Missing Luggage, Restocking, and Hot Shoes

Back to our regularly scheduled format!

FOOD

Can you believe that my first day home, I ate an Amy’s bean burrito for breakfast??  After a week of feasting on ridiculously cool vegan food, I made a microwave burrito.  I will say that not only was I ridiculously hungry when I woke up, but there was also nothing in the house for me to eat!  D doesn’t exactly do a stellar job of keeping fresh fruits and veggies in the house when I’m not home.

For lunch, I had a bowl of veggie Pho from my favorite little stand in Virginia Beach.  Tons of tofu, cabbage, broccoli, and rice noodles.  Add some siracha, and I was in heaven!

I munched on a banana while reading some new cookbooks I picked up today.  I had to or I’d have been baking (and eating) a ton of cookies, brownies, and cupcakes!

My dinner was a BAS full of lettuce, cabbage, avocado, tomatoes, and lemon juice.  Exactly what I needed and craved today!

After dinner, R and I got to making the brownies!  I let her use the KitchenAid.  Which is miraculous…it’s sort of like giving the keys to my BMW to a newly licensed teenager.  No I don’t actually have a BMW, but you get the idea…

FITNESS

I failed to mention on my last post that I hit up a local yoga studio when I was on the West Coast for a class on Monday.  It was a really nice class and I had fun telling the studio owner that I was visiting from the distant East Coast in order to attend the first ever vegan bloggers conference.  She gave me half off on the class. WOO HOO.

And speaking of fitness…I miss running.  I miss it so much it’s starting to piss me off.  I know I had sworn that I’d wait until after the holidays…when I can pretty much bet my back is fully healed…before I run again, but I think I spoke to soon when I said that.

I want to start running again, but I know I can’t push it too hard.  I also want to start running without headphones.  Aside from being a potentially dangerous distraction, I realized while I was hiking around on my own last week how much fun I was having just thinking and observing without an iPod, etc.  So I now have a NEW plan!  I’m going to re-do (yet again) the Couch to 5K program.  Sans headphones.  I figure it would be a good way to ease back into running without accidentally overdoing it and hurting my back, and it will build up my tolerance to running without audio books.  Sounds good in theory.  We’ll see.  I can’t swim for a few weeks until the new tattoo is healed, so that means back to running and Zumba sooner than I anticipated!

LIFE

I arrived finally last night…with half of my luggage.  The bag the TSA agent got crappy with me about ended up not making it.  Ugh.  I was annoyed since it was the bag with all of the conference swag and the gifts I had bought D and the kids while away.  At least they knew it was still in Atlanta and was delivering it to my house today.  Small favors.

Bumble missed my suitcase more than me! She has a bizarre obsession with lying on suitcases...a fair warning in case you ever come to my house.

We finally got home last night and after all 5 of us (and the cat) lying on my bed chatting, it was finally time for bed.  Which was a good thing because I was exhausted!  I fell asleep right away…and then sat bolt upright at 1230 am unable to sleep.  Ugh.  I tossed around the rest of the night getting increasingly annoyed that I was awake, checked my email, put in some earplugs (D was snoring), and fell asleep soundly in just enough time for my alarm to go off.  Joy.

Let me preface the next part of my story by mentioning how badly D injured his back while I was away.  He has two very big things wrong with his back – one is a birth defect (that I can’t come close to pronouncing) and one is the result of an injury when in the Navy.  Both cause him constant pain, and when he’s hurt…it’s bad.  Unfortunately while preparing for Hurricane Irene, he hurt himself to the point where he can barely move.  So while he was snoring away, I didn’t have the heart to push him over – hence the earplugs.

I knew I’d have to take him to either our doctor, the Urgent Care, or the ED this morning.  When I woke, I texted my boss (BBE) to ask if we could reschedule our meeting at 9.  She was awesome as always and said yes.  D had his appt at 11, was prescribed prednisone, vicodin, and a referral to see my chiropractor.  He can’t take motrin due to the Crohn’s and Tylenol just wasn’t cutting it.  And he’s not allowed to return to work or pretty much move until next Tuesday.  Poor thing.

Oh, and my suitcase was delivered this morning as promised.  Without A’s tube of henna paste (stupid TSA agent probably threw it away and didn’t tell me), and with one of my new bento boxes broken (I found a cool Japanese store while away that had an entire row of bento).  However, a very sweet snarkyvegan has some she doesn’t want, and is going to ship them to me!  In return, I’m thinking I need to send her vegan cookies.

Wall O Bento!

Anyway, after loading all my pics onto the main computer at home (while M sat in the room with me snuggling both Bumble and Sammie), and D was relaxing his back, A and I took off for a little shopping.  I had to replenish my supplies of fresh foods.

Bumble, Sammie, and M snuggling on the Green Room couch

We went first to the mall to pick up a new video game that D and M wanted – and a few new cookbooks for me!

very excited to finally get the Happy Herbivore's book...and to find a book specific to D's Crohn's. Never seen anything like that before.

Then it was off to the Asian grocery where we tried to figure out what we were looking at…since pretty much nothing was in English.

Afterwards, it was a trip to the sad little Virginia Beach farmers market.  Aside from growing up near a HUGE one and having just visited Pike’s Market in Seattle – arguably the coolest farmers market I’ve ever seen – due to Irene, many of the little stands were closed.  The little organic grocery was open though, and we stopped in there for a few items.

The following are all of Pike’s Market in Seattle:

LOVE this sign on the avocados!

At least we have a little local grocer trying to do the right thing and offer our community something!

When we got home, there was a box on the porch.  A new pair of shoes I ordered a little over a week ago arrived!  They are so cute…vegan…and TALL.  Can’t wait to wear them!

they're like extreme penny loafers!

I’m so happy to be home and life is starting to return to normal.  I made a ton of new friends, feel energized, and can’t wait to take what I’ve learned this past week at Vida Vegan Con and start applying it!

Hello From 30,000 Feet

I’m finally on my way home. It’s been a long week, but a great one. Waking at 430am was less than fun – especially since I slept so fitfully last night. But I had packed the night before and needed only to take a quick shower and head out the door.

Navigating the airport this morning was a complicated and time consuming mess. When I checked into my flight last night, I was asked if I would be willing to bump. Hell no. I miss my family and want to get home!

I had to stop at Target and buy another travel bag to get all my conference swag and gifts home. It’s carry on sized, so I figured I was all set to go!

Dropping the car off was easy. Then the fun started. I went to the Delta counter and then was told to get into the baggage line. That took about a half hour to get through. I checked my one bag, and then trudged off to security. What a mess! It took over 45 minutes to get through. I went…and got pulled aside for the full body scan. It went quickly thankfully. Unfortunately, my carry on did not fare so well.

The TSA agent was suspicious of a few items in my bag. The can of tomatoes, the jar of vegan queso, and the pepper mill from the conference swag bag, and a tube of henna paste I picked up for A. After some thinking, the TSA agent threw away my queso and tomatoes (jerk), put my henna back in the bag and re-scanned it.

I made it to my gate 20 minutes before boarding, bought a coffee and a bagel, and had just enough time to call my husband for a quick chat.

The plane asked for all volunteers with rolling carry ons to volunteer to have them checked through. Heck yeah! Less for me to drag around in Atlanta between flights.

So now I’m on the plane! Due to the length of the flight, they offer a wifi option, which I gladly took. So here I am, blogging at 30,000 ft!

I’ve caught up on blog reading, and have started brainstorming the layout and content for my new blog. It will NOT replace RunCrissieRun, but is something entirely new. I don’t want to spoil anything by giving away too much yet, but when it’s ready to go, I’ll talk about it first here!

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!