La Costa Film Festival + Family 4 Pack Giveaway

La Costa Film Festival 

la costa film festival

The 2nd annual La Costa Film Festival will take place at Omni Resort La Costa from September 18-21. This year, the festival has partnered with Mandalay Sports Media (MSM) to help curate the festival’s sports themed narrative, documentary and shorts programs.

The La Costa Film Festival will screen 42 films from 13 countries and host nightly red carpet galas, exciting panels and numerous special events. The festival will debut a World Premiere as well as a special tribute to renowned actor Ed Harris.

The goal of the Festival itself is to combine the excitement, glamour, and experience of Hollywood with a setting that makes you feel like you’ve arrived at a destination vacation. It’s adds another dimension to watching a movie, when you’re able to listen to the passion of the filmmaker as they discuss their creation, or mingle with the stars that brought it to life. A variety of panels and parties will further deepen the impact as well as the appreciation of their craft.

See all films and the festival schedule here. 

Tickets & Passes

TICKET PRICES
Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas: $20
Ruby G. Schulman Auditorium: $10
Omni La Costa Resort & Spa: $20

Tickets, Galas, Special Events:
Food, Wine & Film Fundraiser: $65
Opening Night Film & Taste of North County: $125
Taste of North County: $105
Opening Night Film Only: $20
Ed Harris Tribute Reception & Film: $75
Friday Night Film & Friday Night Lights After-party: $85
Friday Night Lights After-party: $65
Friday Night Film Only: $20
Awards Ceremony, Film and Gala After-party: $125
Awards Night Gala After-party: $105
Awards Night Film Only: $20

Student, Military and Seniors 20% discount applicable on all individual tickets.
Promo Codes:  STUDENT20, MILITARY20 and SENIOR20
ALL ticket holders are on a first-come, first-served basis.

PASS PRICES
Star Pass: $385
Film Lover: $225
Film Fan: $150
ALL passes have priority seating, but attendees must arrive 20 minutes prior to screening to ensure a seat.
Passes do not include access to the Food, Wine & Film Fundraiser and the Ed Harris Tribute Reception & Film.

Visit the La Costa Film Festival website for more information, pricing, and film schedule.

Enter to Win Family 4 Pack of Tickets

Enter to win 4 tickets to any screening during the La Costa Film Festival! Winner will be announced Thursday, September 18th at 8AM.

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Monday Flowers from The Bouqs. Love, The Mommy Project, San Diego

Just because it’s Monday.

Just because you’re doing a great job, mama!

And just because I’m obsessed with The Bouqs flower company!

the bouqs

 

the bouqs

 

About The Bouqs

The Bouqs is my new affiliate partner and an amazing floral delivery company. They ship fresh-cut flowers straight to customers’ doors – no warehouses in between. They also only source flowers from eco-friendly, sustainable farms (on an active volcano in South America or from the sunny surf of California) that respect the environment and their workers, and the difference is easily visible in their stunning and vibrant flower bouquets.

The ordering process is also simplified – no hidden fees, or extra costs along the way: $40 for bouquets in the Volcano collection and $50 for bouquets in the California collection, plus free shipping!

The best part? Long lasting, GORGEOUS FLOWERS!

Browse bouqets and send some love. 

 

Disclaimer: The Bouqs is an affiliate partner and I received complimentary product to review this business. However, all opinions are my own and the Mommy Project, San Diego only features businesses that we can truly recommend. 

Fab Mom: Jillian Darlington of MomCo App

Another week, another Fab Mom spotlight! I’m very excited to introduce you to our next Fab Mom, Jillian Darlington. Jillian is the founder of the new MomCo App that just launched this week (a big congrats, Jillian!) She’s doing amazing things and all as a single mom which makes her story even more inspiring. You can follow Jillian on her social sites: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, YOUTUBE, and check out her kickstarter campaign here. Without further ado, here’s Jillian:

momco app

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi, I’m Jillian. I am the creator and founder of the MomCo App. I’m the single mom of 7yr old little boy, former small business owner and entrepreneur loving life in San Diego. I owned Play Town Indoor Playground in El Cajon 2009-2013. I was a stay at home mom until my marriage came to a tragic end in 2009. I bought Play Town to earn a living to support myself and my son while still being able to be a full time mom cause of the flexible schedule being a small business owner gives you. I started my current career as an entrepreneur with making a profit from selling Play Town and using that to build the MomCo App for the iPhone.

More than anything I’m a mom. My son and I are very active. We love going to indoor playgrounds, playing football, surfing and all the fun activities San Diego has to offer. I have never enjoyed anything more or been better at anything than being a parent. Everything I do in business is to support me being able to take care of my son 24/7 and fully participate in all his activities.

 What projects are you currently working on?

I have created an app for moms called MomCo. www.momcoapp.com It helps moms find and connect with other moms in their community as well as local businesses and services that cater to parents and children. It’s also a great platform for these service providers to connect directly with their target demographic. I have been able to fund the iPhone version with the capital I earned selling my last business. We are constantly working to add features and improve function with the current app to get it ready for the national launch. I have also just launched a Kickstarter Campaign http://kck.st/1wcnvrg to raise funds to build the Android and iPad versions of the app and for a national marketing campaign.

What inspired you to create the MomCo App?

The MomCo App was inspired by my own experience as a mom struggling to connect with other moms when I first had my son. I was young when I had him and I didn’t have any friends with kids. I spent the first two years of his life joining playgroups, hosting playdates and countless hours hanging out at the playground just hoping to meet moms I clicked with. Luckily I did because when my marriage fell apart, there is no way I would have survived raising a toddler on my own with no family in town, my grueling divorce, and being a small business owner without their constant love and support. But not every mom has the time or effort that I put into to building my amazing tribe of mom friends. The MomCo App make is effortless for moms to find other local moms that have things in common with It was also inspired by my experience as a small business owner trying to find the best way to reach to my target demographic.

Recently a couple of events have prompted me to have the idea for the MomCo App. I have lost a number of my close friends due to geographical moves. Their families have grown so they have had to move to larger houses or their husbands’ jobs were relocated, leaving me and my son behind. Two issues were brought up through this experience: 1) I needed to make some more friends that lived close by and 2) My friends who had moved were struggling to find new friends that they could connect with. I knew the technology existed to meet people through apps so I thought, “Why not build an App so moms no longer have to struggle to meet other moms that live close to them?”With the MomCo App, moms can effortlessly find and connect with other moms close by. The service provider side of the app comes from also knowing the needs of a new mom to find out what resources and services are available to them.

The service side was inspired by my own experience marketing Play Town and trying to find the most inexpensive and effective way to reach local moms. The MomCo App provides a great platform for small businesses and service providers to list themselves where their target demographic can easily locate and contact them. 

What  are your biggest goals with the MomCo App?

The goal of MomCo is to make the lives of moms easier across the globe. Also, to give small businesses and independent service providers that cater to parents and children at affordable and effect way to reach their local target demographic.

One of my biggest personal dreams is to get on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I would love to share my story with moms all over America on such a positive, up lifting, and entertaining show. Plus, I just love it and Ellen too. Hopefully my story would inspire other moms to put their dreams into action and show them that is possible to have an exciting career while still being able to spend as much time with kids as they want.

What sets your business aside from other similar businesses?

When I came up with the concept of an app that allows moms to connect with other moms, I didn’t see anything else like it. But from the time of conception to launch I have discovered one other app that help moms connect. Also one thats helps fine local businesses. But there isn’t one that does both like the MomCo App. The MomCo App is a one-stop shop for moms to find the people and products they need.

I learned a lot about marketing from owning my last business and it has become a passion of mine. I love the marketing and networking process. I have a really solid marketing plan for when the kickstarter campaign is over and I’m ready to launch the national marketing campaign of the MomCo App. I also have a BFA in Theatre and was a professional actress for years. I will be featured on one of Bravo’s top rated shows this fall and I have recently received other offers for shows. This will be amazing nation exposure for the app.

 What brings you the most joy in your work?

I love connecting with other women and moms that are entrepreneurs. We have amazing community and all support each other. Growing up I didn’t have many friends so I am extra appreciative for all the amazing women I currently have in my life that help and champion all my business endeavors.

 What are you most proud of? 

I am the most proud of the fact that not only did I survive a very difficult situation but I have actually used that experience to create an amazing life for myself and my son.

What does a typical day look like for you?

On a typical day I get my son ready and to school. I then go to pilates 2 or 3 times a week. I will run any errands I need to take care of that are easier to do without a 7 yr old little boy in tow. I will usually have at leaf one or two meetings a day. The entire time I am usually emailing and keeping up with social media. I pick up my son at 2. WE then go home. He gets to relax and play while I get a couple hours of work done. We then head off to football practice at 5pm. I get a ton of work done during his practice. I have a MacBook Air and a hot spot so I can work on my laptop while he practices. Then it’s dinner, shower and bed time. I usually work from 9pm-12am on the computer. My days are very full and busy but I love what I do so I enjoy it.

Any advice on how to “juggle it all”?

I juggle it all by always having a to do list and it’s prioritized. It keeps me on track. I write everything down. I would forget half my ideas if i didn’t write them down when I think of them. And to do everything that I need to do all day, I just do it. I try not think about it too much or let myself get overwhelmed. I just go. Being a single mom and entrepreneur I have a lot on my plate but I just do as much as I can every day. I try not to stress out over the things I can’t control. I also always look for activities that my son can do where there is good work space for me. So he is active and happy and I can still be productive. That is one of my best tips for any working mom.

Pretend your best friend is about to have a baby. What’s the best piece of advice you would share about motherhood?

Find an amazing tribe of women to raise your baby with. These women will be your support system, sounding board and best friends. That’s why I created the MomCo App. So every new mom can effortlessly connect with women that will help her survive the next phase her life. Yes I said survive, because sometimes it does feel like you are just surviving but it will also be the best, most rewarding and fun time of your life. But you can’t go through it alone. New moms need other moms! 

Giveaway: B. toffee

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably realized that I’m no stranger to sweet treats. I love them, can’t live without them, and MUST document them! That’s why I was pretty excited to try B. toffee. A pretty and delicious sweet treat!

B. toffee is hand crafted toffee created in Newport Beach, California. Founder Betsy Thagard began her confection company in 2009 with a passion for toffee that wasn’t too sticky or chewy – just the right consistency. With an elegant balancing act of extravagance and pure simplicity, B. toffee exemplifies the ultimate indulgence made up of savory butters, fine domestic sugars, premium Guittard and Callebaut chocolates and topped with superior quality pecans. Is your mouth watering yet?

B. toffee

B. toffee is so divine it’s even won several awards including the Gold in TasteTV’s 2014 ‘Best Toffee’ Award.

B. toffee is perfect for: unique gifts for your loved ones on birthdays and holidays, delicious corporate/client gifts or simply, a sweet treat to indulge in all your own!

And, San Diegans – we’re in luck! B. Toffee is now available at Whole Foods Del Mar! (Consider this added to my weekly grocery list!)

Enter to Win:

Enter to win a gift set of 2 signature toffee canisters (one milk chocolate and one dark chocolate) in an adorable burlap reusable bag.

B. toffee
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Disclaimer: I received complimentary product to review this business. However, all opinions are my own and the Mommy Project, San Diego only features products that we can truly recommend

10 Signs You’re a Modern Day Mom

As I find myself immersed in this “mommy world”, I’ve picked up on a few new trends. I know they’re new because when I talk to any other mom from an older generation, the response is always the same – “Wow, we didn’t have that when my babies were younger!” Cue Bob Dylan – The Times They Are a Changin’. Here are 10 signs you’re a modern day mom:

  1. Your baby wears an amber necklace to help with teething. No one actually knows if it really works, but it’s worth a shot if it does, amIright?
  2. And what’s that lovely new necklace that YOU are wearing? Chewbeads of course! And you pick out a chewbead necklace based on what color will match most of the outfits in your closet (so anything that matches yoga pants).
  3. You read every blog or Huffington Post article about being a parent because it will either be informative or it will make fun of all of the modern day parenting antics just for entertainment (guess which category this blog post falls into? :))
  4. It’s time to introduce your baby to solids. But hold the jars of Gerber baby food, you have an important decision to make: purees or baby led weaning? Let the Googling begin…
  5. Your son/daughter owns Sophie the Giraffe and loves it! At play dates, you have to make sure to keep an eye on your child’s Sophie because it’s always the hit of the party and that is one expensive teether toy!
  6. All of your toys, baby spoons, bowls, bottles and – pretty much anything that your kid comes in contact with – are BPA free. Wait, children’s stuff made WITH BPA still exists?
  7. You have a B.O.B. stroller or a similar jogging stroller even though you hate to jog (I believe it‘s jogging or yogging. It might be a soft j. I’m not sure but apparently you just run for an extended period of time. It’s supposed to be wild).
  8. You feed your baby nothing but organic fruits and vegetables, either whole or as a homemade puree, while you sit there eating a bag of cheetos (oh wait, just me? Moving on…) and if you dare feed your baby store-bought purees, you best believe they’re organic and you recognize every single ingredient on the label.
  9. Forget Cheerios and jarred baby food, your baby loves Puffs and baby food that comes in (BPA-free) pouches. And (surprise!) it’s all organic.
  10. One word: wubbanubs. Your baby loves them and you secretly love them because, seriously, how cute is that little stuffed animal dangling from their mouth?

What would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments below…

modern day mom

You’re Invited: Westfield UTC’s Uncorked Wine Walk and Concert

What’s better than enjoying Temecula’s finest wines, amazing food, art and acoustic music, all here locally at Westfield UTC? NOTHING! Absolutely nothingYou’re invited to attend the 2nd annual Uncorked Wine Walk and Concert this coming Saturday, August 23rd!

Navigate your way through a wine tasting experience as you sample a diverse selection of Temecula Valley varietals paired with Culinary delights and acoustic entertainment. Sold yet? Here’s everything you need to know:

Event: Uncorked Wine Walk and Concert

Venue: Westfield UTC - 4545 La Jolla Village Dr, San Diego, CA 92122

Date: Saturday, August 23, 2014

Time: 4-7PM

Wineries:  Lorimar Vineyards & Winery, Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards and Hart Family Winer

Culinary: Westfield UTC’s fine dining destinations - PIRCH, Seasons 52, Eureka Discover American Craft and Tender Greens.

Music: The Voice contestant Erick Macek, and local musicians jazz singer Whitney Shay and reggae-influenced Stateside Islander Crew.

Art: Experience a colorful pop-art theme with exclusive art works by visiting Australian artist Marina Pratten, inspired by a wine enthusiasts take on iconic Andy Warhol pop-art.

Ticket Price: $30 advanced purchase, $40 at the door, $50 includes VIP reception hosted by Riviera Magazine starting at 3PM. (Enter code: SIPSALE and receive $10 off either general admission or VIP tickets!)

*Event proceeds will benefit the Temecula Valley Winegrower’s Association and the San Diego Museum of Art.
*21+ Event, Children not allowed in wine gardens. 

Purchase Tickets Here.

Cheers! 
Uncorked Wine Walk

The 5 Best Mommy and Me Workout Classes in San Diego

Working out after having a baby is hard. And I’m not talking about physically hard, I’m talking hard in finding the time and energy to fit in a workout session. And just when you think the seas have parted and you can actually squeeze in a good workout, many moms (including me) don’t have nannies or daycare options to watch the little one(s) while breaking a sweat. That’s why I was so excited to find these different mommy and me workout classes in San Diego where your can bring your baby and also receive a great workout. Here are the 5 best Mommy and Me Workout Classes I’ve found in San Diego (specifically, North County):

  1. Stroller Jam at the YMCA, Encinitas:

    The YMCA in Encinitas is pretty awesome! They offer so many classes, daycare for the little ones, a big indoor pool with a retractable ceiling to let the sunshine in, and the thing that attracted me the most – their Stroller Jam classes. Stroller Jam incorporates a workout with your strollers and your babes in tow. They usually conduct these classes along the coast in Encinitas, so moms can enjoy fresh ocean breezes during this challenging workout. Really challenging. I might have had to lay down on the sidewalk to catch my breath while my baby secretly judged me from her stroller (ok, yes, that happened). Now, THAT’S what I call a good workout.
    Check website for up-to-date class schedules and pricing:
    Magdalena Ecke YMCA Encinitas
    200 Saxony Rd, Encinitas, CA 92024
    760.942.9622

  2. Barre Class at the Dailey Method Barre Studio, Carlsbad:

    I attended  this fun Mommy and Me class with my mommy group (read about the whole experience here). Who knew that half-inch movements could provide such an intense workout! Of course there’s much more to the class, including a combination of ballet barre work, core conditioning, muscular strengthening, yoga and orthopedic exercises – all while wearing your baby in a carrier! It’s a win-win; baby gets to be close to mama while mama gets in a great workout with added weight!
    Check website for up-to-date class schedules and pricing:
    The Dailey Method Barre Studio
    905 Calle Barcelona #227, Carlsbad, CA 92009
    760.479.0764

  3. Mommy Bootcamp with California Core

    If you’re like me and love circuit training and exercising outdoors, this one’s for you! California Core is set to open this coming Winter in North County, San Diego. I had the pleasure of experiencing a demo class which was an hour session mixed with cardio and strength training. California Core is all about  functional fitness training designed for the San Diego lifestyle. I loved this class because it focuses on building your core through personalized training at private residences, local beaches and parks. Their mobile fitness comes to you and babies in strollers are welcome to join! Your first class is always free and mention you heard about California Core through Mommy Project SD & get your second session 10% off!
    Contact for up-to-date class schedules and pricing:
    California Core
    Throughout North County, San Diego
    954.303.0368 (Call or text to set up your one-on-one or group training session)
    info@californiacore.com 

  4. Mommy KCal Class at Baja Body Athletic Club, Oceanside:

    Baja Athletic Club is a new gym in Oceanside. The thing that makes them unique is their sand studio where they teach different core classes, an Anti-gravity class and more fun, unique workouts. After trying (and loving) their Anti-gravity class, I signed up for the Mommy KCal Class where you burn 1,000 calories! (It was insane). During this high energy cross training program, they mix strength and cardio integrating suspension cables, jump ropes, overhead monkey bars and more! This is a very fun, high energy class for moms to enjoy while babies are having supervised fun playing in the sand room! 
    Check website for up-to-date class schedules and pricing:
    Baja Body Athletic Club
    1220 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054

    760.231.1755

  5. Mommy & Me Yoga Class at Soul of Yoga, Encinitas:

    This was one of the first Mommy and Me classes I took after Blake was born (read all about my first experience here). I love these classes because not only do you get some amazing stretching time while your baby looks up at you from your yoga mat in awe of the different poses, a portion of the class also incorporates baby yoga where you move your baby’s legs and arms to stimulate circulation and digestive. Fun for mom and baby! Namaste.
    Check website for up-to-date class schedules and pricing:
    Soul of Yoga
    627 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas, CA 92024
    760.943.7685

mommy and me workout classes in San Diego

International Breastfeeding Week: A Story of One Mom’s Journey

In honor of International Breastfeeding Week, my dear friend from my Mommy Group, Shelley, is here guest blogging to share her amazing journey/struggles with breastfeeding. Shelley is such an amazing mother and all-around great person and I’m so happy she chose my blog to act as the platform for her amazing story. If you are a new mom struggling with breastfeeding, please read – there are some great resources at the end as well. Without further ado, here is Shelley:

International Breastfeeding Week

My Breastfeeding Journey

By Shelley C.

The latch

Ahh, breastfeeding… sweet, sweet breastfeeding. It’s almost taboo how no one really warns you what lies ahead between you, your soon to be poor, raw nipples, and your little paraná with what feels like razor-sharp teeth chomping down on you.

I remember being pregnant and listening to stories from my mom about her breastfeeding journey, and she had absolutely no troubles. Zero, zip, nada. Not one. So, naturally, I assumed baby pops out, latches like a champ (latch: a term I had no idea I would hear over and over again for the first few months), and the rest is history. Well, not for me. In fact, my breastfeeding experience was quite the opposite. A rough, confusing, extremely painful and emotional journey intertwined with anger, frustration, and doubt. It turns out I wasn’t alone amongst my breastfeeding struggles, and I thankfully was (eventually) able to create a beautiful, positive, blissful breastfeeding relationship between my son and me, who is turning one at the end of the month.

I remember how magical it was after my C-section when they finally brought Tanner to me in the recovery room. They placed him on my chest for skin-to-skin contact and he pecked his way over to my boobies right away. It was amazing to see this tiny little creature have such natural instinct for his mom and his food supply. He latched right on, and no one ever showed concern that something could eventually prevent a struggle.

The hospital I delivered at had a couple lactation consultants on staff who would stop by and check in on you at least once during your stay, because they wanted you to succeed breastfeeding. Mine was named Cari & I remember her popping into our hospital room on day 3 because I was absolutely exhausted. My family and my in-laws were all in our tiny room, and I already felt overwhelmed amongst the chaos. Everyone was so excited to meet and hold Tanner the days following his birth, and inside I remember thinking “Do I ever get to hold my baby?!” I remember how uncomfortable it was that no one excused themselves from my room when Cari was clearly there to observe my boobs, and I knew my nipples hurt so bad I just wanted to lay around topless all day and have her wave a magic wand around to get the pain gone (and for everyone to give me some privacy). Ya, most your dignity goes out the window during childbirth, but there’s still something about whipping your boobs out in front of your dad and mother-in-law that’s just weird & awkward. Cari didn’t have a magic wand, but we did have the bedside curtain to close, and that’s as good as we were going to get for now. I had my mom with me (she’s a nurse and we’re super close, so her seeing my boobs was no biggie) and Cari had Tanner latch on to feed, and watched him nurse. I told her how excruciating it was and had been since his first few latches, but she said his latch looked great, and the pain should only last a couple weeks. A couple weeks?! Ah!! How will I ever survive?! If only I knew that pain would continue for three.more.months. Yep, three.

After Cari came by, the pediatrician came in to do a weigh in. It’s normal for newborns to lose a pound or so from their birth weight, so Tanner’s weight was okay, but he had orange pee crystals, so that was the first red flag he wasn’t getting enough fluids. Instead of someone trying to help me breastfeed further, or call Cari back in, they said the only option was to add formula to some of his feedings. Being a health conscious, I was irritated & confused, but they were the doctors and recommending what’s best for my baby…right? They ensured me they had organic formula and “not everyone can make enough milk.” Are any pro breastfeeders or LC’s losing it right now? Are flames coming out of your ears? Are you throwing things at the computer screen?? I started to hate myself for not being able to naturally provide for my son, and blamed myself (and the breast augmentation surgery I had when I was 22, which turned out to be totally unrelated.)

[Note: I believe ALL moms are wonderful, whether you chose to breastfeed or to not. This is simply my personal journey with breastfeeding & always wanting to breastfeed. I fully support every mom's decision to provide for their baby in ways that work for them & their circumstances.]

After meeting with Cari again, she said lose the formula and stick with breastfeeding, because babies only need colostrum the first week anyway, and a teeny, tiny amount.

I would cringe every time he would feed

Around week two and a half post partum I was completely sobbing to my mom (thank god for her; she took every single day of her work vacation days & flew out to help us for three weeks; she was my therapist, our house keeper, our chef, our nanny, my go-to – thank you so much, Mom!!) about how badly it hurt every time still Tanner fed. My nipples were literally cracked, bleeding, blistered and scabby. I would cringe every time he would feed, and any new mom knows newborns’ cluster feeding “schedule” (aka 24/7) is NO JOKE, but something just wasn’t right! We Googled how long new mom breastfed nipples should hurt, and every article and source said max two weeks, or to contact an LC (lactation consultant aka breastfeeding guardian angels) if pain was still present. I felt embarrassed and frustrated I had to reach out for help, and figured since my mom didn’t have problems, that neither would I. This was also right around the time we had Tanner’s follow-up pediatrician visit, and he was in a super low percentile and labeled as “failing to thrive.” Which meant my boobs were failing to thrive. More formula was sent home with me to “bulk him up; you’re hurting his brain growth!” with the phrase “some people just can’t produce enough milk.” Great.

The outside pressure

The outside pressure from everyone else around was irritating too because they just didn’t get it. They didn’t understand my struggles because they all bottle fed or didn’t have breastfeeding issues to be able to offer advice. The bottle feeders always said “just give him a bottle, it’s easier.” Actually, it’s not because my husband travels for work and sanitizing bottles, pumping milk, and warming milk all hours of the night is way more overwhelming. P.S. – Don’t ever say that to a new breastfeeding mom who’s hormones are raging out of control. Ever. I was also the first in my circle of friends to have a baby, so didn’t have any modern mama to turn to for help. Lucky, my husband was very supportive of my breastfeeding desire because he attended the classes with me while I was pregnant and learned about all the health benefits. He had testicular cancer as a child, so his ears perked up when exclusive breastfeeders lower their children’s risk for childhood cancer and can help set them up on a healthier path. There’s something so attractive feeling like your husband’s got your back; that you’re a team; that you’re supported.

After we got home from the pediatrician appointment, my mom found Cari’s card and I called her for advice. She dropped everything she was doing and came for a private lactation appointment at my house. She cringed at my nipples and decided to test out my brand new, ridiculously expensive breast pump to see if I could pump anything. We got a drop. Like literally one drop. After 20 minutes of pumping. Devastating. So she had me get in the shower and try to massage my boobs as hard as I could under the hottest water I could tolerate. Turned out almost every single one of my milk ducts was clogged, and I would’ve woken up with mastitis the next morning if she hadn’t massaged the clogs out. Yes, you heard that right; she literally squashed the life out of my boobs for me while I was naked in the shower to get my milk to come in. We tried the pump again and still only got a few drops. Are you kidding me?!? She said it would take time, and that my milk would continue to come in…

I just knew in my gut, something was off

A couple days later, I still never felt my boobs feel full, and I still hadn’t experienced a letdown. I just knew in my gut something was still off, so we found the schedule for the local breastfeeding support group. My mom packed Tanner and I into the car (I actually had to get dressed?!), and came with me to my first breastfeeding support group session. An LC and about twenty other new moms and babies were there, all having problems nursing, all looking for support. I fell in love with that support group right then and there knowing I was no longer in this alone. They ended up being my outlet & some of my closest friends, and came at perfect timing because my mom had to fly back home a couple days later.

Monster list of tips to increase milk supply

Cari, Nicole, and Janet were the three LCs who ran the group. Each new mom would introduce herself, her baby, and discuss the issues she was having. All the moms were suffering from some sort of breastfeeding issue; nursing pain, latch issues, thrush, low supply, oversupply, over active letdowns, nursing twins, etc…When my turn came around I opened up about my issue, which ended up being classified as “low milk supply.” So after Cari observed Tanner’s latch, which was determined to be good, I was left with a monster list of tips to increase my milk supply…

  1. Pump after every nursing session to try to tell your body it needs to create more milk. (EVERY NURSING SESSION. I felt like a cow. I literally didn’t wear a shirt for weeks).
  2. Bake lactation cookies (thanks, mom!)
  3. Drink Gatorade for electrolytes; some women swear by the red or blue. (Who knows! At least it’s a change from water.)
  4. Drink 90oz of water per day. (Some days I thought I was drowning! PS – never drink all your ounces per day at once; that can be dangerous).
  5.  Eat 2,000 calories full of healthy fats, protein, dairy, and fiber. (Because we totally have time to go grocery shopping and cook. Hopefully your better halves, parents, or friends can help you in the kitchen – it’s for the baby!)
  6. Start taking Goat’s Rue and More Milk Plus by Mother’s Love. Also used Dairy Diva. (You can find them at Whole Foods or online).
  7. Continue to nurse on demand. (If baby is ever sucking their hands the first few months, it’s probably not for comfort; it usually means they are hungry.)
  8. If baby still seems hungry after breastfeeding, supplement with an ounce or two of formula, then pump after for 10 minutes. (This was the most exhausting process!)
  9. Don’t exercise yet- you can lose what supply you do have burning too many calories too quickly. (Be gentle on yourself and your post-partum body. I started working out at 8 months post-baby because I felt confident with my supply, my eating habits, and my water intake. DO NOT DIET while trying to keep your supply up. I know many women who wanted to lose “those last 15 pounds” and they all lost their milk around 5 months because they were limiting their calories. If you’re eating healthy foods, you can still reach the calorie intake you need).
  10. Try power pumping - (keep your pump hooked up to you for an hour. Pump ten minutes on, ten minutes off, for 60 minutes. Obviously try to time when baby doesn’t need to breastfeed).
  11. Try to get some sleep (seriously?)
  12. Your milk is “best” from about 11pm until you wake up, so pump before the last feeding of the evening, the middle of the night feeding, and the first feeding of the morning to boost your supply the most. Your supply is worst from around 4pm-10pm, so pump to stimulate then. (Eek…this mom thing is definitely a full time job!)
  13. Drink More Milk Tea (Sold at Target or Whole Foods. You literally have to drink like a gallon a day, so pre-make a big batch and mix with honey or lemon because it’s GROSS. PS – From the herbs & tea, your sweat and body will start to give off an herby smell, be ready for that ;) 
  14. Try Milky (an herbal blend of milk boosters; it tastes way better than the tea but I’m not sure if it really helps or not).

I tried all of these things for months. It became my life. I was literally obsessed with the fact that I wasn’t going to give up. I was determined to exclusively breastfeed. When I would have to supplement I felt so guilty, like I had failed. And I was becoming mentally and physically exhausted. At night it was the most brutal; Tanner would nurse for literally an hour, then I’d have to supplement, then I’d pump for ten minutes. By the time I was done with that cycle, I had to start it over. My husband was also traveling for work 2-3 weeks out of the month, and that started when Tanner was two weeks old, so the bottle & pump cleaning was a nightmare and so hard to keep up with. When my in-laws would come over to see Tanner, I would secretly wish they were cleaning & doing my laundry instead! I was super grateful they brought me meals a couple times, I would’ve probably starved to death when Kyle was gone.

About two months in of these crazy supply tricks, I was still going nowhere. We’d weigh Tanner before and after feedings at class and he was still only getting an ounce after nursing for nearly an hour. And on top of that, my nipples were still totally scabbed, so I was now referred to the nipple shield. The nipple shield is a soft piece of plastic that goes on top of your nipple so the baby’s mouth sucks on that instead of direct contact with your skin, causing less pain and allowing the scabs to heal (like putting a bottle nipple over yours). It helped a little, but Tanner had gotten so used to using it, that he was soon refusing to nurse without it. Ugh, a new battle. Once my boobs felt a little better, It took me two full weeks to completely wean him of using the shield. And then the scabs returned…

We were creeping up on three months post partum (still supplement after some feedings, still dealing with scabs, still pumping after each feeding to stimulate a supply increase, taking goat’s rue and more milk plus three times a day and eating BF cookies like it was my job) when a speech therapist came to our support group to observe infants for the first time. She was there to look for upper lip and tongue-tie issues. I had overheard chitter chatter about this mysterious tongue tie thing from a mom I got close with in support group; her baby, Charlie, had just had both her upper lip and tongue tie removed with a laser. But, no one had ever mentioned that diagnosis to me, so I just thought it was some rare thing.

My Hail Mary

The next group meeting, the speech therapist was there again to observe. I introduced myself and told her that everyone says Tanner has a great latch, but my nipples were still raw going on three months post partum, and I’m still only able to get about an ounce per feeding, so I was still having to supplement. I told her she was literally my Hail Mary, and asked her to observe tanner’s nursing. She watched him eat for thirty minutes and…wait for it…said she was pretty sure he had both upper lip and tongue tie. (There’s a fancy frenulum name for it). Ummm..wait, frenulum what??

As frustrated as I was that it took three months for someone to throw this new diagnosis at me that could be causing my low supply and soreness issues, I was actually excited that there could be a reason for all the madness and my low supply wasn’t going unexplained. Charlie’s mom, Stephanie, referred me to the dentist she went to that specialized in tongue and upper lip tie removal via laser (which is considered to be far more accurate at removing these ties than it being snipped, and is supposed to heal quicker as well). I called the office that day and they scheduled Tanner an appointment the next morning.

When I got to the dentist, I was really nervous and didn’t know what to expect. The one thing I did know right off the bat was that the staff was incredibly warm and friendly, and the office was decorated so cute for fall, smelling and looking like home. I had great vibes from the moment I walked in and was greeted by the receptionists. They took us in like we were their family. (And this was South Florida!) Once we were called back, we met the dentist and other staff, and they were all incredibly friendly as well. They took one look in Tanner’s mouth and said he had one of the thickest, longest upper lip ties and tongue tie they had ever seen, and couldn’t believe I was even still nursing. After they explained everything thoroughly they asked if I wanted to move forward with the procedure. They went over everything in full detail until I felt full informed; like how lip & tongue tie can lead to tooth decay, speech issues, latch issues, and other problems later on in life. And that is cost $1000, which is due upfront, but insurance may cover it partially. The answer was obvious to me – YES. PLEASE HELP US! When children get older, they have to be sedated and have sutures to close the removal of the ties, but when they’re infants, laser is fast, virtually pain free, and the recovery is only a few days. Tanner just made the cut by a week. After three months, they have to be monitored in an outside facility. They put Tanner in the most funny, teeny tiny glasses I’ve ever seen to protect his eyes. I gave him lots of love and snugs, then I left the room so I didn’t have to watch. They preformed the laser on both ties then and there. I was sent home with recovery instructions, and they had him latch immediately after the procedure to see if I could feel a difference. I’m not sure if I was so desperate for an improvement, or if I really felt an immediate change in his lap, but I was convinced I could. (Update: our insurance is 80/20 so they covered 80%, which was incredible! Although, it ended up being priceless to me).

Could this mean he was finally getting more milk from me?

After each time Tanner nursed for a week I had to rub under his upper lip and under his tongue. They have you do this because the mouth is the fastest healing place on our body, so they don’t want the ties to grow back. You have to keep disrupting the tissue growth. That was by far the saddest and most painful part to watch after the removals, because he was in a lot of pain when I rubbed them (obviously, ouch!). I had to give him Tylenol the first two days for discomfort, but after a week, he was completely pain-free, and the wounds were healing greatly. I was so relieved because we were flying to California the next week to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I was actually able to supplement with the tiny amount of milk I was collecting from pumping after feedings that week, rather than formula. And he was only taking about one ounce. Could this mean he was finally getting more milk from me? Could this really have been the culprit for my supply issues all along?

We got to California for vacation a girl I went to high school with (who was also nursing her son the same age as Tanner) dropped of bags of donor milk for me to supplement with in case I was still having issues. When I was supplementing with organic formula, Tanner wasn’t pooping and would wake up screaming all night from gas pain. (I had been SO fortunate with breastfeeding mamas around me. At first I was using a mix of organic formula & donor milk from a friend of the family in Florida, but didn’t want to risk bringing the frozen stash I had in case it thawed & went bad). I was in awe how generous other mamas were. Once you’re a breastfeeding mom you have this instant bond with other breastfeeding mamas.

I don’t know if the California Gods were with me, if it was finally getting to relax with my family & holiday cheer, or if it was just the perfect timing (2 weeks) after Tanner’s tongue tie procedure, but my milk came in the second day I was home. I could cry just writing this and reliving that day. I woke up and my boobs were HUGE. Like full for the first time EVER. He nursed like “normal” that day & I was literally in shock when he wasn’t crying for more milk after nursing. And he was feeding for an efficient half hour rather than dragging feedings on for an hour+. I continued to pump after feedings that week just to be safe, but after a week of that, I no longer had to anymore. My supply issues were finally over. I couldn’t believe it…His tongue-tie was fixed. It was his latch all along. Three of the longest months of my life were finally behind me.

I feel like it’s my mini calling to help other moms suffering from low supply issues or supply issues related to tongue-tie now. It robbed me of enjoying the first three months with Tanner because I was so focused on being able to breastfeed and all the struggles along our way, that it was literally my 24/7 job.

I’m actually thrilled to announce that eleven months later I am still exclusively breastfeeding, and even happier to report I have just donated around 80 ounces of my beloved freezer stash I had at home (from the whole time I was pumping during my Thanksgiving & Christmas visits) to a mama in the area who was unable to breastfeed due to IGT. Talk about my breastfeeding journey coming full circle! If you have breast milk you won’t be using, please don’t toss it! There are so many moms looking for donors, and you can pay it forward here - https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=180419095335971&tsid=0.2959478737320751&source=typeahead

Use my journey as an outlet to educate yourself, find support and gather advice

If you’re reading this and struggling with low supply, I hope you can use my journey as an outlet to educate yourself, find support in me, and gather advice. Most of all I hope you know you are doing the best you can. You are an incredible mama.

Turns out, there are many different reasons for low milk supply. For example, IGT, chronic low supply, thyroid issues, hereditary issues, breast reduction surgeries, etc. This was my personal experience with low supply related to upper lip and tongue-tie. If you need more support, there are some wonderful groups on Facebook:

Tongue-Tie:

Low Supply:

General Breastfeeding Support:

What is Tongue Tie?

If you are struggling from low supply and want to continue breastfeeding rather than switch to formula, first and foremost, find a lactation consultant in your area. Go to a breast-feeding support group. Actually, find a few LCs and go to a couple support groups. 1. You’ll need all the love and encouragement you can get. You are not in this alone, and there are other mamas struggling just like you. 2. You’ll sometimes need a second (or even a third) opinion to really pinpoint your issue like I did.

To find an LC near you, visit the following:

 

Breastfeeding is hard. Being a mom is hard. But they are both two of the most rewarding experiences I have ever experienced. Happy International Breastfeeding Week, and I’m sending all the positive milk- making vibes possible to you!

 

 

Sous Kitchen: Healthy Dinners Delivered + Giveaway

As busy parents it’s sometimes hard to plan out your grocery shopping, meal prep and cooking – especially if you’re hoping for gourmet, healthy meals. That’s why I was excited to learn about Sous Kitchen, a California-based kitchen that delivers healthy, gourmet, family dinners straight to your door. All you have to do is defrost, cook and serve. Forget about the meal planning, shopping, chopping, measuring and prepping! And the best part? They use all-natural, local California ingredients so the meals are always fresh and delicious.

About Sous Kitchen

  • Areas served: California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado and Arizona.
  • All ingredients used are 100% natural, fresh, anti-biotic and hormone-free delivered daily from local farms and suppliers. No additives or preservatives are used in any part of their process.
  • Meals can be ordered online from the Seasonal Monthly Menu.
  • All meals are family size and serve 3-4 people at an average of $5 – $6 per serving.
  • Meals come in convenient, insulated boxes filled with dry ice (that can sit on your door step for up to a day).

I was able to try a couple of meals from their menu, and they truly did not disappoint! I chose to try the BBQ Chicken, Green Beans with Garlic Butter and Southern Baked Beans, the Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas and the Lava Cake for dessert (yes, please!)

Every meal comes with easy instructions on how to defrost and prepare, so literally all I had to do was throw the green beans and baked beans in a pan, the enchiladas in the oven or the chicken on the grill.

Sous Kitchen

Sous Kitchen

Sous Kitchen

And the final outcome was delicious and ready within 30 minutes!

Sous Kitchen

Sous Kitchen

Sous Kitchen

 Enter to Win a $100 Gift Card to Sous Kitchen

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclaimer: I received complimentary food to review this business. However, all opinions are my own and the Mommy Project, San Diego only features services that we can truly recommend. 

My Writing Process Blog Tour

I met Olivia Howell through the site, Rookie Moms, as we’re both first time moms participating in the 52 weekly challenges. I love her blog, The Lovely Sisters, where she blogs alongside her sister about all things style, baby, weddings and really, anything considered lovely. We also share a deep-rooted love for some of the same musicians, James Taylor and Van Morrison! The best.

I also really look up to Olivia as a great writer which is why I was so excited when she invited me to join in the “My Writing Process Blog Tour,” which is a really fun way to see how different bloggers approach the thought-development and writing process. The idea is for me to answer the following 4 questions, so my readers can get an idea of the thought process that goes into my blog posts. So, without further ado, here’s my blog tour:

(1) What are you working on?

My passion project with this blog is the Fab Moms series because I personally LOVE reading other moms’ stories. After I read each guest blogger’s post, I truly come away inspired in one way or another. So, I’m on the search for more Fab Moms to feature!

I’m also really loving my Whine & Dine series and am getting some great feedback from restaurants in the area inviting me to come and experience their venue with my family. As a new mom and a foodie, it was sometimes hard to decipher if some of the nicer, trendier restaurants were family friendly or not. I think my Whine & Dine series continues to highlight amazing venues and great cuisine in a, surprisingly, family friendly environment.

And, of course, I’m always searching for the “golden” posts – the ones where I can share some raw, more personal insights into “mom life”. I think those touch my readers the most.

(2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

There are definitely a ton of other fantastic blogs out there that focus on being a first time mom, but with The Mommy Project, San Diego, I try to keep it pretty light-hearted. I’m the type of person that will just laugh at myself if I trip and fall, so I think my blog sort of reflects that “laughing at myself” type of mentality as I navigate motherhood. However, along with the hilarious moments I’ll occasionally share some of the “doomsdays” because I don’t want to fool anyone into thinking that my family and I live in some perfect little bubble over here – motherhood is hard.

I also try to make my blog useful for local parents - highlighting great restaurants, attractions, businesses and outings for moms and families to explore and enjoy with their babies in San Diego. The Rookie Moms Challenges got me thinking this way and once I started with the challenges, exploring this city through new eyes (with a baby in tow), I wanted to share all of these great, sometimes hidden, gems I was coming across.

(3) Why do I write what I do?

First and foremost, I’ve always loved writing. In the 5th grade my teacher told me that one day he was going to stand in line to have me sign a book for him because he really believed I would publish my own book one day. That has really stuck with me and, although publishing a book is a long-term goal of mine, I started this blog to chronicle being a first time mom. With my new title as “Stay at Home Mom” and this life-altering transition before me, I thought this blog would be the perfect outlet to share my experiences that, hopefully, would resonate with other moms. From time to time I will do sponsored posts (It’s nice to receive some fruit for my labor) but the main point of this blog is to write, to share, and to connect.

(4) How does my writing process work?
I’m actually quite moody when it comes to my writing. I never write just for the sake of writing because I find that I will put out less-than-stellar articles when I do this. I need to be moved by something; an idea, an experience, a cool restaurant or activity. Blog post ideas usually come to me suddenly and I typically write the “idea” of the post down in my notes app on my phone so I don’t forget. I then think and ponder over the idea (in my mind) for a few days before I start typing. After I type out the first draft, I sit on it for a couple of days, tweaking it, re-reading it first thing in the mornings while my mind is fresh. Hitting the “Publish” button always requires a deep breath in and a deep breath out and a quick click. :)

There have been a handful of times when I was so excited about an idea or a post that I had basically written the entire article in my head before typing a word. Then from time to time you may see my blog go silent for a week or so – that’s because I’m not inspired to write anything (or I don’t have any time because I’m chasing around my adorable little 8 month old). Like I said, I’m very moody with my writing and I need a spark – something that triggers an idea for a post, and then my mind just works it out from there.

Thank you for your interest in my writing process. The second part of this Blog Tour is to share some of my favorite bloggers, so here they are, in no particular order:

Oakland Avenue

I’ve featured Laura on my Fab Moms series, I was a guest blogger on her site sharing my New Mom Confessions and her blog remains at the top of my daily reading list. I love her honest approach to being a first time mom and her dash of humor keeps me coming back for more. I’m also a huge fan of her This is how I feel series. If you’re a parent, these are absolutely hilarious.

Chic/Social SF

My bestie, Meg, recently started this amazing blog in San Francisco talking about all things SF – restaurants, fashion and design. I just LOVE this line from her “about” page:

So, in a city of Lost Boys, this site is for the Tinkerbells. The dreamers. The dare-to-believers. The ones who don’t take No for an answer and who live life with moxie.

That’s just SO Meg, and I love it and you must follow along with her adventures in SF!

San Diego Mom’s Night Out

Technically,  is this cheating because I also write for this site? (Hope not!) But I wanted to include SD Mom’s Night Out because Angela and I go way back and I’ve worked with her on several events while I was in the hotel business, and now as a mom. She was also a huge inspiration for me in starting my own blog.

SD Mom’s Night Out is not only a blog, but a wonderful, local community of influential women who get together for regular events to celebrate some amazing San Diego venues and businesses. Their events never disappoint and I’m happy to be a part of the talented team over there!

Reverie Print Shop

 

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