Merry (belated) Christmas! I am slightly obsessed with the Christmas season, so I really hope everyone is enjoying all the holiday-related content on my social media and here on Haute Mess.

Because I’ve really been loving bold, sparkly makeup looks lately, I kept my outfit on the casual side. Still, I wanted to put a somewhat stylish look together, so I started with an edgy pair of jeans, then added a cozy chenille sweater. For a little height I picked a pair of fun floral booties–definitely party shoes!

Who else watches LOVE’s advent calendar semi-religiously this time of year? I’m still drooling over Romee Strijd’s clip (Day 23), so I decided to create my own version the sexy, smoky old-school glam look from the shoot.

I went with a grungy makeup look similar to the one I sported at a holiday party earlier this month–only I amped it up a notch. For the eyes, I combined ColourPop Super Shock Shadow in Bouncy and Pressed Powder Shadow in Tea Garden with a couple neutral matte shadows.

Tea Garden is one of the most unique eyeshadows I own. It’s a gold-ish green with a red duochrome flip–perfect for Christmas! I darkened it up by putting a deep chocolatey brown underneath and Bouncy, a cool-tone bronze with gold and violet duochrome in the crease.

On the cheeks I paired Benefit’s Rockateur blush (which has been my ride or die for years) with NARS Hot Sand Highlighting Blush, then polished everything off with Kylie Cosmetics matte liquid lipstick in Bunny (part of the In Love With The Koko set).

What I’m wearing:

Chenille sweater, thrifted, similar here

Zipper Jeans, Reformation

Booties, brand unknown, similar here

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I didn’t know it was possible to feel sexy in cords until I pulled on this burnt orange pair by Fiorucci. By now I’m sure all my readers know my obsession with the Italian label–it was featured in my November favs, plus my 3-part series on its influence on the fashion industry is underway this week.

After having my eyes on these logo-emblazoned corduroy pants since their debut, I snagged them (for 20%-off!) on Black Friday. (Side note: Fiorucci’s shipping is amazing–my parcel arrived in N.J. from the U.K. in less than a week, and their packaging is so fun.)

Not only are these quite possibly the most flattering skinny pants I’ve ever worn (I tend to stick to baggy, boyfriend styles because that’s what looks best on my figure), they’re comfortable. Basically, they fit like a glove. Plus, how cool are they?! I can’t get enough.

This week I paired them with a slouchy sweatshirt because temperatures have been freezing here (it snowed twice last week). I’ve spent so much time in L.A. lately that it actually took me a minute to get used to dressing for fall and winter this year. But now that I’m back in the North East for a while, I’m starting to get the hang of it again.

As much as I wanted to polish off this look with a pair of heeled booties, I decided to go for my Adirondack boots; I’ve been doing booties way too often. They definitely added to the cord’s cozy winter vibes. And, they preform much better in the snow, anyway. I also added a chunky knit scarf for extra warmth and texture.

I’ll definitely be pairing these cords with skimpy tank tops and cropped t-shirts as weather gets warmer, but for now, I’m enjoying all my knits and sweatshirts. My day-to-day style tends to have a casual, borrowed-from-the-boys steez, so I know my new Fiorucci cords will be an investment that pays off for years to come.

What I’m wearing:

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One of the best things about the holiday season is getting to experiment with different looks you may not get to during the rest of the year! Holiday parties give you the chance to get a little shinier, a little sparklier and to generally kick things up a notch.

While I’d normally wear these vinyl pants with a band tee or oversized knit, I paired them with a more interesting texture combo for a holiday party at Rumpus Room in East Village last week.

I went with a long-sleeved mesh top in a beige-y nude color so that it didn’t distract from the statement-making pants. To keep covered I added a lacy bra underneath; I opted for classic black, which tied into the pants.

When it came to shoes, I had *such* a hard time deciding between two of my go-to’s: black booties and nude pumps. After all, both matched my look and both give me a major boost. I ended up going with the booties because a) it was super cold out and, b) my pumps aren’t in the best shape–I think it’s time to invest in a new pair. (Leave any suggestions in the comments below please.)

Speaking of the cold…I also wore my warmest coat, a gray faux fur teddy by BB Dakota. Then, I polished off the look with a pair of personalized hoop earrings and my favorite chain belt for a little more variety in texture.

Shop my look:

Top, I.Am.Gia

Bra, Free People

Vinyl pants, thrifted, similar here

Belt, thrifted, similar here

Shoes, Free People, no longer available, similar here

Coat, BB Dakota, no longer available similar here & here

Earrings, The M Jewelers

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I know it has been a minute since I’ve shared a monthly favorites with HM readers. But, I just can’t avoid it any longer; there are a *ton* of new things I have really been loving lately that I need to share with my readers.

Besides Prince Harry’s royal engagement (eep!), I put together a post on everything else I’ve been obsessing over this month (hint: there’s a ton from Sephora’s VIB sale). Now excuse me while I go scroll through Meghan Markle boards on Pinterest…

Fiorucci: By now everyone on here knows my obsession with Devon Carlson, one of the designers behind Wildflower Cases. Through her I’ve discovered some of my favorite people, places and things (like Girl At The White Horse, an L.A. bar). Arguably the coolest, though, is Fiorucci, an Italian label that mixes Dolce Vita luxury with British street style.

Back and better than ever, Fiorucci is one of the most unique labels on the market today–and it has such a rich history. As an Italian girl myself, I quickly fell in love with Fiorucci, but held out until Black Friday to order a few things from their site. To me, their pieces are casual, yet structured, with the perfect amount of sexy for everyday life.

Unlike a lot of other high-end labels, Fiorucci creates pieces I actually want to wear and that I can feel like myself in. I’ll most likely end up creating a lookbook (or two!) focusing on the pieces I bought, but for now I’ll link my favorites here, here and here.

Neisy Bra by Are You Am I: I picked this bra up at the AYAI showroom in Downtown Los Angeles last month, and I have barely taken it off since. Like everything from Are You Am I, this piece fits beautifully; it’s seriously like second skin.

And not only is it comfortable, it looks the part, too. Comfortable bras that are also pretty are super hard to come by–especially when you have a bigger chest. Its thick strips complement the thin rib detail on the cup portion (while providing a little extra support), and it has a gorgeous gold clasp detail on the back.

Unfortunately, this baby is out of stock. But, you can’t go wrong with anything from AYAI. I Promise 😉

Bali Body Shimmering Body Oil: You guys already know how much I love Bali Body’s skincare range; while I can’t make it through the summer months without their Watermelon Tanning Oil SPF 6, their BB Cream is my holy grail year-round.

Just in time for the holidays the Aussie cult-favorite brand debut their Shimmering Body Oil, and it definitely delivers. Unlike their tanning oils, though, Shimmering Body Oil is meant to be worn with *or without* the sun.

It instantly bronzes the skin while giving you a shimmering (duh!) golden glow. And because it’s from BB, it’s insanely nourishing, moisturizing and smells amazing–even better than their original coconut body oil in my opinion.

I love using it on top of–or sometimes instead of–BB’s Bronzing Lotion for that fresh-from-vacay look anytime, anywhere. Shimmering Body Oil, balibody.co

Too Faced Melted Liquified Lipstick in Chihuahua: Ever since I picked up MAC’s Persistence over the summer, I’ve been loving a bold nude lip. Too Faced’s Melted formula has been a favorite of mine for more than two years, so during Sephora’s VIB sale I picked up this shade.

Chihuahua is the perfect match for nearly any eye look, and this high-impact formula can’t be beat: it provides a glossy shine without sacrificing bold color payoff.

Unlike other liquid lipsticks, there’s no need to babysit this formula all day (or night!) long. And because it feels hydrating, lightweight and comfortable, has been my go-to lip color all month long–I even wore it on Thanksgiving! $21, sephora.com

MAC Cosmetics Frost Lipstick in Pink, You Think?: While Chihuahua has been my everyday lip, MAC’s Pink, You Think? has been my go-to for special occasions.

I ventured to L.A. twice in November, and I always love experimenting with fun colors when I’m out there (more so than when I am home on the East Coast). So, this lippie came along for the ride both times.

When I wore this hot neon pink lipstick (with blue pearlescent undertones) for the first time, I paired it with a gray cat-eye look. And the second time I went for a semi-coordinating pearlescent pink eye look. On both occasions, though, this lip color was a hit.

The neon pink hue is stunning, and it doesn’t look weird when it starts to disappear; on me it fades into a sun-kissed coral color. I never see this shade going out of style. $17.50, maccosmetics.com

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask: This was another Sephora VIB sale purchase. After hearing a ton of my fellow Glossier Reps gush about this product, I finally gave into the temptation (couldn’t resist that 20-percent off deal).

I was a little hesitant at first because my skin can be pretty sensitive, but figured with the discount and Sephora’s killer return policy, the risk was minimal.

Not only does it smell amazing, it actually gets the job done! As I’ve gotten older, I noticed my skin (which is normally on the oily side) gets a little dry and somewhat irritated during the colder months. So, I need something extra in my routine to keep my complexion hydrated this time of year.

Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer is great after cleansing, toning and serum-ing, but Watermelon Glow definitely gives my skin that boost it needs before bedtime. $45, sephora.com

Ouai Hair Oil: If you read one of my previous posts, you know I also *finally* tried a few products from the Ouai during Sephora’s VIB sale. While I love everything I picked up, Hair Oil is the stand-out product for me; I find myself reaching for this guy nearly every day.

The nourishing blend of ingredients protects hair from heat damage while mending split ends. And for me, one pump is enough to tame the fly-aways around my face–the best part? I no longer need heat tools to do that!

I’ll also apply Hair Oil to dry tresses before bed to help strengthen my hair overnight. $28, sephora.com

The Fashion Law (website): I’ve been super busy wrapping up my thesis proposal, so I haven’t had too much time to read for pure pleasure. Thankfully, I love my field of research, especially when it gives me the chance to catch up on The Fashion Law, one of my favorite sites for several years now.

TFL has always been my go-to for keeping up with the industry. But more importantly, it was a huge influence in selecting my research topic.

While big names like Vogue and Marie Claire focus heavily on celebrity and pop culture-related content, TFL provides meaningful, in-depth pieces on the industry’s law and business–and it’s still fun to read. The more I learn about the industry, the more I can appreciate that.

Because TFL has been such a big part of my life lately, I decided to include it in my favorites this month even though I’ve been keeping up with it since 2014.

Honorable mentions: Wowder in Light/Medium by Glossier, Daily Oil Wash by Glossier, Match Stix Matte Skinstick in Mocha by Fenty Beauty, Bronzing Lotion by Bali Body, kirakira+ (iPhone app), Sweatsuit in Camel Khaki by Danielle Guizio NY

What have you been loving this month?

What fashion and beauty items have you been reaching for the most? Are there any inspiring or informative books, magazine articles or blogs I should check out? Let me know your current lifestyle favorites in the comments down below! Xx

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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.

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