Outfit : Our Final Capsule | Jeans + White Tees

December 15, 2015


Part of me didn’t want to do this outfit, because it feels redundant.  But it’s real.  The reality is I wear this exact outfit all. the. time.  Year round.  Whether with boyfriend jeans, or my black leather pants, I just feel good in a blousy button-up.  As I continue the Capsule experiment, you can be sure that some form of a white shirt + denim will be involved each season.

I’m tired of trying to keep up with the latest trend, and more into just feeling good and comfy and feminine.  And this makes me feel all of those things.





Isn’t it crazy how different a white button up and jeans can feel? I like seeing how Kat and I did the same concept so differently.






Taylor Swift Syndrome

December 9, 2015

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Taylor Swift Syndrome.

a.k.a the time I realized that what I put on the Internet can be read by anyone in the whole world (particularly the one person I hope will never find it).

I realize this is a basic assumption most people have about the Web.  We’ve all heard it.  Nothing on the Internet is in pencil.  It’s chiseled into a stone tablet, never to ever be erased for the rest of humanity.

I know this.  But the reality of it didn’t sink in.

Until I started online dating.

We’ve been running the blog for three years now, and I typically assume the only people who read my blog are my mom, sisters, Em, and my cousins.  I didn’t really think about whether strangers read my blog until I started online dating.

I know people in other parts of the country have different thoughts about online dating. In Texas it’s almost embarrassing to be online dating — on par with leaving your house in your workout clothes with no make-up (shameful behavior for a Southern woman).  But in New York it’s simply an extra curricular activity.  If you’re single and not online dating it’s considered a bit weird.

Though I’m not currently on any dating sites, I’ve tried almost all of them: E-harmony, Match.com, OK Cupid, Hinge, and even Coffee Meets Bagel.  The only one I haven’t tried is Tinder, athough I have a friend who met her amazing boyfriend on the app.

The first time I experienced what I have now deemed a case of Taylor Swift Syndrome it went like this:

I got a notification that I had a message on my match.com profile.  Score.  Getting messages is hard.  A lot of people will ‘like’ your profile or ‘wink’ or ‘tap’ or whatever, but rarely do guys send an actual message.  When a girl gets a message notification she drops what she’s doing and checks it.

I open the message and it’s a few paragraphs long (impressive… this guy must be looking for something long term).  Second paragraph in he says, “I hate to pry but just wanted to know if you’re still dating the pizza and wine guy.”  Double take.  What?  He was referring to a recent blog post.  But how in the WORLD did he know I had a blog?  And he didn’t just go the site, he must have read multiple posts to get to that one.  I felt violated.  He seemed normal enough though, so I responded to his questions and told him “no, we’re not still dating.”

But I had to ask, “How did you find my blog?’

His response:  “I Google imaged you and your blog came up… so I read it.”

Homeboy was doing his recon.  I’m not sure why this was a shock to me. My blog is live for the world, and it is on the Internet.

I hoped that would be the only incident, but during my 6 months of online dating, regardless of the dating site, men kept finding my blog and seemed particularly interested in my Sexless in the City series.  One guy even started his email with a quote from my Ghosting article, and then said, “I’d never do that to you… so uncool.”

After the 6th time it happened it finally hit me:  nothing I put on the Internet is private.  And I have to be ok with anyone — friends, family, strangers, guys I’m dating, guys I’m not dating, and exes — reading what I put on the blog.

Message received, Internet.  I hear you LOUD and CLEAR.

Part of this reality makes me want to scale back what I put on this blog.  It feels so much more vulnerable knowing that strangers and potential boyfriends, and really just anyone can read this (again this should be obvious to me as I have put this on the internet).  But it also makes me come back to the why behind this series.  The impact of it feels deeper and more vulnerable to me now.  And it may affect my dating life.  But I do think it’s important to be apart of a conversation in our culture full of hooking up and ‘ghosting’ and one night stands that offers a different perspective.

This is when I realized I have a very similar problem as Taylor Swift.  You know how whenever Taylor Swift dates someone she ends up writing about them?  From Joe Jonas to John Mayer to the multitudes in-between.  She’s a heart on her sleeve type of woman, and she may get slack for it.  But I applaud for it.  After much research I’ve decided for those of us who put our thoughts on the internet for the world to see there’s and certain people we date will be apart of our writings there’s a condition.  I call it : Taylor Swift Syndrome.  And I’m self-diagnosed.  (Yes, I made this up.  But it feels fitting).  So let this act as a public service announcement to any man reading my blog:

  • First, I think it’s cool that you’re reading my blog.  My audience is mostly women, and it’s great that you’re supporting me. Leave a comment and let me know if there’s anything you want to hear about from a girl’s perspective.
  • Secondly, if I’m writing about a dating experience it’s not in real time.  I think it’s important to not react in the moment.  If you happen to become a subject, I will let you know.
  • Finally, if we do date… or even if we don’t and I just like you and have a crush on you I’ll probably Taylor Swift you a.k.a. write about you.  But don’t worry.  I’ll never identity you and call you Nam (instead of Sam) who lives in Wooklyn (instead of Brooklyn).  I’ll keep your identity private. Unless of course we fall in love and you ask me to marry you and we take engagement photos.  Then I’ll put them all over the Internet.  So get ready.



Outfit : Kat’s Capsule #5 | The Silk Tank

December 8, 2015


I turned 30 this summer, and I’m truly discovering who the ‘real me’ is, or to be cliche:  my authentic self.  Not the person I want to be, or think I should be, but the person I’m created to be.  The person I already am.  My scale has gotten dusty as I have become less and less aware of the number on it, and more and more interested in honoring my body through yoga and being healthy.  As different situations have come up this year I’ve learned I have a lot more room to grown in the ‘people pleasing’ department.  I’m learning it’s ok to disappoint others; it happens.  We’re humans, and we can’t please everyone.  And I’ll live a life in bondage to others if I go around trying to do and be everything for everyone.  I’m discovering the power of saying no, and the power of  not letting my career or relationships run me.  I’m learning that to be the most creative and connected me, I get to take time to be alone with God everyday.  I get to work out everyday too.  My net has become smaller.  The amount of things I can accomplish in a day has decreased.  And in it all, I’m seeing an invitation to get rid of the clutter, and noises in  my life to be.  And be fully the woman God created me to be.

So what in the world does this have to do with my Capsule post this week?  Everything really.  A few years ago I would have never worn a fitted skirt (even if it’s ankle length).  But as I’ve grown to love myself more I’ve grown to love my strong legs more.  They’re less an insecurity and more a constant reminder to be grateful for my strong quads, hamstrings, and booty that allow to me to practice yoga, photograph people, and run up and down a gazillion flights of stairs a day (a.k.a. basic living in NYC).  They remind me that I’m a woman.  I’m not wearing the skirt to show off my body, but because I now feel comfortable in my body and the fact that I am woman.  Second, this whole process has been about me decluttering my life.  I put pressure on myself as a blogger and a woman in the fashion industry to stay on top of trends.  I love clothes.  I love new things.  But I can’t afford new things all the time.  And I am enough and fine right now.  My clothes don’t dictate my worth.  But I want to feel good in them.

And in this outfit I feel good.  I feel like a woman.  I feel beautiful.  And with 75% of my clothes given to Goodwill this fall my closet is pretty sparse.  But it’s full of pieces that I feel good and beautiful in.





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All Natural Skincare : I Went There

December 3, 2015


A while ago I shot some photos for the Glitter Guide for Tata Harper and my friend Taylor told me how their products have changed her skin.

I’m skeptical when it comes to beauty products and am especially wary of the all-natural craze. I have a long way to go in terms of eliminating chemicals in my life, mainly because I’m busy and it tends to take a back seat to everything else.


As I get older, I’m trying to find ways to incorporate rituals that improve my life. I need things that slow me down and make me happy. As a mom and a business owner I spend most of my day focused on either my daughter or my clients. I have started to see the texture of my skin change, and not for the better.

I bought a sampler pack of Tata Harper products, and I will be honest, I didn’t want to be convinced. But the FIRST time I washed my face, my skin instantly felt smoother.

Now after purchasing and trying almost all of them, I’m completely sold. I feel good knowing that I’m putting natural ingredients on my skin every morning and night. The smell is heavenly and I find such a simple pleasure in washing my face now. It’s a weird and wonderful thing.


My current obsession is the Beautifying Face Oil. It’s such an indulgence as the weather is getting colder. Bonus feature: it smells like an incredible blooming garden. So I just close my eyes and imagine I’m there. And there’s no going back now. All natural is the way to go.



P.S.  We’re doing a giveaway on instagram today for Tata’s Best in Glow collection!  Check it out here for more information!  For everyone Tata Harper is giving our reads a Friends & Family discount of 15% off site wide with the code: FF2015 !!! Woop!

*This beautifying facial oil was provided c/o Tata Harper but I have purchased and own almost the whole Tata Harper line. All opinions expressed are my own. Thanks for supporting posts that keep The Refined Woman’s doors open.

OUTFIT : Em’s Capsule #5 | Something Different

December 1, 2015


With all the basic and simple things I have in my capsule wardrobe, I have to spice it up sometimes. It’s nice to have one unique piece I can throw on without much fuss.

The Monk Dress from Stylesaint is my favorite fun piece in my capsule. I like how it looks with a short slip underneath for an elegant date night, but my favorite way to wear it is over ripped jeans and a tank.

It’s nice to have something like this when I am running out the door and need something exciting. And let’s face it, I am always running out the door. And always late. Fashionably.






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Beauty is… Gratitude

November 26, 2015

Gratitude for…

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Waking up in my white, light-filled room with 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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