If you live in an area of the world where you don’t see the foliage, or watch the seasons change, or your weather never dips too far below 55 degrees F, then this is the post for you.
My whole life, I’ve lived in New York where the trees turn russet colors and the chill in the air really makes you want to bundle up and get cozy. I had a ritual for my fall times that included pumpkin spice lattes and apple cider donuts. I would spend hours sitting in the park all bundled up with my warm drink and my book and enjoying the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves on the tree. The crunchy sound of dead leaves under your feet is also one of my favorite sounds in the world.
But when I moved to Southern California, that all changed. While everyone is getting ready to do some pumpkin picking and drinking warm spiced lattes, I’m still wearing shorts and sweating it out at home. There’s never really a grey day here. It gets grey in the morning, but then by mid-morning, it’s all sun and blue skies. You can wear shorts every single day. There are trees, but they’re the kind that never turn colors and perpetually stay green all season long.
Despite the wonderful little sunny place I live in, I still want my fall rituals. Sadly, I can’t do much of that because if I did, I’m pretty sure I’ll end up in the hospital with heat exposure. But the fall vibes are strong within me and despite the heat, I want a little bit of that fall season in my house. How do I get that without sweating my butt off? Here’s some small changes I made to my little world to invoke that Fall spirit without the Fall weather.
Get the pumpkins things
I mean, get all the pumpkins, but get the smaller hardier baby pumpkins to decorate around your house. It might be too warm to keep a pumpkin outside (especially if they’re real pumpkins because they’ll rot in the sun), but if you decorate your home with little pumpkins and even buy some pumpkin decor, then you’ll get the cozy vibes right away.
Pumpkins are also readily available in warm cities despite the weather. I mean, they also advertise to make stews and casseroles, but I’ll cross that bridge when we get there. For now, I can stock up on pine cones and pumpkins. If I do some digging online, I could also find artificial leaves, acorns, pine cones, and more pumpkins. These are perfect for filling baskets and setting dining tables or even just sticking in the corner of your home to give you that fall vibe. I love having pumpkins in my reading nook too!
Wear a cardigan over your shorts and dresses
One of the biggest parts of the fall is switching out your warm weather clothes for cooler weather. Sadly, that doesn’t happen here because it’s hot all year round. However, there’s a small pocket of time every morning that gets cool enough for you to have a little fall time vibes and it’s a perfect time to break out a cardigan.
All you have to do is put on the outfit you would normally wear for the hot weather. I like to switch it up between summer dresses and shorts and t-shirt. After that, slip on a cardigan or even a flannel shirt over your outfit. This will give you the sense of comfort against those chilly SoCal mornings. I also like to step out into our little backyard area with my morning coffee to get the full effect of that cool weather feeling.
Once the weather warms up, then you can easily remove the cardigan or flannel and be prepared for the hot weather for the rest of the day. The evenings are also a perfect time to wear those cardigans. I also love wearing them at the grocery store. I tend to run chilly when the AC is on full blast in a store, so I always bring a cardigan or a flannel to throw over my clothes. Although I don’t care about feeling cozy while on a grocery run. lol.
Buy all the Fall time candles
You may not have crunchy leaves and warm spices baking in the oven, but you can invoke those spirits by buying scented candles. Similarly to pumpkins at grocery stores, stores like Bath and Body Works and Target are already putting out their fall time candles. This is a perfect way to get those fall vibes. I’m a huge fan of good scents, so I always stock up on vanilla pumpkin candles from Trader Joe’s, fall time candles from Target, and cozy scents from Bath and Body Works.
Candles also are low heat, so you’re not going to be sweltering with a candle or two burning. It’ll provide a lovely afternoon of reading without sweating it out.
Read Fall time books
Fall time is always the best time to be reading. I guess every season is the best time to be reading because you’re reading! But something about the fall really wants to make you open a book and sit for a few hours with some soft jazz music in the background. As you all know, I’m reading a lot of fantasy this fall. I especially love reading books that are set at a school of magic. I recently finished Lobizona by Romina Garber. It blew me away by being a book that takes place at a school of magic, but also the scenes within the forest and the natural elements Garber writes in makes for a very cozy read while also super packed with action and adventure.
You can also read Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. The entire series of Practical Magic books just give you that cozy witchy vibe without too much gore or too much wild fantasy elements.
If fantasy isn’t for you, I would suggest some horror or thriller fiction to get your spooky on. This is the perfect time to read the big horror books like IT by Stephen King or The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones. You by Carolines Kepnes is always good for that suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat feeling. My go to every Fall for the spooky vibes is The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker. This is the book that inspired the movie, Hellraiser, which is still to this day one of the scariest movies I’ve ever watched.
Drink warm beverages
While I know this one isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I always make some hot tea in the afternoon. I’m actually a huge fan of hot drinks over cold drinks in general, so this isn’t something too off base for me. I know not everyone reaches for hot coffee when it’s 90 degrees out, but if you love a warm beverage, you can easily switch your fruity herbal teas for ones that are a bit more spicy. Teas like chai are my go-to for this time of year, but I also love using my slow cooker to mull apple cider. It’s also the perfect time to make pumpkin spice coffee! All you have to do is put a teaspoon of pumpkin spice blend in your morning coffee basket and let them brew together. You’ll have pumpkin spice coffee without having to buy pumpkin spice coffee!
All of this to say, there’s many ways to get the fall feeling without having to sacrifice your shorts and t-shirts in the blazing summer sun. But the best part about living in Southern California is that our winters are basically our fall, so while everyone is hating the cold we’ll be basking in our fall.