Havoc With Mega Monsters

Wreak havoc in the biggest monster smash on mobile. Smash, crush and stomp your way through fully destructible 3D cities to gain more power, strength and speed. With a few surprises along the way – who knows what these cute, cuddly and colossal creatures are capable of! This is what happens when a mad scientist gets his hands on a borrowed gene splicer, a surplus government nuclear reactor and a supply of adorable animals – Mega Monsters! Choose your monster and prepare to wreak havoc for those who get in your way!

Round-Up Of The Nokia Event In London

As you all know I was in London last week courtesy of WomWorld, attending Nokia’s ‘Secret Event’ of the new Ovi Maps and Good Things. It was an incredible experience and there were nine other bloggers invited from all around the world. It was great to meet them all in person and get to know them a little better. As for the event we were set a challenge, to navigate our way around London finding all the ‘good things’ and later have a Q&A with the Ovi Maps product manager Arshia Varlet. Check out the full story and more after the jump…

Challenge: Find The Good Things

The challenge was set. To navigate our way to five different locations and finally meet opposite the Tower of London near the River Thames. First team to arrive would win 3 Nokia N97 minis each to trial. Armed with nothing but our N97′s, a tube ticket and some cash, we were split into five groups and all sent off in different directions. Using only Ovi Maps we were asked to navigate to a particular co-ordinate, then upload an image of the good thing at that location, take a screenshot of the location on Ovi Maps, and solve the cryptic clue given with each co-ordinate. Once we sent all the information through, we received a text with the co-ordinates and clue for the next good thing. I was paired up with my good friend Phat^Trance of DailyMobile.se, and we were determined to bring those N97 mini’s home.

Location 1 was Wellington Arch which is located in the heart of London at Hyde Park Corner and it is a landmark for Londoners and visitors alike. Originally commissioned as a grand outer entrance to Buckingham Palace, this massive monument was moved to its present site in 1882.

Location 2 was the Queen Victoria Memorial Statue opposite the Buckingham Palace, which commemorates the death of England’s longest reigning monarch – Queen Victoria. The statue was carved from a two-thousand pound block of solid marble, with figures representing Truth, Peace, Constancy and Motherhood.

Location 3 was Trafalger Square, the worlds most famous square, which was laid out to commemorate Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Dominating the square, on a column that is 185 feet high, is the 17 foot high statue of Nelson himself.

Location 4 was the 135m tall London Eye, the world’s largest cantilevered observation wheel. It was launched in the year 2000 and has already won over 75 awards for national and international tourism, outstanding architectural quality and engineering achievement, and has welcomed over 30 million visitors from all over the world.

Location 5 was the Tower of London, which was built on the Thames by William the Conqueror to protect London and assert his power. The tower is an imposing fortress with many layers of history and has now become one of the symbols of royalty.

Thoughts On Then Nokia N97 & Ovi Maps

The way I see it was that the task was flawed from get go, as we were all equipped with the wrong tools. Initially we were going to receive the N97 mini in order to test the device and the new version of Ovi Maps, however due to the delay of the launch by Nokia, we were all given the N97 instead. On first impressions I wasn’t too concerned as this would allow me to test out the N97 and see how it fairs. However, to keep it short, the experience was a disaster. The N97 struggled in getting a GPS fix, and at times took more than 10 minutes. The compass calibration kept getting reset everytime I slid open the keyboard, and the N97 just couldn’t cope and crashed many times. When taking images the processing took too long at times and uploading pictures wasn’t as easy as I expected it to be. Overall I find it hard to say anything good about the device or service. But hopefull with the release of the new and improved maps and the 2.0 Firmware will fix all the current issues. More on this later.

So back to the challenge… Like I said earlier, first team to get to the London Tower would win 3 Nokia N97 minis each to trail, and I was lucky enough to get there first, and so Phat^Trance and I will both be getting the device as soon as WomWorld receive them. It will be interesting to see how the aesthetics of the device change the overall experience and how the new and improved OS manages to handle what I throw at it. But more on that later too. The event was an incredible experience though and I’d like to thank all the other bloggers plus Tom, Katie, Lydia and Dominic from WomWorld for making me feel so welcome. I will post the video interview with Ovi Maps Product Manager Arshia Varlet, and associates Pino and Danesh later, so stay tuned for that.

The Mystery Event Is Unveiled Too

It looks as though Nokia’s Secret Event in London tomorrow is something to do with a ‘Good Things’ application that is headed for the Nokia N97. I will bring you more directly from London so make sure you stay tuned.

Pre-Order Your Nokia N97 mini RAOUL Limited Edition

Singapore residents can enjoy the privilege of being the only country to receive the chance to get their mitts on the Nokia N97 mini RAOUL Limited Edition. You will now be able to stay connected to the world of fashion right from your Nokia N97 mini with the new Fashion Asia widget, brought to you by Nokia and F J Benjamin.

With only a thousand units up for grabs, the device comes emblazoned with RAOUL’s signature stripes on an additional back cover and accessorised with a calf-skin leather pouch and matching leather dangler. And all these nicely encased in a leather-wrapped RAOUL box. In addition, you will receive a complimentary RAOUL Gold membership with S$50 credit, which can be redeemed at your next purchase.

 

If you pre-order before the 29th October 2009 you can also enjoy:

S$50 Nokia Voucher

S$50 RAOUL Voucher

Nokia N97 mini RAOUL Limited Edition will cost exactly 400 euro and can be pre-ordered now from Nokia Singapore, and as there are only 1000 available packages, you better get a move on.

Service Update | Latest Ovi Maps UI

Check out this video which takes you through the latest Nokia Maps UI featuring walking and driving navigation services. Click here to see what services and downloads are available for free right now as well as learning how to get the most out of your device.

Nokia Announces Official Qt Port To Maemo 5

Nokia today announced the creation of the official Qt port to Maemo 5 and published an initial Technology Preview release. This port to Maemo 5 means that developers can now use Qt to target the upcoming Nokia N900 device and also ensures that applications can be easily ported to all Qt’s supported platforms including the next Maemo 6 release as well as Symbian and Windows Mobile.

The Qt port to Maemo 5 is designed specifically to work within the Maemo 5 environment, which will power the upcoming Nokia N900 device. The port itself will be based on Qt’s upcoming version 4.6 and is scheduled for final release in Q1 of 2010.

“With this announcement and our upcoming port of Qt to the Symbian platform, we will quickly see Qt established as a leading framework for mobile application development. Developers will be able to use Qt as a framework to create powerful native applications and with Qt’s Webkit integration, it also provides them with a platform for creating web applications and services,” said Sebastian Nyström, Vice President of Application Services and Frameworks at Nokia. “Qt’s support for Maemo 5, Maemo 6, Symbian, as well as Windows Mobile makes Qt the most sensible choice for developers looking to target multiple devices and achieve the broadest reach with their innovations.”

This port of Qt will incorporate the community-driven ‘Qt for Maemo’ project that was created as result of substantial contributions and enhancements. The community project provided a strong foundation for building the official port, and because of the open nature of the project, Nokia was able to base the official port on this code. The change from a community port to an official port was necessary to ensure that applications developed with Qt will be compatible with both future versions of Qt, future versions of Maemo, as well as Symbian and the other platforms Qt supports.

Developers looking to support the Qt port Maemo to Maemo 5 are encouraged to visit http://qt.gitorious.org and participate in its further development. Since May 2009, Nokia has received over 400 contributions into Qt and Qt-related projects, which has helped ensure that Qt remains a stable, robust framework for developers to innovate on.

Developers looking to learn more about Qt 4.6 should visit http://qt.nokia.com/, as a beta release of Qt 4.6, including the Symbian port, will be launched next week at the Qt Developer Days conference in Munich.

Truphone | Local Anywhere

Truephone is a VoIP service provider and has supported Nokia’s S60 devices on their generic application for quite some time now. However, they have recently announced a new product, Truphone Local Anywhere, which is a service that gives you multiple local numbers with the ability to call anywhere, using local rates, regardless of which country you are in.

Truphone Local Anywhere will give you great value domestic calls, SMS, and data in your home country and low cost international calling to the world from your home country. Truphone will also now give you significant savings on calls made when abroad giving you the feeling of being local, wherever you go.

Personally I’m not too sure of how people will take to this service and if they are willing to give up on their current service providers. What do you think? Leave some comments below and let us know.

Maemo 5 | Browsing Experience

This is a short promotional video demonstrating some of the features you can look forward to on the upcoming Nokia N900. The N900 is Nokia’s first mobile phone that sports the Maemo 5 platform, has a slide out QWERTY keyboard and is expected to challenge against the iconic Apple iPhone.

New Firmware v30.101 | Nokia N85

Nokia has just announced that the there is a new firmware v30.101 available for the Nokia N85. This software release includes improvements in copying contacts from your SIM card and other bug fixes. To get this software through your device using FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air), type in *#0000# on the home screen or go to Device Manager. Select Options > Check for updates and follow the on screen prompts. Additionally this software release is available via the NSU (Nokia Software Updater). Although the Nokia N85 supports UDP (User Data Preservation), we still recommend you do a full backup to ensure you do not lose any data.

Nokia N-Series Portrait | Marcelo Eduardo

The Nokia N-series Blog has published an interesting video, the first in a series of short films by Nokia, named the N-Series Portraits. The portraits offer an insight into different people who use technology in different ways, and how they stay connected to what’s important to them in their daily lives.

Nokia gave each of the ‘influencers’ an N97 to test, and then filmed a snapshot of their daily lives to see the role technology plays and how they feel technology will influence the future. The first subject is Marcelo Eduardo, a concept and product designer & developer living in Brazil.

Nokia’s MyDailyApp Goes Live!

Nokia has launched the new MyDailyApp blog, which is designed to review one application everyday from a selection of those available at the Ovi Store. The idea is great as it will bring the applications to the user. The reviews are written by Forum Nokia employees, which is one of the worlds largest mobile developer communities. You can also let them know if you have any ideas or suggestions, or something you would like to see in the future.

Nokia N900 & N97 mini Available For Pre-order

The new Nokia N900 and Nokia N97 mini are now up for pre-order over at the Nokia online shop. So for all those who’ve been waiting for something different from Nokia, head over now and place your order. Priced at only £499, the N900 is a definite steal. The N97 mini is also set at a competitive price – at a whole £20 less than it’s big brother, the mini is expected to do very well.

Something’s Cooking In London Town

Earlier today I received a phone call from WOMWorld inviting me to a top secret event that is taking place in London next week. No details of the actual event have been disclosed however there have been various clues and hints left in the invitation email and over on blogs.nokia.com.

We are working on one of our most exciting projects ever. Something big, really big is about to rise up in downtown London. Dispite it’s size it just does one thing. What that is, you’ll soon find out.

In short:
– It’s going to be big.
– It’s going to be bright.
– It’s going to move.
– You can control it either with your mobile device or with your computer.
– There is a great spot for lunch under it.
– You can use it to find another great spot for lunch.
– X marks the spot.

Until then, check out the campaign here.

‘Rise up’ makes you think something is going to be erected on this spare bit of land next to Tower Bridge, and its obviously got something to do with Ovi Maps. A snippet from the email reads:

“…but the secret nature of the event means everything is ‘under the radar’ for now. Suffice to say we’d like you to be there to see it, and help you get to the ‘good things’.”

‘Under the radar’, ‘good things’, again all point to the same conclusion. Jay from My Nokia Blog has managed to get right to the bottom of it, well so we think. Head overto check out his theory on what he thinks of it all, and if you have any ideas, let us know below. The event takes place on 22nd/23rd October, I’ll bring you more info when I find out.

Nokia Europe Online Shop Sale | 15% Off Everything

Nokia is offering 15% off all devices and accessories over at the Nokia Online Shop. The offer ends on 21st October so you have just less than a week to make a huge saving. You simply need to make a note of the discount code for your country and use it in when you check out. A list of all the codes are listed after the jump…

  • France — SOC15
  • Germany* — NOS09SM
  • Italy — FCBK01
  • Netherlands — SOC15/1009
  • Poland — SAVE15FB
  • Spain — DTINK
  • Sweeden — OKT15F
  • UK — SOCUK15

Nokia Ovi Suite 2.0 Graduates

The Nokia Beta Labs has just announced that the Nokia Ovi Suite 2.0 Beta is now Graduated and is going public. They are also working towards placing Nokia Ovi Suite 2.0.0.10 into product CD/DVDs in device sales boxes. Creating new products with this level of complexity is never easy. Last year, Nokia had many different PC application products, like Nokia PC Suite, Nokia Ovi Suite 1.0/1.1, Nokia Nseries PC Suite, Nokia Music, Nokia Software Updater, Nokia Map Loader, Nokia PC Suite Enterprise Edition etc etc, each having different targets, feature sets and design principles. This way of working didn’t lead anymore to any positive outcome, most of the effort was going into maintenance and minor improvements and prevented us from concentrating on new things, improving user experience and supporting other than Windows operating system.

So we started to really think, what are most important features from end user point of view, which they can’t survive without. Below you see one conceptual screenshot from Nokia Ovi Suite, which was explored during last year. Lots of end user surveying and explorations were done, before we decided the features for the first Nokia Ovi Suite 2.0 release. But as you can see from screenshot, there are tons things, which we are thinking, evaluating and planning for upcoming Nokia Ovi Suite releases. Also change into Qt framework makes it easier from developer point of view and gives us possibility to support other operating systems, like Mac OSX in future.

Currently Nokia Ovi Suite 2.0 supports exactly 142 different device models from Nokia (over 200, if you count in all different variants). Lots of issues found by you have been incorporated into product during the development.

 

Nokia Ovi Suite 2.0 Beta Updated | Nearing Final Release

The Nokia Ovi Suite 2.0 has been designed from a clean slate and offers a new, more user-friendly approach to Nokia’s PC software. The completely new user interface gives you easy access to your important files and information, all through one simple window. The new update release of Nokia Ovi Suite 2.0 Beta has just been released for you today. So make sure you check for updates next time you log in. If you don’t have Nokia Ovi Suite 2.0 Beta installed yet, then you can download it from here.

The main improvement in this Beta is when synchronizing photos. Getting photos from the device to the Nokia Ovi Suite works in a much more reliable manner now. There has also been many bug fixes and stability improvements, and the guys over at the Nokia Beta Labs are urging all Beta testers to report any problems or suggest possible solutions, so head on over and let them know.

S60 Theme | Ovi by PiZero

Ovi by PiZero is a great theme bringing you the style and look of Ovi applications. The theme is compatible with all Symbian S60 3rd Edition and 5th Edition devices. There is a ‘Lite’ version included in the download which has all the default icons and there is also a version included with ‘Flahorn Icons’ for S60 3rd Edition devices.

Nokia Java Runtime 2.0 For S60 Updated

Nokia Java Runtime 2.0 for S60 (JRT 2.0) is a totally re-written Java mobile execution environment for Nokia S60 devices. There are several bug corrections in the new update, however the most significant fix is the change to the conversion functionality. This should prevent situations where the device’s C: drive will get full. In addition, the guys over at the Nokia Beta Labs have made major changes under the hood. From now on, Java Runtime will be developed and released independent from S60 releases. This means that you will always get the latest version directly to your phone, using the built-in Nokia S60 Software Update functionality. Detail list of changes after the jump…

Fixed in this update:

  • Conversion will avoid situations where disk space might go below critical level
  • MIDlets are converted to internal mass storage if possible
  • MIDlet with large RMS can be started
  • MIDlets can access memory card root folder
  • Support all Nokia specific JAD attributes

Minor changes:

  • Updates to eSWT widgets
  • Minor changes to bluetooth
  • Reduced the amount of debug logging, which should give minor performance improvement

Know issues:

  • Phone may become slow or unresponsive if it runs out of disk space on C-drive.
  • Please ensure that C-drive will have at least 10MB of free disk space before installation.
  • SSL connection does not work in all phones
  • Nokia 5800 firmware version needs to be at least V21.0.017
  • Backup and restore does not work for MIDlets on memory card
  • Nokia specific globalindicators extension API is not supported

Once you have updated your device you will need to reboot it in order to activate the new version of JRT.

Nokia Brail Reader | SMS For The Visually Impaired

Nokia Beta Labs have release a great new application, the Nokia Braille Reader, which brings SMS to the blind and visually impaired. It captures received SMS messages and brings them to the foreground for reading using Braille and tactile feedback. The application was concepted together with actual users and researchers focusing on the topic, and this is the first experimental version of that concept. The Braille Reader is compatible with all S60 5th Edition devices

New Firmware v31.008 | Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic has received a new firmware v31.008. You can download the update by typing *#0000# from the dialer and then selecting ‘Check for updates’, or if it is not available over-the-air, you can update via the Nokia Software Updater (NSU) on your PC. The new update should be available right now for most product codes, and even though the 5800XM supports User Data Preservation (UDP), we still recommend you make a full back up before updating your device.

Noticeable changes include performance enhancements with an increase in RAM, and the addition of the Ovi Store and the new Ovi Maps 3.1. Unfortunately for all those eagerly anticipating kinetic scrolling which is soon to feature in the new N97 firmware, I can confirm that it is not included in the v31.008 firmware. Other than that, you should always keep in mind that new firmware updates generally contain bug fixes and optimizations necessary for other software to perform correctly, therefore we recommend you always keep your device up to date.

New Firmware v20.115 | Nokia N86 8MP

Nokia has released a new firmware for the Nokia N86 8MP taking it up to v20.115. You can update your device using FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air) by simply typing *#0000# on your homescreen and selecting check for updates or via NSU (Nokia Software Updater). The update includes major camera improvements and various bug fixes. Although the Nokia N86 supports UDP (User Data Preservation), we still recommend you do a full backup to ensure you do not lose any data. Check out the full changelog after the jump…

Nokia N86 8MP v20.115 Changelog:

Camera improvements:

  • Improved still image quality
  • Improved video quality
  • Face detection added
  • Red-eye removal added (Nokia note: “this is image processing which removes the red-eye. You need to be in red-eye reduction flash mode for it to be operational. Other flash modes it is disabled as there is a small shot to shot impact due to the extra image processing.”)
  • New focus point indication – this shows where in the scene the camera is focussing
  • Improved Close-up focus (Nokia note: “As a result you will find in most situations you can focus much closer than before. The new focus point indication will also help in confirming which part of your subject is used for critical focus checking”)
  • Face detection is indicated by a yellow square

Bug fixes to the following applications:

  • Web
  • Music Store Client
  • Real Player
  • Ovi Maps (including faster calibration of the digital compass)
  • Here & Now
  • N-Gage Client
  • Nokia Messaging

The following has also been added in the update:

  • Automatic VoIP re-registration.
  • Ovi Chat shortcut on the homescreen
  • A new Ovi services splash screen
  • An Ovi Store client (although it is quite buggy; selections from the Options menu are problematic)
  • An initial option to check for software updates when a customer first boots up the phone
  • In addition, there’s more free space on C: (around 70MB when you start fresh), there’s also more free RAM (around 65MB) after booting and the N86 feels faster

Description:

The Nokia X7 is an entertainment-focused smartphone with a large 4″ display ideal for gaming, and an 8 Megapixel camera for capturing pictures and HD-quality video. A distinctively designed device, the Nokia X7 is made from a combination of seamless stainless steel and glass, delivering a solid and durable feel in the hand. The Nokia X7 comes preloaded with the popular Galaxy on Fire HD and Asphalt 5 HD games.

Ovi Mail Updated

The Nokia Beta Labs have just announced that they have released an “Ovi Mail Setup” application for a wide range of S60 devices. The application allows you to sign-up for an Ovi Mail account directly from your S60 device. If you already have an Ovi account it will provision Ovi Mail and configure the email client on the device. It also installs a handy icon in the Installations folder for easy access to Ovi Mail. This is not an email client and you will continue using the existing email client on your device. If you’re already successfully using Ovi Mail on your device you don’t need to install this.

Nokia E71 vs E75 | The 3.2MP Camera

The Nokia E75 comes with the same 3.2MP autofocus camera as the Nokia E71, and so I thought I’d put the two to the test to see which prospers. Both devices come with a single LED flash and the E75 has a focal length on 3.7mm compared to the 3.8mm of the E71. Other than that single millimeter the specs are completely identical, so the results should be quite interesting.

Taking images on the E71 is not the best of experiences, the lack of a dedicated camera key means that you need to go through your menu to find the camera application or use up one of your shortcuts. To focus when taking the image you need to hold down the letter ‘T’ then once it has focused, take image using selection key. Also when taking images in low light conditions, the LED does not light up when you are trying to focus, making it pretty difficult to see what you’re capturing.

Taking images on the E75 is a much more comfortable experience. The dedicated camera key allows you to start up the camera from whichever application you’re in, however you do need to hold it down for almost 4 seconds, irritating to say the least. The key itself is very nice, just the right amount of pressure is needed to both focus and capture an image, its even better than the camera key on the Nokia N86. The N95 8GB still has the perfect camera key in my opinion, it was a lot easier to snap away with ease, I’d love to see future devices sporting that very key. Focus time on the Nokia E71 takes around 2-3 seconds however the E75 only requires a single second. Every time, without fail.

Below on the left are image samples taken with the E71 and on the right those taken with the E75. You can click on the pictures to view the full image and have a closer look at the details.

Without any close examination you can instantly notice the darker tone and colour the E71 produces, look at the grapes for example. The images are less clearer and more washed out when compared to the E75. The E75 manages to capture more accurate colours and produces more lifelike images.

In low light conditions it’s a similar story, the colours are just not represented accurately by the E71 and the images are very noisy. You can also notice the blue tone a lot more and the flash is just about acceptable, and very poor compared to that of the E75. There has clearly been a lot of work done on improving the LED flash. Night mode is also very poor on the E71, there was actually more light in the room than both the pictures made out to be and when stood two meters away from the object, the details are completely lost on the E71, and the white wall remains to be blue.

Although both devices sport the same single LED flash, the E75 is no competition for the flustered E71. The image noise on the E71 is immense and even though the flash seems to be more powerful, the quality of the image is dire. A dual LED flash would have made the camera experience on the E75 much better and may have even put the E75 into contention with some of the 5MP cameraphones on the market today.

Macro mode has become an integral part of my camera voyages, and the true power of a camera device can be demonstrated with how well it can perform up close and personal. Looking at the thumbnails its hard to tell the difference between the two, however if you look a little closer at the images you will see that the E75 does a much better job.

Despite the E71 receiving many firmware updates, the E75 clearly performs much better using the same 3.2MP CMOS camera. The flash has also improved and the colour accuracy is spot on. I’d like to finish off with a short clip that demonstrates the video recording quality of both these devices. So have a look and let us know what you think.

Video recording:

Just a quick note, both the E71 and E75 support the use of the LED as a video light, however the option to disable it exists only on the E75. The video light cannot be switched off on the E71.

Thankful

I havent blogged in what seems like a year or two.  Life has been too much fun to sit down and document.  I graduated in December, went home and celebrated Christmas with my family, spent time with Casey while he was home, spent New Year’s Eve in Atlanta with my home girl, and started graduate school. Pretty full schedule for about a month.  When New Years rolls around every year I pretty much make fun of (in my head) all the people that post their resolutions.  “I want to only eat out on Tuesdays and lose 3 pounds”.  Posts like that really make me cringe…but they got me thinking.  I started thinking about what I wanted to do differently this year.  I can’t say they are my resolutions because I make fun of people who make resolutions- so i’ll call them life goals.  Because really, I should strive to be better every year.  As I started thinking about how I wanted to try to better myself, I thought about the people closest to me.  I feel like I am so blessed and sometimes I forget how lucky I am to be surrounded with such supportive and loving family and friends.  So this year, I have decided to try use the people around me as inspiration

.

My brother is the best friend you could ever ask for.  He’s one of those people who you could call in the middle of the night and he would be there in about two minutes.  He’s loyal and genuinely has everyone’s best interest at heart.  This year I’m going to try to be a friend more like Connor.

My mom is the sweetest.  I mean sweetest sweetest.  That’s probably why her permanent nickname is Lovie.  She has the best heart and treats everyone with kindness.  She has a degree in social work, which further shows that she has a heart of gold.  I hope this year I can treat people with more kindness..like Lovie.

My Dad is ride or die.  I know that I can call him and that he will always be on my side and help me out of tricky situations.  A few years ago I didn’t sleep for about a week straight. Literally a week.  I would lie in bed at night and calculate my grades in my head and I knew there was no way on earth I was going to pass not one, but possibly two classes.  It was a really hard time for me.  I would call home and my dad could always talk me through it.  I hope this year I can have someone’s back like he has always had mine.

Casey treats me like gold.  I feel so lucky to have someone who supports me 110% and genuinely loves me.  His good qualities are endless; he’s sweet and funny and makes me laugh non-stop.  He’s also very laid-back and calm, which I’m not so used to.  I am high-strung and usually running about 90 to nothing.  This year I’d like to take a page from Casey’s book and sit back and take it all in sometimes.

Meg is my best friend for a reason…she’s the best.  There really is no substitute for being able to call and talk to someone who literally knows every aspect of your life.  No story needs a back story or intro because she was there when everything happened before. It’s awesome.  Meg is pure fun.  When we are together we are silly and always have fun…which is really what life is about.  This year I want to not sweat the small things and focus on spending this year being 24 and having fun in life like Meg.  Who am I kidding, she will probably be right there with me.

Life is pretty damn good. Roll tide.

xx
RH

Crossfit Adventure

One thing that I’ve learned the past few weeks: it is crazy how much time you will find on your hands when you live in a city with no friends! Well, I have a few (grand total of three), but seriously I have a lot of time on my hands. Obviously school work is time consuming, but I decided to start working out at night to take up some of the time.  I’ve always enjoyed working out, but never really made time for it because I had more pressing and important matters to deal with at 6 or 7 PM (i.e. getting ready /pregaming for swaps, going out, etc).  The whole “no friends deal” really clears that little problem up!

I’ve had my mind set on doing crossfit for a few months but decided to wait until after Christmas break to start. So at the end of January, my friend Abby and I bit the bullet and started the crossfit process. We did our three beginner classes to learn the ropes and did our first class Wednesday.  I can tell it’s going to be one of those things that will take a few months to love. Let’s all hope I like this more than pure barre (oh hell naw) because this is much more expensive! The gym I’m going to has a MMA fightcon class I can take too which is so much fun.  Abby snapped a picture of me after our first class…
I should probably take my measurements and take a good “before” picture to be able to look back on!
I’ve also been doing a few hot yoga classes here in Tuscaloosa. I went with meg a few times in huntsville and thought it was great..it’s a hard workout. The yoga place here, however, smells like a petting zoo which distracts the hell out of me. I end up breathing out of my mouth to avoid the animal smell and then I sound like a deep breathing creep. Lose lose situation.
Hopefully I will have some updates on my crossfit adventure in the future!
Xx
RH

The Chick With Printed Pinterest Pins….

For the entire duration of my undergrad at UA I drove 2.5 hours (one way) just to get my hair done. Katherine has done my hair for the last seven or eight years and I am pretty much in love with her. She rules. Walking around campus and seeing chicks with fried hair, yellow hair, and brassy hair left me too scared to check out any salons in Tuscaloosa. I finally made the switch to a salon in Birmingham last Friday…and……..drumroll…….I am obsessed.

It was quite a switch up! I switched from a relaxing salon that smells lovely and plays tranquil music to a small hair salon where I heard stories about my hair dresser and his partner dressing up in drag on Saturday nights. Best transition ever. He probably thinks I’m sort of a freak for bringing in printed pins from Pinterest,  it it worked! We went with a lot of long layers because it looks better when I curl it.
New year, new vibe.
Xx
RH

Bed Head Rock N Roller Bubble Wand

I am curling iron obsessed.  I always tried to fool around with them and it looked OK….but once my hairdresser took 15 minutes with me and really showed me how to use them, it was game over! I was browsing Ulta the other day (literally my favorite thing to do) I stumbled upon the Bed Head Rock N Roller wand:

I was instantly intrigued…. but it was $35.00. $35 is really not that bad for a curling iron, but I don’t want to blow that much on something that I know nothing about. For all I knew it could give me Shirley Temple curly (no thanks). The other day as I was walking around, the curling iron was on sale for $16 so I snatched it up.  I’m pretty obsessed. I have natural curls/waves and these curls look so much more natural to me than a regular iron. The bubble pattern gives it a more messy look.

Grab it while it is on sale!
Have any of y’all tested out the bubble wand?
xx-Ray

Red Lip Obsessing..

Is it just me or do red lips make everything look better? The only problem…you are going to look like Ronald McDonald/ridiculous when it smears on your face. I have experience in that area.  There are pictures to prove it (I was unaware- quite embarrassing!) I have moved on from red lipstick to….lip STAIN! Best of both worlds! Right now I am loving a few different ones.

…Continue reading

It happened again….

If you follow me on twitter you probably already know this….but I did it again.  I will start from the beginning. I was lying in bed about to drift off to sleep when I thought I felt something move on my arm. I looked and saw nothing. THEN it happened… I freaked out.  Not a small freak out either.  You see, this happens about once every two months.  Every few months I imagine that I feel bed bugs in my bed.  Once I think I felt something, I begin to itch ridiculously all over. I’m talking about head, face, arms, legs, everything!

It is like game-over as far as sleep goes when this happens.  I got out of bed, stripped the sheets, and looked insanely for over an hour.  From there I did some late-night research on bed bugs..apparently they look like tiny specs of pepper.  I then got on my hands and knees looking for the “pepper appearance” all around my bed.  Of course there was nothing.  I am just insane.  It just feels like so much more in the moment!

Am I the only one this happens to??

Woman Crush Wednesday..

I don’t even know if woman crush Wednesday is a real thing, but whatever I just made it one.  Olivia Palermo has always been one of my fashion icons and lately, she has been KILLIN it.  She seemed like a miserable person on The Hills, but I have pretty much convinced myself that she was just portrayed that way.  I think she is pretty much perfection. Her boyfriend, on the other hand, now he IS perfection. I YIYI!

I just threw the last one in there to make everyone as jealous as I was when I saw it.  I have seen a few of Olivia’s outfits that I said “umm…?” to, though.  She has tried out some jean on jean and some floral on floral that looked like a hot ass mess. Whose style do you admire?

Frye Boots On Boots On Booties

I am the boot queen.  My mother insists i’m the only person who wears boots all Summer. She just doesn’t get it. I love them.

My boyfriend, Casey, coined the term “boot queen” for me and it has stuck for a few years. It is a known fact that it isn’t a party unless i’ve packed at least two pairs of boots! Funny story… Last year my college went to the National Championship in New Orleans (and dominated I might add!) and I rode down there with my boyfriend and his family.  I adore them; they’re the best.  To begin, I am a weird person and a Frye boot hoarder and I always keep them in the box so that they don’t get messed up! When I travel I usually just take them in the boxes.  SO, Casey’s dad is packing up their SUV and we are all just kind of standing there hoping somehow everyone’s things will fit so we can leave. He is about 75% of the way through when he puts one huge Frye boot box in the back and is trying to shove the second huge box in there.  He obviously has no idea what they are and assumed they were my boyfriend’s or his brother’s and turns around and says “Casey! What in the hell are these things??”.   I died laughing and told him they were mine and he quickly turned around and continued shoving them in the SUV. It was hilarious to me because he never would have said that if he had known they were mine in the first place! Casey totally thinks I’m a crazy boot hoarder and he’s pretty much cool with it. Just another reason he rules.

I think I am at about 15 pairs which is almost embarrassing but lately I’ve seen where the trend this Fall is all about booties! I love booties.  They totally mix up an outfit in a funky way, which I love.  I have a few pair of booties:

Frye Wyatt Stud Short Bootie

Frye Leslie Zip Bootie

 

Fringe Bootie
I also count combat boots as booties! Easy way to make an outfit look cool.
Frye Jenna Disc (Taken from my Instagram account)
After looking at these pics….I think i’m in a stud phase at the moment!
Mark my word..booties will be a hot Fall trend.
                                    What do y’all think of the bootie look?
                                                                         xoxo
                                                                            Ray

Ballin in Buckhead!

This weekend I made a last minute decision to go to Atlanta to tailgate and hangout since Alabama was playing Virginia Tech. I am SO happy that I ended up going, I had the best time! It really felt like an Alabama reunion. I got to see all my long lost homies!


The same weekend, Atlanta also hosted DRAGONCON….which is where all the weirdos of the USA unite. I took a quick video..
                                 (L>R) Leslie, Me, Kit, Beth, Karl, Sarah Holland
                                             (L>R) Sarah Holland, Liz, Karl and Me
                                                   So happy to see Leslie and Kit

                                                     And the result of Friday night:

Karly snapped this little gem of Liz and me when we were on stage at some latino club….long night! I love hanging out with Liz. We always have the best time, she is so much fun.

Saturday:

The game was at 4:30 on Saturday and only one of my friends had a ticket. We got up and got ready and headed down to The Dome to tailgate and a series of unfortunate events followed. The cab dropped us off by accident two miles from where we were supposed to be. That would have been fine, but Atlanta was about 150 degrees that day and we were extremely hungover. I am about 100% sure that I drank my body weight in vodka redbulls the night before. We got to the tailgate to see there was no where to sit and there was no shade. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes because I was so hot/tired/hungover/exhausted I was about to lose it. Liz and I headed up to a restaurant and cooled out for about two hours then we were ready to go again. Thank God there was somewhere for us to sit in the AC and cool off….we couldn’t have made it much further. After that, it was game on and we felt 100% better! We went to Stats and watched the game then headed back to Buckhead to go out that night.

On the way, Liz spotted a Ferris Wheel and insisted we ride it. Insisted would be a very light term.  She basically told me that if we did not ride the Ferris Wheel she was going to die. She even said she was buying.  So I was like, eh what the hell, lets do it (even though Ferris Wheels and heights freak me out). I caved and we stood in line for about 10 minutes waiting on our 10 minute ride overlooking Atlanta. As we got up to the front, the ushers that let you on/off the gondolas were looking at us weird. It was at that time we realized that we looked like lesbians.

Two chicks, sort of drunk, laughing and pumped to get on the Ferris Wheel together…apparently that looks like lesbians. So we got closer to the line and I kind of blurted out “we are not lesbians!!” The 18-ish year old gondola ushers literally looked at each other and DIED laughing. They got us onto the Ferris Wheel and it was a really cool experience. I am super glad that we went on it.  It was a tad quiet, so I turned on the song “Cashing Out” by Ca$h Out and Liz and I rapped it and looked at the pretty views. Never a dull moment! Here is a silly video from the Ferris Whee

l:

                      ANNNNDDD…the result of Saturday night:

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

Doesn’t get more real than this……

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I am a graduating from The University of Alabama in three months. I have been around the block long enough to hear hundreds of girls proudly claiming that they are at UA “looking for their MRS degree”.
I literally cringe every time that come out of a girl’s mouth.  I can’t even give them a courtesy smile.  What in the hell goes through these people’s minds? Why are you spending $3500/semester on tuition to look for a man?  Shame on you.
It’s the girls described above that  bring women down as a whole.
Make your own money. Live your own dreams. Be proud of yourself for what YOU accomplish in life.

Viva Miami!

Well, the countdown is over.

I had been counting down for a total of 94 days.  THEN, it finally came!  It was finally time to go to Miami with two of my girlfriends.  I lived with Peggy for three years in college and then moved into the Alpha Gam house.  When I moved into the Alpha Gam house, Peggy moved into a house off campus with a few of her friends which included Sydney, her pledge sister.  Peggy graduated in four years but Sydney and I took a little victory lap.
We had become friends through Peggy, so I moved into the house that she used to live in and my second senior year I lived with Sydney and three other girls I had never met before.  It was a weird experience but it turned out well because I became close with Sydney. ( I also became close with a girl named Hannah who moved to LA that I miss dearly!) Back to the point: Since Peggy and Syd were close and Syd and I were close we all started doing things together.  The Peggy and I went to visit Syd in Buckhead earlier this year and the three of us had a ball.  We decided to go to Miami and booked a room with a balcony at the Fountainbleau.  Sydney goes to Miami often and stays there, but it was Peg and I’s first time to go.
I had NO idea what to pack. NONE. I looked online and saw pictures of either woman in Louboutins and Gucci dresses or $9 club dresses that looked like they were from K-Mart.  I literally threw some cocktail dresses and about 8 bathing suits in my luggage and called it a night.  I then headed to Huntsville to eat some mexican food with my family (i’m sure that helped my bikini bod).  That night when I got home I threw in a dress I bought on sale a few weeks ago I planned to wear for New Years Eve and went to sleep. Peg and I took the 6:45 flight to Atlanta where we met up with Syd to get on the plane to MIA.
We were sitting there waiting to get on the plane to Miami and I handed Peg my phone to try to set up an app for me.  The pilot came out and addressed us and all of the other people waiting to board his plane.  He was a serious ass.  He literally had a microphone and was telling us about how everyone needed to turn and face his direction when he was speaking and listen to him?  What is this, Kindergarten? You are not the principal here, buddy. The waiting area has seats in all different directions so people were trying to crane their necks to listen to him talk about how he was a fighter pilot for 20 something odd years.  He then stopped mid sentence and yelled for everyone to “put their precious little phones away and look at him.” He was literally staring at Peg who was zoned into trying to get the app to work on my phone.  She didn’t hear him, or flench.  I could hear people giggle around us.  This guy was so rude that Syd and I looked at each other and didn’t even let Peg know that she was being shouted-out by the pilot.  He shouted her out about 4 times.  She never looked up.  It was so bizarre.  He finally stopped talking about his glory days and we were able to board the plane.
                                   
We got to Miami at noon, then jumped in the car with a taxi driver who listened to some booty poppin’ music the whole drive there.  That’s always a good sign about the weekend ahead.  We then arrived at the Fountainbleau and it was GORGEOUS. I mean….really to die for.  And the employees, so friendly.  We went to the desk and the guy upgrades us on the spot.  So exciting.  We get to the room and it is like an extended stay hotel room with a king, pullout, fridge, etc….and it is HUGE. We are squealing by this point.
The three of us were ready head down to the pool.  We didn’t just throw on any old swimsuits though.  As I said before, Syd goes to Miami all the time and wears some brazilian-thong-ish numbers.  We decided YOLO and convinced Peg to throw on one and went to the pool. It was gorgeous.  We drank our body weight in miami vices ($27/each…damn!) by the beach then headed to the pool to check it out.  We ran into a group of guys who were there for a bachelor party and were really nice.  We gave them our numbers and told them if they wanted to hang later to let us know.  I really didn’t think we would hear from them again.
We played music and got ready and were really excited to check out LIV that night.  I was trying to put on eyeliner when I saw Peg’s eyes grow HUGE and she ran into the bathroom.  Peg really had a look of sheer terror on her face.  I ran in after her and she then informed me that she had mistaken shower gel for mouthwash.  I haven’t laughed that hard in a year or two. We then went to dinner and we put on our cocktail dresses to go to the bar downstairs before we tried to get into LIV.  I ordered a vodka tonic ($25, but whatevs im on vacay here!) and turned around to a nice man in a suit asking if we were going to LIV.  We said yes and he said he had a table and wanted to know if we wanted to sit at it.  I later found out that he was a promoter and that a table at LIV costs a few grand a night.  We partied at the table in the middle of the club all night and it was probably one of the best nights of my life.  At one point, we were dancing on the back of the seating area.  It was a hard surface.  Someone must have put a drink on there or I must have had one (or seven) too many vodka waters because the next thing I knew, I was falling backwards off of the surface.  The concrete floor was about four or five feet below.  I don’t know what happened but somehow I ended up grabbing the edge on my way down and landed on my feet.  A few of the security guards that were guarding our table rushed over and one was like “I really have no idea how you landed on your feet.” I silently thanked God and the security guard picked me up and put me right back on the table.  We continued partying until our eyelids were heavy then took it on upstairs.
The next day, we went to the beach for a few hours and I ate a nasty $25 chicken sandwhich for breakfast because I thought I was going to starve.  By lunchtime I was still full and I saw that the guys from the day before had texted us saying they had a cabana (two grand to rent and a minimun $1400 tab) and for us to come.  Syd and Peg ate lunch at the restaurant and I told them that I would go check out their situation and let them know whether we should go or bail.  I walked over to the pool and couldn’t find them.  They told me to go to the “21 and over” area so I did and I must have looked lost.  A security guard asked if I was “Miss Rachael” and led me over to the cabana.  Apparently they had told the guard to look for me. I knew it was going to be a good day.  I texted the other two and told them I was putting my phone in the safe in the cabana and to bring it on!  Apparently when they came, the guards asked them if they were with Miss Rachael? They were like uhmmm yes?  What a funny thing to hear when you aren’t expecting it.  We drank $500 bottles of champagne, swam and hung out all day.  It was amazing
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We were some tired chicks that night.  We went out for a little bit but called it an early night.
The next day (Sunday) we hung at the pool and again drank our body weight in miami vices, and we also met some cool British guys.  The bachelor party guys didn’t have a cabana that day so we just chilled with our little threesome.  We heard that The Band Perry was going to be doing a concert at the fb that night and decided to go.  It was $75 for tickets and an open bar for two hours.  Great decision to go!  There were only about 400 people there and The Band Perry is the real deal.  That ended at about 10:00 or so, then went back up to our room to pre-game and change clothes.  I put on my New Years Eve outfit (I did not bring the right clothes and I was desperate!) and then we went to go meet up with the British guys. They were hilarious.  That night we ended up just partying at the bar in the Fountainbleau.
I literally can’t wait to go back.
P.S. Check out the sunset on the way home..

First Blog!

For about four years now I have been told: “You need to have a blog.”

I have been putting it off because I have better things to do with my time, like watch the First 48 and drink Grapico, but the final straw was two days ago.

Tip Jar-708-2

As I turned to walk towards the escalator at Belk, a mother and grandmother were fooling with a stroller trying to at the bottom of the entrance. The grandmother, holding the infant, stepped on the escalator two steps ahead of me.  I couldn’t help but notice this woman’s ensemble.  She was rocking a skin tight, all black outfit with the kind of 4 inch clear heels I would imagine a stripper wearing.  Obviously my thoughts were: “Hell, if I weigh 84 pounds at 65 I’d rock a stripper outfit too. Right on.”  I am entranced by stripper grandma when she tries to shift her stance on the step.  Somehow the pin point heel of the stripper shoes had gotten caught in the groove of the step and she screeches and starts to fall sideways/backwards.  I yell some “AGGHHH” type noise and spastically jump onto the step above me. We end up with her entire back side on my chest with her head on my left shoulder.  We ride the rest of the way up the escalator as people in a 45 foot range around us watch utterly confused. When we get to the top she pulls her stripper heel loose, get off, looks at me, yells something in a language I do not understand, then walked away.  Just a day in the life of Rachael.

Things of that nature literally occur daily, so I decided everyone was right. I caved and made a blog.

These are a few of the people who will most likely end up in most of my stories:

Linzlee, Christina, Jessi, Karly, Maggie, DLA, Claire

My sweet parents Lovie and Tim

Bestie and rookie of three years, Peggy

And last but certainly not least, my sweet and handsome boyfriend, Casey.

ROLL AMERICA ROLL

I am currently in the middle of one of my first DIY projects in a long time.  The fourth of July has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember.  The past few years my boyfriend and I have dressed up for the occasion in full American flag gear (which I love).

Now, I see that American flag shorts are actually in style and i’m slightly obsessed with them. I am not, however, willing to spend $80 on them.  I looked it up online and I am in the middle of making some American flag shorts. I will post pics tomorrow when I have the final project!

I am going to try to make my shorts look as much like the topshop shorts as possible! Wish me luck!

Tribal Trend

I am loving this Summer’s tribal trend. I decided that I had to jump on board ASAP. My motto is: If Kim Kardashian is doing it, so am I. JOKE. Obviously. Although she does rock it pretty hard.  I really wanted some tribal shorts that would be easy to pair with a solid top. I looked around, but I didn’t feel like spending $348 on BCBG shorts that I could only wear a few times this Summer.  Tribal pants aren’t exactly an item you can wear everyday because they are so memorable.  I lived next door to a girl this winter that wore the same pair of crimson jeans and a HUGE fur vest every other day, though.  I started referring to her as “Crimson”…so if you want to be known as “Tribal,” then go ahead and do the damn thing everyday.

I am not a huge fan of Forever 21.  They have a store FULL of junk and a few cute pieces if you look for three and a half hours.  With that being said, I did buy a white top with crochet on the sleeves for about $25.00 that is identical to a $350 Johnny Was top.  It’s my favorite. I was digging through the store the other day and came across these tribal shorts and obviously had to buy them ($17.50.)
When I was walking out I also noticed a cute pair of leapord shorts for the same price. Like the tribal shorts, I can’t wear them a lot, but I will definitely get $17.50 out of them.

I SAY that I won’t be able to wear them often, but y’all might start calling me “Cheetah” or “Tribal” by the end of the Summer!

Here are a few others online that I liked:

Stuart Weizman “Alex” Look alikes

A few days ago I was browsing online and saw that my favorite boutique in Huntsville, Envy, got in a pair of really cute shoes that were decently priced.  I usually steer clear of cheaper shoes because my feet start to hurt easily, but for $28 I thought they were worth a shot. I pre-ordered them from their website and picked them up the following week. The shoe is the made by Bamboo and is called the Leanne 34.

I bought the middle color because I don’t have a light olive-colored shoe and I knew that they would match everything. I wore them for the first time the other night and they were SO comfortable. I was looking in a magazine the other night and noticed that Jennifer Anniston was wearing the exact same shoe.  I did a little research and apparently I bought a knock-off version of the Stuart Weizman “Alex” shoe.  This isn’t just any kock-off, though. They literally look the exact same. 

                                                           Bamboo, $28.00
I think that my shoes look pretty dang good for $337 less! I unknowingly bought a great pair of knock-offs!