For the better part of ten years, Elva Fields was my life.  It was everything.  Though I wince a bit at admitting this (and sometimes, often, feel ashamed to say it) it came first in the priority list, ahead of a husband, two very tiny children, housework, board meetings, friends, family, and all other elements of what appeared to most to be a happy, full, successful life.
Photo shoots, product launches, press tours, interviews, trunk shows, boutique openings, collaborations, fashion shows, buying trips…it was all so glamorous, or certainly seemed to be.  People—strangers and friends alike—were so excited about seeing Elva Fields in the latest magazines. “You’re so famous!” “You’re doing so well!” they’d exclaim. 
And so much of it was exactly what I’d always dreamed for Elva Fields—the reason I’d pushed myself so hard, poured my heart, mind, soul—everything in to , spending endless hours in the studio…it sustained and drove me.  In a dedication and outpouring of energy I’d never offered anyone or anything else, Elva Fields became a bigger success than I ever imagined or envisioned.  It also became something else I had not foreseen—a refuge and an outlet. 
Where my marriage and my home failed me, left me feeling unbearably lonely and disappointed, Elva Fields brought purpose, achievement, identity and fulfillment.  I wasn’t great at being a wife or a mother (or so I thought) but I was really good at Elva Fields.  I was recognized and rewarded for my hard work and effort in ways I never was in other parts of my life, so I gave it my all in return.  You feed the beast that serves you, that you can control, that makes you feel best, I suppose.
Just as Elva Fields reached a high point—our biggest year yet—with features in major publications, record sales, and a move to a much larger studio, hiring new assistants to meet demands of growth, my personal life was falling apart, nearing an all-time low.  
And now, a year into this life-altering process, I find myself looking to Elva Fields for the support, security, and motivation it provided so plentifully in the past…and I’m coming up empty-handed.  In fact, the studio that served as my safe-haven for so long is now a dreaded destination on many days, a reminder of projects unfinished, emails awaiting reply, accounts not balanced, projections not met, and countless other things un-achieved lately. 
Perhaps it’s a matter of attitude and perspective rather than an accurate reflection of the state of things.  I was speaking to a group of women recently about Elva Fields and the story of how the business came to be, and one remarked, “Oh my daughter would kill to do what you do.  She would LOVE to have your job.” Another said,”How wonderful to make a living doing what you love.”  Still another noted,”It’s amazing to see and hear how a dream can become reality.” Upon hearing these things, I was stunned and silent.  It’s been so long since I’ve stopped to think about this journey—the long road to here.  I should be infinitely grateful for the opportunity to have a business like this—to create and share my passion with the world at large.  To grow the Elva Fields brand and share our story and products every day.  But, the truth is, this past year has changed everything about my life so much that I’ve completely failed to recognize or acknowledge its worth and meaning…and in many ways Elva Fields has lost a little of both for me in the process.
It doesn’t serve the purpose it did before, so not only do I no longer need it in that way (now that my life is more of a fully-lived one with joy and fulfillment elsewhere) but I also don’t know how to run, relate to, or operate this business in this new framework.  I realize I am in transition, and because Elva Fields is so personal to me—made up of so much of me and who I am—it is also in transition with me and waiting for new direction and purpose to slowly materialize.  
Things for me take their own kind of time, and I’m learning to be patient as circumstances align themselves, allowing some room for it all to shift and settle, keeping an open heart and mind about the possibilities and setbacks, ultimately allowing the next chapter to unfold so that I might arrive at a place of peace and understanding about where I may be headed next.  With any luck, Elva Fields will be a reflection of this new version of myself—different, but more experienced, deepened, solid, anchored, joyful, and hopeful.  We shall see…stay tuned.

For the better part of ten years, Elva Fields was my life.  It was everything.  Though I wince a bit at admitting this (and sometimes, often, feel ashamed to say it) it came first in the priority list, ahead of a husband, two very tiny children, housework, board meetings, friends, family, and all other elements of what appeared to most to be a happy, full, successful life.

Photo shoots, product launches, press tours, interviews, trunk shows, boutique openings, collaborations, fashion shows, buying trips…it was all so glamorous, or certainly seemed to be.  People—strangers and friends alike—were so excited about seeing Elva Fields in the latest magazines. “You’re so famous!” “You’re doing so well!” they’d exclaim. 

And so much of it was exactly what I’d always dreamed for Elva Fields—the reason I’d pushed myself so hard, poured my heart, mind, soul—everything in to , spending endless hours in the studio…it sustained and drove me.  In a dedication and outpouring of energy I’d never offered anyone or anything else, Elva Fields became a bigger success than I ever imagined or envisioned.  It also became something else I had not foreseen—a refuge and an outlet. 

Where my marriage and my home failed me, left me feeling unbearably lonely and disappointed, Elva Fields brought purpose, achievement, identity and fulfillment.  I wasn’t great at being a wife or a mother (or so I thought) but I was really good at Elva Fields.  I was recognized and rewarded for my hard work and effort in ways I never was in other parts of my life, so I gave it my all in return.  You feed the beast that serves you, that you can control, that makes you feel best, I suppose.

Just as Elva Fields reached a high point—our biggest year yet—with features in major publications, record sales, and a move to a much larger studio, hiring new assistants to meet demands of growth, my personal life was falling apart, nearing an all-time low. 

And now, a year into this life-altering process, I find myself looking to Elva Fields for the support, security, and motivation it provided so plentifully in the past…and I’m coming up empty-handed.  In fact, the studio that served as my safe-haven for so long is now a dreaded destination on many days, a reminder of projects unfinished, emails awaiting reply, accounts not balanced, projections not met, and countless other things un-achieved lately. 

Perhaps it’s a matter of attitude and perspective rather than an accurate reflection of the state of things.  I was speaking to a group of women recently about Elva Fields and the story of how the business came to be, and one remarked, “Oh my daughter would kill to do what you do.  She would LOVE to have your job.” Another said,”How wonderful to make a living doing what you love.”  Still another noted,”It’s amazing to see and hear how a dream can become reality.” Upon hearing these things, I was stunned and silent.  It’s been so long since I’ve stopped to think about this journey—the long road to here.  I should be infinitely grateful for the opportunity to have a business like this—to create and share my passion with the world at large.  To grow the Elva Fields brand and share our story and products every day.  But, the truth is, this past year has changed everything about my life so much that I’ve completely failed to recognize or acknowledge its worth and meaning…and in many ways Elva Fields has lost a little of both for me in the process.

It doesn’t serve the purpose it did before, so not only do I no longer need it in that way (now that my life is more of a fully-lived one with joy and fulfillment elsewhere) but I also don’t know how to run, relate to, or operate this business in this new framework.  I realize I am in transition, and because Elva Fields is so personal to me—made up of so much of me and who I am—it is also in transition with me and waiting for new direction and purpose to slowly materialize.  

Things for me take their own kind of time, and I’m learning to be patient as circumstances align themselves, allowing some room for it all to shift and settle, keeping an open heart and mind about the possibilities and setbacks, ultimately allowing the next chapter to unfold so that I might arrive at a place of peace and understanding about where I may be headed next.  With any luck, Elva Fields will be a reflection of this new version of myself—different, but more experienced, deepened, solid, anchored, joyful, and hopeful.  We shall see…stay tuned.

The Summer Collection theme is “Life’s A Beach”…and I couldn’t help but draw inspiration from my family’s favorite place in south Florida.  My great-grandparents (Elva Fields herself!) started wintering in Delray Beach in the late 1940s, and my family has had a seaside spot in the sunshine ever since. 

I grew up spending stretches of time in Delray from the time I was in the womb, as did my mother before me—my grandmother even started her adventures at the beach as a newlywed with my grandfather—and I now bring my daughters several times throughout the year to continue the tradition. 

It is a place that holds many cherished memories for me and a home away from home that has faithfully provided joy, peace, and comfort during so many stages and seasons of my life these past 35-ish years. 

The Collection’s photo shoot shows off some snippets of our family’s spot at the beach that became bold backdrops for the jewelry—from my grandmother’s striped 1960s Tiki-style caftan and the beach towels we’ve used (and used and used) since my toddler years, to the tile lining the balcony floor and the striped cushions of the patio furniture—even our growing shell collection and dining room chair cushions found their way into the photos. 

I realize that these bits and pieces of my memories mean much more to me than they might to my customers. Then again, Elva Fields is such a personal, meaningful brand and business, and the great-grandmother who inspired this company loved Delray as much as I do, so this collection is a fitting tribute to her and to my family, in the hopes that we all might appreciate the memories a place can provide, a spot that brings serenity, and the importance of tradition and continuity. 

_________

*I’m writing this from Delray now…here for two weeks with my little ladies…and I won’t soon forget what a sweet and magical time this is.  Look for more updates from our beach adventures on Instagram—#elvaadventures.  I’d love to have you along for the fun!

A few things lately:
The CEO of G.E. France is essentially a badass in my book…check out what she wore to meet with President Hollande to discuss a multi-billion dollar business deal.  Awesome.
I’m a fan of street photography.  I’m a fan of horse racing.  I’m a fan of Kentucky.  Blend them together, and here’s what you’ve got…and I’m a fan of the results.
Though I’m sure the Fashion Police would vote otherwise, I fell in love with this red-carpet look for the Met Gala on Monday.  Valentino, pixie cut, Pop-Art inspired at the museum? Perfection.
This podcast featuring one of our former Leading Ladies was fun to listen to in the studio this week…we’ll be tuning in again for sure.
A sweet, insightful, and encouraging article about raising an independent, happy daughter…hoping I’m on my way to doing that x 2.
Swooning for this shirt with the best attitude ever.  (And, as we all know, everything sounds better in French anyway.)
If you don’t put bleu-cheese-stuffed olives in your Bloody Mary, you should.  Nothing short of delightful.
And now back to jewelry…

A few things lately:

  • The CEO of G.E. France is essentially a badass in my book…check out what she wore to meet with President Hollande to discuss a multi-billion dollar business deal.  Awesome.
  • I’m a fan of street photography.  I’m a fan of horse racing.  I’m a fan of Kentucky.  Blend them together, and here’s what you’ve got…and I’m a fan of the results.
  • Though I’m sure the Fashion Police would vote otherwise, I fell in love with this red-carpet look for the Met Gala on Monday.  Valentino, pixie cut, Pop-Art inspired at the museum? Perfection.
  • This podcast featuring one of our former Leading Ladies was fun to listen to in the studio this week…we’ll be tuning in again for sure.
  • A sweet, insightful, and encouraging article about raising an independent, happy daughter…hoping I’m on my way to doing that x 2.
  • Swooning for this shirt with the best attitude ever.  (And, as we all know, everything sounds better in French anyway.)
  • If you don’t put bleu-cheese-stuffed olives in your Bloody Mary, you should.  Nothing short of delightful.

And now back to jewelry…

Things I learned from my little ladies this weekend:

— Beauty can be gathered anywhere…sometimes best from your own backyard.

— It’s not necessarily how high you go, but how much you enjoy the ride that matters most.

A few things lately:
This song turned a tired, gray-morning drive to the studio into an instant wake-up-and-enjoy-the-ride kinda morning.

I swear I have 14 of these…and keep adding more colors to the collection.  Apparently my new uniform of sorts with skinnies and jackets/cardigans.

Avocado toast.  I’ve loved it for years, but have been on a streak lately…simple and straightforward for breakfast on-the-go or otherwise.  Just like it sounds—mash up half an avocado on a piece of toast (I have a ritual in how I prep the avocado for smashing, but I’ll spare you the details.  Feel free to email if you’re dying to know.) and then drizzle honey atop.  For a savory version (not really my style, but go for it) opt for sliced tomatoes, salt, pepper, and maybe even some shredded cheese.  Yeah, honey is way better.

A little bit (a lot) envious of Heather Clawson’s (of Habitually Chic) recent visit to a favorite designer’s atelier.  And dying over the prints used in the latest collection.

Bubble baths.  Used to detest them…now I can’t get enough.  When I don’t steal my daughters’ soaps for scrub-a-dubbing, this is my go-to (heavenly scent) and this is a close second, a family favorite passed down from my great-grandmother.
Happy weekend!

A few things lately:

  • This song turned a tired, gray-morning drive to the studio into an instant wake-up-and-enjoy-the-ride kinda morning.
  • I swear I have 14 of these…and keep adding more colors to the collection.  Apparently my new uniform of sorts with skinnies and jackets/cardigans.

  • Avocado toast.  I’ve loved it for years, but have been on a streak lately…simple and straightforward for breakfast on-the-go or otherwise.  Just like it sounds—mash up half an avocado on a piece of toast (I have a ritual in how I prep the avocado for smashing, but I’ll spare you the details.  Feel free to email if you’re dying to know.) and then drizzle honey atop.  For a savory version (not really my style, but go for it) opt for sliced tomatoes, salt, pepper, and maybe even some shredded cheese.  Yeah, honey is way better.
  • A little bit (a lot) envious of Heather Clawson’s (of Habitually Chic) recent visit to a favorite designer’s atelier.  And dying over the prints used in the latest collection.

  • Bubble baths.  Used to detest them…now I can’t get enough.  When I don’t steal my daughters’ soaps for scrub-a-dubbing, this is my go-to (heavenly scent) and this is a close second, a family favorite passed down from my great-grandmother.

Happy weekend!

hllwdhrts
It is no coincidence that the word “enjoy” starts with the sound “in.”  One must be all in to feel joy—to experience it, know it, live it.  Fully present in the moment, engaged completely in and entirely mindful of what is all around you, wholeheartedly invested in this life.  

There is no partial-ness, no one-foot-in-one-foot-out, no hesitation, no halfway, no maybe, no kinda-sorta, no trial run, no wait and see, no wavering, no distraction, no toe-dipping.  One must be immersed, jumping in with both feet, plunging to the depths with all one’s heart, soul, mind, body, and spirit.  No holding back anything-even the parts one may not be so keen to show—offering one’s true, authentic self in full.  For it is once every last drop is poured in to the moment that one is most filled with boundless, beautiful joy.  A life in joy.  A life to enjoy.

It is no coincidence that the word “enjoy” starts with the sound “in.” One must be all in to feel joy—to experience it, know it, live it. Fully present in the moment, engaged completely in and entirely mindful of what is all around you, wholeheartedly invested in this life.

There is no partial-ness, no one-foot-in-one-foot-out, no hesitation, no halfway, no maybe, no kinda-sorta, no trial run, no wait and see, no wavering, no distraction, no toe-dipping. One must be immersed, jumping in with both feet, plunging to the depths with all one’s heart, soul, mind, body, and spirit. No holding back anything-even the parts one may not be so keen to show—offering one’s true, authentic self in full. For it is once every last drop is poured in to the moment that one is most filled with boundless, beautiful joy. A life in joy. A life to enjoy.

To my Hollins Sisters [of the Alumnae Board]—

It’s almost as though a lifetime could fit into the past four years—births, sicknesses, successes, struggles, celebrations, absences, loss, uncertainty, renewal, endings, and beginnings.  You’ve seen me at my worst and my near-best and all in-between.  I arrived for our first gathering those years ago so excited but equally unsure—a recognition of the accomplished, amazing women who would also be part of our group, wondering what exactly I might be able to contribute.  Who was I to be on this board?  What did I bring to the table that a million others couldn’t even more adeptly?  

How short-sighted of me amongst a group of big-picture visionaries like you.  

You have been a touchstone for me.  Certainly in the place herself—protected and so gently surrounded by mountains, the campus settled serenely in a breathtaking valley, its geometric architectural arrangement another embrace around green spaces and hallowed walkways.  Above all, Tinker Mountain, like a loving, watchful mother, sends a subconscious signal that I am home—no matter how long it has been since my last visit.  Once through the gates, relief, joy, peace, and contentment seep in quickly but subtly.  I breath it in and revel in the tiniest details so familiar and cherished.

Beyond the geography of the place, it is you who are the soul of it.  We all are.  I am, I think, my best self with you in this place—mostly because I see your beauty, intellect, wisdom, your absolute original spirit reflected in my own.  Your encouragement, faith, trust, hope, sincerest support, and unhesitating constant-ness have urged me on these past years when I wasn’t certain I could—or wanted to, for that matter.  I am filled up with you and stronger having shared this time together.  

Though college years brought plentiful onstage performances of Marvin Gaye to fraternity and debutante crowds, it took an impromptu dance party to an audience of three to remind me of the courageous, fun-loving, authentic, remarkable spirit we all share.  Whatever I may have lost (or thought I did) is found—regained in your smiles, singing, clapping, dancing, head-back laughing, twirling, and whole-hearted celebration.  Though we have the video to prove it, I’ll not soon forget.  

With a few last moments on campus this past weekend (post-dance party) I rocked in the sun on the porch of Main, the quiet bareness of Front Quad in winter still so beautiful to me, and I smiled thinking of our time together.  I smiled even more surely, realizing with certainty and happiness (like a room without a roof!) that I’m becoming the woman I’ve always wanted to be—the one I suppose I’ve been all along, but now have the strength to show.  Thank you—so much more than you know—for being part of her discovery.

To my Hollins Sisters [of the Alumnae Board]—

It’s almost as though a lifetime could fit into the past four years—births, sicknesses, successes, struggles, celebrations, absences, loss, uncertainty, renewal, endings, and beginnings. You’ve seen me at my worst and my near-best and all in-between. I arrived for our first gathering those years ago so excited but equally unsure—a recognition of the accomplished, amazing women who would also be part of our group, wondering what exactly I might be able to contribute. Who was I to be on this board? What did I bring to the table that a million others couldn’t even more adeptly?

How short-sighted of me amongst a group of big-picture visionaries like you.

You have been a touchstone for me. Certainly in the place herself—protected and so gently surrounded by mountains, the campus settled serenely in a breathtaking valley, its geometric architectural arrangement another embrace around green spaces and hallowed walkways. Above all, Tinker Mountain, like a loving, watchful mother, sends a subconscious signal that I am home—no matter how long it has been since my last visit. Once through the gates, relief, joy, peace, and contentment seep in quickly but subtly. I breath it in and revel in the tiniest details so familiar and cherished.

Beyond the geography of the place, it is you who are the soul of it. We all are. I am, I think, my best self with you in this place—mostly because I see your beauty, intellect, wisdom, your absolute original spirit reflected in my own. Your encouragement, faith, trust, hope, sincerest support, and unhesitating constant-ness have urged me on these past years when I wasn’t certain I could—or wanted to, for that matter. I am filled up with you and stronger having shared this time together.

Though college years brought plentiful onstage performances of Marvin Gaye to fraternity and debutante crowds, it took an impromptu dance party to an audience of three to remind me of the courageous, fun-loving, authentic, remarkable spirit we all share. Whatever I may have lost (or thought I did) is found—regained in your smiles, singing, clapping, dancing, head-back laughing, twirling, and whole-hearted celebration. Though we have the video to prove it, I’ll not soon forget.

With a few last moments on campus this past weekend (post-dance party) I rocked in the sun on the porch of Main, the quiet bareness of Front Quad in winter still so beautiful to me, and I smiled thinking of our time together. I smiled even more surely, realizing with certainty and happiness (like a room without a roof!) that I’m becoming the woman I’ve always wanted to be—the one I suppose I’ve been all along, but now have the strength to show. Thank you—so much more than you know—for being part of her discovery.