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This year has certainly been a test on everyone's ability to stay positive. With the pandemic starting at the beginning of the year, racial tensions increasing and a crazy election season it's sometimes hard to find the good. People are discovering all new ways for self care because of the current stay safe at home and social distancing rules. Many bloggers I follow are exploring their local areas and discovering hidden gems. I am sticking to mostly home activities for the time being.

 *This post includes sponsored links through Nakturnal.*

 

Read a Good Book with a Warm Mug

I've been slacking on this because I've been more focused on movies - see below - but I did just buy Austenland for $3 (yay used books!) and will hopefully finish another book I started months ago.  I think my problem is the book I am trying to finish is a bit on the darker side and I want to be reading something more light and happy. Why not pick up a classic like Little Women, The Princess Bride or Pride and Prejudice? Or perhaps a fun, quick young adult series like Percy Jackson? I've been meaning to do a reread of that and Harry Potter, I better start a list!

 

Park yourself on the couch or a comfy chair, pour a mug of your favorite hot beverage and get lost in a different world. If you're a coffee or tea fanatic, or need gifts for tea lovers, check out Adda Coffee & Tea House! They're based in Pittsburgh but also ship their products. I'm not a huge tea drinker - unless I'm in London - but I've got my eye on some of their other offerings like mugs and a pretty woven tote bag. I ordered a chocolate box with a gift code they sent me! 


 

Go Through Old Vacation Photos

Just because we may not be able to travel the way we used to doesn't mean we can't travel in our minds!  I keep finding myself going through old photo albums (digital and physical) to relive the happy memories. It's almost like being on the trips again! If you don't want to go through your own photos there are plenty of travel blogs you can check out to plan future trips. Some museums are even offering virtual tours so you can experience them from home! Check out this article for museums you can visit from your couch!


Escape with Movies

I did a post early on in the pandemic about what movies I've been watching to lift my spirits. In between watching old favorites I've been working my way through my TCM watchlist which never seems to get any smaller. Every day I check the new movies added to their On Demand offerings so my list is constantly around 50 movies. It's a race to watch them before they expire, which can happen pretty quickly depending on the movie.

 

Now that Fall is almost here I'm looking forward to curling up on the couch with a blanket, hot chocolate and my favorite Halloween movies! Check out this old post for my must-watch Halloween movies.

 

Music Therapy

On busy work days where I can't even partly pay attention to a movie I'll turn my iTunes on shuffle and listen to music. I'm more of an oldies fan myself so you won't find any new artists on my list.  Unless you count John Mayer as new. It's mostly The Eagles, James Taylor, Billy Joel, The Beatles, etc. It's so fun to sing along while I work and forget all my problems.

 

Music can be helpful in more than just lifting your spirits. Incadence, a new company founded in 2019, provides music therapy through video calls, perfect for sessions during quarantine. Music therapy provides individualized treatments to help treat individuals with disabilities, injuries, illnesses, anxieties or to improve general well being.

 

GIVEAWAY: Incadence have offered one of my readers in the USA a free music therapy session. To enter, follow Incadence on Facebook and comment on this post with how music therapy could help you or a loved one! In my case I'd love it to help me fall asleep at night, I have such trouble turning my mind off! Confirm you've completed both parts of your entry in the form at the bottom of this post.
 

*I have not tried the company myself but have been offered a free session and gift card in exchange for hosting this giveaway for you all!*

 


Find New Recipes to Bake or Cook

If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that I have been spending my weekends trying new recipes and perfecting old favorites. You can check out Part 1 and Part 2 of my baking adventures. (More to come once I get a few more recipes under my belt.) If I'm feeling really fancy and want to splurge I'll use some of our grocery budget to buy a week of Blue Apron meals. Have you found a hidden talent for cooking or baking?


Gardening

To go along with cooking, many people have started their own gardens as a way to keep entertained and avoid the grocery store. We are on our second year of having a garden. And when I say we, I mean Christian. He's the brains behind the operation, I just cook the few things we're able to grow. He really enjoys getting off his computer and tending to our peppers, lettuce, herbs and more. Although he wishes we could get rid of the squirrels!


 

 

Go For A Walk, Hike or Bike Ride

We haven't been doing this as much as I'd like (aka not at all unless I make Christian take my photos at the local park) but getting some fresh air and Vitamin C is super important. You could even do a socially distanced walk or hike with friends to keep in touch safely.

 


Play Games

My husband is a HUGE gamer so he always wants me to join in on the fun. I have a few games I played before I met him that he bought for me to play on the Nintendo Switch. He also introduced me to Animal Crossing, which he has been obsessed with since he was younger. They released it on the Switch right at the beginning of quarantine so we've been playing it quite a bit. It's a fun way to escape reality by entering a world we created. We've even played with my sister and his Mom with online play!

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When I say Ancient Greek Sandals are my favorite sandal brand you know I mean it. There are 152 posts tagged with Ancient Greek Sandals on the blog. If we weren't in the middle of a pandemic right now I'm sure they would have been featured at least once a week since the warmer weather arrived.  I posted a (now inaccurate) photo of my sandals on Instagram in July but have since added 2 new pairs to the collection.

 


I first featured them as a "favorite thing" in summer 2013 after I bought my first pair - their iconic Ikaria winged sandal - earlier that month. I posted about them a few months previously in a Shopbop sale post that is now broken, ha ha. I did try to buy a pair then but they didn't fit. Back then Ancient Greek Sandals only came in a few styles and colors. They have since expanded into a plethora of colors, materials and styles. I wish I could buy them all, but I'll settle for my already too big collection of ELEVEN.

 

Founded in 2011 by Christina Martini and Nikolas Minoglou, Ancient Greek Sandals are handmade in Greece using traditional techniques that have existed for centuries. They are inspired by ancient Greek Gods and myths, pottery, jewellery and sculpture. One of my favorite things about the brand is their adorable wing buckles that appear on almost every pair.  I'm also kicking myself for not buying some cute accessories at their flagship store in Athens. (I was trying to behave and not spend too much money, ha ha!)


I used to only allow myself to buy 1 pair a year but that kind of went out the window the past couple years. I bought two pairs on our honeymoon in Greece last September and have bought THREE so far this year, whoops! To be fair, I used a gift card and advertising money from the blog to buy all three pairs (plus they were all on sale) so I don't feel too horrible. And I skipped buying new pairs in 2017 and 2018, ha ha.


Here's a look at my current collection. Some pairs have literally been all over the world with me so they definitely show signs of wear now. Luckily you can't tell in these photos.

 

Ikaria in Natural - bought June 2013

Beach Days

Athena in Terracotta - bought February 2014

Saturday in the Park

Astrapi in Natural Metallic (Net-a-Porter Exclusive) - bought June 2014

Monochromatic Blue in a Sea of Green

Clio in Marine - bought May 2015

Those Hard to Find Basics

Alethea in Perforated Black - bought in Santorini April 2015

Windblown in Venice

Athanasia in Croc - bought April 2016

Into the Wild

AGS x Gas Bijoi Stephanie Charms in Natural with Red - bought in Santorini September 2019

Grocery Store Chic

Apteros in Crosta Wine - bought in Athens September 2019

Dainty Pinky Rings in the Summer Heat

Clara in White - bought March 2020

Introducing the Stella McCartney Wild Cat Skinny Jeans

Faye in Brown (Net-a-Porter Exclusive) - bought August 2020 


Clio in Leopard - bought August 2020

Thrifted Safari Print Dress



*This post is NOT sponsored, I just love the Ancient Greek Sandals. Although, I wouldn't say no to a partnership with them...wink wink*



As you may recall, earlier this month I did a post featuring AUrate jewelry. Those were my first closet additions this month.  I also finally bought sandals from the Net-a-Porter sale. I was waiting for the end of the sale because they usually have a 15 or 20% off coupon at the end. I waited until the last day and sadly they did not do a coupon this time. So I bought them at their sale prices of 60% off using some side hustle money. 

 

Originally I was just going to get the embellished sandal, since they were super fun and my middle name (and my late Grandmother's) is Faye. But then I saw the leopard print ones for $74 and couldn't resist. So I broke my rule of 1 pair of Ancient Greek Sandals per year and have bought three this year, OOPS! But I didn't use "real" money for any of them, so it's fine, haha!

 

At the end of the month I was perusing my Shopbop wish list & sale section and noticed a sweater I have had on my wishlist for over a year was up to 70% off and they only had 1 left in stock (it's still for sale on the brand's website.) There was a bit of a snafu with a free reward I was supposed to get so they offered me 15% more off! Plus I used my partnership money so it was free.  

 

I also bought a couple Disney things with a gift card before my Annual Pass expired. One was a super cute light sweatshirt that I thought would be perfect for evenings in the parks or hanging out at home. The other was a couple state themed shirts, one for me (Connecticut) and one for Christian (Missouri.) Figured I would force him into wearing matching shirts on our next trip - whenever that may be. For those that don't know we had to cancel our May trip due to the virus. Back then I had re-booked a trip for November and December hoping we'd be okay. It's not looking good. I also have a THIRD trip booked for next May, REALLY hoping things are better by then. Thank goodness for free hotel cancellation, haha.

 

Patience pays off more often than you think. All the (non-Disney) items I bought this month could have been purchased over a year ago, but I waited for sales and extra discounts which saved me quite a bit of money. ($679.12 to be exact! Not that I ever would have bought the sweater full price)


THE (modified) RULES

  1. Be mindful of purchases 
  2. Quality over quantity
  3. Basics are best
MY PROGRESS

Clothes:
  1. FARM Rio Amazonian Ombre Mini Wrap Dress c/o Shopbop ($127.50, retail $170)
  2. Burberry beaded owl sweater via eBay ($75, retail $2950 in 2012)
  3. Stella McCartney Wild Cat Skinny Ankle Jeans via eBay ($15 after ad money, retail $735)
  4. Ba&sh "Perla" dress in Green Light c/o Shopbop ($236.25, retail $630)
  5. *NEW!* Nili Lotan Cashmere Abbey Sweater c/o Shopbop ($133.88, retail $525) 
  6. *NEW!* Mickey Mouse Football Jersey in purple ($28, used gift card)
  7. *NEW!* Disney State Fair Connecticut Tee ($17.47, used gift card)

Basics:
  1. J Brand 811 Mid Rise Skinny Leg Jean in Moral ($0 after $25 credit & ad money, retail $228)
  2. Madewell Camp Shorts in Faded Rosebud c/o Shopbop ($35, retail $50)
Shoes:

  1. Ancient Greek Sandals 'Clara' Sandal c/o Shopbop ($221.25, retail $295)
  2. Sperry Rio Aqua Slip-On Sneaker ($14.83 via DSW, retail $64.99) 
  3. *NEW!* Ancient Greek Sandals 'Faye' embellished leather sandals via Net-a-Porter Sale ($112, retail $289, used side hustle money)
  4. *NEW!* Ancient Greek Sandals 'Clio' leopard-print leather slingback sandals via Net-a-Porter Sale ($74, retail $185, used side hustle money)

Accessories:

  1. Ray Ban 'Erika' Sunglasses in Havana c/o Shopbop (retail $163)
  2. Madewell Medium Slim Saddle Bag c/o Shopbop ($118.50, retail $158)
  3. Shashi Princess Leia Necklace c/o Shopbop ($55)

Activewear:
  1. SPANX Look At Me Now Seamless Leggings in Indigo Leopard c/o Shopbop ($68)

Gifted from Brands:
  1. AUrate Pearl Studs in Rose Gold (retail $150)
  2. AUrate Medium Chain Bracelet in Rose Gold (retail $50)
  3. *NEW!* AUrate Gold Twist Huggie Earrings (retail $80)
  4. *NEW!* AUrate Stackable Twist Ring (retail $80)
  5. *NEW!* AUrate Mini Infinity Ring (retail $70)

Total spent in August: $0

Total spent in 2020: $104.83

Another outfit worn just for a quick trip to the grocery store for some non-perishable items. Christian and I tag team with one of us in charge of the list and one in charge of actually touching the items. We've got quite the system to make sure we're safe and efficient. Hopefully soon things won't be this way but for now we are taking all precautions. 

As we're nearing the 6 month mark of trying to stay distant from others it is more important than ever to stay connected in a safe way. A fun way to do that is sending packages or letters to friends and family to keep in touch and let them know you're thinking of them. CarePackages.com is offering a care package to one of my lucky readers!

All you have to do to enter is follow CarePackages4Everyone on Instagram and leave a comment on this blog post with your favorite care package on their website. Once you complete those 2 entries, 2 bonus entries will show up!

NOTE: Sometimes Blogger doesn't like if you comment from your phone with just a Name/URL, if you don't see your comment try on a computer or log into a Google account to comment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal. Opinions are my own*

For the friend who's trying to stay healthy I'd go for the Organic Treats care package! They even have nut-free and vegan options. (I might have to get the Chocolate Passion for myself.)

Back to the outfit - I bought these sandals on our honeymoon in September and this was the first time I wore them out in public. They were a lot lighter when I bought them and the girl at the store told me to  leave them in the sun to naturally tan the leather (so it would match the pair on display.) I left them sitting in a sunny window for a few weeks and voila, instant tan on my sandals. In the past my natural colored pairs did this over time but it was fun to do it upfront. They'll keep getting darker over time too.

Floral Camisole: eight sixty, Shorts: Madewell Camp Shorts c/o Shopbop, Sandals: Ancient Greek Sandals X Gas Bijoux 'Stephanie Charms' (bought in Santorini), Necklace: Shashi Princess Leia Necklace c/o Shopbop, Sunglasses: Gucci Aviators (bought in Italy), Mask: Made by Mom

*This post was made in partnership with Nakturnal.  Thank you for supporting brands I feature*
I haven't been getting out much these past few (aka FIVE) months, because we're staying safe at home, but when I do it's with minimal jewelry due to the heat.  How adorable are these small stackable pinky rings from Aurate? You can get them in sizes ranging from 3 to 10 so they're fit for any finger. I definitely want to add more of their thin rose gold rings to my jewelry box.
If you are a long time follower of the blog you'll know that I used to wear a LOT of rings, almost one per finger. But since getting engaged and married I've worn a lot less. These thin rings are a great accompaniment to my wedding rings. I went with rose gold vs white gold to add a bit more fun. Who says you can't mix metals?!
Both rings (and my cute twist huggie earrings) are made with ethically sourced and sustainably made Rose Gold Vermeil. Similar to yellow gold, rose gold is made with a blend of color-saturated alloys with a bit more copper for a rosy hue. Vermeil is basically a fancy name for gold-plated. Aurate goes above and beyond the required amounts and uses 14-karat gold with over 2.5 microns (thickness) and finishes with a top coat to ensure durability and shine.
To make your purchase even better, Aurate has a lifetime guarantee! They'll re-plate, polish, and repair your jewelry when needed. Additionally, for every piece of gold purchased, Aurate donates a book to a child in need in your name.
Summer and hot temps are the perfect time for bold prints! You don't want to have a lot of fabric covering your body so why not make it fun and vibrant. This dress by Farm Rio is so much fun, I was looking forward to wearing it at Disney this Spring but sadly that trip didn't happen. Rather than let it sit in the closet until next year, I decided to wear it for a day of nothing.

I finished the look off with a pair of sandals - I live in my Ancient Greek Sandals all Summer. I'm up to 9 pairs so far - with another possibly on the way, wow! I didn't need a bag since we were just going on a walk but if walking is the only activity on the schedule for the foreseeable future why not make it a complete outfit. This Madewell crocodile effect bag was a pre-quarantine purchase that I never got to wear before lockdown. So glad I was finally able to use it, even if it was just holding my phone, mask and hand sanitizer!
Last minute I threw on another new piece. A layered necklace that I got my Mom for Mother's Day. And no, I didn't steal it from her - I got one for my sister and I too so we could all match!

Dress: FARM Rio Amazonian Ombre Mini Wrap Dress c/o Shopbop, Sandals: Ancient Greek Sandals 'Apteros' in Crosta Wine (bought in Athens), Bag: Madewell Medium Slim Saddle Bag c/o Shopbop, Sunglasses: Ray Ban Erika c/o Shopbop, Necklace: Shashi Princess Leia Necklace c/o Shopbop, Rings c/o Aurate - Stackable Twist Ring & Mini Infinity Ring in Rose Gold, Earrings c/o Aurate - Gold Twist Huggie Earrings in Rose Gold



Are your eyes deceiving you? Nope! It's outfit post. I wore this at the beginning of Summer but it didn't seem right to be posting outfits so I saved up a few to share.   This is the first outfit featuring the Stella McCartney leopard jeans I bought in May and Ancient Greek Sandals I bought in March!

I've been searching for a Stella McCartney cat print blouse for a friend and in the process I found these awesome leopard print jeans! I got the seller down to $80 and had some ad money to cover most of the purchase! Brand new with tags too!

My top doesn't actually show that  much of my stomach, it was the angle, haha! I didn't realize until after we were back in the car otherwise I would have had Christian do it again.

Remember, if you go out please be responsible and wear a mask! It's not to protect you, it's to protect those who have compromised immune systems and most likely to have serious cases of the virus.  My Mom made Christian and I a bunch of masks. I'm lucky enough to work from home (on year 6) so I don't have to go out. I've only gone to a grocery store twice (on the same day) and to the dentist.

Knit Sweater: Made by Grandma, Jeans: Stella McCartney Wild Cat Skinny Ankle Jeans (eBay), Sandals: Ancient Greek Sandals 'Clara' Sandal c/o Shopbop, Sunglasses: Gucci Aviators (bought in Italy), Mask: Made by Mom


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