When the folks at Microsoft invited this #OfficeChamp to their hometown of Seattle, I hopped, skipped, and jumped at this opportunity of a lifetime. The overall end experience can only be described by the adjectives that you see above, and with good reason! Stick with me here folks, and allow me to re-live all of the wonderful details of my trip by way of my storytelling. At the end, I invite you all to share your thoughts on all things Microsoft!
The First Day (During Which I Wandered About Seattle on My Own)
The date was 11/1 when I set forth from NYC (I’m on a plaaane!) to Seattle. I arrived late Friday night, and prepared myself mentally for the awesomeness that was to come. As I knew it would be a jam-packed set of days, I opted to come in a full day early so that I could explore Seattle a bit with my special someone. We started our Saturday with a fantastic prix-fixe lunch/brunch at the Palisade Restaurant, which was absolutely yummy. We followed that up with a tour of Pike Place Market (which included getting acquainted with a monkfish and tasting various local delicacies), a stop at the preeminent first Starbucks (where I snagged a Decaf Nonfat Gingerbread latte, thank you very much), and a go-round on The Great Wheel. The night ended with a delicious sushi dinner at Momiji, and some dancing at a local bar/lounge called Grim’s Butterfly Lounge (where there were no butterflies, but a thrumming crown dancing to old-school 90’s hip hop).
Champion’s Summit – Day 1 – Introductions
Our day once again started with a lunch, during which I had the opportunity to meet my fellow #WindowsChampion and #OfficeChamps, some of whom I had been tweeting with before I even arrived. After getting myself properly settled, I decided to check out the local shopping a la downtown Seattle. While taking a leisurely stroll, I stumbled upon local popcorn shop Kukuruza (fun fact- kukuruza means corn in Russian!) where I sampled (and purchased) many a variety of popcorn. From Truffle Fromage Porcini, to salted caramel, I found myself floating happily along in popcorn heaven.
As soon as I came down from my snacking high, I headed back to the hotel for a quick gym session. I have to get my fitness in no matter where I am, dontcha know.
The evening began with an informative session on all of the snazzy updates we are seeing with Microsoft Windows 8.1. From an intuitive touch experience, to lightning fast processing, 8.1 clearly rules. We got to pass around several of the items on the Microsoft tablet lineup, which included the new Surface Pro 2 (more on that later). Finally, our evening ended with a French-seafood dinner at Maximilien inside the Pike Place Market.
Champion’s Summit – Day 2 – Touring Seattle!
Day 2 began bright and early, with a breakfast and informational session on both Microsoft OneNote (which comes included with Office!) and the new Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows phone (which takes the most stunning photos that ever you will see). After breakfast, we set forth to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, where many perfectly stunning photos were taken thanks to the Lumia 1020s that we were given for the day. Seriously, check out these photos. Gorgeous!!!
We had a delicious lunch at the museum’s Collections Café, where we were also offered a look into Dale Chihuly’s world of sounds, colors, and artifacts. By the way, it was at this lunch that I quickly came to realize that this truly would not be a following my diet-plan kind of trip, and I was perfectly okay with that. Anywho, after lunch we took a trip up the nearby famed Seattle World’s Fair Space Needle, and took in Seattle from 605 feet up. Our site-seeing concluded with a history and food tour of the Pike Place Market, followed by some independent wandering through Pike Place with my newfound partner-in-crime, Annie from HerCampus.Com. We couldn’t resist snagging one more latte for the road.
The evening concluded with an information session on some of the cool mobile apps for Windows devices (hello photo-editing software!), and more deliciousness at La Spiga.
Champion’s Summit – Day 3 – Touring the Microsoft Campus!
Day 3 was the icing on the proverbial chocolate cake, so to speak- a look inside Microsoft’s campus with a series of experiences that included a trip through Microsoft’s vision of the future (and oh what a bright future it is!), a stop at the 3D printing lab, and finally, a sit-down lunch/informational session/demo on and of everything from the soon-to-be-released Xbox One, the Bing Search Engine Platform, and the newly-released Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. While much of what I learned can’t be shared just yet (sorry, folks!), suffice it to say that everyone can find something to get excited about by way of Microsoft’s releases in the near future. Day 3 concluded with even more deliciousness (trust me, it was GOOD) at Marjorie. Yum!
Beyond getting a feel for the true essence of Seattle, I also had the opportunity to get intimately acquainted with much of the technology, hardware, and software that Microsoft has available to help each and every one of us have a more intuitive, interactive, and complete technological experience. The future is all about innovation, change, and a new understanding of how modern technology can help us all lead fuller, better lives. As the lines between home and work blur, and the human experience inevitably changes, so too will our needs and the technology that surrounds us.
For those who haven’t yet visited Seattle, please do. The culinary experience alone is well worth the trip. For those who haven’t yet become acquainted with Office 365, Windows 8.1, or any of the amazing devices that make up the Microsoft family, I highly recommend that you do. Your technological experience will never be the same.