Meet the amazing women who share their stories, wisdom, inspirations and mommy mishaps with you.
Meet the RGV Moms
Aimee was born in the United Kingdom, raised in Massachusetts and ended up settling in Texas. She married her best-friend, Sean (who is a Valley native) and together they have a son named Stryder (2). Aimee has a Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education from Bridgewater State University and owned and operated her own family-child care (Young Folk Academy) until her son was about 15 months old. She paused it to focus on her true calling of being a mother. Aimee enjoys using her degree to create lesson-plans, crafts and activities to engage her smart, active and overly rambunctious toddler. She loves sharing these ideas, crafts and joyous moments with her toddler with other families. Aimee is also a book-lady with Usborne Books & More and really enjoys helping families find books that are perfect for their children. Aimee enjoys reading, Game-of-Thrones, pumpkin-spice lattes, hopeless romantic movies, and having a good cup o' tea.Alyssa is mother to Emily age 6 who wants to grow up to be America's first female president, but is more interested in wearing lipstick and has won "Most Fashionable" two years in a row. Meanwhile, Alyssa is learning to balance life and being a single mommy. She is interested in family finance, staying fit and finding ways to bring families closer together. Along with RGV Moms Blogs you can find her writings in Beyond Arts Magazine and RGVision Magazine. Alyssa serves her community as a Provisional with the Junior League of McAllen and serves on the board of TEDxMcAllen.Born and raised in rural Texas, Amy graduated from Texas Woman’s University, but also attended the University of North Texas, where she met her husband to whom she has been married 17 years. They have lived in McAllen for the past 13 years. While here, they had their only child, Nadia (10), who is funny, talented, smart, busy, and little bit sassy! While she is not running her daughter to activities and events, she is promoting and supporting her husband’s non-profit, International Percussion Institute, working part-time as a Nurse Practitioner, focusing on Women’s and Family Health, and running and growing a business team with Rodan + Fields. In her downtime, she loves watching movies with her family, reading historical fiction, decorating her home, and traveling.Raised in Rio Grande City, Anastasia is now a McAllen local, mother to three boys ages 6, 4, and 3, and wife to OJ. She has returned to the RGV after leaving the state for college (MIT Architecture Design, ’04), and then moving from McAllen to Austin to Laredo and back again. Anastasia freelances as a graphic designer ( anastasiaperez.com ), is co-owner of operations for the RGV Moms Blog, and is Tech Support Coordinator and Graphic Designer for City Moms Blog Network.Cari is a blondey Rio Grande Valleyite whose least favorite question is “Are you from here?” Sure, her parents may have hailed from Iowa, but she was born and raised in Deep South Texas, y’all. Cari is the mother of two sweet, dangerously smart girls, Lorelei, 4, and Adeline, 4 months, and of husband, Nathan. Yes, you read that right (just kidding, babe). Cari, a former journalist, works full-time as the public relations coordinator for South Texas Health System and is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration. For a time, she owned her own cloth diaper business, Green Cheeks. This perfectionist is a chronic overachiever and over committer, taking pride in projects she takes on. When she’s not mommy-ing, working or studying, Cari enjoys running on 2nd Street, whipping up the occasional fancy meal, watching comedy shows and binging on Breaking Bad/OITNB Netflix episodes, and taking all kinds of trips, especially to national parks and other areas of natural beauty.Celeste is a mom to 3 teens: Hope, Noah, and Joel. She’s been married for 19 years. She is by birth a California girl, but by heart a Texan. Her husband is from the valley and they moved here together 7 years ago. She’s loved being a stay-at-home mom while being able to pursue her passions— writing and speaking. She enjoys reading, coffee, and spending time with her friends and family. She and her husband also run a non-profit here in the valley doing camps and events for kids and families (BigRedsRanch.com). You can learn more about her at celestebarnard.com.Raised in North Carolina, Christy loves sweet tea (think watery syrup), lightning bugs and fall leaves. After seven years in South Texas, she now considers herself “from the Valley,” and can’t seem to get enough of mango raspas, afternoons by the pool and, of course, botanas. Her family has ridden the roller coaster that is foster and adoptive parenting for the last three years and they are much the better for it. Christy loves doing life with her husband, Caleb, and their three kids. Nate (6) is a master storyteller, Kamila (3) is a curious fireball and Eli (1) is a serious chunky monkey.Cinella is a mom of 3 girls; Yvette (11), Eliada (6) and Annaleah (3) and has been married for 10 years. Born and raised in Donna she is living her dream of being a stay-at-home mother. After going through some rough spots her moto is now “Don’t Say Hurry.” In her free time she loves to vlog, give back to the community and spend time with her girls. Published many times in books and local publications she can’t wait to publish her own book one day. You can visit her blog at Don’t Say Hurry.Claudia is a wife, mother, sister, and daughter. She loves tacos, margaritas, and red velvet cupcakes (in that order). She has a Master’s Degree in Museum Studies from the University of Oklahoma and proudly supports her Sooners all the way from deep South Texas.Crystal and her husband of 10 years are parents to a 4 year old human boy named Maxon Liam and a 1 year old canine girl named Molly Mae. Born and raised in McAllen, Texas, Crystal now calls Mission her home. She comes from a huge close-knit family, where she is the oldest (and some might say greatest) of 29 first cousins. When she is not having very lengthy conversations about the solar system with her space obsessed son, she is busy growing her dream business. With the support and many times, assistance of said huge family and friends, Crystal passionately owns and runs Crystal Kelly Photography, where through sheer magic, she enjoys being able to keep children little forever... at least in a photograph.Dalinda Gonzalez-Alcantar is an mom, wife, social entrepreneur and currently serves her community as CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of McAllen. She is the cofounder of Border Kids Code, a startup in the Rio Grande Valley dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of computer science. Her technology startup, eJucomm, was recently acquired by San Francisco based CampusOrb, a victory for women and Hispanics in the Rio Grande Valley. Gonzalez-Alcantar was born and raised in McAllen, TX and has over 10 years of teaching experience. She received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Communication Design from Texas State University, San Marcos and her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas Pan American. Her innovative approaches to effecting family communication in schools has led Gonzalez-Alcantar to receive the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Innovation Grant for her creation of eJucomm’s Family Kinex mobile application. As the founder, she received The United States Small Business Administration’s 2013 Innovation Through Technology Business of the Year for the Rio Grande Valley. She was also selected as the 2012 Parenting Magazine’s Mom Congress Texas Delegate where she represented Texas in Washington D.C. at a conference dedicated to family engagement in schools. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan highlighted Gonzalez-Alcantar’s educational technology work at Parenting Magazine’s annual keynote speech. In 2016, Gonzalez-Alcantar spoke at Georgetown University’s OWN IT Summit where she sat on a panel featuring Latina Leaders in the country. Upon returning, she was awarded The Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Women of Distinction in 2016 for her work as a social entrepreneur. Locally she serves on McAllen ISD’s advisory council and is the owner of Alablanca Apparel, a company printing t-shirts that represent the vibrant pride and culture of people living on the South Texas border. Gonzalez-Alcantar is the proud mother of Elijah and Madalin and wife to fellow educator, Marco Alcantar. Her main focus is on her family and community and attributes her success to her supportive children and husband while giving God the glory in all everything she does. Together the Alcantars serve their community through Baptist Temple in McAllen, TX.Elizabeth is a valley girl, born and raised, with a real and honest passion for writing. She shares her home and heart with a soon to be 2 yr old beautiful little human named Isabella and her love, Sam. She is a preschool teacher, going on 10 years, and definitely enjoys her summers! She loves scrapbooking, journaling, crafting and reading. Occasionally you can find her in the kitchen, trying to make a decent meal; good thing her daughter is not a picky eater! When there aren't any kid friendly events taking place for her mini, you will often find her in the isles of Target, Walmart or Hobby Lobby having a dance party with her little beauty!Never is there a dull moment in her life, either working as the Business Development Officer for Texas Regional Bank or volunteering for several community organizations within Edinburg and McAllen, all while mommying. Known as momma to son Felex (14 months) and mommy to step-daughter Erin (6 and “a half” years old) and best friend to husband, Alexis for the past 4 years, married 2. Between toddler trials & triumphs, soccer games & kinder graduation, Alexis and Felicia are learning to find some time to start their traveling adventures a little at a time by finally taking their honeymoon this summer. Felicia loves dancing to decade music, a good salmon and a good red wine; thank God Alexis is good at two, out of the three!Giana Gallardo Hesterberg is a native RGV (Brownsville) mom. After graduating from Central College in Pella, Iowa (2004) with a degree in Elementary Education, and residing in the midwest for 7 years, she returned to her roots and married her love. Happily married for 8 years (to Beau), with 3 children (Jack-5, Cecily-3, and Felicity-1) and 1 dog (Hershey, a Chocolate Lab), she is currently living the dream. She is a teacher for VIPKID, a company that trains American teachers to teach ESL to Chinese students online. In her spare time, she enjoys blogging, gardening, baking, traveling, and dancing to 80’s music whenever and wherever it’s played!Gloria Wyant, a native RGV mom of two boys, often sips chai tea or coffee in the afternoons while reading, knitting, or delving into a myriad of DIY projects and crafts. She enjoys Zumba, organizes fundraisers, and does party-planning for friends. Her whole family loves spending time helping in the community and in their church. Gloria adores her husband who is a career firefighter and the way he gives 110 percent in all he does. Their two middle-school boys are creative, inquisitive, and fun to talk to. Currently, Gloria works part-time and volunteers at Mission Historical Museum.Jennifer, better know as Mama and Jen is a born and raised RGV girl. She has been married to her better half Robert for 9 years and is mama to Ryan (5), Chase (4), Stella (10 months), and a 15 year old opinionated Cocker Spaniel named Charlie. To say life is crazy at times or every second of the day is an understatement but they wouldn't have it any other way. She keeps herself busy during the day by working as an assistant principal and is still learning to balance the duties of being a full time working mom, wife and three little ones. Jennifer enjoys long walks through the aisles at Target, early morning Starbucks runs, and trying to mimic the latest DIY projects on Pinterest.Jennifer is the lucky mother of two boys, Dean (3) and Dante (2) - yup, back to back, which means that life normally resembles either a crazed, juice-fueled dance party, or a giggle powered wrestling match. When she is not prowling around the house like a t-rex she teaches high school AP Social Studies, coaches UIL and is a self proclaimed "fit-ish mom" (translation: food is heaven, but the gym is therapy.) She grew up in Edinburg, and is a graduate of Florida State University with a degree in Political Science and Theater. After college, she bounced to Los Angeles where she began acting, print modeling, and worked for a high profile mortuary. After about 5 years she came back to her roots in the RGV, met her incredibly sweet husband, and the rest, as they say, is history.Katie is a Mid-Western girl at heart, having lived in Missouri, Wisconsin, Ohio, and now in the RGV. This makes for some very interesting adventures. She has been on this adventure with her husband Nate for 5 years of marriage and sweetest girl, Zoe since March 2014. Most of the time she can be found running around McAllen looking for deals and sales with little ZoZo. Katie is also the part-time librarian at St. Paul Lutheran School. She also loves to cook, listen to soft hits of the 70s, and get in a good Netflix binge.Most people call me Kim. I moved to the Rio Grande Valley five years ago to practice law. Then I had my daughter, who turned my priorities upside down. I am now a stay-at-home attorney who fills my days with anything related to raising a toddler, learning to cook healthy meals, mastering the Spanish language, reading books with and without pictures, creating things with my hands and of course, writing.Lisa is mom to one high-energy 4-year-old, Jacob and wife to her moderate-energy hubby, Tony. Lisa was born and raised in San Antonio. She is a former Rio Grande Valley news anchor and reporter. Lisa started her broadcast news career in Laredo, TX and landed her second news job in the Rio Grande Valley in 2002. After 12 years of reporting, anchoring, and chasing breaking news, she left the news biz to be a stay-at-home mommy. She recently returned to work full-time as a communications writer. Lisa is a proud Longhorn and she enjoys writing, reading, and traveling to San Antonio and Austin to visit her friends and family. She loves a good karaoke session, chocolate, and an early bedtime. She and her husband have decided they are beach people and they plan to spend their retirement beach hopping.Mariana loves sandwiches best, although going 95% vegan two years ago means having traded in ham and swiss for eggplant and roasted red pepper. Her boys, Santiago (5) and Sebastian (3), agree that sliced bread is the greatest thing since sliced bread. The boys are native Spanish speakers despite the fact that neither of their parents is, which has made raising them in Spanish a labor of love. Her commitment to raising bilingual children was made possible by being a first-generation Chilean-American born and raised in New York City, and by having spent two pre-kid years living abroad in Mexico City and Salamanca, Spain. Mariana moved to the RGV in 2010 and never wants to live anywhere else. While the kids are at school, Mariana is a full-time Assistant Professor of Philosophy at UTRGV. She has written for the New York Times, Womankind Magazine, and Yahoo Parenting.While not born in South Texas, Marisol has called the Rio Grande Valley home for the past 25 years. She is currently a Mcallen resident where she plays house with her very own prince charming. Together, Marisol and her husband have created a family where they have welcomed three children in the past four years! She graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American in 2008 with a Bachelors in Political Science and Philosophy. Originally planning to attend law school, Marisol decided to take a leap of faith and embark on being an entrepreneur. She enjoys being the boss and sole employee of Marisol Izaguirre LLC where she works professionally as a photographer. When not traveling the country for weddings or for fun, Marisol can be found at home where she divides her time between her children, working, and obsessively cleaning her home – all usually at the exact same time.Reflecting on the many blessings I have I can say that I’m fortunate to be in God’s favor. I have two beautiful daughters that have brought a change of life to our home. My husband and I have known each other since we met in the fifth grade. We call ourselves elementary sweet hearts. Our lives have brought us together in ways we never imagined. Living life together has made the journey easier and well worth the memories we share. Currently, I am a second grade teacher and I hold a bachelors in sociology and a masters in education administration. As an educator, I have become an advocate for children and teachers. Believing in others that they can achieve anything they set their minds on helps them succeed. People today need to be compassionate about what they do for a living and that’s me-I am a compassionate, strong willed woman who will aim high in achieving success and helping others achieve their own goals.Melissa has been in the RGV for almost a year now, having moved from the metro Atlanta area with her husband, Jaime and two sweet boys, Jaime Jr. and Isaac. Melissa is a Nutritional Therapist who focuses on helping people with food sensitivities and autoimmune disorders. When she’s not busy seeing clients, Melissa enjoys pilates, reading the latest on health and nutrition, whipping up healthy meals, and drinking wine with friends when she’s not bonding with her boys over loud music and dancing. Likewise, she enjoys discovering new places to eat around town and supporting local farm-to-table restaurants as well as shopping at local businesses.Miriam Contreras lives in McAllen, Texas. She is married to her husband Mike. Together they have two beautiful children with a third one on the way due in October. Miriam is an Image, Modeling & Etiquette Consultant. Since she was a little girl she has always enjoyed helping others. With the love of her family she has realized her dream in making a positive impact in the community. Consulting has allowed her to help many girls and women realize their unique God-given strengths. She enjoys helping people fulfill their potential as confident and proud individuals.Rachel Carreon grew up in the north suburbs of Chicago and has since lived in Portland, Oregon, Strasbourg, France, and Phoenix, Arizona, but is most proud to call the Rio Grande Valley her home. She works full-time for a national education non-profit as a leadership development consultant, and was formerly a teacher in a k-3 self-contained special education setting. She lives with her husband Robert , their 4 year old son and 2 year old daughter. They also have a blue heeler mix named Huck. Rachel loves cooking for friends and family, running outdoors and all kinds of exercise, and playing outside with her family. Rachel is excited to build community with readers, to share a bit of herself, and to learn from others and their experiences.Hi. I’m Renee. Last year, I left my full-time job in New York, moved back home to Texas, bought a house, and popped out my first baby. Luckily, I did this all with my awesome husband and our totally bewildered cat. Now that we’re living in the RGV, I’m getting to know a whole new side of Texas— which I love. I also love my little girl, public libraries, fresh margaritas, adult conversation, and anything funny or satirical. (I used to love sleeping, but I think we all know that’s a lost cause.) When I’m not adjusting to life with a toddler, I’m working from home as a freelance copywriter. Oh, and downing copious amounts of iced coffee.RoxAnne lives in Rio Grande City, Texas. She is married to her husband, Bobby. They have four children: Laurel, Arora, Matthew, and Catherine. She is a Speech Language Pathologist. She enjoys planning family meals, family trips, and reading.Originally a Rio Grande Valley native, Ruth now resides in San Antonio where she serves on active duty in the Army. After a short year of attending college, she decided to join the military to fulfill her desire to serve her country. She met her very patient and awesome husband of six years, Humberto (also a veteran), while in high school. Together they have two happy and beautiful children, Humberto, Jr. and Rebecca. Ruth is a God-fearing woman and when she’s not in uniform or chasing after her very curious and active kids she enjoys reading the Bible, writing, and playing with make-up. You can catch a glimpse of her on YouTube where she posts about anything from make-up tutorials, motherhood tips, and the occasional life advice. You can also read about her journey through motherhood on her personal blog, letterstobecca.com.Stephanie and her husband are Corpus Christi natives who, very recently, relocated to the RGV. Their move from Mathis, Texas to Los Fresnos changed a lot, but it certainly didn’t change Stephanie’s passion for both motherhood and writing. Stephanie is a 32-year old stay-at-home-wife and mom to two little ones. She loves all things Hanson, Harry Potter and Disney Travel! Stephanie has a B.A. in English from the University of Dallas, which pretty much means she just adores writing a whole lot about… well, everything! She previously wrote for the Corpus Christi Moms Blog but is now incredibly excited to begin and share the next chapter of her family’s lives in the ever-friendly RGV!Vannessa Eggleston is the founder of Rio Grande Valley Moms Blog and owner of the online boutique stationery store, Then Comes Paper. She’s born and raised in the RGV, where she met and married her high school sweetheart, Will. She’s mom to 3 rambunctious little critters :: Cole , Ellie and Taite. She has a quirky personality and an unhealthy obsession with all things Egg-related (she married for love and the last name happened to be one of the perks ;). She enjoys sweet tea, a good pun, designing, and quiet time. If she’s not blogging, designing or loving on those three Littles and that one Big of hers, you can probably find her at any given Chick Fil A. You can keep up with her on her personal blog The Eggspress News or on her professional blog over at Then Comes Paper.Hi! I'm Vannie. I was born in Houston but raised in McAllen. I have a fun, energetic, smart and beautiful daughter, Ellie. I'm a bit of a self-improvement junkie, so I tend to get involved in an endless amounts of projects. I enjoy reading, traveling, anything creative, tackling DIY projects, gardening, photography, throwing a good party and spending time with those closest to me.Veronica is a momma to a nearly 2 year old boy, wife to a middle school teacher and is a speech language pathologist employed at a local hospital. A Rio Grande Valley native, Veronica studied at the University of Texas at Austin and later lived in San Antonio for 3 years before returning to the McAllen area to raise her son and plant roots in the only place she considers home. She loves to eat (not to be confused with cooking), dance Latin music and monkey around with her rough and tumble son.