I had another post planned for today (spoiler alert – it’s a 2018 Paris City Guide!) and while I can’t wait to share my most recent Parisian recommendations with you, I realized that today is the last day of summer, and so in honor of fall’s arrival, I wanted to share some of the things on my bucket list for autumn!
Every season I make a new bucket list. Yes, I am a total type-A planner, and yes, these lists might be a bit pedantic . . . but they are my way of coping with change. Making lists helps me feel prepared, they give me something to look forward to, and they make me excited for a new season. Honestly, I love summer and could live in a land where we drink pink wine after work and spend weekends at the beach forever. But as it would happen, I live in the Netherlands where we get about two icy cold weeks a year and two smoldering hot ones, and then everything else in between is just rainy and bland. I feel sad to see summer go, and I also lament living in such a neutral country weather-wise. While the benefits of living in a mild climate zone are numerous (I can’t imagine the bike culture the Dutch have adopted thriving in harsh New England weather!) I miss big snow storms, endless weeks of sunshine, and fiery fall foliage. So I try to make do with a few American traditions that I’ve imported here to Holland, in honor of a new season, and as a swift and cheerful fare well to the last. I will not mourn the loss of summer but rather I will be excited about cozy sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes :) And so here’s my bucket list for this fall – the things I will do over the next three months to celebrate a beautiful season that only happens once a year ;) – FALL FOOD THINGS –
A list of fall things to eat, cook and experiment with!
1) Ask mom to mail me candy corn and share it with my Dutch colleagues :)
2) Cook fall soup. Pumpkin, kale, and anything from Halfbaked Harvest are at the top of my list.
3) Make pickles and jam. I have this great recipe for overnight pickles that all of my friends request time and time again! Super easy and can be whipped up the evening before a dinner party.4) Bake a pie, preferably with fresh apples (we will get there on the list!)
5) Enjoy homemade hot cocoa. And by homemade hot cocoa, I mean huge bars of Tony’s Chocolonley melted into rich, hot whole milk.
6) Buy spaghetti squash. These are hard to come by in the Netherlands, but this time of year some of the bigger grocery chains sell them online! So I usually stock up on 3-4 that then last me through the winter. Gotta balance out the hot cocoa and candy corn ;)7) Roast fall vegetables, including pumpkin, brussels sprouts, red onions, corn on the cob, butternut squash, eggplant, kale and mushrooms. Essentially, eat seasonal and enjoy fresh vegetables that are harvested in the fall. 8) Make hot apple cider cocktails. Bourbon, warm apple juice, cinnamon sticks, straw. Drink. Or try out this new recipe from Halfbaked Harvest! (If you can’t tell, I’m a BIG fan of Halfbaked Harvest!)
9) Cook a big batch of chili. I love making a big crock pot of chili on Monday and then eating it throughout the week for dinners. It’s also great for a group dinner, garnished with sour cream, cheddar cheese, avocado, and tortilla chips!
10) Bake pumpkin bread. For breakfast. And dessert. And any meal in between!
11) Make seasonal granola, using cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, and dried figs. 12) Get at least one pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, OR make one at home :) Also saw this recipe for pumpkin spice marshmallows – could be the most blingy autumnal paring for hot chocolate and coffee I’ve ever seen!
13) This one isn’t necessarily fall-focused, but I’ve been wanting to make kimchi forever and this fall I am finally giving it a shot. I am using this base recipe and can’t wait to have kimchi fried rice for dinner, like, every night.
– HALLOWEEN IS COMING! –
Halloween is definitely one of my top three favorite holidays! And as I am no longer allowed to trick-or-treat (let’s be real, this hasn’t been feasible for like, the past 20 years) I love to do other spooky activities as the 31st of October approaches!
14) Watch scary movies. I like a good blend of the classics, new horror flicks from the year, and a few fun nostalgic cartoons from childhood (example: Hey Arnold and Rugrats Halloween specials can easily be found on Youtube!)
15) Jam out to Halloween music. I have a playlist here you are welcome to use! Note that anytime in October is fair game to dance around the house to Thriller!
16) Host a pumpkin party! Yes, it’s as silly and as fun as it sounds! Every year, I buy a bunch of mini pumpkins for either carving or painting. I invite a few of my favorite girl friends over, and we rock out to Halloween tunes, eat chili, drink cider, and decorate pumpkins. I’ve done this three years and counting, and hope to carve out some time (ha, no pun intended!) to do so again this year.17) Carve a pumpkin. I love doing this with Kai! Each Halloween we create our own temporary pumpkin family member who eventually winds up on the balcony, and then later in the trash. But it’s a fun project to do together, and nothing beats a glowing pumpkin at your door to welcome you home each night leading up to Halloween.
18) This year, I am going to try to attend Wallibe Fright Night. It’s a big theme park in Holland that has a special Halloween themed agenda around the 31st of October each year. I’ve never been, but this year am determined to get a group together and go!
19) Make a homemade costume! Last year my parent’s house burned down on Halloween (sorry for the heavy drop there!) I didn’t end up going out because I was completely devastated for them. This year, I am going to make up for it, and am determined to go to a costume party (see next point!) and make a homemade costume as well :) Ideas welcome!
19) Go to a costume party. Here’s hoping a friend steps up to host, but I’d settle for a big Halloween dance party out as well!
– SHOPPING –
I try to invest in good quality wardrobe staples, and the turn of each season is the signal it’s time to pick up a few new pieces.
20) Get a new cozy scarf. Honestly, Zara has my favorites year after year, so I’ll probably hit up their store in the coming weeks, and then when I’m in the US next I’ll order one online from Pendleton (if only they shipped to the Netherlands!) They are amazing quality and have some gorgeous patterns.
21) Every year, I also buy 1-2 new sweaters I then wear multiple times a week! I usually head to Madewell, & Other Stories, Reformation, and Sezane for high quality outer layers.22) This year I also need a new winter jacket. I’ve had the same one for 5 years, and the formerly black sleeves are starting to turn grey from where I’ve wiped my bike seat dry to many times! So it’s time for a new one, but every year, I try a zillion on and never find THE ONE that looks good, keeps my butt dry when I cycle in the rain, has perfect pockets, and fits nicely. My current jacket is Elvine and I can’t wait to try on some of their 2018 jackets – here’s hoping this is the year I find one I love even more.
23) Flower update! I need to hit the flower market and replace my outdoor summer plants with winter annuals that can stand the cold.
24) And on a simple note, when I buy fresh flowers each week, I want to try to get seasonal beauties for my table at home! Farmer’s market mums, sunflowers, and dahlias are top of the list :)
– ACTIVITIES –
Yes, there are a few activities on my fall list other than celebrating Halloween!
25) Drink beer and eat pretzels for Oktoberfest. My boyfriend is German and our fridge is already stocked with German Oktoberfest beer. And our freezer is filled with ready to bake pretzels! So we just need some white sausage and we will then have all of the makings for a great Oktoberfest feast!
26) Go on a nature walk. Nothing beats the crunch of autumn leaves beneath your boots, or the scent of dewy fall foliage. 27) Visit a farm. Because baby goats are fun all year round! If I lived in Maine, this would also include hitting up a pumpkin patch, a corn maze, and maybe even a haunted hayride. But here in Amsterdam, I’ll settle for frolicking in the straw with baby goats, and maybe seeing some pumpkins at a farm stand.
28) Go apple picking! I’ve done this many times in Holland and will continue to do it every year! We usually go here.
29) Take an autumn bike ride when the leaves changed to admire the foliage! 30) The days might be cooler, which means it’s time to enjoy inside activities once again! I want to go to at least two museums this fall I’ve never been to before :)
31) Host a fondue night! Melted cheese. Red wine. Crusty bread. Friends. What else does one need in life??