The Refined Man

The Refined Man Is…Mentorship

11.15.14

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Juvan Langford is a Refined Man.

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From the first moment I saw Juvan, I knew he was a leader.  Every pore of his body exudes leadership; it is just who he is.  He envisions a world where leaders create other leaders, where older men and women invest into the next generation of world changers.  He is committed to living a life of purpose.

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This is a man that you want to know, because my friends he is going places.  He has a great Youtube Channel called Thought Life, and has many more projects in line to make this world a better place.

Now…say hello to my friend Juvan!

XO,

Kat

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Mentorship saved my life. My maternal grandmother legally adopted me at age 4 and I’ll never forget the day the adoption papers were officially signed. She sat my sister and I down on the couch and told us, “your father is with God in heaven and your mother has gone to get some help and so you’re both staying with me. Grandma is not going anywhere.” Although I had not fully comprehended the significance of that event, I did trust that Grandma was going to be there, no matter what. Interestingly enough, two decades have passed and that is exactly how I would define a mentor, a no matter what.

Mentorship is by far the most undervalued gift one person can give to another. If I were to paint a portrait to further illustrate this idea, the world would be one big room. On one side of the room there would be a large number of young people standing tall, but empty. On the other side you would see wise and seasoned individuals sitting, but filled with information.

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Information is the only thing standing between where someone is right now in his or her life and wherever it is that they desire to be. It’s not that the young people don’t have dreams, goals and visions within them, they certainly do. It’s that the young people are not taking a seat and the wise ones are not taking a stand. It’s fair to say that this is not a problem, it’s the problem.

One of my most memorable mentorship relationships is with a phenomenal man I call, Pops. He was the father of one of my friends who offered me a ride home after football practice in junior high. He was aware of the fact that all was not well with me and offered to take me to hear me out over a bite to eat that evening. That was the most empowering conversation I had ever had with any man. He told me he believed in me, that I was bigger than my circumstances and that he was committed to being there for me, no mater what. Since that day he has not only kept his word but pours into me daily. My relationship with Pops provided me with an innerstanding™ that mentors are not meant to be looked up to for the answers, but looked into for wisdom.

The beauty lies in the fact that we are raised and surrounded by people who are carriers of information. I am certain that without the succession of mentors, who continuously stood for me, I would have entered into a life filled with obstacles. Mentorship is relational currency, an unapologetic exchange of support and resources between two individuals who recognize that the getting in the giving. This is precisely why it is my personal mission is to not only embody mentorship in my personal life, but also create a virtuous cycle of mentors around the globe. Deep and meaningful relationships are a essential, however, I am committed to shedding light on the power of mentorship to the extent that every child grows up with a “no matter what.”

-Juvan

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Photos by me:  Kat Harris

Beauty Is ...

Beauty Is…Shifting | Lauren Scruggs

11.10.14

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Ladies I have the privilege of introducing Miss Lauren Scruggs to the Beauty Is…series.  Lauren is a dear friend, confidant, fellow Beyonce Aficianado, prayer warrior, and holds a beauty that is full of life, depth, and purpose.  Without this gal I probably wouldn’t make it through Fashion Week.  We run around town going to shows together, process life, and order takeout when we should probably be at a party!

I’m incredibly honored to call this amazing woman my friend!  God is using her in powerful ways.  Lauren is changing our culture with a voice of beauty and grace!

XO,

Kat

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A couple of years ago, my life took a big shift. My calendar paused, my career path changed, and my platform increased after a night of injury, or what my subconscious defined as a depletion of beauty. In retrospect, I clearly see how I easily submerged in destructive comparison after this life-altering experience. The thoughts swirled: my life story has its twists and turns; my career path looks different than my friend who works a 9-5; my passions are rearranging and not set in stone.

I quickly came to realize that comparison is equivalent to worry; it only severely hinders and limits fruition. Plus, if we really think about it, wouldn’t life be boring if we were all the same?

Beauty makes you bloom. In essence, it is freedom to be you.

Being confident in the fact that God purposely put specific passions in your heart is what makes you beautiful. Think about it:You have been through the struggle, through the most joyous days, and through the unknown for a brilliant reason. They each fabricate who you are and how you grow; they form a deeper compassion for others, greater patience through times of waiting, and clearer awareness of true contentment. They bring you to know that the valley produces some of the greatest realization, which results in genuine appreciation for love and life.

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Beauty makes the mindless worries disintegrate; it makes each moment worth living. It allows you to celebrate who God has made you to be while emboldening who God has made others to be. It makes diversity attractive. It depletes jealousy. It makes us real.
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Beauty is acknowledging your self-worth, purpose, and passion without reservation. It is opening your eyes to the vastness of someone’s heart. It pushes you to boldly run down the road set before you without fear because a bump in the road or a jolly journey will only result in the fullness of who you are.

XO,

Lo

Photos by me:  Kat Harris

The Refined Man

The Refined Man Is…Wild at Heart

11.09.14

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“Adventure is not outside man; it is within.” —George Eliot

Frederick Castleberry is a Refined Man.

He is an editorial photographer, designer, and curator of the acclaimed blog Unabashedly Prep.  His impeccable style and attention to detail in his work sets him apart from his cohorts.

Much to my surprise when I moved to Brooklyn we ended up being neighbors, and let me tell you one thing about this guy:  I have never seen him quite come alive the way he does when he is about to take a risk, an adventure, or journey into the unknown.

Fred has become a dear friend and mentor, and I am so excited to have him contribute to The Refined Man.

XO,

Kat

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Boys are wild.

Dangerous.

Free.

Dreamers.

Explorers.

Fighters.

More creature than child, boys are untamed.

Every man was once a boy. To carry this adventurous spirit into manhood is of utmost importance. Sadly, today, that insatiable longing to explore is largely but a relic of childhood for many men. The adventurer is the child who survived. He is unapologetically wild at heart. He seeks adventure. Takes risks. Embraces spontaneity. In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge shrewdly notes, “Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.”

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How a man seeks his adventure is how he lives his purpose.

How he lives his purpose is how he pursues his woman

How he pursues his woman is how he loves his children.

How he loves his children is how he loves his neighbor.

How he loves his neighbor is how he loves his God.

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There are two types of men in this world: those who love what they do and those who don’t.  Those who have found something to fight for and those who haven’t. The former are men who go on to great achievements, lead extraordinary lives, and love deeply. They have explored the depths of their hearts, discovered their (present) purpose in this world, and pursue it with reckless abandon.

The latter are confused, timid, drifting aimlessly. They are lost boys—succumbing to a culture that would prefer we be docile, well behaved…good boys. How do we as men reconnect with that wildness? We must look within. What did you love to do as a child? What would you do right now even if you weren’t paid? What turns you on inside? Fight for that.

The refined man not only needs adventure, he seeks it. When was the last time you climbed a frozen waterfall? Slept under the stars? Or crossed an ocean? The passion for adventure is at the core of a man’s spirit. That feeling you get after watching Gladiator (probably my favorite movie of all time)—that’s your wild heart yearning for danger, risk, adventure. Get out there. There is no more dire place in our society today to parade this wild heart than in the pursuit of a woman. Women are designed to be pursued, wooed, to be caught up. No woman wakes up saying, “God, I hope I don’t get swept off my feet today!” They long to be swept up into an adventure. And you get one chance to make a first impression—and I’ve witnessed it squandered so often over a cup of coffee…or a drink.

Plan something outrageous and memorable, or fun, or active. Anything but a meeting that resembles a job interview. I like to know right out of the gate if I can laugh with a woman. Remember, if this girl is as amazing as you hope she is, she’s been on more first dates than Drew Barrymore—make this memorable for her (hint: women love surprises). Lead with a gripping opening to your story with her!

The refined woman creates the space for the wild at heart…spontaneity…and the unknown to invade. It is incredible what transpires within relationships when a man is given the freedom to be a man. To be unapologetically wild. What results is a beautiful encounter between the masculine and feminine.

Every man is an adventurer inside. But the choice to live one is his own.

Frederick Castleberry

Photos by me:  Kat Harris