The Great Essential Oils Showdown – Problems in the Essential Oils Industry – Part 3

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We’re back with Part 3 of the search for the Best Essential Oils Company.

After writing Which Essential Oils Company is Best – Part One (basically, where this whole thing started) and Which EO Company is Best – Part 2 (where I outline what you should be looking for in a company), I thought that I should share how I came to find “the best essential oils company”.

Come along for the investigative adventure with me…..

Ever wonder how the essential oils industry works, and what makes some companies better than others? What about the "Therapeutic Grade" claims the MLM oils companies make? Come find out all you ever wanted to know about oils companies and more!

Now, of course, I am only one person.  And a homeschooling mom who is battling adrenal fatigue.

And one of my kids has Aspergers’s (See The Best Autism Therapy) and life-threatening food allergies (see Food Allergies and Eczema – a Healing Story) and the other has dyslexia.

Let’s just say I am busy.

If I were only studying essential oils full time, I could possibly check out every essential oils company on the market and get back to you with a list of all of them in order of preference.

Well, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started, but if you go back and skim through the comments on Part One and Part Two, you will see that there are LOADS of essential oils companies out there.

Even for my intensely investigative mind, there needs to be an end. At some point, I needed to be “OK with a super good, reasonably priced company” and call it a day.

That’s what I think I have and this is how I got there.

Ever wonder how the essential oils industry works, and what makes some companies better than others? What about the "Therapeutic Grade" claims the MLM oils companies make? Come find out all you ever wanted to know about oils companies and more!
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How I Chose “The Best Essential Oils Company”

All of these events kind of converge with each other, so bear with me.  It will all iron out in the end.

Started with Young Living

Here’s where it started.  You can read my post on A Skeptic Looks at Thieves Oil to see that I really thought that EO’s (as they are referred to in the oils world) was a bunch of baloney.

I finally tried them and became a fast believer.  Check out Peppermint, Wintergreen, and More to see how well they worked.

I wasn’t thrilled with some of the things that I’d read about Young Living’s Founder, Gary Young, but I spoke with a number of people about it (including one previous skeptic at Young Living) and felt that if the products were good, then I could deal with the negative.  The information in this document (Update: 2/14/17: This document is now gone from the site) was particularly disconcerting to me, but then again, the author of Quackwatch pretty much has nothing good to say about any alternative modality of healing so I didn’t want to put too much stock in his words.

Anyway, after sharing my Young Living posts with you all, I read through all of the comments and started talking with other companies.  I just felt that I owed it to my family, and my readers, to look into other companies more.

Little did I know that the fun had only just begun.

I started contacting numerous companies based on those mentioned in the comments on my oils posts.

Tried Out doTERRA

One of the first things I did was to contact a rep from doTERRA (one of the commenters on my Best Essential Oils post) and after asking a ton of questions (really – a TON), and doing a little investigating into some of the other non-multi-level companies, I decided to take the plunge and buy a starter kit (Yes, I have spent a LOAD of money on oils).  To this doTERRA rep’s credit, she was very much “not pushy” about doTERRA and I had to even ask her if she was a rep or not.  That meant a LOT to me.  I NOT into pushy salespeople.

My first thought–their oils smelled AMAZING.  My youngest son always wanted to smell them, particularly the peppermint.  In fact, as I walked down this path, he was always asking voting for doTERRA as being the best essential oils company.

I used their oils some, but didn’t know what to think.

After awhile, I thought I’d dive in and commit to using only doTERRA oils for a bit to see what results I would get.

Some OK results and some really great ones too.

a.  A leg / groin injury.  I tried to heal this with YL’s oils for months, but it never went completely away.  doTERRA’s lemongrass and peppermint took it away.
b.  Sleep – no apparent help from either lavender or vetiver.  Sad, tired mom.
c.  Oregano – really helped with warts, but we didn’t use it long enough to get rid of them
d.  Frankincense – husband had what looked like a precancerous spot on his back and this healed it up quickly.
e.  On Guard – I never really felt that this had the same “punch” that YL’s Thieves did.
f.  Slim and Sassy – tastes great (with stevia in water), but no weight loss here.  I’m not really heavy but would love to drop about 2-4 pounds.
g.  Allergies – no help there either with peppermint, lavender, and lemon.

I do really like their educational support from reps and their company, however, some of that education is just plain wrong.

Problems with the Oils Industry

I contacted other companies and went on literally a heap of essential oil company’s sites. Then, during my investigations, I ended up being asked by a company to help them choose an essential oils supplier (crazy, huh?) so I got to try out another company’s oils (for free this time) and found out more and more about oils along the way.

As all of my testing of doTERRA and Young Living was going on, I started looking at other oils companies and talking with folks in the industry.

This is where it gets really interesting.  I don’t have documentation for all of this but here is some of the “dark side” to the essential oils industry.

– Some of the companies actually distill at high pressure and high temperature to get more oil out faster, despite it being widely known in the oils industry that low temperature and low pressure is the way to do it.

Oils are adulterated.  With chemicals, fragrances or cheaper oil.  I heard from one source that CODEX allows for oils to be labeled “pure” with only 3% of the pure oil in the bottle.  I couldn’t get documentation for that, but I can see it being true.  You’ve seen those bottles labeled “pure vanilla extract” that have a lot of alcohol and sugar in them as well, right?  The vanilla part is pure but there’s other stuff in that bottle.  One oil company owner told me he once tested a health food store brand that was labeled “pure” but it tested with 75% propylene glycol.

Basically, if the price seems too good to be true, it likely is.

False certificates – One oil company owner told me that he had sold small amounts of 2 varieties of oil to a smaller company.  They asked for the certification of the more expensive oil, apparently for “verification”.  Later, they ordered a large amount of the less expensive oil to sell to their customers.  The first company’s owner later visited the buyer’s site and saw that the company had posted the certificate for the more expensive oil alongside the info for the “cheaper” oil they had just purchased from him.  Ugh!

Just because there is a certificate doesn’t mean that is what is being sold.

“Complete distillations” or “redistillation” vs “first distillations”.   Apparently, if you distill it at a higher temperature or pressure, or redistill, you get this same “candy”-like smell.  I will refer to this later.

– I have also heard about oils being reheated to make them smell more palatable.  Remember we said “low temperature”?

Chemical Solvents – Some companies are distilling with solvents.  No more chemical nasties, right?  Ick.  There are a few exceptions, but very few.  You want steam distilled oils only otherwise.

Safety violations – There are some companies without good reputations in this arena as well.  I will talk about this next time as well.

I could go on, but again, you can see that this is a murky industry.  Kind of like the modern-day food industry.

More about other companies (and more on YL and doTERRA) in my next post, Best Essential Oils – Part 4.  Hang with me–the end is near :-).

A Great Book to Add to Your Essential Oil Library

There is so much to learn about essential oils. If your appetite is whetted like mine is, you’ll definitely want to grab this book.

I Recommend
Essential Oils: A Comprehensive Handbook for Aromatic Therapy

Essential Oils: A Comprehensive Handbook for Aromatic Therapy

This book is highly recommended by aromatherapists and has details of over 250 essential oils, absolutes and resinoids, a chapter on the latest research in plant medicine, and also information on formulating essential oils.

Also included is information about how essential oils are created, how and where aromatherapy is used, and the underlying science. A very valuable book for everyone from beginner to advanced.

The Essential Oil Company I Chose

If you’d like to find out which essential oil company I went with at the end of this long search, read this post:

Announcing “the Best” Essential Oils Company – Part 7 

you can also read the other parts of the series here:

For more in the Best Essential Oils Series:

– Which Essential Oils Company is Best? – Part 1
– Best Essential Oils – What a Good Oils Company Should Have – Part 2
– Young Living vs. doTERRA – Part 4
– Are Multi-Level Marketing Oils Worth It? – Part 5
– Distillation, Bias, Vomit and More Concerns – Part 6

If you go and grab my Free Report on 10 Things to Know About Essential Oils Before You Buy, you will not only get more myth-busting essential oils information, but you’ll get access to my VIP newsletter as well–complete with updates, great healthy living offers, of course new posts on essential oils, and more.

10 things you need to know about essential oils report in ipad

I’d love to hear your thoughts!  


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  1. I would review the use of essential oils internally. You mention it in one of the reviews about Mountain Rose where they say they do not recommend any internal use.
    Here’s the thing internal use can be VERY DANGEROUS. There are some essential oils that, when diluted, a lot, can be safe and are even used regularly in foods and beverages to flavor items.
    Lemon, Orange, peppermint. These are a few examples that can be used internally, though again you should still dilute them quite a bit.
    Other ones, like wintergreen for example, can be deadly. Even if used undiluted topically it can cause a lot of harm, especially to infants or those with poor lung health. I think your review overall is great, but I think this is an issue that has become obscured especially with companies like YL and DoTerra. Nothing against their oils specifically (expect for me the price, and I’m not big on those types of companies). However having lay people being the ones who end up selling your product it’s easier for misinformation to spread. It’s something I have seen a lot of recently and concerns me. Not only is it dangerous to individuals, it also compromises the industry as a whole.
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks! Yes, initially I was interested in companies that talked about internal use but I have moved from that position. That being said, I want pure oils no matter how I am using them…..b/c I don’t want toxins in my air either (some adulterants in essential oils are nothing that I want on my body, etc. :).

    2. Jackie B. Thank you, you are 100% right. I am a Certified Aromatherapist and the first thing I was taught is to never ingest essential oils! Not because of the purity, but because of the potency and the fact that they are fat soluble! Our bodies are made of water and are not meant to accept oils in this form. If you want a natural rememdy in your body, use it in herb form as a supplement or a tea. Btw, 1 drop of peppermint oil is equal to 28 cups of peppermint tea. Overkill, right? Adrienne, the best source for you from the very beginning is They have already done all this research for you. Since the FDA does not regulate EOs, this is a group of volunteer experts that put safety and consumer info out there for you. Including Robert Tisserand, who literally “wrote the book” on essential oil safety. Lastly, I just want to mention that I agree with you about the MLMs. Some of them may have a decent product, but the fact that they have completely uneducated lay people selling their product is the problem.

  2. Hello, I am new to your wonderful site. do you know know anything about Plant Guru? They claim pure oils and a family run company. Their oil are super affordable. Thanks in advance.

    1. I do. Plant guru oils questionable quality and terrible customer service. I was purchasing through amazon and then decided to buy direct from them, as a courtesy, to keep more money in their pocket. After ordering and paying through pay-pal via an invoice they sent me because their website was not working properly, I waited and waited. I sent over 8 e-mails asking for a tracking and got no response. I called and left messages. Finally I opened a claim with pay-pal and guru did not respond there either. But I received an email from guru saying they “reshipped” the items and would refund my money for the inconvenience. I asked again for a tracking # and no response. No refund came either. Finally, I escalated pay-pal claim and after over a month and a long phone call to pay pal I was told guru responded with a false tracking # and thankfully pay-pal refunded my money back. Worst internet buying experience ever. In the meantime I tested their oil that I had on hand using the tissue/oil ring method and they failed. This company doesn’t even source their oils from growers, They buy already made from other vendors and relabel. Additionally, I believe they have created fake “health” blogs to promote their products. If you attempt to leave a discrediting comment it won’t post or it has an error, and their is no contact blog owner buttons. I don’t trust them one bit. Buyer beware.

    1. No, I have not.

      I would recommend reading the following resources:

      GC/MS batch testing is a must and every test should have a chemist’s signature on it as well. I have more posts coming out hopefully soon so stay tuned!

  3. I would like to recommend you look at a company called Floricopedia. they will check off all your boxes of locally sourced, wild harvested, organic, sustainable, loads of educational information on their website. They do not recommend internal use unless directed by a Health care professional as that takes the at home grass roots use to another level.

  4. I have used doTerra and Young Living as well. One concern I have with doTerra is their reps are very degrating of other companies and claim to be the absolute only pure line of oils, which I have found to be innacurate. Young Living is great, but like doTerra are high in price compaired to a company I recently found. The company was founded in 1985 and the earliest production company of essential oils I can find. Because of my research, which goes in line with a lot of your guide lines here, I have switched and am currently a representative for them. I know you posted your email here somewhere, but I cant find it now. I would love to have your thoughts on this company (if you have Researched them of course), if you dont mind emailing me. Anyway, great information here, thank you for all your information and research!!!

    1. HI there. You can post here if you like. I’m at adrienne {at} wholenewmom {dot} com. I have seen others making that claim too – makes me very upset.

    2. Hi Jamie what is the name of the oil company you are using now. Like you I have used and am using both doterra and Young Living oils they are good but very expensive. Would like to check out yours please.


      1. You can buy NOW essential oils at many major grocery markets, Whole Foods and online at They are so much less expensive than the pyramid scheme ones and they work just as well.

  5. I’ve been using essential oils for 4 years now and I never researched them like what you’ve done. I am so grateful you are sharing this information with the world! Please check out my blog as I also investigate forms of holistic healing and try out minimalistic methods. A quick visit would be deeply appreciated. Thank you so much!
    ( site deleted by blog owner)

    1. Thank you for reading! Sorry for the delay in responding. I did remove your site’s address b/c first of all I don’t allow self promoting on my platform, but also b/c your site appears to be dead now. Thanks again.

  6. I can’t find the recommendations of which essential oil companies you recommend. I’m lost with all these updates 🙂

  7. I started really using essential oils about 3 months ago. I buy from camdengrey. What do you know about them? It wasnt until I came upon info wanting to buy frankincense oil that my mind went spinning with which kind to buy. Steam distilled isnt good. Then theres CO2 method which is the best oil. But a report claims there could be more pesticides in that if its not organic. So I went from frankincense oil to needing CO2 organic. Camdengrey only sells 3 oils using CO2 process. Plus after reading all night the best Frankincense oil comes from Somalia. Theres an article all about the diff frankincense oils its very informative. Do you have any info on this oil as where to buy the best.
    I just cant keep up with all the info on one oil. Well this is actually the third oil I have researched intensely. The others being Camellia and Rice bran. I finally decided on wowaza in Japan for these oils. I am still waiting to receive them.
    Sorry this got long just want to say that I thought all I had to do was go to health food store buy an oil. Now I have to read labels checking info. This makes buying really difficult and hours of research on internet.

    1. Hello and thanks for reading! I am thinking, if I am correct, that this company is dedicated to soap making? That doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t quality but typically I would be a little more cautious as they are typically going for fragrance than purity – but not always for sure. I would look at the following:

      GC/MS batch testing is a must and every test should have a chemist’s signature on it as well.

      Organic isn’t necessarily important. Some plants aren’t sprayed at all. I will be writing about this. Rice Bran isn’t an essential oil – were you thinking that it was?

      I agree w/ you on how confusing it is. That’s why I want to find 1 or 2 companies that I trust and buy from them. Otherwise I start losing my mind! Did you read this post?

  8. I am so sorry I’ve read pretty much all the stuff you’ve written about essential oils and still feel I do not know which one you found to be most pure and truly do what they say they do in the guide that is offeted on therapeutic oils. You have written some great stuff and I appreciate your research yet as I said earlier I don’t feel you’ve really said which co truly offers the most natural and beneficial oil. I am not as concerned about price as I am about quality and most of the oils working. While I know there’s nothing perfect I do know many oils have worked. I personally have tried thieves. Please get back to me if you could with a more specific answer on the top essential oils one can purchase. Thanks.

    p.s. Please don’t sell my email address I have enough junk mail and would prefer not to get anymore. Much thanks!

  9. Hi Thanks for the leg work you’ve done. Wondering if you have heard of organic infusions and what you think of their oils Elsie

  10. Thank you. I need an essential oil for my husband who has constant
    pain from his buttocks down through his legs. Had an AVM in
    spinal cord. The blood vessels were all tangled up and the fistula prevented those vessels from receiving blood. As a result, my husband has little feeling in his right leg and weakness in both legs. He can walk with a limp. The pain in his buttocks prevents him from
    sitting for any length of time. He reclines on his side or back the majority of the time.

    1. Hi and Goodevening..

      You are expecting essential oil for your husband who is having pain. Which EO are you looking for ?


  11. Hi Adrienne, I sell oils, but some of them are so expensive. I have been looking for info on some of the same oils on Amazon vs the ones that I sell.. Is there a major difference in them. How can I find out if they are actually 100% pure as they claim. I don’t want to use substandard stuff myself, much less sell or give it to friends or family.
    Thank you so much..

    1. I’m sorry but I don’t follow your question. You sell oils and want to know about buying on Amazon instead? I would check out this post for starters but I will be sharing more in the future so you might wish to get this report and subscribe.



  12. Hi there Adrienne, I hope your family had a fun and healthy Halloween. I was wondering if you knew of an essential oil that might help my granddaughter with “Restless Leg Syndrome” My daughter is certain she has it because during two different sleep studies you could see the activity on the scan of her legs. I feel so bad for my granddaughter because it prevents her from getting sound sleep. I am hoping maybe an EO rubbed on the legs may be helpful…
    Thank you in advance for your help!

    1. Hi Patty. I have read of several oils that are supposed to help support the body of someone with restless legs. However, I can’t medically advise. I will say that I have many friends who found Mg to be a big support as well.

      The oils that I have seen mentioned are Marjoram Sweet, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Roman Chamomile, Frankincense, and Lavender. I know how bad that can be. I had it for a short while. I can’t recall what helped me but I did think that Mg and K foods were part of what I added. Blessings and hope to see you around again!

  13. Hi,
    I am desperately looking for edible pure essential oils that can be injected and included to beverages and food. I just ordered 15 sampler bottles that costed me close to 300$, TO my dismay they are not edible.
    With all your experience I would like your opinion on where to purchase such EO sold in Canada, maybe even Ontario Canada?
    It would be so appreciated if you could help me with that.
    I am a nurse and have been bed ridden for 5 yrs with chronic illnesses, we are on a very restrictive diet and I really need to find EO to change or better the taste of food , beverages etc…
    Please let me know if or where I can find those products. Someone from the States claims tat their products are edible, but I am not convinced about that.
    Help please
    Nicole Hervieux

    1. Hello there. I’m sorry but I haven’t looked into companies in Canada. The companies that I am recommending all have options for purchasing in Canada. I’m sorry about your conditions. Can you tell me what you are struggling with?

    2. Young Living has a line of essential oils called Vitality which are labeled for ingestion; very high quality essential oils.

      1. I do not recommend ingesting of essential oils.

        Here is a statement from one of the companies that I work with:

        We recommend you consult with a professional before ingesting any essential oils. Consult a Medical Doctor, Naturopath, or clinically trained Aromatherapist who knows you and is aware of your medical history, as well as any medications you are on. With this information, the professional can tailor a regimen that works for your body.

  14. There is no such thing as second distillation in the essential oil industry, so I don’t understand where that information source is from. ( At least in reputable EO companies)

    1. I’ve done more research on that and did update the posts about it. I hope to have a lot more to share in the future. Thanks for reading!

  15. I recently heard that the owner of Doterra is actually related to the owner of Yung Living and had in fact worked for them. Is this true – if so they have a corner on the market for sure!

    1. There are six equal owners to doTerra, it’s true that one of them possibly two did in fact work for Young Living for quite some time, there came a time when he decided that what Young Living was doing (putting oils through the system that were not meeting all the standards of testing) became a moral dilemma for him. He decided that a more stringent testing standard needed to be put into place so that they could guarantee that what you were getting and buying was exactly 100% what the label said it was. The doTerra company no doubt had a huge amount of experience in the essential oil industry, but it shows a lot about the integrity of a company that just says “no” to cutting into quality of the product. When doTerra sources an oil, they are not only helping the people’s lives who grow the plant, but bettering their whole impoverished company through their co-impact sourcing initiative which builds schools, medical clinics, and much more. The partnership alone speaks volumes about the company and it is a fact that doTerra will search far and wide to find where these oils grow indigenously because they have found that scientifically it does make a difference in the chemical make up and quality of the product you are receiving, I’ve never heard anything about other oil companies giving back to anything like the humanitarian efforts that doTerra has created and sustained through their sourcing, If the owners of doTerra had such a good thing going while working with Young Living, then why the need for a moral dilemma? DoTerra is a debt free company and these owners put up their own money and didn’t get paid for years while they invested in creating a company that people could trust in, now I realize some people like apples some like oranges, but if in fact all oranges were created equal, why the need for the sudden change of heart? They have never spoken I’ll of Young Living or any other companies and constantly take the high road in integrity not only with their products, but with the way they interact with the rest of the world. I wanted more from my essential oil company and doTerra has proven again and again that these oils not only work, but have more going on behind the scenes than any other company I have researched.

      1. Hi Anne – thanks for commenting. I would like to just add that Neal’s Yard Remedies gives back and was ranked the #1 sustainable company in the world in 2014. I know that most companies do nothing in this arena but wanted to point out one that is and there in another that I am talking to that is aiming to do more in this vein. Thanks again!

      2. There are so many half-truths here that it is difficult to address your post. Most importantly the integrity issue is questionable because doTerra was built on proprietary information stolen from Young Living. DOTerra does not speak ill of Young Living because there is nothing to say…the finger would point back to their wrong doings and doTerra executives don’t want that. There is a book now out of print by Dr. David HIll (of course he wouldn’t want it circulating now) “natures living energy – a personal guide to using essential oils” and he lauds Young Living and Gary Young. Dr. Hill was a friend and confidant and showed a lack of personal integrity in not only leaving Young Living but in taking and using proprietary information; if you compare the doTerra product to Young Living you will see how Dr. Hill “copied” blends changing an ingredient only slightly. Young Living is the world leader of essential oils with their own “Seed to Seal” quality promise. They are the only company that owns their own farms and/or oversees partner farms to ensure quality.

        History speaks for itself but many are snowed by what they have been told by doTerra.

        1. I believe there are other companies that oversee the farming of their partners. Thanks for commenting but wanted to qualify that statement.

    2. What I’ve read is that DoTerra was started by employees that left Young Living, and started their own company. Don’t know the accuracy, but I’ve read that a couple of times.

  16. I have not seen you mention testing of the pure EOs.
    I just took a two hour CE class on Essential Oil Basics. She was not allowed to mention any company names or sell anything as the community college has a policy against it. The first item she covered was the testing of the oils. Her first item of importance was that a company that sells pure, not diluted, essential oils does not test their own oils. Was wondering if that was included in any of your decisions.

  17. Hi there,
    I am a chemical free, health and beauty products formulator and manufacturer. I Manufacturer for my company as well as others. I’m also a customer of yours and have just read your 3rd article about essential oils (very good by the way). Too bad we don’t know each other, I could have saved you a lot of time and told you everything from all your research in 10 minutes (starting with Young Living Oils).

    I’ve formulated over 180 products in my 25 years doing this, but I specialize in 3 hormone replacement therapy creams (progesterone, estradiol and DHEA). My joy in life is helping people overcome health, and other, problems in their life. You mentioned a few things in your article that I can probably help you with. I’ve been consulting women for 19 years and helping them get their hormones back in balance. I also teach practitioners about HRT.

    I own a diagnostic laboratory (in which I’m in the process of developing a hormone test similar to how a pregnancy test works), am also in the process of opening a compounding pharmacy, and I’m a master herbalist.

    There’s a TON of false data in the alternative health field, and one of the biggest lies out there is “it’s your adrenals”. I’ve tested hundreds of people who have been told by some practitioner, or read a book and decided, that they have Adrenal Exhaustion…and NONE of them did. Their chronic fatigue came from the fact that their progesterone and estrogen were WAY too low.

    First of all, if your adrenals were ‘exhausted’ they would not be working and you would be dead, before that you would be in the hospital, and before that, in bed all day. If you’re stressed, like it sure sounds like you are, your adrenals are enlarged and you’re over producing Cortisol, which has a lot to do with low blood sugar levels, which causes chronic fatigue. High cortisol will also keep you awake at night, you will not get enough sleep, and be tired the next day.

    On top of that, low progesterone and estrogen will cause chronic fatigue and sleep problems. Being an herbalist and knowing what I know about hormones, I can tell you that herbs and EO’s are NOT the way out of the problem. Many herbs and EO’s actually block hormone receptors which causes the actual hormone needed there to be missing. They’re known as ‘endocrine disruptors’. Herbs and EO’s are great for many things but they can do a lot of damage as well.

    Estrogen does over 400 things in the female body and when you start blocking it, all kinds of trouble starts. The same stuff happens when your progesterone and estrogen are too low. There are over 115 symptoms of these 2 hormones being low. You, like all the women I have helped, are most likely experiencing other things that you have no idea are actually hormonally related. I would love to help you if you are interested. I do free consultations and you can call me at 727-443-4524, 12-5, M-F, central time (I live in Texas).
    Sindi Holmlund
    BonVida, LLC