Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vegan MoFo

We are going to try our hand at Vegan MoFo this year. We are newbies to the world of blogging so please excuse any "rookie" mistakes. We are going to keep it simple (short and sweet) as we find our voice and the direction we want to take this blog. See you Oct 1st.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Vida Vegan Con - Day Three



Our schedule for the day:

9:40am - 10:55am                 The Marketing Panel
11:00am - 11:45am               Extreme Food Writing Makeover
11:50am - 12:35pm               Storymaking and Food Bloggin w/ Terry
12:40pm - 1:40pm                 LUNCH - Casa Bonita
1:45pm - 3:00pm                   Publishing Panel
3:15pm - 4:20pm                   Specialty Diets
4:25pm - 5pm                        Closing Address: Isa Chandra Moskowitz


Breakfast was the same. Same good food and meeting some different awesome folks, including Shelley from Vegan Favorites (great name by the way ;)  ~ Shelley)

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: The Marketing Panel

Stephanie Redcross with Vegan Mainstream along with the rest of the panel had a lot of good information. My favorite advice was to not link your Facebook with your Twitter. It is one of my pet peeves to constantly get the same thing twice. You want to support all of the vegans out there but if you are constantly getting the same information you are tempted to unfollow.

Extreme Food Writing Makeover

This was another class that was a blur to me. It seems like it was over way too quickly. To be honest I really should have been a good little blogger and took better notes. 

Storymaking and Food Bloggin w/ Terry Hope Romero

I was really excited to go to this class. Like most vegans, I’m a huge fan of Terry and Isa. To me they are the queens of the Vegan Royalty. I am but a happy follower. This was also one of Momma Veg’s favorite classes. (Remember to always include a cat in your blog. J hee.. Oh no, I don’t have a cat on my blog yet. FAIL.)

Lunch was “Casa Bonita” which included Upton’s Naturals chorizo, spicy soy curls, raw walnut meat, Spanish rice, tortillas and Daiya pepper jack cheese. On the table was Food for Lovers nacho dip which made for a spicy lunch.  We sat with the very nice folks of Vegan Favorites, More than a Salad, and a few others (again sorry that I didn’t write it down).

Publishing Panel

I probably couldn’t tell you what my absolute favorite panel was but I can tell you that this was my favorite group of speakers. Bryanna Clark Grogan, Julie Hasson, Joni Marie Newman, Ryan Patey, Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz (moderator). Even though I have no plans to publish a cookbook or magazine I really enjoyed the discussion. I wish the class had been a little longer because everyone had great questions. Getting published seems to be only half the battle. Now you have to promote yourself with little or no help from the publisher.

Specialty Diets
I was looking forward to this class because me and Momma Veg do a mostly oil-free diet and have been getting recipes off of Fat Free Vegan for a while now so it was a treat to see Susan V.  in person. I also wanted to get Kittee’s take on being gluten free. I have toyed with the idea of giving up gluten for a couple of weeks or so to see if I feel better or if I have less migraines. I have a feeling it is going to be really tough. It is just way too easy to eat it because you aren’t paying close attention to what you are putting in your mouth. Everything is such a habit and a habit can be really hard to break. This class was smaller so the panel decided to put all of the chairs in a circle to make if more of a interactive class so people would feel more comfortable to talk.

Closing remarks

Who do you get to do the closing remarks after the 3 awesome hosts give theirs? Well, the vegan royalty of Isa Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, of course. They were awesome as usual and led us in a standing ovation for the hosts to thank them for all of the phenomenal work they did organizing this conference.

The conference was amazing in the sense that there was no hierarchy. Everyone mixed and chatted during the whole event. Everyone was extremely friendly and some of us (like me) hid that we were extremely excited to meet what I consider (weirdly in my own mind) the vegan royalty of queens, princesses, a few princes, and a bunch of us that aren’t quite there but are still a part of the beautiful royal family. As vegans we a part of something special. We are wise, compassionate people who are a head of our time. We are leaders of health and animal rights that will some day prove that we were right and everyone will be grateful for it. That is why, in my eyes, we are all royal. (Yes, I know I am a dork.)

Publishing Panel = amazing
Storymaking and Food Bloggin w/ Terry Hope Romero = more amazing
Closing Address: Isa Chandra Moskowitz (and the standing ovation for our VVC hosts!) = extreme amazing

After VVC

Immediately after the closing at VVC we jumped on the street car to go to Whole Foods. The streetcar ride became “interesting” as a wannabe thug and a very large handicap lady on a walker tried to get into a fight. The thug was getting upset with someone for some unknown reason and was talking about getting his gun out while the handicap lady just antagonized him telling him to go ahead and shoot us all. I was thinking “Um, No thank you. I would prefer not to get shot today”. Luckily we were able to get off the street car right as the thug started to approach the lady. We were in the first car so the driver got up at the stop to see what was going on and stop the fight. Was anyone else at VVC in that car? I just don’t understand why people have to act that way. If someone is acting stupid don’t antagonize them or it will lead to somewhere you don’t want it to go.

While at Whole Foods we got this amazing looking Strawberry cake. It tasted good but it was gone too fast. It was like eating Cotton Candy. It melted in your mouth and a minute later you don’t even remember eating it except the sugar rush you now have.

The Morning After

The next morning I made the mistake of booking a 6am flight. As we were finishing our 5 block walk to catch the Max train to the airport at about 4am (from our downtown hotel) I was approached by a homeless person. I thought I would just go around him but he came up to me and licked me on the cheek then walked on his way. I was very lucky that is all he did. He appeared to be around my age and not an old nasty man but it was still extremely gross. (Who knew I looked that good without makeup. J)  Next time I won’t be a cheapo and will take a taxi or shuttle that early in the morning.

On the Max on the way to the airport a man seating across from my mother took out a pocket knife and started cutting things off his back pack. He was already making us nervous by his mannerisms so when he pulled out the knife it made my mother really nervous. It seemed an inappropriate time to do it. When he got up to get off the train he turned around and started messing with his pants. I was getting nervous that I was about to get flashed so I looked the other way just in case. Luckily, nothing happened and after he finished whatever he was doing he got off the train.

As you can tell my last 12 hours were very interesting. I would have preferred a somewhat different send-off. The great thing is that I had an amazing time at Vida Vegan Con and thank you to the organizers, sponsors, and all the amazing people I met.


A few things I regret:

1.   Should have flown in on Thursday for all of the early festivities including Vegucated.
2.   Wish we would have tried to take the Photography class. My photos lately haven’t been turning out as hoped. Some are blurry while others need the food to be better displayed. Without Momma Veg all of my photos would probably be on my white countertop. Not creative.
3.   We didn’t go to Homegrown Smoker.  Hearing about everyone’s food is making me really jealous.
4.   Should have hunted down the other folks from Texas.
5.   Should have stayed an extra day or more because the weekend ended too quickly.
6.    Wish we had rented a car to go explore past downtown.

In 2013 we will make more time to explore whatever city it is held in (Portland or not).


We don’t really have any. The few little things I can think of have already been noted and talked about by the organizers themselves so no need to repeat. I can’t wait to see what classes and speakers there will be. The anticipation might just kill us all. J I’m just so happy and fortunate that I was able to attend this great conference and meet so many amazing people. A big thank you goes these organizers who absolutely deserved their standing ovation.

Since I didn’t take very many photos, (No, I have no idea what was wrong with me.)  please visit the following blogs where they have some great recaps with some nice photos.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Vida Vegan Con - Days One and Two

Momma Veg and I were very fortunate to attend the Vida Vegan Conference in August in Portland. I can’t believe it took me this long to blog about it. I have been busy getting ready for another trip but to be honest I have been procrastinating for no good reason. 


Friday, Aug 26th

We arrived in Portland around lunch time on Friday. Right after depositing the luggage at our hotel we jumped on the Max to go eat at Backspace. Their veggie club is one of the best sandwiches I have ever had. Thank goodness we decided to share because the sandwich was huge. Plus, it left room to eat the awesome vegan tomato soup. We were so hungry that I forgot to take a photo. Next we decided to check out Whole Foods and buy a few snacks. Before we knew it, it was time to register so we hopped on the street car to grab our bag of swag. It was awesome but a little heavy so we took it back to the hotel, rested up a little then headed to Portobello for dinner. We rode the bus so we ended up getting to Portobello before it opened but it didn’t take long for a line to form behind us. Thank goodness we got there early because we didn’t make a reservation and we just barely got a table. Momma Veg got the amazing Gnocchi and I got the Beet Burger. We ate half then traded so we could both sample the yummy food.  Again we forgot to take a photo. Then it was time to go back to University Place to eat some cupcakes. The ballroom was extremely warm and we were exhausted from traveling so after looking around at the exhibitors we quickly ate a cupcake and decided to head back to the hotel room for the night.

*Note: To see the awesome food from Portobello please visit Vegan Favorites.  They have a great blog!

Backspace = greatness
Portobello = more greatness
VVC Bag O’ Swag & Sweetpea cupcakes = extreme greatness


Saturday, Aug 27th

Our schedule for the day:

10:00am - 11:15am -      Willamette Falls: Travel Panel
11:20am - 12:15pm -      Astoria: Nutrition Panel
12:20pm - 1:20pm -        Astoria: The Accidental Journalist
1:30pm - 2:30pm -          LUNCH - Northwest Picnic
2:35pm - 3:35pm -          Coos Bay: Positive Blogging
3:40pm - 4:45pm -          Willamette Falls: Planting Seeds of Compassion

We started off breakfast meeting the extremely nice folks of vegansaurus and a few other gals that I really wish I had wrote down their names and blogs. I really don’t know what I was thinking. Breakfast was good. The conversation was better. Ms. Laura Beck did an awesome opening welcome speech.


First up was the Travel Panel, which ended up being one of my favorite panels. Before the panel started we chatted with the very nice Christa (Veggin out with Christa) and her sweet mom. All the speakers were great. I loved that Samantha Cohen of SuperVegan mentioned Spiral Diner here in Dallas as one of her favorite restaurants. I agree with her that their cashew cheese is amazing.

I think the travel panel must have gone a little long because by the time we got to the next one (Nutrition) it was already starting and was full. The awesome Isa gave up her seat for my mom so I just ended up sitting in the floor next to her chair. The panel was good but I think I would have had a better time in a chair or standing so I could have seen each person while they were talking instead of guessing who was actually speaking. Isa brought up cooking with oil and how every time she puts oil in a recipe people are getting  on to her. The panel said it was ok and healthy to cook with oil. I personally don’t like to use oil very often. I think there are a bunch of recipes that don’t need it. For example, one of my favorite dishes is a mac and cheese dish I make. The oil seems to be in the recipe only to make it oily like the popular cow’s milk  mac and cheese. I’m not a fan of the greasy taste and feel of some foods so I don’t use it. I don’t enjoy pasta or veggies cooked in oil because most people use way too much.

I have to admit that this panel was a blur to me. There was a little bit of a sound issue so I didn’t hear what some of the panelists were saying. I do appreciate the handout from class with the proper spelling of some popularly misspelled and misused words because I can guarantee you I am one of the folks who need it. I probably need to memorize it.

Lunch was “Northwest Picnic” which included a large piece of bbq tempeh, Gardein tenders, potato salad, kale salad hummus and much more.  We had lunch with the Vegansaurus girls, Christy Morgan (The Blissful Chef, who I was happy to meet since she lives is the same city), Novel Eats, and a few other gals.  



It was nice see Christa on the panel after chatting with her and her mom at the Travel panel. I have to say this was a great group of speakers. You could tell why they were chosen for the positive blogging session just by seeing them speak. Just amazing, positive, cheerful people. You couldn’t help but smile. (And I want Leigh-Chantelle Koch’s fashion sense. How cute were her outfits!)


Another one of my favorite panels. Colleen is such an inspiration. She gives such a great point of view for the cause. You are never going to be able to convince people to eat vegan if you are too forceful. If you show compassion and just give them the information they will come towards your point of view on their own.


The Gala was great fun. We had some awesome food and some great conversation but I have to admit that my favorite thing of the evening (besides seeing Robert Cheeke get his dance on) were the Flip Books. Just to think that I almost left without doing it. Momma Veg and I made a cute one. It is such a great memento. I smile every time I look at it. :)


Gala / Flip books = awesome
Seeing Colleen Patrick Goudreau = more awesome
Eating a vegan breakfast, lunch, & dinner with 200 other vegans = extreme awesomeness

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fall is coming

Signs that Fall is near. Gorgeous pumpkins, squashes, etc in front of Whole Foods.