EuroTribe

your guide to Europe off the beaten path

Category: Reviews

Roost Stand Review – Fantastic Laptop Stand For Everyday Life

If you are hunching over your laptop like Quasimodo, you are gonna appreciate this post. Laptops are small in size and we spend hours working on them. The result of…

If you are hunching over your laptop like Quasimodo, you are gonna appreciate this post. Laptops are small in size and we spend hours working on them. The result of this is neck and back pain, headaches, bad mood, and frustration. Working like this over a prolonged course of time can seriously damage your health and spine, and can cause nerve damage.

Laptops were made for portability and they made our lives so much easier, but unfortunately, it is our physical health that suffers.

I use MacBook Air with the 13-inch screen and the hunching over is worse than working on a 15-inch laptop. If you have the same problem I wholeheartedly recommend getting a laptop stand.

In this post, I will review the Roost laptop Stand which raised more than 1 million on Kickstarter.

Main Features

  • very easy to carry

  • adjustable height (6 to 11 inches above the table)

  • fits almost all laptops

  • lightweight (only 170 grams)

  • durability

Setting Up and Usage

Your Roost comes in a nice little protective bag, so you can pack it while you are on the go.

You can set up Roost in less than a minute. Yes, it is that easy. You will get a manual with your Roost and you can also take a look at the instructions below.

The stand is very stable, you can move it around and it will still hold your laptop perfectly. It might not look like that from the photos, but the stand is constructed from glass-fiber reinforced Nylon, a structural metal-replacement polymer and Delrin high- performance resin. This means it can probably last a lifetime!

The Roost Stand is ideal for anyone who spends a lot of time on their laptop, like writers, freelancers, and students. However, it can be used by anyone – whether you use your laptop for professional reasons or for watching Netflix. Its light weight makes it extremely suitable for travelers and digital nomads.

Will your laptop fit?

When it comes to weight, no laptop is too heavy for Roost. It can hold over 20 kg, but when it comes to laptop size, the front page of your laptop must be less than 1.9 cm thick.

Price

74.95$

I know what you are thinking. At first, it may look like this is too much for a laptop stand. You will also need to get a keyboard, a mouse and perhaps a USB hub. Unfortunately, these will be extras that you will need to get unless you already own them. However, considering that Roost Stand is made of really durable material and that it can last for a really long time, it is really a small price you can pay for your health. Chiropractors cost way more!

Conclusion

roost stand review

Roost is a laptop stand that will improve your health and productivity. It can be used by anyone – whether you are using your laptop for a professional reason or just for fun. So far it is one of the best pieces of kit that I have and I totally recommend it to anyone. The price could be off putting to some, as you can definitely get a much cheaper stand, but considering the durability and the fact that you can take it anywhere with you, makes Roost a worthy investment.

If you like Roost you can order it from the official website or Amazon. And here are some tips on how to protect your back and neck from laptop usage. You can also take a look at my favorite gear.

 

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Freeletics App Review – Fitness On the Go

January is officially over and as every year, I find that most of my friends (myself included) are pretty much already falling behind on their New Year’s resolutions. The statistics…

January is officially over and as every year, I find that most of my friends (myself included) are pretty much already falling behind on their New Year’s resolutions.

The statistics say that year after year number one ranked NY’s resolution is to lose weight and/or introduce healthier eating. But only 9.2 % feels successful in achieving their resolution.

What are the most common reasons to neglect a healthy diet and exercise, something that is of key importance for our overall health?

Well if you’re used to eating food high in sugar/fats it would be harder opting daily for a salad with simple protein. If you’re accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle and want to start exercising, there a lot of things that factor in that are hard to overcome.

freeletics nutrition

This is a list I compiled of most frequent reasons why people forego their exercise/diet regime:

  • Getting started with a new diet. When I say diet, I’m referring to adopting healthy lifelong habits (I’m strictly against fad diets). At the beginning people tend to be overly enthusiastic and put big restrictions on themselves. Following a healthy lifestyle is about modifications not restrictions. It’s about balance. Best way not to fail is to make a plan.

  • Where to start? The internet has millions of recipes uploaded daily and it can get hectic trying to pick which recipes are best for your goal. Your goals might vary, from losing body fat, building muscle or just staying fit. So before making any modifications – research thoroughly.

  • You don’t have time to work out. You might be a busy student, have a demanding job, or a frequent traveler. It is difficult to encompass a fitness routine into your already busy schedule.

  • No support system. It’s easy to have beginner’s motivation but to stick with your routine it takes serious effort and endurance.

  • Newbie in the gym. If you’re just starting to work out for the first time and don’t have the necessary funds to hire a personal trainer, it might feel daunting to walk into a gym that offers various exercising machines. Which exercises should you focus on? How many sets/reps should you do? Are you doing the exercises correctly?

This is not supposed to be a list of excuses. So how to overcome them?

Make a list, what are your priorities and what are you willing to sacrifice.

freeletics app review running

As many of you would agree, one of the biggest difficulties as a frequent traveler is being consistent with maintaining our key life habits. When you’re on a holiday or a business trip we tend to forget all about exercising. It’s either because the hotel doesn’t have a gym, you don’t want to spend an hour or two exercising when you could be sightseeing or not knowing the area and how safe it is to go for a run. Keeping in mind the challenges and how it’s not always an option to get outside and train, you need the possibility to train anywhere. At home, in a hotel, on the go.

Fortunately I’ve come across Freeletics  app (Freeletics.com), while I was researching how to find the best solution for myself. I’ve been using it for something over two months and for me it turned out to be a great investment.

If it’s raining and you can’t do your bodyweight exercises (that often encompass light jogging) outside, you can switch to the 2×2 workouts. The 2×2 workouts as explained on their website is, “Same workouts. More flexible. Just as tough. 2×2 means you can train with only 2 by 2 meters of space. Workouts with exercises where you usually need distance are replaced with ones you can do on the spot. And runs replaced with exercises suited to you and your fitness level.

freeletics app review wear

Freeletics offers four apps: bodyweight freeletics, running freeletics, gym freeletics and a nutrition guide.

They do have free workouts but you have to pay to unlock the Coach version. They offer a subscription that lasts 3 months/34.99€; 6 months/59.99€ ; 12 months/79.99€ – and for that price you get three apps (bodyweight, gym and running), but for the nutrition guide you have to pay extra.

Even though I have all three apps, I’ve been solely using the bodyweight and running app. I relied on those apps because I don’t enjoy going to the gym and because it’s more time efficient for me to work out at home (no time lost in commuting). It’s based on high intensity workouts which proved to be very effective and what’s an important benefit for me, also very short. I spent half an hour to an hour working out five times a week.

How does the app work?

When you unlock your Coach version of Bodyweight Freeletics, first you put in some basic information about yourself (weight/height, date of birth). Next step asks you to rank your top three goals (gain strength, lose weight, improve endurance, general fitness, relieve stress), how many days per week are you willing to train with the Coach (you can adapt it weekly according to your schedule). And last thing is to grade at what fitness level do you think you are.

freeletics bodyweight app

 

Coach generates a fitness test based on the info you’ve provided. After that brief work out (for which you need only a 2×2 space) – it provides you with your first week with workouts that are explained in great detail (video presentations).

Every 15 weeks you can redo the fitness test and get a new tailored plan for your next level.

One other thing that really stands out with Freeletics, is their community. They were able to build a community (they refer to themselves as ‘Free Athletes’) that is centered on a healthy lifestyle and encouragement – people organize groups within their local communities and do their freeletics workouts together.

People love this new workout regime and have shared hundreds if not thousands of  their testimonies on Youtube and other social media channels.

Final conclusion

Pros are:

  • App is beautifully designed

  • Exercises are explained in great detail (accompanied by videos)

  • It’s time efficient, duration of a work out can be from 15 min to an hour

  • It’s effective, I was surprised how quickly your body adapts and how fast I was able to see results

  • Online community is exceptionally welcoming and motivating

  • Their website is full of very well researched articles that provide you with input on how to improve your overall health

  • Budget friendly (with bodyweight and running no need for a gym membership)

Cons are:

  • It’s very intense so you need a strong will to succeed – but as soon as you see results (which will be soon) you won’t feel like throwing in the towel

  • Depending on where you live, Freeletics community might not be as big (my friend in Berlin has regular meet ups with her new freeletics pals) whilst I in Belgrade, rely on the online community for motivation

 

So after doing Freeletics for almost three months now, I can say that it definitely is worth the money and would highly recommend it. Its benefits are even more apparent to frequent travelers. The best thing is that you can buy the Coach version and if you’re not pleased with the app you can ask for a refund within 14-days of purchase!

© All photos belong to Freeletics
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Cool Travel Gear: Passion Planner

Whether you’re a freelancer with lots of projects coming ahead or a student planning an adventure to Europe, planners can be great for productivity by keeping you back on track….

Whether you’re a freelancer with lots of projects coming ahead or a student planning an adventure to Europe, planners can be great for productivity by keeping you back on track.

I’ve tested different productivity systems and applications over time. Making plans far ahead usually doesn’t work as things change at a fast pace. The fact that you are not succeeding at what you’ve set up, leads to more stress. That’s why I really love the Urgent/Important principle. However, planning has its good sides too. Planners can be helpful in a daily routine or when you need to reevaluate some important life goals.

For that reason I decided to give a chance to an actual physical planner.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

I was debating whether I should try bullet journaling or buying myself a planner. Bullet journaling is great for all of you who love DIY projects – because it’s fully customizable. I’m not good at drawing or calligraphy so I decided against it. My previous record with planners wasn’t very admirable as I would lose interest and forgo them in a matter of a week or two. I needed something that would be my motivator and kept me organized.

After sifting through available options online I decided to try out Passion Planner.

What makes it different than other planners on the market is that it’s very interactive. Passion Planner is, in a way, a low budget life coach.

First you start off by drawing up your Passion Roadmap. This is where you can map out what you hope to achieve within the given time frame (3 months, 1 year, 3 years). In general, I only believe in short term plans as they are more efficient and more realistic to achieve than 1 or 3-year plans.

passion-planner-2

Next step is prioritizing; recognizing the goal that is going to have the most positive effect on your life at present moment. Picking a goal, gives us a focus point to pour our energy and effort into. Writing down necessary steps/tasks which we have to complete to get to our goal – makes any goal, no matter how high or implausible it seemed, start to look achievable. Step-by-step or day-by-day system works wonders!

passion planner

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. – Lao Tzu

The Passion Planner has an instruction page which delves into the specifics as to creating a timeline, due dates, reviewing your daily/weekly focuses, monthly reflection pages etc.

The planner also has smart and creative sections such as the ‘not to-do list’, ‘personal projects’, ‘work projects’, ‘space of infinite possibility’, ‘good things that happened’ and motivational quotes on every page.

passion planner

My favorite section is ‘space of infinite possibility’. It’s true, the opportunities are endless. You can use the space as a habit tracker, to tape a finance sheet to keep those online sale shopping sprees in check or write down your grocery list.

The planner also has a “Good things that happened” section. It’s funny but a small thing like that can really alter your way of thinking. Any time I feel disappointed that I haven’t accomplished my set goal for the day, I just flip to the monthly calendar page and spend a minute or two, reading up on all the positive things that I’ve accomplished or had happened to me in prior days.

On their website I found a page called tips, and I enjoyed and applied some of them to my planner. One of the tips that specifically appealed to me was scrapbooking.

In the section ‘infinite space of possibilities’ I like to put up polaroid snaps of some of my ‘mini-triumphs’ or a reminder of a good thing that happened to me that day.

The emphasis of the planner is not just on getting all of the boring errands out of the way but to remind us to stay present and truly experience each day. At the end of the year planner can be a great summation of all that you’ve accomplished. A reminder to practice mindfulness and enjoy the small things that are sometimes overlooked.

Passion Planner is ideal for travelers too. Maybe you want to discover Europe, start hiking more or start a blog? It can be used by anyone! Whether you’re a freelancer, student, wannabe adventure or a blogger, you’ll find this planner useful. You can order it through the offical website or Amazon.

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Cool Travel Gear: SleepMaster Mask

I’ve first heard about the SleepMaster mask from the Tim Ferriss Show and decided to try it out myself. It’s great to use if you have troubles falling asleep but…

I’ve first heard about the SleepMaster mask from the Tim Ferriss Show and decided to try it out myself. It’s great to use if you have troubles falling asleep but it becomes especially handy during travel.

You can use it:

  1. While trying to fall asleep in a place other than your home

  2. While traveling (airplane, train, hotel or hostel stays)

  3. Or even for meditation!

What makes SleepMaster different from the other masks on the market is that it provides a noise relief too. Traditional masks usually just cover your eyes so you will also need to use earplugs. SleepMaster does both as it covers your head and ears making it an all-in-one mask. You’ll also get a pair of earplugs if you want complete noise reduction because the mask doesn’t offer total sound blocking for safety reasons. The complementary earplugs are also of excellent quality as they are non-allergenic and non-irritating. Airport workers use them too.

Sleep Master mask

This mask is ideal for long travels by plane, train or bus and especially if you are staying in hostels or other loud places. As mentioned above it serves many purposes so you can use it anytime-anywhere!

With its Velcro closure the mask is adjusted to fit everyone so you don’t need to worry about the size. My first impression after putting the mask is how lightweight its design is and how comfortable it feels. I’ve found that adjusting the mask too tightly is the best way to keep it stay in place all night long but you can adjust it in any way you like.

Besides the obvious benefits for travel SleepMaster is great for every day life too. How? Some of the greatest minds in history used to take power naps, also known as the polyphasic sleep. SleepMaster is great for this and it can improve your memory and concentration.

If you wonder about the material the outter part is made of fine polyester stretch satin and the interior of lightweight cotton and polyester; no latex or foam.

For only 22$ and a mask that offers all-in-on sleep solution I recommend SleepMaster to any traveler. With a 30-day money back guarantee why not try it out?

You can order the mask on SleepMaster’s official website or via Amazon.

 

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Quest Protein Bars Review

Life on the road can be hectic and fast-paced, preventing us from preparing our meals every time. Protein bars can come in handy in those moments. Not only are they…

Life on the road can be hectic and fast-paced, preventing us from preparing our meals every time. Protein bars can come in handy in those moments. Not only are they convenient after training sessions as they help gain muscle mass, they can also serve as a great recovery after long backpacking trips and hikes.

Team from Quest Nutrition was kind enough to send me two boxes of their protein bars for review.

These are definitely one of the best bars on the market as they are sugar-free and made of high-quality protein. Even better, with Quest’s rich selection you’ll be able to find something that you like. When it comes to the texture, the bar is chewy and tasty and I could rarely eat the whole piece. The fruit flavors were my absolute favorites. You can also check out their Amazon page.

Here are some bars I liked the most;

– mixed berry bliss

– lemon cream pie

– white chocolate raspberry

– apple pie

– banana nut muffin

You will also get a recipe book with your order because the bars can serve as an ingredients too.

With 2 Vanilla Almond Quest bars you can make yourself a delicious quest tart or a mug cake with 2 broken up quest cravings peanut butter cups.

Besides protein bars, Quest Nutrition also offers various other products. Protein chips seems to be very popular but you’ll also find protein powder, pasta and even clothing too. You can eat the chips guilt-free as there are zero junk ingredients and 21 grams of high-quality protein.

You can also check out this great guide with a detailed review of each Quest Bar flavor.

Quest is also a company which gives a good example on how to build a loyal community.

This can be seen from their fans who share their experiences all over social media with the hashtags #OnAQuestEur and #QuestEurope. You can follow their Instagram account as Quest features photos of their fans allowing them to win a free box of bars.

Final thoughts

Pro’s

– no artificial sweeteners

– high quality protein

– gluten free

– great taste

Con’s

– more expensive than other protein bars but you get what you pay for ! 🙂

Have you tried Quest’s protein bars? Or do you have any other recommendations for travel snacks? Feel free to comment below.

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Hotel MANI Berlin – A Perfect Stay For Young Trendsetters

Planning a short trip to Berlin but have no idea where to stay? Hotel MANI Berlin by Amano Group is an ideal choice for young trendsetters, couples and business travelers…

Planning a short trip to Berlin but have no idea where to stay? Hotel MANI Berlin by Amano Group is an ideal choice for young trendsetters, couples and business travelers looking to get the most of their stay in Berlin.

Hotel and location

Mani has a wonderful location on popular Torstrasse street in Mitte district which is dotted with cool bars, restaurants, art galleries and fashion boutiques and it’s very close to Alexanderplatz, Brandenburger Tor, the Museum Island and other popular attractions. The U-Bahn is out the front door and it’s a great way to get around. As you walk inside the attention is drawn to interesting decor of the hotel lobby and an eclectic bookcase, which makes the first impression of the hotel highly positive. If you’re looking for some great bars in the vicinity, check this post too “Seven Bars in Berlin worth checking out“.

MANI hotel exterior

hotel mani lobby

Restaurant & Bar

Undoubtedly, the best thing about MANI is its design. During winter months, the ground-floor restaurant with its marble fireplace is so inviting and it’s an ideal setting for lunch or dinner. No wonder why it’s often recommended by the German travel magazines! The restaurant is mostly specialized in French cuisine with an oriental influence. If you’re only looking for a refreshment Amano Bar is a place to go for cocktail lovers.

mani restaurant

mani hotel restaurant berlin

Rooms

Whilst small, the rooms are cozy which is typical for the European hotels but the beds are so comfortable! They are designed in a dark modern minimalist way, making the atmosphere in the room somewhat sexy which is ideal for couples.  All rooms offer bathroom with shower (probably the best thing about this hotel), high-quality cosmetic products, climate control, flat-screen TV and mini bar. My room was at the front of the hotel, but they are  soundproofed so no need to worry about traffic noise. The wi-fi is available throughout the hotel and is of excellent quality. If you’re bored there’s a possibility to rent laptop, iPad, Xbox and DVDs and even bicycle if you prefer to explore the city in this way.

MANI hotel room

MANI hotel room 2

It’s impossible not to love Hotel MANI. With an ideal location, stylish decor and friendly staff you’ll want to come back here again.

You can find out more at the hotel website. Photos belong to Amani group.

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