Nicole is a New York-based freelance writer, occasional poet, and a Journalism and Communication design student at The New School. She likes to write, take photographs of sunsets, and exploring and documenting it all on her blog.
On The Blog

Featuring a tatted and bleached-buzz cut Dylan O’Brien smoking winged weed joints and cringe-filled, like, social media slang is Hulu’s recently released film “Not Okay” - a satire that reflects the current state of millennials and the i-Generation in the digital age, particularly poking fun at influencer culture. The story follows wannabe social media influencer and desperate attention-seeker, Danni Sanders (played by Zoey Deutch), and her journey of how she shamelessly clawed her way to fame. 

What I find hysterical is how the characters are based in the inevitably gentrifying neighborhood of Bushwick and its depiction of the people is hilariously accurate: iced coffees, leg tats, tote bags, fake Brooklyn accents, long acrylic nails, and thinking you’re the main character of a New York City rom-com. Bushwick has become a parody of itself, with companies such as ‘Hipster Bullshit’ that profits off the very millennial stereotypes of the neighborhood’s gentrified residents and Saturday Night Live writing a relatable skit that sheds light on how gentrification is changing New Yorkers.

Dylan O’Brien plays Colin, a weed influencer and cocky white dude from Maine covered in tattoo sleeves and wrapped in gold chains hanging loosely around his neck. He constantly takes selfie videos of him smoking a joint or vaping huge clouds of smoke or having girls lick his face for his verified Instagram handle and TikTok. I don’t know what Danii sees in him, but Colin is her big-time work crush at Depravity, a millennial magazine similar to The Cut and Buzzfeed, and she does everything to impress him... 

Danni, with her desire for Colin’s attention, faked a writing retreat trip to Paris and used her photoshop skills to post photos of herself sauntering around the l’Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower whilst she sat in her messy room eating bags of chips. Until a terrorist attack hit Paris in front of the Arc and she was suddenly flooded with messages and DMs from her followers, thinking she was somewhat affected. She saw this newfound attention as an opportunity to project herself to notoriety and continued to scam those around her with her fake trauma. 

Danni’s continued clownery as a “traumatized victim of terrorism” is a blunt reflection of the toxicity of social media and influencer culture: almost everyone on the Internet always has an agenda, which is to gain more followers and likes. You can see this from the way she befriended Rowan Aldren (Mia Isaacs), an anti-gun violence activist and school shooting survivor, and asked her to repost her story she published in Depravity and became involved in her advocacy efforts to end gun violence in America to make herself look more “woke”. 

The emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement also brought up an influx of performative activism, such as the #BlackOutTuesday which drew criticism for its lack of effectiveness and virtue signaling. The “social media activism” that people participated in ended up pushing away important information for organizers and activists who are actually trying to make a difference and some even accused white people for participating to not seem “racist” and taking the focus off what the movement really started for, which was to advocate and support black artists in the music industry. 

Similar to these performative allyship, Danni profits off of her “trauma” and, unremorsefully, the genuine activism of Rowan’s anti-gun violence advocacy efforts. Her desperation to be relevant is painful to watch, especially since she doesn’t realize how privileged she is as a white woman from a wealthy and well-connected family. Like Kendall Jenner, who received backlash for her involvement with a tone-deaf Pepsi ad and for claiming on Keeping up with the Kardashian that she “struggled” to find modeling jobs despite becoming one of the highest paid models in the industry. Oh, how it must be so hard for Kendall to travel all over New York and Europe to find a job. Sounds truly like a struggle.

Self-indulgent influencers and wannabes who think they’re the main character have turned into a culture that’s a byproduct of the toxicity of social media. Daily life has turned into a reality show where daily routines and recordings of events are published and shared online, everyone is conscious of their image and how they’re portrayed, and seeking attention has become a currency as content creation and influencing has turned into an economy. As a regular Instagrammer and writer myself, writing newsletters and making fun reels I’m also guilty of this self-indulgence - but what Gen-Z or millennial with a phone isn’t? 


Around this time is when summer peaks - the sun gets warmer, cold booze and refreshing drinks spill the bars and tables, and an influx of tourists flood the avenues of Manhattan. Around this time is also the peak of the rental market. Recently, and controversially, New York City has been experiencing the highest rental hikes in the history of the city, with rents raising 3.25% higher in the last decade. People are moving out, people are moving in, and I'm just moving. 

A view from the plane on my way to see my parents

Other than inflation and the U.S's economic crisis following the Russian-Ukraine land war and the impacts of the pandemic, other factors that contributed to this I've also noticed was an influx of graduate and undergraduate students moving in after college or for college. I remember around the time that I started at The New School in the Fall of 2020, many students I knew had decided to take some time off because of the pandemic. Now that COVID-19 protocols have relaxed, businesses are starting to open again, and life begins to feel normal, people are deciding to move back. 

New York City is known for nomadic dwellers who are always on the move, and I've always lived that nomadic lifestyle - I've lived in three different countries in three different continents, lived in many cities and experienced many different environments, exchanged multiple currencies, and lived with various groups of people. This past year alone, I've moved apartments four times: from the East Village, to Broadway Triangle, to further into Bushwick, to now Bedford-Stuyvesant. So despite staying in the city throughout the pandemic, I'm still the wandering dweller on the perpetual move. 

I do hope that I can be settled for once in my new apartment in Bed-Stuy but, as I had experienced throughout my life, things can change - and that's okay. When I lived in Tunbridge Wells in the UK, I had a plan to go study fashion communication or design in Central Saint Martins or University of the Arts London. I had a nice job working for a British haberdashery measuring and cutting fabric and I was close to completing my A-Level certifications in French, Media Studies, and Photography. Alas, I was thrown off with we're moving to Florida

When I lived on Broadway Triangle, my roommates and I were content. We had a nice apartment conveniently located by the JMZ train of the Myrtle-Wyckoff station. But alas, we were thrown off-guard by an unexpected roach infestation. And so, we were forced to look for a new home. 

Things like this happen in life all the time, where you think you're settled but shit gets thrown at you. You can sit and complain which is what I did when I first lived in Florida, because I wanted to be anywhere else but the small, suburban Trump town I lived; or, you could make the most of what you've got and make your own decision, which for me was to move to New York City. 

I'm not entirely sure if I'll ever find a home that I can truly settle into, to start a family or to launch my career, but I'm only twenty-two. There's still so much more exploring to do. 


This week was my last week of school. Ever. I thought that the feeling of nostalgia from the beginning and that connection would be stronger, but then I remembered that we spent a year on Zoom during the pandemic. What fun times - spending all that money to be stuck at home and talking to students and professors through computer screens and DMs. I always wonder, looking back, if it's worth it; but at the same time, it gave me all the reason to savour the experiences and moments on campus and to take advantage of every resource and opportunities the university offers. Which is what I did. 

This past year since moving to New York City has been one hell of a journey: I moved homes at least 3 times, went through and had 3 jobs (working 2 simultaneously when I was taking summer classes), lived through a roach infestation, had COVID-19 twice (experiencing it the second time as I type this with a sniffly nose from my bed), and I've struggled and prevailed as we're going through one of the worst recession we've seen. And it was all in a span of 14 months. It's been one hell of a journey, but I lived through it all and still stand today (well, lay as I am still sick). 

Reflecting upon my past two years at The New School, my experiences were mellow. Half of it was fun, the half when I moved to New York City. My university is a great school to go to (although, there were times, during the semester I was a reporter for the college newspaper, that I got to witness the flawed system and administration of the school) and I did not regret my decision to come here - I just wished I had a better and more fuller college experience. It wasn't the fault of the university or New York: we were plundered into an unknown abyss, filled with depression and burnout and grief and fear as the coronavirus continued to linger on the streets, amidst the air we breathed. 

Despite circumstances, professors and other faculty tried their best to lead engaging classes. It's difficult to stay engaged when you're so comfortable in your own bed and haven't moved in a week - it made me lazy, taking those Zoom classes from the tropics of Florida and the warm, comfort food of my mother's cooking, and the quietness of my isolated, suburban community on the tops of the hillside. I had to get out. I had to go to the bustling hustle of city living. Florida was not the place for me. It was worth it, although I sometimes struggled, mentally and emotionally and financially when I first moved to the city. But in this past year since moving out of my parent's home I've learned so much and grown into someone stronger, more independent, and more sure of myself. 


I found an apartment through Facebook for $650 - a COVID-19 price that was a deal I couldn't miss. With the help of my sister and parents, I took the offer, hopped on the plane, and moved to a tiny East Village apartment. I moved in February - the worst month to move in the city - so it was cold, the streets were scattered with dirty snow, and COVID-19 was at its peak. My experience the first few weeks were not the best, as I was stuck at home because one of the biggest snow storms had hit the city. I had no friends, nowhere to go or to do (except going to Zoom university) and was depressed. I only had one friend with whom I've been speaking with virtually, and who ended up becoming my roommate as the city got warmer. 

As the summer came around, I took this as an opportunity to explore the city more. My roommates and friends went bar hopping, karaoke, attended events, and explored the parks. It was my Hot Girl Summer as a single 20-something in New York City. Of course, it was also the summer I met my ex-boyfriend. Around this time, I was enrolled half-time and working two jobs - helping customers during the day and serving beer at night. It wasn't the best balance, so I ended up quitting serving beer and helping customers and got a job in health administration. 


As my sublet ended, I got what I had hoped for: moving to Brooklyn. I moved into this renovated apartment next to the overhead M and J train lines on Broadway. It was a better apartment compared to the East Village one, which was an eight floor walk-up with barely any walking space or shared capacities where we once found a mouse eating our food in the cabinets. This Brooklyn apartment had new kitchen appliances and clean floors, and a bathroom that had a proper shower. Of course, my room had no windows - but no true New Yorker has not lived in a shitty apartment space. It wasn't until several months in when we found a roach infestation inside the walls, and we ended up moving again (*cue single tear drop emoji*). 

I remained in Brooklyn and moved into a beautiful apartment with exposed brick walls on a quiet street. It's one of my favorite parts of New York City, as it's more suburban and quiet yet not too far away from the hustle of Manhattan. Although it is slowly becoming gentrified with rising rent costs, it is still one of my favorite boroughs in New York. My commute is gorgeous, as I pass the Williamsburg bridge and witness the views the city. When I take the train at the right times, I get to see the beautiful sunset that hits the city skyline. 


I was unfortunate to catch COVID-19 in the most timely times. I caught it just before I was supposed to fly out back to Florida for Christmas and New Years, and I caught just before I am supposed to graduate. COVID-19 is testing me right now. The city uplifted the mask mandates, but even then I still kept myself safe and practiced social distancing (well, tried to). New York is one of the most congested and over-populated cities, and I know that traveling through the subways can be daunting (the F train between midtown and LES is a bloody nightmare) as we're squashed together in the same cars, holding and touching the same poles that have been touched by hundreds to thousands of people throughout the day, and people constantly traveling from other states. It's difficult to stay safe, when the city is always bustling and moving. 

These experiences I went through showed me how hard life really is. It showed me that good things don't get handed to you, and that you must work for it. I am privileged enough to get help from my parents on the occasion that I'm truly struggling, but this experience has humbled me and taught me many great lessons. 

My years at The New School has been an interesting journey to say the least, and I've enjoyed the moments and met some of the most interesting and talented people I've ever encountered. Not just in Lang, but at Parsons (where I'm minoring in Communication Design) there are so many creative students with incredible portfolios and backgrounds! It was exciting and fun to meet a community of open-minded intellectuals, most of whom have served as inspirations to me, or have become some of my closest friends. 

Now that my time has ended as a student and I'm entering "the real world", as I've been told, it's time for another new chapter in my life. I haven't made a plan yet, other than having a long rest as well as continuing on evolving my senior capstone project (I created a Substack and zine which you should definitely check out!). I'm uncertain of what the future will hold, but I have high prospects as I continue to evolve myself and my writing, build and continue building projects, pitching and publishing my pieces, and taking advantage of opportunities that fall in front of me. 

I want to say a huge congratulations to the class of 2022! You finally did it. You made it. You made your family and friends and people you love proud and, most importantly, you made yourself proud. You worked hard and you earned it. 

I look forward to what the future holds for us.


Opening to Kate Dibiasky, a PhD candidate played by an unnoticeably pregnant Jennifer Lawrence, casually making toast and a cup of tea, singing the lyrics to "Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthin Ta F’ Wit" by Wu Tang Clan with a deadpan-ness that we see in Dibiasky throughout the film. She makes herself comfortable with her tea and snacks, and preparing the Subaru telescope for a casual viewing as part of her PhD studies, until she notices something. She's surprised. Happy. Excited. Terrified. A reaction which we see spread out as we continue. 

Inspired by true events, "Don't Look Up" is an interesting summary of 2021, drawing a conclusion to one of the (truly) catastrophic year as of yet. From portraying the polarization we see in politics, to the juicy satire of the previous administration, this movie represents a huge aspect of this generation: the media landscape and how much it can influence everything. 

The film started with a shocking discovery: a comet headed towards earth and with mathematical calculations, they only have six months left until impact, in which the comet will wipe out every known species on Earth to extinction. Kate Dibiasky and astronomy professor from Michigan State University Dr. Randall Mindy (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) who both discovered the comet are set out to convince the world to prepare for the apocalypse. Along with the help of Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe - who was portrayed by Rob Morgan - the head of NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office (and yes, that's a real place), they go on a journey that started with the government. Meryl Streep plays a cluelessly narcissistic and motivated woman president, Janie Orlean (who I think is based on Donald Trump), and Jonah Hill is her arrogant and spoiled son Jason Orlean, who is also the Chief of Staff (nepotism that is also familiar in the Trump administration), with whom Dibiasky, Dr. Mindy, and Teddy try to convince to do something. Similar to the reaction of COVID-19, it was met with skepticism and downplayed. 

The way in which this apocalyptic event was treated as another piece in the game of politics and politicized throughout the movie, shows the greed and selfish motives of people. This can be evidently seen when we see the nation become divided - the satirical memes making fun of Dibiasky, TikTok videos denouncing the comet and calling scientists marxists, and hashtags that start a movement (#BlameKate, #DontLookUp). This is a representation of this generation and the current media landscape - a vast space of endless possibilities, allowing people the freedom to share their thoughts or ideologies. This power given to the public, although it's a democratization of information, it also trivializes events.  

This is a hard-hitting satirical story that exposes basically us - you, me, the people we watch on TV, the celebrities we follow, the people we interact with on social media. We see it in today's social climate: politicians spreading propaganda, politicizing a pandemic that has claimed over five million lives, and seeing a a divide nation at war with each other. Celebrities attempting to be relevant by voicing their opinions on politics. Although we see some familiarity, seeing our reflection on our screens, we think we know what happens; but director Adam McKay does a great job in creating a sense of unpredictability and anxiety. 

In the interview on The Daily Rip with Brie Evantee and Jack Bremmer (both portrayed with the wit and humor of cookie-cutter American anchors by Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry), we see the shaky close up of Kate to absorb the anxiety she's feeling. The light behind her face so we see the shadows of her expressions that say "we're fucked". Another thing I really loved about the style of this director is the sudden and blunt transitions between the scenes, sometimes cutting off dialogue of the characters. We don't know what's going to happen. We don't know what we're going to expect. It truly captures how we're all feeling at these uncertain times. 

This funny, terrifying, and thrilling movie encapsulates our experiences this past year through a painfully satirical observation of our society. In a way, it reminds us of how oblivious we all are of the gravity of the situations we're all facing - I've noticed how trivialized the pandemic has become, where people are so exhausted that seeing the death or case count is just another number they see on the screen. Like Manohla Dargis' thoughts, the people on earth aren't interested in saving their own planet. We're far from taking action and taking it seriously. The Climate Clock on 14th Street Union Square (that counts down the time we have left until the effects of climate change are irreversible) is just another photo opportunity for tourists in Manhattan, New York. 

It's an interesting film that's worth the watch if you like to laugh and be entertained by Cate Blanchett's funny portrayal of a blonde, horny, and shameless news anchor with a low-key drinking problem, or Jonah Hill as the grotesque and perverted son, who is spoiled and childish, of a female president of similar manner. With a cast of variety and famous names (including Ariana Grande as the vapid but beautiful singer, Riley Bina, and Timothee Chalamet), you will relate to the storyline as it punches in a very familiar series of events, ending with an ending that will remind us of our impending doom. 

If you saw the movie, what did you think of it? Do you agree? 


It's been a chaotic semester. The most chaotic I've ever been in.
I've had a lot of ups and downs, mental breakdowns and revolutionary realizations, and fighting through the gusts and rains of a hurricane that is adulthood and college life. Despite the hardships, and the trials and tribulations that this semester has given me, it has taught me a lot of important lessons on life and living in the big city. It is both a blessing and a curse to move out and start a new life on my own. Since it's the end of the semester and almost the end of the year, I wanted to share some thoughts about this December... although I've come to realize, after finishing writing this and going through for edits, it's thoughts about this year in general. So please enjoy my 2021 rant.


My college experience in the first semester back in-person has been an up and down, bittersweet journey. One of the policies that my university has implemented is regular PCR resting to remain access to campus. Although this is a precaution that my school took to keep us safe, I found it extremely inconvenient - I missed my first week of classes since I wasn't able to get my PCR results submitted on time. According to students, this proved to be a recurring problem and affected the college experience for many, including myself. Out of all the student friends and coworkers in New York City that I know of as of yet, my university is perhaps the only one to have required testing protocols in the city.

It was nice to be able to be present in class, to meet and talk to people almost felt normal. Mask mandates made it hard to hear people in discussions or to identify who I'm talking with (this applies to any social environment in general). Despite some classes supposedly being in-person, there were times when professors moved the class to Zoom - either due to an illness, traveling, or they simply didn't submit their negative test results in time.

Overall, it was a normal-ish first semester back in-person. The protocols are understandable. I get it. It shows the university is taking initiative to protect the students, staff, and faculty amidst the pandemic. It's not an entirely perfect system but hey, at least they're doing their best.


As some of you may have already known, there has been an uptick of positive COVID-19 cases. Thanks to the Omicron variant, New York and New Jersey have fallen victim as the fastest growing states of cases, dominating the cities and taking over the people I know and care about with this new variant.

My recent college experience from being back on campus is already tricky enough, but to see another wave with a new and concerning variant scares the living skin out of me. My life has been chaotic and is about to become even more chaotic. As a message to my readers amidst this slowly evolving virus-filled apocalypse, I'm asking you all to think twice about going out and about and to wear masks, wash your hands, and keep a safe distance from people. Many, many people have been affected, with over 21,000 positive cases in New York City in just one day.

As a fellow New Yorker, I have come to know the density and small space of the city - it is inevitable to be shoulder to shoulder with people, especially on the subway and other public transit. It's winter. It's flu season. It's getting colder and colder, the wind hollowing through the skyscrapers and fire-escape-covered apartments sharpening the piercing low temperatures. New York City became the centre of the pandemic in the first wave of the coronavirus. Let's not let that happen again.


Part of my self-care routine has included taking care of plants. Since moving to New York City, I always wanted to get a cat to keep me company. But after an incident with my sister's cat last year and witnessing the costs she went through of taking care of her animal, I thought that maybe that wasn't a wise idea. So I started getting plants.

Thanks to my roommate, I became interested in biophilic design which is when you implement nature in your indoor spaces as a way to harness the connection between nature and human. Since I live in a small apartment that lacks windows and space, hanging around my apartment can feel dull or empty. By adding plants to my space, it helps to brighten up my space and to have a routine of taking care of something is a form of self-care.

Science has said it's beneficial for your health, improving your happiness, productivity, focus, and helps in reducing stress. I've started growing my collection and getting a series of varied plants, from calatheas and montserras, to lithops (or "living stone"), aglaonemas, and orchids (although my orchid got root rot so I may have to throw it away 😢). I highly recommend adding plants to your space, especially if you live in an urban area - New York can get pretty depressing, especially in the winter where people tend to get seasonal depression. You just have to know and learn how to take care of them!

If you're interested in a post specifically about biophilic design or plant care, or want me to start a series on the blog, then comment down below!


Christmas Holidays are perhaps one of the most chaotic times of the year. My family and I are dispersed all over the world and the States, which makes it difficult to get everyone together for Christmas. There were times when I spent Christmas in New Jersey with my extended family, my sisters and parents at home. Or when my sister spent Christmas with her husband's family and it was just my parents, my sister, and I. It's always different every year, but it's especially difficult with COVID-19, where my cousin is unable to come home due to their roommates being affected.

No matter what your plans are for this Christmas and New Years, I just hope everyone spends it responsibly and safely. Please don't forget that we're still in a pandemic, with a virus that's constantly evolving and affecting everyone.

This has been a strange and interesting year for everyone. However, I hope you all make the most of the last few weeks until we enter 2022. Happy Holidays!


Museums are historically defined as the institution committed to preserving the evidence of humankind and the environment, according to the definition by Britannica. The majority hold the original artifacts that have existed and preserved from a century ago to millions. Although libraries differ in a nuanced way, in which they store and preserve books, they are similar in a way where they both hold the stories, experiences, and knowledge of humanity throughout time. 

Charles Dickens' desk; where he wrote Great Expectations and Hard Times, as well as fifteen-thousand letters.

I've had the pleasure of sauntering around this fascinating exhibition that is being held at Stephen A. Schwarzman building at The New York Public Library between 40th and 42nd on 5th Avenue. Thanks to the generous donation of $12 million from philanthropist, Dr. Leonard Polonsky, you can now see rare artifacts and historical items that will conjure your curiosities. "The exhibition exposes to the world, or the world that is willing or able to attend, the richness of the holdings of the library...which are extraordinary." Polonsky says in an interview conducted for The New York Public Library's website. From ancient religious texts, to the first drafts of some of the most notable novels in literature, here are some of the artifacts that truly intrigued me. 

As a reader and fan of The New Yorker magazine, I was excited to see the original prospectus written by Harold Ross, who founded the publication in 1924 or 1925. Titled "The New Yorker" with their signature font, the drop caps and detailed, illustrative border with crinkles of the paper and coffee-coloured tone to show it's aging that showed that it's been through a lot - yet kept in good shape. 

Through the cleanest glass I've ever seen stands the stuffed toys that inspired a story that was my whole childhood. I grew up watching the show and reading the books about Christopher Robin's adventures with Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends, Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger, and Kanga. As a child, I've always seen the characters as how they were originally illustrated (the original illustrator was Ernest H. Shepard). To see the inspiration behind it all, the very items that began a story that influenced and was embraced by millions of children and adults, was truly an amazing experience. 

I think one of the most decorative and beautiful books I've ever seen in my life is the Evangelie naprestol’noe (or the Altar Gospels). A golden cover with detailed engravings and embellished with gems and jewels, it is the book that highlights and holds the word of God to the highest standard. Bound by the Muscovite craftsmen (who were inspired by the French), it's a work of timeless art that anyone will marvel at. 

Another favourite in the exhibit was Charlotte Brontë's portable desk. Foldable and filled with different compartments to store her inks and pens, it was mesmerizing to look at a piece of Brontë that she used to write letters and drafts of some her greatest novels in English literature. According to the place card, the box was opened in 1973, the first time thirty years after The New York Public Library had acquired it. After unlocking it, they found several keepsakes of Charlotte's, including memorial cards for her siblings, Branwell and Emily. 

I was mesmerized by the illustration that the library displayed for Gaius Julius Hygenus's De astronomia. The book was opened to a page that had glowing illustrations of mythological creatures and a written manuscript that is a poem describing how the alignment of stars and planets governed the affairs between heaven and earth. Throughout the manuscript, he named 42 constellations and the gods and heroes associated with each of them. 

If you ever have spare time and happen to be around 42nd and 5th Ave., I highly recommend going! When I discovered the exhibition online, they have timed free admission!! And since the Christmas market has opened in Bryant Park, it also makes a nice date or general day out with friends where you can walk around after a look around the library and get hot cocoa and eat delicious food, shop for Christmas gifts, or go ice skating. 

The Polonsky Exhibition is the perfect place to marvel, learn, and delve into your curiosities. Get your free tickets, bring a friend, or even go by yourself as I did. 



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