Today is October 20, 2016 & it’s 88 degrees outside.
Last year was my first full year living in Miami & although I’ve lived in very warm cities before, none of them quite compare to Miami’s humidity + constant high temperatures. With all the excitement of having an endless summer & never having to put my bikinis away, I realized that when March hit I felt as if I had missed a part of the year. I grew up on the east coast of Virginia, so I’ve always been accustomed to having 4 seasons. Even if you don’t decorate for each season in Virginia, the outside weather is still a reminder of the changing seasons. In Miami, however, this isn’t the case. My first Fall/Winter in Miami last year, I must have been too busy sunning my buns and chasing iguanas, because before I knew it, it was Spring and I felt as if I had missed out on one of my most special times of the year.
Being the self-proclaimed queen of summer, I was more shocked than anyone to realize just how much I missed the changing of seasons. Even though I still took trips to cold-weather destinations to visit my family for the Holidays, something about calling the tropics “home” somehow made the Holiday season unfamiliar to me. It was as if I somehow blacked out all Fall + Winter. Which I know that I most certainly did not because there are about 21,648 pictures of me during Thanksgiving & Christmas alone thanks to my amazing mother-in-law who always has a camera in hand. Her dedication to taking amazing photos of us is truly inspiring & her lack of giving a shit when we are rolling our eyes is pretty impressive too, but I digress. So, we’ve established I was physically there, in cold climates, but still something was missing. That is when I came to the conclusion that Fall/Winter is about more than just experiencing cold temperatures; it’s about creating your own winter wonderland right at home. Subsequently this year I set out to fully submerge myself, home, & husband in all things Fall + Winter despite our very warm surroundings. If you’re worried about missing out on truly experiencing the changing of seasons, then I suggest you take a look at some of my own tips to avoid that dreaded FOMO feeling:
- Candles – Call me a basic bitch all you want but candles are my favorite. They instantly make a room cozier & by picking the perfect scent, you can transform your space in a matter of minutes. Scent is known to be the closest sense tied to memory, so I challenge you to take a big whiff of a Holiday candle & tell me it doesn’t take you back 10 (or 20) years. Don’t you dare lie to me either.
So far this season, my candle brand of choice is MAME Soy Candles. They’re made from a natural clean burning wax, they’re hand poured in small batches in Arizona (go ‘Merica), & they have rich yet smooth scents that will fill up any space beautifully. They would also make awesome stocking stuffers & if I was hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, there would be a little gold candle at every place setting…just saying. MAME candles are so aesthetically pleasing that I can barely handle it. All their design elements hit it out of the park for me: creamy white wax; black, gold & white packaging; & clean and simple design labels. Can I get an “Amen?”
Top Fall picks: “Fall – Salted Caramel” sweet & rich, “#9 – Amber, Leather, Teakwood” masculine yet soft. Top Winter picks: “Holiday 1 – Apple Bourbon” sweet & crisp, “Holiday 3- Cinnamon, Clove, Firewood” spicy & smoky, I can’t explain the déjà vu this candle evokes, makes me want to sing Christmas songs. Fall/Winter overall pick: “Egyptian Amber, Vanilla, Balsam” warm & woodsy.
[This is also laughably NOT sponsored, I promise. I am just a huge fan.]
2. Nail Polish – My signature polish to the untrained eye is white. Although I would argue it’s a very pale, pale, pale pink. Okay, it’s white. So during the Fall & Winter, I LOVE to have dark nails. I can barely recognize my own hands & that makes tasks like typing, texting, & flipping the bird that much more exciting. My favorite shades can be broken down into three categories: Moody Nudies, Warm Wines, & Gaudy Glitters. Moody Nudies are any deep, dark, neutral shade including grays, browns, & black. Warm Wines are deep purples, reds, & the occasional navy blue. Gaudy Glitters I use for all ten digits or just a few nails that I choose to add a little pizzazz to.
[I’ve attached links to all of the colors pictured below for your shopping pleasure.]
[L to R: Essie “Take Me to Thread“, Essie “Smokin’ Hot” (laying down), OPI “You Don’t Know Jacques!“, Essie “Model Clicks“, OPI “Bastille My Heart“, OPI “Eiffel For This Color” (leaning bottle), OPI “Muppets World Tour” Limited Edition (laying down), Deborah Lippmann “Ruby Red Slippers“, Deborah Lippmann “Happy Bithday“]
3. Gem Tones – 9 months out of the year, I wear every shade of brown when it comes to my accessories. Tan, taupe, cognac, camel, chocolate, chestnut, amber, khaki, and wheat typically comprise my “go-to” color pallet in that I rarely stray from these shades. But during the Fall/Winter, I love incorporating deeper richer tones into my handbags, shoes, scarves, pants, etc. Some of my favorite tones for this time of the year are garnet red, emerald green, & sapphire blue.
4. Sleeveless Sweaters! – I have unknowingly accumulated quite the collection of sweater tanks. Some with big turtle necks, a few with skinny little straps, but all in thick knits with tons of texture. I love how cozy sweaters look but lets be real, if I spent the day running errands in Miami in a full blown sweater, I would most likely have a heat stroke. I would also run the risk of having to peel the sweater off out of desperation & having to drive home in my bra; no thanks. If you’re thinking to yourself, “That’s great for you Rachael, but I live in a place where it’s actually cold.” Well then fear not my friend, I am completely in love with layering sleeveless sweaters over off-the-shoulder long sleeve tops. Not only is this a flattering look, but it gives your outfit a little bit more interest. I just scored the sweater pictured, at the top of the stack in from Billabong & it’s absolutely gorgeous. [Exact sweater here!]
5. Perfume – I love changing up my perfume game during the Fall/Winter too because just like candles, that change in scent does something special for me. There’s just something about a warm cozy scent that evokes memories of the Holidays. Although I stay pretty true to my standard fragrance notes—which are vanilla, coconut, and citrus—I really love rotating out my brands. I recognize that fragrance is very personal, so I can suggest a few scents I love to wear but they may not be up your alley. I just hope to give you a little inspiration to try a new fragrance for this Fall/Winter. You’ll be amazed the memories it will conjure up once you start wearing it again after a brief hiatus. Side Note: I also like doing this for special events or vacations; I have a scent from my wedding & it makes me smile every time I wear it now.
6. Home Decor – Being an extremely visual person & also easily bored with my personal space, I love decorating for the Holiday season. This was an element I definitely skipped out on last year. I think I put our tree up sometime during the second week of December, but not this year, folks. I may even turn into one of those dreaded November tree people, *pause for gasp.* This also applies to all seasonal decor, so rest assured, I’ve already scattered pumpkins, pine cones, and glitter-covered leaves & acorns over every open surface.
Hope I gave you some good ideas on how to add some coziness to your upcoming Holiday season! As always, sending lots of tropical vibes your way!
XX – Rachael