Bella Sorella

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I wrote on Friday that our new place in Charlotte feels like ‘serendipity,’ and it really does.  The Husband and I could tell there was something special about the place right away. 


On Thursday, we drove to the house to meet the landlord, not realizing that I had accidentally switched addresses in my datebook.  When we got to the house, the realtor (of course) wasn’t there, but the tenant – Lynn  – was sitting on the front porch and offered to show us the duplex when we explained the mix-up. 


Lynn and I got to talking and realized we have a lot in common.  I told her about Operation Beautiful, and that’s when I discovered that Lynn runs a jewelry business called Bella Sorella, which means ‘Beautiful Sister’ in Italian.


Lynn is on the left:

The business is dedicated to Lynn’s sister, Melissa, who struggled with bulimia throughout her life.  Melissa’s struggle lead to deep anxiety and depression with her life ending in suicide.   Lynn told me that she never really understood how serious her sister’s eating disorder and depression was until it was too late.  Her main desire in life is to help educate others about the seriousness of eating disorders and mental diseases.  "There’s no reason to hide in shame," Lynn told me.


Bella Sorella not only has a wonderful mission, but Lynn’s jewelry is also gorgeous.  She creates charm-style vintage necklaces and bracelets, but her most important pieces are customized creations that she designed at the direction of individual clients.  The clients meet with Lynn or mail in their old jewelry – maybe earrings from their Grandma or necklaces their mom handed down to them – and Lynn uses these pieces to create a modern, fresh necklace that makes the old jewelry new again. 

Vintage Brass Cross and Unique Charms Embelished Beads from Vintage Necklace with Religious Medal Embellished

In fact, while I was having a glass of wine with Lynn, a client came up with a box of old jewelry that belonged to her Grandmother for Lynn to transform into a new pieces for her and her sister!  I think the concept is a wonderful way to honor a loved one or just remember all the good memories associated with your old jewelry. 


The first piece that Lynn created was a necklace featuring charms and earrings she and her sister had gifted to each other over the years, as well as jewelry that Melissa used to wear.  The business itself was born because strangers and boutique owners would always ask her about the necklace. Isn’t it beautiful? 


If you’ve got old jewelry that you’re interested in turning into a charm necklace, you can contact Lynn hereOr you can browse her other beautiful creations here.


If you hire her for a customized necklace or buy one of her Foundation Donation bracelets, 10% of Lynn’s profits will be donated to one of the following charities (whichever you support the most!):  American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; National Eating Disorders Association; H.U.G.S (Healing and Undertanding of Grief from Suicide); Cancer Treatment Centers of America; or the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  Lynn also donates to cancer charities because she’s a cancer survivor herself. 


I just thought Lynn’s desire to turn the sadness associated with what happened to her sister into something positive for others was so inspirational that I wanted to share it with you!  I’m always touched by people who go beyond their own grief and do something amazing with their energy.


Do you use art, writing, or another creative outlet to process emotions?



  • Helen June 7, 2010, 8:48 am

    This is an amazing story! Sometimes the mix ups in life can lead to great opportunities. Lynn’s jewellery is beautiful and such a great way to raise awareness of eating disorders. To process emotions I often use writing to work out how I feel. I often do a pros and cons list of situation to help me see it clearly.

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs June 7, 2010, 9:07 am

    What beautiful jewelry, with such an amazing story behind it! I really admire her for turning something horrible into something positive – an amazing woman!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday June 7, 2010, 9:10 am

    That’s such a cool idea. It’s a great way to keep a piece of your loved one close to you.

    I’m going to check out that link for sure 😀

  • kalli@fitandfortysomething June 7, 2010, 9:12 am

    i love this! Since I am not creative at all I tend to process though working out. I love her pieces they are all so beautiful.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet June 7, 2010, 9:13 am

    That jewelry is all so beautiful! I love fun, colored costume jewelry. Wonderful cause, too.

  • Robyn @ Frugal 'n' Fit! June 7, 2010, 9:14 am

    Wow, that jewelry is beautiful! I love the idea of re-crafting it (sentimental AND environmental!). And, of course, the story behind it and her donation to charities makes it all the more appealing. Thanks for sharing!

  • Madeline - Greens and Jeans June 7, 2010, 9:15 am

    What a wonderful way to honor her sister (and herself as a cancer survivor)! I absolutely use art to process emotions. I try to write out as much of what I’m feeling as I can and sometimes a good old strum session on my guitar is all I need to get myself back to “normal!”

  • Therese June 7, 2010, 9:15 am

    What a story and such an inspiration! It’s so easy to let things like that turn a person towards depression and anger, it’s much tougher to turn it around into something positive and constructive.

    I used to eat my emotions instead of dealing with them head on, now that I no longer use my emotions as an excuse to binge eat I write about it, I’ve always blogged in one form or another or just wrote it out in a personal journal. Now I’m taking the pain and struggles of having low self esteem and being overweight and putting it forth into a career where I can help others realize just how amazing they really are and that we can do anything if I really want it!

  • Sarah @ cocoanutshakes June 7, 2010, 9:16 am

    Wow you’re so lucky to meet such an amazing person!! I think I usually cook to process emotions…but Lynn is a huge inspiration to use creativity towards a greater good…I suppose cooking can be used for that too!

  • Lindsay @ Summit Sandwiches June 7, 2010, 9:19 am

    I’ve been a pianist since the I was in the second grade, and it is definitely the thing I turn to when I’m feeling happy/upset/anxious. Music always soothes me, and helps me to process whatever emotions I’m experiencing. I actually started composing music shortly after my 8-year old cousin died in a skiing accident about 10 years ago, and I wrote a song for him. It was a way for me to help his memory live on. I love that the arts can be used to help people heal.

  • Tammy @ Defining Wellness June 7, 2010, 9:20 am

    Beautiful jewelry and what a wonderful idea! I definitely use writing as an outlet for my emotions — it’s extremely therapeutic.

  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing June 7, 2010, 9:25 am

    Awesome story!!

  • Michele June 7, 2010, 9:28 am

    Outlets to process emotions: I am BIG on writing — in a journal, to my two closest confidants. I can start out totally freaked out, and within a few paragraphs be completely rational, settled, grounded, and with a reasonable, rational, realistic plan of action in place.

  • Christie {Honoring Health} June 7, 2010, 9:34 am

    Wow, what an amazing thing to do with jewelry. As a jewelry designer myself, I find this completely inspiring and am truly humbled by her message.

  • Sarah June 7, 2010, 9:43 am

    This moved me deeply. What a beautiful mission. I anticipate that will be thinking about this for the rest of my day today. Thank you for sharing, Caitlin.

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine June 7, 2010, 9:45 am

    Wow, this sounds like such a wonderful cause. There are so many companies and fundraisers out there for diseases like cancer and AIDS (which I’m not bashing at all- all charities are wonderful, and all need constant support), but I feel like EDs and other mental illnesses go so unnoticed. It’s wonderful to see someone using their creativity in order to support these causes!

  • Jo June 7, 2010, 9:49 am

    This is a wonderful story Caitlin, thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Lisa June 7, 2010, 9:53 am

    That’s such an amazing gift; the ability to turn a challenging situation into such a positive one.

    Good luck with your house!

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly June 7, 2010, 9:54 am

    Wow…she sounds like a truly amazing woman!

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! June 7, 2010, 10:00 am

    Thank you for writing about such a wonderful woman with an incredible mission. And it seems truly serendipitous that you two have been brought together! To answer your question, I often use writing and singing/playing piano as ways of dealing with my emotions. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story, Caitlin.

  • Jessica June 7, 2010, 10:12 am

    Thank you for writing about Lynn and her sister. A year ago, I lost my cousin Krista to suicide. It was a shock to all of us.

    I am going to pass Lynn’s website along to my aunt and cousin-who wear Krista’s jewelery as their wedding rings.

    After Krista’s death, I became involved with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I wrote an essay about my experiences here:

    Thanks for bringing awareness to this issue.

  • Jocelyn June 7, 2010, 10:17 am

    wow! What a great story..this meeting really must have been fate! The jewelry is absolutely gorgeous!

  • Chrissy (The New Me) June 7, 2010, 10:17 am

    What a beautiful story, and how amazing that this is the house you’ll be living in! Thanks for sharing this. I’ll definitely bookmark Bella Sorella for future shopping!

  • Camille June 7, 2010, 10:28 am

    Lynn has such gorgeous work! She sounds like a truly amazing woman!

  • Megan @ The Oatmeal Diaries June 7, 2010, 10:45 am

    Wow, I don’t normally comment but I had to after this post. What an amazing company. And beautiful jewelry! I’m going to go check out that website 🙂

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow June 7, 2010, 10:52 am

    What an incredible story and a wonderful place Lynn has created for her sister.

    I have to speak about recognizing how serious an eating disorder can be. We so often decide not to look at reality or not to look at what is truly happening around us. It’s easier that way. I had a dear friend in highschool who had an eating disorder and while she has recovered and is a healthy mother now…I don’t think I really really really understood how serious her health scare was. My lesson was to just pay attention to those around us and those that we love. Ask what is really going on and look a bit below the surface.

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter June 7, 2010, 10:53 am

    What an amazing woman! I’m so impressed with her jewelry, I’d actually even wear it.

  • jenny (green food diaries) June 7, 2010, 10:58 am

    i’m impressed with the jewelry too. i know a lot of art students my age who make jewelry so i’ve seen plenty. good on you for writing this post, caitlin.

    i definitely use writing and blogging as an outlet. ESPECIALLY at stressed-out times.

  • Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt June 7, 2010, 11:00 am

    Beautiful jewelry. What a great way to remember a loved one.

  • Jenny (moonwalk the miles) June 7, 2010, 11:10 am

    This is VERY touching; thanks for sharing. I love even the process of building the jewelry mimics her grief process, converting old energy into something new but still memorable and valuable.

    It’s so hard for family members to understand eating disorders, and I’m always amazed by these sorts of courageous efforts to at least grapple with the ramifications.

  • Sarah for Real June 7, 2010, 11:12 am

    That’s a really beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it. I love the idea of turning old pieces into something new again. I bet we all have jewelery we treasure for sentimental reasons but just don’t wear because it is not quite our personal style.

  • Wei-Wei June 7, 2010, 11:16 am

    That’s so amazing for you two to have met each other! I see some Bella Sorella + OB collaboration in the future. What a beautiful story and person… thanks for sharing. 🙂


  • kate June 7, 2010, 11:17 am

    I love how just talking to people can make you discover amazing things about them and yourself. It truly pays to be outgoing at times!

  • Joanne June 7, 2010, 11:18 am

    Beautiful work. Lynn is truly inspiring.

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople June 7, 2010, 11:18 am

    That is such a sad story that was turned into a beautiful creative outlet. What an amazing woman! It is truly amazing how strong people are and how talented.

  • Paula June 7, 2010, 11:20 am

    What a beautiful thing Lynn is doing in her sister’s honor. I love the idea of making something new from something old. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Amanda (modernation) June 7, 2010, 11:25 am

    Amazing story, jewelry and what wonderful woman. And how great that you two serendipitously came together! I am already thinking about what I could send her!

  • Cassie @ A Very Busy Mind June 7, 2010, 11:28 am

    Oh my goodness. How AWESOME. All things ED-related really get to me on a personal level, and this was no exception. Eating disorders are so, SO misunderstood. They completely and totally disrupt (and, arguably, ruin) a person’s life (and sometimes end it, as we see here). It breaks my heart that such an ugly and awful disorder affects so many of us, especially considering few people understand what an ED sufferer is going through. God bless Lynn for helping spread the message.

    Also, I’m extremely picky when it comes to jewelry, but Lynn’s creations are gorgeous. So unique!

  • Kellie June 7, 2010, 11:30 am

    What a wonderful way to honor her sister. As a person who struggles with a mental disorder (OCD) I know how scary it can be for your family to watch. I have always found that painting and excercising are good outlets for me. Both require me to completely focus on the task. In fact, excercise has been my biggest help in battling OCD. I stopped taking medicine and changed my eating habits, started working out and I am able to control my disorder by doing this. I will always struggle, but I am blessed to have been able to find ways to control my disease without medication.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) June 7, 2010, 11:38 am

    what a beautiful and heart-wrenching story! i would definitely say that photography has been a wonderful outlet for me…it helps me to see the beauty in the world rather than focusing on my crappy selfish emotions. i love doing something that’s encouraging and beautiful all at the same time!

  • Jenny June 7, 2010, 12:05 pm

    Wow, that is really beautiful jewelry! I love the dedications that go along with her pieces:)

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg June 7, 2010, 12:12 pm

    Wow…that is a really incredible story! And so cool that she is channeling something that could be so sad into something positive and uplifting.

  • Kristy June 7, 2010, 12:30 pm

    Thank you for sharing, such a unique positive outlet. You have such an intresting life….

  • Jessie June 7, 2010, 12:40 pm

    I often use artwork and journaling to process my emotions. Creativity has always been a natural outlet for my emotional expression. I find it so powerful I decided to go to graduate school to study art therapy and now practice art therapy at a college counseling center. It is incredible to watch someone who has no words use artwork to express profound experiences.

  • Hedda June 7, 2010, 12:42 pm

    Oh. This was a strong and amazing story, and the jewelry, as well as what they represent is beautiful.
    Those jewelry are truely expressions of life experiences.

    During the first months of recovery I knitted. A lot. Looking at the things I made fill me with emotions and memories, both positive and negative. To me, these items represent my fight back to life. They are expressions of frustration and hopelessness, and gradually more and more expressions of desire to live, to regain my health.
    My mother has done the same thing. While supporting me during meals and snacks she spend her time knitting, so she also produced many items that tells a story of recovery and what incredible strength we all carry with us.

  • caronae June 7, 2010, 12:45 pm

    What a wonderful woman! Sometimes I think that creative expression (writing — poems, stories, prose, etc.) saved my life! It has gotten me through the dark depths of depression, grief, disordered body image and all sorts of other problems. I try to make my emotions live on the page in the hopes that they will speak to others.

    Great post!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman June 7, 2010, 12:58 pm

    Lynn is amazing, and her story is so wonderful—that she channeled such a tragedy into this beautiful jewelry.

  • Katherine June 7, 2010, 1:07 pm

    gorgeous and inspiring. thank you!

  • Heather Rose June 7, 2010, 1:08 pm

    Wow, that story is so wonderful. Sad of course about Lynn’s sister, but wonderful that she could take something sad and turn it into a positive. The jewelry is beautiful too!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers June 7, 2010, 1:15 pm

    What an inspiring story- I definitely admire people that turn something horrible into something good for others. Thanks for sharing her story!

  • Aimee June 7, 2010, 1:19 pm

    I got chills just reading about this. Wow if ever two people were meant to meet… What an amazing story to share. The work you both do is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing this story.

  • Amanda Adams June 7, 2010, 1:35 pm

    I think creative writing has been a really great way for me to express myself. I can write stories that are fictional yet based on personal experiences and sensations.

  • Alyssa June 7, 2010, 1:36 pm

    A great story and way to honor her sister and help raise awareness about the seriousness of eating disorders.

    I process emotions a couple of different ways, depending on my mood. I have an eating disorder and talking out my feelings and thoughts helps me a lot.

    I also bead spiral bracelets or listen to music. Just getting out what I’m feeling is what helps me.

  • Rebecca @ How the Cookie's Crumble June 7, 2010, 1:36 pm

    Caitlin your post are always to uplifting and positive! And it’s great to see you spotlight other positive woman!

    • caitlin June 7, 2010, 1:54 pm

      thank you my dearie!

  • Catherine June 7, 2010, 1:42 pm

    I use journaling and cooking as a way to vent out tough emotions. I can’t quite explain it, but when I’m really bothered by something, nothing soothes me more than baking homemade bread, soup or cookies… whatever the mood strikes. How very “Like Water for Chocolate” of me I suppose. 🙂

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) June 7, 2010, 1:46 pm

    I use writing but also exercising to process emotions. If I’m out running I can have memories of a person who is past or think of an appropriate response to something that has hurt me instead of a snap comeback. It allows me to do something I love and think through things that I don’t normally do when I’m go, go, go.

  • Nicole, RD June 7, 2010, 2:09 pm

    What a sad, but important story for others to know about. All my thoughts her way, that’s so tough. The jewelry is gorgeous and I hope it helps out charities in supporting such a great cause.

  • Sarah June 7, 2010, 2:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story (and business!) with us.

  • kirsten June 7, 2010, 3:28 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! Lynn, your jewelry is gorgeous and it’s so nice of you to donate some of the profits to great charities.

  • Rachel @ Balance and Blueberries June 7, 2010, 10:35 pm

    Yes! Usually a run is the ticket to pent up stress and anxiety. But, as a classically trained pianist, sometimes a good practice session is the only thing that’ll fix it.

  • Corinne (breathe and savor) June 9, 2010, 11:11 am

    thank you for sharing this beautiful story! what an amazing concept and purpose. isn’t it aboslutely awe inspiring the people we come in contact with when we least expect it!? lynn clearly was brought into your life for a reason. i love this…ah serendipity!

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