Surviving and Thriving: A Story of an AR First-Timer


HELLO GORGEOUS FRIENDS! I’ve missed everyone so very much! Do you know what it’s like not to have free internet access for five consecutive days? It’s simultaneously hellish and freeing. Honestly, though, I didn’t have time to blog. This was not an LA vacay. This was a work trip, in which I was selling subscriptions to the visitors and vendors of the Animal Rights 2009 conference.

What exactly is an AR conference, you ask? Anyone and everyone who loves, fights for, promotes and can afford to travel to a hotel for a few days ventures to the conference location, sits in on awesome discussions and peruses the many booths of orgnizations and companies. I had no idea what I was in for.

Thursday I woke up jittery and excited. I ran, showered and pictured part of my breakfast:

Coco Almond Butter Banana Bites

Coco Almond Butter Banana Bites

I tried to dress up a simple banana with almond butter. Delicious. I had a Z-bar two hours after this, and then on-board a Virgin America plane, I snacked on trail mix:

Virgin planes have blue, spaceship-ey lighting. Love.

Virgin planes have blue, spaceship-ey lighting. Love.

Part one of surviving and thriving while attending a conference in which you’re trapped inside a hotel for four days, no restaurants nearby, is eating what’s available. The first afternoon, ventured out to find a restaurant, which just turned out to be in a different hotel. Lame. And expensive. Say hello to a not-worth-it $14 salad: 

I think Panera sells this for less than half the hotel's price.

I think Panera sells this for less than half the hotel's price.

Lesson: Take advantage of the vegan buffet in your own hotel. It may not be much, but at least you can eat pounds and pounds of salad and fruit to your heart (and GI tract’s) content. This salad montage will be ridiculous. Thursday night:

Fruit and salad. Unpictured: bread and marinara soup.

Fruit and salad. Unpictured: bread and marinara soup.

Friday afternoon:

Salad and fruit.

Salad and fruit.

Saturday afternoon:

Oh! I recognize that. Fruit and salad.

Oh! I recognize that. Fruit and salad.

Part two of surviving and thriving at an AR conference: take advantage of free food. Breakfasts were free, so you best believe I had some plate-sized bagels a couple times. When a raw food vendor is placed next to your VegNews table, take all the samples they offer: raw sunflower burgers, raw cookies, kale chips, raw pizza…and love it. I didn’t even try to take pictures of breakfasts or snacks because some were lackluster, some were amazing, but really, eating was so frequent and scavenger-esque that photographic representation wouldn’t be pretty.

Continuing the free food meditation, go to the Veggie Grill when your boss asks you whether you’d like to go. Order sweet potato fries to share:

Incredible. Served with Chipotle Ranch. Vegan, of course.

Incredible. Served with Chipotle Ranch. Vegan, of course.

Every single item on Veggie Grill’s menu is vegan. This is remarkable, and someone with whom I was chatting described the restaurant as “what McDonald’s would be in some parallel, animal-friendly universe.” Sounds like perfection to me. Just like this All Hail Kale salad, topped with breaded chickin’ (I ordered blackened, but they gave me breaded–no complaints):

"Marinated organic kale and red cabbage, roasted corn salsa, agave-roasted walnuts and ginger-papaya vinaigrette."

"Marinated organic kale and red cabbage, roasted corn salsa, agave-roasted walnuts and ginger-papaya vinaigrette."

West Coast restaurants are the best. Ohio, please have something veg-tastic in store when I return. This meal was the highlight of the food over the weekend, but there was one other meal that stands out for me. And not because of the food.

On Saturday night there was a big banquet. The food was very cafeteria:

Gross faux-meat with steamed veg. Meh.

Gross faux-meat with steamed veg. Meh.

But when you’re sitting at the same table as the publisher of VegNews Magazine and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, life is fabulous and the food doesn’t matter. Just another one of those moments I couldn’t believe a random girl from Ohio was doin’ tha damn thang.

Part three of surviving and thriving at an AR conference is enjoying the people around you. If it weren’t for these ladies, we may have all gone a little looney:

Tryin' to sell those subscriptions, baby!

Tryin' to sell those subscriptions, baby!

From left to right: Lyndsay, Charlotte, Giant, Abby. I swear I didn’t intend to look a ho with my stomach showing. Blame the long torso and tiny tee.

We took turns working the table in hour intervals. When we weren’t selling and chatting with amazing readers, we attended great discussions and talks. I’m happy to know what to do in case the FBI ever wants to search my house (don’t let them in!). It’s also wild and phenomenal to be around people who want animals to be treated as humans are. It’s rare (especially in Ohio) to find this sense of community. I’m only learning, but I was loving it and soaking it all in.

Part four of surviving and thriving is using the hotel’s gym…AKA rest yo foot and hop on the elliptical! I forgot how much I love a gym! Not only did I fit in two bangin’ sweat sessions, but I also think I allowed my foot to heal from running! Woopwoop!

Part five of surviving and thriving in an AR conference is fun and challenging. Working with the public, cute girls run into all sorts of males. They will hit on you. Keep track of every single one you encounter. This will be a source of hilarity and joy at the end of an exhausting weekend. PLEASE read this if you can:

A list of some of the AR 2009 men. Nicknames and descriptions included.

A list of some of the AR 2009 men. Nicknames and descriptions included.

Or don’t read it. I realize that doesn’t make sense to most.

Part five is imperative: go out your last night. Treat yourself to a delicious dinner that hasn’t been prepared by the LAX Westin. Eat your weight in pita and hummus:

Maybe the best hummus I've ever had?

Maybe the best hummus I've ever had?

Try to get even more veggies into your diet, as though the five pounds of produce consumed at lunch wasn’t enough:

Salad of cucumber, tomato and mint. Refreshing and tasty.

Salad of cucumber, tomato and mint. Refreshing and tasty.

Always try a bite of your dinner partner’s entree. Especially when you’ve never heard of or seen anything like it:

Some stew atop the crunchiest rice...odd. Not my thing, but glad I tried it.

Some stew atop the crunchiest rice...odd. Not my thing, but glad I tried it.

Flying back today was a breeze, and we arrived back at the office at 2something. And then I worked until 7pm, came home and ate broccoli with hummus, then some Puffins and now I need to catch up on the 700+ blog posts by all a ya’ll.

I’ve had a wonderful, fun, tiring weekend. No, I didn’t get away from the Westin for long, but I did manage to learn a lot, meet interesting and passionate people, eat loads of vegan food (most unpictured) and laugh alongside my VegNews ladies. It was phenom.

Tuesday and Wednesday are going to be verrry interesting. I’ve volunteered to try a new cleansing/detox system to review for the VegNews website. That’s right, kidlets, SnackFace will be on a mostly liquid diet. SCARY! But it’s only two days, the supplies are sent directly to me and if I feel as though I’m going to pass out, I’ll do something about it. I’ll be sharing a detailed account of this!

It feels so good to be back! As I’ve posted I’ve started to go through my reader. Where has Kath been this weekend? And Jenna better get that Murphy Goode job. And Mama Lovin? Totes need to catch up. Gotta make sure the girls didn’t grow up while I was away from my computer.

Now be free! I’m sorry for the long post! MUCH LOVE!

Ciao for now,



42 Responses to “Surviving and Thriving: A Story of an AR First-Timer”

  1. 1 Coco

    Sounds like you had an unbelievable experience. I love how you broke down your conference into parts with helpful tips on how to survive. Your foods look delish!!!!! Awesome job girl!!!

  2. 2 WholeBodyLove

    Looks like you had a jam-packed trip! I think you win the award for The Most Delectable Salad Pix I’ve Ever Seen! Try to fit all that on a trophy 🙂

  3. Such a cute post, love, and not just because of the LovIN mention. I’m desperately trying to read your notes about the men, and I’m ultimately convinced that the tiny tee has a LOT to do with all the names 😉

    I’m glad you are back and not having to eat any more overpriced salads!

  4. ohhh you are looking all profesh and fab in that booth! haha, loved the reoccurring salads. but i cant believe that first one was so expensive! highway robbery! where did that phrase come from anyway.. who robs a homie on the highway? that veggie grill spot sounds/looks spectacular. glad you had a successful trip and managed to eat your way through it all! xo

  5. 5 Tina

    Sounds like you had an amazing time! Thanks for the info on how to survive. Looks like you had a lot of fabulous food as well, that hummus looks divine! And you totally rockin’ that VegNews tee girl!


  7. Yay, you’re back! Glad you survived your adventure with style.

    I want my own AB and coconut covered banana bites now! 🙂

  8. So glad you had a wonderful time! And I like your ‘fancy’ airplane trail mix lol. I can’t believe you worked after arriving from the plane! Weren’t you exhausted??

  9. Also, regarding ‘les garcons’, did one actually say ‘Can I join your tan club’???? Did I read that correctly? IF so, I’d love to know what your response to that oh-so-smooth and classy question was!!

    • 10 snackface

      ProteinGirl – Aloha! First off, yes, I was completely exhausted when we went to work immediately after arriving back to San Fran. I definitely didn’t write my best, but things needed to be done. And about the “tan club,” a guy actually stopped us in a parking lot and said, “what do I have to be a part of your fan club?” Best pick-up line I’ve heard in ages.

  10. It looks like you had a great trip! All of that salad looks delicious:)

  11. Welcome back babe! Glad you had such a great time! I’ve missed you.

    The salad montage is the best thing ever! Makes me hungry!

    Jeez, what a ho. Cover it up Kailey!!! 😉

  12. 13 Whit

    Amazing weekend! Totally missed you in tha reader. I’m not gonna lie.

  13. 14 Anna

    Wow, girl, it sounds like you had an amazing time! Good luck with the crazy detox – don’t turn into Gweneth Paltrow on us. Have you read her blog, GOOP? Don’t, it’s strange.

    • 15 snackface

      Anna – Hahaha I’ve totally checked out GOOP before. Freak. E. Don’t you worry, I know I’ll be right back to normal after the cleanse.

  14. The Midwest REALLY needs to step it up with the veg restaurants! I feel your pain about having none in Ohio.

    Remembering the creeper guys you encounter is ALWAYS hilarious! Glad you had a blast in LA 🙂 Good luck with that detox challenge!

  15. Wow—looks like tons of fun and a great opportunity! All your food pics are soo bright and yummy looking =) I love taking advantage of free hotel food–at the breakfasts, I always stock up for portable snacks during the day.

  16. Kailey
    Ah it looks like you had such a good time! yay! The food that you got to take pictures of seriously looked amazing, and that hummus! super yum! I’m lebanese and i totally know what your talkin about with your obsession with the stuff! so good! Good luck with the detox liquid thing your trying out for VegNews! Keep us posted!!!

    • 19 snackface

      Lizzy – Hello chiquita! First off, thank you so much for your comment while I was gone. I am so thrilled you enjoy le SnackFace as much as I do. Anyway, we actually went to a Lebanese restaurant for that hummus! I’d never been to a Lebanese restaurant before, but if I can have that hummus, I’m down anytime. So delicious!

  17. 20 Brandi

    glad you had a good time and a safe trip!

  18. 21 MamaJ

    Nothing but liquids for 2 days doesn’t sound very filling but if it involves carrot and celery juice and I didn’t have to clean the juicer blade,…sign me up. Do you plan on running during this liquidfest? OXOX Mommy

    • 22 snackface

      MamaJ – MOMMYPANTS!!!! Well, I know I’ll be telling you this later, but I’ve already run today. I talked to the cleanse owners and they say it’s perfectly fine to workout as you normally do. Although, I may not run Wednesday because my foot started hurting during today’s run. We’ll see! LOVE YOU!

  19. Glad you had a good, but busy weekend! At least you were definitely NOT lacking in the fresh and delicious produce department as I so usually am when I go on vacation.

    Welcome back!

  20. 24 hopeinpeanutbutterandoats

    sooo good to hear you had a great trip and are back safely! i LOOVEEE VegNews for real that would be a dream job *sigh* FML
    jk jk that’s so awesome fo ryou!!

    have a lovely rest of the day

  21. 25 eatlivelovedream

    Looks like it was very fun and very insightful! I would love to have been surrounded by all that vegan goodness!

  22. 26 april

    What a fun trip!

    Ahh I can’t wait to hear about your cleanse.. my doctor had me do one for a day.. it was AWFUL! i hope your experience isn’t so bad!

  23. 27 Marisa

    So glad you had an amazing time Kailey! I totally missed reading your blog, guess I’ve become addicted, haha. Good luck with the cleanse! My mom is actually doing a cleanse of her own…except it’s for a colonoscopy. No fun…and probably TMI. Sorry. I know you’ll be busy in the upcoming days but I was wondering if you could quickly mention in your next post what you are using for skincare products. I’m looking to switch to something new ASAP because Proactiv is literally tearing apart my skin and sadly I couldn’t book a dermatologist appointment until October. So I’m going to suffer in silence, but in the meantime I’m hoping that I can use the whatever product you are using because your skin always seems to be glowing. Thanks & I’m looking forward to new posts 🙂

    • 28 snackface

      Marisa – Hi pie! Thank you for sharing about the colonoscopy cleanse. TMI? With SnackFace? Never. Anyway, I will definitely talk about skincare within the next two days for you, sugarplum! As one who was an avid Proactiv user, I’ve made a smooth transition to a system of my own! I’ll help a sistah out. I hope 🙂

  24. 29 lowandbhold

    Wow girl what a blasty trip! You are getting so much out of your internship! All the food looks to die!

  25. 30 Jess

    What a fun trip, Miss Snacky-snack! I admire all the life style changes you have been making (going vegan, running….), thanks for sharing the in’s and out’s of it with us all.
    I’m looking forward to hearing about your liquid cleanse. (kinda scary!)

    PS. I’m so drooling over that hummus! Probably my fave food….and yes, I’m a nasty ho and eat it straight out of the container sometimes! ha.

  26. 31 fruitsveggieslife

    Even though you had to take certain measures to ‘survive’, it looks like you had fun. 🙂 Some of the snackage looks wonderful.

    Hmmm. Best of luck on the detox thing. I’ll be waiting to hear how it goes!

  27. Your blog makes me so hungry. haha at least its all good food! 🙂 That hummus looks divine!

  28. woww what an amazing experience! look at you rockin that tee 🙂 all the food looks out of this world. smart cookie by ordering those sp fries! haha. loved your recap almost as much as i love you! ha

  29. woo babygirl sounds like you def. took full advantage of the hotels grub.. can’t go wrong with fruit & salad..

    way to sell those magz, i’d totally buy one from your hot self 😉


  30. This post was adorableeeee kailes, and i’m glad you had such a great weekend!! Clearly there were some interesting men met, fun vegan food tasted, lots of salad-bar salads consumed (hello, welcome to my life when I get back to school, and live in the sorority house), but balanced with other yummy VEGAN treats!

    You look so adorable in that group picture, and that mint-y salad and the hummus look amazingggg!! Hope the transition back to SF is smoooth! love you! xooo

  31. I love your group picture! Looks like you loaded up on your vits w/that salad and fruit at least. I hate conferences. It’s always like that.

  32. 37 lookingforserenity

    yay youre back! -looks like you had loads of fun

  33. What a weekend. Thanks for the survival guide, made me laugh! Especially keeping track of all the men you met… Hilar.

  34. hahah you totally crack me up Kailey. NO you don’t look like a ho, nor a giant in the picture…and I doubt anyone ever wondered if that was your intention. hahaha It’s secretly pretty AWESOME to be tall isn’t it?? 🙂 It’s ok, i’m on your side.

    GOSH the conference sounds like a summer camp, but fancier…and with lots of fresh food. Load up on the chewables now so the liquid diet doesn’t handicap you for 2 days girlie!! How brave of you!!! Vegnews better be paying you big bucks for this. 😛 Have a great week Kailey!

  35. 40 keri410

    What kind of hummus WAS that?! It sure does look good!

    Oh what a fun weekend! I wish my job sent me to new places and fun events like that! It’s an internship correct? Or is it a full time job for you? Are you still in college? What’s your degree? Wow, sorry— spurt of questions just all came flowing out of my head!

    Whether you want to enter or not, could you possibly link back to my blog/giveaway in one of your next posts? I know that sounds obnoxious, but I would appreciate it SO much!

    Thanks lovely!

    • 41 snackface

      keri410 – Hey girl! That was just some hummus I ordered at a restaurant and it was spectacular. I almost ate the whole boat of it. As for your Qs…You’re right! This is, unfortunately, just an internship! I’ll be heading back to Ohio University in the fall to complete my senior year as a magazine journalism major. Basically, this summer is a dream for me, and I hope I continue to be involved with VegNews, magazines and veganism forever. SHOOT I didn’t link back. I’ve never done that for a giveaway, but I’ll really try tomorrow!

  1. 1 AR 2009: Bloggers’ Thoughts

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