Spousetivities at VMworld Barcelona

Now that VMworld US 2012 is in the books, it is time to start planning your trip to VMworld EMEA 2012, in beautiful Barcelona, Spain! You know you don’t want to be in the doghouse for heading to Spain without your partner, so check out what Spousetivities has planned for the ones you care about while you are busy soaking up knowledge at the conference.

Like the US event, Spousetivities will have some goodies to give away for participants. In the past, that’s included things like iPads, iPods, Kindles, and other nifty electronic gadgets. If that isn’t enough to get you or your sweetie excited, how about one of the following tours:

  • Barcelona City Tour – Participants of Spousetivities will enjoy a full day of touring the city by private motor coach. This tour boasts panoramic views of Montjuïc Hill, a drive through the posh Eixample community, and a visit to Santa Maria del Mar. This is only a glimpse of the sights this tour will expose our group to on this amazing tour. There will be a stop for lunch during this beautiful tour as well. Lunch, of course, is included in the price.
  • Dali Tour – This is a long tour but well worth the time. After we depart from Marriott, we will enjoy a full day of sightseeing and amazing history. We will see the coastal village of Cadaqués then on to Dali’s chosen place of peace and quiet, Port Lligat. This tour will also take us to Cap de Creus on the eatern point of the mainland Spain. The tour includes tickets to 2 museums we will visit as well as a private guide and private motor coach. Once again, lunch is included so pack your camera and let’s go.
  • Montserrat and Cava Trail – One cannot visit Spain without getting some insight into their distinctive wine making. We will tour Codorniu and their magnificent underground cellars. We will also visit a must see destination of Montserrat Shrine as well as enjoy a fantastic lunch and a stroll at Cava Trail. This is a full day!

These tours are an amazing opportunity that you won’t want to miss. However, there is not a lot of room and the spaces will fill quickly. Don’t wait–register today!

Twitter Tips for Tweet Together Contest

As you prepare to participate in the exciting Tweet Together, Win Together contest brought to you by Intel, I thought you might appreciate a few helpful tips. My colleague, Kelly, has put together this useful list of information for you as you prepare and play. Of course, Kelly and I will be available during VMworld to answer any additional questions you might have. You can also post questions here or on Twitter. I am @Spousetivities and Kelly is @Kelly1956. See you in a few days!


Tweet Together Win Together

Hi everyone, it’s Crystal again, and I’m really excited about this announcement. This year, Spousetivities has the opportunity to bring you a whole new activity at VMworld! This activity will bring the conference attendee and spouse together to try and win fabulous prizes.

Intel and Spousetivities have joined forces to create a fun scavenger hunt that will allow both the VMworld conference attendee and the Spousetivities participant to participate together. Here’s how it works: couples will take specific pictures and tweet them according to a set of guidelines. Couples that find all the items on the scavenger hunt will qualify to be invited to an exclusive evening event hosted at Jillian’s on Thursday, August 30th. At this party, we’ll have a drawing to award qualifying couples great prizes like Ultrabooks, iPads, iPods, and much, much more. Keep in mind that you must be present to win, and you must first satisfy the rules of the scavenger hunt in order to get an invite to this exclusive Thursday night event.

So what’s on the scavenger hunt? We’ve tailored the items for the conference attendee as well as the Spousetivities participant:

  • Conference attendees will take pictures of key information and booth staff at participating vendors and post those pictures to Twitter. EMC and Dell have joined with us to be a part of this fun activity, including donating prizes to be awarded at the Thursday night event.
  • Spousetivities participants will take pictures during their adventures in San Francisco and surrounding areas, and post the pictures to Twitter. I’ll have more details on photo requirements soon. Make sure you get registered for the activities.

Once both the conference attendee and the Spousetivities participant have completed their part of the challenge, they’ll receive an invitation to the exclusive Thursday night event, brought to you by Intel.

Of course everyone wins when you get to spend time together with friends and colleagues enjoying food and drinks!  So get on Twitter and get ready to win with Intel, Spousetivities, Dell, and EMC!

Want to Win Train Signal’s New Video Training Course by Scott Lowe?

As many of you know, Train Signal has sponsored Spousetivities for three years now.  Their sponsorship, along with the support of our other sponsors, has allowed us to offer activities that keep your loved ones occupied and entertained while you attend VMworld.  By now you probably thought Spousetivities was only focused on the conference attendee spouses, right?  Not this time! Spousetivities and Train Signal have teamed up to provide you, the VMworld conference attendee, a chance for a great prize. That’s right, not only does your spouse have a chance to win one of many great prizes, but you do too!

What can you win? How does the new Designing VMware Infrastructure video training by Scott Lowe sound? It sounds great, you say? Now that I have your attention, let me give you a little more information.  Train Signal has continually offered the IT community fabulous training courses that are easy to follow.  They are offered in DVD and online streaming format so you can watch and learn when you have time and at your own pace.  Designing VMware Infrastructure continues Train Signal’s dedication to excellence and is the perfect VCAP-DCD 5 Certification prep tool.

How do you win? It’s easy! When you register your spouse for Spousetivities, or when your spouse registers, simply check the “Yes” box when asked if you’d like to win. You’ll need to enter your e-mail address. See, it really is that simple. 

Don’t delay, register now for your chance to win this package valued at almost $400! You simply can’t lose with Spousetivities and Train Signal!

VMworld 2012 Activity Highlight: Napa Pizza and Wine

Hello again, Crystal here and I’m back to tell you more about one of the outstanding activities I have planned for Spousetivities at VMworld 2012 in San Francisco. This time I want to talk about the Napa Pizza and Wine event, scheduled for Thursday, August 30, at 10:00 AM.

Much like the Sonoma Wine and Dine event on Monday, this activity gives Spousetivities participants the EXCLUSIVE OPPORTUNITY to visit both William Hill Estate Winery and the Louis M. Martini Winery in St. Helena. You’ll start the day on a private bus headed to the William Hill Estate Winery. At this near-legendary 200-acre estate (of which 140 acres are planted), you’ll enjoy a personalized 1 hour tour and wine tasting. The bus will then take you to the Louis M. Martini winery, where you’ll have another personalized tour. However, that’s not all–participants will also get to take part in an interactive tasting and pairing activity. You’ll get to explore the nuances of food and wine pairing and experience first-hand how your palate responds when wine is paired with ingredients of various tastes and textures. (Oh, and along the way you’ll be making your own pizza. Cool, huh?)

You’ll come away from the Napa Pizza and Wine experience with not only a great day’s worth of memories, but newfound knowledge on the foundations of taste science and wine pairing. What an opportunity!

You can sign up for the Napa Pizza and Wine event at the VMworld 2012 Spousetivities registration page. Don’t miss out!

VMworld 2012 Activity Highlight: Sonoma Wine and Dine

Hi everyone, this is Crystal, and I wanted to take a moment to highlight one of the activities planned for VMworld 2012 in San Francisco. As you know, I have a great line-up of activities planned for VMworld 2012, and with so many great activities it can be hard to choose between activities sometimes. With that in mind, allow me to highlight one great activity that I don’t want you to overlook: the Sonoma Wine and Dine!

Scheduled for Monday, August 27, at 10:30 AM (immediately following our famous “Get to Know You” breakfast), the Sonoma Wine and Dine is a great opportunity to visit a winery that is NOT OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. That’s right, folks–Spousetivities has scored an exclusive opportunity to visit MacMurray Ranch!

If you’re like me, you might not have heard of MacMurray Ranch. MacMurray Ranch sits in the Russian River Valley, surrounded by the foothills and mountains of the Pacific Coastal Range. The ranch encompasses 1,700 acres and was first settled over 150 years ago by the Porter family. The ranch was purchased in the 1940s by actor Fred MacMurray, who farmed it for over 50 years. The ranch’s rich diversity of soil gives MacMurray Ranch wines their rich aroma and depth of flavor. This private ranch is NOT OPEN to the public–only by signing up with Spousetivities will you get the opportunity to tour this beautiful property.

Participants who select this activity will enjoy a private bus to MacMurray Ranch and a 1 hour personalized tour–including a wine tasting–of this beautiful and oh-so-exclusive property. Following the tour of MacMurray Ranch, participants will head over to Gallo of Sonoma Winery for another personalized 1 hour tour and another wine tasting, followed by a picnic lunch with local salads, meats, sandwiches, cheeses, and more! After the conclusion of the second tour, tasting, and lunch, participants will ride back to San Francisco in their private bus.

This is a fabulous event and I’m so thrilled to offer participants this opportunity. Don’t hesitate–head over to the registration page and sign up for the Sonoma Wine and Dine today!

VMworld 2012 Spousetivities Registration Now Open

It’s time once again for VMworld, and you know what that means—it’s time for Spousetivities at VMworld again! This year VMworld will be back in San Francisco, and I’ve been working hard to put together a fantastic line-up of activities for you. Registration is already open, so click here to visit the registration page and sign up. Read on if you want more details on the activities.

Here’s a quick look at the activities we have planned for you:

  • On Monday, August 27, we’ll get the week started with our “Get to Know You” breakfast. There, you’ll enjoy some great food and some great company as you meet other participants and get more information on the various events throughout the week. Last-minute signups for activities with available seats will be accepted at the breakfast, but I don’t recommend waiting—a lot of these activities are going to sell out!
  • After the breakfast, you’ll have the option of doing either the City Walking Tour OR the Sonoma Wine and Dine trip. The Sonoma trip is out of this world (I have a separate post just about that waiting to be published), but if you’re a first-timer in San Francisco the City Walking Tour will hit all the highlights: Pier 39, Coit Tower, and Ghirardelli Square.
  • Tuesday offers participants the option of either a Muir Woods/Sausalito tour (by private bus, of course!) or the Ferry Building Tour and Tasting. The Ferry Building food tour will expose you to some great cheese, charcuterie, and chocolate. (In case you’re wondering what charcuterie is, I was wondering too—it’s a term used for cold cooked meats.)
  • Wednesday is a short day (to get you back in time for the VMworld party that night, featuring Jon Bon Jovi) with only the Half Moon Bay/Filoli tour. Lunch is included!
  • Thursday has two options from which you can choose: the SF City Tour (by private bus with a local tour guide) or the Napa Pizza and Wine tour. I’m really excited about the Napa Pizza and Wine tour; look for more information on that event soon. Both are great events.

As usual, there will be prizes and giveaways, the famous vWife T-shirts (I’ll also have some gender-neutral shirts for anyone who needs them), and bags filled with goodies. All in all, Spousetivities at VMworld 2012 is shaping up to be a great event, and I’m looking forward to seeing all of you there!

Of course, some great sponsors help make these events possible, so I’d like to take a moment to thank (in alphabetical order) eGroup, HyTrust, Train Signal, VMUG, The Virtualization Practice, and Xangati. (If you’re a vendor looking for an innovative way to raise awareness, please contact me—I have sponsorship slots still available.)

Don’t delay—sign up today!

Now’s the Time to Register for Spousetivities at Dell Storage Forum!

Come on and join Spousetivities at Dell Storage Forum. There really is something for everyone. We are offering a welcome breakfast, whale watching, trolley/walking tour at MIT and/or Harvard, trolley tour of historic Boston, walking wine tour, and a private lunch cruise. Are you interested yet? Let’s find out more! Here are a few details about some of the activities that are scheduled:

  • Welcome Breakfast – This breakfast is a great way to start off the week by getting to know other spouses, and conference attendee friends and family. You might even make new friends. Even if you aren’t into group activities, there are other spouses who are looking for people to hang out while their significant others are at the conference. Why not spend time together instead of exploring alone? Also at the breakfast, you’ll enjoy great food and you might even win a great prize. Want to know some of the prizes you can win? Guess you better register and join us for breakfast!!
  • Another great event you won’t want to miss is whale watching. WOW!!! This is a great activity to get out and enjoy a beautiful day on the water while spotting some beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. Join Us?
  • Lunch Cruise – For this event we will board our vessel and enjoy a scenic tour in the harbor area. During our private cruise, we will be served a delicious hot lunch with all the trimmings. There will be an option for both vegetarians and meat lovers. This is a must do!
  • Don’t care to be on the water? Consider the trolley/walking tours available to you. Have you ever wanted to tour Boston? Take a tour of the wonderful city of Boston. Boston is home to many historical sites that you will learn about on this tour. Are you a history buff and want to learn more on how Boston came to be? Maybe you’d rather walk the Freedom Trail. This trail is the path that the Bostonians walked to gain their independence from Great Britain. As you walk the trail you will see historical places and sites and learn about this great piece of history. MIT might be where your spouse launched his or her career in IT. MIT was a school designed to help in the research of technology. Research included, but was not limited to, the development of computers and radars. What about wine? Do you love wine? Then this is the tour for you! We will be taking a wine tour in the Back Bay area—and yes, tasting is included!

Now are you excited? These activities are sure to keep you from sitting around in the hotel all week. If you want to learn, stroll, and spend time on the water while your significant other takes in all the Dell knowledge they can handle, then register now for one or more of these great activities. Registration is available here: Want to save money on your travel and transportation to Dell Storage Forum or Spousetivities? Great! We can help with that too. Thanks to a partnership with American Airlines and Avis Car Rental, you can save during this event.

  • Contact Avis at 1-800-331-1600 for reservations or online. To receive your discount, you’ll need to provide them with this AWD number: D006910. This will ensure your discount. This discount number can be used for rentals beginning seven days before and ending up to seven days after the event. Reservations can be made immediately.
  • American Airlines is providing a 5% discount on airfare for all attendees. There are two ways that you can make your reservations. But you’ll need this code either way—1962EU. To make a reservation by phone, call 1-800-433-1790 and provide them with the promotion code when you book (additional fees may apply for phone reservations). You can also register via www.AA.com. When doing so you must choose “More Flight Search Options” and insert the code 1962EU. We look forward to seeing all of you at the first ever Spousetivities event at Dell Storage Forum. Register now to reserve your activities!!

Another Look at Why It’s a Great Idea to Sponsor Spousetivities

As I am approaching 5 years of offering Spousetivities at IT events, the questions about what I do and why are swirling in my head. Many people ask why companies sponsor Spousetivities. Below is part of a post from last year detailing why it is so important that the community continue to sponsor these events.

Naturally, I’m a bit biased, but I think that sponsoring Spousetivities is a great way for companies to say “Thank You” and give something back to their employees and customers. When a company hosts a conference, they ultimately expect attendees to give up as much as a week of their time to come hear about their products and how these products or services can benefit them and their employers. Instead of asking attendees to come to a week-long conference and leave their families behind, a Spousetivities sponsor is telling attendees it’s OK to bring the family. While the attendee is learning about that sponsor’s products and innovations, the attendee’s family will be enjoying some great activities. And when the day is done, the attendee and his or her family can be together instead of spending that time apart. Most companies boast a family friendly attitude, and sponsoring Spousetivities is a way to show that attitude in action.

This is true not only for the sponsor companies–those companies that organized the conference–but for all companies. And the size of the company doesn’t matter; I’ve had companies both small and large decide to help sponsor Spousetivities.

In addition to supporting families, sponsoring Spousetivities offers companies a unique way to advertise. Given that their logo is put on T-shirts, menus, blogs, and other items, they have plenty of visibility in the community. Companies benefit not only from their pro-family support, but from the attention drawn to their company through these events. It’s a “win-win” situation for companies.

So, if you’re a company that wants to join in this exciting opportunity to support your employees and customers, and advertise in a unique way at the same time, simply contact me. Upcoming events include EMC World in Las Vegas, Dell Storage Forum in Boston, VMworld US, and VMworld EMEA. I’m still seeking additional sponsors for all of these events. I can also plan activities for other conferences, VMUG’s, or company-hosted events. For more information, please contact me for arrangements.

Let’s do it Again!

Last year was fabulous, so let’s do it again this year! Spousetivities is coming to EMC World again in 2012. If you are going to EMC World, you won’t want to leave your family and or friends behind. If your spouse, partner, or significant other is going to EMC World, you simply won’t want to stay behind! There will be activities for everyone.

The spa was a huge hit last year so once again, Spousetivities participants will be able to enjoy Canyon Ranch Spa at discounted rates. There will also be a visit to do some wine tasting. And did I mention that you’ll be escorted to the wine tasting via limousine? If massages, manicures, wine, and limousines don’t get your interest, what about a day of horseback riding in Red Rock Canyon? These are the confirmed activities thus far, but check back often, because I hope to offer the traditional “Get to Know You” breakfast and possibly other activities as well.

All this sound like fun? Want to know how to register? Excellent! Registration is available here. Don’t wait, sign up today as some activities have very limited space.

See you in Las Vegas in May!