The Refined Woman

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GREAT INVESTMENTS : A Purse for All Seasons

I took these photos right after I received this purse as a Christmas gift in 2011. 

I can count on one hand the number of items that I still use daily that I received in 2011. Actually now that I think about it just this purse and my ugg boots (don’t judge). 

But this purse has proven it’s worth season after season. It’s the only item I get compliments on regularly that is that old. 

There are a few things that make a purse worth holding onto this long : 

1. Quality. The real leather has aged perfectly and cleans easily (all I’ve ever done is wipe it down - my friend actually spilled a glass of red wine on it and there are no signs of it anywhere!) and the stitching is good enough to endure the years of use. 

2. A Classic Style. When looking for a purse to last all seasons, think about choosing something that is classic and not too trendy. There are only a few tried and true purse styles that are reinvented every year for good reason - the satchel being one of them. 

3. Color. It’s important to me that I found a purse that goes with everything. I just have those needs. Other people aren’t such sticklers and a fun pop of color can be awesome too but when it comes to one purse to rule them all - this natural hue just fits with everything I wear and why I keep using it day in and day out. 

4. Functionality. There have been purses that have come and go in my life and for the most part, it’s been because it’s too large and gets too heavy and I start hating my life, or it’s too small and I’m constantly having to change things out to hold more. This purse is just the right size. The shoulder strap is key for me as well. Purses that always need to be held in my hand frustrate me because I’m always juggling ten tasks at once, but I like that this one affords either handholding or wearing it over my shoulder. 

Here are some of my favorite posts featuring my Dooney & Bourke satchel: 

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 

And just for fun, a few purses I’m eyeing that I think are investment-worthy purchases this Holiday season : 

1 / 2 / 3 

xo,

Em

OUTFIT : Keep it Real

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REAL TALK. 

We all go through seasons where it’s tough to feel inspired to dress well. Whether we’re overworked, overwhelmed, sick, or just tired, it’s real life. I confess that I am right in the thick of one of those seasons.

While I’m so grateful for the gift I truly feel that we’ve been given, I’ve been struggling to keep everything running and get inspired to get dressed. The reality of most days is that it’s a struggle to get out of my sweatpants. 

During these times I think it’s important to find a few staple pieces to help make it through. Things that are easy to layer, throw on together, things that coordinate - whatever it takes to not look just like a real hot mess. 

Recently when my dear friend Gina was in San Francisco I showed her around the city, and she snapped a few photos for fun on her film camera. I didn’t plan out a big outfit. I haven’t had my hair cut or colored in months. I barely got out of the house with mascara on. 

But I love these photos - this is real life. These are my staples right now that I throw on when I am just trying to hold it all together. 

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Scarf : Jcrew (old) Similar here

Coat : Urban Outfitters

Tee : Everlane

Leggings : American Apparel

Moccasins : Minnetonka

Sunglasses : Dior

Cap : Jcrew

Bag : Dooney & Bourke

Thanks for listening, friends. 

And seriously thank you to Gina Zeidler for these images, a true snapshot of my life right now. 

xo,

Em

ps. More posts with army jackets HERE and HERE!

OUTFIT: When I don’t know what to wear

cutoffs, my navy blazer and cheetah flats (cheetah is totally a neutral).

there’s actually NOTHING I have found that doesn’t benefit from the polish a little blue blazer adds. 

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I’m loving this striped tee. I’m wearing it with everything. 

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thanks to a little glamourizing from jane kim + for snapping a few of these pics for me during our date last week. 

navy blazer : jcrew 

jean cutoffs : urban outfitters

striped tee : jcrew (on sale!)

satchel : dooney + bourke

glasses : warby parker

flats : madewell

xo

Em

OUTFIT: Little White Dress

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The Little White Dress :

There just isn’t anything better for a HOT summer day. A white cotton sundress is the perfect blank canvas. 

I recently wore mine all week in Sea Island, Georgia - dressed down for the beach and dressed up with a blazer and heels for a nice meal out. 

Kat also just posted her LWD and what’s perfect is that we didn’t even plan to both put together an outfit for The Little White Dress this month- it just happened.

We are actually not the best planners so it always surprises me when things like this work out in our favor. 

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This tassel necklace is my newest favorite accessory. It works with EVERYTHING, and I love the length.

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hair + makeup : melissa hoffmann / photos : simply jessie

dress : jcrew (old) similar here

blazer : jcrew

necklace : jcrew

loafers : madewell (old) similar here

satchel : dooney + bourke

scarf : vintage 

watch : michael kors

xo,

Em

OUTFIT : Stripes + Chambray

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dress : madewell / chambray : jcrew / belt : jcrew / flats : madewell / necklace : 31 bits / watch : michael kors / satchel : dooney + bourke / glasses : warby parker ”preston” sandalwood matte

I am always running late and I’m always realizing I needed to leave the house like 5 minutes ago. I think it’s a genetic defect. I can’t seem to keep accurate count of time in my head. 

One thing that has saved me has been those few closet staples - outfits that I know work well together. A dress and a chambray shirt for example. Because in my wisdom I never make time to check the weather forecast either. 

What is a girl to do. 

xo,

Em

Elements: The NYC Travel Edition

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Tomorrow morning bright and early Em and I are heading to NYC for New York Fashion Week.  We are so excited to run around the city, meet some new blogger friends, photograph some runway shows, and let’s be real…we cannot wait to eat our way through NYC!

Before we leave, we wanted to leave you with our top 11 NYC travel essentials.  Don’t leave home without these ladies…

1. The Dooney & Burke “Happy Bag” is small, lightweight, timeless, and our perfect travel companion.

2 + 3.  Nars LipStick in “Dragon Girl” w Too Faced Lip Primer.  Whether going to NYC or to the drugstore or to a 12-hour shoot these puppies come with me everywhere I go.  Literally one application lasts me an entire day through meals, drinks, everything.  Definite ESSENTIALS ladies.

4.  Lush “No Drought” Dry Shampoo.  There are so many out there.  I was a Baby Powder girl my self, until enough of my girlfriends sang Lush’s praises; it’s the best in my opinion.

5.  Travel Perfume.  My go to is Aqua di Go for Women:  $20 from Sephora:  It’s super affordable, mine has lasted for over a year; it’s light and fresh, and trust me you’ll want this after walking the city all day before breezing into drinks with friends.

…which leads us into…

6 + 7.  The MetroCard + Hand Sanitizer:  Some people are cab people some people are Subway people.  I try at all costs (pun intended) to take the subway.  People it’s like 3,000x cheaper and part of the NYC experience.  Obvi you need Hand Sani whether you cab or Sub it.  Let’s be real, we love NYC, but it is dur-tay.

8.  RayBan Aviators.  A Staple.  Need I say more?

9. A Sewing Kit.  I keep these in all my different bags.  I cannot tell you how many random times at shoots or out with friends that someone has needed a needle and thread.  By no means do I sew, but I can do a quick-fix.

10.  Mini MoleSkin Journals.  My dad told me that the most successful people in the world keep idea journals with them all the time.  Their goal is to write down several new ideas each day.  You may not have that game-changing idea in the first year, but 5 years down the road it may come.  I always keep my idea/dream journal with me + easily accessible.  You never know when inspiration will hit!

11.  Business Cards. (Thanks Mink Cards for our lovely new cards!).  You’re meeting people ALL the time when you’re out.  Always have a business card on you!  There’s nothing worse than someone saying ‘Oh I’ll just get in touch with you’.  Oh no no no…you be ready to build relationships.  Have those biz cards on hands, and YOU send the follow-up email!

Stay tuned for more on our trip to NYC…

XOXO,

Kat + Em