Growing up in Missouri, fall was my favorite time of year. I loved the changing leaves, the cooler temperatures, and Halloween decorations and candy everywhere. As an adult, I never outgrew this love affair with autumn. I still love falling leaves, brisk misty mornings, college football, Halloween, and pumpkin flavored everything (what can I say, I’m super basic). Unfortunately, Tel Aviv isn’t on the same page as my love for fall. There’s not a carve-able pumpkin in sight, Halloween is really only celebrated in a few nightclubs, and while there are some leaves falling, I’m pretty sure they’re just dead from heat stroke, not the changing seasons.
This morning, however, I woke up to an optimistic sound – thunder and rain on the roof. So, while I’m sure it will be sunny and warm (thankfully not hot anymore) again soon, I have hope in the form of more rain in the forecast. For those of you unfamiliar with Tel Aviv’s weather, the summers here are hot and dry – literally four or so months without a drop of rain. The first rain usually comes after the Jewish holidays, and it marks the changing of the seasons. While it doesn’t get that cold here in the winter, though cold enough for me, it stays pretty cloudy and rainy until the spring.
While it may not be so fall-like outside, I can still bring fall inside to get myself in the spirit. In case you’re suffering from the same problem I am, or if you just want to add to your fall experience, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite ways to bring autumn into my home.
- Make your favorite fall soups
I got started on this one yesterday when I made my favorite copycat Panera squash soup. I use this recipe from Kim’s Cravings. It’s super easy and quick to make, it’s vegan and low in calories, and it always turns out perfect. I don’t like curry, so I substitute a mix of paprika, cumin, and garlic powder, and it turns out perfect. Not only do I love eating it, but it makes my whole house smell like fall.
- Light some fall scented candles
Speaking of smelling like fall, scented candles are a great way to bring the fall into your home. Smell is the sense most strongly linked to memory, so you’re only a candle away from bringing back all those amazing childhood memories of jumping into piles of leaves. I personally love Yankee Candle’s “Autumn Leaves” jar candles, or their “Ginger Pumpkin” and “Cinnamon Scone” crackling vase candles.
- Bring out the blankets
Even though it’s not exactly cold outside, I’ve brought my favorite super soft blankets out onto the couch anyhow. Luckily the couch is right under the AC, so I turn it up a little (sorry environment) and pretend its chilly outside too. Check out this adorable and super cozy cable knit and fleece throw blanket from L.L. Bean.
- Watch some fall movies
While I personally love Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown (Ofir and I differ in our opinions of these films), fall movies don’t have to be Halloween themed. Movies like Remember the Titans, Dead Poets Society, Practical Magic and The Others are all set in the fall and can help set the mood.
- Make some fall drinks
Sadly Starbucks didn’t fair so well in Israel, leaving me without my Pumpkin Spice Latte fix. Fortunately, I have this PSL copycat recipe to end my suffering (and save my wallet). But why stop with coffee drinks? Making mulled wine is one of my favorite things to do in the fall and winter. Just heat (don’t boil!) some red wine on the stove with a couple cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, whole allspice, an orange rind, and a couple of tablespoons of sugar for about twenty minutes. Your home will smell amazing, and you have an amazing adult beverage to enjoy while watching those fall movies.
- Bake some sweet fall desserts
There’s something about baking that really lends itself to the colder months. Add in some seasonal ingredients – pumpkin, apples, and sweet potatoes, and you have the perfect way to spend an autumn afternoon. Try this recipe for cinnamon sugar sweet potato fries (amazing!) from Sally’s Baking Addiction, or this one from her for pumpkin cinnamon rolls. I’m counting down the hours til this weekend when I can go to the American import market to stock up on canned pumpkin (Meatland in Ra’anana for those of you in Israel).
Hopefully these tips can put you in the autumn spirit as much as they have for me. If all else fails, just demand a care package from your mother filled with everything fall themed on the market (Mom, if you’re reading this, I’m still anxiously awaiting those pumpkin spice Oreos). Now excuse me while I snuggle with my five blankets on the couch with my pumpkin spice latte and watch Hocus Pocus on repeat 🙂 Do you have any special ways of bringing the fall spirit into your home?