VVC alum

Q & A with Ryan Patey of T.O.F.U. Magazine

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Woo-ee, look at that! The first-ever Vida Vegan Tech Seminar came to fruition last weekend, and just as we know our attendees are surely still thinking about the future of their own blogging (and as we’ve heard, already putting those plans into action!), so are the 2013 conference speakers.

Ryan Patey, T.O.F.U. Magazine

This time around, we talk advertising annoyances, Northwest vegan indulgences and share insight about the future of the internet with T.O.F.U. magazine founder and returning speaker, Ryan Patey.

T.O.F.U. is a Canadian based, alternative online entity with six issues under its belt. It features diverse stories and support for those who “dedicate their live to change”. The magazine’s goal is to consistently inspire their readers “to think for themselves in a world that so often hopes you do as you’re told”. 

Read more here and if you haven’t yet, do consider picking up T.O.F.U.’s latest issue.

Q & A with Ryan Patey

Where do you see blogging going?

I think blogging is headed to more of a short-form thing. With so many folks working/playing/living on their smart phones, content has to be more concise, and I think blogs will adapt to that somehow. Either that or you may see blogs addressing a more niche audience to entice them to break out the tablet or laptop for longer entries, which should be interesting since veganism is already a niche audience, albeit one that is becoming more mainstream.

What’s your favorite photo editor?

Unless I can get away with using Preview for something basic like resizing an image, I’m a sucker for punishment and I go straight to Photoshop. It’s overkill most of the time, but it’s what I know (sort of).

What blogging trends are you liking? Disliking?

I’m liking that I know of a lot more blogs that tackle vegan issues other than the next meal. Maybe I’m just getting better at finding them or maybe they’re getting better at being found, but either way, it’s great.

I’m disliking the advertising trend. Maybe it’s just the punk in me, but if you’re going to put advertising on your site, at least curate the companies that advertise there. Going the Google AdWords route can lead to some unfortunate associations, and approaching a business to advertise on your blog could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Yes, I went the Casablanca route.

What blogs/websites do you read?

I get most of my news/links from Twitter, so the blogs I read are more dependent on the ones people share, but it seems I spend most of my time on Sexy Tofu, The Gay Vegans, Sistah Vegan, and Queer Vegan Food.

What’s your go-to vegan meal in Seattle?

Sadly, I’ve only been to Seattle twice, and both were brief visits. We hit a Thai buffet on the way to VVC, and then on the way back I ended up spending the night on a whim. I had some great Korean food at a small place with a vegan menu, along with their regular menu. Funny enough, I don’t think I had many of the things from that menu in Korea when I moved there soon after.

Note: Vida Vegan is delighted to clarify that this is surely the all vegan buffet known as Araya’s. The Korean restaurant was likely the mysterious Korean Tofu House on University Ave, which is now closed.

In Portland?

Do doughnuts count? If so, Voodoo Doughnuts. If not, you’re no fun! But if I have to go that route, maybe a food truck like Homegrown Smoker? Those places are dangerous, and I had to have a serious health food menu push when I got back to Canada after VVC. Sadly, I didn’t get to try the unicorn meat.

Thanks, Ryan!

Doughnuts totally, totally count, but unfortunately, the short-lived yet magical Unicart has also since closed. Let’s make sure you try even more new carts on the next visit.

For more of Ryan’s insights, check out his twitter, @ryanpatey, and the official T.O.F.U. Magazine facebook page. The magazine regularly seeks contributors.
Stay tuned for the full list of 2013 Vida Vegan Con speakers & class topics!

Speaker Q&A: Kelly Peloza of Vegan Cookie Connoisseur

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Kelly Peloza and Gnocchi

Welcome back to our ongoing Vida Vegan Q & A series, where we discuss snazzy tricks, tips, vegan food and the future of blogging with speakers from our upcoming, one-day intensive Tech Seminar (tickets available here) in Seattle, WA and the now three-day conference this May in Portland. Today’s insight comes from 2011 & 2013 speaker, Kelly Peloza, of Vegan Cookie Connoisseur and Seitan Beats Your Meat. Back when I was in college, my part-time jobs included selling over-priced movie tickets and angrily scooping ice cream. Kelly, on the other hand, works on her degree in the arts by day, while developing her second cookbook, set to star vegan cocktail-inspired desserts, by night. Kelly rules.

Q & A with Kelly Peloza

Where do you see blogging going?
It’s crazy how just recently, vegan food blogging was just a hobby for most people, but now some bloggers are turning it into full-time jobs, publishing books, and there’s a whole conference dedicated to vegan bloggers! WordPress, Blogger, and other services have become far more intuitive and well-designed, so it’s almost effortless to get the bare essentials of a blog up and running. I can only imagine this will continue and bloggers will take their food writing even more seriously, creating better content, connections, and ideas to share.

What’s your favorite photo editor?
I use Lightroom, then add any finishing touches in Photoshop if necessary.

What blogging trends are you liking? Disliking?
I love how some bloggers bring unique elements to their blogs, like how Amey at Vegan Eats and Treats illustrates her posts and Hannah of BitterSweet posts her food-related knit and crochet projects. I’m not so sure about raw food or Instagram. Or Instagrams of raw food.

What blogs/websites do you read?
Vegansaurus is one of my favorites, plus the massive PPK MoFo feed! It’s fun finding new blogs to follow through Vegan MoFo.

What’s your go-to vegan meal in Seattle?
I loved Highline Bar, and Mighty-O donuts for breakfast!

In Portland?
It was all about the food carts! You can’t go wrong with Native Bowl and a macnocheetoh burrito(seriously, see here) from Homegrown Smoker.


Thanks, Kelly!

For more information on November 3rd’s Tech Seminar, visit here. For information on our return to Portland, OR in May 2013 (tickets are already for sale) read this. To check out Kelly’s first cookbook, The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, go here.

Speaker Q&A with John McDevitt of The Laziest Vegans

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In preparation for our upcoming Tech Seminar, we here at Vida Vegan HQ have been discussing blogging and the vegan internet non-stop (as usual), but with an even greater focus on the technical side of things; pondering just where we all see both long and short-form blogging evolving in the future. It’s a curious topic, to say the least. Since it’s so heavy on our minds, we reached out to our own experts, including speakers from November 3rd’s event and our 2013 roster*, to weigh in with their own thoughts on the state of blogging, technical insight, and their favorite Pacific Northwest vegan options. Of course.

First up, is the dedicated blogger who’s your go-to-guy for the latest on vegan snacks, and someone to ask for vegan survival thriving advice if you’re ever in Nebraska: 2011 & 2013 Vida Vegan Speaker John McDevitt of The Laziest Vegans in the World, where he’s currently featuring his thoughts on pumpkin spice coconut milk, and local vegan community hub, Vegan Omaha. John shares his honest thoughts on Tumblr, monetizing trends, the blogs he actually reads, and love for the vegan fishwich.

Q & A with John McDevitt

Where do you see blogging going?
I’m not a big fan of Tumblr, but it’s probably going more in that direction. Micro blogging or whatever is mobile friendly. I would probably blog more if Blogger had a decent app.

What’s your favorite photo editor?
I’m pretty boring, Picasa.

What blogging trends are you liking? Disliking?
I like that more people are getting into it. I dislike the ad/monetizing thing, it’s pretty annoying. If you get tens of thousands a views a month, ok, but most bloggers don’t. Has anyone ever clicked one of those ads? No.

What blogs/websites do you read? I don’t look at as many as I should. My favorite blogs are Post Punk Kitchen, Vegansaurus, Vegan Crunk, and The Gay Vegans.

What do you want to learn more about at the Tech Seminar?
How to monetize!?!?!?

In Portland?
Vita Fishwich

Thanks, John! Keeping it real.

Want to chime in with your own thoughts? Please do so below, or email us at VidaVeganConference [at] gmail.com

*full 2012 line up being disclosed soon!

Speaker Spotlight Thursday: Dawn Quinn and Helen Pitlick

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For VVHQ’s first special speaker spotlight during Vegan MoFo, we thought we’d pick two ladies dear to our collective hearts.

Dawn Quinn of Vegan Moxie and Helen Pitlick of Vegtastic!, both hailing from the Seattle, WA area, are speaking at Vida Vegan’s first ever one-day seminar in Seattle this November, focusing on technical aspects of blogging (their specialty: social media, naturally) AND at Vida Vegan Con 2013 in Portland.

Dawn is an expert in social media, copy editing, and champagne cocktails; so naturally we love her and want her involved in whatever we do as much as possible. She’s also adorable and is starting the  MCDM program at University of Washington this fall, so she’s suuuper smart and stuff.


Dawn in the kitchen..


Helen is a social media maven; her tweets could make me want to attend a golfing conference with glee, which is saying a lot, considering golfing is like the boringest.

She has a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington, Instagrams a lot, and even has time to blog. She’s got the smarts and the drive, and we’re super thrilled to have her involved with Vida Vegan for two different events.


Helen in the kitchen too!

For the One Day Tech Seminar on November 3 in Seattle, Helen and Dawn will be speaking on Next-Level Social Media:

How do you connect your blogging goals with social media? This intermediate-level session for people already active with Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks will explore the use of these tools to build community and craft your personal vs. blog identity. We’ll look at identifying and utilizing emerging social media platforms such as Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest. We’ll also touch upon best practices for sharing content across these different platforms.

{Tickets available here}

For Vida Vegan Con in May 2013, you’ll have to stay tuned to the blog to find out what they’re speaking about (schedule coming soon!). Rest assured, everything these ladies do is wicked smart, organized, enthralling and educational.

We love Helen and Dawn, and heck, all of our speakers, and are super proud to have them involved with Vida Vegan.


Guest Post: The Healthy Voyager’s Vida Vegan Adventure

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Our next guest post comes from Carolyn Scott-Hamilton, aka The Healthy Voyager. Carolyn’s expertise will be featured at the grand Travel panel and during a handy travel-orientated cooking demo at Whole Foods (which will be open to the public—stay tuned!).

I’m so excited to be attending the 1st annual Vida Vegan Con as well as to be speaking! As one would imagine, I’ll be taking on the travel panel, but as an added bonus, I’ll be conducting a cooking demo on how folks can cook in their hotel rooms while traveling to save time, money, and of course, be sure it’s healthy and vegan!

I can’t wait to hang out with friends and meet new faces, all in the name of promoting the vegan movement. I adore Portland (check out my Healthy Voyager Portland episode if you haven’t seen it yet), and I am stoked that the con is being held there.

I’m already dreaming of the yummy food, the new friends, and helping other vegans (or those dabbling with the idea) how to live and travel as a vegan with zero problems at all. Additionally, I’ll be promoting the pre-sales of my cookbook due out this holiday season, The Healthy Voyager’s Global Kitchen Cookbook.

See you in just a few short weeks!

The Healthy Voyager

Guest Post: Chelsea Lincoln of FlavorVegan

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Today we  present a guest post from Chelsea Lincoln, the culinary wonder and passionate blogger behind FlavorVegan. She’s joining our Activist Panel at Vida Vegan Con, and wanted to share the following with you all. Thank you, Chelsea!

Photo credit: Elizabeth Miller

I have been vegan 15 years and fat all my life. Both have influenced my life considerably. As a child, I spent almost all my free time trying to make myself thin, since all the messages I was receiving were that my healthy body was “wrong.” Regardless of how active I was, how much I dieted, or how much I hated myself, my body did not change. Even doctors kept testing my thyroid, trying to find something to blame for my size. Although animal issues has always been a huge concern for me, my fight against my body took precedent, so my activism was limited to buying products that didn’t test on animals, being considered “crazy” by fellow classmates for talking about animal rights, trying to be vegetarian, and going to a Fur Free Friday protest once a year.

In college, my self-hatred continued. I took aerobics every term, biked everywhere, was finally completely vegetarian (and then vegan)—but nothing changed. I was so confused. I was doing everything “right,” yet I was still fat. I was also considerably fit. Then I started getting involved in animal rights activism. I poured myself into it, and thrived. Finally, I was allowed a break from my mind that was so brainwashed with thoughts of thinness, to concentrate on fighting the animal research on campus, educate people about veganism, and support the broader community. Yet often while vigorously engaging in activism, I was reminded of my size.

A passing car once threw a hamburger at me while yelling a fat insult at a McDonald’s protest. A man in line for the circus shouted out that I couldn’t be vegetarian because I was fat. An elephant trainer read my hoodie patch, “Make Peace Not Pork,” and told me my parents should have thought about that before having me. My body became a target to those threatened by my message.

At a protest against a restaurant serving veal, a patron exiting told me how ugly and fat I was for at least 10 minutes, while fellow activists simply scolded him for being mean. No one told him that he was wrong. No one offered me support after the verbal assault. No one asked if I was okay. I felt so alone. I was brought back to my childhood where I had to deal constantly with bullies and judgment. I had hit a bottom where I had two choices; continue being miserable and consumed with the natural size of my body, or accept my body as it was. I felt empowered by the knowledge that I was way healthier than most people. I explored and questioned where body issues came from and started to write about it. I started to proclaim, “I am fat,” without shame.

It was a long and hard battle, which continues to this day, because reminders that I am “wrong” are still everywhere I look. People I consider friends argue with the fact that you can be fit and fat. My motto has become, “Health at every size and respect for every person.” It seems so simple! Yet I am constantly battling stereotypes and fat hatred. I have found these attitudes of judgment are especially prominent in the animal rights community- where health is such an important tool in veganism education. That is why this issue is so important to talk about, because people come in all shapes and sizes, regardless of their lifestyle or health.

I have personally experienced being treated differently from some activists due to my size, and it was really discouraging. In a community where we ask for compassion for all living creatures, it’s ironic we still choose to treat other humans so awful. This does hurt the animals, as many people don’t want to fight against the personal oppression they are experiencing within a community they are trying to be a part of, while also trying to fight for the freedom of animals. We need all the energy we can get, from every individual who cares for animals, in order to make a difference. This will not happen while we allow stereotypes and judgment to get in the way.

Thinking back to when I was younger, a lot of time was wasted on hating myself. Imagine what I could have been doing to change the world for the better and fight for animals! I am just one person, so imagine all those other people, of all sizes, who waste their lives trying to reach an outdated and misguided “ideal,” rather than making the world a more accepting and peaceful place. By creating a mindset where there is a collective movement toward ending all oppression, we will not only free ourselves, but the animals as well.


Visit Chelsea’s blog, FlavorVegan.