5 Easy Ways to Incorporate Wellness

allison mcnamara wellness tips

allison mcnamara wears white eyelet storets dress and mustard satin Zara sandals wellness tips

allison mcnamara white eyelet storets dress red hair wellness tips

allison mcnamara wears white eyelet dress by storets with red hair wellness tips crystal healing

white eyelet storets dress with nantucket basket bag and mustard satin sandals from Zara

allison mcnamara wellness tips white eyelet dress and woven nantucket basket bag

I know this sounds a bit cheesy, but ever since turning 30 earlier this year I’ve noticed a big personal shift towards wellness. I’ve always been health conscious–I stick to a consistent workout routine and (try to) eat clean as often as I can–but recently I’ve been focused on both mental and physical wellness. I’ve been noticing myself gravitating towards self help and personal growth books, investing more in things that make me happy, and making more time for myself. I’ve been taking notes from women who inspire me too, and incorporating their wellness tips and tricks into my routine. Below are my five favorite wellness tips right now.

1. Morning Meditation

I used to be one of those people that snoozed a billion times and woke up at the very last second before I had to get ready. After reading The Miracle Morning (which I highly suggest) I started creating my own peaceful morning routine. I like to get up, have a glass of lemon water, start brewing coffee, and then settle into my living room to meditate. I have been using the Headspace app, which I also highly recommend, and it’s made my entire meditating journey really enjoyable and easy. I started meditating for three minutes a day and now I’m up to 10, and I even meditate at night sometimes as well! It’s really helped me slow down, de-stress, and start my day off in a really positive way. 

2. Adaptogenic Powders

I’ll be honest, when I first heard about adaptogens over a year ago, I rolled my eyes. I even did a spoof on Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP detox here. But after doing the GOOP cleanse, I quickly saw the beautiful benefits of Ashwagandha, He Shu Wu, Maca and Cordyceps. Like most, I get spells of major anxiety. Sometimes it would be over the silliest things too, like a slightly off-putting email that made me feel uneasy. I’ve noticed incorporating adaptogens into my morning smoothie or tea routine has leveled out my nerves and makes me feel more calm and level-headed, and better suited to handle less comfortable situations. I’ve been using powders from Moon Juice, but Sun Potion has nice options too! You can also take these in the pill form if that’s more conducive to your lifestyle.

3. Crystal Healing

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, one thing I’ve learned most people agree on are the laws of energy. About two years ago I discovered the powers of crystal healing and I’ve not looked back since! Now I’m not saying to go all Spencer Pratt and spend your life savings on crystals (because weirdly, it’s possible–they aren’t cheap!) but I do encourage you to find a store that sells them and see if and what speaks to you. I personally like perusing the isles at House of Intuition. You’ll notice that some crystals stand out to you, and I encourage you to read the captions of what the crystals that speak to you help with or represent. You’ll be surprised just how accurate your instincts are. I like to have little bowls of crystals all around the house. I love green calcite and clear quartz, amethyst and rose quartz. I also carry around a black tourmaline stone to help ward off bad energy. 

4. Bath + Candle Nights

Sometimes we forget that some of the most relaxing, luxurious things are right at home! Never underestimate the power and calming capabilities of a good soak. There are a few things that make bath time even better. First, a good Spotify station (I like Tycho and The XX because they are so calm and play some of my favorite songs. Second, delicious bath oils and salts. I like to sprinkle Herbivore CALM bath salts in the tub along with my favorite essential oils, like lavender (which promotes restful sleep) and bergamot (which helps us relax and destress.) And three, a yummy candle! There’s something about bathing in candle light that feels like the most luxurious thing in the world to me, and my signature candle scent is Pommes Frites Teakwood and Tobacco candle.  I swear a bath a week is good for the soul. 

5. Infared Saunas

I recently got to go to Sweat by Skintuition in Woodland Hills, CA and I was instantly hooked. I did my first 60 minute session inside the infrared sauna and it was life changing! As someone who works out 4-5 times a week, I’m no stranger to sweating, but this is a different type of sweat. You don’t get all sweaty right away either, it takes a minute because this type of heat heats up the inside of your body. At Sweat, you get your own private sauna too and it has chromotherapy too! I might do a whole post on that next… The sessions are $45 and the benefits include skin rejuvenation, detoxification, relaxation, weight loss, stress relief, improved circulation and lower blood pressure. Sounds fab right? Definitely see if there is one near you!

Dress by Storets

Sandals by Zara similar ones here

Vintage bag, similar one here

Photos by Elaine Torres

SHOP MY LOOK

That Highlight ✨

Allison Mcnamara highlighter no makeup makeup look that highlight sephora

 

Allison McNamara highlighters no makeup makeup routine that highlight video

Today’s post is super exciting because I’ve teamed up with SEPHORA (omg) to show you guys my five minute, everyday makeup look. My mantra is clean, beautiful skin that glows, so I prefer spending time accentuating my skin and adding gorgeous highlighters instead of covering it up with heavy foundations. Highlighters are my thang, and I’m sharing my three fave highlighters below so you can get #THATHIGHLIGHT too.

Obviously, a good skincare routine is key. But today is all about the glow. Watch my hyper lapse video below, and shop my fave products at Sephora! And of course, if you like this post LMK in the comments so I can do more!

xx

PRODUCTS USED

Becca First Light Primer

NARs concealer in Chantilly and Vanilla

Tarte Pro Glow Palette 

Becca Creme Highlighter in Pearl

Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel in Espresso

Lancome Hypnose Mascara

YSL Beauty Shine Lip in #12 Coral Incandescent

6 Tips For Healthy Red Hair

Allison McNamara red hair healthy red hair tips

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am a new brand ambassador for L’Oréal’s Ever Pure line of hair products! I really adore this line, so this partnership is the perfect fit. Watch on to hear my six healthy red hair tips so you can keep your red, (or your color-treated hair) looking as fresh and gorgeous as possible. And, shop my fave L’Oréal products below.

SHOP MY FAVE L’ORÉAL PRODUCTS

L’Oréal Ever Pure Shampoo
L’Oréal Ever Pure Conditioner
L’Oréal Ever Pure 10 in 1 Elixir

Thank you L’Oréal for sponsoring this video.

Moroccan Backyard Party Decor For My 30th Birthday!

Moroccan Party Decor Allison mcNamara 30th Birthday

Allison McNamara Moroccan Party Decor 30th Birthday Bohemian Backyard

I can’t believe I just turned 30! I celebrated my 30th birthday on April 2 (go Aries!) with a bohemian backyard bash at home. I have been obsessed with Morocco for as long as I can remember–their patterned rugs, gorgeous mosaic tiling, lanterns, poufs… you name it, I love it. Ironically, it’s one of the few places that I haven’t been in this world. And while I plan on traveling to Morocco in the near future, I wanted to bring the spirit of Moroccan to my house in the form of gorgeous Moroccan party decor.

I was tempted to hire a party planner and rent Moroccan themed decor for the night, but after pricing things out I decided to do the decor myself and buy pieces I could use over and over again. We love entertaining in the backyard, so it made sense to buy practical pieces that will get future use for backyard parties! Below, a full breakdown of all the Moroccan party decor I purchased, along with my birthday outfit and fun thematic surprises we had throughout the night!

Moroccan party decor bohemian poufs rugs pillows moroccan decor

Moroccan party decor backyard party bohemian party

I knew I needed a killer rug for this deck. This main red rug was the one piece I didn’t buy for the party–it’s an old rug I borrowed from my dad (fingers crossed he doesn’t ask for it back!) I wanted to bring in pretty blues–my fave color–via pillows and decor rugs. See below on where to shop!

Ratan stools from TJMaxx Clearance, similar ones from IKEA here.

IKEA Furry Pillows

Cynthia Rowley Blue Pillows similar ones here

Natural Texture Pillow from Pottery Barn

Cynthia Rowley Moroccan Pillows similar from Anthropologie

Rosegold Lantern from World Market

Silver Lantern from IKEA

West Elm Blue Rug

Silver Tree Hanging Lanterns from World Market and here

Bohemian Moroccan decor backyard Allison mcNamara

I wanted a beautiful, bohemian long dress for my party! So I went with a long sleeve black number with gold stripes. 

Rachel Pally Dress

Raye the Label x Stone Cold Fox Shoes

Moroccan party decor bohemian backyard party hammock outdoor rugs poufs

The trees in the backyard have grown so full and tall, which is amazing! But it also makes it really hard to get grass to grow. I wanted to cover all the dirt with gorgeous rugs so people could sit and relax.

Black / red / colorful patterned rug found at Melrose Flea Market

Small Cream / Black Rug from Hobby Lobby similar rugs here

Red / Cream Rug with Fringe from Target

IKEA Jassa flatwoven rug

IKEA ratan fringe rug

Natural poufs from Target

Furry poufs from Hobby Lobby

Hammock from Etsy

Glory of Henna Tattoos

I also hired a wonderful and mega talented henna artist, Glory of Henna, to do henna tattoos on all of my guests, along with Hookah machines to really get into the Moroccan spirit!

I hope you enjoyed this post on my Moroccan party decor for my 30th birthday! Let me know what you think in the comments below xx

 

The Ultimate Cuba Travel Guide!

Cuba Travel Diary Travel Guide Havana

CUBA TRAVEL GUIDE

It’s hard for me to put into words my week-long stint in Cuba this March. The closet I can get to embody the spirit of what I felt and saw can best be defined as magic. For me, Cuba holds a special place in my heart. I have long been a fan of the prolific and inimitable Ernest Hemingway, and knowing that he spent a vast majority of his adult life in Cuba piqued my interest years back. That, coupled with the fact that we as Americans legitimately weren’t allowed there for the past 50 years made my desire to go and see and experience this magical, forbidden place even greater.

Cuba Travel Diary Blue Vintage 1950s care Cuba

While I was away, I got so many messages from you guys on where to go, what to see, places to eat… so I decided to do a comprehensive travel guide on my seven days in Havana. I hope my Cuba travel guide helps you plan your trip to Cuba. And please let me know if you have any magical spots I need to check out on my next trip there!

Cuba Travel Guide Red Dress in Cuba

WHERE TO STAY:

Casa Particulars are basically AirBnB’s in Cuba. We booked one through AirBnB and man did we luck out! Our place was insanely huge and gorgeous. Two bedrooms, three bathrooms, three floors, a 70 foot wrap around patio, 10+ foot tall doors, a spiral staircase, a complete upstairs patio and an even higher third floor patio. We stayed in Centro Habana and this was the view we had from the street level, and below that is a view from our third floor balcony.

Cuba Travel Diary Centro Havana Streets

Cuba Travel Diary Rooftop centro havana sunset view

There are definitely pros and cons of staying here. Pros: close to everything and walking distance to Habana Vieja. It was nice not staying right in Habana Vieja because it’s so damn touristy and it’s right where the cruise ships let off, so every few days Habana Vieja was flooded with thousands of people! Centro Habana, where we were, is in between Old Havana and New Havana (Vedado) and our place was a stone throw away from the sea wall. I’d stay here again! Old Havana is beautiful and quaint too–the only place I wouldn’t want to stay is in Vedado.

Cuba Travel Guide Sea Wall Havana Cuba

The cons: not really anything however Centro Havana is in local territory and the locals don’t have a lot to do (but they are really friendly and harmless.) Therefore, they are up at all hours of the night and they are pretty damn loud. Also, no swimming pool which would have been nice on super hot days. If I had to stay at a hotel, I’d consider Hostal Valencia (hostels aren’t hostels in Cuba, they’re nice,) or somewhere with a pool.

ACTIVITIES:

Fabrica De Arte !!!! If you do one activity on my list, go here. It was so  much better than what I expected! It’s an insane art gallery filled with all different kinds of art, music, performances, movies–it really was stunning and my favorite thing the whole trip. Only open Wed – Sunday, go early.

Cuba travel Diary Fabrica De Arte Cuba

Walk along the sea wall at dusk, pure magic.

Be a tourist and take a ride in a classic car around town. Pick your favorite color and style and don’t pay more than 50 CUC for the hour.

Cuba Travel Diary Riding in Old Classic Vintage Car in Cuba

Hemingway House: I loved this so much! See Ernest Hemingway’s actual house outside of Cuba. About 35 minutes away and worth it. We had a delicious Hemingway Special cocktail at the bar and listened to salsa.

Cuba Travel Guide Hemingway House

Playa Santa Maria: close beach to Habana. Nice to get away from the city and relax. I want to host a Cuban beach clean-up because there was a decent amount of trash on the beach and it made me 🙁

Coconuts beach playa santa maria Cuba

Walking tour of Habana Vieja. We loved this! So worth it, and we learned a lot about Cuba’s history

Vinales: We did a day trip here. It’s 2.5 Hours in both directions. We went through the caves on a boat which was cool, went to a tobacco farm and learned how to roll cigars, and saw a botanical garden. The highlight here was our lunch. BEST MEAL IN CUBA! Paladar Barbaro, get the PORK. OMG!!!

Vinales White Dress

Cigar Tasting: We only did this in Vinales but I wish we had done it in Havana too. We went to a place right behind the Capitolo (you can’t miss it) on our last day, but it was closed!

Cuba Cigars Cuba Havana

Drive past the mansions in Miramar. The juxtaposition of poor v wealth in Cuba is fascinating considering it’s a socialist country

Walk around Centro Habana

Cuba Travel Diary Streets of Centra Habana Central HavanaShopping at Almancenes San Jose:  A huge market in a warehouse by the water near the cruise terminal. So much good, local, Cuba made goods here, including a ridiculous art section filled with some pretty incredible artwork. I brought home a killer abstract piece.

FOOD:

Despite what people say about the food being borderline terrible, we had some wonderful meals in Cuba, including the best fried pork Cassondra and myself have ever had. The biggest tip here is to go to paladars instead of state-run restaurants. Most paladars have the word “paladar” in the title, but at times, it can be hard to distinguish if a spot is a paladar or state-run. Paladars are family run and are Cuba’s small but steady pulse of capitalism. The families pay a tax to the government and they’re allowed to run their paladars like a business. Remember to not over order and try and finish your meals, because food in Cuba can be scare and some restaurants have to ration out their portions so they don’t run out.

One thing I wish I would have known is you need to  make reservations at the “hotspots” now. Who knew you’d need a rezzie in Cuba? I put * by the ones you should make a reservation at before you leave.

BREAKFAST:

el Cafe (Habana Vieja)  Super cute breakfast / lunch spot located close to the Capitolo. This was by far my favorite breakfast that we had. Only downside, it was super slow, as most things are in Cuba, but at least the building is cute with original colonial columns and tile floors.

5 Esqinas Trattorias (Habana Vieja) We adored this place! We got a huge breakfast for 4.50 cuc, not bad considering there was a whole buffet, coffee, fruit, and made-to-order eggs and bakey included.

Cafe Francesa (Centro Habana) Easy place to grab coffee and pan dulce or some other delicious sweet treat.

DRINKS / TAPAS:

Cafe Madrigal (Vedado)* The vibe here is so on point! An adorable paladar located in the second floor of a bright pink home with a very hipster, Williamsburg feel. Tapas style only, but we were obsessed with our Cuban chicken nuggets and tortilla with egg! Ambiance + piano player made this place a 10.

Hotel Saratoga (Capitolo) Where Beyonce stayed. Go up to the rooftop and check out the insane view!

Ambos Mudos (Habana Vieja) We loved the pina coladas so much here, we went twice! A gorgeous pink hotel where Ernest Hemingway lived in his 30s. A truly beautiful place, but very touristy. Head up to the roof for a gorgeous view of Havana and the sea wall, and order the pina colada special in the pineapple, you’re gonna die it’s so good!

Hotel Nacionale (Vedado) Spectacular hotel on the water where all the famous people stay. Worth it if just to walk around and enjoy the view. We almost stayed here and I’m very glad we didn’t. We also checked out the famous cigar room and the pool.

DINNER:

Sia Kara (Centro Habana) If you go to one restaurant on my list, go here! The food was phenomenal. This place has been around since the ’50s (or earlier) and has a really awesome island eclecticsm going on with the decor. At 11pm, they had the most fantastic salsa singer come in and we had so much fun singing and dancing the night away.

Los Nardos (Capitolo) A really delicious restaurant with all the local flavors, and very cheap. We went here for lunch but I’d go back but for dinner instead. The mood is very dark and vampy and makes you feel like you’re in pirates of the caribbean. There are 3 restaurants all next to each other, make sure you go to Los Nardos the whole way at the top.

El Dandy (Habana Vieja) Get the pulled pork tacos! We went here for both lunch and dinner. Cute and small.

Dos Pelotas (Centro Habana) The second best Cuban meal we had. Delicious little locals spot in Centro Habana that’s not to be missed! Get the fried pork pieces, mixed rice and yucca.

El Chancellero (Habana Vieja) Next door to el dandy. Amazing spot run by cool, young guys. Was the first “good” meal after a first day of not-so-good meals in Cuba. This place gets a crazy long line, but it’s worth the wait. I had the grilled fish and it was 💣

El Cocinero (Vedado)* Go here! But make a reservation. And go on a Friday or Saturday before going to Fabrica de Arte right next door. This place has an Asian-inspired menu and since I basically only really eat asian food at home, this place was very welcomed after a week of Cuban food. Ambiance is great too, sit on the patio.

Casa Migilas (Centro Habana) We were craving pasta and this place came to the rescue! Loved the decor of this spot too, colonial with a little bit of edge. I also had plantains and ice cream for desert and I’m still thinking about it.

We also went to: Rio Mar (in Vedado just OK) el Chansonnier (also in Vedado, just Ok.) Some spots we wanted to check out but couldn’t get in because we didn’t have reservations were Dona Eutimia and Paladar La Guardia (make recs for both!)

EXCHANGE RATES:

Since Cuba is a socialist country, they can decide what value currency has in their country. And since America isn’t on the best terms, they royally f*ck Americans on the exchange rate. 1 CUC = .87 American dollars. That being said, everything is still relatively cheap in Cuba. Drinks are 2-4 CUCs, meals are anywhere from 5 – 25 CUCs. The thing that will get ya are the damn taxis! Always negotiate. Also, Cuba has two currencies, one for tourists CUCs and one for locals Pesos. Pesos aren’t worth anything, 25 Pesos = 1 CUC. A major scam is that they give you back money in pesos instead of CUCs. CUCs have buildings on them and pesos have faces on them. This happened to me once, so annoying!

WIFI:

Ahh wifi. Legit hard to get. We went to Hotel Ingleterra and sat in the lobby using wifi cards that we peddled from guys off the street. Not very pleasant and also the wifi is slow, so try not to make it a priority unless you have to.

Another thing: download Galileo! It’s an offline map and you need to download the Cuba map specifically before you get there. You can search for restaurants and places then without wifi so you can get around! This was a huge lifesaver. 

My biggest piece of advice to you: go now, don’t wait. Go while it’s still fresh and untainted from American tourism… while there still isn’t wifi and cars from the ‘20s and ‘50s roll down Paseo del Prado by the plenty. Go while the markets are still filled with artisanal, hand-made goods made in Cuba by local craftsman. And see their ingenuity and creativity on how they reinvented, maintained, and created basic necessities from the meager products that were imported. I can’t wait to go back, but at the same time, I’m scared it will change.

Did you like my Cuba travel guide? Let me know in the comments along with any awesome places I should check out next time I’m in Cuba!