I’m writing this as we’re traveling back from Russia, where we played against Chehovski Medvedi on Saturday. The match went great, we won by 6 goals and it was nice to finish up the last Champions League match of the year on high note with a win.

We visited Moscow a little while there and I have a few photos that I wanted to share with you in a later post. Today I wanted to tell you about a great gadget I’ve been using and testing for the past couple of weeks and which I’m very enthusiastic about.

iconx2When we were at the Olympics this year in Rio we had the pleasure of testing a lot of different products and we were even able to hang out in the Samsung lounge. It’s another great part of experiencing the Olympic games haha!

We got the Samsung Gear Icon X earbuds as a gift and because the season has been so crazy I’ve hardly had the time to try them out. I finally set them up a few weeks ago and I wanted to share my thoughts.

First, let me tell you about the fit. It was one of my top concerns because as some of you who regularly exercise with headphones know, not all headphones are great and some keep falling out if you’re working out hard so the fit is very important. Especially with cordless earbuds like these. They come with three sets of buds and wings in the case so you can choose the one that fits you best.

iconx

I can report that these work great. I’ve moved around with them (casual, not heavy excersise) and they stayed put. I then gave them to Masa to try to see how they would fit her (same size as mine). She took them running and was very pleased. She was worried about them falling out but they stayed in and weren’t bothering her at all.

The next up is controls. You control the buds, (on/off, volume, music change) by tapping and swiping. This works great when you’re in place, it’s a little more difficult if you are moving and it take a little bit to get used to the right movements. I’m used to touch controls from may Parrot Ziks but this is a little harder obviously since the touch surface is a lot smaller.

iconx

The Gear Icon X has 4GB of storage on them so I saved about 2 hours worth of music on there. The set up to do this is pretty simple with the Gear IconX Manager. We have Macbooks and despite this being a Samsung product I had no problems uploading the music. The battery life, if you’re just listening to music stored on the Icon X, is about 3.5 hours, which is enough for me of course, but probably won’t be if you’re running a marathon. Unless you’re very fast! If you’re connected to Bluetooth it’s about 1.5-2h.

iconx3

The only thing I will say is this though, if you’re using a Samsung phone, you install the app on your phone first and then you need to connect the case in which the earbuds come in to the computer, which will then install an app onto the case, which will eventually update the Icon X when necessary. It’s a little confusing maybe and a bit time consuming but I kind of like playing around with things like this so not really that much trouble for me.

The biggest thing about the Gear IconX is that they’re not just Bluetooth earphones, they can also track your workout activity, which makes for a very innovative concept that I love. The only problem is that you obviously need a Samsung phone to do this and view your activity after. I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge phone, which I used to try this and it worked great. I was able to see distance and heart rate and if you run with your phone, your route as well. If you run without the phone, which you can you won’t be able to track your location because there is no GPS on these buds. I was connected to S Health to view the activity and I think it gives you a pretty decent overview.

iconx5

If you’re wondering, yes the Icon X will also work with your iPhone, but only for listening to music. If you’re using an activity tracking app such Strava or Endomondo, you can also track your heart rate but no distance or calorie use.

So you can’t use it as your full activity tracker, which in some ways isn’t that bad because you’ll save up tons of battery life. On the other hand you’re not really getting the most out of everything it has to offer.

For us the Gear Icon X works great because I use my iWatch to track my activity if I need it and I just like the earbuds for music when I work out. They’re really comfortable and hassle free. Masa is the same way because she has a GPS and activity tracking watch she uses when running so the only thing she really needs is the music.

iconx4

My final review:  I think these earbuds are really good for anyone that works out a lot and wants quality sounds with activity tracking options. If this is in your budget and you are a Samsung Galaxy user, these are a win. I like the fact that you can store music on the earbuds, which means streaming isn’t necessary, which in turn is great for battery life. You don’t get that option with Powerbeats wireless earphones for example.

Best deal I found:

Cdiscount: 209 €

Amazon: 218,49 €

Darty: 229 €

Here's what's up

Some of you may not know this but I actually love to cook. And I’m pretty good at it, especially meat dishes. But I also have a sweet tooth and one of my favorite desserts is a cinnamon roll. I always get it at Starbucks!

cinnamon6Since we’ve been traveling so much since the season started and even before, I haven’t cooked in really long time. And I haven’t made cinnamon rolls since last spring either! So when Masa asked me to make them a few weeks ago and I actually had the Saturday afternoon off I made them! They were so good and we almost ate the whole thing between the 4 of us haha.

Lara and Lev helped me make them too.

Here’s my no fail recipe (adapted from this recipe by Laura Vitale). It works every time but I should tell you that it takes a while to make these. You need commitment for a few hours because the rolls need to rise.

Oh and these are better than those at Starbucks. At least Masa says so. But she never gets it at Starbucks so I’m not sure she knows what she’s talking about… Try them and see.

cinnamon4

 Here are ingredients for your dough:

  • 1 (7g) Package of Dry Yeast
  • ¾ cup of Milk (I used 1.5%)
  • ¼ cup of Sugar
  • ¼  cup of warm water
  • ¼ tsp (or pinch) of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp of Salt
  • ¼ cup of Butter, melted
  • 4 cups of All Purpose Flour
  • ¼ cup of Melted Butter, to brush over the top before baking

For the Filling:

  • 1/3 cup of Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup of Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup of Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp of Ground Cinnamon

And for the glaze:

  • ¼ cup of Cream Cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 Tbsp of Butter (room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cups of Powdered Sugar
  • ½ tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp of Warm Milk
cinnamon3

1) In a small bowl, combine the warm water and 1 tsp of the granulated sugar, sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

2) In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the egg, milk, salt, sugar and melted butter. Add 2 cups of the flour and the water, a pinch of vanilla extract and yeast mixture, mix until its all incorporated and slowly add about 2 more cups of flour. Turn the speed up to medium and let it mix for about 5 to 7 minutes or until you have a smooth dough.

picframecinammon

3) Oil a large bowl with some vegetable oil and set aside. Take the dough out of the mixer and pull it together with your hands to form a ball. Place it in the oiled bowl and oil the top of the dough with a little vegetable oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot to rise for about 2 hours.

cinnamon7 4) In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon for the filling, set aside.

5) When dough doubled its size, punch the dough down and roll it out onto a floured surface into a 15x9” rectangle. Spread the soft butter over the top and sprinkle evenly over the sugar and cinnamon filling mixture. Staring from one of the long ends, tightly roll the dough into a jelly roll form.

cinnamonrolls11 Cut into 14 to 16 slices (make sure they are even) and place them cut side down in a well buttered 9x13 baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let put them back into a warm spot to rise for another 1 ½ hours.

cinnamonrolls136) Meanwhile preheat your oven to 175°C.

7) Once risen, brush them with some melted butter and bake them for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

img_2179

cinnamon11

8) While the cinnamon rolls cool for a few minutes make the glaze. Mix all the ingredients of the glaze in a bowl except for the milk, once the cream cheese is all mixed, slowly add the milk until you get a runny glaze consistency. Immediately pour the glaze over the cinnamon rolls.

cinnamon1

9) Voilà,  bon appétit :-)

sunday-cinnamon2

FoodHere's what's up

Season Start

23 Oct 2016 0 Comments
4 LIKES

Before I do a handball recap of this week I just wanted to briefly touch on the start of our season in general.

For me it started a little differently this year because of the Olympic Games in Rio. Because I was absent for the preparation part of the season with the MHB team, which usually starts in the end of July, I didn’t join my teammates until early September.

We had about two weeks off after the games ended so you could almost say that the last season ended, the Olympics started and when we were done it was back to next season.

The team has changed quite a bit since last year, some players left for other clubs and we got 6 new players. The team spirit is high nevertheless and we all get along really well.

We started the season really well with wins against Toulouse and Presov but the next seven matches were very hard for us. We lost four of those seven matches, which is a lot considering the quality of our club and team.  matches, which is a lot considering the quality of our club and team.

Of course there’s no reason to panic but we need to be aware that we’re actually a young team with a lot of prospective players and we’re going to need to work hard for the rest  of the season and efficiently take advantage of every minute of the game.

st-raphael

This week we had a French league match in Saint Raphael (photo from our hotel room), a club which is our direct competition for the Champions League spots. The match was very important and very tight but unfortunately we lost for one goal. This puts us in a difficult spot because we need to win even more in order to maintain our position and start moving up in the standings.

I believe in this team and and the fact that we will take advantage of the potential we have for this season.

HandballHere's what's up