New Blog Update

Creative Writing
Hello!
I am writing this post to the people who were so kind enough to hit that ‘Follow’ button on my blog: PlannerCreative. I’d like to now introduce to you a more well rounded representation of myself: The Urban Suburban Girl – which I hope you all can relate too as well.
Urban suburban (cul-de-sac-couture) is a term my fiancé and I dubbed certain moments or scenarios we saw on the streets of San Francisco that translated to our upbringing in the burbs. But quite simply, it means the way it sounds.
I am urban suburban because I like to knit doilies in hipster coffee shops.
 
I am urban suburban because I leave the city to go browse large department stores and strip malls that make me feel nostalgic.
Still now, it’s hard to explain. But if you stick around, you will start to get the gist of what it means.
I find it silly that I constantly come up with these aliases to represent myself on the internet, but I am quite comfortable in admitting the fact that I love the creativity in writing and making content- so why the hell not? I am continuously experimenting with ways to express myself, hope you enjoy my point of view in this redesigned blog.

New camera and things.

Creative Writing, Monthly Mood, Picture Diaries

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Hey all!

Jumping on here because 1) I’ve been pretty silent and 2) I’ve noticed that I have acquired some followers in the past couple of months!

If, you’re a new follower- Hello and welcome!

Lately, I have been brainstorming a bunch. I’m the type of person that likes to rearrange the furniture about every six months, and well, here I am – trying to figure out how to rearrange my space on the web.

I’ve been feeling quite restricted by this blog’s title and mission “plannercreative” and have been exploring the realms of illustration and photography. I am in the works of revamping my website, which will be under a completely different name. But don’t worry- planner obsessions will still be a part of it. I want to incorporate all my hobbies into a more cohesive site. So stay tuned!

For now, you can follow me on @plannercreative & @poserphotographer on Instagram.

I will be traveling to Paris soon! I’ll definitely be posting this experience on both my handles.

Hope to see you all there.

Cheers!

D.Marie

p.s. I’ve been practicing my film photography for my trip to France! Here’s a few shots from my first couple of rolls.

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Lessons from a Planner Addict & Best Planners for 2018

Illusions of Productivity

 

This is probably the most exciting time of the year for a planner addict. Lists, resolutions, and goals galore. I haven’t always been a planner junkie- meaning, I haven’t always been a multiple planner user, with stickers and markers and washi tape. But I’ve always been an avid list maker, and I’ve always been a creative person, so when a friend introduced me to this whole planner world, I was immediately hooked because I got to combine two things that I find very therapeutic.

Last year I decided to share this little hobby of mine on social media as I swapped and shared inspiration with other planner junkies, and after having one full year under my belt, I have discovered a few things along the way using different planner systems, trying to find my groove. So below I’ve tried to synthesize and combine every question and conversation I’ve had with colleagues and friends who get curious about my hobby and who are also looking for systems that work for them and their busy lifestyles.

Below I’ve also listed links to some of the best (in my opinion) functional/wellness planners on the market!


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Why I’m a multiple planner user:

This past year I used three different systems- the Bullet Journal, The Happy Planner, and my Google Calendar. I’ve found that using the Google Calendar was the best option for master planning, future planning, and sharing/making plans with my fiancé and friends. I was a strict user of the pen and paper planning, but found that I had a hard time committing to plans because I didn’t always have my planner on me.

I always get this question:  So if you’re using a calendar app on your phone, what is the point in using another planner?

I’m sure many of you have heard that people have different learning and perceiving styles:

Visual or Spatial– meaning you prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.

Aural or Auditory-Musical- meaning you prefer using music or sound.

Verbal or Linguistic– meaning you prefer using words both in speech or writing.

Physical or Kinetic – meaning you prefer using your body, hands, and sense of touch.

Logical or mathematical– you prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.

I find myself to be very verbal, visual, and logical. I had to re-write out powerpoint slides in school to fully understand the material (very time consuming, I know!). So when it comes to preparing for the week, it really helps when I am able to sit down on Sunday, look at my plans made on Google Calendar, and write them down in a visual monthly and weekly layout. When I do this, other goals or list items come to mind that I just can’t track efficiently on a mobile app. For instance- if I see that I have a dinner party on Thursday night right after work, I will probably then try to squeeze in a little trip to the market earlier that week to grab a bottle of wine and something to contribute. Or if I plan a creative project and aim to start it next month, I’ll want to write it into the month and have the space to write my thoughts and possible action items, and most likely some doodles to go with it.

Planner Systems I’ve used – Pros and Cons:

I toggled between two different planning systems knowing that writing things down, and outlining a logical process was the best way for me to successfully “adult”. I’m a fan of the weekly layout, because I like to see the week as one big picture, rather than one day at a time. But I also know I need space to brainstorm and write notes, while also having visual access to my whole week.

The Bullet Journal

I was drawn to the Bullet Journal system because I loved the freedom of creativity you get to experiment with using different layouts, fonts, and trackers. For those of you who don’t know the Bullet Journal analog system, it is essentially a blank notebook where you draw out your calendar either simply by listing the dates vertically (“The analog system for the digital age”- as they call it), or as some people do it, they draw out a whole month and week with full on trackers, meal plans, and other fun things.

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But unfortunately, I wasn’t able to keep up with drawing my layouts ahead of time, so it became a journal for random braindumps, project brainstorming, and budget planning with no particular creative direction. Which is fine because the whole point of the Bullet Journal is to “do more with less” but I of course have to be extra and add doodles, stickers, trackers, and all that stuff in order for me to feel creatively satisfied- but I just don’t have time to draw out my layouts the way I want them to be- bottom line.

The Happy Planner

The Happy Planner is the planner I’ve settled on because of it’s scrapbook-like qualities and functionality. This planner uses the arc system meaning you can move sections of your planner around and add sections as you see fit. . It comes in two layouts – horizontal and vertical- and three different sizes.

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I started out using the classic 7×9 vertical layout for work and the mini 5×7 horizontal layout for a personal journal and memory scrapbooking. After a few months of using the classic planner, I found that I was wasting precious stickers and washi tape for a bunch of chicken scratch, so I switched to the bullet journal because it seemed more appropriate for work and for my wallet. I ended up giving my classic happy planner to someone else who needed it, so I didn’t have so much buyer’s regret.

Planning lesson #1- Stick with a Top 3 list 

After using up the Bullet Journal for work. I found that I really didn’t need much space to list out action items for each day. I learned that setting a goal of 3 major assignments per day was more realistic instead of including smaller items. For these, I keep a running list. Keeping a running list of smaller admin items separate from my 3 daily goals helps ease anxiety and stress when it seems that I can’t cross off all my check boxes in one day. Visually, it motivates more productivity vs. stress because the important items are grouped together, and not over crowded with a long list of smaller back burner items.

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This is where the Happy Planner arc system has served me better than the Bullet Journal. Instead of having to re-write the list, I can just move it into the next week. Good news is, there are other brands that use this same system, so if you are not into the girly themes, you can check out these brands:

Russel and Hazel Mini Binder Collection

Staples Arc Notebooks

The Martha Stewart Discbound Planner

Into the new year I have settled on using the Happy Planner Mini as my work planner, and the Classic Happy Planner as my personal planner, wellness planner, fitness tracking, goal setting journal all in one- that I will post more specifics on in another post 🙂 .

Planner lesson #2 -Put your list away!

For me, that most important thing I learned this year was that I spent too much time in the weeds. I often times got carried away with the decorating and goal setting, that I didn’t spend enough time taking action. So this year, when I do my daily reflections, I want to focus on just that, I will leave all the decorating and sticker playing (lol!) for Sunday.

All decorations, stickers and doodles aside, this goal even applies to my work life. Some days, I write out my top 3 and close my planner, so that I am not distracted with other projects. It helps me focus on one thing at a time- ESPECIALLY when I have a lot of work to do, this is how I stay efficient – by putting that list away!


Best planners on the market!

I know that the Happy Planner and the Bullet Journal is not everyone’s cup of tea, so I’ve put together a list of other planners I find very efficient.

The Passion Planner

The Panda Planner

The Happiness Planner 

Bluesky Planners

Day Designer

The Self Journal

The Dreambook Planner

Check out this article in the New York Times making the case for paper planning and a guide on how to pick the right one for you.

Happy 2018 and Happy Planning! 😉

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Lessons from a Vegan-ish kitchen

Meal Prep

I believe in the power of my every day choice to abstain from eating meat or dairy and how that helps decrease my carbon footprint. Without getting too much into the politics, I realize that eating vegan is a lifestyle not just a diet; and that with any lifestyle, it takes time and practice to continue on any given path. I heard someone explain a “vegan-ish” lifestyle like this, “It’s like being a Christian – if you sin, it doesn’t mean you need to quit being a Christian, you keep aiming for a Christian lifestyle that practices your morals”.  So when you “mess up” and eat meat or a piece of cheese, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a vegan.

Now, I know some vegans who would probably get upset at the above statement, but like I said, I don’t want to get too much into politics and I think there needs to be a more common ground for those interested in making a change- no more of this “you can’t sit with us” attitude towards those lost in the grey area of vegan-ish land. Everyone’s journey towards awakening must start somewhere.

So here! I’ve compiled a “tip” list of things to ponder over if you are considering making a transition into the vegan lifestyle…

Find a buddy

The first time I attempted a vegan diet was after taking an environmental science class my sophomore year of college and feeling alarmed about the reality of my carbon footprint. Long story short, I gave up quickly after I gave in and ate some carne asada tacos. Fast forward to 2015 and I met my Fiance who was practicing a vegan diet. I was a bit intimidated at first and the independent person in me felt  it unthinkable to try a diet just because a guy I liked was doing it, but I had to push my ego aside and find facts that resonated with me and persuaded me in the first place. So as we started dating, I decided to eat vegan when I was with him- which was usually just the weekends. Then I gradually started adding days when I was by myself- for me that was Wednesdays- and from there it got easier. So grab a friend or a coworker, try to find someone you see on a regular basis and make the effort together. It will be a lot easier when you have someone to hold you accountable.

Find your flavor

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 I grew up in Los Angeles with a Filipino mother, so my flavor profile usually leans towards Asian cuisine or tacos. With that in mind, I have a few tricks up my sleeve for a quick vegan meal that incorporates some tricks I learned watching my mother cook. For instance – soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, and lemon. Those four things alone whether used together or not have been the gateway to so many flavorful dishes I have made now in my adult life. One of my all time favorite lazy vegan dinners is a bowl of brown rice, steamed spinach topped with a mixture of soy sauce, garlic and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Sometimes I’ll add ginger if I have it on hand. But from there you can build- add tofu for protein, or use some frozen vegetable gyoza from the freezer section of your market to top it off and bam! you have a palatable meal…oh and don’t forget the Sriracha.

Thai and Indian curries are another one of my favorite dishes to whip up and so I keep the staples for that in my kitchen- curry paste, coconut milk, and other spices – when I need to eat my vegetables before they go bad, this is a great dish to cook because you can basically put everything in a curry.

Learn how to grocery shop and the basics of cooking

Now I know that to some people, this may sound a bit silly. But it took me a while to learn the properties of certain foods and how they were best prepared to maximize their flavors. For instance, did you know that you should soak your potatoes (cut) in some water and dissolved sugar to achieve that soft french-fry like goodness on the inside? Neither did I and boy does it make a difference! Learning how to simmer and when to add certain vegetables makes a difference, like eggplant for instance, you add that towards the end of your stir fry so that it doesn’t get slimy, and you add the carrots and potatoes first so that they can cook all the way through- so on and so forth.

Here is my shopping List with some notes! 

At first I thought meal prepping on Sunday’s was the way to go. But then I quickly found out that I was spending most of my grocery budget on the ingredients for one meal, and I would grow tired of eating the same thing throughout the week, resulting in wasted food. I knew that making scrappy meals on the fly was my strength so I decided to focus on items that I knew I could “paint” with when it came time to get creative in the kitchen. So here is how I tackle grocery shopping:

Grab your proteins! 

  • soy chorizo
    • tacos
    • throw in some hashbrowns and you have a bomb breakfast hash
  • tofu
    • stir fry
    • curry
  • tofurky italian sausages
    • pizza
    • hot gogs
    • pasta
    • vegetable ratatouille
  • meatless ground beef
    • Pasta “Meat Sauce”
    • tacos
    • Pizza
  • Jack Fruit Protein – When I want to treat myself
    • Found at Safeway they have multiple flavors. I enjoy the Teriyaki and BBQ.

Add in your grains

Now if you don’t have grains already, this will be a bit of an investment the first time around, but once you have them, they last a lot longer than your other food groups. So stock up on:

  • rice
  • pasta
  • quinoa
  • nuts ( I prefer to have raw cashews because so many vegan recipes call for cashews- cheese, sour cream…)

Condiments 

  • soy sauce
    • stir fry
    • curry
  • pasta sauce
    • pizza
    • pasta
  • mustard
    • dressing
    • hot dogs
  • ketchup
  • apple cider vinegar
    • works wonders with red cabbage
  • white rice vinegar
    • just a part of being filipino 😉
  • Balsamic glaze
    • great for sauteing vegetables in
    • salad dressing

Other

  • Nutritional yeast!
    • this is a big one because, as I mentioned, a lot of vegan recipes call for this
  • Something fermented – Sauerkraut, pickled veggies.. always an easy way to take a sandwich or hot dog to the next level!
  • Finely ground flaxseed meal
    • this is what I use to replace eggs when I bake! It’s a 3-1 ratio 
      • 3 tablespoons of water to 1 tablespoon of flax meal
  • coconut milk
    • this is another important staple because it’s a great replacer for heavy cream when it comes to baking, and it’s a staple in the curries.
    • I prefer this brand because it isn’t as fatty as the other ones: 

Produce

I am fortunate to have a farmers market a few blocks away from my house every Wednesday and Sunday. It is actually a lot cheaper than the grocery store and the quality a lot better. Now if you’re like me, there is just something about the farmers market that makes you want to buy everything! All the fresh fruit and beautiful flowers are all so inspiring. But the reality is, you must buy what you can eat! So after much learning, I limit myself to spending ONLY $20 or less and have kept this rule of thumb: 

3 hearty vegetables

 3 Herbs for flavor 

1 leafy green (or purple) 

2 different types seasonal fruit to snack on

  • Hearty vegetables: I like some variation of the following, these tend to have a longer shelf life too.
    • zucchini
    • eggplant
    • Potatoes
    • tomatoes
  • Leafy greens (or purples)
    • red cabbage – this stuff goes a long way!
    • kale
  • Herbs- leafy herbs have the shortest shelf life, so don’t get too excited and over buy… just get what you need.. and keep them OUT of the fridge
    • onions- always
    • garlic – always 
      • you can never go wrong starting out each dish with garlic and onions in a pan… never!
    • Basil
    • Mint
  • Misc.
    • lemon or lime- always
    • fresh flowers – if there is room in the budget 😉

 

I hope I was able to synthesize everything in a way that makes grocery shopping and cooking a lot easier. Once you have your condiments (flavor) and grains stocked, everything else can be purchased and added based on your cravings. When you think about grocery shopping based on flavor profile, it will make cooking a lot easier as well, because everything you buy, in theory will go together. I am not a chef, and I’m not claiming to be a vegan blogger, just an efficient human being 😉 – hence PlannerCreative. So as I continue to learn along the way, I’ll keep sharing ways I find to be the most time efficient and budget friendly ways to live a vegan lifestyle. One more thing: Pinterest is your BEST FRIEND! It’s as simple as listing a few ingredients + “vegan” and you will have all sorts of inspiration to choose from.

Thinking about making the switch? What are some concerns you have in terms of time efficiency and budgeting? List them below and let’s get talking 🙂

Peace easy,

D. marie

Monthly Mood: Just Listen| December 2017

Monthly Mood

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It’s been a while since I’ve been in the mindset of writing a blog post. A lot has happened in the past 3 months – mostly ups. I’ve been trying to focus on my inner self, listening to what it is I need and for the most part – it’s been the need to let things go and simplify. I’ve had a lot of creative ideas for blog posts, but no drive to see them through as I’ve been refusing to put my “social media” or “blogging” lens on. I’ve instead, been wanting to live through my experiences, as they come, and not get worked up about turning a natural experience into something I need to format and share.

Refining takes time. I try to constantly remind myself. So into December we go, closing the book of 2017 and I plan to continue to lay low and listen to myself.


I found this poem I wrote a while back, and of course it still speaks to me today.

Everyday I wake up to the rest of my life.
Wondering what trials and tribulations will face me today.
Completely unscathed by what was yesterday.
To feel or not to feel? You must press forward.
Is that the key to success, or the recipe for complete distress?
You tell me.
To feel or not to feel? You must press forward – I was referring to the American life, our expectations to work ourselves to the ground, but not for ourselves. We think it is for ourselves – working hard for vacation time, for the house or the family we think we need. And pressing forward is something American culture is good at- being numb to our own needs and wants as a human being, often times not knowing what it is we really want in life.
Is that the key to success, or the recipe for complete distress? – Is being numb and living for your job the only way to success? Or does it cause an inner dissonance?
Having written this in a moment when I was regretting my time wasted with school and struggling with multiple jobs, I meant it all in a negative way. But now as I’ve shed some things in my life, I now feel this is a question I am now asking myself again – to feel or not to feel? but most importantly WHAT is it that I want to feel? and now realizing that I am in control of that- this has become an encouraging poem.
So into the new year we must create what it is we want to feel and live for. It may take some time- which is the biggest lesson for me- but it will come, but in the mean time- don’t crowd your space and brain with unnecessary obligations (social gatherings, projects, etc.) otherwise you won’t allow yourself to find what it is you truly need.
Just be quite and listen.
Even if you have to listen for a long time.

Picture Story: Sunset State Beach with the DOLFY HD Camera Lens kit for iPhone

Picture Diaries

As a journal enthusiast, I am a fan of scrapbooking memories and using fun camera toys to add to my journal art. I recently went on a camping trip with some friends down in Santa Cruz and purchased the DOLFY Universal Professional Camera Lense Kit for my iPhone 7 capture the moments.

I get so wrapped up in the reviews that it takes me forever to finally decide on purchasing anything from Amazon. I guess the reason why I finally decided to buy this one was the carrying case that it comes in and also the 0.6x width of the wide angled lense, which seemed to be bigger than some of the other ones I was looking at.

So without further ado, here is what the DOLFY Universal Professional Camera Lense looks like in a very foggy beach setting followed by photos taken from my SONY HX80 that I am still trying to master.


Sunset State Beach, CA

 

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Fisheye

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Fisheye

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Micro

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Micro

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Fisheye

 

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Wide Angle

 

For a better look at the wide lense, here are some shots I took at work when I first opened the package:

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With the lense: notice my coworker on her computer to the left

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Without, it cuts my coworker out of the picture

DOLFY Lense Final Thoughts

I wish the wide lense was a bit wider and didn’t have the blurred out corners, but perhaps the beach wasn’t the best setting to use it on. I think a setting with more visual objects would work better- like a cityscape , as seen in my office photos. The micro lens is pretty amazing as you can tell, but you have to literally put the camera on top of the object. The fisheye lense is always fun and you can’t go wrong with that, so far my favorite one out of the three.

Redwood Forest with the SONY HX80

I am still learning all the settings on my camera, and currently playing around with the Aperture and ISO settings. This camera, although a point and shoot, has a lot of different functions. Here are the ones I’m proud of; the lighting was fairly dark but I managed to get some detail and I can proudly say #nofilter 😉

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Camera Wishlist

Next on my camera list is a Holga Camera. There are a lot of different versions and I’m not sure which one to get! If you’re reading this and you have one, please do share!

Thanks for reading, D. Marie

 

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?