I’ve got some big news.
One of the most defining moments in my life happened in fall 2015. I was sitting in a vegan restaurant in Madrid with a friend. I was tired. Depressed. Lonely. I was the anti-poster child for what I had spent the past five years preaching on my popular travel blog, d travels ’round — life’s not about living happily ever after, it’s about living.
I was in Madrid; going through the motions but definitely not living.
I knew prior to that meal I was going to move back to my old home of Las Vegas after spending almost four years away. I had lived in Thailand working in elephant rescue, followed by London and Madrid.
The travel blog I spent years nurturing had lost steam as as Instagram took over and sunset beaches and bikinis became the rage.
I wanted to write, I wanted to tell stories, I wanted to continue my activism which started when I worked in elephant rescue. Only, I didn’t know what that looked like.
“Go vegan and write about it,” my friend suggested as we ate our pan con tomate, a popular tapas in Spain featuring grilled bread topped with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and salt.
I scrunched up my face.
“I don’t think I could give up eggs or cheese,” I responded. That was always my response when people asked me if I would go vegan. I swore off meat almost immediately upon my arrival to Thailand as I watched pigs being taken to slaughter.
But, give up eggs and cheese? Pizza? No. Way.
The disconnect was real.
“How can you work in animal rights and know what you know and still eat these things?” My friend asked.
She was right.
How could I?
And, that’s when it all clicked for me.
I couldn’t only stick up for some animals and not others. I could give up cheese and eggs and my beloved pizza.
“OK, but I don’t know how or what I will eat.”
I whipped out my phone and did a quick search of vegan options in Las Vegas, and the results were abysmal. Four restaurants and a couple of pages in Happy Cow.
How would I go vegan if there weren’t options?
Then, everything started to flow. My friend suggested I take my travel blogging skills and move them to the vegan realm, writing about vegan dining in Las Vegas.
The goal: show people if I can go vegan and not miss out on food, so can others.
Vegans, Baby’s journey
And, Vegans, Baby was born.
It officially launched six months later, May 2016. The site had restaurant write-ups of a handful of restaurants with vegan options at launch.
Today, there are hundreds of restaurants on the site. Vegans, Baby has grown more than I could have ever imagined possible.
In 2017, I launched Vegan Dining Month in Las Vegas in response to Restaurant Week not having vegan options on their menu. In its third year, I expanded to San Diego and Portland. This coming year, VDM will also take place in Portland, Chicago, Chattanooga, and other cities.
Within two years, I worked with a handful of restaurants to add more vegan options and was credited by LIVEKINDLY for being instrumental in growing the vegan dining scene in Las Vegas.
I launched a local food tour which was named by TRAVEL + LEISURE as one of the top nine vegan food tours in the world. The day that accolade was announced, I was en route to lead my first vegan tour of Thailand, a sell-out.
In 2019, the James Beard Foundation heard about my work and reached out, asking me to curate a vegan dinner featuring Las Vegas chefs at the world-renowned James Beard House.
The relationship turned into an ongoing partnership and pre-pandemic I hosted two dinners with amazing Las Vegas chefs there. It was on those trips I fell head-over-heels in love with New York City.
The same year, Life is Beautiful brought me on board to curate The Farm Stand, an all-vegan dining activation at the popular three-day music/food/arts festival.
Then came 2020.
My May JBF dinner was canceled, my expansion to Vegan World Tours was put on hold. It was a devastating blow to the momentum and work I had been doing.
All the while, I worked behind the scenes to continue the growth of Vegans, Baby. JMP Force partnered with me to create The Good Fork series highlighting restaurants in town and their vegan options. TikTok reached out and brought me into their Creative Learning Fund.
And now, it’s mid-2021, and here’s another defining moment: I’ve made the decision to expand Vegans, Baby.
Here’s the news.
Beginning August 1, I will be splitting my time between Las Vegas and New York City.
My goal is to take the magic I’ve worked so hard to create in Las Vegas and bring it to NYC. I plan to work with restaurants there to expand their options and continue to showcase vegan food and its accessibility while dining out.
I am already planning events in town (grab your spot for my vegan foodie weekend Aug. 20 – 22!) and have a lot of ideas to tap into new culinary talent and help put them on the map.
Since my first James Beard Dinner, I’ve dreamed of splitting my time between NYC (which is near my family) and Las Vegas (my adopted home). With rents on their way back up, now was the time to leap and see where this chapter takes me.
What does this mean for those who are supporters in Las Vegas? You won’t notice much of a change.
I will continue to cover Las Vegas and share vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants there. I will continue hosting events. And continue to film The Good Fork here and showcase restaurants. I already have plans to be in Las Vegas regularly for my business and work hard to continue showing people vegan options in the city.
It also means my content will be expanding. On social media, you can expect to find more NYC content. On the Vegans, Baby site, NYC will become its own section as I begin to share vegan finds in and around Manhattan.
Vegan World Tours is also expanding and there are plans for a South African safari, Thailand trip plus more adventurous experiences like a vegan trip to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Things change, but in the best way possible. Now, I get to share vegan food with even more people and help guide them to living a more vegan-friendly lifestyle.
I am so grateful for the support of the Las Vegas community these past five years. Vegans, Baby, and my work were so lovingly embraced and I am incredibly humbled.
This is the start of the next chapter as Vegans, Baby expands and I hope you’ll stick around for the ride.