Passionate About Columbia SC
and the Moms Who Live Here

Meet Our Team

Hannah Gunning, Co-Editor

Hannah Gunning - Columbia SC Moms Blog

Hannah is a former full-time working, now stay-at-home mom of two daughters, ages 8 and 4. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Marketing and Management, and has lived in Columbia all her life. She loves to find new ways to enjoy Columbia and the many things it has to offer, both for her family and herself.

Hannah married her husband Robert in 2004, and is in the third year of homeschooling her daughters. She finds the experience both rewarding and challenging, and feels one of the most important jobs as a mother is to instill a love of learning in children.

In addition to a love of writing, Hannah has a passion for art, drawing and painting, and spent some of her time as a student at USC as a political cartoonist for The Gamecock, the University’s newspaper. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, watching any an all Gamecock sports, cooking and reading. Hannah also writes about living with grief, and reflecting on lessons learned through grieving, as well as insights on coping with long term illness of loved ones on her blog, Palindromic Musings.


Leah Stuhler, Co-Editor

Leah Iacobacci Stuhler - Columbia SC Moms Blog
After living in the frozen tundra of Western New York, Pennsylvania, and Chicago, Leah was thrilled to move to the warmer climate of South Carolina in 2014. Leah is the mother of a rambunctious “Threenager” named Raylan and a Star Wars obsessed 6-year-old named Giovanni. Her amazing husband Tim works as a Special Ed Physical Education teacher and also proudly serves his country in the Air Force Reserve.
Leah has the privilege of being able to work from home part time while raising her two fun loving boys. When she’s not chasing lizards out of her house, Leah enjoys spending time with her friends, reading, going to the beach, photography and writing. Leah started her blog, SecretsofMommyhood, when Giovanni was a baby and enjoys sharing her daily life as a Christian mother, an allergy mom and a military wife. Leah also does some freelance editing work and is currently writing a children’s book, which she hopes to get published in the near future.
Leah is beyond excited to be a part of Columbia SC Moms Blog! You can follow her on FacebookPinterestInstagram and Twitter.

Photo credit: Photography by Angel Kinard


Alexandra Lundahl

Alexandra Lundahl - Columbia SC Moms Blog Contributor

Alexandra was a newspaper journalist and editor for eight years before going back to school for nursing. After the birth of her first child in September 2015, she traded her textbooks for full-time mommyhood, at least for a few years. A true northern girl, she moved to Florida for her first reporter job after graduating from college in Minnesota. There she met her husband, Nick, and they were married in an underwater hotel in the Florida Keys and then remarried in 2014 after “life happened” then brought them back together.Now Alexandra is wading through first-time motherhood while figuring out how to wrestle the tween/teen years and be the best stepmom possible to her stepdaughter. Motherhood is by far the most wonderful and rewarding thing she has ever done, and she loves watching the daily changes in her daughter as she learns about this big world she lives in.

Alexandra moved from Florida to West Columbia at the end of 2014 and enjoys how her mommy groups and new friends are finally helping her learn her way around the greater Columbia area. She loves babywearing, La Leche League meetings, nature walks, camping, creative and artistic projects, and general geekiness, such as board games and painting & playing miniatures games with her husband.

Photo credit: Photography by Angel Kinard


Amanda Hamilton

Amanda Hamilton - Columbia SC Moms Blog

Amanda is the self-proclaimed queen of the hyphen: interfaith, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, co-sleeping. Her parenting style can best be described as laid-back but well intentioned, and when she is not protecting her pets from her daughter, Eliza, she works in development at the University of South Carolina from which she has a Bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education, so far used in her professional life. Amanda’s husband, Bill, has a degree in technology that he actually applies to his professional life. He is a show-off.

Photo credit: Photography by Angel Kinard

Amanda Rollison

Amanda Rollison | Columbia SC Moms Blog

Amanda and her family live in West Columbia. Her husband works in graphic and web design, and rides in a Christian Motorcycle Club. She has two degrees, one as a cosmetologist (although she doesn’t practice) and an Associate of Art. For the past two years, she has been a stay-at-home mom taking care of their only son. Before that she was a nanny for two kiddos and learned ways to beat the boredom of staying at home. She and her son travel all over the state, going on little adventures, earning her the label “the stay at home mom who’s never home” by her husband. Their favorite thing to do is visit the zoo, because it’s right there in their neighborhood. They also enjoy playdates with other moms from their church, Midtown. Amanda loves thrift shopping, using her creativity and is obsessed with DIY projects. She is so looking forward to being a part of this awesome mom’s community and connecting with everyone.

Ashley Byrd-White

Ashley Byrd-White | Columbia SC Moms Blog

Ashley Byrd-White identifies as a Yankee-Carolinian who was born and raised in the tundra of Upstate, New York but currently calls the Midlands her home. She began her professional career in Buffalo, NY in higher education. She continues her dedication to education at USC working full-time as a Career Development Coach to college students. She currently holds a BA in psychology and an Ed.M. in higher education administration. Moving to Columbia, SC 4 years ago so her husband could pursue his teaching career was the most challenging time in her life … until motherhood! She has been together with her high school sweetheart husband, Chad, for 13 years (married for nearly 4). Ashley is a first-time mom as of February 2016 to Oliver. She loves being a mom, is proud of her continuing breastfeeding journey, and is thankful for her mama tribe. Ashley enjoys spending time with her family, drinking coffee and wine, pinning crafts she will never have time to create, and making her son laugh.

Brandi Cade

Brandi Cade - Columbia SC Moms Blog

Brandi is a Christian, wife, mom, and Instructional Facilitator at a local elementary school. She leads small group adult studies and teaches Sunday School for K-2nd graders at her church. She married Mark in July 2004. Together they have 3 children: Bradley (9), Tori (6), and Aubrey (2). Bradley and Tori have taught her about parenting children with multiple medical needs. Fortunately their youngest is simply full of life and keeps Brandi and Mark on their toes that way. Brandi holds a BA in Early Childhood, an MA in Curriculum & Instruction, and is one dissertation paper away from having an Educational Doctorate in Instructional Leadership. As an Instructional Facilitator she works with teachers as well as students on best practices for learning in the classroom. Brandi loves the beach, music, reading, writing, blogging, and her new found interest: sewing. When she can she also works as an Independent Chocolatier for Dove Chocolate Discoveries throwing chocolate parties.


Brandi' Starbuck

Brandi' Starbuck - Columbia SC Moms Blog

Brandi’ is a recent transplant to the Columbia, SC area from Charlotte, NC where she met her husband, Bryan, and where they welcomed their first baby girl, Mackenzie. Now living in Blythewood, SC with a spirited, fun-loving 2-year-old (who looks exactly like her daddy, but acts just like mama) and expecting their second baby (a boy!) at the first of April, they are thrilled to call the Midlands home! Brandi’ juggles working full-time, outside the home, as a property manager of an apartment community in Northeast Columbia, keeping Mackenzie entertained, and occasionally enjoying a date night with her handsome hubby! Lover of shoes, social media resale shops, and all Pinterest recipe boards, she is excited (and terrified) to have two young children and can’t wait to share her journey with others in her writing. Along with their three small dogs that were their first “babies,” they are one small addition away from completing their family! You can expect to see the Starbuck family strolling along the Villages at Sandhill on the weekends, with a cliché and loved cup of Starbucks coffee in their hands, wearing matching tees purchased from a mom-owned Instagram shop.


Brittany Arcand

Brittany Arcand - Columbia SC Moms Blog

Brittany is a food writer, recipe developer, and amateur photographer. Originally from Minnesota, she recently moved south and now resides in the Midlands of South Carolina. After marrying a handsome sailor, graduating with a degree in Family and Consumer Education and a minor in American Literature, she committed to staying home to be with her three children: Evelyn (8) Eli (6) and Lane (3). Her love of the written word, coupled with experience in various commercial and private kitchens has fueled a passion for sensible recipes that actually work. Her food blog Brittany’s Pantry was born, combining dishes and menus with the (often humorous) stories of how they came to be. When she isn’t writing and spending her time in the kitchen, she is reading every book she can get her hands on with a giant mug of hot chocolate beside her.


Cheryl Glantz Nail

Cheryl Glantz Nail - Columbia SC Moms Blog

The mom of a busy toddler, Cheryl started her blogging and freelance writing career in 2008. She has written articles for several blogs and websites, including 24/Savvy and Shortly after moving to Columbia, she turned her love of content writing and social media into a career in communications, currently serving as the Community Relations Director for a local non-profit. Prior to this career change, she enjoyed 10 years in education, both in the classroom and as a curriculum developer. When she isn’t in front of her computer or wiping up baby drool, Cheryl can be found curled up with a young adult novel and a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream, looking at cats on Instagram, or attempting to be artsy. She blogs at Take a Second Glantz, trolls Pinterest for recipes she’ll probably never cook, and sleep tweets during late-night feedings.


Christian Jackson

Christian Jackson | Columbia SC Moms Blog

Faithful follower of Christ. Terrific therapist. Fun friend. Beautiful businesswoman. Motivated mother. Wonderful wife … Christian is lots of things to many people, but her most important jobs are being a wife to her awesome husband and mother to her even more awesome boys, Karter (6) and Omari (3 months).

Professionally, Christian is a mental health therapist, primarily working with survivors of sexual assault and also those who struggle with substance use addictions. Christian volunteers her time within various community settings, offering consultation regarding best practices in nonprofit operations and programs, presenting on different topics, facilitating groups, and more! She is also a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., where she is able to offer more time to support her community. She took a recent leap of faith by starting her own business: Revised by Ray, a proofreading and copy editing firm that assists with helping her clients perfect pretty much anything on paper. You can follow her on her website Revised By Ray and on Instagram to check out how she involves her children in her new business on the literacy front!

How does she do it all? It’s a question she gets a lot. Christian gives credit to God and her amazing support system. The experiences and testimonies Christian has makes for amusing anecdotes and meaningful insight. She’s your homegirl’s homegirl from around the way with an appreciation for people from all walks of life!


Jena Martin

jena martin moms blog

Jena is mom to four kiddos, all within the last three years through the beautiful mess of foster care and adoption. Two sets of siblings, ages 11 and 7, 2 and 11 months, make up her family, along with her husband Brad and 2 pups Maya Jane and Buddy.

Brad is a chemist and is the co-founder of Engineered Marine Coatings, and Jena currently serves as the Director of Special Populations and Quality for Family Connection of South Carolina, ensuring our underserved and at risk children receives appropriate and timely special education services. 

Jena is an advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing after identifying her second son had unilateral hearing loss upon placement with her and Brad through foster care. Serving on multiple local and statewide boards for the well being of children in our state, she represents both a parent and professional voice, hoping to impact system changes for our state’s most vulnerable. 

After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a BA in English and minor in Early Childhood development in 2004, Jena worked as a Certified Child Life Specialist at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital for six years, with experience in the Pediatric ICU and inpatient Hematology/Oncology unit and palliative care. Jena previously supervised the child life clinical experience with Columbia College and Palmetto Health as an adjunct professor.

After a brief year in Boone, NC working at a non-profit for women and children who survived domestic violence and sexual assault, Jena and her husband returned to Columbia where she served as the Palliative Care Coordinator for Hands of Hope and Hospice Care of South Carolina. She was the first Certified Child Life Specialist to provide therapeutic, psychosocial care to children and their siblings in their home.

When not working and juggling life with four kiddos, Jena enjoys writing, learning ASL, bible study, hosting Matilda Jane trunk shows, restaurant hopping and being anywhere near the water with a good book. Current life motto: “there is no balance, just enjoy the ride and move from surviving to thriving.”


Jenelle Temple

Jenelle Temple - Columbia SC Moms Blog

Passionate in all things in her life, Jenelle learned many lessons on the road to finding herself.  The beginning of her journey began when she met her husband, Alan. He swept her off her feet giving her the wings she needed to fly. To this day, Alan is supportive of all the crazy ideas that creep into her head. Whether it is to compete in Obstacle Course Races (most weekends during the summer, you can find Jenelle, Alan and kiddies climbing walls, jumping over fire, crawling through barbed wire, and flipping tires in the muddiest of places), completely overhauling the family’s diet to fresh healthy foods (clean processed foods have taken over their lives, assisting them in losing a combined 130 lbs in the course of a year and allowing them to be in the best shape of their lives), or deciding to up and move the family 10 hours away to Lexington, South Carolina.

Born and raised in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, Jenelle grew up in an area where everyone knew her family name (this was especially enjoyable as a teenager – note the sarcasm). She graduated from the local university, East Stroudsburg University, Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Psychology. She was a stay-at-home mom of two beautifully silly daughters, Riley (6) and Emma (4) when it was decided to move to South Carolina. It was a big change. Jenelle went from “knowing everyone” to knowing essentially no one. Every day is a new experience, new journey, learning to meet people, and learning to take herself out of her comfort zone even at the risk of being completely awkward.

Photo credit: Photography by Angel Kinard


Katie Stevens

Katie Stevens | Columbia SC Moms Blog

A transplant from the frigid winters of New Hampshire, Katie and her family moved to the ‘Famously Hot’ Columbia in Fall 2015.  She is married to her high school sweetheart Richard, and together they have three little humans; Maddox (5), Thatcher (3) and Chloe (10m), and a dog, Cabela.  Katie spends her week days at her 9-5 in at USC School of Medicine, rushing her oldest to soccer practice, and letting the kids have cereal for dinner, cause ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’. The weekends (which she lives for), are spent at the state park, the zoo, or a magnitude of other fun places.

As a fan of calligraphy, hand lettering, and DIY projects that all require hours of free time and buckets of money, you can find Katie scrolling Pinterest during late night feeding sessions, filling her boards with beautiful projects she’ll never have the time to do. Katie also enjoys spending her ‘spare’ time running her blog From North to South.


Katrina Siron

Katrina Siron - Columbia SC Moms Blog

Katrina is a mom of three great kids and has been married to her first love for more than 10 years. She’s grateful to have a job that allows her the flexibility to both work from home some days and in the office others. On the surface, Katrina is pretty crunchy – she loved breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping, natural birth, and the idea of homeschooling — but still loved her stroller, having her kids in their own beds at some point, her epidural was fantastic, and she’s sending the kids through public school. Most of all she loves the fact that we have all these choices, which makes life interesting! One of her favorite experiences was moving to Japan in 2002 to live as an adult dependent with her USMC family. It was an amazing experience, and if it weren’t for that, she probably wouldn’t ever have met her husband.

Photo credit: Photography by Angel Kinard


Kimberly Poovey

Kimberly Poovey

Kimberly is a writer, speaker, wife, and new(ish) mom. She directs the teen pregnancy prevention program for Daybreak pregnancy center, and is a founder of Pearls, an organization that serves women in the sex industry and fights human trafficking in the Midlands. She studied English literature at Florida Atlantic University, and though she will always be a Florida girl at heart, she has called Columbia home for the last seven years. She and her husband Braden have been married for a fabulous decade, and they welcomed their first child, Declan Finn, into the world on June 3rd, 2015. She is a contributor for Scary Mommy, the Huffington Post, and The Mighty. You can find her wandering around the great outdoors, drinking far too much coffee at her favorite local shops, and on Facebook.


Kristen McGuire

kristen website picture

Kristen is a wife, mother and full-time special education teacher. Born in Connecticut, she has lived in Washington, DC, North Carolina and now happily calls Columbia home. Her children, the tortoise and the hare, were adopted from South Korea and are now 7 and 4. This “Dawson’s Creek” enthusiast was convinced if she scored a spot as an extra on the show, a famous actor would fall in love with her and whisk her away to pursue a life of parties and Prada. She scored the spot, but not the actor. With a chronic case of Wanderlust, she can be found day-tripping throughout the Carolinas and planning excursions to visit family across the US. She could be a contestant on “World’s Worst Cook” as she has ruined instant pudding not once … but twice.


Kristi Bothur

kristi bothur - Columbia SC Moms Blog

Kristi Bothur is a pastor’s wife, mother, writer, and former public school teacher for English for Speakers of Other Languages. She grew up all over the United States as an Air Force brat, but moved to Columbia in the 1990s to attend Columbia International University, and has called the Midlands “home” ever since. Her days are kept full with the antics and activities of her children, homeschooling through Classical Conversations, participating in MOPS and church activities, writing, and leading her Columbia-based pregnancy loss ministry, Naomi’s Circle. Kristi is a contributing editor for Rainbows and Redemption: Encouragement for the Journey of Pregnancy After Loss and a co-author (with our lovely contributor Alexa Bigwarfe) of Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother. She shares her thoughts about parenting, loss, cloth diapers, homeschooling, babywearing, and how to integrate faith and life on her blog, This Side of Heaven.


Lacie Hooks

Lacie is a true God-fearing Southern woman. She was raised the same small town that she lives in now. As an alumni of the University of South Carolina and Columbia College, she understands and believes in the absolute power of education. Lacie received her Bachelor of Education in 2014, and now works as an elementary school teacher. She received her Masters of Education from Columbia College in 2017.

Lacie married a southern man from that same small town. They meet in 2010 and married in 2014. Their family grew in 2015 with the birth of their only biological son, Gatlin. The family of three lived happily until 2017. The Lord decided then that the family should open their home to those in need as foster parents. The home is ready to receive those blessings now.

In her spare time, Lacie enjoys reading so much so that Gatlin would have been named after the wonderful Harper Lee if he had been a girl. Prison documentaries are a vice that her husband does not understand. Finally, Lacie enjoys spending time with her five siblings and their amazing children.


Latonya Jones

LaTonya Jones | Columbia SC Moms Blog

Latonya is a human service professional with an undergrad degree in journalism from Benedict College. Born and raised in Orangeburg, SC, Latonya returned to Columbia about 8 years ago as a call center representative. With a desire to “do more” Latonya went back to school and obtained her Master’s degree in human service where she is now a case manager for several agencies.

In 2012, she started an outreach program that collects then donates hair care products and toiletries to local women shelters. Occasionally, she hosts meet up groups that teach women how to care for their natural hair while networking with other likeminded women. Her blog, Girls Gone Natty, allows her to utilize her passion for journalism when she has time to complete an article. Combining her hair care outreach and experience in human services, Latonya has reenrolled into school where she is studying  to become a trichologyst.

When she not keeping up with Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers with her 12 year old son, or breastfeeding and snuggling with her 3 month old son, or completing homework assignments, or changing lives through hair care and human services, or keeping her pet poodle from chewing on baby gadgets… Latonya enjoys traveling and experiencing new eateries with her twin sister Latoya and younger sister, Brit, trying new recipes on Pinterest, entertaining her parents through dinner parties, and humoring her social media friends through pictures and everyday life stories.


Lauren George

lauren george 2017

Lauren was born and raised in West Columbia, South Carolina. She is a stay at home mom to Jack (January 2005) and Heidi (May 2014). She is a full time bonus mom to Summer and Autumn. Lauren and her husband Rodney were married in June of 2013 on his family’s farm in Hominy Falls, West Virginia. The George family resides in Lexington, South Carolina. They started Hot Rod’s Upholstery on August 1, 2014 in Lexington. Lauren graduated from Midlands Technical College in May 2011 with an Associate degree in Public Service in Criminal Justice Technology, and she is also a certified Emergency Medical Technician. She is the event coordinator for the annual Brittany Allison Corgan Memorial 5K and an advocate for epilepsy awareness. Lauren enjoys spending time with her children, babywearing, boating on Lake Murray, sewing new dresses for Heidi, and relaxing on Folly Beach.

Photo credit: Photography by Angel Kinard


Lila Anna Sauls

Lila Anna Sauls - Columbia SC Moms Blog

Lila Anna is the happily unbalanced mother of five boys. She is an advocate for homeless families, a recovering triathlete, and a sleep deprived 40-something who doesn’t see her yoga mat enough.

She was blessed enough to have three wonderful boys (Michael, 14, Colin, 12 and Aidan, 10) … then, after a seven year break and just as she turned 40, got what she calls her “buy one, get one free babies,” Heath and Graeme (now 3).

Once fiercely independent, Lila Anna now relies heavily on the help, kindness and understanding of a very loyal group of friends she calls her “village.” This village allows her to dedicate her heart and time to Trinity Housing and St. Lawrence Place – the non-profit for homeless and at-risk families she leads as President/CEO – all the while managing to run a house full of baseball and football schedules and four different carpools.

Lila Anna is passionate about all children, especially those living at risk or in poverty. She treats her St. Lawrence Place children as her own, and advocates for them at the State House, at City Hall, or on any given street corner. Her position at Trinity Housing gives her the chance to give homeless families and their children a voice. She has been a guest lecturer at USC and Columbia College, and has presented nationally on the topics of child poverty, education and family homelessness.

She is a native of Springfield in rural Orangeburg County, home of the Governor’s Frog Jump (thus her frog tattoo), and is a graduate of USC with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She got her Master’s from Columbia College in Organizational Change and Leadership, and graduated a few weeks before giving birth to her twins.

Her five boys are just like their daddy, “Saint” Brad – fun-loving, even keeled, and incredibly helpful. She enjoys cooking with the help of at least one set of small hands, running (slowly) with friends, and daydreaming about her next trip to Edisto Beach or New York City. One day she hopes to compete in triathlons again in the Athena division (thus her owl tattoo). Most of all, she loves just hanging out with her boys…all six of them.

Lila Anna and her boys live in Forest Acres, where they are two blocks from the ballfield and no more than 10 minutes away from everything else. She is happy to share how she embraces her unbalance … and all the fun and love that comes with it.


Mee Jean Sasine

Mee Jean Sasine | Columbia SC Moms Blog

Mee Jean is a mom of three who is married to her high school sweetheart. They met at the high school they both attended in their hometown of Atlanta, Georgia and married in July 2004. Mee Jean holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia while her husband, Greg, graduated from The University of South Carolina (House Divided!). Together, they have three children: Alyssa (8), Jacob (7) and Isaac (1).

Mee Jean moved to Columbia in 2002. Once wondering how she could live in a small town, she now embraces it and loves her home in Blythewood. She is a marketing analyst at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and loves being involved in the community and making Columbia the best place for her kids to grow up in. As a current classmate in the Leadership Columbia Class of 2017, she has learned so much about Columbia. Mee Jean loves going to local events with her family like the Soda City Farmers Market, Crawfish Festival and Vista Lights to name a few. She also enjoys supporting local businesses around the city.

Mee Jean loves hanging out with her girlfriends (for dinner or brunch or bunco), reading, watching Georgia football, running races (whether it be 5ks or Spartans), taking pictures and making memories (lots of selfies and hashtags), shopping, relaxing with some wine by the pool and sleeping. 


Melanie McGehee

melanie mcghee- columbia sc moms blog

Melanie never knew she wanted to be a mom. Even marriage caught her somewhat by surprise, in spite of the fact that she met husband Andy through a matchmaking service. She thanked eharmony by writing about that experience for an anthology, A Cup of Comfort for Women in Love.

Almost two years to the day after marrying him, she stared at two pink lines and wonder aloud, “Is this okay?” His response, “Kind of late to be asking that now.” It was a bit late – in life. But at the advanced maternal age of 35, she delivered by surprise at 35 weeks and an emergency C-section, a healthy bay boy.

Ian, an only child like herself, is ten years old and unlike any of the children Melanie has tutored, substitute taught, or led in a variety of church activities. Together with him, Melanie has discovered Thomas, SpongeBob, youtube tech channels, Lemony Snicket, Kate DiCamillo, shirts with no tags, and tooth powder. You can follow Melanie’s personal adventures and her love of children and teaching at beingmissmelanie.


Michelle Lucas

Michelle Seay Lucas - Columbia SC Moms Blog

Michelle is a Georgia girl – born and bred in Macon, and a graduate of UGA (no booing!). She moved to Columbia in 2003 and has loved it here ever since. As a full time working outside-the-home wife to Andrew (5+yrs) and mom to Reynolds (3) and Eliza Jane (18mos), she has her hands and life very full! Michelle started her blog, Camellias and Copper in the Spring of 2014 and it has been a wonderful journey so far. Michelle blogs about everything from her faith to getting hijacked by her kids and locked in the bathroom, vacations (and all the packing!), food and anything in between. A favorite weekend enjoyment is hosting Sunday Suppers for their neighbors and friends.

Photo credit: Photography by Angel Kinard


Missey Calcutt

Missey Calcutt - Columbia SC Moms Blog Contributor

Missey Calcutt is a follower of Jesus and wife to her best friend for 15 years. Together they have five amazing kids who range in age from six months to 12 years. Born and raised in Columbia, she earned a BA in Speech Language Pathology from Columbia College. She then attended USC where she earned a Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology. After working in a variety of settings for several years, she became a stay-at-home mom to her growing family. Now, she juggles hectic schedules, carpool lines and nonstop meal preparation. In addition to her love for writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and exercising with her Crossfit family.


Padgett Mozingo

Padgett Mozingo - Columbia SC Moms Blog
Padgett Mozingo is an accredited communications professional who has more than 25 years in public relations and marketing. But in 2004 – a little more than 13 years ago – she was chosen for the best job of her career: Mom. Fast forward several years and several life events (divorce, remarriage and a few job changes), and she was hired again in 2011.
She considers both of her children, now ages 13 and 6, to be uniquely amazing, and each one has challenged her to grow in ways she never imagined. Advocating for her son, Garrett, a Lexington/Richland Five student who’s been served in magnet programs and advanced placement classes, is entirely different than what’s needed for her daughter Lila, a spirited, blue-eyed little girl who happens to have Down syndrome. 
Three months before their daughter was born, she and her husband Mark headed to a routine ultrasound. Instead, it was anything but routine and they learned that their baby had a heart defect that would require open heart surgery in Charleston. The doctor persuaded them to do the additional testing they had previously declined. Those tests revealed that their baby also had Down syndrome. As they processed the news, they received frank feedback on the physical and cognitive limitations their daughter would face and the potential impact it would have on their family. 
Thankfully, they had a compassionate genetics counselor who immediately referred them to Family Connection of South Carolina. They were put in touch with parents who shared a similar journey, giving them hope that the doctors couldn’t. After a challenging two years filled with emergency surgeries, open heart surgery and countless tests and therapies, their daughter began thriving and beating expectations for her development. Today, she is a student who loves music, dancing, playing outdoors and keeping up with her big brother. 
In September 2015, Padgett had the opportunity to go to work for Family Connection and use her talent, experience and her daughter’s story to help other families and raise awareness of the nonprofit that supports families like hers statewide. Now Padgett, her husband and their son are firm believers that ALL children are limitless when loved, supported and challenged, and they know their #Limitless Lila is and will continue to be one example.
Padgett and her family live in Chapin with a few animals … four horses, three dogs and one cat, to be exact. She has volunteered for several community organizations, including United Way of the Midlands and Harbison West Elementary School, and her family participates in several fundraisers for Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. 


Paula Billingsley

Paula Billingsley | Columbia SC Moms Blog

Originally from Columbia, Paula has also lived in NC, Florida, Alaska, and the UK before returning, after her husband’s deployment, to start USC School of Law. After passing the bar, working with education nonprofits, and going back for her Masters in English, she’s set aside being an active attorney for now to focus on her health, writing, and raising her baby girl, Evy. Paula knows life does not usually go as expected, like being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, and sometimes it goes better, like eloping or adopting her best book review buddy, Evy!

She binges on good tv, good books, good chocolate, good tea, and good conversation. She’s also a fan of winning, whether at board games or yoga. At home, she enjoys making art, music, stories, and tasty food with her family including two wild puppies, Poppy and Petra. Out and about, she enjoys being involved in theatre and music, like at Town Theatre, enjoying the outdoors and wildlife, attending Windsor United Methodist Church, shopping, volunteering, and traveling on the cheap! She does not enjoy laundry, social injustice, environmental destruction, the patriarchy, coffee, soda, kale, or pants. 

She’s excited and thankful to pursue her calling and bring her child up in this kid friendly town.


Rebekah Hiatt

Rebekah Hiatt | Columbia SC Moms Blog

Rebekah is a native of Utah. She and her husband, Matt, met at Brigham Young University, where she was pursuing a JD and he was pursuing a PhD in Social Psychology. Adopting the motto “legally insane” they chose to get married and become parents while still in grad school. She, her husband, and their son, Dash, moved to Columbia last year when her husband accepted a job as a professor. They’ve come to love the Columbia area and are excited to build a home here. Currently a stay-at-home mom, Rebekah and Dash (now two years old) are most likely to be found at their local library branch. In her spare time, Rebekah blogs at Man-Cub Mamas and writes children’s books. Rebekah is also studying to take the Bar, and hopes to be an attorney by the end of the year. 


Samantha Schuster

Samantha Schuster | Columbia SC Moms Blog

Samantha is new to being a stay-at-home mom after leaving the job world to take care of her two boys.  In 2015 she moved from Pennsylvania where she met her husband and they had their first son, now 5. Just one month after moving to Blythewood, Samantha and her family welcomed their second son, now 1. 

Samantha holds two degrees.  She has a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. She also holds a Pennsylvania Elementary Education Certification from Wilson College. She is a former Morning News Producer turned Elementary educator. Outside of the home, her passion is helping children with mental illness or trauma. She has spent time supporting Big Brothers, Big Sisters and American Cancer Society. She hopes to do more charitable work now that she is settled down in the Midlands.

Samantha is an avid traveler and outdoorswoman. When growing up in Colorado she found her love of nature and shares that with her sons. She has been to almost every state, and hopes to start traveling the world with her family. Experiencing different cultures is something she finds important.

When she’s not running after her two boys, she enjoys sharing her journey to living an active, natural life.  This natural life has inspired an at home business and blog. Samantha hopes to share her journey to finding a balance between work, marriage and family. 


Sarah Shuster

Sarah Shuster - Columbia SC Moms Blog

Sarah grew up in Lancaster, SC but has called Columbia home for nearly 10 years since her undergrad days at Presbyterian College. Columbia holds a special place in her heart, as it’s where she got her first “grown up” job, obtained her Masters of Library and Information Science degree from USC, and met her husband, Todd.  She became a mother for the first time three years ago to Todd’s two sweet daughters, and loves watching them grow into unique and interesting young ladies (12 & 14) who inspire her daily. She is also experiencing life with an infant for the first time with their newest family member, a silly, happy 6-month-old baby boy. Sarah is a full time children’s librarian, and loves that her passion and her career have aligned to form dreamy days of sharing her love of literacy and learning with children and families.

Sarah enjoys practicing her cake decorating skills, reading, brunch, ridiculously long showers (a luxury now with an infant), working out, good coffee and perfecting the art of crockpot cooking.


Sonia Mendez

Sonia Mendez | Columbia SC Moms Blog

Sonia Mendez was raised in New Jersey where she studied nursing at Union County College. After two years, she realized that nursing was not her passion and in 2003 became a realtime court reporter where her relationship with words began.

In 2005 she fell head over heels for her husband, Angel, in South Florida. On a spontaneous weekend getaway, they discovered Lexington, South Carolina, relocated here shortly after and were married in 2007.

After 10 years in a busy court reporting career, Sonia retired to raise their children. She is now a proud momma of three beautiful blessings, Kiya, Leana, Evan and wife to one amazing God-fearing man. What a pleasure it has been for her to be able to have serious and sometimes silly little conversations with her children during this season. 

When her children are not dictating how she spends her time, Sonia enjoys studying the Bible, reading a great book, exercising, journaling, date nights and people watching! She truly believes in the power of being intentional with her time. #alwaysbeintentional

She has a heart for serving special needs children, enjoys anything that brings ladies together, and lives to improve her family’s health and wellness by removing toxins from their home, their lifestyle and teaching others how to do the same            

Her husband, Angel, has a passion for the automobile industry serving as a service director for a reputable local dealership. Together they enjoy watching movies, hosting fellowship gatherings, serving His people, making “new” family memories and laughing at themselves. 

Sonia and Angel believe that there are great blessings in focusing on a Christ-centered marriage and raising a Christ-centered family. As Sonia shares her journey and relationships as transparent as she possibly can, she is also praying that you will be blessed by her stories.


Stephanie Gillian

Stephanie Gillian | Columbia SC Moms Blog
Stephanie is in her early 30’s, has been married since April 2011 and is blessed with two gorgeous, silly and too smart for their own good minis. She became a SAHM when her son was born in April 2013, something that was a dream for her! She planned to return back to her X-Ray Tech job at Moore Orthopaedic, now known as Palmetto Health-USC Ortho, but God had a different plan and blessed her with a little girl in November 2014. Stephanie began her walk with Jesus in June 2016 and has not looked back since. Only recently has she truly started living life to its full potential, and is thankful to see the world in brand new eyes and a very open heart.  
Stephanie was presented with an opportunity to work on her fitness which ended up being a saving grace. Losing her mother a month before her daughter was born left her in a whirlwind of mental and emotional chaos. Through fitness, she found her love of helping others and giving back wholeheartedly. You can find her on her Facebook page Fit Mommy Soul where she strives to share her journey and connect with those struggling by helping them find their true strength within.  
Stephanie is a coffee lover, book reader, emoji obsessed spiritual woman who loves to appreciate the special little moments of life with a big heart.


Tabitha Epperson

Tabitha Epperson | Columbia SC Moms Blog

Born and raised in Mississippi but making Columbia her second home since 2008, Tabitha is a sociologist, doula, college instructor, and sorority house mom. She knows more details about pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding than most people care to talk about and loves her three chihuahuas (Toto, Gumbo, and Shrimp). She is currently working on her dissertation for her Ph.D. and dreams about the day when she will be finished. Tabitha crafts but not that great, and if she used Pinterest more, she could probably be on a Pinterest fails page somewhere. She’s an avid reader but mostly reads things related  to her dissertation these days. As a house mom, she never knows how her day will go when she wakes up, but she mentors and guides over 200 women on a daily basis and loves accompanying them on the path to full adulthood. She volunteers often and tries to make the world a better place. 


Toni Morton

Toni Morton - Columbia SC Moms Blog

Toni is an eccentric human, writer and artist spending her days with two special boys, one cat named Bunny, and one frog named FrogHop. A work-at-home mom to two boys with special needs, her life revolves around bodily fluids, toys, ignoring laundry, doctors and therapy. A Lexington, South Carolina, native and University of South Carolina alum, she can be found online at — a blog dedicated to helping caregivers of people with special needs and disabilities. Before becoming Super Mom, Toni worked as Public Relations Director for several non-profit arts organizations including the Columbia Marionette Theatre, SC Philharmonic and Columbia Museum of Art.


Valerie Byrd Fort

Valerie Byrd Fort | Columbia SC Moms Blog
Valerie Byrd Fort was born in Florida, but when she was four years old, her family moved to the midlands and never looked back. She is mom to Katy (2 year old human) and to Lucky and Mozzy (10 and 8 year old rescue dogs). She is married to Marty Fort, owner of the Lexington School of Music and the Columbia Arts Academy. She is an Adjunct Professor at the University of South Carolina, where she teaches Children’s Literature to future classroom teachers, in addition to working in Lexington as an elementary school librarian. Valerie has been a school librarian for 15 years and writes about her lessons and adventures on her Library Goodess blog. 
A self-proclaimed “workaholic,” she will be making the transition to SAHM in the Fall. Valerie is passionate about books, literacy, libraries, and reading aloud with children of ALL ages and hopes to continue teaching others about the importance of reading while spending time at home with her toddler. In her free time, Valerie enjoys reading, working out, going to Target, pinning all the things on Pinterest, and social media.
Photo Credit: Blue Silk Photography


Vanessa Pham

Vanessa Pham | Columbia SC Moms Blog
Vanessa Sanders Pham is a Texas native and homeschooling mother of two: Reyna, 9, and Seth, 2. This is her fourth year living in Columbia. Before motherhood changed her life, she was a newspaper reporter, writing tutor, and freelance writer and proofreader. She is also a licensed educator. Her favorite things that fill her heart are her children, writing, teaching, and the mountains. Coffee, chocolate, and prayer are her go-to’s for sanity and survival. When there’s time, reading renews her mind and traveling revives her spirit.


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