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Vida Vegan Member Spotlight: Kat Mendenhall

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Hi Kat!

We ♥ our Vida Vegan members, and we bet you will, too!

It’s time to catch up with another featured member from our Vida Vegan Membership collection, and this time we’re talking with Kat Mendenhall, the multi-talented creator of Kick Butt Boots! We’re sharing just what this vegan lifestyle coach, culinary nutritional expert and boot maker’s been up to lately & excited about—and just what restaurant she’d pick to dine at for the rest of her life. Let’s be real: It’s a great one! Recently, Kat was the first vegan chef to provide a demo at the Texas State Fair’s Celebrity Kitchen, and had her own booth at the epic Texas Veggie Fair in Dallas!

So, Kat, what excites you most about veganism today?

I’ve been vegan for five years and the explosion I’ve seen during that time is simply unbelievable. From new vegan food products, clothing, shoes, cookbooks, etc. The awareness of the cruelty to animals is more visible, including the health hazards of consuming animal products. In addition the rise in environmental efforts to control, stop, and change the food industry from poisoning our planet and the environment. Minds are being open, people are demanding change, and the world is beginning to improve for the better. That is super exciting!

What have you been up to lately? Any projects you’d like to share?

I teach cooking classes at Ozark Natural Foods in Fayetteville, Arkansas twice a month. I also hold monthly workshops in Dallas based around specific themes. [Recently, it was] all about the guys,”Tailgating Without the Meat”. I also continuously work on the development phase of creating a Texas designed cruelty-free cowboy boot.

Have any critters at home you’d like to brag about?

A 4 1/2 year old rescue dog, Izzy, my grand kitty Abbott, and a 1 1/2 year old pit bull we recently picked up wandering out on a country road in Arkansas, Belle.

If you were suddenly transformed into one creature, what do you think it would be?

Is this a trick questions? A “cat” of course!

If you could have a sanctuary for any creature in the world, what would they be?

Cows with plenty of dogs and cats around to keep them company.

What’s your favorite breakfast to make on a day off?

Vegan biscuits with ‘sausage” gravy; cruelty-free comfort food at it’s best.

What is your favorite word?

Ridicalickanoculous, my own creation!

We’re taking Vida Vegan Con on the road! How has Austin, TX caught your eye?

Caught my eye and my heart! I love that it is unique and holds tight to its Texas roots despite its growth.

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?

Italy, on the calendar for next year!

All right, if you could only eat at one restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Candle Cafe in New York City

Hellooo, legendary porcini-crusted seitan, and thank you for the answers & cravings, Kat!

You can follow along with Kat on her website’s events page, her Facebook page, with @katmossmendenhall over on Twitter, and hopefully at Vida Vegan Con III this May!

 

Vida Vegan Con 2015 Speaker Reveal #6

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Hi folks!

Ready for Vida Vegan Con’s Speaker Reveal #6? We’ve been featuring a handful of our speakers each week for VVC2015, and here is the sixth, and almost final, installment. Our speakers come from all over the world and range from cookbook author to activist to blogger to athlete. So many incredibly talented passionate and inspiration people applied to speak, and we’re so so excited to share, in no particular order, this group of awesome speakers:

Here they are, in randomly random order, your sixth set of Vida Vegan Con III speakers (and there’s a wee bit more to come!):

Fran Costigan VVC speakers

Fran Costigan, Queen of Vegan Desserts 

A highly regarded veteran of the culinary world, Fran Costigan is a pastry chef, author, speaker, culinary consultant, demo instructor and graduate of both the New York Restaurant School and the Natural Gourmet Institute. There is no doubt that Fran knows her chocolate, and she’ll be returning to our lineup for 2015 to show us all how it’s done while “demo’ing the demo” at our opening day Vida Vegan Bazaar, sharing everything you need to know for showcasing your own cooking demo, with whatever setting you’ve got. The Big Apple-based “Queen of Vegan Desserts” is the author of More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally and her latest hit, Vegan Chocolate.

 

Julie Hasson VVC speakers

Julie Hasson, Julie’s Kitchenette

With an impressive professional background that includes an array of popular cookbooks, cooking videos, websites, working as a private chef for celebrities, the founding of a famed Portland food cart, and new line of gluten-free baking mixes ⸺ not to mention helping us bring a little more Portland flavor to Austin ⸺ Julie Hasson returns to our lineup to discuss her diverse and successful experience, and get real on building a smart vegan business. Julie’s latest cookbook was released just this past week: Vegan Casseroles.

 

Amey Mathews.VVC speakers

Amey Mathews, Vegan Eats & Treats

We bet you know Amey Mathews of Vegan Eats & Treats from her charming drawings she somehow manages to include in her already exciting blog posts. (Secretly, her fine-art skills would blow you away!). Amey is passionate about yoga, art, animals, travel and is one creative and flexible cookie. She’ll be sharing those passions and talent in her very own “Let’s Make a Zine!” workshop at VVC2015. Hi Amey!!

 

 

Bianca Phillips VVC speakers

Bianca Phillips, Vegan Crunk

Like to eat out? Drink out? Both out? Bianca Phillips is a savvy journalist with the The Memphis Flyer by day, and the personality behind the popular and long-running Vegan Crunk blog by night (and all other times!). Bianca returns to our lineup this May to share her take on the ethics of vegan dining and boozing (and requisite blogging, of course). Plus, we hear she has a thing or two or three to share about DIY Vegan Homebrewing. Her first cookbook, Cookin’ Crunk: Eating Vegan in the Dirty South, was released in 2012.

 

Joni Marie Newman VVC speakers

 

Joni Marie Newman, Just The Food

More culinary royalty! Joni Marie Newman is the undisputed Queen of Veggie Burgers and as the author/co-author of eight vegan cookbooks and guides including The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet, Vegan Food Gifts, and Fusion Food in the Vegan Kitchen, certainly knows her way around a cookbook. She’s returning to our VVC2015 lineup ready to help you tackle your own cookbook development dreams, from concept to proposal to testing to publication. Get inspired, get thinking, get writing!

 

And definitely get ready: Vida Vegan Con returns in May!

From Bryant Terry to Terry Hope Romero, The Sexy Vegan and 20+ other vegan all-stars, check out the rest of our exclusive lineup reveals below:

Ready to register? Mark those calendars, commence the vegan taco call and grab your spot today!

For the latest conference happenings, make sure to sign up for our newsletter right here.

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

More & More: Vida Vegan Con 2015 Speaker Reveal #5

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It only happens at Vida Vegan Con: We put out the call. We read the submissions. We talked. We made spreadsheets. We talked some more. You simply cannot imagine how hard it was for us to narrow down our speaker lineup. Such amazing talent. Such fantastic voices. So much feedback to consider. Seriously, why can’t Vida Vegan Con be a week long?!

But we’ve done it, and now we are so excited to share it with you! Each week, we’ve been featuring a handful of speakers, with a teaser of what sort of expertise they’ll be sharing with you (and that’s on top of the class topics sneak peek we shared earlier this summer).

As in past years, we’ve curated this lineup of activists, authors, experts, and other leaders in their fields to share with you their skills, their unique voices, and their ability to inspire. We’ll debut the official conference agenda in early 2015.

So here they are, in randomly random order, your fifth set of Vida Vegan Con III speakers (and there’s still a bit more to come!):

Terry Hope Romero VVC speakers

Terry Hope Romero, Vegan Latina Terry Hope Romero is the bestselling author of Vegan Eats World, Viva Vegan!, co-author of Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and most recently, revitalized an entire freaking course with her latest book, Salad Samurai. The Queens-based superstar joins us for her third VVC experience to discuss everything you need to know about the world of crowdfunding and Kickstarter-dom. Terry’s also one of three featured chefs on the series Vegan Mashup, which super successfully used the platform to launch their first and second season (airing now on public television!). We’ll have way more to come from Terry at VVC2015, so stay tuned for big news!

 

Jojo Huxster VVC speakersJojo Huxster, vegan.in.brighton More likely recognized as the delightful presence behind the blog “Vegan in Brighton”, Jojo Huxster joins us from the UK, via recent travels in Austria, Japan, and one of her favorite cities in the US, Austin, TX. In addition to her positively infectious and inspiration travel blogging, Jojo runs Operation Icing, her not-for-profit bakery, and recently helped organize the 2014 Vegan Month of Food (aka VeganMoFo). She describes herself as animal loving, food obsessed, body positive and a feminist. Appropriately, Jojo, an alumnae of VVC2013, is traveling across the globe to join us all in Austin and talk all about her travel bug + style, including what she’s learned, where’s she’s headed next, and how to thrive as a vegan while exploring the world.

 

Grant Butler VVC speakers

Grant Butler, The Oregonian’s FoodDay Highly respected food writer and longtime journalist, Grant Butler is renowned in-and-outside of the vegan community for his well-received column as a culinary professional who went vegan…and stayed vegan. He joined us in Portland at VVC2011 as a moderator and returned as a popular speaker in 2013 with a talk on writing “Restaurant Reviews with Authority”, which sent tons of attendees on the right path. He’s heading to Austin to discuss bringing fresh ideas to your food writing, a class you seriously won’t want to miss. You can read his continuing columns, including “Going Vegan” and “Table Talk”, on OregonLive.com.

 

 

Sayward Rebhal VVC speakers

Sayward Rebhal, Bonzai Aphrodite The “socially conscious, totally fabulous” author behind the Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide, Sayward Rebhal is an authority on vegan parenting, freelance writer, urban farming enthusiast and vegan lifestyle coach with a devoted blog following. She’s currently in graduate school in Southern California, exploring evolutionary biology. Sayward joins our lineup again to share her personal story and inspirational thoughts on “How to Deal With Facing Failing Health as a Vegan”.

 

Lisa Coulson VVC speakers

 

Lisa “Panda” Coulson, Panda with Cookie An artist by day and biscuit maker by night, Lisa is admired throughout the vegan community (and most importantly, the internet) by the moniker “Panda with Cookie”, the namesake of her online and touring store, where she sells her handcrafted plush and baby attire. Her familiarity with the vegan world and craft world have made her an expert community organizer. No stranger to VVC, as one of our favorite past exhibitors and all-around super helpful friend, Lisa joins us on the lineup for VVC2015 to combine her DIY and community expertise to discuss just that, DIY Event Organizing. Also pictured: George.

 

Get ready: Vida Vegan Con returns this May!

From Bryant Terry to Ginny Messina, Jill Pyle of Vegan Cuts, The Sexy Vegan and 14 others all-stars, check out the rest of the lineup reveals:

Ready to register? Yeah, you know it. So put in for your vacation time, get ready to explore Austin’s fantastic vegan scene, and grab your spot today!

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

Vida Vegan Con News: 2015 Speaker Roundup #4

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You know the deal: We put out the call. We read the submissions. We talked. We made spreadsheets. We talked some more. You simply cannot imagine how hard it was for us to narrow down our speaker lineup. Such amazing talent. Such fantastic voices. So much feedback to consider. Seriously, why can’t Vida Vegan Con be a week long?!

But we’ve done it, and now we are so excited to share it with you! Each week we’re featuring a handful of speakers, with a teaser of what sort of expertise they’ll be sharing with you (and that’s on top of the class topics sneak peek we shared earlier this summer).

As in past years, we’ve curated this lineup of activists, authors, experts, and other leaders in their fields to share with you their skills, their unique voices, and their ability to inspire. We’ll debut the official conference agenda in early 2015.

So here they are, in randomly random order, your fourth set of Vida Vegan Con III speakers (and there’s still more to come!):

Bryant Terry VVC speakersBryant Terry, Afro-Vegan

We are beyond ecstatic to have this award-winning author, chef, educator, and food justice activist join our lineup for 2015. Bryant is the author of The Inspired Vegan, Vegan Soul Kitchen, Grub, and his latest, Afro-Vegan, and he will surely inspire you to learn and do more to create a healthy, just, and sustainable food system.

 

 

 

 

Christy Morgan VVC speakersChristy Morgan, The Blissful Chef

Seasoned personal chef, cookbook author, blogger, food coach, and VVC alumnae, Christy is a Certified Personal Trainer and the editor of Definition magazine. She’s joining our 2015 lineup to talk about finding common ground in different forms of activism. She’s also a bodybuilder, and is currently giving a Yoga and Wellness Retreat in Bali!

 

 

 

 

Jill Pyle VVC speakersJill Pyle, Vegan Cuts

The face of the hugely successful Vegan Cuts, reliably and consistently sparking the community with excitement over new vegan products, Jill will share her self-made expertise on turning your passion into a profitable career. Hello, next wave of Internet entreprenuers! This one’s for you—and everyone else who enjoys getting vegan treats in the mail.

 

 

 

 

Lacy Davis VVC speakersLacy Davis, Super Strength Health

Another new speaker to our 2015 lineup, Lacy is a health coach and vegan fitness enthusiast teacher who’ll present on the must-have-discussions of veganism, body image, ED recovery and the influence of online media. She “refuses to let society dictate [her] sense of fulfillment and self worth,” and really digs tacos and green smoothies. (High-fives!)

 

 

 

 

Randi Milgram VVC speakersRandi Milgram, Laughfrodisiac

Randi owns our heart because she started her witty, engaging blog after attending VVC 2013! In her free time, she’s been known to veganize the recipes from Friends, but by day, she’s a lawyer specializing in intellectual property. She’ll be presenting a unique class on legal info for online content—what rules you need to follow and how you can protect your work and your brand.

 

 

 

 

And so we bring a close to round four of our speaker reveals—and we’ve got a couple more rounds to go! Check out the rest of the revealed lineups:

Ready to register? Yeah, you know it. So put in for your vacation time, get ready to explore Austin’s fantastic vegan scene, and grab your spot today!

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

Vida Vegan Con News: 2015 Speaker Roundup #3

Posted on Updated on

Here’s the deal: We put out the call. We read the submissions. We talked. We made spreadsheets. We talked some more. We drank cup after cup of coffee and barely had time to discuss our favorite nondairy creamers of the moment. You simply cannot imagine how hard it was for us to narrow down our speaker lineup. Such amazing talent. Such fantastic voices. So much feedback to consider. Seriously, why can’t Vida Vegan Con be a week long?!

But we’ve done it, and now we can’t wait to share it with you! Each week we’re featuring a handful of speakers, with a teaser of what sort of expertise they’ll be sharing with you (& that’s on top of the snazzy class topics sneak peek we shared earlier this summer).

As in past years, we’ve curated this lineup of activists, authors, experts and other leaders in their fields to share with you their skills, their unique voices, and their ability to inspire. We’ll debut the official conference agenda in early 2015.

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

Whitney Lauritsen VVC speakers

Whitney Lauritsen, of Eco-Vegan Gal

Whitney is the founder and voice behind Eco-Vegan Gal, the long running video series and online empowerment resource, and a past attendee, to boot! As a fantastically well-informed vegan media enthusiast, she joins us at VVC2015 to discuss making “Kick-Ass Vegan Videos” in the land of YouTube. She’ll talk about to easily create entertaining content, engaging your audience, making the most of your YouTube channel and the ins-and-outs of monetizing your videos.

 

 

 

MMichelle Lee VVC speakersichelle Lee, of Broadview Design.

Michelle Lee is a creative professional based out of Vancouver, B.C. with a fondness for cats and vegan food (check, check!). She’s a two-time VVC attendee who’s joining our lineup for the first time to share her super relevant thoughts & guidance on the importance of branding. We’re talking brand development, establishment, DIY methods, voice, logo, identity and just how and when to hire a professional, and what to expect And if you run in the right vegan circles, you just may recognize her as @food_and_catz over on Instagram & Twitter (and a lot of delicious vegan food and meow-makers).

 

 

Nava Atlas VVC speakers

Nava Atlas, of VegKitchen

After co-presenting one of the most popular, room-bursting classes at VVC2013 on “Monetizing Your Blog”, Nava Atlas returns! Nava is a trusted culinary expert, author, and illustrator who continues on our lineup for two more engaging classes. Drawing upon her years of versatile publishing experience, she’ll be presenting on the pros and cons of self-publishing and print on demand, and reuniting with Susan Voisin for new insights on the state of blogging and web monetization.

 

 

-Joshua May VVC speakers

Joshua May, of Clue.

No stranger to VVC after lending a much-appreciated and much-needed helping hand to our registration table in 2014, Joshua May joins us at VVC2015 to get down to business on the technical side of things and discuss the costs, reach, ROI and expectations about building your very own app. It’ll be a must for all the community managers and entrepeneurs out there, and more! He truly appreciates dolphins and just may have coined the term “scrofu” (aka scrambled tofu). You can catch up with him over on Twitter, @notjosh.

 

Hannah Kaminsky VVC speakers

Hannah Kaminsky, of Bitter Sweet.

Hannah Kaminsky is many things: multi-cookbook author, award-winning blog writer, baker, photographer, recipe developer and food stylist, to name a quick few. She’s certaimly a much-loved member of the Vida Vegan Con family and returns for two very special workshops on food styling and on-location photography. Stay tuned for signup!

 

With that, the epic countdown to Vida Vegan Con 2015 continues! You can check out the rest of the revealed only-at-Vida Vegan Con lineup right here and here.

Ready to register!?!!? Yeah! Put in for your vacation time, get ready to explore Austin’s fantastic vegan happenings, and grab your spot today!

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

Vida Vegan Con News: 2015 Speaker Roundup #2!

Posted on Updated on

Here’s the deal: We put out the call. We read the submissions. We talked. We made spreadsheets. We talked some more. We drank cup after cup of coffee and barely had time to discuss our favorite nondairy creamers of the moment. You simply cannot imagine how hard it was for us to narrow down our speaker lineup. Such amazing talent. Such fantastic voices. So much feedback to consider. Seriously, why can’t Vida Vegan Con be a week long?!

But we’ve done it, and now we can’t wait to share it with you! Each week we’re featuring 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 shared earlier this summer).

As in past years, we’ve curated this lineup of activists, authors, experts and other leaders in their fields to share with you their skills, their unique voices, and their ability to inspire. We’ll debut the official conference agenda in early 2015.

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

Gena Hamshaw, of Choosing Raw

Another crowd favorite from past years with an inspiring, recent cookbook to her name, the lovely Gena is a former book editor turned certified clinical nutritionist, who will be calling upon her years of expertise and prowess to share tips on embarking on your own contemporary healthcare career. Stay tuned for passionate, realistic advice on how to incorporate and embrace veganism in the much-debated “nutrition wars” these days.

 

 

Monique Koch, of Brown Vegan.

Monique Koch is a welcome newcomer to the VVC family who showcases her down to earth charisma on her blog and growing series of Youtube videos. Monique focuses on healthy cooking & family life, and will be presenting on what she does so well: keeping honesty and authenticity in your online presence.

 

Matt Ruscigno, of True Love Health

We’ve got no shortage of diverse, vegan nutrition experts for Vida Vegan Con III, and that is such a beautiful thing! Matt is a longtime vegan, registered dietician, and endurance athlete with an impressive background that includes co-authoring No Meat Athlete and Appetite for Reduction. His latest project is the documentary web series, Strongest Hearts, which profiles vegan athletes. Matt is joining us to discuss quite frankly, (and surely in detailed, mesmerizing facts) how “Science Is Awesome!” and why we don’t need to exaggerate health claims about veganism. Get ready!

 

Nicole J. Georges, of Invincible Summer.

You just may recognize Nicole from VVC2013, where she delivered our opening talk on artistry, community and veganism. This year, the inventive, longtime writer and illustrator ⸺ and recent Lambda award winner for her graphic memoir, Calling Dr. Laura ⸺joins our exciting speaker lineup to share everything you need to know on touring for your own book or project.

 

 

 

Jackie Sobon, of Vegan Yack Attack.

Let’s get to the point: Jackie is a modern-day culinary blogging mastermind (and VVC2013 attendee), which means she’s an expert food photographer, recipe developer and internet personality, galore! She’s joining us to get real on modern blogging etiquette and social media essentials in regards to own path to super-blogger status.

 

 

 

The countdown to Vida Vegan Con 2015 continues! You can check out the first set of amazing speakers over here. Ready to register? Yeah! Put in for your vacation time, get ready to explore Austin’s fantastic vegan happenings, and reserve your spot today!

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