Re-defining the F-word

For many, welcoming the new school year means letting go of summer and embracing a new season. This means swapping those skimpy bikinis for cable-knit sweaters, watching the pouring rain from inside your favorite coffee shop as you sip your mocha and listening to the satisfying crunch of changing leaves under your feet as you strut around in fur-lined leather boots. At least, that’s what traditionally comes to mind when you hear the f-word (and yes, I’m talking about fall). However, for students at UCI, fall is far from traditional.

What no one tells you as a college student residing in Southern California is that fall consists of 90 degree weather and clear blue skies. While this may not be the ideal weather for the months to come, you can still take measures to ensure you are in the fall spirit without sweating in your parka or downing your hot chocolate in one gulp because it’s too warm outside to enjoy it. The new f-word? Functionality.

Along with the autumnal smells and sounds of fall, the taste of this season’s food is perhaps the most anticipated part. To stay cool in the heat, just get your favorite hot beverage iced. After purchasing your textbooks from the Hill, head next door to Starbucks; the chai latte or pumpkin spice latte epitomizes fall and still maintains its warm flavors when poured over ice, while the Cafe Borgia from Kean Coffee incorporates rich flavors of dark chocolate and orange, another signature combination for fall. Besides beverages, baked goods are also another way to get your seasonal fix. To avoid heating up your kitchen by using the oven or stove, pop into Peet’s Coffee & Tea at UTC to snag one of their coveted pumpkin breads. If you’re ambitious and set on creating your own seasonal concoction in the kitchen, go for an easy recipe to make at home that requires no heat, like a simple parfait. Buy some apple cinnamon granola from Trader Joes, some greek yogurt and agave nectar for a touch of sweetness and layer it in your favorite glass. If you are looking for something more savory, a chilled butternut squash soup or gazpacho might be the option for you. The key is enjoying some of your favorite fall flavors without the heat, leaving you cool, refreshed and festive.

Keeping your hunger at bay is important, but you still need to show your closet some love. Many students’ main concerns when having to adapt to the heat during this time of the year is clothing. Layering articles of clothing and sporting chunky knits are just a few of the trends that are associated with fall. Although the thermometer may say otherwise, it’s still possible to get away with it. Instead of selecting a wooly number from your closet, opt for a couple pieces that are made of a lighter material, like cotton or chambray, so that you still have the option to layer. Throwing on your favorite graphic tee and tying a flannel or cardigan around your waist is one way to enjoy the sun on your way to class but still be able to warm up when it gets chilly at night. If you’re still looking to keep the fall color scheme while running from Humanities Hall to Donald Bren Hall in ten minutes, dress in light colors with accents of muted hues like an oxblood beanie or burnt orange bottoms. By keeping the material comfy and airy with the benefits of autumnal colors, you can be functional and stylish during SoCal fall.

Incorporating fall practically in your everyday life can be found not only in food and clothing, but in the little details. Something as simple as a fall inspired bedspread for your room or pumpkin spice air freshener can fulfill your wish for a quintessential fall experience. The weather may scream summer, but fall is here, and reinventing the word may not help it come faster, but it will make your back-to-school start that much more fun, delicious and functional.