Learning to Drive

I used to really want a Mini Cooper. They’re adorable.

This always happens to me: I get the urge to write at the most unexpected moments. The day before the SAT. The very night of a deadline. It’s always a surprise. I write whenever I am angry, nervous, or inspired. And today, I am a combination of the latter two.

You see, tomorrow, I am going to take my very first driving exam to get my learner’s permit. I’ve been study for the test for the past month, even though acquaintances have told me it was easy. A few of my coworkers at my holiday job commented that the exam doesn’t exactly require intensive preparation, but I went all-out nonetheless. At this point, I’ve lost track of how many hours I’ve put into studying. I tend to over-prepare. And that’s okay with me.

I’ve always been like this: studious and dedicated to my pursuits and goals. I’ve had times where that streak has waned. But in general, I remain enthusiastic and self-motivated.

I just really want my driver’s license. I never learned how to drive in high school because I had so many other commitments. Homework, extracurriculars, APs, and the like. Now that I have some free time away from college, I’m finally able to learn something that I’ve needed to for the longest while.

I kind of have this feeling in me like I did the night before the SAT: excited and prepared but jittery. I don’t want to flunk the exam. That’s all.

Wish me luck tomorrow!


I Moved!

Happy Thursday everyone! I hope that you’re all doing well. It’s been several months since my last blog post and I’m here to update you on my life. I’m a college gal now!

I wanted to let you know that I am now a resident of the lovely city of Boston, Massachusetts, where I will be living, learning, studying, and exploring for the next four years. To celebrate the move, I decided to start an all-new WordPress blog, The Boston Belle. Sadly, it’s time to bid adieu to Danielle Loves New York, since I will only be in NYC for a small part of the year.

I hope you come along with me on my journey by following me at thebostonbelleblog.wordpress.com!

Ciao Bella!


Songs I Love, Part Two

6. “Shake Me Down” by Cage the Elephant

What I love about this incredible alternative rock song is its crescendo. The song starts out with a slowish melody, and then gradually proceeds to become a thrashing, head-banging jam. Anyway, Cage the Elephant is a American rock five-piece from Bowling Green, Kentucky. They have 3 albums at the moment, but “Shake Me Down” from the second LP, Thank You, Happy Birthday is by far the best and the catchiest.

7. “Bring it Back” by Travis Porter

And now for some rap and hip-hop. Travis Porter is an American rap trio from Decateur, Georgia. I first heard “Bring it Back” in a twerk-heavy choreography music video, and I simply can’t resist its infectious, bootylicious beat. It’s a total nightclub dance song to keep you going all night long. Beware, however – this one is not clean at all. The lyrics are definitely dirty, but I like this as a party tune nonetheless.

8. “Movie” by Hoodie Allen

Hoodie Allen is all about playful, goofy rap. And he sure does have an interesting backstory, too. Allen was born on Long Island, New York and attended the renowned University of Pennsylvania, where he earned degrees in marketing and finance. After graduation, Allen relocated to California to work for Google, believe it or not. He soon began creating and sharing rap music on the internet, and decided to quit his job at Google to focus on music full-time. I kid you not! “Movie” is the first song I heard by Hoodie Allen, coming from his new album People Keep Talking. I enjoy the guitar-infused melody in combination with Allen’s smooth rap flow and a fresh sound.

9. “Sweatpants” and “3005” by Childish Gambino

Do you like your rappers intellectual Renaissance men? Well look no further than Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, himself! A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Childish Gambino is also an actor, writer, comedian, screenwriter, producer, and of course, rapper. In fact, he’s displayed his screenwriting talents on NBC’s 30 Rock and his acting chops as Troy Barnes on Community. But to me, Childish Gambino is first and foremost a musician. These two rap and hip-hop gems are taken from Childish Gambino’s latest studio album, Because the Internet. (In particular, the music video for “3005” is especially good – it’s creatively filmed entirely on a ferris wheel.) I like “Sweatpants” and “3005” because they’re smart and fresh rap songs. Gambino has a great flow and he belongs on the radio and on your playlist.

10. “Back in the Day” by Christina Aguilera

A severely underrated gem of a song from a severely underrated album. “Back in the Day,” taken from Xtina’s 2006 album Back to Basics, is a jazzy, bluesy, sexy little tune. It’s a tribute to musicians of the past – Otis Retting, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Brass Night – and how they inspired Christina’s art form. I originally purchased this album because I found the album cover alluring! Give this song – as well as the rest of Back to Basics – a listen.

11. “Moreno Lindo” by Pearls Negras

Let’s take it outside of the United States all the way to Brazil. Pearls Negras is an all-female rap trio from the favela of Vidigal in Rio de Janeiro, forming after meeting in an after-school rap workshop. They make infectious, catchy “trap” music, which is similar to hip-hop with wild beats. They may be just out of their teens, but the Pearls Negras are here to take the world and the blogosphere by storm. “Moreno Lindo” is ripped from their 2014 EP Nossa Gang, and if this is your first introduction to Portuguese-language rap, let this song be it. I’m quite fond of the deep, bass-heavy beat. I don’t know what they’re saying, but that doesn’t hinder my enjoyment of the song.

Songs I Love, Part One

I love listening to music. It’s energizing and uplifting, calming and soothing all at once. I crave it constantly, whether I am intensely working out, preparing for an exam, or taking a hot shower. Music keeps me going; music is life.

I have quite diverse taste in music. I enjoy anything and everything. Pop, indie rock, rap, R & B, Brazilian bossa nova, reggaeton — I love it all. As long as my hips sway and my body rocks, I’m into it. I have a lot of favorite songs, and in this post, I want to share a list of tunes that I find catchy, different, and fun.

1. “What’s in Your Head” by Disclosure

Ever heard of a little song called “Latch” featuring R & B crooner Sam Smith? Well, then, you’ve definitely heard of Disclosure. Made up of brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, Disclosure is an electronica / house music duo hailing from England. Their 2013 debut album “Settle,” was well-reviewed by critics and well-received by the public, and it remains a staple on my workout playlist. Although Disclosure has released more successful bangers such as “Latch” and “White Noise,” my favorite song of theirs is “What’s in Your Head” (one of their earlier releases). In this catchy tune, vocalist Sinéad Harnett sings repetitive lyrics over a sexy, thumping, danceable beat. I think this one is different from the generic EDM music cluttering the radio with its sophisticated, fashion-show aura. Play this one for a non-obvious party tune.

2. “Body of my Own” and “Famous” by Charli XCX

You definitely know punky British pop star Charlotte Aitchison — also known by her stage name Charli XCX. She duetted with Iggy Azalea on her hit single “Fancy” and found mainstream solo success with “Boom Clap,” written for The Fault in Our Stars. And if you ask me, Charli’s second solo LP, Sucker, is one of the best out there right now. The songs and lyrics are catchy, lighthearted, bratty, and just all-around fun. “Body of my Own” and “Famous” are my two favorite tunes off Sucker – I like the playful lyrics and the lively, guitar-infused production. Give it a listen and dance the night away.

3. “No Beef” (amongst many others) by Steve Aoki

Okay, I have a confession to make: I used to be a total music snob. A few years ago, I considered anything that didn’t feature advanced guitar work “not real music” – especially EDM, or electronic dance music. Well, not anymore. In fact, Steve Aoki is really the one DJ who turned me on to EDM. Steve Aoki grew up in Newport Beach, California and even holds 2 degrees — one in feminist studies and the other in sociology (I like my DJs intellectual). Today, he remains a household name to the EDM world for his energetic beats, animated personality, and wild live shows. He has collaborated with pop-rap starlets like Iggy Azalea, LMFAO, Kid Cudi, and Lil Jon. What I like about Steve Aoki is that each of his songs sounds utterly unique. The beats are original, hip-swaying, and unforgettable. For a first-time listen, choose “Boneless,” “Pursuit of Happiness,” “Earthquakey People,” or “Livin my Life.” Add Aoki to your playlist for a wild party or motivation for a sweaty, intense workout.

4. “It’s Too Late” and “Backslider” by Wild Belle

Do you like your music with a reggae-infused, tropical poolside beat? Well look no further than Wild Belle – a sophisticated band hailing from Chicago, Illinois composed of siblings Natalie and Elliot Bergman. I first came across Wild Belle in Nylon magazine, one of my staples, and boy was I hooked! Inspired by trips to Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean, Wild Belle incorporates reggae, worldly productions with pretty lyrics and the sultry voice of lead singer Natalie Bergman. “It’s Too Late” and “Backslider” are by far their two best singles. So if you’re tired of all this snow, turn up Wild Belle and get whisked away to a white-sand Caribbean beach.

5. “Standing in the Way of Control” by Gossip

I think we should add some variety to this playlist, no? I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love indie rock – and Gossip was one of the first bands that got me into that genre of music. I first heard “Standing in the Way of Control” while watching a trailer for the British teen TV show Skins, and I was transfixed. Gossip is an American trio hailing from rural Arkansas but based out of Olympia, Washington. Lead singer Beth Ditto has a most heavenly voice. It’s gospel and soulful, it’s rock, it’s pop – it’s ethereal, it’s everything. She’s a very versatile singer. To me, this song is a chic, sophisticated, and stylish indie rock tune. It suits any fashion show and getting-ready-for-a-night-out playlist.

My Favorite Baby Names

When I grow up, I plan on having many children. I want a big, warm, loving family to come home to each night. I want to adopt children from all around the world and give them better lives and a wonderful, welcoming home. I want to be the best mother that I can be!

In this post, I would like to share a list of my favorite baby names, both male and female — but they’re actually mostly female since, ideally, I want to raise girls. I prefer unique and original names that have a ring to them, and stick around long after you hear them.

Delilah – I just love this name. It brings to mind a really adorable little girl who’s smily, cute, and cheerful. I also love the spelling of “Delilah” – I love the playful “h” addition at the end, and I am also fond of names that start with the letter “D”. I even like the way the name rolls on my tongue when I say it aloud. This name is just one that you don’t hear everyday.

Parker – This one is also a favorite. I love the letter “P” for some reason, and I also think the name is different. Personally, I’ve never met anyone names Parker. But the name brings to mind someone who’s really pretty, fun-loving, fashionable, and confident.

Darcy – To me, this name is playful and pretty. I picture Darcy as a really adorable person who’s always the life of the party.

Genevieve – This one just exudes sophistication, class, elegance, and glamour. I imagine that Genevieve is a girl who is insightful, intelligent, well-traveled, and trendy. She speaks perfect French.

Isobel / Isabel – I love the spelling of this name. When I think of Isabel, I think of a really lovely person who always reading books and studying, but is stylish and sociable as well.

Naomi – Sounds like an interesting girl who comes from a foreign country.

Inez – This one is just exotic and has a nice ring to it when said out loud.

Sophie / Sophia – The actual definition of this name is a Greek word for “wisdom,” which is an incredible quality for anyone to have.

Dimitri – This is my favorite male name. I like that it’s masculine, but it’s different from all other male names at the same time. I’ve only met one boy named Dimitri, so I consider it unique as well. I think that Dimitri brings to mind a boy who is adventurous, well-traveled, appreciative, and intellectual. Dimitri is a true charmer.

Ezra – I think that this one is just unusual, but it’s handsome-sounding as well.

Raphael / Rafael – A name fit for a king.

A Lovely Quote

I’m Joining The Huffington Post!

Hello to all! I have some especially exciting news that I would like to share with my readers. After submitting one of my previous entries, “How to Ace the SAT,” to The Huffington Post‘s Teen subsection, I have been selected to become a regular online blogger for the website! As a budding journalist myself, I am beyond excited to join the Huffington Post Teen‘s incredibly talented team of writers.

My profile on the website has not been set up yet, but I have already sent in headshots and a short biography of my achievements. I will be sure to provide a link once I am set up with my writing account! In the meanwhile, I’ll keep posting here on DLNY!

A Beautiful Quote

Crystal Cruises – A Dream Vacation

Greetings to all my readers!

Next week, I will be leaving New York for a one-week trip to Nicaragua, and I am beyond excited. Provided that there is good wi-fi at my hotel, I will be sure to update my blog with photos and stories as much as possible. But in the meantime, I would like to tell you about a dream vacation of mine that I would like as my high school graduation present. As an avid sea traveler, I would be delighted to take a trip with a lovely line called Crystal Cruises. It’s known to be one of the poshest and most luxurious cruise line companies in the industry, so why not try it out for myself?

Crystal Cruises in Norway



A Stateroom

My Dream Itinerary

Crystal Cruises is one of the top-ranked cruise lines in the entire travel industry. In fact, it has consistently claimed the number-one spot in both Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler‘s “World’s Best Award” for premium cruise lines. Crystal Cruises is an all-inclusive line, meaning that everything is included in the online sticker price. The food, décor, service, and tours are guaranteed to be of impeccable quality.

The cruise I’m interested in going on voyages from Lisbon to London over the course of 21 days, and makes stops in the French ports of Bordeaux, St-Jean-de-Luz, St. Malo, and the picturesque Honfleur. The splendid voyage it titled “Vistas & Vintages.” The question is: who’s with me?

A Stopover in St-Jean-de-Luz

St-Jean-de-Luz: An Aerial View

The Ethereal Mont St. Michel

Le Beau Bordeaux

Charming Honfleur

Oporto, Portugal

This is only a sampling of the many beautiful places Crystal Cruises might take me on my European dream vacation. I love worldwide travel, and I am certain Crystal will leave me with an experience to remember.

How to Ace the SAT

The following is an article I wrote that will be published next week in my town’s newspaper!

It elicits groans. It incites fear and angst. It creates feelings of stress, anxiety, and pressure. And of course, it’s the SAT. The infamous standardized test is a necessary evil for high school students across the nation. But with patience, persistence, and practice, it can be outsmarted. It can certainly be aced.

I first took the SAT examination in March 2014, just before the spring of my junior year. However, at the time, I was academically underprepared. The night before the exam, I bawled and bawled and bawled. I had yet to master time management and the other key test-taking techniques. And ultimately and unfortunately, my score was only half as high as I would have liked it to be. I was upset, and I knew I had to improve. The question was, “how?” With the help of an assortment of books from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the local library, and my English teacher’s bookshelf, I slowly began to boost my scores and enhance my test-taking skills. I became a Critical Reading, Math, and Writing wiz. And it was all thanks to intense daily periods of “lucubration,” as one would say on the SAT. Practice makes perfect, and the following resources and tips are sure to improve your standardized test-taking habits and slowly inch you closer to that coveted 2400 score.

1) Obtain a copy of “The Blue Book.”

The “Blue Book” is student jargon for The Official SAT Study Guide. It’s an incredibly useful resource, as it features 10 actual SAT tests that have been released by the College Board, the company behind the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and AP examinations. In terms of learning the format of the real SAT, this is the best book in town. As they are formerly administered examinations, the questions and level of difficulty are akin to what students will see on the actual SAT. “The Blue Book” is the way to go if you need to practice the exam itself.

2) Purchase a review book from a reputable company.

Besides taking actual SAT tests, it is important for students to learn the ins and outs of the exam. They need to know how to strategize, how to manage their precious time wisely, and how to solve those tricky level 5 geometry problems. For me, The Princeton Review offered the most concise yet comprehensive review of the SAT. It presents information in a friendly, easy-to-understand tone. And even better, it’s test questions are highly similar to those students will see on the actual SAT. Another review guide I highly recommend is Grammar Smart, which covers the proper usage of the English language in general, not just on the SAT. This proved of great help on the SAT Writing section, and explains grammatical subjects like parallelism, idioms, mood, and verb tense.

3) Get Flash Cards!

Thanks to Amazon.com and my English teacher’s bookself, I was able to go through two boxes of essential SAT vocabulary words. I quite liked Barron’s SAT Vocabulary Flashcards as well as The Princeton Review’s Essential SAT Vocabulary, which contain over 500 cards each. I learned strange words like “prosaic,” “quiescence,” and “picayune.” Flash cards are a fresh, innovative, and fun way to develop your vocabulary, as you can use them to quiz and play games with your friends. They’re small enough to be carried in your backpack and are a great, compact way for students to study for the SAT on the go.

4) Read books for fun.

Between my last SAT examination and now, I have read maybe 10,000 pages worth of literature. Over the summer vacation, my AP English teacher assigned advanced works like Anna Karenina, Gulliver’s Travels, and Oedipus Rex. She also made us read magazines like The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The Atlantic in our spare time, and compose journal entries on each of the articles we had read. At the time, it was a nuisance for me and my peers. However, in the end, the innumerable assignments proved useful, because reading improves your vocabulary immensely and also introduces you to different writing styles, genres, and literary time periods. Reading for pleasure can really be helpful to students taking the SAT, as an array of writing passages are to be expected. Reading has infinite benefits — and those benefits will go far beyond the SAT.

5) Surf the Net

The internet is an infinite resource full of tips, tricks, and other information to help students ace the SAT. SparkNotes.com is a wonderful resource, providing examples and critiques of great SAT essays especially. YouTube has also proved to be helpful with its innumerable SAT advice videos and tutorials. There are also free SAT questions and tests on CollegeBoard.org.

In my opinion, students do not need pricey tutors to succeed on the SAT. As shown above, there are a plethora of resources to prepare for the exam. The SAT Math section does not extend beyond geometry; all the student really needs is a brushing up on skills and the memory. Additionally, I believe that good verbal and analytical skills come with reading more advanced literature, essay writing in the classroom, and of course, intense studying. It is entirely possible to obtain a high score on the SAT, but students just have to look for the resources and devote their time to exam preparation. I feel confident that by following this advice, candidates will be lead towards that coveted 2400. You are now ready to take the SAT.

My Ideal Boyfriend

He’s just as interesting as Lake Bled in Slovenia

Boys. I don’t think I’ve ever discussed them here on my blog. I don’t have a boyfriend right now, but in this post, I’m going to describe all the ideal qualities I look for in my dream guy.

First off, he’s intellectual. He goes to a great college, and we can have conversations on anything ranging from Rasputin to sea coral. He’s very well-read and he spends a lot of time at the library. He’s well-informed about current events, and in his spare time he reads The New York Times and The New Yorker and classics.

He holds a degree in music, and he can play the guitar and the drums (most importantly!). His goal in life is to play in an indie rock band, even if, in the future when he becomes successful, that leads to a hectic, travel-heavy lifestyle where he only sees me once a year. I’m attracted to artists and musicians  because they do what they love and they have strong passions, even if it doesn’t make them a lot of money.

We definitely like the same music, films, board games, and whatnot. He probably likes arthouse movies and documentaries and he likes to hang out at film festivals. And he loves all genres of music, like me, and attending concerts. He definitely likes to shop at the farmers’ market, cares about the environment a lot, and keeps fit. He has a tasteful fashion sense.

He’s also from another state or country. Maybe Montana, Idaho, El Salvador, England (those accents make me swoon!), India — anywhere really! I’m super open-minded, I would like to date someone foreign with completely different experiences from me. Oh, and he also speaks multiple languages! That way, our kids will be bilingual.

Personality wise, he’s serious and devoted to his craft, but he’s also adventurous and open-minded, confident, considerate, enthusiastic, curious, wise, and diligent. He’s also attractive, but to me at least and not necessarily to everyone else.

And that’s my dream boyfriend.

Montana, Where he might be from