Favorite Spots in Boston

Trident Cafe on Newbury Street.

Whenever I have a huge assignment to complete I go there. With breakfast foods served all day, lots of freshly squeezed juices, and large booths where I can spread out my stuff, it makes for the perfect study space. Plug in earphones and listen to pumped up work music. Its practically a place made for churning out essays. Best part: its open until 12- perfect for us college students.

ps- its also great for not studying. With a massive collection of magazines, interesting books, and fun gadgets you can simply spend time soaking in the place.

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Beat Hotel In Harvard Square

Brunch, Cocktails, and Dinner:

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Somerville Theatre

The old-school vibe and quaintness of this theatre makes it the perfect college sweet spot. Think movie theatres a la the 60s. Thick red velvet curtains and gold statues ornate the walls in the main theater. Its glamorous, cute, and friendly all at the same time. Not to mention it has the best ticket prices in all of Boston. I definitely recommend a visit.

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My Dorm

It may sound lame, but my dorm room is actually one of my favorite spots here. It is my own space where I can breathe and take a break from hectic college life. Dorm Life-05560Dorm Life-05559   Dorm Life-05571


Breathtakingly Beautiful: Sergei Polunin +Hozier +David LaChapelle

When I watch videos things like this I question all my life decisions. Why did I not become a ballerina? Sure, yoga is pretty cool, but this is extraordinary.

Borrowed words from the Huffington Post:

What happens when you combine the talents of Russia’s ballet bad boy Sergei Polunin, Irish gospel luminary Hozier and photography pop wizard David LaChapelle? Apparently, a whole lot of angsty, sexy, beautiful dancing ensues.

To see more of David LaChapelle’s work visit Artsy’s page on him here:  https://www.artsy.net/artist/david-lachapelle

Family Matters

There are so many pictures I’m dying to show you guys. Today, these topped the list.

My parents and little sister came to visit Boston in the fall. For some reason, they found amazing prices at the Four Seasons and I got to stay in a room with my sister. I could FINALLY soak in a bathtub and have a bathroom all to myself. It was glorious. No more flip flops, no more dining hall food (although-yes- it can be delicious) but best of all, the presence of my wonderful family – minus my brother. Contrary to what you may be thinking, we did in fact not vegetate all weekend. Here are some highlights from the first days:

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Shirt: spontaneous buy at Zara, Jeans: Rag & Bone, Sneakers: Ugg. Below: Lunch at Bar Boulud.Parents Weekend-02187 Parents Weekend-02185 Parents Weekend-02183 Parents Weekend-02182 Parents Weekend-02177 Parents Weekend-02175 Parents Weekend-02172 Parents Weekend-02171 Parents Weekend-02169Parents Weekend-02152

We went to the Chanel store, just for kicks. Turns out their bathrooms are insanely awesome. A beautiful beige and salted marble covered all surfaces except for the two mirrors on either side of the room. They even had their own drying cloth with the Chanel logo… And so of course I thought, “Selfie Time!!!”

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Birthday Celebration

This year I didn’t want to go all out with my birthday. Nineteen is an awkward age to turn, so I didn’t feel particular excited about it. That being said, Daniel and I are traveling to New York for Valentines Day and Daniel’s birthday, so that will be my real birthday treat.

I want to tell you guys about our restaurant deal. Daniel and I are a couple who always split the bill equally. Why should the man pay for everything? We’re students and the burden of going out to eat on our wallets is so much lighter when the bill is split in half. If Daniel paid every time, we would go 50% less than we do now. Gender equality, guys. Its important, and you can make it more prevalent in your life by doing the same.

The evening was spent at no massive celebration, but dinner at one of my favorite restaurants here in Boston, Bar Boulud in the Mandarin Oriental. For an upscale restaurant, their prices are very good. They serve French Cuisine a la Daniel Boulud, and have a great cocktail and wine list. The atmosphere is cozy but sophisticated, and as they opened last Fall everything is brand new. Basically, I highly recommend it.

I purposely asked Daniel to hold his hand on the table. This is a power position. His hand is large and his face firm and determined. I really like this shot.Bar Boulud Birthday-05504Bar Boulud Birthday-05507

Meanwhile, I smile and tilt my head. I’m currently taking and English course called “Love and Sexuality.” In our first class we discussed the effect of gender stereotyping on advertising and how women pose to make themselves appear weak, timid, frail, and essentially what we have come to consider as “feminine.” Great. Now I need to reconsider all my moves.

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Escargot a lá Bar Boulud. Delicious!  Bar Boulud Birthday-05514

Oh hey look at that, I am tilting my head. So basically, everything I had learned in class went out the window when I took this picture. This will take some adjusting.

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For our date night I decided to wear a dark blue silk Theory dress. This is a closet staple that always works. Because I always get chilly I also wore my versatile Filippa K blazer. I say versatile because I used this the entire time I was working as a hotel receptionist this summer. I am a huge fan of pieces that can be translated from one outfit to the next. Investing in a solid blazer is worth it. Do it! I’m also wearing black suede booties (which go with everything) and of course my stella McCartney bag which I have used almost everyday for a year now, since my last birthday.

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Have a lovey sunday everyone! In the meantime, I promise I’ll continue working on my stronger poses. Maybe Daniel can teach me a thing or two about looking like you rule the world.

Reasons You Should Visit Oslo, Norway

My typical advice to anyone looking to travel to Norway is go in the summer. Yet, I feel like I’m partly deceiving people when I say this. Norway is just as beautiful in the winter as it is in the summer. You just need to go to the right places, and most importantly, with the right people. I just came back to Boston after spending close to three weeks in my home country, and the feeling I’m left with now is a warm, affectionate one. I’m loving Norway more and more. My next few blog posts will cover my stay in Norway. Hopefully though my pictures and writing I’ll be able to convince you why it is such a wonderful place, and why is it definitely, definitely, worth a visit during all the seasons.

Reason #1- Great Restaurants. Great People.Img_20141218@09_19-2Oslo Christmas-3 Oslo Christmas-2-2 Oslo Christmas-57

Reason # 2: The Coffee Culture

Christmas Norway-2-4 Between all the lunches and running around Oslo this break, I also found time to relax and enjoy a cup of green tea and beet juice at this cozy and rustic coffee bar. And of course go window shopping. Sandro and Maje just opened boutiques in Oslo. Exciting, exciting! Also, look at that exciting lingerie! Unfortunately I didn’t buy anything for myself but I did find a light blue cashmere sweater for my mom, and thats both her favorite color and fabric. Score!Oslo Christmas-32Oslo Christmas-58Christmas Norway-07

Reason #3: Great Christmas Traditions and Delicious Holiday Food

Oslo Christmas-11 My friends and I have a tradition of always hosting a Julebord, literally meaning “Christmas Table”, every year. 2014 marked the 5th annual julebord with these amazing girls. While a few of us have come and gone, we have still maintained the core of our celebration.Oslo Christmas-2Christmas Norway-2-3Oslo Christmas-2-14Oslo Christmas-3-5Oslo Christmas-5 I wish I could have spent more time in Oslo with my friends, but I look forward to seeing way more of them in the summer. I have to say, after a semester abroad it was nice to come back home and see familiar faces and places. I love Bekkestua and I wouldn’t survive without my best friends. Anna (the girl pictured below with me) took a gap year to ride, work at an accounting firm, and figure out where she wants to go. I’m obviously trying to persuade her to go to New York, but if she can bring her horse to England thats where she’ll end up. We have the weirdest relationship ever, but it just works (she’s nodding her head right now.) Anna, come to New York!!!Oslo Christmas-2-12Christmas Norway-2-2Christmas Norway-3Christmas Norway-28Oslo Christmas-2-13 When we don’t know the camera is on us. Hanna’s face is perfect though, couldn’t resist posting this.Christmas Norway-12 I’m wearing a Herve Leger dress (bought on www.theoutnet.com at 80% sale!), a Mulberry clutch, and my all time favorite Jimmy Choo heels. Christmas Norway-6

I have many more pictures and stories I want to share with you guys. Keep checking in for new blog posts! xoxo- Nora

F5 Concept Store

Reason # 4 to visit Norway: The Cool Stores F5 concept store-2-2

Fun fact: I’m currently doing bit of work for Aùma, giving them advice about social media and marketing. Check out Gloria and Magne’s work here: http://www.byauma.com/F5 concept store-2 F5 concept store-3-2 F5 concept store-3 F5 concept store-4 F5 concept store-18 F5 concept store-33

I am drawn to the cool simplicity and factory feel of the F5 space. The juxtaposition of soft fabrics with hard materials gives a very interesting shopping experience. It also means the focus is on the clothes and textures. The reason I hate shopping at places like Zara is because everything is cluttered and claustrophobic. At concept stores like F5 this is not the case. Your eyes aren’t distracted by every imaginable thing and there is space and air to concentrate and appreciate the clothing. This is my type of store.

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You can find them at Øvreslottsgate 5. I definitely recommend a visit!


“If New York and rural France had a baby, it would be Montréal”

– Daniel Tollefsen

Montreal is a gem. It has all the allures and charm of a big city yet more edgy and personal. Daniel and I road tripped there for Thanksgiving because we wanted to experience something new and fun while living on the East Coast.

The thing we kept repeating over and over again In Montreal was that we had to go back. The food, the ambience, the food, the architecture, the people, shopping, and of course its world renowned night life. Amongst other things, I tasted the best cocktail I’ve ever had at “Baldwin’s Barmacie,” explored the famous underground tunnels (connected to 7 malls, 3 colleges, and a vast Metro system), and spent a night in the Great Gatsby.

Montreal-03696 Montreal-03932 Montreal-03926The restaurant “Scarlet Exclusive” in the old town is highly recommended by both Daniel and I! Amazing atmosphere, great food, and impeccable service. Very “Great Gatsbyesque”.scarlet exclusive-03707 scarlet exclusive-03708 scarlet exclusive-03711 scarlet exclusive-03715 scarlet exclusive-03719I’m wearing an amazing Alexander Wang dress and my favorite piece, a sequin Maje blazer. The dress is draped from the waist down and there is a slight slit between the torso and hips- the silky stretch jersey fabric doesn’t hurt either. In fact, this makes it the perfect “dinner dress” (just think about it…)scarlet exclusive-03727

We ate breakfast here every morning. Fresh french baguette with creamy brie and prosciutto, toasted of course. How I’ve missed good bread.Thats actually the one thing I always hear from Europeans living in the states- No Good Bread. I seriously can’t handle the soft-crusted sweet factory made bread served in the dining halls and sold throughout the country. Montreal-03737 Montreal-03912 Montreal-03920 Montreal-03740 Montreal-03744-2 Montreal-03746 Montreal-03760 Montreal-03767 Montreal-03772

Juice break in the underground! Note my not amused faceMontreal-03793 Montreal-03797

I wore a silk shirt under a white acne sweater and a beige Ralph Lauren bag given to me from my grandma. I’m a huge fan of white-on-white, especially during the winter. Despite my European practice of wearing plenty of black, I also thoroughly enjoy breaking the unofficial rules of fashion.Montreal-03779 Montreal-03820 Montreal-03818  balsam inn-03859Montreal-03842 Montreal-03867 Montreal-03894 Montreal-03886

Baldwin’s Barmacie served the best gastronomic cocktails I’ve ever tasted!baldwins barmacie-039062014-12-30 18.30.21

Thats the end of our first two days in Montreal! I’ll be posting the pictures from the next two days soon, so stay posted!

Montréal Pt. 2

Our second full day in Montreal started with breakfast at our local café and exploring the Old Town. We stumbled upon a Buddhist shop, and Daniel reminisced about his trip to Nepal and Tibet. In the picture below he is holding a prayer flag, which are typically found hanging between buildings in the himalayan region. We also found an amazing Chinese tea shop, and below you can see me looking and smelling all the different teas. I asked to smell more than 20 types before choosing Organic Green, ginseng, and a special Chinese Earl Grey. While there, we also experienced a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. The man you see behind the counter meticulously poured tea from one cup to the next, showing us the “correct” way to diffuse fragile green teas. As you can guess, I was in heaven. Montreal-03941Montreal-03944Montreal-03950Montreal-03938Montreal-03934I can’t explain why, but I fell in love with this photograph. It was hanging in the window of one of the many galleries in the Old Town. Montreal-03954After two fine-dining experiences we went low key the third night and ate Chinese food in (duh) Chinatown. We only had to go next door to find one of Montreal’s coolest underground bars. The cocktails served there were exquisite- works of art! The vibe was very cool. People from all walks of life were scattered around the bar and in the sofas. We saw everything from hippies, to hyper-cool Asians, to old French couples, and young American couples. It was a feast for the eyes!Montreal-03958Montreal-03980I am obsessed with the how the eyes on the billboard match my dark eyes in these pictures. Also, check out the amazing vest Daniel bought me as a Christmas gift! I love special and different pieces like that. While in Montreal I wore it over this light blue Zara jacket and over my silk Iro shirt- it worked with everything!  Montreal-03975Montreal-03969Montreal-03964Our last day was spent exploring and eating a delicious lunch in the Plateau. With a car it was easy to get around and see a bit of the city before commencing our return trip.Montreal-03762Montreal-03747You can’t tell from the picture, but thats a (fake) Michael Jackson dangling a baby in a stocking out the window. Montreal-03765Montreal-03764Brunch-03997Brunch-04003Brunch-03999Brunch-04010Montreal-03983Montreal-03986Montreal-04015Montreal-04038


In all, it was an amazing, amazing, amazing trip. We’re definitely going back.

A peek into the most important shopping day of the year

I am naturally talking about Christmas Food Shopping.

In Norway we are very serious about our Christmas foods. Families all have their own traditions, and they are not afraid to let their hosts know if they’ve prepared a meal the “wrong way.” We’re a very peculiar people, but Jul er Jul (Christmas is Christmas) and it will be done right!

In my family we are also very peculiar about our Julemat. On the 23rd, “Lillejulaften” as it is called, we have pinnekjøtt- this is dried lamb prepared by soaking in water for 2 days and cooking in the oven for several hours before eating it with tyttebærsyltetøy, kålrotstappe (rutabaga mash), and potatoes.

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On Christmas Eve, the most important evening of the year, we eat Ribbe; Pork meat/ribs.

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All Norwegian cooks know that the meals are just as good as the ingredients, so this year we went shopping for delicacies at Marschmanns, a wonderful delicatessen in Oslo. After months of dining hall food I assure you I was in the clouds during this shopping trip. The store is in itself so gorgeous that I couldn’t resist taking pictures. Hopefully you’ll be just as inspired as I was by these great foods.  Marschmanns-04218

The two marbled steaks we bought will translate into three hours of immense happiness around the dining room table.

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This woman was incredibly fabulous in her coat  Marschmanns-04231

Merry Christmas everyone!

Exposed: College Essay

I’m going to take a risk right now. I’m going to expose myself and share a bit of my soul with the world. So here it is, finally, my college essay. I worked on this for half a year. Each of the 619 words were carefully deliberated, digested, and debated in my mind. What should I say? How can I show who I am, what lies in my bone marrow, without sounding superfluous and fake? This is a battle every student, especially those applying to the United States, has to fight internally. Well, here I go.


The sweat has dried cold on my arms and face. The dampness of my body and the stinging bite from my soaking boots sink me deeper into the snow. I am drowning in my own defeat. Abandoned and miserable, I want to lie down and give up. Gradually, the words come to me. ‘I am a woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman. That’s me”. I would not be shrunken or defeated.

An hour ago the kite and I had sailed over the vast expanse of snow and frozen water. Nothing existed except my arms, my skis, and the kite. The adrenaline rush that I loved so much swelled from my lanky limbs to pounding head. As I twisted the control bar the kite responded graciously; I was dancing on snow.  The great Norwegian plateau of Hardangervidda lay before me and all I could see was glistening white snow. Trying to make a U-turn, I pulled the control bar to the right. My skis followed my arms’ command but the kite lived a life of its own. The kite, in its final moment of desperation, came to life and rose high from the snow into the air, like a great fish making its final leap. The wind mocked me and the jolt of sheer force pulled me into the air for a few seconds. I landed on my nose. I had gone from dancing to crashing.

I was never an athlete. Being the tallest girl in all my years at school had not given me the advantage many would expect. I was no basketball player or dancer. My body rejected grace. I was a bundle of awkward. I have always stuck out of the crowd, both literally and figuratively. When I was younger, I despised my height because it set me apart from the others. My shoulders grew customarily hunched and my body concave. Just as my body folded inwards, so did my confidence. I shrank myself to meet what I thought others expected of me, and in the process, I lost my voice. The most important lesson I have learned is that the few inches I lost were not worth the loss of my dignity.

I stand up. Angelou’s words send a surge of energy through my beaten up body. The kite is ready, and so am I. Just as I pull the bar, a strong gust of wind crashes the kite, and I am brought down to my knees. I wipe the melting snow off my face and try again. I am only further humiliated. It was nature against my willpower, but I would not be overpowered. For what felt like hours, I struggle with the disobedient kite until the steady wind finally turns in my favor.

The thrill of accomplishment is the best medicine for the pains, both physical and emotional, of hard work. Failing is critical for all aspects of my life, because every time I fail, I learn and try harder. Even though there is not always wind in my back and beautiful scenery to enjoy, I still get the same thrill of accomplishment from overcoming the fear of failure.

Adrenaline sports have helped me explore my limits and control my fears. Whether it is on the slopes, in a debate, or meeting new people, taking risks always empowers me. Being stuck for hours in an artic winter, miserable and freezing, is not the worst thing that could happen: doubting myself and not embracing my strengths- nor realizing my weaknesses- is.

In the future when I experience failure –as I undoubtedly will- I will raise my head, straighten my spine, and face my opposition head on. I am a tall Norwegian woman, and phenomenally proud of it.

Img_20130103@14_10The beautiful images attached to this post were taken by my mother the winter of 2013.

Never before seen Ios pictures


If I know you personally, you are bound to have seen the infinite amount of pictures from last summer’s Ios trip on my facebook wall. Well, here a few pictures that weren’t shared. My first semester at college is over and I can’t believe how time has rushed by. Actually, it feels like August was a year ago. Everything in my life has changed, yet I’m incredibly lucky to still call these girls my best friends.

Last summer twenty of my best friends and classmates and I travelled to Ios, Greece. It is approximately 45 minutes by ferry from Santorini, and on our way back to Oslo we stayed a night on that famous Greek island. We stayed for a week, and oh my what a week it was. We made enough crazy memories there to last a lifetime. From going cliff jumping and speedboating in the Adriatic, to going swimming at 7 in the morning after a long night out- and that didn’t just happen once- to just dancing, eating good food, and listening to fresh European pop hits. “I’m in Ios Baby” was the agreed favorite.

We went in early June, so we avoided the hoards of college crowds that go there later in the summer. It was beautiful, quaint, and small enough for us to walk everywhere. Although I will admit we used the bus once or twice to get to the best beach. The town is composed of a multitude of small shops, bars, homes, clubs, restaurants, and basically everything you need for a great week of celebrating.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip. Enjoy!Ios-2Ios-36Ios-03-2

We stayed at Avanti Hotel, a lovely family-run place just 5 minutes walking from the Old Town. The owner even got up a few nights to watch the sunrise with the guys! Ios-5Ios-3Ios-5-3Ios-2-2Ios-02Ios-3-3     Ios-3-2Ios-6Perspective, guys.Ios-5-2    Ios-03  Ios-04Ios-05Ios-2-3 Ios-6-2  Ios-7-2 Ios-09 Ios-15Ios-36-2 Ios-18 Ios-19-2 Ios-19    Ios-37  Ios-56Ios-58Ios-00Ios-2-5Ios-3-6Ios-2-4Ios-3-5Ios-3-7 Ios-57

The Nutcracker at the Boston Ballet

“The nutcracker sits under the holiday tree, a guardian of childhood stories. Feed him walnuts and he will crack open a tale…”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

As a child my favorite movie, and the first one I remember watching, was “Barbie in the Nutcracker”. The bewitching music, costumes, and story of love, inspiration, and dreams all appealed to me from a young age. The magic has not rubbed off with time. In fact, my appreciation has just grown deeper and love more tender. Daniel and I watched the Nutcracker together on Friday at the Boston Ballet. I must admit I shed a few tears during Tchaikovsky’s “Pas De Deux,” the dance between the Sugar Plum Fairy and Prince Coqueluch. The Nutcracker will forever remain my favorite ballet, not only because of the beautiful music and dancing, but the memories it evokes in me. It is childhood, it is christmas, it is everything… On that note I want to wish everyone an amazing holiday filled with laughter, love, and happiness.

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Shanghai Whispers Fashion Show

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Hey everyone! A few weeks ago I was invited as a VIP guest and photographer to FAB’s (Boston University’s fashion and retail association) fashion show. It was absolutely amazing as I got to see the preparation and how everything panned out. It was located in the upscale Hotel Commonwealth and featured excellent catering and a really good DJ. The show itself was composed of 12 student designers and pieces pulled from BCBG Maxazria and Jack Wills. They had sponsors such as Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, and Ralph Lauren just to name a few- and their raffle prizes were outstanding. My friend Michelle won the first prize- a brand new Valentino Bag, DG sunglasses, and Ralph Lauren Perfume. I was secretly (maybe not so secretly haha) jealous! It was such a fun time and I had a blast talking to some of the designers. I was particularly drawn to Zahra’s collection (she’s wearing the black cape dress with pearls- which she sewed- below) because of her use of lace and skilled tailoring. One girl designed clothes based off food, I’m not kidding. Check out the maxi dress with sprinkles and the white shift dress crusted with sea salt. It was very innovative and fun… and left candy trails on the runway :)

Here are the pictures from backstage hair and makeup:

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I was mostly behind the camera that night so I didn’t get many great shots of my outfit, but you can see the basics here. I wore my favorite red IRO blazer, Filippa K silk skirt, a simple black HM tank, and my Rag & Bone booties. Of course paired with my partner (bag?) in crime… the Stella McCartney beauty. FAB fashion show-02903FAB-03668 FAB fashion show-02905 FAB fashion show-02908 FAB fashion show-02911 FAB fashion show-02912 FAB fashion show-02916

Got to munch on a few of these before they disappeared :)FAB fashion show-02923

BCBGMAXAZRIA clothes just waiting to be worn down the runway:    FAB fashion show-02929FAB fashion show-02936  FAB fashion show-02932  FAB fashion show-02935

This is Zahra, the designer I mentioned earlier. I really want her to design a dress like that for me! Capes in themselves are regal garments so I would feel like a true princess wearing one. Also, check out her outstanding Chanel bling. I wouldn’t mind getting that bag and cuff as well… :)

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This is Suzie, the girl I met at the HerCampus Fashion event who invited me to this event. She is very lovely- and may I add so are her clothes!

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Waiting in anticipation for the show to start! FAB fashion show-02992 FAB fashion show-02993 FAB fashion show-02996   FAB fashion show-03004

Alex, FAB’s president gave a quick speech to inaugurate the show. The show’s theme, Shanghai Whispers, was pulled off meticulously. Lanterns were hung everywhere and two dancers held a Chinese dance performance before the fashion hit the runway. Their movements were fluid and effortless, they truly shined on the stage.

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There are too many looks for me to post here, so I’ll just show you my favorite starting in chronological order from when they appeared.

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Here is a picture of Daniel and his best friends taken after the show. I love everything about this picture and find it too hilarious for words :’)


Here are my favorite looks from the show:

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Some of the looks were fun and quirky, but what came through very strongly throughout the show was that every designer had an aesthetic, a point of view they were trying to get across. This is to me the most important thing about fashion. You shouldn’t worry if everyone will accept your creation, not everyone will, but you should stay true to yourself and explore your creative side. This is the reason I like couture so much. Clothes are not just garments; they are art, beauty, inspiration, and occasionally pure creativity.

Xo – Nora

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Lunching, Living, Loving

A few weeks ago Rebecca and I spent the afternoon together in Boston. I’m noticing a trend in my blog posts… I promise I’ll try to shake things up but as you can probably understand by now I love Newbury Street. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Rebecca I will give you a short Bio. She grew up on Long Island right outside of New York and considers the city her second home. She’s very stylish and is constantly breaking the conformity of fashion (which is common here in Massachusetts): a true New Yorker at heart. Her parents are Russian so she is bilingual. I don’t know anyone who knows more about music than her (seriously I feel completely inadequate when we talk about music)! She’s also a great singer and part of the A Capella group “Essence” here on campus. She has bigbeautifulwild hair, just like her personality. Sometimes she prefers being quiet though, and that’s okay. I like being quiet too, sometimes taking space is unnecessary. We both love for mac n’ cheese – one of us is constantly making it in the dorm. Oh, and did I mention she is my roommate :)

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Hello intense face!

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At my favorite cafe, Thinking Cup, on Newbury. Did I mention that the people working there know me by name now? Thats when you know…

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“Dressing Like My Mother”

As I was shamelessly procrastinating during a history paper writing session, I stumbled upon this article in the New York Times called “Dressing Like My Mother.” The author, Anna Nordberg, writes about why her mother always dressed up. I could relate to this poignant essay. I think she really hits the head of the nail about why some people, me included, like dressing up. It is not due to vanity, but self respect and confidence. Read it for yourself, and see what you think.

Dressing Like My Mother

My mother used to dress up for airports and emergency rooms. When I was 3 and cracked my forehead open on a doorjamb, she had me change — I believe into a smocked white dress, an interesting choice for a child with a head wound — before we drove to the emergency room at NewYork-Presbyterian.

Dressing up was my mother’s way of taking control, and making sure that she felt her best going into a situation that, though she didn’t betray it at the time, left her shaken and scared.

There is a lot I wish I remembered about my mother that I don’t, but what does stand out, in precise detail, are her clothes. What she wore to work each day, in her job as a magazine editor and, later, as the editor in chief of two academic journals, fascinated me. There was the pink and black houndstooth Chanel suit that she put on for important meetings (my favorite). A knee-skimming skirt in bold checks that she paired with boxy power jackets. The parade of high-waisted tweed and dove gray Katharine Hepburn pants she wore with tailored blouses.

Diagnosed with colon cancer at the ridiculous age of 44, she underwent a successful surgery and afterward adopted a what-the-hell attitude toward expensive clothes (my mother was not usually associated with what-the-hell attitudes). It was the late ’80s and early ’90s in Manhattan, when the power suit was still ascendant, and with her long legs and slim wrists and ankles, she could pull off the bold colors and knifelike shoulders.

One day she came home with a purple sequined evening jacket. A few weeks earlier, her doctor had found something during a follow-up appointment — a growth that, my mother informed my brother and me in her calm medical-information voice, was “95 percent noncancerous.” After a biopsy confirmed it was benign, she got the jacket. “When the doctors said everything was all right, I thought, well why not?” she said, spinning from side to side in her purple armor. Until that moment, I hadn’t realized how scared she had been.

She died when I was 17. In those first months after it happened, I used to lean into the closet where she stored her fanciest clothes and let myself be swallowed by the crush of evening gowns. My favorites were a gold lamé strapless number with an intricate, woven bodice — so outlandish for my mother — and a black and white polka-dotted gown slashed with fuchsia that had an enormous crepe rose fastened to the shoulder. Clothes were one of the few indulgences she really embraced, and this ritual comforted me because it let me remember my mother, who spent her final months at home, chained to an IV, at her most glamorous and powerful.

Now that I live in San Francisco, land of the billionaire hoodie, I never see anyone who looks like my mother. It’s clear that in Silicon Valley, there’s a strong relationship between informality and innovation, and I wonder how my mother would feel about that. I know she would despair over the acceptance of jeans at every life event except, perhaps, funerals. To her, dressing well was not about vanity, but about respect — for herself and everyone else.

I’ve thought about that a lot over the past two years, since my own son and daughter were born and I left a staff job at a magazine to go freelance so I could work from home. What’s become clear, as I’ve transitioned from a long commute to an office filled with meetings and deadlines to working at home, is that it’s too bad my mother is not alive to stage a wardrobe intervention. When I left my job, I abandoned a uniform of print blouses, jackets and tailored skirts and jeans for the ultimate mom cliché: yoga pants.

I’m sure there’s a study that shows a negative correlation between productivity and wearing Lycra at 3 p.m., and yet, I find the slide hard to fight. Motherhood already does a number on how you feel about your appearance, and without the uniform of a workplace, I’m a bit lost. Especially when my husband walks through the door each night, the last man alive in San Francisco to wear a suit to work.

I remember thinking this on the morning — and there is no graceful way to put this — that I had my first colonoscopy. I was getting the test much earlier than most because of my mother’s medical history, and while I wasn’t scared, I felt fragile as I stood scrambling an egg for my son’s breakfast, wearing a gingham pajama top and plaid bottoms. When the sitter came, I opened the door to my closet. Blazing past the machine-washable button-downs, I plucked out a blue silk shirt with a delicate pattern of birds. I put on my good pair of jeans and a navy wool blazer with a nipped waist. Instead of the inevitable canvas sneakers, I slotted my feet into buttery, robin’s-egg-colored flats.

When I got to the test center, the nurse instructed me to change into a gown but leave my blouse on. I took off the blazer and jeans I had put on an hour before and tucked them into a skinny locker that reminded me of elementary school. When the nurse returned, she started to roll up my sleeve for the blood pressure cuff and IV.

“What a pretty shirt,” she remarked, smiling. She was very kind, so perhaps she said this to all her patients, as a way to get them to relax. It didn’t matter. Because it made me feel good, sitting on a gurney and tethered to a blood pressure stand.

“Thank you,” I told her. But I was speaking to someone else.

Anna Nordberg, a freelance writer and editor in San Francisco, is working on an essay collection.