There's a popular Pinterest quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald that says, "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." If this is true, then life does not ever start over again in Southern California. Instead of getting crisp in September and October, it just gets hot. Very hot.
Like every right thinking person, I love fall, so this is bitterly disappointing to me. Even though I have lived here for five years, I still expect things to start getting fallish in September, and every year it doesn't. But I have found ways to make the best of a bad situation. Here are my tips for making the most of SoCal's non-fall fall.
1. Host a Fall Fest Party
This is where you bring your friends together to participate in a mass delusion that it is in fact autumn. You carve pumpkins, eat chili and many pumpkin themed foods, and imagine that it is cold enough to wear a scarf. This year it required strenuous imagining, because on the day of our party it was in the high 90s (as you can see there are a lot of tank tops and shorts happening). Thankfully it eventually cooled down and we enjoyed our pseudo-fall experience.
2. Appreciate the individual trees changing color
In Southern California all plants are confused, and so they really aren't sure when their leaves are supposed to change colors. You can see a tree losing leaves next to a tree in full leaf next to a tree that is budding. Also, because it is so dry. usually when trees do decide to change they will be brown. However, occasionally you can see a well-watered tree flaming out in reds and oranges and yellows. These trees must be savored.
3. Go to Trader Joe's and buy all of their pumpkin products
Trader Joe's has the most comprehensive collection of pumpkin-related foodstuffs. You can get pumpkin bagels with pumpkin cream cheese and pumpkin pancakes for breakfast, harvest salad for lunch, and pumpkin ravioli for dinner with pumpkin ice cream for dessert. To go completely over the top, slather yourself in pumpkin body butter and give your dog a pumpkin flavored treat. AND THIS IS ONLY THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG. So when you need something pumpkiny to believe that it's fall, there's no better place to go.
4. Drink many seasonal beverages
Pumpkin spice lattes are the way to go. Also pumpkin ale and lots of cider.
5. Watch a lot of football
Football just makes you feel like fall.
6. Flee to the mountains
The mountains experience much more fall-like weather than we do. When you get desperate, just start ascending in elevation. A few years ago Andy and I went to visit my sister and brother-in-law on Big Bear mountain, and my sister-in-law took our engagement pictures. They have a very nice fall feel.
7. Flee the State
Sometimes you just need to get the heck out of dodge and head for the real deal. Thankfully my job takes me to many states that actually experience fall, so I get little tastes of it. There is nothing like a truly crisp and gorgeous autumn day.
8. Just wait
By the time other places in America are getting their first snow falls, it will start to slowly approximate fall in Southern California. It will get all the way down to the high 60s! Watch out! In all seriousness, while fall will never be Southern California's strong suit (and it does have other strong suits) once the September/October heat wave ends, life becomes a lot more bearable.