Living in Los Angeles has been a dream of mine since I was a young girl, so actually building a life here can feel a little surreal at times. But every autumn, I find myself wishing I was back “home” in Northern California to revel in the beauty of the vineyard harvest and the substantial drop in temperatures. Instead, I’m forced to fake fall in L.A. if I desire any semblance of a seasonal shift (like in this post). A heat wave is supposed to hit L.A. towards the end of this week, so I’m doing all that I can to welcome this new season with open (and cozy) arms. Here are some ways I’m doing just that this year, and how you can, too:
I almost always have a candle (or two) burning at my apartment; it’s a ritual that definitely makes a rental feel more homey. I’m currently burning Thymes’ Simmered Cider (pictured), which I discovered on a recent trip back to my hometown*, and Capri Blue’s Pumpkin. Besides giving off an incredible spiced cider scent, I love that this candle comes in a cute copper mug that can actually be used after you’re done burning it! The pumpkin scent, made by one of my favorite candle brands, is another seasonal must and comes in a festive yet tasteful vessel. If neither of these scents appeals to you, I’ve also been enjoying this nostalgic set of woodsy incenses, which remind me of winters spent with family in New Mexico or bonfires at our coast house.
*Ukiah locals can find Thymes’ Simmered Cider at Habitat Gift Store on School Street.
Music can definitely set the tone for a cozy night in or a lazy Sunday morning. I’ve created this mix to give off those autumnal vibes I’m missing in L.A. Feel free to take a listen to the playlist above!
Pumpkins can be used as decor throughout the fall season, so I’m not holding back this year. I prefer a few “ugly,” rustic-looking pumpkins to mix alongside the perfectly-round, flawless ones. So far, I’ve found convenient city options at Rolling Greens Nursery on Beverly Boulevard (pictured in first photo), Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods. I’d also much rather paint a few of mine than carve them. Pick up some black and white chalk paint and a metallic copper to give your smaller pumpkins a rustic-glam touch.
I love a crisp white wine, but red always feels more like fall to me. A Pinot Noir is an ideal option, especially if you live in a warmer city because it’s lighter bodied. Current favorites include the Handley Cellars 2014 Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard, Anderson Valley and the 2012 Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley (pictured above). Other varietals I’d recommend looking into this fall include Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. While you’re at it, cozy up to some Port after dinner!
There’s something special about taking a walk through a charming neighborhood during fall – you hear the rustle of leaves, feel the slight breeze in your hair, and instantly get that homey feel at the sight of traditional, old homes. Orange Grove is a street in L.A. that I especially love during fall because it’s where a few of the Halloween (1978) houses are, namely the one where Laurie Strode babysits Tommy (pictured above).
Did fall even happen if you didn’t stock up on apples from the farmer’s market (and make your own caramel apples), drink a few pumpkin spice lattes, or make mulled wine with that bottle of day-old Cabernet? Half of the fall fun is the eating and drinking! And since it’ll probably still be ice cream weather in L.A. well into October, indulge in a scoop of Salt & Straw’s ‘Apples & Sidecar Doughnuts’ or Jeni’s ‘Pumpkin 5-Spice.’
Fall weather is reading weather, so snuggle up with something suspenseful! I’m starting with In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, which is being adapted into a chilling motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon. Afterwards, I plan to read Stephen King’s It, which is having a resurgence due to the recent remake. I haven’t been reading much fiction lately, so I’m excited to dive back in!
Ever since I had this to-die-for plate of cacio e pepe at Upland in NYC last winter, I’ve been dreaming of recreating it with this recipe. I’ve also always wanted to try my hand at making chicken pot pie or finally perfect a pot of chili. Dedicate a weekend to cooking and while you’re at it, ask a few friends to bring over their favorites so y’all can share!
Similar to swapping out summery-scented candles for ones more appropriate for fall, find a perfume or cologne that matches the current season. I’m in love with Atelier Cologne’s ‘Cafe Tuberosa,’ which I discovered on a recent trip to San Francisco; it pairs together Calabrian Bergamot and Indian Tuberose with an unexpected top note of espresso. It’s intoxicating and also unisex, as are all the brand’s fragrances. Another one of my favorite fall perfumes is Elizabeth and James’ nostalgic ‘Nirvana Bourbon,’ which brings to mind a warm, cozy evening spent fireside.
Who am I kidding? I’ll most likely go “home” to Mendocino County (above) at some point this fall so I can enjoy a more apparent seasonal shift. If you live in Los Angeles, or any big city for that matter, you should go on a road trip or getaway for the weekend, too! For Angelenos, Big Bear is a short drive away, but still feels far from the hustle and bustle (and smog). Another cozy, pastoral spot is Ojai, which is also relatively close and is known for its wine tasting and spas. And while you’re road trippin’ to your destination, play the Spotify playlist in this post!
Cheers to fall, y’all!