London: Postcards From The Swinging City


Location: Notting Hill, London 

places & thought 

The other weekend I escaped to London for a little break from school's stresses. It was amazing to be back in a city in environment, especially in such a unique place such as London! Let me say now.... I fell in love quickly. There is a sophisticated and calm element in the atmosphere in this city, something unfamiliar to my New York oriented mind. Instead of sirens and crowds, I found charming mews and buzzing tea parlors. Notting Hill's quirk and charm is foreign and intriguing; every house unique and picture perfect that has hooked my interest. I found a piece of myself this weekend in London, and as beautiful as the English countryside is, my heart will always belongs to the city. 


NYC: Strangers

(Coat: Burberry, Jeans: Zara, Bag: Bloomingdales, Shoes: Zara

"Nothing more than strangers 
Passing by out on the street
Memories are fading though 
It's only been a week"


NYC: Lost Stars

(Jacket: Piperlime, Pants: Jessica Faulkner, Bag: Bloomingdales, Boots: Prada

"Please don't see just a girl caught up in dreams and fantasies.
Please see me reaching out for someone I can't see. Take my hand, let's see where we wake up tomorrow."

I am home.... and it is one of the most incredible feelings to be back. 
It feels like I never left. 
Autumn is one of my favorite times to be in New York... The combination of the crisp morning air and crimson leaves makes fall my favorite season (as well as the addition of the pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks and cinnamon donuts at the Union Square Farmers Market of course). 


England: The Beginning...

places & thoughts 


The phases of being away from home:

1. Extreme Excitement and Curiosity

2. State of Confusion 
3. Homesickness 
4. Confidence 
5. I'll Let You Know When I Figure It Out

First 7 weeks in England done. 

Sorry for the radio-silence.... but I am back with a long blog post to make-up for it!

Make-up for it.... well that is phrase is one that we use a lot in America, but I discovered not so much in England. Shall I share all the embarrassing moments that I have gotten myself into with my American terms? 

1. Board Rubber 

Well I recently found out that the meaning of rubber is very different across the pond. During one of my classes, the person sitting next to me asked me if they could borrow a rubber.... I stared at them in confusion for a few minutes before they pointed at the erasers sitting next to me. 

2. Trousers Vs. Pants 

Basically, pants in the UK means underwear.

Enough Said.

3. The 24-Hour Clock

I still do not understand it.

4. Dine In Prices

They charge you extra for staying in the cafe to drink your coffee. Why? Do they not want people filling up the cafe?

5. What's for pudding?

Translates: What's for dessert in general, even if not specifically pudding.

6. Make-Up Test

Here is the exchange with my teacher, who apparently finds my American-terms very amusing, about making up a missed test:

Hi Sir,
I was wondering when it would be possible to make-up the test, as I will be out on saturday.


Dear Daniella,
I'd be grateful if you could come along Period 1. Bobbi Brown, Clinique and Chanel tend to be my favourites, though I simply can't resist the Touche Eclat by Ysl.
Best Wishes,
Mr. Surname (Last Name)

Note for future: Use sit the exam instead next time.
Awkward once again.

Those are just a few of the many incidents that have occurred during my first 7 weeks.
A few other notes:

1. Everyone thinks Americans sit around all day and eat McDonalds.

I have actually met people and have heard that they expected me to be fat. I did not actually believe that this was the perception of Americans abroad until I arrived in England. At least in New York, people eat generally very healthy... granted we do love waffles, fries and diet coke but there is also a vegan-health culture as well!

2. Americans in general tend to talk to everyone.

Americans tend to be very friendly towards strangers and always make conversation. We make conversation with out waitresses/waiters, people you meet on the street, other shoppers the grocery store... In England people are more reserved and polite.

Honestly I love England. As much as I complain about the weather and make fun of the bizarre words and traditions, I love it.


So... I'm Moving.

places & thoughts

  So I'm moving to England. 

Simplybeautifulelegant was started a year ago.... my first few posts were documenting my travels through Europe that summer. 2013 was both the hardest year of my life and the most incredible. I had the spent the previous months lost and confused.... waking up into a routine with no aim or motivation. My vision was blurred and my goals were buried under life's daily dilemmas.  I did not like the direction my life was going in, and I needed to escape. I was going through the phase of confusion and difficulty before a burst clarity in the process of finding myself. 

I left everything behind that was pulling me down for just one month of pure discovery. The first stop was England. See England and I... we go way back. I have always been fascinated with British history and culture. At the age of 11, I was reading historical fiction books and immersing myself with the stories of the strong English monarchs of history overcoming the odds and obstacles. I was enamored with historical figures such as Mary Tudor. She was branded by history as a cruel and heartless Queen, however other perspectives showed her actions to be the result of difficult circumstances. Each of these novels influenced me and inspired me growing up, and have instilled in me an appreciation for history. 

There is something magical about the knowledge that so much has happened before your own existence in these european towns, the richness of the cultures is so beautiful and contrasts to American culture which focuses so much on the present and future. I was enamored with the incredible gardens, charming little towns and pots of teas. There was no noise.... nothing disturbing the tranquil environment, a big difference to my life back home. I had felt something in my heart that I had never experienced... a burst of inspiration, hope and passion. I could finally see clearly. I was the happiest I had ever been in my entire life. I had fallen in love. With a country. Standing the in the fields of the beautiful Daylesford.. with just the soil and air... I felt completed in a way that the luxury of New York had never done. That feeling, that wholeness would encourage me to do everything I could the next year to go back to England... and to stay there. On my last day I had been infected with a motivation that would stick with me throughout the next year of my journey.

Returning home was difficult.... my heart physically hurt. I spent the next 8 months fighting for this dream everyday. Optimism was branded into my mind, and this positivity challenged every obstacle and refused any form of failure. So I took a notebook and started researching. I spent hours everyday looking up schools and researching programs and programs that would make it possible for me to go back. It felt like Daniella Vs. the World.... and while I was alone in my pursuit of England, I learned a lot about myself in the process. No one else understood. 

The North East has the best schools in the entire country... this country has the best schools in the world... why did I need to go overseas? 

Because I wasn't looking for the general best. I was looking for the right school for me... and I knew that wasn't in the North East. Because what I was craving was another culture, another perspective, another experience. I was craving that moment in Daylesford... that same air... that same ground... that serenity. 

“You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ 
But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’”

So I spent one year fighting every second. I daydreamed during classes of freedom and putting all that I had in academics, I spent the afternoons having difficult conversations about why I wanted to go, and I spent nights researching and decoding the strange language of the brits educations system. This routine happened everyday... I lived, breathed and dreamed my goal. And then I found the right school. One problem to my plan... there was no space....  I was applying to late. My optimism ruled this just another obstacle on the road... It was just another test that I had overcome. So I kept fighting. I took the necessary exams, arranged the school visit and poured my heart into every step of the application process. Nerves played no part... I had a new-found trust in fate, that if it is meant to be, than it will be. And in that moment in Daylesford... I knew it was meant to be. But it was still difficult... there were moments where I felt vulnerable and silly for wanting so much, for being so stubborn about my dreams... but I realized that you have to be stubborn about your dreams. 

find your dreams. challenge your dreams. fight for your dreams. cry for your dreams. question your dreams. breath for your dreams. be stubborn for your dreams. 

challenge yourself and explore every inch of the deepest reasoning about why it motivates you.... and why you want it.... then keep fighting until it comes true. 

And when everything seemed bleek... there was always something that gave me comfort; the Sunrise. Everytime I felt overwhelmed... without fail there was the most magnificent sunrise that would shake any doubt from my mind. The morning of my visit to the school, fresh of the airplane, the sign appeared. The most incredible sunrise I had ever seen that lead to a sunny day in infamously rainy England. (pictured above) And for that short time... the world seemed to glow.  

Then I was accepted. 

And everything made perfect sense. The blood, sweat and tears was worth this feeling. This intense feeling of excitement, gratitude and confidence. Every struggle had given me the direction and strength and the lessons I learned from the entire process were priceless. I've learned how to be stubborn about your goals; that no one else can define who I am or what direction that I am moving in. And I have spent months practicing these lessons until I live by them and breath them and teach them. Ever since January 30th, I have been the happiest I have ever been and life has been incredible... each post captures the small adventures and discoveries that I have been making... each one is special because it documents the special memories and moments of this incredible year. And its going to get better because as much as I love my home... I will be leaving the buzzing city of lights to the serene English countryside to chase my dreams.  

Wanna come with me? 

Follow my journey on Instagram as well! @simplybeautifulelegant