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VVC day 4, part 2: goodbye, Vida Vegan Con!

September 7, 2011

Before the closing address at Vida Vegan Con, the winners of a few raffles were announced. Would you believe I won this vegan dessert package from the VegNews booth?! It contained two packages of Dandies, one of every type of GoMaxGo candy bar, a Ritter Sport bar, Parma! vegan parmesan, and a t-shirt. What are the chances!

Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero gave the informal closing address of the conference.

After the closing address, I gathered outside the ballroom with my fellow raw foodie friends in attendance: Amber Z of Epic Self, Lisa of Vegan Culinary Crusade, Gena of Choosing Raw, Natalia KW, Jen of The Robertsons of Mumbai and De-hydrated, and Jeff of The Cool Vegetarian.

Jeff and Amber Z had been broadcasting live online from Vida Vegan Con all week. Jeff rounded us all up in honor of International Raw Food Day (again, what are the chances?!) to do a quick “My favorite raw food is…” video. Click here to watch it!

(I had also done a 1-on-1 video interview with Jeff earlier that afternoon, which I can’t bear to watch [I think I look/sound awful! I was so worn out that day], but you’re welcome to!)

That evening, Matt and I met up with a group of attendees at The Bye and Bye for dinner and one last hangout session.

Matt had the spaghetti (with veggie meatballs and garlic bread), and I indulged in the chili-Frito “pie.” Not my usual fare, but YUM.

We finished the night with one last Voodoo Doughnut, which Jen had so kindly picked up for us and left at the hotel front desk.

The next morning, after riding to the airport with Bianca and her boyfriend (thanks again, guys!), we flew to Denver, where we ran into some more “what are the chances?” luck. Southwest Airlines had overbooked our flight from Denver to Kansas City, so they were looking for volunteers to stay in Denver overnight and fly to KC the next day. Miraculously, Matt had no important meetings the next morning, so we took advantage of their offer. They paid us 800 friggin’ bucks (in travel vouchers), AND paid for our hotel, for us to hang out in Denver for the night. Awesome! We rounded out (somewhat literally) our pig-out weekend by having pizza delivered to the room.

It was such an amazing, amazing weekend at Vida Vegan Con. I couldn’t sum it up if I tried. Let us just say: I can’t wait until the next one in 2013. Will you be there?

One more thing VVC did was make me realize how sorely I lack fun, young, like-minded friends here at home in KC. I LOVED hanging out with the folks at VVC, eating and chatting and drinking and laughing. Most of my own friends couldn’t care less about my food or book or career, and I don’t think ANY of my friends read my blog (I stopped asking a long time ago). On top of that, it’s been months since I’ve properly hung out with my group of friends (which is largely my fault, due to being busy, but still). VVC made me wonder if I shouldn’t seek out local youngish vegans/almost-vegans/vegan-friendlies around my age in Kansas City to hang out with sometime and perhaps strike up friendships with. I know they’re out there! I’ve received emails or comments from a number of them over the years…but have met very few. We do have a vegan Meetup group here, but the one time I went, I didn’t feel very “included.” I’m a very quiet person, so making new friends isn’t always easy for me, but I’m thinking it’s time I reach out and try. A new group of like-minded friends may be just what the doctor ordered for me. So:

Calling all fun-loving Kansas City vegans/vegetarians! Wanna meet up sometime? Maybe grab a coffee and pastry at Mud Pie, and sit around and chat for awhile? Or perhaps go to a bar, chill out over a few drinks, and get to know each other? Feel free to contact me on here or on Facebook, and if I get a decent response, maybe we can all set up a time to meet and hang out!

3 years ago…
Vegan pesto pasta
2 years ago…
No posts this week…I was in Europe!
1 year ago…
Kale chips ‘n cheezy dip
Mocha chocolate chip muffins

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57 Comments leave one →
  1. September 7, 2011 1:33 pm

    I always wished one of those layover deals would work for me. My luck has been just the opposite lately, can I borrow some of yours?

    I had a hard time with the vegans at the Seattle meetup being a little cold to me. Luckily the ones at the raw meetup weren’t. Also I gave them another chance, sometimes you don’t click the first time. Maybe hosting it yourself will help set up a more inclusive atmosphere. I have found a lot of vegans like an opportunity to get together at holidays and times when they especially feel left out or not fitting in. Good luck! Wish I could stop by.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 7, 2011 8:49 pm

      “Cold” is the right word for it, I think. I love our KC raw food group too, but their meetings are always at times that aren’t convenient for me. They’re also an older crowd…which is TOTALLY fine, but I know they’re not people that’d want to go out for a night of drinking, yknow? πŸ™‚

  2. September 7, 2011 1:39 pm

    I’m there! And so is my husband if our male counterparts are included in this hanging out fun.

    I understand what you mean about the vegan meet-up too. We’ve gone twice now and if you don’t really sit at the right spot, it can be a little awkward. I do feel like we’re starting to get to know a few people though.

    Either way, that sounds like a lot of fun! My vote is Mudpie, especially since the weather has been cooler and hot beverages are becoming more and more appealing πŸ˜‰

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 7, 2011 8:51 pm

      Cool! Yes, men would definitely be welcome – Matt will come too if he’s able to.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s had that experience with the vegan Meetup. It doesn’t help that I’m a quiet person to begin with!

      Mud Pie sounds fun to me too, although I still would love to find a group of people who’d also like to go out drinking on the weekends on occasion. Do you and Erik drink at all?

  3. September 7, 2011 1:55 pm

    I would love too! You are way ahead of me girlfriend as far as using your vegan talents is concerned! I live in Gardner, but am in KC all the time since nothing in Southern Johnson County (and I mean nothing) caters towards vegans or health conscious people at all. I became vegan over a year ago but lacked the confidence in myself to utilize it as a career. You were actually my very first vegan page on Facebook I liked and blog I followed. Oh and I LOVE MUDPIE Vegan Bakery! That would be my pick! πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 7, 2011 8:53 pm

      Yay! I’m honored to have been your “gateway blog” πŸ˜› I’ll let you know if something pans out for Mud Pie!

  4. September 7, 2011 1:56 pm

    congrats on the win – that dessert basket looked AWESOOOOME…

    and YES I plan on being at the next one – I had SO much fun! it was awesome meeting you guys too!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 7, 2011 8:53 pm

      It was! Awesomely delicious and awesomely fattening πŸ˜› Matt and I ate all those candy bars within, like, 2 days! =X

  5. September 7, 2011 2:09 pm

    I feel like moving to Kansas City just so I can come and join you for a chill out.

    Glad you had such a blasty at VVC and also that you had some awesome luck with the travel vouchers and time with your man.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 7, 2011 8:54 pm

      Aw, you don’t know how much I would love that! Really, you should consider coming here sometime; I’ll give you a complete vegan tour of the city! It’d be so much fun. πŸ™‚

  6. September 7, 2011 2:55 pm

    I know your exact feelings! Did you know that we hardly get invited to places for dinner now that I have a blog? I have been told that my cooking intimidates them! Arghhh so now I have to find new friends that just enjoy eating and have the same things in common. I think it is nonsense but I you gotta do what you gotta do. I hope you are able to get a get-together! I would be there!

    Yummy recap and you sure were blessed with all your vouchers and winnings. My husband tries to delay our flight so we cn get vouchers. Does not happen all the time but when it does it is pretty cool!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 7, 2011 8:55 pm

      That’s ridiculous about your friends not inviting you to dinner anymore! Stuff like that makes me so mad. Well, less mad than disappointed, actually. It sucks. I wish YOU could come to a get-together here! πŸ™‚

  7. Hillary permalink
    September 7, 2011 4:46 pm

    Well, I always offer to hang out when you’re in town….it’s a little insulting to get no response and then read this.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 7, 2011 5:07 pm

      I was talking about fellow vegans in KC…was not trying to slight you. I also am terrible about actually GOING out, so I’m trying to perhaps set up something that will force me to, specifically in a large-group setting. I never know what to do.

      • Hillary permalink
        September 8, 2011 10:49 am

        I may not be a vegan, but I love food, and last I checked that’s what vegans eat :P. Plus I feel I can talk fairly intelligently about it, given my interest in food (and let’s not forget my stint as a caterer that included a vegan wedding!). I think the part that struck me most was when you said NONE of your friends read your blog.

        Or maybe I’m just being sensitive. Anyway, I’m down for vegan eats, and I know plenty of other vegans/almost vegans to invite along and help expand your circle of young, hip, non-teetoling herbivores.

      • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
        September 8, 2011 1:05 pm

        I really didn’t mean to offend you. I guess I shouldn’t have spoken in generalities like that, but I tend to do that when I’m irritated with something (in this case, most of my other “friends” – not you!).

        If/when I get something together, I’ll let you know so you can round up your people and invite them too. πŸ™‚

  8. September 7, 2011 4:52 pm

    Frito pie and donuts are hardly raw or healthy (hah), but damn do they look delicious! I’m already planning to grab a VVC 2013 ticket early regardless of where it is, and hopefully by then I’ll be more along my way toward my own culinary career.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 7, 2011 8:56 pm

      Quite the opposite of healthy, in fact πŸ™‚ But I kid you not, I’ve been eating exclusively fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans since returning home!

  9. September 7, 2011 7:12 pm

    first off – those go max candy bars are my very favorite!! SO GOOD!!

    I would love to come to one of these veg fests – I look at your food and thing it would be so awesome to go somewhere and be able to eat everything!! πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 7, 2011 8:57 pm

      It was my first time trying the GoMaxGo bars! They were pretty much all incredible.

  10. September 7, 2011 8:26 pm

    My read on you is that you tend to be pretty lucky, as well as working hella hard and making yourself some too. So happy for you.

    I’m glad you’re thinking about reaching out and finding some friends who care about your passions. I still feel like a total alien foodwise, living where I am compared to where I used to, but now that I have a couple writers groups, particularly a poetry writing/reading group, I feel so grateful to be here!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 7, 2011 8:58 pm

      I have been on quite a lucky streak for some time, I think…not to jinx it, but I really hope it continues!

      I am reaching out, which is the first step, and that’s good…but subsequent steps will be harder. It’s not going to be easy to motivate myself to follow through on this idea…but I do truly want to. I’ve just gotten more agoraphobic than ever these past few months. =/ I’m glad you’ve found a group you feel happy in and comfortable with!

  11. September 7, 2011 8:29 pm

    Umm…hi. We’re around and we’re vegan-friendly. And you know…we like you two.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 7, 2011 8:37 pm

      I seem to be incurring some criticism for this from a couple of my friends…I didn’t mean to offend anyone I already know! I hope you didn’t take it that way 😦

      Problem is, nowadays, I need something to GET me out of the house, because I don’t tend to leave it on my own…and I have little energy left at the end of the week to be The Planner like I always used to be with my friends. I know, I’m difficult. =/

      • September 7, 2011 9:03 pm

        No offense taken! My tone was joking. Although we really would love to see you two some.

        I understand about being busy and tired. And with B in school it changes things. But we’re available on the weekends. We leave the house pretty much only if we plan ahead and it sounds like that’s the case with you, too. All you have to do is write/call and we can all get together for dinner or whatever!

      • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
        September 7, 2011 9:07 pm

        Yep, that’s definitely the case with me, anymore. We really should make it happen, one of these days. I know, that’s totally noncommittal, but still…I’m being sincere! πŸ™‚

  12. September 7, 2011 8:37 pm

    that’s so awesome that you won the dessert basket- i never win anything! you certainly do have good luck.

    i watched your interviews. you have the cutest shy voice like a baby mouse- i love it πŸ˜‰

    i unfortunately live in philly, but if you’re ever passing through, i’d love to get together. for real, not just saying πŸ˜‰

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 7, 2011 8:59 pm

      Baby mouse?! Haha, I detest the sound of my voice…but I guess everyone feels that way about their own voice πŸ™‚ I’m glad you didn’t think I sounded too ridiculous!

      I’ve never been to Philly, but I’ve always wanted to go. I’m CERTAIN I will make it there one of these days. When I do, I’m all for meeting up! πŸ˜€

  13. September 7, 2011 8:46 pm

    It’s great when coincidences really work out nicely like that. Good for you to trying to get a group together. I’m pretty reclusive myself but it is important to have friends with similar interests.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 7, 2011 9:01 pm

      “Reclusive” is a word that definitely describes me well, nowadays. I’ll admit, I’m really going to have to push myself to get the ball rolling on this meetup thing, because as much as I want to do it, I know psychologically I’ll resist it…ah, the age-old battle of wills, what fun. πŸ˜›

  14. September 7, 2011 9:59 pm

    WOW – I want to jump in that spaghetti bowl – crusty bread and all! Would LOVE to join you and other almost veg friends. There was a great organic bar/lounge in Arkansas (of all places) where we moved from – anything like that around here? Two kids and a new business…we DEFINITELY need to plan our nights out – too easily sucked into home/bed/Disney movies. Of course, I wouldn’t miss a Mud Pies visit either – love their gluten-free selection! Thanks for your initiative, Amber.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 8, 2011 1:07 pm

      I’m glad you’re interested, Kim! I’ll let you know if/when I set something up, so you can arrange for child care and plan on having a fun night (or afternoon, or whatever) out!

  15. September 8, 2011 3:15 am

    I live in Kansas City, and would love to make a new cool friend. I have one vegan friend now, and some others that are “open” to vegetarianism. We have regular ladies dinner nights where we go to Eden Alley, FUD, BlueBird, etc. I also love Mud Pie and both Coffee Girls and One More Cup have good stuff too. My email is ssandmoen(AT)yahoo(DOT)com. Would love to connect! Plus, you love e e cummings; I can’t believe our two fave poems are the same (posting “somewhere…”) this week. Love your blog, love that you travel so much, and love the pics!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 8, 2011 1:08 pm

      Shanna, your ladies night dinners sound fun! I’d love to meet you too. If/when I set something up, I’ll let you know.

      How cool that “somewhere” is your other favorite too! Love, love, love.

  16. September 8, 2011 3:39 am

    P.S. Are you going to the Green Fest at the Uptown on Sunday? That might be a good place to meet up, casual, get some good vegan food, cool vendors, etc. Just a thought πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 8, 2011 1:11 pm

      I was considering going, actually! The anti-social side of me is fighting it, but I may ask my boyfriend to “make” us go, heh. I don’t know why my social anxiety has gotten so bad this past year or so, but it has…if you see me there, please come say hi! I’m terrible about approaching people, but I’ll try to do the same if I see you. πŸ™‚

  17. September 8, 2011 6:02 am

    Can’t wait to see what dessert you come up with using the Parma-exclamation mark πŸ˜‰

    And now I’ll go pout about not being a Kansas girl

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 8, 2011 1:11 pm

      Haha, I thought that was a little out of place too…

      I’m pouting about that as well! 😦

  18. A Tablespoon of Liz permalink
    September 8, 2011 8:58 am

    I’ve loved your posts on Vida Vegan Con, it sounds like you had such a blast! All the food looks so amazing, and you’re so lucky to have won that prize! I love dandies marshmallows!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 8, 2011 1:12 pm

      I’ve never tried Dandies! And I haven’t opened those packages yet…but I see Rocky Road brownies in my future… πŸ˜‰

  19. September 8, 2011 9:24 am

    I’d love to come to a meet-up when I’m in town! I’ll be in KC next week for work and a wedding weekend, so let me know if you’re free for some coffee or dinner. πŸ™‚

    I think it would be so fun to go to Vida Vegan Con 2013!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 8, 2011 1:15 pm

      Jeezus woman, it seems like you have a wedding to go to EVERY weekend! πŸ˜› Cool, I’d love to meet up with you next weekend – let’s arrange something next week!

  20. Monica Soto permalink
    September 8, 2011 10:40 am

    I read/love your blog, woman! But then again we only see each other once every 2 years-ish. We should change that, send me your number on Facebook and I’ll text you mine, I just changed it and got a new phone yesterday.

    I may not be Vegan but I’m definitely vegan-friendly!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 8, 2011 1:17 pm

      Monica! I’m really happy to hear you’re still reading along πŸ˜€ I Facebook-messaged you my number!

  21. September 8, 2011 11:12 am

    Ohhh, great idea on the KC get-together thing! I’m a little bit like you, and I think it would be a great opportunity to get to know some new people. I’m up for drinks, Mud Pie or whatever πŸ™‚

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 8, 2011 1:18 pm

      Great! I’m glad I’m not alone in my social anxiety/having a hard time meeting new people. If/when I set something up, I will let you know! πŸ™‚

  22. September 8, 2011 11:41 am

    Wow, soo much good food on this post!
    That doughnut looks heavenly!!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 8, 2011 1:18 pm

      I know, I want another one so bad!

  23. September 9, 2011 8:58 pm

    You know I’m around!

    I’ll be in OP the 15th of October, so maybe we can try again. πŸ™‚

    As such, I graduate in December, so that will free up amazing amounts of time in the kinda-near future, then I’m moving to Lawrence, so it’s all good. Lol.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 9, 2011 10:00 pm

      Great! I should be around on the 15th; let’s re-discuss when it gets closer.

      You’re moving to Lawrence?! Sweet! I went to KU, and still love hanging out up there. Do I see a noodles-at-Zen-Zero-and-drinks-at-the-Replay date in our future? πŸ™‚

      • September 10, 2011 5:29 pm

        Absolutely! I’m not moving till June/July-ish, but I’m pretty stoked to be leaving Joetown!

        I’ll be going to KU too. πŸ™‚

        • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
          September 10, 2011 5:36 pm

          Gotcha. Very cool!

  24. September 12, 2011 3:27 pm

    Wonderful post! And you are so lucky with all of your winnings…! πŸ™‚

    My step-father has family in KC – the next time I’m in town we should meet up!

    Keep rockin’.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 12, 2011 3:40 pm

      YES, we totally should! No one ever visits KC; I’ve always wanted to give someone a vegan tour of the city πŸ˜€

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