Hey, Y’all! It’s Time for Fall!

happy fallimage courtesy of onlysmallthings.com

On principle, I religiously avoid using the expression “Y’all” (because, make no mistake: Florida may, geographically, be considered the South, but Floridians are NOT Southern!).

However, today, I’m temporarily suspending my “Y’all” boycott for 3 reasons:

  1. Fall has officially fallen.
  2. “Y’all” rhymes with “fall.”
  3. I just really love fall.

In fact, I’ll probably be wishing people an exuberant “Happy fall, Y’all!” all day ’cause the calendar says we’ve finally arrived! Summer sweat is a thing of the past. Crisp air, crunchy leaves, cinnamon-scented candles, and pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING have taken its place.

And, in the spirit of welcoming this stupendous season, I’ve compiled a countdown of my Top 10 favorite autumn-isms. (Although, I could seriously go on for 10 pages!).

Got any of your own favorites, worth adding to the list…Y’all?!

10. UGG boots, infinity scarves, leggings, and over-sized sweaters become every girl’s signature wardrobe.

9. It’s acceptable to spend every spare minute crafting and baking (just keep it pumpkin though, capiche?).

8. Food Network is unanimously considered the TV channel of choice from right about now until January 1.

7. Yankee Candle Company breaks out with all their cinnamon spice, apple cider, and snickerdoodle scents.

6. The foliage changes from boring ‘ol green to vibrant red, fiery orange, buttery yellow, and rustic brown.

5. It won’t be long before the holidays are upon us (in fact, I call mid-October the start of Holiday Season).

4. There’s an invigorating chill outside that clears the senses, puts a pep in the step, and refreshes the soul.

3. Starbucks serves up seasonal favorites (PSL, anyone? Yep, went there!) and invites us to #SpreadTheCheer.

2.  Black Friday becomes a festivity in itself, and the stores play “All I Want For Christmas Is You” on loop.

1. Everyone – and I do mean EVERYONE – hops on the pumpkin bandwagon, from desserts to coffee creamers.

(And, to that point: I may or may not be eating pumpkin oatmeal as we speak…)

pumpkin oatmeal

Jealous, much?

For the Pumpkin Spice Latte Lover in All of Us…

It’s here, ladies. The annual orange invasion is upon us…

’tis the season for pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING.

Out come the “do you even have to ask?!” Starbucks orders, the “look at my infinity scarf and UGG boots!”-latte drinking attire, and (most importantly) daily #PSL Instagram posts.

There’s no denying that a crisp autumn morning feels incomplete without a pumpkin spice latte. Like an extension of fall itself, you NEED that PSL! Your whole world teeters off-balance until you utter those magic words, and a barista comes to the rescue. Then, you inhale the spicy aroma…relish the steam on your face…and take that first sip.

Yeah. That. First. Sip.

Hello, glorious deliciousness! Hello, pure perfection! You aren’t even aware of anything else at this point.

But – about halfway through slurping whip cream at record pace – you casually wonder just how wholesome this sweet temptation really is. Can’t be that sugar-dense and empty calorie-loaded, can it? After all, pumpkin is a vegetable.

Well…you might want to rethink the PSL obsession. Or, at least, how frequently you indulge. There are 330 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 37 grams of sugar in 1 tall latte. Not gonna lie: that’s quite the “tall order” (pun intended!) to consume on a regular basis.

But, if you just can’t resist this fall favorite, try my lighter version of the Starbucks PSL we all know and love.

It maxes out at only 155 calories, uses all-natural ingredients, and tastes (almost) as yummy as the original.

  •  Ingredients:
  1. 1 cup Black Coffee (brewed)
  2. 1/4 cup Pumpkin Puree (organic)
  3. 1 cup Rice Milk
  4. 1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  5. 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  6. 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
  7. 3 packets Stevia

psl ingredients

  • Preparation:
  1. Pour all these ingredients together into a blender.
  2. Pulse the blender until this mixture is smooth and thoroughly combined.
  3. Transfer the latte into your favorite mug and warm it in the microwave.
  4. Sprinkle a few dashes of cinnamon or nutmeg on top.

psl blended

5. Enjoy! But, that goes without saying, so…

Have Your Starbucks And Drink It Too!

If a non-morning person is forced to rush out the door before 8 A.M. without having received her life-giving java jolt, will the day even progress past 8:15?

One of philosophy’s burning questions, ladies!

The answer, of course, is Not. A. Chance.

But just when you thought your caffeine addiction had – maybe, possibly? – reached the breaking point where you actually considered quitting (yeah, right!)…think again. Recent findings compiled by Medical News Today suggest that your trusty “cuppa joe” is more than a crutch to keep you semi-alert during staff meetings. Numerous health benefits in coffee might just keep you breathing on this earth longer too.

  1. Let’s start with the basics: 1 serving of black coffee only contains about 2 calories. Of course, if you load up on refined sugars or half-and-half, the calorie count will increase (not to mention, the nutritional value will decrease). However, by substituting all-natural Stevia powder or sugar-free International Delight creamer (35 calories per serving), your health will stay on track without skimping on flavor.
  2. A study conducted at Pennsylvania’s University of Scranton found that coffee is the leading source of antioxidant consumption among Americans. Antioxidants neutralize harmful free-radicals in the body and, therefore, are essential for fighting cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, researchers stress that moderation is still key, as coffee may also cause anxiety, jitters, or high blood pressure (2 cups every morning should suffice).
  3. Another study conducted at UCLA found that coffee increases the body’s production of a protein called SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin). This protein keeps estrogen and testosterone at manageable levels, which consequently, can lower the risk of type-2 diabetes. In fact, researchers discovered that regular coffee drinkers are about 30% less likely to develop diabetes than non-coffee drinkers.
  4. According to the American Academy of Neurology, the abundance of caffeine in coffee may play some role in helping Parkinson’s disease patients control their movements. For those, who already suffer from the illness, caffeine can alleviate stiffness and fatigue. As for non-Parkinson’s sufferers, a moderate daily dose of coffee significantly reduces the risk of future development.
  5. And 1 final benefit of our beloved bean: according to the medical journal Hepatology, consuming 2 cups of coffee every day may prevent – or, at least, delay – cirrhosis of the liver (damage to the organ from excessive alcohol use) by 22%. Furthermore, although researchers haven’t yet pinpointed this, evidence shows that an ingredient in coffee lessens the chances of liver cirrhosis-related death by 66%.   

See…I knew there was an explanation for my inability to function before taking that first glorious sip. Seems legit.