Sick of my holiday-themed posts yet? Me neither.

Today I’m discussing *aaaaall* my favorite sparkly, shiny, shimmery and glossy beauty products (new and old). I rounded up the best affordable, high-end and luxury goodies to help you bring those kirakira+ selfies to life.

But first, I have to give a shoutout to fellow blogger and Glossier Rep Amelia (Amelia Says)–I got the idea for this fabulous post from her.

Enjoy my top picks for festive eyes, face, lips and body, and be sure to let me know your favorite products for adding that extra touch of glamour to your look during the holidays in the comments below! Xx

Eyes:

  • Golden State Of Mind shadow palette: Fifteen metallic, shimmery shades in romantic berries, icy ivories and not-so-basic bronzes help me create playfully sexy eye looks all season long. ColourPop
  • Super Shock Shadow in Bouncy: This cool-toned bronze with gold and violet duo chrome is the epitome of grunge-luxe. I love packing it onto my lid after sweeping some matte browns into my crease (Buxom’s Gimme Gorgeous and MAC Saddle are my go-to’s). ColourPop
  • Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife: This is intended to be a face highlight, but during the winter months when I’m paler it suits me much better on my eyes. I dust it all over my lid for a quick and easy glam look when I’m in a rush to get ready. It’s also great as an inner corner highlight à la Desi Perkins. Fenty Beauty
  • Chroma Crystal Top Coat in Nude: I’ll be the first to admit I love wearing this product on its own (even though it’s obviously intended to be a topcoat); it’s perfect for adding that subtle eye sparkle when rocking a bold lip. Natasha Denona
  • Eye Vinyl in Bridge: Holiday season is the perfect time to experiment with editorial-style makeup. Milk’s nude eye gloss creates a wearable, healthy-looking dewiness on the lids. Milk Makeup

Lips:

  • Balm Dotcom in Birthday: This cult-favorite, long-lasting and intensely moisturizing salve got a makeover from New York’s Milk Bar bakery. It’s the balm you trust with a heavenly scent and a subtle holographic shimmer. Glossier
  • Lip Gloss: Not your little sister’s lip gloss. Glossier’s version gives your lips glassy, cushion-y, long-lasting shine free from any colored tint, glitter or shimmer. Plus, it’s got vitamin E to moisturize and conditioning polymers so it applies evenly–no goopy feeling. Glossier
  • Lip Gloss in Orgasm: Did you know NARS’ cult-favorite universally flattering blush comes in a lip gloss? And with a name like Orgasm, this also isn’t your little sister’s gloss. The shimmering peachy-pink hue makes lips look full and healthy day or night. NARS
  • Sugar Plum lip gloss: A high-quality shimmering nude gloss that adds moisture and volume to the lips; looks great on its own or over your favorite matte liquid lipsticks. Kylie Cosmetics (part of the In Love With The Koko collection)
  • Frost Lipstick in Pink, You Think?: Coat lips in a hot neon pearlized pink that doesn’t look messy when it starts to fade. Plus, the blue undertones help your teeth look extra white! MAC Cosmetics

Face:

  • Highlighting Blush in Hot Sand: Hot Sand is my go-to for a natural-looking everyday highlight. The powder formula provides a soft-focus-effect that’s perfect for any subtle or no-makeup makeup looks. But, the formula is build-able; I apply 2-3 layers of Hot Sand with a fan brush when I want to intensify its warm, glow-y sheen. NARS
  • Haloscope in Topaz & Moonstone: One word to describe Haloscope is dewy! I love Topaz for a sun-kissed glow (think: on the orbital bone around the eye for a chic spin on a “sunglasses tan”) and Moonstone for a sweaty sheen on my cheekbones, tip of the nose and cupid’s bow. (Huge shoutout to Glossier’s Community Team Manager Kim Johnson for these tips.) Glossier
  • Super Shock Highlighter in Off Tropic: Off Tropic is my go-to highlighter when I want an intense, wet effect glow. This highlight combines the best of both worlds in my opinion: a warm beige hue with an icy sheen. To maximize its effect, I always apply Off Tropic with Real Techniques’ setting brush and top with plenty of setting spray. ColourPop
  • Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Chili Mango & Rum: These sparkly blush toppers are super easy to use; the color is build-able and they blend like a dream. (Plus, they double as eyeshadows.) Chili Mango is a fun, beach-ready orange that looks amazing on its own; Rum, a gilded bronze, pairs perfectly with my favorite bronzers (which are NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna and BECCA Sunlit Bronzer in Capri Coast, by the way). Fenty Beauty
  • Light Chaser Highlighter in Opal Flashes Jade: Speaking of BECCA, their highlighters definitely live up to the reputation they have among the beauty community. So many influencers I watch on YouTube (e.g., my favs Lauren Elizabeth and Katy Bellotte) speak so fondly of BECCA highlighters that I decided to try one during Sephora’s recent VIB sale. I was instantly drawn to Opal Flashes Jade from the Light Chaser Collection because it’s so different than anything in my collection. As the name suggests, it’s a golden opal pearl with an intense teal-sapphire shift. BECCA
  • Holographic Highlighting Powder in Mars: I have heard so much about Milk’s Mars highlighter in stick form, but I wasn’t completely sold until the company debuted its powder counterpart. Mars in an out-of-this-world holographic *warm* golden peach. And because most holographic highlighters tend to be cool-toned, Mars is truly unlike anything else on the market. Milk Makeup
  • GRAVITYMUD Firming Treatment: If you want to look like a sexy version of the Tin Man while you tighten your skin, then this is the product for you. GLAMGLOW’s Firming Treatment mask reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, helps even skin’s tone and restores firmness and elasticity. GLAMGLOW

Body:

  • Shimmering Body Oil: Why limit the sparkle to just your face? Glow all over with Bali Body’s shimmering body oil. It has all the nourishing and moisturizing properties of BB’s original body oil, plus a bronze tint and gold shimmers for an instant fresh-from-vacation glow day or night. (P.S. It smells incredible.) Bali Body 
  • Daily Perfecting Cream: You know that signature glow only Glossier can give your face? Bring it to the other 90 percent of you! Daily Perfecting Cream is a long-lasting body lotion. And while providing your skin with all-day moisture, it immediately perfects and enhance skin’s appearance–hence its name–thanks to tiny light-reflecting particles. The zero-residue, zerio-stickiness formula melts into the skin to tighten and smooth the surface and increase elasticity. Glossier
Follow:

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

Follow:

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.

Follow:

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.

Follow:

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: