Zoya Nail Polish Review

Published December 10, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Storm, Mimi, Neve, Arianna

Storm, Mimi, Neve, Arianna


Well, I know I’ve been absent for quite a long time. The longest since I’ve started the blog, I’m pretty sure. Thomas had a 7 week work trip down in Long Beach, and we also went home to FL for Thanksgiving, so we were out of town a lot in the last two months. Which brings me to a little detail that I should probably throw in…

We got engaged! The day before our 4 year anniversary in October. And we’re getting married next October.

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Now onto what has definitely become my favorite nail polish brand! (And, well, there’s another ring shot too.) :)

Arianna

Arianna

I picked this red glitter (Arianna) Zoya polish on a visit to Vegan Haven right before our trip home last month. This was my first time trying one of the Pixie Dust colors, which leaves a matte glittery finish. It literally looks like real glitter on your fingers, instead of glitter polish. Let me try to get a better picture…

Detail

Detail (sorry, I’m not known for my polishing skills!)

I wasn’t sure about how I’d like the texture when I bought it, but ended up liking it, and I thought it was fun and festive in red for the upcoming holidays. It lasted almost a week during our trip, which was about what I expected based on previous experiences. Last year was my 1st time using their polish, and I tried Storm (black shiny glitter polish) and was shocked that it lasted a week without chipping, and I even worked in it! I’m normally the type of person who starts chipping the next day. I’m curious to see how the pixie dust will stand up to the rest of my skating and work week, and will report back with more.

Storm on Day 5!

Storm on Day 5!

The best thing about this polish, besides the long wear and nearly infinite amount of colors and finishes available, is the super high quality of the polish. (It also has a super comfy rubberized cap/handle!) Zoya is not only Vegan, but also free of toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and DBP (dibutyl phthalate). One, or any combination of those nasty ingredients had clearly been an issue for my nails in the past, because whenever I had my nails painted with let’s say OPI, it ALWAYS caused tremendous damage to my nails after. They would always start to peel and get brittle, even after just one polishing. That combined with always working a lot with my hands, and for most of the last 10 years of being in the medical field = a lot of hand hygeine, I had pretty much given up fingernail polishing entirely.

Zoya also runs a lot of nice, affordable specials too. The regular sized 0.5 oz bottles go for $9 or $10 each, and mini sized 0.25 oz for $5, when available, which is not terrible. But they often have specials going on which is how I got my initial 3. It was a get 3 polishes for the price of shipping deal that they do once or twice a year, and today I was able to get in on a good one for an 8 oz bottle of remover and 3 polishes with free shipping, for $20!

So I’d highly recommend to follow them on some social media to get some good deals and check them out. I think they do that 3 free polishes deal around the beginning of the year too. Here is their facebook, twitter, pinterest and instagram!

Bearings!! An unscientific comparison of 3 types!

Published October 28, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Hey, so the video pretty much says it all. I did a super un-scientific comparison of 3 types of bearings. Moto abec 7s, Bones Reds, and my fiance’s (yes, we’re engaged! I forget I can call him that now!) really old Bones Swiss bearings. Here is the video, graced a lot of course by Sir Ganondorf, the sphynx rex cat.

So much scrimmage!

Published October 13, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
September 7, 2014 PFM scrimmage

September 7, 2014 PFM scrimmage

SO MUCH has happened in the last month, and most of that “so much” has been in scrimmages. In fact, the week before last, I skated 3. September started out with the regular monthly PFM scrimmage (above). I had just gotten over the stomach flu that day, and didn’t even know if I was going to play. Much to everyone’s surprise I showed up determined, skated my very best ever, and completed my 6th scrimmage. It was a little bit of a turning point for me. It was the first time I felt like I had a strong sense of what to do on the track, and I was able to focus my energy on trying to improve my blocking.

Thomas & I at the NW Derby Summit 9/14/14

Thomas & I at the NW Derby Summit 9/14/14

The weekend of September 13 &14, we headed down to the NW Derby Summit for the most skating I’ve ever done in such a short period. It was a super fun weekend, not only because of all the great coaches, and my derby besties, but also because I was able to convince Thomas to go with us. We had a lot of fun taking classes together and practicing some new moves. It was also Thomas’ first contact drills. He’s attended a few non contact fitness type practices since he got back on quads, but had never done any hitting or blocking. We did all the beginner and all levels classes. His lifetime of skating was really evident here, as he was able to jump in with no problem. The second and final day ended with a short, kind of informal beginner scrimmage, which Thomas decided to skip, and video for us instead. It was the first time I ever skated with strangers before. It was terrifying to step out of my PFM comfort zone. It comprised a small group of girls with a similar skill set as me, but also a couple of guys and junior skaters of varying levels. It went okay. Mostly everyone was just exhausted after skating so much all weekend.

A picture of me jamming in the same early September scrimmage that really shows off my adorable skort.

A picture of me jamming in the same early September scrimmage that really shows off my adorable skort.

The following weekend I joined Jet City Rollergirl’s Cadet (Fresh Meat) program. My 1st day was part of the 6 week Bomber’s Clinic they’re running, and was an open scrimmage! Eeep! I was so thankful that I had done an open scrimmage the weekend before because it really helped me to deal with the fact that I was about to skate with very experienced skaters and all stars from all over the area. It was a leveled scrimmage so the first 30 minutes was a beginner level/positional blocking only half, so that we could include the junior skaters. The second period was a adult only, full contact, intermediate level including some big name fancy pants all stars. This scrimmage ended up being just the confidence booster I needed. I ended up skating against a couple of ladies that I had just seen playing against the best WFTDA team in the world two weeks before, AND I was able to get out of the pack every time I jammed. I was so proud, and glad that I survived!

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The following weekend was double practices (Jet & PFM) on Saturday and Sunday. We were alerted that Saturday that they would be assessing us on Sunday to clear eligible skaters to begin practicing with teams. What an exhausting weekend! The assessment consisted of some minimum skills and scrimmage scenarios. I was really unsure if I was going to get cleared, as my weak sided turn around toe stops at a 12 second lap speed left a little to be desired. We spent the next week frantically awaiting any word of our results.

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The next week also happened to be the week of 3 scrimmages! PFM had a special opportunity to do a late night scrimmage on Tuesday September 30th with a full officiating crew and Rinxster doing our statistics. (Since we’re just a practice and learning team, we usually don’t have all that fanciness.)

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Again, I used this opportunity to work on developing my blocking further. I did some pretty successful jamming too.

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That Saturday was another Jet City open scrimmage. This time I was pretty fearless, and just had fun. We were really hoping to hear the results of our assessment that day, but were told we’d hear back the next day. The next day was the 3rd scrimmage of the week, and  PFM’s regular monthly scrimmage.

PFM October scrimmage

PFM October scrimmage

I think you can probably just tell by my expressions in these last scrimmage photos that my mental game had changed into something a bit more focused and determined, already.

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That weekend my goal was to start playing a more aggressive game. And by that I don’t necessarily mean trying to kill people, but just not giving up as easily as I have in the past, and also relying less on other people to bridge forward and back.

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It was also a lot of fun to be skating with my original team twice in one week!

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We finally got the results of our assessment on Monday. It turns out I was cleared to scrimmage with the league, but not to attend team practices yet. They were still getting to know my skill set, so they wanted to be sure I was ready for team practices. I was really hoping to knock their socks off at team scrimmage on Thursday so I could skate with my other good friends that were cleared, but unfortunately after the Sunday scrimmage my shoulder was feeling a bit sensitive all week, so I declined. They were very understanding about it. I did however, get all my scrimmage shirts ready for this week.

My required 8 colors of scrimmage tees!

My required 8 colors of scrimmage tees!

This last week was a bit hard emotionally, for reasons that I will probably save for my next post, but I’m hoping that I can get it together again in a few days, and get back on that wave of confidence I was starting to feel and push through. We shall see!

September is my Derbyversary!

Published September 16, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Me celebrating getting cleared for PFM with a box of Sour Patch kids and a cat.

9/7/14: Me celebrating getting cleared for PFM with a box of Sour Patch kids and a cat.

On September 7th, 2013, I geared up fully for the first time, and started my derby life by attending a PFM* foundational skills practice. It’s a class we do every two weeks that teaches new skaters how to stop and fall safely, makes sure they’re safe to skate with other skaters, and introduces them to some of the core members of the group. It’s how you get cleared to skate with the team. (Just a couple of months ago, I became the new skater coordinator/helper!) I was able to pass on my 1st attempt, and came home totally psyched. I then spent the next week barely able to walk.

(*Potential Fresh Meat (PFM) is a volunteer-run quad skating group open to all women 18 years and over interested in learning and practicing the skills needed to play roller derby. Many of our members skate with us to get ready for tryouts for leagues all over the Pacific Northwest, but there are many women who skate with PFM just because it’s fun and great exercise.)

My 1st helmet.

My 1st helmet.

My first actual PFM practice was shortly thereafter on September 15 with Jill Nye, which was a super brutal endurance style practice that again made sitting and walking something that involved lots of pain and concentration. They assured me that not every practice was that hard. I had family in town so I didn’t get back for a couple of weeks, but amazingly I did go back, and I kept going back for more.

No name and no number. I was #99 for my 1st scrimmage. :)

No name and no number. I was #99 for my 1st scrimmage. :)

On November 3, 2013 I laced up my skates for my very first scrimmage.

I didn't really know what I was doing, but everyone was pretty nice about it.

I didn’t really know what I was doing, but everyone was pretty nice about it…

Okay, maybe not everyone! Haha, I kid. Mod Quad, pictured here, did not fail to teach me what it was like to get blocked like crazy!

Okay, maybe not everyone! Haha! I kid! Mod Quad, pictured above, has a great, positive attitude about skating in general, and did not fail to teach me what it was like to get blocked with force. Repeatedly!

And I got to try jamming, which I really enjoyed!

I’m not sure if good form was even on my radar yet.

And I got to try jamming, which I really enjoyed!

A name is born!

An identity is born…

Eventually, I found a name for myself. AND then I changed it, so that it fit me perfectly.

And eventually perfected.

And perfected.

And the last step, the nickname.

And the last step, the nickname.

I finally got myself an awesome, vegan skate setup.

Proper fitting skates...

Bont Hybrid microfiber skates with Crazy Venus plates

Then all I had to do was keep on skating!

PFM Scrimmages 1-6

PFM Scrimmages 1-6

When I first decided to do this, getting onto a team was the furthest thing from my mind. I had grown up skating in the driveway or the street, and loved rollerskating, but didn’t really have any skills besides going forward and spinning in a circle. My real first goal going into all of this was learning to do cross overs, and my ultimate goal was skating backwards! That was pretty much it!

This first year has been more about getting past mental blocks and figuring out what I want to get out of my experience. PFM has provided me with a really awesome, safe, and encouraging environment. I tried a couple of times to move on to more advanced training, but found that I wasn’t ready. Since I didn’t come into this with the intense, competitive, athletic drive that some of my peers did, I’m not sure that everyone that I encountered along the way understood my cautious approach, but that’s okay. I believe we all do these things at our own pace, and I simply had to do what was right for me. In my own time, I’ve slowly lifted my expectations higher and higher.

While I am still trying to hone some essential skills, I have a much firmer grasp on the [huge set of] rules now, and have become more interested in learning the workings of more complex skating and strategy. Even though I feel like I have a long way to go (and of course everyone always has things to work on), I’ve recently felt like I’ve hit the next level on my mental game, and am going to be stepping up my training with Jet City’s Cadets starting next weekend.

There are so many wonderful things derby has brought into my life, including my derby family, derby wife (Stevie Thunder, who is a great source of encouragement and support), and most recently the transitioning of my partner and best friend Thomas to quad skates and derby, from his previous background of inlines and speed skating, so that we can share the experience together! I’m really looking forward to all of the cool things in this next year!

August PFM Scrimmage

Published August 11, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

So some of the girls I skate with like to do “derby thoughts” on facebook after good practices or scrimmages, and they inspired me to get on board. Mine came out a bit stream-of-consciousness, so please ignore the tense changes and such. I decided to just minimally edit it and leave it fairly raw.

***

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August PFM scrimmage:

I woke up at 7:30 am, nervous, and with an unhappy tummy. My GI tract loves to show support by not functioning optimally in times of stress. We had a complete lack of bread products on hand, so I made biscuits. Then I sat quietly, drank tea, and watched roller derby for several hours, hoping to magically absorb the jamming knowledge of Suzy Hotrod, Bonnie Thunders, etc. When I was finally able to convince Thomas to get up and eat biscuits, I made him practice some new moves with me, in our underwear. Here’s my fave video from the morning:

Getting ready helped. Putting on the outfit I selected the night before and getting my Vamp face on gets me in the right frame of mind. Say what you will about modern derby athleticism and all that, but I think the beginning of this revival got a whole lot of things right. Boutfits and derby personas are really helpful for girls like me, who didn’t come to this sport to be athletes per se. Fishnets and booty shorts? Yes, please! It’s a lot easier to do all of this in character. I really love that PFM allows us this outlet.

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Gearing up with everyone during our monthly meeting is always nice. I got to try out my new arm bands this scrimmage. They worked out quite well, AND they match my helmet. ;)

Photo by Robert Bakie, armbands by SkateGEEK

Photo by Robert Bakie, armbands by SkateGEEK

Doing warm-up with an audience freaks me out a bit. I’m not really into this aspect, but I’m glad that we do get to show the results of all our time and efforts to select friends and loved ones. I remind myself that they’re really only there to see their person.

Even though I really don’t want to go out in the 1st jam, I do. This is the first time I’ve played my first jam and not felt like I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Also, the first time I didn’t ask myself repeatedly, Why on earth did I think I could do roller derby?! Mod Quad is coaching us and when we come back to the bench she is super excited and high fives us. She will do this throughout the game. This is really nice.

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At some point early on, I smash my face into the helmet of Ruu Thless Phoenix, and I feel my eyebrow swelling as I’m sitting at the bench. Later, Stormy informs me that she thinks she’s broken her toe, but that she taped it up, and is good to keep skating. There’s a new girl on our team, and she goes in for her 1st scrimmage at the second half. You can tell she is hooked. I love roller derby so much.

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The game goes great. Under the advice of our coach, we are coming up with strategies for each jam based on the wants and needs of our jammer, and it’s working pretty well. When jamming, I don’t feel as worn out as I did in my past scrimmages. Today is my fifth. I received no cut track or forearm penalties for the first time. I am not using T-stops on the track at all, also for the first time. My plow stops have finally improved enough that I’m able to incorporate them into my game play. I even got to use one of the moves I practiced that morning with Thomas (kind of)!

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The game ends. It went by fast. I’m usually so relieved when that last whistle blows, but this time I’m slightly disappointed. That felt great. I still felt lost in parts, but I can tell that I’ve improved. I might actually be getting the hang of this thing after all. I’d been spreading myself pretty thin lately, skating with three different groups, and it was so nice to reconnect with my original home team. I love these girls.

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I think part of my nerves about scrimmaging were due to the fact that I suffered two minor injuries recently, and I am so glad that I leave without any today.

***

As always, thanks for reading! Here are a few cat pictures for your trouble…

Vampira Bitely

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Ganon

Ganon

Midna & Ganon

Midna & Ganon

Midna

Midna

Rolling on

Published July 8, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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Hello!

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been slacking so much on the blog that it’s almost impossible to know where to begin again! I have several, long, picture filled posts I could write, but it’s probably better that I just write about what’s on my mind today, and that’s where I’m at with roller derby.

(But first, I should probably multi-task, and get some bleach on my roots… Ok, bleach on…)

After feeling a little burnt out, and having little hiccups and travels, I’m finally starting to feel really motivated derby wise again. Which is great! :)  Getting on Rat Lab was a bit terrifying and overwhelming at first, and I really wasn’t sure if I was going to stay on. There are two levels of Rat Lab. The fundamentals (which I’m on) and Competitive Rat Lab, which just like it sounds means you scrimmage and bout, have a number of practices you commit to per week, and also become draft eligible for one of Rat City’s four home teams. Even though I wasn’t on CRL, the new pressures associated with skating with these much higher level players was something that took a little getting used to. But I’m happy to report that I’m staying on, and feeling more capable and motivated all the time!

Speaking of more capable… we had PFM scrimmage on Sunday. And while I jammed less than usual (partially b/c I wanted more practice blocking, and partly because my ankle was swollen from a wheel hit to the ankle bone a few days prior), for the first time I actually felt like I was doing some effective things as a blocker!

(Bleach off!)

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And even tried a little backwards blocking too!

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Of course, I’m still learning. One of my struggles is endurance, but it’s definitely getting better. I think part of it has to do with sleep and hydration, which I’m perpetually trying to improve. But it’s no secret that I was never physically active as an adult prior this, besides dancing to bands on the weekends in my twenties, so a big part has been just getting myself in shape. Another factor that I think is playing a bigger part than I realize is the entirely foreign [to me] concept of mental game, which I haven’t quite figured out yet. For this, I just started reading Mind Gym, based on good reviews from rollergirls I know. I will report back on how that goes, but so far it seems to be about positive thinking, so that sounds pretty good for a start.

What else? I’m getting very close weight wise to the heaviest I ever got, which was the summer I gained 15 pounds before college. (Apparently I just couldn’t wait to pack on my freshman 15!) And you know what? I look pretty darn good. That weight has certainly been distributed differently this time around though, as it seems to all be in muscle in my lower body. And again, like before, I’m getting faster. Penny counted me at somewhere around 29 laps in 5 minutes last night. (It was hard to hear when exactly the time got called.) So those muscles are definitely doing what they’re supposed to.

 

Here's a pic of me jamming the previous scrimmage, which I never got around to sharing!

Here’s a pic of me jamming the previous scrimmage, which I never got around to sharing!

Besides all that, I’ve also taken up the job of helping to coordinate the new skater sessions for PFM. So between PFM, Rat Lab, volunteering for Rat events, general summer activities, and life, I guess it’s probably no wonder why I’ve been a little quiet on here, huh?! I’ll be attending Jet City‘s Bombercon at the end of July, and most likely Rose City‘s Derby Daze boot camp down in Portland at the end of August, so don’t be surprised if a lot of my next posts are derby, derby, derby. :)

OH! And I also forgot to tell you, I had a slight name change to VAMPIRA BITELY!

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My new helmet decal is on it’s way from Helmet Candy (on etsy) in California as I write this to you, and she was even nice enough to make me some awesome fangs to boot!

OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH YEAH, and also. THOMAS IS GOING TO DO MEN’S DERBY now!

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He was taken on for a salary position at his job, and has had health insurance now since July 1st! YAY!!!! He finally decided to get back on quads and give men’s derby a try, so I bought him a pair of Bont boots (same as mine!) that had to be made, because his size was out of stock. In the meantime one of the refs (and also a girl that I skate with’s hubby) was nice enough to lend Thomas his old pair. As expected, even after not being on quads since he was 8, Thomas immediately took to these with no problems and will likely be a much better derby player than I am on day 1! (He’s a skilled inline speed skater who learned how to rollerskate at the ripe old age of 2!) He’ll be starting training with Puget Sound Outcast Derby as soon as he gets all his gear, and we’ll now be practicing and watching each other skate in the same space, which is SUPER AWESOME. He may even go to BomberCon with me, as a skater. We shall see…

Thanks for reading!

Vampira Bitely

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Barnana’s gone Coconut!

Published July 1, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

COCONUT Hello again! So much busy going on over here lately, but here’s a long overdue review for you about Barnana‘s newest vegan flavor. You might recall I did a little giveaway featuring their original Barnana snacks during Vegan Mofo last year. Well, they contacted me again to take a taste of their new Coconut flavor. Like last time, they also sent along an additional package of vegetarian, but not vegan, Peanut Butter flavor too for Thomas to try. It seems that the only thing holding them back from being vegan is that same “honey like glaze” that they had on their chocolate flavor, which is all the information I’ve been able to get about the coating. Basically, they were barnanas coated with peanut butter and glazed. Thomas loved them, and didn’t even have to share!

Sadly, vegetarian, and not vegan.

Sadly, vegetarian, and not vegan.

Fortunately for me though, he doesn’t like coconut anything, so we each had our own bags!

MINE!

MINE!

These new Coconut Barnana treats are GREAT!! Have you had raw macaroons or power balls? They’re  kind of like that, but get by with just the banana and coconut. They are a little softer than the original, and get a nice little texture contrast with the shredded coconut mixed in. Subtly sweet, with a little complex deeper flavor from the dehydrated ripe bananas. These turned out to be cravable, and made a great pre-derby workout snack. Interested in getting your own Barnana snacks? You can sign up at their website for samples and discounts, as well as shop and use their store locator, look for them in your local health food shop, or order some from Amazon.

 

Travel posts coming up soon. As always, thanks for reading!!

Announcement: Vida Vegan Con III Date Change!

Published June 11, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Vegan Derby Cat Party:

VVC 3 date changed to weekend AFTER Memorial Day for 2015!

Originally posted on Vida Vegan Headquarters:

New date for Vida Vegan Con III!!

Due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict with our event space (we’ll tell ya just where on Friday, stay tuned!), Vida Vegan Con has adjusted our official date. That’s right, we’ve all got an extra week to wait! Deep breaths, noochy popcorn, and please adjust your calendars and travel plans accordingly.

vvciii date change

Head here for exclusive Early Bird rate (launching Friday June 13) and more Membership Drive options, including inclusive packages, blog features, or a trip to Portland to brunch with us!

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Hello!

Published June 9, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Photo by Steve Messerer

May PFM Scrimmage – Photo by Steve Messerer

Hello there!
Just a quick note to say, Holy Cow! Has it really been so long?! May was a super busy month of cancelled practices, traveling to Portland, scrimmage, traveling to Florida, and being sick, and it seems that I skipped writing even one update during the whole month! (A first, I think.) I have a whole bunch of things to tell you about though, so stay tuned. Posts coming soon!:D

<3
Ty Vampira Knightley

VVCIII Takes On…Austin!

Published April 29, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Vegan Derby Cat Party:

Just announced: Vida Vegan Con 3 will take place in Austin, TX! (#VVCIII)

Originally posted on Vida Vegan Headquarters:

If you received yesterday’s official VVHQ newsletter, then you’re already in the know. But for the rest of you, we’ve got some pretty big news (and subscribe here for the first look next time). So let’s get to it!

Vida Vegan Con III (or #VVCIII, if that’s how you see the world) will be in…

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Austin, Texas. May 22–24, 2015.

That’s right, after hosting two glorious, action-packed conferences in our home city (and vegan wonderland) of Portland, we’re taking this show on the road. Janessa, Jess, and I (Michele) have spent over a year scouting about for the perfect city and space in an exciting, happening vegan community to rival our little vegan mecca.

We’ll have loads of information on all things Austin, including:

  • lodging & travel tips (getting to and around Austin)
  • our favorite grub (lots of budget eats)
  • just where and when all our conference happenings will be—because…

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