Author: Michele Truty
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.
So…our first location-scouting trip to Chicago was in the dead of winter. Why? This was when we could all take time off work and hotels and airfare were crazy cheap. Because who wants to go to Chicago in the dead of winter?! Falling-ice warnings around skyscrapers, slush puddles, doing the cold dance while waiting for the L—all right, I’ll admit the cold dance is pretty entertaining. (NOTE: Don’t worry; when we do hold an event in Chicago, it will not be in January or February.)
Ah, but in this frigid, frigid land there was an oasis: the biggest Whole Foods we’d ever seen. Ladies, grab your cameras!
We spent close to two hours photographing Upton’s Naturals grab-n-go sandwiches and Chicago Diner cookies, sipping bubbly at one of two wine bars, choosing snacks for our flight home, and downing vegan Chicago-style hot dogs and soy milkshakes. Because that’s precisely what three bloggers do when they check out a new grocery store. While we know how ridiculous it must look to normal people, we simply can’t help ourselves. How else are we going to tell the Internet all about it?
Honestly, the rest of trip was pretty cool too. We got to check out a bunch of neato spaces, eat pizza, and meet up with Snarky Vegan, Marla from Chicago VeganMania, the Upton’s duo of Dan and Nicole, and Ms. Kelly Peloza—and they’re worth a few frozen toes.
Starting off with a memory from long, long ago. It’s the opening greeting at the first Vida Vegan Con, in August 2011. Obviously, we didn’t shoot this; it’s from Kristina Sloggett’s coverage on Spabettie.
Jess had just finished talking and it was my turn, which meant a pretty big adjustment for the microphone. Of course the cord was wrapped around the stand too tight so it was difficult to raise for me…and awkwardness ensued. Newbie mistake! But like most of the newbie mistakes we made that first conference, we laughed our way through it, figured out how to prevent it from ever happening again, and with a little help—OK, a lot of help—we got the job done.
After wrapping up VVC 2013—you know, returning rental fire extinguishers and dropping off the recycling from the Galarama—Janessa, Jess, and I all collapsed for a few good hours. Like real hard.
But then the sun rose, and it was back to spreadsheets and emails and meetings. Even with Janessa flying all over the damn globe, we’ve been videochatting and scheming and daring to dream. And we gotta tell ya, we’re pretty excited about the future of Vida Vegan. (Aside from VVC3, because yes, we’re obviously planning that too!)
The website: Vida Vegan Headquarters. Sure, we’ve given ourselves a little spit ‘n’ polish here, but by mid-2014, we hope to bring you an expanded site, where we can share so much more with you, including an events calendar and forum threads…because not everyone wants to be on Facebook, and besides, we can be a lot better organized here.
Vida Vegan Focus. More one-day intensives, like our Fall 2012 Tech offering, where we focus on one main topic for a small group. In 2014 and 2015, we’re looking at topics like Photography, Ethical Business, Blog Building, and Organization & Outreach.
The Vida Vegan Creative Retreat. What could you do with five or so days to focus on writing or photography while eating all vegan food in a relaxing setting? Maybe with breaks for yoga or meditation or a little nap under a tree? We’re location-scouting for a very intimate group (think a maximum of 30) for some loosely guided artistic/work retreat.
Online courses and guides. We know not everyone can travel to our events—although we are definitely getting out on the road to reach more of you—so we’re developing some very focused online courses and downloadable guides so you can get your learn on while still in pajamas (which is exactly how we do a lot of our planning). Let us know if there’s something you want us to cover!
Local events. We’ll also be producing some smaller, Portland events…maybe even one in early December 2013.
Sooo…that should keep us all busy for a bit!
It is upon us.
It’s VeganMoFo, when we make the Internet explode with vegan recipes, food porn, discoveries, kitchen tours, love letters to appliances…yeah, it can get weird. The pledge we take to post every day for a month (at least Monday through Friday) energizes us, scares us, and and gets those creative juices flowing.
This year it’s happening in September, which means a little more light a little later in the evening, so you can more easily shoot your dinner. Thumbs. Up.
Are you in? Do you have a 30-day theme (like Janessa’s Bites From Abroad)? A day-of-the-week theme (don’t miss Thai Tuesdays from Jess)? Have you already been shooting and have a stash of drafts ready to go? Or do you just fly by the seat of your pants like me, letting the pressure fuel you into late-night ramblings about how much better organic cilantro is than conventional cilantro (it can make a HUGE difference), or an ode to the perfect frosting, with a texture so luxurious it licks you back?
If you haven’t signed up yet, via the official VeganMoFo page, step to! August 28 (tomorrow?!?!) is the deadline to get on the 2013 VeganMoFo BlogRoll. And while you’re picking up your official MoFo graphics, check out their advice on brainstorming and theming. Team MoFo (including a handful of your VVC pals) is there to help.
Team Vida is participating again…which makes it our third year in a row here at VVHQ. For 2011 we had a cocktail lounge theme, and in 2012 we were focused on blogging tech. This year we’re looking back at past Vida happenings, sharing photos and memories with you. And we’ll have some guest posts in there, from the greater Vida Vegan family. (Insert something about hugs here.) So go team. Let’s do it. You’re all #1.
Now go MoFo like a mofo.