Vida Vegan Con II (2013) finally arrived! I attended Vida Vega Con in 2011, and when I won a ticket via So Delicious, well…I knew it would be fun to go back once again. Kirk and the three boys came along, and we made it a weekend. Did I mention yet that this was the first time he had been alone for extended time with all three? Hehehe. We had amazing traffic going down early on Friday morning, which was shocking, as normally the traffic is awful. Kirk dropped me off and I headed to the conference, held at the Portland Art Museum. He then spent two days corralling 3 heathens 😉
Knowing how my family works, we stayed at our go-to Portland hotel, The Residence Inn, which is suites with a kitchen and bedroom(s). It sits right on the streetcar line, about a mile away from the museum. It was very convenient for me, walk out and get on for a $1. It was nice having them along, but I’ll be honest: after taking the family along to 2 conferences, no more. I revert to “mom” as soon as I walk in the hotel, and I don’t have the energy to write at night. Good lesson to learn. It just took me awhile to realize I am not being a “bad” mom to go have time to myself.
I don’t consider myself a vegan truthfully. I am not a vegan lifestyle blogger either. Had you met me in my early 20’s, yes, I would have been a lifestyle vegan. I was then. But as I get older, I see it isn’t black and white, but rather I simply try to choose what will hurt the world less with every decision. What I am is a real person, trying to do her best, as she can. I like listening to panels and talks on blogging subjects, trying new foods, and exploring new ideas. And that I lean heavily towards this way means I can get a lot out of a “vegan conference”. I try to open my mind and soak in what I can, scribbling notes and themes down. This year I took classes I wouldn’t normally gravitate towards and actually came out happy I had chosen them.
And if anything, the networking is wonderful. You meet so many others and have a chance to see what motivates others. And it is all over the spectrum. It is food, health, animal rights, gender equality, nearly anything one can imagine, And going to conferences pulls one out of their tiny world. I found that even if I didn’t agree with the topic, it got me fired up. That isn’t a bad thing. All I wanted to do was sit there and purge my heart and mind as I sat there on my blog. Scream to the world that this is why I am who I am. Feeling that inspired is drug-like to me, and it left me waiting excitedly for IFBC in Seattle in September! I have a lot to say about the classes I attended, I think I will break them down to single posts in the coming weeks, I have a lot to dwell on and process through my mind.
But! Lest you think it was all serious and that jazz, no it wasn’t! For me, half of why I went was for the food. The meals, the noshing on samples in the vendor hall and the bulging swag bags:
I enjoyed pot pies from Tofurky (I can say I never thought I’d say about frozen pot pies “I’d buy this”. I was wowed!) They have a new line of products coming out, including artisan sausages that are very tasty.
Go Veggie cheese put on samples daily, their caprese-style grilled cheese sandwich was so good!
Nasoya had potato salad and mini-banana muffins made with their wonderful vegan mayo. Yum, I got the first muffin out of the oven! Please, please don’t hate me – I had to share this photo from their Twitter stream:
Earth Balance had packets of heaven out:
I found heaven in Teese Cheese. Their nacho cheese is crazy good! I came home with 2 flavors, I’ll be talking more about it soon.
Believe me…I could go on and on and on about the food. There was sweets galore on the breakfast menu from local bakeries…my pants! Saturday I indulged in a meal from Veggie Grill, we had a voucher for a free meal in our bag! I wasn’t sure what I’d think about them, till I tried light appetizers Friday night, which was hosted by them. For fake meat, they do it right. It is GOOD food! They even make kale salad taste good, which for me means it was truly good 😉
And the booklettes! I picked up a copy of the ‘zine style “The Official-Unofficial Vida Vegan Con 2013 Cookbooklette” for $1 which was illustrated by Amey Mathews of Vegan Eats and Treats, Kathy Hester of Healthy Slow Cooking had a booklette in the official swag bag, as did So Delicious.
During lunch on Saturday was Vegan Battle Royale, which was hilarious and featured audience participation, lots of trivia to trip people up:
And this lady won a swag box from Amy’s of soup with a pretty soup bowl! They had a number of gifts where people got called up to the stage. Yowza!
I ended up missing Sunday completely. The baby woke up with a head cold, which now has Kirk sick as well 🙁 Still, I had a wonderful and inspiring weekend – and know that I should attend as many conferences as I can 😉 More to come soon, with a lot of deep thinking. Hope you all had a good weekend as well!