When I got the text from my friend Christen, I was both thrilled and touched. The message said, “when can I buy one of your new compass pendants? I need it to add to my mess”!
Christen’s “mess” is a beautiful, sometimes tangled collection of necklaces that she wears every day. The necklaces are all special. Three are from her husband David’s parents, who own a fine jewelry store (lucky her!). They give David’s sister and Christen each a piece of jewelry every Christmas. The longer necklace with all the pendants is especially meaningful: one pendant has Christen’s astrological sign, another David’s initial, another is a cross her in-laws made using her grandmother’s loose diamonds after her grandmother passed away, and another an evil eye for protection. In Christen’s own words, “it was important to me to own one of your compass necklaces because it reminds me to ask the Universe for guidance and direction, to stop trying to rely on my own very limited ability control things.”
There are many reasons that Christen’s message made me happy. First, it’s always exciting when anyone want to buy something I make. Even after all these years, there’s always a “yay!” moment when I get an order—especially for a brand new piece that I didn’t know if people were going to like. Second, one of my favorite things is when women mix my pieces with their own jewelry. I love seeing my jewelry worn every which way, but there’s something particularly satisfying about knowing that it will be mixed with already-owned favorites—and even better when the pieces are meaningful and special to the wearer. The fact that Christen found my tiny gold and cubic zirconia compass pendant special enough to add to her “mess” is especially gratifying. And third, well—it’s Christen.
It’s a gift to connect with another person in any way. But to connect with someone on both an emotional and an esthetic level feels almost miraculous. I love Christen not only for her beautiful soul—her insight, warmth, compassion, and energy—but also for her incredible eye and sense of style. When we talk, we can (and do!) switch seamlessly from subjects ranging from weighty topics like creativity and identify to fluffy ones like the best way to cuff a pair of jeans. Christen knows when to listen, to sympathize, to advise, and, perhaps most important, to be quiet. AND the girl knows how to dress and accessorize.
When Christen launched her clothing company, Threads by Nomad, with her mom, I couldn’t believe my luck. Now I would get to shop from a company who spoke my style language and support a friend and a great mission. (You can read more about Threads on their website.) As both of our businesses have evolved and grown, so has our friendship, as we’ve found new ways to support and champion each other. The fact that Christen was wearing two Threads pieces that I also own on the day I photographed her wearing my compass pendant pretty much says it all. The chambray skirt is my most recent Threads addition, and the long cardigan is a favorite from a couple of years ago. The next Threads collection can’t come soon enough!
To illustrate how Christen operates, on the day we met to take photos of her wearing the compass pendant, she’d just finished a photo shoot that went long and was in a crunch to prep for an evening event just hours away. On top of that, she wasn’t feeling her best. Nevertheless, she put her best smile on and let me take photos anyway. Needless to say, she looks gorgeous and effortlessly put together in each picture.
Thank you, Christen, for being such a treasured friend. I look forward to seeing where our friendship takes us next (and to always having you to advise me on exactly how to cuff my jeans).
The compass collection also includes tiny silver pendants with inlaid cubic zirconia on colorful nylon cord. Shop the whole collection on my website.