Meet the Contributor Team…

The EVM team of contributors features local, real moms, just like you! We’re not a group of influencers by trade, we’re just nextdoor moms who love the East Valley, and who love to keep it real, and overshare a little (in the best way possible). 

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Kira Henning

Contributor since 2017
Coffee order:
 Iced coffee with coconut milk
Favorite park with your kids: We have a small park inside our neighborhood and our kids LOVE it. It is super bare bones but I think because it forces creativity, they have a blast.

Kira is a busy working mama of 4 (3 chicks and a little guy) and lives in NE Mesa. She and her husband are high school sweethearts and moved to Arizona from the Midwest almost 10 years ago now.

Kira likes a good project, iced coffee, CrossFit and Yoga, gin, and Marshmallow Dream Bars. She dislikes the school pickup line, emptying the dishwasher, and mom shaming.

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Cara Lespron

Contributor since 2018
Coffee Order: Iced triple espresso with 2 pumps vanilla and half and half
Best Mom-Advice You’ve Been Given: Choose your battles.

Cara is a thirty-something, second-generation Arizona Native. She grew up in NE Mesa and still has a deep love for the East Valley. She moved around the state a bit before planting roots in Old Town Scottsdale with her family.

Cara started writing for East Valley Moms in 2018 as a way to reconnect with the East Valley after living in Tucson for a few years. In Summer 2022, she returned to the office and is getting reacquainted with full-time, working-mom life.

In her free time, Cara can be found at Barre3 or continuing her search for the best margarita in town.

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Megan Lankford

Contributor since 2019
Coffee order:
 Iced chai with coconut milk
Best thing about your East Valley city: This fun corner of Mesa/Queen Creek/Gilbert is exploding recently! So many amazing new restaurants, activities, schools, and retail stores are popping up everywhere. We love how almost everything we need is right at our fingertips and the vibe out here is so fun and new!

Megan is originally from North Florida, but has called the East Valley her home since 2009. She has been married to the love of her life, Matt, for 10 years and they have 3 boys, Jacob (5), Aaron (2), and Jordan (born January 2024).

Former lawyer turned former church bookkeeper turned SAHM, she has faithfully served on the leadership team for a local MomCo group for the past 5 years and is just trying to make up this whole mom thing as she goes along.

Lover of Jesus, daily naps, and finding something to laugh at in all situations, most days you can simply find Megan leaning on the wisdom and encouragement of her amazing tribe of mom friends!


Britt Van Sickle

Contributor since 2021
Coffee order:
 Iced vanilla chai tea with 2 pumps of hazelnut
Best mom-advice: Give yourself grace.

Britt is a divorced mom of 3, living the co-parenting life. She’s an AZ native and actively engaged in the community, politics, local art and fashion and the 2nd Amendment. Britt is a shoe obsessed, self proclaimed fashionista, lover of all things bumblebee and history.

When she’s not finding new adventures with her kids, she’s volunteering with the Junior League of Phoenix training up fellow female leaders in the community.

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Jessica Loken

Contributor since 2021
Favorite EV date night activity: 
Dinner and drinks in Downtown Gilbert
Favorite EV Restaurants: Joyride and Blue Wasabi

I’m Jessica. I live in Gilbert Arizona. I have twin boys and I have been married for 15 years. My husband and I both work for the city of Mesa. I did dental for 21 years so if you need tips I’m here!

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Amanda Backus

Contributor since 2022
Favorite thing about the East Valley:
The sense of community that our Queen Creek brings through the numerous community events they host
Favorite EV Restaurant: Old Ellsworth Brewery

Amanda is a native Midwesterner who decided to ditch the cold weather for the west coasts warmer weather in her mid-20’s. She has lived in Queen Creek since 2016 and is married to her favorite human, Ryan. Together they share four boys (yay boy moms!), two of whom are her step-sons.

Amanda is a full-time manager at a large bank but she tends to be a jack of all trades; still holding her cosmetology and esthetics licenses, as well as doing balloon decor (previously having an event business) when asked. In her free time you can find her cooking new foods, finishing a DIY house project, crafting with her kids, watching trashy reality TV and Vikings football, and sharing funny-to-her Instagram reels.

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Barbara Dombrowski

Contributor since 2022
Favorite sweet treat: 
Chocolate chip cookies
Best mom advice: You’re doing great!

Barbara is a proud Arizona Native, born and raised in Mesa and currently residing in Chandler with her husband, two sons, and one fur baby.

After thirteen years of teaching second grade and working as a Reading Specialist, she traded in the teacher life for the stay at home mom life.

She loves her Catholic faith, a good book, and any meal she does not have to cook.

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Tiffany Richardson-Henderson

Contributor since 2022
Favorite EV date night activity: 
Dinner and dancing at Barrio Queen or Whiskey Row
Favorite EV Restaurants:Buddyz Pizza

Tiffany is an AZ transplant from MI. She has lived in every city in the East Valley, currently nestled in the San Tan Valley/Florence area. She resides with her husband and their 5 children. Tiffany has children in every stage of life: Sierra (20), Aaliyah (11), Lanai (10), Anna-Gabrielle (7), and Terry III (4).

Juggling her new career as a teacher with her duties at home is challenging, but her faith and humor keep her going. Tiffany is currently focusing on fitness and putting herself first for the first time in her life. She is ready to conquer her fears and accomplish her goals!


Andrea Cook

Contributor since 2024
Coffee Order: Cold brew with white mocha and a splash of cream
Favorite EV Restaurant: Please don’t make me choose between Backyard Taco or Eggstacy!

Andrea is a busy mom of three little boys! She teaches special education by day and is in grad school at night. She lives in East Mesa, on the Mesa/Gilbert Border, and is an Arizona native, moving around the state a lot.

Andrea is married to her college sweetheart and spends as much time as she can outside. She loves to make people laugh and you can likely find her chatting up a new friend at the park.


Deena Harari

Contributor since 2024
Coffee Order: Chai with oat milk and cinnamon
Favorite park with your kids: Desert Breeze

Deena is a Michigan native. Deena and her husband relocated to Arizona in 2017 when they decided they were done freezing. Deena started her motherhood journey in 2020 with her son and added to her journey in 2023 with her daughter!

Deena and her family are proud American-Israelis who love living in the East Valley. Deena is a teacher turned social worker turned IBCLC, with a goal of helping mothers in every way possible.

Deena is so excited to be on the East Valley mom writing team this year. Deena hopes to reach as many moms as possible in the East Valley to be their cheerleader from a far!



Desa Rae Hoffman

Contributor since 2024
Coffee Order: Brewed at home with a splash of whole milk
Favorite park with your kids: Freestone! Lots of playground options and beautiful walking paths

Desa Rae currently resides in Gilbert with her college sweetheart, Adam, two toddlers and two pups.

During the week, she is most likely at a park, attending a free event in town, baking anything with sourdough, or curled up in bed reading a good book.

Originally from Ohio, she and her family are happy to call sunny Arizona home since 2017.


Jackie Kelley

Contributor since 2024
Favorite Restaurant in the East Valley: Joyride or Humble Bistro
Favorite thing about your East Valley city:The ease of access to all sorts of cool places. Coffee shops, thrift stores, parks, etc.

Jackie is a stay at home mama to two amazing boys and has lived in Gilbert, AZ for the past years after growing up on the East Coast.

With her short hair and big earrings, she’s one of the quirkiest gals you’ll ever meet.

She has made a hobby of picking up new hobbies and her current pursuits include hot yoga, children’s book writing, and professional pizza tasting.

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Jade Shaw

Contributor since 2024
Favorite thing about your East Valley city: I love how family-centric it is, and all of the culture. Not to mention, all of the dance studios and dance classes for adults!
Favorite park with your kids: Desert Breeze Park

Jade, originally from Oahu (Hawaii), spent 8 years living in Austin, TX before relocating to the East Valley with her husband and daughter.

A lover of community, inclusion, and belonging – Jade has worked in Corporate Recruiting and Diversity & Inclusion for 10+ years.

In her free time, she loves exploring dance classes and all things wellness, creative expression, and culture.


Jenna Colossio

Contributor since 2024
Coffee Order: Coffee lover here! Iced vanilla latte with oat milk.
Favorite thing about your East Valley city: Hiking!! Before I had my two young children I was an avid hiker. I am looking forward to them being my little sidekicks on the trails!

Jenna Colossio was born in Chicago, Illinois but has grown up in Mesa, Arizona. She graduated from ASU as a young mother to her son Braxton, who is now fifteen years old.

She found passion for teaching reading and writing in various grades. She now teaches full-time online courses at ASU and feels blessed to work from home with her two young children, Jordan and Violet.

Jenna is extremely organized, motivated, creative, and always thinking of new ways to improve herself (strong Capricorn traits) while trying to balance the full time job of motherhood.


Karlee Soelberg

Contributor since 2024
Favorite thing about your East Valley city: Growing up in Southern California, I had an idea that the desert was dry, hot, miserable, ugly, nothing to do, etc. Since becoming a long time resident of East Mesa, the desert is in fact dry, hot, and sometimes miserable in the summer, BUT I have grown to absolutely LOVE the desert landscape and love being outside as much as possible, especially in the winter and spring months. There is so many fun things to do here and I love that fun feels close by and easily accessible.
Favorite restaurant in the East Valley: Georges

Karlee is a busy SAHM to 4 kids ranging from ages 10-3.

She loves crossing items off her to-do list and loves baking treats and feeding people even more. She has been married for 13 years and has been in the East Valley for 11 of those years.

She has recently discovered a love for hiking and tries to be outside as much as possible, especially with the kids!

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Kris Benavides

Contributor since 2024
Coffee Order: Cold brew with cream and sugar
Favorite East Valley date night activity: Sushi and book shopping

Kristen is a mom of 2 kids – Ilyana who is 7 and Ezekiel who is 3.

She is an Arizona native who has been married to Richard for 13 years. He’s the extravert that keeps her introvert self socialized. She lives in a neuro-spicy house with both Richard and Ilyana diagnosed with ADHD.

Kristen owns a cottage bakery out of her home, Floured Cupcakes, with her sister/best friend. She can basically always be found in the kitchen or somewhere cozy reading.


Lindsey Augeri

Contributor since 2024
Favorite park with your kids: Red Mountain Park
Favorite East Valley date night activity: Going to Daruma to get sushi and ramen, then heading to Barnes and Noble to browse books.

Lindsey is a stay at home mom who occasionally substitute teaches. She and her husband are involved in a small church plant in Mesa and host a small group every week in their home.

She loves playing with her kids, heading to the library, going on walks and chatting with friends over coffee.


Maile Schnitzer

Contributor since 2024
Coffee Order: Iced brown sugar shaken espresso with sweet cream cold foam
Favorite East Valley date night activity: Good food & live music!

Maile is a Southern California native, who’s making the east valley her home. She’s a Disney adult, Taylor Swift lover, and stay at home mom to 3!

She has been married to her best friend for 7.5 years.

If she’s in AZ you can find her going to Pilates, reading, or spending time with my friends. Maile tries to visit Disneyland once a month!

Monica Roose

Contributor since 2024
Favorite East Valley date night activity: My husband and I love trying new dates as often as we can! One of our current favorite is JP’s Comedy Club! We also love Teppanyaki, being competitive at Golfland and making our own adventures everywhere we go.
Favorite thing about your East Valley city: My favorite thing about Gilbert is the variety of events and activities offered at any given moment.

Monica is an AZ transplant living in Gilbert since 2000.

She busily keeps up with work, her two active boys, and her husband, but also enjoys exploring all AZ has to offer!


Sarah Blomberg

Contributor since 2024
Favorite thing about your East Valley city: There are too many to choose from! Gilbert is such a fun town and I love the local shops and kindness of neighbors.
Favorite restaurant in the East Valley: Crust, Spinatos or Sushi, Ramen, Go

Sarah is a mom to two boys, 13 and 9.

She has been married for 13 years and moved back to the East Valley from San Diego in 2010. The desert wonders never cease to amaze Sarah and she loves spending her time outdoors!

When she is not working as a middle school Science teacher she can be found outside hiking, playing pickleball, paddleboarding, or watching her sons on the soccer sidelines.


Sylvia Gutierrez

Contributor since 2024
Favorite park with your kids: We love our neighborhood parks, but Gilbert Regional is nice too
Favorite East Valley date night activity: Dance class at AZ ballroom champions

Sylvia and her husband Zach escaped the cold winters of the Midwest and are excited to call Gilbert home.

Sylvia is a proud boy mom and loves nurturing her curious toddler and watching him play with his giggly baby brother. Their family loves exploring the outdoors and learning together in fun, hands-on ways.

Sylvia is passionate about promoting connection, movement, and joy among all children and families. This passion drives her work as a yoga instructor, author, consultant, and researcher.

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Our Resident Grandma Contributor…

Ginger Fleishans

‘Grandma Guest Post’ author, Ginger Fleishans, has one ability that few others at EVMB has:  she can (correctly) answer most anything on a 60’s slang quiz.  Not that she’s studied the 60’s – she lived it:  she’s the Grandma. Today’s norms are often a mystery –changes in social behaviors, work protocol, and communication never fail to amaze, especially the wide range of talent displayed by today’s young moms. But one thing hasn’t changed:  we all agree that being a mom is one of the toughest jobs ever. And our babies are more precious than gold. 

With 33 years of marriage under her belt, Ginger believes that family is one’s strongest touchstone, worth preserving at all costs. Her family calls her a professional volunteer, she is active supporting her church and local school as a newsletter writer, fundraiser and social event planner. 

If you want to bribe her, just suggest the Sugar Bowl in Old Town Scottsdale or a glass of pinot grigio.