Hey there!

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.
The blog


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

There is no denying the fact that we are living in a stressful time. No matter what your feelings are about Covid 19, it is real, it is out there, and it is killing hundreds of thousands of our friends and neighbors. 

The worry and fear that are generated can affect us both psychologically and physically.

woman alone in field

How Covid 19 Affects Our Mental Health

Social distancing and self-isolation have become necessary as public health measures, but they can increase feelings of isolation and loneliness.

In the US adults have reported considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with Covid-19.

According to the CDC stress from the pandemic can cause the following mental health problems:

  • Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness, or frustration
  • Changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
  • Worsening of mental health conditions
  • Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances.
The important thing to remember is that if you are experiencing any of these mental health concerns you are not alone. 


Healthy Ways To Cope With The Stress

  • While it is important to stay informed about the virus, focusing too much on it is not healthy. Limit your time watching the news and checking out stories on social media about Covid. 
  • Don't forget that it is important for you to take care of your body and keep it healthy. Eating right, exercise, and getting plenty of sleep are three things you can do for yourself.
  • Take time to relax. You might try meditating or yoga.
  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Take up new activities you have been wanting to try or revisit some fun activities from the past. Maybe you have always loved to dance but haven't found the time for it lately. There is nothing to stop you from dancing in your living room.
I like to put on my old records and dance like no one is watching, because...well...no one is watching

flower in a cup

When you take care of your own mental health you are in turn better able to help others who are also feeling stressed.

Books On Stress:

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

This post contains affiliate links for which I may receive a small commission. This does not affect your cost. Purchases made through these links help to support this blog.


Monday, September 20, 2021

Do you ever have one spot in your decor that you just can't seem to get a grip on?

Mine is this vintage window frame in my bedroom.

vintage window frame decor

This is the only place in my bedroom that I have room for it, and while I have always hung it vertically before, it won't fit that way here. 

I have tried decorating it in different ways, but none of them have made me happy. 

Now I am on a mission to see what other people have done.

This is very pretty with the wreath hanging from a ribbon. It has a very cottage feel.

old window frame with wreath

It would be perfect, except the window is vertical.

How cute is this window? 

vintage window with a cow

It is super cute, but somehow I don't think a cow would fit into my cottage bedroom.

Here is a window with a shelf on the top (mine is on the bottom) and it is horizontal. Once again they have used a wreath,

old window with shelf decor

It would be fun to layer old window frames. Unfortunately, I only have one, but I love the cottage look of this idea.

layering old windows

This time a hurricane lantern is used as a decor feature.

A window frame can be used to frame a vintage map. I seriously have at least five zillion of those. Not sure I have one that large in more subdued colors.

In my spare time (what the heck is that) I think I will look through my maps for one. 

I also need to start listing some of those maps in my Etsy shop

I seriously never thought about using a clock, but I do love this idea. 

clock on an old window frame

I do like this vintage-style white wall clock and if I had a bigger space I would definitely love this real moving gear wall clock for my living room. (Just exactly how did I veer off into a clock hunt?)

There are so many great ideas and now I am going to process them and see what I come up with.

Do you have an old window frame that you decorate with?

vintage window frame decor ideas

Read more home decor ideas.

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

This post contains affiliate links for which I may receive a small commission. This does not affect your cost. Purchases made through these links help to support this blog.


Friday, September 17, 2021

Well, this week I am combining Simple Pleasures and Saturday Shopping into one post because just as I got ready to finish my Simple Pleasures post blogger wiped the entire thing out.

It literally takes hours to write one of these posts, so needless to say I was not a happy camper. 

I know that many of us are staying at home more again and it can be difficult to self-isolate. 

bird print

Cooler weather is on the horizon, which means we will be staying at home even more and so we will be looking at ways once again to keep ourselves busy. 

I have spent the last week learning how to make printables from my collection of vintage prints to add to my Etsy shop. Who knew there was so much to learn. At times I was convinced my head was about to explode, but I have finally been able to start listing some. 

framed flowers

Simple Inspiration

As I was learning new things this week I wondered how old is too old to keep learning and it made me think of this quote.

always keep learning

And at times when I have felt adrift from the world, I have realized that I am not alone.

Lovely Reads I Found This Week

When you live in a small home or apartment it can be difficult to come up with new ideas for your space, so I was excited to find these 18 fresh ideas.

Looking for a quick update for your mantel? Check out this post on a five minute fall mantle.

Kris always finds the most amazing ways to update old things and I think this vintage door relove is definitely one of my favorites. 

If you are tired of looking at the same four walls and the same old view you will want to see Amy's post on ten waterfront homes around the world

Nobody loves an English country cottage home tour more than me, and this one is definitely now a favorite. 

Favorite Gluten-Free Recipe This Week

Cooler weather makes me think of soup, but as I have become a lazy as well as a thrifty cook I love a fairly simple one-pot healthy soup. This recipe for an Easy Vegan French Peasant Soup caught my attention. 

French Peasant Soup recipe

Catching Up

Have you had a chance to read these recent posts?

This week in Healthy Habits For a Happier Life I wrote about eating right. I was able to find a lot of good tips on the web and I am determined to do a better job of eating healthy, starting with that peasant soup.

Monday I shared a lovingly decorated historical home in New Jersey, which I loved.  Hint: the outdoor greenhouse eating area is to die for. 

Lets Play

I decided to create a special section for this because I thought it was so much fun. I played this with Tessa recently She of course won, although as usual she wouldn't allow me to see the instructions so who knows what the actual rules are. That girl definitely inherited the competitiveness gene.

It is for ages 8 and up and it is really fun. Amazon is apparently sold out, but I found it at Walmart.

Stay At Home With Amazon

What I'm Watching

For some reason, I have become addicted to shows that take place in WWII and these are two that I have recently finished and really liked; Land Girls and Foyle's War

Getting Cozy At Target

cozy women at Target

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

This post contains affiliate links for which I may receive a small commission. This does not affect your cost. Purchases made through these links help to support this blog.


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Raise your hand if you are guilty of not always following healthy eating habits. Really??? Because I have both of my hands raised.

I have good intentions. No, make that I have great intentions, but I live alone, I'm tired of cooking, and sometimes I'm just tired period.

However, I know how important a healthy diet is to not only our physical well-being but also to our mental well-being.

fresh produce

A healthy diet helps to protect us against non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. 

A healthy diet, along with exercise, helps to keep us at a healthy weight.

A Healthy Adult Diet

I found the following recommendations from The World Health Organization.

1) Eating five portions of fruits and vegetables each day helps to ensure that we are getting an adequate intake of dietary fiber. 

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season is optimal, but let's face it we don't always have access to fresh and with Covid I many of us have cut down on the number of times we grocery shop each month.

If you can't get fresh, frozen is the next best. Drop some frozen fruit with some oat milk into your blender and yum, you have a delicious and nutritious smoothie.

basket of fresh vegetables

2) Fat (I hate that word) consumption should be limited to less than 30%  of your total energy intake. Saturated fats and trans-fats should be replaced with polyunsaturated fats. 

Yes, I know how good your mom's biscuits made with lard tasted, but I am telling you to put that recipe somewhere where you (actually me) can't find it.

olive oil

3) I hate to rain on your parade, but it is also time to put away the salt shaker. I actually did this a long time ago. (pats self on back). Sodium doesn't just come from salt though, it is also found in processed foods, cheese, and bread. Uh oh, I do love cheese and bread. 

Did you know that high sodium intake along with insufficient potassium intake increases the risk of high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk for heart disease and strokes?

spilled salt

4) The next culprit on our list is sugar. SIGH!!! But, but, but it tastes so good. Adults and children should reduce their consumption of free sugars to less than 10% of their daily energy intake, and less than 5% is even better. 

Your teeth and your body will thank you. 

Sticking To A Healthy Diet

This is probably the hardest part. Even with the best of intentions sticking to a healthy diet can be challenging. 

1) What are your expectations? It's important that your expectations are realistic or your plan may backfire. Setting a realistic goal will help to keep you from getting discouraged.

2) What is it that motivates you? Are you motivated to eat healthier because you want to lose some weight, feel healthier, or a combination of both? 

fresh peaches

3) Don't bring unhealthy foods into your home. If they aren't readily available you won't eat them. 

4) Don't beat yourself up if you backslide. We are all human and changing eating habits can be hard. 

I know how much better I feel when I eat healthier and feeling better always makes me happier.


Healthy Eating Cookbooks

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

This post contains affiliate links. When you click on a link and make a purchase through that link I receive a small commission. This does not affect your cost.



Monday, September 13, 2021

As soon as Kristen and her husband walked into this historical 1800s home they fell in love with it and knew they had to make it their's. 

historical house in New Jersey

Lucky for them, even though the house was over a century old it didn't need any major structural work and so they set about making cosmetic changes only.

Kristen started with a neutral background and then chose an eclectic mix of furnishings and accessories with pops of color.

The Living Room

The living room is a perfect example of how the homeowner styled her rooms. A mix of vintage and new pieces, with a vintage vibe, fill the space.

cottage living room

As she decorates, Kristen believes that less is more and blends some old family pieces with newer finds. She has photographs of her grandparents and old seltzer bottles alongside a gold metal tray from World Market. 

cottage living room

living room nook

Entry Halls

The back entry hall is both utilitarian and stylish with its group of hanging coat racks for outerwear, and accessories that can be changed with the seasons. Storage baskets corral boots and shoes. 

hanging racks in hallway

The front entryway has a bannister that is original to the house, but over the years the spindles have been replaced and are mismatched, as children broke them. Kids do love trying to put their heads through the holes. 

entry hall

The Dining Areas

The kitchen dining area is a light, bright, cozy spot that overlooks the garden.

kitchen dining

The dining room has a more formal French provincial feel. The mix of elements gives it the feeling of a home in the countryside of France while the overhead cluster jar light fixture is a surprise modern element.

cottage dining room

A beautiful collection of eclectic dishes accompanied by gold goblets, flatware, and candle holders makes for a delightful place to entertain guests. 

formal table setting

In the warm summer months, an old greenhouse is a perfect place for al fresco dining. Yes, please.

greenhouse al fresco dining area

Information and photos sourced from Cottages and Bungalows.

Peak here for more home tours.


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

This post contains affiliate links. When you click on a link and make a purchase through that link I receive a small commission. This does not affect your cost.




Saturday, September 11, 2021

I remember when Saturday was the big day we did our shopping. I'm not sure why, I guess it was just a thing. These days we jump online and shop 24 hours. 

On Wednesday I wrote a post on Social Security and why I rely on affiliate links and my Etsy shop to supplement my income. 

woman with shopping bags

In the few months since I became an influencer with both Amazon, where I have an Amazon storefront, and LTK, where I share my online favorites, I have been finding just how difficult it is to get them going. 

I kind of jumped into the middle of the pie instead of carving out pieces when I changed my blog theme, applied to Amazon, and then immediately applied to LTK after Amazon accepted me. 

I was told it would take months to get accepted into LTK but imagine my surprise when I heard back the very next day. After the initial excitement, I realized that I had no idea what I was doing, and I mean no idea. 

Like most things I do though, I just started learning it all, and now that it has been a few months and I sort of know what I am doing I need to start capitalizing on it all. 

With that in mind, I am starting this new Saturday Shopping series to share some of my favorite finds.

Etsy Shop

I opened my Etsy vintage shop when Etsy was in its infant stages. Over the years I have watched it grow, and while it was growing I have worked it, not worked it, and worked it some more. Well, you get the picture. 

I am definitely in the working it mode now because I love vintage and antiques and love passing them on to you.

My knowledge has come from a lifetime of studying and collecting vintage and antiques. 

**Please note that the majority of my items include free shipping and the rest are free shipping eligible.**

etsy vintage shop

Some exciting news:

Over the next week, I will be adding vintage printables to my shop. I have a large collection of vintage and antique prints and maps and have decided to digitalize them to make them more readily available. Stay tuned. 

Amazon Fall Decor Finds

Neutral fall decor is very popular this year and Amazon has an abundance of it. I think I might have fallen in love with every one of these things.

neutral fall finds from Amazon

tobacco basket (similar)

Wayfair Get Cozy For Fall

It's that time of year when our thoughts turn to cooler weather and getting cozy.

Does shopping make you as hungry as it does me? Time to put my feet up, sip on a cup of tea, and treat myself to a gluten-free cookie.

Thanks for shopping with me. You all are the best.

saturday shopping

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 (it does not have to be the item you clicked on) I receive a small commission. This in no way affects your cost.