F Simple and Serene Living 09 10
Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Is your weather as crazy as ours?

This is January, RIGHT???

It definitely feels much more like March. Showers and warm temperatures are prevailing and with temperatures not dropping below freezing at night I am afraid that things will start to bloom. 

My other worry is that when March does roll around winter will decide to rear its ugly head. I am not a fan of winter and love these mild days, but if we have to have cold weather I like for it to be in January. 

Now, about that flat tire. GRRRRRR!!!

I noticed on the way to clean up my booth yesterday that I heard a strange noise. Just as I pulled into the mall, boom my tire went flat. 

Thank goodness for AAA, but tomorrow I will be heading off to the tire store to get, I'm sure, two new front tires. 

I hate the fact that I keep having to put money into my old car, but every time I start saving money for a new one something goes wrong with the old one. I think I am going to have to have a serious conversation with it about its behavior. 

I also noticed yesterday that a lamp was missing from my booth. It isn't on my sales report so I will have to talk to the manager to see where it has disappeared to. I don't think anyone could walk out the front door with a large table lamp, but nothing really surprises me. 

Things there do have a way of going missing. 

Today I am having a day at home. I like those days.
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Saturday, January 14, 2017


I love my houseplants, and because I don't have a pet at the moment they are like my babies.

I want them to remain healthy, and that is not always easy in the winter.

houseplant care

So I have made a pretty tray that holds things I need and is easy to carry around. Scissors for trimming. A new watering can and mister that were Christmas gifts from my sweet granddaughter Sidney. A hand towel for drying my hands as needed. 

houseplant plant care

One problem for houseplants in the winter is adequate light. There are just too many gray gloomy days, and sometimes I feel like the color is just being leached out of my plants. 

I do have a grow light that I can use if I feel like I am losing one of my precious plants, but I of course always prefer natural light, which is why I move my plants around to see where they do best.

houseplant care

Lack of water is also a problem along with dry air in the winter. My apartment is really dry. I feel like my skin is turning into sandpaper, so I know that my plants need more moisture. I am very diligent about watering my plants (make sure not to over water) and I love the new mister Sidney  gave me. I also have a humidifier to help add moisture to the air.

winter home cottage houseplants cut flowers

I also love cut flowers, so I do add them to my decor. Freesias work great for me because they don't seem to aggravate my allergies, and they are very inexpensive at Trader Joe's. 

freesias cut flowers home decor

I don't know about you, but when I look around at all my beautiful plants winter just seems to recede into the background.

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Monday, January 9, 2017


I know you are probable reading this right now and saying WOW is that where Laura has been for the last three weeks?

Has she been meeting the queen? Sipping tea? Eating cucumber sandwiches? Touring Buckingham Palace? Playing with the queen's Pembroke Welsh Corgis?

Well, in a word, NO. 

(Not the queen, but love those muddy feet)
Maybe it is that they both wear crowns, or are guarded by men in funny uniforms who never smile, or spend their time lounging about. (Well that last one might be true for me)

(No stopping these two)
So what is it about me and the queen. Apparently we both have "heavy colds". To be honest with you I was calling it the creeping crud, but I guess that is not refined enough for what we have. 

I came down with whatever this is on the way back from visiting my family in Atlanta. (BTW other than the night I had a stomach virus, I had a wonderful time.)

I don't know how the queen is doing, but my guess is she has a lot more personal care than me. I have had to slog through it on my own with lots of tea and Hulu binge watching. 

Other than a lingering cough I seem to finally be throwing it off. In fact, I am heading out the door to a tai chi class and to walk on the treadmill. It's part of my plan to burn the past and have a bright future. 

I am also starting a pottery class, and yes, I 'll be happy to show you whatever lump of clay I end up with. 

A belated Happy New Year to one and all (including the queen).
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Saturday, December 17, 2016


I have significantly cut down on my Christmas decor in my new small apartment, but I love decorating for the holidays so I still wanted it to be festive.

Christmas home decor country santa

I wanted to bring back decorations from my past, like some of the Santas I made 25 years ago,

Christmas country decor Santa

my Christmas village,

and vintage toys under a Norfolk pine tree that I will be keeping as a houseplant after the holidays are over.

vintage Christmas toys under the tree

I love the playfulness of these old favorites

country Christmas snowmen

and the wonderful traditional Christmas colors.

red gold Christmas balls antique dough bowl

I will be driving down to Atlanta on Friday to spend Christmas with my family. Can't wait.
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Thursday, December 8, 2016


Some days are just meant for staying home and hanging out in your PJs. 

For some reason this was one of those days. 

I hadn't planned for it to be, but when I woke up feeling just a little under the weather and knowing the high was only going to be 33 degrees, I decided what the heck.

My apartment is cozy and warm, I have warm pyjamas and slippers, and there is plenty of food. 

So I scrolled through my watch lists on Netflix and Hulu, got the kettle going, and settled in for a lazy day. I love British TV shows. I'm so lazy I even recycled some old photos.

The sun is shining through my windows, my Christmas decor is up (no I haven't taken any photos yet), and I have a few books to choose from if I get tired of TV.

It is definitely a PJ kind of day. 

Have you had one of those lately?

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Monday, December 5, 2016


In these stressful times we all need a place where we can go and find a sense of peace. 

A place where we can go and find serenity. 

That place differs for each of us.

It may be a spot in your home. The stillness of the woods. Standing by the ocean. A park bench. 

For me it is the florist and greenhouses that my grandfather built in 1902. As I have written about before, it is a place, 10 minutes from my home, that I can visit as often as I want.

It is a place that after so many years is showing its age, and that means that there is constant work to be done. Recently it was found that the front greenhouse, the show house, had structural issues. So major renovations were in order. 

Yesterday, on my way home from church, I stopped in to browse the annual artist and craft show that is held there. I also wanted to see the finished show house. 

I call this greenhouse Aunt Rose's greenhouse. It was Great Aunt Rose, who loved me so dearly as a child and instilled in me a love of antiques, that kept her birds here. 

It must have been warmer in there back in the day, but in recent years it has not been so warm in the cold months.

Now it is full of beautiful plants and flowers. The floor is heated and it is a cozy and inviting spot once again. I will be visiting often this winter when I need a break from the gray cold days.

My peaceful place. Come join me.

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P.S. More inspiration can be found here.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Small space decorating requires rethinking scale and how we use the pieces in our space.

I have found that old milking stools are not only charming, but also are wonderful for taking the place of other pieces. 

I love having a coffee table, but I really don't have the space for a conventional table. I do however have this sweet rustic milking stool and it serves as a little table without taking up too much real estate. 

Also, with its handy holes in the top it is easy for me to move it over by my chair when I need a place to park my cup of tea. 

I have a second milking stool in my bedroom. She is so pretty in pink.

I move this one around a lot too. Perfect in my bathroom to sit and put on makeup or next to my bedroom chair.

Small spaces can be challenging when it come to decorating and although I do use large pieces, it is nice that these little milking stools add to the decor. 

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P.S. You can find more of my small space decor here.
P.P.S. There are also small space decor ideas here.
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Thursday, November 24, 2016


There are times when life seems to slow to a crawl and then before you know it it has sped up again and another year has gone by.

I remember last year with these two sweet girls. How much they have grown in the past year. I will miss being with them this year.

Like many others in this country I am feeling uncertainty. Will I lose my medicare and social security? Will my daughter lose her life saving health coverage? Will my gay friends and family members be persecuted once again? Are my African American friends feeling fear in their lives? 

There are times when I wonder if I will ever feel thankful again. As I sat in church on Sunday, singing old hymns of Thanksgiving I closed my eyes and opened my heart to thankfulness.

No matter how difficult the times are, when we look deep inside there is always something to be thankful for. 

This year I am thankful to have my own home. A place where I can close the door and know that I am safe and warm. I know that there are many others who are not as fortunate.

Although I am not with my daughters and grandchildren this year, I know they are also safe in their homes and I can feel their love across the miles. 

I want to wish you and your families a happy Thanksgiving. I hope that in the days, weeks, and months ahead you will find many reasons to be thankful. 
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Saturday, November 19, 2016


In my last post I talked about how I am using walking as one way to find serenity in my life. You can read that here. I am also working on other ways to find serenity.

We are living in a chaotic time, and finding a place of serenity in the chaos can be difficult. 

I do not write about politics on this blog, but I will say that there will never be a place in my life for any kind of bigotry and I do not have any tolerance for prejudice. 

Also, my focus of interest, as a counselor and beyond, is women's issues. I feel like I have let my blog slip away from that focus and I want to bring it back.

Women's lives are very complex. We wear many hats and we have many different parts of our lives, but I believe all of our lives are intertwined and that it is important for us to be supportive of each other. 

Lately, I have been wondering how we manage to keep doing that when there is so much divisiveness in our society. 

How, as women, do we help to bring about a sense of serenity for ourselves and for those around us?

How do we put aside our differences and find the center of who we are as women?

I realize that we will never agree on all of the issues we face in our country, but I do believe that we all want peace for our families. I believe that women will be the peace makers. 

With all of that in mind, I am going to spend time digging into my own core beliefs and sharing some of my thoughts here. 

I would love to hear your thoughts, but I do ask that we are all respectful. That we don't make this about politics, but about what we want for ourselves as women. 

Sending you all love.
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Monday, November 14, 2016


There are so many ways to combat stress, and as I am dealing with a whole ton of stress I am spending time trying to bring it down to a manageable level. 

I have been up and down with my walking program. Some days I feel I am just too tired or too busy to get out there and do it, but I know those are just excuses. 

I feel so much better when I walk, so I have decided to vary my location.

I think I just get bored too easily, but a change of scenery really helps.

A couple of days ago I chose to stop at Ashland the estate of Henry Clay. I drive by it a lot, but for some reason I have never thought to stop and walk there.

A lovely serene place to look up through the trees and breathe in the sight of a perfect blue sky.

This is a good location for me to walk. Because it is in town I feel safe to walk by myself. There was a time when I didn't mind walking in the country by myself, but I no longer feel that way. Maybe it is my age that makes me feel more vulnerable.

Later this week I am going over to the arboretum to walk. It's a great place right next to the university and very close to where I live. 

Then I will start exploring some of the parks and walking paths here in town. The weather is going to turn much colder this weekend so I guess I will have to bundle up. 

How about you? Have you been walking? If so where do you like to go?

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