Monday, January 28, 2013


Vanilla orchid vine and blossom
Vanilla Orchid Blossom
Fragrance Name: Lavanila Vanilla Coconut                               
Rating:  5 out of 5 stars
Where to Buy:  Online stores, TV shopping channels and Cosmetics specialty stores       
Type:  Rollerball scent
Use:  Year round daytime use
Fragrance Notes:  The top note is coconut, the mid note is gardenia, and the base note is vanilla.
Price:  About $18 for 0.32 ounces
Impressions:   Lavanila’s fragrance has an attention getting edge that’s like the scent of cut-open and scraped vanilla beans.
The coconut oil note is mild and gently arousing.  In addition to the coconut, I detect a cocoa bean note.  The gardenia floral note is muted and not overpowering.
Lavanila’s Vanilla Coconut is stimulating and slightly sugary sweet.  I would not describe the fragrance as  sunscreen-like or beachy. The sugar element makes this scent very modern and ideal for office wear.
This American fragrance is a masterfully blended gourmand scent that lasts fairly long on me.  People have complimented me on the fragrance, saying things like “you smell like cake” or “you smell like hot chocolate”.


Football brownies shaped brownies
Easy football shaped brownies with coconut icing for Game Day

Here are some great new taste sensations to whip-up with coconut in your Super Bowl party snack plan:
  • Have chilled flavored coconut water ready along with soda pop and alcoholic beverages for a healthy alternative.  Pineapple and mango flavored coconut water seem to be universal favorites.
  • Mix coconut flakes into homemade sweet treats like brownies and cookies. Be sure to add your favorite flavorings and spices like vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • Pop popcorn kernels in coconut oil for a healthy change from bland corn oil.
  • Make popcorn topping with half melted butter and half coconut oil for movie theater flavor.
  • Brush the bottom of a frozen pizza with coconut oil for a softer, chewier crust.
  • Serve up a pitcher of Sangria blended with coconut water, juice and fruit chunks. Always add one or 2 slices of lime for refreshing flavor.
The football fans at your Super Bowl party will love coconut’s aroma and flavor in your party dishes.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Photo of Anne Frank on a Netherlands stamp
Anne Frank - She was a actual girl
 The United Nations has designated today January 27, 2013  INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY. 

I recall the horror of getting to the end of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK  and discovering that she did not survive World War II. I recall the horror of viewing Josef Nassy's drawings of a WWII Nazi prison camp. The drawings were probably the first alarm that the Nazis were committing war crimes.  I recall the horror of seeing tatooed numbers on the arm of an elderly doctor.  I recall   the sound of a bank's wire transfer machine printing out  funds transmittals for survivors of the Holocaust.

As for all that other unspeakable evil out there, your day is coming and I will write about those horrors too.

Keep your life "real"  and always make a mental note of evil.  Never forget what you witnessed.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Here’s the best place to drink chilled coconut water when it's snowing outside and the temperature's sub-zero:

Take a drink of coconut water while rafting on winter vacation
Try drinking coconut water while rafting on a Jamaican river

One of my best winter vacations was flying out of Chicago to Jamaica leaving the cold weather behind at home.  The wind chill factor was minus 25 at the time.

I took off my yellow down jacket on the airplane and stuffed it into my backpack.

It was sunny and 80 degrees in Jamaica when the plane landed. Next thing I knew, I was sipping coconut water from a hacked open green coconut on a Jamaican roadside. It  never tasted better. Ahhh...

Monday, January 21, 2013


A child with a taste for coconut water
“I couldn’t get the car window opened fast enough to throw it out.”  That’s how my sister remembers her first encounter with coconut water.  Me, I absolutely adore the stuff. 
Apparently, we are not alone; there are 2 camps when it comes to the taste of coconut water’s flavor. 
There are people, like me who savor the flavor, an aromatic sweet blend that seem to  taste of wood, sea water and minerals.
But then-
There are people like my sister who cannot stand the taste of coconut water.


 And I couldn't help but notice that both types are on Twitter, so here's an online sample of tweets I collected one afternoon recently:
“We’re still pretending coconut water still tastes nice? OK”
“Coconut water … deliciously healthy beverage.”
“Coconut water is the most disgusting tasting drink in the world”
“Coconut water tastes awful”
“I’ll never understand how people don’t like coconut water”
“Coconut water is just regular water that is absolutely disgusting”
“I love coconut water”
“Blunts and coconut water”
“Coconut water, like regular water, except disgusting and pretentious”
“Coconut Water has to be what dragon piss tastes like, right?”

Whenever I sample Twitter, the haters are usually winning by a slight margin. It's not like this between Coke and Pepsi lovers.



What’s really going on here? Here’s what I speculate:

  • Some coconut harvests will be better flavored than others due to growing conditions. Maybe some of the haters got their 1st taste from a bad harvest.
  • Storage or warehousing conditions may adversely affect the taste of a manufacturer’s product differently at various times. So, a 1st time drinker won't be impressed if his/her brand was stored, say, in a hot warehouse for a long time.
  • The palm seed’s country of origin affects the taste. In fact, Thai coconut water does taste different than Brazilian coconut water.
  • Some manufacturers use concentrate; others never use concentrate. Also, nothing beats fresh coconut water drank straight from the green palm seed, it's sweeter.
  • Coconut water packaging or bottling types may affect the taste.
  • Many brands of coconut water with additives, like preservatives, seem to taste off.
  • Coconut water is an acquired taste.
  • Coconut water is a genetically-controlled taste that you love or hate naturally.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Whenever I munch on a salad with heart of palm nibbles I can almost taste the  life force and energy.  That savory flavor comes at a high cost and not just financial.
These culinary treats are not from the green leafy fronds of, COCOS NUCIFERA, the coconut palm or any other palm.  The true cost is the death of the entire palm tree itself, usually a wild tree hundreds of years old.
For thousands of years, part of the luxury of eating palm hearts was premised on ancient wisdom that coconut and other types of palm trees are immortal.  The Bible says “… whose leaf will not whither” (Ps 1:1-3).



Palm trees do indeed live a very long time, in some cases several hundred years, and that long lived nature has attracted the attention of scientists for the past 2 centuries according to a research article in the December 2012 issue of the American Journal of Botany.  Researchers Tomlinson and Huggett report their findings on why coconut palms live so much longer than most other trees, in the journal.
You can read the research report yourself but to me it boils down to the heart of the palm and its unique structural function within the palm tree’s trunk as well as the growth pattern of the trunk itself. Here’s the link to the online research report: Cell Longevity And Sustained Primary Growth in Palm Stems



Removing the heart kills the palm tree. In the past, 1 palm hundreds of years old was cut down for 2 cans of palm hearts. Some producers admit this right on the labels of their cans. 
Other producers have developed responsible agricultural management practices which use carefully selected varieties of plants from the Arecaceae family of palm trees. New techniques do not require killing long lived, wild palm trees. 
Napoleon Company, a canner, has made progress on limiting the destruction of wild palms in Central America and the Amazonian rainforest.  Here is the link to their website with more information:  Napoleon Co.  Heart of Palm data sheet  (Disclosure Note: I do not have any sponsorship or business relationship with Napoleon.)


Eating coconut flakes, drinking coconut water, cooking with coconut oil or placing a coconut coir mat on your door front are all renewable uses of coconut products. 

Having a salad with a few chunks of palm heart can be done responsibly if you choose a responsible producer and arm yourself with information to determine the extent of any environmental harm.

Tomlinson and Huggett, Cell Longevity and Sustained Primary Growth in Palm Stems, AMERICAN JOURNAL OF BOTANY, vol. 99 no. 12 page 1891 December 12, 2012, retrieved January 15, 2013

Napoleon Co. Heart of Palm data sheet, retrieved January 15, 2013,   Napoleon Co.  Heart of Palm data sheet

Monday, January 14, 2013


Snowshoeing in the city
Cool and cold Snowshoeing in the city

Breaking News…There’s been virtually no snow in Chicago this winter.  I’m OK with the “no snow” days but I did want to get back into the one winter sport I frolic around doing: Snowshoeing.
Yeah, I did that!
In the middle of the city during last years’ Groundhog's Day blizzard, I just hopped around in front of the house and up the street.  It was a true vigorous work-out and I chugged coconut water afterwards to recover from the exercise.

The snowshoes cost me less than $40. I wore my lightweight snow shoveling clothes and watched a few You Tube videos to learn snowshoeing techniques and I was set to go. 

Snowshoeing is cheap, fun and easy to get started, but don't let that fool you.  My feet and body got a hard work-out, especially my sprain ankle which was on the mend.

According to Russell Lord, in his book Forest Outings, snowshoeing originated in the mountains of central Asia and  Native Americans were the first to make  snowshoes from "rackets or webs" to traverse snowy terrain.

 But now, It’s mid January in Chicago and we haven't seen a full day of blanketing snow for months. 

This year, I have been sooo... looking forward to joining some of Chicago Park District’s organized snowshoeing events on the beaches of Lake Michigan.  But, alas, no snow, no go!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Eye damage can occur from UV glare off of snow
Protect your eyes from  UV glare off of snow

Does it make sense to wear sunscreen all year round, even in winter? Yes! And a lightweight sunscreen like coconut oil may not be enough.

Certain medications, snow, winter vacations in tropical locales, aging and medications can all make wearing a broad spectrum higher SPF rated sunscreen vital.


Certain medications, like Hydrochlorathiazide prescribed for high blood pressure, can leave many individuals’ skin, including black skin, very vulnerable to SEVERE sun damage. Read the package insert of any medications you have been prescribed to determine if sun protection is recommended.


In snowy cities like Chicago and Denver, ultraviolet radiation in sunshine reflected off of snow can be very intense and very damaging to skin. Sunshine glare can damage your eyes.  I wear sunglasses on all sunny days in winter.
If you will be taking a winter vacation to a sundrenched, tropical latitude like Jamaica, don’t forget sunscreen because spotty sun damaged skin is just not pretty even if you still look good in a bikini.


If you work in a sun-filled locale like Las Vegas, sunscreen would be advisable.  Tennis champion Serena Williams will be playing in the upcoming Australian Open. That locale is notorious for its intensely sunny conditions that make vulnerable individuals likely to develop skin cancers like melanoma. Williams has been quoted as saying that she doesn’t go anywhere without sun protection.


Simply living, that is normal aging, will result in a less rich skin tone.  If you have recently changed foundation make-up because your skin-tone is paler, assess whether you need to increase the SPF of your sunscreen as well.
Check with your physician for the SPF rated product you should use.  Bear in mind, coconut oil has a SPF rating between 6 and 8, and that may not be enough under certain conditions.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Today's scheduled publication/post is delayed due to technical difficulties:  I am unable to upload photographs.  As soon as the technical difficulties are fixed,  I'll proceed with  issuing the scheduled post. Please check back soon.  Pat Thomas for THE COCONUT LOVERS MOJO...

Thursday, January 3, 2013


No. 1 Are these dry oil mist ingredients healthy?

No. 2 Do these dry oil mist ingredients work?

I went Christmas shopping at the mall and got stupid. I purchased both of the above bottles of dry oil mists on the same day at the fragrance counter.


 I only glanced at the back of number 1’s tester bottle and got extremely curious, wondering ‘what could that be?!’ I asked the sales lady about it and she explained, in so many words, ‘it’s the French iconic brand’s dry oil mist.’ 

I asked to try it, so she spritzed the back of my hand.  It imparted a light, non-greasy and clear moisture shield on my hand with a softer scent version of the ‘top French’ perfume brand. 
 So I bought it.  I got it for a nice price, too, about $50.


I only saw the names  of my favorite essential oil notes on the front of number 2, above and decided to buy it.  I already use the product in a different fragrance because it’s made with a coconut derivative so I wanted to try out the new scent.  It was heavenly.
So I bought it.  Price: $30.


When I got home and looked at the ingredients on number 1’s box, I was horrified to see a list of stuff, very powerful chemicals that I would never, ever apply all over my body. 

Then I looked at number’s 2 ingredient list and I was shocked at what I didn’t see:  There were no essential oils in the formula only parfum. So while that product is a superior moisturizer, I won’t get any aromatherapy benefit from using it.
How could I have been so stupid? I always read ingredient lists when I shop online for beauty products.   Did I fall into the midst of a zombie stupor while Christmas shopping at the mall? 


The moral is this story is:  Stop falling for the hype of the brand name, packaging and marketing blah, blah.  Always read the ingredients list and then make the buying decision. Yeah, that’s what I telling myself, now that’s I’ve spent $80.