There was so much there. Too much to share it all here. I mean really, the idea is for you to go and experience the whole glorious thing for yourself. If you missed it, well, I'm sorry. Don't let that happen again, OK? Highlights for me this year were, in no particular order of preference:
100% Pure offers beautiful, natural, organic skin care and fruit-pigmented makeup. The company was a major sponsor of VegFest, and also quietly partners with various animal welfare organizations. They gave me some delicious lotion and hair care samples, and asked me to extend a 20% online discount to you! Use the code VEGFEST2015 until December 20th. You're welcome!
CompassionateCloset is an online purveyor of women's and men's clothing, shoes, and accessories from a wide range of vegan manufacturers. They carry super cool things like sunglasses made from recycled skateboard decks, and gorgeous shoes and boots.
Herbivore Clothing, a dandy Portland store, carries all sorts of animal-friendly items, like t-shirts, books, bags, stickers, housewares, and tons of accessories. They brought a bunch of great stuff with them, and had a happy buzz around their booth all weekend.
dōTERRA + Mind Body Spirit shared an amazingly scented mini-spa space filled with the very best in essential oils, and absolutely lovely, caring, sharing people. I followed my nose in, and was whisked into a comfy chair for a free hand massage that left me smelling like a sunny orange grove, and feeling refreshed and somehow "lighter."
V Apparel makes super soft, organic, fair trade, ethical T's in gorgeous, thoughtful designs. 10% goes to the animals. Sweet!
Deja Bags are made of actual mylar film from used movie theater reels. They're super strong and stylish, and you can even tell what movie your bag is made from. Some are x-rated! Oh my!
Arbonne is a large, multi-national, botanically-based, all vegan company that makes an extensive line of skin and hair care products, as well as cosmetics, fragrance, and nutritional supplements. Even if you're not in the US, I'll bet you can order from them!
Compassion Co "provides shirts that allow people to announce their cruelty free lifestyle to the world." They're all about setting a positive example while creating connection and conversation between the wearer and others. Their clothing is organic, sustainable, and eco-friendly.
Kat Mendenhall is a lifelong cowgirl who went vegan a few years ago, and realized she needed an alternative to her usual leather boots. Finding nobody who was already making them, she set out to create her own company. Her "Kick Butt Boots" are absolutely gorgeous, and yes, I want a pair very much. She also offers belts, and soon there will be bags and wallets too.
North Coast Organics specializes in deodorants and bath and body care. The founder wanted a natural deodorant that would stand up to his 50 mile bike rides. Finding nothing on the market that suited him, he came up with it himself. The scents are wonderful. I bought the one called "Creativity," and so far, I smell sweet and fresh, even though I have no intention of ever getting on a bike.
Schmidt's Deodorant is an all-natural, cruelty-free product I'd sampled in the cream form a few years ago. I liked it a lot, but was wishing for a stick, which they now offer. Yay! I got my favorite, the Bergamot-Lime scent. It works great!
Cykochic offers creative, custom handbags in a variety of designs and colors, using Peta-approved, super soft vegan (polyurethane) leather, as well as "linen" made from recycled plastic bottles. They're adorable.
Vegan Beauty Review tells you more than you thought you wanted to know about cruelty-free and vegan beauty brands. Check this site before you shop. You'll find some real treasures, as well as a lot of good information.
Driftwood Magazine is brand new on the scene. Leaving the food, nutrition, and recipes to other fine publications out there, Driftwood offers "stories of vegan travel adventures, profiles on people, and advancements in our global community." It's seriously, playfully beautiful, and you'll keep each issue around long after you've read it.
Although most of my time was spent at the Fashion and Beauty Stage, I did manage to sneak off to other parts of the festival to sample some amazing food (free samples everywhere!), and listen to some expert speakers.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau shared some really useful insights regarding the excuses so many of us make for not going vegan, and debunking some of the myths surrounding a plant-based diet. She also responded thoughtfully and helpfully to audience questions about difficulties conveying our vegan values to our non-veg family and friends. Benefit from Colleen's gentle wisdom via her website, books, videos, and podcast.
Michael Klaper, MD gave us the lowdown on salt, sugar, and oils. I eat better than almost anyone I know, but I still have some improvements to make! There's a lot of great information on his website. Explore and thrive.
My friend Deb Kay, whom I met at Vegan Fusion teacher training, did a fun and tasty cooking demo, and shared some simple dessert recipes, just in time for the holidays. With permission, here's her incredible recipe for Lemon Pudding, made with cauliflower!!! To make it into a pie, just add 1 tablespoon of agar powder to the blender mixture, and then pour it into your favorite pie crust. Top with coconut whipped cream and enjoy some lemon heaven!
Recipe from Deb Kay
Vegan and Gluten Free
3 cups roughly chopped cauliflower
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons sugar, agave, or maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
zest from 1 large lemon
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Place cauliflower, milk, sugar, vanilla, and zest into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, uncovered. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cook uncovered for 5-7 minutes, until cauliflower is very soft. Remove from heat.
Add lemon juice (and agar if using) and pour into food processor or blender. Blend on high for 1 minute, or until very smooth. Pour into a clean bowl (or pie crust) and allow to cool at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight, for at least 18 hours. Refrigeration helps the bold lemon flavor subside and really transforms this pudding. Do not skip this step!
And there you have it. Two days of vegan fun, fashion, beauty, and then some. I hope you'll check out the websites I've linked for you. Every single one of them has something special to offer. I know I'll be supporting these super vegan businesses, and maybe I'll become even more fashionable and beautiful in the process!