Gratitude Is…

November 26, 2015

Gratitude is…

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Waking up to my white light filled room in my white duvet cuddled with my gazillion pillows in the morning.

That first sip of coffee I drink in the morning with my journal and Bible next to me.

Having a roof over my head.

Oxygen in my lungs.

Food in my cabinets.

The physical health that allows me to live in and tromp around this crazy city.

Legs that work, and a body that is able to go to yoga every day.

When my roomate surprises me after a trip and has organized my office with new shelving.

Making silly videos at Central Park midweek with my best friend while singing Cinderella and Finding Nemo songs loudly and to our hearts desire.

Getting to say if my siblings weren’t related to me I’d still want to be best friends with each of them.

Mom always being there.  When we were sick, and when we were well, and even now to give me pep talks when I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing with my life.

Dad’s sobriety, and the redemption story that God has given our family.

Sneaking melted peanut butter M&Ms and popcorn into the movies.



That moment when I realize the guy I’ve secretly been liking, likes me back.

That moment when I realize the guy I’ve secretly been liking, doesn’t like me back.

New York City nights that carry you through different neighborhoods and dive bars that play 90’s R&B and hip-hop until 4 a.m.

My Adidas sneakers that I wear every single day.


This blog.

The moment I get to witness over and over again as a wedding photographer when a groom sees his bride for the first time.

When the father of the bride sees his daughter in her gown for the first time.

Grabbing drinks with two soul friends that I haven’t talked to in ages and immediately diving to the bottom of the ocean.

Feeling known.

A good red lipstick.

Slow mornings in Argentina with Croissants and machiattos.

Letting go of the attachment to where I thought I’d be right now, and embracing the present.



Did I say laughing?

Laughing some more.

Crying tears of heartache in my best friend’s lap.

When she tells me she told him ‘I love you’ for the first time.

When my little sister cuddles next to me in bed and tells me things she doesn’t tell other people.

Missing my family.

Dad sending me flowers when I’m sick.

Discovering I have a new favorite song and knowing I’m gonna love it from the first few chords.

Playing said song on repeat for four hours the first day I find it (and making my Spotify profile private…and this may or may not be a Justin Bieber song right now:).

Today.  Because we weren’t promised it.

Each season, day, moment, mistake, breathe, step, laughter, tear, kiss, sip of red wine, is a gift.

It’s all a gift.

And I’m so very grateful.



Outfit : Kat’s Capsule #4 | The Cardi

November 24, 2015


Now that we’re midway through our Fall Capsule experiment I’m officially hooked.  What I love about this outfit is that it’s easy.
I bought these high wasted ACNE jeans after Emily go them, because um…Em has the best style + I want to be like her when I grow up!  And my Madewell booties are so comfortable.  I can clomp all over the city for a good 6 hours before I start feeling it.  And that’s a major win in my book folks.
And also, I love that it’s not all Capsule.  I.E. my mid-drift shirt:  ya I know I won’t be able to wear that forever.  But I am a 30, flirty + thriving y’all so I can now, and I’m gonna do it.
I knew I wanted to get a long cardigan + loved this burnt yellow one I found at Ann Taylor.  Full disclosure tho:  after we shot this I returned it for a grey one.  And I’m happy with that, b/c I know I’ll wear it more + longer.

So yay for cardigans + wearing crop tops because we can! Bam.  Capsule.






Outfit : Em’s Capsule #4 | Slouch Status

November 17, 2015


Simple and slouchy forever! 

I can’t help it but I’ve always loved anything that is more like loungewear and less like real clothes.

I love basic pieces, but I think that two things keep simple pieces from being boring. A unique silhouette or drape and interesting fabric. I love the way this soft cotton top drapes, it’s almost like a tunic so it goes just as well with skinny jeans as it does with these harem pants.

These harem pants get a lot of play because they are made of cupro – which feels like silk but washes like cotton. Perfect for a messy day in toddler town but nice enough for a photography gig.

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Thanks to Ashley Kelemen for snapping these pics and to Melissa Hoffmann for my rad hair and makeup. I promise these two make me look WAY cooler than I really am in real life.




Beauty Is…in the Transition

November 12, 2015


When I was single, I could only grasp a vision of marriage from what I saw in those around me. I knew it required work and intentional communication. It seemed like it would be a joy to have someone to live life and create a home with.   And I hoped it would be infused with laughter and sweet memories.

I’m now in my first year of marriage to my husband, Jason, and the transitions that come from sharing your life with someone else have been more cultivating, life-giving, and deepening than I imagined.
The first, and most obvious change: living with a boy.  Honestly, the biggest transition has come in the form of being purposefully bothered by someone special, being tackled on the bed as if I were his sibling (his excuse: he never had brothers!), and being surrounded by loud melodies and random acting scenes.  Truth be told: I love it!   Thankfully we happen to have identical OCD. We have collided while picking up the same crumb off the floor; we both find a dirty shirt on the dresser to be offensive, and are distracted by water drops or fingerprints on the counter.

One huge adjustment has been that instead of going to my best girlfriend, my twin, or parents, it’s important for me to go to Jason first. I was initially limiting our growth as a couple by communicating the tough moments with those who had been closest to me my whole life instead of building an even greater trust with my husband. It was a habit I had to break, and it has been beautifully refining. A lot of our closeness has come from not sweeping conflict under the rug.  In the end, the struggle, the slamming of doors, and the crazy emotions all end in a deeper appreciation for each one another.

Another big surprise is the idea of developing a similar life-rhythm as a couple. After thinking I was extremely gregarious prior to meeting Jason, I realized I am more of a social introvert, whereas he is a complete extrovert. I am a home body, but I love being with people as well; Jason could be with people constantly.  It has been so sweet yet equally hard to be honest and seek to understand each other in this area; people pleasing has to go out the door!  As a result, Jason has drawn me out of my shell a bit, and in return he has calmed his social schedule. We both deeply desire and cherish time alone together.  He is thoughtful and aware of my social capacity, which in turn makes me more excited to be with people because I feel cared for and understood. Meshing two lives is unifying, hard, and in the end is one of the deepest bonds and most beautiful adjustments.


Some parts of marriage have been even better than I expected. Traveling together is my favorite. Sex is the best. Lazy days with him are too good. I feel more loved the more vulnerable I am (he’s an angel). Creating a home together. Just being together. Going on dates. Hanging with friends. Marriage honestly makes everything so much better.

I have deep relationships in my life, but I am coming to understand that you can have no deeper connection than with your husband. I love how we make decisions together, fight hard together, and expose our greatest flaws to each other; the good, bad, and ugly are truly exposed, and it is so vulnerable and makes love so real.

Making the transition from being single to being married truly exposes your deepest insecurities, struggles, and idols, yet in return showers you with the most lavish grace.



Photos c/o Sarah Shreves, Kat Harris + Lindsey Shea

Outfit : Kat’s Capsule #3 | The Cropped Trouser

November 10, 2015


I’m a sucker for a good trouser, and I’ve always loved the wide legged trouser.  But here’s my dilemma with these suckers:  if I wear flats, they drag on the ground when I walk and get scuffed and dirty.  And if I wear heels they always seem to be just a little too short.  And when you live in a city where you walk an average of 8 miles a day you cannot be bothered by clothes that bother you.  What I’ve noticed is I only grab for the things in my closet that I feel really great about and I know won’t let me down, or aren’t itchy, or aren’t too long/short.

When I made my list of investment pieces for my fall Capsule I put cropped trousers on the list.  I thought ‘what a perfect compromise’.  And I can wear them in multiple seasons.  Double win.  These Aritzia cropped trousers are the jam.  When I tried them on I made sure I could wear them with multiple things like:  a tucked in button up chambray, a silk tank, a slim fitted turtleneck, and even a simple white tee + my adidas sneakers.

Versatility ladies.  This Capsule Wardrobe has cut my closet in over half, but every item I own I really love!




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Fighting for the Unicorns

November 5, 2015

sexless in the city | the refined woman

Sometimes I feel like I’m waiting for a unicorn.

I’ve heard of them.  I’ve seen them in cartoons.  There are even people who dress up as them for Halloween.  But do they really exist?

I’d like to think so…and I actually do believe so.


Whenever we open our hearts to hope and to love we open ourselves to possibility.  We open our souls to a connection with another human that could be greater and more intimate than we’ve yet experienced in our lives.  When we hope, we open ourselves up to magic.  I’ve seen this magic.  I’ve seen this invisible thread that binds a couple together through the years.  Not often, but I have witnessed it.  And it gives me little nudges to keep my heart open to the possibility of love.

But there’s another side to it.  When we open ourselves to hope and love we also open ourselves to pain, rejection, and disappointment.  The heartache we can feel from a lost relationship can be so great that the temptation to shut our hearts off from further heartache sounds like sweet relief.

I did this.

I shut off my heart when I was 18. My heart felt so trampled on from my wounded home life that I whispered deep down in the musty dark corners of my wounded heart, no man will hurt me again.  It was a promise I made to myself that was so subtle that I hardly knew I had made it.  But I felt the effects of throughout my entire 20s.

If you asked me what I wanted I would’ve told you I wanted to get married and have kids.  But any time a guy would come close to me I would shut down, immediately put myself in the friend zone, assume I wasn’t pretty enough, run away, or push him away faster than I had time to process what I was doing.  It was such a quick impulse and coming from a place so far away in the recesses of my locked up heart that I was mystified by my behavior.  While also mystified that I couldn’t get a date.

Throughout the entire decade of my 20s I dated two men.  One guy was great but just not for me.  And the other guy… well the other guy was emotionally unavailable.  To put it kindly; it was a trainwreck.  I fell for about 12 other emotionally unavailable men in my 20s that I never even got to date one with (God’s overwhelming mercy in my life).

Last year I went through a life changing leadership course, and one of the things I discovered was my shut down heart.  Over the course of 6 months I did a lot of re-learning, and working through my past and realized I had a choice to make.

Was love worth the risk of pain?  In my head the answer was easy:  of course it is.  All you need is love… Love is the answer, right?  It always is.  But my timid heart fought.  A lot.

Last August I made the distinct decision to allow myself to love again.  And it was like a switch was flipped.  The girl who dated two guys in her entire 20s (that’s 10 years y’all)  suddenly had men knocking down her doors.  It was like someone took the pendulum from one side and slammed it with rocket force to the other side.  I didn’t know what to do with the attention but I decided to be open and to risk and be open to love!  (How romantic of me).

I dated some incredible guys and some lost puppies.  Guys that just wanted to make out, and guys who followed me on social media and decided I was their princess (only to be disappointed when they found out my life is more messy in real life than in the edited photos I put on Instagram).  I considered dating a guy who wanted me to give up my dreams for his (glad I didn’t do that), and got reconnected with a guy I was crazy about in high school. He promised me the world, but flaked out once we were in the same city.

The pattern felt like this:  hoping, hurting, hoping, hurting, hoping…maybe love…hurting.

To say the least there have been ups and downs.  Blissful moments of connection that I am forever grateful for, and moments of heartache where my hand clung to my chest because the pain felt tangible.

Have you seen the movie He’s Not that into You ?  I told my mom that I feel like Gigi, the main character who keeps putting herself out there and stumbling and looking into things and getting hurt. After again she assumes there’s something there with this guy she likes and he is baffled she says ‘I may do stupid things sometimes, but at least I’m putting myself out there… at least I care’.  That is how I have felt this year.

People have said that my standards are too high, and that what I’m waiting for is for perfection.  But I disagree.  I’m not looking for perfect.  I’m waiting for my partner.  My best friend.  A man that wants to do life together deeply.  A man with integrity and character.  A man who loves God and loves people.  A man that has a vision for his life.  A man that is on board with my vision to empower women.  I want a partner that I can support and who can support me.

After a few blunders this year, I met a guy who embodied many of these characteristics.  A guy worth waiting for.  We became friends, and I started hoping that there would be something more.  To me there was more.  Finally someone that I was excited about and who had these qualities.  I waited and hoped and waited and hoped.  And nothing.  Still friends.  I kept hoping he just needed more time…?  Then he started dating someone else and I was so disappointed.

All I kept thinking was “when is it going to be my turn,” and “I’m sick of feeling hurt and disappointed.”  Maybe it’s better just to close my heart off again, because I won’t have a relationship but at least I won’t feel sad and hurt as much.  And right about now that sounds really good.

But I was journaling and talking to God about it the other day, and I felt like He gently reminded me, “Love is worth it.  It is always worth the risk.”  And even if this guy I liked doesn’t like me back, I learned and saw in him the type of man I am waiting for and who is worth waiting for.

I am not waiting for an imaginary being.  I am waiting for my unicorn.  And unicorns exist.  I’ve seen them.

Outfit : Em’s Capsule #3 | Basic Instincts

November 3, 2015

capsule wardrobe outfits | the refined woman

The biggest thing the capsule wardrobe experiment is teaching me : Embrace the Basic.

I like being basic. It’s ok to be basic!

The hardest challenge I face in my wardrobe is that I am always drawn to shiny, sparkly, special things. But when it comes to getting dressed day in and day out, I don’t really want to wear those things. I get sick of them, and fast. This is my eternal struggle: I want prints! Color! Embellishments! What I really like is more of a blank canvas. I want to be able to settle into how I feel that day without sparkly things telling me I need to be more fabulous.

This whole experiment is trying to unearth the way that dressing makes me feel. I can tell even just by looking at these images that this outfit makes me feel good. It makes me want to move. And play. That’s the kind of woman I am. Embellishments get caught on stuff. I like minimalism. I want timeless. I want basic.

And that’s ok.

capsule wardrobe outfits | the refined woman

capsule wardrobe outfits | the refined woman

capsule wardrobe outfits | the refined woman

capsule wardrobe outfits | the refined woman



see more capsule wardrobe dressing here!

hair + makeup by melissa hoffmann | photos by ashley kelemen

BOSS LADIES | Carrie Moe of Type A Society

October 29, 2015

Today I’m stoked to bring you a real boss lady from the Wedding and Event Design world. Carrie Moe from Type A Society! She and I have worked on multiple shoots together and she’s been instrumental as I have been working towards growing my styling business. I am so grateful to this woman who is always willing to share her knowledge and experience with me. She has a HUGE heart for people and it really shows in everything she creates. I hope you guys enjoy getting behind the scenes with this sweet peach of a woman.


carrie moe of type A society | boss ladies | the refined woman

How I got started doing what I’m doing now…  
Oh goodness! My path to where I am now is full of bumps and turns and sometimes I just laugh to see where it has lead to. While I love my story, I often feel like it was the longest and slowest way to get somewhere but that is how I learn. I learn by going and doing and even if it means learning through hard mistakes, I learn none the less. I would much rather be going somewhere, anywhere, than going no where. Ha!  I started wanting to work in the medical field and now am styling products, editorials and weddings. Go figure.  I first started with this business way back in 2007, when my husband, after he saw me do 17 weddings one summer for free told me I was crazy and needed to start doing weddings as a career. I think he was excited about the possibility of actually making money! With my husband’s kind encouragement to really take my passion for weddings seriously, I went to work interning for a wedding planner in the Washington D.C. area. I worked strictly for an administrative planner with no design involved and while I loved it,  I soon found my creative side was not being fostered. This lead me to work for a florist to cultivate and feed my creative side. In 2009, I officially jumped off the cliff on my own and opened up Fleurish Events which did well on the east coast. In 2013, Veronica Rogers came on board and Kelly Moore followed her shortly in 2014. With three girls now, I changed our name to Type A Society and we started doing event bi-coastally and branded out into things like styling for magazines and commercial campaigns for wedding related products.. Soon after we re branded we started getting a larger audience than we had previously and started to travel internationally for different styling gigs. Hooray! What a year it has been!  I hope to become a well rounded artist one of these days…possibly when I am old and grey and 85 I will sit back and say I have finally “arrived”, but until then I want to soak up everything thing I can possibly learn. I have taken art classes, sewing classes, cooking classes, language classes, photography classes and have a desire to go back to school one day to get a masters in Fine Art. So that’s the long and the short of it!


the refined woman | boss ladies : carrie moe of Type A Society

The dumbest thing I ever did when I was starting out was …
The dumbest mistake I made was saying yes to decorating for a party that involved making 32 topiaries made out of ugly round glass Christmas ornaments, with led battery lights stuck in them. Of course I hated the look of them, and so I left them to the last minute! I didn’t sleep that whole night while I was up making them. The glass kept breaking and the lights kept coming undone and  sticking out all over the place, plus they were top heavy so they kept falling over. It was a mess! My lesson learned from this was never say “yes” to a project that doesn’t match your aesthetic…even if you need the money! Your heart will never be in it and your client won’t be into you by the time it’s all over anyway. Just say no!

If I was an emoji I would be the
the one with the smiley face that is grinning and all. I love how this face shows the “Ahh!! What is happening! I am totally scared poop-less“, but also the  “I’m still really excited about this!”. I would also be the girl with her hand up in the air pumping because, well I high five people a lot. 

My last meal on earth would be
My mom’s good old fashioned chicken and dumplings with all the gluten to make any celiac person end up in the ER, and with enough butter to cause a heart attack from just one bite! They are SO good and I can’t eat them anymore because I am totally allergic to gluten but hey, I will always savor the memories.

I can’t stand when other people
Jaywalk when the crosswalk is not even 20 feet away. I don’t understand why they can’t just use the crosswalk!! Drives me nuts!

Are you more like your mom or dad?
 I am a happy medium of both my mom and dad. My mom is a Type A very organized, canned everything in her pantry, homeschooled us, baked her own bread, sewed our clothes and cut our hair type of gal. If she doesn’t know how to do it, she learns how and does it. My dad was an easy going personality with very laid back vibes. He had the best laugh and sense of humor ever. I still remember him throwing his head back after a good conversation and laughing so hard you could see his gold crowns on his back molars. Yeah…it was the BEST belly laugh ever. I laugh a lot and am very easy going in many ways…I never make my bed, dishes are in my sink often and I like to say no to work sometimes to hang out on the couch with my son and husband. BUT I am very Type A when it comes to details and work..when placing things or combining colors I am totally a snob about what i think looks best. Ha!

Growing up I really wanted to be…a professional model and a nurse. Yum. Those were my little 13 year old dreams right there. Funny how I never did both but certainly work with models a lot and let me tell you,I am very happy being a stylist.

carrie moe | boss ladies

My biggest guilty pleasure is 
coffee and flourless chocolate cake. I have been known to eat flourless chocolate cake for breakfast lunch and dinner and one time I ate the whole cake in a day and a half. Shhhhh…don’t tell anyone!

One thing people don’t know about me … 
I have jumped out of a moving vehicle and did two full cartwheels and lots of spins from the force of me hitting the ground. Oh goodness, what teenagers do sometimes. I walked away with no broken bones and only a small scrap. But yeah, never do it even though it looks fun.

Most likely to
be found in my PJs behind my computer at 12:00 am while I’m gathering inspiration for my next photo shoot.

My spirit animal is a … 
Just to show you how Type A I am…I had to take a test that showed me my spirit animal, which was revealed to me as a tiger. I don’t known if I should be horrified or happy with this? I was hoping to be a peacock or something lovely like a white swan.

Coffee or Tea? 
Coffee, coffee, coffee, and more coffee.

Top of my bucket list is to …
There are so many things! Currently, the top one is to be featured in Vogue!

Night owl or early bird? 
Night owl, most definitely! Come all of you crazy morning people (like my husband) what is go great about waking up before the sun? I see no pleasure in it. The party is always at night people!

The item of clothing that makes me feel like a boss is …
Besides the fact that I work alongside people who wear Chanel and walk around in the latest and greatest my outfits usually are are thrifted. I am a very practical stylist with a budget and I have found some amazing consignment stores in LA and DC that I usually buy all of my clothes for the year in. I walk out with bags and bags since I know it’s my one big shopping spree. My go to outfit is my white Theory waiter dress shirt, my brown Anthropologie heel boots, and my vintage tweed skirt.

Check out more of Carrie’s work over on Type A Society! And follow along with their current adventures on instagram!

All photos c/o Josh Gruetzmacher

See More Boss Ladies!

Outfit : Kat’s Capsule #2 | The Midi

October 27, 2015


After my initial melt down(s) when I did my ‘purge’ I was ready to analyze the things that didn’t work in my wardrobe and figure out what was working.  Something I’ve learned about myself:  I love the idea of pencil skirts.  But the reality is that they are not conducive to my lifestyle.  I got rid of at least 4 pencil skirts in my purge.  I love the way they look.  You instantly look put  together and classy.  But whenever I’d wear them, I’d spend half the day with my skirt crawling up my thighs while constantly twisting my skirt back to the right side.  The slit in the back would always find it’s way to the front.  It was maddening.  Living in a city where I walk an average of 8 miles a day, I realized pencil skirts are not my friends.

Without writing a whole ode to the maxi skirt I’ll just say that floor length skirts in a dirty city aren’t the greatest idea either.

So by finding out what wasn’t working in my wardrobe, I discovered what could work really well.  Enter the midi skirt. (Also enter my first experience shopping at Aritzia…ummmm…I want everything there).

After going through my closet and finding what didn’t work, I made a small list of items that I wanted to invest into for the fall.  A Midi Skirt was one of them.  Not being a person who likes shopping, going into a store with a plan has made my life 1,000 times easier.  I no longer saunter in and out of stores and find myself going home with a bag of things I don’t really love.  I’m a woman on a mission who knows what she’s looking for.  I tried on this skirt at Aritzia, and put 4 separate looks together with it (tank, sweater, chambray button-up, silk cami + cardigan).  After sleeping on it for a few days I went back and purchased it.

Over the last month I’ve worn it multiple times and love it with my old JCrew turtleneck.  It’s perfect for fall, and I’m excited to transition the skirt into the spring and summer as well.

Since I’ve decreased my options significantly and paired my closet down to the things I really love and know look good on my figure it’s made getting ready so much easier.  (A lot less moments where I fall on my bed face first saying “I have nothing to wearrrrrrrr today.”  Instead I have a few great go-to outfits that I know I’ll feel great in! )

Bam.  Capsule #2 for the win y’all!







Photos c/o Em the Gem

OUTFIT : Em’s Capsule #2 | Shop Small

October 21, 2015

As I took a step back and examined my wardrobe for this fall capsule experiment, I started to see trends in not just the silhouettes I was wearing, but in the pieces I wanted to pull out again and again.

I love clothes that make me feel something. Clothes that have a story, a maker, and an artist behind them.

In the course of running this blog I’ve found myself exposed to some pretty rad women behind some extremely amazing labels. I’m proud to wear a bunch of these labels and I get excited every time I get to introduce them to you. Not because any of them are paying me to do so, but truly just because I think they have unique points of view and are creating really quality pieces. I’m trying to slow my fashion down and only own things that make me proud to wear them. It’s not easy, because each piece is an investment, but it’s one I believe in.

The first time I tried on this flowing top from The Podolls, I started swishing around and telling people I just “felt like an artist” (YES, I AM that dorky in real life) … and then I knew I had to buy it. It’s pretty much how I felt when I tried on my wedding dress for the first time … as soon as I put it on I started dancing. Sometimes you just know.

My pants are from a brand I found via instagram recently called Elizabeth Suzann… and now I’m on a mission to own every piece they make. I love how these pants are cut – the wide pockets make them the perfect work pants. I love the durable cotton canvas and I can see myself wearing these when I’m 60, working in my studio in my old farmhouse (hey, I can dream….)

the refined woman | capsule wardrobe

the refined woman | capsule wardrobe

the refined woman | capsule wardrobe

the refined woman | capsule wardrobe

the refined woman | capsule wardrobe

the refined woman | capsule wardrobe

The shoes … well, those I borrowed from Kat. Why don’t we live next door to each other?!

Life is hard.




Get the scoop on the Capsule Wardrobe Here :

The Experiment

The Pieces

Outfit 1