After completing a decade of publications and now into our 11th year in print, it might be a good time to reintroduce ourselves to you. If you’re visiting PLAYGROUND for the first time, we’re so glad you found us! PLAYGROUND is a regional...
Wendy Meyer is a Winter Park mom to son, Beckett, a self-proclaimed #Disnerd and an integral collaborator at PLAYGROUND Magazine. She currently holds the titles of social media manager, events editor and writer. (That's what happens when you're good at everything they throw at ya!) You can read her single-mom musings on her blog: Mommy’s Little Rebel.
Heather Reneau is an Oviedo mom of two and a graphic designer/art director with a natural flair for writing. Her entrepreneurial spirit has led her down many business paths, including conceiving and producing PLAYGROUND Magazine back in 2007. It's her passion to celebrate local people and spread the word about quality family businesses, services and events in Orlando and beyond.
Cortney Thekan lives in Conway and is the mother of two brilliant, quirky kids. She serves as PLAYGROUND Magazine’s irreplaceable editor-at-large, business consultant and den mother. Cortney is the owner of Core Publishing, providing professional writing and editing services to businesses large and small.
Jessica Ventura lives in Baldwin Park with her husband and two kids. She is PLAYGROUND Magazine’s advertising manager and biggest fan. Jessica knows local business is the backbone of our community, and she works hard to create exciting marketing options for our partners. She is also a successful independent business consultant for Rodan+Fields.
Alisha Champ lives in Ocoee but travels all around Central Florida attending to multiple creative projects and assisting parents with the business of their lives. Alisha is PLAYGROUND Magazine’s special projects manager and fashion editor. She is also the owner of Consider Any Thing Done, where she assists families with everything from babysitting to interior design.
Brant Muekeley is married to the publisher and uses his engineering mind to crunch the numbers for PLAYGROUND as our financial manager. He works behind-the-scenes generating invoices and writing checks to keep PLAYGROUND financially successful. Brant is also the owner of Measure Dynamics of Orlando, which provides laser measuring and drafting services.
Alicia McKee lives in Apopka with her husband and daughter. She is PLAYGROUND Magazine’s advertising coordinator and E-newsletter guru. Alicia came to us excited to have found a magazine that helped her navigate the new world of parenting. We put her right to work on the many important tasks surrounding our advertising partners.
Amanda Green is a native Floridian and mother of two. She enjoys writing about travel, family, adventure, and living the Florida lifestyle. Look for her next time you're outside exploring Central Florida's parks and trails.
Maddy Zollo Rusbosin is writer, editor and stylist living the downtown life in Thornton Park. She's a new mom thanks to her sweet baby daughter, Jackie, and loves writing about her adventures in motherhood for PLAYGROUND. The Winter Park native spent almost a decade in New York working as a beauty editor before returning to The Sunshine State. Check out her other work at maddyzollo.com.
Tracey C. Velt is a married mom of two children living in Heathrow. She's a UCF graduate and has been the editor-in-chief of regional and statewide magazines. In 2004, she start her own freelance writing and editing business, Tracey Velt Consulting. She's also a regular contributor of PLAYGROUND Magazine.
Nicole Mitchem is a Florida Native, proud mom of three sons and a former model. She picked up a camera when her oldest son was born 18 years ago and fell in love with photography. Nicole has been shooting professionally ever since. Her desire is to convey vibrance, fun and expression in all of her work.
Jasmin Barone covers one of our favorite topics — playgrounds! This local mom, who is also an educator at The Studio School in Orlando, treasures all the outdoor opportunities Orlando has to offer. After living on a small island in Maine with only one playground, she was stunned to find that Central Florida had such a rich landscape to experience playgrounds 365 days a year. Since moving to the area, she’s become an expert on the best local spots. Follow her @DangerDadRuggedDuck and be on the lookout for more of her playground roundups!
Kristen Manieri is a writer, mindfulness teacher and coach. As the host of the 60 Mindful Minutes podcast, she interviews authors and thought leaders about what it means to live a more connected, conscious and intentional life. She shares her life with her two daughters, her husband, and their three cats in Orlando.
JJ West lives in Oviedo with her husband and three children. She is a former teacher and a “wannabe blogger.” When she isn’t changing diapers, preparing snacks or answering a million questions, she enjoys the beach, sweet tea and college football. You can read more about faith, family and funny stories on her blog, Mrs. JJ West.
Viviana is the Assistant Manager for Community Relations of the Orange County Library System. She holds an M.L.I.S. from the University of South Florida and has 10 years experience as a Children’s Librarian. Viviana is a voracious reader, obsessed with all things Harry Potter and is happy to pass that on to her 5-year-old son.
Megan Navarro is a Central Florida native, born and raised in DeLand and has lived in Orlando for most of her adult life. She is a graduate of the UCF Rosen School of Hospitality Management and is an accomplished professional photographer. Megan produces the YouTube channel "I am Megan Navarro," where she specializes in budget-friendly home décor and organization tips, as well as awesome family-friendly adventures in Orlando. Megan is a truly positive person and lives by the motto: To the Top, Never Stop!
The quintessential event planner, Molly Shapiro Boe from The Preppy Hostess® has partnered with dozens of Central Florida clientele on events and celebrations over the past 10 years. Her attention to detail and creative mindset is the perfect combination for anyone looking for a smooth event experience.
Marliese Carmona is a commercial and editorial photographer in Central Florida. She is a toddler chasing, yoga loving, mad scientist creative with two kids, a house full of corgis, and a serious, serious love affair with light. Marliese also develops talent portfolios for models and actors in the Florida market.
Avani Desai is a mom of two, executive vice president at Schellman & Company, member of board of directors at Central Florida Foundation and co-chair of 100 Women Strong, a collective giving initiative of the Central Florida Foundation that inspires women in Central Florida to help improve the lives of women and children through strategic philanthropy.
Dr. Mandana Nabizadeh, DDS, known to her patients as Dr. Nabi, attended the University of Illinois at Chicago and earned her D.D.S. degree in general dentistry. She specializes in working with pediatric dental patients in the downtown Orlando-based pediatric practice Your Downtown Dentistry. Dr. Nabi is married to Dr. Ali Behzadi and has a young daughter, Melody.
Kirsten Harrington is a writer, wife and mom of two teenage boys. She loves exploring nature and being in the kitchen with her family.
Orlando Pediatric Dentistry has been making patients smile since 2006. Dr. Girardot and his team strive to introduce dentistry to children in a fun and friendly way. The practice serves infants, children, teens and those with special needs, teaching them the importance of dental hygiene. As a father himself, Dr. Girardot understands the need for parental involvement in their children's healthcare, so moms and dads are always welcome to tag along to appointments.
Angela C. Browning and her husband, Brandon, are the proud Orlando-based parents of three boys. Angela holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and literature from Eastern Michigan University and earned her Juris Doctor from Ave Maria School of Law. Follow her group’s effort at facebook.com/groups/ocpsrecess and @RestoreRecess on Twitter.
Kodi Churchill is an Orlando mom to a spunky 2-year old boy and enjoys fostering cats, listening to 90's band Hanson and watching Disney movies. Her previous roles include writing and marketing for the tech and sports media corporations. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and Mass Communications.
Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens.
Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr. Oz.
Laura Perry is the publisher of Orlando on the Cheap, the local go-to resource for all things free and cheap to help you live the good life on less. Her favorite cheap things to do in Central Florida include kayaking at King’s Landing in Apopka, riding the SunRail to fun destinations, picnics in Winter Park’s Central Park and swimming in Central Florida’s natural springs.
Stephanie Vatalaro is a lifelong angler. She works to introduce newcomers to the water as senior vice president of marketing & communications for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and its Take Me Fishing initiative. Outside of work, you’re likely to find her fishing and boating with her family.