The final day of VVC was a little bit different for me, since I wasn’t speaking at all. Which meant I was completely relaxed. That last day was all about attending panels, enjoying the food and sponsors, and connecting with my fellow bloggers. It was awesome – tinged with sadness and blunted by exhaustion – but awesome nonetheless.
After breakfast I went straight to my first talk of the day, which was Advanced Food Photography with Susan V. This ended up being my favorite talk of the whole conference!
Susan is entirely self taught, humble and humorous and totally knowledgeable. Her presentation was thorough and beautifully prepared, and there was such a breadth of knowledge that everyone from the photo novice to the more adept photographers could take something away from it. We learned about camera settings and functions, how to properly light a shot, tips and tricks for richer, more “real” pictures, the importance of props and scenery, and also post-processing tools. It was amazing – thank you Susan!
The next session I attended was a group discussion led by Ryan Patey of T.O.F.U. Magazine, entitled Biting Off More Than You Should Chew. Ryan encouraged lots of back and forth, as we explored the issues that can come up inside, and parallel to, our community. From the class description: “Veganism is not perfect. This is no surprise to some, but to many it’s a reason to attack. Racism, fat shaming, and other forms of oppression are often used in defense of the voiceless, in turn harming other important movements. This discussion aims to illustrate some of these issues and foster conversation on how they can be addressed.”
Overall, it was a really excellent session and I hope that the next VVC will feature more of these roundtable-style discussions where everyone can get involved. I know I keep saying this, but this session needed to be longer!
Afterwards we had lunch, a smorgasbord of awesome that was made even better by the delightful company. For my final VVC meal, I got to eat with some of my very favorite people!
Ginny Messina, The Vegan RD (one of my online heroes!), me, the fabulous JL, and of course, miss Gena. As a somewhat unrelated aside (I guess it’s related since we’re eating lunch here), a few days ago JL posted a blog where she reflected on some of the language she heard around food during VVC. I noticed a lot of the same sort of stuff that she did, and I’m so thankful to her for being brave enough to say it. Great discussion in the comments as well. I hope you’ll give it a read.
The last panel that I attended was Interdietary Cohabitation, a discussion of the issues that arise when vegans live with non-vegans. It’s not an issue that I face, but I know a lot of my blog readers, as well as most of my coaching clients, are in this situation. So I hope to learn as much as I can about the experience.
It was a great panel with lots of fantastic insight, and led to another awesome discussion in the question-and-answer period at the end. So many great minds at VVC!
Then the panel was over.
Then the conference was over.
It was late afternoon and I was exhausted, still sick, socially overstimulated, and completely in bliss. What an amazing event. WHAT AN AMAZING EVENT!
My dear friend Jo picked me up from the museum, and we spent the evening together, tooling around Portland and catching up. We hit the mini mall so I could grab some soy curls at Food Fight! (dudes, they don’t have soy curls in SoCal, wtf???)
And of course, since we were at the mall already, we had to pop next door and say hi to Herbivore.
Josh and Michelle were both there, and Remy too, and man, I miss that place! We took some silly pictures with the glasses that get left behind in the store, and it was sort of just like old times again.
Can you tell that this is the nostalgic portion of our recap? *sigh*
Jo, Maebe, and I had dinner at Canteen – the last place on my Portland “must eat” list. You’d think something like a simple bowl wouldn’t be a main draw in a town so full of amazing vegan options. But, you’d only think that if you’d never tasted the epic deliciousness that is The Portland Bowl. I was a very happy lady:
After dinner Jo dropped me off back at the house. I packed my bags, bade farewell to my housemates, and hit the sack early. I had a 5:30 am wakeup call!
I was feeling pretty blue when I flew out of Portland the next morning. That city may be rainy as hell, but it still holds some of my very favorite people and some of my very best memories.
And some of my worst. It’s bittersweet to visit a place like that, but after something as special as VVC, after so much connection and reconnection and inspiration and just plain fun, well, it was more sweet than bitter to be there and I was sad to go.
But . . . then I stepped off that teeny tiny plane, onto the tarmac in Santa Barbara. And the sun was bright and warm and perfect, and there were palm trees on the horizon, and my baby boy was waiting for me . . .
. . . and yeah, it was good to be home!
catch Part I here
and Part II here