September Creative: Bibliobicicleta

Monthly Creatives

This segment is dedicated to all my creative muses. Each one of them on the daily hustle, working hard to support what they love the most. Whether it’s music, art, personalities, jewelry, or clothing, I support it all. I hope you take the time to check out their pages, like their socials, and show them some love.


Ladies and gentlemen, I am so excited to introduce to you my colleague and good friend Alicia Tapia, creative behind Bibliobicicleta. I’ve had the privilege of becoming friends with this stand-out soul and what I love most about this girl is that she is truly passionate about the people she surrounds herself with. She never fails to let you know that you’re awesome and that you’re loved. Through this project, she gets to shine her light. For all you teachers out there, if you follow her on twitter, she shares her fun Digital Literacy lesson plans, ones that I wish my teachers taught me while I was in school.

 Ms. Tapia- YOU are legit and I hope you keep spreading the love of learning in your unique ways.

Who and what is Bibliobicicleta?

Bibliobicicleta is a roving bicycle “library” of free books in San Francisco. People take books, read books, and give books, though not always in that order. I’m Alicia Tapia. I’m a school librarian, a filipina mexicana from Hawaii, and I get to ride the Bibliobicicleta around town and meet all kinds of readers.

San Francisco and Bay Area Wedding Photographer

When did you start this project?

Bibliobicicleta started as an idea in late 2013. My co-librarian and friend Danielle Farinacci and I were joking about how cool and useful it would be to give away free books on a bicycle. Not only would we be giving away beautiful stories and information (which we have a lot of) but we’d also get to meet people, and people who wanted to read. Soon it was all I daydreamed about, I started drawing it, and finally got a Kickstarter campaign together. Bibliobicileta was funded by supporters and generous people from all over the world through Kickstarter. Bibliobicicleta represents a collective local and global community that believes in the joy of reading and celebrates literacy.

As a librarian, please explain how this combines all your passions bridging work and play…

I am passionate about the pursuit of information, access to it, and what happens when knowledge blooms into new ideas that move us forward. Knowledge + action liberates us. The bicycle itself is a symbol of creative action and liberation. The Bibliobicicleta is an extension of what I enjoy doing every day. As a school librarian my job is to help students practice closing the gaps in their knowledge and to provide access to books that allow students to experience lives much different from their own. When students read over time you begin to see their sense of empathy, their imagination, and their ability to think critically grow and create knowledge. I see the same thing happen when people of all ages look at the books on the Bibliobicicleta. I see people talking to each other again, information and stories being exchanged, compassion levels rising. I get to see people practice the dialogue we need so badly in our country today. But best of all, I get to see a lots of smiles!

What is BiblioBicicleta’s mission statement, or the inspiration, or motivation you want to give to your city/consumers?

Just keep reading and take time to DIGEST WHAT YOU READ! It doesn’t matter what kind of medium you are reading from, it’s so important to slow down and think about everything you’ve just read. Fast information needs to be pondered, stories are written to be enjoyed…just like bike rides. In a world of fast information, undigested knowledge gets exchanged in a manner too rapid for the joy of our human brain. Slow down, read and breathe!

If you could have anything, buy anything, expand anything with biblio.. what would it be? If not, that’s ok too..

If I could expand anything with Biblio, it would be somehow finding a way to a take a whole year or two off to ride the Bibiliobici to book deserts; places where books or information are banned or hard to obtain. There are whole state departments of education that won’t teach cultural studies or celebrate the cultural knowledge of their own students’ heritage. In this country we really take for granted our freedom to read and learn what we want or should. There are some real people around the world working for this same mission. Shout outs to the library camel in Mongolia, the librarian and elephant in Laos, a very eccentric man in Buenos Aires with his arma de instrucción masiva, Alfa y beto and Luis Soriano in Colombia. They are all my heroes.


Follow Bibliobicicleta:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

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The art of doing nothing.

Creative Writing

Since graduating college, I had this desire to do all the things – join a quartet, play recreational soccer, take private cello lessons, coach soccer, brunch all the brunches – all the things. But then I started to dread it all, I was totally stressed out and losing all creative inspiration. When you’re a student, you don’t have a life; especially if you are working full time on top of being a full time student, so after graduation I wanted to participate in all the things I never had time for.

Now three years later, I’ve finally told myself NO, you can’t.

It’s been three months after quitting all the above and the empty space has been very silent, and sometimes haunting. I’m the type of person who, even though it stresses me out, enjoys being busy. My mind needs the distraction because when I have nothing to do, I am prone to overthinking and minor anxiety attacks about life.

In these three months I’ve gone through a rollercoaster of emotions, throw in the fact that I’ve also been going through some major life changes, I couldn’t’ even begin to describe or articulate what these emotions were. Maybe I could say they were a hint of sadness, excitement, wonder, despair, feeling completely lost, loneliness, love, stress, hate, jealousy.. it was just all bundled into one big ball in my chest.

I’m almost certain, and I keep telling myself this, that everyone feels this way. The only reason I feel like I can’t handle it is because society won’t let us feel all these emotions out. We live such a fast paced life. There are so many expectations on ourselves. In our culture we need to aspire. For comfort, for the life we are conditioned to depend on, we must aspire.

And so I was sitting in this lukewarm bath of emotions wanting to get out and fill up my time again, and ignore all these real feelings by doing what I know how to do best. But I was also exhausted, I knew I had to sit there and do nothing, ride them out. It was as if all these emotions were finally having their moment of recognition, all these moments starting from way back when………. well I don’t even know how far back because I’ve been busy my whole life!

I started reading the Tao, one poem a day, and today it gave me an affirmation – to continue on my path of nothingness.

 

If you oversteem great men,

people become powerless,

If you overvalue possessions,

people begin to steal.

The master leads

by emtying people’s minds

and filling their cores,

by weakening their ambition

and toughening their resolve.

He helps people lose everything

they know, everything they desire,

and creates confusion

in those who think that they know.

Practice not-doing, 

and everything will fall into place. 


 

The Secret to Making Vegan Sour Cream & Other life lessons

Creative Writing, Meal Prep

August. What a month! A lot has happened, and I’ve learned quite a bit about myself. I kept Lesson #1 practical… the rest is more food for thought. So feel free to take the kitchen tip and leave… otherwise read on…=) 

Lesson #1: I finally learned the trick to making Vegan Sour Cream.

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Photo from Original Blog Post @ Gluten Free Vegan Pantry

If your like me, when it comes to following instructions, I do a quick browse, look at the photos and then jump on the project, ESPECIALLY cooking and art projects. So for the first two times I attempted vegan sour cream made of cashews, I didn’t quite catch why mine wasn’t turning out like the photos.

Thanks to Pinterest, it’s easy to fall into that trap of going solely off the info-graphic. What I learned -and actually in reviewing the recipe for this post, turns out I didn’t overlook a step; it just wasn’t stated! – was that when using a food processor (especially a cheapo one like mine), it works best to grind the dry ingredients first, THEN add the liquid in. *slaps forehead* In the original instructions, blogger Savanna uses a Vitamix which is probably why adding all the ingredients at once didn’t cause a watery- nutritional- yeasty mess all over the counter, and therefore wasn’t added as a disclaimer in her post. The thing is, I’ve done so much baking in my life and this whole mixing dry ingredients first, then wet ingredients is something I already knew which is why this is so embarrassing.  Anyways, I only have myself to blame 😉 because this really is the best damn vegan sour cream when done right.

Hopefully this tip helps out some of you newbies in the kitchen.

Lesson #2: You’ll never be famous – And that’s O.K

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As I completed my 26th year around the sun, I was faced with a bit of Saturn’s Return.

Not to mention, the solar eclipse was three days before my birthday, bringing in the Virgo sun – uhhh dramatic way to end/ start the year right?…What does this mean?!? Who am I?!?! Who have I become?!? Where am I going?!?! How could I even be happy when there are so many people suffering in this world?!?! Complete. Existential. Crises. 

Needless to say, I definitely had a moment.

I live a blessed life – no doubt about that ! But as many millennials struggle with, whether we actively entertain the thought or not, is constant comparison to our peers and complete strangers- thanks social media! And as someone whose job title is Social Media Manager, in a city where twenty somethings are CEO’s of  leading tech companies, and tweens and teens are becoming insta-famous and blowing up all my screens whether I follow them or not, it’s hard to block out the noise!

Having idealistic aspirations is, of course, part of being young. But thanks to social media, purpose and meaning have become conflated with glamour

So I had a moment. I felt so mediocre… So basic. My many talents were suddenly not good enough.. oh and I definitely cried ( I mean, I even cry over commercials.. so you know I was balling).

My boyfriend, I mean fiance ;), completely concerned on his way out to work – because I of course had this moment at 6:45 am while he was rushing out to catch the train- texted me this article later that morning: You’ll Never Be Famous- But That’s O.K.  from the New York Times. At first glance of the title, it reopened the wound I had worked so hard to mend before putting my big girl pants on… but after reading it, it helped me snap my mind back to reality and what really matters.

You don’t have to change the world or find your one true purpose to lead a meaningful life. A good life is a life of goodness — and that’s something anyone can aspire to, no matter their dreams or circumstances.

It also reminded me that this uncertainty is all part of my own discovery. I need to embrace my darkness and insecurities so that I may see my own light. The reason I indulge in my talents is not because I aspire to be famous, it’s because I simply enjoy those activities – I had forgotten this.

Lesson #3: Bachelorette Parties are not the end, only the beginning.

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I come from the school of thought that all good things must come to an end. I’ve had my fair share of unhealthy, toxic relationships and I’ve always viewed moving in with a boyfriend as the end to freedom, as well as marriage and having kids…

I remember when I started dating my boyfriend I kept telling him he was a fucking unicorn. I was like – you want to talk about your emotions, communicate and resolve problems?! You buy me little gifts and cards just because!? You like to plan ahead and talk about the future?!?!? – mind blown. Love that guy.

As our relationship grew, I started to see a lot of the pessimistic views I held and bad habits I had formed while being in those previous toxic relationships. One turning point for me was this one day, we were joking around about something, teasing each other and making fun of one another… at some point I said “fuck you..” in a joking way.. although we were both laughing, he immediately got serious and in a firm voice said “Hey! we don’t say that! Even if your joking it’s not funny, it’s not something you say to someone you love”… and from that moment I realized I needed to step up my emotional maturity game. He was right.

I had a few close friends who had been in serious relationships ask me if my fiance and I had ever gotten into a full blown out fight and “if you haven’t done that yet, then you’re not ready..” type of view. So I always share this story because I learned that it should never get to a full blown out fight, and the cursing and name calling should never happen. Yes, we have problems and fights, but we solve it before it even gets there. This is something I finally learned – True respect.

Once that happened, freedom just opened up. No longer did I feel like relationships only hold you back, or that marriage is the end… Your partner should lift you up. They should be the pillow after a long day, and when there is respect, the space in your brain opens up for other things in life instead of manifesting on what “he said” that stung so hard in that fight, or what did he mean by that cryptic text.

And so, when my boyfriend proposed, I was so excited, contrary to what I always thought I would feel – this dread of a black hole sucking me into doom…ha ha.

Some of my friends started texting me “get ready for the strippers!!!” Which made me think back on all my pessimistic views on relationships. But now being in this position, I just don’t understand the culture around marriage- Why do we view it as the end? When I think about partying before one of the biggest celebrations of my life, I just feel like- yes, its gonna be SO FUN …. but to be honest, If I’m having a lot of fun, I’ll be wishing he was there…

Now of course, we are gonna have separate parties… I’m not TOTALLY dependent on my dude give me a break .. but I see a bachelorette party as an intimate celebration of stepping into freedom, not stepping into the end.

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Stay tuned for more kitchen & life lessons. 

Like I said, August has been the start to a whole new beginning and an endless list of life lessons. Part of my journaling and planning habit is that I am in constant reflection of myself and life, I hope what I’m going through and have learned can help someone along the way.

Thanks for reading ❤

 

 

 

 

Meal Prep: Heat Wave Comfort

Illusions of Productivity, Meal Prep

There are so many recipe’s online- where do you start?!? Every weekend, I prioritize my meal prep because it’s the only way I can ensure I get my healthy foods in. In this series, I will share with you my weekly menu – recipes I’ve compiled from some of my favorite Vegan Bloggers. I’ve also included my grocery lists with the total cost, as well as some notes.

I only prep for lunches and dinner, and occasionally – like this week- a snack. Every Sunday I prep my smoothie fruit and veggies, and have oatmeal and coffee when I get to work, so breakfast will not be included below.


Farmers Market – $20

Shopping List:

Lime

1/2 lb of Raw Pecans

Kale

5 medium sized tomatoes

Basil

Garlic

Stone Fruit ( for snacks)

Cilantro

Red Onion

Yellow Onion

Trader Joes: $21.50 

Shopping list:

*I didn’t have any of the spices, which was a lot of the cost…* 

1 can of garbanzo beans

Thyme

Cinnamon

Smoke Paprika

1 can of Mandarin Oranges

1 bag of frozen shelled edamame

1 bag of frozen sweet corn

2 bags of cubed butternut squash

Maple Syrup


Menu

Lunch

Edamame Quinoa Salad

Beet Salad

Vegan pizza

or

Mouth watering Vegan Dog with pickled veggies and sauerkraut

Dinner

Chickpea Butternut Squash Fajitas

Snack

Rosemary Candied Pecans


 

Lunch

There’s been a heat wave in San Francisco and this week I wanted to focus on hearty cold salads that I could alternate. I chose these two because of their durable shelf life and different flavor profiles.

Edamame Quinoa Salad by 86 lemons.

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So this one I completely doctored up. This salad is served cold, and holds up well for the week in the fridge.

Ingredients: 

1/2 red onion 

11 oz of mandarin oranges

1 cup of edamame 

1 cup of corn

1 cup of cooked quinoa 

Bragg’s Ginger and Sesame Dressing measured to your own liking.. 

The instructions are simple – make sure  to cook and cool the edamame, corn, and quinoa; and mix it all up in a big bowl. Bam. You’re done. You can follow the instructions in the original recipe if you need more detail.

 

Beet Salad by Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!

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On this one, I stuck to the original recipe. I had some left over beets in the freezer I needed to use, so this one was perfect!

Ingredients:

6 beets

1 clove of garlic minced

15 basil leaves minced

1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 pinch of ground mustard

*here I had some fancy dijon mustard that I used instead of buying something new.*

The dressing…

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Still hungry?

I meant to grab some ingredients for some scrappy lunch meals to go with these salads, but I work near a Trader Joe’s, so it will make for a nice walk break during work.

What I meant to grab were ingredients for a vegan pizza. Trader Joe’s has a great cornmeal gluten free crust that runs at about $3-$4 that I top with simple pasta sauce (about $2-$4 depending on which one you prefer) and a bunch of veggies, sometimes some vegetarian Italian sausages and some vegan cheese- if I’ve really craving the cheesiness. This is great for packing lunches.. just bake once, then microwave (or toaster oven if you’re lucky) at the office.

Another one of my favorite scrappy faves is my veggie dog concoction which I will probably make again this week.  Find your dogs (veggie or not.. I prefer the “Perk up your pasta” Tofurky, original sausage Italian flavor , about $3-4); Find your buns ($3), and desired toppings. I LOVE these toppings with a whole wheat bun:

Toppings:

Dijon Mustard

Ketchup

Arugula

Pickled Veggies

Sauerkraut

DANG. so good.

*These two products below are a staple in my kitchen. The pickled veggies taste great on tacos as well. 

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Dinner

Chickpea Butternut Squash Fajitas by Sweet Peas & Saffron

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This recipe calls for bell peppers which I cannot eat because it gives me indigestion. I substituted the bell peppers for the Hungarian sweet pepper, it’s not as colorful, but it tastes great and still adds that crunch. The seasoning on this is AMAZING, I made an extra batch of it and poured it on top of the vegetables when it was done baking. This is a great freezer item, super easy to make, and both filling and light.

I didn’t get a chance to make the vegan sour cream, so I just topped it with avocado and cilantro- still super yummy! These measurements yield about 5 servings

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Snack

Candied Spiced Pecans by The Minimalist Baker

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I’m obsessed with Trader Joe’s Candied Pecans, but they run pretty expensive for such a small amount =(.

I made a few changes:

2 cups of pecans *instead of including walnuts; 1/2 pound of pecans = 2 cups – $6 at the farmers market

Then I chopped up 2 sprigs of rosemary from my garden =)

This made my house smell like Christmas ❤

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Here are my main pointers when it comes to meal prep:

  1. Do your menu research!

  2. Always make a list before you go shopping.

  3. Divide and conquer- I take my finished list and then divide it into the stores I go to – Farmers market, Trader Joe’s, Etc. (see featured image)

Thanks for reading! If you like this post, let me know! Do you have any Meal Prep questions?