I Don't Need No Fraud; I Don't Need No Drama When You Call

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Blogger styling oversize sweatshirt and cap

Blogger styling sweatshirt and cap

Never mind those ugly wires sticking out of the building...didn't see those until photo editing. Oops!

Blogger styling cap and aviator sunglasses

Hat: H&M (Men's department: HERE) | Sweatshirt: Monki (HERE) | Pants: Object Collector's Item (Similar on sale HERE) | Aviator Sunglasses: LeSpecs (HERE) | Shoes: Bianco (Similar HERE)

Since it's been a hot minute since my last outfit post, I thought today was a great day for a new one!

This look is a bit of a new, more casual style for me.  But I like it! Mostly because it is super comfy.  Seriously, this sweatshirt from Monki is so unbelievably soft--I just want to curl up in it and take a nap. Ha!   On me, oversized pieces like this one tend to envelop me and make me look like a little girl in her big sister's clothes.  I blame this problem on my unusually small torso and rib cage for my height.  This, coupled with the size of my chest, means that I have to go down at least a size or two in oversized pieces like this one to keep from looking like a small child or a lollipop (round on top with skinny legs). I got this sweatshirt in a Small, when I am normally a solid Medium or Large. So please do keep that in mind if you decide to snap one of these amazing sweatshirts up (and you should. OH! and they come in tons of spring-ey colors.  What's not to like?)

Since I can't not be at least a little fancy,  I paired the sweatshirt with my favorite pleather leggings.  You guys. My love for these leggings runs deep.  The other night, I even had a dream that I wore them so much that they fell apart.  Dream Me was devastated because, as they are sold out everywhere, I was unable to replace them.  I know. First world problems.  But hey, in the same dream, I went to battle with a ghost living in my parents' toilet.  So clearly Dream Me isn't always the most rational creature.

Anyhow! That is enough from me and my silly dream-brain.

What are your go-to comfy pieces?

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Empty Products and a New Platform Experiment!

I have finally taken the plunge and stepped out on a major limb with my blogging and social media channels.  Yes, I have added YouTube to one of my publishing mediums on Nat of the North.

I have to admit, this is a bit of a scary new step for my blog!  So for now, it is a bit of an experiment.  I am starting with this basic empty products video, and I hope you guys will like it! 

Please feel free to leave your comments and feedback down below--I want to know if this is something you guys like and want to see more of or if I should stick to my first love, the written word.

Happy Wednesday!

Miracle Fluid - Or How I Use Face Serums to Keep My Skin Looking Young and Fresh

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Caudalie Vinosource face serum

I am not exactly quiet about the fact that I am rapidly approaching my thirties. While I joke about having a slight complex about it, I am actually one of the last in my inner circle to round the 30 corner.  So I know that isn't exactly the end of the world.

However, I do think it is really important to take the best care of my skin as I possibly can. I mean, it's the only skin I've got!

I have to be honest: wanting to prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging has been on my radar since my early twenties.  Not to brag too much on myself (except I'm totally bragging on myself. I promise I am not trying to sound like a jerk so if I do, I am really sorry), but people are often surprised when I tell them that I am almost 30. I like to think that the preventative measures taken from an early age have made at least a little bit of difference.

So, without further ado:

How I Keep My Skin Looking Young and Fresh!

I will start with the obvious, tired and true ones because, well, they work!

1. Don't smoke!  Now, I know this is easier said than done, as smoking is a quite addictive habit. (And full disclosure: I've never smoked, so I don't have first hand experience with it). But if you can kick it, kick it! Your skin will thank you, and you will look younger to boot!

2. Drink plenty of water! Hydration is your friend!

-and last, but not least-

3. Focus on skincare from the early twenties on! I have used various night creams and eye creams for years. However, my skincare needs have changed along the way.  Throughout my early twenties, oil control and balance were my key trouble spots.  As I both reached my mid-twenties and moved to a cooler climate, I became more concerned with keeping my skin hydrated, particularly during the winter. I actually never needed a thick moisturizer prior to moving to Norway, so that in itself was a skincare adventure!

Retinol and Hyraluronic Acid serums for anti aging

Recently, I have been really into using face serums to supplement my normal skincare routine.  My all-time favorite serum is the cult favorite Caudalie hydrating serum (Side note-I could write an entire post detailing my love for Caudalie. But I will save that for another day).  I use this serum for a lot of purposes: to supplement my nightime moisturizer; after exfoliating or using a mask; or on its own as a daytime moisturizer. It is simply the best!

To give my skincare routine an extra anti-aging boost, I add two secret ingredients: namely hyaluronic acid serum and retinol serum.  Hyaluronic acid serum I apply to my smile lines, forehead, and around my eyes before my daytime moisturizer.  I noticed a dramatic improvement in just a few days of doing this!  At night, I use Retinol serum prior to applying my night cream.

While you can purchase products that include these ingredients, I prefer to use pure serums to amplify their anti-aging superpowers. I order mine on iHerb.  This process allows me to get a more pure dose of the good stuff in both serums while saving a bit of cash in the process.  iHerb is great because they offer a wide range of vitamin, beauty, healthcare, and other products with flexible international shipping options.  Which means I can stock up on serums and my favorite vitamins at the same time -- talk about convenient!

Want to try some pure hyaluronic acid or retinol serums?  Good news!  I have a discount code that I want to share with my blog readers! Use the following code to get 5% off your iHerb order:


Have you tried hyaluronic acid or retinol serums? Tell me all about your experiences in the comments below!

Monday Motivation - HELL WEEK!

Monday Motivation Moodboard

All pictures from Pinterest - Follow my MOOD board on Pinterest here!

Happy Monday!!

So begins a new week! After two weeks of fighting off a sinus infection, I am excited to get a fresh start on my daily routine.

Sometimes, when I am sick, I tend to get in a bit of a mental rut where I feel like a huge failure at life.  This feeling then morphs into a downward spiral of self-hate and self-doubt.  Super healthy, right? (Wrong).  This feeling, coupled with the fact that my last visit with a scale ended in shock and horror, served as a wakeup call that I am not taking proper care of my body.  As a result, I have been left with no energy, both from a mental and physical perspective.

So what can I do to fix this?

For me, the remedy has been to take a deep dive in whatever source of inspiration I can grab onto.  Whether that is a chat with some of my successful and super motivated girlfriends (seriously, those ladies inspire me every single day.  Hi girls, by the way!), perusing some of my favorite blogs and YouTube channels, or scanning Pinterest for tips and tricks.

This process led me to the following conclusion: wow, these ladies (and gents in some cases) really busted their butts to get where they are today.  Many of them started off in situations not too different from my own (a grown adult who sees the future as great big question mark, while simultaneously realizing that she is way too old to still be farting around and trying to figure life out).

Initially, these observations made me feel extra useless when I examined my own efforts. But then, I had an epiphany: If they can't do it, why can't I

I can totally do it, too! What is stopping me?

It turns out that the answer to that questions was me. I am stopping me.

So, from this week, I am challenging myself to a modified version of a Hell Week*.  Now, the Hell Week* book essentially calls for pressing oneself to do as much as possible to enhance productivity over a 7 day period.  This includes waking up at 5 am to exercise, cleaning every day, and absolutely no procrastinating.  Sounds good, right? 


My "modified" Hell Week is more of an attempt to solidify some healthier habits in my daily routine, as well as break myself out of a productivity rut.

The rules?

1. Wake up early (ideally 5:30 to make gym opening time) and work out before coffee (yes. before coffee. This is groundbreaking stuff over here).
2. Make a to do list for each day, and stick to it! No procrastinating, no half-assing anything!
3. Things I have been thinking I should do, but haven't felt like doing or had the guts to try? Yup, gotta do those. No excuses!
4. Clean up my diet! I have been keeping a food diary for the past two weeks. And OMG. I really need to make healthier choices (read: less cheese, more veg. haha).

Now, today is only Monday, but I am already feeling supercharged by this new routine.  I never thought I was a work out first thing in the morning kind of person, but I have to say that I really loved it today!  It was so nice to start the day with a boost of energy and then curl up with a cup of coffee in good conscience.  My goal is to start each weekday with some form of exercise, whether that is at my gym or just a walk around my neighborhood. Let's see if I can stick with it!

(In fact...I am actually blogging about this as a means of holding myself accountable.  If I speak about it publicly, then I have to follow through, right?)

Have you tried a Hell Week?  How did it go?

I will be checking in next Monday to let you know how I did!  

Bargain Hunter Extraordinaire : My 8 Tips for Style on a Budget

As a self-proclaimed fashion enthusiast, I love developing my personal style.  Of course, a natural follow for a love of style is love for shopping.  But as a student, I am also on a tight budget.  What happens when an interest in the sartorial clashes with the need for economic sensibility?

A crisis!

Just kidding.

Ok. Maybe not really.  But it can certainly feel like it sometimes (#firstworldproblems).  Over the years, I have come up with a few strategies that help me navigate this conflict.  These tricks allow me to feel fly and sassy while still having money left over for what really matters--namely, food.  And rent. But mostly food. Among other things.

My 8 "tricks" for style on a budget:

1. I make sure to know my own style as it relates to the contents of my closet

This process is twofold: first, I find that it helps to (as cheesy as it sounds) make an inspiration board on Pinterest where I can get a visual sense of the look I like.

Secondly, knowing what I already have allows me to both compare pieces on the inspiration board to items I already own, along with to envision how I can use these items in new ways.

This approach helps me save both time and money, as it:
1. Helps me get dressed in a more efficient manner and
2. Keeps me from buying things that don't fit the aesthetic I am trying to achieve or repurchasing items I already own.

2. Take advantage of end of season sales

Many retailers hold huge sales at the end of each season. This is particularly so during the winter and summer.

The key here is to think strategically when purchasing sale items.  For example: if I purchase a sweater at half price at the end of January/beginning of February, I will probably wear that sweater regularly for at least another three months before I need to put it away for the summer (and it will still be in close-to-new condition in the fall).  Similarly, if I purchase a dress or light top at the end of July/beginning of August, I will likely use it for another month or so before needing to put it away.

I found these flats for 50% off at an end of season sale at Zara a few falls ago.   Oddly enough, I always bring them out in the spring!

Which segues nicely into number 3:

3. Have both an open mind and a strategy when shopping sales
Many sale items are from the last season, or maybe even the end of the previous year.  This doesn't have to mean that they are out of style or not worth having a look at.  I try to go for along with items with a classic style and color (so for me, black) when shopping the sales, as trendy pieces will become outdated in a few months time.

I also like to strategize my shopping based on my lifestyle.   As I currently live in a colder climate, this means prioritizing warm coats over say, summer dresses.  The best time to shop for coats? The summer sales.  I found two of the coats I wear the most at summer sales for 50 and 70% off online.  Was it weird to order a down coat in the middle of July? Absolutely.  Did I regret when I pulled it out in November and wasn't freezing my butt off? No way!

...which coincides with...

4. Shop smart at the sales 

This one has been trotted out many times before, and that is because it is true: don't buy something simply because it is on sale--regardless of price point.

I used to be the worst about seeing an amazing markdown on something I only kind of liked, only to buy it and never use it.   When shopping sales, I apply the same rules I apply to full price items, namely, I ask The Three Questions.

Which brings us to number 5:

5. Ask yourself these three questions before buying an item 
When I try on a new piece of clothing, I ask myself The Three Questions:

1. Do I love it?
2. Will I use it?
3. Can I put together at least three outfits in my head using pieces I already own?

If the answer isn't YES! to all three, back on the rack it goes!

6. Pay closer attention to material quality than label
Quality over quantity!  Fashion lovers tend to get hung up on the notion that a higher price tag or exclusive name brand are indicators of higher quality (raises hand: guilty!).  But this does not have to be the case if one has a good eye when scoping the racks on the high street.   Natural fibers like wool, cotton, etc. are always a safe bet.  If you can find a budget piece in a nice, natural material that has a great fit, I say go for it!  One of my favorite bags is a leather purse I found at Lindex for 250 kr.  The findings give away that it is a budget item, but the overall look of it is more high end.

My favorite bargain bag from Lindex. I love how it's similar to the Chloe Faye bag (adlink).  
Lindex doesn't carry my exact purse anymore,  but us mere mortals can find a similar budget version here (adlink) or here (not an adlink).

Conversely, even an expensive piece in a chintzy fabric will look start to look cheap after it is worn more than a few times, so I avoid paying top dollar for those pieces.

7. Pick and choose what to splurge and what to save on
I'm of the opinion that stylish, well-made leather shoes and bags can make an outfit look chic and expensive if properly put together.  So I tend to spend a bit more on shoes and bags, and save on actual pieces of clothing.  (With the exception of a good pair of jeans. If I find jeans that fit the right way, I have to get them!).  When buying from stores in a lower price range, I always stick to neutral colors like gray, black, or white. For some reason, these colors tend to look less "cheap," especially when styled in a nice, clean way.

8. Don't spend money on trends, but instead on classic basics that can be worn for many years
Another tried-and-true tip.  But it is good advice! I generally don't follow trends religiously, but if there is a particular one that I am interested in, I will find a low-cost alternative or wait until the item is on sale (and if it is no longer on trend by the time it goes on sale, I probably do not want it anyway).

So that's it!  Eight tricks I use to help keep myself on budget when developing my style.  Most have been around for a while, but I find that it helps to refer to them and add my own twist where needed. Because personal style is just that--personal!

What are your favorite tricks for shopping on a budget?
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