I’ve got my fair share of vices; I can’t resist shoestring licorice or a glass of red wine. But, my biggest vice of all is definitely the sun. It’s *basically* my therapy.

Being a stone’s throw from Manhattan and experiencing all four seasons are two major perks of where I live, but during the cooler months I really miss bikini weather–and the tan that comes along with it!

So, self-tanner is a necessity for me. I have no shame in admitting I love having a glowing, bronze complexion from head to toe all year long. Plus, self-tanner is *waaay* better for you than tanning beds are (plus, I take pride in saying I’ve never, ever stepped foot in one).

That being said, I’ve gotten pretty good at creating a flawless, long-lasting faux tan over the years. To show Haute Mess readers that artificial tans don’t have to be orange and unsightly, I decided to share my go-to self-tanner routine so that all of us can glow into winter and beyond.

Step 1–Cleanse: You should never, even apply self-tanner to dirty skin–that’s just asking for a breakout. Even if you don’t think your skin is *that* dirty, it is definitely in your best interest to remove any excess oil and grime before you bronze. In the case of self-tanner, it’s much better to be safe than sorry. Milky Jelly Cleanser, Glossier & Daily Cleansing Oil, Glossier

Step 2–Exfoliate: It’s no secret that self-tanner applies much more smoothly and evenly on freshly exfoliated skin. But, it can be too easy to skip this step because a full-body exfoliation is so time consuming.

Trust me, though–you’ll feel much more confident in your newly bronzed skin when you exfoliate beforehand; it is one of the best ways to avoid streaks and patchiness. I

love Cup ‘o Coffee from Lush because it’s safe for face *and* body (and it smells ahh-mazing). Cup ‘o Coffee, Lush Cosmetics

Step 3–Moisturize: Self-tanner’s pigmentation has a tendency to break up when exposed to oil-based moisturizer, so I make sure to moisturize my skin a few hours before going in with a self-tanner. Priming Moisturizer, Glossier & Daily Perfection Lotion, Glossier

Step 4–Tan: Like I just mentioned, it is super important to wait a little while in between moisturizing and the actually apply the self-tanner. So that your tan lasts as long as possible and looks flawless, you don’t want it mixing with any oils in your moisturizer.

Having a trustworthy mitt is also crucial; St. Tropez’s has never steered me wrong (and it’s only $6!). Applying bronze-hued foam to your skin may seem like a daunting task, so it is definitely important to take things slow.

Start with a quarter-sized dollop of St. Tropez’s Dark Bronzing Mousse. I love this formula because, not only is it ultra-lightweight, it has a greenish tinge to it, so it never appears orange on the skin. Instead, it leaves you with an olive glow (like one you’d get on vacation in Saint-Tropez).

Begin applying from the bottom up; from your ankles to your bum, making sure to cover yourself front to back (it helps to use a hand mirror in tandem with your wall mirror).

Once all the mousse is applied, run the mitt over the application site several times before going back for more product. This ensures that the tan is spread as evenly and streak-free as possible. Work your way up the upper body using the same technique until you reach the neck.

As it states on the packaging, it’s best to gently glide the mitt, with any remaining product on it, over the tops of the feet and hands for a seamless tan. Self-tanner, no matter how good the quality is, has a tendency to look blotchy on the hands and feet if not applied correctly (or if too much is applied).

Using your fingers, apply St. Tropez’s Bronzing Face Lotion; work from the center of the face in an upward and outward motion. Then, drag some product down the jawline and onto the neck.

Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse, St. TropezSelf Tan Classic Bronzing Face Lotion, St. TropezTan Applicator Mitt, St. Tropez

I don’t like to touch my tan–or expose it to water!–for at least 6 hours. This means no crossing my legs, no lying face down or on the side of my face and, of course, no sweating or showering.


Ropes Mansion, aka Allison’s house in Hocus Pocus

Quite possibly my favorite building in the whole city! It’s directly across the street from The House of the Seven Gables.

All the decorations in Salem are so adorable! Love this color combo.

Another one of the many gorgeous federal style mansions Salem has to offer

My BFF and college roommate Rachel and I just returned from our second annual trip to Salem, Massachusetts. We started this tradition last year on a whim as a way to celebrate her birthday (and Halloween!), and we instantly fell in love. Now, we see ourselves returning to Witch City this same time every year.

Because it was our second time, we definitely knew which spots we had to hit. There is so much to do in this small city, so our weekend was totally packed–but it is so worth it!

Between historic landmarks and a number of museums (and all the amazing places there are to eat and shop), there are so many fun little things to visit in Salem. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that everything is so adorably festive (and photogenic).

Apple of my Chai is the perfect fall drink; it’s a dry, spiced cider.

Ectoplasm is such a unique concoction! So happy I had the chance to try it while in town.

The freshest oysters at Turner’s on Church Street

Cute sites (and yummy smells!) at the Derby Street Carnival

On our first day there we grabbed oysters at Turner’s, a restaurant at Lyceum Hall. Salem’s seafood really cannot be beat, and we had been craving Turner’s since our visit last year–it was our fav by far!

Then, we took a quick walk to Essex Street, one of the main roads in Salem, which is great because it’s closed off to vehicles. The shopping is the best in the entire city, and the people watching is truly one-of-a-kind.

After that we made our way over to the cemetery and Witch Trials Memorial by way of the Derby Street Carnival. We’re so thankful we did a couple walking tours last year because we were able to navigate the city ourselves and know the history behind everything we looked at.

The Witch Trials Memorial is one of our favorite spots in Salem. In addition to the meaning behind it, it is a really cool spot to relax even though it’s in the city’s center. Plus, there is always a ton going on at the Carnival.

We ended the day at Far From The Tree, a hard cider tap room we discovered last year. I was so happy to enjoy Apple of my Chai again, as well as their new limited edition flavor Ectoplasm.

Salem Witch Trials Memorial

Pumpkin and apple ice cream (and Rachel) at Maria’s Sweet Somethings

Outdoor decoration inspo!

On Saturday we woke up early to get caffeine at Jaho Coffee, another one of our favs from last year. Because it is so closed to the Derby Wharf, we stayed in that area for a bit. It is arguably the cutest area in town (and the seafood doesn’t get any fresher!).

After visiting The House of the Seven Gables, we stopped at the nearby Ye Olde Pepper Companie, an old-fashioned candy shop. Rumor has it that this place is home of the first commercially made candies in the U.S., dating back to the 1800s. I stocked up on *all* the licorice 😉

Windswept at the Witch Trials Memorial

On our way to Salem Witch Museum

At Old Town Hall, which you may recognize it from the “I Put A Spell On You” scene in Hocus Pocus. (It’s a museum IRL.)

Although it was a little warmer than last year, temperatures were still pretty low–especially in the a.m. So, I packed warm layers and a ton of knitwear.

The pullover turtleneck (pictured above) from Free People was soooOoOoOo cozy, and it paired perfectly with the plaid trousers I wore. I love, love, looove menswear-inspired looks durning the fall, but to keep this outfit slightly femme, I chose a go-to pair of heeled booties.

Then, I tied everything together with a thick black belt and a matte lip in Bunny by Kylie Cosmetics. I also added a pair of gold hoops and my Camera Bag from Pop & Suki.

We had so much fun exploring this quaint little city–with a rich history!–for the second time. Now, we’re definitely in the Halloween mood (and already planning next year’s weekend getaway to Salem)!

The cutest home near Derby Wharf!


Have you heard the news? Rumor has it ColourPop will be coming to Sephora next month!

To celebrate I’m rounding up my favorite ColourPop products of all-time. I discovered the L.A.-based brand a little over a year ago, and since then I just can’t get enough of their unique and affordable makeup.

ColourPop is almost always having a great sale or launching a new product, so I find myself on their website quite often scoping everything out. And that is why I am so excited to be able to shop their range IRL come November.

For the price ColourPop’s quality simply cannot be beat–I prefer their lippies, lip liners and eyeshadows to pretty much every drugstore brand (though you guys know I love NYX and Pixi Beauty). This beauty brand truly offers something for everyone.

There’s just too much goodness on their site, so I decided to share all my favorites with Haute Mess readers so you guys can love this cult-favorite beauty brand as much as I do!

Lippie Stix:

If I *had* to choose just one product from ColourPop, it would probably definitely be Lippie Stix; I loooove this formula! It is super creamy and easy to use, and it’s buildable (meaning 1-2 swipes will give you a semi-sheer, blotted look, while 3-4 swipes will give you an opaque look).

Despite its creamy texture, this formula lasts on my lips for hours, so although Lippie Stix are compact enough to throw in any bag, there isn’t always a need to do so. Lippie Stix allow me to drink, eat and chit-chat away without sacrificing my lip color.

I cannot imagine my everyday, casual, daytime beauty lineup without my Lippie Stix!

My favs: Oh Snap, Lumiere, LBB

ColourPop also offers Lippie Primer in the form of a Lippie Stix, which helps ensure even application while it prevents feathering no matter what lip color you wear over it.

Lippie Pencil:

One of my absolute favorite things about ColourPop is that most of their lip colors have a matching liner, or Lippie Pencil, as they’re called.

A lot of women fail to realize the importance of a lip liner when wearing lipstick–especially bold colors and liquid lipsticks. They dismiss it as an unnecessary expense. Thankfully, ColourPop makes it affordable to invest in a coordinating Lippie Pencil for all your favorite lipsticks.

My favs: Contempo, Poison, Are N Be

Left to right: Come & Get It, Let’s Do It, Dragonfly, Snake Eyes, Glass Bull, Tea Garden

Pressed Powder Shadows:

If you’re searching for a creamy, blend-able, pigmented eyeshadow that’s also affordable, ColourPop’s Pressed Powder Shadows are your best bet.

They are available in a huge range of colors and multiple different finishes (including matte, satin and metallic), all of which are easy to work with and have very little fallout.

I love that the singles are magnetic and that they fit perfectly into ColourPop’s empty, magnetic-based palettes so you can create your own custom lineup that’s sleek enough to take almost anywhere.

My favs: Come & Get It, Let’s Do It, Dragonfly, Snake Eyes, Glass Bull, Tea Garden

Left to right: Slave2Pink, Coconut, Wild Thoughts, Dare, Banana Daiquiri, Wattles

Super Shock Shadows + Pigment:

Because ColourPop is so affordable, it’s perfect for picking up trendy or statement-making eyeshadows you don’t see yourself wearing on a regular basis. After all, who wants to shell out $20+ for a hot pink eyeshadow she’ll only wear once in a blue moon?

This bouncy, pigmented formula lasts for hours on end, and is even somewhat waterproof. Plus, they couldn’t be easier to apply (ColourPop suggests using using your finger), so even the most unskilled beauty enthusiast can use Super Shock Shadows.

My favs: Slave2Pink, Coconut, Wild Thoughts, Dare, Banana Daiquiri, Wattles, Valley Girl


ColourPop’s brushes are all hidden gems! They offer a variety of quality makeup tools that make the application process easier–and, like I’ve mentioned a ton of times in this post, they are all ridiculously affordable!

My favs: Tapered Blending Brush, Pencil Brush, Small Shader Brush


Last year my friend Rachel and I started a new Halloween tradition: a girls’ weekend in Salem, Massachusetts.

Salem can’t be beat this time of year (I promise a travel diary detailing everything as soon as we get back!). And now that it’s our second time, I for sure have a better idea in terms of what to pack. (I did not not pack enough warm layers last year, so I definitely learned my lesson.)

There is so much to do in this little gem of a city! We spend about half our time exploring the sites and shops downtown and half our time learning about the city’s history at museums and through walking tours (and another half drinking pumpkin beer and trying local cuisine). So, I like to pack casual, relatively polished clothes that are warm and comfortable, yet still reflect my personal style.

Thankfully, fall fashion is my favorite (#basic). Layering gives a girl a ton of options, and mixing different prints, textures and silhouettes is the perfect way to liven up what could otherwise be a frumpy outfit.


Salem’s vibe is super cool, so it is the perfect place to experiment with a new and/or bold beauty look. For the most part last year, I kept things fairly neutral, and I plan on doing pretty much the same this year. But, I’ll definitely be throwing a few fun accents in my bag.

In addition to the usual suspects (like Boy Brow, Balm Dotcom, a good primer, my must-have BB Cream and a trustworthy mascara), I added some extras to my makeup bag for this trip.

I’ve always loved a bold lip for fall, so I am bringing both Bunny by Kylie Cosmetics and LBB by Colourpop. Bunny is a cool mauve and LBB is rich berry that gives the perfect wine-stained pout; both are festive fall hues.

And, I cannot get enough of my new Fenty Beauty Match Stix in Mocha and Chili Mango, so of course I have to have them with me, too. Mocha makes contouring a breeze (plus, it looks much more natural than a powder contour in my opinion), while Chili Mango is a spicy, sparkly orange that draws attention to the eyes in one easy swipe across each lid.

A nude, dusty rose blush is the way to go in my opinion, so I’ll be bringing my go-to Amazonian Clay Blush in Seduce by Tarte.

To amp up the eyes for a night out, I packed an eyeshadow primer from Urban Decay, as well as their Naked Heat palette (which quickly became my favorite eyeshadow palette ever when it launched a few months ago) and Marc Jacob’s Matte Gel Eye Crayon eyeliner in (Earth)quake 41, a rich, deep brown.

No look is complete with a killer highlight, so I’m bringing Glossier‘s Haloscope in Moonstone for daytime and Milk Makeup’s Mars (the powder version) for an evening glow.

I also packed a few of my favorite on-the-go skincare products. Simple’s micellar makeup remover wipes (available at drugstores) are a must-have, and so is Glossier‘s Invisible Shield SPF 35+. And the Tea Tree Water spray by Lush is perfect for cleansing, toning and keeping oils at bay while on the go; it’s the ultimate skin refresher.

Clothes + accessories:

There’s no better place to rock your favorite fall pieces than in Salem! So, I packed quite a few fall staples to layer throughout the weekend. I cannot wait to show Haute Mess readers these gorgeous fall looks I put together while in Salem. Stay tuned! 😉

  • A versatile cardigan from Rat & Boa
  • A neutral pullover sweater from Free People
  • Plaid trousers from Topshop
  • A warm knit scarf from Free People
  • (Vegan) leather moto jacket by Blank NYC
  • My go-to winter coat in blush
  • A pair of clogs for daytime from Free People
  • A pair of heeled booties in black for a night out
  • Sneakers by APL
  • Statement earrings
  • My custom Pop & Suki Camera Bag (so I can be hands-free while touring the city)

I am so excited to announce my new partnership with Virtue Labs, a U.S.-based haircare company. Through a series of posts here on Haute Mess, I will be sharing everything I love about Virtue so that you can learn more about their one-of-a-kind products.

And what better place to start than in the shower?

Growing up I always had thick hair, but as I began dying it and using heat tools, I noticed it definitely thinned out. I tried what feels like *everything* to get my hair back, but nothing seemed to work–until I tried Virtue’s Full shampoo and conditioner.

Full shampoo and conditioner are part of Virtue’s “care” line that also includes the Recovery and Smooth shampoo/conditioner duos.

After using the Full duo and letting my hair air dry, my hair is noticeably fuller–not weighed down or greasy like it has been with other products. It’s as if I magically grew *more hair* during a 20-minute shower. How is this possible?

Alpha Keratin 60ku™ technology makes Virtue the most unique haircare range on the market. Because this form of keratin is pure, whole, human protein, our hair recognizes it as our own, so it is able to penetrate each individual strand exactly where it is needed.

This makes Virtue much more powerful than other products that claim to nourish and replenish the hair. Because Alpha Keratin 60ku™ makes up 90 percent of human hair, skin and nails, it is pulled where it’s needed to smooth, resurface and fill in cracks of damage strand by strand.

Unlike other haircare lines, Virtue’s products don’t sit on top of the hair, weighing it down and making it feel greasy or look stringy. Instead, it quickly absorbs into your locks, leaving it weightlessly full and restored.

A good shampoo and conditioner is as essential as a trustworthy facial cleanser and moisturizer. And when it comes to haircare, you truly get what you pay for.

Drugstore products are full of sulfates, and even some high-end options contain keratin from animal byproducts; neither are ingredients you want in your hair.

The harsh sulfates in certain products dry out the hair and scalp, leaving it difficult to manage and rough to the touch.

On the other hand, products formulated with keratin from animal byproducts don’t provide long-term results. Instead, they sit on top of the hair and make it look greasy, stringy and weighed down.

Virtue’s unrivaled, effective formula was born when the company’s founder and CEO Melisse Shaban met Lt. Col. Dr. Luke Burnett, who practices advanced regenerative medicine.

Lt. Col. Dr. Burnett and his team developed a way to harvest keratin in its purest, most powerful form: directly from human hair. This was groundbreaking, because for the first time the keratin protein was kept whole, and test results showed its profound ability to heal. This was Alpha Keratin 60ku™.

From start to finish, Virtue’s haircare products are uniquely their own.

The company begins by sourcing the keratin protein from human hair, not animal byproducts. This process allows the protein to remain whole and pure, so our hair can recognize it as our own, allowing it to bind seamlessly to each strand.

Virtue then adds healthy ingredients to the mix; all its products are free of sulfates, parabens, colors and dyes.

Because no one can develop the formulas exactly how Virtue intends, the team does everything on their own, from start to finish. There are no unnecessary middlemen, which means no price markups.

This technology is working dramatically to restore my hair to its original state before dyes and heat tools wreaked their havoc over the years. I can’t wait to see (and feel!) even *more* results as I continue my haircare journey #withVIRTUE! Stay tuned 😉