VVC family

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!

Virtual Hangout Coming Sunday, July 6th!

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Hey, you know that Google Plus thingy that attempts to get your attention when you log into your gmail? Look, I’m not trying to convince you to “circle” us over there, promise (although you totally can if you reaaaaally want to). You’re likely elsewhere, refreshing your adorable Instagram, tweeting news links and sharing things on your Facebooks (plural, for sure), and don’t wander into Google-social land much. It’s cool, I sorta dig how  elusively odd and still it remains. I’m not asking for much here: just a little visit!

On behalf of your friendly organizers here at Vida Vegan Headquarters, I sure do hope you can click on that top right corner and join us (hence our sharing this on our *other* social media channels and this here blog) for a special get-to-gether. If you have a gmail, you’re almost there already!

Here’s the deal: Google Plus is great for hangin’ out. So, we’re having a big Vida Vegan reunion hangout on Sunday, July 6th at 12pm PST/3pm EST.

Simply click here to RSVP (and then, mute the post if you like) and get ready to jump in via video or chat for our big virtual hangout.

Everyone is welcome!

Come say hello to old & new vegan friends, whether you’ve attended a Vida Vegan Con or not!

Let us know if you questions for the next Vida Vegan Con, or any ideas for classes, speakers or new vegan-friendly companies you want to see.

Learn about the very latest plans for our third conference, and the brand new Vida Vegan Bazaar, set to take place on Friday, May 29 (which friends & family and anyone else in town is encouraged to attend!)

Did you grab one of the coveted Early Bird tickets already?

Were you thinking about capping off an epic vegan road trip with the conference?

Perhaps you’re thinking about attending but wanted to see who else was.

Maybe you can’t make it and wish you could. Hey, stop on by!

Save the afternoon (or whatever time it’ll be by you!) of July 6 and get to know the Vida Vegan family some more.

 

P.S. As of this post, 15 early bird tickets remain!

Catching up with Vida Vegan Alumni: Q & A with Leigh-Chantelle

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My, how time flies! We started this Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters heading into September’s VeganMoFo, and since we received such great feedback and responses from our alumni, we’re excited to continue with a few more final installments. These special interviews offer a glimpse into our past alumni’s upcoming projects, summer shenanigans and reveal what they really learned at VVC2013. They’re sharing which class sticks out in their minds so many months later, and just what they’d like to see more and less of in vegan blogging, a question that’s always on our own minds.  

Our next interview is with one of our furthest traveling guests for Vida Vegan Con, (mostly) Australian-based author, international speaker, activist and blogger, Leigh-Chantelle of Viva La Vegan! and the Green Earth Group.

Leigh-Chantelle, Viva La Vegan!
Leigh-Chantelle, Viva La Vegan!

What were you up to this Summer? I travelled to the USA for my Australian Winter. I spent 9 weeks in America, travelling all over the country for vegan/Animal Rights events, visiting friends and, one of my favourite things – road trips. When I was in the USA I had an interview with CHRY105.5FM in Toronto, Canada and had a lovely article written about me in the Examiner.

Talks, Panels & Workshop Videos:

LC’s USA Adventures & photos
LC’s USA Adventures & photos

I then spent a month in Cambodia, specifically Phnom Pehn, Battambang and Siem Reap before coming to Indonesia. I spent the last few weeks in Magelang, Central Java and then Surabaya, East Java before returning to my beloved Ubud, Bali where I’ll be until the beginning of October when I return home to Brisbane, Australia for aunty duties. I did a lot of media interviews when I was in Java – you can view the articles on my blog, FaceBook or Google+. One of the articles is online – use Google Translate for English. (see the photo attached – Focus Jateng) I’ve just launched 3 new vegan dessert e-books and 1 raw recipe e-book. I’ve completed the text for my upcoming recipe book due out the end of the year and am now compiling my vegan athletes interview book. As always, I have many different projects going.

Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II?

VVC is my favourite vegan event – and I’ve been to a great deal of vegan/AR events. I was asked to speak again for the second year, immediately accepted and was excited about the new topics I’d be speaking about.

Looking back, what was the most memorable class? I really enjoyed being a part of the Ethics Beyond the Plate panel and had a lot of great feedback about it. I thought 5 people on the panel was too many, but Jason did a great job of directing questions and keeping the topics on track. It’s biased, but I always love hearing my close friends Jasmin and Mariann from Our Hen House as well as Ryan Patey from TOFU Magazine speak.

What would you like to see more or less of in (vegan) blogging? One of the things I say in just about every talk I give – especially here in SE Asia – is that veganism is not a diet and it’s not a religion. Diet in particular seems to be the main focus for a lot of blogs. I’d like to see more people write about the fact that veganism isn’t the first and last step towards compassion and living ethically. We are here on this earth to learn and there’s just so much to absorb. I also don’t like reading about how veganism is a “cure all” for all of the diseases and environmental catastrophes we are experiencing – it’s a massive help, but it’s not the be all and end all.

You can follow along with Leigh-Chantelle’s travels and vegan journey by following her  Youtube channel, VivaLaVeganDotNet, Twitters, @VivaLVegan & @leighchantelle and Pintetest page, Viva La Vegan.

Stay tuned for the final installments of our Q & A series and some vegan-friendly entertaining tips for the holiday season here at Vida Vegan Headquarters.

Month of Memories presents: Q & A with Jojo! (aka dear Vegan.in.Brighton)

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Greetings! Welcome to the latest edition of our ongoing Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters. These special interviews offer a glimpse into our past alumni’s upcoming projects, summer shenanigans and reveal what they really learned at VVC2013. They’re sharing which class sticks out in their minds so many months later, and just what they’d like to see more and less of in vegan blogging, a question that’s always on our own minds. 

It’s now time to catch up with first time, wonderfully enthusiastic Vida Vegan alumnae, Jojo Huxster, better known to vegan bloggers (and readers!) around the globe as the longtime blogger behind “Vegan.in.Brighton“. Jojo’s currently across the pond once again, exploring and documenting even more of what the United States has to offer vegan visitors.

 

JoJo
Hi JoJo! Just what have you been up to this summer? 
After Vida Vegan Con I travelled around the Pacific Northwest a little more and then popped home and quickly turned around for Spain where I celebrated my 30th birthday with my besties. After that I popped to Zagreb to hang with some more wonderful vegan friends.
Since I’ve been back in Brighton I’ve been eating all of the gelato, planning my next trip (see ya soon San Francisco!) and baking cupcakes for Operation Icing, my not-for-profit bakery.
Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II? 
After reading everyone’s write ups of the first conference in 2011 how could I not? The speaker line up was amazing and it was a perfect opportunity to meet up with online friends from all over the globe. I finally got to meet Mandee from Cupcake Kitteh and we had a ridiculously fun time sharing a room together for a whole week.
Looking back, what was the most memorable class? 
This is a tough one but I’d have to say Isa’s iPhone photography class, she’s completely hilarious and awesome and I have been using many swatches in my photographs ever since!
How has your blog changed since the three-day conference? 
I am making a concerted effort to take better photographs whenever I can, but, y’know, sometimes I’m just hungry so don’t hold me to it!
Who were you really excited to meet? 
 
Wow, so many people. I’ve been talking to so many PPKers and bloggers for years and years without ever having a chance to meet them in person so it was a total whirlwind and I loved meeting everyone.
So, have you started reading any new blogs? 
Yes! I have two new favorite blog discoveries, one was Bonzai Aphrodite, I’d never heard of this beautiful vegan lifestyle blog before and I love it. I had also never realised that VVC organizer Janessa had a blog, I know right, duh, and I’m loving following her on her travels around Eastern Europe and SE Asia.
Lastly, what was your favorite meal in Portland, outside of the conference? 
Can I have more than one favourite meal in Portland? (Note: Duh) I was there for almost two weeks – I seriously had to keep extending my stay because I didn’t want to leave! I loved everything I ate at Back to Eden and if I could I would smuggle Ms Panda with Cookie across the ocean (y’know, if she wants to) to come and live with me so that she can cook me her famous biscuits and gravy every day.
Another meal I keep thinking back to is the Mac ‘n Cheese burger at White Owl Social Club, I ate that thing four times in a week – no regrets!
White Owl’s Mac & Cheese Burger with shoestring fries. Photo via Vegan.in.Brighton

In short, Jojo rules and all of us at Vida Vegan Headquarters are in awe of her Mac ‘n Cheese dedication. Come back this way soon — they’re calling your name!

You can read more about Jojo’s take on VVC2013 right here on her recap and stay tuned to her blog updates & travels (she’s recently been spotted in Las Vegas) over at Instagram, @vegan.in.brighton and ditto on twitter

Our Month of Memories Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters will continue far into the end VeganMoFo and beyond.

Talking Big Changes & Mad Men MoFo: More Q & A with Kelly Peloza of Seitan Beats Your Meat

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Hey there! Welcome to the latest edition of our ongoing Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters. These special interviews give a glimpse into our past alumni’s upcoming projects, summer shenanigans and reveal what they really learned at VVC2013. They’re sharing which class sticks out in their minds so many months later, and just what they’d like to see more and less of in vegan blogging, a question that’s always on our own minds. 

This time around, we’re getting serious about VeganMoFo thematics and talking how to survive big, bloggy changes with two-time Vida Vegan Con speaker, ‘artful’ food photographer and soon to be two-time cookbook author Kelly Peloza, who can now be found blogging exclusively at the amazingly titled Seitan Beats Your Meat.

Instagram Noir Self-Portrait. Photo via @KellyPeloza on Instagram

So Kelly, just what have you been up to this summer?
Working, blogging, and working on/planning projects (including Vegan MoFo)!

Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II?
I had an amazing time at Vida Vegan Con I!

Kelly & Jess in some strange filter at Native Foods in Chicago in 2012

Looking back, what was the most memorable class?
The body image class was one of the most memorable.

How has your blog changed since the three-day conference?
It no longer exists (sort of)!

I found myself with tons of extra time and inspiration after the conference, so I started a brand new blog with a new focus and image to put my time and energy toward. I now blog at Seitan Beats Your Meat and the archives of my old blog, The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, exist elsewhere.

How did VVC2013 affect your culinary style and home cooking?
The contents of the swag bag have been going strong! I’ve just been really into summer foods, fresh fruit and and vegetables. And pesto and bacon for some reason.

Who were you really excited to meet?
New friends! My VVCII roommates were fantastic!

Any nice surprises you’d like to share? Special memories?
I’m really excited for Vegan MoFo (can you tell?), where I’ll be doing Mad Men MoFo this year (Note, which she’s getting all retro right now!)! Then I have a new cookbook coming out in October called Cheers to Vegan Sweets.
My favorite memories from VVC2013 are the classes, VooDoo doughnuts, karaoke night, and our apartment!

So, have you started reading any new blogs?
Yes, I started reading some fellow attendees’ blogs. And the death of Google Reader made me take a look at my feeds and cut out some blogs that I don’t read anymore or haven’t been updated in years.

What would you like to see more or less of in (vegan) blogging?
It’s the best when people have a “thing” or a style that’s unique to them and their blog, whether it’s their photos, drawings, stories, or a special theme. It makes blogs so genuine and entertaining.

What would you like to see the organizers incorporate into the next VVC?
Keep the breakfast showcases coming!

What other vegan events put together by VVHQ would you like to attend?
I would love to see webinars* put on by speakers to keep the conversations going between conferences, especially since not everyone lives near the same city (or continent).

Lastly, what was your favorite meal in Portland, outside of the conference?
I keep thinking about FlavourSpot.

Maple cream & pecan waffle from Flavourspot. Image credit: Panda with Cookie and Waffle

*Special Note from Vida Vegan Headquarters: Seriously, has she been reading our minds?! Something of the sorts is very much in the works (and then again, what isn’t?) because we love the notions of staying in touch and letting folks around the world tune in while keeping their pajamas on. And….now I’m craving maple, preferably in a retro cocktail.

Congrats on the upcoming cookbook, Kelly! 

To keep up with Kelly’s latest, be sure to catch her on Instagram @kellypeloza and likewise on Twitter.

Our Month of Memories Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters will continue far into the end VeganMoFo and beyond.

 

More (Late) Summertime Q & A with Julia Legume

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Hey there! Welcome to the next edition of our latest Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters! These special interviews give a glimpse into our past alumni’s upcoming projects, seasonal shenanigans and reveal what they really learned at VVC2013. They’re sharing which class sticks out in their minds so many months later, and just what they’d like to see more and less of in vegan blogging, a question that’s always on our minds. 

We’re now joined by a devoted (and super appreciated!) member of the VVHQ support team and recent host of Portland’s Pop Up! Taco Shop!, Julia Legume 

Julia shows her support for Chimp Sanctuary NW.

So Julia, what have you been up to this summer?

Park Ranger-ing, watching Wheel of Fortune, petting every dog and cat I see in the streets of pdx.


Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II? 
I’m dating one of the organizers!

Looking back, what was the most memorable class?

Vegan Professionals in a Non-vegan World with Janessa, Fran, Julie, and Grant– good stuff dudes

 

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

I think one more person reads it.

 

How did VVC2013 affect your culinary style and home cooking?

I tasted Upton’s bacon– and now I eat a lot of it at home!

How Julia brunches at home: hot biscuits & Upton’s seitan bacon.

 

Who were you really excited to meet? 

Heather Spork (who happened to be a vendor with Galaxy Foods), Madeleine.teacup and SweetT from the PPK forums, and Jojo!                 (veganinbrighton).

 

Any special memories of VVC2013 you’d like to share? 

The Chicago Vegan Foods Teese nacho machine!!!!

 

So, have you started reading any new blogs? 

Travel blogs, basically. The Gay Backpacker — I like his style.


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

Less recipes/ how to’s with packaged ingredients, more thoughtful and creative dishes that are inspiring

 

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

Team building exercises. Mandatory. (Noted!)

Here’s Julia, helping assemble the SWAG bags.

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

Pool parties, pizza parties, slumber parties, hikes, campouts, dodgeball, Vegan Olympics.

 

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

DUH EMAME’S ETHIOPIAN FOODCART DOWNTOWN.

Combo platter, Emame's Ethiopian
Combo platter, Emame’s Ethiopian

Thanks for sharing!


Our Month of Memories Q & A series will continue far into VeganMoFo.

Here’s Julia’s VVC2013 recap: Vida Vegan Con, I love you. For her latest & greatest, check her out on Instagram, @donna__noble.

 

Late Summertime Crunk: Q & A with Bianca Phillips

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Hey there! Welcome to the first edition of our Summertime Q & A series at Vida Vegan Headquarters!  This series will give a glimpse into our past alumni’s upcoming projects, seasonal shenanigans and reveal what they really learned at VVC2013. They’re sharing which class sticks out in their minds so many months later, and just what they’d like to see more and less of in vegan blogging, a question that’s always on our minds.

First up, we’re joined by the one-and-only Bianca Phillips, of long-time vegan favorite blog, Vegan Crunk

Ms. Crunk.
Ms. Crunk.

So Bianca, what have you been up to this summer?

Traveling to various VegFests to promote Cookin’ Crunk, picnicking with friends, went to Bonnaroo.

Why did you decide to attend Vida Vegan Con II?

Because Vida Vegan Con I was, like, the best couple of days of my life! For real! And II was just as amazing! Loved seeing all my old blogger friends and meeting new people.

Looking back, what was the most memorable class?

Definitely Susan V’s advanced photography class

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

Hmmm….I wish I had a better answer here. It hasn’t changed at all. I really could use a re-design. Maybe one day soon.

How did VVC2013 affect your culinary style and home cooking?

I’ve been making the hell out of some Soy Curls.

Who were you really excited to meet?

Ashlee Piper! (and then we didn’t even get time to hang out … Ashley: You and me, cocktails. It’s gonna happen one day.) And JoJo!! And Sayward!!!

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

Going to the vegan strip club after the galarama and having a stripper place her ta-tas into my picture of vegan taquitos. Best food porn ever!

So, have you started reading any new blogs?

Yep! Lots! Especially loving From A to a Vegan.

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

My favorite blogs are photo-heavy and personal. I like reading about other people’s lives and what they ate for dinner. I’m not as into recipe blogs, just because I’m up to ears in cookbooks at home.

Image source: Yelp.com

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

Oh gosh! What if we had a VVC 5k?! I say that, but I know I’d actually be too hungover to run it.

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

Probably the box of a dozen Voodoo Doughnuts that I ate on for days. Also, that corn dog at Hungry Tiger Too is OFF THE CHAIN, yo.

Broken record time: As always, stay tuned for more!

Our Summertime Q & A series will continue far into VeganMoFo.

You can check out Bianca’s own recaps on VVC2013 right here: Vida Vegan Con Part I and Vida Vegan Con Part 2.

We miss you, Bianca!

What’s new with Katie of Vegan Noms?

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The summer is flying by and as proud organizers, we’ve been wondering what everyone has been up to since VVC2013! So, we reached out to our attendees through our official Vida Vegan Headquarters Facebook page and wanted to share the lively results. Here’s the inspirational update from Katie of Vegan Noms, another 2011 and 2013 Gold star alumnae:

ProfilePic2013 has been one hell of a year! After reorienting to day-to-day life after the whimsical whirlwind that was VVC2013, I’ve made deeper commitments to cleaner eating, keeping moving, and appreciating the details in life. In a few short days I will find myself having completed my Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and embarking on the next chapter in my career. Looking forward to keeping up with bloggers and connecting with new vegans along the way… Things couldn’t be better!

For Katie’s latest updates, reviews and fresh recipes, head on over to Vegan Noms right now.

As always, stay tuned for more updates from Vida Vegan Headquarters & whirlwind it up!

Catching up with Carrie Forrest, VVC Gold Star Alumnae

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The summer is flying by and as proud organizers, we’ve been wondering what everyone has been up to since VVC2013! So, we reached out to our attendees through our official Vida Vegan Headquarters Facebook page and wanted to share the lively results. Here’s what Carrie Forrest, a 2011 and 2013 Gold star alumnae (which is something we just made up for repeat attendees and totally want to roll with) had to say:

Photographic evidence of enjoying summer in California.
Photographic evidence of enjoying summer in California.

I just finished my master’s degree project in public health nutrition on “The Differences in Selected Disease Occurrence Between Vegetarians and Non-Vegetarians” to help update a paper that Dr. Barnard from PCRM published 20 years ago. I continue to add recipes to my best-selling recipe app for iPhones and iPads, Vegan Delish. When I’m not glued to my laptop or playing with my new kitchen appliances (I just got a soy milk maker…LOVE!), I’m outside enjoying the beautiful scenery of the California Central Coast.

If you’d like to catch up some more with Carrie, find out more about that intriguing soy milk maker and see what else she’s surely up to, check out her blog Carrie on Vegan, and her resourceful recipe app, Vegan Delish.

Stay tuned for more from Vida Vegan Headquarters!

Portland Picks with Michelle Schwegmann, Herbivore Clothing

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And we’re back with the seemingly final round in our continuing series of personalized Portland Picks, and what better person to wind down with then a resident of the vegan mini mall (and returning VVC Speaker, of course)!?! These recommendations are from trusty Portland vegan locals and lovers, and we bet all our attendees, whether you’re arriving early or not, want to squeeze in a little time outside of the busy, busy conference schedule to wander in the vegan wonderland. Here we go!
So true.

Your Name:  Michelle Schwegmann

Vegan Mini Mall, Represent: The Herbivore Clothing Company

indeed. Pins by Herbivore, Image source: weheartit.com

Let’s begin….where should folks go in Portland?

…besides the vegan mini-mall (duh!) Washington Park for the Rose Test Garden, or for a real plant lover and something totally un-touristic, browse the beautiful plants at Portland Nursery on SE Stark Street. When the sun comes out in the spring, I can’t wait to slowly walk around there and dream of retiring to be a full-time gardener. Succulents to native plants, it’s the equivalent of a Powells Books in the plant/gardening world.

Where to dine?

I keep it simple with food. For fancy I am a Portobello girl. Not fancy has me at the Bye & Bye at night or Canteen in the daylight. 

How about a cup of coffee?

Since I work next door to Sweetpea Baking Company, that’s my best bet. And because she has biscuits. Every. Day!!!

Let’s shop…

Michelle on the Herbivore Clothing website
Michelle on the Herbivore Clothing website

I love Fubonn for international foods and crazy faux meats, Foodfight! for my daily kale purchase, and N. Mississippi Ave. to wander.

Also, Wanderlust for adorable vintage, and of course, any thrift store. If you are super brave, hit the bins!

For a One-of-a-Kind Portland experience?

While in Portland, I highly recommend going to one of our city parks and spending at least 15 minutes laying underneath a giant tree. It’s like a power nap. You’ll be a better person for it, trust me. Try Laurelhurst Park, Peninsula Park, Columbia Park, Couch Street Park, Fernhill Park, Sellwood Park….look for the trees!

Thanks for tuning in! Find Michelle this weekend moderating the ‘Compassionate Parenting’ panel. For more Portland Vegan Dining, Shopping & Tourist ideas, check out our official While You’re in Town selection and the VVC 2013 Google Map See you all on Friday!