1. Super moisturizing. Coconut oil is full of fatty acids which lock in moisture by reinforcing our skin’s natural lipid barrier. It takes a little longer to absorb than your average lotion or facial moisturizer, so it’s great as a natural night cream or on super dry patches of skin. That’s why I put it in all of my body scrubs as well as my Whipped Body Butter, Coco Body Balm, and Coco Balm. It’s also a natural, vegan-friendly lubricant — but do not use it with latex condoms.
2. Removes makeup. On its own, coconut oil is great at removing makeup, and is safe to use even on your eyes. Just spread on your face, then remove with a cotton ball.
3. Prevents dandruff. As a hydrating conditioner, coconut oil can prevent dandruff. Comb 1-2 tablespoons into your hair starting at the scalp and leave in for 10-20 minutes before rinsing it off in the shower. Be careful – it will make the shower floor or bathtub slippery! I also like to use a little bit to smooth down frizz and fly-aways.
4. Renews skin. The high concentration of Vitamin E and proteins in coconut oil promote cellular health and tissue repair. These processes renew skin and prevent premature aging.
5. Vegan lip balm. Use coconut oil alone as a natural, vegan lip balm or grab my Coco Balm!
When you’re buying coconut oil, remember to purchase organic, unrefined/virgin coconut oil for the best health & beauty benefits. You can find coconut oil at your local natural foods store or here on Amazon. It’s a solid at room temperature, but you can easily melt it in the microwave or a double boiler.
I like my handwriting, but there’s nothing decorative or fancy about it. One of my coworkers asked me to write on a chalkboard for her a few weeks ago, and I had to sadly decline and explain that a) I’m definitely creative but not artistic and b) I simply can’t write on chalkboards without causing internal bleeding for those within earshot of the squeaking. Long story short (too late), I want to learn to write pretty.
Brittany of Glitter & Bold — who makes lovely hand-painted mugs, pillows, towels and things — supplied myself and the two other students with notebooks and two brush pens each (one black and one hot pink.)
With the brush pens (which mimic paint brushes), you get a nice diversity of thickness with your lines. Brittany taught us to pull lightly on the tip of the pen on upward motions and press the side of the pen on downward motions.
It takes little bit of getting used to, so we filled entire sheets of paper practicing just one letter.
Practice does make perfect, and I think I’m getting better! I can’t wait for her hand lettering basics class next Wednesday. It’s sold out, but I’m sure she’ll host more.
One of the fun ladies I met at Monarch Workshop this past March is Mary England of Uncustomary Art. She bounced into the room with tons of energy, sparkle, and color, and I liked her immediately. Her mission in life is to “make the world a brighter place on my own terms, full of fun for everyone.” And one of the ways she’s doing this is through her Snail Mail Game Show.
The Snail Mail Game Show consists of quirky artsy challenges that arrive by mail and must be submitted back to Mary by mail within a certain period of time. I entered a bit late, so I just barely made it to Round 3: The Evolution of Man Challenge.
Mary sent out a printed copy of the Evolution of Man chart and asked for players to create the next stage of man. Mary’s instructions read “Your submission can be done with a ball point pen, glitter glue, or you can scan in your image and mess around in your Paint program!” I’m not great at drawing (physically or digitally) so I called upon my rusty collaging skills and started cutting up old issues of BUST Magazine.
When I was finished, I arrived at a pretty hilarious Evolution of Woman, featuring a monkey head key decoration, a bunny mask, an overlarge hat and dress, and a pajama-clad Wonder Woman. It’s pretty bad, but I love it. It’s no world-class art installation, but it was fun to cut up magazines and make ridiculous art. Anyway, I’m fairly certain Mary will get a kick out of it.
What are you reading this summer? Here are a few things I’ve read & loved, am currently reading, or is on my to-read list:
1. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Currently reading and totally obsessed. I’ve actually begun waking up earlier so I can read this in the morning before I go to work. Also: shirking off household chores and other things I should be doing in order to read. It’s like a grown-up Twilightmeets Charmed. I’ll likely finish the entire All Souls Trilogy this summer.
2. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. If I decide not to finish the All Souls Trilogy this summer — or if I finish them and am looking for something else — I’ll move on to Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins, which my Dad really liked and lent to me. Don’t you love sharing books with family members?
4. Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos. I picked this one up years ago at a consignment shop, but I never read it until this winter. It’s a quick but lovely and heart-warming read told from the perspectives of a spirited 31-year-old woman and a 1o-year-old girl with a distant father and bipolar mother. It sounds like it would be depressing, but I promise it isn’t. I love Marisa de los Santos’ writing style – informal, as if you’re a friend she’s telling a (sometimes) long-winded story to. It’s very much how I tell stories. This is a great summer beach read!
5. Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos. This is the follow-up to Love Walked In. It’s a little heavier (emotionally, but also physically because I mistakenly bought the large print edition, ha!) than the first and I liked Love Walked In better, but it’s worth a read if you want to know what happens to main characters Cornelia and Claire after Love Walked In.
I’d love to hear what you’re reading and your recommendations for my next books, in the comments!