Making Cereal With Gabe

Making Cereal With Gabe (2021) by Gabriel Paredes

A short exposé on the making of the world famous cereal and milk.


  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Milk
  • Cereal (I used Frost Flakes but anything works!)

You can find amazing content like this on my Instagram @gabriel.a.paredes

Yang Leads Race to Become New York City’s First Asian Mayor

The former Presidential candidate is on pace to make history as Asian hate crimes spike across the country

In his first rally as mayoral candidate, Andrew Yang promotes his idea for universal basic income. Photo by Stephen Yang

Former Presidential candidate and nonprofit entrepreneur Andrew Yang is once again running for political office, spearheading the race as a Democrat for Mayor of New York City and paving the way to be the city’s first Asian to hold the position this summer.

Yang started his political career in 2017 when he launched his candidacy for the 2020 Presidential election. At the time Yang was deemed, “Silicon Valley’s presidential candidate,” as he was able to attract Silicon Valley Democrats with his approach to data, nerdy personality, and knowledge of the dilemmas in the tech industry. His campaign ended in February of 2020, after disappointing results in the New Hampshire primary but surpassing the public’s expectations for a political rookie.

Less than a year later, in January of 2021, Yang announced his candidacy for mayor of the Big Apple, the city he’s called home for 25 years since he moved to Morningside Heights from Schenectady, New York to attend Columbia Law School. After graduating in 1999, he stayed in the city and settled down in Hell’s Kitchen with his wife Evelyn and became an entrepreneur. He’s the CEO and founder for Venture for America, a nonprofit organization that educates recent college graduates who want to be business owners. He’s received accolades like the Champion of Change in 2012 and named a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship in 2015 by the Obama administration. 

Throughout his presidential campaign, Yang ran as an outsider, winning the hearts of his supporters with his headline idea of a, “Freedom Dividend.”  This meant a universal basic income of $1,000 every 12 months to every American over the age of 18. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yang has custom fit his idea for a more human centered economy to New York City, where he plans to build a “People’s Bank of NYC,” to tackle poverty by reinvesting in lower-income communities through similar monthly checks.

Two months after announcing his candidacy for Mayor, Yang leads the latest polls. Recent data released on Wednesday by Pulse of the Primary, an organization that takes surveys to provide voter insight in New York City, showed that 85% of likely voters in March say they have heard of Yang, and 16% expressed they would vote for him in June. Right behind him is Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, who is known by 64% of voters with 10% of them planning to vote for him on election day.

New York City was the biggest donor to Yang’s presidential campaign out of all major cities, contributing a grand total of $2,610,799 according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Now as he runs to lead the city, the New York City Campaign Finance Board states he’s ahead of everyone else on the field with more than 14,000 donations. More than 80% of them are $1 to $175 as he’s raised a total of $2,139,231 as of March 15th.

In an election that is historic already, being the fourth in roughly half a century to not include an incumbent Mayor, Andrew Yang’s positive results so far as the son of Taiwanese immigrants allude to the idea of Yang being New York’s first ever Asian Mayor.  Alice Wong of the Chinese American Planning Council, shares that there is excitement regarding an Asian American being a representative in politics.

“One of the metrics that we look for is just having actual representation,” Wong said. “Someone who looks like us and comes from our community.”

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian American community in New York has been especially affected by the virus’ origins in China. The negative connotation of this detail has resulted in an uptick of anti-Asian hate crimes and a mass shut down of their small businesses.

A study from California State University, San Bernardino shows that out of all major cities in the United States, New York has seen the biggest rise in hate crimes towards Asians, with 28 incidents in 2020 compared to a mere three in 2019.

The same fear that triggers these crimes has also hurt Asian American small businesses. As seen on the NYC Poverty Measure Report from 2017, Asians in New York are the poorest amongst all other demographics with a 23.8% poverty rate compared to 22.4% for Hispanics and 20.4% for Black New Yorkers. COVID-19 mitigations have now made Chinatowns in all boroughs especially vulnerable to shutdowns as tourism and customer traffic has depleted an already impoverished community.  

“The poverty levels are high in the Asian American community,” Wong explained. “A lot of them haven’t adopted technologies that a lot of other small businesses were able to adopt.”

These issues have put Yang in the spotlight as the frontrunner Asian candidate for the city’s highest office. At a press conference in Times Square after the anti-Asian mass shootings in Atlanta, Yang promoted the full funding for NYPD’s Asian Task Force, which was formed by Mayor Bill de Blasio at the end of 2020.

On his campaign website, Yang emphasizes that, “the NYPD must serve as true partners to the New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) to prevent hate crimes.” This idea wasn’t received well by some in communities of color.

“A really important aspect of this is recognizing that the response to the hate and the violence shouldn’t be more police on the street,” said Wong.

The latest Emerson College poll estimates that Yang is leading with 50% of White voters and 60% of Asian voters. Despite his lead for right now, he still has strong competition from Eric Adams, who is a former police officer and strong advocate for public safety, including resources to fight Anti-Asian Hate in his campaign. Yang cannot blindly depend on the Asian community for their vote due to its large size and diversity.

“The Asian Community is built of many different ethnic communities and many people that come from many political ideologies,” said Wong. “So, I would not say that there is a specific candidate that the Asian American community supports.”

Interview: Nicaulis Alliey of Music of the Americas Project

Educating and inspiring through Music of the Americas

Plaese click on the image above to listen to report.

Music of the Americas Project (MUSA) is a brand new organization co-founded by Latin American musicians Nicaulis Alliey and Jose Escalona. I sit down with Alliey to learn more about the project and their future goals.

Fun Fact: MUSA’s concerts will be held at St. Augustine College’s Chaplin Auditorium, where famous filmmaker Charlie Chaplin recorded some of his first films.

The buildings that housed Essanay Studios were purchased by St. Augustine College in 1980, when the school was founded, to be used as the Chaplin Auditorium. Image by CGAphoto

Let’s help Renata del Sol

A story of resilience, love, and rebirth.

Learn more about Renata’s story. Produced by Gabriel Paredes Reyes

Renata del Sol, a 6-year-old-girl from Venezuela who is diagnosed with epilepsy and cerebral palsy, is in dire need of medication and amenities that are almost impossible to find in her home country.

Her aunt and now parent, Zory Lugli, is a family friend of mine. Since we live outside of Venezuela, where resources are more accessible, my family decided to start a GoFundMe page to fundraise for Renata’s needs.

I invite you to learn more about her story through the video above, and hope you consider contributing to her renaissance.

Thank you.

Creating Tasty Art

An insight into the designer behind the menu boards on campus

Lu’s Deli menu board by Lynzie Horejs

Ever since she was a kid, graphic designer Lynzie Horejs has always felt like an artist.

Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, Horejs’ roots in design stem from a computer coding class she took in high school, thinking it was the only way to get into the artform.

Anyway, Horejs claims she would’ve always gone into fine art. Graphic design, however, has become a more practical avenue for her to be creative and bring art into the world.

“I don’t do free creative stuff, I like designing things that are more functional,” Horejs said.

Freshman year of college at Loyola University Chicago, Horejs’ skills in computer coding and a good grasp on letter forms from her visual communications made her stand out from the rest when she applied for a graphic design role in Aramark Foods, the company that manages the dining halls for the university.

“I found the application through their Instagram story,” Horejs said. “I got pretty lucky since I was a freshman. I’m not sure why they chose me.”

Damen Deli sneeze guard cover inspired from “the cross of a chalkboard and homestyle restaurant.”

This position has given her the opportunity to design the menu boards students see around campus and jumpstart her career as a graphic designer.

Horejs describes her work as “a good combination of words and graphics.” After finding the appropriate inspiration for her pieces, she pulls images from stock websites like Shutterstock and crafts a design with complementing fonts and colors.

Working for Aramark Foods is “really fast,” said Horejs.

There really isn’t much planning ahead on her projects as she usually has no more than a week to produce a quick flyer or social media post for the dining halls.

More recently, she’s worked on decorating the sneeze guards that have been installed to mitigate infection from COVID-19. Horejs explains that when given assignments like these, she also must keep in mind how the design functions with the rest of the kitchen.

We’re trying to hide to backs of some panini presses right now.

Lynzie Horejs

Unfortunately, the pandemic resulted in Horejs being furloughed with Aramark foods. This led to her getting another gig, this time with KCommunications, a small communications firm in Chicago that offered her a virtual internship.

She’s continued to design for the food industry, producing more menu boards and social media content mainly for KCommunication’s biggest client, Mitsuwa Martketplace, just south of Arlington Heights.

Menu boards for Mitsuwa Marketplace by Lynzie Horejs

To look for graphics, this job has given Horejs experience with Canva, which she describes as “graphic design software for people who aren’t graphic designers.”

In the future, however, Horejs hopes to no longer rely on websites and software to supply her with graphics, as she’s now working on making her own illustrations.

Horejs practiced her illustration skills making this piece for her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day.

Unexpected Venture Into Heirloom Books

How an impromptu interview led me to a hidden gem in Edgewater

Early this Sunday morning, I was pleasantly surprised by a DM from my co-worker, Boe Chmil, who was asking for help on a documentary shoot at a nearby bookstore in Edgewater, Chicago.

I was already planning on working on my own projects with Small Town Chicago, but the mundanity of this pandemic just made me excited for another excuse to leave my apartment.

My friend and I negotiated a time and once I was done with my own, I headed to Heirloom Books on 6239 N Clark St.

Next to Helix Cafe, the bookstore is a charming nook of character with a beautiful story of love and community.

Throughout our interview with the Heirloom’s primary caretaker, Erik Graff, he’d pause to welcome customers by asking if they, “knew the drill.”

“What was the drill,” I asked.

This led to a personal tour of the store from Graff, where he showed me its unique layout, special color-coding system, and their wide variety of unique finds.  

It may be small, but Heirloom is pure of wonders, with a labyrinth of second-hand books on a wide variety of backgrounds and topics that stretch every corner of the human psyche. Their bookshelves hold history with texts that are over a hundred years old like The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex by Charles Darwin from 1871. It’s even been a hub for artists, minorities, and many others to speak and discuss new ideas.

Now I’ll admit, I’m far from a bookworm, which is what made this experience so special. Most of my book buying experiences have been at places like Barnes and Noble, who have an adequate experience, but lack character with a selection of mass produced, predictable reads that all claim to be a “New York Times Best Seller.”

I was refreshed by a truly unique experience from people who cared about serving their community through literature.  

Graff explained that the location opened four years ago, in April of 2017, by Northwestern alum Chelsea Carr.

For three years, Carr modestly ran the store with the help from Graff as a volunteer. As a longtime germaphobe, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Carr decided to shut down the location. Heirloom’s reopening in August of 2020 was sadly prompted by Carr’s death at 29-years-old after a long-term illness.

Since then, Erik Graff happily volunteers his time to run the store and take care of its customers. What’s so special about Heirloom is the community of people who have wholeheartedly contributed to its survival. Family members, small businesses and others in the Rogers Park and Edgewater area have wholeheartedly picked up responsibilities in the business. Their GoFUndMe page has now raised nearly $18,000.

With coverage from local news outlets, the bookstore’s humble story is now attracting more people than ever. People from all over Chicago have ventured to visit the quaint little shop. In the future, Heirlooms hopes to become a not-for-profit organization and donate their revenue to other businesses in the area. 

You can visit Heirloom Books on 6239 N Clark St. every day from 12 to 7 p.m.   

Hello There,

I’m Gabriel Paredes Reyes, but most people call me Gabe. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, the political turmoil of my homeland pushed me to grow up in two distinct perspectives of the American experience: the deep southern flavor of Louisiana and the quaint midwestern humility of Nebraska.

It was in Omaha where I published my first story to my high school newspaper. Since then, I’ve loved the thrill of being a journalist, dipping my toes into a story idea to then navigate a deep sea of causes, effects, and entangling points of views.

Now studying multimedia journalism at Loyola University Chicago, I’ve grown an interest in telling stories through documentaries. I see cameras and video as a unique tools to authentically capture the sounds, colors, and emotions of the world around us.

Outside of Journalism, I enjoy exploring my current home of Chicago, the peaceful nightmare of golf, and the warmth of spending time with the people I love.

Creators Inspire Creators

Recording stand-up intro’s for Small Town Chicago’s first episode on North Lawndale. Shot by Ralph Braseth

With this blog, I plan to highlight artistic creators studying at Loyola University Chicago. As I write this in February of 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it tough for everyone to do what they like to do in the same way they did it before social distancing.

These students, whether photographers, videographers, graphic designers, etc., have managed to persevere past the challenges of their environment and continue practicing their craft while maintaining themselves healthy. I hope that by showcasing these students I can inspire others to find ways to create and pursue their passions despite the unfortunate circumstances they may face, even when there isn’t a global pandemic.

By getting to know these creatives, I can inspire myself as well as I also try to find new ways to tell stories and overcome challenges.

Since starting college, I’ve grown an interest in producing documentaries. This led to a group of Loyola students and I to start a student media group in October of 2019 called Small Town Chicago, where we produce mini-documentaries on the people, cultures, strengths, and weaknesses of the most unique yet overshadowed neighborhoods in Chicago.

In just over a year we’ve produced four mini-documentaries in three different neighborhoods from North Lawndale to Roseland, but the coronavirus restrictions challenged us as much as anyone else.

For the Fall semester of 2020, we set out to shed a light on the displacement of the Hispanic and artistic culture of Pilsen, due to the ever-rising expenses of gentrification. The story was so good it could tell itself, we just had to figure out how to shoot and edit a detailed documentary as a deadly disease rampaged through the world.

Capturing artists of the Mural Movement decorate the viaduct on 16th and Peoria St. Shot by Natalie Doyle

It made us rethink everything: how to collaborate remotely, how to meet safely, how to coordinate interviews safely. What equipment would be the safest to use? Everything now had a safety element to it.

I’m proud to say that by the end of the Fall semester we produced what I believe is our best work yet, but this virus put the game in a difficulty level we had never faced before. This experience gives me respect for all creators who have persevered past this pandemic, as well as other challenges, to continue doing what they love.

I hope our stories can motivate others to create as well.