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.

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