Monday, October 16, 2017

Just Some Good News

This world is going to hell in a hand basket. I'm stuck in the dichotomy of wanting to stay updated on the news, but also being majorly depressed by the news. The depressing news is just a byproduct of the sad world we live in. What if there we just, for one blog post, or newsletter, focused on some uplifting stories? For every blog post like this, there's a million negative ones. After reading these positive hot takes, you can go back down your rabbit hole of depressing news stories about our impending doom. Fun!

1. Malala Yousafzai Nearly Died For Girls’ Education. Today, She Started At Oxford

photo credit: HuffPost

Found on the Huffington Post good news section, Malala Yousafi is starting her education at Oxford, just five years after she got shot in the head for standing up for education for girls. That's the best kind of irony there.

Enjoy this video of this cat screaming for pure joy when its owner comes home. Why does it seems like its always surprised when its owner finds it? It's DEAF! Doesn't that make it ever cuter? It's ELATED to see its owner for the first time when they come home. This video makes me as happy as that cat is when its owner comes home.

3.  Finding your rap name has never been easier

Photo Cred: PizzaBottle
I first saw this meme was in a Facebook group I'm in for a pop culture podcast. Now, I'm seeing it everywhere. I saw this meme first the morning after a "thirsty thursday", so my rap name is Young Vodka Cranberry. I love it already.

3. Canada introduced gender-neutral passports

Photo credit: The Guardian

As if I didn't need another reason to want to move to Canada....

5. This article, where we find out with parents are the MOST savage, exists

photo credit

You may start rethinking everything your parents say to you.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a newsletter that's just good news? Well, there will be. To combat this awful world me live in, I'm starting a newsletter called Half Full, that is a curation of good news, memes, reader "stories" and of course, baby animals. Subscribe here to get the inaugural issue.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

6 Awkwardly Relatable Memories from AIM

Where were you the day that AIM shut down? The official end date is December 15, 2017, but they announced the end in October 2017.  I was sitting at my desk, at my adult job, already feeling the  feels of my youth that is slipping away. (I LOVE my job - don't get me wrong.) There's just something weird about achieving that "thing" you've been getting prepared for since birth, essentially, amirite?

I was in my "feels", as the kids would say, because there was a national conference for the organization that I poured my heart and soul into during my undergrad - PRSSA - that day in Boston, and it was my first year not attending as a student. Then, this tweet came on my timeline and the falling rocks of my feels avalanched:
Did they really have to say "all good things come to an end" Right in front of my salad? More like right in front of the tears I cry while my youth slowly slips away from me, under the ballet flats I traded in my high-top Vans for?

To end the era, they are running a "AIM Memories" campaign. In their recent blog post, they encapsulated the exact experiences we can relate to when it comes to the era in which the way we communicated with our friends changed. AIM was the original group chat. What would 13-year-old you say if you told them you could have group Snapchats now? I would say, "You know I can't snap, stop making fun of me!"

However, the next cultural shift may be upon us soon - and AOL may be behind it! In their blog post, they left this cryptic message:

"We are more excited than ever to continue building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products for users around the world."

Take that as you may, but I'll be waiting around for the next thing from AOL now. To commemorate this loss, I'll be reminiscing my cringiest moment from that era. I'll be reliving the phenomenon that happens when you combine new technology and raging hormones. Please join me in the comments, by leaving your fondest and most awkward AIM memories!

1. Making up a fake boyfriend
Okay, bear with me here. Everyone had a date for their significant other in their profile. I was a hopeless, ugly teenager. I did what I had to do - just so I could have a date in my profile like everyone else.

2. Getting rejected by my crush
I messaged me crush in AIM (after finally working up the courage),only for him to tell me to to never, ever do it again the next day in religion class.

3. Getting banned from chatrooms constantly
Those chatrooms have tricky rules. They didn't let your username include your school name, or "bubble butt", unfair right? My mom would spend her nights in the phone with AOL, trying to redeem my account and her faith in me.

4. Secret Spammers
Friday nights were time for AIM. Before we grew to be awkward teenagers at the mall, we were middle schoolers on AIM. There was a group of the kids in may grade who would enter a group chat, immediately spam, then get kicked out by AOL for spamming. Not only was this annoying, but it also broke up the conversation. What if I was just in the middle of getting the hot middle school goss?

5. Is this a...?
Myself and two others of my classmates were usually the only two online at the wee hours of 11PM - I know, so late. Part of it was FOMO for me, and part of the was being in love with the male classmates who stayed. The complicated part was that the girl classmate, and friend of mine (who still is my friend, you know who you are!), was also in love with him - even more than me. Looking back, I don't blame this boy for staying awake and chatting with these two girls who were fawning over him.

6. Is 5 screen names over doing it?
Yes, five. I had three screen names: NTV823, iCKYNiKKi823, AEROGURL87,  TrackxTragedy and ShakexxIt87. Granted, not all of them were active at once. There as absolutely no point in having multiple screen names. Why did we do this? I only confused people.

7. The colorful jacket gang
You best believe I brought my middle school's politics online. I've been stirring the pot on the internet since I popped out of the womb, starting with trolling Lizzie McGuire's outfits on the Disney Channel website. Also, please do NOT start with me about how I no longer recognize the shows on there. There's a Tangled series? Anywho, the girls who claimed themselves to be popular all happened to have the same color North Face and South Pole jackets - black - so they called themselves the "black jacket gang". Being the voice for the bourgeoisie  since middle school, I took a stance on this unjust monopoly. In rainbow letters, I put "COLORFUL JACKET GANG" in my AIM profile. THAT THAT POPULAR GIRLS!

I'd love to her your stories, please comment them below, or feel free to tweet me! Don't forget to subscribe to the newsletter as well for updates.

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Sunday, September 24, 2017


I don't mind being alone, damnit! I'm an only child, alright? I don't have a "thing" where I'm scared to be alone. I'd just rather drive alone sometimes so I can zone out to a podcast and not have the chance of someone playing something on the aux that makes me wanna choke on a pool stick.

Don't be worried for me, I'll be fine alone. It's bad enough eww have to share this intolerable life with other humans.

Okay, I'll admit some of that was a front. I love love love my friends and family and boyfriend, I miss them the moment I leave them. I'm a weak person, like we all are. I have a heart.

You know how some people are an introvert and some are an extrovert? I think I'm somewhere in the middle. Being around people doesn't drain me.. dealing with dumb people do. I wouldn't say it charges me up, however. It doesn't charge me up like a box of spinach and feta cheesy bread from dominos at 2AM, or people watching and counting how many un-ironic visors I see in a crowd. 

One time I went to half of a day of a music festival alone, which I will admit - It wasn't intentional. I had just signed the offer letter on my first full time job, so I felt like irresponsibly draining my savings. "Nevermind a security deposit on my first place, mama's going to Boston Calling", I said!

I said "Chance the Rapper, the 1975, and awkwardly dodging strangers and golf carts for 48 hours? I'm in!!"

The possibility of taking an acid tab instead of an ibruprohein?? I'm in!!

My view from the muddy crowd to see Chance the Rapper. It was worth all the mud.
I was young and naive.. a few short months ago.. and I figured a few people I knew would be there! My friends excitedly saying "YASSS" in the group chat means they're definitely going in this screen-driven, terminator-esque world we live in where we can't communicate correctly.

My unintentional self-love date was Saturday. Luckily enough, Phoebe Robinson and Hannibal Buress were performing at the comedy tent that night.

A few takeaways I got from this experience, as I was sitting in the Harvard Athletic Complex, getting AstroTurf in my underwear, popping bubbles laced with who knows what, surrounded by millennials dancing and waiting for Chocolate by the 1975 to finally come on are:

  1. There are way too many people populating this earth
  2. Musical festivals are mostly getting there, waiting in line, and trying to find ways to avoid lines
  3. A real thing that can happen is: a family being taken to the hospital after getting too high from an edible
  4. What you don't see on Instagram is the physical and mental turmoil that is simply being alive
  5. Even if the band is your favorite and you know every word, something about the distorted speakers and background noise makes it really hard to sing along
Besides that, it was totally worth it. I'm making it sound worse for comedy purposes, it really was a great solo date night, and I recommend we all take ourselves on dates - intentional or not - more often. We need to take ourselves on dates more often and get to know ourselves.

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My First Stand-Up Experience

My first stand-up experience was in a church basement at a talent show to raise money for a catholic teen conference... and no, that wasn't a joke in my set. It was my reality.

Everyone has to start somewhere. I just have a hard time believing that Amy Schumer got her big start in a church basement and ended it with a prayer. It's still weird for me to even say this is my "start", however, since stand up comedy and comedy writing has always been a latent dream of mine that has only recently floated to the surface of my consciousness. I wonder what other kinds of crazy stuff I have repressed. 

It wasn't until I saw this gem of a picture of me doing my set in the church bulletin (bottom, dead center), that I could actually envision this dream becoming a reality. Side note - why do all pictures of comics portray them as somewhat leaning into the crowd and shrugging. It's like their body language is saying "just please laugh at this joke so I don't hate myself as much later."

I decided to do this set on a whim - how I usually make all of the big decisions in my life. I've decided to switch majors, break up with past exes, start a blog (ha..haha..haahaa..HA), interview for an internship in Seattle, and many more huge life decisions on a whim! At the same time, catch me at your local Starbucks going back and forth between a green tea latte and a white mocha for an hour.

It was a great whim decision, however. After doing the set, I felt like I had just done something I really loved. Hearing the audience actually laugh at my uncomfortable and self deprecating humor made me feel so good. My friend's little sister actually said "Nikki, I think you found your calling". Never being sure of myself (ie the green tea vs. white mocha crisis), I took her outsider opinion very seriously.

So began the presumptively tumultuous senior year of college, where I took final steps towards a degree that I love, and loosely related to comedy writing and entertainment, and seeing how I could fit my passions for being both behind and in front of the scenes into one job post-graduation. 

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Icelandic Adventure

I recently graduate my undergrad with a Bachelors of Science in Communications. Hold the applause - until I get my masters. I knew that I hustled and worked hard every day, but didn't realize HOW hard I worked until it was over. When I was listing accomplishments to apply for awards, I found myself thinking "how did I have time for all of this?" I also must've tapped into my productive mentality that blossomed in high school, because even though I have nothing really productive to do or go to at the moment, I still find myself writing and binge-watching eight Netflix series. Yes, eight in two weeks.

I start my job on June 12, so my mother and I planned a trip to Iceland that we just came back from. It seems like instead of being targeted for FYRE Island, I was targeted for Iceland. I've seen at LEAST ten people I know go to Iceland recently, and two more people went right after I got back. I'm glad I was targeted for breathtaking arctic views and delicious Nordic delicacies, and not the utter disaster that FYRE island was. I may not be an LA model or influencer, but I still had my adventure.

Below is a video I made summing up my trip.

Sights I saw on Arctic Adventures' Golden Circle Tour:
Pingvellir National Park (where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates split.
Giysur (geysers!)
Gulfoss Waterfall
Secret Lagoon hot spring

Food I tried on the Reykjavic Food Walk:
Lamb Soup, Fermented Shark and dried Cod 
Ryebread Ice Cream from Cake
Cured horse, sheep, smoked sheep and various cheeses
Hot Dog with icelandic ketchup and mustard, and crispy onions
Skyr (yogurt-based desert)
Crab Pot Soup and sourdough bread with violet butter and licorice salt
Gourmet chocolate mousse with orange-infused chocolate and mango sorbet from Apoteka.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Podcasts I'm Feeling Lately

I'm really into podcasts lately. It's almost taken away from how much I listen to music. Don't get me wrong - I listen to many different artists and still make playlists regularly. Follow me on Spotify here! Podcasts are really therapeutic for me in the same way that watching reality TV is. I can get caught up on someone else's true story - good or bad -  and not worry about my own stressful life. I also like listening to other people's commentaries about topics. It's great ideas for part conversations. You can hear me talking about something I heard about on a podcast at least five times every party.

Also, some podcasts focus just on pop culture and movies. On "Not Too Deep" with Grace Helbig, they did a whole hour-long episode reviewing the movie Krampus scene by scene, and now I feel like I've seen it. Youtuber Mitchell Davis and Producer Jack Ferry are going to start a podcast soon just with that premise. I feel like with podcasts based around pop culture and media, I can be on top of my media consumption without actually consuming it. I can hear the reviews first. Now that you've heard the reasons I'm obsessed with podcasts I'm loving at the moment.

Love comedienne Erin Gibson and actor  Bryan Safi (Alan from Young & Hungry)? Love talking about how the world we live in is an upside down place for minorities, the LGBT community, and any other marginalized population? Tune in to this charming banter between these two hilarious individuals and their guests. This is also becoming a real live TV show on TV Land starting January 17th, 2017 at 10:30/9:30C.

Guy Branum and panelists Wynter Mitchell, Academic Karen Tongson and Digital Strategist Margaret Wappler provide a weekly roundtable about pop culture and media including their favorite jams and what they're all about that week. A new topic every week is discussed such as cooking and reality shows.


It's no secret that I am obsessed with realty TV shows. I'm just so nosy and interested in people - it's like anthropology, right? I'm basically the next Jane Goodall. I also love comedy and stand up comedy. I love consuming it as well as producing it - whether it's writing it or performing it. This podcast is a mix of both. Rachel O'Brien is friends with many Vanderpump Rules cast members and she appears on the show sometimes. On this podcast, she discusses life and comedy with fellow comedians.

This is just me indulging my obsession with all the cast members of #PumpRules. She interviews many cast members and talk about pop culture and life. However, she also interviews many interesting other guests such as Kristen Chenoweth. 

This is the first podcast I listened to. This is also the first YouTuber I idolized and looked up to. She's so humble, talented, and self-made  - she's the actress, author, and producer Grace Helbig. On this podcast, she interviews YouTubers and entertainment industry names like Ross Matthews and Mike Rugnetta. However, she doesn't touch just on their life and successes. She asks purely human and odd questions that catch people off-guard and give us insights on how their minds work. 

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Thursday, January 12, 2017


Costa Rica is NOT for the traveler of faint heart. That being said, there is something for everyone. Costa Rica is not Sandals Jamaica. It is NOT the place to kick back on the white sands with a drink in hand, looking out onto clear waters. If you're on the Pacific Ocean side, it is in fact a place to relax on the gray sand while looking out on the tumultuous gray waters. This rare beach day will be sandwiched between your adventurous days in the mountains doing adventurous activities. You also may have an Imperial (the official beer of Costa Rica).

Honestly, that sounds like a great day to me, and I know it is for a fact because I lived it for five days. I went on a waterfall tour during my time in Costa Rica with a lovely lady from New Orleans and she said that when she was researching vacation destinations, she saw that Costa Rica was the place to get down and dirty - and all out adventurous. She couldn't have been more right.

I was relieved to be out of the chill of the Northeast and to be wearing sporty tanks, shorts, and either trails shoes or Tevas every day. It really inspired me to kick start my health in the New Year, since our trip was from December 26 - 31. I got out of my rut. Their "Pura Vida" way of life is an invitation to explore the unknown and challenge yourself. No wonder everyone there is so happy, they dedicate their lives to breaking the ordinary.

The Food
Really, this is what you're all wondering about. If you like fresh food and basic ingredients - plantains, rice, beans, meat, eggs, and tortillas - then you're in luck. With the overcomplicated and contaminated food in the US and all the fake promises of "health" foods, it was relieving to eat this simple food. We also tried some of the more adventurous food - chicharron pork skin and meat and yucca fries with hot sauce. Paired with their local alcohol "Guara" and lime juice, this was honestly the best meal of the trip - and in a WHILE. This meal was made in a little restaurant surrounded by farms (the supply chain). It was made by an old Costa Rican woman out back - how more authentic can you get?

The Adventure
The defining thing about Costa Rica - and South America and Central America in general - are their huge mountain roads. The drives up and down the mountains to the zip lining and the waterfall tour were the scariest rides of my life. It was scary driving up to Monteverde - quite literally a city on a hill - because I was concerned about driving in the darkness on the way down. However that did not take away from the thrilling zip lining experience! There were about 20 different stops on the tour over the cloud forest. The last stop was "superman style", so I just flew face down, belly facing the abyss of trees.

I was so proud of my parents during the waterfall tour. We had to hike down a steep hill to the first waterfall, then walk through the river, on the side of rocks, avoid slippery slopes, and even hike to all ten waterfalls. At the last waterfall, my nearly 60-year-old father jumped ten feet off of a cliff into a pool. We ascended the final hike to the top of the mountain and my parents were beaming at the top with pride.

See my adventure on YouTube:

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