Do Barcelona in a Whole New Way with Spousetivities

Think you’ve already done Barcelona? Think AGAIN! This year at VMworld Europe, Spousetivities is offering some incredible activities that you may never have the opportunity to do again. Wait, why are you still reading? Go register now!

So you weren’t convinced? That’s OK. Let me see if telling you about some of the tours will get you excited about joining your VMworld attendee in Barcelona.

  • Day 1: Monday, October 17 (https://spousetivities.ticketleap.com/vmworld2016emea/dates/Oct-17-2016_at_0800AM)

    • We will set sail on the Mediterranean for a morning of adventure. This tour will allow you to experience Barcelona like no other tour!

    • Not a water person? No worries, how about a walking tour with wine tasting? Even if you choose to sail in the morning, you can join this activity in the afternoon. Either way, this is a great way to learn your way around the city and get to know the locals.

    • If walking isn’t your thing, you can join a biking tour of the city. This excursion will show you all the city highlights! Don’t worry about being an avid cyclist, this tour only requires that you be in reasonable physical health. There are plenty of stopping points and few hills.

  • Day 2: Tuesday, October 18 (https://spousetivities.ticketleap.com/vmworld2016emea/dates/Oct-18-2016_at_0800AM)

    This amazing day takes you to the incredible Montserrat where you will see the Black Madonna and hear the famous Boys’ Choir. There will also be an opportunity for a small hike and a ride up the mountain on the tram. After a morning to remember, we will venture into the city to enjoy lunch at a quaint local restaurant. Don’t worry, the day isn’t over yet, after lunch, our group will venture to a couple of local wineries to taste some of the local wines. If you attended last year, don’t fret, we are going to new wineries and a new restaurant!

  • Day 3: Wednesday, October 19 (https://spousetivities.ticketleap.com/vmworld2016emea/dates/Oct-19-2016_at_0800AM)

    If you can only join one day, this is it! We will be visiting the French Pyrenees on this incredible tour. Yes, it is a long drive, but you’ll soon forget it once you take in these majestic views! Make sure to dress for the weather (in layers), and be ready for a day you won’t soon forget.

  • Day 4: Thursday, October 20 (https://spousetivities.ticketleap.com/vmworld2016emea/dates/Oct-20-2016_at_0800AM)

    For our final day of activities, we will visit Roman Tarragona & Cistercian Monastery. This is a day rich in history and culture and will not only be a day of exciting photo opportunities, but will include a fantastic lunch and plenty of sights that you can only appreciate in person.

Did I mention that the first 30 guests to register will get a special prize? I forgot? Oh…well, in that case, the first 30 guests to register will receive a swag bag with great items courtesy of our sponsors. Who are the sponsors? Glad you asked! This year, we have VMware NSX, Veeam, TVP Strategy, and VMUG. In addition to the gift bags, the cost of all these tours is reduced by 40% because of their support. Make sure to thank them at their booth, on Twitter, and/or on Facebook. For a final surprise, there will be a major giveaway item for each day of activities. You can win more than once. Each day that you arrive for your tour, you’ll be given a ticket for that day’s prize. During the tour, I’ll draw the winning ticket. If it’s yours, so is the prize! Prizes include but aren’t limited to iPad mini, Kindle Fire, gift cards, and more.

Now, really, what are you waiting for? Register now as space on these incredible adventures is limited and only available on a first come first serve basis. Don’t delay, register today.


Let’s go to Barcelona!

After wrapping up the 8th annual Spousetivities at VMworld US in San Francisco, it is full steam ahead to VMworld EMEA 2015, once again in beautiful Barcelona, Spain! Let’s face it, leaving your partner behind while you head to another weeklong conference doesn’t gain you many points in the relationship. This year, why not bring him or her with you? He or she can check out what Spousetivities has planned for them while you are busy networking and soaking up knowledge at the conference.

Like the US event, Spousetivities will have some goodies to give away for participants. The first 25 to register will get a backpack with great gifts from our sponsors. Who are these sponsors, you ask? This year we can thank VMware NSX for their Gold Sponsorship. Spousetivities is also pleased to thank Brocade, Cisco, VMUG, The Virtualization Practice, EMC Elect, and Thinware for their support of these events.

If that isn’t enough to get you or your sweetie excited, how about one of the following tours available at 40% off the public tour pricing (again, thanks to our amazing sponsors):

  • Montserrat and Wine Country – The group will head for a visit at the impressive Monastery of Montserrat. Most visitors will have the opportunity to hear the famous Boys’ Choir perform (not guaranteed). You will also visit the “Moreneta de Montserrat”, one of the black Madonnas of Europe, and enjoy a light walk to Santa Cova, where the black Madonna is said to have originally been found and rescued. The tour will then depart Montserrat and the group will enjoy a fantastic lunch of local Catalan country cuisine in a traditional restaurant at the base of Montserrat. Lunch will be followed by a private field tour, guided visit and three-product wine and cava tasting at one of the premier, small, boutique wineries of the region.

  • Costa Brava & Medieval Girona – Guests will visit charming fishing villages, local markets, city gardens, and enjoy short walks to secluded beaches and great panoramic lookout points over this Mediterranean paradise. The Girona city tour takes you through the rich history of one of Spain’s most charming, medieval walled cities that has been very well preserved since it was founded by the Romans in the 1st century. On this journey through time, guests will also enjoy a four-course lunch, in a traditional local restaurant, that includes wine, salads, olives, grilled meats and fish dishes.
  • Wines of Catalunya – One cannot visit Spain without getting some insight into their distinctive wine making. Guests will head out for a truly unique and personalized opportunity to enjoy authentic local flavors via food and wine tasting in private, boutique cellars of the Penedès. We will have wine and food all day in a casual and relaxed pace and manner. Guests visit charming, small, boutique wineries where the local, resident wine makers host Spousetivities participants personally and exclusively. A traditional meal of Catalan fare will be served at one of the venues while you enjoy extensive and varied pours of whites, rosés and reserve reds and cavas.
  • Medieval Mountain Village & Panoramic Trails – Guests begin the day of adventure by exploring a village’s winding cobblestone streets and stone houses dating back more than 500 years. With photo opportunities galore, time will still be made for a quaint break for coffee (or tea) and a pastry before more exploring the streets of this medieval town. This is a day of great mountains, excellent views, amazing history and a superb four-course restaurant lunch in a traditional Catalan country restaurant. For those who wish, we will duck out of the village for a great light hike through wooded trails and cliff-top look outs, streams, rivers, waterfalls and spectacular views of deep river canyons and the forested valleys. Non-hikers can relax on a river-view terrace and enjoy the sun, beverages and a book until the others return.

    Don’t wait–register today!


Celebrating Our Global Gold Sponsors

Spousetivities would not be where and what it is today without the generous support of sponsors, including this year’s Global Gold sponsors (in alphabetical order): Brocade, Cisco, VMware NSX, and VMUG. But why does Spousetivities have sponsors? To understand the answer to that question, you need to look at this history of Spousetivities.

Spousetivities originated in 2008, at VMworld in Las Vegas. I decided that I was tired of the typical business trip with my husband, Scott Lowe. He loved having me travel with him, and I loved going. Being there alone, though, was not my favorite thing. Long story short, Spousetivities was born! (The name came from the community and is a shortened version of “spouse activities”.)

As the idea grew, it became apparent that I could no longer keep offering public tours having everyone buy tickets separately. What if someone missed a bus? Or accidentally purchased the wrong tour? There were too many potential issues. Once again, the community supported me and gave me the idea that I find companies (sponsors) willing to not only “talk the talk” but actually “walk the walk” when it comes to creating a family friendly environment and supporting work-life balance.

Because of these incredible companies, Spousetivities has been able to offer activities to the friends, family, and loved ones of those attending VMworld for 8 years. To thank a few of them, this is a spotlight post on our Global Gold sponsors for 2015. Here they are, again in alphabetical order:

  • Please welcome Brocade this year as a fantastic new sponsor of the Spousetivities community. Brocade’s support means that you get to enjoy time out in the wonderful city of San Francisco without breaking the bank.
  • Also welcome Cisco Systems to the family of supporters that faithfully support Spousetivities each year. Cisco’s support has allowed these activities to be offered at reduced cost, while still allowing them to be both exclusive and private (like our wine tour outings this year!).
  • For the second year in a row, VMware NSX is supporting Spousetivities in a big way. As the sponsor of the ever popular “Get to Know You” breakfast, VMware NSX continues to promote a healthy perspective on work/life balance to families.
  • Finally, for the 5th year in a row, the folks at VMUG are continuing their support of Spousetivities. Their support is not only via funding to keep your costs low, but also by providing “behind the scenes” support as well to help enhance the experience of Spousetivities each year. Being community-minded themselves, VMUG understands the need to support the IT community as a whole.

In short, Spousetivities can only do what it does (offer fantastic activities at reasonable prices) thanks to the support of some great sponsors. If you’re traveling to VMworld this year, either as a spouse or as a conference attendee who is bringing your spouse, please take the time to thank Spousetivities sponsors for their commitment and dedication to community, family, and a healthy work-life balance.

Finally, don’t forget to register for Spousetivities before the events sell out!


Registration, Cooking, and Thanks

You’ve been asking for it, waiting for it, and anticipating it. Registration is now open for Spousetivities at VMworld 2015!

This year, on opening day, Spousetivities is offering a cooking class with Sur la Table. This will be an opportunity to learn to cook some local flare. The tour will take place after the breakfast. We will take a private bus to the venue and learn to cook some delicious dishes. There will be time to visit the store to buy various spices, cooking gadgets, and other supplies.

The remainder of the week is also filled with some exciting activities including exclusive tours at some of EJ Gallo’s most pristine properties. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming days. In the meantime, check out what some of our sponsors are doing to innovate the technology world.

Thank you to our incredible sponsors for making 2015 a great year of family friendly events at VMworld!

Global Gold Sponsors 2015

VMware NSX

Cisco Systems

Brocade

VMUG

US Gold Sponsors 2015

Unitrends

Infinio

SolidFire

CloudPhysics

Rackspace

Global Silver Sponsors 2015

The Virtualization Practice

EMC Elect

US Silver Sponsors 2015

Thinware vBackUp

Ravello Systems

Prize Sponsors

Arkin Networks

Cumulus Networks

Wine Shop at Home


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!


Spousetivities at VMworld Update #1

VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas is fast approaching, and so are the Spousetivities! I again want to thank our fantastic sponsors–Dell Tech Center, eGroup, EMC, HP, HyTrust, Train Signal, vBackup, VMUG, and The Virtualization Practice–for making these activities possible.

Here’s a quick update on availability for activities; keep in mind that registration closes on August 26, 2011 (only 10 days away!):

  • Only a couple of manicure/pedicure appointments are available; all other services are sold out
  • A few spots remain for the Wednesday and Thursday cooking classes with Chef Bev Lee
  • Only 7 spots left for the Hoover Dam/Lake Mead cruise
  • 13 spots are available on Wednesday’s Lake Mead cruise
  • Plenty of tickets still available for the breakfast on Monday
  • vHottie T-shirts are still available for those not attending the events

For those of you interested in the Grand Canyon tour, I will be adding 20 more spots in the next day or so, but the price goes up to $129.99 per person. I will also add spa services, but the price will increase to $120 per service. My sponsors have been great in helping to keep costs down, but sponsorship funds only go so far!

If you’re thinking of signing up, I highly recommend you go ahead and sign up now, before registration closes and/or before sponsorship funds run out and prices go up! Just a reminder: I will not be accepting activity registrations on-site.


Spousetivities at VMworld 2011 is Open for Registration

I am pleased to announce that registration for Spousetivities is now open! If you have already registered, thank you! If you haven’t registered, I encourage you to register now.

One quick note: I have seen several people that have signed up only for the breakfast. This is completely fine; our Get to Know You breakfasts are always great fun. There is one thing I need to point out, though: if you plan to participate in other events as well, you cannot register for those at the breakfast. All registrations MUST be done in advance. Due to the size and popularity of Spousetivities, I have to sign contracts in advance and once they are full, I can’t add people at the last minute. So please register now so that you can maximize your time while keeping the budget under control.

The cooking classes are starting to fill up so if that interests you, don’t delay. All four nights will be different cuisine so feel free to register for more than one. The Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, and Lake Mead are all generating a ton of interest as well.

I have been working hard on obtaining additional sponsors to continue to make Spousetivities affordable and offer the famous vWife t-shirts, gift bags, and giveaways. We now have 6 great sponsors on board! Please make sure to thank eGroup, EMC,  HP, HyTrust, Train Signal, and VMUG. I am also in negotiations with three other companies that are interested in supporting our events. I am so grateful to our sponsors and appreciate all they have done to make Spousetivities what it is today.

So what are you waiting for? Spousetivities always promises great activities with great people so go ahead and get that registration done so you can sit back and count down the days until we all head to Vegas to see old friends and make some new ones while enjoying cooking classes, river cruises, and scenic tours!