A Lovely Bunch

No tree is more indicative of the tropics than the coconut palm. Flourishing in warm climates as far away as Polynesia and as close to home as Southern California, coconut palms have been around since the dinosaurs roamed the earth. I don’t know what T-rex did with them back then, but today they are used for everything from food to decoration. In fact, virtually every part of the coconut palm can be made use of. The roots, trunk and fronds are used for many things, including shelter and furniture, but it’s the sacred fruit and its hard shell that have been most-prized by humans and beasts alike.

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Perhaps the prettiest use of the coconut shell that I’ve seen are these whimsical, cute-as-a-button earrings and necklace by Emm’s Gems (above). Lightweight, colourful and eco-friendly, Emily’s coconut button and bead pieces bring a touch of the tropics to your jewelry collection – no matter how far you are from the tall, swaying palms themselves.

Unbeknownst to even herself, Emily of Emm’s Gems has been utilizing coconut in her pieces for years. It wasn’t until she purchased beads labeled “coconut shell” that she realized the pretty, wood-like beads that had gone un-named in her stash for years were actually coconut! What she had known all along, however, was that these carefully hoarded, multi-toned beads and buttons added the perfect touch to many of her designs. Now that she knows the source of these natural beauties, Emily is using them more than ever in her unique and delightfully simple jewelry designs.

Another common use of the coconut is the oil contained in the nut-like seed. Rich in medium chain fatty acids, coconut oil is quite different in it’s molecular structure than other culinary oils. Solid at room temperature and slow to go rancid, it is an excellent ingredient in both food and cosmetics; particularly soaps.

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Made from a super-rich blend of emollients and oils (including coconut), the Bohemian Boho Coco Soap (above) is a treat for the skin and the senses. Natalie, of Bubbles Variety Shoppe makes each batch of soap with pure, natural ingredients and promises that all of her products are tested only on humans – never animals. Your inner Island Girl will love the intoxicating blend of soft floral notes, musk, coconut and vanilla, which is described as “sensual, a little innocent and sweet.”

True fans of the scent of coconut will want to pick up one of these gorgeous coconut-scented candles by Mad Hatter’s Pottery (below). Each hand-poured, clean-burning, 100% soy candle is triple-scented and contained in a one-of-a-kind handcrafted ceramic piece. Candice, the “Mad Hatter” at the helm of the potter’s wheel, thoughtfully matches the character of each pot with a complimentary scent. A final “signature embellishment” caps it all off, creating the perfect fusion of art and function.

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Finally, there’s no denying that it’s the taste of coconut that sweet-tooths all over the globe go “nuts” for. Up until last summer, while I was living in a suburb of Vancouver, I was always looking for excuses to drive into the city so that I could splurge on an out-of-this-world coconut macaroon from a busy little bakery on Commercial drive. I would limit myself to one (they were huge!) and always tried to see how long I could resist eating it. Truth be told, it was rare that I could even wait to get out of the parking spot before tearing into the little glassine bag.

Now that I am 3000 kilometers from my favourite bakery, I have to be content with placebos. Lucky for me, these natural, handmade lip balms by Dress Green on Etsy are a sweet substitute. Available in vegan or beeswax formulations, they’ll keep the sweet taste of coconut and vanilla on my lips (and off my hips!) while I wait for a care-package from the West Coast!

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When in Vancouver, Canada, a visit to Fratelli’s Italian Bakery is a MUST. The upscale, home-style baked goods are made fresh daily from the freshest ingredients. I, of course, recommend the coconut macaroons.