How to pretend it’s fall when you live in a place that never, ever gets cold

Sweater weather. Pumpkin Spice Lattes. The slow ombre of crisp leaves. Halloween. I know I am not alone when I say autumn is the best season. I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, so I know fall well. It is a season I associate with my birthday, a newfound focus that comes with the beginning of a school year and the end of lazy summer days, and, in general, inexplicable joy.

Four years ago, I made the move to Los Angeles to do that whole “chasing your dreams” bit. I absolutely love my new home, but around this time of year, I find myself pining for a classic fall. For any of you who also live in climates that boast temperatures upwards of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, you know what I am talking about. Everyone else’s Instagram feeds are full of cozy sweaters, adorable hats and boots, and you are just trying to peel yourself out of your sweat-laden sheets in the morning. I always feel lethargic around this time in LA, whereas in Chicago it was like a rebirth, full of motivation and glee.

Fortunately, hot-weather-dwellers, I have found a few pieces of “real fall,” and I am here to share them with you. We can really have it all.

1.) Wake up early. Like, really early.

For some of you, this may not be an ideal scenario. My part time job dictates that I don’t have to wake up until the later hours of the morning. I found myself waking up mid-September at 9:30 in the morning and immediately stepping out into 90-degree heat. Not fun. Over the past couple of weeks, I have slowly been setting my alarm earlier and earlier. On a good day, I wake up at 6:30, and when I go to walk my dog, I have to *GASP* wear a sweater! Take any tiny moment of fall weather and hold onto it tightly, my warm-weathered friends. If your job/school already has you waking up earlier than the sun, take advantage of it! Go for a quick walk before you hop in the shower and soak up any and all cool weather you can.

2.) Go to places all decked out for fall.

It’s easy to forget that it’s October when you are still blasting your AC. Grab some friends and go  on a haunted hayride or an amusement park decked out for Halloween. Are you originally from somewhere with chillier weather? Find a bar that supports your old favorite sports team back in that arctic tundra you came from. I am not an avid Bears fan, but anytime I go to a Chicago bar and grab a beer at 11AM on a Sunday, it tricks all of the dopamine releasers in my brain with the promise of fall.

3.) Go to your local farmer’s market.

I think this is advice you can use for when you are in any kind of slump. Grab some friends and go to a farmer’s market to pick up seasonal foods. If you don’t have a farmer’s market near you, at least indulge in some seasonal foods. Even though it was 88 degrees the other day, I forced myself to eat pumpkin pie a la mode. OK, so I didn’t have to be forced, but making the conscious decision to eat something “fall-y” made it feel more fall-like in my mind.

4.) Plan mini-trips to a colder climate. 

Sometimes, it only takes going a few hours north to get that sweet, sweet taste of autumn. You can’t be the only person in your friend circle that wants a “real” fall. Find your fall tribe and go up north, even if it’s just a day trip to no where in particular. Fall aside, those are sometimes the best trips.

5.) Remember that in the end, we didn’t get the short end of the stick.

You always want what you can’t have, right? I saw my sister posting photos in dreamy, oversized sweaters last week and felt a jealous rage build up. I want layers! I want to make myself into a blanket burrito on cold nights! I don’t want to feel out of place listening to moody music when the sun is shining and birds are singing!

After cursing the sun, I realized that I actually do have the best of both worlds. Sure, I’m not getting a stereotypical autumn at the moment, but Los Angeles will cool down in a month or so. I will get to wear a beanie and sip coffee while sitting outside in late December. While everyone else is currently enjoying their PSL fall, they have something not as dreamy coming up: winter. I have learned to love what I call a “taste of winter” every time I go back for the holidays. I get to experience snow, negative twenty degree windchills, and dressing myself up like a marshmallow for two weeks, and then I get to come back to a mild, fall-like winter in Los Angeles. Whenever I am posting selfies in a light sweater, scarf, and knee-high boots in January, my sister texts me and begs me to let her move into my apartment with me.

So maybe you aren’t getting the autumn that you want right now. It’s OK, fellow southern-dwelling friends. Our time will come, and if you are too impatient, try a few of the aforementioned tips to get yourself in full fall mode.

(Image via Amazon)

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