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It’s September, guys. Sep. Tem. Ber. How the hell did that happen? I feel like the summer flew by, and we are now the merest of days from the holiday season. My calendar says it’s fall! As unprepared as I feel for this development, I must admit I am a bit excited. I love this time of year, and things are just going to get more fun from here. Lots and lots of things in the works, but here is what is going on in my life currently.
Watching – The Great British Baking Show. There is a new season on Netflix and though I was initially a little resistant (most of the original cast is gone) it’s been pretty good. Plenty of impressive bakes, plenty of bad puns… okay, I can get behind this. I miss Sue and Mel, but I guess it isn’t horrible to meet new people, right?
Eating – A lot of salad. It may officially be fall, but Tallahassee is still stubbornly stuck in it’s summer weather and gives no sign of changing anytime soon. Cool foods that require minimal amounts of cooking are still king in our household. We are also lucky in that our local Publix carries a truly impressive amount of salad mixes. Rip open a bag, add your protein of choice, and dinner is done in under 20 minutes.
Wanting – Some laid back down time. Andy and I are still a bit frazzled from both of us starting new jobs. Things have started to calm down just a bit, but with the holidays right around the corner, we want to rest up as much as we can before the insanity ensues. This past three day weekend helped a bit; it was the first chance we’ve really had to relax in a really long time. It was wonderful, even if it wasn’t super productive. Another weekend or two like that and I think we’ll be good to go.
Listening – To a lot of Panic at the Disco. I rediscovered my passion for the band a couple of weeks ago when I found myself in need of some….background noise. Trading in my office for a cube has been fine, with the exception of the noise. Some of my new office-mates are very social, and while I am a pretty friendly person, I find it really distracting when I need to focus and really get into what I am working on. Panic is pretty loud without being headache inducing, and I know their work well enough that I can lip sync along without it ruining my concentration.
Trying: New things. This whole new job thing sent my stress level through the roof. Irrationally so. My take away from this is that I need to try more new things until I can stop being such an overly dramatic pansy. This past weekend it was going to cat yoga by myself; it’ll be an ongoing project. My current metric is if the idea of doing something makes me panic a little, then it might be worth trying. I am a little embarrassed to admit that it seems like I am going to be very busy for the next little bit.
Image from here.
For October’s Long Distance Coffee Date, I wanted to discuss my favorite season with my favorite ladies. I didn’t catch the fall bug until later in life and I always love to see what traditions other people have created for themselves and for their families. And of course I had to have them weigh on the hotly debated, much lamented PSL. I may hate, but I acknowledge there are other schools of thought.
I. Love. Fall. NC is a great place to be this time of year because we have cooler weather and color-changing leaves! I seek out reasons to celebrate. A new season is just as good a reason than any to continue traditions and create new ones.
You will find me burning a Pumpkin Apple candle on September first. I don’t care when the Autumn equinox really is. I will also splurge on a PSL like the basic white girl that I am. However, I must confess, this year I found it to be much too sweet! Is it just me??? I also highly recommend visiting an apple orchard. This is fun for the entire family. You can pick apples, eat apples on the spot and bake with apples later on! Sky Top Orchard is about a 2 hour drive from Charlotte with picturesque views from the hillside, Apple cider, Apple cider donuts and some farm animals too.
October is all about Halloween prep. I admit I prefer fall decor to the scary trappings of the holiday. My husband appreciates all things gore and zombies. A compromise has been made to decorate “spooky.” We have young kids for Pete’s sake. They are comfortable with ghosts and witches. Visiting a pumpkin patch is a must! How glorious it is to be surrounded by a ton of pumpkins, great and small; and possibly corn mazes and hayrides, sunflowers and mums! Then you better believe we carve the pumpkins and bake the seeds. The butter, cinnamon and brown sugar seeds are the best! Our tradition of Scary Movie Night has evolved. What once might have been Shaun of the Dead or Hocus Pocus is now…Monsters Inc. lol! Like I said, young kids. Which brings me to our next tradition of Trick or Treating. Who doesn’t want to see a two-year old dressed up like her favorite movie character, Moana? You guys, cultural appropriation did not even cross my mind when my MIL offered to make a Moana costume for my daughter months ago. I am so concerned that it’ll be frowned upon, but it is beautiful. My daughter loves the strong character and will be wearing the costume.
Okay. It’s a no-brainer… November is all about Thanksgiving! Now is my chance to decorate Autumn. Leaves and gourds. We have started a new tradition of creating a Thankful tree. My girls will write down one thing they’re thankful for each day on a leaf that gets pinned to the branches of a tree. I love nurturing a grateful heart. We are sure to give God the glory for our lives and all that he created. Each year on Thanksgiving I make sure to eat my mom’s famous Southern Comfort Sweet Potatoes topped with pecans and marshmallows browned just right. When gathered around our table with beloved family and friends, we write down what we’re thankful for on a piece of paper and put it in a basket. We then pick a paper out and try to guess who said what.. It’s another reminder to count our blessings. Even those in the face of hardship can recognize something positive.
I’d love to know what some of your Fall traditions are!
One of the best parts about living in Seattle is that I get seasons. And by far the best
season in Seattle is Fall. We get the cool, crisp air, clear blue skies, and lots and lots
of fall colors. We also get some rainy days as the weather reminds us that our cold,
wet winter is just around the corner. But fortunately for us, on the day of one of our
favorite fall traditions, visiting a pumpkin patch, the day was clear and, dare I say,
We go to a pumpkin patch in Snohomish, which is about an hour and fifteen minutes
north of us. We ate a super quick breakfast and loaded into the car to make the
drive. Along the way we stopped at a drive thru Starbucks. Andy, my husband, got
his favorite hot chocolate and I got a white mocha Americano. Neither of us are huge
fans of pumpkin pie, so pumpkin spice anything isn’t really interesting to us. That
said, we do enjoy a pumpkin scone. Scones are delicious and lightly spiced pastries
with icing are sort of the pastry ideal.
Up at the pumpkin patch we tried to let Ronan run around, but he was not super
interested. I think we have a super introverted baby right now and big crowds of
people just aren’t his bag. He’ll probably grow into it when he realizes that the corn
box, hay maze, giant slide, and bouncy house are super fun. We got a lot of mileage
out of a wheelbarrow. We forgot our baby carrier and Andy and I got tired of
carrying him, so we got a wheelbarrow for the actual pumpkin hunt part of our
One other thing that we love about fall weather is leaf peeping. It’s a joke my
husband and I have from an episode of The West Wing, but we do love to drive
around (with a fancy coffee/hot chocolate) and check out all the gorgeous leaves. My
camera does not do justice the almost fluorescent colors that the leaves turn here.
Finally, we do a lot of long family walks together along the Puget Sound to take in
the mountains and water. The cooler weather means we can enjoy the walk in the
sun without sweating a lot and there’s nothing cuter than a bundled baby.
Hello & Namaste, friends!
I am SO excited and grateful to be a part of this new blog series, not just because Julie is amazing and I want to support everything she does, but also because the holiday season is upon us! And knowing her I have a feeling these next couple of blogging opportunities are going to be holiday themed… And that is alright with me! 🙂
Family Fall traditions… Where to start. Well first of all, I feel it is only fair to say that as I type this I am lying on my couch under a handmade quilt, with a cup of warm tea in my lap, and a Christmas holiday album spinning on my record player – fall scented Yankee Candles burning and a partridge in a pear tree. Nobody loves the holidays more than this girl right here, and we are JUST close enough to our favorite kick-off holiday (Halloween) that I feel comfortable DIVING IN!
I am definitely the friend that wants to do the MOST so that every minute of the next two months feels like a holiday celebration. The fall season really gives us permission to get started. The first thing I do is make sure that all the appropriate smells are in the air… cinnamon, apple, pumpkin, etc. This way even the most mundane days have a holiday kick. Unfortunately, all of my closest friends and most of my family are still up in Tallahassee, but that means getting up that way as often as possible is #1 on my list! because this is the time of the year that I head north most, Tallahassee feels like a holiday to me. I love getting to my sister’s house and seeing all of her fall themed decorations (she goes all out for every holiday and it is GREAT). We always put some time aside for baking, and we pretty much don’t stop until January 1st. For some reason, homemade banana nut bread just isn’t as fantastic in June. Lots of warm nights cuddled up in front of good movies are in order too – another past time that just doesn’t have the same appeal in the other 9 months of the year.
Of course, this is all leading up to fall’s big number… THANKSGIVING! This is easily my favorite holiday because it kicks off the season, you get to eat tons of yummy food, and it is less gift centered than Christmas. The past couple of years I have hosted vegan Friendsgiving at my sister’s house, and I am so excited to say that this year will be no exception! I LOVE cooking all our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes with a vegan twist. Throw in a Tofurkey and it really doesn’t get any better. (We DO have somebody else cook a turkey or a ham for all the meat eaters in attendance). Fingers crossed that everybody makes it this year, and of course YOU are invited too if you are in the Tallahassee area on Thanksgiving with nowhere to go (or you just a hankering for a nice big *almost* cruelty free meal).
If we aren’t in a Tofurkey coma all day on Friday, our plan is always to head out to the stores to check out the ridiculous Black Friday deals. I could take or leave this piece, although there is no denying that it is a TRADITION. You never know what you’re going to find, and it is so nice to get that first burst of holiday cheer. Consumerism is rampant in our culture and it definitely takes away from the “true meaning” of the holiday season, but there is something about being out and about during this time that brings us closer to our fellow (wo)man and helps us feel more connected. If I am REALLY lucky we will spend Friday night out picking a tree or two – and UP she goes ASAP. Then the party really gets started!
Ahhh Mother Autumn. Thank you for all the joy you bring. As for my opinion on pumpkin spice, I can’t say I have too much experience with it (outside of candle scents and pumpkin pie). I am not a coffee drinker BUT I do adore my soy chai latte, and I have heard rumor that Starbucks will add a pump of PS to the mix if you can handle it. I only splurge on SB a couple times a year so I am usually too afraid to risk messing up a good thing. This might be my year though! If I try it before our November post I’ll be sure to let you know what I thought… 😉
Back to holiday music and hot tea… Happy Autumn friends!
While hiding out from Irma, Andy and I had the opportunity to get a jump on fall activities and go apple picking with my mom. While there are literally dozens of orchards within a hour’s drive of her house, we ended up at Mercier Orchard, a wonderful place that we have been visiting for years now. Usually, we are just there for lunch and to load up on baked goods since we’ve never been in town during apple picking season.
Now there wasn’t hay involved, but we did load into a wagon pulled by a tractor to get out into the permium apple picking are of the orchard. The guide hanging onto the back of the wagon told us that they grow 53 different varieties of apples on the property, along with other fruits throughout the year.
I have a sneaking suspicion that our trip was as much for my mom as it was for us. I’d jokingly mentioned apple picking in passing and she latched on to the idea and made. it. happen.
We picked either 6 or 8 of the varieties currently available, and I wish I could tell you their names, but they all sort of looked the same in the bag. The only ones I remember for sure are Red Delicious, Candy Crisp & Macintosh. Andy heard the name Candy Crisp, and he was back and forth checking every single row until he tracked those babies down.
I was also surprised how athletically my mom hiked around. Not that she doesn’t walk every morning, but damn, you should have seen that woman practically sprinting when she spotted some especially vibrant purple-y red apples.
We ended up with almost an entire bushel of apples. I thought my mom/extended family would want some, but they decided we should take them all back to Florida. It filled the entire bottom drawer of the fridge.
I’ve managed to use about a 1/4, but I am thinking I am going to have to up my baking game to get through everything while it’s still at peak freshness. Andy has valiantly offered to eat as many cinnamon apples as I care to make. He’s a giver like that.
It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiiiiiiiime of the yeeeeeeeeaaaaaaar! I mean sort of, I love fall/autumn, and while I am by no means basic (the Buzzfeeed quiz proved it) if I was ever tempted to be, it would be now. I like doing fall things! A lot. And though the thermostat is holding at the low 90’s, and I’ve lived in Florida long enough to know better, my little cinnamon sprinkled heart hopes that it will magically drop to allow me to enjoy what others refer to as “sweater season”. I got the apple picking part of things out of the way early this year, but here are some other things I’d like to do before the winter insanity sets in.
- Wear all the plaid
- Shun the PSL enthusiasts
- Stomp in large piles of colorful leaves
- Burn something cinnamon scented
- Decorate pumpkins
- Sip some spiced cider
- Wrap myself in a really cozy scarf
- Find a pair of boots to rock
- Buy an autumnal lipstick
- Make spice cookies
- Make s’mores
- Use the fireplace
- Don an over-sized, crazy soft sweater
- Paint my nails burgundy or copper
- Warm my cold toes on the back of Andy’s perpetually warm calf
- Watch Practical Magic, Sleepy Hallow, The Craft and The Nightmare Before Christmas
- Make a seasonally appropriate wreath for the front door.
- Use some of my handpicked apples to make apple crumble
- Go to a harvest festival
- Enjoy a warm beverage outdoors (if it dips below the mid 80’s that is)
What’s on your fall list? Are you ready to basic it up with me?
Images from here.
Things got Basic the weekend before last. Inspired by the hint of chill in the air, I donned plaid one day and the next loaded up Andy, my mom and my friend Tori and headed to the corn maze at Aunt Louise’s Farm in Monticello, FL. Neither my mom nor myself had ever been to a corn maze before, so there was a decent amount of fluctuation between cautious excitement and down right childlike glee over the prospect of seeing what we could see.
It was the first weekend the maze had been opened to the public, and since we all managed to get up and out early, we were literally the fist paying customers to walk the maze for 2016. The maze itself was a decent size and peppered with festive scarecrows, punny signs, and, oddly enough, tiny watermelons (I’m guessing a holdover from this summer?). With the exception of a few spider web mishaps, we made it through the maze in good time, quite pleased with ourselves and ready to check out the rest of what the farm had to offer… …like the corn pit. My mom blatantly ignored the rule by throwing a handful of corn down my shirt pretty much as soon as I stepped foot into the pit. I tried to roll over to prevent more kernels from lodging in my bra, and she and Tori preceded to try and bury me. There was lots of laughter and additional shenanigans, much to the delight of our fellow farm visitors. And yes, even after a vigorous shaking of garments, I still found corn in my bra, shirt, and pants pockets when I changed for be that night. Of course I found and made friends with the farms’s feline petrol officer Angel. She was very sweet and quite fond of ear scratches. The farm is home to a number of different animals, and I spent the next couple of hours walking around with my cup of feed, making friends, and getting baby animal snuggles. My mom had been teasing me earlier about my dietary choices (being pescatarian) and trying to understand why I do what I do, so I told her as we were scratching the ears of the trio of baby calves “this is why”. I don’t mind other people doing what is right for them, but the deep love and appreciation I have for these fluffy and feathered cuties is the reason I gave up land meat. I was the tiniest bit afraid that the alpacas would spit at me, but the farm hand told us that these guys were supper mellow, and they only spit at people when they got scared 🙂 Before heading home, we made a quick by the concession stand and picked up a couple of the farms famous cornbread waffles and relaxed under the shaded picnic tables. A really great trip, and it’s something I can see us doing again and again for years to come.