Real Talk

September 1, 2017


Sometimes a detour is necessary to get to where you’re going.  I know, I know. “It’s the journey, not the destination.” However, having a general idea of where you want to be in life and working to get there is a blessing I don’t take lightly.

When your spirit feels there is no future or destination, I think that qualifies as a detour. Detours can be confusing, especially since you typically have no idea where you are or how long it will take.  (Work with me now.  I know this analogy is pre-GPS.)


I’ll confess to having been in a tailspin for several years, during which I buried my mother-in-law and both my parents. I’m terrified of greedy despots and the unlearned lessons of history. I’m horrified by the mentality of Us and Them, as it scorches our mutually shared earth.

At the beginning of this year, I came face to face with unmanageable grief and anxiety, some of it reaching years into the past. I also know I’m one of the lucky ones.


To me, lucky means having loving relationships. It also means being able to get help from a mental health professional when you can’t cope and being able to get the medicine you need. I also believe that this kind of “luck” should extend to every person everywhere, not just a few.

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When I went to Denver recently, I had the extreme pleasure of doing a shoot with Judith The Style Crone.  I was reminded of what it feels like to share creativity, to laugh even when so much is tragic, and the necessity of getting back on the road when the detour has ended.

Otherwise, how can you help anyone in the next lane?


XOXO ’till next time.

My outfit details:

Outfit 1) Thrifted and upcycled skirt made by me, linen tunic from Ready Trading, hat from Style Crone’s personal collection, and silver bangles from my personal collection. Judith and I are both wearing Sleevey Wonders.

Outfit 2) Thrifted Guatemalan dress from Artifact PDX

Daniel Nolan, our wonderful photographer and comic, can be found on Instagram @daniel_a_nolan.











25 Responses to Real Talk

  1. Becky on September 2, 2017 at 12:30 am

    This resonates <3 <3 <3

    • Jean on September 2, 2017 at 11:06 am

      Sending love to you!! I hope you have the support you need. xoxo

  2. Wendy on September 2, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Beautiful as always! I’m unable to sign up to your site.

    • Jean on September 2, 2017 at 11:10 am

      My site is not very functional, I apologize!! I wish I could tell you how to sign up. I definitely have some major housekeeping to do, but I really appreciate you stopping by. Are you on Instagram? I’m there more frequently @drossintogold. xoxoxo

  3. pao on September 2, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Oh Jean, my heart reaches out to you. What a restorative visiting Judith must’ve been. I am happy to see you resurfacing. I look forward to our meeting in real life one of these days. woo-hoo!

    • Jean on September 2, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Yaasss!!! Maybe this will be the year! Joey’s dad is in Toledo and I have a niece in Ann Arbor. A few more miles and I could be over your way!! Love you, Pao. xo

  4. lLinda Davis on September 2, 2017 at 8:55 am

    So happy to see your beautiful face again.Life can be so tough sometimes.I lost my only sister my mother and my husband had a stroke and a heart attack . This all happened within eight months.It has been a few years ago and it does get easier but to me the pain never goes away.I’m happy to see that you are in a better place.Have a great week.

    • Jean on September 2, 2017 at 11:17 am

      Yes, I’m beginning to feel more grounded. I can only imagine what your 8 months and the aftermath must have been like. I hope your husband is doing better. It’s always wonderful to see your comments here. Thank you so much!! xoxoxo

  5. Natalia Lialina on September 2, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    I can relate to what you wrote, my dear! Thank you for writing this. It makes me feel not alone in my own “detours”, even if it was the thing of the (recent) past. I think at such dark times, love and creativity (even if it’s a little fire) save us! And I am constantly amazed at your creativity! I just know you will arrive where you want to be, or some place even better – you are a rare soul!

    Judith and You look amazing! How wonderful to connect with someone on a deep level!

    Lots of love!

    • Jean on September 2, 2017 at 10:58 pm

      I’m guessing you understand when I say that this one wrote itself. My process is to select pictures I like, then a thought comes for a theme. The notion of “real talk” emerged after I selected the first picture. After that it just unfolded. When I decided to post originally, I had no idea that this is where it would go. When it was done, I had to release any thoughts that it was too personal, not “happy” enough etc. and just let it be. I appreciate your understanding and empathy. Thank you so much!!!!!! Someday we’ll have tea together from a vintage samovar. xoxoxo

  6. Suzinn on September 2, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Beautifully written. Powerfully felt.

    • Jean on September 2, 2017 at 10:58 pm

      I appreciate your kind words!! We’re all human together. xoxo

      • Jean on September 2, 2017 at 11:03 pm

        Also, I just looked at your website. How wonderful! The next time I’m in Portland, I’ll have to stop by. xo

  7. Jewel on September 3, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Dear Jean, Thank you for this beautiful post. I’m sending you love and light. These things you write of, I understand . There have been times I feel like I’m taking detours from my detours!! Does that make sense?! After so many years of living with Depression, I try always to find the beauty along the wayside, something small maybe, like a flower or some soft rain–anything to remind us of our Spirit which can feel so far away when we are suffering. Your wonderful IG comes to mind and so many others that we both love!! I am keeping the faith that you and I and anyone who feels lost in this way will keep on driving (as you say ??) knowing that the way home is just around the bend.
    Much Love, my friend.
    Jewel xo

    • Jean on September 6, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      Oh Jewel! It makes complete sense. Your words are wise and kind, and I agree that focusing on something small and lovely goes a long way in keeping us in a positive Now. That’s why we make things, too. xoxoxoxo

  8. Shelley@ForestCityFashionista on September 3, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    I’m sorry to hear that you have been struggling, but I’m glad to hear that you sought out help and that it was available. I agree with you that mental health care is as important as care for our bodies, and it should be available to those who need it. Unexpressed, or unacknowledged, grief can do a real number on you. I’m so happy you were able to spend some time with Judith.

    I am the emotionally stable (relatively!) and calm person I am today thanks to the mental health care system and the right medication and I know how lucky I am, as I live in a neighbourhood where there are many people who can’t, or won’t get the help they need.

    • Jean on September 6, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      I hope next time our respective trips can overlap, in some city or other. I’m told you’re fun to hang with!! Thank you for this comment too. I didn’t plan on talking about this but I’m not sorry I did. Love you. xxoxo

  9. Jane Milburn on September 4, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Lovely reading your words from the heart – am currently writing about my own life journey and cannot do so authentically without reference to the detours and flat times that require a helping hand to overcome. Love following you on insta as @textilebeat :)

    • Jean on September 6, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      Please let me know when I can read it!! I would love to know more about your journey. The projects you promote are so wonderful!!

      I found with blogging that if I just start a post with something true, the rest seems to follow. That knowledge also enabled me to write a piece for each of my parents’ memorial services, a cathartic and profoundly meaningful experience.

      Thank you for stopping by. I’ll be waving to you on IG!! :-)

  10. Lee on September 5, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you for expressing what so many of us feel as we navigate the changing environment of family relationships, love and loss and the inevitable detours that require self-examination and sometimes new ways of seeing ourselves and our relationship to the world around us. You are wise and wonderfully inspiring! You continue to be our most important muse and wonderful friend. ??????

    • Jean on September 6, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      Lee, I really hope those question marks are a typo???? I’m joking. :-) I can’t express how much I appreciate your incredible energy and enthusiasm. Your entire outlook on life, and the desire to live it ethically and with authenticity, is a joy to be around. The way you run your business and how you curate your beautiful shop is inspiring. It’s a privilege to be one of your muses!!!!!! Love you!!!!!

  11. Vix on September 6, 2017 at 3:57 am

    Dearest Jean, I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through so much pain. I look back at the last few years and often think I was sleepwalking through them with one loss after another, it seemed relentless at times but you know what they say, what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger and I think I’ve emerged fearless and braver from the fog of grief.
    You look spectacular in that kaftan and the photos of you and Judith radiate love and joy.
    Hip replacement? If you need any advice at all do email me!
    Love you. xxxxx

    • Jean on September 6, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      Oh, I’ll be emailing you for sure!! It rained today. The cliché of the old folks and their way of predicting rain by how much their joints hurt? It’s a cliché for a reason!!!! I had a wonderful time with Judith. I felt like I was 15 again, being silly and playing dress-up with my best friend. Now to get to the UK!!!!! Maybe after my hip is done…

      Love you and thank you Dear One. xoxo

  12. Deb on September 7, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    I am so sorry you struggled and I’m happy you are overcoming it. I understand the struggle. I’m on a detour now and don’t yet know where it will go. The last 2 years really stunk. I wound up walking away from a job this year that I once loved, and possibly an entire career. How things got to that point is a long story, and one I may share online when ready, to help others overcome burnout and depression. I’m doing needed house repairs and learning new things about renovations, to fill my time, and trust that my subconscious is working in the background to help find an answer! :) I’m repairing my house while I’m repairing myself. The thing about social media is, we present the best of ourselves and the result is, you can easily think that’s what life is for most people. It can make you feel very alone. No one wants to see a picture of my broken heart for the things I had wanted to accomplish in my career. And rotted wood fascias are ugly to look at. People like to see the final beautiful result, and that means no one knows the depth of learning and struggle it takes to get to that beautiful result. And I do trust that beauty lies at the end of the path!

    • Jean on September 10, 2017 at 10:55 pm

      I believe that too, the part about beauty lying at the end of the path. I’m so sorry you’ve had to struggle these last few years! Repairing your home sounds like a good project, very much a metaphor for life. I’ve enjoyed the lovely small things you’ve posted on IG, and I still believe it’s good to share them when we can. The fascia? Maybe save that for a before and after if you want to. I’m not scared of ugliness, though. We all have that in our lives too, just in different forms. It’s what we do with it that counts, and it sounds like you’re definitely wading through the debris. That takes a lot of strength, especially when depressed!!! Careers are all well and good, but it’s how you live this moment that really counts. I hope I don’t sound corny!!!! Please, let’s continue to share little pockets of loveliness to keep us going as we acknowledge the other stuff. xoxoxoxo

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