The Refined Woman

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OUTFIT | City Girl

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Y’all spring in the city is M A G I C A L!  I simply am smitten, and my soul is melting.  Spring is the season of new life, of rebirth, and with my first experience of a true East Coast winter (#polarvortex) I see spring with whole new eyes.

There is so much gratitude in my heart for the sun, for walking out of the shaded side of the buildings into the sunlight; it’s a new day.  A new season filled with hope, longing, desire, and most importantly action.

My quiet dreams of winter are now compelled into action with the birth of Spring.

I feel like a new person friends, and we’re only a few weeks into this magnificent season!

I cannot wait to share more with you about the dreams + visions of my life that are  being activated with the coming of Spring.

Get ready folks.  I’m back.

XO,

Kat

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Photos by:  Chaz Cruz

OUTFIT | Tailor Made

Y’all I am a changed woman; it was 48 degrees the past three days + it was glorious.  With the snow melted and the sun out this city truly comes alive!

Sunday afternoon my friend and I walked through Central Park for hours before walking to church; it was heavenly.  

Most of today I spent inside on my taxes (ugh…April is coming up fast friends!), but I made sure to leave time for a run at Prospect Park.  I was beginning to truly doubt my affections for this city over the past 2 months (a.k.a the Polar Vortex nightmare!), but the past few days reminded me how much beauty, energy, and life take place in New York.  

Now switching gears.  Today really belongs to the tale of conquering my most coveted Ralph Lauren Blazer.  Le’sigh.  I adore this blazer.

My friend purchased this same blazer probably about two years ago.  As soon as she took it out of the bag, my mouth was watering.  The gold buttons + the Ralph Lauren crest + not to mention it is navy blue (which is my black!).  I hunted this baby down for months with no luck, and then ONE DAY friends.

One day I hopped into TJMaxx to grab something random, and there hanging on the final sale rack for $60 was my blazer.  I may have squealed, and ran over to grab it, only to find that it was two sizes too big.  For an instant I wanted to cry,  but like most every investment piece in my closet it goes straight to the tailor so I figured I’d buy it and my tailor would work her magic.

I had her let out the sleeves 3/4 an in., tuck the sides, and bring in the shoulders a bit.  While having a good tailor can be a bit pricey (it actually cost more to get the blazer tailored than what I paid for it); it is well worth the investment.  Now have a classic blazer that will surpass the trends of the season, and last me for years.

Photos by: F.E Castleberry + I was honored to have him feature this outfit on his wonderful blog Unabashedly Prep (be sure + check it out!).

Ladies (and gentlemen) if you do not have a tailor, you must get one.  Here’s why:

  • I’m 5’10, have a 36 inch inseam (yes you read that correctly…my legs never end) + I have an athletic build.  Unless you are a true sample size (which lets face it, 95% of us aren’t), then the clothes that we buy simply were not created to fit our bodies.  (All ladies should let out a huge sigh of relief at this!)  We all have had those shopping experiences where we leave feeling discouraged that nothing fits quite right, and we feel like something is wrong with us!  (Don’t even get me started on jean shopping!).  However, take heart this is a normal experience when we take into consideration that all of our bodies are different + unless you’re going to put on a one-size-fits-all spandex body suit there’s no way clothes can fit all of our beautiful and unique body types.  We simply have to have the eyes to see which pieces are worth taking right on over to the tailor.
  • Always your investment pieces!  Your super trendy shirt that you bought for $20 or your mass produced denim skinny jeans that were $35 probably aren’t what you’ll be taking to the tailor.  However, that blazer that you want to wear to work, those trousers that you’ll wear for the next 5 years, your winter jacket…yes those are all pieces to take into your tailor to get that perfect fit. 
  • Think of your tailor as an investment.  Your tailor will take a blazer that you could wear for one or two seasons, and make it a blazer to last 20 seasons.   Here in the city I go to Sullivan’s in Manhattan + I went to the same tailor in Newport Beach on 17th st. for almost 4 years.

Happy Tuesday Friends + Cheers to finding your Tailor that is the perfect fit for you! (yes…that pun was actually intended!)

XO,

Kat

OUTFIT : Made in the 80s

I have to admit that I’ve been coveting all the fabulous winter coats I’ve been seeing… but when I’m moving into a season of life where I’m mostly on the couch and about to hit maternity leave it (oh and it’s almost 70 in California these days … Sorry Kat) it doesn’t make much sense for me to get a new one. 

Usually when I’m feeling the need to shop I do one of two things : try to come up with new ways to wear things I’ve neglected in my own closet or go to the thrift store. Or some days I just need to remember that what I have is already enough. 

I got this fun 80s blazer a while back at the thrift store and as crazy as it is I love the color, and I love how it can punch up a plain white tee and black leggings. Today, I am being challenged to be satisfied with what I have… 

It’s enough. 

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You can find my new favorite bag from Clare V. here. I also love it in navy!

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xo, Em

Huge thank you to Meg Perotti for snapping these photos for me on our Carmel Getaway! 

OUTFIT: The Old Faithful Trench

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Happy Tuesday, and welcome to Polar Vortex Parte Dos here on the East Coast!  As cold as it may be, I am trying to embrace it (I even went sledding last week!), but if I’m being honest it’s been hard.  

What I realized is that I have been fighting the weather.  Each time I go outside I feel as though I’m going to battle, arms up and guarded, anticipating the worst.

Thankfully a dear friend challenged me last week with how I have been handling the weather.  It dawned on me that whether or not I have a good attitude; it will still be cold outside.  (crazy right?)

So I decided that I am going to embrace the cold.  Lean into it.  A few days ago as I was wearing this outfit to run errands out in the city I was so so cold.  I had my head down, hands stuffed into my pockets, and was just thinking about how freezing my feet were, and why didn’t I just wear my snow boots?

And then I paused, took my hands out of my pockets, lifted my head, and started thanking God for the little things.  Like even though it was really cold outside; the sun was beautiful.  I was grateful that I had a really warm scarf on and a water proofed trench coat.  I was grateful for the guy in Soho who sold me a beanie for $3.50.  He literally made my day.  I was grateful for the subway for taking me into Manhattan, and that I didn’t have to walk there (can you imagine)? 

And as the moments past; it was like I walked out of a fog into the sunshine that was always there.

Yes; it’s ok to have hard days, and to not love 15 degree weather, but I want to be grateful for where I am at, and find joy even in the tiniest of moments throughout my days.  

I want to be rooted.

I want to embrace today and the gifts that it holds, instead of being frustrated for the way that things aren’t.  (Is anyone with me on this?)

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Now onto my outfit, which I just love (if I do say so myself), because it’s just so me.  My Warby Parker Ripley glasses are just so fun, and I love that I can just pop into their storefront in Chelsea if I need anything.  (Their customer service is stellar!)

Em wrote for Darling Magazine last week, and talked about the importance of investments.  (You know we love investment pieces!).  The trench coat was in her top 5 investment pieces, and I couldn’t agree more.  I love how this trench has a feminine flare to the bottom!

Ladies we’ll say it every day:  quality over quantity.  Invest into a good tan trench.  You’ll have it in your closet for the next 20 years.  Look for a trench that has waxed canvas so that you’ll stay nice + dry on those rainiest of days!

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Photos by:  Chaz Cruz

Alright ladies.  Thanks for reading my thoughts about life and the weather, and trying to embrace the present!  Y’all are wonderful to let me process this!

XO,

Kat

OUTFIT : A Carmel Getaway

The past few days I’ve been on a little getaway with some lovely photographer girlfriends … it’s been our most relaxed trip to date. Maybe it’s that we are getting older, but I think we are really starting to appreciate the art of doing nothing. 

When life and work can be so busy, it’s such a joy to be able to sit around, cook and eat meals together, talk about our lives, and that. is. it. It’s everything. I’m especially appreciating it as I begin to count down the weeks until little Miss baby makes her debut… officially 9 weeks and 4 days to go…

This afternoon we ventured out of our little rental house oasis and strolled downtown Carmel. It is unseasonably warm. I had many other layers prepared for this outfit but let’s be real, when it’s 80 degrees in January what is the point. Ah, California. 

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Beautiful Carmel…

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Many thanks to my dear friend Gladys Jem for snapping a few of these in the middle of our shopping trip. You’re a gem, my friend!

xo, Em

The Refined Man : Weekend Edition

The man and I are currently reveling in the winter season of a wedding photographer, and enjoying our last few months as just the two of us

While I wore stripes, the man wore cable knit (that he scored at Saturdays Surf NYC on our trip there a few months ago.)

We both ate our fair share of toast and coffee. In other words, it was heaven.

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xo,

Em

The Refined Man … Chops down his own Christmas tree.

And boy does he look good doing it.*

The best part about this outfit is that it is not only totally stylish but also 100% functional. If there is anything The Refined Man cannot tolerate, it is the lack of functionality. He has no sympathy when someone chooses something beautiful but not functional because for him, both CAN exist in one product… you just have to know where to find it. He is exceptionally good at researching and discerning the best value for your money. Value - as in, it may not be the cheapest, but it will last you a lifetime. And that is something that The Refined Woman is totally on board with

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Get the look: 

aviators : ray ban // watch : timex // shirt : jcrew factory // jeans : scotch + soda // vest : patagonia // hat : saturdays nyc // boots : eastland // saw : frosty’s tree farm

See more looks from The Refined Man series : 

Only Gold

Industrious

Intro : Aaron

Intro : Johan

xo,

Em

*the public should be warned this post written by his wife and so is perhaps obviously biased. 

OUTFIT: First Date Material

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I have hesitated on the depth of how honest I wanted to be with this post.  I could do what I normally do and just tell you a bit about the outfit, which would be fine and safe at that.  For the sake of authenticity I feel as though I want to be a little vulnerable with you.

Typically I’m an open book, I always have been.  I’m an external processor that wears my heart on my sleeve, but the last few months I’ve felt a lot more guarded.  I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I have moved to a massive city that is much different from Southern California, and absolutely different from Texas. As well as making all new friends. (slight life change and transition going on in my life right now!)  Lately I have had to choose vulnerability in my relationships in a way that I haven’t had to do before.

So this is me taking a step to be unguarded with you…

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But before that, my awesome dress!

First of all, you know Club Monaco is one of my favorite stores.  In fact, when Club Monaco instagrammed Sincerely Jules wearing this dress several months back, I immediately went out and bought it!  (Mustard yellow is one of my favorite colors to wear!).  Usually shift dresses are not my best friend as I am not a tiny girl, but I felt confident and pretty in this one.  (The leather trim around the neckline didn’t hurt either)!

So that is how I acquired the dress.  Now onto the story.  

It has been over 3 years since I have been on a first date.  Even typing that makes me feel a little insecure.  Some girls just go on tons of dates, I have just never been a big “dater”.  Not necessarily because I have not wanted to date; it’s just been sort of my journey.

Moving to New York City has been such a leap, and throughout this journey I have promised myself to being open to risk and adventure! So…(with some pressure from a few loved ones in my life) I decided to gulp try online dating.  With my heels dug into the ground, and putting my ego aside I decided to venture into this whole new world and simply be open.

I wanted to be open to the fact that love could happen and look differently than I could have expected for myself.  I wanted to lay aside my expectations and get out of my comfort zone.  As with many things in life; it’s much easier said than done.

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A few weeks ago, I went on my first date.  I think I was more nervous about it being my first first date in such a long time and less nervous about meeting a total stranger.  I mean it was just grabbing drinks, but still the nerves were alive and present.

The day of the actual date, I was exhausted and didn’t even start getting ready until 5:45p.m. (I had to meet the guy at 6:30.  Can you say procrastination?).  Opening my teensy closet, my eyes fell on the mustard yellow dress that stole my heart a few months back, and I just smiled.  I put on a silk blouse, threw on the dress, touched up my makeup, and flew out the door.

Two and a half hours and some wine later, my date ended.  We smiled at each other, hugged, and walked our separate ways.  We laughed, talked about our families, and what we like to do, and it felt like, well it felt like a date.  (No awkward silences, which is a major win in my book). There were no major sparks, and it wasn’t really anything to write home about, we just had a  nice time.  

I think the bigger part of the story though for me was on the inside.  The fact that I put myself out there, did something that made me feel nervous and uncomfortable, and was open.

I think life and love and relationships of any sort are all about being open.  They’re risky, messy, you can get hurt, but a life without love (and risk) is really no life at all in my book.

It’s been a few weeks, and we haven’t seen each other again (yet), but I’ll keep you updated:)

XO,

Kat

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Photos by the wonderful Chaz Cruz

OUTFIT : Lumberjack Chic

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I can’t take credit for the title of this post, my sister-in-law came up with it when she saw Aaron and I decked out to go chop down our Christmas tree this weekend. 

I’m loving my new hat from Preston + Olivia that I got recently on my trip to NYC. It’s such a fun and unexpected design, wearing it makes me feel so fly. (Yeah I just said that.) 

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I’m mastering the art of wearing men’s shirts these days, holding down the fort at 23 weeks pregnant and the belly is really popping out. I don’t hate it. Although these Gap maternity jeans have been doing okay, I haven’t found anything affordable that comes in a long enough length for these legs. So I broke down and bought some Citizens + J Brand maternity jeans online today. I promise to report back soon on this front.

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boots : wolverine // cap : preston + olivia // sweater : jcrew (old) // jeans : gap // men’s plaid shirt : thrifted

xo,

Em

OUTFIT: Winter Whites | Part I

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Each day that passes in Brooklyn is another completely new adventure.  This fall and winter in the city is full of firsts.  

In the last couple of weeks, I bought my first REAL big girl winter jacket from JCrew.  I cannot sing their praises highly enough, as I’m pretty sure I tried on 100 jackets in store at least 3 different times before deciding on this gem.  People literally stop me on the street asking me where I bought it, and even better is it’s super warm and long enough on my crazy long arms!

Another first:  snow boots.  I didn’t even know where to start looking, and honestly didn’t really look anywhere, because when you think of winter boots you think of LL Bean’s classic duck boots.  Sold.  And I love them.

Today is another first:  my first time EVER going ice skating in Bryant Park!  This is a total dream.  I am feel like Blair from Gossip Girl.  I’m sure I’ll instagram the heck out of the adventure!  My only hope is that I don’t completely wipe out and break something (here’s to hoping!).

And the firsts continue.  Next week I’ll be celebrating my first Thanksgiving in the city with my little sister Laura.  We have a full week of plans including going to the Jimmy Fallon show + the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

So cheers to a year of firsts in this wonderful city!

XO,

Kat

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All Photos by:  Chaz Cruz