Monday, January 20, 2014

The Skinny on Coconut Oil

I've always been a fan of coconut oil. Before Dr. Oz and other big hitters were touting it's ability to help us lean up, I was a fan. Raised by parents who took me, as a kid, to our local health food store, Jandi's Nature Way (now Jandi's Natural Market), for a treat, natural peanut butter, sesame seed sticks and Tiger's Milk Bars were my version of normal. It's because of them that I gravitate toward health food stores.

I started using coconut oil as a moisturizer. For years, I used it every time I got out of the shower, used it while out in the sun (never burned, btw), and as lip balm. I sometimes used it to cook with, but I was more attached to using it for body care.

While browsing OpenSky, I saw coconut oil in a cool package and wanted to try it. Skinny Coconut Oil looks luxurious.

Skinny Coconut Oil. It's as good as it looks.
Well, in this case, looks are NOT deceiving. This stuff is incredible. It's solid, but the minute it hits your skin, it melts to a smooth liquid. It is not greasy, but is very moisturizing. I used it on my body after the shower and my skin immediately felt nourished. I used it on my lips which is great because it's totally edible and makes kisses taste good, too.

Just a few days ago, while adhering wicks into my empty candle glass, a bit of hot glue dripped from the glue gun and landed on my right hand. As I attempted to pull it off with my other hand, it attached to my finger and began to burn. Within seconds, the pain became excruciating and I ended up with a second degree burn.

Ouch. Burns hurt.
I know that you aren't supposed to put certain things on a burn (like butter), so as I was crying in pain (seriously, those burns hurt), my called for my boyfriend to search our house for burn cream. We didn't have any (who does?). I said no to Neosporin, no to similar options. I didn't want something to prevent infection. I wanted something to make the pain go away. And then it hit me. The coconut oil. To me, coconut oil is like magic (as is coconut water). I asked him to please get the coconut oil to put on the burn. Now, I did have my finger soaking in water for quite a while, but every time I'd take it out, it would sting. I applied the coconut oil to the burn and, boom, just like that it felt much better. Given that coconut oil is anti-bacterial, I've continued to apply it to the burn daily.

I've shared the coconut oil with my dogs, whose coats already seem shinier. I've applied it to my frown lines, my cuticles, and to my lips after brushing my teeth. Being a former smoker (I know, gross, right?), I worry about lines forming above my lips, but I cannot imagine the idea of using Botox to make them disappear (that immobile upper lip on Courtney Cox is disturbingly distracting).  Instead, I'm slathering the coconut oil there, as well. The options are endless.

Skinny Coconut Oil uses a process that, the company info explains, is "not duplicated by any other coconut oil manufacturer in the world." It's a process that "extracts the 100% RAW coconut meat by cooling and dehumidifying" their hand picked, virgin coconuts. They go on to teach that heated coconut oil makes is "less effective and more difficult for the body to absorb. Unfortunately, the majority of oils on the market claim to be "cold pressed" when it is only the final step... that uses a cold pressed system."

I am happily becoming dependent on the jar of Skinny Coconut Oil that's sitting on my bathroom shelf.  Just $24.99 for 16.7 oz., it's easily beats out the price of good face creams, is far more effective... and all natural.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Croissant Class Confessional

I've always had a love of baking. I used to make weekly banana bread, chocolate chip cookies, and a fabulous pumpkin bread recipe my mother got from her neighbor, Peggy Chang. In summer, along with my decked out, red white and blue patriotic home decor, I make low-fat blueberry muffins. I can make a mean egg less chocolate cake, and a cream cheese pound cake that starts in a cold oven,  requires tending to every 20 minutes bringing up the heat, in timed increments, until it's done. Outside of that, I have little skill.

My boyfriend and I decided to take a croissant baking class at Chocolate Ciel, a baking studio that recently opened in Cedar Grove (just minutes from Montclair). The owner, Colleen Klabin, is a pastry chef who trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York City.

We begin with a recipe & instruction packet, a rolling pin, and dough.

We arrived ten minutes late because, try as I might, I have no concept of time. Walking in quietly (as the class had already begun), Klabin came to us to catch us up to speed. We learned how to make dough, roll it out, envelope the butter, then fold it into layers to create the flaky goodness that makes a croissant. Music played softly in the background. We were all new to croissant making; some came out of a love of baking, others (like me) with a desire to learn new techniques.

Jeff Burrowes gave his girlfriend, Sandy Morales, this croissant making class for her
birthday, which happened to be on the exact same day that the class was held.
Klabin taught to our level and spoke in a way that helped us understand what we were and why, explained where room for error was allowed (rolling it out too big or imperfectly), and what techniques required being precise.

My boyfriend rolled out his dough perfectly. Mine was so
poorly shaped that I chose not to photograph it :)
Measuring and marking where to cut for a perfect
croissant, his execution was unmatchable.

She provided an instruction booklet, complete with drawings and the croissant recipe. Additionally, we got to make a second batch of dough to take home with us. I learned that you should roll/knead the dough with just one hand, to get it into a ball quicker, but that I can also do it with my KitchenAid mixer. Guess who's making more croissants today?

Here, Dave Oscar puts egg wash on the croissants while his wife,
Diane Esty, watches intently as Klabin roll chocolate into croissants.

Chocolate Ciel does have specific classes for children, and also offers Mommy and Me classes, but mature children are welcome to take these sorts of baking classes. 

Dana Oscar, 9, attended class with her parents. She has a love of baking that
her mother, Diane, said "she gets from her father."

While the croissants were baking, we were treated to cheese and nuts. We snacked and talked, and got to know the other people in the class. The mood was relaxed and inviting. We each left with a box full of croissants that we'd baked, freshly made dough to continue our baking at home, and the recipe so that we could do it again.

One of the many croissants that I made yesterday.
This morning, for breakfast, I had one of yesterday's croissants. Absolute heaven. And knowing that I made it myself is that much better.

Chocolate Ciel's instructor and owner, Colleen Klabin.
Chocolate Ciel is located at 9 Sand Park Road in Cedar Grove. Class listings and other information can be found on their website Be sure to check them out on facebook, as well.

Tiffany Palisi is the owner of Domestic Goddess Ltd., a company that specializes in hand poured, scented candles. On the side, she searches for products/recipes/ideas/shops that she loves, then shares them with her friends on this blog. She resides in New Jersey with her boyfriend, their four children and two rescued dogs. She can be reached at 

Please follow her on
twitter: @DmstcGoddessLtd
Instagram: DomesticGoddessCandles

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Must-Haves for Valentine's Day (vintage, handmade and local)

Valentine's Day has always been my favorite holiday. Nestled in the middle of a month whose temperature trends chilly, hearts hanging from windows warm the spirit while people talk about love, and generously gift chocolate. Always looking for ways to up the ante without depleting my savings account, I've put together a list of fabulous handmade and vintage items, all made (and in the case of vintage, sold) right here in New Jersey. Not in the area? No problem! Everyone listed will ship, so go ahead and feel good about supporting small businesses and the U.S. economy! Many of those listed have generously offered readers 10% off Friday through Sunday by using coupon code: ILOVEDG so go ahead and get your credit card out. Don't worry. I promise that you won't break the bank.

A little Valentine with heart.
Let's begin with chocolate. As a kid, I coveted the box of chocolates that my parents got me each year. Get chocolate that's taken to an artisan level with Amsterdam Chocolates. Mary Amsterdam makes the most decadent, hand decorated chocolates from her shop's kitchen in Mountain Lakes. They are sold at her brick and mortar at 5 Romaine Road in Mountain Lakes, but you can also buy them on etsy. Lots to try, including her salted caramels (starting at just $3), her to die for coconut bark (starting at just $5), and so much more.  Amsterdam Chocolates has activated the 10% off coupon code: ILOVEDG

Amsterdam Chocolates taste as good as they look. This box of 12 truffles is
perfect for anyone on your list, and is only $18. Valentine boxes are also available.
Visit their etsy shop at

Paired perfectly with a box of chocolate is this amazing limited edition Chocolate Truffle soap three pack! These heart shaped soaps are beautifully gift boxed and come in three chocolate styles: luxury, cocoa and Valentine's. Handcrafted in small batches in Boonton, Pam Saldutti makes small batches of her cold-process soaps, and they take a minimum of 7 weeks to cure. These are exceptional, moisturizing, and long lasting. Not to mention fun! Order yours before they sell out. Her etsy shop is located at I Love Soap Co. has activated the 10% off coupon code: ILOVEDG

One of the three choco-tastic soaps in the gift set offered by P.S. I Love Soap Co.
Visit their etsy shop to see the gorgeous gift boxed set (complete with sweet pink ribbon).

Fresh flowers are beautiful (believe me, I love them) but they don't last long. There's changing the water, keeping them out of sunlight, and before you know it, they are losing their petals. Well, here's a bouquet that lasts, and doesn't require any water. This dozen paper flower bunch is a blend of light and bright pink by Posh Studios, and is sure to brighten any one's day. I'd love to get flowers like this as a gift (hint, hint). Made right in Morris Plains by Cassie, these are sure to impress your Valentine. Go check this (and many other bouquets, banners, corsages, boutonnieres) on their etsy shop at: Posh Studios has activated the 10% off coupon code: ILOVEDG

This gorgeous bouquet is packed with 12 handmade paper carnations and is just $50.
To buy, visit the Posh Studios etsy shop.

Since home is where the heart is, reflect that love with this fabulous vintage metal heart mirror, sold by {verdigreen}. It even has two candle holders for your taper candles to light up your life two times, baby! You can walk into their wonderful brick and mortar at 182 Glenridge Avenue, in the GLAM section of Montclair, or shop online. Remember, this is found vintage so there is only one available! Hurry up and grab this gem. Visit their etsy shop at {verdigreen} has activated the 10% off coupon code: ILOVEDG

This vintage metal heart+mirror+candelabra is fabulously shabby chic and so very romantic.
Only $22 and only one available. Make it yours. {verdigreen} is on etsy.

In keeping with the home theme, why not deck the walls with some heart garland. Montclair Made offers all sorts of garland in different paper designs. Both delicate and decorative, the garland is made with vintage field guides and the hearts are doubled up so they can be folded back to become 3D. Made by Clare Cohen in Montclair, you will use these year after year. For just $8 per garland, you can get a bunch and hang them in all the windows of your home. Montclair Made has activated the 10% off coupon code: ILOVEDG

This garland is made from a vintage field guide to seashores.
You can find it on her etsy page:

Wear your heART on your wall with this rustic, handmade nail heart. 100 year old wood hosts red yarn and nails to create a heart to remember. Made by Culture Cabin's own Erika Domanico and selling for only $25. Convo her to purchase by visiting her facebook page, or shop live at her brick and mortar at 1017 Main Street, in the Arts section of Boonton.
Old wood is good wood, especially when it's got a heart on it!
100 year old wood gets wall play when you hang it in your home.

Feeling like a little lovebird? Make love on your 'fridge with this hand burned lovebirds on a wood slice magnet by Forage Workshop. Amy DiPalma of Boonton hand burns everything freehand, making for a unique one of a kind piece. I have her personalized heart and initials magnet, the lovebirds, and even her wood sliced personalized ornament (and more... too much to list). It's a small obsession, but at such affordable prices, why not? Forage Workshop has activated the 10% off coupon code: ILOVEDG

Give your lover a lovebird magnet. Stick it anywhere a magnet works.
Always remember that love beats all. Forage magnet, only $8 on etsy:

As the mama of two rescues, I am always looking for ways to make my dogs feel special. This Valentine's Day I am loving Bubba Rose Biscuit Company's heart box of cookies! It's a 6.5" velvet box with a satin bow, and even has a gift tag for you to write the name of your furry recipient! Priced at just $19.99, I might have to buy them for all of Rocco's lady friends. They also have adorable love cake bites, Valentine's Day bon bons, and a box of peanut butter cinnamon heart shaped cookies with "good dog", "I woof you" and "puppy love" handwritten on them. For everyday, my dogs love their CRACK! bars. Shop live at 421 Main Street in Boonton or online at Bubba Rose has activated the 10% off coupon code: ILOVEDG (and they will honor the code for shoppers who walk in, as well)
It's all about puppy love over at Bubba Rose Biscuit Company.

And finally, the most personal of all (for me, at least) is a product that I make :)  I created this personalized candle because I am a die hard romantic. On the candle label, you can specialize names and a date (be it the year you met, the year you married, the year you gift this, or even how many years together). Let me help you celebrate your love. Hey, if you want to propose, I'll even ask the question (on the candle) for you. Only $24 on etsy! Domestic Goddess is honoring the 10% off coupon code: ILOVEDG

Make this your own. Your name, your message, you name it.
Available in our etsy shop:
Oh, and I must hop across the Hudson to share the best product for kissable lips. You Da Balm is a lip balm made in Brooklyn. Hand made and organic, it tastes as divine as it's labeled. Get your kiss on in luxurious style. Check 'em out at Mwwwwwah!

Tiffany Palisi is the owner of Domestic Goddess Ltd., a company that specializes in hand poured, scented candles. On the side, she searches for products/recipes/ideas/shops that she loves, then shares them with her friends on this blog. She resides in New Jersey with her boyfriend, their four children and two rescued dogs. She can be reached at 

Please follow her on
twitter: @DmstcGoddessLtd
Instagram: DomesticGoddessCandles

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Obsessed! with You Da Balm

Scrolling through my OpenSky feed, I happened upon a lip balm with cool graphics and an even cooler name. You Da Balm, a company based out of Brooklyn, NY makes organic lip balms. They were offering three flavors: coconut, tea tree, and grapefruit.

I decided to try the three pack, to see which I liked best. When the package arrived, there was a sweet hand written note inside. I tried each of the three amazing flavors, all good, but I will say that I could have called my favorite (even before purchasing). I am mad about anything coconut, so I was not surprised that I loved it best. 

I love You Da Balm. Necklace available on etsy (click here).

This lip balm goes on smooth, is moisturizing without being greasy, and tastes fabulous. And the company has a good heart. You Da Balm's officially partnered with PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center; an organization devoted to educating school faculty, students and parents on how to intervene during (and in hopes of preventing) instances of bullying. Proceeds from each sale of YDB will go towards PACER's efforts.  

I love the product so much that I chose to buy a case and give it as a free gift to any of my shoppers that posted a photo of our products on social media.  I mean, I am Obsessed! with You Da Balm.

Visit them on the web at
Find them on facebook by clicking here; OpenSky by clicking here.