Five Things: Autumn Vibes

It's happening, y'all. I'm slowly starting to appreciate the fall. Don't get me wrong - I still hate the cold. That much hasn't changed (at all, not one bit, not ever). I'm slipping in and out of hoping we have one more day of 75 degree perfectly sunny weather and secretly loving the moody cloudy weather that comes with waves of brisk winds and afternoon showers. But the part that gets me the most? The friggin' unreal colors of the leaves before they fall off all the trees.

When we were in the Catskills this past weekend, the colors that dotted the horizon varied from vivid yellow to bright red and back to deep, dark greens and rich maroons - all of which faded in and out of each other in a fabulous display of seasonal fall ombré. Paired with snug sweaters and fresh air, the whole trip was something out of an old timey film.


Season Staples: The Catskills Getaway

When Season Staples got its start, it was all about the hat (thanks to Jeanette). The second installment focused on the ever-ready mule. For the third, I knew I had to choose carefully. To depart from the norm, I thought we might go outside of the box on this one - a thing that's known to be the New Yorker Autumn Specialty: a weekend getaway to the Catskills. If you're not a New Yorker, maybe you've never heard of the Catskills (to be honest, I had never heard of them until I moved here). Or, maybe you're not a cabin and / or mountain person (in which case, we are not friends). Either way, we all have to come to terms with the fact that the Catskills are to the fall what the Hamptons are to the summer for most Manhattanites. And, once you finally get the nerve to venture upstate, it's easy to see why: everything is unbelievably gorgeous, especially as the leaves are changing.

So, grabbing my best hat and my favorite scarf, we headed up to Mount Tremper for a long weekend with very, very limited cell reception to watch the changing of the leaves. Must-haves for the trip include: long, windy tree-lined roads; a little wooden cabin to cozy up in; fall foliage-filled hikes with mountain views and babbling brooks; and - of course - s'mores. Check out my instagram feed for more pics of #CatskillingIt.


Five Things: Another Week In Sunsets

If there's anything that's 100% certain in my life, it's that I freakin' love to watch the sunset.

I'm not entirely sure where this particular pastime came from - and I've been told by numerous people is that it's because I'm a girl, and girls love sunsets. But, if I'm being frank, I think it's a bit more than that (really, though). Sunsets, like a lot of things, are completely and utterly unpredictable. It's simply in their nature to be that way; you'll think that everything had been set up to create a top notch showing, but unless there are just the right amount of clouds and the atmospheric conditions have reached their ideal, then nothing is absolutely certain. It's their uncanny ability to knock you on your feet with spectacular one-of-a-kind colors, though, that always gets me going. So (in case you love them or, in some cases, you just like pretty pictures of the sky), here's five fantastic Brooklyn sunsets to help get you through the week.


Day Trippin': Apple Picking at Outhouse Orchards

With so many orchards here in the state of New York, I almost consider it a cardinal sin to not go apple picking in the fall. Sure, it's a total cliché, and sure, it's overrun with families that bring along all the children (in what I can only assume must be a small village), but if you know where to go, what to do, and what's worth waiting in line for, a perfect fall outing is no more than a train ride away. 

Today, we went to one of my favorite places - Outhouse Orchards. It was the first orchard that I ever ventured to, and - while being healthily skeptical of the whole situation - I slowly found myself falling in love with the autumn season. I mean, here I was thinking I was a die hard Florida girl when - BOOM - right out of left field, I start being totally captivated at the changing of the leaves, don't mind the chill in the air, and trade in my sandals for my sneakers. 

Outhouse Orchards is an especially amazing place because it's the quintessential fall outing all wrapped into one nice, neat little package. There's apple picking, yes; but there's also live music, apple cider, a pumpkin patch, BBQ food stands, and - to top it all off - apple cider donuts coated with cinnamon sugar that melt in your mouth and make you want to shove twelve more down your throat right on top of the last one. I mean, really. They are insanely delicious.

A quick note: they try to tell you that there are no apples on the trees when you get there. I'm not saying that they're wrong but... go up the hill anyway (trust me)! There are apples on the trees if you search for the secret spots that no one's hit yet, or, if you just want some apples to tote home anyways, there are enormous bins at the top of the hill that have over ten different varieties at the ready. So even if you're not up for reaching into the trees, you can still get your fill of fresh, ripe apples.

Follow the day promptly with (a.) another cup of fresh hot apple cider, or (b.) hot cocoa with extra mini marshmallows - duh. Then, curl up with your favorite blanket and find someone to snuggle for the cold months ahead.


Meow Moment

Today is Shep's THIRD birthday, y'all!

This marks the day, as an itty-bitty street kitten just three years ago, that I brought the monster home and claimed him as my own little fur-child. Now, for those of you who have children, I know that I'll be ridiculed for saying that. Having a pet is nothing like having a child - that much is definitely true. But, I think it's safe for everyone to agree that having a pet is also strikingly different than not having a pet (unless it's like... sea monkeys or something). If I were home alone tonight, my house would be cleaner and my bank account would have significantly more money in it; but my lap would be cold and I wouldn't have my own portable snuggle machine (oh and that whole unconditional love thing, too, I guess).

I rescued Shep at a time when life was in a state of flux. I had just started a new job, I had a new boy, and everything was heading in a different direction than that pesky five-year plan I had laid out. My headspace was a bit muddled, and yet, in this time I found myself craving a level of companionship that my friends just couldn't fill. So, I told a handful of people that I was looking (half thinking it would never happen), and was lucky enough to have a friend of a friend e-mail me within two weeks providing the information of a family who had picked up a litter of stray kittens in their neighborhood. Shep had four other brothers and sisters - if I remember correctly, three of which were also available for rescue at the time - but somehow, looking at these first few pictures, I knew this scrappy fuzzball was it for me.

These were the first moments in which I recognized that I was about to have a change in my life that I actually wanted with my whole heart.

In any case, here I find myself three years later not knowing what it would be like without him. Sure, he's gotten into the garbage more times than I can count and his fur sheds all over my house like a very thin and gross alpaca blanket, but he's also snuggly and lovely and my best friend. And, sometimes, all you need when you come home at night is a nice, cold beer and a loyal pet to sit with you as you curl up into burrito-mode with your favorite blanket and Netflix-able TV show.

Here's to pets, y'all, and here's to many, many more years of Shep being the sweetest domestic terrorist ever. 

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