Joshua Tree National Park has been on my bucket list for years! So, I finally booked a last minute flight and Airbnb a few weeks ago to celebrate the bulk of my thesis research being done (after conducting a few interviews while on the road).

Between work and friends, I am in L.A. multiple times a year; it’s quickly becoming my second home. Still, the city has so much to offer, and there is always something new to check out while I’m there.

This time I explored Chinatown, Little Tokyo, The Broad, Koreatown, DTLA, Hollywood and, of course, the Laurel Canyon/Studio City area where I stayed.

Chinatown and Little Tokyo have great shopping; I’d 100 percent rather shop at off-beat, local stores than the big-name stores in town. That being said, I did check out Reformation’s first-of-its-kind vintage shop, which was ah-mazing.

Although Ref is a popular label (especially among the L.A. crowd), its vintage shop, which is exclusive to L.A.’s famed Melrose Avenue, offers specially curated pieces from tons of different brands. And because it’s Ref-curated, everything was gorgeous!

Koreatown, on the other hand, is one of my top places in L.A. for food–I am such a sucker for all the authentic Korean (and Thai!) restaurants in the area. Dim Sung Sa is about as authentic as it gets (not only the food, but the atmosphere, too)!

The Broad museum, which is near Little Tokyo, is hands-down the coolest modern art museum I’ve ever visited. In addition to big names like Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons, The Broad has quite a few other spectacular pop art and cartoon-y pieces lining its walls. And all of it truly reflects L.A.’s unique vibes.

I also stopped by DTLA for the first time ever to visit Are You Am I’s showroom, or LOFT, as its called. The space is absolutely gorgeous, and I am so happy I was able to see the label’s designs IRL #apartmentgoals.

After that I took a short walk to a cafe called Verve for some L.A.-style juice while I caught up on emails and other work- and school-related business.

Then, I headed down the street to The Last Bookstore, a huge bookstore famous for its second-floor Labyrinth. Home to more than 100,000 books organized by color for a rainbow-like effect, or by genre on shelves arranged to create a maze-like feeing, the Labyrinth is complete with hidden book rooms and plenty of spaces to sit down and read (as well as a larger-than-life, photo-worthy tunnel of books).

A night out (or two!) in Hollywood is a necessity when visiting L.A. because there are so many cool spots within walking distance. After takeout from Sugarfish (an L.A. staple), we started at State Social House and ended up at The Argyle–quite possibly my new favorite spot in town.

On another night we hit up a new spot called Girl At The White Horse, which had great vibes and the *cutest* hot pink decor, after eating dinner at Dave’s Hot Chicken, the best comfort food in L.A.

I also enjoyed a night out in Studio City at a chill bar called Laurel Tavern, the perfect place to grab a couple drinks after a long day.

We spent Saturday and Sunday night in Joshua Tree before leaving mid-morning on Monday. Like I said, that place has been on my bucket list for years, and I am *so* happy to be able to cross it off. Although I managed to get some beautiful pictures, they don’t really do Joshua Tree justice; it is an insanely beautiful place in person with the coolest vibes to match.

During the daytime we hiked to 49 Palms Canyon Oasis, which is a stunning trail from start to finish. Then, we toured downtown in the afternoon and evening. The main road 29 Palms Highway (CA 62) is full of neat art, shops and restaurants.

We checked out a gift shop, as well as the Joshua Tree Saloon–where we had a killer Mexican meal, complete with jalapeño margs–before heading to the Sun Alley Shops and the World Famous Crochet Museum. I picked up a couple stickers to add to my collection, and some local prickly pear cactus jelly and Joshua Tree seeds to bring home to my parents.

Monday morning we brunched at Crossroads Cafe, where I had the best burger and fries of. my. life. Not exaggerating. This little place has a ton of options, and everything on the menu looked delish; it’s definitely a must-do brunch spot if you are in the Joshua Tree area.

I was so sad to leave JT but I know for a fact I’ll be returning some day; our Airbnb was clean, spacious and, best of all, private–I’d return again in a heartbeat. It had a killer outdoor shower, and it was perched on top its own hill, making it the ideal spot to checkout the views day or night.

Follow:
Share:

For me, fall fashion in New York City is all about looking professional and polished. Thankfully, it has been a relatively mild fall season, so I have really been able to rock my favorite pieces, both old and new.

On this particular Monday I chose a pair of flare pants from Reformation, which has quickly become one of my go-to places to shop–everything fits so amazing and you really cannot beat the quality. (I also think I have a mild addiction to statement pants.)

I have been having so much fun styling these bad boys throughout the summer and now into fall. And while I love pairing them with more casual pieces like vintage band tees and lacy lingerie, I decided to dress them up for work.

Wearing heels makes me feel really empowered, so I started styling this outfit from the bottom up with my must-have black booties. Then, I added a solid pullover sweater so the striped pants could remain the focus of the look.

Camel is definitely my favorite color to wear during the colder months. (Actually, who am I kidding? It’s my favorite color to wear year-round.)

I didn’t want it to be too casual, which is why I layered the pink corduroy blazer. This piece of outerwear brings a little more structure to the look, and it also helped keep me warm, of course.

Today, I added it to this look for a little dimension; mixing different colors and textures is the best way to transform a dull outfit into something stylish. And sporting this scarf, a crucial layering piece, does just that. It will definitely be a major part of my wardrobe for the rest of this season and well into the next.

I polished off the look with clean, minimal jewelry and a sheer brown lip by Glossier (one of my go-to daytime lipsticks).

All in all, I am so happy with how this look turned out. These pants really could not be more flattering; the high-rise fit and extreme flare work together to elongate the legs. The sweater and scarf combo keep me warm while finishing touches like shoes, jewelry and makeup keep things fashionable.

Shop my look:

Blazer, thrifted

Sweater, thrifted

Pants, Reformation, $178

Boots, Free People, Boots, Free People, no longer available (similar here)

Bag, Pop & Suki, $195

Lipstick, Generation G in Leo, Glossier, $18

Follow:
Share:

My cousin (who’s more like my brother!) got married this past weekend. He and Chelsea met in 2013 and were engaged two years ago (in Australia–how cool?!). I’m not even exaggerating when I say that they are the perfect match.

Their wedding was held at Triumph Brewing in Princeton, New Jersey. Triumph is a super cool local brewery with an amazing atmosphere, as well as seasonal beer and food (and this is coming from someone who doesn’t usually like beer). It’s a super unique–and adorable!–spot for a fall wedding.

While the couple is off to Tulum and I’ll be living vicariously through their honeymoon photos, I decided to put together a little GRWM for Haute Mess followers.

For the occasion I wore a black velvet maxi dress, nude pumps and statement-making hot pink eyeshadow. I am so happy with the way my entire look came out–especially because I was a little nervous to work with such a bright eyeshadow for the first time 😉

Keep scrolling for the deets on my fall wedding hair, makeup and wardrobe.

Car lighting is the best. #UberEverywhere

Products I used:

Step 1: Prep the skin by applying Mattifying Gel Moisturizer evenly to the t-zone, working towards the outer perimeter of the face. Apply Balm Dotcom to the lips.

Step 2: Using the same technique used to apply Mattifying Gel Moisturizer, apply a light layer of BB Cream. If necessary, apply an additional layer where more coverage is needed.

Step 3: Conceal the under eyes, blemishes and redness with Shape Tape. Blend with the fingers.

Step 4: Set the entire face with Wowder, focusing on the t-zone and under-eye areas. Finish with a generous amount of setting spray and allow to dry.

Step 5: Carve out the cheekbones with Mocha by applying it directly to the skin. Begin application from the upper corner of the ear, working downwards diagonally. Tap with the fingers to blend.

Step 6: Continue to apply Mocha to the temples and under the center of the lip for a subtle plumping effect. Again, tap with fingers to blend.

Step 7: Using a gentle tapping motion, apply Cloud Paint to the apples of the cheeks to brighten up the look.

Step 8: In a “C” shape along the orbital eye bone to the cheekbone, apply Hot Sand with a setting brush. Tap along the edges with the fingers to blend. Add a little more Hot Sand to the cupid’s bow.

Step 9: Add setting spray to the newly highlighted areas and allow to dry.

Step 10: Apply a little Primer Potion to the eye area. Using a fluffy blending brush, set the primer with a neutral eyeshadow.

Step 11: With a crease brush, apply Wild Thoughts to the crease. Blend the color upward and outward.

Step 12: Take Slave2Pink on a flat shader brush and apply it to the eyelid. Then, blend upward and inward with the fluffy blending brush.

Step 13: Smudge Wild Thoughts on the outer corner of the lower lash line using a pencil brush.

Step 14: Use the same pencil brush to blend Salve2Pink along the lower lash line; blend towards the inner corner of the eye.

Step 15: To highlight the brow bone, as well as the inner corner of the eye, apply Valley Girl with the pinky finger. Blend if necessary.

Step 16: Beginning in the center of each brow and working towards the inner and outer corners, apply Boy Brow in an upward motion. Add a second coat for a more dramatic look.

Step 17: Finish with more setting spray.

Step 18: After combing and curling the lashes, apply two coats of mascara to both the top and bottom lashes.

Step 19: Apply 1-2 coats of Tres Leches to the lips. Be sure to angle to doe-foot applicator so that you can line your lips neatly with the product.

I finished the look with a pair of (faux) turquoise earrings and loose, straightened hair. The dress is super strap-y, so it gave the appearance of a series of black chokers #So90s.

With the gorgeous bride!

My cousin Allyson–aka my idol since ’93!

Allyson’s daughter Calla and Sadie were my dance partners all night long 😉

More cousins!

Follow:
Share:

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!

Follow:
Share:

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.

Beauty:

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)
Follow:
Share: