Blogger Burnout Is No Joke + My Favorite Home Furnishings!

Some of you may recall that I said the other day that I would be on vacay this week, for a few days.

Well, I am, but can I ever completely go away?

No. So, a vacay is only working 5 hours a day instead of 16+.

And yes, 16+ nearly every day of the week, is too much.


AND, I am fully aware of the dangers of blogger burnout.


In fact, I had a little taste of it last week.

Although I am not sure if what happened is related to the number of hours I put in or not.

But here’s the story.


Now, please don’t be (too) alarmed, but I checked myself into the ER last week. (eight days ago)


I was out and about feeling fine, going to my favorite health food store in Bronxville.

Well, it’s the only health food store in Bronxville. lol But the people are nice and I like going there.

My point in telling you that is that I was not in the least bit stressed out.

But the second I put my wallet back into my purse, I knew that something was wrong.

And it’s not an unfamiliar feeling. Light-headed, weak, nauseous, but this time, I could feel my heart pounding and I wasn’t even moving much. No pain whatsoever, but it was like trying to keep up with my 6′-3″ son when he’s in a hurry.

Yes, it was a hot, steamy day, but I had a big drink before I left the house.

Damn it. That store nearby that had a bench was closed and now, there was no bench. But my favorite bench at Houhlihan Lawrence was another 100 feet or so. It felt like forever to get there, but it was only one long block in total. I plopped into the bench as if it was metallic and there were magnets attached to my butt.

The sidewalk was moving at a brisk clip.


the garden and my bench at houhlihan lawrence bronxville new york

“My” bench at Houhlihan Lawrence in Bronxville, NY


SHIT!!! I felt like crap!

Do I need to call 911?

I figured that I better get some help and went to go inside the realtor. (you can see the door in the above image taken last summer)

They’re closed???

I sat back down on the bench.

And then, seconds later, God really had it in for me. Huge drops of summer-type rain started falling.

Did I need that?

So, I relocated to the door stoop where there is an overhang.

Things had calmed down somewhat, so, while waiting for the rain to stop, I drank some of the sparkling Poland Spring I had just purchased and had a few butternut squash corn chips. Those are really yummy, BTW.

Several minutes later, still feeling woozy, but better, with the sun back out, I decided to take the 3 minute trek to Lawrence Hospital.

Don’t be an idiot, I kept telling myself. Some of you know that I had a dear brother who died at 38 of a heart attack. And since then, naturally have been concerned that I have inherited the same awful genes.

You see… He had been feeling quite unwell in the days preceding his death and finally had made an appointment which was later on the day that he passed.

I’m not naturally the overly neurotic-type. But hearts beating abnormally are nothing to mess around with.


Lawrence Hospital - Bronxville, NY ER- Hospital beige yuck Blogger Burnout

My view from my room at Lawrence Hospital ER last week.

Uhhhh… hospital beige?


And seriously. Is that not the ugliest curtain you’ve ever seen?

I’m convinced that it’s a vast conspiracy to keep people from getting well so that they can make more money.

But, they couldn’t have been nicer or taken better care of me.

They jabbed me with a huge IV needle for fluids, anti-nausea meds and ran the usual tests, EKG, blood sugar… and the doc ordered a CT scan of my brain. (don’t think that one was necessary and I should’ve questioned it.)

I haven’t been to the hospital for over 22 years since my second son was born.


Well, bottom-ish line.


They couldn’t find anything wrong in terms of anything to cause grave concern.

But when I got back home, I did some research because I have other symptoms too.

Like purple toes.

Does anyone else get purple toes?

It’s Reynaud’s Syndrome. Mine is relatively mild. But my vacay host did comment on it this morning.

Well… without going into a whole big thing…

It might be something having to do with low blood volume which can cause sharp changes in blood pressure. And it has a long scary sounding name, but it is perfectly treatable.

BTW, I’ve been to my doctor a few times about this and have seen three specialists including a cardiologist.

But if it’s this disease, part of the cure is actually to have a lot of salt and fluids. Weird, huh? But I do admit, that I seem to crave salty food at this stage of my life.

Or, it could be my thyroid. An auto-immune thing.


So, why am I going into great detail about my health?


Because something’s gotta give. (a little Hampton’s pun from the movie of the same name)

Make no mistake, I LOVE MY JOB!


But blogger burnout is a very real possibility.

However, I am not going to let that happen.

Here’s the problem. It’s not just a matter of putting together the blog posts. Oh no. That’s not even the half of it and that right there is about 25 hours/week.

Could I spend less time on that?

Occasionally. But most posts take an average of 12 hours to produce.

And then there are comments to answer and emails.

NOW. Please hear this. I do not want you to stop commenting.

But, one thing I’ve done is to close comments on posts older than 30 days.

And I might not answer every single comment.

I definitely do read every one.

And I can’t always answer emails unless of course, you’re having a problem related to the blog or one of my products. (like you didn’t get your update)

In addition to all of that, there’s a ton of other stuff that I don’t need to go into.

Can I cut back the blogging schedule?

Sorry, no. That is not an option. It’s like saying, can I only work three days a week instead of five?

But, I definitely need to free up some time without sacrificing quality. Fatigue and not having enough down time never helped anything.


Here are some of my ideas.


Once or twice a month to have a guest poster. I hesitate to say this because, to be frank, even though I have a big sign that says no guest posters on my contact page, I am still solicited quite frequently. That’s because the cretins do not read my contact page. They got my info from a list they bought. They don’t even bother to address me by a name.

It’s always,


Sometimes when I’m in an especially snarky mood, I’ll write back and say:

“just so you know… my name isn’t “Hi,”


And trust me when I tell you that every single one of these so-called bloggers sucks, sucks, sucks!!! As bloggers, that is. They might be very nice people, otherwise. Well, probably not if they can’t be bothered to find out my name and they want me to do something for them.

This is what the world has devolved to. Unfortunately.

But you know and I know that this is not what we’re about here on the laurel home blog. We’re about authenticity, growth, learning and hopefully having a few laughs.

And… I do know that there are some massively talented people out there!!!

You Guys!!!

So, if any of you are possibly interested in being a guest blogger and getting a crap-load of exposure by some awesome readers, then please listen up.


Here Is What I’m Looking For in a Guest Blogger


  • Needs to bring something to the blog that will be of exceptional interest and most likely, but not necessarily something I don’t do or do well. (but wish I did) A great example is gardening. Or table top. Entertaining. Or maybe you have a home that should be in House Beautiful but it’s not.


  • Needs to understand blogging technique. Blogging requires certain skills that are easy to learn but are different than in other forms of writing.


  • Needs to provide, if possible, from 10-20 beautiful, clear, images. They don’t have to be huge files, but fine if they are. I can reduce them easily. But for a vertical, prefer that they are not less than 600 px wide and for horizontal, prefer that they be at least 800 px wide. You cannot increase the files size if it’s not already at that level.If you cannot provide images, it is not a deal breaker. But if you do provide them and they aren’t your intellectual property, I need to have attribution to the original source.You may send submissions to:




I put it in caps so that it would stand out. And it is written out so that the nefarious can’t easily find the address.

I realize that this may seem daunting or scary to some of you. Maybe some of you WERE bloggers and abandoned your blog and are looking for a way to get back in it. Well, here’s a great opportunity.


I say that because I have high standards but if you think that you have what it takes, then I will welcome your proposal(s). Please send to the admin address above.

Another idea I have to help prevent blogger burn-out is to give readers, a few times a year, a fairly broad topic and then let y’all write in your problems related to that topic.

There won’t necessarily be an answer, but it’ll give me a chance to write about that problem more in depth, especially if I see a pattern.


So, today, that is what I’m proposing as an experiment.


This time, however, I am not proposing a topic, but allowing y’all to write in any design-related problem you might be having.

If others would like to chime in with an answer, that is fine.

I am going to turn off the comment moderation. If there should happen to be a troll, the 99.999% of you who are kind, wonderful people have my express permission to kick them in their unkind troll-ass!


And now for the Part II of this post.


There’s a new tab in the menu called:

Favorite Home Furnishings.


I’ve mentioned once or twice that I am working on this. This page is going to be a work in progress and dynamic. It won’t change as much as the hot sales, but especially in the early weeks, will be growing and evolving.


This is different from the hot sales page because these items may or may not be on sale. These are classic pieces in a variety of styles and settings. And most are reasonably priced.


Some of the categories are rather broad now, but in time, might be broken down further.

There are four categories up so far.


Here is one of the categories which is about all kinds of tables except for dining tables.



Below are the other three categories. (so far)

The links to the pages are below the images


mark d sikes - blue and white living room in Montecito via instagram

Blue and White Home Furnishings

Image via Mark D. Sikes instagram. Don’t you just adore this vignette? Well, I do!


Upholstered Furniture – (sofas, loveseats, chairs)

Serena and Lily chairs – Love these!

Affordable dining and occasional chairs

The ones above are the most expensive of the lot.

I will still be around, just not as much as I usually am on a Wednesday evening and Thursday.

OH! And please, know that I am feeling absolutely fine right now. But I do have a tendency to get nauseous and dizzy and it’s starting to become a problem.



PS: More hot sales on Friday, but please don’t forget about early access at the Nordstrom once a year anniversary Sale. Full access begins this Friday, July 20th. Can’t wait!



PPS: Gosh, guys! It’s Thursday morning! You are all so, so kind, but I would like to address some of your comments here.


First of all, the people who need to read this are none of you who are making these kind, supportive comments.

They are the scores of folks who write me long-winded paragraphs full of questions and seeking out FREE ADVICE as if all I have to do is sit here and answer them. And even if I could do that, I can’t see what they are talking about and IT IS NOT EASY. Decorating is damned difficult!

I have tried everything in my power to get them to stop, but they won’t. So, I guess what I need to do is ignore them? But it’s difficult when they start out saying such nice things and sound so desperate. I realize that they mean no harm, but have no idea that their queries are not appropriate.

I cannot blog less.


That WOULD be a source of great stress as this is my livelihood now and that would mess me up big time. (long, boring technical crap that the vast majority have no interest in knowing about)

But, this is one reason why there are shopping links. And really and truly, if 99.75% of you don’t get anything, that is absolutely fine. Because .25% of you do and that is still 100s of readers a month. And then there are those who are grateful and would be upset if I did not provide this service.

The writing and producing posts is actually RELAXING for me. The only difficulty is the time involved, but shorter posts would help with that.  Why didn’t I think of that???

IF, if, if there are any guest posters, they will be here because they are BETTER THAN ME and will provide something of immense value and beauty. And it will not be more than once a month. But again, these are only thoughts at this point.


I am under excellent medical care– so please, please no more medical advice to me or anyone else who writes in. I did not ask for it! And I feel very strongly that even IF you are in the medical field that it’s highly inappropriate to offer any kind of medical advice to someone that is not under your care.


I have a superb internist who is helping me get to the bottom of this. Actually, these symptoms are NOT NEW. But they are a little more frequent now. It is one of the reasons that I’ve moved to becoming a full-time blogger. Being an interior designer for me, was immensely stressful and physically demanding. And what if I lose the ability to do my job? I’d be screwed.

It is not dehydration, vertigo, vitamin deficiency, diet-related or heart disease. (at least, not so far, I’ve been told) These things have been checked, re-checked over and over and over. The symptoms are probably due to an auto-immune disorder which possibly involves the thyroid gland. Or not. Not sure.

About the PALEO DIET.

I had two dear friends who died way too young who were on that diet. In fact, hearing those words is a trigger that makes me want to projectile vomit into outer space. Again. Please no medical advice on this blog!

It is not stress.

When I was a teen-ager, I had the worst hives in the history of mankind. Huge sacks of liquid invaded my face in particular. Imagine going to school looking like the elephant man at the age of 15? I was frequently told that it was “stress.” Damn it all! Not stress, but it was certainly stressful when I had an attack! These types of hives are auto-immune related that researchers have come to realize in more recent years.

For those in the medical field, I test pos. and have for years and years for anti-nuclear antibodies. That is a marker for an auto-immune disease and most commonly lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Don’t have the latter and I’ve been to see two different rheumies. They don’t believe that it’s Lupus either, except that I have a lot of the symptoms.

And finally. While I may not answer, I read all of your comments and appreciate every single one of you more than you can possibly know!

What has happened with this blog is something that I never dreamed was remotely possible. It is a true miracle. And I am hoping that this message is something that others can take and use to make their lives better.

And understand that it is never too late.

I always thought it was others who got all of the breaks and so forth. I went through my years of darkness when I didn’t even care.

Look. We all have “stuff.”


Even the “perfect” people have stuff. In fact, I’m convinced that the more perfect it all looks, the more “stuff” they have.

They’re just really, really good at hiding it because the illusion of perfection is far more important to them than letting others see who they really are.

And yes, it’s scary. It’s scary showing others who we really are.

But, I believe with all of my heart that by sharing is when the greatest healing takes place.

In my view, there is no true happiness without authenticity.

However, I am going to continue to wear make-up and have my hair dyed.

And eat an eclair or a few bites of cheesecake if I feel like it.


Because it makes me feel better.

Thank you, thank you for your kind words and help in continuing to create what I hope is one of the best design blogs out there!

I love all of you dearly!!!

If you are interested in learning the diagnosis, which came a few weeks later; please click here.


xo, (again)

Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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