Category Archives: Decorating

What Makes the Fall Season So Special in the United States?

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Meeting people from around the world, I have noticed that they are often surprised by how much Americans love the fall season. To many people (at least in the northern hemisphere), fall means the end of summer and the beginning of winter. In the United States, fall is arguably the best season of the year. Why?

1. Throughout the fall season, tree leaves change colors for some of the most beautiful natural views of the year. Along with the brightly colored trees, the air is crisp and sweet, making it very inviting for you to go outside and explore.

Source: Picstar

Source: Picstar

2. Fall flavors are warm and comforting. In the United States, you will find pumpkin-flavored everything. Pumpkin pie is typically a family favorite, but you will find pumpkin-flavored coffee, pastries, and more! Apple flavor is also popular. The flavors of Thanksgiving are some of the most memorable, including turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Source: bpkwesthartford.com

Source: bpkwesthartford.com

3. Fall activities bring your family and friends together. Apple picking is a great way to get outside with your loved ones and pick apples that you can eat right off the tree or use in recipes, such as apple crisp or apple pie. Common in the Midwest and Northeastern United States is visiting cider mills, which serve fresh apple cider, homemade donuts and pastries. They also often have farm animals and outdoor activities for you to enjoy while eating your treats. Carving pumpkins is another fall favorite, as you can make a jack-o-lantern to decorate your porch and you can bake the pumpkin seeds for a nice snack!

My favorite cider mill in my hometown, Rochester, Michigan!

My favorite cider mill in my hometown, Rochester, Michigan!

4. Halloween (October 31 every year) provides the perfect opportunity to disguise yourself as your favorite character or silly costume that is guaranteed to make your loved ones laugh. Along with wearing costumes, you can eat your favorite candies with little remorse, visit haunted houses, experience hayrides, and go to Halloween parties. Children also have the opportunity to go trick-or-treating, where they visit their neighbors and ask for candy while dressed up in adorable costumes.

One of my favorite personal pumpkin carvings!

One of my favorite Halloween pumpkin carvings!

5. American football, played in the fall, has more spirit than any other sport in the United States. You will see football spirit at all levels, from middle and high school to college to professional football. Americans enjoy tailgating before football games, which involves eating barbeque food, drinking beer, playing games such as cornhole, and cheering for your favorite team. The spirit exists every weekend and has created tremendous rivalries across the United States. I have had an interesting experience with football having moved throughout the Midwest and now to the Southern United States – my loyalties have shifted, but I will always root for my alma mater (University of Michigan) first!

University of Michigan Football Stadium - holds the largest crowd (over 114,000 people) in the United States!

University of Michigan Football Stadium – holds the largest crowd (over 114,000 people) in the United States!

I hope this gives you a taste of all the special qualities of fall in the United States. Just writing about it makes me grateful that fall is here. I would be grateful to hear why fall is (or is not) your favorite season and how it compares to other seasons throughout the world!

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Insights from Moving

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Relieved to say that I am finally all settled in my new home in Columbia, South Carolina! The past two weeks have been very busy preparing to move, saying goodbye to loved ones in Cleveland, traveling to South Carolina, unpacking, and preparing for international business school.

The moving process has brought mixed emotions, sweat and tears, and hopeful anticipation of my new journey in the southern United States. In the stress of moving, I was reminded to find joy (inspired by my friends, and family) in order to make the transition as pleasant as possible. Below are some of the great insights I have gained from completing my first cross-country move:

1. Moving helps us declutter, organize, and prioritize our belongings. We may not be able to bring that favorite stuffed animal or antique vase we have had with us for years. While we may feel sad to leave it behind, we can donate it and provide joy to others.

Source: Avro Moving

Source: Avro Moving

2. Moving provides us with the opportunity to revisit our travel trinkets and favorite clothes and accessories, reminding us of our favorite memories from our adventures. We can think of packing as a time to reflect on all of our past experiences, providing us with closure as we transition to the next step in our journey.

3. Moving teaches us how to turn any place from “house” to “home.” By adding our own personal touches, decorations, and photos, any place can feel like “home.” We can seek the familiar to make us comfortable like we are at home. For example, in the United States, I have learned that it is comforting to see similar stores across states. My favorite superstore, Target, and my favorite pharmacy, CVS, are everywhere,  which makes moving across the country less intimidating.

4. Moving enables us to refresh who we are and who we want to be. We can adjust our daily routines to improve our health and happiness, seek out new hobbies, and learn new cultures from our local surroundings. We can take a deep breath of new fresh air and start the day remembering “carpe diem.” We can make a place what we want it to be.

I hope these insights provide you with an inspirNational mindset to help you as you move now or in the future. I am reminded of one of my previous posts, Bloom Where You Are Planted, which I will remember as I get established in Columbia. With moving season upon us, good luck as many of you make the exciting life transition!

Repurposing Maps

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Now that we use Google Maps, GPS, Mapquest, and SYNC directions, it is crazy to think that paper maps are becoming old-fashioned. Rather than letting them collect dust, what can we do with all the old maps we have collected over the years?

Lately I have noticed how much vintage maps interest me. Perhaps it is because I am sentimental, and especially appreciate maps that represent Michigan and my hometown. Perhaps it is also because I have the travel bug, and am always eager to discover and explore new places. With this second reason in mind, I purchased an old map of the world to document all the places I have visited and to decorate one of the walls in my apartment. One of my lifetime goals is to visit every continent, so this will help me keep track of everywhere I have gone and would like to go.

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This week, I also learned about my University of Michigan Pi Phi sister, Ashley Thompson’s exciting project for her entrepreneurship class, called MAP IT: Custom City or State Blocks. She is repurposing vintage maps from the 1950’s into artwork on wood blocks. Check out her Etsy site here. The blocks are available for a great deal and she will customize them for you with whichever state or city map you would like!

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This is just the beginning of all the fun and crafty things you can do with maps. Brit + Co outlines 35 Clever Ways to Repurpose A Map. So, if you’re feeling crafty this weekend, and you have old maps laying around the house, now you have a fun project! Let me know if you know of other interesting ways to repurpose maps.