Hi! My name is Janessa. I’m glad you’re here. 🙂
I’m a native Oregonian from a tiny town called Cave Junction, just 13 miles from the California border. Raised a vegetarian, I decided to adopt a vegan lifestyle in 2009. I try to live my life with the tenants of causing the least amount of harm possible while doing as much good as possible. For me, being a vegan is an integral part of living compassionately.
I used to write a blog called Epicurious Vegan. Fun fact: I thought I made up the word Epicurious and was super proud of myself! Imagine my surprise when I saw a (very popular) website called Epicurious. It was probably good for my SEO, but I didn’t even know what SEO was when I started blogging in 2009. In fact, I didn’t know how to blog, at all. So I co-founded a vegan blogger’s conference called Vida Vegan Con. It was the world’s very first vegan blogger’s conference, and it was a joy and an honor to organize it. And lots of fun! Over the course of #VVC (2009-2015), my day job was restaurant management. As the senior floor manager for a $5 million/year award-winning brewpub, I found my calling for a job that is dynamic, ever-changing, creates positive guest experiences and keeps me moving!
In 2013, my feet were getting too itchy. I used to take international trips about once a year, but I was ready for more! There’s just so much of the world out there, and I want to see as much of it as possible. So I put in my notice at my beloved job, sold or stored all my belongings, and bought a one-way ticket to Europe.
From London, I visited friends in Edinburgh and The Netherlands, before hopping over for some solo time in Central/Eastern Europe. From Vienna to Brno, Budapest to Novi Sad, Slovakia to Montenegro, I hostel-hopped, updating my blog, video conferencing with my VVC co-founders, and sipping white wine spritzers. Traveling solo can be challenging for a variety of reasons, but it’s also deeply fulfilling and a wonderful way to grow. From Budapest, I flew over to Vietnam, where I spent a month getting to know the culture and eating all the vegan bánh mìs and spaghetti I could find. (Spaghetti is surprisingly omnipresent in SE Asia, and as a vegan, it’s a dish easy to veganize when you order. As a carbotarian, I was plenty pleased with this option.) Before I ran out of my carefully saved but easily spent money, I also got to visit Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos with my older brother. This trip was an experience of a lifetime, made better by getting to spend some of it with friends and family.
Once home, I worked on organizing the very last Vida Vegan Con (RIP) and got into the professional events industry. From planning seventy corporate health fairs across the country to being the special events manager for a truly wonderful local nonprofit, I love being able to do what I am passionate about–planning successful–and super fun!–events from start to finish–for a living!
In the present day, I plan events, explore the beautiful mountains, forests, and beaches of the Pacific Northwest, make and eat all the vegan food in the known galaxy, and daydream about all the places I still want to experience and people I want to meet.