Author: Michele Truty

Month of Memories: Lunch in Austin

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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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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.

Late-Summertime Laze: Q&A with John McDevitt

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Joining us in our walk down memory lane are some of our favorite Vida Vegan Con alumni. What are their upcoming projects and seasonal shenanigans—and what did they take home from VVC2013?

Today we’re checking in with John McDevitt. Running Vegan Omaha and helping the kitties via The Teal Cat Project, it’s ironic the he’s the voice behind The Laziest Vegans in the World. Hey, John!

What have you been up to this summer?

Traveling, relaxing, gardening, and jogging.

Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II?

Because I really like Jess, Janessa, and Michele. Plus, all of the presenters and attendees are amazing.

Looking back, what was the most memorable class?

The VeganMofo class ruled.

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

Not much. Still lazy as ever (blogwise, anyway).

How did VVC2013 affect your culinary style and home cooking?

Ha! Not at all. I did enjoy hearing other people’s perspectives, though.

Who were you really excited to meet?

Miyoko!

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

I just love the vibe of the conference. So many vegans in one place, it’s pretty amazing! Happy to see everyone from 2011 and meet the 2013 newbies.

So, have you started reading any new blogs?

Yes, a couple! Can’t wait till VeganMofo to find even more cool vegan blogs.

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

I like to see people having fun with blogging and not take it so seriously.

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

Maybe expand the conference beyond blogging?

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

A vegan cruise, just do it! [Editor's note: We've done some research, and we haven't ruled it out.]

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

Portobello gnocchi.

Until next time, Mr. McDevitt.

See John’s coverage of the past Vida Vegan Con here (and catch up on convenience foods galore)! And stay tuned for more of our Month of Memories, from us (Janessa, Jess & Michele) and our Vida Vegan family, all VeganMoFo long.

Month of Memories: VVC2011 Meet & Greet

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Look at all those vegan mugs!

When we planned the pre-VVC2011 meet & greet, we had NO IDEA who would show up. Sure, we gave the folks at Vendetta a little heads-up, that we might have upwards of 50 people swing by, and that they might want to add some extra vegan specials to the menu. But then y’all kept coming. This is a shot of just one little area and I can count around 30 of you!

For many, this was the first opportunity we had to put faces to names (or avatars or logos) from blogs, forums, and cookbooks. Newbs and pros mingling, some of us crawling out from behind our keyboards for a very rare social situation—even the most socially awkward can be comfortable in a gathering of bloggers! It was just so exciting and invigorating to witness this gathering…and precisely what we needed to kick off our very first conference weekend.

And I can’t help but wonder how many friendships were born in that patio.