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It’s that time of year again.

Rustic leaves falling from tangled trees flourish a leafy bed of plush landscape. The remnants of summer’s dried petals crunch beneath my brown knee-high boots, and pumpkin spice candles warm my apartment as I cozy up next to a mug of hot chocolate. Who doesn’t love the crisp aura of holiday bliss tousling their hair and nipping at their noses?

Such joy, until I wake up in Florida.

This morning, as I woke up from my fall-enchanted dream, the first thing I checked was the weather. With a light drizzle the night before, I was sure a light wind would relieve me of the six-monthlong torture of this Florida heat, but my hopes were demolished. With a mostly sunny day and high of 90 degrees, it felt like the middle of June without the suffocating humidity.

Being a true Florida native with a Caribbean family, I thoroughly enjoy the beach trips, rugged shorts, thong flip-flops and those tasty fruit smoothies McDonalds offers during summer. But when fall comes creeping on us, hanging on summer’s tailcoats, I also anticipate the only time of year when the weather is just right to get rid of that heat acne.

As usual, Florida seems to have gotten the season change memo a little too late. But who says we still can’t celebrate the nonexistent season of the south?

One of my favorite ways to pretend it’s fall is by baking.

My pumpkin seed and chocolate chip-infused granola is always a sweet companion to my nutmeg and cinnamon pumpkin bread. The aroma these treats permeate throughout my apartment should be enough to have Santa come creeping over my balcony a month early to reward me with those presents I’ve been waiting on since the second grade.

Another way to fake fall is through fashion. I know some girls invest good money into their bedazzled cowboy boots and letterman jackets, but that doesn’t mean you have to die of heat exhaustion while pretending it’s fall. I always find that a knitted cardigan paired with leggings or shorts, or a maxi dress paired with a fitting jean jacket is a more appropriate way to fake fall in Florida. It’s also the perfect way to merge summer and winter garments.

As we continue to swelter in November until God knows how long, us Floridians can start to become more creative about imposing our touristy cities with traditional scenic fall clichés. When I become a homeowner, I — with no shame — will be the neighbor to shake the branches off my tree until the leaves fall off and embellish my home with Christmas lights, even if the sun steals my shine.

But for now, I plan to continue drinking those warm toasted graham lattes from Starbucks as I simultaneously sweat in my heat-trapped car, enjoying every moment of it.

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Shanae Hardy is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Email her at ShanaeH@CentralFloridaFuture.com

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