I just saw this on Le Pinterest and I think it definitely captures the duality of this time of year.
Who else is a fall homebody? Because yes, I love taking in the beauty of the electric fall atmosphere, but oh, yes, do I also love hunkering down in my warm apartment, encased in a warm blanket and mindlessly watching episode after episode of my beloved Law and Order. (You were probably expecting a less intense show, huh?)
Oh, Pinterest. An abundance of lovely goals that likely will never see the light of day. Nevertheless, this year, I’d like to spruce up my place with an autumn theme. Because why not? Some of the ideas running around in my head:
Because some of us don’t live in areas where we get to breathe in the vivid fall colors and hues and wear snazzy peacoats and wear booties and close our eyes as the crisp breeze surrounds us like an old, trusted friend. Some of us live in Texas. Or Alabama. Or Florida. Or…the Virgin Islands. And regarding where I reside in the Lone Star state, it does get cool in the late autumn/winter. We may not get the amazing colors, but there’s certainly room for lovely coats and sassy booties. Nevertheless: it’s not the same, is it? Boo hoo. But we shall make do.
Here’s an Autumn Wherever You Are Guide for those of you in areas that traditionally don’t have the full, seasonal experience:
Starbucksto the Rescue. Every fall, to the delight of the masses, Starbucks brings back its popular Pumpkin Spice Latte beverage. Personally, I can’t even. Pumpkin ain’t my thing, and I can’t even fathom whatever Pumpkin Spice is. (I stick to my chai latte year-round.) But a lot of folks love the autumn-y drink and I won’t take that away from them, because whatever makes your palate happy is fine by me, especially if it’s related to fall. So, if you live in area where balmy breezes fill the atmosphere even in mid-November, get your derrière to the local Starbucks, order this drink, and pretend you’re somewhere in New Hampshire.
Weekenders and Staycations. I’m a massive fan of getaways, even if it’s from Friday to Sunday. Sooo…find a fall-y place. Get thee to that place. Spend a nice weekender/staycation there. Rinse and repeat. Fall-y places can be any states in the New England area such as Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island. And before you say, “but Square Peg, there are tumbleweeds in my wallet. Weekenders and staycations involve money.” My response: get thee also to Groupon. There are always getaway travel deals to investigate and use. I assure you that one can be found. Why don’t we still use thee in daily speech?
Art Imitates Life. You know I’m artsy fartsy. Naturally, when art and life intersect, it’s a beautiful thing. When autumn and art intersect, even better. Want to take a gander at classical art that evokes autumn? Head to your local museum and fall in love with the works of the Hudson River School; the pieces done by artists in this school, such as Thomas Cole (one of my very favorites), are brimming with landscapes and nature and always give me that fall-y, changing of seasons, introspective feeling. Get thee to a museum!
4. Art Imitates Life, Redux. It’s not just classic, autumn-inspired art that gets me. I love film as an art form, and I certainly love films that provide that autumn feeling. From cinematography to plotting to images of foliage and small, New England towns, there are plenty of movies that will feed the autumn longing during your eternal summer. Here are a few:
Dead Poets’ Society
The Village (Honestly, anything with William Hurt reminds me of fall. I have no idea why.)
Dan in Real Life
Autumn in New York…is easy to choose as an option, but this is one of the worst movies of all time, y’all. Yes. Of all time. It’s so terrible. Watch it if you like, but you’ve been warned.
5. Rise to the Occasion, Even Briefly. You know how at the slightest hint of warm weather you see folks walking around in flip flops? Even though it’s not really that warm? We may side eye those folks, but honestly, they’re expressing a level of excitement that I find almost inspirational. They’re doing everything possible to take advantage of the change, even it means exposing their poor toes to draft, not-that-sunny weather. Let’s be those people, dear reader. When the weather wherever you are dips in temperature, cools down a bit, etc., throw on a nice wrap or mock turtleneck or whatever you can find that can incite that autumn-y feeling. It may last just a day or may be a fluke, but at least you’ll be dressed for the day.
6. Fall for the Photo and other Misc. Items: See below.
Got any photog friends? Grab them and set up a fall-themed photo shoot. I’m serious. Look: what do you have to lose? Every home store has fall-inspired decorations. Grab a few, find a nice park, and go for it. Have fun.
Light a woodsy candle in your place.
Wear orange and brown whenever you can.
Two words: Autumn screensavers.
There ends my list. Hopefully, you’ve found some inspiration for how to be autumnal wherever you happen to be in the world. And fall isn’t your thing, that’s fine. Just tell me what your favorite season is in the comments below, won’t you?
After the first cut, I went back to my stylist and asked for another cut, to even things out, and to color it, as well, since the gray hairs were like all these changes are making us nervous so we ’bout to legit multiply. Here’s how it looked after the second cut:
I went with a wine-y, berry color, which may not be evident in these pics but will be soon. Having been red and brown red and burgundy and jet black, I wanted something in the reddish family, but a bit different than the hues I’ve tried before. Fun story: when my stylist washed out the color, it only lifted on my sides and back of my hair. The middle remained completely unaltered by the color. So…she added a bright purple color all over, hoping that it would aid the lift…and it did. But that bright purple…whew.
So I was happy with the changes.
Or was I?
This past week, I headed home to VA to spend some much-needed time with the Mama and my family. (It was awesome.) While there, I contemplated cutting my hair again. Deep down, although I liked my look, I wasn’t 100% content. Why? What was I looking for?
Stylistically, wedding-y, everything-y, Solange has long been a marvel for my eyes. And I certainly remember my gaspy (new word, just created by me, you’re welcome) reaction to her gorgeous big chop in 2009. It was everything. Do you hear me? Every. Ting. I think she was hiding in my subconscious this whole time, patiently waiting for me to bring her back up and acknowledge that this was the hair destination I was headed to. Because even the other photos I had for inspo were cuts that looked exactly like Solange’s.
Interesting, right? Anyway, the previous cut was fine, but there was a fro-hawk-y nature about that middle part of my head, and as much as I love frohawks, I’ve had that look before. I wanted something different. I wanted Solange. I wanted simple, chic, lovely, even–all of what you see above. So, when I had some time while home, I drove to the local Hair Cuttery and asked for my third cut.
With the color and this new look, dear Reader, I believe we have reached Destination: Solange. Or, more importantly, I can 1005 percent say I love my new look. Check it out.
A few more things:
I need a barber. My stylist is awesome and started this style change rolling, but to maintain this look, I’ll definitely need a professional barber. The search begins.
I love this look.
Have you had this experience? Loved a look but deep down, wanted something more? Shall we meet in the comments below?
I’m seriously considering seeking out an allergist. I can’t handle the first day of the week, y’all. Like I seriously cannot. I fidget. I have mental hives. I nearly itch. I literally lay in bed and rally against waking up, as if Monday is standing beside my bed with her arms crossed and an annoyed, impatient expression on her face. Ugh.
The weekend was fabulous, my friends. On Friday (which I claim as a weekend day), I joined some of my mom friends for a trip with their tween/teen daughters to Deep Ellum, an artsy, delightful area in downtown Dallas. It was my first time there, still being on tourist status after a year and five months, and I loved it something awful. There was a rustic flair everywhere; lovely murals; great venues and restaurants. My artistic heart was booming quite happily. Pictorials below, y’all.
Friday evening was warm and lovely. On Saturday, Texas displayed its crazy weather and drowned us in thunderstorms and rain. So I hung out on my couch that evening and watched a bit of telly and tooled around on the iPad.
On Sunday, me and a friend decided to check out the Dallas Jazz Age Sunday Social after brunch. They had me at jazz age. Folks were dressed up in their flappery best; even the menfolk got into it, giving it their Robert Redford The Great Gastby best. There was music playing; classic cars driving down the avenues (I love classic cars from bygone eras), museums showing doctor’s offices and general stores from that time. So much fun! Really spoke to my vintage everything heart, and it was a great addition to seeing the local color/being a tourist in my own backyard initiative. See photos below.
Fun and laughter were had. (Can I mention that I’ve been really enjoying taking pictures lately? Not of myself–although, hey, it’s a thing I enjoy–but of objects and nature and other people. We’ll chat about this growing love later this week.)
Danai and Lupita. Okoye and Nakia. Africa and Africa. New Muse and Still Muse.
World Class Chocolate and World Class Chocolate.
When I was a little growing brown girl, I saw women of color in my home, in my community, among my relatives. But I didn’t realize that representation outside of that nexus was important until I was much older. A young woman is exposed to so much in the media, especially during those formative years where popular ideals of what’s “beautiful” take over and unleash their particular brand of power. I wish I had seen images like this when I was fifteen years old, y’all. I really do.
Nevertheless! I see them now. And I love it into infinity.
I also love that millions of little growing brown girls are seeing images like this, too.
I promise not to blame you for not being the traditional you in a state where it’s summer year-round. It’s not your fault that heat lives in every tiny corner in this lone star state. (And I’ve been promised at least 70-degree days, even if the leaves won’t wholly turn, so I’ll take it.)
I promise to get back to creative writing, something I tend to do more of during your inspiring season. It’s been a blast with other forms of writing, but there are about 12 short story ideas that currently demand attention and they punch hard when they’re not acknowledged.
I promise to engage in Blogtober this year. Yes!
I promise to take time for self-care. With shorter days and cooler, darker nights on the horizon, running around town and burning the candle at both ends will have to take a backseat. (Perhaps eternally? Your Square Peg isn’t in college anymore and she keeps forgetting that.) More blankets, time on the couch, and chai, in that order.
I promise to finally go shopping and bring more color and creativity to my personal style. It’s been blah for me lately, clothes-wise and otherwise. Le sigh.
I promise to keep a standing date at the bookstore on Friday nights. Autumn has always been about books and reading, too, and I need to smell some pages and listen to the hushed hum of book-related conversations.
I promise not to side-eye all the rain you will undoubtedly bring. Part of the bargain, right?
I promise to continue to stay away from whatever a pumpkin spice latte aims to provide.
I promise to just breathe. I’ve been aching for deep, sustained breaths lately.
I promise not to get it twisted: seasonal beauty won’t take away the stresses of life…
…but it’ll give me chances to look up, appreciate, and engage.
Here’s to the coming autumn and enjoying every bit of it.
What are you looking forward to this fall?
p.s.: More autumn promises are located here and here.
If you haven’t heard, a total solar eclipse took place yesterday, August 21. Pretty historical stuff. I was excited beyond words, not necessarily because of the historicity of it or the celestial phenomenon, per se. I, This Square Peg, a writer of words and a purveyor of poetry, have used the moon as an allegorical foil/subject since I started writing eons ago. There was something about that big, gray, somber ball in the sky, not peppy and cheerful like the sun, ruler of tides, that struck me in a purely deep and artistic way. To me, there wasn’t a man in the moon. Symbolically, she was a woman in every way. My kind of girl. Powerful and moody and boss. Naturally, I frequently turned to her in my poetry. In my fiction, she’s always a character; whether providing silvery light for my character before his/her eventual epiphany or the third person in a two-person scene, viewing the action with a cool, disaffected gaze. In my poetry, though? In my poetry? The moon runs things.
When I was moving to Texas and engaged in my bout of horrifying packing, I found a poem that I wrote in college. The subject? Frustrated love. (Nothing new there.) The allegorical character? The moon. The denouement? An eclipse.
So college-y. So eclipse-y. So moon-y.
I was able to see the eclipse yesterday, courtesy of a co-worker who shared his special sky glasses with me and some of my other colleagues. Because our city here in Dallas wasn’t on the path of totality–those cities would see the full, total eclipse; we would see a partial eclipse–I didn’t get to experience the moment my moon met the earth and the sun. But halfway is still pretty cool, no?
Here’s to my fabulous moon and her big moment yesterday.
Writing fiction has been a no-go, party people. And I miss writing fiction. Yes, I’ve written some poems quite recently (here and here, if you feel like reminiscing), but I am 100 percent a writer, lover, and creator of fiction. I don’t exactly know what’s going on. Let’s think it through:
Is it because I haven’t given my muse other platforms of art to be inspired by? Honestly, living here in the Lone Star state is still very much a transition: personally, emotionally, and especially artistically. I’ve yet to stroll down the cool, marble hallways of an art museum. I have been to a few concerts, yes. Most recently, I sat in the audience, tears cascading my face, while Alvin Ailey dancers took my entire life with their powerful, breathtaking performances. That was inspiring, absolutely. It got me writing. But the moment was kind of fleeting. Is it because I’m not exploring art more?
Is it because I’m a lazy writer? Look, there are times when an idea comes to me and I start typing and…I stop. Because I don’t want to do it anymore. Because I don’t feel like it. Because I just want to read People Magazine online and mentally judge the choices of silly celebrities. Because I want to scroll through Instagram and “happen” to find photos of Idris. Because because because. But real talk? Even though the distractions are awesome and it’s nice to turn off the creative brain once in a while, I feel queasy when it happens. I want to write. Is it because I’m not trying hard enough?
Is it because I’ve run out of ideas? Notice above that I respond when an idea comes to me. So they still come. In fact, some great ones have come and they continue. So what’s going on, dear reader? Is it because I let some of them just sit there, unacknowledged?
I’m sure you’re sitting there shaking your head and muttering that some of these questions/problems have obvious solutions. Go to the museum, then. Stop being lazy, then. Acknowledge those ideas, then.
Yeah yeah yeah.
I just wanted to write this post. Get it? I just need to keep writing. Even if it’s not fiction. Maybe that will come. For now, just keep writing, Square Peg. Just keep writing…