Meet The Bloggers
April Blackburn is Mom Extraordinaire to two darling children. Well, if “Mom Extraordinaire” means mom with a permanent laundry pile who is frequently late to children’s events, and if “darling” means very loud, rambunctious, and amazingly sweet. April recently rejoined the workforce, and she is learning how to navigate working from home while still being her daughter’s primary caretaker. She is a childhood cancer advocate, science enthusiast, and all around nerd who has seen every Marvel movie, owns everything related to Harry Potter, loves video games, inviting friends over for food, cocktails, and board games. She also has a master’s degree in social work, but is currently working as a scopist, or a person who edits documents for court reporters. She has been married for 11 years, to a teacher who also hates to fold laundry. Soul mates.
Susan Cedotal has lived in the Baton Rouge area since starting college in 1999. She graduated from LSU law school and works full time for LexisNexis teaching law students how to conduct research. In her spare time, Susan co-owns Rhea Lana’s Baton Rouge, a children’s consignment event. She enjoys helping local moms get great and affordable deals on children’s items. She gets her greatest joy from her family which includes her college sweetheart, Jay; her eight-year-old son, Hunter; and six-year-old triplets, Miller, Mary Susan, and Austin. She spends most days trying to figure out how to juggle it all, and by the grace of God, she sometimes gets it right.
Leah is a self-described “adventurous soul in a homebody.” Born and raised in Baton Rouge, she fell in love with the world. After three years living overseas, she recently found her way “home.” Leah and her husband, Patrick, worked as missionaries in South Africa and Tanzania. They learned the most effective work they could do was to offer support for people doing difficult work. They moved home to start a nonprofit, Juniper Table, where they work to create opportunities that strengthen hungry leaders to do effective ministry. When she isn’t exploring ways to change the world, you can find Leah in the kitchen making delicious things happen with natural food, and feeding people she loves. She gave birth to her son, Elias, in South Africa and thinks baby farts are hilarious. Leah loves to write about food, travel, the insanity of parenting, and lessons from her faith.
Mandy Cowley is a soulful creative deeply committed to leaving the world at least a little better than she found it. She has been married for 10 years and is mom to a six-year-old bundle of energy named Joseph. Mandy enjoys writing about raising a differently-abled child, adoption, and making the most out of our very busy lives. When she isn’t writing or painting, she can usually be found hunting down her next cup of coffee or baking.
Nicole began her parenting journey when she married her husband, Mike, 23 years ago, becoming stepmom to two young boys, and adding two more sons a few years later. Now, she proudly wears hats as stepmom, mom, and grandmother. The boys in her life are 33, 31, 20, 14, 7, and 5, diversity abounding, including one son with special needs. These roles have taught her incredible things and developed within her a passion for helping others on the same journey. Nicole is a life coach, yoga instructor, and blogger. She leads small coaching groups online and locally. Writing is her refuge and she writes with honesty and transparency, with the belief that unveiling her mistakes, struggles, and victories may help others avoid or discover the same.
Cristian Hardy has been married to her loving husband, Ronaldo, for nearly 10 years. She is a devoted mother of four young children– Raynah, 8; Josiah, 7; Laylah, 5; and Melah, 2. She has been an elementary educator for 10 years. Currently, Cristian teaches second grade ELA at Oak Grove Primary. She and her husband are also the Lead Pastors of Love Alive Church where their mission is to help people find family, discover purpose, and change the world. In her spare time, Cristian enjoys reading, going to the spa, and watching movies. Although Cristian lives an extremely busy life, she loves it because it is very rewarding.
A native of Baton Rouge, Kirsten loves her city, but also loves to travel. Kirsten is a wife, a mother of two great boys, a lover of food, and good tv shows. She’s working up the courage to run a half marathon, and has recently found a passion for paddle boarding with her outdoorsy husband, despite the fact that she cannot swim. Hey, that’s what life jackets are for! She graduated from Southern University with a degree in social work in 2007 and has worked in victim services ever since. She has a passion for helping others and being an agent for change in some way. She loves to learn from others. She takes pride in being a good wife, mother, sister, and friend. Kirsten loves to find the humor in life, and she’s at her happiest when she makes others laugh and feel empowered.
Madeline Rathle is a senior studying mass communication at LSU. She is originally from Mobile, AL, but has fallen in love with Louisiana and is a Tiger at heart, rocking her purple and gold on Saturdays and singing "Callin' Baton Rouge" at the top of her lungs. Whether Madeline is headed to class or driving around town, you can always find her with a coffee in hand, ready to tackle the day. She stays busy, but that's the way she likes it! Though she is not a parent, she has been working for Baton Rouge Parents Magazine for two years on the editorial staff, who have become like a family to her.