9.12.2021

I had the incredible opportunity to join hundreds of passionate women, men, people of color, those identifying as LGBTQ in the march from Union Square on 14th Street to Washington Square park as a protest against the cruel law that was recently passed in Texas. 

If you aren't already familiar with what's been happening, Texas passed the Senate Bill 8 which is the new law that bans abortion after 6 weeks in a pregnancy. This is a near total-ban of abortion, but it also allows private citizens to enforce the law, rather than government actors. It also incentivizes this, meaning those who sue a person pursuing an abortion will be rewarded $10,000. 

This newfound power that's been given to private citizens (both in and outside Texas) further restricts the reproductive freedoms of women and trans men with the potential impact on those in their circles. To summarize, the Senate Bill 8 gives citizens the ability to enforce the law and sue anyone - not just those who are trying to get an abortion - but even the driver transporting them to the clinic, or even a friend who comes with them. The fact that anyone has this power is scary, and it's further enforced with anonymous tip sites, like the Texas Right to Life tipline that TikTokers have bombarded with Shrek porn

It was an amazing experience to be in the presence of hundreds of activists and the organizers of the protest today. Hearing so many people from organizations speak, provide facts, share why the Texas abortion ban is cruel, and mentioned other communities that have been affected. Cathy Rojas, the incredible woman who is running for Mayor of New York City, spoke out about how pro-lifers were liars: "They say [that government officials] are making these laws because they want to defend life; but at every moment, they show us they are killing life when they [sterilized] immigrant women, when they put children in cages in the borders, when they kidnap our black and brown youth from our streets and send them to Rikers..." she shouts through the microphone in front of the banner that says Free, Safe, Legal Abortion on Demand

We all wore the color green to show our solidarity for the protests that happened in Mexico prior to the decriminalization of abortion that came into effect recently. Before the march and once we arrived in Washington Square park, they spoke of and raised awareness and call-to-actions on a number of issues, including street harassment of people outside abortion clinics (such as the "Witness for Life" group that plans to harass and intimidate people going to the Planned Parenthood in Brooklyn Heights every Saturday), raising awareness that it's more than just a women's rights issue, but it also affects LGBTQ rights, Black Lives Matter movement, immigrant lives, and low-income people. 





They have another event being held in midtown on Sunday October 3rd – the anniversary of Rosie Jiménez, who died of a back-alley abortion in 1977. If you're in New York City, I hope to see you there. 

Contact ReproJusticeNowNYC@gmail.com for more information about how to get involved, as well as visiting NYC for Abortion Rights (who organized the protest) for more events! 

8.20.2021

The Munchies NYC is a new series and Instagram food blog that Jesus and I have created to share the food that we love in New York City! As huge food-lovers, we love exploring food spots, hidden gems, and trying new cuisine... we're conquering the city one restaurant at a time. Follow us on Instagram for more!

One of the things Jesus and I have in common is that we both have a sweet tooth and we're huge on anything with sugar. This summer, we embarked on a journey to find and try out some of what we think are the best spots to get yourself a small sweet snack. Or you can visit any number of them to satisfy those sweet cravings. From Lower Manhattan to Midtown, here are some of our favourite places to indulge in sweetness. 

Surreal Creamery


This place is for anyone who is a sugar-junkie! Surreal Creamery is the perfect spot to get sugar-packed ice cream and stunning boba tea topped with colourful soft-serve. When you get the mason jar ice cream, you get to keep the mason jar when you're finished as a little souvenir! It's a great place to go to for a small-budget cute date, or to simply get dessert in the heat of summer – just remember to get plenty of napkins to clean yourself up, as they do melt down the jar if not eaten quickly. If you're new to the city, or just visiting, this is one of the spots to check out.

ChikaLicious Dessert Bar



We actually stumbled upon this place when we wanted to go somewhere to drink 😂 It was a very warm day in the peak of June and we were on our way to get a bottle of wine until we came across ChikaLicious. It was a sophisticated looking dessert bar that was also a wine bar – you could choose from an array of sweets and pastries such as donuts, cake, crême brulée, crêpes, and more! You also have the option to pair it with a specific wine that compliments the taste and flavors. 

For instance, in the photo above, I had a strawberry shortcake that was paired with a Moscati d'Asti, Bricco Quaglia 2020. The light sweetness of the wine was beautiful next to the refreshing and subtle sweet flavor of the strawberry shortcake. Jesus had a doughYAKI creme brulee doughnut paired with a cream sherry. The heavy sweetness of the doughnut and the richness of the sherry was a heaven at the tip of the tongue. We highly recommend this place if you want a light, low-key date night with your boo that's not too fancy but shows effort. 


Prince Tea House




Prince Tea House is one of the favourites in the East Village amongst my friends and peers, so I had to include it in the list. It's the hotspot for students in the area to study in or hang out, but also a great spot to have a nice sweet date; Prince Tea House was actually amongst the first dates Jesus and I went on when we first started dating. 

In this cute cafe in the centre of the East Village, you can find a variety of tea and desserts including mille crepes, panna cotta, milk tea, black tea, oolong tea, and more. It's a beautiful setting, with flowers and minimalist decor and the tea is served in a gorgeous teapot that stays warm on a tealight along with a matching set of teacups and teaspoons. We went in the evening when it was at its peak with foot traffic but we were seated in a nice, low-key corner where we were able to talk. I had a tiramisu which Jesus, who grew up on his grandma's Italian baking, said was close in authenticity to the dessert. Jesus had the Brown Sugar Boba Mille Crepe, a fusion of boba (tapioca pearls) and mille crepe cake with the rich sweetness of brown sugar. This is a must visit for tea lovers everywhere.

Angelina Bakery



An Italian bakeshop with an Asian twist, Angelina bakery is full of great flavors of cream-filled donuts. Residing at the heart of Times Square, it's a cute little stop when you're sauntering around the city and on your way to Hudson Yards, the Vessel, or the Highline. There's a wide variety of pastries and sweets you can choose from – Jesus and I got a box of strawberry filled donuts, brownie squares, cheesecake, as well as strawberry and cream gelato. All were delicious but my favourite was the gelato – a subtle sweet that's not too icy or not too liquid, but the perfect texture and it was perfect to eat during our stroll through the city on that really warm day. We sat down by the Vessel in Hudson Yard where we enjoyed our treats, the view, and each other’s company. There’s more of the bakery we have yet to try, but so far we love Angelina Bakery! 

Do you have any sweet spots in the city that you want to add to the list? Let us know! 

7.17.2021

I first came into the city with only one pair of black boots, a bundle pack of blue reusable cloth masks, my waterproof jackets and windbreakers, an American Eagle fake wool oversized coat, and a suitcase filled with long sleeves turtlenecks and winter socks. It was in the peak of winter when I first moved in – the perfect timing in terms of rent prices as they plummeted in the pandemic. 


Adjusting to city life and living on my own was slow – with below freezing temperatures hushing the streets and rising cases temporarily closing down businesses, I didn't get the opportunity to explore and really experience New York as I had expected from first impressions when I first visited. But the city isn't what you'd expect from movies or TV shows; it's more than that. 

I haven't been active on my blog for a while, and that's because I'm still adjusting; I've only been living here for almost five months, but I've only just started to really see and experience New York as everything is beginning to open up again. There are many stories I wish to share since summer started, but for now I want to focus on writing about my perspective on the city so far. 

A view from the Highline – a former train route-turned-park along the Hudson River in Chelsea.

Since moving to the city, I got to meet the most amazing people (including the man I'm crushing hard on who I now call my boyfriend!) and through their perspective, I got to see a side of New York I've never seen. The majority of the people I've come into acquaintance and developed friendships with are all native New Yorkers - either born and raised or lived for decades. Some have lived in the projects, some have moved around all over the city, some have lived in the same apartment the whole time. I've even met people who just moved in, or have lived here for less than six months the same way I have. Either way, they all share a unique perspective of the city. 

Through spontaneous dates, brunches with friends, or just simple walks around the city - whether alone or with someone's company - I've come to know the city little by little through different lenses. I still haven't broadened the areas I've explored where I've only seen the East Village (where I reside), Greenwich village, Lower Manhattan, and parts of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. But since meeting so many new people, I've had the chance to branch out and explore parts of Astoria and Queens, Harlem, as well as deeper into Brooklyn like Park Slope and Bedford-Stuyvesant. I have yet to explore the Bronx, which is where my boyfriend, Jesus – who has claimed himself as my personal tour guide – lives. 

One thing that New York City lives true by is that it truly never sleeps. Jesus and I sauntered around Times Square after a tipsy and musical night at a karaoke bar in Midtown. There were people playing music, eating, hanging out and smoking joints (weed is legalized in New York!); with the bright lights of screens and street lights, it felt like a chill evening perhaps close to midnight. It turned out to be almost three a.m! Since I've mostly lived in suburban towns, it felt strange that Times Square still felt lively even past midnight as if night and sleep didn't exist. We ended up talking and grabbing a small meal from McDonalds (which was busy for 3 a.m.) before heading home close to four. It was a night to remember and cherish. 

Times Square, New York City - 2:28 a.m.

My experiences so far in New York have been great – I've made many new friends from different backgrounds, explored amazing restaurants, cafes, bars, and clubs, tried new cuisine, I've seen the most amazing views, visited cool art galleries and museums, immersed myself in nature at parks like Central Park, Washington Square, and Brooklyn Botanic Gardens... and there's still more yet to come. 

4.06.2021

The past several months have been a rollercoaster of emotions and stress as I prepared myself to make one of my biggest life changes so far: I moved to New York City! I've been meaning to write and publish this post, but I've been busy trying to adapt and settle into the city – plus, I've had the opportunity and pleasure to write for my school paper, in which I've been doing since the beginning of this semester!



It's such an exciting time to be somewhere new, and in a place where I was always drawn to since I first discovered my calling to write. As my goal is to pursue that career and the ambition to become a journalist in the Big Apple, I quit my job, broke up with my ex-partner, I packed my bags and, with my mask on, I headed to the city that never sleeps.


It was definitely a shock, not just going from a tropical climate to a winter storm (the day after I arrived in New Jersey, where I was picked up by my family, another huge storm had hit the East Coast!), but also the shock of being where I always dreamed of living in. To have so much control over my life now that I'm solo and wanting to build my life up. Since I felt like I was swimming in old water from experiencing mental breakdowns, feelings of existentialism, and going through relationship problems, I feel that doing this was the right decision, one that would guide me to a better and more clearer pathway towards a happy and successful life I'm always striving for. 


One of the difficult aspects of this journey that I'm still learning the ropes of is being constantly out of my comfort zone. I was so used to being with my parents and relying on their support – now I have to do everything on my own. Usually I'd come with my mother to the grocery store to get food and other things; I'd drive to Target or Walmart and help pick out what foods to get, help them in the car, and help bring them inside the house. It's easy to get what you need or want because my parents will pay it for it – I have to learn to budget, walk to a bodega, Target, or Trader Joe's, and bring the groceries up myself. Sometimes I feel like I'm struggling to budget and ultimately end up indulging myself (especially living in New York when there's so many cool businesses and thrift stores, etc.), but I'm slowly getting there. 


A closed coffee shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY.

Another thing that was difficult in going through this new journey of moving out and, essentially, "leaving the nest", was navigating my move during the pandemic. It's definitely an interesting topic to converse in, with the debate and discussions of whether or not it will be a worthwhile experience due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place – especially moving in the February, the peak of the winter season. 


During one of my first dinners with a new friend from college, she told me that I was very brave for moving the city at around this time of the year. "Not many would be willing to do what you did!" she said to me over some matcha latte, hot chocolate, and beef chili. It was in the negatives that evening, winds were like icy knives slicing my skin, and the snow that came from the recent storm earlier then just began to melt as the pavements busied themselves with more people after Gov. Cuomo opened indoor dining around Valentine's day. Even though I despise the cold, it felt refreshing to breathe in the air after a downfall of fresh snow – for me, it symbolized a new beginning. 


So far into my new life, I've made connections with people, discovered more of the city, learned how to take the subway, and slowly settling into the New York living. I have yet to discover more, but so far I've tried and tasted cool coffee shops, restaurants, bought books from quirky bookshops, 


It's definitely an interesting experience, especially in the middle of a pandemic and one that I'm still learning to navigate. But, as the weather begins to warm up with the remains of winter trailing off and spring about to bloom, as well as more people that I'm seeing getting vaccinated, hopefully things will start to look up and get back to normal. 


I will try to keep up with posting all my adventures and experiences, as there's so many things to do, discover, and explore in New York City! 

1.04.2021

Twenty-twenty was definitely an interesting year for all of us. There was the lingering potential of World War III, which never really happened; the world was thrown in a global pandemic and we were all forced to quarantine inside, learning to live a brand new lifestyle of mask-wearing, hand-washing, and social distancing. Black people were shot and protests were ignited, influencing another historic moment in the Black Lives Movement, and then the elections happened. 



It certainly was a crazy year, full of surprises, revelations, grief, and a lot of learning. I certainly learned a lot this year. I realized I was in a relationship I didn't deserve, with someone who didn't treat me right. I had the courage to leave my job and look for other work I wanted to do. And I finally got into a school in New York City. When 2020 had started, I had the mindset of "New Year, New Me" and I thought I was going to flourish in my relationship and career. But, this was the year I lost, I failed, and I grew up. 


I was pushed back with struggles - I was faced with fear, uncertainty, and a mental instability. I have no idea what to expect, or what to do now. With my school in New York, I had hopes of moving there to start a new life and finally find the breakthrough in my career. But not everything comes into fruition and not all plans work out. The spread of COVID had become dangerous that a second wave had swept across the city. It was a life or death risk that I wasn't willing to take at the time. The only thing I can do is be patient. 


Trudging through 2020 was hard. I was faced with an uncertainty when my mother was tested positive for the virus. I had the ubiquitous concern that maybe I had it, that I was asymptomatic. That perhaps I was being irresponsible. Although it turned out she contracted it from her work, it still gave me anxiety and self-doubt. On top of that, I left my job and lost friends, lost a relationship I thought was going to work out, and lost money paying my school. I was at a dead-end. 


The silver lining that I found when I was plunged into the bottom of the deep-end was that I reconnected with an old friend. Sangeeta had helped through a few boy-problems in the past, as well was supported me when I was facing personal issues, and I the same for her. We were best friends during my time at community college, hanging out in various spots in our town and she even took me to my first concert where I watched Travis Scott strapping himself to a rollercoaster and riding in a loop.


2020 was like a tsunami that unexpectedly swept us away. Hopefully not too far as we begin to walk back to normalcy with the new vaccine that's slowly distributing across the globe. Other than reconnecting a valuable friendship, I also got good grades in my classes in the Fall, and I'm working on re-launching my zine The Wallflower (finally!). My team is gradually coming together, and I have bright hopes for the future of my publication. Go check it out if you haven't already! 


I have a feeling that 2021 will be better – not just for me but for everyone else. We just have to keep manifesting good vibes and positive energy. I hope all of you had a fantastic [and responsible] new year's celebration. As we enter a new year and a new month, let's carry on forward, set ourselves new goals and new mindsets, and let's make the best of 2021!

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