6th Annual Spousetivities at VMworld

It’s that time of year again—time for Spousetivities at VMworld US 2013, in awesome San Francisco, CA! For the sixth consecutive year, Spousetivities is proud to announce activities organized for spouses, partners, friends, and family members traveling to San Francisco with VMworld conference attendees. In this year’s lineup of activities, we’ll have some perennial favorites as well as some entirely new adventures.

Here are the details:

  1. First, and most importantly, Spousetivities is open to both men and women, and not just spouses—boyfriends, girlfriends, domestic partners, friends, and family members are all welcome. The more the merrier!
  2. Second, please note that there is a small registration fee for each activity. While I’m usually lucky enough to get some sponsors to help defray the costs of the activities—this year we have Intel, Unitrends, Virtualization Practice, Train Signal, and VMUG as sponsors (thank you!)—I still have to cover the remaining costs. (Note that registration fees are nonrefundable.)
  3. Finally, you must register in advance for all activities. As soon as you’re ready to register, head over to the registration page.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can hit me up via Twitter at @spousetivities.

Now, on to the event descriptions! Let’s take a quick peek at what I’ve got lined up for you this year:

  • We’ll kick off the week with our usual “Get to Know You” breakfast, held again this year at Jillian’s (right around the corner from Moscone—you can walk your honey to the conference, then hop over to breakfast!). Breakfast will run from 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM, and it will be a time of eating, meeting new folks, and winning some cool prizes! Breakfast will also be when you’ll get your goodie bag, which will include—you guessed it—the now-famous Spousetivities T-shirts! This year’s theme: Software-Defined Sweeties! (Trust me, your IT hubby/wife/partner will think this is hilarious!)
  • After breakfast, you have your option of either a walking city tour or a trip to Muir Woods. The walking city tour will take you to places like Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, Coit Tower, and more! Prefer something a bit more nature-focused? The trip to Muir Woods will give you the opportunity to experience the awe-inspiring redwoods. Both adventures—the walking city tour and the Muir Woods trip—will depart shortly after breakfast on Monday.
  • Tuesday, I’ve arranged for a whale watching tour! It’s an early start—we’ll be leaving the Marriott Marquis at 7:00 AM—but you’re in for a great time watching whales in the Gulf of the Farallones. Even better, 25% of the proceeds go to the Sea Shepherd Conversation Society to help save the whales. Enjoy nature and help preserve nature at the same time. What could be better?
  • Two options await you on Wednesday. For those that are new to San Francisco, I’ve arranged a city bus tour (by private bus, with a tour guide—naturally!). Leaving at 10 AM from the Marriott Marquis, your guide will not only take you to the tourist attractions, but will also show you some areas known only to the locals. Lunch (a Dim Sum lunch) is included. Alternately, if you’ve “been there, done that,” then you can participate in a great wine tour in Sonoma. We’ll visit both Benziger and Domaine Carneros for wine tastings, and enjoy an upscale boxed lunch while at Benziger. The wine tour departs the Marquis at 9 AM. Either way, you’ll be back in time to join your conference-attending partner to visit the VMworld party on Wednesday night, should you so desire. (Please note that passes for the Wednesday night party must be purchased through VMworld registration.)
  • On Thursday, we’ll depart the Marriott Marquis at 10AM for a special tour of the Botanical Gardens at UC Berkeley. Lunch in included (of course!), and our tour guide will be able to share some of the history of the campus. There’ll also be some time for shopping—actual shopping or just window shopping, your choice—in the area near the campus.

Sounds like a great line-up, doesn’t it? I urge you to register early (and often!), as these activities have a tendency to sell out. You don’t want to get left behind! Head on over to the registration page now and get signed up to have fun, meet new folks, see old friends, and have a great time at VMworld US 2013!


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!

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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!


Thursday Departure Information

This is updated information so please read!

Hoover Dam/ Lake Mead Tour

If you are scheduled for the Hoover Dam – Lake Mead Tour Thursday morning, please note that the location for departure has changed! We will now meet in the guest registration area of the Venetian and board the bus in the limo area just outside guest registration. This should be very simple to find! If you have questions or cannot find us, call me. Arrive no later than 7:45 AM.

Thursday Cooking Class

If you are participating in the Thursday cooking class, please arrive in the Venetian Guest Registration area no later than 3:45 PM. The limo departs promptly at 4:00. Don’t forget to wear longer pants and closed shoes! This location is easy to find and you can ask anyone how to get to the registration area.

BOTH

This is the Venetian, not the Palazzo. Please make sure you are in the correct location and give yourself plenty of time to get there. I do not want to leave anyone behind, but the tours must depart on time. For questions or concerns, please contact me.


Wednesday Departure Information

This is updated information so please read!

Lake Mead Tour

If you are scheduled for the Lake Mead Cruise Wednesday morning, please note that the location for departure has changed! We will now meet in the guest registration area of the Venetian and board the bus in the limo area just outside guest registration. This should be very simple to find! If you have questions or cannot find us, call me. Arrive no later than 9:45 tomorrow morning.

Wednesday Cooking Class

If you are participating in the Wednesday cooking class, please arrive in the Venetian Guest Registration area no later than 3:45 PM. The limo departs promptly at 4:00. Don’t forget to wear longer pants and closed shoes! This location is easy to find and you can ask anyone how to get to the registration area.

BOTH

This is the Venetian, not the Palazzo. Please make sure you are in the correct location and give yourself plenty of time to get there. I do not want to leave anyone behind, but the tours must depart on time. For questions or concerns, please contact me.


Tour Departures

For all Spousetivities participants registered for bus tours, this post is for you. I sent an e-mail out over the weekend with detailed information and a map. The Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, and Hoover Dam tours will depart from Ground Transportation at the Venetian Sands Expo Center. This is not the same as the taxi area, but rather the tour bus area. When you go to the Sands Expo Center, there will be escalators going down. Take that down and look for the ground transportation sign at the glass doors.

If you have any trouble, please ask for directions or call me. The tour departs promptly at 8:00 AM.