Author: jess sconé

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

A Simple Now & Then: Location is Everything

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Apparently I’m supposed to go off and celebrate aging tonight, so it’s time for a quick Now & Then glimpse into the VVC memory bank, looking back at the rooms where everything but the classes took place at both Vida Vegan Conferences.

We’re talking the main ballrooms, which housed meals, opening & closing talks, announcements, exhibitors and receptions. We had a lot of fun pulling off VVC2011 in its first year, and then absolutely fell in love with the Portland Art Museum once we quickly began location scouting and planning the next one, realizing that we had to fit a lot more folks & room for exhibitors in.

Do you remember both of them?

VVC2011 at University Place: roughly 150 attendees jam-packed into into this Portland State conference center 

VVC2013: quite grander inside the Kridel Ballroom at the Portland Art Museum with nearly 300 in attendance

As always, we like to get creative with our space — it’s a must!

What’s next? Why, you’ll have to wait and see…we’re always on the lookout for new event spaces, in Portland and beyond (and then some!)

Feel free to send suggestions our way!

Late Summertime Crunk: Q & A with Bianca Phillips

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Hey there! Welcome to the first edition of our Summertime Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters!  This series will give a glimpse into our past alumni’s upcoming projects, seasonal 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.

First up, we’re joined by the one-and-only Bianca Phillips, of long-time vegan favorite blog, Vegan Crunk

Ms. Crunk.
Ms. Crunk.

So Bianca, what have you been up to this summer?

Traveling to various VegFests to promote Cookin’ Crunk, picnicking with friends, went to Bonnaroo.

Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II?

Because Vida Vegan Con I was, like, the best couple of days of my life! For real! And II was just as amazing! Loved seeing all my old blogger friends and meeting new people.

Looking back, what was the most memorable class?

Definitely Susan V’s advanced photography class

How has your blog changed since the three-day conference?

Hmmm….I wish I had a better answer here. It hasn’t changed at all. I really could use a re-design. Maybe one day soon.

How did VVC2013 affect your culinary style and home cooking?

I’ve been making the hell out of some Soy Curls.

Who were you really excited to meet?

Ashlee Piper! (and then we didn’t even get time to hang out … Ashley: You and me, cocktails. It’s gonna happen one day.) And JoJo!! And Sayward!!!

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

Going to the vegan strip club after the galarama and having a stripper place her ta-tas into my picture of vegan taquitos. Best food porn ever!

So, have you started reading any new blogs?

Yep! Lots! Especially loving From A to a Vegan.

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

My favorite blogs are photo-heavy and personal. I like reading about other people’s lives and what they ate for dinner. I’m not as into recipe blogs, just because I’m up to ears in cookbooks at home.

Image source: Yelp.com

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

Oh gosh! What if we had a VVC 5k?! I say that, but I know I’d actually be too hungover to run it.

Lastly, what was your favorite meal in Portland, outside of the conference? (as if you could resist!)

Probably the box of a dozen Voodoo Doughnuts that I ate on for days. Also, that corn dog at Hungry Tiger Too is OFF THE CHAIN, yo.

Broken record time: As always, stay tuned for more!

Our Summertime Q & A series will continue far into VeganMoFo.

You can check out Bianca’s own recaps on VVC2013 right here: Vida Vegan Con Part I and Vida Vegan Con Part 2.

We miss you, Bianca!

Behind the Scenes: Vida Vegan Summertime Stuff

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Why, hello there, VeganMoFo VII!  Vida Vegan Headquarters is kicking off our big month of memories with the most recent, by sharing some photographic evidence that all three of your friendly organizers have managed to experience some good old-fashioned summer time-ing.  

Without further adieu, an Instagram collection:

Janessa: Double scoop of white chocolate & oreo vegan ice cream in Vienna. @Janessapk
Michele: A duo of Sweet Hereafters, Sweet Hereafter. Now, that’s a summer afternoon well spent. @VidaVeganHQ
Jess: Continued to spend her summer as a farmers market groupie. Nothing new there. @jdfunks
Janessa: literally found herself on Abbey Road. @Janessapk
Michele: Conquered giardiniera and is hopefully going to share… @VidaVeganHQ
Jess: had an ongoing rotation of fancy homemade vegan cheeses and pickles. @jdfunks
Janessa: continued documenting amazing photos on her #Janessagoesthere tour with these schoolkids caught in a thunderstorm in Vietnman. @Janessapk
Michele: Loves summertime salsa. Enough said. @VidaVeganHQ
Jess: finally lived out her small dream of judging a cooking competition, with the Vegan Iron Chef Pop Up! Taco Shop! community cook-off. @jdfunks
Bonus Vida Vegan Headquarters international Google Hangout time. Way more fun that it looks! @Janessapk

And there’s your quick taste of what Janessa, Michele and myself have been up to this summer since the whirlwind weekend that was VVC2013. All three of us are also doing VeganMoFo over at our own blogs, so catch more at Epicurious Vegan, Vegtastic Voyage and Get Sconed!

See you back here soon! There’s so, so much in store at Vida Vegan Headquarters.