With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to get a leg up on our holiday shopping! And while Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals tempt us to consume, consume, consume, we must make conscious decisions about which retailers to support.

Shopping is necessary this time of year, so being a consumer is unavoidable. After all, we need gifts for our loved ones, and it *is* O.K. to treat yourself to something you’ve been eyeing once in a while. However, @bonfirebeachkids shared an important message via Instagram last week:

Every purchase you make sends a message. And for every great point about what we [as brands and retailers] are doing to help the planet and the people building our goods, there is a valid counter point. Everyone is a critic, but very few are taking accountability for our actions. Here’s what I believe – Every one of you is going to shop anyway. Whether for yourself, or for others. So shop with your heart, and make buying decisions you believe in…PLEASE [GO] SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL NEIGHBORHOOD RETAILERS. Because if you don’t, they aren’t going to be around much longer! But whatever you do, buy what you believe in and GIVE BACK to charities and those in need along the way. Be thankful we live in a world where we actually have all the options that we do, and follow the path that feels right for you.

This is advice all shoppers can (and should!) take to heart this holiday season. That being said, I rounded up quite a few products–in all price ranges–from amazing brands that I love and trust. And because these brands are so careful to craft their products, these are gifts you’ll *actually* looove to give (and receive)!

Similarly, giving back to our communities as a whole is just as important as buying gifts for our loved ones this season. One thing that holds me back, however, is not being able to trust 100 percent of charities out there.

Although it flat-out sucks we have to be careful when choosing a charity, there are quite a few out there that have rightfully earned a bad reputation. So, I added info on four of my favorite charities to this his-and-hers holiday gift guide!

Happy shopping! Be sure to leave your favorite holiday gifts (to give and receive), as well as your favorite charities, in the comments below. Xoxo

Under $35

Stabilo Pens, set of 30: For anyone who likes to stay organized, this set of 30 fine-point markers are a must-have. The .4 millimeter tip ensures writing is a breeze, while an array of colors makes getting the job done a little more fun. $13.58, amazon.com

Bite Beauty The Perfect Pair Amuse Bouche lipstick & lip pencil $15, sephora.com

Pop & Suki Pouf Pencil $18, popandsuki.com

ColourPop All I See Is Magic eyeshadow palette: This jewel-toned eyeshadow palette, complete with 15 individual hues, definitely isn’t something she’ll pick up for herself. $20, colourpop.com

Free People Agate Powerbank Charger: Every 21st-century gal needs a portable phone charger. This one looks just as cute as the purse in which she’ll put it. $24, freepeople.com

Pop & Suki Soup Tin Candle $25, popandsuki.com

ColourPop Golden State Of Mind eyeshadow palette: Another gorgeous ColourPop palette–this one is full of 15 glittery and metallic shades! $26, colourpop.com

Bali Body Shimmering Body Oil: If natural skincare is her thing, she’ll love this luxe body oil. With a hint of bronze for an instant, wash-off tan and gold shimmer, this fast-drying formula is unlike anything she has in her collection. $29.95, balibodyco.com

Glossier Custom Balm Trio: A good lip balm is a must-have, so give her three fun flavors of your choosing! Pick from tinted, un-tinted and even sparkly flavored balms. $30, glossier.com

$35-$50

Glossier Body Hero Duo: Upgrade her shower with these one-of-a-kind products! Daily Oil Wash fills her shower with a gorgeous neroli scent, while Daily Perfecting Lotion gives her skin a glow-y, moisturized sheen from the neck down. $35, glossier.com

Bite Beauty Champagne Discovery Lip Set: This universally flattering 3-part set has something for every occasion. The matte Multistick can be used on her eyes, cheeks and lips; the lip pencil preps her pout for any lip color she’ll add afterwards; and the gloss is perfect for any special occasion from date night to New Year’s Eve with the gals. $35, sephora.com

Glossier Mask Duo: One for when her skin’s feeling dirty, and another for when it’s feeling dry. $40, glossier.com

Pop & Suki Leather Notebook: This personalized leather notebook will keep her organized–and stylish–in the new year. $40-$50, popandsuki.com

Dady Bones Puff Ball Earrings: As seen on mega babe Behati Prinsloo! $45, dadybones.com

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask: Not only does this unique mask smell like a dream, it actually works–and it will look ultra-luxurious on her top shelf. $45, sephora.com

St. Tropez Award Winning Kit: For the self-tanner junkie on your list, this kit has everything she needs for a top-to-toe glow. $49, ulta.com

$50-$80

Glossier Cloud Paint Quad: These user-friendly, utlra-pigmented cheek tints are unlike any other product on the market. Save on all four hues when you shop the Quad, and the ladies on your list can create custom hues by mixing their favs together. $55, glossier.com

Glossier You: The ultimate personal fragrance. $60, glossier.com

Bali Body Sunshine Trio (SPF 6) bundle: Give her her choice of scent with this set of three nourishing body and tanning oils. $65.95, balibodyco.com

Bali Body The Complete Glow bundle: She’ll glow even when there’s no sunshine with this cult-favorite BB Cream, instant bronzing lotion and body/tanning oil. $69.95, balibodyco.com

Hot As Hell Comin’ In Haht Bodysuit: Bodysuits are the must-have fashion item because they’re so versatile. Embrace “slow fashion” by gifting her this gorgeous lacy number from sustainable label Hot As Hell. $70, shop.hot-as-hell.com

Pop & Suki Zip Pouch: This wallet and travel pouch also doubles as custom clutch for her next night out. $75, popandsuki.com

$80-$130

Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil: Negin Mirsalehi created the ultimate luxury hair oil. This multitasking formula is infused with honey to keep hair healthy. And because beekeeping has been the Mirsalehi family business for generations, you know she can trust it. $84, gisou.com

Bali Body The Golden Traveler bundle: For the beach babe in your life. Your girl will have everything she needs for her next vacay (or stay-cation) with the ultimate BB bundle. BB Cream and Moisturizing Lotion will be her daily saviors, while Moisturizing Sunscreen and a choice of tanning oil will keep her skin glow-y and smooth on the beach. $99.95, balibodyco.com

Reformation Pajama Set: Every gal needs something cozy up in this time of year. In Ref’s classic pajama set, she won’t have to sacrifice style–or sustainability–for comfort! $128, thereformation.com

Are You Am I Cruxe Choker: Dainty chokers are the It accessory. Start (or add to!) her collection with this beauty from AYAI. $129, areyouami.com

$130 and Up

Prynt Pocket Smartphone Instant Photo Printer $150, bloomingdales.com

For Love & Lemons Vanessa Bra $95, and Vanessa Thong $77, shop.forloveandlemons.com

Fiorucci Angels Sweatshirt: She’ll be cozy while she sets trends in this cool-girl label. $175, fiorucci.com

Pop & Suki Camera Bag: This surprisingly spacious cross-body bag will quickly become her go-to for every occasion. $195, popandsuki.com

Hot As Hell 1 Track Mind Pant $198, shop.hot-as-hell.com

Various

Crystals: A unique way to decorate her space while channeling positive energy, crystals are available in all shapes, colors and sizes. Prices vary, celestial-awakenings-crystals.com

Literally Me, coffee table book by Julie Houts: “Instagram’s favorite illustrator” depicts life in the 21st century life (as well as tales from her childhood) in her first official publication. Prices vary, juliehouts.com

Wildflower limited edition iPhone cases: These Insta-famous iPhone cases are cute and durable. Prices vary, wildflowercases.com

Byredo fragrances and home fragrances: Staple pieces on every It girl’s top shelf, Byredo’s high-end perfumes and candles are everyday luxuries she’ll love. Prices vary, byredo.com

And for him…

Personalized water bottle by S’well: He’ll never misplace this drink bottle because it has his name on it! (Plus, it keeps liquids cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours.) $35-$55, swellbottle.com

Lush Cosmetics Five O’Clock Whisle Shaving Smoothie: The cruelty-free, eco-friendly label says it best! Per Lush’s website, “soothing lavender and invigorating coffee with nourishing jojoba oil and olive oil for the closest, softest shave possible. Kiss razor burn goodbye and say hello to silky smooth, perfectly soothed skin.” $13.95, lushusa.com

Lush Cosmetics Veerappan Moustache Wax: Help him soften and sculpt his facial hair with this blend of nourishing waxes and oils. But beware–you’ll want to borrow some of this for yourself because it also helps seal split ends. $17.95, lushusa.com

Fiorucci Playing Cards: A deck of cards emblazoned with Fiorucci’s signature angels puts a trendy twist on an old-school favorite. $32, fiorucci.com

Calvin Klein Cotton Stretch 3-pack Boxer Brief: The #MyCalvins gang isn’t just for us gals. $42.50, calvinklein.us

Fiorucci Robot iPhone Charger: Your guy needs a portable charger, too. This one from Fiorucci features art from the label’s archives. $50, fiorucci.com

Patagonia Men’s Houdini Jacket: A lightweight, durable and water-repellent jacket folds into its own pouch so your guy can save room in his backpack or luggage. $99, patagonia.com

Don’t forget to give back!

This time of year is about giving back to your community and to charities close to your heart. For the past several years I’ve supported Kelsey’s CHRISTmas. Kelsey and I met during our undergraduate studies at West Virginia University and became fast friends.

After losing her older sister to leukemia, the med student launched her namesake charity to make the holidays brighter for the children (and the ICU staff!) of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Kelsey’s CHRISTmas, which is in its 11th year, raises more than $20,000 annually. In the years to come, Kelsey hopes to bring her CHRISTmas to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Click here to make a donation to Kelsey’s CHRISTmas via PayPal, and here to learn more about the charity. If you are in the Pittsburgh area and would like to donate your time to Kelsey’s CHRISTmas, visit the charity’s Facebook page.

Growing up with a father who works in tech, I’ve always been computer-savvy. But, it wasn’t until recently I discovered all girls (and women!) are not so lucky. That’s why I love Girls Who Code, an organization that inspires, educates and equips girls for careers in STEM fields. Visit the organization’s website to learn more and to make a donation.

After a semester-long project that focused on food access problems and solutions, I fell in love with Feeding America. This organization helps resolve hunger in the U.S. via 60,000 food banks and meal programs across the country. Together, they provide healthy, nourishing foods to millions of hungry Americans. To learn more about Feeding America and to make a donation, visit the organization’s website.

The holidays in America would be nothing without those who fight daily for our safety and freedom. As 1 in 3 military vets suffers from PTSD, supporting our troops is necessary. Wounded Warrior Project is a trustworthy charity that cares for America’s bravest. Click here to support this organization.

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This month Glossier lovers can save on a new duo: Lip Gloss + your choice of Generation G, a sheer, matte lipstick. Every girl needs this universally flattering, no-fuss duo in her life!

Glossier’s signature Lip Gloss gives your lips glassy, cushiony shine that lasts–plus, the never-sticky formula is super nourishing. It is so gorgeous on its own, or layered over virtually any other lip product.

Gen G, on the other hand, is a build-able matte lip color: 1-2 swipes gives you a diffused look, while 3-4 swipes gives your lips a more opaque look. Unlike other lipsticks, Gen G is easy to use and definitely does not require any babysitting throughout the day (or night). My favs are Leo, a warm cocoa brown, and Crush, a hot, pink-hued raspberry.

Though you save by shopping the duo, I love wearing these two products on their own. Lip Gloss is such a fun spin on a childhood classic, while Gen G is ideal for creating that just-bitten, popsicle stain pout.

Similarly, I am still obsessing over You, Glossier’s new fragrance that launched last month. While it has a high-end look and, of course, smell, it is still down-to-earth and wearable. It’s cool. It’s sexy. And it’s the perfect fresh/musky balance.

You is comprised of three base notes that sit close to your skin: smooth and salty ambrox, warm ambrette and musk. It is complemented by top notes woody iris root and sparkling pink pepper. This scent is warm, smart and clean, and it pairs perfectly with Glossier’s Lip Gloss + Gen G duo.

Shop through my link to save 20 percent on your first Glossier order, *and* enjoy free shipping every time you spend $30/£25!

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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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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!

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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)
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