team 2020
Photo by April and August Photography

Des Moines Mom is made up of a group of amazing women who share their stories, wisdom, and ideas. You can learn more about Andrea and Kara, the co-owners of DMM, here.

Meet the Des Moines Mom Writing Team

Senior Contributors

Brittney

Senior Contributor

Brittney's parenting style can best be described as controlled chaos. Her sons, Beckett (2012) and Hudson (2014), are the epitome of ridiculous. Sure, they're good kids. But, they're constantly wrestling, actually climbing the walls and coming up with new ways to get their parents to say "yes" to their crazy ideas. Luckily, she's been married to her husband Tyler since 2007 and they've been parents just long enough to start seeing through their sons' antics. They live a block from Jack Trice stadium in Ames and both work for Iowa State. Brittney works full time in marketing and communications. In her (limited) free time, she like to bike (the kind with pedals and in spin studios), visit family, hang out with friends, host tailgates, be in or on the water - and always has good coffee and red wine on hand. **

Jennifer

Senior Contributor

Jennifer is a single mom to two active boys, Spencer (2005) and Elliott (2009). She grew up in the Des Moines area, received her degree in Elementary Education from Iowa State University, and married right after college. Throughout her 12-year marriage, she lived and worked as a teacher in Norwalk, Iowa; Dubuque, Iowa; and Houston. A separation and divorce brought her and her two boys back to West Des Moines to be close to family. Although that was a very painful and hard season of life, with a little help and a LOT of faith, she feels that it has made her a stronger, healthier person. She hopes now that she is no longer a victim of domestic abuse, but a survivor, she can take this experience and use it to help others who find themselves in her situation. When she is not teaching, she loves spending time with her boys, being active, cooking, advocating, and being involved in her church. *

Jessica

Senior Contributor

Jessica is a stay-at home mama to sweet and spunky little Ava. She’s usually running on espresso shots and roaming the aisles of Target. She’s married to her best friend PJ, and lives in the heart of Des Moines. In her free time, you’ll find her lying in bed binge-watching Netflix, spending minimal time in the gym, or reading a good book. *

Jessie

Senior Contributor

Jessie is a talkative storyteller who makes friends everywhere she goes. She is married to a Colorado native and together they have four beautiful children: Leela, Cora, Lincoln, and Theodore. Her son Lincoln is a pediatric-cancer survivor and caring for him has earned her the title of momcologist. A teacher by trade, Jessie loves to collaborate with others. In her free time Jessie enjoys movies and popcorn with her family, browsing the aisles at Target, and trying to find an excuse to eat out. *

Kara

Senior Contributor

Kara Swanson is a mom of two little girls, certified nutritionist, recipe developer, and meal plan creator at Life Well Lived. Her passion is to show that eating clean and healthy is not only simple but also really delicious. Life is crazy and Kara loves making the food part for moms a no-brainer by sharing quick and easy meals for those busy weeknights. No more boring chicken and broccoli. Come say hi and follow along on instagram @karaswanson where Kara shares all her fave recipes and tips for living a healthier life. **

Katie

Senior Contributor

Katie is married to her high school sweetheart, Wes. They have two energetic elementary aged boys. They love to explore Des Moines, travel around the country, and do anything sports related together! She owns her own birth and postpartum doula business, The Iowa Baby Lady, and loves serving mothers in the area as they grow, birth, and mother their babies with confidence! *

Liz

Senior Contributor

Liz is mom to preschooler Jonah and toddler Gwendolyn. She married Troy after a 13-year love story, and they moved to Des Moines in 2009. A teacher on maternal hiatus, Liz prefers reading to housekeeping and uses West Wing reruns to settle her mind. She believes any problem can be solved with fiction but loves to explore her reality in Des Moines. *

Niki

Senior Contributor

Niki grew up in Earlham, Iowa and now lives with her husband Ryan, daughter Riley, and son Merritt in Johnston. Niki is an associate director, marketing and communications at Drake University where she runs the university’s main social media accounts. She is also the director of the world-famous Beautiful Bulldog Contest. She has an Olde English Bulldog named Dexter, but he is ineligible to compete because she already knows he’s the most beautiful bulldog. Niki is a two-time graduate of Drake University with a bachelor’s in journalism (2008) and a Master’s in Communication Leadership (2015). Niki is an avid seller on Poshmark and enjoys thrifting in the community. Niki serves as President on the Board of Directors for Animal Lifeline of Iowa, which is a special needs, no-kill animal shelter. Niki is a two-time graduate of Drake University with a bachelor’s in journalism (2008) and a Master’s in Communication Leadership (2015). *

Shay

Senior Contributor

Shay is the wife to a self proclaimed IT nerd and mama to three incredible kids- Sophia (9), Saidey (7), and Sullivan (1). She is a mental health therapist by day and by night she spends way too much time on Instagram and watching reality tv. Life can get busy and chaotic, but she wouldn't have it any other way! *

Contributors

Casey

Contributor

Casey is an Iowa captive by way of Alabama. She lives in Urbandale with her first responder husband Derek, black lab Dakota, and human daughter Avery (2018). She loves being a mom and is navigating her journey with her own version of what motherhood looks like including shamelessly singing “Baby Shark” on command and eating Oreos during nap time so she doesn’t have to share. Casey works part time as a Child Life Specialist at a local hospital where she has a deep passion for advocating for and empowering children and families in the face of adversity. In her “free time” Casey enjoys baking, specializing in boxed brownies and pre-made cookie dough. She also enjoys reading historical fiction books and watching Netflix. Her preferred forms of communication include sarcasm, emojis, and gifs. *

Elizabeth

Contributor

Elizabeth’s crazy clan includes Elizabeth Rain (2007), Sophia (2011), Will (2017) and Evie Grace (2019) and husband, Mike. You will read posts ranging from co-parenting, being a stepmom and mom simultaneously to mental health in moms. Please reach out to Elizabeth with any questions or stories of your own as she loves to engage with other moms. By sharing stories and listening to other moms’ happys, crappys, and sappys we better ourselves. Growth comes from having a group of moms that challenge you and empower you to be a better version of yourself each day. *

Kimberly

Contributor

Kimberly is a Northwest Iowa native, a Drake University graduate, and a fan of all things Des Moines. She is a girly girl who grew up and became a boy mom, and is now an expert on all types of construction equipment and big machines. She shares her Des Moines home with hubby Sam (2006) and sons Jack (March 2014) and Henry (December 2016). Kimberly studied magazine journalism in college, spent 10 years working for a newspaper, and recently became a postpartum doula. In her abundant (and almost nonexistent) free time she enjoys writing about mom life, drinking coffee, documenting time with family and friends, starting Shutterfly projects she rarely finishes, doing Crossfit, and daydreaming about future decorating and crafting projects. *

Kinzy

Contributor

Kinzy is a self-proclaimed “cool mom” to 3 spirited kids: Kellan (7), Harper (6), and Charlotte (9 months). Her husband James is a Des Moines Firefighter whose only real downfall is his wholehearted participation in “Movember.” When she’s not working diligently to answer the ten thousand questions her kids ask in a day, she can be found slamming coffee, adding things to her shopping carts online knowing full well she’ll never actually checkout, and laughing at her own jokes. She spends most of her days reminiscing about when naps were still a thing, making to-do lists that never get checked off, and striving to perfect the work/life balance.

Haley

Contributor

Haley Phillips lives in Ankeny with her husband, Matthew and two living children, Hudson and Quinn. She loves spending time outside with her family and friends frequenting parks and trails. Reading and sipping coffee are her favorite pastimes. She currently serves as co-founder and Client Manager of The Fletcher Foundation which exists to help families emotionally and financially after miscarriage or stillbirth. You can find more information at The Fletcher Foundation. *

Mary

Contributor

Mary Salazar is an Iowa native and life-long Hawkeye who loves coffee, books and 90's music. When she isn't working for a metro school district as an administrator, she is spending time with her daughter Lily (2009) and her husband Mateo. *

Stacie

Contributor

Stacie is an Iowa native, living in Urbandale with her tall, dark, and handsome husband, Kyle (May 2014) and their two children, Calvin (August 2015) and Sylvia (April 2019). They have two dogs, a cat & a fish. By day, Stacie is the Director of Development for Animal Lifeline of Iowa. By night, she’s a toddler chaser, Pinterest-recipe chef, Instant-Pot & air fryer creator, thrift-shop find make-over artist, DIY project amateur who enjoys audio books, the Happy Color app, hanging out with her pack, and an occasional girls’ night out.

Shelly

Design Contributor

Shelly is a tall, extroverted, coffee-loving creative who loves spreading positive vibes and good design into the world. She is an Iowa native currently living in Urbandale with her husband Todd and their daughter Sofia (3). Shelly works full-time as a Senior Designer, while also doing freelance design and selling Beautycounter on the side. When she isn’t working, her time is spent chasing or snuggling her toddler, dancing awkwardly, doing an insane Crossfit workout, or catching up on a series while sipping some wine.

Beatrice

Pinterest Contributor

Mom to two active boys and a Digital Marketing Strategist, Web Designer, SEO Marketing Coach, Social Media Speaker, Author, owner of The Web Silo Online Marketing @thewebsilo. She helps businesses build their ideal business brand for their ideal clients while remaining profitable at an affordable price.

* Photos courtesy of Lav & Lime Photo Studio. ** Photos courtesy of Haverlee Photography.