Vida Vegan Con 2013

June 3rd, 2013 · Lisa · Uncategorized · Comments

Hey everyone!

I know it has been a little bit quiet over the past few weeks but I just got back from Vida Vegan Con – the vegan blogger conference extraveganza – and I’m absolutely bursting with ideas and inspiration. I promise this site will be reaping the benefit with a flood of recipes, reviews and more over the next few months. But first…I should tell you a little about the fest that has me all fueled up for a summer of creating.

If you’re on twitter, instagram, facebook or feedly, you probably noticed an abundance of activity last week all with the hashtags: #vvc2013 #vidavegancon #vidaveganconhq. Pretty much my entire social media world was in Portland.

Before I got on the plane to Portland, I made a list. I knew this trip would be a whirlwind of excitement and joy – so a list was the only way to prioritize the pleasure.

My VVC “to do” list (sorry, only iPhone photos this time):

1. Get Hugs ✔
Honestly, the number one reason I went to Vida Vegan Con was for the hugs, the smiles and the sense of connection. The internet has become and amazing resource for conscious, compassionate people to connect – but there is nothing like being in a room filled with like-minded people (a chat room does not count). At the first VVC I met so many of the incredible people who had inspired me online for years. Those friendships are so dear to me that the chance to be with JL, Gena, Jill, Fran, Julie, Isa, Terry, Kittee, Lauren, Amey (and so many more!) all in once place could not be passed up. Plus, this year I met so many new friends (huge bonus hugs)!!!


2. Try new things 
Portland is a pretty extraordinary place. You can find kombucha floats, vegan mac’n cheese burgers, and soy curls galore.
Although I had some favourite spots to return to (Prasad…our love is deep), I wanted to check out more of what else Portland had to offer.

I discovered Canteen – and their Bangkok Bowl – kimchi, rice, beans, broccoli and curry peanut sauce (after walking for an hour in the rain it was heaven!)


Vita Cafe – $5 Cocktail Wednesday! We also had kale salad but really, what a way to start a vacation. I had the sangria and Nicole order a Caesar.


White Owl Social Club – Build your own s’mores. One of the most memorable moments of my week was sitting around the table with some of my favourite people roasting vegan marshmallows.


Portobello – Beet tartare, champagne, ravioli with morels and peas, chimichurri cauliflower of awesome. One night, four of us (Hannah, Ange, Nicole and I) slipped off to a special meal at one of Portland’s most spectacular spots. I will relive it in my mind for a very long time.


3. Find inspiration 

There was something about the energy at VVC that allowed me to let go of all the usual deadlines of my day job and the daily to-dos that can crowd out creativity. Nicole (my favourite travelling companion) and I brainstormed projects on the flight, during the hours of walking around the city and over lattes and a cinnamon bun at Sweetpea bakery. I loved hearing what other bloggers, authors and activists were working on. So many ideas…


4. Share ideas 

I was honoured to be one of the speakers at VVC this year. I was on a panel about writing cookbook reviews and one on international activism. I enjoyed putting my presentations together and getting to share the time with John, Hannah, Ryan and Leigh-Chantelle (all fantastic, fun people). As much as I liked being a part of the formal program, even more exciting were the collaborations that sparked over meals, in the stairwells and in bed with friends. You just never know where those conversation will end up. There is such a wealth of talent and passion in the vegan community, I’m excited to see the amazing, results of all these connections.

5. Say thank you 

I’ve been vegan for almost three decades – and wow, the community has changed over that period. I realize that now I often take for granted all the people who are tirelessly working to make my world a more compassionate place. VVC was an opportunity to say thank you to the leaders of this movement who are contributing to this global shift. It was wonderful to see all of the exhibitors at the event handing out their new vegan products, sift through the abundance of vegan swag and listen in awe to the speakers share their work.

But the biggest “thank you”s go to Michelle, Jess and Janessa who have worked tirelessly to create the magic of VVC.


6. Walk 

I spend way too much time sitting in front of a computer. Portland is such a pedestrian friendly town. I enjoyed hours upon of hours of just strolling. Sunshine would have been appreciated but even in the rain I was greatful for the chance to move everyday. Luckily I picked up a pair of waterproof shoes at Portland’s vegan shoe store – Pie.

7. Have fun

This past year has been a tough one for me. So, being in Portland with people I love was a really good opportunity to just let go and smile. And that I did. As you can tell, I didn’t bring my big camera. I left my laptop at home. I just went…and enjoyed.

8. Learn 

Okay, well, I also attended an amazing array of classes. I took copious notes during Gena‘s class on writing, Terry‘s class on recipe development and Susan‘s class on advanced photography. I still need to research all the resources Isa shared for iPhone photogaphy and Helen and Dawn mentioned during their social media workshop. I soaked it all up like a little sponge :).

9. Get back to basics 

Sometimes it takes getting away from to gain perspective on what is important to you. Being in Portland I realized how passionate I am about the work I do, creating vegan recipes, writing and teaching.

It was fun being in the big crowd full of energy and excitement, but I also allowed myself lots of quiet time to reflect (and sip kombucha or enjoy a hotel-room fashioned parfait).


10. Remember why it matters

Although my entire suitcase of swag may seem like my best take-away from the event, it really was something much easier to carry: a sense of purpose. I left VVC feeling like I had a great deal more clarity about who I am.


As you might expect I was not the only attendee to blog about VVC. I have loved reading all the recaps, especially those by my friends:

GenaHannahAngela, DreenaAmeyKittee and JL. They all actually took photos of people!!!

Wishing you all a day of sunshine, inspiration and a kombucha float.



  1. Posted June 3, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed your time in Portland, Lisa! I saw you when you stopped in at Herbivore (I was working) but I was too shy/didn’t have a chance to say hello. If I had known hugs were involved, I would have been more assertive! Next time!

    • theveganlisa
      Posted June 3, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      Next time there will be hugs!!! I am still disappointed I didn’t buy the elephant shirt…so, I will be back. 🙂

  2. Amey Mathews
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    What a great post, Lisa!!! It was such a joy to see you and connect with you again! Such a shame that we live so far away from each other! I had a lot of very important firsts at this year’s VVC: my first ever taste of Kombucha, my first time driving a Prius, I sent my first ever text message, and i signed up for instagram! Wowsers!

    • Dreena Burton
      Posted June 3, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Amey, I didn’t get to commenting on your VVC post, but I loved it. Gosh, you are so talented with your drawings. You have such vibrant energy, it was a hoot to connect with you in person – and you were a star on stage. p.s. I’m finally getting into Instagram… we’ll catch up. 😉

    • theveganlisa
      Posted June 3, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      You must come to Toronto (but not in the winter). I love all your first – I drank SO much kombucha this time. What did you think? I already have a batch brewing on top of my fridge. I need to find you on instagram right away!!!

  3. Dreena Burton
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    What a beautiful and original recap of VVC. I feel like the biggest thing I returned home with was making new vegan connections and friends, and reuniting with good friends (like you). I am missing it all now! I didn’t take in nearly as many food highlights as you did, so next time I’m tagging along with you, deal?! xo (p.s. I think our hug was the squishiest in my photos, love it!)

    • theveganlisa
      Posted June 3, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      Absolutely! And you are always invited to join me at any meal (even in my condo). Your hug was one of the tightest, most soul soaring, squeezes of the week. xo

  4. Christa Collie
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    I wish I could have gone to VVC! I’ve been following everyone’s twitter, instagram, blog feeds and it looks like it was a fabulous weekend! Hopefully next year…

    • theveganlisa
      Posted June 3, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      Definitely next time. It is such an amazing event and it seems to get bigger and better each time around.

  5. kittee berns
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    I only wish we had more than a fleeting moment together here and there!

    • theveganlisa
      Posted June 3, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      We will have to actually eat a meal together or near each other next time. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  6. Posted June 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    “I left VVC feeling like I had a great deal more clarity about who I am.” Yes. There could be no better souvenir than that. Like you, I left Portland and Vida Vegan Con feeling revitalized and energized about the kind of work I want to be doing and building.

    Truly, one of the highlights of the trip was getting to meet you at last. You were every bit as sincere, warm, and a force of love as I knew you would be. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to meet up for a juice on our last day in town, but next time I’d love to arrange a meal or get together ahead of time. More Lisa, please! 🙂

    • theveganlisa
      Posted June 4, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      Cadry, It was such a joy to get to give you a great big hug. I have no doubt our paths will cross again. There will be chats over juice, relaxing brunches, and dinners complete with lots of laughter!

  7. Nicole
    Posted June 4, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I love this post, Lisa! So many to-dos… 🙂

    Thank you for being my travel partner on this trip. I really enjoyed walking from one end of Portland to the other with you! xo

    • theveganlisa
      Posted June 4, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      Nicole, who else would get excited about hummus picnics and hotel room parfaits? It was so good to have a week with you. I feel very blessed to have you in my life. xo

  8. Posted June 4, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I miss you so, I miss you so, I love you so. Be here now. My Lisa. x

    • theveganlisa
      Posted June 4, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      Hannah…the feeling is mutual. Be here now. I miss you. The sun is shining, the lake is sparkling and yet…something is missing (psst, it’s you).

  9. runcrissierun
    Posted June 15, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    It was so great seeing you again. And thanks for the hug 🙂

    • Lisa
      Posted June 18, 2013 at 10:10 pm

      It was so great to see you – although so fleeting. xo

  10. jess sconé
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Thank you for being a part of this magical weekend! <3

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