big hat long hair don’t care

January 28, 2015

http://emthegem.com

http://emthegem.com

http://emthegem.com

http://emthegem.com

http://emthegem.com

 

watch by the horse  // gemstone ring by erin jane designs / stacking rings by catbird nyc 

http://emthegem.com

http://emthegem.com

http://emthegem.com

http://emthegem.com

 

photos by josh gruetzmacher

Let’s. DO. This.

January 26, 2015

KatHarris.RealSexintheCity.1 Photo by:  Jessica Burke Hair + MU:  Melissa Hoffman

Today I’m so honored to be featured on Scarlet + Gold Shop’s Inspire Me Monday.  I’m talking about:  creating vision, chasing your dreams, getting specific + making 2015 your breakout year! Read the full article HERE + check out some of my thoughts below.  Love y’all, K

…My vision for myself and for the world is that young women would know their infinite value, worth, and beauty in Christ.  I want to live in a world where women of all ages, sizes, ethnicities, and social backgrounds know that they matter because of whose they are.

My identity, your identity, OUR identity is not defined by our careers, our relationship status, how many instagram followers we do or do not have, or if we finally fit into those pair of jeans that fit us 5 years ago (Lord knows I’d love to fit in those jeans!).  No, my identity is grounded in the reality that I was created by an infinitely creative, imaginative, and good God that loves me, chooses me, wants me, and says I am enough.

(Phew…can you tell this is something I am passionate about?  I’m about to start preachin’ here ladies!)

My vehicles for my vision are my wedding + lifestyle photography business, The Refined Woman, and sharing my story with as many people as I can.

With January being over, 2015 is already in full swing.  I love the New Year, and I love creating some space in my life to step back and reevaluate where I am headed.  Truly I believe this 2015 to be a breakout, breakthrough, and life changing year not only for myself, but for so many of the people in my love that I love and for you too!  The best is yet to come, and it is a new day friends ripe and ready for us to go out!  So Let’s Do This!

Now what are some of my 2015 goals?  Well I’m glad you asked:

(If you have 4 more hours, I could go on, and on, and on, and on, but for times sake I’ll stop here!)

For some people making goals is defeating as we think we can just think up goals, and they’ll magically unfold into our lives.  Or if we just pray about it hard enough, God will drop my edited book in my life, with a speaking contract, and my hot new Jesus lovin’ boyfriend right into my lap.  And here’s the reality, God is able.  He can totally do that, and I pray for that, but what I’m coming to learn is that God is a God of process and he works through our movement and obedience.

If we want to see specific, and big things happen in our lives then we get to live a life that reflects an intentional routine that will lead us to those hopes and desires.  Here are a few things I do:

  • Create a Vision:  Simon Sinek says people buy why you do what you do, not what you do.  Meaning there has to be a deeper sense of purpose in our lives as to why we are doing the things we are doing.  Be clear on that vision, and then from that space create goals that reflect your purpose.  Know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and head there on purpose.  Greatness never happens on accident.
  • Get Specific with your goals:  A huge reason why we don’t attain our goals is because they feel so far away from us, like they’re floating around in outer space.  Don’t just say I want to run a marathon this year, when you haven’t ran more than a mile in the last 5 years.  Sign up for one in 6 months.  Give yourself a deadline, and work your way back week by week, and day by day plan, and get specific:
    • Tuesday by 9:00am:  Research 10 marathon plans + choose one.
    • Wednesday by 5:00p.m. run 2 miles.
    • Wednesday by 7:00p.m. eat well balanced dinner.
    • This may seem tedious, but when we break down our goals into everyday manageable tasks it actually sets us up for attainable success.
    • Do it Afraid.  This year choose to say no to fear.  How many things in your life have you not done because you were scared of the failure, hurting yourself, others, what will people think, do I have what it takes?  Or we want God to make it 100% crystal clear that beyond a shadow of a doubt this is our next step.  Again, God is able, and he can do this, but there is something that happens when we acknowledge the fear of failure that it is there, and then choose not to let it stop us from the visions, dreams, and goals God is inviting us into.

To wrap up, last Fall I hosted my first event at New York Fashion Week for 30 influential designers, bloggers, and leaders in the Fashion Industry.  It was on my heart for the better part of a year, but I was riddled with insecurities about it.

My blog isn’t big enough, who will come, what if no one comes, I’m not “cool” enough to pull something like this off, how am I going to pay for this, and the list went on and on.  The fear was so real, but then I got to a point where I said you know what this is something on my heart that I am passionate about and I am just going to do it; it doesn’t matter if one person comes it just matters that I do this thing that God put on my heart to do.

And you know what?

I did it.

With a ton of prayer, planning, and a community of warrior women in 2.5 weeks we pulled off an amazing event at Fashion Week; it was better than I could have hoped or dreamed of and I did it even though I was scared.  I still get emails from women that attended the event asking when the next one will be (this February at Fashion Week!)

Now looking back I can’t imagine not having done it; it doesn’t even seem scary anymore, but it just took that initial step of faith to just do it!  Yesterday’s ceiling is today’s floor friends!

So ladies we have choice, and power to make movement in our lives, to step out boldly in our faith and in the calls that God has put into our lives.  And guess what?  It’s probably going to be scary, but that’s ok!

Create Your Vision.

Be Specific.

Do it Afraid.

Ladies I truly believe God has plans for our lives that our more epic, creative, imaginative than we could ever hope or dream for.  The invitation awaits.

Let’s.  Do.  This.

I love y’all.

XO,

Kat

 

 

 

Beauty Is…Embracing YOUR Light

January 23, 2015

 

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Photos by:  Kat Harris

Have you ever met somebody, and instantly you knew you were going to be friends?  Last fall I was incredibly blessed to cross paths with Miss Sara ‘Tutti’ de Monte.

Sara is my soul sister.  We’ve danced together, sang together, cried together, snuggled, and I am a continuously challenged to be a more grounded and whole person with the girl in my life.  She lights up the entire New York City with her smile, beautiful soul, and her genuine love for people.

Sara has a passion for women knowing their beauty + one of the ways she expresses that is through her Boudoir Photography….it seemed only fitting then for this installment of Beauty Is that we did a little Boudoir session of our own.

If you don’t know Sara or her work, find her, follow her, and there’s a big chance that you’ll fall in love with her.

I love you Tutti more than you know.  I’m so grateful for your presence in my life + so excited for your journey to unfold!

XO,

Kat

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Embracing Your Light

Through the years as life unfolded, bringing lessons in the form of anecdotes, I slowly discovered my North Star – the light that shines so bright in my heart that it’s impossible to ignore – it’s my personal message of love and truth. It’s the reason I’m here:

I want women across the world to know their value, feel appreciated + spread a message of self-love.

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I’ve been blessed with an insatiable curiosity + desire to connect that makes me talk to strangers on the subway, ask way too many questions to people I’ve just met and spend hours talking to my friends about things you probably wouldn’t spend four minutes on. These are all blessings passed onto me from my darling mother, who hasn’t met a stranger in her life and has taught me that everyone has a story (it always starts like this, with a smile of course, “Where are YOU from?”)

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Indirectly, I’ve become passionate about boudoir photography because of her and the women in my life. Femininity, sexiness, intimacy and beauty are all related in that however you feel about one of those is probably exactly how you feel about all the other things. Is that a fair statement?

Growing up in Puerto Rico, where there’s a tangible passion for women + everything that involves being a woman, gave me a solid base of understanding a healthy relationship with your femininity. This, along with the interactions I witnessed between my father and mother, aunts and uncles, grandmother and grandfather, taught me this: women are beautiful! Their beauty should be celebrated, not only by those around them but it should especially be embraced by women themselves. Once a woman is empowered by her own value, there’s a sudden light that follows her. It’s magnetic and liberating! I’m certain you know exactly what I mean.

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So what does this have to do with embracing my light?

Well, I’ll tell you.

My light, my purpose in life is to spread this message to women, because I want to live in a world where we lift each other up, learn from each other and celebrate each other. Wouldn’t you? Through boudoir photography, I’m able to connect with women on a deeper-yet-natural level, on a level we should interact with each other regardless of whether there’s a camera present or not. I’ve witnessed women seeing their true beauty for the first time, because they’ve finally been given permission to. 

Wait, what?

Yes, you are beautiful. YOU are beautiful. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

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Going through this wildly fun experience is just one way of unleashing your femininity + inner vixen. When you willingly put yourself in this light, magic shines through. I’m a firm believer that letting go of insecurities, doubts and what-ifs will give room for light, love and lots and lots of beauty – the natural kind!

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I’ll leave you with this thought: 

There’s a light inside of you. What’s its splendor revealing? 

Discover it

Embrace it

Unleash it

Once discovered, embraced + unleashed, beauty will surround your journey.

With love,

Tutti

SAY WHAT?!

January 18, 2015

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Yeah dude. It’s a whole new blog!

Thanks for your patience while we get everything locked and loaded.

We are slowly bringing our greatest hits from our old site to here – where it will be easy to find and explore in all of it’s organized beauty thanks to the gals over at blogzilla.

In the meantime all the old stuff is still live here! From this point on we’ll be updating our Tumblr with inspiration and little snippets of life one pic at a time.

With Love,

Em + Kat

An Unexpected Invitation

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Honestly I wasn’t sure what type of guy this was. I’m typically not the type of girl that would just kiss a guy in a bar on a Friday night.  I should rephrase this…in my entire almost 30 years of living I have kissed 2 guys at a bar…so it’s safe to say I basically never do something like this.

Granted he wasn’t a complete stranger. I’d known him for over a month through some friends, and we spent the better part of an entire night talking before we kissed, but still I’ve never been a huge dater and I  don’t really know how this whole dating thing works.

I’ve never “casually dated” in my life. Growing up in the South, I wasn’t allowed to “date” until I was 16, and even then it was few and far between.  I’m a tried and true girl that wants to be in a long term relationship. If I ever tried to date multiple guys at a time I think I’d cry, or make a total mess out of it and call someone the wrong name.

Are we dating?  Or did we just kiss?  Is this supposed to go somewhere, or do I just savor the experience for what it was?  Was it bad that we kissed?  Am I overthinking this?  Oh my gosh, I’m totally overthinking this.

You know what though, for some strange reason I just have this peace about the whole thing.  Like I know whatever happens it is going to be ok, like something inside me is saying trust.  I have this sense that I am going to learn something pretty spectacular through this whole experience.

In all of this, not just my late night Brooklyn man, I’m trying to navigate through what is a pure and holy interaction with a man?  What is me being influenced by a fairly conservative southern Bible Belt upbringing, and at the same time what is me being influenced by a very sexually liberal and quite promiscuous city?

Who is Katherine Harris, the 29 year old single virgin, in the bigger picture of all of this?  Not who should I be?  What does my upbringing say I should be?  Who does culture say I should be?  But who am I?  What do I believe?  How do I want to interact with men?

What is purity?  Does even matter?  Is it possible in 2015?

And where is God in all of this?  Is he shaking his head at me? Disappointed in me for kissing a man that I’m not dating?

How come I don’t feel guilty about any of it?

How come the whole experience felt so beautiful and connecting when it was so outside of what I would consider the Christian dating bubble to be?

It is like I had a taste of something that was very real. I had this strong connection with a great guy, and we both took steps towards the other person, and it was powerful.

And there it is.  The invitation.  What I love about God is how he constantly breaks through the box that I put him.  There is a constant invitation to journey through deeper waters; it’s like he was saying “Hey…I’ve got something for you in this…you up for it?”

Of course I expect to learn something when I’m at church, or when I’m praying, reading, or having a deep conversation with a friend.

What I don’t expect is to make out with a guy, and for God to bring up all these questions about myself that have actually nothing to do with the guy.

So whether or not I ever hear from Him again I’ve decided to appreciate our magical night kissing on the street corner, and keep it as just that.

With Him there was no confusion. No game. No false pretense.

He liked me.

I liked him.

He made movement toward me.

I responded to his movement.

It felt very natural and fluid.

It felt free.  I feel free. Is this how it should feel?

So evidently, I have quite a few questions, but I feel ok with that.  For some reason I feel free in my questions. Free to be completely me.  Free to hope.  I feel liberated, because it doesn’t matter if I ever hear from this guy again.  If I do, it’s great but.  if not, I’m grateful because in our small interactions I have already been given such an invitation to dig deeper into my own life and ask + doubt + learn, and for that I’m incredibly grateful.

XO,

Kat

P.S. Then I heard from him the next day, and he asked me out…

S T A Y  T U N E D …

the new basics

January 17, 2015

the new basics / the refined woman

the new basics // the refined woman

the new basics // the refined woman

the new basics // the refined woman

A New Day

January 15, 2015

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It’s a New Day.

I am that person that gets excited about January 1st, new years resolutions, and new beginnings.  There’s something powerful to me, about a time of year where we reflect on:  what worked in the last 12 months, what didn’t work in the last 12 months, + what do I see for myself + for the world around me in the next year.

With the beginning of a New Year we have this permission to reevaluate.

Each year I pray about a word or phrase to take me into the next 12 months.

Last year my word was R O O T E D.

2013 : T R A N S I T I O N.

2015 is a New Day.

Last year I went through a Leadership Intensive Program for around 6 months.  Through it I learned how much of my life I truly lived out in fear: fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of getting hurt.  It was crippling my vision, my relationships, and my career, but I was so used to living with it that I hardly recognized it was there.  Fear was a constant companion.

Though I actively chase my dreams; it was as though I was running a race with a fractured ankle.  The race was still being run, but not to its full potential.  The only way to be healed is to create time and space to intentionally allow yourself to ‘get better’.

Although this felt like a major interruption into my life, the work, discipline, and intentionality it took for me to create this space and ask myself some really hard questions was infinitely worth it.

And now it is a New Day.

I’m ready.

For love.

To create ripples of lasting changed in our culture and throughout the world.

To really make strides in my career.

To invest deeply into my new church + community.

Without it sounded terribly cheesy, I didn’t realize how much I was weighed down by fear until I released myself from it.  I really feel like I can fly, unburdened and unashamed.

So yes this 2015 is going to be a year that is going to rock my world, and the world of those around me; it’s going to be a turning point year.  I am believing big things for this year.

This is just the beginning…

Kat

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beauty is in the broken places

beauty is in the broken places // the refined woman (photo by elizabeth messina)

I’ve been thinking this morning about my voice. Not the speechbox or the breath in my lungs. But the story I own. The true things I know. And the platform I’ve been graciously given to share those things. On the bad days it’s easy to think “Who am I to share anything with anyone?” … I have very little answers and I will be the first to admit it.

But I have a story, and it is important. And in an age where the witty statuses are plentiful I think we owe it to each other to share this other stuff, the dark stuff. The messy stuff. That stuff brings depth and meaning to the good stuff. I’m starting to sound like that Tim McGraw song now so I had better move on to what I’m actually trying to say.

There is beauty in the broken places, because that’s how we find out we need to be mended, and that’s how we become strong and whole.

Today, I finally have an appointment to see a counselor for Postpartum Anxiety.

I’ve been struggling with this nameless faceless thing for 9 months now. I didn’t even know that’s what it was – Anxiety – until my friend had the courage to tell me to my face that she saw it lurking within me, and that I needed to find a way to call it out of that darkness and into the light.

I just thought I was being overly sensitive to my baby crying – isn’t every mom like that? What isn’t normal apparently is to becoming so completely unhinged that you cannot function at times, cannot sleep for fear she will cry again, cannot work unless she is perfectly at peace.

The most illusive thing is hope when you are dealing with anxiety. Hope that you will ever come out of the fog. But hope there is, and it’s ok if you need to admit that someone out there might be able to help you find it.

The holidays are a wonderful time, but they can be hard times when you are dealing with the kind of stuff that doesn’t fit into a happy status. These can be extra hard times when hard seasons of the soul collide with happy holiday seasons.

I’m not sure how to wrap this up nicely, and I think that might be the point after all. It’s ok to be in progress, it’s ok to be a little broken. Just know that there’s still beauty for you there. You have to look harder but it’s there. And please know that this holiday season there is hope for you. Reach out to someone close to you and ask for help for where to see it. It’s there, I promise. Hold onto it. These seasons will pass for us both, friends.

xo,

Em

cashmere camel and tulle

January 14, 2015

cashmere camel and tulle // the refined woman

cashmere camel and tulle // the refined woman

cashmere camel and tulle // the refined woman

OUTFIT | Strips, Skinnies + Tieks

January 5, 2015

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I got to show my baby girl my hometown this Christmas, and we started with my favorite coffee shop (she wasn’t that impressed with the suit of armor and the worn-in couches) and a sunset at the beach.

Stripes, skinnies + Tieks were the perfect comfy combo. I love this top from Hatch Collection – I still love wearing it even though I’m not pregnant anymore! – and these new favorite skinnies are from AYR. These cranberry colored Tieks added a nice subtle pop of color and bonus they are super comfortable! Which when carrying around a baby is super necessary!

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** This post is in partnership with Stylelist + Tieks. All opinions are our own. Thanks for supporting posts that keep The Refined Woman’s doors open.