I woke up too early on Sunday, mostly because I was still on Eastern Time, but it gave me the opportunity to run around the Rose Quarter for a few miles before it was time for breakfast! Of course, I ended up arriving much too early, and paced around hungrily (snacking on mini larabars) until 8:30am (Note to self: don’t forget to read your program and confirm times before leaving early!)
Breakfasts at VVC, and I know I’m not alone in this, made me discover just how good chia seeds can be. We had a “raw chia parfait” and the recipe is here on The Svelte Kitchen. Having only played with it in the ground up form, I just mentally paired it with flax seeds and never gave it much thought beyond that. It wasn’t exactly pretty, but very tasty.
I’d insert a photo of it here just to prove it, but uncharacteristically, I almost entirely stopped taking pictures of my food for most of the weekend. I did take a picture of my plate, but everything is just jumbled together. I really liked the Vegan Vagrant‘s VVC food photo collection (as well as the links to all the other VVC recaps!) and of course you the VidaVeganCon flickr feed is worth checking out.
First panel of my morning was The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: The Marketing Panel. This was something that snapped my interest right away when I flipped through the program, since it fits in with what I’m interested in outside of vegan food, the talk brought up very good points for people inside and outside the community. Queen of Vegan Desserts, Fran Costigan provided the non social media marketing perspective, while everyone else, like Kyle Domer (the Vegan Vagrant), Anika Lehde (of Vegan Score), and Stephanie Redcross (of Vegan Mainstream) had a lot to say about marketing practices in mostly the digital sphere (and also on using those to create IRL connections.)
One thing that I think is worth reiterating is the statement about using automatic services to tweet and and send direct messages to people that follow you, is that if it’s not personalized, auto direct messages are just annoying. In my case, it results in an auto-unfollow. Occasionally with a DM saying why I’m unfollowing. I’m also going to try and check out the “22 Immutable Laws of Branding.”
The one point that I was extra interested in was re-branding. I’m originally from the prairies, and to a great extent, my heart still lives there, but I don’t actually live in the prairies anymore. So, do I change my blog name, or do I continue what I started? The debate lives on. (as an aside to anyone that attended the panel, Sherri, of VeganNosh, let me know that TempehFairy.com is still available for domain registration.) The panelists recommended seriously considering the value of re-branding, and overall the consensus seemed to be to avoid doing it if at all possible.
An especially great moment was tweeting @brit_on_twit while sitting behind her (and not realizing it was her,) then having Michelle (@tothewestside) tweet at both of us. (Maybe you just had to be there, but I thought it was perfect behaviour for a blogger con.)
I spent the next hour being nervous about the Restaurant/Product Reviews and Ethics class/panel (since I’d be sitting in front of the audience for this one), however the nervousness was mitigated by talking to John McDevitt of Laziest Vegans and Vegan Omaha, who I’ve decided is one of the most calm and easygoing people I’ve met in a long time. Other folks on the class/panel were Kyle (yet again from Vegan Vagrant), and Bianca Phillips of Vegan Crunk.
Some really interesting points were brought up during the discussion (from the audience), including the potential legal issues involved in reviewing products and restaurants (since even yelp reviewers have been sued), how to ask for samples from companies (if you’re emailing them, make sure you mention your blog or twitter account in the email, give them info about who you are!), distinguishing between liking a product for it’s merit, or liking it merely because it’s vegan (Jason Das from SuperVegan said during the Travel Panel “bad vegan food is bad for veganism”) as well as keeping in mind that your posted opinion can impact someone’s livelihood. That last point is something that I think is really important, and probably worthy of an entirely separate post someday. But not now.
After running out of the room to grab lunch ( vegan texmex style – my favourite!) went over to see the Publishing Panel with Bryanna Clark Grogan, Julie Hasson, Terri Hope Romero, Joni Marie Newman, and Ryan Patey. With vegan cookbook queen Isa Chandra Moskowitz as moderator, and most of the other panelists, it was definitely cookbook-publishing-centric, but there was great info to be gleaned out about general publishing too.
Ryan Patey of T.O.F.U magazine, made some seriously awesome points about self publishing, and where it could go, or alternate avenues authours could explore. The one that jumped out at me was children’s books! Especially having so many vegan friends with “read me a story” age children, and so many vegan parents out there, there is definitely a market for it.
Terry Romero had mentioned writing software that I’d like to try out (on my partner’s macbook… cough hint hint) called Scrivener, it looks like a neat way to organize thoughts and ideas while creating. However, overall it seemed as though publishers prefer to work in MS Word.
And then… it was time for the last panel of the day. It was hard to decide, as usual, but I ended up going to the Reality, Identity and Blogging. I enjoyed the different perspectives from Dynise Balcavage (the Urban Vegan), Lauren Christensen, Sarah Matheny (MamaPea/Peas and Thank You) and Lidiana The Spicy Vegan (who I’ve learned is seriously serious about her privacy.) The panel was moderated by Jess S from GetSconed and StumptownVegans (and various other pdx vegan greatness). I learned so much more about these awesome bloggers FROM this panel, I’m so glad I attended.
Then it was all over. We all went back into the room of food and exhibitors, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero did the closing address together (which just seems natural), and after a final good bye from the VVC Founders, we dispersed (somewhat). sadface.