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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Ok, so, I’ll be honest.

I didn’t own a full-size moisturizer until a month before my 24th birthday.

Growing up with normal to oily, sensitive skin, moisturizer slightly terrified me.

My skin is already oily enough, I thought. Why would I need a moisturizer? Wouldn’t that clog my pores, making me even *more* oily and prone to breakouts?

Wrong.

The first moisturizer I ever tried was Glossier‘s Priming Moisturizer, a product I still use regularly. When I became an official Rep for the company, I received a sample size of this cult-favorite moisturizing primer with an order.

So, I tried it. And, guess what? I really, really liked it–so much so that I began to research the benefits of moisturizing. It turns out, there’s more to it than just mere hydration.

Using a moisturizer daily, after cleansing and toning, helps regulate the skin’s natural production of oil.

You see, when you dry out your skin, stripping it of its natural oils, it kicks into overdrive, producing more sebum than it would otherwise. (Our skin–and hair!–creates sebum naturally, as a form of self-lubrication. As a rule of thumb, individuals with oily skin naturally produce more sebum, while those with dry skin tend to produce less sebum.)

It turns out, drying out your skin to reduce oil or breakouts is actually counterproductive. If you want to regulate your skin’s oil production, you should *actually* moisturize every day.

Not only that, though. Oils are great for our skin in other ways.

Those with oily skin can thank their body’s natural sebum production for suppressing signs of aging. After all, our skin is made of this oil, so, it only makes sense that stripping our skin of it would speed up the aging process.

I’ve learned to love my skin’s natural dewy sheen; I think it looks healthy and glow-y. And letting it shine through looks a hell of a lot better than caking my face with powder and other mattifying products.

After moisturizing, my skin not only looks better, but feels better, too. I never realized how tight and irritated my face was without moisturizer until I began moisturizing. (Typing that out now, I definitely realize how obvious that may seem…especially to those who are in a longterm love affair with moisturizer.)

And, my makeup goes on more smoothly. I’ve never been a huge makeup person (I’m more into skincare and holistic beauty), but I do love getting glam-ed up once in a while. With a freshly moisturized face, makeup no longer looks blotchy or flakey (and it definitely doesn’t cling to dry patches)!

Finishing the sample of Priming Moisturizer took me all of two days. Then, I received a sample of Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, which I also loved. This was a travel-size bottle, which lasted me a couple weeks. After I finished it (I actually cut the tube to scrape the last bit of it out), I bought the full size.

Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel is a newer version of Clinique’s original (and infamous!) Dramatically Different Moisturizer. The Gel’s formula, however, is designed to work with oily skin, while the original is targeted at normal to dry skin.

It absorbs quickly and leaves skin hydrated–never greasy.

Like all Glossier‘s products, Priming Moisturizer is great for sensitive skin. Hyaluronic acid plumps skin as it moisturizes; plus, it reduces redness and blurs pores, creating a smooth surface for makeup (or not). It’s also loaded with antioxidants–vitamins A, C and E–that help protect skin from damage.

Both Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel and Priming Moisturizer are build-able, meaning you can layer it on for the amount of moisturize your skin needs on a given day (factors like season, climate and hormones all play a role in skin’s moisture levels).

To prep the skin for makeup, I’ve also been using First Aid Beauty’s Oil-Free Mattifying Gel Moisturizer. It blurs pores and cuts shine, while also moisturizing the skin, creating a smooth canvas for foolproof makeup application.

When it comes to all three of these products, I love to put a layer over my entire face, then add a little more where I’m prone to dryness, like around my nose and between my brows.

Other notable moisturizers in my makeup collection include Glossier’s Moisturizing Moon Mask. But, I’ll let you guys in on a little secret: I don’t use this product as a mask. Instead, I find it works much better as a night cream. Before I go to bed, I’ll add Moisturizing Moon Mask to any problem areas; by morning it’s fully absorbed, and my skin looks–and feels!–super supple.

There’s also Glossier‘s Super Bounce, a hyaluronic acid serum whose concentrated formula really plumps up the skin where I need it most (such as the little fine lines around my mouth and on my forehead).

Last but not least is my holy grail Balm Dotcom. If you know me, you know I can’t go a day without this (and that it’s replaced every other lip balm I’ve ever owned). I’ve talked a ton about this product on Haute Mess and on social media, so I won’t bore you guys too much.

But, BDC is the longest-lasting, most effective salve ever. It does its job for hours on end, and it even holds up through long workouts. (Plus, in addition to the original, it come in five yummy flavors! Birthday and Coconut are tied as my all-time favs, but lately I’ve also been reaching for Cherry quite a bit.)

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I’m not 100 percent ready for summer to end, but I do love fall fashion. And I’m especially a fan of the athleisure trend that has been popular over the last couple years.

Lower temperatures are beginning to set in, so I decided to incorporate some atheleisure vibes for a casual early autumn look.

Regardless of the weather, I tend to favor full-length leggings over cropped styles. (Is it me, or are they just more flattering?)

So, to make things autumnal, I went for this gorgeous olive green color. It’s muted enough to match almost anything, but it is a nice change of pace from typical black or gray pairs. Don’t get me wrong, though, I still *love* my grays.

White is my favorite neutral, so I paired these leggings with a white cropped tank. Because the fabric is super smooth, this top is perfect for wearing with athletic-inspired looks. But, it also has ultra-skinny straps, so it’s still feminine–not overpowering–which I love.

These two pieces work perfectly together in my opinion. The high-waist on the athletic pants elongates the legs while also compensating for the crop top’s lack of coverage. It’s definitely a silhouette I can see myself rocking all season long and into the next (with various jackets, sweaters and scarves, of course).

When I ordered these Free People leggings, I was a little nervous they may not fit 100 percent because they are only available in two sizes (XS/S and M/L). It turns out, these are some of the most comfortable leggings I’ve ever worn!

I love that they’re impossibly soft and stretch with my body, yet supportive enough to get me through some my fav workouts, including cycling and pilates. They’re perfecting for taking from the streets to the gym, and I cannot wait to get them in another color (or two).

To top off the look I added a pair of classic white vans with a tan sole. These are definitely my go-to shoes when I need something both stylish and practical. I love that the athleisure trend has made supportive sneakers part of a fashionable wardrobe.

I skipped jewelry and accessories all-together, as I typically do with my athletic-inspired looks. My style tends to be minimal most of the time, anyway.

Shop my look:

Cropped tank, Free People, $20

Leggings, Free People, $68

Shoes, Vans, $55

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In the fight against fast fashion, one of our most powerful tools is American-made and U.S.-based fashion. Once centered in New York’s Garment District, U.S.-based retailers are popping up in Los Angeles and gaining massive fanbases.

As they cater to a younger, more stylish crowd than many New York-manufactured retailers (such as Nanette Lepore), this new wave of American fashion is changing the scope of the industry for the better–they’re alternatives to both fast fashion *and* traditional high-end labels that tend to be outdated and impractical.

Below, I’ve gathered five of my favorite U.S.-based retailers whose pieces have earned their place in my day-to-day wardrobe.

Top and trousers both by Reformation

Are You Am I: A favorite among bloggers, Are You Am I was founded by a blogger herself named Rumi Neely, also known as “fashiontoast”. This collection of upscale, not-so-basic basics puts a younger, more modern spin on must-have pieces like plain white t’s, bodysuits and day-to-night dresses.

Backbite: If you’re a vintage lover like me, look no further than Backbite, an LA-based, online-only thrift shop. It’s no secret that the best vintage is found in large cities like LA and New York, but for those of us who live outside these metropolitan areas, reliable vintage shops are few and far between. Thankfully, there’s the Internet.

In addition to stunning, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, Backbite also specializes in unique in-house designs. Personally, I am a huge fan of their vintage-t’s-turned-bodysuits. Plus, it’s run by a team of boss babe BFFs who put SO much attention to detail into their work.

Like most good vintage, their pieces are on the pricier side, so be sure to sign up for their mailing list and follow @backbite_ on IG for updates on the shop’s sales and giveaways!

Minimale Animale: So, this one isn’t technically fashion; it’s solely swimwear. But, I just had to include it because these smokin’ hot ‘kinis and one-pieces are designed and manufacturing right here in the U.S. of A. I am a huge fan of this label for so many reasons, but the fact that it is U.S.-based is at the top of the list.

The simple, yet unique designs set these swimsuits apart from the rest. Inspired by old-school swimwear of the 1980s and 90s and ultra-skimpy, Minimale Animale stands out for all the right reasons. They will make you wish for summer all year long.

Reformation: Impossibly chic but far from trendy, Reformation, another LA-based shop, is the antidote to a world plagued by fast fashion retailers. No matter their personal style, it seems It girls everywhere love this eco-friendly retailer.

Founded in 2009 on the basis of sustainability, Reformation offers both seasonal and timeless pieces that can be styled for a multitude of occasions from the office to happy hour and beyond. And like I said, they’ve got something for your steez, be it preppy, boho, athleisure or anything in between!

Revice: Good denim is a necessity no matter what. But surprisingly, a great pair of jeans is hard to find nowadays. The first time I ever put on a pair of jeans from Revice, however, I was so pleasantly surprised because they are suspiciously comfortable and couldn’t be more flattering.

With a quality pair of vintage or vintage-inspired jeans costing upwards of $100 today, Revice Denim’s prices really can’t be beat. And although killer denim is definitely worth investing in, their prices range from about $58 to $98, so Revice won’t break the bank.

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I *refuse* to believe summer is coming to an end; thankfully, it is still super hot where I live in northern New Jersey. While nights may be slightly chilly, they are still plenty warm enough to wear breezy blouses and sandals.

For a night out in New York City last week, I opted for this feminine top and vintage denim combo. Normally I stay away from florals because they tend to appear babyish, but the pattern of this blouse in particular is just right. The warm, coppery color palette, paired with a low-cut neckline and a cropped fit, puts a sexier spin on the traditionally whimsical pattern–especially when I added a lacy bralette underneath.

To dress down this femme, flow-y top, I paired them with my go-to vintage Levi’s I bought in LA at the beginning of the summer. The light wash looks great with absolutely everything, and the tight fit is sleek and flattering, which helps to downplay the thick, quality denim used to make these bad boys.

Although the event wasn’t super dressy–after all, I wore jeans!–I still wanted a little height, so I chose my fuchsia slides. The rubbery texture and chunky block heel make these shoes comfortable and practical, but they’re still eye-catching and lots of fun, day or night.

No night out is complete without a bold lip color! On this night I went for Baby Girl from Kylie Cosmetics. It’s a girly (yet mature) coral-pink shade that’s muted and matte–not overbearing or distracting. And because it’s a liquid lipstick, there’s little need to touch it up throughout the night. I rarely go for a matte lip, but this one tied the entire look together perfectly.

Shop my look:

Blouse, Rat & Boa, $85

Bralette, thrifted

Jeans, thrifted

Shoes, Free People, $45

Clutch, Louis Vuitton (from my Neverfull MM)

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