Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lighthearted and Serious


*Warning* *This post turns toward a very serious matter at the end*  Feel free to do the outfit check and run if you so desire!


Isn't this a cool tree?  I've always had a thing for gnarly, interesting looking trees.

This tee sits outside of a charming local Italian restaurant where I had lunch with my friend Rose this week.

My hometown is filled with old homes like this one, which was converted into the restaurant about 10 years ago.  Before that, it had been a lovely French restaurant.
This town is full of old architectural charm...I'm in awe of it!

Vintage Rose necklace by Lia Sophia
The weather is slowly getting a bit more spring-like and I felt like wearing something just a bit lighter, but because the wind was sharp, I still needed to be warm.  

I decided on warm clothing in lighter colors.  


This cream and brown polka dot skirt by Julio and Julio has some serious 'swoosh factor'

Julio and Julio are designers who travel to ballroom competitions and do a good deal of business there.  These dresses are not ballroom competition dresses, but dresses for social dancing, every day wear or social events.

 The ring is 'Lemon Chiffon' and its one of my favorite LS rings.
I layered two necklaces; the one pictured above and this one, 'Poised' by Lia Sophia.  This particular necklace is their 'Dress for Success' necklace.  The company donates about 3 million in jewelry to the non-profit that benefits women reentering the workforce.  A portion of the proceeds from this necklace go to DFS.

The architecture inside the restaurant is beautiful; a lovely staircase, wide wood moldings, lots of nooks and crannies and places to explore.

This is the restroom.  

.......wine displays in the bathroom!



I'm crazy about the ceiling in one of the main dining areas (there are many dining rooms!).  I want this in my lower level (which has been under construction for 7 years----which means we start we stop we start we stop). 


The white gadget is an antique bread slicer.  This is actually what they use to slice the bread that is served throughout the meal.

There were several original paintings by HGTV's 'Color Splash' designer David Bromstad for sale throughout the building.

On Thursday, I wore this simple black and grey outfit to run errands and to class....


but I jazzed it up with this necklace...'Coil' by Lia Sophia.
When I first saw this necklace last year I said "That is not for me".  I really dislike it.  But it slowly grew on me and it was fun to wear!  It makes a strong statement, especially when worn with a neutral outfit.

This is a bundle of FREE stuff that I earned from Lia Sophia for submitting a party in the month of March.  Several times a year, bonus incentives are offered if we meet certain goals.  In March, we received a different kit of retired pieces each week we submit a party.  I submitted two parties and will receive another bundle of bling next week.

The idea is to use the jewelry to give away as game prizes or booking incentives....therefore, I'm only keeping two pieces.  We can do whatever we want with the jewelry and I like to give pieces to hostesses, but I HAD to keep these two bracelets.

Most bracelets don't fit me...so when I received two that fit beautifully, I had to keep them.
The rest will be gifted to some lovely ladies at my next parties!


*Warning; this is the darker side to my post*


I am also sending a pair of earrings to my sister.
My sister is a recovering heroin addict and has had two years of sobriety this month.
My sister also financially exploited my mother of her very large inheritance in the last two years of her life.  If you haven't read this story and you have the stomach to read it, you can read it here.

It is a big deal for me to send her a simple pair of earrings because her crimes (and consequences my mother suffered as a victim) against my mother were so egregious.
I'm working on forgiving her, but I'm not there yet.
Still, she is my sister and I love her.  I hate her acts, but I love her.
She lives in Chicago now....and I rarely see or talk to her, by her choice.
She spent a year in Cook County jail...and nearly a year in a recovery home.
She has a job in a restaurant and a new boyfriend she met in the recovery home.

She has a very different life than mine.
There are times I feel guilty for the abundance in my life....and times I think about how the circumstance could have been different...it could have been me living her life instead of her perhaps, but for some twist of genetic fate.
If you have read this post and my last...you might be thinking that I must be doing some soul searching...and I am.

But I am not searching from the depths of despair or from a negative place in my life.

Just a periodic self-check that I think is necessary and good.

I am so grateful for the abundance....and so hyper-aware that this is position of responsibility.

I don't get into a dark place when I acknowledge my families' 'dark secrets'; in fact, I am very open about the topic because I know that my experience is one that many other people have experienced.   I open up and find that others who have had similar experiences with family members are able to open up for the first time.   Because they feel embarrassment and shame, they have kept silent...and when I open the door to my story, they feel freer to let go of that and experience the freedom of the release of all of those oppressive feelings.  I know that by sharing my experience.....I give others the opportunity to vent, ask questions, learn and let go of their secret shame.

I feel that I have a RESPONSIBILITY to share and that God leads me to others who need to hear my story.

Yes...my simple outfit post took an unexpected turn; but perhaps it is for the benefit of someone else.

52 comments:

  1. I went through a period of time when my actions harmed everyone around me. I am grateful that my children have gotten past that. All I can do at this point is try to model that just because you make some mistakes(mine were lulus) doesn't mean you can't learn and grow and get past them. I hope your sister does that too. As for your actions, I think you must do whatever it takes to take care of yourself. And it sounds like you are doing just that.

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    1. Thank you, Judy for sharing a little bit about yourself. I do believe that people can grow, change and learn from their mistakes. I am hopeful for my sister.

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  2. Wow, that's heavy. A huge burden on your entire family. Addiction causes people to spiral out of control and take out those closest to them. I can hear the damage done to your family in your voice. So sorry. You do, however, seem to be handling it now. Good for you.

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    1. It has been a journey...but I have a high compensation mechanism. Thank you for your support.

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  3. Lovely polkadots, and nice way to winterize the skirt.
    I like it when beautiful old homes are preserved and converted into something nice like a restaurant, as opposed to when they are converted into something yucky like a doctors office.

    Chic on the Cheap

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    1. I agree with you on the preservation of beautiful old homes; there are so many in the downtown are of my hometown. There is a very modern, new, highly developed area and then the old town area. One home is a museum, another is beautiful boutique. And yes...a doc's office is an icky use of formerly charming old home.

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  4. Lisa, I read both posts, what a thought provoking way to start a Sunday. It was heartbreaking to read about your sister. I have been fortunate that my family hasn't experienced that; yes, some drug use that could have morphed into addiction but didn't. I sometimes watch INTERVENTION on TV and it is just unbelievable what the families do for 'their addicts'. Love is powerful and no on knows how we will react unless we are in that situation. Congratulations to your sister and to you for holding out an olive branch. God Bless!
    BTW, I love the first outfit! :-)

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    1. Thank you for the compliment, Linda...that outfit was fun to wear.

      I watched that show one time. It was hard to watch. I wasn't as tolerant of my sisters behavior as some of the families on the show; I had worked for years as a paramedic and saw how that always worked out...so I approached it from a tough love point of view. Not easy...but its just what needed to be done.

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  5. It was quite brave of you to share your story. Drugs can really tear a family apart.

    On a lighter note, I really like your polka dot skirt in the first set of pictures :-) Hope spring arrives in your area soon :-)

    Monica
    www.pear-shaped-gal.com

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    1. Thanks Monica. I enjoy the skirt too. Its so swooshy and fun to wear!

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  6. I just read both of your posts...I like you because you are candid and honest. None of us live perfect lives and we all have mountains of "stuff" we have to sort through and deal with continually. How successful we are at doing so largely depends on our attitude. Yours always comes through as bright and positive.

    Sending the earrings to your sister is an act of love. It will bring you closer to forgiveness. Just because we forgive doesn't mean we completely forget. Forgiving is simply a "letting go" so the past doesn't suffocate our present or future. We just saw a documentary this weekend which had this quote in it: "You can't live in two places at once...you can't live in the past and in the present". I loved the simplicity and profoundness of it.

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    1. Thank you, Heather. Its been a difficult journey and your words are very uplifting. I appreciate your taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment.

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  7. 1. You look very lovely with your outfits, especially the first one.
    2. Nice restaurant!
    3. Thanks for sharing the story of your sister, I've never had anyone (that I know) in my family struggle with drug addiction but I've seen some documentaries and it breaks my heart every time I watch them, it also makes me a bit nervous as a parent on a teen age boy, I pray that God guides you and holds you close as you continue to get close to your sister, I think it's a very nice gesture to send her that present.

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    1. Thank you very much for your prayers and support, Shey.
      Thank you too, for your compliment!
      Its very comforting to receive such support from my fellow bloggers!

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  8. I give you a lot of credit for writing out your "voice". I bet it was therapeutic to do so. I can see how you are in a dilemma but you should think it best that your sister is not an active part of your life. There are certain people that can just create drama and it sounds like your sister is like this. I think if you keep it in perspective that it is her choice to live her life like she does that it might be easier for you. Even though she has cleaned up her act and she is your sister, you don't have to be close to her but can still have an occasional family bond. It's hard to hear this isn't it? It sounds weird even typing it. I say this because I have this type of relationship with my brother. I can't be close to him because his life is so different then mine and he has too much drama that I just don't want to be apart of. On a lighter note, I love the place that lunched at! Great architecture and you look fabulous. I love that Lemon Chiffon ring. Can you show us a whole hand picture with it on? It has such a deco vibe. Love it!

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    1. Joanna....
      Thank you for the compliment. I agree about the deco vibe of the ring. Much of the current line of Lia Sophia jewelry has that deco vibe. I hope they stay with it...they do a catalog revamp twice a year and I would be sad to lose that vintage-y design that I so LOVE.

      I agree with you about keeping distance. Sometimes is is for the best, even if its hard to understand. So hard to reconcile all of that drama...and to know that it is created by my own sibling. It must be difficult for you too, but you are strong.

      I don't often post a picture of my whole hand because I don't like the way my hands look! I will though when I think of it. Thank you for the compliments and the support.

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  9. I commend you for reaching out to your sister, but can see you are cautious at the same time. I grew up in a household from age 7-14 with a heroin addicted stepfather. My mom was too blind to see what he was doing to our family and it made me very bitter about that situation. Thank you for sharing your story. Drug addiction doesn't discriminate and it effects not just the person addicted, but the familites involved. Heather

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    1. Oh Heather...that had to be so hard to deal with as a young girl, especially at such a developmentally critically stage! You seem like such a good mom...and that although it inflicted a lot of pain on you...you overcame it well.
      Thank you for you support :)

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  10. Oh, hon, you are so strong to be working at forgiving your sister for what she did to your mother. That cannot be easy.

    Your jewelry is lovely, as is your skirt. I thought of you several times in Vancouver this weekend - there was a Canada Dance Sport competition at our hotel, and the dresses were amazing!

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    1. Oh my gosh! You went to see the competition! Wasn't it fun! The dresses are so much more beautiful when you see them up close and in person!

      Thank you for the compliment and for your support.
      I am trying to forgive my sis. Its not easy, but it is better than letting it make me bitter.

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  11. I think you are amazing Lisa! As you previous have told us, you have gone through a ruff time with the lose of your mother and then the big sorrow it must have been for you (and your mother) with your sister's addiction problems for many years, and still you are able to be light hearted! I am deeply impressed! I hope all the joy you give away, both in real life and here at the blog, will return to you thousand fold!

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    1. Thank you, Anna.
      Thank you for your kind words, you support, for always having nice comments on my post.
      I am glad we are blogger friends. Academic, geronotlogist, style blogger friends!

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  12. Lisa, you're an inspiration. I'm sure this will help more people than you know.
    Forgiveness is difficult...certainly in your situation. I pray God will give you strength and peace to move forward in your relationship with your sister.

    On a better note....I'm loving your outfits, and your gorgeous jewelry! I kinda like that bold necklace, too!

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    1. Thank you Jeannie.
      The support I have received from you and my other blogger buddies is very precious to me. Thank you for your prayers.

      Thank you for the compliments too!
      The bold necklace is very unusual, but it was so fun to wear! I'm not sure how many other ways I will style...I can't wait to play with it!

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  13. My husband just lost a cousin two weeks ago to an overdose just 5 weeks after getting out of rehab...it is a terrible disease. I can only imagine how difficult this is for you regarding the damage to your mother.

    I have to say I love the coil necklace!

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    1. I'm sorry to hear of your loss. It is a terrible disease with major consequences for the entire family.

      The necklace is very different, isn't it?

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  14. Lisa thank you for sharing your personal story. I know it's hard but sometimes it feels good to share it. My family & I went through a similar situation and I find it hard to forgive & forget too. I think it's just a long process and you forgive and forget a little as time goes by.

    BTW - love you polka dot skirt! I love skirts that swings.

    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

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    1. Hi Alice...thank you for your support. It is a hard process, but I am working on it!

      Thank you for the compliment on the skirt...its so fun to wear.

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  15. I am lucky not to have been in such situation but still I know how difficult it is to forgive someone who hurt you or someone you love. It will take time and some effort but as you said it is your sister and you still love her.
    I really love your jewelry, especially the "Lemon Chiffon" ring. That "Coil" necklace I like too, its design is unique and interesting.

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    1. Thank you for the compliment Olga. Also, thank your for stopping by my blog and commenting. I had a chance to look at your blog and its very nice...you have beautiful style.

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  16. I love polka dots at every kind of dress, skirt or blouse. Your skirt is amazing. To pair it with a warm sweater is a good idea!
    Thank you for your kind comment on my blog.

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    1. Hi Sabine...thanks for the compliment. I love polka dots too; they are classic and fun!

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  17. You are a very generous and kind hearted lady. I hope your relationship with your sister moves to a better place.
    You are very special and you look great too.

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    1. Aww...thank you for your support. I think it will get better eventually, if she allows that to happen. I'm open to it, but cautious.

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  18. Lisa I read the story of your sister, what a harrowing read. You are clearly a very brave, strong and most importantly big hearted woman to have faced and coped with all of this and come through the other side of a hellish experience with the ability to want to forgive your sister and acknowledge your love for her. You have my total admiration.

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    1. Thank you very much for your support and kind words. It has been a hard road to travel, but I am constantly reminded on my blessings and I stay in a positive place most of the time!

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  19. That necklace has a slightly "industrial" look to it which does seem a little unusual for your style but it's a really cool and interesting necklace, I love it layered over the slightly darker gray sweater, it really makes the stones very luminous. (I totally understand what you mean with old gnarly trees, they fascinate me as well, they're so interesting to look at.) And what a beautiful restaurant, it looks like such a fun place to eat.

    I do think that's amazing that you're working towards being able to forgive your sister. I went back and read the post you referred to and it's just really heartbreaking and terribly sad. I really feel for everything your family has had to go through with that and I admire you so much for how strong you were. It's hard to be the tough "evil" one and to see how you've kept everything together this past year with everything that has happened and to see you now trying to move forward with forgiving your sister and making amends just speaks as to how strong of a women you are.

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    1. Hi Katie,
      Industrial! That was the word I was searching for; I agree it has that look. It's fun. Its not my favorite style, but I really do like it.

      As far as my sister...I am trying to forgive, it takes a long time. Mostly, Im cautious. I know I can't take anything she says at face value anymore. But I am working on easing the tension. Thank you for your kind words and support.

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  20. Great outfits...wonderful vintage restaurant...super cool necklace (that I probably never would have considered, yet after really looking, I like it!)...and a heavy ending, yes! I don't have big addiction issues in my family, but I can easily see how it could tear you and your sister apart. Bless your heart for trying to connect in even small ways...

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    1. Hi Dawn, Thank you for visiting my blog and your kind comment.
      I always check out the profile of my visitors in hope that they have a blog, but I didn't see a blog on yours. Do you have one? If you do, I'd love to check it our.
      I did see on your profile that you are a folk artist...my cousin is too. I know that many of you know one another and I wonder if you know her; she owns Kattwhompus Primitives and she is one of the bloggers I follow.

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    2. oops...sorry Dawn, I had to double check your profile and I see now that I did visit your blog and loved it! Sorry I didn't recognize that at first!

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  21. I love swishy skirts! Luckily, the addiction in my family has not been present in the last few generations.

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    1. Me too, Kathleen....they are so fun, aren't they?

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  22. I love the idea of embracing a chilly Spring with warm clothes in lighter colors! You look so pretty in your outfit and I especially love that gorgeous skirt. The necklace that you grew to love is one of my favorites, too.

    I read your story about your sister and my heart goes out to you. I agree that there are "secrets" that must be shared so that other people realize they're not alone in experiencing the devastating impact of things like this. Domestic abuse is another one, the one that I'm most familiar with.

    There are so many of us that are "survivors". I salute your strength and willingness to share and heal.

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    1. Thank you too, Jean for sharing that bit of your 'secret'. That too is a critical issue that must be addresses and confronted.

      Thank you for the compliment, I could not stand the idea on that sunny but cold day of wearing a drab color!

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  23. The restaurant looks amazing and outside is completely different than inside.. very intriguing! You have a big heart.. I don't know if I would have the same strength.. sending you a hug :)

    GREETINGS FROM DUBAI
    MRS JACK OF ALL TRADES
    http://mrsjackofalltradesdaily.blogspot.ae/

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate the hug!

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  24. It sounds like you have walked a hard path - much love to you. Xxx

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    1. Thank you.....I am grateful that I have had the strength to do this and to maintain my composure.

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  25. Lovely, fun photos. That restaurant looks so cool.

    I think you're a strong, brave woman, and a good sister. I am estranged from one of my sisters, for reasons far less than yours, and I don't think I could become close to her again. I really admire you for reaching out to yours even after all the pain she caused your family. That takes a very big heart.

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    1. Thank you Kristen. I am reaching out, but it is with great caution. Its hard to be estranged....but I do have be very, very careful with her and stay at an arms distance. I just want to give her a little encouragement and acknowledgment for being drug free for two years now.

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"When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect"--Mark Twain