A Weekend In Miami With Microsoft and Nokia

May 20, 2014

As you may have sensed from Instagram, I spent this past weekend in Miami capturing a weekend of adventure through the new Nokia Lumia 1020 phone. The Nokia Lumia 1020 is part smartphone and part camera, and the lenses (yes, plural) are above and beyond your typical phone grade camera. It has 41 megapixels and a fancy 6-element lens. I noticed right away how much better it was than my Galaxy S4 camera (although I’m waiting to see how good the Galaxy S5 camera is!) Our objective for the weekend was to capture and share and give honest feedback on the phone. I’ll say, it sure was nice not to have a giant DSLR to haul around. And while the photos aren’t quite as good as my Canon Mark II would have taken, they are pretty amazing for a phone!

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I was joined with my friends Monica and Anne and made many new friends in the process. The BlogHer Food conference was also happening at the same time, so I got to hang out with Caitlin too!

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Friday night after I checked into the hotel, we met the team for a happy hour at Touche.

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We enjoyed an open-air rooftop lounge along with cocktails and appetizers

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The live music that started later kicked things up a notch!

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We went to bed around midnight, and I had big plans for the morning…

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As desperate as I was to sleep in, my body clock woke me up at 6:30am. Ugh!! Not to worry though, as I found breakfast in bed to be just as fun.

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Afterwards, we loaded up on a bus and headed towards the Everglades for a gator tour on air boats. This was a REALLY fun experience that I would recommend!

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We started in canals and ended up in the middle of wide open marsh. There were little “roads” carved out of the grass where the air boats went, and at times the water was only a few inches deep. Our reflexes kept telling us we were going to hit the ground and fly off, but the air boat was magic!

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We eventually found the deeper water where the gators hang out

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And that’s where we met Scarface. This dude was NOT afraid of us and was about 11 feet long! I was very afraid of him! Friendliest gator ever.

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We saw about 20 gators in total, including a trio of sweet babies that made me miss my little one at home.

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After the tour we headed to South Beach where we had a fabulous lunch – cheers!

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That bread!!

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Monica had this raw T-bone for lunch…. kidding!

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I had a salad topped with lump crab,marinated mushrooms and big pieces of bacon.

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Plus tastes of this truffled mac and cheese!

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And wild mushrooms

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It was a lovely + long lunch right on the water.

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Afterwards, fueled up on liquid courage, we headed to a dancing lesson! Note to self: apply sunscreen to legs!!

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I had such a blast partnering with our teacher who knew every move and could lead like a pro. We learned a short swing routine that was loads of fun.

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After a the world’s shortest nap and a shower, we dressed up to head out to dinner at 1826 Collins in South Beach.

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The restaurant was AMAZING! Super modern, very creative and serving delicious food. One mojito please!

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We were seated in the upstairs VIP area and served a lovely 4 course dinner – complete with the perfect bottle of pinot. That’s Erica with the awesome hair on the left. She rocks!

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Our first course was a pureed gazpacho with “almond snow.” The snow was served in dry ice that flowed from the bowl as the garnish was dropped in. Super cool, but too hard to capture on camera in the dark lighting.

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Next up was this unique salad of shaved radishes, avocado, fresh dill, creamy dressing and edible flowers, among other flavors. It was so good! I’m so over lettuce right now and I loved the idea of a salad made from shaved veggies.

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My main course was halibut served with tons of herbs and a buttery sauce. Delish! I loved the bites of baby basil on top.

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And finally….a chocolate torte topped with all kinds of fun things (cake // chocolate // hazelnuts) served with milk chocolate gelato.

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Danny is a well connected guy in Miami and is friends with the one and only Bachelor JUAN PABLO as well as James, from Desiree’s season. We were |this close| to having JP join us for the Nokia event, and I watched Danny text him several times about meeting up with us after dinner. I almost stayed out just to see if I could meet him, but my gut told me that he probably wouldn’t be able to show up so I was better off taking the bus back. The next day, after I made my way to the airport, Juan Pablo DID eventually connect with Danny and Nokia – and I missed it by a few hours!!

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I ended up hanging out with Elise of Simply Recipes and the famous Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond in the hotel lobby. Blog celebrities are much more fun : )

Sunday morning Anne and I met Caitlin for the hotel breakfast buffet. I had eggs, a bite of a sad piece of french toast, a gritty green smoothie and some delicious but overly sweet overnight oats topped with berries and granola.

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Mid-morning we headed outside the city limits to the Zoological Wildlife Foundation of Miami where we got to see rescued and endangered animals up close and personal. Isn’t she gorgeous?

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Danny gets anteater kisses!

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I held a baby Grey Timberwolf,which was particularly frightening after watching the movie The Grey a few weeks ago!

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My favorite animal was the gibbon!!! She was just a year old and weighed what Mazen weighed at birth. She was SO sweet and had the most delicate little hands.

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Toucan Sam!

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Ever watched a lion eat lunch?

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Happy Hump Day!

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And finally – a tiny tiger sweet enough to take home! I never thought I’d get the chance to touch a tiger!

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I ate fish and chips and a salad for lunch before heading to the airport.

As for my thoughts on the Nokia Lumia…. I had a great time comparing and contrasting features with my Samsung. The Lumia body and hardware are most impressive. It feels heavy and expensive and the screen is super sleek and sensitive to touch (in a good way). I liked the screen a lot more than Galaxy S4. The camera wins by a long shot for its clear, crisp photos. I feel like I can really use this as my primary away-from-home camera. The battery life was just so-so, but we had some accessories that helped keep our phones juiced (a camera shell and some stick plugs).

The Lumia 1020 is a Windows phone, so that was the biggest change. I was able to snag an update to Windows 8.1, the latest and greatest update, and that added a few more features to make it feel like home (swipe text, which I use all the time, and a notifications panel).

Here are some thoughts on the Windows operating system:

PROS

  • Very clean and modern. Much more beautiful than Android phones. Love the fonts.
  • Love the layout of Windows 8 and that it scrolls down rather than side to side. It’s more simple and therefore easier to use. The live tiles are great for a sneak peek at what’s inside the apps. Love that you can change their size to give apps more or less space. They are like a blend between the limited iPhone tiles and the big widgets of Android. While I ultimately think widgets take the cake, the tiles are a close second.
  • LOVE that you can change the color theme to an assortment of really fun default colors. I picked lime green and aqua for the weekend!
  • The camera is awesome, and the built in camera editor is amazing as well. There are lots of features like collages (although I found it to be more limited than an app) and color pops that I’d go to an app for on my Android. The filters are great too. The camera quick access button was also so helpful.
  • The photo gallery layout is better and more intuitive. Love the “recently changed” section
  • The “next” and “save” buttons are in better locations and are easier to find when the keyboard is up. On my Android a lot of times I have to close the keyboard before I can hit next or save.
  • I loved the sounds from notifications to the noise it makes when you plug it in. Very musical!

CONS

  • Lack of apps is hands down the biggest issue with Windows. I’m sure they will catch up in time, but it would take a lot of convincing for me to use only a Windows phone as my primary phone right now. Instagram isn’t even up to date enough to have video, and while you can use a third party app called 6Tag to take videos on the spot (you can’t upload them), it had its flaws as well. As a huge Insta-video girl, I found this to be really frustrating on the trip. I had a baby tiger video for you that I couldn’t upload and lost!
  • The gmail/mail app is just not that great. Gmail on Droid rocks. I’m sure this will get better in future releases.
  • While the update to 8.1 will get you swipe text, I missed having numbers at the top of my keyboard. I hate having to take the extra step to bring up the numbers on the keyboard – esp. when typing in passwords and things.
  • Flow between apps was a bit cumbersome. I had trouble sometimes going from photo to editor. I like how Android has a share shortcut right at the top for quick access.
  • INTEGRATION. I’m a Google girl through and through and there are apps that I just can’t live without – Hangouts, Google Drive, Gmail with labels, and Google Now. I use Chrome on my computer and Chrome on my Android phone and love that all of my passwords and bookmarks sync. If Google would release all its apps to Windows, the phone would be a lot better package.
  • Bloggers: I’m trying to convince them that a Windows Live Writer app might convert a lot of iPhone/Droid users – if it was good!

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All in all it’s an awesome camera phone that is 85% ready to be my full-time phone  Smile Thanks to Microsoft/Nokia for letting me express my inner nerd and for all the Miami adventures!

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ali @ Peaches and Football May 20, 2014 at 7:37 am

Wow – it’s amazing how phone technology has improved over the years. I’m one of the last people on earth without a smart phone (basically because I absolutely cannot let go of my qwerty keyboard). Sometimes you’d never know I was a computer major in college because I loathe some kinds of technology! ;)

Looks like a total blast though – you did a little bit of everything! How are your legs doing from the sunburn? Ouch!

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2 KathEats May 20, 2014 at 8:23 am

Omg get a smart phone! Haha. Voice text and swipe text will change your life!

They are fine. .. faded by dinnertime

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3 Lottie May 20, 2014 at 8:21 am

That’s a tomahawk steak, not a T bone.

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4 Larbs May 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

So jealous you got to pet that tiger!!!!

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5 Leah May 20, 2014 at 9:04 am

That tiger is so cool! Did they tell you anything about the animals, like if that tiger was rescued or born in captivity?

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6 KathEats May 20, 2014 at 10:20 am

Tidbits. The babies (not pictured) were rescued. I believe the lions were too. Check out their website for more info!

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7 Sophie May 20, 2014 at 9:14 am

I love your floral shorts! Great legs too btw!

I’m still a Samsung girl through and through!

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8 Alisha @ Little Life Blog May 20, 2014 at 9:20 am

An airboat ride and visiting the Everglades is on my bucket list!! I loved getting to see a little glimpse of your adventure. This sounds like the best work trip ever haha.

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9 Leslee @ Her Happy Balance May 20, 2014 at 9:44 am

Your South Beach lunch looks to-die-for! I just ate it all up with my eyes :) And I don’t think you missed out on too much with missing JP, haha!

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10 Sarah May 20, 2014 at 10:05 am

Looks like it was a fun weekend! Cute videos with the animals. :)

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11 Liz May 20, 2014 at 10:08 am

Fun trip! Where is the one shoulder blue dress from? It looks great on you!

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12 KathEats May 20, 2014 at 10:18 am

Thanks it’s from Belk! The brand is something like ellen and ollie?

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13 Kimberly May 20, 2014 at 10:30 am

I was just curious what the point of the weekend was (besides fun!). They gave you a free phone to get a review, but why the trip to the zoo, the dinners, the dancing lessons? How did you guys get picked for the phone/weekend?

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14 KathEats May 20, 2014 at 11:16 am

The point was to test the camera and phone through adventures. The photos wouldn’t have been that exciting if we’d been in a conference room : )

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15 Alex @ Kenzie Life May 20, 2014 at 10:52 am

Baby tiger!! OMG! That’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! It looks like a great weekend and the pictures are so good I wouldn’t have guessed they were from a phone! I think it’s hilarious that phones now have more than double the megapixels than my first digital camera!

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16 Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit May 20, 2014 at 11:24 am

So fun! I’ve read all three recaps now and it’s fun to see the difference in pictures and highlighted moments. Looks like you ladies had a blast!

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17 Cheri @ Overactive Blogger May 20, 2014 at 11:29 am

Cool! What a thorough recap, I totally loved it!

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18 Anne @fANNEtasticfood May 20, 2014 at 11:31 am

Great seeing you this weekend! :)

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19 KathEats May 20, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Likewise!!

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20 Jules May 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm

What a fun trip, and all that amazing food! I love the blue sprinkle dress, you look adorable and what a tiny waist!

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21 Livi May 20, 2014 at 1:02 pm

You got so tan! Looks like a fun weekend!!

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22 KathEats May 20, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Sunscreen fail. I had it on my face as always, but I didn’t bring my full size and enough for my body.

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23 Susan May 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Wow, what an amazing weekend! Everything, from the events and adventures, to the food, to the phone testing, it sounds like you had a lot of fun. And I just wanted to say (hope I don’t sound like a creeper), I really love that blue asymmetrical dress on you. I’m in need of a weekend like that, haha!

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24 KathEats May 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm

:) Thanks

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25 Paul May 20, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Those are great pics! I had a Lumia myself, (920) but I ended up giving it to my mom lol. It goes with what you said, there’s just a lack of apps. I bought my phone the day of release which was back in November 2012, and I had it for about 4 months. I went back to the iPhone (which I’m not happy about either). But I got to say, Lumia does have the best cameras on their phones hands down, and the pictures of the food looks great!

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26 Ali May 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Petting/holding/handling wild animals like that is actually pretty bad for the animal regardless of if they are living in a zoo, conservation, or wherever it may be. The animals are woken up or kept awake to be available for petting and it goes against so many of their natural instincts, they are not used to being handled like that in the wild. Unfortunately people love being able to hold or pet cute baby animals because well they are adorable, (I get it!) and zoos can make a lot of money by letting people pet them but it really is bad for the animal. Just something to think about in the future.

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27 Shel@PeachyPalate May 20, 2014 at 2:23 pm

What a fantastic way to spend the weekend!!! Food with the exception of Sunday’s breakfast looks and sounded divine! Especially that chocolate dessert! Pretty dresses too! Love the one you wore Saturday night and the peep toe shoes!

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28 Sarah May 20, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Looks amazing, I would love to do that trip of the Everglades. Crazy that you were in the same hotel as BlogHer! Just curious, why didn’t you go to BlogHer? What made you choose the Nokia trip instead?

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29 KathEats May 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm

BlogHer is expensive : )

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30 Maggie May 20, 2014 at 5:21 pm

The S5 camera is aweeeeeeeeeesome. Get it :D

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31 Jeanie May 20, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Now that looks like a fun trip!

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32 emma May 20, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Holy cow, I can’t believe a mobile phone company would send HOW many people to florida just to take pix and review the phone’s camera. How can that kind of informal publicity worth what they spent? And how do I get mine. Ha ha.

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33 KathEats May 20, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Well if you think about the reach bloggers (and social media gurus) have, it’s a lot cheaper than a TV ad!

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34 KathEats May 20, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Also, bloggers are more real and personal than traditional advertising so a lot of companies are doing more with them (us) in addition to traditional media for variety. I think it makes good sense!

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35 Kaila @healthyhelperblog! May 20, 2014 at 7:53 pm

How fun!!! I would have loved to visit all those amazing animals!! So cool.

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36 Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs May 20, 2014 at 8:19 pm

What a cool experience! Sounds like a great weekend :)

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37 Laura May 20, 2014 at 8:38 pm

I love the dress you wore to Touché! It is so unique! And the colors on the toucan are gorgeous. What a fun trip! I was about to say thanks for sharing, but I suppose that was the entire point, after all, haha.

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38 kristin May 21, 2014 at 2:04 am

Looks like an amazing weekend. I love that necklace you are wearing during the zoo trip? Where is it from?

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39 KathEats May 21, 2014 at 11:12 am

My sister got it for me as a bridesmaids gift. I think she got them on Etsy, but I’m not sure. It has a K on it!

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40 Sam May 21, 2014 at 4:21 am

That blue one shoulder dress looks gorgeous on you!

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41 Maryea {happy healthy mama} May 21, 2014 at 6:21 am

What a fun weekend!

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42 Melissa May 21, 2014 at 9:14 am

I have a Windows phone and it was a HUGE change from my Samsung! I like it, but my cons list is just about the same as yours. I want more apps and I wish my battery life was longer. I have the Nokia Lumia 521.

I do have to say – the pictures are BEAUTIFUL from my phone!

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43 Kaci Brown May 21, 2014 at 1:13 pm

This isn’t related to food or the weekend, but since there are a lot of gmail users on here I thought I’d share. On Google’s home page, click on the link at the bottom that says “50 things you didn’t know you could do with Google” and it takes you to a page full of Google products that are cool! I didn’t know about half of them. Check it out!

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44 KathEats May 21, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Oooo thanks!

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45 Andrea May 21, 2014 at 8:23 pm

You look so pretty in the pic with the blue dress, and so much like your sister!

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