Everything You Need to Know About Essential Oils + Giveaway

I’m very excited to introduce you to my guest blogger today, Shelby Nowak. Shelby is a friend, a fellow mom and an expert on the hot topic of essential oils. I learned so much by reading her article and I hope you find it useful as well. Plus, enter to win some Essential Oils by entering the giveaway at the end of this post! Without further ado, here’s Shelby:

Hi! I’m Shelby.  Wife and mom to 2 beautiful little ones.  Life is hectic and crazy, but fun.  Our family is not the ultra-crunchy granola type.  But while I was pregnant and having problems with reflux, I found essential oils to offer amazing relief without having to resort to medications.  This led to our family using oils for all sorts of other problems.  Oils are a part of our everyday life now, and I love it!  I use frankincense for my skin, which helps with skin tone, aging and breakouts. I use lavender for my kids when they have minor injuries. I love the Thieve’s cleaner for our house, eliminating the need for toxic chemicals while still killing 99.6% of household germs.  Essential oils are great for families with children looking for clean alternatives to many products for children, and to help mamas with stress, sleep, and other concerns.  Interested but overwhelmed?  Here’s an introduction for you:

essential oils

Essential Oil Basics

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic compounds from plants.  A wide variety of different essential oils are available, and may be produced from seeds, bark, leaves, flowers, roots or peels of some fruits.  Essential oils are more than just pleasant smells though, and can provide many therapeutic benefits.

What kinds of things can you use essential oils for?

Anything really!  Oils can be beneficial to anyone, for a variety of physical and mental health complaints as well as for general wellness.  Some of the most common uses for oils include  helping with sleep, skin conditions such as acne and eczema, pain complaints, cold/flu symptoms, anxiety or depressed mood, promoting relaxing and relieving stress.

How do I use them?

Oils can be used topically, diffused into the air, and some oils can be ingested.  Oils can also be used for making personal care and cleaning products.  In general when used topically oils should be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil or jojoba.  Use the same quality of oils that you can cook with and consume, as the oils are absorbed through your skin.  If diffused it is best to use an ultrasonic diffuser that does not use any heat as this can destroy many of the therapeutic properties of the oil.  Take particular care with ingestion of essential oils.  If you are not well versed in aromatherapy I suggest consulting with someone who is prior to ingestion of oils.  In particular be very careful about the brand you choose to ingest as oils are not regulated and many are contaminated with chemicals, pesticides or synthetics.

Safety precautions for oils?

In general oils should be diluted.  There are some exceptions to this rule.  Oils should generally not be used for babies less than 6 months of age, with the exception of a diffuser in the general area of an infant which is considered acceptable.  There are some exceptions to this as well, for example lavender and chamomile. Certain oils should be avoided with seizure disorder and during pregnancy. Please consult with someone comfortable with aromatherapy, or your medical provider or a naturopath for more details.

Great!  Where can I get oils?

Please be careful, do your research, and find a company that you can trust. Oils are not created equally!  There is a wide range of prices for essential oils, and this is because quality and purity vary greatly.  Unfortunately “100% pure” on a label does not necessarily mean the oil is really pure. Consider how the oils are distilled – steam distillation or cold-pressed are preferred.  Many of the cheaper brands obtain oils by solvent extraction, using chemicals to obtain the compounds. These types of oils should never be ingested and I wouldn’t recommend using them topically either.  My personal favorite and what I choose to use for my family is Young Living Essential Oils.

After extensive research I chose Young Living oils for the following reasons:

1. Young Living has a Seed To Seal Guarantee. They are the only company in the world that owns their own farms and distills many of their own oils.  They’ve been around for 20 years.  The farms are open to the public and you can see how they operate and even participate in harvest or distillation if you choose!  I love this transparency.  Every other company buys their product from third party growers usually in foreign countries where they give 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th distillations whereas Young Living only gives 1st distillations so their oils are much more potent and provide many more therapeutic benefits.

2. Oils from the health food store are aroma-grade oils and may smell good, but they do not offer the same therapeutic benefits because most of them contain less than 5% pure essential oil. YL oils are 100% pure with nothing ever added, or taken away.

3. Many essential oils have expiration dates, YL oils do not. Properly stored 100% pure essential oils (excluding citrus) won’t ever go bad and will last indefinitely. If an essential oil has an expiration date, it isn’t pure or has been cut with a carrier oil which will eventually go rancid.

4. Over 50 hospitals in the USA are now using YL oils, including the Cleveland Clinic.

5. YL carries 87 single oils and 70 blends (with more coming!) But, if an oil doesn’t pass YL’s strict quality standards they won’t offer it for sale so sometimes not all of these oils are available until they can get more.

6. Only 2% of essential oils sold in North America are suitable for medicinal/therapeutic purposes, and Young Living makes 98% of them!

7. Young Living oils meet all industry AFNOR and ISO standards and are subjected to isotopic ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) analysis which determines whether a particular essential oil is naturally sourced or synthetic (created in a lab).

8. I saved the BEST FOR LAST: Apothecary Society. This is a fabulous secret Facebook group for people who use, or are curious about using YL oils. Without the people in this group, I would be so completely lost with what to do with all of my little bottles of oils! Great information – tips and tricks, recipes/etc. Come join us!|

If you are interested in learning more, I teach free classes at Ollie and Me in Carlsbad, CA:



Facebook – Shelby Nowak

Enter to Win:

Enter to win a lemon or pepermint essential oil! Two winners will be randomly selected next Tuesday, October 7, 2014.
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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

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.

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

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