It’s 100 percent premature, because New Orleans, but I emotionally transitioned to autumn last weekend with the blessedly — if slightly — cooler temperatures. While we’re still inching up around 90 degrees some days, the pleasant weather seems to be continuing so, I physically transitioned to fall this week in a few small ways, too. I partially blame that gorgeous harvest moon last Saturday. While the autumn equinox doesn’t technically happen until Sept. 22, for me, the harvest moon is a signpost directing me to turn my attention toward home and hearth. While I’m not breaking out the sweaters just yet — I’m eager, not delusional — I’m gently introducing a few elements of the season.  

Scented candles: I don’t care if its basic AF, the Mrs. Meyers Acorn Spice candle I picked up in the checkout line at Whole Foods the other day smells glorious and is putting me in the mood to bake ginger cookies and make a roast. Follow your bliss when it comes to a fall home fragrance. It doesn’t have to be pumpkin spice, unless that’s what you are into. You’ll get zero judgement from me. Pine, vanilla and anything else warm and musky will get the job done.

Items from nature: Yesterday, I cut a handful of rosemary sprigs from my garden and bundled them up with a little twine to hang in the kitchen. I also placed a few sprigs on my little kitchen altar. My kitchen altar is a simple collection of seasonal items arranged in a vignette in a corner of the kitchen. Currently, in addition to the rosemary, its home to the scented candle, a fruit and veggie bowl with apples, squash and tiny potatoes, and a small vase of autumnal flowers. I’ll swap things out as the season progresses to keep it fresh and homie. Each morning I light the candle and pause for a moment while sipping coffee. It’s a lovely way to start the day.

Sweeping and tidying: Seasonal shifts are a great time to tidy and, both literally and figuratively, sweep out the old in preparation for the new. I like to move room to room, straightening up, changing in seasonal décor (think autumnal pillows and throws, for example), tend to my plants and sweep the floor. I always sweep toward the front door, open it and make a sweeping motion out, inviting any old juju to hit the road. Next, I’ll give the door and front window a good cleaning. Lastly, I burn incense (I love Nag Champa or sandalwood for fall) throughout the house.

Seasonal recipes: Finally, I’ll break out a seasonal dish, such as butternut squash soup with cooked with diced apples topped with roasted pumpkin seeds and a loaf of crusty French bread, fresh naan or homemade chapati bread. As we get deeper into fall, I’ll tiptoe toward heartier, heavier fair, but butternut squash soup is a fitting, light, early fall option that still feels harvest-y and autumnal.

Soon, the weather will catch up with my mood. Until then, I’ll relish these little rituals.

Are you faking fall ‘till we make it? Email your seasonal secrets, if you care to share, to melanie@myneworleans.com.