Sunday, September 24, 2017

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

MY COSTA RICA WATERFALL TOUR EXPERIENCE

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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Saturday, December 24, 2016

The most vocal election

All of the election talk is calming down, minus the recount mumblings, but I’m here to bing up more. Come on, what did you think we were going to talk about after the election? More election topics, of course. 

Though the discussion I’m offering today is nonpartisan, it is a reflection on what it means about our society today. Many people have observed that this past election has been the most wacky, for lack of a better word. The heightened political tensions and options were reinforced through open letters from The Odyssey and Bernie Sanders’s Dank Meme Stash.  


My theory is that this election, although it definitely had some of the most notable scandals and stories an election has been in U.S. history, wasn’t the most “wacky”, it was the most audibly commentated on the internet. Two potent ingredients: many millennials being of voting age and the internet, came together to create a concoction of free speech, thought leadership and attempts to sway public opinion.

 


During each presidential debate, millennial on either side were quickly microblogging, blogging, vlogging, meme-making - you name it about their opinions on the debate. While we were all scrolling through Facebook or Twitter on our phones during lunch, we probably came across tens or hundreds of election memes that either made us laugh or enraged us. Millennials, thanks to their urge to voice their opinion and the internet, became built-in ambassadors for their candidate. Every day, their respective candidate were on the campaign trail. Every minute of everyday, millennials were on the internet fighting for their candidates. 


So, what does the nature of this election say about our society?

The power of groups: Social media let us grow more of a mob mentality. We are all connected through the 0’s and 1’s that the internet runs on. When someone said something bad about one candidate, the opposition defended in groups, and vice versa. 

We are smarter consumers: We have all been burned by a fake news article or two. Because of this, we have grown to be skeptical media consumers. We now check our sources for bias and falsehoods. 

Community journalism turned organizing: A few years ago, community journalism was the trend on microblog and regular blogging sites. Community journalism was definitely a huge part of this election, however, community activism was even more of a theme.  People were able to take their causes and run with it. People started charities, movements, petitions, and more. 

Social media empowered consumers to take matters into their own hands this election. An empowered consumer is a dangerous consumer to the system, and the system was challenged this election.




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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Phantom Gourment Food Festival 2016

September 24, 2016 was a jam packed day for the Fenway area. On Landsdowne and Ipswich street was the Phantom Gourmet Food Festival, and inside the Fenway Park Concourse was "college fest". Both events yielded a LOT of free stuff. It's almost like you start off going to college fest to check out the free promotions from the vendors, and then once you're a pompous young professional in Boston, you pay the $30 entrance fee to stuff yourself with free samples and listen to throwback jams with your old college friends at the bars on Landsdowne St.

The set up of the food festival was as follows: booths local restaurants and food retailers lined both Landsdowne and Ipswich St. Beer tents were sprinkled along the route. All of the bars - Bill's Bar, Tequila Rain, the House of Blues and more - were all open. There was a costume/dance contest happening at Tequila Rain while I was at Bill's Bar. I'm pretty sure they were playing the same songs for the dance contest in Bill's Bar because there was a stream of 1980's  - 2000s songs being played and faded into each other, and not in an ironic way.

At the end of the day, I had a great time tasting DELICIOUS local food. I went there having eaten nothing for the day, and I came out super full just from samples. Here's a list of the places I visited, and some pictures!
KINGS pulled pork slider
Foundry Lobster roll slider
Hush Puppies corn and chorizo food festival
Boston Burger Company Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potato Fries
Comella's Pasta
All Star Sandwich Bar BBQ Chicken Salad
Cakes by Erin "drunken pumpkin" cupcake


I was expecting a bit of a burger but their glazed sweet potato fries were delicious. I'd give my first born child for regular sweet potato fries so who knows what I would do for regular ones.



Beer tastes better in aluminum cans


"Drunken Pumpkin" cupcake. I think there was a pumpkin liquor in the frosting. The makes of these cupcakes are going to be on the next episode of "Halloween Wars"!



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Monday, November 14, 2016

How "Stranger Things" tapped perfectly into the millennial market

After premiering this summer, the Netflix Original series "Stranger Things" rose to the top of the charts immediately.  In eight short episodes, it found its way to steal both the Emmy's red carpets and our hearts. As a communications major, I naturally ponder: Why? What is it about the show that makes it so lovable?


image credit: Popsugar

As I started watching the series, I started realizing that the show developers must have just trolled on Tumblr for things that internet-addicted teens and twenty-somethings loved. Each character, theme, music, actor, and story arc reminded me of things that my friends and I (college-aged millennials) love. Here are my top picks for my millennials go nuts for Stranger Things:



 1. The 80s music

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We love 80's music. So much that we make music that sounds similar to it. All of the 80's throwbacks make this show relatable and enjoyable. 

2. Paranormal Activity

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For some reason, we love getting the life scared out of us. 

3. 80s High School Movie Themes
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We also love throwing it back to the 80's and the teen heartthrobs. It takes us away from the failing current political, social, economic climate of our country :)

4.  Little Kids
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None of us want to have them, but we love watching them try to solve mysteries!

5. Mystery

We love mystery for the same reason we love throwing it back to the 80s. It makes us forget about our significant cheating others, student loans, homework, and tear-stained pillows.

6. The Character Dynamics

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We love rooting for an unsuspecting character to come out as better than we thought they were.

7. The Binge-ability
Eight. Short. Episodes.

8. The Easy Halloween Costume
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Who didn't wear these costumes?

9. The Originality


This series is downright original. It's not another comic book hero, vampire, or zombie.

9. The Friendship
Image Source

Because above all, we love our friends.





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