Well, not at Vida Vegan Con! The swag bag is like vegan Santa handing you a totes sweet tote* in late May and you can DEVOUR/USE EVERY SINGLE THING IN THERE! It's filled with sample or even full-sized products you know and love, sneak peeks at forthcoming products from some of your favorite vegan-friendly brands, products you never knew existed and aren't you glad they do, and plenty of coupons to keep you flush with vegan happiness.
*DEAL WITH IT
Now that I've had the chance to go through my #swagbagofwonder, I wanted to give out a shout-out to my favorite items and thank the companies for my sweet, sweet swag. And of course, because I attended Randi's excellent seminar on blogging in compliance with the law, I want to clarify that I did receive these products for free, and although I am giving the products below positive reviews, it's only because I truly believe they're awesome! There, that oughta cover my hinder.
1. Eyeliner pencil
My pencil was black, but I saw most everyone else got a dark purplish shade named raisin/grape. Which struck me as funny, as they're essentially the same thing- but I appreciate that Earthlab is not being ageist towards fruit all the same. I normally prefer liquid liner, but for a pencil, this is pretty darn good. It goes on soft and strong, and I was able to get a decent cat-eye point. It does smudge, but not easily, and it gives a smooth, even coverage. It's going in my makeup bag!
Let's talk about this deodorant. I hope that, as I type this, about 50 miles across the Bay in Silicon Valley is some darkened room of sleep-deprived brogrammers fervently producing the world's first app that allows you to share scent via social media. That is how badly I want everyone in the world to experience the smell of this deodorant. It borders on a spiritual experience for me. Growing up with the Redwoods in my backyard, I cannot imagine a cleaner, purer, more fulfilling scent than that of a fragrant evergreen forest. Schmidt's has taken this smell and put in a form where I can take it with me in my armpit all day long, and any product that makes my underarm seem like a place where Dale Cooper would want to hang out and think about Tibet is A-OK by me.
Um, specifics: it's a paste, of which you rub a pea-sized amount into your clean underarm each day; there's baking soda, which gives it a pleasant light grit in addition to providing protection from the stinkies; it's also available in unscented if you can't resist walking around with your nose in your pit all day. I'm officially a convert.
4. Miyoko's Kitchen Cheese Knife
Dandies made a strong showing at Vida Vegan Con, with both mini and large marshmallows at all coffee stations (genius), and swag bag samples of both vanilla and the new upcoming pumpkin flavor of minis! I personally think they tasted more like pumpkin pie spice, specifically, cinnamon, but they could call them dirt flavored and I would still eat them up! I love Dandies, and, if we're being honest here, so do my dogs. I really only give them like two each on very special occasions! Dandies also threw in some recipe ideas, both for your basic crispy rice treats and something verrrry interesting: a sweet pizza. The crust is made of crispy rice treats, then add raspberry sauce, mint leaves, and shaved coconut. I can imagine one might also want to add chocolate chips, white chocolate, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, brownie bits, cinnamon and sugar, ice cream, nut butter, whipped cream, maraschino cherries, sprinkles, and gold leaf, but that's just me.
The cheese knife from Miyoko's Kitchen was a nice touch! Being a spoiled Californian, I have access to Miyoko's Kitchen cheeses at not one but two stores within walking distance of my house, and many more within my city limits. Suffice to say I usually have at least one in my fridge at all times! This knife will be getting a lot of use- in fact, it already has.
Nacheez is, hands down, the best vegan nacho cheese there is. END OF DEBATE. FYI, my personal standard is "looks and tastes like 7-11 nachos," and this fits the bill. If you think that's gross, then that's cool- more Nacheez for me! Nacheez comes in mild, medium, and spicy varieties, and I could drink them all straight out of the jar. I was stoked to get this pouch in my swag bag, but it's a mere drop in the bucket compared to all the Nacheez I'm going to guzzle this year. NACHEEZ I LOVE YOU.
Truant on Picture Day:
6. Earth Balance Popcorn
7. Pea Chips
8. Beanfield's chips
9. Tasty gummies
This Chocolate Hollow hazelnut chocolate log, one of the components of the 'chocolate, chocolate, knife' chant of the Swag Bag Army, was on everyone's lips. Then behind everyone's lips. Everyone is nuts about this chocolate log, and for good reason! Mine got a bit smooshed on the journey home, as you can see, because as I said, in the game of suitcase Tetris, sacrifices must be made. There's nothing wrecked about the taste, though. So smooth and creamy you can't tell where the chocolate shell ends and the hazelnut cream filling begins. What makes this taste all the sweeter is knowing all their chocolate is fair-trade sourced. Whoopeee! Everyone's a winner! Especially your taste buds.
I've got a few more things to say about Austin, specifically my recommended sites and foods, so stay tuned! Then back to radio silence- okay, not really, I actually do have a few real bloggy things lined up. :)