What I learned at Vidcon 2016 | My Trip to Vidcon!

Vidcon is an amazing, immersive learning experience (Plus, the parties are fun)!

In this post I’ll be covering:

  • How I got to Vidcon and where I stayed
  • Badge types
  • Parties
  • Disney Day
  • My recommendations and advice for creators traveling to Vidcon

I was so invigorated and inspired after attending Vidcon that I spent the following month making a video every single day! It was insanity, but also one of the most productive and creative periods in my YouTube career so far!

For a quick overview of my experience at Vidcon 2016, check out my Vidcon vlog!

How I got to Vidcon and Where I stayed:

I flew from Chicago to Los Angeles, LAX, and I took an Uber from the airport to my hotel in Anaheim! If you’re planning a trip to Vidcon this upcoming year, I recommend connecting with other YouTubers on Facebook beforehand (Check out the Vidcon Loneworlves Facebook group or the Vidcon Creators Facebook group) and organize a carpool so that you can split the cost of the trip from LAX to Vidcon! There may be other transportation options available, but I am a last minute person and Uber is my best friend when traveling! In my post about my latest trip to New York, I talk about that more 🙂

I stayed at the Red Lion Hotel in Anaheim with a couple of ladies I met off a Vidcon Facebook group and they were perfect roommates! The Red Lion is a quick walk away from the convention center (less than 10 minutes) and near a bunch of restaurants, so I thought it was really convenient.

Badges on badges!!! I got the Vidcon creator badge!

 

There’s three badge options for Vidcon:

  • Community: The community badge gives you access to most of the events, panels, and q&a’s. Personally, I call this the fan-girl badge, since most of the people wearing it were screaming 14 year old fangirls.
  • Creator: The creator badge is designed for content creators aiming to meet other content creators and learn how to improve their content. This is the badge type that I got. It gives you access to a bunch of creator panels, lectures, and q&a’s.
  • Industry: The industry badge is for those who work with online video professionally. This is the top tier and most expensive badge. To be honest, throughout Vidcon I found myself wishing I had this level of badge (the industry track panels covered topics like marketing on other platforms and did not fill up, unlike the creator-level panel on analytics).

Plus, there are parties!

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of Vidcon was being able to meet up with other content creators IRL! I met so many creators that I only knew through their videos and online content! And, we got to PARTY! 🙂

Next time I go to Vidcon I’ll work a little harder to get into the swanky, private parties. That said, there are some pretty cool parties open to all convention participants, including the Astronaut Party!

Here’s the Facebook Live video I took at the Astronaut Party at the Anaheim Convention Center!

Vidcon Disney Day:

The Sunday after Vidcon is Disney Day! If you register for Vidcon you have the option of purchasing discounted tickets for Disney on this day. I had fun during Disney Day, but most likely wouldn’t do it if I go to Vidcon again. The discount isn’t that much and most of the creators I hung out with during Vidcon did not go.

I did, however, get to make a cool vlog while I was there! Check it out:

My recommendations and advice if you’re a content creator heading to vidcon:

If you’re a content creator/ YouTuber heading to Vidcon, I highly recommend you do the following things:

  • Connect with and get to know other creators before the convention! The more people you know, the more comfortable you will be, the more fun you will have, and the more benefit you will get out of the experience!
  • Reach out to other creators to arrange and split costs for transportation and lodging!
  • Schedule and plan collaborations before you get there! I made the mistake of assuming I would arrive at Vidcon and be inspired to do a bunch of collabs. Collabs happen through intention. Unless you are planing on simply vlogging the experience and only involving other collaborators by featuring them in your vlog, it’s best to reach out to other creators that you want to create with before you go and actually plan out the videos you want to create. Most importantly, set a time during the convention when you will meet with whoever you want to collaborate with!
  • Save enough money for food and drinks! Once you’re at Vidcon, you probably don’t want to be stuck in the room eating ramen. You’ll want to go out to eat and drink with other creators! Make sure that you set aside enough money to enjoy yourself and socialize with other creators!
  • Scope out the expo floor for potential brand sponsors! The convention floor is filled with brands that are into online video and understand its potential. Know your channel’s brand, who your audience is, and which brands might make good partners for your content. Then, woo them! If I go to Vidcon again, I will definitely be working this angle 🙂

The coolest thing about attending Vidcon as a creator is that you will never be around a higher concentration of people obsessed with online video. Wherever you go people will be filming, live streaming, and snapchatting. It’s like a weird version of the future in Anaheim. It’s fascinating.

If you have any questions, want to share your own experience, or want to talk about plans for Vidcon next year, leave a comment!

My Trip to New York City | Drone Footage, Times Square, The Met, Subway, Freedom Tower, Vegan Food

The energy of New York is infectious!

I was recently in New York City for the YouTube NextUp program (check out my post on that!) and I stayed a few extra days to see the city and visit a few old friends!

During my trip, I filmed a travel vlog wherein I went full on Casey Neistat. Here’s a pic of me rocking his style at the Hudson River. (My New York City travel vlog is embedded at the bottom of this post!)

sunglasses-casey-neistat-style-vlogging

Times Square is electrifying!

Check out this sweet panorama I took while standing tiptoe on a bench in Times Square New York:

times-squaree-panorama

Walking through Times Square, I felt like I was in a movie! The energy, the people, the lights – it was all electrifying! Everywhere you looked, you could see at least 10 advertisements. Huge billboards and gigantic tv screens abounded, plastering the buildings in a hybrid digital-analog jigsaw puzzle.

times-square

I flew a drone over the Hudson River at Chelsea Pier!

Okay, to be more accurate, I met up with my friend, Brendan Sullivan, at Times Square and we took a cab to Chelsea Pier, where he flew his drone over the Hudson River and I vlogged the adventure.

chelsea-pier-drone-picture

Here’s Brendan with his Drone and all our stuff laying around Chelsea Pier!

brendan-drone-all-our-stuff

I had never actually flown a drone before, and it was amazingly exhilerating! Brendan was flying it for about 20 minutes and the thing simply buzzed away from us like a bug and got BEAUTIFUL, high quality shots! The following photos were all grabbed from video footage taken by the drone:

chelsea-pier-drone-picture-2drone-picture

drone-chelsea-pier-us

In New York, one must go to the theater!

I was staying with a friend I used to do improv with when I lived in Seoul, South Korea! So, naturally we went out to see an improv show in New York! She took me to the Magnet Theater, where she studies and performs! We saw a spectacular Armando! The monologist was seriously top notch!

And, of course, one must brunch – at Park Avenue!

park-avenue-autumn-bar

This trip was a bit of a reunion affair! I also met up with an old high school friend, Jennifer Wright, who recently got HER THIRD BOOK DEAL! (Congrats!!!) She took me out to brunch with her fiance. Of course, she took me to a restaurant that’s just like her – very swanky and fabulous! We brunched at Park Avenue!

park-avenue

I had a fig and pomegranate bellini that was OUT OF THIS WORLD!

I also had this delicious salad:

And, check out these VEGGIES:

park-avenue-veggies

It was an AMAZING meal. They did modify the dishes a bit for me since I’m vegan, and everything was delicious.

I got some high culture in at the met!

the-met

I’ll be completely honest, I wouldn’t know my way around an art museum if you put a map in my hands – and they did! I visited the Met and I was very impressed with all of the sculptures and paintings, but I can’t say that I actually knew what I was looking at 🙂 If you’re an art fan, I definitely recommend you check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art! It’s a fascinating place that you could spend hours in and still not see everything!

Looking for a wonderful vegan restaurant? Try Angelica Kitchen!

angelica-kitchen-new-york

To end my trip by tying it up in a pretty, organic and vegan bow, I met back up with Brendan and we visited the most delicious vegan restaurant in New York, Angelica Kitchen!

I had a scrumptious burrito called “OLÉ MAN SEITAN”:

ole-mole-seitan-angelica-kitchen

And, I got in some photography before I hit the airport!

I got a new wide angle lense from canon! The 10-18! So, I wanted to take it out and try vlogging with it before I left New York!

Here’s a funny snapchat I ended up taking in my excitement over my new camera lens 🙂

PS: ADD ME ON SNAPCHAT!

new-lens-canon

I’ll freely admit it: one of my favorite things about my trip to New York was being able to use the New York Snapchat filters!!!

RISE AND GRIND IS THE BEST! Sums up the New York state of life.

rise-and-grind-filter

Freedom Tower!

I really loved New York City and I can’t wait to go back! Here’s the coolest photo I took! FREEDOM TOWER!


I can’t wait to go back to New York! I LOVED IT!

Here’s my New York City Travel Vlog:

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My Trip to Ann Arbor Michigan | Ann Arbor Travel Tales!

Ann Arbor is such a cute college town!

I recently visited my best friend, Megan, in Ann Arbor Michigan and decided to bring my camera along for the ride! It was fresh on the heels of my New York trip and I was jazzed to vlog the experience!  (The vlog is embedded at the bottom of this blog post!)

I took the Amtrak train from Glenview to Chicago’s Union Station and then I made my way for the next few hours to lovely Ann Arbor! The late autumn/early winter sky was a bit gray, but the trees were still beautiful colors.

amtrak-train-to-ann-arbor-travel-blog

I think a train ride is the perfect way to travel to a nearby state! You don’t have to bother with TSA security checks like at the airport and the seats are much more comfortable and spacious than an airplane. Plus, it’s not as noisy!  I got a whole bunch of video editing done on the train!

Here I am intensely editing a vlog on the Amtrak train (Check out my YouTube NextUp post to see what I did when YouTube flew me to New York for their NextUp program at the YouTube Space New York!):

vlogging-on-the-amtrak-train-to-ann-arborWhen I arrived in Ann Arbor, my best friend picked me up from the train station and took me over to her place! I got my own blow up mattress on the floor to sleep on – and the best bedtime companion: her dog, JJ!  It was the perfect accommodation for a traveler!

Here we are being all cute together 🙂

me-and-megan-in-ann-arbor

kerrytown is where it’s at!

The shops at Kerrytown in Ann Arbor are all so cute! We checked out a delightful little paper shop, a wine store, and artisanal groceries! Then we chowed down at an amazing vegan restaurant called The Lunch Room! According to Megan, Kerrytown is an area in Ann Arbor where a lot of grad students stay/ hang out! We certainly enjoyed ourselves there!

kerrytown

The Lunch Room is the best vegan restaurant in Ann Arbor!

Okay, admittedly, The Lunch Room was the ONLY vegan restaurant I went to in Ann Arbor, but it was AMAZING nonetheless! It was well deserving of the tile of “best vegan restaurant in Ann Arbor”!

the-lunch-room

I got a vegan taco salad that was too die for – the perfect amount of crunch, kick, and spice! It was all the flavors and texture I was craving for lunch. Check out the lusciousness of this lunch:

the lunch room vegan taco salad ann arbor
Meanwhile, Megan got a bowl of deliciousness, which I should have gotten a close up picture of, but I was overcome with hunger and didn’t think to take a shot!

If you’re in Ann Arbor and like bookstore cafes, check out the Literati Bookstore!

After our delicious lunch, Megan and I wandered around Ann Arbor and browsed the shops! We ended up in a delightful, little bookstore and cafe called Literati Bookstore. It was FULL of students from Michigan University working on projects and I felt right at home, like I was back in college myself!

literati-bookstore

I got a wonderful Americano with a little steamed soy milk on top! Here’s our table in disarray and my phone set to Gary Vaynerchuk as per the usual.

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If You like chocolate, Kilwins chocolate shoppe is for you!

Although they only had a select few vegan options, Megan LOVES Kilwins Chocolate Shoppe, so we had to stop in!

kilwins-chocolate-shoppe

They had all sorts of treats and they all seemed perfect for holiday gifting and entertaining! Megan grabbed quite a number of chocolates for a gathering she was hosting later that week!

kilwins-chocolate-shoppe-chocolate

My favorite shop was cherry republic

Megan and I wandered into the store Cherry Republic and I was in heaven. Most of what they carry is made of – you guessed it – cherries!!!

cherry-republic

Cherry jams, chocolate covered cherries, cherry cider, and CHERRY WINE! The best part of the shop was they have wine tasting in the back! Megan and I had our share of everything on the menu 🙂

cherry-republic-wine-tasting-ann-arbor-michigan

I highly recommend that place for cute, tasty gifts and souvenirs!

Hola, Tapas!

For dinner, Megan and I were joined by her husband, Andrew and we all went out for tapas at Aventura!

aventura-tapas-ann-arbor-michigan

Aventura  was DELICIOUS! I am a huge tapas fan! I love it when waiters can also easily tell me what options are vegan and what options they can make vegan! This place definitely fit the bill!

Check out this white bean pâté I got!  (I couldn’t resist using fancy accent marks on that one)

aventura-tapas-ann-arbor-bean-copy

Everything at the restaurant was scrumptious and the sangria was AMAZING. If you like tapas, I highly recommend this place!

Here’s my vlog of the trip!

It’s short and sweet! I highly recommend you check it out! Join me as I discover PURE MICHIGAN in Ann Arbor!

Improvised Jane Austen’s Holiday Shows 2016!

Come one, come all! Come to Improvised Jane Austen’s Holiday Shows!

My Chicago based improv team, Improvised Jane Austen, improvises in the style of our favorite authoress, Jane Austen! This holiday season we have three regency-style shows that are sure to delight and amuse the Janeite in you!

Here’s a picture of us at our latest holiday performance!

We have two rousing shows at the lovely and intimate McKaw Theater in Rogers Park:

December 15th & 22nd
$10 Admission at 10p.m.
Mckaw Theater
1439 W. Jarvis St.

And, we have a special two act show at Uncharted Books in Logan Square:

Sunday, December 18th
Free at 5p.m.
Uncharted Books
2620 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Please drop by and enjoy the performances! I would love to see you, dear reader 🙂

How to Bake Vegan Christmas Cookies (Vegan Sugar Cookies)

It’s the most magical (cookie baking) time of the year!

To be honest, you might as well call the holiday season “cookie season” in my house. This year when I was asked to do a YouTube Christmas collaboration video, I decided to bake some sugar cookies for it! I combined a tutorial for baking vegan Christmas cookies with the YouTube Christmas tag, so I talk Christmas, bake Christmas, and eat and drink Christmas in this video!

Here’s the cookies! They turned out so well!

I based my recipe off this original recipe for vegan sugar cookies from the fabulous blog Minimalist Baker.

I’ll put the vegan sugar cookie recipe and questions for the YouTube Christmas tag below! Here’s the video where I make them step by step and chat about Christmas!

Ingredients for vegan christmas cookies:
vegan-sugar-cookies-ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), softened (to speed softening, see note)
1/2 cup organic sugar (I used coconut palm sugar)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pumpkin puree* (acts as egg substitute | sub with unsweetened applesauce with varied results)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour + more for rolling into shapes
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder (for thickening/binding)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1-2 tsp non-dairy milk

vegan-sugar-cookies-mixing-bowl

Directions for baking the sugar cookies:

  1. Add softened butter to a large mixing bowl and cream with a mixer.
  2. Add sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, pumpkin puree, and beat for 1 minute.
  3. Set your sifter over something that will catch fall out and add dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda and baking powder).
  4. Use a spoon to briefly stir, then sift over butter and sugar mixture.
  5. Mix until until incorporated, being careful not to over mix. Then add almond milk and mix until a soft dough is formed. Switch to a wooden spoon if it gets too thick. If it appears to wet, mix in a bit more flour.
  6. Cover and freeze dough for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for 30-45 minutes (up to overnight).
  7. Five minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the center of the oven.
  8. . Scoop out portions of the chilled dough and roll it into balls.
  9. Arrange cookies on a clean baking sheet 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.
  10. Bake on the center rack for 10-12 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and let rest on pan for a few minutes. Add frosting and sprinkles to decorate if you like!

vegan-sugar-cookies-christmas-cookies

The Merry Christmas YouTube Tag Questions:

Here’s the questions for the Merry Christmas YouTube Tag! I only got around to answering a couple of them in the video, but you may enjoy using them in your own video if you’re a YouTuber!

1. Use one noise to describe how excited you are for Christmas.
2. What is the best present you’ve ever received?
3. What is the worst present you’ve ever received?
4. As a kid, did a sibling ever receive a present that you wished was for you?
5. Sing a line from your favorite christmas song.
6. Rename a reindeer.
7. What is your favorite thing about christmas?
8. When do you start getting excited for Christmas?
9. Do you use advent calendars?
10. Recite one line from your favorite Christmas/Holiday movie.
11. Share a funny christmas memory.
12. Talk us through your typical Christmas Day?
13. Do you have any Christmas traditions?
14. Real or fake Christmas tree?
15. Pictures with Santa…yay or nay? Share a fave.

merry christmas and happy baking!

vickie-vegan-christmas-cookie-sugar-cookie

HUGE OREO TASTE TEST | Swedish Fish Oreos, Candy Corn Oreos, Mint Oreos, & More!

There are so many crazy flavors of oreos!

When my brother and I get together, there’s bound to be trouble! This time that trouble came in multiple weird flavors 🙂

Here’s a dorky picture of us before I stuffed my face with Oreos:

Since my brother is currently going to school in Michigan, when I heard there were SWEDISH FISH OREOS there, I immediately told him to grab me some! Dutiful brother that he is, he followed through and brought some Swedish Fish Oreos back home during a school break. We  stockpiled every crazy flavor of Oreo we could find this fall and the result was all these weird flavors of Oreos:

crazy oreo flavors

Swedish Fish Oreos, lemon Oreos, pumpkin spice Oreos, peanut butter Oreos, mint Oreos, birthday cake Oreos, red velvet Oreos, candy corn Oreos, chocolate Oreos, cinnamon bun Oreos, halloween Oreos, and winter Oreos!

The lemon Oreos were AMAZING because they tasted like classic Girl Scout cookies!!! I also really loved the peanut butter Oreos as well. However, my favorite had to be the PUMPKIN SPICE OREOS. I do love my pumpkin spice autumnal flavoring. You may recall that I did take a bath in a pumpkin spice latte for a YouTube video and I also did a pumpkin spice taste test video earlier this year. So, yeah, it’s safe to say I’m partial to the spices of the pumpkin as made popular by Sir Starbucks & co.

The only flavor that really disappointed was the Swedish Fish flavored Oreo! It tasted like cough syrup!

Here’s the video of my taste test of all these crazy oreo flavors:

My YouTube NextUp New York Class of 2016 Experience! #BTS #TellAll

I’m a YouTube NextUp grad!!!

Google flew me out to NEW YORK CITY, put me up in the Ace hotel, wined me, dined me, and gave me the most glorious, kick-butt week at the YouTube Space New York! Not only did I get to take some hardcore production classes (we studied everything from preproduction and camera technique to lighting, audio, green screen production, and editing!), I also had the opportunity to hang out with SIXTEEN similarly dedicated and passionate YouTubers with channels around the same size as mine! I left the YouTube NextUp program having  produced a comedy sketch in the YouTube space with some amazing people! I’m not kidding when I say my week doing YouTube NextUp was one of the best weeks of my life! (At the end of this blog post I’ve embedded the vlog of my experience!)

The YouTube Space is so bomb!

The YouTube Space NY is so bomb! They have a couple of sets built, which YouTubers can reserve for shoots once they have access to the space. There’s an old-school Americana diner, an oval office, an imposing board room, the common room of a Brooklyn apartment, a green screen studio, and more! Plus, they change them up! There was a studio set up for a promotion for the movie “Sing” while we were there!

Here’s a short video of me playing madam president  in the White House Oval Office set at the YouTube Space New York:

What is YouTube NextUp?

Basically, the YouTube NextUp program functions as YouTube bootcamp! There’s sessions on channel branding and strategy daily throughout the five days of the program, and the first three days are filled with INTENSE three hour long workshops on all aspects of production! YouTube NextUp really gets you to level up!

In addition, there’s plenty of social events and opportunities to bond with fellow NextUppers! When I think about everything I learned and the amazing memories and friends I made, I’m quite overwhelmed! Here I am at a party for the YouTube channel Great Big Story!

How does the NextUp Program work? tell me more! Tell me more!

The sixteen participants are divided into groups of 4 based on types of YouTube channels (comedy, education, etc.) and each given a mentor. Our mentor was Jonathan and he was AMAZING! His knowledge of film production was ON POINT.

After the first three days spent in three hour classes on all aspects of production, one of the best aspects of the program is  that on the fourth day,  everyone filmed a video for their channel using their four person group and mentor as cast and crew. It was a fabulous opportunity to utilize the professional camera/audio/lighting equipment at the YouTube Space and to take advantage of the expertise of our mentors!

Here’s a  picture of my group with our mentor!

Want to see the comedy sketch I produced at YouTube NextUp?

If you’re interested in learning more about my experience filming my sketch, check out my blog post about it!

You can watch it here:

The last day of YouTube NextUp:

The last day of the YouTube NextUp New York program was spent editing our videos, screening them, getting YouTube SWAG, signing our head shots and saying good bye 🙁 I already miss everyone I met so much! There’s something about intensives (no matter what the subject matter) that makes you really bond with your classmates so much!

Here’s my headshot from the NextUp  program!

youtube-nextup-ny-headshot-vickie-eisenstein

My YouTube NextUp New York Vlog:

If you’re interested in learning more/watching some of my experience as a YouTube NextUp winner, check out my vlog of it! I guarantee it’s entertaining! I used editing this vlog as an opportunity to learn Adobe Premiere Pro (I was using Final Cut before), so it took a ridiculous amount of hours to edit, but was well worth it in the end! In the vlog I’ve got behind the scenes footage from every day of the program – including the parties! I hope you enjoy!!!

 

How NOT to Get a Raise – A YouTube NextUp New York Comedy Sketch!

I spent a week at the YouTube Space in New York for the YouTube NextUp Program!

The YouTube NextUp program was AMAZING! I had such a wonderful time meeting sixteen other dedicated creators and learning all sorts of things about production and branding! We had workshops on preproduction, camera technique, audio, lighting, green screens, and post production — editing! In addition, we learned more about branding and talked strategy for our channels! Plus, there was some fine wining and dining going on too! AND SWAG! NEVER FORGET SWAG! I’ll be putting out my vlog about it tomorrow (took over 20 hours to edit since I was teaching myself Adobe Premiere!)! I seriously feel so grateful that I was given the opportunity to do the program!

One of the coolest parts of the YouTube NextUp  program is that you spend a day utilizing all you’ve learned by filming videos for your channel with your team  members! (We were divided into teams by channel type! Mine had three other channels with a comedic bent to them!)

Here’s a fun behind the scenes #BTS picture from the day we spent filming our videos!

Behold, the product of the YouTube NextUp program!

Given that we found out which set we would be using the day before the shoot (The YouTube Space in New York has a number of sets ranging from a diner and the oval office to a boardroom, a Brooklyn apartment, the main studio, and a set for the movie “Sing”), it was a bit of a rush to come up with a sketch idea!

I had to come up with a sketch idea and write it all out the night before! Then we edited it on the last day of the NextUp program and held a screening! It was awesome to show my work to so many YouTubers and hear their reaction live. The live reaction is not something I always get when I put out a video, since I’m used to reactions via comments 🙂

For a rush job, I think this is very good! I love the production value since I was able to use a bunch of high quality camera/lighting/sound equipment at the YouTube Space! Plus, my team mates were awesome for helping as cast and crew!

My time at the YouTube Space  New York was amazing! I’m so glad I got to do the NextUp program! I really look forward to putting out the vlog and sharing more about it with everyone!

In the meantime, feel free to check out my friends who helped out with this video!