Author: Michele Truty

2015 Vida Vegan Con Speaker Roundup #1

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We put out the call. We read the submissions. We talked. We made spreadsheets. We talked some more. We used and abused a dry-erase board… You simply cannot imagine how hard it was for us to narrow down our speaker lineup. Such amazing talent. Such fantastic voices. Why can’t Vida Vegan Con be a week long?! (Seriously, Google, how about sponsoring us?)

But we’ve done it, and now we can’t wait to share it with you! Each week we’ll feature a handful of speakers, with a teaser of what sort of expertise they’ll be sharing with you (to supplement the class topics sneak peek we posted last week).

As in past years, we’ve curated this lineup of activists, authors, smartypantses, and other leaders in their fields to share with you their skills, their unique voices, and their ability to inspire.

So here they are, in randomly random order, your first handful of Vida Vegan Con III speakers:

Susan Voisin VVC III 2015

Susan Voisin, of Fat Free Vegan

An overwhelming crowd favorite from VVC2013, Susan will be teaching us post-processing for food photography—how to fix almost anything with software. She’ll also be sharing teaching duties in a class on monetizing your blog.

 

 

 

 

Sasha Perry VVC III 2015 speakers

Sasha Perry, of Strongest Hearts.

New to VVC, Sasha is a veteran filmmaker who was recently a producer and shooter (the camera kind!) on a little show called “Whale Wars” on Animal Planet. Sasha will be presenting on video and film as activism through storytelling. Get ready to get inspired!

 

 

 

 

Ginny Messina VVC III 2015 speakers

Ginny Messina, of The Vegan RD

Ginny’s back for her third round of VVC, and we couldn’t be more honored to bring you arguably the best-respected voice in vegan nutrition. This year she’ll be talking about a super hot topic, preventing ex-vegans.

 

 

 

 

Tashina Combs VVC III 2015 speakers

Tashina Combs, of Logical Harmony.

Tashina has become the go-to resource for vegan cosmetics and bodycare and we’re glad to welcome her to her first time speaking at VVC. She’ll be teaching us about the difference between cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics, what to look for, what questions to ask, and who you can trust.

 

 

 

Brian Patton VVC III 2015 speakers

Brian Patton, of The Sexy Vegan.

Cookbook author, podcaster, and the 2013 Vida Vegan Galarama host, Brian is presenting his first VVC class this year. He’ll be breaking down social media and teaching us how to tweet like you give a damn.

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it, round one, with so much more to come! Ready to register? Especially as we announce speakers, these tickets are gonna go fast. Put in for your vacation time and reserve your spot today!

 Vida Vegan Con III ∗ May 29-31, 2015 ∗ Austin, TX

Member Spotlight: Crissie of RunCrissieRun

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We ♥ our Vida Vegan members, and we know you do too! So we’ll be chatting with a  new one each month to see what they’re up to and excited about—and steal their breakfast ideas.

First up is a VVC’er who’s been with us since the beginning: Crissie of RunCrissieRun. She’s a mom in a mixed-dietary home (her daughter did just ask for a Tofurky roast for her birthday dinner!), and a full-time career woman, lifelong learner, and wannabe athlete (workouts of choice are running and yoga). On top of all that she tries to travel, read, write, and have as much fun as possible.

Here's Crissie (center) with fellow VVC'ers Molly Caple (left) and Dawn Quinn (right).
Here’s Crissie (center) with fellow VVC’ers Molly and Dawn, hanging in Seattle.

Who would you want with you on a stranded island? And what board game would that person surprise you with?
My husband Derek. Cribbage!

If money were no object, what would you like to do all day/what would your ideal day look like?
I would want to sleep in, volunteer at women’s and children’s shelters leading running groups, yoga classes, and vegan cooking classes!

What dinner would you cook to really impress nonvegan family & friends?
A big Indian meal! In fact, that is my plan when my parents come to visit in a few weeks. And a build-your-own taco bar always does the trick.

If you could have a sanctuary for any creature in the world, what would it/they be?
Only one??  Elephants.

What is your favorite word? Your least favorite?
Favorite is “love.” Least favorite is “can’t.”

What’s your favorite breakfast to make on a day off?
Sprouted grain bread with Daiya cream cheese, sliced tomatoes, and a green smoothie.

Would you rather be able to teleport or fly?
Teleport. Why waste the time it takes to fly??

Have any critters at home you’d like to brag about?
Three! A 12-year-old pup named Sammie, a 14-year-old cantankerous cat named Bumble (at least she wants us to think she is), and a 1-year-old fluffball named Ginny, who has helped Bumble realize she’s not as old and cantankerous as she’d like us all to believe!

What excites you most about veganism today?
People no longer find it cultish or weird, and as a result there’s much more interest and acceptance.

What have you been up to lately?
Trying to keep my head above water between work, taking classes, and living my life.

We hear ya! Thanks, Crissie—we’re off to teach ourselves Cribbage.

You can keep tabs on Crissie on Twitter & Instagram!

 

Want to be a featured member? Check out our Membership Drive, open through July 31!

It’s a 4-Burner Summer at VVHQ: Membership Drive, Registration, G-Hangin’ & More!

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We’re a few weeks into our Membership Drive, and on behalf of Vida Vegan HQ, I’m so happy to welcome all who have signed up. We’ll start sending out welcome packs to those eligible in just a couple of weeks. So far we’ve got great stuff from Field Roast, Obsessive Confection Disorder, Peanut Butter & Co, and Tofurky…and there’s more to come! And we’ll be running our first member feature on the blog this month—we can’t wait!

Really, we want to thank you for the support. We don’t have angel investors or corporate backing or anything, so it’s between you and us to keep this going and to launch new projects. We considered doing a crowdfunder but figured this would be the better route, just grouping the fundraising with our Membership launch and Early Bird ticket sales, which we’ve wanted to do for a while now.

We’re learning so much about you through those profiles of yours: what kind of tech equipment you’re into, favorite classes of past VVC’ers, and how many of you are already vegan or workin’ on it—super helpful as we build our VVC III agenda, but also for future programs and projects. Again, we’re only here because of you, so the more we can connect with you the better.

For those who haven’t signed up, you’ve got until July 31 to grab these bonuses. But be warned: Some of the perks are limited and close to selling out…like the Early Bird registration spots and individual inclusive packages did. We do still have a couple of the double-inclusives left, so if you’ve got a friend registering and would like to share a 2-queen-bed hotel room, check it out. (And if that’s not going to work for you, mark your calendar: Regular Vida Vegan Conference registration opens August 1.)

If you can’t attend the conference but still want to support what we do, we’ve got benefits like online shout-outs, e-books, blog features, and postcards with love from Austin. Or you can check out our online store and pick up a t-shirt or water bottle. Thank you!

Other pots on the stove:
Don’t forget, this weekend is our first Vida Vegan Google Hangout. Sunday, July 6, at noon PST, join us online for an hour of chit-chat. We want to see new and old faces! Connect with each other. Let us know what’s happening with you. Hit us up with questions you have about VVC or anything else we’ve got going on.

Oh, and our open speaker application period ends July 9—so if you’ve been working on your idea, time to button it up and send it on in! We want to hear from you!

VVCIII Takes On…Austin!

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If you received yesterday’s official VVHQ newsletter, then you’re already in the know. But for the rest of you, we’ve got some pretty big news (and subscribe here for the first look next time). So let’s get to it!

Vida Vegan Con III (or #VVCIII, if that’s how you see the world) will be in…

austin_grid

Austin, Texas. May 29-31, 2015.

That’s right, after hosting two glorious, action-packed conferences in our home city (and vegan wonderland) of Portland, we’re taking this show on the road. Janessa, Jess, and I (Michele) have spent over a year scouting about for the perfect city and space in an exciting, happening vegan community to rival our little vegan mecca.

We’ll have loads of information on all things Austin, including:

  • lodging & travel tips (getting to and around Austin)
  • our favorite grub (lots of budget eats)
  • just where and when all our conference happenings will be—because you know we’re gonna try to jam as much Vida Vegan and Austin as we can into this double-stuffed weekend.

So when can I register?!

Official, regular registration opens August 1, 2014, BUT we’ve got a special little Early Bird action going on as part of our next announcement:

MEMBERSHIP DRIVE
Much, much more info to come right around the corner, but Early Bird discounted registration and a very limited availability of more-inclusive weekend packages will be part of this program to make stronger connections among our community. It’s a mutual support system, with some really cool perks for you and a more open line of communication for us. Seriously, sit tight and stay tuned. We’ll hip you to everything you need to know before the program opens (and the Early Bird options are available) on June 13.

So can I be a speaker?!

Once again, we’ll have an entirely open application process, but it will be fiercer than ever. Based on attendee feedback, we’ll have more specialized presentations, panels, and hands-on workshops, which means fewer multi-speaker classes. More details to come, but start preparing your submission now—we’ll be looking for thoughtful, original proposals. The application window will be open May 9–July 9.

 

welcome_austin_bootMARK YOUR CALENDARS!

May 9–July 9: Speaker Application
June 13: Membership Drive opens (Early Bird registration)
August 1: Regular registration opens

 May 29-31, 2015: Vida Vegan Con III

Excited?! We are! Spread the love with the official hashtag: #VVCIII

Holiday Entertaining Event: The Menu

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carrot_dip_cider_punch
Get ready for fancy snacking, galore.

It’s almost here! This Saturday evening (December 7, 5–7pm) is Vida Vegan’s holiday event, Holiday Hors D’oeuvres & How-Tos—hosted by Janessa Philemon-Kerp, Jess Sconé, and Michele Truty. We’re down to the fun stuff: final recipe testing and crafting and practicing our demos.

If this is the first you’re hearing about it, then yipes stripes, grab one of the few remaining tickets now so you can hang out and eat and drink and craft with us this weekend! If you’re in the Portland area, we’d love to see you there! And keep an eye on our Instagram feed, where we’ll continue posting photos of our testing and behind the scenes prep sessions.

Finally, a recipe for homemade cauliflower "goat cheese"
Finally, a recipe for homemade cauliflower “goat cheese”

We’re having a great time playing with wintery flavors. Just check out our menu!

EAT

  • Savory spiced popcorn

  • Red curry carrot dip

  • Cauliflower goat cheese

  • Speakeasy smoked Yukon Gouda

  • Coconut vinegar quick pickles

  • Cheese Plate fromage fort & crackers

  • Baked maple bourbon popcorn

  • Depression-era chocolate cake with chocolate ganache

  • Italian olive oil citrus cake

  • Poppy-seed kolaches

  • Candy cane chocolate–chocolate chip cookies

DRINK

  • Spiced apple-red wine punch

  • Sparkling cranberry orange punch (non-alcoholic)

  • Coffee

  • Stash tea

CRAFT

  • String balls

  • Hands-on papercraft table (gift tags and menu/place cards)

  • Décor ideas, tablescaping

  • Homemade gift-giving ideas

So yeah, loads of food and fun, and a special gazillion tips throughout the evening.

Bonus holiday cookies, always.
Bonus holiday cookies, always.

And we’re putting a bunch of the recipes together in a little booklet for attendees, with a little homemade present, too! And who knows, you may win one of our door prizes. Now you can see why we’re so excited.

Remember, this private event is 21+, so bring ID.  Hope to see you there!

We’re Throwing a Party: Holiday Hors D’oeuvres & How-Tos!

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holiday party revised

The ladies of Vida Vegan—Janessa, Jess, and Michele—are throwing a December do! It’s a party with a purpose, a lovely evening of mingling and eating and drinking…and inspiration and education. We’ll help you get ready for your wintery event, cozying up with friends and family and food and fun.

We’ll have vegan sweets and savories, party-worthy punch and cocktails/mocktails, and décor ideas. Demos, hands-on crafting, and a special take-home gift!

Learn more about this 21+ event here, and get your tickets here—it’s a small space so make sure you don’t miss out. (And here’s the Facebook event, so you can let the machines mark your calendar for you.)

Month of Memories: Lunch in Austin

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wheatsville-lunch-with-bloggers

No, we aren’t done talking about Austin yet. I suppose, though, this photo speaks more about bloggers than it does about Austin.

We stopped by Wheatsville Co-op a couple of times during our scouting visit last spring, because it’s one of the most fantastic co-ops, period. (They have their own vegan lip balm and bottled kombucha, folks.) We grabbed a table in that famous Texas sun and were photographing our lunch, when I had a rare moment of self-awareness.

Bloggers spend a ridiculous amount of time photographing food—no breaking news here—but we seem to not notice that we’re doing it or let it bother us. But it’s weird, right? Look at this table full of food, including (of course) the Wheatsville signature offering, popcorn tofu, and we can’t just dig in? What’s wrong with us?

Don’t you worry, after our little photo shoot we got down to business. After all, we had lots of exploring to do.

We miss you, Austin. We miss you, Wheatsville. We miss you, popcorn tofu. Until we meet again…

Month of Memories: Demoing for Seniors

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salad-tempeh

Last August, Janessa, Jess, and I presented some vegan meals to the folks at Rose Schnitzer Manor, a Jewish assisted-living home. They were already serving a few meatless meals a day and wanted to use and learn more about plant-based proteins.

We made them a big berry salad with maple-agave tempeh, and a baked tofu mac-n-chee, and ran through the benefits of a vegan diet, offering some super accessible alternative proteins.

They had SO MANY questions for us—and I’m not just counting the seven times Ruth asked what kind of cheese we used. We talked about how they could get more options from their cafeteria, since most of them couldn’t shop or cook for themselves anymore.

And they ate the food! And most of them liked it! I don’t think we moved anyone to become vegan that day, but I do believe we took some of the fear factor away from some unfamiliar ingredients.

Month of Memories: Vida Vegan at the Office

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Yeah, we don’t have an office. Our HQ is a P.O. box and a collection of living rooms, coffee shops, hotel lobbies, and bars. It’s a little challenging at times, sure, but it also allows us to try new spots around town, curl up with cats, and stay limber, so we can dream up lots of fun stuff for the likes of you.

Here’s a look back, via our Instagram feeds, at what a Vida Vegan meeting looks like!

Working on the schedule in Michele’s living room, from @janessapk
Early VVC floor plan sketching, in Janessa’s coffee table, from @vidaveganhq
Bagels and coffee and notebooks and laptops, at Ford Food & Drink, via @vidaveganhq
A blank slate, ready to be filled with classes. Another living room shot, from @jdfunks

And for you Portland folks, just a heads-up, we signed a contract for a little event space for early December. We’ll try to get details together for you soon. We’re pretty excited about how it’s shaping up.

Month of Memories: Coffee in Seattle

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SEA doughnutCoffee and a doughnut, come on! Is there anything so simple and pure and everything that’s good in the world?

Sadly, vegan doughnuts are not a given. So if you are lucky enough to have them in your life, you embrace those fried-dough sweeties. And don’t get me started on a good, honest cup of the local roast! Think of all the sad cups of coffee you’ve had, especially while traveling, stale, bitter, or that thin brown water. Yes, you drink it—because that’s all there is—and you drink it black because they don’t even have soymilk.

The Pacific Northwest is sort of a quality coffee safe zone, especially when you get into the cities. We just happened upon Herkimer on our location-scouting trip to Seattle, for the 2012 Tech Seminar, and it was exactly what we needed. When you’ve got a day or two in a city with a bunch of appointments, and you’re hoping so hard one of them suits your needs, stress can run pretty high. (What if you can’t find the perfect combination of location, capacity, wi-fi, catering, and price?) Taking a moment to sit down with the best partners ever and just eat a (Mighty-O) doughnut and drink a cup of coffee—leisurely drinking from a mug, not throwing back a paper cup—can be pretty special.

Thank you, Seattle. Thank you and your gazillion local coffee roasters. You spoil us.