Interview with Liz & Travis: Married with a Beautiful Family after Meeting at Veg Speed Date!

Travis & Liz met at a Veg Speed Date event in Berkeley, back in 2011. Now they’re married and have started a family with an adorable daughter. Read on for their heartwarming story, and be sure to sign up for a Veg Speed Date event near you to create your own love story!

 

VSD: So, when did you two meet?

Liz: The Veg Speed Date event was in a café in Berkeley in July of 2011, I think? I DON’T FREAKIN REMEMBER THIS, TRAVISSSSSSSS.

Travis: It was August 2, 2011 in the back room of Saturn Café—vegan/vegetarian/”veg-curious” speed dating, aka “Veg Speed Date.”

VSD: Ha! Well done, Travis! Had either of you ever gone to a speed dating event before?

Liz: No. Never. I was midway through what I was calling “The Year of Yes,” so I had no other choice but to go.

Travis: Once, many years prior, I stumbled into one on accident, but nothing much came of it. When I saw the 2011 event was happening, a couple of friends encouraged me to attend for, if nothing else, a good story. I recall parking across the street and contemplating if I should actually go in. So glad I did!

VSD: How long have you been vegan or vegetarian?

Liz: I’ve been vegetarian for 14 years (since reading Diet for a New America in 2003) and vegan for 9 years.

Travis: I almost never ate dairy or seafood and gave up red meat and pork in 2000. I ceased eating poultry after Thanksgiving one year—maybe 2006 or 2007—and went vegan at that point. So it’s been about a decade.

VSD: Awesome! So, do you think you would have met if you hadn’t gone to the Veg Speed Date event?

Liz: We like to hypothesize on this one late at night. We had a fair amount of geographic overlap. We lived four blocks away from each other in San Francisco, shopped at the same grocery store, and ran regularly in the same park. We even took the same cooking class (with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau!) in Oakland, albeit at different times. I think there was enough magnetism between us that sooner or later one of us (probably me – he’s the shy one) would have sauntered over to the other to make an introduction.

Travis: Maybe. Coincidently, while me met on the other side of the Bay Area in Berkeley, we lived only a few blocks away from each other in San Francisco. I’d like to think that we’d have stumbled across each other somehow, but who knows? Definitely no guarantee.

VSD: What was your first impression of the other person at the event? When did you first notice them?

Liz: I didn’t really see him until we had our three minute mini-date. He was in business casual clothing, and that was a red flag for me. But as he spoke, I kept noticing the cut of his jaw and how well he made eye contact. We were exactly midway through the event, and I think I’d become… more direct as a result of the repetitious questionings. He handled my playful sass with such a warm genuine smile and returned it in kind. It became clear pretty quickly that we had a strong verbal chemistry, which was important to me.

Travis: When I sat down, Liz was wearing a sleeveless shirt, exposing a tattoo on her upper arm. I asked her about it. She said it was a long story and didn’t want to talk about it. She asked about my occupation. I told her I work in baseball, but didn’t want to talk about it. Honestly, we struggled for the first two-and-a-half minutes. Then we started discussing our similar degrees and family lives and the conversation took off.

VSD: What was something memorable from your mini-date at the event?

Liz: Serendipitously, the half-time break fell right after our three minutes were up. While people snacked and mingled and took bathroom breaks for the next ten minutes, Travis and I stayed put and just kept talking. The time flew by. Yes, I know that’s cheating, but can you blame us?

Travis: At the three minute mark, just as we hit our stride, the bell rang to move. But it was time for a break—restroom, drink, whatever. We continued to talk for another ten minutes or so. That actually made a big difference and set up a lot of our future email correspondence until we met again.

VSD: How did you do your follow-up afterwards?

Liz: He was travelling when I first emailed him, but it kicked off a rather obsessive back-and-forth emailing that lasted almost a week. When we finally met again, it was for a drink at a bar in our neighborhood. He showed up with a jar of his family’s home-grown tomato sauce and we talked for hours until he walked me home. The next date (at a local jazz bar a week later) lasted three days. There was no question after that that we’d be together.

Travis: I hung around for a few minutes after the Veg Speed Date event to say goodbye, but Liz was still sitting in her seat talking to a guy (turns out it was a friend that she’d attended the event with). After that, we connected via email and kept the conversation going. I was on vacation across the country. I’d come in from the beach hoping to have a new email, and there it would be—our conversations made it a great week! When I got back to San Francisco, we met at a neighborhood bar. I brought her homemade tomato sauce that I’d helped jar from my parent’s garden. Conversation was easy, we spoke open and honestly, and it was a really nice night. I walked her home. Arriving outside Liz’s building she said, “Am I supposed to invite you in or something?” I laughed and told her she didn’t have to. We met up a few days later and have been inseparable ever since.

VSD: What’s the best thing about your relationship?

Liz: We’re raising this fierce, fearless, amazing daughter together, and Travis is utterly devoted to showing her that she can be anything she wants to be. It’s a constant juggle with our careers and school and doctor appointments (and bath/meal/bed times), but I can honestly say that we’re doing it all together every step of the way. I’m incredibly lucky to have found him.

Travis: We can completely be ourselves. There are no games. No secrets. We support each other, listen, and do a great job of growing together. We’ve made great strides together and a lot of huge life decisions, but none of it has seemed overwhelming. We laugh at lot, or at least I try to make her laugh. I love Liz and respect her tremendously.

VSD: What are the top three things you love about your partner?

Liz:

(1) He’s genuinely interested in other people’s stories. He’s kind and compassionate.

(2) He’s comfortable in his own skin. His humor style is creative and wacky and often self-effacing in a totally charming way that makes it hard to stay cranky.

(3) He’s affectionate. With words, with hugs, with big romantic gestures. He takes the time to sit with me at the end of every day and reconnect. I feel like as a result, it’s harder to take each other for granted in the everyday crush of things. And I genuinely look forward to seeing him every night. Still!

Travis: 

1) She’s fierce. She’s taught me a lot about asking for what you need. To stand up for yourself. I see that in her all the time.

2) She’s grown. Buying a house, having a child – those things were outside Liz’s comfort zone. It would be easy for anyone to shut down, hold steady, or walk away. Liz gave these things a lot of thought and trusted our union enough to take chances. And it’s strengthened us and made our lives infinitely more enjoyable.

3) She’s genuine. Liz is wholly herself all of the time. She laughs hard at things that amuse her and stays stoic when I tell a really lame joke. She loves tackling and playing with our daughter and loves time to sit with a cat and look out the window. I couldn’t ask for a better love and best friend. Sometimes we look at all we’ve done and where we’re at in life and, without any context, simply say, “Veg Speed Date.”

VSD: So, I hear congratulations are in order! When did you get married? Also, what were some of your favorite things about your wedding?

Liz: I would say that my favorite things about my wedding is that it reinforced to me that our Big Life Priorities (saving for a house, starting a family) were aligned. I didn’t have to talk him down from spending too much money on a lavish ceremony. He never asked me to make a sacrifice to please his extended family or their expectations. We just knew, and the basis for that seemed to be a mutual respect for each other. He never seemed to view my no-frills approach to it as a lack of commitment to our life together. That said, someday, when we’re done raising this high-energy child, we are going to take a KICK BUTT honeymoon. Or else!

Travis: I’d definitely like to stress that we didn’t have a fancy wedding at all. We were saving to buy a house, which is a significant investment in the Bay Area, and while we kicked around a few smaller ideas they came with all sorts of familial expectations. So we decided to do it at the courthouse in Oakland with only a couple days prep – and only my parents in attendance – the day before Thanksgiving 2014. We haven’t regretted it as we’ve built a happy, healthy life in our home.

 

How Ashley & David Found Love at Veg Speed Date: 2nd Anniversary Interview!

We’re so excited to congratulate David and Ashley for recently celebrating their two-year anniversary! They met at a Veg Speed Date event in San Francisco. Read on to hear their sweet story, and be sure to sign up for a Veg Speed Date event near you to create your own love story!

 

VSD: So, when did you two meet?
David and Ashley: We met at the Veg Speed Date event in San Francisco on December 6, 2014.

VSD: Had you ever gone to a speed dating event before?

David: I had been to a speed networking event before, but never a speed dating event. I was intrigued by the idea; it seemed like an efficient way to meet people and an interesting experience at the very least.
Ashley: No! I never thought I would have, except I saw this and wanted to go with my roommate just for fun with no expectations. She flaked on me but I decided to go anyway!

VSD: How long have you been vegan or vegetarian?

David: I decided to go vegetarian sometime around 1995. I tried a vegan diet for six months around 2013 and have been following a mostly vegan diet since 2015.
Ashley: Vegetarian going on seven years, vegan going on four.

VSD: That’s awesome! So, do you think you would have met if you hadn’t gone to the Veg Speed Date event?

David: I’d like to think so, but I’m glad we don’t have to test that theory. I wouldn’t want to risk any possibility of Ashley not being in my life.
Ashley: After we started dating, we realized we’d both attended the same event a few months prior to the veg speed dating event! (SOMA Vegan Food Truck Fair in September 2014) so it’s possible – we eerily like doing all the same things AND are inescapably drawn to each other.

VSD: Well, we’re definitely glad too that you don’t have to test that theory! What was your first impression of the other person at the event? When did you first notice them?

David: Once we were given the green light to start the first round of conversations, a few things happened in rapid succession:
1. I saw a ridiculously gorgeous woman sitting at one of the tables (Hint: It was Ashley).
2. I realized nobody was sitting with her yet.
3. I went over there immediately so I could talk to her first!

Ashley: (We’ve told this story many times because it’s ridiculous) – At the wine bar, prior to the start of the whole thing, Karine gathered us all together to tell us how the night was going to work and what to expect. The women were to find a table and sit, while the men would be rotating from woman to woman after five minutes or so with each woman.

We were then free to find our tables and begin. I sat down at my table, and IMMEDIATELY (as other people were still milling about trying to find their tables), David comes over to my table and confidently asks, “May I sit here?” – picking me as his first woman to talk to of the night!

VSD: Smart man! What was something memorable from your mini-date at the event?

David: I remember Ashley telling me about work she had done supporting homeless children, which I thought was really cool. Right out of the gate, she seemed really interesting and easy to talk to. When it was time to switch, I didn’t want our time to end.
Ashley: His ridiculous hair. And the fact that when I asked, “So where do you live?” David answered, “Hayward.” I immediately thought to myself, “Oh this will never happen—who lives in Hayward!? Where IS Hayward!?” Fast forward two years— live in Hayward, with David 🙂

VSD: How did you do your follow-up afterwards?

David: Karine sent follow-up emails to each couple who matched with each other, so I followed up right away to say that I was happy we were matched. I also explained a bit about where I was at and what I was looking for (to set clear expectations and not waste anyone’s time and emotional energy if we were looking for something different). I wanted to see if, knowing all of that, she was interested in hanging out and getting to know each other better. I was very happy when she replied that she was on the same page.
Ashley: David emailed me explaining his stance on relationships and where he was at in his life. I was in the same boat (not looking for anything serious, just something fun and casual). After we agreed on the status, he then emailed me with a barrage of options of things to do—including anthropomorphize objects in a touristy place and then write a book about people’s reactions. I knew at that moment—this guy was awesome.

VSD: That’s so sweet! OK, so you both started out wanting something fun and casual–what changed?

Ashley and David: We spent pretty much every weekend together after we first met. Then, one morning around March or April, after spending yet another amazing night together, Ashley looked at David and said: “I can’t keep denying how I feel about you.” And he responded that he felt the same way. And then boom! Today we describe our relationship as just one long continuous amazing date! Every day is a new adventure 🙂

VSD: What’s the best thing about your relationship?

David: This is impossible to answer. Everything about our relationship is the best. From the very beginning, we’ve been a perfect fit and have been respectful and supportive of each other as individuals while cultivating a partnership infused with overwhelming love, joy, and clarity. I am so grateful for it.
Ashley: EVERYTHING. This is impossible to answer with words—only those who’ve been in the deepest, most wonderful place of love, have the tiniest inkling of how I feel about David.

VSD: Aww! Love it, love it, love it! And what are the top three things you love about your partner?

David: I love so many things about Ashley I don’t think I could pick the “top three,” but some things that come to mind are her personality (she is full of sunshine and approaches life with positivity, joy, and enthusiasm!), her endless intellectual curiosity, her compassion for others and passion for helping disadvantaged kids reach their full potential.

I also love her devotion to her mom, her thoughtfulness (I love our philosophical conversations), her drive, her passion for delicious and healthy plant-based food (and her prowess at making it), her wisdom, and really just everything about her.
Ashley: What a question! His unending love and devotion to his family and those he loves, his everlasting kindness and desire to bring joy to everyone in his life, his drive for the betterment of himself through every single action he does in the day—and his hair!