a simple, [mostly] homemade beauty routine

beauty IIHi, my name is Erin and I have a confession: I’ve gone all-out hippie. I always smell of herbs (not those herbs)  and I dream about composting and layering ethnic fabrics all over my home. I prefer to sit on floor cushions and would rather drink kombucha than a margarita. Well, most of the time.

Hand-in-hand with my crunchy tendencies go my green-and-clean beauty routines. For the past year I’ve been working hard to detoxify my beauty and body care products, and the more I research it, the more I love it. I’ve gone from purchasing products to making my own, and not only is it saving my money but my skin is reaping the benefits. Let me tell you a little about what I’ve been doing lately.

In the mornings I wake up, drink some water, and make myself a mug of apple cider vinegar tonic. Inspired entirely by my friend Jane at Raw Milk Marathon, I boil water and measure out 1 Tbsp. unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp. local honey and a few dashes of a cinnamon-tumeric combo, plus some fresh grated ginger if I have it. That, plus 8 oz. hot water, makes a stimulating tea that tastes exactly like hot apple cider and does incredible things for my digestion and clears up my morning brain fog. Take note of this, because it’s remarkable: digestion affects skin. Isn’t that crazy? It’s amazing, and I learned it from Liz Wolfe’s Skintervention Guide.

Whenever I remember in the mornings I like to do a quick lymphatic massage and some dry brushing to stimulate circulation and wake my body up. I’ll usually splash my face with water or a spritz of a toner, then moisturize and add makeup, if necessary for the day.

The bulk of my cleansing happens in the evenings. I cleanse my face with the oil — not surprisingly, it’s called the Oil Cleansing Method — using only hemp oil these days. To oil cleanse, you simply massage a small amount of oil into the skin on your face, then steam the skin with a washcloth soaked in warm/hot water. The warm washcloth opens the pores and will also eventually help remove the excess oil. I do this cycle a couple of times before gently wiping my face with the washcloth and finally splashing my face with warm water.

For a while I was using a combination of olive oil, castor oil and tea tree essential oil, which worked well enough, but I was craving some experimentation and hemp oil fit the bill. I’ve also cleansed with straight jojoba oil and coconut oil before, and those were also good alternatives — I still remove mascara and other stubborn makeup with coconut oil. After cleansing I spray on a toner, like Lovely Lady Everlasting toner or a homemade apple cider vinegar toner (from the Skintervention Guide). Now I’m spritzing with plain orange blossom water and it’s incredibly refreshing.beauty III

To moisturize, I apply some more hemp oil or any variety of salves and oils I have stockpiled. I have a bottle of Tarte Maracuja Oil that I like, a little tub of Green Pastures Beauty Balm, some Lovely Lady Everlasting-Argan Immortelle Facial Nutrient, and a tin of Zum Rub in frankincense & myrrh. They are all different and beneficial for different situations, but lately I’ve been using the Zum Rub exclusively to combat breakouts and it’s worked really well. Speaking of which, I use tea tree or lavender essential oils for spot treatments or a dab of Primal Life Organics Banished Primal Blemish Serum for more serious breakouts. (Which are, thankfully, rare these days.)

I exfoliate my face gently with baking soda, and I exfoliate the rest of me with dry brushing before the shower and my homemade coffee scrub while in the shower. I wash my body with Dr. Bronner’s liquid castille soap or an herbal-infused Lovely Lady bar, and moisturize with Everyday Shea unscented shea butter lotion or plain coconut oil.

I brush my teeth with homemade tooth powder and finish with a swish of hydrogen peroxide and flossing.

My deodorant is another homemade concoction, made with coconut oil, baking soda and lavender + orange essential oils. I recently won some goodies from Primal Pit Paste and I’m eagerly awaiting their arrival in the mail.

Every Sunday evening I try to make the time to apply a cleansing mask, and for a few minutes I feel like I’m at a spa. My current favorite mask  is a mix of equal parts clay, cocoa powder and maca powder, combined with water. Find the recipe here. In the evenings I also try to drink some herbal tea — I love Traditional Medicinals brand Detox tea and Roasted Dandelion tea — for its relaxing and liver detoxifying qualities. Quality sleep and regular liver detox can also help with skin health and vitality.

But, above all, a healthy diet and good stress management are key to maintaining good skin. I take a few supplements here and there to help out with the process, but by keeping my food in check, my rest plentiful, and my reactions to stressful situations positive, I can manage skin health and rely less and less on products. Because really, natural beauty is truly the most beautiful!

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wake-me-up coffee scrub

SONY DSCI can feel a metaphor in here somewhere. Sloughing off the old to make way for the new, shedding dull skin for fresh growth, rebirth. Somehow the creation of this exfoliant is inextricably linked with where I am currently. Our movers come next week, and shortly after I will ship my car and take one final Ikea trip. By the end of next month, we’ll be out of here and on our way to our new home.

And in this transition phase I am feeling itchy, emotionally. All of the plans, the time crunch, our belongings packed hither and thither are rubbing me the wrong way and I am not reacting as gracefully as I wish I could. I’m starting to rely much to heavily on afternoon screenings of Parks & Rec and homemade waffles — too much of a good thing can be, well, too muchSONY DSC

But looking at all that’s around and all that’s ahead makes me excited for what’s next. It’s multi-faceted, filled with travel and simplicity, living with less.

Through it all it’s good to remember to pause, to take care of myself. I made this scrub out of things I already had around the house, and although it cost very little to make when I first used it I felt a sense of luxury and relaxation I hadn’t experienced in a while. Something about the warm coffee aroma mixed with the cloves spice reminded me of my college coffee shop and the mornings I would spend there after my early Spanish class, working on a big cup of black coffee, an apple and a granola bar. I knew the regulars, imagined their stories, watched the food service workers unload the trucks at the back of the cafeteria and listened to the baristas banter over opening chores. It was my ritual every Monday-Wednesday-Friday to sit near a window or out on the patio if the weather was nice and watch the campus wake up.

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In a way, I am on my way to waking up. Through this hurricane of change and preparation my sense of curiosity has been blunted by the all-too-present “to do list.” The pressing needs of the immediate moment smother the desire for adventure, the task right in front of me — wash and pack the linens, post the piano to Craigslist, take a load of books to the thrift store — takes precedence over what I’ve been dreaming about.

Standing in the shower, scrubbing the rough patches of skin on my elbows and knees, I thought about the me of four years ago, lonely and lost on the patio of a cafe, clinging with my little hands to a buoy of ritual. And now, clinging to some semblance of familiarity, of comfort, to transition into the newest phase, I see so much of what was to be in that person.

I still have some of the same rough patches, some of the same feelings of being lost in a great big ocean of “shoulds.” But in the same way that cicadas shed their skins when the seasons change, slipping out of the old for a fresh perspective, I’m seeing a little of the same transformation.SONY DSC

Wake-Me-Up Coffee Scrub

1 c. dry coffee, finely ground

1 c. coconut oil or your favorite liquid oil: jojoba, hemp, olive…

15-20 drops clove essential oil

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

To melt the coconut oil, place the sealed jar in a sink of warm water until the oil liquifies. Measure out desired about (one half to one cup) and shake in 15-20 drops of clove essential oil. Cypress or another earthy, spicy scent would be delicious and equally stimulating to the circulatory system.

In a separate bowl, sift together coffee grounds and spices. Stir into oils with a non-metal spatula until smooth. Pour into a jar and keep in your shower — the steam and hot water will liquify the coconut oil if it solidifies in a cold bathroom.

Apply anywhere that needs a good scrubbing or a boost in circulation and massage into skin in wide, circular motions.

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Additionally, I just found out that today is National Coffee Day — fortuitous, as I had no knowledge of said holiday before I drafted this post! This morning I’m drinking a variation of butter coffee, this time with coconut oil, Pure Indian Foods Digestive Ghee, grass-fed gelatin and a little dab of local honey, all blended up until frothy and perfect. This is my version of a pumpkin spice latte, and I definitely prefer it to the over-priced, over-sweetened version from Starbucks. What are you drinking this morning?

a how-to on coconut butter

I love anything and everything coconut, but it’s the velvety texture and concentrated flavor of coconut butter that puts it at the top of my “favorites” list. So silky and smooth, so naturally sweet and creamy, I use coconut butter on everything from desserts to sweet potatoes, in smoothies, or as a snack straight from the jar with a spoon. There is one ingredient – shredded, unsweetened dried coconut – and from that single ingredient comes the perfect condiment for a healthy lifestyle.
The most important thing is to use a large food processor, like a Cuisinart 11-cup processor. It is big enough to handle a high volume of coconut butter and has enough power to grind the shredded coconut into a smooth, buttery sauce in under 10 minutes.

Add in 3 c. shredded, unsweetened coconut, set your timer for 10 minutes, start your food processor, and walk away. You may need to stop the machine once or twice to scrape down the sides of the container (use a butter knife for this), but you’ll know when the coconut butter has reached the right consistency when you hear it. That’s right, the sound will change from a dull and difficult whirring to something more liquid-y, sloppy, like waves sloshing up against a sea wall. That’s when your coconut butter has reached the most beautiful, pourable, drizzle-able consistency. Scrape every last drop into a glass jar and let cool before sealing tightly. Store in the refrigerator.

If you want, you can make a batch of candy cups out of pure coconut butter, hardened in the freezer for a few minutes until firm. They would be delicious with a little added honey, some scraped vanilla bean, coconut flakes or, like mine above, some chia and hemp seeds. These make a great pre-workout energy source, or a satiating afternoon snack with a cup of coffee. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll eat three at 10 p.m. and then hide the wrappers in the deep recesses of the trash can. This is a regret-free food, so chow down.

chocolate coconut butter cups

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I’m almost loathe to thank the various bloggers that pointed me in the direction of these cups. They are delicious, and the perfect size for a little snack. But they’re so healthy — I mean, coconut oil? Dutch process cocoa powder? Raw organic honey?? — that it’s hard to justify eating only one, meaning that it’s too easy to justify eating them all. Nonetheless, thanks to Alison at Mama’s Weeds for turning me onto these homemade chocolate cups by Lisa at Thrive-Style. There you’ll find a zillion variations on the homemade peanut butter cup, including ones made with sunbutter, added coconut and other goodies.

I made my first batch with almond butter and they were scrumptious — also they were gone in two days. Whoops. I decided to try a non-nutty variation on the theme, using homemade coconut butter as my base, mixed with a little more coconut oil and vanilla extract, and topped with some raw coconut oil “chocolate.” I sweetened my first batch of almond butter cups with maple syrup, and I tried a couple tablespoons of raw unfiltered honey with the coconut butter batch — the sweetener you use all depends on your taste, as I’ve seen these made with stevia and xylitol and everything in between.

You may be thinking something along the lines of: why is eating oil healthy for me? Why should I be ingesting FAT?

Certain types of fats are really, really good for us. Coconut oil in particular is a form of saturated fat, which all comes down to how the lipids are arranged in the oil’s chemical composition. Saturated fats, when safely and correctly derived from natural sources, provide the nourishment our bodies need to feed our brains, keep our cells intact, and moisturize from within. Additionally, coconut oil is a great source of lauric acid, which has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that help fight infections, clear up skin, and generally improve our health. For more information on what a ballin’ superfood coconut oil is, check out the research and peer-reviewed papers on this website. And, according to Dr. Mary Enig, an expert on lipids and a pioneer of lipid research, eating fats like coconut oil can actually help you lose fat.

I like these little coconutty-chocolate bites in the afternoon, as a little dessert treat after lunch. They’re also a great pre-workout snack, as the coconut oil provides a source of sustained energy for physical activity without weighing your stomach down with carbs or sugar. Plus, I think they’re pretty cute, and I imagine I’ll be making some of these for Valentine’s day in little heart-shaped molds.

Speaking of Valentine’s day, I’m beginning to understand that I love this holiday more than I ever thought I did. It’s not because I get to express my love for my husband, my family, etc. — I get to do that every day. It’s not because of the chocolate or the roses because, to be honest, that doesn’t really happen on my version of Valentine’s day. I think it has to do with all of the fun heart-shaped things and the red and pink and the option to make your own cards. I’m getting really into heart-shaped things lately, and I’m looking forward to letting the obsession loose come February 14th. Who’s with me?

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Chocolate Coconut Butter Cups

homemade coconut butter

6+ Tbsp. coconut oil

4 heaping Tbsp. cocoa powder

2 Tbsp. raw honey

splash of vanilla extract

small candy papers, like those you’d find with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

To make coconut butter, simply grind the heck out of shredded unsweetened coconut flakes in a food processor until smooth and creamy. For the candy cups, combine about 4 Tbsp. coconut butter with 2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil and mix until combined. Stir in 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. Spoon out a dollop into the bottom of each paper wrapper and place in the freezer until hardened.

Meanwhile, melt an additional 6 Tbsp. coconut oil and stir in 4 heaping Tbsp. Dutch process cocoa powder (I used Droste’s brand). Mix in 2 Tbsp. honey or sweetener of your choice, to taste, and another little splash of vanilla extract. Spoon into paper wrappers over the hardened coconut butter layer, top with cocoa nibs/coconut/hemp seeds/sprinkles as desired, and put them back into the freezer until hardened. I find it works best to use a small tray or a flat plate to keep the candies from sliding all over the place. These harden quickly in the freezer as coconut oil is a solid at room temperature, but because of that fact it is also best to store them in the fridge or freezer after the initial hardening.

Thanks to Thrive-Style for the inspiration!

going paleo

As much as I love being a part of a community, a bit of myself hates labels. “Gluten-free,” “vegan,” “raw foodist” — all of these are so exclusionary. Granted, many people become these things for health or moral reasons that I wouldn’t think of disputing, but there is a certain level of elitism in having the luxury to pick and choose exactly what you eat at all times. Yet on the flip side, too many of us are too willing to eat anything, no matter what kind of toxins or poisons are disguised within. Reading about nutrition, and specifically the paleo/primal approach, has taught me that we can all use a little awareness in our lives, especially when it comes to what we put in our mouths.

Have you ever taken the time to look at the labels on the cans and cartons you pick up at the grocery store? I mean, really looked at the ingredients? Not just the carbs, sodium levels, and fats on the nutrition information, because that’s all so skewed in our minds anyway. But the ingredients — like Vitamin A palmitate, thiamine mononitrate, malodextrin, modified corn starch, or guar gum — they aren’t really foods. They are parts of foods, chemical compounds and lab-derived extracts, that our bodies don’t readily absorb or recognize as nutrients. (All of these ingredients mentioned are found in so-called “healthy” frozen meals and nut milks.)

Veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds, pastured eggs and good quality meats, however, aren’t as difficult to shop for in that respect — although another aspect of the game comes with sourcing and budgeting for these things. Buying and eating whole foods cuts out the guessing game because there are no additives or preservatives to worry about. The paleo/primal approach to eating champions these foods because of their wholesomeness, their nutrient-density, and their digestibility. This approach also advises the avoidance of grains, sugars and dairy products because of their indigestibility and their high toxicity, thanks to modern processing methods — but this approach isn’t so much about what to avoid as what to enjoy. It’s about what  these foods do for your body. Read more about it here and here and here.

I’ve been experimenting with paleo/primal cooking and eating for about six months now, at about 70% effort. And I love it. I feel stronger, healthier, cleaner and brighter. I’ve kicked most of my cravings for sugary, carby treats (thanks also to the IQS program) and I’ve slimmed down because of it. My struggle with low blood sugar mood swings and energy levels — thanks to what I think is a mild case of hypoglycemia — has nearly vanished. My meager attempts at physical fitness are enhanced by these foods, and my skin and hair are smoother. All because of grass-fed meats, lots of green veggies, macadamia nuts, coconut milk, eggs every way, avocados, roast chicken with delicious crispy skin, homemade broth, wild-caught fish, berries, some red wine and the occasional dark chocolate treat.

That being said, I’m ready to commit fully. I’m ready to quit this “side gig” stuff and dive headlong into a paleo life. There’s a Whole30 challenge starting up this month on Jan. 1, where a community of fitness foodies are committing to 30 days of clean paleo/primal foods. I’m joining up and I’m so excited to try this thing with 100% effort. I’ll be documenting what’s happening with me and my food for any of you that are interested, and at the end I’m hoping to show off some stellar results, and hopefully some positive changes in my body composition and skin.

Plus, I’ve had a great Christmas and New Year holiday at home with my family, and I haven’t had any problem sampling the yummy things everyone has been making. I’m taking about plenty of mama’s cherry pie, buffalo hot wing dip, chocolate peanut clusters, chocolate chip cookies, Camembert cheese, spicy barbecue chips and late night ice cream. I certainly don’t feel guilty about any of this because I enjoyed it all…but I do feel physically a little worse for wear. The Whole30 will hopefully give me a re-set and start me off for a successful year of paleo/primal vibrance.

Think about it — the benefit of eating whole, nutrient-dense foods grossly outweighs the temporary pleasure of eating a nutrient-sucking chocolate chip cookie, even if it does taste like heaven. But it all pays off in the long term with increased strength, vitality, and most importantly, the release from our strange, twisted food phobias and diet fixations. What a great joy it is to savor a buttery grass-fed steak, roasted sweet potatoes, steamed broccolini with sesame seeds and a spicy glass of Malbec, and to feel great because of it!

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I included the link to some great paleo/primal resources above, but there are plenty of awesome blogs out there that provide a realistic, everyday look at living life with an ancestral diet. Some of my favorites include Nom Nom Paleo, The Clothes Make the Girl, PaleOMG, and Health-Bent, just to name a few. If you’re interested, check out the links for more comprehensive info and mouthwatering recipes. And don’t forget to check back later this week for my first Whole30 week roundup of good eats and healthy habits!

decadent coconut buttercream frosting

SONY DSCI’ve had a great time playing around with my giant jar of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil the past few weeks, and it has been my goal to try some new recipes with it outside from my usual frying/roasting coconut oil use. I’ve tried my hand at homemade coconut oil chocolate, and although the consistency was good I didn’t add enough sweetener. The Dutch process cocoa I added was bitter and the stevia was slight — next time, more stevia!

coconut oil chocolateI baked a yummy coconut cake last week using coconut oil instead of butter/shortening, which not only imparted a moist, tender crumb but allowed the cake to fit into paleo guidelines. The frosting that went along with the cake was a little lacking in the flavor and texture department, to my taste at least, so I decided to try my hand at making my own coconut buttercream frosting.

SONY DSCThe concept is a simple one: there are such things as coconut butter and coconut cream, so why not combine the two to create — you guessed it — coconut buttercream?

SONY DSCI started by pureeing 1.5 cups of shredded unsweetened coconut in my food processor. Turn the thing on high and let it whirl until your coconut looks something like the consistency above. Add in 2 Tbsp. coconut oil and a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and blend away again. Continue to puree until you can’t stand the sound anymore, and until the coconut is as smooth as possible.

SONY DSCAdd in about a half cup of coconut cream — that’s the solid, creamy stuff at the top of a can of coconut milk. You can also purchase cartons of coconut cream at some stores, but make sure there’s no added sugar and the least amount of added preservatives as possible. Blend and blend and puree some more until everything is smooth and soft. Depending on how watery or firm your coconut cream is, it may be necessary to stir in more shredded coconut or even a sprinkle or two of coconut flour to soak up excess liquid. You can also put your buttercream in the fridge for a bit to firm up before icing any number of cakes or treats.

SONY DSCIf you prefer your frosting to be a little more sweet, add in a spoonful of  maple syrup or a pinch of stevia, depending on your taste and your preference for sweeteners. I like this without any sugar, personally, as the coconut flavors really shine. Plus, no added sugar means I don’t feel bad about sneaking a scoop here and there for my midmorning snack.

If this sounds right up your alley as a healthy-yet-decadent treat, what would you put it on? A traditional cupcake? Or something wacky like a chunk of celery or a spicy curry? Let me know, I’m always curious!

And don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a jar of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil — sign up for their newsletter and check out their Facebook page for more goodies. I’ll choose a winner at random on Monday.

Tropical Traditions product review + giveaway {{CLOSED}}

{{ this giveaway is closed — thanks for your participation! }}SONY DSC

If you spent any time in my kitchen, you might be astonished at how many uses I could find for coconut oil. Since making a major change in my cooking and nutritional awareness, I’ve switched almost entirely to coconut oil as my go-to oil for everything from roasting to baking. It’s amazing in its performance and its components — full of lauric acid and plenty of healthy saturated fats, coconut oil is my kitchen MVP.

So imagine my pleasure when Tropical Traditions offered to send me a jar of their highest rated Gold Label Extra Virgin Coconut Oil to sample and review. Below are my thoughts, and as a reward for getting through all of the words there’s a bit about a Tropical Traditions-sponsored giveaway at the bottom. Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. But now, a word from our sponsor:

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

THE SENSES

smell: After first opening the jar I was struck by the intensity of the coconut smell. Unlike many coconut oils I’ve used, this has neither a neutral smell of an oil bleached and sterilized, nor does it smell as sweet as others — somehow, it smells authentic. Like a real coconut, plucked from a tree and hacked open on site. If you’ve ever cut open your own coconut, you may understand what I mean. There’s a raw, almost soured scent that comes with a coconut, and although this certainly isn’t unpleasant it does take a little getting used to when you’re accustomed to “coconut”-flavored products or the raw coconut’s distant step-sister, sweetened flaked coconut. I use some of Tropical Traditions’s beauty products in addition to their coconut oil, and these have the same sort of aroma. I imagine it has something to do with the way the coconut is processed — minimally — and how fresh the original product is from the get-go.

(Specifically, this particular brand of the Tropical Traditions coconut oil — their Gold Label variety — is special for many reasons: It is hand-milled in the traditional way by families in the Philippines, done so without expeller-pressing machines or bleaching or hydrogenation, and therefore retains the coconut scent and flavor and all of the nutrition that comes with it.)

taste: The coconut oil has a kind-of-funky taste, but only insomuch as it corresponds with the smell described above. Again, the slightly savory-sour flavor from the virgin coconut is a bit odd to get used to, but I understand why it is the way it is having experienced a real coconut before. I’m in the habit of taking a spoonful of coconut oil every day, often to sustain energy in between meals, and knowing how authentic and pure this coconut oil was kept me going back for more.

touch: Unlike many coconut oils, which can be chunky or have hard flecks of actual coconut, this oil is silky smooth. When solid at room temperature, the oil has an almost flaky consistency like any good shortening in a pie crust. Through all of my sampling, I have yet to encounter any stray solids in this jar, and I think that this texture is one of my favorite characteristics of this brand.

see: It’s white and creamy and as inviting as a jar of buttercream frosting. Tropical Traditions sent me an immense quart jar of the stuff, and I admit I couldn’t have been happier when I unwrapped the package to find this waiting for me. Think of how many sweet potatoes I could roast and how many eggs I could fry!

uses: I have used this coconut oil for frying, sauteeing, roasting, greasing a pan, baking a cake and making coconut buttercream, moisturizing my cuticles and, via a tablespoon to my mouth, providing a quick burst of long-lasting energy.

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Overall, I trust Tropical Traditions as a reliable, responsible company with a wide range of products and great customer service. I first found out about them when I started researching coconut oil-based beauty products this summer. I ordered one of their face creams and a rose-scented body lotion, and happily used them to keep my skin hydrated and free of chemicals. I usually use plain coconut oil on my face and skin, but a jar of oil is not the most reliable thing the travel with, especially in the heat of the summer. Thankfully, my new moisturizers were exactly what I was looking for.

I’m happy to report that the Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is as high quality as I expected. Because their company is passionate about spreading the good news of the coconut, Tropical Traditions is sponsoring a giveaway on my blog today!

To enter, simply sign up for their newsletter, and leave a comment telling me you did so. For an extra entry, visit the Tropical Traditions site and tell me what product is your favorite — they have everything from coconut vinegars and baking products to organic products and grass-fed meat and dairy. I’ll choose a winner on Monday and Tropical Traditions will mail you your very own jar of their Gold Label Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. You have until next Monday at midnight to enter, and unfortunately this giveaway is open only to readers in the continental U.S.

Thanks again to Tropical Traditions for the sample and for the giveaway — stay posted for some upcoming coconut recipes and more!