This post is brought to you as part of my roles as a Microsoft Office 365 Champion. All references to #OfficeChamps and #ChampionsSummit are part of that role, but all opinions expressed within are my own
If you would have told me four years ago when I started this site that I would be partnering with Microsoft, I don’t think I would have believed you. As an avid user of their products for many years, it’s sort of that relationship with the cool kid in high school that you admire from afar who suddenly wants to share a locker. I’m sharing a locker with Microsoft, y’all. It’s kind of changing the game for everything.
One of the reasons we agreed to partner is that I wanted to show you a little about how Office 365 Home Premium helps me run my business. I know I blog about personal items quite a bit and we’re always knee deep in fashion and beauty talk, but, just like you, I have a life to lead and a booming business to manage. Between four freelance clients, this site and a growing business that includes television appearances and a book coming up, there’s a LOT going on and Office 365 is how I’ve chosen to keep things organized and straight.
I’m also going to mention that you’ll see how I use these devices to remain “office free” because I can’t be tethered to a chair or a desk, so not only am I using a pretty sweet Samsung device (the Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook,) but I’m using Office 365 Home Premium cross-platform on a Mac AND an iPhone.
So, I said yes to the role as Office Champion and that led me to board a flight to Seattle for their Champions Summit to become a better expert with the products…and, oh, what a trip it was!
Folks, the experience was epic. EPIC, I say. From the minute we landed, we were strangers, but by the middle of the first day, we were fast becoming friends, especially when you stick a large group of us in front of a camera before getting on the Seattle Giant Wheel.
This was my first introduction to Seattle outside of a welcome lunch, and let’s just say the views were spectacular. My fellow fashion and beauty blogger, Kimmie Smith of The Kitten Lounge, took in the sights. Say “Cheese!”
And now, into the products. Day One: OneNote and Windows Phones.
While you’re familiar with a lot of the different basic products in the Office 365 Home Premium suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint), my new favorite friend on the planet Earth is OneNote. People, OneNote is the discovery of sliced bread for people like me, it is THE BLOGGING DISCOVERY OF FIRE. I can freeform notes into a document that seamlessly updates to OneNote on my other devices. Oh wait, did I just take a photo with my iPhone? I’ll just upload that into my OneNote document above the notes so I remember how that hairdresser created that crazy braid backstage at Fashion Week or what that particular jacket looked like from Helmut Lang.
OneNote is probably my favorite tools ever because I can upload crazy thoughts, notes, whatever to it and it just syncs.
A quick note from The Desk Of The Old Folks Home: One of the MS guys mentioned that most people don’t even know what the little image is on the “Save” button on older MS products. It’s a hard disc, youngsters. I’ll just put my teeth back in and head out now.
Other products you’ll see me talking about while we’re here are Windows Phones, which I think are genius. They seamlessly and intuitively work the way YOU run your life. As someone who is a bit addicted to <*cough*> that OTHER phone, I feel I should mention that I got my mom a Windows Phone for Christmas last year and it’s changed her life. Mom is RUNNING things now, and her camera is wwaaaaaaaay better than my camera. The cameras on the newer devices are competitive with my beloved Nikon, you guys. Another score for the Windows team. Again, thinking about outfit photos, Fashion Week, etc. Tons of apps, customizable screen…I’m in love.
Day Two: We were off to the Microsoft Campus. Breakfast was served at 6:30 am so we could get on the road by 7:30 am. How do you get dressed for a day at Microsoft at 5:30 am, especially when you get up at 4:30 am to deliver an article to a client? Two words: Wang and Lang…meaning, Alexander and Helmut, respectively.
First stop was the Envisioning Center. We couldn’t take photos of it, but what we saw was nothing short of mind blowing. The concept is to walk visitors through the future as Microsoft sees it, and to invite you to join the conversation. Which is exactly what this video of its concepts does. Talk amongst yourselves:
After the Innovation Center, we were off to the 3D printing lab, with which I am singularly obsessed. I love the concept that right now, we can print anything from plastic figurines and complex puzzles to human tissue. This small toy train was printed on a 3D printer.
And then it was off to the genius presentations at the Visitor’s Center, which is where we were surrounded by all things Microsoft, from phones to a giant Xbox wall, a huge display of Surface and Surface 2 tablets and more tech history than you could shake a laser pointer at. You walk in along a wall of “old technology,” which is when I spotted a beloved Atari 2600. Hello, old friend. Hours of Frogger and Pitfall played on this device.
We had presentations on the new Xbox One innovations (which I want running my house) and Bing (which I’m going to promptly start using to run my business.) I’m not a gamer, but the options for music, video, personalization, tv controls and essential life management (like voice activation and other new features that are coming soon via Xbox Kinect) are soon to blow your mind. I promise, as soon as I can talk about what I saw, I will.
Bing? It’s a super-fast search engine. Give a try. I think you’ll like it. I want to play with Bing some more for Fashion Week, so you’ll be seeing more of that. You’ll also see more about that as I try to book my best plane ticket home for the holidays. Good little ticket price finder on Bing. I’ve give that a go if you’re like me and waiting until the last minute to book a ticket…again. Sorry, Mom.
OK, so to try and shorten this, I’m going to post more images about my hotel and the specifics of what I saw, but we did have a little free time for dinners at Pike Place Market and other amazing restaurants around Seattle.
But my favorite of all the free time sites were the Chihuly Museum, a museum dedicated solely to the art of glass artist Dale Chihuly, who is one of my favorites. More on him later. I snapped this shot at one of the displays.
And then there was Pike Place Market and a visit to the original Starbucks (if you know me, you know this had to happen)….
And, of course, to the grossest landmark in America, the Gum Wall in Pike Place Market.
But, you’ll be seeing more from me on all the amazing ways Office 365 is going to help me get things done. I’m especially interested to show you how it’s going to help me tackle the holidays (both personally and professionally) as well as the big task at hand: New York Fashion Week, coming soon to a February 2014 near you. I’d be sweating if I didn’t have these tools at hand. Life is about to get SO much easier.
Thanks, Microsoft, for a great trip! Let’s #getitdone!