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

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 InterfaithFamily.com. 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 Ray

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!

 

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

 

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.

 

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

 

Leah Prescott

Leah Prescott - Columbia SC Moms Blog

Leah Prescott questions her choice of career frequently as she homeschools her 9-year-old identical twin daughters, while protecting her rambunctious 3-year-old son from daily catastrophe. Although it’s a joy to be with her children each day, she often feels ill-equipped to fill all of the roles she has been given; at such times she turns to the Lord and very strong coffee. She has been married to her college sweetheart, Craig, for almost 13 years and they all live together in a too-small house with an adorable beagle who has dedicated her life to barking. A Southern girl, Leah loves to talk, write, craft, treasure-hunt at thrift stores, make lists, and spend time with her family. Her professional background is cobbled from adventures in many fields including legal, food service, advertising, childcare, and customer service. The common thread has always been the drive to write and to connect with others. One day, she would love to pen a book about parenting twins or a reflection on education as a second-generation homeschooler. For now, she blogs about potty-training mishaps, twins with curly hair, thrift store shopping tips, and healthy recipes that can be completed during a half-episode of RescueBots. She is thrilled to join the blogging team at Columbia SC Moms Blog!

 

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.

 

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

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.

 

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. 

 

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.

 

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 TheSpecialSpot.com — 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

 

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