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I'm Laura. Welcome to Simple and Serene Living. I've worn many hats in my life on this fabulous planet; daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, and friend. This space is one of my favorite hats.
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PREPARING FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Monday, October 25, 2021

Have you started preparing for the holidays yet? 

Isn't it wonderful that many families who were not able to be together last year will be able to spend the holidays with their loved ones this year. 

I love the beauty of fall as it leads up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

The leaves have barely started to change here this year, but I am thinking they may be at their peak on Thanksgiving day. That would be perfect.

cup of tea in autumn


Thanksgiving Preparations

Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, and it is one of my favorite holidays.

I love getting together with my family and sharing a meal that we all contribute to. 

This year we will be eating out on my daughter Cary's new deck. We stay outside to keep Katy safe, and I know we will all enjoy it. Cary said they have ordered a new firepit that will help to keep us warm. 

Not sure which fire pit they ordered, but there are some great ones on Wayfair.

fire pit Wayfair

Christmas Preparations

I am already thinking about decorating for Christmas and I will be bringing out my Christmas decor in mid-November. 

Yes, I am decorating earlier, but it is a lot of work even in my small apartment and I want to enjoy it for as long as possible.

Christmas decorations always give me a feeling of peace and serenity in my home.

Christmas quote

Katy and I were talking yesterday and saying how we wish Christmas was in January because it is so hard to get through January and February when the weather is cold and gloomy. 

Did you know that Wayfair has its artificial Christmas trees on sale right now? 

I am thinking about getting this tree. Even though I do have one smallish tree I want a taller tree, but I don't have much space. 

wayfair artificial christmas tree

I like the idea of putting white lights on it and leaving it up through the winter.

My mind is definitely in planning mode, but I need to think about getting out my fall clothes first. That's a chore I do not like. 

Are you making plans for the upcoming holidays? Will you be doing anything special this year?

Until we meet again join me on PinterestInstagramLTK, and Etsy.


Thank you for supporting my small business. This post contains affiliate links. When you click on a link and make a purchase through that link I receive a small commission. This in no way affects your cost.



SATURDAY SHOPPING

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Even though it is still in the 70s during the daytime, the cooler nights have definitely put me in a fall mood. 

I want to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea under a cozy throw and enjoy the moments. 

Have you read the Tana French books. They are spellbinding.

tana french books


Perfect time to stock up on a variety of herbal teas.

assortment of herbal teas


This throw is gorgeous and cozy.

anthropologie throw blanket

Don't forget to keep your feet toasty.

women slippers lands end


You can't ever have too many cute pajamas.

victorias secret

Topped off with a faux fur robe.

pottery barn women robe

Now that I have you all set up for a cozy day at home, I'm going to put the kettle on and get my own day going.


Until we meet again join me on PinterestInstagramLTK, and Etsy.


Thank you for supporting my small business. This post contains affiliate links. When you click on a link and make a purchase through that link I receive a small commission. This in no way affects your cost.





SIMPLE PLEASURES: WEEK 11

Friday, October 22, 2021

Thursday is my day to shop at my favorite thrift store because it is senior and military 30% off day.

I do love a bargain and I have found many there. Last week was a dud week and after cruising through the entire store this week I had only found two things. 

digital bird print etsy

Just as I was getting ready to check out it started to pour down rain outside. Apparently, the building has a tin roof and the sound was thunderous. 

Needless to say, I was not leaving in that, so I decided to go behind the checkout counter and see what they had on the shelves there. I'm so happy that I did because that is where I found some treasures.

vintage etsy basket
I am needing to restock because my Etsy shop has been busy this last week and I always like to have fresh finds. 

Busy is a good thing.

Simple Inspiration

I have been busy looking for new opportunities in my life this year, and although it has been a bit of a rocky road, I feel like they are starting to bear a little fruit. 

opportunities quote

Lovely Reads


I love owls, and these glittery snow owls are perfect additions to a fall and winter decor.

If you are one of the many people who have added an outdoor pond to your landscape you will want to see this easy and inexpensive idea for a winter cover

Looking around my apartment I can see that my cleaning has fallen off a bit so I can really use these fall cleaning tips.

How to repurpose an old fall wreath to get you through Thanksgiving.

Yum!! Single serving poached pear dessert only requires three ingredients.

Favorite Gluten-Free Recipe This Week

Cooler nights mean comfort food to me and chicken noodle soup is one of my favorites. 

This is a simple gluten-free version and leftovers can be popped into the freezer for later.

gluten-free chicken noodle soup

Catching Up

Three great posts from the past week?



Fall Outdoors

Do you love spending time outdoors in the fall? These finds will help keep you cozy and warm.

outdoor fire pit


pottery barn buffalo plaid throw


JJill poncho


J Jill scarf


women leather boots Dillards


jcrew wool jacket


What I'm Reading

Maid the book


What I'm Watching

I'm currently enjoying two shows on PBS Masterpiece this month.

Season two of Baptiste is streaming one new episode a week. If you haven't seen season one you can catch it on the Masterpiece app.

Astrid, who has Asperger's syndrome, works in the library of the judicial police and helps in the investigations of serious crimes. Season one is available in its entirety. French with English subtitles.

simple pleasures week 11



Until we meet again join me on PinterestInstagramLTK, and Etsy.


Thank you for supporting my small business. This post contains affiliate links. When you click on a link and make a purchase through that link I receive a small commission. This in no way affects your cost.










FIVE WAYS TO STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

This is a republish of an old post as I am sidelined for a couple of days with a nasty stomach virus.

Each of us can make positive changes in the way that we choose to live our lives now and in the future. 

As a counselor, I encountered many people whose everyday lives were being negatively impacted by things that they had the power to change, but who did not know how to go about making those changes. 



We all have big stressors in our lives that are hard to avoid and can increase our cortisol levels by 100%. 

While small everyday stresses may not raise our stress hormones up to the levels of major stressful events, their constant occurrence in our lives can wreak havoc on both our physical and emotional well-being. You can find more about how stress impacts your health here.



What type of person are you? Are you someone who can laugh off small inconveniences like misplaced keys or being stuck in traffic, or are you someone who gets stressed out and lets these things ruin your day? 

If you are in the first group you may not need to read any further, but if you are in the second group there are ways to change the way you react.

mental health stress sweating the small stuff solutions

1) Recognize that small annoyances are a normal part of life. They happen to all of us. Know that the amount of effort you put into worrying over these small annoyances really isn't worth it. 

2) Find a new perspective. Most small annoyances are just that. They are not life-altering and if you think about them in comparison to events that are life-altering, you will see that they aren't worth the amount of worry you are giving them.

3) Change how you look at the event. For example, if someone cuts you off in traffic instead of feeling angry and yelling at them rethink why they may have done it. Maybe they had an emergency they were trying to get to. Smile and be happy they didn't cause you to get into an accident. At the end of the day, it probably doesn't matter that you were one car behind.

4) Stop and breathe. When we get worried and anxious we tend to take very shallow breaths. Stop and breathe deeply. Slowing down your breathing can be used along with meditation to calm and relax you. 

5) Problem solve in advance and after the fact. I had a real problem with misplacing my keys. Very common for many of us. So I have now made it a habit to always put my keys in one place. It has really saved me from a lot of the stress I felt every time I couldn't find them, and on the rare occasion that I forget to put them there, I have a backup set that I always keep in a drawer. 

A little problem solving can go a long way in keeping that stress level down. Leave on time for appointments, smile when someone frowns at you, etc......

Changing how we react to the small stuff can help to give us all a happier and healthier life. Do you have a way to avoid stress in everyday situations? I would love for you to share your solutions with us. 

Disclosure: As a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program I receive compensation for any purchases you make through links from this site.


PERFECT FALL RECIPES

Monday, October 18, 2021

Cozy homes and the delicious aroma of food spark feelings of fall and today I thought I would do something a little different and share some fabulous fall recipes I found.

I know that for many Americans fall is the time for watching football games on TV and eating lots of pizza. 

Wild Mushroom and Artichoke Flatbread pizza With Truffle Cashew Cheese

While the guys are gathered around watching the game why not up your game with this delicious pizza?

wild mushroom and artichoke flatbread pizza

Homemade flatbread is topped with seasonal vegetables. 

Pumpkin and Squash Gemista

Well, I have to admit that I had never heard of gemista, but if it is made with pumpkin and squash, then count me in.

If you are Greek, then you probably know that gemista is vegetables filled with rice and baked in the oven.

Different types of small pumpkins and squashes can be used for this gemista.

Greek gemista

Pumpkin S'mores Cookies

These soft, chewy cookies are filled with chunks of dark chocolate and gooey melted marshmallow.

I had no idea what caster sugar was, but apparently, it falls somewhere between granulated and confectioner's sugar.


pumpkin s'mores cookies

The one thing I noticed about these recipes is that there was no calorie count, which must mean they are free of calories and we can indulge in as much of them as we want.

Okay, maybe not, but they are all vegan.

If you know anyone who is willing to cook one of these let me know and I will be right over. 

If not you might want to try some of the 550 recipes from The Complete Autumn and Winter Cookbook.

If you are interested in vegan and other plant-based cooking check out these cookbooks.




Recipes and photos from House and Garden

(note to self: someone is definitely eating better than I am.)

fall vegan recipes



Until we meet again join me on PinterestInstagramLTK, and Etsy.


Thank you for supporting my small business. This post contains affiliate links. When you click on a link and make a purchase through that link I receive a small commission. This in no way affects your cost.

SATURDAY SHOPPING #5

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Well looks like we are in for cooler weather for the foreseeable future. 

Yesterday was 85 degrees, but we will be having daytime highs in the 60s and 70s and nighttime lows in the 40s and 50s. 

It's definitely time to pull out my sweaters and other cool-weather clothes.

Over-sized plaid shirts are always welcome in my closet.

old navy oversize plaid shirt


Starting out on a cool morning means an easy zip-front hoodie with pockets that I can tie around my waist if I get too warm. 

old navy women zip front hoodie


I've been seeing a lot of these quilted jackets this fall and this one is super cute.

old navy women quilted jacket

Old Navy

Do cable knit sweaters ever go out of style?

women gap cable knit sweater


Who cares if there's no sun up in the sky when you have a raincoat that is this stylish.

women banana republic raincoat


Sherpa-lined acid wash jean jacket and it's on sale.

women Banana Republic acid wash jean jacket


When you come in from the cold and kick off your boots make sure you have on some cute socks when you warm your feet by the fire.

walmart women socks


If you are like me you need a pair of reading glasses in every room.


walmart reading glasses


Have a great weekend.


Until we meet again join me on PinterestInstagramLTK, and Etsy.

Thank you for supporting my small business. This post contains affiliate links. When you click on a link and make a purchase through that link I receive a small commission. This in no way affects your cost.