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The Refined Man Is…Mentorship

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Juvan Langford is a Refined Man.

From the first moment I saw Juvan, I knew he was a leader.  Every pore of his body exudes leadership; it is just who he is.  He envisions a world where leaders create other leaders, where older men and women invest into the next generation of world changers.  He is committed to living a life of purpose.

This is a man that you want to know, because my friends he is going places.  He has a great Youtube Channel called Thought Life, and has many more projects in line to make this world a better place.

Now…say hello to my friend Juvan!

XO,

Kat

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Mentorship saved my life. My maternal grandmother legally adopted me at age 4 and I’ll never forget the day the adoption papers were officially signed. She sat my sister and I down on the couch and told us, “your father is with God in heaven and your mother has gone to get some help and so you’re both staying with me. Grandma is not going anywhere.” Although I had not fully comprehended the significance of that event, I did trust that Grandma was going to be there, no matter what. Interestingly enough, two decades have passed and that is exactly how I would define a mentor, a no matter what.

Mentorship is by far the most undervalued gift one person can give to another. If I were to paint a portrait to further illustrate this idea, the world would be one big room. On one side of the room there would be a large number of young people standing tall, but empty. On the other side you would see wise and seasoned individuals sitting, but filled with information.

Information is the only thing standing between where someone is right now in his or her life and wherever it is that they desire to be. It’s not that the young people don’t have dreams, goals and visions within them, they certainly do. It’s that the young people are not taking a seat and the wise ones are not taking a stand. It’s fair to say that this is not a problem, it’s the problem.

One of my most memorable mentorship relationships is with a phenomenal man I call, Pops. He was the father of one of my friends who offered me a ride home after football practice in junior high. He was aware of the fact that all was not well with me and offered to take me to hear me out over a bite to eat that evening. That was the most empowering conversation I had ever had with any man. He told me he believed in me, that I was bigger than my circumstances and that he was committed to being there for me, no mater what. Since that day he has not only kept his word but pours into me daily. My relationship with Pops provided me with an innerstanding™ that mentors are not meant to be looked up to for the answers, but looked into for wisdom.

The beauty lies in the fact that we are raised and surrounded by people who are carriers of information. I am certain that without the succession of mentors, who continuously stood for me, I would have entered into a life filled with obstacles. Mentorship is relational currency, an unapologetic exchange of support and resources between two individuals who recognize that the getting in the giving. This is precisely why it is my personal mission is to not only embody mentorship in my personal life, but also create a virtuous cycle of mentors around the globe. Deep and meaningful relationships are a essential, however, I am committed to shedding light on the power of mentorship to the extent that every child grows up with a “no matter what.”

-Juvan

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Photos by me:  Kat Harris

Weekly Round-up | #danceitout

It’s Friday Y’all + our lovely intern Lauren has found some pretty rad blog posts this week in the wonderful world of blogging.

PS.  You should totes check out Lauren….because she’s the bomb.com

So Random…cause it’s Friday + I can be random right?)

The rad girl above with the silver shoes…ya she’s my friend. And what do you do when you’re producing a rad shoot in NYC for one of your heroes??? You dance it out y’all.  Sarah…I couldn’t have had a successful day without you!  I adore you.

How do we feel about some more randomness this Friday? #idonthateit

Now have a great weekend ladiesssss…I know I will!  I’m jetting off to Paris tonight for a long overdue vacay with my sisters!! Even as I write it I cannot believe that in less than 24 hours the Eiffel tower will be my backyard!!! Ahhhhhhh!
XO,
Kat

OUTFIT | Florals on Florals on Florals

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Summertime is the right time for florals?  Am I right, or am I right?  Is anyone else intimidated at the thought of wearing head to toe florals?  (All that comes to my mind are these 90s pink floral matching jumpsuits that my mother got for herself and all my sisters!)

Do not fret ladies, florals are your friends!  Big patterns, small patterns, bright colors, or pastels there are ways to incorporate this summer floral trend into your wardrobe.

After all it’s all about staying true to who you are!  Don’t let a trend rule you, you get to take ownership over the trend and make it your own!  The choice in how you do it is up to you!  The only rule I have is to:  BE Y-O-U!  No one else can do it better than you!

Check out my Floral Style challenge on Verily Magazine today with Brynn + Mara!

XO,

Kat

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Monochromatic Mondays | Blue for You…

"Blue is the new black".

-says The Refined Woman.

Weekly Round-up

With summer in the air, this week’s Weekly Round-Up is all about embracing the approaching season’s vibrant colors, sunshine, florals, etc.! 

Here at The Refined Woman this past week…

Things may have been a bit quiet around here, but trust us we’ve been here, there + everywhere!

Kat posted Weekend Getaway tips and advice for keeping it simple while traveling (Check out the full post on Verily Magazine).

And we were so honored to feature an inspiring and encouraging “Beauty Is…” by our sweet friend Lauren Scruggs.

Em got back from Tokyo + Bali + is adjusting sweet Charlie back to a Cali time zone!  (Bless her heart!)

In other blogging news we had some favorite posts from some gals we follow!

An easy romantic hair tutorial?  Umm…yes please!

We’re loving this simple and beautiful summer makeup look. Definitely going to give it a try next week when I’m in Paris with my sisters!!!

I mean honestly… pineapple mint popsicles…I’m dead.

Crushing on these colorful tribal clutches from Spanish brand Lola Nomada. They would pair perfectly with a LWD this summer!

The perfect DIY to showcase those lovely peonies before the beloved flower’s season comes to an end! #flowerwreath

How to Wear Chambray 12 different ways?  Yep…I’m all in. #chambrayonchambrayonchambray

In the summer heat and humidity I often feel like 2 hours after I do my makeup it has melted off…so I’m eager to try some of these tricks by The Everygirl to keep my look lasting all day!

Beauty is…Shifting

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Ladies I have the privilege of introducing Miss Lauren Scruggs to the Beauty Is…series.  Lauren is a dear friend, confidant, fellow Beyonce Aficianado, prayer warrior, and holds a beauty that is full of life, depth, and purpose.  Without this gal I probably wouldn’t make it through Fashion Week.  We run around town going to shows together, process life, and order takeout when we should probably be at a party!  

I’m incredibly honored to call this amazing woman my friend!  God is using her in powerful ways.  Lauren is changing our culture with a voice of beauty and grace!

XO, 

Kat

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A couple of years ago, my life took a big shift. My calendar paused, my career path changed, and my platform increased after a night of injury, or what my subconscious defined as a depletion of beauty. In retrospect, I clearly see how I easily submerged in destructive comparison after this life-altering experience. The thoughts swirled: my life story has its twists and turns; my career path looks different than my friend who works a 9-5; my passions are rearranging and not set in stone. 

I quickly came to realize that comparison is equivalent to worry; it only severely hinders and limits fruition. Plus, if we really think about it, wouldn’t life be boring if we were all the same?

Beauty makes you bloom. In essence, it is freedom to be you.  

Being confident in the fact that God purposely put specific passions in your heart is what makes you beautiful. Think about it:You have been through the struggle, through the most joyous days, and through the unknown for a brilliant reason. They each fabricate who you are and how you grow; they form a deeper compassion for others, greater patience through times of waiting, and clearer awareness of true contentment. They bring you to know that the valley produces some of the greatest realization, which results in genuine appreciation for love and life. 

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Beauty makes the mindless worries disintegrate; it makes each moment worth living. It allows you to celebrate who God has made you to be while emboldening who God has made others to be. It makes diversity attractive. It depletes jealousy. It makes us real.
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Beauty is acknowledging your self-worth, purpose, and passion without reservation. It is opening your eyes to the vastness of someone’s heart. It pushes you to boldly run down the road set before you without fear because a bump in the road or a jolly journey will only result in the fullness of who you are.

XO,

Lo

Photos by me:  Kat Harris

S is for Summer

                     "All who wander are not lost…"~J.R.R. Tolkein

There could not be a more true statement in my life right now that my should resonates so deeply with.

It may have felt a bit quiet on the blog the last month; it’s not that I have wanted to be distant; it is that I am fighting for presence and balance in my life.  To be fully present, to live connected in each moment at hand…now that is a task that is a grand one for me!

Over the last month I have had some extraordinary adventures:

  • My 21 year old sister graduated UT in Austin, and I got to visit her for a few days + experience how truly amazing Austin is…I could definitely live there!
  • Then I flew straight to LA for a leadership program I am involved in + spent the weekend in community, growth, and challenge.  
  • I photographed my best friends little sister’s wedding in Dallas.
  • Went wedding dress shopping with one of my best friends in Manhattan.
  • Flew to Big Bear CA. to have a day in the quiet, and stillness doing a ropes course that bonded me together with a community of people more deeply than I ever thought possible.
  • I hired our first ever intern!  Woo-hoo…can’t wait for y’all to meet her!
  • And soooo much more…

I am exhausted, but my soul is in abundance.  I am connected to myself, my family, my community in ways that I am incredibly grateful for.  It’s been almost a month since I’ve slept in my amazing cozy Brooklyn apartment, and I cannot wait go sleep in my little nook, however I look back at the moments over the last month and pinch myself because I cannot believe this is the life I get to lead.

A life of passion, adventure, possibility, romance, depth, authenticity.

My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude.

Jen is one of my best friends.  We worked at Invisible Children together years ago, and now I get to stand next to her at her wedding next month!  My LA girlfriends threw her an amazing bridal shower complete with a mimosa bar, and a flower crown making station!

Oh ya…and then I chopped my hair off!! Ahhh…my dear friend + world changer Rachel Burney (who has cut my hair the last almost 6 years) cut my hair, and I feel like such a sassy, sexy woman!  Rawrrrrrr y’all!

Before heading out to Chicago for my cousin’s wedding last week I got to spend a few lovely moments with Mara.  She is a precious soul, so elegant + feminine!

Let’s be honest…roadtrips are the jam, and I got to road trip with 3 of my 5 siblings to Chicago for my cousin’s wedding.  Two days in the car, meant lots of games, Beyonce dance parties and…

BRAID trains…duh!!! My 13 year old sister Lilly is becoming such a lovely young woman!  She’s getting so big!

Since I’ve been living out of a suitcase for a month I knew I wanted to keep things simple when thinking of what to wear to my cousin’s wedding.  So my go-to JCrew LBD + chunky necklace + red lipstick did the trick!

My cousin Meg basically had my dream wedding on her parents farm outside of Chicago!  The ceremony was quite and intimate, spilling over with love and joy!  And of course corn hole + photo booth + yummy food made the evening even better!

This picture just makes me laugh; it’s all my sisters + we’re trying to figure out how to pose for our PhotoBooth Pic…hahaha  Lots of dynamics going on here!

We danced until the wee hours of the morning, laughed a lot, drank yummy wine, and told stories from growing up together.  My soul was filled to the brim.

Now I’m back in LA for a few days, and have already experienced so many lovely things in the last 24 hours.  Yesterday I got to witness sunrise at Santa Monica pier for the first time with some close friends + then photographed one of my amazing world changing friends Dianna (more to come on her later!)

If you’ve made it this far on today’s post…bravo!  Thank you for connecting with me!

I’m overwhelmed with gratitude at the people God has put in my life + the adventures he continuously allows me to have!  The story that God has for our lives are always infinitely more creative, spontaneous, and adventurous than any we could think up on our own, and I’m so grateful to be on this journey with Him.

XO,

K

KEEP IT SIMPLE | TheWeekend Getaway

         “…life is too short not to wear seersucker in the summer.” 

-Kat Harris

Check out my full Weekend Getaway Article on Verily Magazine today!

Summer is just steps away, and for some of us we’re already in the midst of it!  Summer to me means spontaneity, adventure, eating watermelon that drips down my fingers and usually onto my clothes, impromptu trips, and long dinners outside with friends and loved ones.

My biggest goal when traveling whether for a fun 4-day weekend getaway or a month journey is to: KEEP IT SIMPLE, and here is how I do it!

 LIMIT YOUR OPTIONS!

How many of you ladies like to give yourselves at least 7 options a day for outfits? (Wait…I’m the only one?)  If you are going on a 3 day trip, pack 3 outfits, and allow yourself one extra option.  To keep your clothes from getting wrinkled, pack cotton and jersey knit fabrics that do not wrinkle easily.  Bring items that you can wear multiple ways.  What do I pack for a weekend getaway?  Well…I’m glad you asked! 

  1. Maxi Dress
  2. Seersucker Shorts
  3. White Oxford
  4. Jean Jacket
  5. Gladiator shoes + Wedges
  6. 1-piece bathing suit (modest is hottest!)
  7. Fedora Hat
  8. A chunky bold necklace
  9. Summer Tote to carry it all in!

With less than 10 items you can have a diverse wardrobe for at least 4 days if not more!  Here’s how:

  • The Maxi Dress:  This piece is great with your jean jacket, gladiator sandals, necklace and tote and viola you’re ready to board your plane.  (If you’re brining the Fedora wear that too so it doesn’t get ruined enroute).  Once you arrive to your destination your maxi dress now becomes the perfect beach cover-up!  Grab your suit, some magazines, and sunscreen and hit the beach.  Now it’s time for dinner, and you can glam up your maxi with a chunky necklace, wedges and some red lipstick!  From travel wear, to beach cover-up, to a night out the maxi dress is not only comfortable and feminine, but extremely versatile
  • Seersucker Shorts:  Because it’s summer, and why not?  Again throw on you gladiator sandals and blouse and you’re ready for bike rides on the beach.  Swap out the sandals for wedges, throw on some lipstick and fun jewelry and you’re ready for happy hour (don’t forget your jean jacket…it can get chilly at night!).
  • The White Oxford:  It’s no secret I love a good Oxford, not only for their functionality, but they’re so darn cute.  The Oxford over your one piece with the fedora, gladiator sandals, tote, and you’re ready for the beach.  Throw the oxford over the maxi dress in the afternoon with wedges, fedora, and tote in hand, and you’re ready for an afternoon of exploring the city!  Of course you can wear the oxford with your seersucker shorts, and chunky necklace.  (You can’t get much more preppy than that!).

Overall ladies, be organized, check the weather, and just have lots of fun!…and remember life is too short not to wear seersucker in the summer!

[Seersucker photo by:  Trent Bailey Photography + Panama Hat by:  Preston & Olivia]

XO,

Kat

The Refined Man Is…Wild at Heart

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"Adventure is not outside man; it is within." —George Eliot

Frederick Castleberry is a Refined Man.  

He is an editorial photographer, designer, and curator of the acclaimed blog Unabashedly Prep.  His impeccable style and attention to detail in his work sets him apart from his cohorts.  

Much to my surprise when I moved to Brooklyn we ended up being neighbors, and let me tell you one thing about this guy:  I have never seen him quite come alive the way he does when he is about to take a risk, an adventure, or journey into the unknown.

Fred has become a dear friend and mentor, and I am so excited to have him contribute to The Refined Man.

XO,

Kat

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Boys are wild.

Dangerous.

Free.

Dreamers.

Explorers.

Fighters.

More creature than child, boys are untamed.

Every man was once a boy. To carry this adventurous spirit into manhood is of utmost importance. Sadly, today, that insatiable longing to explore is largely but a relic of childhood for many men. The adventurer is the child who survived. He is unapologetically wild at heart. He seeks adventure. Takes risks. Embraces spontaneity. In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge shrewdly notes, “Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.”

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How a man seeks his adventure is how he lives his purpose.

How he lives his purpose is how he pursues his woman

How he pursues his woman is how he loves his children.

How he loves his children is how he loves his neighbor.

How he loves his neighbor is how he loves his God.

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There are two types of men in this world: those who love what they do and those who don’t.  Those who have found something to fight for and those who haven’t. The former are men who go on to great achievements, lead extraordinary lives, and love deeply. They have explored the depths of their hearts, discovered their (present) purpose in this world, and pursue it with reckless abandon.

The latter are confused, timid, drifting aimlessly. They are lost boys—succumbing to a culture that would prefer we be docile, well behaved…good boys. How do we as men reconnect with that wildness? We must look within. What did you love to do as a child? What would you do right now even if you weren’t paid? What turns you on inside? Fight for that.

The refined man not only needs adventure, he seeks it. When was the last time you climbed a frozen waterfall? Slept under the stars? Or crossed an ocean? The passion for adventure is at the core of a man’s spirit. That feeling you get after watching Gladiator (probably my favorite movie of all time)—that’s your wild heart yearning for danger, risk, adventure. Get out there. There is no more dire place in our society today to parade this wild heart than in the pursuit of a woman. Women are designed to be pursued, wooed, to be caught up. No woman wakes up saying, “God, I hope I don’t get swept off my feet today!” They long to be swept up into an adventure. And you get one chance to make a first impression—and I’ve witnessed it squandered so often over a cup of coffee…or a drink.

Plan something outrageous and memorable, or fun, or active. Anything but a meeting that resembles a job interview. I like to know right out of the gate if I can laugh with a woman. Remember, if this girl is as amazing as you hope she is, she’s been on more first dates than Drew Barrymore—make this memorable for her (hint: women love surprises). Lead with a gripping opening to your story with her!

The refined woman creates the space for the wild at heart…spontaneity…and the unknown to invade. It is incredible what transpires within relationships when a man is given the freedom to be a man. To be unapologetically wild. What results is a beautiful encounter between the masculine and feminine.

Every man is an adventurer inside. But the choice to live one is his own.

-Frederick Castleberry

Photos by me:  Kat Harris