The Refined Woman

Scroll to Info & Navigation

Beauty Is…Accepting Flaws

image

Nikia of Model Liberation is a force to be reckoned with.  She embodies femininity and balance, and her love for people and heart for those around her is so lovely to experience.  A few months ago we met before sunrise with my sweet hair + make-up friend Amy Clarke + we brought in the day with laughter, singing, and getting to know each other…oh ya + taking pictures!

Enjoy getting to know this lovely woman’s heart + soul!

XO,

Kat

image

A few weeks ago, I celebrated a birthday. Whenever this momentous time rolls around, I get a little sad. Not because I’m slowly losing my youth. That part doesn’t bother me. I’m looking forward to growing older and wiser, at least I hope that’s what happens. I think I get melancholy on my birthday because I’m still not where I want to be in accepting myself.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me. I love that freckled reflection I see in the mirror. I love the spirit I exude. What I don’t adore are the ugly insecurities I’m still battling from yesteryear. They never go away. Even now, my eyes are puffy from some horrible moments I had just last night. So I’m avoiding looking at myself because I won’t feel beautiful when I see the sad reality that is my swollen, red face.  
I go through rough patches every now and then. There are times when I look the same as the day before but my soul isn’t strong enough to convince me that I am just as beautiful as ever. It’s not like I have a huge zit or I’ve gained weight, but somehow no outfit looks right and no color of lipstick will brighten up my day.  You know what I mean, right? I feel like so many women experience this same thing and we can’t figure out exactly what’s the problem. 
For me, I guess I’m still hearing those voices that I did as a kid that said “you’re ugly” or “you look weird.” Growing up in the South didn’t make things easy for me. In that place, people are either black or white. I’m African American, but my skin is pretty fair and I have tons of freckles. I didn’t fit into whatever cookie-cutter definition others had of what it means to be black, so I was picked on because of it. Some of my peers treated me like I was an alien. No matter how much my mom told me I was pretty, I didn’t feel that way. I would curl up in her lap and cry whenever I had a bad day at school. Now that I’m an adult, I can’t run home to mommy. I’ve got to deal with things myself.
I know that there’s probably a good reason I was born with the features I have.  My spiritual upbringing tells me that God doesn’t make mistakes. If He created us in his image, then God has a face full of freckles. He already knows what I’ve been through and what’s in store for me. I hope it’s good. Scratch that… I know it’s awesome! I just have to make it through those birthdays and bad days. I’m only human, so of course things won’t always be rosy.  Appearing to be have all my ducks in a row is a burden I placed on myself. I have to learn to accept both the stronger me and the weaker me. By no means am I perfect, and I don’t have to be. I’ve got to learn to love me even when I’m flawed. I must find the beauty in my imperfections. That time is coming soon… I just got to have faith. 
XO,
Nikia

image

image

image

image

image

All Photos by Me:  Kat Harris | Hair + Make-up:  Amy Clarke

OUTFIT | Make it Happen

image

Oh hey friends!  Happy Thursday!  

What are you going to make happen today ladies?  

Do you ever wake and up and feel like it’s going to be a productive day, like you’re going to freakin’ rock it?  That’s how my day is going to go!  I’m going to own it.

Does anyone else ever just want to crawl back in bed and sleep until noon when they finish their daily to-do list?  Ya…me too.  But we get to choose movement, and we get to choose chipping away at our to-do’s because life happens in the movement.

Dreams happen with the continual, consistent, commitment to show up to our days.  Ideas, tasks, to-dos, visions, dreams, you name it are all fantasies until we fight for them to become reality.

Today I’m fighting for my dreams to be realities.  I’m stepping into today ready to own it.  Also I’m stepping into today with my favorite JCrew Cobalt trousers (umm…they’re glorified sweatpants…and I’m in love #iwokeupthisway).  Who is with me?

Tell me about your day, tell me what you’re going to chase and make happen.  I’m proud and honored to run this race + journey with you!

XO,

Kat

image

image

Photos by:  Chaz Cruz

OUTFIT | City Girl

image

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

image

image

image

Photos by:  Chaz Cruz

OUTFIT | Keep it Real Vegas

Once a year Vegas happens.  There’s an annual photographers conference called WPPI that I’ve been attending for 5 years now (even writing that I cannot believe that it’s been 5 years since I started pursuing photography).  WPPI is always a reminder of my journey into this crazy world + how grateful I am to be where I am.

It’s always a whirlwind of a week.  Think adult summer camp.  You’re seeing great friends from all over the US, playing major catch up, talking shop, going to the trade show, eating ridiculously yummy dinners, and doing lots + lots of dancing.

This is the second year in a row that I’ve worked the Kelly Moore Bag booth with some of my most favorite Southern Gals on the planet.  I’ve been shooting with Kelly Moore bags for about 4 years now + love them.  Literally each morning when the trade show started there would be a stampede of people running to our booth to buy a bag!  Kelly is an incredible photographer, creative, and business woman.  I consistently leave my time with her inspired.

On my last night in Vegas we went to a party at this darling boutique hotel called The Artisan.  This was sort of the culmination party of the week which we were so excited about!  However, by the time Tuesday night came I was exhausted + my feet were swollen from being on my feet all day for the past 3 days.  The last thing I wanted to do was put on a pair of heels!  

So guess what.  I didn’t.  #sorryimnotsorry

I love how versatile this blue Madewell Dress is.  I’ve worn it a gazillion times + paired it with my converses for the Justin + Jay-Z concert.  To not feel like a total scrub I added pearls + my collarless blazer + my friend Lindsey (who I’ve decided is my older sister I never had) did my hair + make-up.  Viola!

Kelly took these pics of me on our way out for the night as we were leaving our hotel; it was dark as all get out, but she managed to find some surprising light in a random hall of our hotel.

We danced the night away + stayed out until the wee hours of the morning.  Three hours of sleep + then I was off to the airport to catch my flight back to NYC.

Like I said Vegas is always a whirlwind.  Until next time Vegas…

All photos by:  Kelly Moore

Shop the look below:)

OUTFIT: The Old Faithful Trench

image

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?)

image

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!

image

image

image

image

image

image

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: Back to My Roots…

Maybe it’s because it’s Football season, maybe it’s because the Holidays are around the corner which means I’m going home to Texas soon…or maybe it’s just that I’m a Texan, and sometimes I just like dressing like a Texan.

Let me be honest…sometimes when I am getting ready to get my picture snapped for an outfit post I feel pressure.  Not from anyone in particular, but I think I just put pressure on myself to keep up.  To want validation from other people that I can dress well (*note* that is the wrong reason to get dressed). When I put this pressure on myself the last thing I want to do is go and get my picture taken.  

But then you know what I remembered?

I remembered that Em + I started this blog to fight against keeping up.  We wanted this to be an honest place where the both of us shared our journey of style with you.  After Em reminded me of this (because you know that even though she’s in San Fran and I’m in NYC we text each other what we’re wearing on the daily), I just wore what I wanted to, and I felt pretty:)

Yesterday was a perfect autumn day in Brooklyn.  I walked to church, went to the book store, grocery shopped, read a book at Prospect Park, made a yummy dinner, and watched Friday Night Lights with my roommates.  All in all it was a lovely day, and it made me so thankful to live in this wonderful town:)

Thank you Miss Lauren Kallen for photographing me!  I can’t wait to spend more time with you!

OUTFIT Post: Camo for Fall

image

I think Em and I have super powers.  When one of us is feeling a certain thing, the other is too.  We are both feeling camo for this fall.  You know me and my fear of prints?  Well slowly, in my own way, I am incorporating some louder pieces into my wardrobe.

Mixed patterns + prints is where I would love to be one day in my style, but for now I like to have one bold piece i.e. my camo pants, and keep everything else very classic + simple.

Sidenote…when I tried on this collarless blazer from Madewell, I melted.  I already worn it a gazillion times, and it’s quickly become a wardrobe staple for me.

So how do you feel about camo for fall?  Are you in?

image

image

image

image

image

image

Photos by:  Sarah Shreves; Wardrobe styling by:  Johan Khalilian

Outfit Deets

Collarless Blazer:  Madewell

White Blouse:  Madewell

Camo Pants:  Madewell

Red Belt:  Target

Stewardess bag:  Coach

OUTFIT: Denim Wrap

image

Walking the streets of Brooklyn is a totally different thing than walking the streets of Newport Beach CA.  For one thing, you have to dress comfortably!  Already, I’m learning comfort trumps fashion in this city!

The past few weeks here have been crazy:  getting used to the subway system, meeting new friends, shooting, trying to be present and process it all.  I can honestly say it’s been so fabulous and so hard all at the same time! (but that’s for a different post!)

Nevertheless; it’s still my goal to remain Refined in the midst of it all!

So, maybe I’ve been having a thing with the early 90s?  (Umm…my overall obsession)  Remember when we used to tie our shirts around our waists, and it was cool?  Well, how about we bring that back this fall?

Join me ladies!

image

image

image

image

image

Photos by:  Jen Sosa

Outfit deets:

Blouse:  Zara (similar)

Jeans:  Madewell

Denim Button-up:  Madewell

Necklaces:  31 Bits (PS…you have to check out their new Dream Collection)

OUTFIT: Flares? Don’t Mind if I Do…

A few years ago a friend of mine bought me these Madewell flare jeans on sale.  Recently I’ve been sporting them like they’re going out of style.  They’ve been perfect for a casual day of editing in the office, as well as out to coffee with friends.

I tucked in my tank and paired my favorite woven belt with this look to add some shape to my figure!

Flare jeans may be old, but ladies get ready for flares all over the place this fall!  

Embrace the style staples of the past ladies!

Once again Aaron Young you’re super rad for taking my pics!  Thanks!

Flared Denim Jeans:  Madewell

Top:  Anthropologie

Lace Vest:  Old (similar)

Anchor Clutch:  Izola

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. 

image

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

image

image

image

image

image

image

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