Again I went with toast (my previous combinations and peanut butter on one and avocado and chevre on the other), with sides of scrambled tofu, chorizo, hashbrowns, coconut bacon, cheese slice and fruit. As well as some raspberry yoghurt and a grapefruit juice.
The first talk of the day was 'Stop Breaking the Law, A$&h#*!' by Randi. This was fascinating, and also a bit scary in how limited the protection from the law is in some cases. Erika has done a great write up here.
I wasn't entirely sure where to go for the next session, and wound up in 'Honesty in Your Online Presence' by Monique Koch. This talk wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it was completely amazing! Monique is such an open and honest person, there were tears, there was laughter. It was amazing. Definitely a highlight! You can find a recap written by (you guessed it) Erika here.
Here I am with Cadry of Cadry's Kitchen in the break! It was great to meet Cadry. She lives in Iowa, which as any Buffy fan knows is where Riley Finn is from.
The next talk was 'Tweet Like You Give a Damn: Social Media & Why You're Doing It Wrong (IMHO)' by Brian Patton, which was pretty hysterical. The room was packed out, I was lucky to get a seat right at the back. One of my favourite moments happened during this talk. I ended up sitting next to Lindsay and without a word, as we watched the talk, we started following each other on Twitter and Instagram.
The theme of today's lunch was 'Vegans Heart Tacos', and they had a magnificent taco buffet for us! There were three suggestions for assembling tacos, which I took as a guide, though substituted as I needed for my preference.
At the back is my version of the 'Korean' cowgirl, which had cabbage slaw, fried tofu, Korean BBQ sauce, garlic aioli and scallions. I committed a sin and left off the kimchi because I looked pretty spicy. I chose the lettuce leaf wrapping option here. Moving clockwise we have 'The Casual', which had lettuce, refried beans, guac, queso, pico de gallo and sour cream in a corn tortilla. And finally, the Westagram. Kale, mac and cheese, seitan bacon and Apple BBQ sauce in a wheat tortilla. Yes. it was as good as it sounded. I also took a little extra scoop of mac and cheese! I actually went back for more mac and cheese, but it was all gone because it was so good. Want to make some yourself? The recipe is here. Seems like it was made with coconut oil, so probably good that I didn't get to eat as much as I wanted! But if you would like to make me a big batch you can easily substitute that.
Back to sessions, and I found myself in 'On-Location Photography' by Hannah Kaminsky, and picked up a few tips including how to use some settings on my camera that I didn't even know I had! There was also a Book Club breakout session at this time, which has been summarised by (yep) Erica here. I am glad she wrote a summary because now I can add lots of new books to my reading list!
The next session I had been really looking forward to 'Veganism, Body Image, Self-Esteem, Eating Disorder Recovery, and how Blogging & Reading Blogs can Influence All of the Above' by Lacy Davis, however it was announced that Amey was hosting a pop-up class on Compassion, and I just had to go to that (don't worry, Erika summarises Lacy's talk here). Amey's talk was so beautiful, as she discussed her concepts of compassion and self-compassion and her favourite yoga sutras. There was a chance for people to talk about their own struggles, and there were many feels, and there were some tissues required.
We had a surprise afternoon tea with these beautifully decorated sugar cookies from my very favourite Capital City Bakery.
This is me with Nichole and Callie, who run a great podcast called Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack. Check it out! It was so fun to meet these two.
And just like that it was the last talk of the conference. I was torn between 'Ethics of Vegan Dining & Boozing' by Bianca and 'Adventures in Vegan Travel Blogging' by Jojo. I ended up in Jojo's talk, which was a riot (I heard that Bianca's talk was great as well!). Erika, who is the greatest note taker ever, has done a write up of Jojo's talk here. You can also see Jojo's amazing 'Packing Like a Pro' video here. I'm pretty sure there is sorcery involved.
Afterwards I took a photo with beautiful Amey. I think she might secretly be a unicorn.
This was the final VVC, so the farewell speeches were particularly moving. Even though this was only my first VVC, I was still in tears. I only just found it! How can it be over forever? Why didn't I go to the other ones? This is something that is definitely worth traveling half way around the world for. Pretty much everyone was up on or in front of the stage by the end of this. And I can never hear Save the Best For Last or (I've Had) The Time of My Life again without crying.
I had to get a photo with Jess, one of the organisers, and Jules, both of whom were so welcoming the entire conference.
But it wasn't all over yet. The official after party was happening at Cheer Up Charlie's, home of the famous Arlo's, home of the famous bacon cheeseburger with a side of tots that I ate. I had been looking forward to this for so long, and it did not disappoint. It was so good! I love that the patty is homemade, and you can see lentils and stuff in it, it is such a great burger. Plus, TOTS!
Bistro Vonish also had a pop-up there and I had this Mac and Cheese Kolache. It was a little strange, because the bread part was kind of sweet, but still good.
Me with Jojo.
I had the opportunity to go and see the famous bats, so I didn't stay for the announcement of the Red Hot Vegan's VVC Scavenger Hunt winners (Jojo and Amey). We got down to the river where the bats fly across and waited. Unfortunately by the time the bats came out it was very dark so I couldn't get any sort of decent photo. But here is a pretty photo of the sunset while we were waiting.
Also unfortunately a cyclist got hit by a car behind us (the car drove off, jerk). We think they were mostly OK. But it certainly took the shine off the event. To settle out nerves, we went to Sweet Ritual for ice cream. Because I am a lame vegan, I got strawberry ice cream (I love strawberry) and peach sorbet, even though they had many ridiculous and exciting flavours there. That was just what I felt like. And they were great!
Then it was back to the after party for some final farewells (and some not so final ones) and a quick trip to the photo booth before it was time to go back to my AirBnB and sleep.
But don't worry, there was still a few more Austin adventures left.
Cute Kitty Photo of the Post
This cutie was lazing around the Spider House Cafe one evening when I was there. Very friendly.