Surface RT Review

I’ve had my Surface RT since November 31, 2013 (It was an early Christmas/Birthday present), that’s a little over two months now and I’m really impressed with this tablet.

I had been wanting to get a tablet for entertainment, but couldn’t rationalize dropping hundreds of dollars to add another screen ‘for fun’ in our household. However, the more I learned about the Surface, the more I realized that this tablet might be the investment I’d been waiting on.

The Surface RT really seemed to fit the bill.

How I’ve used the tablet:


  • Downloading spreadsheets and word docs for presentations
  • Splitting the screen to do an internet search or check analytics to insert onto the spreadsheet
  • Reading up on current events and industry news
  • Editing docs on-the-go


  • NETFLIX! This was amazing when I was ill in bed.
  • Twitter. I have tried to give up this social media outlet, but I am addicted to the 140-character format.


What are some pieces of technology that you can’t seem to live without? How did you choose them?


5 items I appreciate

As I approach 30, I’m noticing that there are items and places that make my life easier. The past few years, our family has been focusing on making life simpler instead of accumulating ‘things’. From clothes for work to the tech we buy,  I now know that less, is indeed, more.

Below I have a list of items and places that have helped with the ‘less is more’ mentality when it comes to self-care, finances, and productivity.

1. The Happiness Advantage.

Self-care, Finances, Productivity

A book. And, no, it’s not all fairies and rainbows. If you’ve ever wondered about the science behind happiness, read this book and learn how happiness is the start, not the end result of success. This book reminds me that happiness is a choice, not a perk of completing something, and how ‘things’ (including degrees and recognition) wont fill you up.

2. Trader Joe’s.

Finances, Self-care

Now, I know that this place isn’t perfect. But we watch sodium, saturated fat, preservatives, and food dyes in our house, and TJ’s  makes it easier.  There are limited options at each store compared to a regular grocery store which prevents me from getting too distracted in the sweets aisle. Also, with their budget friendly prices, we can afford to try new things and not brake the bank.  

3. Surface RT.


Purchased on sale for $200, it was a Christmas/ Birthday gift. This was a splurge, but it has been awesome (it was on sale for Black Friday and we called a few stores the following weekend to check availability, and some of the Best Buy’s in more rural areas still had some)! Since I’m able to use Windows on this tablet, I can pull up spreadsheets and reports in meetings for reference instead of shuffling papers. It’s been a great tool for testing email templates too (part of my job as an Email Marketing Manager) since we don’t have smartphones anymore.

4. Library Card.

Finances, Self-care

When I was little, my mother took us to the library on Saturdays when she wasn’t working. We spent time reading books, checking out videos on dolphins, and reading Highlights. Over time, I have come to appreciate the library again (since I’ve been out of college for a few years). Now, I can check out an e-magazine on my Surface, books that I otherwise would have bought for professional development, and even audio books for my long(-ish) daily commute. Also, my son really enjoys going to the children’s room at the library to color and play with puzzles- win for winter!

5. Real Things.

 Self-care, Finances, Productivity

I know, this seems ridiculous. But when I was in college, I—like so many others—I consumed poorly. From ramen noodles to lots of cheap products all around. I didn’t think about what I was buying and consuming, I just knew that I could or couldn’t afford the item. Now? Well, we’re still on a tight budget, but we know that spending extra money on food or decent chemical free products is more beneficial to us in the long run. Yes, it’s more expensive, but we’re making choices with our money. 

We also learned that when we buy ‘cheaper’ items, we spend more money in the long run replacing the item. It’s true, you get what you pay for.

What about you? What do you appreciate more now that you didn’t think about before?

Is email killing you? (It’s crushing me)

I have been wondering lately where my productivity has gone. I started a brand new (awesome) job that I am loving that’s really pushing me to greater heights (it helps that my coworkers and bosses are fan freakin’ tastic). However, sometimes I look down and it’s been 2 hours since I started a project. I need and want to be productive, so I decided that this has to stop.

Last week, I took an inventory of my time, and I realized that I spent WAY too much time just ‘cleaning’ and organizing my inbox.

Everyone has been there with email. You’ve been working on ‘cleaning’ and ‘organizing’ your email to ‘put out fires’ and someone calls to see if you received their novel of an email. Regardless who it’s from, your boss, co-worker, or vendor looking to up-sell  it seems that email has become a life preserver as if to say ‘I held up my end, the ball is your court’.. and I’m done.

Conversations go something like this:

Them: I emailed you that proposal 203 hours and 23 minutes ago with 7 attachments and my edits to your proposal. Have you not read it yet?

Me: Not yet. I’m overloaded from the holidays.

Them: Ha! I know what you mean. I check mine all the time and still can’t seem to keep up.

Wait. WHAT?

So not only are we ‘using’ email as a file cabinet (are those even made anymore?) to make sure that we have a record of the conversation, but we’re never leaving work because we have to constantly keep our ‘desk’ clean by checking and cleaning our email. Don’t even get me started on voice-mail.

So all this begs me to ask: Why am I doing this to myself?

Answers (justifications?):

Because I manage several vendors and it’d be a nightmare otherwise? Vendor management. Oy vey.

Because workplace culture dictates? Maybe.

Because that is the only option right now? Not good enough and not hardly.

There are SEVERAL options out there for project correspondence and collaboration. Think 37signals. But what about day-to-day communication?

My background is in communications and email, in my opinion, IS NOT great tool for proper conversation. Honestly, it’s one-way. Forget about collaboration, it’s not good with that. Maybe if you are having correspondence with one person over time, but then, let’s call that what it is, a freakin’ letter.

Companies like Hootsuite are making a day-to-day conversation tool for communications within organizations, but I can see the comments so clearly…

‘I can’t follow the thread all the time!’

‘Ugh. Not another network to maintain.’

‘I’m not on Facebook,’

You see where I am going with this. While email is crushing me (and everyone’s productivity) I’m also weary on a taking the social network approach. However, I think we MUST re-imagine what communication looks like, and like everything, communication, like culture, is unique to a company.

What does communication look like for me and my company? 

Will I stop using email? Not right now, but I will improve my time management with it so I am able to really be productive.

How are you communicating in your office? Do you use a social type network? Do you love or loathe email?