VVC family

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!

Portland Picks with Natalie Norcross, @VeganKitten

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And we’re back with yet another round in our continuing series of personalized Portland Picks! 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. In one of our very last editions, we get the scoop on the latest and greatest Portland eats & wanderings, courtesy of epic vegan Insagrammer, Natalie Norcross, aka the @vegankitten.

Her friend, @Albert_Weskie
Natalie’s dear friend, @Albert_Weskie

Your Name: Natalie Norcross

Your Business & Internet Moniker: HALO Branded Solutions, Inc.@vegankitten 

What the Vegan Kitten thinks you should totally visit in Portland…

1) Hike at the Audubon Society of Portland - See cute rescued birds and hike in the gorgeous Forest Park!

The historic St. John’s bridge. Image source: columbiariverimages.com

2) Take a picture of the St. John’s Bridge – It’s featured in Colin Meloy’s (of The Decemberists fame) book Wildwood and is the most gorgeous bridge in the world (IMO, of course). While you’re at it, stop by Occidental Brewery under the bridge for some vegan German beers, then have lunch at Proper Eats up the street!

3) See a show at the Doug Fir Lounge - It doesn’t get more Portland than this. Catch some awesome live music in a venue that looks like the interior of a log cabin!

What you’re no doubt wondering – where are Natalie’s favorite vegan eats?!?

1) The vegan menu at Departure Restaurant + Lounge – Chef Gregory Gourdet has created a one-of-a-kind modern Asian menu and it’s NOT TO BE MISSED! This swanky restaurant is on the rooftop of the Nines Hotel in the heart of downtown with panoramic views of the city. Make reservations, get dressed up and enjoy the best dining experience of your life.

2) After a long night of tasting all the amazing beer Portland has to offer, stop by Robo Taco and get’cha some vegan grub! They are open until 3:30 am Thursday-Saturday and the vegan al pastor or vegan chorizo burritos will help you avoid a hangover.

Greens & Seeds roll, topped with nutritional yeast at Departure.

3) Other cities have vegan bakeries, vegan pizza and vegan pho – but where else can you find a food cart dedicated to smoked vegan meats? Homegrown Smoker is a MUST for any out-of-town visitor. I recommend the Tempeh Fakon Sammich with a side of Mac-nocheese.

Where to go for coffee, cocktails & great beer…

Coffee - The Fresh Pot makes the best soy latte I’ve ever had. Plus they have three locations and one is right down the street from Homegrown Smoker – just sayin’.

Cocktails - The Bye & Bye and Sweet Hereafter are owned by the same folks and both make great cocktails. Plus the menus at both locations are entirely vegan!

Beer - There are more breweries than convenience stores in Portland! Not really, but almost. One of my favorites is Base Camp Brewing Co. They have tons of delicious beer, it’s blocks from the Vegan Mini Mall and has multiple food carts with vegan options right outside who deliver inside the brewery. My favorite is Gonzo which makes the best falafel I’ve ever had in my life – no joke.

Super-vegan shopping?

The Vegan Mini Mall, of course! That’s why we all moved here, right?

For those wanting tattoos, haircuts & a badass workout? 

1) Scapegoat Tattoo in the Vegan Mini Mall!

2) Akemi Salon for hair!

3) PlantFit Training Studio for a good workout!

Only Portland….has the world’s best strip clubs, including a vegan strip club. You probably don’t want to include that since folks tend to get offended. But seriously, we all know it’s true!

Soy latte, Fresh Pot on SE Hawthorne
Do stay tuned for the next round! 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 so soon! 

Portland Picks with Sayward Rebhal, Bonzai Aphrodite

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The next round of personalized Portland Picks comes from a former Portlander (and naturally, passionate vegan blogger) who’ll be back in town in a few days to speak at the ‘Con, Sayward Rebhal. As always, our recommendations come 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. Let’s find out more of Sayward’s “Socially Conscious, Totally Fabulous!”Portland musts below…

Sayward Rebhal, Bonzai Aphrodite
A Portland Farmers Market devotee

Your Name: Sayward Rebhal

Where must one go in Portland?
1. Vintage/secondhand shopping on Hawthorne (especially House Of Vintage, IF you have the time to commit, it is WORTH IT!)
2. Last Thursday/Alberta Arts Walk – those who are in Portland by Thursday, this will be happening! It is soooo good, quintessentially Portland.
3. Powell’s City Of Books. I know everyone will say that, but because obviously!
So…Best vegan eats? 
2. Los Gorditos is the best sloppy street-style vegan Mexican food EVER.
3. Pad Thai Kitchen is so good and sooo generous with portions. So good. Cute neighborhood, too.
4. Nicholos for Lebanese. It is mind-blowingly amazing, don’t overlook it.
5. Canteen. Because you just don’t understand how good a greens/beans/grain bowls can really taste (get the Portland Bowl!)

Nicholas Restaurant. Image Source: One Armed Dino blog
Where to for lovely juice and cocktails?
1. Green smoothie or juice at Sip (a cart out front of People’s Co Op)
2. Drinks at Sweet Hereafter (or the Bye and Bye, if you’re up that way)
3. Vegan Boba Cocktails at The Tea Zone downtown (it’s off-menu, you have to ask)
 
Some very special shopping…
1. FUBONN! An entire supermarket-sized Asian foods store. Amazing.
2. Stock up on bulk soy curls vegan chap stick at Food Fight!
 
Anything else you’d like to add?
Look, it’s all so good! You really can’t go wrong.
For real. With mere days to go, do stay tuned for the next round! For more Portland Vegan Dining, Shopping & Tourist ideas, check out our official While You’re in Town selection and the VVC 2013 Google Map