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Thanks for visiting Joy42. Follow along on my adventures as an American Expat. I hope to encourage you to seek out the little joys in your life.

Autumn Bucket List

Autumn Bucket List

Or, You Know You're A #BasicBitch When...

Today is officially the first day of autumn, but unlike previous years when I mostly faked it for the Insta the first 3 weeks of September, it has actually felt like autumn around here. A lot of people ask me about the weather here in England. It's honestly not what I would have expected. It doesn't rain every day like the classic England cliche. But one thing is for sure, since the end of August, it's been cooler, gloomier, and certainly rainier. It hasn't been in the 80's and 90's like it has been in Colorado. Hallelujah! 

So despite it having felt like autumn for the last few weeks outside, the culture is a bit different here. Firstly, not everyone is as fall-obsessed so you don't see the shops suddenly turn into mini pumpkin patches with all kinds of autumn treats on the shelves. Regardless, I've decided to whip up a little "bucket list" for the next few months with what our autumn is likely to look like, while still trying to incorporate my favorite autumn traditions.

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1. Visit an apple orchard. There's an orchard just outside of my hometown that I've visited the last few years. I seem to always miss prime apple picking time, which if I remember correctly, is early September? However, it makes for the perfect stop on the way up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Apple cider donuts. Need I say more? I'm still on the hunt for an orchard near Birmingham.

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2. Spend a weekend in the mountains. Growing up in Colorado, it's not hard to imagine why this is on my list. Sadly, there's nothing like those purple mountains majesty over here. Last weekend we went to Snowdonia in Wales, which might be as good as it gets. And I gotta say, it was perfect! It was so great to breathe in the fresh mountain air again. It felt as good as going up to the Rockies for the day or a quick weekend trip.

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3. Carve pumpkins. Sure, the dream is pick some up from a pumpkin patch, but we might have to end up getting them at a grocery store instead. (Okay, now I'm missing Trader Joe's.) I have a feeling it will go one of two ways: a competition between me or Luke or me giving up while Luke expertly carves both pumpkins. Place your bets, folks!

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4. See the foliage. We saw beautiful colors in Wales last weekend, which I think is about as good as it will get. Our weekends are starting to fill up and we live in a large city. Gotta love the leaf covered sidewalks though. This picture is of the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado from my trip to Telluride in the fall of 2015. Side note, I think Telluride is breathtaking all year, but it is something to behold in the autumn!

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5. Enjoy spiced apple cider. Something England seems to be lacking. I tried to order a Caramel Apple Spice at Starbucks the other day and the barista looked extremely confused. I haven't seen apple cider in any of the stores here. But it's basically hot apple juice, right? I'll make it work. Somehow.

6. Make pumpkin bread for the neighbors. I've been on the hunt for canned pumpkin for weeks. I've been hearing some rumors about what shops have it available, but I think I'm still a bit too early, I think. Worst comes to worst, I can order some online. Once I have it, I'm making pumpkin oatmeal cookies and pumpkin bread, to be sure. We have neighbors to the right who just moved in and neighbors to the left who have been extremely friendly when we pass in the front garden. I would love to do something for both of them.

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7. Host Thanksgiving. Obviously Thanksgiving isn't a thing here, but some our friends work for a campus ministry who host a big Thanksgiving dinner every year. In fact, my church in Colorado is taking their annual mission trip to England that week to help out. Luke and I have talked about going and helping out as well, but we also want to host some friends for dinner, probably that weekend. 

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8. Bake an apple pie. My longest standing autumn tradition. Every year, the night before Thanksgiving (or sometimes the morning of) I watch Elf in my Elf shirt while drinking a warm beverage from my elf mug, making pie for the festivities. I've made pumpkin, pecan, and apple, but apple pie is my favorite of the three. Especially if it's a caramel apple pie! It's my introduction into the Christmas season every year with just a taste.

9. Find a clever couple's Halloween costume. Okay, let me be clear. I said find a clever costume. I hate Halloween and I hate dressing up for Halloween, but I love brainstorming ideas of clever costumes, especially couple's costumes.

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10. Buy a new cozy sweater. What's autumn without chunky knits? Lately I've been really into brown, mustard yellow, and burnt orange. Those deep, warm, autumn colors. I'm not sure if I can pull it off with my coloring, but I want to check out some stores here to see what I can find. 

What's on your list for this autumn?

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A Weekend in Wales

A Weekend in Wales