5 Essential Items for Using a Tablet As a Computer #VZWBuzz

using tablet as computerI go through periods in my life when it feels like I’m traveling a lot. The thing about being a blogger, though, is that the need to work doesn’t stop, regardless if I’m traveling specifically for my blog OR for a family vacation.

I’m not complaining about that at all! I know I’m so lucky I get to travel for both professional and personal purposes, but the challenge lies the fact that the blogging equipment always needs to come along with me.

What sort of equipment do I need to continue blogging away from home? Luckily, it’s not too much. I need a computer and a connection to the internet. My Verizon phone has a hotspot that activates super-fast wifi connection for me anytime, so the only thing left is the computer.  Fortunately for me, my computer is small. If I had to take my husband’s laptop with it’s 17″ screen, I’d be in trouble!

If my own computer was out of commission, it just makes sense that I’d pack up my Sony Xperia Z2 tablet instead of that beast of a laptop. But have you ever tried to actively work on any tablet? They’re absolutely perfect for web browsing, entertainment, and a variety of other activities, but it’s no substitute for a computer.

A tablet is no substitute for a computer, that is, unless you have the right accessories!

5 Essential Accessories for Using a Tablet as a Computer

1. A full-size wireless keyboard  ::

full size compact wireless keyboardI think typing is the biggest challenge in using my tablet. I don’t think anyone actually expects us to type more than a few characters on that ultra-flat on-screen keyboard. In my opinion, an external keyboard is necessary if I want to do anything more than swipe, tap or “click” on a tablet.

First, please don’t get a tablet case with a built-in keyboard. While the portability is appealing, the keys are smaller than normal and squished together to fit into the case. It will feel like you’re typing on a labelmaker, and you’ll spend most of your time correcting your typos.

Instead, use a slim, full-size wireless keyboard. I own this bluetooth ultra-slim keyboard and it hasn’t failed me. It has the same layout, key spacing and feel as my own laptop computer, so I don’t have to get used to a different set up when I’m trying to write a blog post.

2. A Bluetooth mouse  ::

best bluetooth mouseI used to feel like I wouldn’t need a mouse because the tablet’s touch screen is right there.

I was wrong. Using a mouse just goes hand-in-hand with using a keyboard. Once I started typing away on my wireless keyboard (see #1) I quickly realized how awkward it feels to reach over my keyboard to touch the screen.

Remember, you need a bluetooth mouse (not just a wireless mouse) to connect with your tablet.

3. A tablet stand with horizontal and vertical positions  ::

tablet case with horizontal viewOnce you’re working with your keyboard and mouse, you’re not going to want to lean over to look at your tablet sitting flat on a table. A stand will give you a much better view of the screen.

Be sure you consider how you prefer to position your tablet. Most stands are set up for a horizontal view. I prefer my tablet to be in a vertical position, so finding a case that allows for both positions (like the one pictured above) can be an important factor when shopping.

4. A Portable Battery Charger  ::

motorola portable battery reviewsMost tablets have decent battery lives, but actively working on any device will drain its power faster than you’re used to. Extend your tablet’s use with an external battery.

Motorola gave me a Power Pack Slim 4000 last year when I visited their headquarters. It works great and I love that it doesn’t require another cable when it’s time to use it.

I also have a Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation that works like a dream.

5. Memory Card or Cloud Storage  ::

micro sd memory cardDepending on the work you’re doing, space on your tablet could quickly become an issue. If you’re able to expand your tablet’s file storage with an micro SD card you should definitely do it. In addition to giving you a lot more free space, your device will probably run faster!

You can also save files right to the cloud. This makes them available on any device, which means it’s easier to switch between your tablet and computer. I always use my free Dropbox and Evernote accounts for documents and images I need on the fly. I also take full advantage of the free storage provided with Verizon Cloud.

 Do you have suggestions for using a tablet as a computer? 

verizon blogger

Disney Stroller Rental: Simple Stroller Rental Review

disney stroller rentalsAs I was planning our most recent trip to Disney World it crossed my mind that this trip should be so much easier now that my little ones aren’t babies. 

It only took until our first day into the vacation for me to realize that thought was absolutely untrue. Different? Yes. Better? Of course (but I think life just gets better and better–every Disney trip I’ve had was better than the one before). Easier? Nope!

I love Disney World, and I love taking my family there. But it’s not the easiest vacation to take. At the same time, there are certain things a parent can do that make the trip even more difficult and challenging before you set foot into a theme park. And there are certain things that can relieve stress and give you more space for enjoying your trip.

One of those things is a Disney stroller rental [Read more…]

Top Things to Do and the Best Condo Rentals in Destin, Florida! #Brandcation

best condo rental destin floridaIt wasn’t that long ago that I was on a Brandcation with a handful of other influential mom bloggers. We stayed at the best condo rentals in Destin, Florida: the Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village.

The Emerald Grande resort was nice enough to cover a good portion of the accomodation costs to make it possible for the entire group to stay in the condos at the resort. Groups of four were assigned to a condo and we were set to move in for a long weekend.

best condo rental in destin fl

I walked into the luxury condominium and knew that we were staying in the best condo rental in Destin Florida! We could have fit twice as many mom bloggers into our room than what was assigned and still had plenty of space to live for a few days.

The condo we stayed in offered more than enough sleeping area for the four of us. I shared the master bedroom with [Read more…]

Travel Giveaway: Host Happier Holidays with Hampton Hotels! #HamptonHoliday

Hampton inn for holidayThis post and giveaway is provided by Hampton Hotels.

This year, Christmas of 2013 is a historic one for our family: it’s the first year we’ve ever stayed home for Christmas! It’s actually the first time I’ll actually be in the city I’ve lived in for nearly 11 years on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Because our extended families don’t celebrate close enough for a day trip, we’ve always packed up and headed out of town to enjoy Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and usually a few more days at in either my husband’s or my hometown.

This year, my husband has a funky work schedule that’s keeping us home for Christmas. I’ll definitely miss seeing family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but I’m excited to put out our milk and cookies for Santa and see my kids come downstairs from their bedroom on Christmas morning!

Keep reading for your chance to win a FREE one night stay at a U.S. Hampton Hotel! [Read more…]

Top 5 Entertaining Tips Learned at ALDI’s #InTheALDIKitchen Event

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Last week I had a great time on a blog trip visiting the ALDI headquarters in Illinois. The great team at ALDI put together a blogger-centric event that not only introduced us to ALDI’s culture and products, they also gave us crash courses in entertaining, food styling and photography.

Let me tell you, I can’t believe how much I learned in that time about all the topics, but I left excited about sharing some great entertaining and food styling tips with all of you! [Read more…]

Answers to Food Photography Questions from ALDI Food Stylists and Photographers

If you meet me in person and we get to talking about grocery shopping, you’ll likely notice that I’m something of an Aldi evangelist. Like most people, my life is busy, and I definitely don’t have it all together. It’s also nearly ingrained in the very core of my being that I must save money on groceries.

food photography questions

I know other people are amazing at clipping and organizing coupons, staying on top of store sales and getting fantastically low prizes on groceries. On the other hand, I am a huge failure at grocery coupons. Instead of spending time and energy on something I’m not good at, I opt to shop at ALDI where I can feel good that I’m spending less on groceries while still getting quality food that my family will eat.

I’m so excited to say that I’ll soon be headed to the ALDI US headquarters where I’ll be participating in interactive food styling and food photography demonstrations. The best part is that ALDI wants to hear from YOU!

nikon camera

I think almost everyone knows that food photography is challenging. The food stylist and photographer I’m going to meet with want to answer any questions you have about photography, tablescapes or other food questions.

It’s not everyday that I get to ask specific questions of a professional food photographer, so I’ll definitely be paying close attention and bringing up any topic I can think of!

Please leave your question in a comment below. I’ll be happy to pass it along and report back with the answers!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as I share everything I’m experiencing at ALDI’s Test Kitchen Event. I’m positive I’ll have some great information to pass along!