Interview with VVC Moderator Colleen Holland, VegNews

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ColleenHolland.VegNews2015Good evening, Austin!

One of the biggest supporters of our first-ever vegan conference that could (way back in 2011) was Colleen Holland of VegNews Magazine, who’s joining us this weekend as both a vendor (see her tomorrow at our opening day Vegan Bazaar!) and as moderator of our “Let’s Talk Marketing” panel on Saturday morning. Without further adieu— because we sure need some sleep before the weekend truly hits— we present the following Q & A to catch up with all things Colleen:

What’s new with all things VegNews?
Great things are happening at VegNews. My team and I are working on the Summer 2015 issue, which includes everything from plant-based food tech companies and a vegan tour of Paris to homemade vegan pantry staples (butter! whipped cream!) and our favorite books, films, blogs, and TV shows of the summer. Plus, we’ll be including our 15th annual vegan wedding feature, with menus and parties like we’ve never seen before.
Let’s talk marketing…really! You’re leading a panel at Vida Vegan Con III this upcoming week that folks are already buzzing about. What’s in store?
I’ll be talking marketing with three experts from the world of podcasting, e-commerce, and app development. Whatever your message or platform is, we’re going to share the best way to get your content out there—and to do so on a budget. With passion, creativity, and a plan, anything is possible!
How do you recommend new vegan businesses get the word out what they’re sharing with the world…or at the least, their own community?
Building an audience or customer base through a thoughtful, well-planned social media strategy is a great way to jumpstart your business. You want to provide quality content, be consistent, and be an extension of your brand so people feel connected to you and what you’re doing.
What vegan (or vegan-loving) brands are you digging these days?
Oh my gosh, there are so many! I love cheese by Miyoko’s Creamery, chocolate tarts by Hail Merry, coconut chai by Bhakti Chai, body butter by Ellovi (hello, Mint Chocolate!), and grapefruit lip balm by Hurraw. For a special treat, I am obsessed with the French raw artisan truffles from Hnina, and last week we received a shipment of a new line of cheese sauces from The Honest Stand that is going to rock the vegan world.
What do you think’s in store for the future of the vegan world?
I think we’ve reached a tipping point, and the vegan economy is about to explode. For years, we’ve operated in our insular community as the movement slowly grew, but now the world is ready for plant-based living. People everywhere want to eat well, feel good, and live compassionately, and our community has been building the framework for this to happen for decades. Now, our time has come.
What excites you about veganism going so dang (and beautifully!) mainstream?
Where do I begin? First and foremost, I hope this is the beginning of the end to animal suffering. I’ve always felt that building a parallel vegan economy is the way we are going to achieve this goal, and I think we are here. I am also thrilled that people are taking charge of their health and looking toward a plant-based lifestyle to get healthy. We know there is zero deprivation when going vegan, and now the world is discovering this as well.
What are you looking forward to at (the final! epic!) Vida Vegan Con III?
I can hardly wait to arrive in Austin! I am looking forward to connecting with friends and colleagues from around the country, checking out all the vendors at Friday’s Vegan Bazaar, eating my way through the conference buffets, and scoping out new and exciting blogs. It will be a whirlwind four days, but I’m ready for it!
Janessa displays our award, which quickly went onto the mantle above her sweet fireplace.
Janessa displays our award, which quickly went onto the mantle above her sweet fireplace.

Thanks, Colleen! See the very latest of what she’s up to over at Healthy Vegan & stop by the VegNews table tomorrow!

Thursday = Launch of Red Hot Scavenger Hunt @ VVC Meet & Greet!

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The time has come! Y’all ready to get your vegan scavenger hunt on!?!?

Our dear pals the Red Hot Vegans are hosting a totally vegan and totally awesome sounding scavenger hunt during Vida Vegan Con weekend, and it starts 3pm during today’s Meet & Greet! And if you’re not in town yet, don’t worry, you don’t have to start today because there will be ways to make up the points and folks can join in at any time.

Prizes for the RHV VVC Weekend Scavenger Hunt include:

& more!

Image source:

See more details and sign up over on Red Hot Vegans.

Remember, today’s Meet & Greet is rain or shine and you can sit either outside (where we’ll def. be if it’s dry!) or inside Buzzmill Coffee! The all-vegan (and rather reclusive, so yay for this special early opening and menu!) Golden Spike will have the following offerings, just for us:

FYI, the tacos are gluten-free, as is the chickin’ salad on its own!

RSVP on Facebook here. Family & friends are certainly welcome, but this is for full weekend conference attendees to connect. Warning: There is a wee bit of taxidermy, so focus on the all-vegan food truck aspect and remember, this is Texas.

See you all SO DANG SOON!


Vegan Austin Specials for Vida Vegan Con III Weekend!

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Holy moly, Vida Vegan Con III week has arrived!

We are all so ecstatic to see our attendees and speakers sharing strategic packing tips (HUGE hint: make room for the SWAG Bag of Wonder!), and photos from their roadtrips and early arrivals here into Austin. Welcome to town!! Yes, there was some funky, frightening weather on Monday but it’s been bright and super sunny since theny — and both of our event locations are INDOOR venues (click for more venue details).

Operation: SWAG! SWAG! SWAG! SWAG!

Janessa, Michele and myself adore the Austin community and its thriving vegan eats, community and culture: so much so that we’ve invited all of you here for our third Vida Vegan Con. We’ve been welcomed with open arms and breakfast tacos, and are stoked to share our adopted city with all of you.  So, we know you’ll be super busy with the actual conference happenings and attending our opening day Vegan Bazaar (where the vendors will be!!), classes and epic meal buffets, but in your free time, we encourage you to explore the city! From vegan food trucks to art galleries, check out what’s unfolding all around you in Texas!

And in that free time and those conference after-hours, we recommend the following vegan-loving businesses that are offering Vida Vegan Con weekend specials! 💚 All you have to do is tell them you’re a Vida Vegan Con attendee💚

First up, GO TO RABBIT FOOD GROCERY! This is truly #1 on your vegan Austin pilgrimage. And do us a favor, thank them again for holding all of your precious SWAG.

Image credit: Lazy Smurf

New! The Vegan Yacht food trailer on the grounds of the fabulous Spider House (where T.O.F.U.’s Friday night afterparty event takes place) is offering a complimentary coconut juice with any order of food for VVC attendees.

Image source: tumblr

Now that you’ve stocked up on goodies for your stay and some treats to bring back home, there’s the all-vegan food trailer parked on the grounds of Buzzmill Coffee (home of our rain-or-shine Meet & Greet on Thursday afternoon, aka tomorrow!!),  Golden Spike Rail Truck, who will be offering a special menu for VVC throughout the weekend with a bunch of their hit items:


In case you’re wondering, the cactus tacos are gluten-free, and you can add stand-alone eggrolls as a side to any dish!

Tattoo time! Ashley Thomas of Atomic Tattoo is continuing her recent vegan ink special on Friday, May 29 and 30th with . Email her ASAP at to schedule an appointment. She’s offering $60 for black & white and $100 for color of the following, but talk to her about your tattoo dreams!

Waffles! Yeah, when isn’t it the time for waffles? Unity Vegan Kitchen in South Austin is bringing back their hit Chickun & Waffles with Pepper County Gravy all through Thursday-Monday. Go get some!

Image credit:

Next up, head to Counter Culture on E Cesar Chavez (perhaps, well, definitely, before Capital City Bakery’s Saturday night anniversary bash?) They’ve made sure to feature two of their most asked-about specials on their weekend menu, the Brie, Fig and Apple Pizza and The Soul Food Burrito!


Often in the mood for falafel? I get it. I crave this place and the fact that it has an Austin location perks my garbanzo interest: Maoz Falafel! Mention you’re a Vida Vegan Con attendee at their N Lamar spot and get 5% off your purchase!

Okay, you’ve had your savoury, so it’s time for sweets at another vegan Austin must: Tell ’em you’re a VVC attendee at Sweet Ritual Ice Cream and get a FREE TOPPING, BABY!

See Julia’s cone? It needs help. It needs sprinkles.

And then seriously, if you’re going to Sweet Ritual, you may as well rewind time/go earlier in the day, and get start your day right with a taco and coffee (or 2…of both) at The Vegan Nom. Trust us on this. These fine folks are offering a complimentary order of chips & queso with any two regular or signature tacos. Plus, you can catch chef/owner Chris Rios at Friday’s “How We Made Austin Awesome” panel at the Vegan Bazaar, and Sunday’s panel on “The New Vegan Economy“. Our full weekend spots are indeed sold out, but tickets for Friday are still available this way with discount code “WEHEARTAUSTIN“!

Remember, 💚 All you have to do is tell them you’re a Vida Vegan Con attendee💚

See you all this weekend!!

Get Vida Vegan Con in your hands!

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Happy one mere week ’til Vida Vegan Con III! As you hopefully caught on our Instagram feed (follow along with @vidavegancon for behind-and-in-front of the scenes updates!), we’re going an extra step for our third conference with a digital conference platform. This means you have a free handy-dandy guide with all of our class info, official and unofficial events, speaker bios and all the Vegan Bazaar info you can handle.

This site is for all full weekend registrants, where you can plan your conference schedule (not an obligation, with the exception of Amey’s Zine Workshop) from an interactive, super up-to-date platform on your own smart phone or tablet. In fact, as  full weekend attendees, you should have received an email earlier today to get things started!

It’s easy: Turn on your device. Open this very link:

This will prompt you to bookmark onto your home screen. Go for it! Make a quick account, and start exploring!


 Photo by Julia.

See you all next week in Austin!!

Let’s get you to Vida Vegan Con 2015!

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It’s been two long years since VVC2013 and we’re beyond excited to see you all in Austin! Let make this happen.

Sweet Ritual
Sweet Ritual

Step 1:

First things first…Vida Vegan Con is open to all vegan content creators, bloggers, authors, chefs, entrepreneurs, activists community leaders, creative professionals, business owners, enthusiasts and their moms…and best friends…and partners…and pictures of their cats. And so on. Super curious? Read our F.A.Q. for more info, peruse this amazing speaker lineup, and then come join us!

Got your ticket?

Pondering just a taste of VVC with Friday’s Bazaar?

Applied for one of two VVC scholarships?

Wanna volunteer at the Bazaar (and maaaaybe help out during the weekend?)

It’s on!

Step 2:

So, how are you getting to Austin?? Epic vegan road trip? Savvy flier? Got those headphones ready for the bus or train? Walking down the street? Whether you’ve decided just how you’re arriving for the festivities or are still contemplating the possibilities of nooch-powered teleportation, here’s a bunch of info on Getting To & Around Austin, TX.

Step 3:

Okay, where do you want to stay? WITH US?!? We’ve seriously got a few select few rooms remaining for the on-site* room block right at AT&T Executive Education & Center. Here’s your info to snag a room.

Now, your friendly organizers at VVC Headquarters are no stranger to hostels, AirBnB, crashing on friend’s couches and digging around Priceline and the like ( with occasional bouts of Jess becoming darkly Name-Your-Own-Price obsessive).

Rest assure, we’ve got a large list of hotels, hostels, bike and car rentals over here: VVC2015: Where to Stay.

More, More, More:

In conclusion (for now!!), our Vida Vegan Con 2015 Travel Info include super pertinent info on:

Getting To & Around Austin ⭐ Where to Stay ⭐Vida Vegan Con Takes Austin  Map 
 Bonus: Austin Vegan Eats Google Map ⭐ & Our Official 2015 Venues
$2.50 USD = direct bus to or fro the Austin airport
$2.50 USD = direct bus to or fro downtown and the Austin airport

No need to go clicking too far, here’s everywhere Vida Vegan Con III + The Vegan Bazaar are happening (with more to come!)

*Please realize that our on-site room block is where Saturday and Sunday conference happenings take place. Friday’s Bazaar is being held at The Marchesa Hall & Theatre. You are responsible for transportation between all venues as needed. The above map includes driving, bike and public transit directions between the two (plus, practically any & everywhere you’ll want to eat).

VVC Scholarship Applications + Speaker Series #5: Michelle Lee, Creative Professional

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Happy Tuesday, vegan-land! We’re bringing you two conference news updates today: the opening of two scholarship Michelle Lee VVC speakersspots (one international! one domestic!) for our conference this May, and the latest 2015 speaker interview. The Vida Vegan Con Speaker Series continues with another special Canadian vegan, the charming Michelle Lee of Broadview Design and Vegan Prom Vancouver.

As a creative professional based out of Vancouver, B.C. and two-time Vida Vegan Con attendee (not to mention cat and vegan food enthusiast), she knows exactly what our third conference lineup needs. Michelle is presenting on “Branding for Bloggers“, which will tackle design, branding, logos, typography, consistency and pretty much any and everything both independent creative professionals and bloggers alike should really sorta kinda, well, definitely know.

Vida Vegan Con Speaker Series: 

Michelle Lee, Creative Professional

This interview was recorded on Saturday, March 7, 2015 Hatch Innovation in Portland, OR and Vancouver, B.C. 

Heads up: For whatever reason, this video does have a few technical difficulties – our apologies! It remains swell and insightful.

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 Vida Vegan Speaker Series. And for goodness sake, make sure you turn notifications off so you don’t get emailed every day.

Catch Michele at Vida Vegan Con May 29-31st in Austin, TX! You can follow her on Instagram & Twitter as @food.n.catz

Looking for our full 2015 VVC Speaker Lineup? You got it.

Tickets to both events during this three-day super vegan weekend are available here. See you in May!

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!

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!