October in Toronto feels like being in a movie. The perfect sweater weather days paired with streets that look like you’re in Thneedville from the Lorax – leaves turned golden yellow and burnt red. Porches are lined with fat, misshapen pumpkins and fuchsia mums, while creepy skeletons, outstretched giant spiders, and zombies stick out of front lawns covered with leaves. It all culminates with Halloween, a holiday that meant very little to me till I had kids and has now become a raucous times of costume-planning, candy-dreaming, and trick-or-treating – I love it for them, though I never dress up.
But…my October didn’t turn out the way I’d imagined. I had an emergency appendectomy following Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. After a horrible night of stomach pain that took a turn for the worse, I had to rush to emergency. However, the last thing I ate before the whole ordeal was a mini pumpkin pie; I do not regret that one bit. Anyway, it’s meant a lot of resting, hobbling, and wallowing. I cleared all my weekends, personal plans, and perhaps most painfully, cancelled a trip to New York with Aiza, sigh.
It does mean that in that downtime I read, watched TV, scrolled TikTok guilt-free, lay in bed listening to Midnights like the true millennial Swifty that I am, did a deep dive into winter coats, read the news from five different sites every night, and binge-watched Partner Track.
Here’s a list in no particular order of my favourite things (and pictures) from this last month:
so drawn to these dahlias and colours
costume shopping is serious business – we repeat outfits a lot and also borrow, but this year the older two got new costumes.
Listening: Taylor Swift’s Midnights (3am edition) ~ favourite songs are hard to choose because I’m still processing, but so far: You’re on your own, kid, Snow on the beach, Sweet nothings, Karma, and Question…?.
the cover art for her albums are a mood
Watching: I binge-watched Partner Track on Netflix during my lowest days. I wouldn’t say the acting is particularly great or that the script is super well-written, but I somehow found myself committed to the season. Also, what is autumn without re-watching You’ve Got Mail? Top 10 favourite rom-coms of all time and just the ticket if you need to feel comforted.
Kathleen Kelly in the Upper West Side, I should have been there…
Nails: Right now I’m drawn to either blood red nails or a shimmery brown. I was giving my hands a break for the last two months because they’d gotten weak from the constant shellac-ing. But after my surgery I needed to see something other than the painful bruise from the IV on my hand. Currently, I’ve got OPI Got the Blues for Red on my toes – a deep blood red, and on my hands is OPI gel I’m Not Really a Waitress – a shimmery oxblood.
fresh mani to lift spirits
Beauty: I recently decided to update my everyday makeup, inspired by my Gen Z niece who had such a fun makeup bag. I have a simple daily lineup of five products I’ve been using for the last three years. Some new editions: the flush balm in Raspberry Beret by Merit which feels deeper and moodier than the peachy-pink Tower 28 blush I’d been using. I will note the Merit blush doesn’t seem to last on my dry skin and I do need to re-apply. Another fun buy is a tinted lip oil to layer on top of lipstick, also from Merit, colour is Marrackech. And an absolutely FAVE new lipstick is Saie lip blur in Dada – it’s matte, moisturizing, and lasts.
Wear: Small prints and patterns make me happy, like floral and paisley, but also things like herringbone or houndstooth. Given we live in Canada and it’s cold for a substantial part of year, investing in coats is never a bad idea. I’ve been hunting for a plaid or herringbone wool coat and found a few good options at Aritzia and Club Monaco. These belted ones at Mango are also pretty beautiful. I love unstructured coats that are comfortable and cozy to wear. Coat hunting felt like a good retail project while lying in bed.
Do: We didn’t get a chance to do any pumpkin patches or apple orchards this year. Our family’s go-to is Pine Farms in King City for apple picking. They have a charming restaurant/café on the property with a patio that stretches across the back and we’ve had some happy memories sipping on apple cider and eating pie there. This year it was all about walks in the neighbourhood, the crunch of leaves beneath our feet, and burying the kids in leaf piles – just as sweet.
The one thing I couldn’t forgo was a fall drive to see the colours. We drove down the Forks of the Credit Road last weekend. The road weaves along the Forks of the Credit conservation park with a couple points where you can pull over for hikes and views. It ends in the hamlet of Belfountain which has (amongst other things) a general store, ice cream shoppe, and café called Higher Ground Coffee Company. Probably my happiest October memory.
Meeku becoming “that” kid who pulls faces in pictures – Faezu finding this hilarious
waiting for their grilled cheese sandwiches and hot chocolates at Higher Ground
Cook: I loaned a couple of Ina Garten books form our public library: Modern Comfort Food and Cook Like a Pro. I tagged recipes like: crispy chicken with lemon orzo, arrabbiata sauce with an insane amount of garlic, smashed eggs on toast and pureéd potatoes with lemon. As much as I appreciate inventive recipes with new to me ingredients or techniques, it’s the simplicity of Ina’s recipes that feel most *me*. Her style of cooking is what I’m drawn to when I’m in the kitchen and I’m excited to make several recipes when I have more energy. Hitting renew on the cookbooks for now.
roasted carrot soup from the Maman Cookbook – the only thing I’ve cooked other than chicken soup
Eating: I spent one weekend at my Mom’s after surgery. She essentially kidnapped/rescued me after realizing that lying in bed and resting wasn’t a thing with three kids, one of which is a kindergartener who likes to hug. While there, I ate like a queen. For breakfast she made me soft scrambled eggs with biscuit style parathas, lunch was kichdi made of basmati rice and green lentils along with zeera aloo (cumin potatoes). For tea time (very much still a thing), it was oat milk chai and my favourite gluten-free carrot cake from Bloomers, and in the evening brothy curries with slight overcooked rice followed by herbal tea and more cake. It was heartening to be doted on for three days, especially when my morale was down. When I got back on Monday I was in a better place physically and emotionally.
treats as a motivation to get in gentle walks – inside the box, a mini vegan apple pie for 1
my friendly neighbourhood sunflower, still standing tall
I have so many more things that I’d like to share, like podcasts, initiatives and charities, and book recommendations, but I’ll save those for another post when I have more energy.