Whipped coconut body butter

I’ve made a huge effort over the past year to put less chemicals on my skin and use more natural products or less product.

I’ve always been known to wash my hair a lot. Sometimes twice a day because I felt like it would look greasy. That’s a lot of shampoo and conditioner over the year. After reading about the no poo method, I started cutting back on the washing, initially on the weekends to train my scalp to produce less oil. I am now down to shampooing my hair 1-2 times per week. That is a significant reduction in the amount of chemicals that I am putting on my head and washing down the drain into our water sources. I’m spending less money on shampoo and conditioner(that stuff isn’t cheap) and adding less garbage to the landfill.

Next, I knew I had to face my love of my inexpensive, chemical and synthetic laden moisturizer from the drug store and make a change. I initially tried to use straight coconut oil to moisturize. That didn’t work so well. In the summer it was liquid and messy. In the winter, it was hard as a rock and impossible to chisel out of the container. So, I went back to using my trusty pump bottle of lotion. Last week, I ran across a recipe for homemade whipped coconut body butter. By adding Vitamin E oil, many of the plain coconut oil issues resolved. It doesn’t get as hard and doesn’t really liquefy the same as straight coconut oil.

So I headed to Whole Foods to buy some Vitamin E oil. They has several options. I bought some Jason brand oil in the lowest concentration available(per the nice workers recommendation). I also bought some organic sweet orange oil to give it a light scent.

This is the recipe I used: Homemade Whipped Coconut Body Butter

My hard coconut oil, Vitamin E oil, sweet orange essential oil and a few drops of vanilla:

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Turn your mixer on high and let it whip for 6-7 minutes:

coconut2I stopped the mixer 2 times to scrape down the sides. At the end, my body butter looked like this:

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I transferred it into a glass container that I has previously used for a homemade body scrub:

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Put a lid on it and placed it in the bathroom:

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This stuff is seriously amazing. I may have been converted from a lotion lover to a coconut oil body butter believer. My skin is so soft. It takes a minute to fully soak in after applying, so you may need to wait a minute to get dressed, but the wait it so worth it. Super inexpensive to make, too. And the scent: delightful.

 

All things weekend

Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day!

I started out my weekend by doing a new LUSH face mask. It had lots of mint in it and felt amazing.

green1Then I headed the the gym for a good workout. And thank goodness I did. The rest of the day was filled with some St Patty’s Day celebrating with friends. I did stop at Whole Foods to grab lunch after my work out, though. I grabbed some salad, bison chili and their amazing jalapeno corn bread. I don’t eat much bread, the WF’s corn bread is a carb that I make an exception for.

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I had leftovers of both and made them into a cowboy eggs “benedict” for breakfast the next morning.

green3Then I headed into the kitchen to make food for the week and weeks ahead. I double up on the meat purchases for the week and cooked it all up so I would have plenty to put into the freezer. Burgers for weeks!

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I realized after a very busy and social last week that I really have to have healthy meals on hand to make sure that it is easy for me to make good food decisions. I also made a batch of coconut butternut squash soup that is a little disappointing. But it’s healthy and cooked, so I’ll eat it. Slowly, but surely.

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I also make two big pans of oven baked chicken fajitas for a work lunch today. They were excellent and so easy. I got the idea here, but combined several different marinade recipes to create my own.

green5I tried my hand at Whole Food’s coconut date logs. My current post workout obsession. They turned out pretty close to the real deal and I’m set for a while!

green9Despite everything I got done yesterday, I still felt like I did a lot of lounging around, snuggled up under a blanket on the couch.

green10I hope everyone had a great weekend!

{made}

I like to buy myself a gift for my birthday. Last year I decided that what ever I buy as a gift for myself that it has to do good for someone else; I bought myself a pair of Toms shoes.

This year I decided to get a little more personal and to support {made}. {Made} is an incredible group or artists(many from my hometown) that make eco-conscious goods by hand. Many of them re-purposed from other things, with the message of give.receive.repeat.  Their pieces are absolutely brilliant.

I treated myself to a new pair of earrings and a new rolling-pin made from wood grown on the land of the artist. More than just getting to look at the cool products on their page, there are profiles about each of the artists. You get to see who {made} the things you get. Not a nameless, faceless machine in a faraway country. And if there is one thing that my artist boyfriend has taught me, if you are going to buy art, do it in the way that most benefits the artist.

Maybe you don’t live somewhere that {made} goods are sold. You can shop online or they are doing a cross-country tour this summer. And they have a blog full of great and entertaining reads connected to their website.

Seasonal Sunday

Today my friend Katie joined Brian and I for a trip to the Christmaskindl Market in Lincoln Square. We sipped some glogg while we shopped at more than forty venders peddling their merry goods.

We bought some handmade mittens to keep our paws warm all winter long and some homemade pumpkin and apple butters.

Our favorite stand was the fresh greens. We bought a wreath that is making our place smell wonderful.

A bunch of mistletoe for $1? Yes, please.

Brian bought us some hand blown Christmas ornaments for our Christmas tree. A fun and successful Sunday, supporting small, local businesses.

Holiday gift guide

If you are looking for gift ideas for the food lovers, runners and people who love fun things in life, look no farther, I’ve got ideas for you.

I have a Keurig and absolutely love it. If there is a coffee lover in your life, especially if they have a busy life(and who doesn’t these days?), get them a Keurig. If they already have a Keurig, buy them fun flavored K-cups to keep them brewing.

Or maybe they need a new mug for their hot coffee or tea. These adorable mugtails would be a hit at the office or home. Found at korin.com, as seen in Real Simple magazine.

This squirrel nut cracker is perfect for the person that loves to entertain. A guaranteed conversation piece at any holiday party(can be found on Amazon).

Wine lover? This wine tote is the perfect marriage of function and fashion. Made by Medina baskets. 

Right after Christmas comes New Year’s resolutions. Is there someone in your life that is always running late? Help them out with one of these beautiful watches. Found at we-wood.us.

Showing support for your favorite teams while being sporty never goes out of style. Iowa running shorts can be found at hawkshop.com.

If they are looking to improve their physical health in the upcoming year or are already a runner, they will thank you every step of the way in their new Brooks Pure shoes. These are minimalist shoes with the perfect amount of cushion. In mens and womens colors.Baker’s and entertainers will love a pretty apron to keep their outfit looking spotless while looking cute for guests until the food is finished. Apron at anthropologie.com.

There is always room for pretty baskets and mugs in the cupboards of people who love to spend time in the kitchen. Also at anthropologie.com.

And on my after Christmas list this year is Under Armour’s Must Have bag in black on black. This versatile bag that can be used as a purse and a gym bag is not going to be available again until after the new year. It’s currently available in a steel combination at underarmour.com.

Happy holidays! May the holidays bring you warmth and love.

Chicago Comic and Entertainment Convention

My weekend is usually when I have a opportinuty to cook something new. Not this past weekend. I spend my weekend at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Convention promoting his web comic Hamster Rage. He had a very successful weekend and sold out of his print book.

The weekend did not go by without some food excitement, though. I had my first ever Hi-Chew. It’s Japan’s #1 selling fruit chew. They are amazing. It is like the everlasting gobstopper of Starburts. Super chewy and super delicious. Even better, the proceeds benefitted Japan’s earthquake victims. Find some today and you won’t be sorry…unless you try the mango flavor.

The other exciting food item of the weekend was that one of the venders at the convention was selling a 98% fat-free pulled turkey sandwich. Oh wow. We definitely ate there more than once. I need to figure out how to make it.

Saturday night between the convention and an event we stopped by a Mexican food joint in the south loop. They had really amazing homemade salsa that tasted like it had chipotle peppers and adobo sauce in it. So tasty. Unfortunately, they also had this hanging in their bathroom:

Other highlights of the weekend were that Adam Hughes(super nice guy) drew a Wonder Woman for a donation to Japan for me and signed Brian’s Cover Run book:

 

Here’s Brian hard at work doing some mini paintings which he sold for $5 each:

He is an old school Superman that he did:

And a Dr. Who:

Overall, it was an awesome weekend, but I’m ready to get back into the kitchen.

Christmas Dinner

Brock and I are both in Chicago, with nothing to do for Christmas.

So, we are going to grab drinks at NoMI then head to Aria for dinner.

If you are unable to be(my case) or don’t want to be(not the case) with your family this season, I hope you have a great friend to spend it with, too.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas everyone!

 

Cozy cowl scarf

My knitting skills leave a lot to be desired. I saw this pattern for the coziest looking cowl scarf when I found the body scrub recipe. I knew I had to find someone to make it for me.

Fortunately, the next day at work I realized that my friend Emily knows how to knit! How lucky is that? I proposed that she make it for me in return for drinks. She accepted.

I had her make it shorter than the pattern calls for. I think she made it half of what it said to and it’s perfect! She also accidently twisted it before connecting the two ends. What a great mistake that turned out to be. It made a place for my chin to go so it doesn’t rub on the yarn.

If you need a quick and easy project to give as a holiday gift, this scarf would be well received. You know, providing that you know how to knit.

Twist in the front:

Twist in the back for a little more frontal coverage:

Martha Stewart’s body scrub

I like Martha Stewart. I don’t love her, but I like her.  I can also get fairly jealous that every crafting and cooking project she attempts turns out perfectly. Mine do not. Not by a long shot. Usually…

I was on her website the other day and saw an article about “80 Gifts you can make for her.” I started clicking through them and saw several neat ideas that didn’t seem to complicated or expensive.

What did I decide to make myself? A 4-ingredient body scrub. Lately, I have been hooked on Lush products. Unfortunately, some of them are pretty pricey. Like the last tub of body scrub I bought was about 6 oz and was around $20.

I took of to my local Whole Foods and Michael’s to pick up everything I needed:

  • 2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup carrier oil
  • essential oil(scent of your choice)
  • container to store finished product
  • food coloring(optional)

I was a little nervous about the “warm sticky bun” essential oil scent that I chose. The selection of scents to choose from was lacking or bordering on just plain weird. I felt this sugary, vanillay scent was the safest bet.

Put two cups of organic cane sugar in a bowl. Added in one cup of carrier oil and mixed.

What is a carrier oil? I had no idea. I had to Google it and Wikipedia came to the rescue. I chose to use some organic Canola oil. I figured it would be one of the most scent-neutral oils and it’s rather inexpensive.

Martha says to add in 8-10 drops of essential oil with a pipette. I don’t own a pipette and wasn’t going to buy one. I figured I could rely on my steady hand.

I added about 10 drops and still couldn’t smell anything, so I just kept adding until it smelled to my liking. I probably added 20-25 drops. Then I stirred it all in and transferred it to an airtight glass container. I wanted to be able to leave it in my shower without water getting into it.

I used it today for the first time. Wow, did it make my skin soft and moist. It definitely leaves a light layer of oil on the top of your skin, but it might be just the thing that saves my skin during the brutal midwestern winters.

Oh, and the smell? Fabulous.