How to Charge Your Smartphone Faster

Time never seems to pass quite as slowly as when you’re waiting for your phone to charge. Rather than watching the seconds tick by, take control of the situation and utilize some of these simple steps to make your smartphone charge faster.

A Time Consuming Necessity

Unfortunately, charging your smartphone completely can take up to 3 hours, and most people just don’t have that kind of time to sit still and let their devices charge in the day. 

Rather than sitting around and twiddling your thumbs for hours while your phone regains power, take stock of these simple tips to get your smartphone back up to full charge faster. 

Hands Off, Charge On

Most of the best ways to get your phone charged faster are common sense tips, still most everyone could use a little refresher on these practices. 

Try to charge your phone while you sleep. This will keep you from wanting to check it as it charges, which greatly reduces the effectiveness of the charge. 

Turn your phone off, or put it in airplane mode. Suspending your phone’s cellular activity while it charges will speed the process up considerably.

Invest in a quality charger. All sorts of new tech is available to make charging quick and painless. 

Avoid USB and car charging. A good, old fashioned wall charger is going to be the most efficient option for charging your phone, but the other methods will certainly work in a pinch.

Try to keep it cool. When your phone is hot, it has to exert energy on cooling down. Charging your phone in a cool environment will render this function unnecessary. 

No one has time to wait around while their phone slowly charges, so maximize your charging efforts by using these simple habits.

How to Turn Your Old Phone Into A Dash Cam for Your Car

If an accident occurs without witnesses, the ordeal can degrade into a bitter battle of he-said-she-said; the same goes for a speeding ticket, or any other traffic violation. The best way to protect yourself is with a dash cam to record your driving, but what if you don’t have the time or resources to purchase a dedicated camera?

Crashes Are Costly and Common

Well over 2 million people are injured in car crashes every year; this comes with a host of associated expenses, particularly if victims aren’t able to verify the offenders’ liability to insurance companies. 

You always hope that nothing like a serious car crash will happen to you, but why not be prepared for the worst? Most people have an old phone collecting dust in a drawer, and you can put that phone to use as a makeshift dash cam. 

Fashioning Your Phone as A Camera

You don’t need many things to turn an old phone into a dash cam, as far as hardware goes: just a phone, some sort of dash or windshield mount, and a charging cable that can reach from you mounted phone to your car’s outlet. 

An old phone is preferable because you don’t run the risk of receiving a call or some other notification that could interrupt the camera feed. 

Once you have these items, you can select a dash cam app. An app is preferable for several reasons: it won’t require you to continuously clear out the storage on your phone from recording directly, you can set preferences for how long you want to keep the footage stored. 

These simple steps may prove critical to proving your innocence in an accident, or verifying your claims with insurance companies. In any case, you’ll be glad to have had a dash cam.

How to Reinstall Windows Without Deleting Your Files, Settings, and Software

There are quite a number of reasons that could lead to the need for reinstalling Windows on your computer. You could have been the victim of malware that corrupted your operating system, or you could just be an unlucky person who was burdened with a glitchy Windows installation. Whatever your reason for needing to reinstall your operating system, one major thing you typically want to avoid is losing all of the data you have on your computer – especially if you’ve had your computer for a while and have very important data on it. However, there is a way to reinstall Windows and keep all of your data without pulling all of your hair out in the process.

A Backup Plan

Backing up all of your important files and writing down software programs that you have to have is a wise decision. While there is a very easy way to reinstall Windows 10 without losing your data, it is never a bad idea to be prepared in case of an accidental full wipe. Additionally, if you’ve already done this step and you end up having to do a full wipe, that is less you have to prepare. You can easily save practically any file or document on a USB flash drive. You can also choose to use the flash drive you backup your data on to keep an updated backup file of your important documents.

Reinstalling Safely

Windows 10 has had many updates since it was originally released, and the most recent update to the computer recovery options is wonderful and very user-friendly. You will want to adhere to the following process. Open your Settings panel and find Update and Security. On the left side of the new screen, choose Recovery. After, you will select the Get Started option that is located under Reset this PC. The next screen will give you a Keep My Files option. Select it. Be very careful to not accidentally click Remove Everything – this will result in a total wipe of the entire computer.

See how to perform this process here: 

Once you’ve chosen to keep your files, you’ll be shown a list of apps that will be erased during the reinstallation. This is a minor inconvenience; just write down any that you know you definitely want to download as soon as you can. As a last ditch security measure, your computer screen will ask you if you want to continue with the reinstallation. Only click the Reset button when you are absolutely ready to start the process because you cannot stop it once it starts

Personalizing Your Computer…Again

Now that you’ve successfully reinstalled your operating system without losing your data, you can continue with business as usual. Be sure you take some time to set your computer back to how it was before you restored it, and good luck with the new Windows 10 OS!

Meet The Beret: Versatile and Revolutionary

The beret may have a reputation for being the favorite headgear of French mimes and Cuban revolutionaries. However, this versatile hat has a more colorful history than you may realize. Made of felt fabric produced from shrinking wool fibers, the beret has been the common hat of choice for social revolutionaries for thousands of years.

The Humble Origins of the Beret

The oldest predecessors of today’s beret were discovered in Bronze Age tombs in Denmark and Italy. Archaeological records, sculptures, and paintings show that variations of the floppy wool hat were commonly worn across Western Europe through the Middle Ages. Because wool was in steady supply and felt was easy to produce, the beret was a wardrobe staple among the common populace.

Artists like Johannes Vermeer depicted peasant life on canvas during the Renaissance. Unsurprisingly, the beret figured largely in many of his works. The beret’s disc shape and waterproof nature made it attractive as both warm and cool weather headgear. In fact, the hat was favored among the peasantry for working outside in all weather conditions. 

Wartime Gear and French Fashion

Berets of particular colors began to carry political and militaristic significance during the 1880s, with red berets appearing in Spain and blue berets sported by France’s elite Chasseurs Alpins. During WWI, British forces donned black berets, and in the 1950s, the famous Green Berets emerged as part of the American Special Forces.

While the beret became part of the uniform for militaries across the globe, others viewed the hat as a highly fashionable accessory. The chic French beret was adopted by men and women alike in North America and Europe beginning in the 1920s. Some of the most famous beret-wearers of this period included Ernest Hemingway, Edith Piaf, and Jean Harlow.  

A Revolutionary Staple of the Modern Era

When the cultural and political upheaval of the 1960s emerged, the beret was there to make a bold statement. Che Guevara and Fidel Castro both sported black berets during the Cuban Revolution. In the 1970s, the Black Panthers and other groups adopted the beret to enhance their tough, militaristic social reputations.

Today’s beret wearers often view the cap as a throwback to the revolutionaries of yesteryear. Some sport the beret in reference to artists like Pablo Picasso or starlets like Marlene Dietrich. Meanwhile, Beyoncé wore the beret as a homage to the Black Panthers at the 2016 Super Bowl 50 halftime show.

Flatter than a cloche and more weather-ready than a straw fedora, the humble beret has proved one thing in its storied history: it is as rugged as it is resilient. In short, the beret is here to stay!

Bow Tie: Function and Style Over the Ages

Stylish dressers often rely on the iconic bow tie to complete their look. However, did you know that the bow time actually came from humble beginnings? In fact, it was initially worn among Croatian mercenaries in the 17th century. 

From Humble Beginnings to Modern Fashion Accessory

During the Thirty Years’ War, Croatian mercenaries tied scarves around their necks to keep the opening of their shirts closed.  This purely functional habit was soon adopted by the upper classes in France, who thought it very stylish to wear scarves in such fashion.  The article of clothing was called a cravat, which literally means “Croat” in French.  The cravat later evolved into what many know as the modern bow tie. 

Formal and Fixed Versus Casual and Adjustable

A traditional bow tie is generally of a fixed nature and between 14 and 19 inches in length.  It is most appropriate for formal attire.

Adjustable bow ties are a later invention. They also cost less to produce and are suitable for everyone.  A wing-collar, however, may expose the buckle or clasp of an adjustable bow tie.  So, an adjustable bow tie is better suited to conventional collared shirts that can hide the buckle or clasp.

For complete ease of use, clip-on bow ties are also available.

Bow Ties Here and Now

Historically, bow ties were associated with stuffy professions and the political class.  There is certainly no shortage of images showing bow ties on the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill. 

However, over the last several years, bow ties have gone through a makeover.  They can now be found in a variety of patterns, styles, and colors — and they are no longer limited to being part of formal attire.  Don’t be surprised if you see someone sporting a bow tie with a pair of jeans or even an untied version of a bow tie around his neck. Today, it’s not surprising to see female celebrities such as Kim Kardashian sporting a bow tie, as well.

The Poncho

The poncho has a rich and regal heritage in South American culture. It was worn in intricately decorative form by the ancient Peruvians and the Mapuche people. According to conventional belief, the poncho came to Mexico and the rest of the Western world from trade routes along the Andes mountain range.

Poncho Particulars

A poncho is a large piece of rectangular-shaped fabric with a slit in the center for the wearer’s head to fit through. The entire garment hangs loosely over the shoulders like a blanket. Ponchos don’t have sleeves or side seams, and the edges are often decorated with fringe. Generally, it is worn in the cooler seasons as a means of staying warm and dry.

Fashion and Function

Modern versions of the poncho are made from a variety of fabrics. Some are made from woven alpaca or wool fabrics, such as the classic Mexican poncho, while others are made of more waterproof material for rainy days. The American military has utilized ponchos to keep soldiers warm and dry ever since the Civil War.

The women’s fashion industry has taken advantage of the poncho’s versatility to create trendy fall and winter outfits. That said, the fashionable poncho is certainly not limited to female attire!

Clint Eastwood has rocked a poncho on several occasions in his popular westerns. George W. Bush even wore a traditional Peruvian poncho to the APEC summit in Lima. Meanwhile, many celebrities such as Jimi Hendrix and Ringo Starr have been spotted wearing the comfortable and stylish garment.

Anyone Can Wear the Poncho

You can wear the poncho, no matter your shape, height, or weight. The loose hanging fabric is flattering on nearly every type of form. For a more fitted look, be sure to wear a belt. Today, the poncho is still a choice garment guaranteed to keep you warm and stylish!

Loungewear: Love It or Leave It, This Trend Is Here to Stay

After a long workday, we appreciate changing into more comfortable clothing when we get home. We call this type of clothing loungewear. That said, loungewear has come a long way from the usual pajama styles of yesteryear. Today, this popular item of clothing can be seen at grocery stores, school events, and even fashion shows. 

An Unexpected History

Loungewear originated from the quintessential pajamas, which has a history of its own. People have been wearing pajamas for centuries. However, the standard two-piece pajamas we know of today started as men’s attire.

Loungewear made its way into a woman’s wardrobe in the late 1920s. It was popularized by the 1934 romantic comedy It Happened One Night. In the movie, the main character wore her male counterpart’s pajamas.

Ever since then, women have been adding signature touches to masculine sleepwear. Pajamas soon featured pockets, which were used to store valuables during WW2. So, pajamas, which were once worn for comfort and warmth have evolved into something unexpected – loungewear.

Early Influences

Did you know that famous celebrities made it fashionable to sport loungewear in public places? Coco Chanel made beach pajamas famous in the early 1920s, while several actresses wore their high-end pajamas in photoshoots. Many 20th-century designers have also created fashionable evening wear pajamas.

Today’s Fashion Statement

Today, fashion legends like Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren design and market luxurious loungewear. The rise in popularity of loungewear can also be attributed to Instagram celebrities like Miley Cyrus sporting pajama-like loungewear.

Loungewear has even made its way into the boardroom. Mark Zuckerberg is famous for wearing his hoodie loungewear to work.

What Constitutes Loungewear Today

So what exactly is loungewear, aside from being a type of glorified pajamas? Simply put, loungewear is anything that’s comfy. Here are a few examples of loungewear as we know it today:

  • tracksuits
  • onesies
  • hoodies
  • oversized shirts
  • leggings
  • athletic wear
  • pajamas

The Versatility of Loungewear

The great thing about loungewear is that there aren’t any rules for how you should look. You can wear it anytime and anywhere. Loungewear has become acceptable attire at the grocery store and even at work. They are popular among anyone who works from home. There’s also an added benefit to loungewear: you can sleep in the clothes you wore during the day, saving you time and hassle (not to mention extra laundry).

The Everlasting Espadrille

Talk about a style that has withstood the test of time! Espadrille shoes have literally been worn for thousands of years and continue to be a popular choice of footwear for many. Both high society celebrities and the average consumer appreciate the versatility of espadrilles. Below, we take a look at their fascinating history and how much they have evolved through the ages!

What Are Espadrilles?

The characteristic that sets the espadrille apart from other shoes is the plant-based braided sole that gives the shoe its classic appearance. The sole is traditionally made from esparto grass, a plant native to Spain and northern Africa.

The strands of the grass are dried, braided, and sewn in tight layers to create an attractive, lightweight, yet durable sole. A fabric upper is then attached to the sole. Individual designers may also add tying bands, buckles, and other decorative elements.

Then And Now

Espadrilles trace their origins back to France and Spain in the 13th century. Always practical, they were worn by royalty, religious leaders, soldiers, farmers, and dancers. The light materials used in their construction made them suitable for the warm climate of the Pyrenees.

Eventually, the shoes were manufactured and sold in larger French towns. From there, they spread across the globe through an intricate network of trade routes. Espadrilles became very popular in America during the 1940s. Many Hollywood celebrities and famous artists like Salvador Dali wore them with pride.

Today, the espadrille has been modernized to include an additional layer of rubber under the sole and adapted to fit various styles with higher heels. As always, they are a favorite summer choice for every branch of society, including royalty, civilians, and celebrities!

Join in the Fun of Wearing Espadrilles!

Ready to get a pair of these fascinating shoes? They come in styles to fit every budget, lifestyle, and occasion. Today, many people enjoy wearing either flat or wedge styles for both casual and formal events.

The Kurta: Classic Style for Every Occasion

Man wearing kurta drinking coffee

A kurta is an ancient collarless shirt cut to knee length or below with straight, uncuffed sleeves and side slits at the bottom hem. A version of the kurta/kurti, called kamiz is still extremely popular in Pakistan and India. Many modern Western clothing styles are based off this comfortable pattern such as tunics, t-shirts, and midi and maxi dresses. Several Latin based languages carry versions of kamiz such as the French “chemise”, and Spanish “camisa”. Kurta is a word originating from the Persian language meaning “collarless shirt” and describes the male garment, with kurti describing the female equivalent. This timeless, classic style is perfect for all occasions.

A Vibrant History

Various versions of kurtas have been in fashion since ancient times. In many parts of South and Central Asia, traditional clothing was made from full lengths of woven cloth. Garments were fashioned through different draping, tying, and wrapping techniques. Cut and sewn garments came into fashion later. While in many parts of the world wrapped fashion is still preferred, the cut and sewn kurta has achieved great prominence. This versatile garment has been particularly popular in the regions of India, Pakistan, Nepal, and other countries in South and Central Asia. According to Roshen Alkazi, the author of “Ancient Indian Costume” which was published in 2003, the kurta originated from the “simple Central Asian nomadic costume” of the Kushan and Turk Mongol peoples. In the 12th century, this style of clothing (which at the time was exclusively male) came into prominence in Northern India, Pakistan and other areas of South Asia following the Muslim conquests of those regions.

Wearing the Kurta

Today both men and women enjoy wearing this comfortable garment. The kurta is part of the modern national dress of Pakistan. Northern India and Pakistan are the regions of the world in which the traditional kurta maintains the most prevalence in the 21st century, however different spins on the style can be found in every corner of the globe. In both Pakistan and India the outfit combination of Shalwar with Kamiz is so often paired together that it can be described as one entity, Shalwar kameez in Pakistan, or Salwar kameez in India. 

Traditionally the kurta is constructed without a collar, but modern styles may incorporate a collar in the mandarin style. The neck and sides of a traditional kurta are slit to provide ease of wearing. The side slits allow greater ease of movement. The v-shaped slit at the neck enlarges the garment opening for the head. This slit may simply be hemmed and closed with buttons, or the insertion of a placket may be used. Beautiful embroidery, called chikan, is popularly used to adorn the sides of the neck opening and to decorate the kurta at the shoulder seams. The sleeves of kurtas are traditionally straight. They differ in this style of sleeve from Western authentic dress, which is generally cuffed and tapered toward the wearer’s wrist.

Timeless Popularity

The kurta is a global classic. Stylish versions of the traditional kurta are found everywhere in the world and on the internet. A new trend shaping the modern kurta is that of Indo-western attire. This trend seeks to merge the traditional styles of East and West. Offering patterns in geometric, floral, and striped designs, this modern kurta is generally constructed with untraditional, cuffed sleeves. Traditionally kurtas have no class distinction. They are comfortably worn by people of all walks of life. Depending on the fabric and extent of embroidery and embellishment, kurtas seamlessly blend from the workplace to a wedding. This comfortable, versatile garment is available in fabrics ranging from beautiful, formal silk, to warm, durable wool or cotton. No matter the time, season, or region, make the kurta your go-to garment.

Sports Wear: From Functional to Fashionable

woman wearing sports wear

Centuries ago sportswear referred to clothing worn while playing sports. For the men and women of yesteryear, the term referred to clothing worn while hunting fox, or for a game of tennis. Within the past half-century, it meant you were out for a run, or on the back of a surfboard.

Today, you don’t have to be on the back of a horse, on the court in Wimbledon, riding the waves, or at the gym to wear sportswear. It’s often known as America’s clothing, but it is now commonplace around the world. Also referred to as mix and match, or fashion sportswear, for men this may entail slacks and a sports jacket or cardigan, or shorts and a golf shirt. For ladies, sportswear can be of similar attire only add in skirts, yoga pants, leggings, and more.

From the Hunt to the Office

Back-in-the-day, when gentlemen and ladies went on a hunt, they wore britches, suspenders, a plaid shirt, cufflinks, a silk tie, a hunt coat or blazer, and shooting gloves. Today the British fox hunt tradition is banned, although people can and do still go out for a horseback ride in a variety of the clothing not only in the UK but in the US as well. Important to the fashion world, however, is the style of clothing that emerged from Wellington boots to waistcoats.

The boot trend for ladies really took off in the ’60s and ’70s from knee-highs to thigh-highs. It was Nancy Sinatra who first sang “These boots are made for walking,” in 1966. Loretta Lynn sang her own spin on the song the same year.

Of course, Lynn and the American cowboy before her wore a different version of the boot. The cowboy boot is still one fashion option today, and it’s not only Carrie Underwood, Kacey Musgraves, RaeLynn, or Taylor Swift who have paired their boots with skinny jeans, short frilly skirts, and short shorts.

Who Made Leisure Suits Cool?

The leisure, lounge, or tracksuit became popular in the 1970s. Tracksuits, of course, had been worn by track and field athletes while waiting for their event, warming up, or cooling down. When made of polyester or velour, wearing the leisure or tracksuit off the track and outside of the home is often credited to Bruce Lee. Lee, who was known for his martial arts in film, is also fondly remembered for wearing his yellow jumpsuit for leisure, onscreen and off.

Soon, people began taking their daily walks in leisure suits. Some boldly wore them for a trip to the market and beyond. While their styles have changed through the decades, leisure suits and sweats, have become the easy, go-to clothing to throw on for almost any casual situation.

Taken Off the Tennis Court

Obviously, you need to be able to move freely to play tennis. For ladies a century ago, the garb included loose flowing skirt bottoms and ballooned sleeves. Through the decades their dress became even more relaxed, allowing women to further develop their athleticism. Stockings were done away with, the skirts got shorter, and blouses lost their sleeves.

Dress became more playful and attractive for ladies fashion, on and off the court. For men too, wearing sharp-looking fitted shorts with polos similar, although not as loud, as worn for taking in 18 holes.

Perhaps the most trendsetting fashions from the courts and track, however, are tennis shoes which have evolved to include athletic shoes encompassing running, basketball, and other styles. It is important to remember that tennis shoes, aka sneakers, for fashion are far different than athletic shoes for sports. But, big-name brands such as Nike, Reebok, New Balance, and Vans haven’t hesitated to invest in designing their own fashion tennis shoe right alongside their various sports shoes. These fashion sneakers can be, and are, partnered with most any clothing styles, today.

Put on Your ‘Chucks’

In Uptown Funk, Bruno Mars sang, “Got Chucks on with Saint Laurent.” We agree with this fashion statement.

Chucks, aka Converse basketball-style shoes, have the look of high-top basketball shoes. The name stems from basketball player Charles “Chuck” Taylor joining the Converse All-Stars, sponsored by the Converse Rubber Shoe Company back in the 1920s.

Yves St. Laurent was one of the most famous designers in the 20th century. As a teen, he began working with Christian Dior following attending fashion design school in Paris. In the 1960s he started his own line. Runway models began showing off St. Laurent blazers, smoking jackets, and pea coats for women. Later the St. Laurent line grew to include men’s clothing, as well.

Today, one can pair St. Laurent style with Chucks for a very fashionable style. We’re glad Bruno took notice.

Other designers who contributed much to America’s sportswear look include Bill Blass and Geoffrey Beene. These two took it even further by also translating mix and match pieces into attractive eveningwear.

Stretch Pants to Leggings

In the ’50s women began wearing pants a lot more often. Made from more stretchy fabric, pants became tighter fitting and with shorter legs, hitting mid-calf and worn with heels. Enter the Audrey Hepburn look, which was followed by Debbie Reynolds’ onscreen and off-screen attire in the ’60s.

As pedal pushers and capris evolved, soon came leggings developed from fashion dating back to 14th-century Scottish men. Like long socks, leggings were worn with a Cotehardie, the hip-length dress with long sleeves, during Renaissance times. At this much later time though, toward the late 20th century, leggings were no longer in separate pieces of a pair, but rather made similar to a thicker pair of tights, and were worn by women.

Back to Uptown Funk and Bruno singing the chorus, “If you’re sexy then flaunt it.” Celebs and fans today are not only wearing leggings when going to the gym, but for taking their kids to the park, running errands, and beyond. J-Lo, Rihanna, Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Mila Kunis, Kaley Cuoco, and Alessandra Ambrosio are just a few of the celebs who have been photographed in their favorite leggings while modeling and in their daily lives.

Today’s sportswear allows for flexibility. One blouse or sweater can be paired with many different skirts, leggings, or pants. Similarly, your favorite pair of pants can be worn with a variety of different blouses, shirts, and tops. A woman, or man, therefore, is offered a lot more diversity in their wardrobe. Each article of clothing can go a lot further. You can go to work with one look, and through a simple change of blouse or shirt, be ready for an evening out on the town.