I'm a firm believer that if you have something good to talk about, TALK ABOUT IT. Share the joy with others. On that note, I had a splendid week. I don't know if I've been too busy or in denial, but it's just hit me this week- IT'S FALL Y'ALL (one of my favorite Southern sayings). I've tried to savor summer, but it's time to, shall I say, turn a new leaf. Thankfully, my leaves seem to be turning accordingly.
(Pictured above: My 2011 visit to Maggie Valley, N.C.)
Isn't it wild how we so naturally evolve with the season's change? Each season has things attached to it that make it unique and enjoyable. I love this time of year! I hope this post inspires you to evolve with the season's change, that is if you haven't already. Mmmm, can you already smell the hint of campfire in the air?
(Photo found online: photographer unknown)
Without even realizing it this week, I've pulled out the sweater/scarves bin, bought a new pair of cowgirl boots (I love Target), and officially broke out the hot cocoa. Good thing I did all this, considering we saw record snowfall in Eastern Carolina early Wednesday. Brrrr. Wait? Is it Winter? Just kidding- it's still fall. Let's get serious; maybe receiving my electric bill was my wake-up call? Jeez-o-Pete! Clearly, I've been turning on my heat (refer to the Urban Dictionary for a definition of Jeez-o-Pete).
If football isn't every bit of fall, I don't know what is? I bundled up and hit the bleachers in Jacksonville with some awesome friends to catch the Jacksonville-White Oak High School game under the Friday night lights. Oh to be in high school again? Wait... nah, never mind. But who doesn't love watching all the excitement in the stands and on the field? It was at this game I saw my cold breath in the crisp air for the first time this fall season and realized Christmas is going to be here before I know it (I better get a jump on that).
From there, things got kicked up a notch. My dear friends, Pam and Brandon, (Brandon more so, sorry Pam), have worked tirelessly through the summer to refinish their back deck for the installation of a hot tub, just in time for fall. Well don't cha know, "Operation Hot Tub" became complete this week. Finally, a place to relax! Pam, myself and our closest friends had the pleasure of spending the better part of Saturday and Sunday soaking in the tub.
(Pictured above: Pam Beyers, me, Morgen Bean, Ina Lane Thomas, Katie Triplett Roberts, Pamela Creel)
Okay, we gossiped a little too. What? We're girls. In the midst of the laughter and the steam gently rising off the water, I looked up at the trees. I couldn't believe it. The leaves had changed, almost before my eyes. I thought to myself, "Look at the brilliant gold, red and orange hues. It's Autumn, Anna!"
With the changing of the leaves and the cold comes... (drum roll please) THE COMFORT FOOD. If you're anything like me, nothing says fall/winter like warm, inviting comfort food.
(Pictured above: October birthday celebration at Creel/Reavis residence)
Did I just get a little Paula Dean on you? I might have, y'all. Anyways, Tuesday night sealed the deal for me. A group of neighbors gathered on the block for a mini cooking class. When everyone gets together, it's always inviting. But just imagine the swirling aromas of garlic, puff pastry, fresh pesto and a hint of warm chocolate cake floating through the air, slapping you in the face as you walk through the door. It was like, "knock knock Anna, it's fall!" As we sat around enjoying our salmon Wellington, I took comfort in the laughter and good times being had. I was so grateful for everything that night, the amazing meal, and the camaraderie.
(Pictured above: salmon Wellington dinner with my favorite neighbors after our cooking class)
As the wind blew, I could hear the porch door banging against the frame. Out the window, you could see crispy, dried leaves dancing on the pavement. I found myself gently snuggling into my big comfy knit sweater. As dessert was served, I gripped my warm cup of coffee (decaf, of course) and prepared for the anticipated "flurries" that Les predicted to fly that night. Summer was officially long gone and autumn winds had surely closed in.
Side note: Because it's fall, I'd like to take the time now to give a big shout-out to all my hunters (male/female). You'll appreciate this photo. You know it's fall when you see those blaze orange caps. Good luck getting that big buck this year! I'd like to thank my dearest friend who I consider family, graphic design artist Mandy Ellen Bottomlee, for taking precious time out of your day to Photoshop my best side. You're real clever.
(Pictured above: "Big Buck" photo by Mandy Ellen Bottomlee)
This week, I realized that, in the midst of the hustle and bustle, time slips past us and seasons change without permission or warning. Make time to admire. After all, things will get even crazier from here on out as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve are just around the corner. How did Ferris Bueller put it? "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it"- one of the best movie's of all time, right? "Bueller? Bueller?"
Embrace the season's warmth in the midst of the cold. After all, 'it is fall y'all."
Keep warm. Best to you,