Author: jess sconé

Catching up with Vida Vegan Alumni: Q & A with Leigh-Chantelle

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My, how time flies! We started this Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters heading into September’s VeganMoFo, and since we received such great feedback and responses from our alumni, we’re excited to continue with a few more final installments. These special interviews offer a glimpse into our past alumni’s upcoming projects, summer shenanigans and reveal what they really learned at VVC2013. They’re sharing which class sticks out in their minds so many months later, and just what they’d like to see more and less of in vegan blogging, a question that’s always on our own minds.  

Our next interview is with one of our furthest traveling guests for Vida Vegan Con, (mostly) Australian-based author, international speaker, activist and blogger, Leigh-Chantelle of Viva La Vegan! and the Green Earth Group.

Leigh-Chantelle, Viva La Vegan!
Leigh-Chantelle, Viva La Vegan!

What were you up to this Summer? I travelled to the USA for my Australian Winter. I spent 9 weeks in America, travelling all over the country for vegan/Animal Rights events, visiting friends and, one of my favourite things – road trips. When I was in the USA I had an interview with CHRY105.5FM in Toronto, Canada and had a lovely article written about me in the Examiner.

Talks, Panels & Workshop Videos:

LC’s USA Adventures & photos
LC’s USA Adventures & photos

I then spent a month in Cambodia, specifically Phnom Pehn, Battambang and Siem Reap before coming to Indonesia. I spent the last few weeks in Magelang, Central Java and then Surabaya, East Java before returning to my beloved Ubud, Bali where I’ll be until the beginning of October when I return home to Brisbane, Australia for aunty duties. I did a lot of media interviews when I was in Java – you can view the articles on my blog, FaceBook or Google+. One of the articles is online – use Google Translate for English. (see the photo attached – Focus Jateng) I’ve just launched 3 new vegan dessert e-books and 1 raw recipe e-book. I’ve completed the text for my upcoming recipe book due out the end of the year and am now compiling my vegan athletes interview book. As always, I have many different projects going.

Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II?

VVC is my favourite vegan event – and I’ve been to a great deal of vegan/AR events. I was asked to speak again for the second year, immediately accepted and was excited about the new topics I’d be speaking about.

Looking back, what was the most memorable class? I really enjoyed being a part of the Ethics Beyond the Plate panel and had a lot of great feedback about it. I thought 5 people on the panel was too many, but Jason did a great job of directing questions and keeping the topics on track. It’s biased, but I always love hearing my close friends Jasmin and Mariann from Our Hen House as well as Ryan Patey from TOFU Magazine speak.

What would you like to see more or less of in (vegan) blogging? One of the things I say in just about every talk I give – especially here in SE Asia – is that veganism is not a diet and it’s not a religion. Diet in particular seems to be the main focus for a lot of blogs. I’d like to see more people write about the fact that veganism isn’t the first and last step towards compassion and living ethically. We are here on this earth to learn and there’s just so much to absorb. I also don’t like reading about how veganism is a “cure all” for all of the diseases and environmental catastrophes we are experiencing – it’s a massive help, but it’s not the be all and end all.

You can follow along with Leigh-Chantelle’s travels and vegan journey by following her  Youtube channel, VivaLaVeganDotNet, Twitters, @VivaLVegan & @leighchantelle and Pintetest page, Viva La Vegan.

Stay tuned for the final installments of our Q & A series and some vegan-friendly entertaining tips for the holiday season here at Vida Vegan Headquarters.

What a Month!

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It’s been swell looking back on what we’ve all been up to since the workings of the very fist Vida Vegan Con in 2011 during our Month of Memories for VeganMoFo, and catching up with alumni, speakers and sharing some behind the scenes secrets.

Mighty-O Doughnuts. Just cause.
Mighty-O Doughnuts. Just cause we all deserve it.

Our Q & A series will continue into Autumn as all three VVC organizers begin, continue and end their separate travels, gathering inspiration for their own endeavors and Vida Vegan-land, alike.

Thank you all for being a part of the Vida Vegan family, and we hope to see you at our next happening, whatever neck of the woods it may be in!

Month of Memories presents: Q & A with Jojo! (aka dear Vegan.in.Brighton)

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Greetings! Welcome to the latest edition of our ongoing Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters. These special interviews offer a glimpse into our past alumni’s upcoming projects, summer shenanigans and reveal what they really learned at VVC2013. They’re sharing which class sticks out in their minds so many months later, and just what they’d like to see more and less of in vegan blogging, a question that’s always on our own minds. 

It’s now time to catch up with first time, wonderfully enthusiastic Vida Vegan alumnae, Jojo Huxster, better known to vegan bloggers (and readers!) around the globe as the longtime blogger behind “Vegan.in.Brighton“. Jojo’s currently across the pond once again, exploring and documenting even more of what the United States has to offer vegan visitors.

 

JoJo
Hi JoJo! Just what have you been up to this summer? 
After Vida Vegan Con I travelled around the Pacific Northwest a little more and then popped home and quickly turned around for Spain where I celebrated my 30th birthday with my besties. After that I popped to Zagreb to hang with some more wonderful vegan friends.
Since I’ve been back in Brighton I’ve been eating all of the gelato, planning my next trip (see ya soon San Francisco!) and baking cupcakes for Operation Icing, my not-for-profit bakery.
Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II? 
After reading everyone’s write ups of the first conference in 2011 how could I not? The speaker line up was amazing and it was a perfect opportunity to meet up with online friends from all over the globe. I finally got to meet Mandee from Cupcake Kitteh and we had a ridiculously fun time sharing a room together for a whole week.
Looking back, what was the most memorable class? 
This is a tough one but I’d have to say Isa’s iPhone photography class, she’s completely hilarious and awesome and I have been using many swatches in my photographs ever since!
How has your blog changed since the three-day conference? 
I am making a concerted effort to take better photographs whenever I can, but, y’know, sometimes I’m just hungry so don’t hold me to it!
Who were you really excited to meet? 
 
Wow, so many people. I’ve been talking to so many PPKers and bloggers for years and years without ever having a chance to meet them in person so it was a total whirlwind and I loved meeting everyone.
So, have you started reading any new blogs? 
Yes! I have two new favorite blog discoveries, one was Bonzai Aphrodite, I’d never heard of this beautiful vegan lifestyle blog before and I love it. I had also never realised that VVC organizer Janessa had a blog, I know right, duh, and I’m loving following her on her travels around Eastern Europe and SE Asia.
Lastly, what was your favorite meal in Portland, outside of the conference? 
Can I have more than one favourite meal in Portland? (Note: Duh) I was there for almost two weeks – I seriously had to keep extending my stay because I didn’t want to leave! I loved everything I ate at Back to Eden and if I could I would smuggle Ms Panda with Cookie across the ocean (y’know, if she wants to) to come and live with me so that she can cook me her famous biscuits and gravy every day.
Another meal I keep thinking back to is the Mac ‘n Cheese burger at White Owl Social Club, I ate that thing four times in a week – no regrets!
White Owl’s Mac & Cheese Burger with shoestring fries. Photo via Vegan.in.Brighton

In short, Jojo rules and all of us at Vida Vegan Headquarters are in awe of her Mac ‘n Cheese dedication. Come back this way soon — they’re calling your name!

You can read more about Jojo’s take on VVC2013 right here on her recap and stay tuned to her blog updates & travels (she’s recently been spotted in Las Vegas) over at Instagram, @vegan.in.brighton and ditto on twitter

Our Month of Memories Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters will continue far into the end VeganMoFo and beyond.

Talking Big Changes & Mad Men MoFo: More Q & A with Kelly Peloza of Seitan Beats Your Meat

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Hey there! Welcome to the latest edition of our ongoing Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters. These special interviews give a glimpse into our past alumni’s upcoming projects, summer shenanigans and reveal what they really learned at VVC2013. They’re sharing which class sticks out in their minds so many months later, and just what they’d like to see more and less of in vegan blogging, a question that’s always on our own minds. 

This time around, we’re getting serious about VeganMoFo thematics and talking how to survive big, bloggy changes with two-time Vida Vegan Con speaker, ‘artful’ food photographer and soon to be two-time cookbook author Kelly Peloza, who can now be found blogging exclusively at the amazingly titled Seitan Beats Your Meat.

Instagram Noir Self-Portrait. Photo via @KellyPeloza on Instagram

So Kelly, just what have you been up to this summer?
Working, blogging, and working on/planning projects (including Vegan MoFo)!

Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II?
I had an amazing time at Vida Vegan Con I!

Kelly & Jess in some strange filter at Native Foods in Chicago in 2012

Looking back, what was the most memorable class?
The body image class was one of the most memorable.

How has your blog changed since the three-day conference?
It no longer exists (sort of)!

I found myself with tons of extra time and inspiration after the conference, so I started a brand new blog with a new focus and image to put my time and energy toward. I now blog at Seitan Beats Your Meat and the archives of my old blog, The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, exist elsewhere.

How did VVC2013 affect your culinary style and home cooking?
The contents of the swag bag have been going strong! I’ve just been really into summer foods, fresh fruit and and vegetables. And pesto and bacon for some reason.

Who were you really excited to meet?
New friends! My VVCII roommates were fantastic!

Any nice surprises you’d like to share? Special memories?
I’m really excited for Vegan MoFo (can you tell?), where I’ll be doing Mad Men MoFo this year (Note, which she’s getting all retro right now!)! Then I have a new cookbook coming out in October called Cheers to Vegan Sweets.
My favorite memories from VVC2013 are the classes, VooDoo doughnuts, karaoke night, and our apartment!

So, have you started reading any new blogs?
Yes, I started reading some fellow attendees’ blogs. And the death of Google Reader made me take a look at my feeds and cut out some blogs that I don’t read anymore or haven’t been updated in years.

What would you like to see more or less of in (vegan) blogging?
It’s the best when people have a “thing” or a style that’s unique to them and their blog, whether it’s their photos, drawings, stories, or a special theme. It makes blogs so genuine and entertaining.

What would you like to see the organizers incorporate into the next VVC?
Keep the breakfast showcases coming!

What other vegan events put together by VVHQ would you like to attend?
I would love to see webinars* put on by speakers to keep the conversations going between conferences, especially since not everyone lives near the same city (or continent).

Lastly, what was your favorite meal in Portland, outside of the conference?
I keep thinking about FlavourSpot.

Maple cream & pecan waffle from Flavourspot. Image credit: Panda with Cookie and Waffle

*Special Note from Vida Vegan Headquarters: Seriously, has she been reading our minds?! Something of the sorts is very much in the works (and then again, what isn’t?) because we love the notions of staying in touch and letting folks around the world tune in while keeping their pajamas on. And….now I’m craving maple, preferably in a retro cocktail.

Congrats on the upcoming cookbook, Kelly! 

To keep up with Kelly’s latest, be sure to catch her on Instagram @kellypeloza and likewise on Twitter.

Our Month of Memories Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters will continue far into the end VeganMoFo and beyond.

 

Month of Memories Presents: Some Foxy Q & A with Ashlee Piper of The Little Foxes

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Hey there! Welcome to the next post of our latest Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters. These special interviews give a glimpse into our past alumni’s upcoming projects, summer shenanigans and reveal what they really learned at VVC2013. They’re sharing which class sticks out in their minds so many months later, and just what they’d like to see more and less of in vegan blogging, a question that’s always on our minds. 

We’re now joined by the adorably sassy Ashlee Piper, author of the “compassionate fare and cunning vegan style” blog, The Little Foxes, and official Vegucator around town.  Let’s see what she had to say about her first foray into the land of Vida Vegan Con…

Ashlee Piper at VVC2013, via The Little Foxes

Why Ashlee, just what have you been up to this summer?

Doing cooking demos, conferences, reviewing bushels of badass products, cooking up a storm, and visiting the dog beach with my pups. I foresee some road trips and camping on the horizon, too.

Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II?

Because a gathering of vegan bloggers in a town that is a vegan mecca sounds like, and actually is, heaven.

Looking back, what was the most memorable class?

I loved Fran Costigan’s class on doing quality food demonstrations and workshops. I love her approach and warm vibe, and I learned so much. I also loved Hannah Kaminsky’s class on food styling! Gotta get an eye-dropper and mister, stat!

How has your blog [www.thelilfoxes.com] changed since the three-day conference?

I’ve become more dedicated to it, diligent in posting, and more collaborative. VVC gave me the opportunity to connect with other marvelous bloggers and I love the sense of community. I’ve also become more proud of my blog and bolder about advertising, promoting, monetizing, and growing it.

Blogging is totally a real career and I appreciate VVC for spotlighting that!

How did VVC2013 affect your culinary style and home cooking?

I am a much more dedicated and careful recipe tester now. I also take care to, with my limited camera phone resources, take better pictures of my meals. I’ve also found that simpler is better. Sometimes, as food bloggers, we get more caught up in impressing one another with molecular gastronomy and complicated ingredients and techniques than creating recipes that are attractive to people interested in making good vegan food. VVC helped me to focus on creating recipes that are fun, but approachable.

Who were you really excited to meet?

Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. But everybody, really. Everyone has so much to contribute to this movement.

Any nice surprises you’d like to share? Special memories of VVC2013?

Dancing to Melisser’s grooves, eating my weight in food, late-night karaoke with cool peeps, and MY GOD, all of the vendors and food at the conference. That swag bag ain’t no joke. Oh, and I loved the Vegan Game Show.

Vegan Battle Royale! (aka the VVC Game Show). Photo by J. Legume

So, have you started reading any new blogs?

Heck yes. So many that I cannot keep up.

What would you like to see more or less of in (vegan) blogging?

More video blogs. I love ‘em and want to start doing more myself. I find text blogs to be amazing, but sometimes (especially mine), all that text can be very labor intensive and tough to read.

What would you like to see the organizers incorporate into the next VVC?

Maybe a guided networking reception? I’m very outgoing, so meeting people isn’t a problem for me, but I noticed that other folks are very shy and not ready to self-promote. It might be cool to have a guided networking workshop or something where people can talk about their blogs, goals, and whatever they might need improvement or assistance with. (Noted! We’ve got some creative ice breakers up our sleeves…)

What other vegan events put together by VVHQ would you like to attend?

Are there other events (Why, yes!)? I’m always down to attend stuff in Chicago. And by golly, if VVC is in Chicago next year, you best hit me up. :)

(One more note: We‘ll keep that in mind and will certainly be there at some point!)

Lastly, what was your favorite meal in Portland, outside of the conference? 

VEGGIE GRILL and Departure.

Veggie Grill feasting, image via The Little Foxes

Thanks for sharing, Ashlee! Our Month of Memories Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters will continue far into VeganMoFo, and we’ve got lots more in store.

Check out Ashlee’s spirited VVC2013 recap, appropriately titled Vida Vegan Con: Where Bloggers Eat Their Weight in Food

Besides her blog, you can also catch up with Ashlee on Instagram @ashleepiper and on Twitter @Thelilfoxes

A Peek into some VVC2013 Classes, Part I

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Or rather, here are some photos of a few classes at the Vida Vegan Conference that julia Legume found the time (and interest! and passion!) to attend, or at least pop in on. Fortunately, she just so happened to break a cardinal rule of vegan blogging by forgetting her own, and wound up using this organizer’s camera throughout the weekend, so here we go:

Vegan Professionals in a Non-Vegan World with Grant Butler, Fran Costigan, Julie Hasson and Janessa Philemon-Kerp

The line-up

Fran blowing everyone away, as usual

Packed house, as with every class I heard about

Biting Off More Than You Should Chew, a open discussion group…with Ryan Patey

Ryan Patey of T.O.F.U. Magazine

Opening their ears & minds. Here’s Erica’s recap on Sews Before Bros.

Isa poses a deep question.

The Zine Workshop

Brainstorming their next zines…

Joanna Vaught, Kittee Berns and Amey Mathews, our VVC zine experts. Here are Joanna’s recent post on zine-making.

Amey Mathews illustrates her own holiday zines, and assembled the lovely Vida Vegan Unofficial Cookzine

Peeking in to the wildly popular Monetizing Your Blog with Nava Atlas and Susan Voisin

Attention Spans, Social Media & the State of Blogging, another discussion group, led by yours truly. Here’s Erica’s recap on Sews Before Bros.

Aka the ‘existential social media support group’….because how can one stay sane (and blogging) in the short-form revolution? 

The library was such a special, intimate space for these discussion groups.

The Return of Vegan Battle Royale: The Vegan GameShow with Kittee Berns, Amey Mathews and Mo Martin 

And…..that’s all that exists in my archives. One day, there will be a Vida of some sort that I can sit through an entire class that’s not my own — mark my words!

Til then, I’ll live vicariously through the recaps. Please note, this was but a small fraction of the nearly 40 classes throughout the three day weekend.

Here’s a quick handful for everyone else who couldn’t make it or simply wanted to attend more classes:

Vida Vida Vegan, Bittersweet Blog

12 Lessons I Learned from Vida Vegan Con, Lazy Smurf’s Guide

Vida Vegan Con 2013: The Food, The People, The Fun!, Dreena Burton’s Plant-Powered Kitchen

A Love Letter to Vida Vegan Con, Cadry’s Kitchen

The 2013 VVC Mega Recap Post, Freeheel Vegan

Vida Vegan Con 2013 tag, Good Good Things

Vida Vegan Con tag, The Gay Vegans

Vida Vegan Con tag, VeganNoms