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Merry Christmas + Happy Holidays


Well Happy Christmas Y’all!  It has been quite the year for both Em + I.  So many adventures and new beginnings.  It has been so much fun to think about this year, and all it has entailed for us individually, and for The Refined Woman.

Time is a funny thing.  Undaunted by our circumstances or feelings; it just keeps on moving by.  Here are some of our highlights from this year:

  • We launched The Refined Woman.  Our dear friend Casey Wiegand helped promote our blog the day, and we were blown away at the response we got that first week.
  • Our dreams came true during February Fashion Week when we met our hero Jenna Lyons.  We felt like giddy school girls running around the city (during the blizzard) going to shows like Billy Reid, the JCrew Presentation, and Monique Lhuillier.
  • After New York Fashion Week I decided to move to the Big City, and gulpI actually did this August!
  • Em + Aaron celebrated their 5 year wedding anniversary in Paris for 3 weeks, and he scored some major points when he bought Em the Chanel purse of her dreams.
  • Em announced they’re adding a member to their family this fall, and I know I’m a bit bias, but she’s basically the cutest prego ever!
  • I experienced my first East Coast fall, and it was just as magical as I thought and hoped it would be.

It’s been a year of dream chasing, of goal orienting, stumbling, falling, tears, laughter, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

We are so very thankful to have had this adventure, and are excited to see the beautiful things that 2014 has in store for us!  Thank you for joining us on this journey!


Kat + Em

P.S.  Em and I sent out our first Christmas card this year.  Aaron shot our pictures on the roliflex at The Highline Hotel.  (We used Minted cards which we FELL IN LOVE WITH by the way)!  Here are some of our favorite shots!  Enjoy!









em’s outfit!

dress : crossroads trading co. / shirt : jcrew (similar) / blazer : jcrew / necklace : jcrew (similar)

New York in 72 Hours : City Guide


No matter how long I have to spend in New York City, it’s never enough. There are too many good restaurants and too many stores to hit that I always end up feeling like I need another week. 

This trip, we knew we had to make the most of the short 3 days we had. 


And so I present, A humble City Guide for you, if you have 72 hours to spend in New York City:

S  T  A  Y

The Highline Hotel in Chelsea - A converted theological seminary built in the 1800s, with an Intelligentsia Espresso bar in the lobby. A match made in heaven. 

E  A  T

The Spotted Pig - Heavenly gnudi (ricotta dumplings), pumpkin salad, and the special when we went was beef + vegetable pot pie. ALL AMAZING. Your best bet for getting in is to arrive at 5:30pm or else prepare to wait a while. 

Egg - Get there early. Fresh beignets for every table. The place for breakfast lovers like myself. 

The Meatball Shop - yup. Can’t go wrong with meatballs. This place made Aaron’s year. 

Radegast Biergarten - go for the biggest, softest pretzel and other delights. I didn’t get to fully enjoy all the beers on tap but they looked delicious and Aaron approved. 


Alder - For a nice dinner out. Make reservations ahead of time. Try the “French Onion Soup Rings” - you won’t be sorry. 

Shake Shack - I don’t quite understand how this place is so good but trust me that it is. Even for a die hard In’n’out lover like myself, this place wins (gasp!). 

S  H  O  P

1. Saturdays Surf NY - mainly men’s apparel (Aaron scored this tweed cap + amazing fisherman’s sweater) but I love the atmosphere of this place and they have a great espresso bar and cozy patio out back. A nice little oasis in the bustling city. 

Also be sure to check out Pilgrim Surf & Supply while you are on your way to Mast Brothers. I would have bought a bikini if I wasn’t so pregnant. Sigh. 


2. Wolverine Pop-up Store - The best made boots you’ll find made in America. Aaron has a pair he loves and I was surprised to find they also make classic, beautiful, well crafted women’s shoes as well. I’m kind of obsessed with my new boots

3. Mast Brother’s Chocolate - Sample + pick up some delicious chocolate, and I’d go back just for their chocolate almond cookie alone. To die for. 

4. Clare V. - It hurt so much to walk out of this store with nothing that later on Aaron decided we should go back. I’m kind of obsessed with my new foldover clutch. Next time I’ll go back to get a monogrammed wallet or this beauty. 

5. In God We Trust - I love the way the curated items fit in so well with the clothing line in this boutique. Kat found an awesome hat and I am wishing I had walked away with a Pendleton scarf I saw there. 

6. Crossroads Trading Co. - I could have spent ALL DAY in this one. Best score of the day were these beautiful Rebecca Minkoff Wedges. Kat wins best friend of the year award for not fighting me for them. 

7. MUJI - This was my favorite store when I lived in Tokyo after college and it still always makes me happy. They have the best pens in the world, trust me. And yes, I am a nerd. 

Oh yeah, and you should always make time for Central Park, especially in the Fall. 

Ah there is so much more but that’s about what we managed while still finding time to catch up with some great friends AND a little behind the scenes hang out with the talented lady behind Preston & Olivia.

My heart is full and my wallet is pretty much empty but it’s all worth it. Until next time, NYC. 



OUTFIT: Denim Vest Never Felt So Good…


Ladies + Gentleman:  allow me to introduce you to one of the most fabulous experience I have yet to have:  my whirlwind weekend trip to NYC for the Justin Timberlake + Jay-Z Legends of the Summer Concert.  

This has been the summer of concerts for me:  Mumford and Sons, Beyonce, and finally JT + Jay-Z.  I feel like the luckiest girl, and am just so thankful for all the fun memories this summer!  (Also due to the amount of life altering concerts I have been to this summer my voice has been in a constant state of hoarseness!  It’s ok…I’ll somehow manage to survive).

Because the concert was in NYC, and I knew it was going to be 95 degrees I had to dress wisely.  No heels for me this time a:  it was too hot and b: we took subways and walked, and my feet had NO time for that!

Justin Timberlake was a dream, and Jay-Z is just a straight up baller.  I mean it was such a dichotomy to see them play together, and weave their songs in and out of one other.  

As much as I adore Jay-Z, I must say JT really owned this show!  He has such huge stage presence.  What a performer!

I.  Love.  Him.  

Now…onto the wardrobe.


This weekend I debuted my brand new Giving Keys Necklace.  This brand is rad!  Go check them out friends! #fashionforacause


This dress is one of my favorite and most versatile purchases from this spring.  Remember the post I did where I wore it 4 different ways?





Here’s an iPhone pic of my friend Joy and I as we were on our way to meet up some friends for drinks before the show:)

It can’t be a concert post if I don’t post a video from the show.  JT melted my heart with Pusher Love Girl.  NOTE:  the camera is super shakey because I’m dancing throughout the entire video.  #sorryimnotsorry

Dress:  Madwell

Vest:  Old (similar)

Lipstick:  NARS

Necklace:  The Giving Keys

Purse:  Longchamp

High Tops:  Nordstroms

Watch:  Michael Kors


This week has been full of adventures. Here’s what has been keeping me occupied…


NYC: I mean when is it not on my mind?
Vampire Weekend: in anticipation of their new album, I’ve been listening to them non-stop. (Listen to Diane Young now…baby baby baby)


LA LookBook: this is a sneak of my latest LookBook shoot for LA Shoe company Olivia Childs


#YOLO: Life is far too short to have it consumed with work. I got to hike with old friends and experience an amazing sunset. 
I’m thankful. 
For life. 
For friendships. 
For good music. 
For moments of stillness. 
Happy Friday.



Reflections from The Refined Woman on NYFW

What we found though is that if you are kind, and if you work hard, amazing things can happen. There is no industry this doesn’t apply to—even fashion, as intimidating as it can seem.” -Em

We could not be more honored to be a guest Writer on Darling Magazine today!

Em shared some of her thoughts on NYFW and Darling shared some of their favorite images we shot during our snowy NYC trip.  Check out the feature HERE.


OUTFIT : Pop of Red

One thing I loved seeing at New York Fashion Week was some incredible vibrant Reds on the runway. So this week to kick off a little runway to reality, Kat + I have two NYC outfits with a pop of red. 

While I would have loved to have a different jacket to share with you, the other reality for this California girl is that I just don’t have that many fun coats. It just doesn’t get cold enough to invest in them, so most of mine are the standard black or navy. After last week though and some of the coats I saw at the spring J Crew presentation I am rethinking things completely

Jeans : Levi’s 501 / Tee : American Apparel / Coat : Thrifted (similar) / Boots : Madewell / Watch : Michael Kors / Bracelet : J Crew (similar … I want this one!) / Lipstick : Chanel Rouge Allure



Refined at Fashion Week : Day 1

This week in honor of New York Fashion Week Kat + I are excited to share with you the highlights of everything we have been up to, what we are wearing (see also : The Woes of Being a Southern California Girl in A Snowstorm) and what we have been seeing on + off the runway.

We feel so grateful to be here experiencing all of this and so looking forward to sharing our highlights with you.

Really, you get the best of the deal, dear friends, because you get all the fashion minus the freezing winds, snow + slush. 

Refined at Fashion Week : Day 1

I swear I looked at the forecast before I packed, but I think there’s only so much one California girl can do to really prepare herself for the reality of a snowstorm.

Coat : Thrifted (Similar) / Dress : Urban Outfitters / Tights : Uniqlo Heat tech / Riding Boots : J Crew  / Cobalt Tote : Coach /Headband : H&M (old, similar) / Sunglasses : Ray Ban

(You can pin some of my accessories from The Refined Woman on Pinterest!)

Marissa Web's new collection is so wearable! I love the tailored structure to her suits, skirts + coats.

The black + white accessories + inverted french manicure is the perfect compliment.

Some of my favorites from the Marissa Webb presentation:

The Monique Lhuillier runway show knocked my socks off. The way she innovates a gown season after season is such an inspiration to me. Every piece is fitted perfectly to be flattering for a woman’s shape. The texture and detailing was incredible.

Afterwards we made our way backstage + accompanied Krista Soriano as she was able to ask Monique a few words about the collection. See Krista’s piece on for more!



p.s. be sure to check out The Refined Woman on facebook  + instagram for more photos + behind the scenes!

Elements: The NYC Travel Edition


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…


Kat + Em