KaoriAnne blue png snapcode
One of the features I decided to add to my new blog design is my Snapchat snapcode. That’s the thing you scan to add a fellow snapchatter within a matter of seconds as well as that thing that usually has an awkwardly moving GIF of people pulling faces. As much as I like the colour yellow, Snapchat’s garish hue doesn’t go with my blog design and I can imagine it may not go well with yours either. Here are a few slightly lengthy but simple steps that you can follow to download, edit and customize your snapcode:

 

STEP ONE
Using your desktop, go to Snapchat (here) and log into your account

STEP TWO
Once you are logged in, you will see a screen like the one below. Clicking on “Download my snapcode” will take you to a page where you can download a ZIP file containing the PNG and SVG formats of your snapcode.
How to download your snapchat snapcode

STEP THREE
Once you have downloaded your snapcode, expand the file as you would to with any ZIP file. Before I did this, though, I moved it to the folder where I keep the site’s admin and social media documents.

STEP FOUR
In the snapcode folder, you will also find the Snapcode Guidelines that contain the do’s and dont’s of customizing your snapcode.Snapchat snapcode guideline

STEP FIVE
Using Pixlr Editor (available here), open the snapcode PNG file from your computer and select the wand tool from the toolbar.

STEP 6 – Changing the colour of your snapcode
Use the wand tool and select the yellow. You will see a dashed lines that identify the selected area. Then select your colour at the bottom of the toolbar on the left. If you know the colour code (#) of the shade that you would like, you can input using this colour toolbar window. Finally, select the paint pot and fill in over the coloured area (you can view these three steps in the gallery below).

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STEP SEVEN – Inserting your own image
If you like the look of the white ghost in your snapcode, go on and save your image as a PNG file and upload it your blog. If you want to add text to your white ghost make sure that it stays within its black outline.

  1. Using the wand tool, select the white part of the ghost.
  2. Hover over the ghost and you should see a pair of scissors.
  3. Using the delete or backspace button, cut the white part away. You should be left with a checkered white and grey background.
  4. Select the image you wish to have in the ghost: Layer > Open image as layer
  5. Move the image behind the snapcode: Layer > Move layer down.
  6. Adjust the framing of the image if necessary. Here, I framed it so that it would fit the curve of my eyebrow.
  7. Use the lasso tool, under move tool, and draw around the corners where the image is poking out (NB: lasso-ing over the snapcode will not effect it at all as you are working on a different layer). Cut away where it is needed.

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STEP EIGHT – Adding text
You can always add your Snapchat username inside the ghost outline for good measure, if for some reason the code isn’t working. Once you are finished customizing your snapcode, don’t forget to save it as a PNG file.

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I’d really appreciate any feedback with regard to the content and layout of this post as this is the first time I’m covering anything tech related. If you have anymore questions or comments about Snapchat and other social media platforms, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me directly!

 

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Travelling with dogs, Sitting on the steps by a summer house with two dogs in the sun by the trees, The first time the boyfriend and I took a trip it was around Andalusia, in the South of Spain. The trip was just us two, but earlier this year we adopted two dogs. We knew immediately that we wanted to take them with us to the South of France this summer. It would be both mine and my boyfriend’s first lengthy holiday since we started our jobs and we wanted to make the most of our time with the doggos. Montpellier was is also apparently the dog friendliest place in France! Travelling with dogs, especially for the first time, can be stressful. Here are a few tips that cover driving in France, our roadtrip route, rest areas on French motorways and finally a checklist for travelling with dogs.

Driving in France

If you are planning to travel through France by car, you may have heard about the Crit’air / eco vignette, a sticker that classifies your car in terms of emissions, which will determine whether or not you can drive in a Low Emission Zone. Currently, only Grenoble and Paris have implemented permanent LEZs so if your route doesn’t go into any of these cities, then you don’t have to fret about not having a vignette because you left it too late, like us. Oops.

 

Our roadtrip route

We drove from Luxembourg to St Aunès, which was a total of 820km via the motorways: A31, A6, A7 and the A9.

We set off early on a Sunday morning at 1am to drive through the night. We pulled an all-nighter on Friday evening, going to bed around 4am on Saturday. My boyfriend, who did the driving, took another nap later in the evening after dinner and before setting off. Crazy? Maybe. Wort it? YES. The air was cool, the dogs were sleepy and there was minimal traffic on the road. We were never stuck in a traffic jam and when we started to get exhausted by the travel, the sun had come up and we felt more awake than we should have felt.

 

Rest areas on French motorways

The rest areas along (more info on APRR website*) the route we took were fantastic. Plenty of green patches to walk the doggos! I occasionally napped in the car so whenever we did stop for a break, I usually watched over the fur babies while my boyfriend took naps.

*APRR is where you can find out all about the different services and rest stops along the French motorways: Restaurants, gas stations, play areas, toilet-only rest stop etc. I emailed to ask whether they had an enclosed space for dogs, like at the Eurotunnel terminals, but unfortunately they do not. Being able to have the dogs off the leash without a worry would have been a fantastic perk!

 

Checklist for travelling with dogs

Two dogs on the beach drinking water from a collapsible water bowl which is easily transportable when travelling with dogs

I’ve been really liking the OneNote app for creating travel checklists. I created a notebook for this specific roadtrip, with sections dedicated to the dogs, our own packing, vegan spots in Montpellier, and social media hashtags. Coincidentally, this is how I organise all hashtags for two business accounts and one personal account to be copy-pasted from my phone to the UNUM app depending on the topic/photo. Now, onto the dog travel checklist itself!

  • EU pet passport or vaccination records (+registration of ownership if your extra paranoid)
  • List of veterinarians along your route and at your destination (this may be a bit over the top, but you never know) 
  • Dog tag with name and phone number with the international calling code for your country (In the scary event that you lose dog. Our dogs never got lost but had a tendency to wander off into the vegetable patch of the neighbours with whom we shared the grounds)
  • Leash & harness (we prefer using harnesses for the dogs and we kept them on during the journey so that we could easily attach the leashes rest stops along the French motorway)
  • Water (for our 9h road trip, we shared 2L of water between us two hoomans and the two doggos)
  • Food (for two weeks, we took 1KG of food for our 5kg dog, and 4KG of food for our 12kg pupper)
  • Collapsible bowl (an absolute must when travelling with dogs – so easy to pack away and it came in handy when we took day-trips)
  • First aid kit (think tick tweezers, regular tweezers, disinfectant etc.)
  • Bed and towel (we used the towel to cover the bed which was great for when one of our doggos had a stinker of an accident)
  • Baby wipes (to clean up those stinker accidents. It only happened once but the wet wipes definitely helped to clean it up quickly as well as mask the smell)
  • Poo bags (while on the fence about how ecologically friendly these are, they were a godsend when we had to clear up poop in a busy area or when one of them made a mess in the car

 

Do you travel with your fur babies? What items do you make sure to have on your checklist when you are travelling with dogs?

 

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tesla luxembourg store opening

Tesla comes to Luxembourg

It’s coming up to one year since Tesla opened its Luxembourg showroom. It was an exciting day for current owners, future owners and fans of the electric vehicle company in the region. The opening was made official by the Grand Duchy’s Deputy PM, Etienne Schneider, and Tesla Motor’s BE-LU Country Manager, An De Pauw. The EV company has topped Forbes’ 2016 list of the world’s most innovative companies, a commendation that can be attributed to teams of passionate employees and their CEO Elon Musk. Prior to the showroom opening, I attended the Digital Frontrunners talk hosted by Google Brussels where the importance of digitization was passionately emphasised by speakers from Singularity University, who spoke about AI, robotics, environmental challenges, innovation and exonomics (exponential economics). Digitization is set to influence our daily activities even more than before, making the following quote by Elon Musk stick with me:

“I could either watch it happen or be a part of it”

 

Digitizing Europe

Belgium was identified by Google and the Boston Consulting Group as one of the European Digital frontrunners, a group which also consists of Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia and Ireland. The report carried out by the Boston Consulting Group on Digitizing Belgium really makes me feel like it is such an exciting time to be living between both Belgium and Luxembourg, while the Google Digital Frontrunners talk has, most likely, propelled many attendees to want to “be a part of it”. The Boston Consulting Group has highlighted five areas the should be focused on order to fully embody being a digitized nation:

  • Enable digital and technology innovation
  • Stimulate entrepreneurship
  • Improve access to capital for young businesses
  • Adopt and implement smart regulation for the future
  • Build the skills and talent for tomorrow

(The Boston Consulting Group, 2016)

Entrepreneurship in Luxembourg

So where can you start? The digitization, start-up and entrepreneurship culture is without a doubt growing in Luxembourg and an excellent resource to keep up-to-date and draw inspiration from is Silicon Luxembourg. Find out where to pitch your next project and be a part of digitizing Luxembourg. WIDE (Women in Digital Empowerment) have also recently launched their startup leadership program for women, to better support women who are entrepreneurs in the digital and new tech industries.

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This past weekend was the ING Luxembourg Night Marathon. This past weekend I ran my first ever half marathon. I was able to prove to myself that I actually could and that means more to me than I will ever be able to explain. Just over a decade ago, my undiagnosed hyperthyroidism had put me in a hypertensive crisis, with the possible risk of heart failure. Because I had to stop school sports for a while, I realise now that I passively conditioned my brain to think I could never be active again. It scared me. I eventually took up kayaking in 2014-2015 and I didn’t start running until the end of summer last year… but I did it! All 21.0975 km of it! And I was also had the chance to raise money for CoppaFeel! in the run up to race day (more about them in this post: here). What better way to pay homage to the runner whose blog convinced me to sign up for a race, Kelly Roberts (Run, Selfie, Repeat), than by putting together a GIF filled post of the things that go through the mind of a first-time half marathoner.

1.  Getting excited for the race to start

Warming up before run can make all the difference so don’t be put off by stares. Get yourself prepped and pumped as the minutes count down until race time!

2. Figuring out if you’ll need to use the port-a-potties

“It’s a night race. I pooped last night.. So does that mean I won’t poop tomorrow? If I pooped last night, don’t poop tomorrow morning, will I need to poop in the evening i.e. during the race?”

3. Losing 90% of the water you pick up at your first hydration station pit stop

Yup. I read about this one but the excitement of the half marathon got the better of me and I Forest Gump-ed it passed the hydration station, with the cup of water gushing down my torso like Niagra Falls.

4. Noticing at which stages people took their energy gels

And taking a mental note for future reference. “Should I time my energy gel consumption differently next time?”

5. Arriving at water station number two with finesse

A controlled gliding approach at water station number two proved to be a lot more successful.

6. Remembering that you tried something new on race day

Staying away from anything new on the eve or on the day of the race seemed to be one of the golden rules that kept reappearing in forums, training plans and blogs.. oops.

7. Trailing someone since the start but then you finally take over

There’s that one person you have constantly been behind. The secret and silent race buddy. But the time has come to bid adieu to the familiarity of the back of their head and go where your legs take you.

8. Realising that the last 5k is a constant incline

…but you know you got this

 

9. When your family and friends find you after the finish line

Your family and friends have most likely waited a decent couple of hours for you and are eager to know how you are.

10. The morning after

Whether it’s your toes, hips, muscles or knees (right knee in my case) that hurts, something is going to be throwing you off from bringing the A-game to your supermarket strut for the next few days.

Any first time half marathoners out there?

What would you guys add to the list?

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Pinatex, Ananas Anam, KaoriAnne, Pineapple, vegan leather, vegan fashion

Yes, that’s right, a vegan friendly textile that is made from pineapples! Whether you are a new vegan or not, or just plain curious, here is everything you need to know about pineapple leather.

Piñatex™ was discovered by Dr. Carmen Hijosa and the textile has been seven years in the making. The project originated in the Philippines, but now majority of research and development is carried out in the UK (Royal College of Art) and in Spain. The fibres that make up the textile are extracted in a process called decortication on the plantation itself by the farming community, which means that this provides an additional channel of income for farmers as well as creating a whole new sector for pineapple growing countries.

Following the extraction, the fibres are then treated in an industrial process resulting in the base of the Piñatex material. The material is then taken to a textile finishing company in Spain before it is shipped off around the world.

 

Sustainability

  • Piñatex™ fibres are the by-product of the pineapple harvest. No extra land, water, fertilizers or pesticides are required to produce them.
  • The by-product of the fibre extraction is bio-mass, which can be further converted into organic fertilizer or bio-gas.

 

While the textile is quite new to the market, there are already a few brands and designers using Piñatex™ such as Rombaut (a Parisian footwear label), NAE – vegan shoesMayya Saliba at NotJustALabel and even Puma samples, but it will surely grow throughout the fashion industry and beyond thanks to its versatility. The textile is flexible and easily dyed as well as stitched; it is also available in varying thickness.

I have a great feeling about this one and I absolutely cannot wait to see it spread even more throughout the world. Hooray for eco-friendly alternatives!

(Images: Photo via Ananas Anam; wallpaper via Think.Make.Share.)

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