It’s OFFICIALLY fall and I am pumped for it, y’all.

Fall has always been my favorite season because I like the weather, my birthday falls at the end of October and I enjoy fall-themed festivities and treats. Call me “basic” if you want, but I like what I like and you should too.

Seeing all the ~fall vibes~ on my Instagram feed and in the real world are just healing my soul, which 2020 has left tattered, bruised and beaten. So, you can imagine how excited and inspired I was when I saw Rachel from @alltheradreads and post her 36 Fall Faves (Books, Candles, Food, Cozy Things, + More). She lists some amazing recipes that I definitely have pinned on Pinterest and she recommends some books that I have added to my Goodreads’ “Want to Read” list. I was also motivated to do my own fall favorites post! I’ve compiled a list of my fall go-to’s from media, to recipes, to local restaurants and bakeries, to clothes and more. I am even adding some things that I am lusting over when it comes to fashion.

I hope you will share your fall favorites with me and maybe treat yourself to some of your seasonal guilty pleasures. You should also follow Rachel. She’s a fellow JMU alum and can always recommend an amazing read.

Before I get into the specifics of my fall favorites, I want to say that I live on the East Coast of the U.S. and fall runs from September 22 to December 21.

Now, let me just start by giving a shoutout to the most beautiful season, in my opinion. There is nothing better than watching the leaves change colors and fall quietly into my parents’ backyard, which my mom calls “raining leaves”. I look forward to dragging my entire family to the pumpkin patch and apple orchards every year like clockwork.

The colors of the leaves, orange, yellow and red, are so enchanting and inspiring. And I love the smell of a crisp fall day. You may even catch me sniffing at the pot of herbs and spices that my mom puts on the stove every fall that will end up filling the whole house with an intoxicating aroma.

All of these smells, scenes, colors and aromas seep into and inspire my favorite fall things.

What to Read

I don’t know if it’s because fall includes Halloween festivities or because fall is one of the coziest seasons, but I love to read mysteries and thrillers in the months of September, October and November.

I can’t lie to you and say that I don’t read mysteries and thrillers all year round because I most definitely do. But, they just hit different in the fall. Am I right? Here are some of my favorites of late and some oldies, but goodies when it comes to books.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill is an eerie kind of story that will have you on edge and will have you looking into the windows of abandoned houses for the spirits of those who have passed on. Take it from me and read the book. Skip the movie.

Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger is the story of an FBI agent who returns to her home town for her father’s funeral, but ends up in the middle of a murder case. Like most thrillers, you will have no idea who did it.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien is one of those books that everyone should read in their lifetime. I’m not sure why it feels like a good fall read to me, but maybe it is because of my overwhelming desire to spend my fall days in the Shire.

What to Watch

Similarly to books, fall puts me even more in the mood for mystery and makes me brave enough to watch a horror movie or two. Here are my go-to’s for spooky season. Not included, but worth mentioning is It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, which was a staple in my childhood.

Practical Magic is Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman ’90s gold and it serves as one of my favorite non-scary Halloween movies. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it for you. I will just say that you will have the pleasure of meeting witches.

Double, Double, Toil & Trouble is a Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen classic. If you are able to find a way to watch it, do it. I promise, it’s not too juvenile. The twins find themselves meeting and helping gravediggers, circus performers and, you guessed it, witches.

Mindhunter, on Netflix, tells the story of the FBI agents who created the concept of the serial killer. As a story that is based on true events, you get to watch as the main characters interview the worst killers in American history all while wondering if the FBI agents themselves are hiding their own deep desires.

Lastly, I recommend checking out what your chosen streaming service has in the way of true crime documentaries and docuseries. For some reason, real crime stories are more digestable for me than the fake ones. Some of my favorites are Making a Murderer and The Keepers, which are both available on Netflix.

What to Listen to

Autumn makes me want to get stuck into some chill tunes. You know, those songs that you can listen to in the background of anything you do from reading a book to washing the dishes. I’ve made a playlist on my Spotify, appropriately titled “autumnal“, where you can find my recommendations for fall music.

I also suggest checking out some true crime podcasts. My favorites include S-Town, Accused and The Last Podcast on the Left, which is probably not everyone’s taste, but takes a humorous look at murderers and conspiracy theories. All of the podcasts I listed can be found on Spotify.

What to Wear

I think I am probably not the only person who has uttered the following sentence in the last 30 days, but you tell me. I love getting dressed in the fall!

By the end of summer, I am so tired of being hot and am so done with sweating through all of my clothes every freakin’ day. I want to be comfy cozy dammit. Here’s a short list of items of clothing that I am so darn happy to be able to wear in the fall: sweaters, cardigans, booties, socks, moccasins, sweatpants, sweatshirts (hoodies and crewnecks), beanies, hats, long sleeve tees, jackets, coats and scarves. Now, here is more of what I look for in a couple of the fall fashion staples that I just listed.

Sweaters – I love a good sweater, but my ideal sweater is not easy to find, especially in the thrift store. I seek out sweaters that are made out of soft fabrics that are not itchy, they should have sleeves long enough that I can pull over my hands and they should either be longer, hitting below my belly button, or cropped hitting right at or right above my belly button. Here are a few that I am thinking about purchasing or am trying to find something similar to at the thrift store: Striped Sweater from Target, Colorblock Sweater from Target (own), Kimono Jacket from Target (own), Cream Speckled Sweater from Loft, Wrap Sweater from Modcloth.

Booties – Fall begins the six months out of the year where you want your feet completely covered and warm. Booties have risen in popularity for some reason or another and I have amassed a decent collection of them. My favorite ones are thrifted and are in basic colors like dark brown, black and tan. My only tips for buying booties are to purchase ones that will be water resistant and highly comfortable. Here’s some that I think are pretty cool: Leopard Lace-Up Bootie from Madewell, Spotted Chelsea Boot from Madewell, Lace-Up Sweater Bootie from Carlos by Carlos Santana, Brown Bootie from Frye.

Scarves – Adding a scarf to an outfit can be in an effort to keep you warm during the cold months, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have to be cute. I like to stock up on neutral-colored scarves, but also like to pick up the occasional statement scarf as well. This season I am experimenting more with mixing printed scarves with printed outfits. Here are some that I own and would like to own: Zebra Print in Beige Scarf from Target (own), Multi-Colored Plaid Scarf from Modcloth.

Socks – My husband, Logan, always tells me that I need to wear socks in the summer time and gets frustrated with me when I try to explain to him that some of my shoes don’t look right with socks. All that goes out the window in the fall because booties and other autumn footwear look amazing with statement or neutral socks. I love making my socks part of my look in the colder months and am one of those people that is more than happy to receive socks as a gift. Here are some that I think are pretty snazzy: Neutral 3-Pack of Socks from Target, Bee Socks from Modcloth, Tie Dye Socks from Bombas.

What to Eat and Drink

Fall beverages and treats are absolutely notorious in my opinion due to the all elusive, legendary, Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) from Starbucks. (If you care to see me try pumpkin-flavored coffees from in and around my hometown, check-out my Instagram story highlight called “Pumpkin Spice Tastings.)

The best PSL that I have had this year is the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Hideaway Café in Winchester, VA! They put real pumpkin puree in this drink, which makes it taste like a really good blended up pumpkin pie.

The PSL is good and I am sucker for a hot apple cider, but fall also ushers in soups and stews, as well as apple, maple, pumpkin and spice flavored treats.

A pumpkin treat that I make multiple times every fall is Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread. (Pictured on the left above.) Logan loves this bread and asks me in his nicest, sweetest voice to make it every fall and maybe even other times of the year. Use greek yogurt or applesauce instead of oil to make it even more moist and add nuts if you want a little bit more texture. If I don’t feel like making anything, these Maple Leaf Creme Cookies are divine.

My go-to soup is the tomato soup from Water Street Kitchen, also in Winchester, VA. As someone who hates tomatoes and has only recently started liking tomato soup, trust me, this soup is to die for. Add the Josie’s Grilled Cheese and you are in for a fantastic meal. (Pictured on the right above.)

I’m interested in making French Onion Soup this year, so if you have a good recipe let me know!

I hope this made you excited for fall! Let me know what your fall favorites are and if we had any in common. I’m going to go snuggle up with my pups and read a good book now.