Tag Archives: Vida Vegan Con 2011

I’m an Overachiever Because I Play with My Food

FOOD

What can I say….LEFTOVERS!!!  That is certainly what this holiday weekend is about.  And not just reheating what we ate on Thursday (though that’s happened too), but getting fun with it.

Breakfast on Friday was a leftover wrap.  I threw a little bit of everything (except the apple pie) into a warm tortilla; Tofurkey, sweet potato casserole, salad, and green bean casserole.  Very tasty and filling – and a great pre-workout meal.  I will say the sweet potatoes dominated the flavors, but it was still fun to eat.

it's a wrap!

Today, breakfast was some cold diced Tofurkey on the rest of the leftover salad with a home-made dressing from a week or so ago.  Again, very yummy.

incredibly simple, but was definitely craving some raw food this morning. With the tofurkey on top, definitely kept me full for hours

Dinner was a combination of leftovers and a different side dish.  I made Panini sammiches with leftover Tofurkey, vegan mozz cheese, spinach, and avocado.  I have a cuisinart griddler that we use a LOT, but this is the first time I actually used it as a Panini press.  It was quite cool.  Even though S called me a overacheiver when I was texting her what was for dinner.  She’s just jealous ;)

prepping the sammiches for the Panini press

Served with a side of Mac N Trees (a yummy vegan macaroni and “cheeze” dish with broccoli from Appetite for Reduction), and dinner was a huge hit.  R had two huge helpings of the Mac N Trees – which made me really happy since it’s such a healthier version than the traditional alternative.  I used brown rice pasta, and no one seemed to notice at all, so this was not only low cal/fat, but gluten-free too.  Bonus!

For dessert I made Root beer Float Cupcakes!  When I went to Vida Vegan Con in August, we were given a copy of My Sweet Vegan in our swag bags.  I admit that it took me awhile to read through it, and I wish I had sooner.  What makes this book so different is how whimsical her desserts are.  I mean…root beer float cupcakes is brilliant.  I made them this evening, and it was totally fun to watch everyone’s faces as they ate them and realized they tasted JUST like rootbeer floats!  I will say, I couldn’t find root beer extract in any local store, and D ordered some for me from Amazon.  It came yesterday, so this has been on my to-do list for several days.  They didn’t disappoint!

cupcake, chocolate ganache, and vanilla frosting

a TON of leftover chocolate ganache. I'm sure I can think of lots to do with this...like maybe just get a spoon and eat it as-is!

FITNESS

Even though I wasn’t too glutenous on Thursday, I still wanted a good workout when I got up on Friday.  While D napped (he had eaten SO much on Thanksgiving, he couldn’t sleep), I popped in a strength training/interval workout DVD.  I rarely use DVD’s because I get annoyed with the repetition after the first time I do it, but I have to say…I only have pretty light weights at home, I didn’t want to go to the gym, and without either a workout partner or a video, I’m NOT going to strength train.

I have to say, the workout was good, and even though the weights were pretty light, I’m sore everywhere today.  In a good way, but still.  I plan on doing it tomorrow again….

About 20 min after my DVD, I decided I still felt great and had a ton of energy, so I went for a run.  That, in retrospect, may have been a mistake.  The run was great until about half way, when I just lost so much steam.  I made it through, but that last half wasn’t too much fun.

LIFE

It’s been a nice weekend, most definitely.  The weather has been beautiful (high 60′s-low 70′s during the day), and we’ve enjoyed it.  During the day, the front and back doors have been open, and last night, we went to Busch Garden’s for opening day of Christmas Town.  This is their 3rd year, and it’s better than ever.  Every “country” (we live by Busch Gardens – Europe) is decked out with beautiful lights and even fake snow.  They run about half of their rides, but the draw is really the lights.  We just ended up having a great evening wandering around, loving the scenery, visiting the local artist bizarre, and totally loving the nice weather.

I did some online Black Friday shopping, and got a few great deals.  I’m now done with D and mostly done with M.  Lots left for R and A, but at least we know what this year’s “big gift” will be for each of them.

Today, I took R to gymnastics, brought her home, and then met up with S for a late lunch and a couple of beers.  We haven’t seen each other since we were up near DC, so it was high time to catch up.

The rest of this evening has been spent cooking, cleaning, and writing!  I’ll probably spend the rest of the evening catching up on the posts of the past few days, and double checking my Xmas budget!

Until then, here are a couple of pics from this evening!

Bumble sitting on R's lap. She was very proud because the cat pretty much never sits on her...

D and R with Bumble

 

 

Exploring the Concept of Gluten-Lite

FOOD

I am increasingly interested in gluten-free foods and eating.  I attempted to be gluten-free during Lent, and failed.  It was just too hard and I didn’t really know what I was doing.  I made it about a week (mostly by just eating raw foods), and will admit that I felt wonderful.

After the VidaVeganCon conference a couple of weeks ago, my fascination with gluten-free living was sparked again.  I’ve written a few times about my new cookbook purchases and baking attempts here, here and here, so I suppose it won’t come as a shock that it’s something I’m still interested in.

I’m afraid of going cold-tofurkey on it though.  I imagine I’d have a similar experience as I did during Lent.  Sometimes (often) all-or-nothing works well for me, but let’s be frank…this is the sort of think I’m going to have to ease into.  If I don’t, I can see myself locked in a room with pounds of cooked pasta and bread screaming I GIVE UP.

I have decided to explore the idea of gluten-lite.  Sort of like the higher raw concept, can’t that also be done with gluten?  I sure as hell am going to try.  I won’t be perfect, I know, but I’m hoping it’ll be easier to explore gluten-free eating if I take it at a leisurely pace.  I also do not have any diagnosis that indicate I have any allergy or intolerance to gluten, but I’m amazed at the myriad of symptoms out there related to it – symptoms that everyone I know has sometimes (some much worse than others).  This is sort of an experiment for me to see if I experience any subtle changes in how my body feels or processes food based on reduced gluten intake.

So, most of my meals this week I’ve attempted to be as gluten-light as I could.  Certainly didn’t happen all the time, but I have been trying!

green tea rice, spring rolls made with rice paper, and a colorful salad. Think this was gluten-free

watermelon, banana, strawberry smoothie! Definitely gluten-free! And tasty!

Toasted spicy veggie wrap. Certainly not gluten-free due to the flour tortilla

everyone getting ready for dinner...which turns out was a gluten-free meal. Huh. Maybe it's not as hard as I think it is...

the simple pre-meal salad

BBQ tempeh cubes with some vegan cheezy dirty mashed potatoes from Happy Herbivore

today's breakfast - eggplant with rice cheese on gluten-free toasted Udi bread

LIFE

It has been a stressful week…and only the slightly crazy need apply.

Unfortunately, we had to take a 2 week project delay for the one that was supposed to go live this week.  I have a bigger one going next week (but everything looks good on that one), and we’re going to try this one the week after.

I gave a presentation yesterday that went well.  At least something did this week!

The kids are back to school, and we’re at least getting some type of routine around here.  It helps that M and A are in the same school (in the morning anyway).  R hurt her neck, and has actually missed a day and a half.  Ugh.

I’m looking forward to this evening.  I’m finally getting a manicure, and then having dinner and drinks with my friend L.  Tomorrow is supposed to be swimming and gymnastics for R, but it depends on how her neck is feeling.  Then a hair cut for her too.

So now the workday is beginning and I better get my butt in gear!

random picture of bumble in a box

 

Fruit is Trying to Kill Me

FOOD

You’d think I’d learn, but I refuse.  First a peach sent me to the hospital in July.  Then pre-sliced apples from Pike’s Market in Seattle had me scrambling to pop Benadryl to make the hives and swelling of my mouth go away, and today, a plum tried to kill me.  This is getting freakishly ridiculous.

I have been eating fruit for my entire life and I’ve never had a problem until this summer.  Our theory at this point is that all three of these came from a farmer’s market (the peach and the plum from the same market here in Virginia Beach, and the pre-sliced apples from a deli at Pikes) and the farm or packaging workers were wearing latex gloves – to which I KNOW I’m allergic, and somehow I ate that and that’s what caused the fun hives (including some IN my mouth today), the itchy throat, and the swelling.  I did see the deli workers wearing latex gloves, so I should have put that together with the apple incident.  I have a Dr’s appt next Thursday, so until then, I’m sticking to bananas.

On a fun note, I made a recipe from my new Happy Herbivore’s cookbook today!  I made the yellow dal, which was a super simple recipe with yellow split peas that I happened to have on hand.  I served it over some brown rice, and topped with some broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and snow peas.  And a few dashes of hot sauce.  It was absolutely wonderful.

such a yummy and filling dish. Love the crunchy raw veggies on top for texture too.

Then much later (after the Benadryl wore off), I really wanted a bloody mary…so I made a juice in my Vitamix, then poured over ice with some vodka.  I’m telling you…those little Thai chilis are HOT.  So I’m a wee loopy with lips of fire.

tomato, kale, beet, bell pepper, onion, Thai chili, carrot, and lemon juice

clearly the healthiest addition

cheers!

I also felt a deep need to bake.  That urge doesn’t happen very often, but I was so blown away by Kittee at Vida Vegan Con and her impassioned discussion of gluten-free baking – and coupled with my own need to provide nut free baked goods for R – that I went on a bit of a cookbook and ingredient shopping spree and got to work.  My first attempt – fudgy brownies!  I haven’t tried them yet – I have to wait until fully cooled.  But I’m SO excited!

batter you could TOTALLY eat because there nothing gross like raw eggs in it...but it's full of chocolate and chocolate chips!

FITNESS

I went to the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half Marathon Expo this evening.  I am registered to race, but obviously can’t until my back is normal again (which it’s SO close) and I build my mileage back up.

Virginia Beach Convention Center

I am going to go cheer on the bazillion other runners though, and just enjoy being a spectator.  And to live vicariously through others.

LIFE

Meetings, Benadryl, you know…a typical Friday!

After my first meeting this morning, I was finally hungry and ate a plum.  Bad move clearly.  I didn’t panic too badly this time, but did pop a full dose of Benadryl at home and waited for the swelling and hives to go away.  And it took 2 hours before I could drive again.  Benadryl just knocks me out!  Then it was back to the office for more meetings (though I locked myself out of the office).

I’m not going to rant too much, but it was a rough afternoon.  Big project  + Benadryl + major issues (externally caused…not internally) = full-on bitchy Crissie.  It was messy and bloody and I’m not sure there were many survivors.  It’s going to be tense this next week.  I love my job and the people I work with will pull a miracle out of their ears like they always do.  I can certainly say my work life is also NEVER dull :)

On a fun note, I met my youngest’s new teacher for this year and I really like him.  She’s excited because it’ll be her first boy teacher.

R playing on my iPad at dinner after her school open house. Just she and I...it was fun.

random picture of strange child using pirate patch as a third eye...I swear...my children are so NOT normal...but they ARE cute. Most of the time :)

And I got to play a grown up game of pin the tail on the donkey.  The entire IT shop of my company (about 580 people) are going to be moving into a newly renovated building in a year or so.  We met yesterday to put up the floor plans, each Director was given a color, and we went to town stickering the crap out of the floor plans to try to figure out where we’re all going to sit.  It was funny and I had to take pictures.

So I’m going to spend the rest of the evening staying up late and pretending I’m back on West Coast time, catching up on the day’s blog reading, and drink another bloody mary!

one of the floors. There are 5...

Impact from VVC #1 – I Emailed a Company About Their Product!

The following in an email I sent to www.simplescents.com today.  It is my first-ever email to a company regarding their products.  Feeling relatively proud of myself!
Good afternoon,
I wanted to share with you something I noticed when shopping yesterday at the Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market at a retailer that sells your soaps.  I was excited to see (and smell!) the handmade soaps and noticed the display materials clearly state that your soaps are made without animal products.  I picked out a lovely lemon verbena scent.  I was a little dismayed to read the ingredients, and see honey listed.  I am a vegan, and so do not use any products that contain any animal products.  I appreciate the natural soaps you manufacture (and purchased the animal-free grapefruit bar), but was hoping you could contact your sellers to notify them that the “no animal products” statement is false.  I noticed your website actually says “no animal fats” which is an absolutely correct statement, and I would encourage you to change your advertising materials at point of sale to reflect that as well.
Thank you so much for your consideration,
Crissie

What’s in a Name?

Okay, time to attempt to apply lesson #1 from Vida Vegan Con.

The first session I attended was the Build-a-Blog session, hosted by the geniuses behind Vegan Nosh, Vegan Eats & Treats, and Vegan Crunk.  It got me thinking about a ton of things, one of which is my blog name.  I started to worry that my blog name was a problem.  There’s no mention of Veg or Vegan in the name, and it clearly indicates “running”…which due to a back injury it pretty much on the back burner.

I started thinking there was something wrong with my blog name.  Clearly, I write a ton about vegan food and all of my adventures with it.  Am I doing a disservice with my current name?  Am I sacrificing readership because of it?  Are people coming to my blog because they think I write a ton about running (which I CLEARLY don’t at the moment (but hope to soon)? Are people NOT coming to me because there’s no ‘veg’ in my name? Should I hold a contest for ideas for a name change?

At the gala, I had the chance to have a conversation about it, and you know what?  I was encouraged to keep my name as it is.  And for now – that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  I may not run all the time, but RunCrissieRun is a blog about what I eat as a vegan, what attempt at athleticism I can manage, and updates about my frenetic life.  I rant about politics, people who eat crappy food, and how much I hated (or loved) my last yoga class.  It’s who I am, and while I have ideas for offshoot blogs…RunCrissieRun is still my home to babble about what I’ve always babbled about.

So for those who know me…RunCrissieRun stays.  For those who are new…buckle up.  It’s more than just a vegan blog…it’s sort of the World of Crissie…and all that it entails.  Happy reading :)

Watch Out World…I Have IDEAS!!!!

Have you ever been part of something that made you feel like you were dreaming? If not – I feel sympathy for you. Because I have – and I can’t imagine ever letting go of this feeling. I’ve rarely in life felt more inspired and motivated than I have in the past few days. And watch out…I have so many ideas and plans floating around in my noggin that you’re all going to freak out. Only because I’m freaking out…but in a good and energetic way.

I’m going to try to NOT write a novel (heard that MANY times over the weekend at Vida Vegan Con….people veg out and will stop reading if it’s too long).

The fundraising gala last night for Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. SO much fun. I sat at a table with a bunch of wonderful people. I met an idol of mine – Susan from Fat Free Vegan. She was the first ever vegan recipe site I followed back in 1999 when it was a list of recipes that both she had created and other’s had contributed. She’s also the one responsible for me using only initials when talking about other people in my blog. It’s not my place to use names, and if someone googled one of my children, they won’t see my plethora of posts and stories about them. Though that would almost be funny for their dating life. Alas – I never use a name other than my own. And she’s the reason why.

Susan, Sally, and I at the gala. A great table with amazing conversations. (oh, and I

And I danced! Oh lord, I love to dance. We had a circle of fun going, and I notice I’m the only one who wasn’t smart enough to put my glass of wine down. I remedied that shortly.

picture courtesy of Choosing Raw

Fast forward to this morning (trust me…you want me to fast forward). I woke, I packed, and I headed to the conference for the last day. Breakfast was the same spread as yesterday, but no less amazing.

Lunch was again at Homegrown Smokers. Holy crap…the brilliance behind putting mac and cheese in a wrap. With roasted mushrooms and other amazing things. I ate about 2/3 of it before I couldn’t eat anymore. I had the cornbread side and at least ate a bite so I could say I had it. I want them to move to my area so I can eat them all the time.

before I started eating it...

after I bit in. Can you just LOOK at that?!?! It tastes as amazing as it looks. I

I went to awesome sessions today, but my favorite was on specialty diets. It was a panel of 4 amazing women. Raw, Gluten Free, Fat Free/Low, and Baking/Whole Foods. They were awesome, and I posed the question for any advice they may have for people who can’t eat nuts (and if you read me, you know….we’re a nut free family due to R’s allergies). The entire room was amazingly supportive, and I had the chance to educate some on what it’s like to live with or be someone with a severe nut allergy. And guess what…a new blog idea formed. Stay tuned!

The farewell at the end of the day was bittersweet. I had long time heros give the closing farewell address. They were great, and the room gave a standing ovation to the amazing ladies who managed to organize this amazing event. We made them cry, and it was adorable.

I will admit here (sorry Dad)….I did decide to stop at Skelton Key vegan tattoo shop and get a new tattoo! Before I show it, I have to admit that I didn’t know that several shades of black contain animal products, and this shop doesn’t use that. So….here it is. It’s on the right side of my belly/side (mostly belly). I forgot how a new tat feels like sunburn. Ugh…in my waistband area…and it’s going to be intermittently sore and itchy for a while now. Oh well…totally worth it.

So in closing…I have two new blog ideas, joined some Meet Up groups in my area to get the ball rolling on being involved in my community, got a new tat, ate a ton of amazing food, met some ridiculously awesome people, and in general had one of the most amazing weekends of my life, still wrote a novel (sorry), and LIFE IS GOOD.

Food, Activism, and Hurricanes. WHAT A DAY!

FOOD

How can you come to a vegan bloggers conference and food not be an absolute focal point?  You can’t.  And believe me, you wouldn’t want to.  We’re all obsessed with it.  Pictures, cooking, creating recipes, writing and talking about it, and (of course) eating.

Today’s breakfast buffet started at 8am, and the offerings were certainly plentiful.  Biscuits and gravy, gluten-free pancakes, coconut milk yogurt, tofu scramble with mushrooms, chia pudding, fruit cobbler, fresh fruit, and plenty of soy and coconut milk options.

I piled up my plate (woo hoo, appetite is back!), and headed to a table.  I sat with Christa from Veggin’ Out with Christa and her mom (so sweet, her mom came just to see her speak at the conference), Andrea and her husband from Andrea’s Easy Vegan Cooking, and several other wonderful people.  We all had great discussions about what drove us to veganism, what we’ve learned over the years, and just told stories (many very funny, all very inspiring) and enjoyed each other’s company.

I pretty much ate it all!

I will admit that I snuck off to the Homegrown Smoker All Vegan BBQ food cart for lunch.  There was a very nice buffet lunch offered, but the line was SO long, and I had heard such amazing things about this food cart, that I had to check it out for myself.  I am SO glad I did.  I ordered the special, which was a vegan Reuben and a side of mac and no-cheese.  The cart guys were open special hours this weekend just because of the conference (which is right across the street).

it looks so naughty, doesn't it?? Ben & Ben..whipping up awesome vegan food with a smile and a nice conversationa whole block of food carts. So cool...

Dinner at the fundraising gala this evening sounds amazing, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of pictures and descriptions on my next post!

CONFERENCE

Wow, where to start??  I want to complete a thought I started up above.  Vegans are obsessed with food, but that’s certainly not the complete picture.  For whatever reason someone makes the decision to become vegan (health, animal activism, environmentalism, how they were raised, etc), you can’t help but learn and become consciously aware of the impact that the lifestyle in general brings.  And among things other than food obsession, I am meeting a whole slew of people who are as passionate about that side as well, and I can’t help but rekindle that in myself – and see it growing stronger in the future.  I’ve never been overly vocal about all of my reasons for being vegan, and I’m certainly not going to become militant now (I do believe in to each his/her own and having the right to choose), but that does not mean I can’t become more involved in my own community activism…or start an outreach program.  And those are some of the ideas swimming around my melon today.

I went to several very cool sessions today led by some amazing bloggers and authors.  Some highlights…

The morning Build-a-Blog session really got my brain going.  I have so many questions and ideas, and these ladies put on one heck of a panel – chock full of resources and advice.  It got me thinking a LOT about my own blog, my blog name (I will admit…it’s weird being one of the few people here without the word Vegan or Veg in my name), how it’s set up, it’s content, and what I can do to really ratchet things up.  More on that to come.

The podcasting workshop!  I got to see and listen to the cookbook author who is single-handedly responsible for re-introducing baking into my life as a vegan.  Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, the über vegan author, writer, podcaster, and the brains behind the Joy of Vegan Baking.  I got some great advice on podcasting in general, and best reason ever for starting a podcast…talking shit and drinking beer.  I’m totally going to listen to the Cosmopolitan Hour now!

A good session on community blogging really got my head spinning.  It’s something I am very interested in, but no idea how to go about doing it.  Being the only vegan I know in my community, how the heck to I start?  This panel offered lots of advice, and when I asked my question, really responded with some great comments and ideas.  Look for a whole new post (and blog) in the future…backed by a whole community of writers.  How cool is THAT?  Thanks to Vegansaurus, Super Vegan, and Vegan Score for that one – not to mention the VegNews author/moderator who directed the panel with very good questions that I’m sure made us all think.

There’s so much more to say, but the details will all come later.  I have too much to process first!

IRENE

For those that know me or have read me for a while, you know that I live in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Chesapeake, VA area.  And that I’m married and have three kids, a dog, a cat, and a turtle.

If you read – anything – (and chances are if you’re reading this blog at the very least, you’ve demonstrated that you do, indeed, read), then you know that we currently have a Hurricane crawling up the east coast.

I fretted about leaving home and coming to the conference because of the potential impact to my area.  The afternoon I left, the projection was that she’d turn right and have little impact on my area.  By the time I landed in Seattle, slept, and woke up, she had gone left – a sure bet she’d smack right into Hampton Roads.  And she did.  This morning.

My husband made the last-minute decision to stay home.  He spoke to neighbors who’d been through this before (this is our first hurricane), and felt that the orignal plan to leave for Richmond wasn’t going to be necessary.  They’re stocked up on a weeks worth of bottled water, food, flashlights, and board games.  Besides, with Sammie, Bumble, and Kiko, (the aforementioned animal members of the clan), finding a safe haven we could bring them to would prove to be a bit difficult.

His decision ended up being a sound one.  While we’ve lost a section of fence, the power has stayed on and we haven’t had any flooding or other damage.  It’s not quite past yet, but the worst is over, and they weathered it just fine.  It’s been pretty wicked, several people I know have lost power, and I’m sure the damage reports will be coming, but over all, things have been okay.  Thankfully.  Now it’s time to concentrate on New England and hope they escape Irene with little effect.

To quote a good friend of mine who lost power today…”alright…. who gave Momma Nat Jaegerbombs? Easy girl… we know Hampton Roads is the place to party, but take it easy!”

Let’s hope her hangover sets in quickly and she decides to go sleep it off.

Today….I Am a Pioneer

I am a pioneer. Today was the start of something very magical, and I’m excited to be a part of it. History in the making, and some day I will look back on this and tell the stories to my kids of how their mother was part of the first group of vegan bloggers to ever come together to learn from each other. An inspired group of men and women of all ages and backgrounds who work towards having a healthier life and a healthier planet.

I’m a very “young” vegan blogger, and really more of an accidental blogger. I started in an effort to keep accountable to my athletic training and healthy lifestyle. Over the weeks and months, it evolved into so much more for me (yes, vegan food and fitness are still a major component), and I feel I’m finding a voice that loves to write. I started reading and being inspired by other people’s blogs and stories, and I inadvertently stumbled upon a large group of people unlike any I’ve ever met before. People a little like me. I have to say – it’s a first. I do not know any other vegan’s in my community, and while I have an amazing family and great friends (many who happily eat vegan food with me from time to time), I do not have anyone in my daily life to share that with. In person anyway. I do have a whole universe of people to share that with through blogging though, and that is why I’m in Portland right now.

This evening’s adventure started with me arriving at the conference right around 515pm to check in, pick up the Swag Bag of Wonder (see pics!), and to mingle until the doors opened at 6pm to the Ballroom for the VegNews sponsored Champagne and Cupcake reception.

the contents of the Swag Bag of Wonder! Books, flyers, cups, FOOD, bags, pepper mill, and too much to even list. Coolest conference gear EVER

a couple new shirts and a tank top too!all stuffed into this cool grocery bag

a few more things picked up this evening too. The mushroom is for A and the green monster is for R

The doors opened and we all flooded in. And not a SINGLE person touched anything on the tables. Why?? Because we all had to take pictures for our blogs first! And it was the most normal thing in the world! In my early blogging days, I felt like I needed to explain to people around my why I was snapping shots of my meals, and while I’m more comfortable with it now, I still can feel a little self consious about it.

part of the group in the ballroomcheese and crackers

After the pictures, it was time to dive into some vegan cheese and crackers from Heidi Ho Organics, the amazing cupcakes, and either some champagne or sparkling cider. Guess which I had :)

my plate...I opted for the gluten free coconut cream cupcake. SO good...

While snacking and chatting, we had a wonderful welcome message from the organizers/creators/brilliant brain children of this conference, as well as from VegNews magazine.
I talked to many people, most new to me, but some not. I will say I think the highlight was the amazing hugs and conversations with JLGoesVegan and Sweet On! Both absolutely sweet and amazing and inspiring and silly as hell women. I saw beautiful vegan shoes and handbags from Lulu’s, talked to Natalia about raw food, and cheered on Almost Vegan as she was selling out of a homemade batch of white chocolate peanut butter.
And there was a lot of swapping blogger business cards, emails, and just chatting up about anything and everything. I opted out of the bar/restaurant hopping after. My body is still on East Coast time and recovering from the sinus/ear infections….and I want to save myself for the gala and after parties tomorrow…not to mention all the cool seminars and classes I’m going to…and will be writing about tomorrow!
I got back to my hotel and finally unpacked my bag – something I didn’t do in Seattle. I also hadn’t used my laptop until now (using my iPad for everything), and I found this note from D….and one from R too!

and the inside!and the inside!

And it was the perfect ending to a very nice evening. And now, I better get my butt to sleep so I’m ready to roll for an adventurous day tomorrow!

It's here!

It’s The Final Countdown!

only two more days and I’ll be on a plane to Seattle and then down to Portland for the Vida Vegan Con Conference!!!!  Woo hoo :)

FOOD

I eventually got hungry last night, so I made up some leftover lentil salad wraps.  I had a batch of leftover lentils, and yesterday morning I made a quick marinade of Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil and poured it over the leftovers, and stuck it back in the fridge.

Normally, I just use romaine lettuce leaves as my wraps, but I was feeling inventive, so I added the rice paper.  The extra added bonus is that they went from messy to portable finger food!  I love rice paper….

how I normally eat this

enter the awesome rice paper....dampen to make soft....insert your ingredients...

and it's a wrap baby!

easy to make...easier to eat!

This morning was a cup of coffee, a mini bagel with Tofutti cream cheese, and the other half of the banana from yesterday afternoon.  I wasn’t very hungry, but had to eat something before my marathon meeting day started.

I ate a Coconut milk yogurt for lunch.  And tea.

Dinner was a part of a Moe’s salad.  After running errands with the kids, we stopped at Moe’s to pick up dinner.  I wasn’t planning on getting anything, but when the manager saw me, he remembered me and exactly what I order every time I’m there (and I haven’t been there in months!).  I didn’t have to heart to say no, so I ended up ordering a salad.  I think I OD’d on Moe’s when I was training for the Chicago marathon.  After each of my Saturday long runs, I seemed to crave that exact salad – which would explain why he remembered me.  I was there at least once a week for 4 months.

LIFE

I was feeling a bit better last night, and ended up sleeping pretty well (even though it took me forever to FALL asleep…I actually STAYED asleep).

I woke up early this morning and took a shower before D was up.  I made breakfast for R and I, lunches for D, R, and I, and then got ready for work.  D has it easy in the mornings :)

I was feeling a little off today, but mostly seemed fine.  I notice that when I’m really focused on something (like work), I tend to ignore the aches, pains, and general icky feelings.

I went through my billion meetings and then got a call from R’s old grade school (she’s moving up to the next school for 3rd-5th graders), and they needed me to come in today to pick up her Epi-Pens and Benadryl, or they were going to throw them away.

So, in an hour between meetings, I left the office, got to her school, picked up her meds, and then went home to finish my meeting afternoon (they were all online meetings or conference calls).  Those lasted until 530.

After work, I took the kids to the art supply store so A could pick up materials for her summer project for art school.  I intended to hit up Target and the bank too, but was feeling really poopy, so we just stopped at Moe’s and went home.

Most of this evening has been spent working, playing with my iPad, and thinking about packing – and feeling sorry for myself that I seem to be getting sick.  I’m really upset, and hope this passes before Wednesday evening when my flight takes off!  I can’t have any ill moments at Vida Vegan Con!

I’m stuffy and my head is pounding.  I busted out the neti pot, had quite a bit of success, and have been drinking Emergen-C and tea all evening.  And now…I’m going to stop blogging so I can get another good night’s sleep and kick this bug in the butt!

Today’s Wardrobe Malfunction: Swim Caps and Conditioner Don’t Mix

FOOD

Breakfast this morning was two cups of coffee and a whole wheat bagel with Tofutti’s Better than Cream Cheese.  Always a good standby when I actually feel like eating breakfast foods in the morning – something I’ve gotten over in the past couple of years.

For lunch, I met up with D at The Cutting Edge cafe between meetings.  We realized our calendars were both good to allow us to eat together, and my only requirement was “nothing junky”.  This fit the bill nicely!  I had the medi veggie panini (no feta) on the sourdough bread (their wheatberry bread isn’t vegan), and the couscous side.  Both dishes were fabulous.  D had his favorite club sandwich with a side of fruit, which he said was just awesome.  They use a lot of local ingredients, and D commented on how amazing the cantaloupe was.  He’s a fan, but the one’s in the grocery just don’t retain that sweetness that a fresh picked one will.  He was thrilled.

D took my camera and took a picture of his "appetizer". These are just the meds he has to take at lunchtime to manage his Crohn's. Imagine this times 3, and that's what he deals with every day.

I noticed that my couscous had walnuts in it.  While not an issue for me, I’ve blogged many times about R’s severe nut allergies, and commented to D about how it would be nice if they put a disclaimer on their menu regarding nuts in dishes.  On our way out, D spoke to the co-owner to mention it may be of value.  Apparently a new menu will be printed soon (their offerings are nicely seasonal), and is going to look into putting something on the new menu.  I don’t think people realize how devastating a food allergy or sensitivity can be unless they’re personally affected by it.  I certainly didn’t until R was diagnosed when she was 4.

My mid afternoon/pre workout snack was a magical banana.  Guaranteed to power you for a good hour or two.

For dinner I made another BAS.  I think I’m going to start a BAS movement.  Maybe even a separate page on the blog (gasp) and my addiction to the Big Ass Salad continues to grow.  There are worse addictions, I’m sure.  Today’s was romaine lettuce, purple cabbage, onion, tomato, celery, and avocado.  I ate this just after my workout around 545pm, and while it wasn’t my intention for it to become my dinner (I really planned to make a cold avocado soup and maybe something with butternut squash), but I was so full after the salad, that it ended up being my dinner after all.  I suppose…I ate an entire head of lettuce.  That’s pretty filling!

today's BAS

FITNESS

I hit up the YMCA after work for a very long overdue swim workout.  I was giddy by the time I pulled into the parking lot.  At last!  A workout my body can handle without killing my back.  Woo hoo!

The workout I printed out was longer than I did.  I only swam 1000 yds, even though I felt like I could have easily doubled that (thank you banana).  I was worried about overdoing it though and putting myself (and my back) back to square one.  So…I swam 1000 yds and then hit the hot tub for 10 minutes followed by a little shavasana (corpse pose – charming name, I know, but you really just lie down in the most relaxing position there is) in the sauna for another 15.

I did have a wardrobe malfunction in the pool though.  I have long hair, and I always tie it into a loose bun before putting my swim cap on.  No biggie, right?  I also happen to have curly hair, and as such, I only use shampoo about once a week.  Otherwise, I just use conditioner daily.  As I was swimming, I noticed that my swim cap kept sliding off my head, and I’d have to slow down and try to push it back into place.  This, of course, made my goggles get moved around, and I’d get water in my eyes.  Finally half way through, my swim cap came off altogether.  I tried to put it back on, but it wouldn’t work.  It was slippery on the inside and wouldn’t “stick” to my melon.  I finally realized it was because in the shower today I only used conditioner, and then wore my hair up.  When it got wet under the cap, it got slippery and nothing was going to stick to it.  I ended up tying my hair back in a tighter bun, and went from there, with the cap lying on the edge of the pool.  Lesson for Crissie – rinse hair VERY well before putting on cap and swimming.

LIFE

I finally slept a little better than normal last night.  Not stellar, but not awful either.  I fell asleep before D (as I should and prefer), but woke up an hour or two later from his snoring.  I popped in some ear plugs, pushed him onto his side, and went back to sleep more or less for the rest of the night.  I’m a terribly light sleeper, so even though he can’t control that he has allergies and will snore on his back (and it’s really NOT that loud…but it is enough), it still wakes me right up.  I’m also theorizing that the reduced activity has affected my quality of sleep.  Roll with me on this, because my increased swimming and yoga should cure me.  I hope.

I had some site visits this morning (touching base with my users), and then a workgroup meeting that went well as always.  We have a great workgroup with my VP and we always have a good time.  Certainly never boring and always open and informative…and funny.  My VP is a hoot and her stories generally have us laughing so hard, we forget we’re working.

After lunch was another meeting and then catching up on emails.  I’m now down to only THIRTEEN unread emails in my inbox!  That’s incredible considering I had almost 900 two weeks ago.

As much as work is going very well and I’m very happy…the thing I’m happiest about right now is the upcoming Vida Vegan Con bloggers conference in Portland, OR next week!!!  I leave next Wednesday…only 5 more days!!!  I’m spending a couple of days in Seattle before and after to visit with CM and his wife and re-visit the city I lived in over 12 years ago.  And miss terribly.

I get to go!!!! Sold out, first ever, vegan bloggers conference.

D made me a tote bag for the conference, and I just love it.  He’s so sweet and thoughtful, it kills me.

how perfect, right?

Speaking of D being absolutely amazing….(nice segue, right?)

He did something today that yet again warms my heart and makes me realize every day how incredible he is.  We had a tragedy locally last week.  A couple was in a car accident, the husband was killed, and the wife very critically injured.  She is too injured to attend her husband’s funeral tomorrow.  So what did my husband do?  He arranged with the funeral home to have the funeral streamed online so his wife could “attend” from her bed.  And then he hand delivered a laptop to the nurses with detailed instructions on how to open the page so this woman could say goodbye.  And then he left his cell number in case there’s a problem tomorrow so he could go there personally and make it work.  He’s such a good man.  And now my eyes are getting teary, so I’m going to stop gushing.

After dinner and watching the latest episode of Leverage, it was all about the conference next week.  They created a link that lets us subscribe to everyone’s blog, and currently there are 72 that I don’t already follow!  After reading about 20 posts, I stopped and took a picture of my screen.  I’ll be reading most of the night!

On a slightly funny note…I saw an article in Time magazine online today about the top 10 most promiscuous cities in the United States.  Aside from providing a list of where my children will NOT attend college…the top two happen to be where I’m traveling next week.  Portland and Seattle.  Cheeky monkeys.

I’ve also been batting around the idea for the past year (skip this Dad) of getting a new tattoo.  While I was training for the Chicago marathon, I thought about getting a tattoo to commemorate the achievement once I finished.  And then after the Tri, I thought about it again.  So is it a sign that a VEGAN tattoo parlor in Portland is offering a 15% discount to conference attendees?  I’m thinking it may be….stay tuned.

So I’m going to go back to reading my new blogging friends’ posts, since it’s a Friday night and I don’t have to get up TOO early tomorrow morning!