Yesterday, I received what was perhaps the greatest compliment of my life. As my facialist applied the pumpkin enzyme chemical peel (per my seasonally inclined request), she asked, “Has anyone ever told you that you give strong Rory Gilmore vibes?” Was it my copy of Atonement that gave me away? Or perhaps the journal and millions of pencils spilling out of my bag? Nope, it was my obvious, enduring, and perpetual love of fall.
While I’m not usually a chatty client, I sat back and went on and on about my plans for the shifting season. PSLs, cinnamon-spiked pancakes, crafts galore, and a miles-long reading list. Yes, there’s a certain freedom and ease of energy that comes with the summer, but as we cozy up to the cooler temps, fall invites us to soak up the strong tea and candlelight, embracing the romance inherent in every day.
Just as self-care is more than bubble baths and face masks, romanticizing your life goes beyond the dreamy Instagram visuals. While flowy dresses and Penguin classics can certainly evoke the right vibes, creating romance in your everyday life requires orienting your rituals toward joy, happiness, and pleasure in all things—both big and small. If you’re looking to spark a little more wonder and magic in your autumnal routines, read on. These are my favorite ways to romanticize your life for fall.
1. Carve out alone time. While I love getting cozy with my partner and am excited to plan all the fall things with friends, this is the time to embrace your own company. Villain era, main character energy—whatever you call it, create space to get to know yourself a little better this season.
2. Schedule coffee dates. Per the last tip: with a partner, a friend, or yourself. Make a list of coffee shops in your city you’ve been wanting to try. Or become a regular at the café down the street. Bring a book, a journal, knitting—whatever pairs perfectly with a foamy latte.
3. Attend a high school football game. Bring blankets and hot cider as you cheer for the home team. Football is emblematic of the fall—and this couldn’t be a cuter way to celebrate it.
4. Identify your signature fall beverage. PSLs are the obvious choice, but fall caters to anything sweet, spicy, and warm. I love a hot cider, a cinnamon-spiked milk steamer, or even a rooibos tea latte. Pick your (comforting) poison, and indulge in the cozy vibes.
5. Start a journal. If you haven’t explored the practice yet, fall’s the best time to make it a habit. Spark inspiration with these 90 journal prompts.
6. Cozy up your home. If there’s a time to embrace hygge, it’s fall. Drape blankets over your couch, make the switch to warmer bedding, and display vases of dried flowers. This is exactly how to transition your home from summer to fall. (And if you have to, feel free to turn on the AC.)
7. Play games after dinner. Clear the plates, light a few candles, turn on a fall playlist (see below), and break out the games. Apples to Apples, Bananagrams, or even a good chess match are all falltime faves.
8. Find a cozy fall show. Gilmore Girls is an obvious choice, but like many, I’m currently obsessed with Netflix’s revival of Suits. Commit to something that makes you excited to come back for the next episode, night after night.
9. Create a playlist for your house. While summertime sees me rocking out to all the season’s bops, fall is about creating a cozy, quiet atmosphere. I love playing Gregory Alan Isakov, José Gonzalez, or Fleet Foxes to set the perfect tone.
10. Visit a museum. Be it art, history, or otherwise. Take a friend or visit solo—there’s nothing more creatively energizing than steeping yourself in an environment ripe for inspiration.
11. Transition your wardrobe. While fall may make us want to swap out shorts for sweats and never look back, I love all the possibilities with more layers added to the mix. Find your perfect outfit topper, boots you’ll never want to take off, and all the pieces you need if Coastal Grandmother is your fall aesthetic.
12. Read your heart out. Maybe it’s the back-to-school season or simply the inclination to spend all day cuddled up under a blanket, but no season makes me want to plow through my reading list faster than fall. Get inspired with all the new releases and make progress on your TBR.
13. Go to the movies. Pick a rainy weekend day and grab a matinee ticket. These tickets are typically cheaper than evening showings and it’s an easy, low-key date idea that will get you out of the house, while still soaking up all the fall coziness.
14. Visit a fall festival. Again: thanks for the inspo, Rory and Lorelai. Many cities and towns often throw fall festivals on the weekends, complete with apple tastings, hot cider, caramel corn, and more. Scour Instagram or ask a local store if they know of any events coming up. Is there anything more charming?
15. Have an autumn picnic. PSA: picnics aren’t just for summer. Head to the store, grab some charcuterie components (i.e. cured meats, cheese, and crackers), make a simple grain salad, and don’t forget the bread. Post up in a park or a local garden for a romantic afternoon.
16. Listen to the rain while you sip something warm. Is there anything cozier than a dreary day? Turn on the kettle, brew a cup of tea, and slip on your warmest socks. Cozy up on the couch, and enjoy the soft, steady pitter-patter of the rain falling against the window.
17. Browse your cookbooks. If you’re like me and have a dedicated shelf for cookbooks, grab your stack and a set of sticky notes and make a fall-baking bucket list. Cinnamon rolls, apple-spice muffins, and anything pumpkin are all fair game.
18. Stock up on fall candles. You can burn autumnal scents without making your home smell like a PSL fever dream (unless that’s your vibe, of course). Both Anthropologie and Target offer plenty of seasonal faves.
19. Press autumn leaves. One of the easiest ways to appreciate all the fall colors is to make a book of preserved leaves. Go on a walk or hike and pick up the fall leaves that resonate. Get tips for how to press leaves, and once preserved, you can use them to add a little DIY decor to your home.
20. Change up your morning routine. In the summer, my morning routine involved an iced coffee, an outdoor walk, and a journaling sesh. While I’m keeping the journaling going in the fall, I’m also making time for reading, swapping out my iced coffee for hot tea, and enjoying a bowl of my favorite pumpkin oats. Spend a little time reflecting on what an ideal fall morning looks like for you. Perhaps reading in bed, walking your dog, or brewing up a homemade PSL? Follow your bliss.
21. Decorate your home for fall. Arrange foraged branches in a vase, pick up sunflowers from the farmer’s market, and scatter Trader Joe’s mini white pumpkins throughout your home.
22. Sprinkle pumpkin spice into everything. From pumpkin-flavored pasta sauces (gnocchi is my favorite for this) to muffins and scones, between the months of September and November, pumpkin spice has a place in everything you eat. And it’s the easiest way to invoke the taste and smell of fall.
23. Write poetry. The key is to write without judgment. Pour your feelings out on the page and connect with whatever resonates most with you in this season. Also, try reading poetry for more inspiration.
24. Make a fall Pinterest board. There’s no better way to visually capture the aesthetic of autumn than on Pinterest. Spend a few hours gathering quotes, outfit inspo, ideas for your home, and anything that puts you in the fall mood.
25. Wear pretty pajamas. Sleeping is all about feeling your most comfortable, but it can also be an opportunity to tap into your feminine energy and feel sexy just for you. Invest in something silky, lacy, or with a fleece lining to keep you warm.
26. Learn to knit. Visit a local knitting store or pick up a knitting kit online. Trust me: If you love watching TV or listening to podcasts or audiobooks, knitting is the perfect companion hobby.
27. Invite friends over for a potluck. Keep it simple, but romantic. Light a few tea lights, buy a simple floral bouquet, and make sure your home is all cozied up for your guests. Assign everyone a course, and revel in the joy of gathering together to eat cozy, comforting food.
28. Use your “special occasion” items. That nice dress you’ve never had a reason to wear? Layer it over a turtleneck and pair it with booties. The silverware you inherited from your grandmother? Honor the gesture by using it to serve your favorite meal. There’s never a perfect time to use your nice things—enjoy that time now.
29. Visit a fall cabin. Take a break from the hustle of the city and get out of town for the weekend. I love Getaway for this exact reason. They have modern, winterized cabins just outside of cities all across the country. It’s the perfect way to disconnect for a little while and tap into yourself.
30. Live your bliss. While you can do this any time of year, romanticizing your life is about prioritizing what’s important to you every day. Have a regular check-in to prioritize what feels most supportive, energizing, and inspiring to you. Drop the outside noise and connect with your inner sense of alignment.