Hollye Jacobs, creator of The Silver Pen, started blogging after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Blogging has been a way to share her experiences with readers. Now in recovery, Hollye’s writing continues to inspire readers with its compassion and truthfulness. The stylish Hollye recently invited us into her warm, welcoming California abode. From a breathtakingly enviable outdoor area, to a delightful array of colors and textures, Hollye has created the perfect place to share her life with her husband and daughter. Hollye brings her upbeat outlook on life to her home decorating. She’s created a house that has become just one of many Silver Linings in her life.
“Being outside in my garden is where I am the happiest! Here, I am wearing Oscar de la Renta, and J.Crew heels.”
What first got you interested in starting a blog?
I created The Silver Pen blog in the fall of 2010. The blog began as a way to communicate my diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer to friends and family. What started as a humble message platform has evolved into a must-read daily blog for thousands of women world-wide.
“I love juicing for so many reasons, but mainly because it makes me feel so great and gives me tons of energy! I’m fortunate that we have so many fresh organic fruits and vegetables on hand year-round in Santa Barbara! The dress is Carolina Herrera, one of my favorites for spring. The yellow pumps are Manolo Blahnik. I bought the cocktail table at the Summerland Cooperative a few years ago (boy have I gotten good use out of it) and my orange Birkin is with me everywhere I go.”
What has blogging taught you so far?
Blogging has taught me so much! One of the most powerful things it has taught me is the value of community, especially in the face of ridiculous and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Members of The Silver Pen community and with one another. I am incredibly fortunate to have the most amazing relationship with my readers. The most meaningful exchanges have been when readers tell me, “You gave me words to describe my experience when I could not find them.” …or when friends or relatives of women with breast cancer say to me, “I had no idea what she was going through. You have helped me understand a senseless circumstance.” The BEST comments are when people say, “I had no idea how to talk with my children. Thanks to your blog, I am able to talk with my children and know that they will get through this, healthily.”
What inspires your posts?
Inspiration is everywhere! It comes from my professional experiences as a hospice nurse, social worker and educator as well as my personal experience as a mom, wife, and of course, a breast cancer patient. Inspiration comes from my family, my readers and everyday life! I am also incredibly inspired by fashion, the books that I read and the places where I travel.
The outdoor space at your house is just beautiful; do you enjoy spending time outside?
Thank you! One of the great joys of living in California is being able to spend as much time outdoors as indoors, especially in the wintertime. My family loves sports, especially swimming, running, tennis and hiking. We have crafted our outdoor living space to fit our family’s active lifestyle.
“I love living in and wearing bright colors! Sitting in my pool cabana, surrounded by colors and light, I am happy as a clam. The navy top and orange pants are from this year’s Prada collection for spring, and the necklace is Verdura.”
Has being a survivor of breast cancer shaped the way you write posts at all? Or the way you look at life?
As a nurse and social worker who was diagnosed with breast cancer, I have a unique perspective about the cancer experience from both sides of the bed. What I know for sure is that coping with cancer is as much an emotional effort as it is a physical one.
I’ve always been a half-full kind of girl. Combining my innate joy with my clinical background in hospice, I learned a long time ago just how precious every day is. There is nothing cliché about this philosophy. When I was in the bottomless pit of cancer despair, however, I learned what it really feels like to be sick. When I say sick, I mean the thinking-about-death kind of sick. What I learned when I was in this place was to look for the Silver Linings in life. No matter how horrendous I felt, I could always find Silver Linings. I continue to look for and find Silver Linings every day.
Was being able to write blog posts during your battle with cancer a source of catharsis? Did sharing your experience inspire you at all?
Writing during my cancer treatment and now recovery is very cathartic. In fact, I absolutely love it! Writing is one of the most natural things I’ve ever done. It is a joyously creative outlet for me.
“I am passionate about reading and books, so I keep stacks of inspirational fashion books on the table in my dressing room.”
“My everyday go-to jewelry sits on a tray that belonged to my great grandmother. The porcelain Boehm rabbit is also very special because it is signed by Helen Boehm and belonged to my grandmother. Right now I’m wearing a lot of gold jewelry, and you’ll always find me wearing something vintage.”
What are your favorite places to look for home inspiration? Where do you like to shop for your home?
I find great home inspiration on our travels. I love to buy home decor mementos on our trips because they are fond reminders of wonderful family experiences. These memories add to the warmth of our home and are wonderful sources of great stories.