Vida Vegan Con '11 - Day Two

My second day in PDX started off early - I had a lot of touristy stuff to get done. My breakfast was my remaining Oreo creme doughnut from Voodoo Doughnuts the day before. I packed my things up and hit the bus line.

My first stop was Powell's books, a gigantic bookstore in the heart of downtown Portland. This place is nerd heaven, floors and floors of books on any subject you could muster. I spent a good portion of my time searching for the perfect souvenir to bring home to my trader boyfriend (3 huge shelves of stock/trading books = crossing my fingers and hoping he would like what this non-trader lady chose). I also picked out a book for myself in the Feminist Studies section.

After taming my inner bookworm, I hopped on another bus up to Washington Park to visit the Japanese Gardens, which claim to be of the most authentic gardens outside of the islands of Japan. This Friday was wonderfully bright and sunny, allowing for lovely reflections off of the gardens' many ponds, streams, and fountains. This is what I want my backyard to look like.

The gardens were tranquil and calm, just what this lone traveler needed. I enjoyed searching for the details in each nook and cranny of the park, finding interesting stone work and tracking down hidden waterfalls.

Near the end of my self-guided tour I found a spot overlooking the city. My heart swelled as I took in the image - how could I love a city so much, only having visited it twice? Portland, one day you will be my home.

My travels built up quite the appetite as I waited impatiently at Hungry Tiger Too, a bar/restaurant with its own extensive vegan menu. A must-see on the PDX vegan food tour! I was very much in the mood for a salty BLT with creamy mayo & avocado - and the sweet potato fries? Crispy and hot, absolute perfection.

A few blocks away from Hungry Tiger Too is the "vegan mini mall" on SE Stark. Here you will find Sweetpea Bakery, Herbivore Clothing, Food Fight! Vegan Grocery Store, and Scapegoat Tattoo. I spent way too much money at Herbivore on a kickass purple logo hoodie, a metal logo necklace, t-shirt reading "Eat Like You Give a Damn", and a bunch of buttons and pins. I wish I had an unlimited budget, though, what incredible and hilarious messages some of the shirts read. At Food Fight I gathered some chocolates (can anyone say Cleo's peanut butter cups and Snap rice crispy chocolate bars?!), stickers (one reading "Vegan Means I'm Trying to Suck Less"), and a bunch of lip balms. After grabbing an iced latte at Sweetpea - my gas gauge was creeping toward "E" - I hopped on the bus to my next destination.

I rushed to meet my artist at Skeleton Key Tattoo for my afternoon appointment! They were offering a 15% discount for VVC registrants to get some vegan ink and I simply could not pass it up. I had known for some time that I wanted this symbol somewhere on my body, and finally decided on my wrist. My artist, Levi, was very helpful in perfecting the graphic and expertly inking it on my surprisingly still arm. I am so pleased with this tattoo - it is healing nicely and I can't wait to post an "after" shot.

After bandaging me up, my artist let me on my way and I rushed back to the conference to officially register. Hauling my luggage and kickass swag bag over to the dorms, I was excited to be stationary for a few hours. I met my roommate as I arrived, Samantha of SuperVegan, who turned out to be a great match - down to Earth and very sweet. We walked over to the VegNews Champagne and Cupcake reception. Alas, I did not have a cupcake (my latte gave me a sugar rush!), but did have a glass of bubbly.

I'm sure you recognize these fine ladies? I sheepishly asked for a photo with the lovely icons of vegan cookbook heaven, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. So nervous!

Also, Gena Hamshaw of Choosing Raw! I admire Gena so deeply for her voice in the vegan community regarding ED recovery and was pleased that my nerves allowed me to inform her of this - although her open and inviting demeanor definitely helped! What an honor.

After the reception the crew headed out to Tube, a vegetarian bar featuring classic comfort food, which I ordered in the form of a vegan grilled cheese. Pardon the quick, flashy photo, but I had mustered up an appetite again! I enjoyed hanging with some incredible folks: Dawn of Vegan Moxie, Jared of blog-to-come, Brit (@Brit_on_Twit), Kyle of Vegan Vagrant, Taylor of Hot Piece of Class, Becca (bekks253), Bianca of Vegan Crunk and her partner Paul, Amber of Almost Vegan and her partner Matt, and Erin of Vegan Homemade. Some karaoke-ing took place after noshing at a bar nearby to the dorms, although I was a walking zombie at that point and decided to get some shut-eye in preparation for the official conference activities the next day.

And shut-eye is sounding very appealing to me now, as well, so I will catch you folks later with more VVC updates!

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