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10 Reasons fall makes me happy

Randi Mazzella is a mother of three and freelance writer.  She has written extensively about parenting, family life and teen issues. 

Why I'm thrilled to see fall finally arriving

Most people hate saying goodbye to summer. When people ask, “How was your summer?” the usual response is, “Great, but it went too quickly.”

I have to confess: While I do love the summer, I am happy fall has finally arrived.

1. Knowing what shoes to wear

Am I the only person who has no clue what shoes to wear in September?

I know you aren’t supposed to wear white after Labor Day, but what about flip-flops or open-toed wedges? I feel pressured to keep my toes perfectly manicured for an extra month. For most people, the go-to shoe for an extended summer seems to be a flat or trendy sneaker, but both make me look short and stocky. The return of fall weather means I can wear socks and short boots with a little heel.

2. I love cardigans

Fall reintroduces one of my favorite closet staples: the sweater. I adore throwing on a cardigan as an extra layer. It's less bulky than a full jacket. Plus, fall weather means that the temperature is virtually the same indoors as it is outdoors, as opposed to summer, where you are sweltering in a tank top only to go into a store and be blasted with arctic-level air conditioning. I can put on a cardigan and be comfortable all day, inside and out.

3. Return to a scheduled routine

Don’t get me wrong — the pace of true summer is great. When summer begins in June, I am so sick of running from games to sports practice to art shows that I cannot wait to be on a slower, less scheduled pace. But by the end of summer, I crave a routine again — and so do my kids. We all seem to be more productive and calmer with a set agenda.

4. Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin

Pumpkin is the official flavor of the fall season. You smell it in the air, and you know it’s time to say farewell to watermelon and peaches. And it’s not just lattes, muffins and pie anymore. Pumpkin has exploded this fall season. I was just at Trader Joe’s and they had over 30 new pumpkin products, including pumpkin cereal, biscotti, sandwich cookies, crackers and ice cream.

5. Soccer season

My son plays sports all year round, but soccer is my favorite. Unlike baseball, which can go on for hours, soccer has a finite game time frame, so the games don’t seem endless. And it is better than basketball, which has to be played indoors in a very stinky, body odor-smelling gym. Fall soccer rocks! I get to spend an hour in fresh air watching my son having fun.

6. ‘Tis the season of good hair

There is a great episode of Friends where the gang goes to the Caribbean and in every scene that passes, Monica’s hair grows and grows due to the humidity. This is me. My hair is not summer compatible. It’s a frizz free-for-all. Add in the damage from swimming in the pool, sunlight and too much flat ironing and by August, I have orange straw on my head. Fall weather means I can finally put away the ponytail holders and baseball caps.

7. Hot tea, soup and chili

Yes, I enjoy summer salads, summer treats and grilling outside, but I also enjoy hearty comfort foods. Fall means putting away the smoothie maker and taking out the Crock-Pot. Hot soup, chili, lasagna and roast chicken — I crave it all. I do miss iced coffee, but its replacements — hot tea and cocoa — are pretty great, too.

8. Less pressure to make good plans

Barbecues, pool parties, rooftop drinks and vacations — summer is billed as nonstop fun. When I don’t have great plans on the weekend, I feel bummed out. It’s my summer — I can’t waste my summer not doing great, exciting things. In the fall, I feel less pressure to be social and can spend the night watching a movie on my couch or going to bed early without feeling quite so lame.

9. Getting the laundry done

When it’s nice out, I don’t feel like working — and since I work freelance, I can give myself the day off — or doing laundry or getting projects done in my house. The summer sun calls me to go for a walk, a swim or just read a book outside under an umbrella. This summer especially, there so was little rain I felt compelled to do something outside almost every day. So I can finally get some stuff done inside now that the cooler weather is here.

By winter, I am pretty much a bear — hibernating whenever possible, only to leave my warm den for food or carpool-related purposes.

10. Return of The Affair and lots of other good TV

I love it when the new season of TV starts. Back when I was a teenager, the excitement of fall TV was even stronger with every network show ending in a cliffhanger. Who doesn’t remember waiting in agony to find out who shot J.R.? I am still drawn to new episodic and reality television. How will Alex from Modern Family handle college? Did Noah really murder Scotty on The Affair? Will all the contestants on Survivor use their second chance wisely? Can Meredith Grey find true happiness after the death of McDreamy? Can’t wait to sit down with a cup of tea and find out!

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