Portland / Vida Vegan Con #4: Opening Reception

by JL Fields on August 29, 2011

I’ve been teasing you over the weekend with all of the fun leading up to Vida Vegan Con with my part one, two and three posts. Before I cover opening night of the conference, let me explain why attending this conference was so important to me.

I started using Twitter, and ultimately blogging, to learn how to be a vegan and to share what I learned.  At that time, it was really about how to be a healthy, dietary vegan.  These interactions via social media– which I wrote about earlier this year when I kicked off the Vegan 101 series — planted me firmly in a community of vegetarians and vegan.  A community of people who I only knew virtually but held in high regard.  Vida Vegan Con was announced last year — a conference for vegan bloggers.  I had to go. I wanted to meet the people I admired. I wanted to learn how to be a better vegan blogger.  I wanted to push myself further on what it means to be vegan, for me.

After several days of play things really got going on Friday night at the champagne and cupcake reception.

The cupcakes and champagne were great, but then the real magic happened. I started meeting the bloggers I admire and have loved from afar!

JL, Gena (Choosing Raw), Lisa (Vegan Culinary Crusade) and Megan (Go Places)

I started reading Gena, Lisa and Megan early on in my vegan days. Gena’s blog, Choosing Raw, was interesting to me because while she certainly talks about a higher raw diet (and has fabulous, easy recipes) she writes provocative posts about veganism and inspires a dialogue among her readers.  As a mostly dietary vegan she forced me to think more about the ethics of veganism. So it should be no surprise that I ultimately invited her to write about this very topic:  Vegan 101: The Ethics of Veganism.  When I first started reading Lisa’s blog, she was blogging as the Vegan Cookbook Critic. She was such a valuable resource to me because there were so many options out there that I just started buying the books that she reviewed (because she also tested the recipes). Her blog has recently morphed into the Vegan Culinary Crusade and it’s truly a reflection of who she is. She is a gentle leader in the vegan movement. I was thrilled when she agreed to write Vegan 101: How to share your passion with compassion. Megan, who I was lucky enough to share a room with during the conference, was living in Germany when I first started reading her blog Sweet On (now Go Places). I found her blog when I was searching travel options for vegans. She offered great tips on finding vegan food anywhere (she has an adorable dog, Jasper, who you can meet on her blog, too).

I walked around the reception, visiting the tables and look who I found!

Woodstock Farm Animal Santuary founders Doug Abel and Jenny Brown! I’m a huge fan of their work and my long-time readers know I’m in love with a certain goat resident at the sanctuary. Jenny told me that tickets to ThanksLiving (10/16/11) will go on sale soon.  I’m so there.

Look, I finally met The Blissful Chef!

Megan and Christy

Christy wrote Vegan 101: A Newbie’s Guide to Seasonal Eating and Cooking.  Her new book, Blissful Bites, was just released (look for a review and giveaway here soon!)

I met Kristina

who you may know as spabettie. I was thrilled because I have always considered her my best girlfriend that I had never met.

Now do you understand why I was so anxious to attend Vida Vegan Con? I got to meet the real people behind the blogs that have had such a profound influence on me.

After the reception a group of us walked over to Homegrown Smoker, a vegan food truck around the corner from the hotel,

where I tried this decadent “burrito.”

Macnocheeto – tortilla stuffed with MacNoCheese, TB Beans, soy curls, peppers and onions, bbq sauce and more – $6

Holy soy curls, that was delicious (and so, so wrong).

Homegrown Smoker on Urbanspoon

Megan and I grabbed our cart food  (and picked up some wine) and invited a group of eleven people to our hotel room for a little “party.”  I did tell the youngsters that they all had to leave by 10:00 p.m. so I could go to bed.  Seriously.

Can you believe I haven’t even gotten to the conference yet? That will have to wait.  Tomorrow I begin a very long journey back to New York (due to a Hurricane Irene flight cancellation it’s going to take me twelve hours to get home) so I will wait until Wednesday to post about what I learned during the two-day conference.

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and dry after a wild weekend of weather.


Today on Stop Chasing Skinny:  “But you’re skinny”


  • caren

    You know I have been a fan of yours for a while now. But after reading this I realize our journeys were very similar. It resonates with me that you wanted to meet bloggers you had admired for a long time. I have to say, at the risk of sounding groupie like) that I look forward to the day when I get to meet you. You were one of the 1st vegans to read and support my blog. Thank you for your support, you have made this last year fabulous.


    • JL

      Caren, after the weekend I have had, never fear feeling groupie like. It was one huge groupie weekend! LOL I love your blog and was so excited when you launched it. And thank you for supporting me, too. I have learned this weekend how small the world really is. So we will meet, we just have to make it happen! (and please, do come to Vida Vegan Con in May 2013 — location TBA)

  • awwww! <3 <3 you are the sweetest! I was SO happy to finally meet you – (I suppose why I YELLED "JL!!" when I saw you)  and glad I got to spend some time with you – wish there was MORE! it was such an amazing weekend, the next one cannot come soon enough! hope you have safe travels home – and I know it's a long trip but I hope it's smooth! XO

  • Holy Macnocheeto OMFGGGGGGGGG … please let me eat this now. SOOOOOO jello of your vida con experience, thanks for letting me live vicariously!! Miss you!

    • JL

      Miss you, too! You would have LOVED the con. Must go to the 2013 one!

  • Good luck getting home, Lady! I was thinking about you this weekend and what a fabulous time you must be having and what a horrible commute that plane ride would be!

    • JL

      It was wonderful, Beth! (you would have loved it!)

  • Meeting you was exactly what I knew it would be, and I mean that in the best of ways. Your zest, intelligence, insight, and energy are just stupendous, JL. I hope we’ll be friends in person and through our work for a long time.

    • JL

      We ARE friends, my dear. We are.

  • Just wow, that burrito looks crazy! So awesome that you got to meet other amazing bloggers, I’ve gotta go next year!

    • JL

      The burrito was off the hook (and I want one right now!)

  • VeganLisa

    Meeting you was a highlight of VVC for me. Your incredible spirit lights up the room – and makes the people around you glow. You have an amazing ability to create connections and community. Thank you for bringing so much warmth and fun to VVC. It would not have been the same without you.

    • JL

      Your kindness knows no bounds!

  • Wonderful post, lovely to read! It seems like there were a lot of fantastic people out there 🙂
    I hope you get home safe! 

    • JL

       The rooms were filled with wonderful, like-minded people. It was incredible!

  • Megan (sweeton)

    If Macnocheeto is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!

    The opening reception was so exciting and overwhelming. Reading your post I’m remembering how strange it felt but also how normal and how much of a relief it was in a way to FINALLY be all together. It wouldn’t have been the same without you!

    • JL

       I know what you mean.  You feel like you “know” bloggers and then BAM, they are in front of you!  It was special.

  • I’m working my way through your VVC posts now…great to see the photos of you with other bloggers! And I love the shots of the food trucks in Portland. Can’t wait to visit there some day. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • But I have to admit, I think that burrito is a bit to risque for me!

      • JL

         Sometimes it’s good to be bad! 😉

  • Pingback: Recreating the “Macnocheeto” (or, rolling up soy curls, beans, rice, pasta and BBQ sauce in a tortilla)()

Previous post:

Next post: