Sunday, June 7, 2015

Vida Vegan Con Takes Texas: Day Two!

I'm back with MORE Vida Vegan Con pics! Will the updates ever end? I promise tomorrow will wrap up this series, but Vida Vegan Con — all three conventions — has been such an important part of my life. I'd say that a good chunk of my fondest memories of all time stem from some VVC moments at conferences past. And I do believe that this last one (sadly, the last ever) was the best one.

Sunday was a bittersweet day for all of us at VVC. It was Day Two of the conference, the last day. And since there will be no more VVCs, we all knew that it may be the last time all us blogger buds will get to see one another in real life. Sure, we'll see each other on our blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram. But it's not the same. Anyway, we made the most of the last day though, as you'll see in this photo recap.

Breakfast was another Taco Buffet! But this time, the ingredients were different. I wanted to eat a little lighter on Sunday since my talk was in the afternoon, so I just made two tacos. One had tofu scramble, Sweet Earth bacon, Daiya, nooch, and sriracha, and the other had soy chorizo, hash browns, jalapenos, Daiya, nooch, and sriracha. Yum!

After breakfast, Sheridan, Drew, and I all went to Gena Hamshaw's (of Choosing Raw) talk on starting a vegan health career. Mind you, I've no interest in actually starting a healthcare career. But I'd not seen Gena much at the con yet, and I wanted to see her lovely face. After that, we hit up the Vegan Athletes Panel, which really inspired Sheridan and I to start working on our muscles. I still can't run distance with my injury, but I can lift weights!

Next, it was lunch time. And guess what we had? TACOS! One thing I learned in Austin: There is no such thing as too many tacos. This time, they had some suggestions posted at the buffet for how to build specific tacos. I followed those loosely and created a Korean BBQ Taco with baked tofu, lettuce, garlic aioli, and Korean BBQ sauce; a Mac & Cheese Taco (!!!!) with mac, Sweet Earth bacon, coconut bacon, Daiya, and queso. Also made a Taco Salad on the side with pinto beans, guac, salsa, queso, and hemp seeds.

After lunch, I went to Hannah Kaminsky's (BitterSweet) On-Location Photography class with tips for shooting food in low-lit restaurants. Hannah's photography is beautiful, and it was great to get tips from a pro. And then Amey Matthews (Vegan Eats & Treats) had a pop-up talk on compassion and her fave yoga sutras. LOVE me some Amey! There was a short break after that, and they fed us more treats! Giant Sugar Cookies from Capital City Bakery!

My talk was next though, and I didn't want to have sprinkles all up in my teeth. So I saved this cookie for Monday's ride home. Here's the sign that was outside my talk! I was in the last block of the day, which was kind of nerve-wracking because I just wanted to get it over with.

But it went great!

I led a lively discussion about the ethics of dining and boozing — Do you pepper your server with a million questions? Are you a "don't ask, don't tell" vegan? Does asking a bunch of questions help or hinder veganism? Do we benefit more from making veganism seem easy and approachable by not asking too many questions? Or is it better to let our vegan needs be known to normalize veganism? There were strong opinions on both sides, and the discussion went a few minutes past the end of class time!

After my talk, it was time for the official Vida Vegan Con goodbye talk from organizers Jess, Janessa, and Michelle. These three ladies have worked so hard for these past six years to put VVC together, and they'd announced before the con that the third would be the last. They have full-time jobs, and they need a break. But there's hope that something else will spring up. I believe it will. Anyway, there were tears and hugs and lots of Dandies.

Sher, Drew, and I grabbed a quick shot by the VVC banner before the event closed up.

But hey, this party wasn't quite over yet! There was an after-party at this ADORABLE little gay bar called Cheer Up Charlie's, and we headed right over.

Of course, we immediately hit up the bar. This place serves awesome vegan cocktails! I got the Vegan Yeti, which is basically a White Russian.

They had a photo booth all set up for us inside! So we played a bit.

Then we went outside to mingle with our VVC friends. Here's VVC organizers Janessa and Michele. God, I love these ladies! I remember years ago, not long after I started this blog, thinking, "Wouldn't it be so cool if all the vegan bloggers could meet in real life?" And then, these ladies (and Jess!!) made it happen. Three times!

I spotted Susan (Kittens Gone Lentil), Jojo (Vegan in Brighton), Erika (Sews Before Bros) sitting at a table of VVC folks!

By this time, we were finally starting to get hungry again. And thank the vegan gods, Arlo's food truck is stationed outside Cheer Up Charlie's. Hey look — Amey is taking a picture of me taking a picture of her!

Arlo's is home to these famous Vegan Bac'n Cheezeburgers. OH. MY. GAWD.

And if that wasn't amazing enough, Arlo's also has Tots with Chipotle Mayo. I cannot express how much love I have in my heart for tots.

That was a lot of food. And I was full about mid-way through, but one does not abandon one's tots. Or one's bac'n cheezeburger. I conquered that meal like a pro. Every last bite. Granted, a couple of tall-boy beers later, I was regretting that decision because I felt as if I might pop. But whatevs. I would have had more regret if I'd left a tot uneaten.

After dinner, we made our rounds and chatted with all the buds that we didn't get to spend enough time with during the conference. I was super happy that I finally got spend a few moments with Miss Katie of Vegan Noms and Brit!

And I stole this pic as someone else was taking it for their own camera! Look at all these VVC ladies in one place!

Sadly, we made our way out of Cheer Up Charlie's and headed back to the hotel. I'm gonna miss my VVC buds SOOOOO MUCH! And I hope we get to all meet again someday in a big group setting. I really hope some enterprising vegan take up the reigns and gets something like this together. Until then, at least we have the internet.

Alright, well, that's it for tonight. I'll have my final wrap-up post tomorrow with a very special (to me anyway) announcement and pics of our final meals in Austin!


Dana said...

All that food looks INSANE! I would have loved to hear your talk on vegan dining. I got some flack on the facebook page a few weeks ago for posting the Vegan Bro's video on dining out, so I think it's interesting that so many people take one side or the other on the issue.

I really hope someone picks up the VVC torch, because it's definitely something I want to do some day.

Now I must go eat tacos.

Sarah said...

Looks like you had such an amazing time!! So sad that it is ending but hopefully one day it will be happen again and you will all be reunited again! All of the eats look so incredible, I'm so jealous! Congrats on your panel, I'm glad it went well! Your dress is too cute!!

Hannah said...

I'm so glad you could make it to my little photography talk, but I have a feeling you could have taught that class yourself! Hopefully there was still something helpful to take away. I just wish we had more time to catch up!

Susan said...

Such fun recaps. That burger and tots from Arlos were so good they were worth feeling like you were going to explode! I kind of want another one right now.