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VVC Speaker Series: Interview with Monique Koch of Brown Vegan

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Monique Koch VVC speakersThis time yesterday, your friendly organizers at Vida Vegan HQ were joined by Monique Koch of Brown Vegan for a very special Google Hangout as part of our brand new VVC Speaker Series. As a first-time speaker, Vida Vegan Con has been on this vegan family, healthy cooking and lifestyle blogger’s radar for quite some time, and we’re stoked that she can join to share her journey and thoughts this May,

Check out the interview below to hear Monique’s passionate yet practical thoughts on helping your entire household go vegan with her self-described “down-to-earth approach to vegan life for families”, how A. Breeze Harper’s Sistah Vegan inspired who she is today, where she stands on tacos vs. burritos, and of course, her plans for class and panel involvement at the upcoming Vida Vegan Con.

 

Afterwards, head over to Google Plus, where you can add Vida Vegan to your circles, and make sure you hear first about the upcoming exclusive talks in our ongoing Speaker Series. And for goodness sake, make sure you turn notifications off so you don’t get emailed every day.

Look for Monique at Vida Vegan Con May 29-31st, where she’ll be presenting on “Honesty in Your Online Presence” and joining our “Vegan Family Panel” at Friday’s (open to the public!) Vegan Bazaar.

Tickets to both events during this three-day super vegan weekend are now available.

The Vida Vegan Con 2015 Weekend Agenda is almost here!!!

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Oh, things are buzzing in the Vida Vegan Con world, with Michele and Jess arriving in Austin this very morning on some official conference business (and tacos). We’ve made glorious leaps and bounds with the conference schedule and all the not-so-last-minute adjustments, which is both pretty fun and pretty zany when you’re dealing with 25+ speakers and twice as many classes.

Here’s a look at what’s shakin’ right now:

FRIDAY, MAY 29TH:

The weekend starts off with the  Vida Vegan Bazaar at The Marchesa Hall & Theatre. We’re talking all things vegan expo, vendors, sampling, demos, and for the first time ever, it’s open to the public! Early bird tickets are now available for your family, friends, and anyone else who’d like to check out a big taste of Vida Vegan Con shenanigans. And OF COURSE, all registered Vida Vegan Con attendees are already on the door list and are invited to come for a very exclusive hour before everyone else gets in The Marchesa’s doors.

On top of all the festival fun times and a certain Earth Balance photobooth, we’ll have speakers and special guests sharing their expertise with Lazy Smurf’s Austin Community Panel, Joanna Vaught moderating the Vegan Family Panel, DIY Homebrewing with Bianca Phillips of Vegan Crunk, and an irresistible demo from the “Queen of Vegan Desserts,” Fran Costigan. So, so, so much more to come!

The Vida Vegan Bazaar = Exclusive  to VVC attendees: 12–1 pm + Open to the public: 1–7 pm

SATURDAY, MAY 30TH:

The next day brings all our conference attendees to AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center in Austin’s University District for an action-packed day of only-at-Vida Vegan Con classes, presentations, workshops, panels, breakouts, discussion groups,  new-friend-making & mingling, galore—and surely epic Texas-size vegan breakfast and lunch buffets.

Saturday Conference hours, from breakfast through the last class: 8 am – 5 pm

We’ve currently scheduled the following Saturday content, which often means two, if not three or more classes in the same session, phew:

  • Cookbook Writing: From concept to proposal to testing to editing to print with Joni Marie Newman
  • Food Justice with Bryant Terry
  • Blogging Etiquette & Social Media Essentials with Jackie Sobon of Vegan Yack Attack
  • Science Is Awesome! Why we don’t need to exaggerate health claims about veganism with Matt Ruscigno MPH RD of True Love HealthStrongest Hearts
  • Zine Making Workshop with Amey Mathews of Vegan Eats & Treats
  • Design & Branding with Michelle Lee of Broadview Design
  • Legal Info for Online Content with Attorney Randi Milgram of Laughfrodisiac
  • Post Processing for Food Photography, or How to fix almost anything with software with Susan Voisin of Fatfree Vegan Kitchen
  • Preventing Ex-Vegans with Ginny Messina, “The Vegan RD
  • Food Styling Workshop with Hannah Kaminsky of BitterSweet 
  • Can We All Just Get Along: Finding common ground in different forms of activism with Christy Morgan, aka “The Blissful Chef
  • How to Deal With Facing Failing Health as a Vegan with Sayward Rebhal of Bonzai Aphrodite
  • Demo-ing the Demo with Fran Costigan
  • Touring Your Book or Project with 2014 Lambda Literary Award Winner Nicole J. Georges
  • with more panels & breakouts to be announced!

SUNDAY, MAY 31ST:

continues at AT&T Executive Education Center for even more learning, community building & fun from Saturday. Ya dig?

The Sunday schedule is set to include the following:

  • Kickstart/Crowdfund your Vegan Food Dream with Terry Hope Romero
  • How To Make Kick-Ass Vegan Videos on YouTube with Whitney Lauritsen, aka “Eco Vegan Gal
  • Avenues to a Vegan Healthcare Career & Nutrition Wars with Gena Hamshaw of Choosing Raw
  • Video & Film as Activism Through Storytelling with Sasha Perry of Strongest Hearts
  • Vegan Athletes Panel with Christy Morgan, Matt Ruscigno & Lacy J. Davis
  • New! Vegan Business Class TBA with Miyoko Schinner of Artisan Vegan Life & Miyoko’s Kitchen
  • Writing Recipes with Grant Butler of The Oregonian’s FoodDay
  • Social Media Class TBA with Brian Patton, aka “The Sexy Vegan
  • Honesty in Your Online Presence with Monique Koch of Brown Vegan
  • Vegan Internet Entrepeneur Class TBA with Jill Pyle of Vegan Cuts
  • On-Location Photography with Hannah Kaminsky of BitterSweet 
  • Veganism, Body Image, Self-Esteem, ED Recovery: How reading blogs & social media can influence all of the above with Lacy J. Davis of Superstrength Health
  • Building Your Own App with Joshua May of Clue
  • The Ethics of Vegan Dining & Boozing with Bianca Phillips of Vegan Crunk
  • Vegan Travelin’ + Blogging with Jojo Huxster of vegan.in.brighton
  • Talking Cruelty-Free Cosmetics & Beauty with Tashina Combs of Logical Harmony
  • & yup, more details to come!

Sunday Conference hours, from breakfast through the closing talk: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm

Portland Art Museum’s packed, grand ballroom at VVC2013, via Cadry’s Kitchen

Stay tuned for the big, bad official agenda!  

We’ll be sure to let you know if any classes or hands-on workshops require advance signup via attendee newsletters (which you’ll receive at the address you buy your ticket with, so do let us know if there’s a change).

(And keep an eye out for Sunday night after-party info!)

💚 Please note, all is subject to change, except for the fact that this experience will be amazing. 💚

Vida Vegan Con’s #VeganHolidays Roundup!

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Happy December Holidays + Cheers to the almost New Year!

We seriously dug checking out all of your celebrating and creativity for the #veganholidays these past few days! Here is just a handful of all the beautiful, memorable and tasty happenings that caught our eyes from such an inspiring collection. Personally, I went out to one of my favorite Thai spots on xmas to avoid cooking, so it was pretty dang fun to live so vicariously!

Check out all of these lovely folks’ feeds for more.

First up, some mini mince meat pies adorned with little stars, courtesy of Jojo, aka @veganinbrighton!

via @veganinbrighton

Next up, let’s head to Melbourne with @veganmiam for a slice of this lovely, raw christmas cheesecake from Pana Chocolate:

via @veganmiam

Here’s @astigvegan’s “Champorado”, a chocolate rice porridge with coconut milk and salty, seaweed-dredged tofu.

via @astigvegan

Sweet + salty? Count me in.

So much charm: Fresh mint & pineapple punch and cunningly *deviled potatoes* from @plantmunchers

via @plantmunchers

Here’s a gorgeous and rather jolly green smoothie from @chemese:

via @chemese

Ponder this: Is the best part of gingerbread cookies decorating them however the heck you want, or what?!?

What we mean is, @ameyfm‘s kitchen is quite inspired!

via @ameyfm

More sweets: @21stcenturyeden breaks out some fantastic vegan peanut butter twix:

via @21stcenturyeden

I’ll let the caption for this next one speak for itself, go figure…

“Christmas-ing our balls off. Spot the many vegan options, including my beloved @auntieloostreats’ Yule log!” via @lbennet3

via @lbennet3

George, always quite the star. via @pandawithcookie

via @pandawithcookie

The following cheeseball has been haunting my dreamssssss. via @vegancuts by @johnwiseman

via @vegancuts

Must. Make.

Give it up for @dimsimkitty and these surely tasty vegan ham & cheese croissants:

via @dimsimkitty

Lush love: @ethical_vegan received one heck of a sweet haul!

via @ethical_vegan

Yes, please! Traditional Vanille-Kipferl from @nathalie.claire:

via @nathalie.claire

@Plantenergy_ brightens up the party with her refreshing veggie sushi:

via @plantenergy_

Let’s be real, there’s always room for biscuits, especially when they look as comforting and savoury as @jlgoesvegan’s recent take:

via @jlgoesvegan

As if we’d close things down without a slice of buche de noel. This one is adorned with marzipan mushrooms, for peter’s sake! via @vegans_for_peace by @joaniebhansen

via @vegans_for_peace

‘Til next time! Happy New Year, everyone!

(21 weeks ’til Vida Vegan Con 2015! Register here.)

For more strolling, head to #veganholidays on Gramfeed

via @konikola8

Join the #VEGANHOLIDAYS with Vida Vegan!

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Season’s Greetings + Merry Days from all of us at Vida Vegan Con!

Photo by Jules
#veganholidays * Photo by Jules

‘Tis the season for veganizing family favorite recipes, waking up to cinnamon rolls and decorating gingerbread people, cats, hippos, fish and whatever other cookie cutters you find hiding in the back of your drawers. Seriously, how does one forget about owning a kangaroo cookie cutter? What a magical impulse buy.

Speaking of late December magic, it makes us so happy to see everyone’s holiday baking and feasting photos all over Instagram (and Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, etc.!!!!) this time of year, so we’ve decided to do a roundup of our very favorites.

Just use the hashtag #VEGANHOLIDAYS over on Instagram, or gosh, simply point *us* at @vidaveganhq in the right direction during the next day and a half, and you might be featured in our roundup (where we’ll make sure to give credit back to *your* account, of course).

Coconut & soy nog cheers all around!

☃ #VEGANHOLIDAYS ☃

This Sunday: Vida Vegan Con Winter Google Hangout with Eco-Vegan Gal & Friends!

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You’re Invited!

Join us for a winter wonderland of a Google Hangout this Sunday with VVC2015 Speaker Eco-Vegan Gal!

When: Sunday, December 7, 2014 starting at 11amPST/1pmCST/2pmEST for one hour

Who: Vida Vegan Con’s Janessa Philemon-Kerp, Jess Sconé, and Michele Truty, special guest Whitney Lauritsen and anyone who joins us!

Whitney Lauritsen VVC speakersWhat: Join Vida Vegan Con founders Janessa, Jess and Michele to discuss winter holiday recipes, memories, entertaining tips and hear some big announcements about what’s in store at Vida Vegan Con III in May. We’ll be joined by a special guest, Whitney Lauritsen aka Eco-Vegan Gal, who’ll be sharing her own holiday tips in a live Q & A, what she’s been up to and what this self-made YouTube star has planned for her own special class at VVC2015.

Hold up! Bonus! Well, Jess is pretty sure she clicked all the correct buttons to make this broadcast (and record!) live! This means you don’t have to “join” in on the chat to witness our shenanigans, but if you do, you’re a part of the fun!

Whether you’re attending, thinking about grabbing a ticket or just super wish you could be there, this is a chance to ask us all your questions about Vida Vegan Con.

Where: Google Hangout! Here’s the event page: Vida Vegan Con December Hangout. You don’t have to have the silly world of Google Plus all figured out by any means: just click on the link and check the event out! We do recommend that you turn off the event notifications (Boooooring).

RSVP & we’ll see you there!

1vida
DIY Hot Toddy, baby

P.S. Looking for more vegan holiday entertaining ideas? Download our 2013 Holiday E-Zine for a mere $3 bucks! Created for last December’s Holiday Hors D’oeuvres & How-Tos event, this e-zine is filled with wintry recipes as well as craft instructions, decorating tips, and gift ideas. Recipes include Cauliflower “Goat Cheese” and Baked Maple Whiskey Popcorn!

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