Vida Vegan Con 2013: The Conference

blind taste testing during Vegan Battle Royale

blind taste testing during Vegan Battle Royale

Confession time! I’ve been putting off writing about Vida Vegan Con 2013 because I knew that there was a solid chance1 that I would be in tears before I was even halfway finished writing about it.

Let me put the gratitude right up top where it belongs: I feel so grateful to Jess, Janessa, and Michele for all of the hard and thoughtful work they have put into organizing this conference. I have attended a lot of events—many of which had dozens upon dozens of people who were paid to work on them as their full-time jobs—and they were not as successful as Vida Vegan Con. Not even close! These woman are amazing. Ladies, you are my heroes, I want to be you when I grow up.

I don’t want to rehash what has already been said elsewhere by others, so I will start by linking to some of my favorite Vida Vegan Con 2013 recaps:

My VVC2013 highlights:

Joanna, Kittee, Amey lead zine workshop

Joanna, Kittee, Amey lead zine workshop, photo by Amey’s mom!

The zine class with Kittee and Amey. I have a whole separate entry planned about zines, so I will just say that I cherished the time spent planning this class with these weird and wonderful women and having a chance to share our love of zines with others, and I’m glad that we ended up doing this in the Library at the Portland Art Museum, because the setting was right on: small, reverent, intimate, book-focused! So totally perfect.

Sayward, Susan, Dreena, and me at the Privacy Lines and Oversharing panel

Sayward, Susan, Dreena, and me at the Privacy Lines and Oversharing panel, photo borrowed from Sayward

The Privacy Lines & Oversharing Panel with Sayward, Susan, and Dreena. This is a topic which is near and dear to my heart. I have been sharing my life online for 18 years, which is over half my life and all of my adult life. Over the course of time, I’ve drawn and redrawn the boundaries of what I’m comfortable sharing, and I think that the biggest takeaways from the panel—the points all of the panelists agreed on— were: 1) ask permission from the people in your life before sharing their stories or images and 2) only you can define what is right for you, and you need to be prepared to police yourself and possibly even others if it means protecting your privacy (and that of your loved ones).

However, I will say that my most-quoted (or: tweeted) moment from the panel was when I said, off the cuff: “A lifestyle blog without your personal life is just a Tumblr.” I love blogs where people talk about their lives, including—especially!—the messy bits. That is the good stuff! Leave the aspirational blogging to A Beautiful Mess2 and please write about what you’re struggling with, and then send me your URL, because I want to read it, and comment on it, and become friends with you.

Cool, my eyes are already welling up with tears, so let’s just plow right forward onto:

The Body Image and Acceptance panel. I strongly recommend reading Michele’s wrap-up of the panel. This was a powerful discussion, and I will admit that I pretty much sat in the back and let tears stream down my face. Then many of us who were there took that discussion and continued it at our lunch tables with our peers who were unable to attend. And brought it up again later over drinks. I sincerely hope that the discussions continue: in our homes, on our blogs, and in our brains. I know that I have to have serious sit-down conversations with my brain about this issue on a daily basis. The conversations are going better today than they were five years ago, much better than they were ten years ago, and infinitely better than they were when I was 12 years old and I went to Weight Watchers for the first time. I still have a long way to go, and now I have a small person who watches everything I do and takes everything I say way too seriously, and that, my friends, has really upped the ante.

Mo, Kittee, and Amey

Mo, Kittee, and Amey: our hostesses with the mostesses of Vegan Battle Royale

Vegan Battle Royale. Holy moly: Kittee and Amey and Mo outdid themselves with the pub quiz style trivia contest this year. Amey wrote it up, but I just want to add that: I would attend an entire conference which was just this. Seriously. Can someone make that happen?

That wonderful coffee station. There were several of these little coffee stations set up at the conference that had coffee, tea, and then every single thing you could imagine to add to it. I fell in love with it a little bit, no joke.

The next entry I have planned is about zines, and then I plan to wrap this up with a post about the, uh, extra-curricular fun. Did you miss the one about the pre-conference fun?

1 110% chance
2 I love A Beautiful Mess! I also love Martha Stewart Living. I read them religiously. Do I relate to them? Not at all, not even a tiny little bit.


Vida Vegan Con 2013: The Conference — 10 Comments

  1. Hi Joanna,

    I just found your blog through another vegan blog and what you wrote about sharing, and tears welling up etc made me subscribe to you.

    I love “please write about what you’re struggling with, and then send me your URL, because I want to read it, and comment on it, and become friends with you.” – unfortunately that’s not me. I joke with my husband that I should have a password protected area for my blog for all of the stuff I’m not saying because sometimes there’s oh so much.

    Anyway – I love emotional blogs too and looking forward to reading more of yours.

    • Hi Leigh! I completely understand. Like I said, I really believe that everyone needs to make that choice for herself.

  2. I love lifestyle blogs, too. I’m a child of Mtv’s”The Real World” and “Cribs” and I love the peek into other people’s lives. I documented my most recent messy bits with my bout of thyroid cancer on my blog, but I try to balance the personal stuff with recipes and practical advice, since not everyone cares about the ins and outs of my life.

  3. Pingback: What I Learned at Vida Vegan Con | Lone Star Plate

  4. Joanna, I love this post! I’m so happy we finally got to meet and I can’t wait to hang out with you again one day – you live in my favourite city so I hope it’ll be sooner rather than later.