Kat SmithWriter & Founder of Everything She KnowsSan Francisco, CAStory and Photos by Lauri Levenfeld
I absolutely love featuring young women taking on the world and Kat Smith of Everything She Knows is no exception. In the last year of her 20’s decade, Kat has decided to take on the likes of this ultra crazy decade providing candid, real and intimate stories of women around the globe reflecting on this time in their lives and sharing their wisdom and experiences. By taking this important conversation live, Smith has created a powerful forum where women are integrated into one another’s lives. Everything She Knows is establishing a community amongst the generations to learn, grow and love one another. Kat reminds us all that we are never alone and support is always within our reach.
And being on the other side of my 20’s (okay 30’s!), it is a kick and a reminder reading all these incredibly honest stories that there is a light when there is suffering. And it is this light that makes us each more beautiful, wiser, and stronger. I feel extremely honored today to contribute my own story to this deeply profound site. After you have finished Kat’s story below, bring your morning coffee along to see me and all the other dynamic women featured by this captivating prodigy!
Congrats on your new blog, tell us who you are and about Everything She Knows?
My name is Kat and I am a writer living in San Francisco. Over the last three years I have run a humor blog and a fashion blog and, while these two outlets were incredibly rewarding, I was looking for a new and interesting way to connect to women.
With Everything She Knows, I am simply a catalyst for the stories of others. I took a look at the deep and meaningful connections I have with my girlfriends and tried to find a way to bring that sincerity and candidness to a digital medium.
1. How did you decide to focus on women and their 20’s?
Asking women to reflect on their 20’s was the initial prompt for this series. I am nearing my last year as a 20-something and I thought it might be fun to reach out to some friends to share their 20’s stories through writing. I don’t know if anything or anyone can prepare you for what you experience during this part of your life.
You are asked to figure out what you want to do with your life, secure a job in that field, support yourself, find true love, locate your ‘tribe’, keep yourself sane, do your own laundry and, somehow, try to find a way to nourish your body, mind and soul all at the same time. Whew! I am exhausted just typing this. I think that we can learn so much from this part of our lives and we can learn so much from the experiences of others too.
2. Is there a specific story that led you here?
Since I made the conscious decision to pursue writing in 2013, I have been searching for ways to connect with other women in a meaningful way. As much as I love to hear myself talk (or read myself write), it always felt very one-sided and somehow closed off from the diverse realities of the women I was hoping to reach.
I tried to look back at my most meaningful relationships and figure out what the ‘special sauce’ was. The common thread of all of my deeply rewarding relationships is the ability to speak candidly and honestly with one another. To share our deepest, darkest stories, secrets and dreams. This is where the good stuff is. This is the kind of community I am trying to build.
Just the other night, I was having dinner with some girlfriends and we started talking about the many masks we wear as women, adults and lovers.
We realized that sometimes we don’t even know we are wearing them until someone gives us a safe place to take them off. Through Everything She Knows, I am hoping to build the trust of women and give them a place to ‘hang their masks at the door’ and be real with one another.
3. What type of inspiration and influence do you seek and aspire to get from the conversation you are beginning?
What I really want women to take away from the stories on ESK is this: You are not alone.
It’s hard enough to handle the challenges that life throws at us without feeling like we are alone in our efforts. Sometimes there is nothing more comforting than hearing or reading about someone who has gone through what you’re going through and survived.
4. As a lady on the brink of 30, where do you see yourself in five years? And what will you leave behind?
I wish I was the kind of person with a 5 year plan. I guess I have a general idea of where and who I want to be in five years…
Some of the things I hope to leave behind are doubt, comparison and the fear of failing. Slowly, I am trying to embrace failure as a means for growth. It’s hard to undo the stigma that comes with it but I am working on it!
5. Now let’s talk about the fun part of being 20, what are some of your best to do/places you love, designers you go to, things you spend time on?
My favorite part of my 20’s has been trying new things. I have tried fashion design, jewelry design, floral arranging, journalism, blogging, photography, wedding planning, personal shopping and many more! If I had to go back and do it all again, I would have allowed myself to enjoy these experiences a little more instead of trying to force them into careers.
I could go on and on about fashion but here is a consolidated list of some of my faves. For the girl on a budget, I love Topshop, Asos, Cris Consignment (San Francisco), Nordstrom Rack, Mango. And for the occasional splurge, my best list- Kate Spade, Rebecca Taylor, Ted Baker and James Perse.
In San Francisco, I am never short on things to do. I love Golden Gate Park, more specifically, the gorgeous lawn in front of the Conservatory of Flowers and the De Young Museum is a must-see. Hayes Valley is one of my favorite shopping districts, I can’t go without stopping in to shop at Azalea and Amour Vert. In the Fillmore District, its a must eat at at State Bird Provisions (yum!). And last on Divisadero to see a show at The Independent, toast and coffee at The Mill, and late night drinks at Nopa
6. Name five iconic women in their 20’s who inspire you?
– Lena Dunham – talk about an honest chic!
– Kellee Khalil – she’s 30, but I am consistently inspired by her poise and fearlessness
– Taylor Swift – I know, I know… I would totally be a part of her Girl Group
– Jaclyn Johnson – This girl is incredible. Everything she touches turns to gold!
– Emily Weiss – Real, brilliant and beautiful
7. What was your biggest a-ha moment of your 20’s?
The realization that I thrive with structure! For the longest time I thought I was (or was hoping I was) a free-spirited, schedule-slashing girl about town. It has taken me a long time to realize that I do my best work when I have a defined schedule and am working with a team. With too much idle time, I bounce around from project to project and never get anything done!
For example, when I was unemployed, I wrote an occasional blog post here and there. When I became employed, I was blogging 2-4 times per week! Having other commitments forces me to be smart about my time and get more done. This is a revelation that I am really excited to take into my 30’s!
8. If you could sum up the 20’s decade in three words, what would they be?
Who are you?