VVC2 was a wirlwind of a feel good vegan social media weekend, and even in the middle of the storm, I found a few things that I absolutely cannot live without ever again, if I had a choice in the matter.
From top left:
Wayfare Maple Ice Cream: Made from oats, this creamy and smooth non-dairy ice cream is now the benchmark for all other vegan ice cream brands and flavors. While I love me some So Delicious and Coconut Bliss, this oat-based dreamy creamy pint is my new jam.
Tofurky BBQ Chicken Hot Pockets: Growing up vegetarian, I never indulged in hot pockets as a kid, but as an adult, this hot, sweet and tangy with tofu in a convenient pocket of bread is sure to be a delightful occasional indulgence when I’m back in the States. I ate several of these throughout the VVC weekend.
Tatly Vegan Temporary Tattoos: This company donated veggie-themed temporary tattoos the the VIP ticket-holders of the Galarama. I seem to have ended up with one in the aftermath of VVC, so I stuck the booklet in my backpack with me to take on my travels. I love the idea of temporary tattoos that are vegan, and though of course the vegetables are my fave, all their other themed books are adorable and fun.
Myoko Schinner’s Vegan Cheese Platter: Seriously. Artisan vegan cheese is taking over the country, and Miyoko’s ground-breaking book Artisan Vegan Cheese seems to be leading the pack. She put together a GORGEOUS plate of her cheese for the Galarama, and I found myself eating as many crackers loaded with cheese as I could.
VVC on Stage: I just love working with Jess and Michele so much, and love getting to be in a whole building/city filled with like-minded vegan bloggers, authors and social media users. The people involved are always my absolute all-time fave thing from the conferences!
One of the projects we really enjoy working on is partnering with local restaurants to showcase their take on creative vegan food and drink.
We call this The Exquisite Dinner Series, and our first one was in 2012.
We partnered with BridgePort Brewpub, and the Chef and his sous chefs whipped up a modern take on classic pub food. The dessert, a chocolate layered cake with strawberry preserves and BridgePort Porter ganache, was both a visual and gastronomical hit.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!)
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!
In between eating tacos, we held inspiring meetings and saw event spaces that gave us some really exciting ideas we’re all looking forward to sharing with you all (hint: some of them are here).
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.