Cascia Smith

Founder + Owner

Cascia was born and raised in the Arizona heat. While receiving her Pre-Med degree at HIU in California, a blonde, surfing, skateboarding boy stole her heart. In 2004, she married Chuck and had many adventures living in Arizona, California and Colorado. They now call Simi Valley home and have three wild and curious children - Becker (10), Bodie (7) and Lyla (6). She has been blessed to be a teacher, summer camp staff/program director, SAHM and now the owner of Ventura County Mom Collective. Playing guitar, writing songs, and reading any and every parenting book helps keep her sane and happy! A good cup of coffee or a bubbly La Croix can usually be found in her hand! She tries to live by the motto "I'd rather recover from failure than live with regret.

Alyson Berg

Team Photographer

Alyson Berg Photography is full service fine art portrait studio base in Thousand Oaks, California specializing in maternity, newborn, first year and family portraiture. Alyson believes in providing her clients with an unparalleled experience that allows you to focus on what’s most important, your ever-growing little ones. From wardrobe and professional hair/makeup for your session to installing your finished artwork to be passed down for generations, Alyson takes care of every detail so you can spend your precious extra time focusing on your family.

Jessica Brandon


Jessica moved to Ventura less than three years ago from San Diego, where she lived for the past 20 years. Married in 2004 she began a fertility journey to start the family she always dreamed of. In 2007 she lost her husband to a chronic illness. For the next 8 years, now single, she focused on her career and the hope of being a mother someday. Six months before her 40th birthday she decided to manifest her own destiny and she became a Foster parent. Her son Luke (now 7) was placed with her at 14 months old and adopted when he was 4. Once in Ventura Jessica met her partner James, a retired Dermatologist. They dated and quickly became a blended family with James' two adult children Christa and Harrison. In October of 2021 the family received a surprise, Luke had a full biological sister who was 3 days old and she needed a home. Five days later they picked up a sweet tiny girl Ella (22 months) who will, hopefully, be adopted very soon. Jessica has a full-time career as a fundraising events planner, helping nonprofits fulfill their missions with the vital funds needed. She is a singer, and former musical theatre director, but only performs lullabies these days. Her family can be found most Saturdays at the Downtown Farmers Market, lunching at Peirano’s or at the Harbor feeding the birds and having ice cream on a hot day...or any day really.

Katie Ramirez


Meet Katie, a dedicated mother to two incredible little girls, 5 and 3. Born and raised in the picturesque town of Ventura, she considers herself blessed to be raising her daughters in the same beautiful place. Her heart belongs to her best friend and high school sweetheart, forming an unbreakable bond that began at Buena and continues to flourish. Katie's journey as a passionate advocate for conscious parenting has led her to become a certified parent coach. Her mission revolves around empowering parents to navigate the intricate yet rewarding journey of parenthood. With a focus on nurturing emotional intelligence, facilitating effective communication, and fostering self-regulation in both parents and children, Katie's approach is rooted in creating harmonious parent-child connections. For Katie, community is everything. She firmly believes that together, we can thrive and evolve on this incredible parenting adventure. Beyond her parenting pursuits, you might spot Katie savoring a cup of coffee at Simones, exploring local parks and trails alongside her little ones, or immersing herself in the wisdom of a compelling personal development book.

Ríccí Bester-Adams


Ricci was born and raised in Columbus,Ohio. Before moving to Simi, she lived in a lot of other places before becoming a mom to 3 adult children. Her "crew" (Brandon, 25, Anastasia, 24, Xan 18, Yoshi 6 yr old Pomchi) are her cheerleaders as she goes into the new creative area of life. Wearing many hats that include actress, blogger, and entrepreneur, the entertainment industry is her life. When not doing acting or makeup gigs, she is a food blogger that focuses on being a special needs parent to multiples.

Tamara Nowlin


Tamara was born and raised in Southern California. She obtained her B.A. in Political Science & Sociology from Pepperdine and still identifies enthusiastically with her status as a “Wave.” After undergrad she attended Southern Methodist University Law School in Dallas, Texas. Tamara has resided in Ventura County for the last 12 years where she lives with her two teenage children. In her career she has enjoyed many roles from attorney to school admissions to marketing & legal communications. She is also a life coach and loves to empower and encourage women through her work. Tamara loves to travel, write, go to the beach, eat at fun restaurants, and hang out with her kids. On an average day you will find her with her nose in a book or doing yoga. Tamara is excited to join Ventura Mom’s Collective and contribute to her community in a new way!

Tara Romero


Tara is a small town California girl from the Central Valley. She met her best friend turned husband shortly after high school. They met at a Hot Topic, while she was "shopping" at the mall. He was the cute emo kid from Simi Valley that her heart couldn't resist. Nearly twenty years later, they have 3 children ages 13, 8, and 6. Tara is a Licensed Cosmetologist, Certified Personal Trainer, Health Coach, and SAHHM (stay at home homeschooling mom). She attributes her appreciation for witnessing beauty and transformation to leading her to wear many hats. Whether it's changing a hairstyle, one's physique, increasing knowledge or changing one's point of view, she's passionate about helping others become their personal best. When she's not leading a workout or teaching her kids, you'll find her at a local Mexican restaurant (because tacos are life), visiting a museum, hiking, or listening to live music. Tara is proud to be a contributor for the Ventura County Mom Collective. "I hope to encourage more women to honor their bodies and use their personal gifts, so that collectively, we can make a greater impact in this world."

Mary Farah


Mary is a California native with a diverse professional background. She's been a theatre tech, event planner, and even a grocery account executive for Ty beanie babies. She launched her website, Along Comes Mary, in 2012 and found her passion is travel writing. Since then, she's had incredible opportunities that include media trips and working on the board of directors for IFWTWA, the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association. Mary lives in Simi Valley with her husband, Michael, their daughter, Mabel, and two adorable dogs.

Tamara Davis


Tamara Miller Davis is an author, mother of two kidz with Z names, pet owner, fire captain's wife, substitute teacher, parent club volunteer, dance enthusiast, and U.S. Coast Guard veteran from Michigan. Tamara published her debut book "Despite the Buzz" in 2021. The colorful novel is a cautionary tale about tech's influence. She is a member of three other local writing groups: the Writers and Publishers Network, Ojai Poetry Series, and Ventura County Writers Club. Tamara enjoys reading, rollerblading, downhill skiing, boogie boarding, tubing, kayaking, walking her dog, listening to podcasts, traveling, going to concerts, supporting causes, and finding common ground with a variety of people. She also likes making lists. Tamara appreciates this quote from Stephen King's memoir On Writing: "You must not come lightly to the blank page."

Juliet Tabbara


Juliet was born & raised in St. Louis, MO. She moved to Southern CA in 2008 after surviving a long distance relationship with her now husband, who she met in college. They live in TO and have an incredibly strong-minded, smart and silly 5 year old son named Venice & a fur-pup named Pepper. She is a certified health, wellness & nutrition coach and currently has a private practice (Nourish Within Wellness) offering 1:1 coaching. Her love language is quality time. You can find her at the farmers market in Westlake every Sunday, practicing her yogi skills at Westlake Yoga Co, at her fav. family friendly happy hour spots (101 North & The Landing), or at home baking gluten-free, plant-based, refined-sugar free goodies.

Amanda Hyde

Social Media Contributor

Amanda is a born and raised Oxnardian. Married to the love of her life police officer husband Enrique from Santa Paula. Still in the Oxnard area raising her rambunctious boys Jonathan (8), Peter (2), Matthew (4 months). She has many life experiences in her 30 years of life. From being a baker/pastry chef, to a paralegal, to her favorite job stay at home mom. On her free time she knits and crochets for her Etsy business Purl Clutch and is always drinking coffee or Arbonne’s fizz sticks! Mama needs that caffeine to survive but not too much because as of July 4, 2020 she was diagnosed with a heart condition called Bradycardia. Her heart was beating so slow she needed a pacemaker implanted at the age of 28. She tells her kids she is basically Ironman and they agree. To them she is a superhero just like all moms are to their children!

Gia Calista Ilole


Gia is a native Californian who has lived all over the state from San Diego to Trinity County, plus Washington DC for a short time. She recently relocated to Ventura County with her family to build a compound property together with her sister’s family so that they could always share wardrobes and parenting responsibilities for their 5 combined children at home. Gia graduated from UCSB with a degree in Linguistics (which she thinks entitles her to make up words). It took her just three years, as she was eager to graduate early to go live with her long distance boyfriend and his toddler daughter at the time. That seemed to work out, as the boyfriend got promoted to husband years ago and her step-daughter promoted her to grandmother recently! Gia’s husband is from East Africa and runs their Bed and Breakfast in Tanzania from near and far. Gia is a Human Resources Director who has a major obsession with watermelon and eggnog lattes, depending on the season.

Haley Chapman


Haley was born and raised in Southern California. After earning a degree in Applied Mathematics, she worked in the corporate world for a few years before starting a Tutoring Company of which she owned and operated for ten glorious years. In 2016, after a stint of intentional singleness, she met her perfect match who came prepackaged with two beautiful daughters. They all now reside in Simi Valley, having a full house every other week as they navigate coparenting and blended family life. She has been fortunate to call herself an educator, a business owner, a corporate manager, and now a literacy advocate as well as a freelance operations and efficiency consultant. Reading, doodling, and snuggling with her three pups keeps her grounded – and an ice-cold Coca Cola on a hot day brings her pure joy. She finds dry British humor the greatest form of communication, and lives by the theory that life is best when laughing.

Katie Walker


Katie is wife to Dave, a full-time mom of three, Korean adoptee, person of faith and lover of written words. She live in Ojai, CA where the hiking is fantastic, the coffee is her favorite and backyard homesteads thrive. Between driving her kids around to all the activities, you can find her mostly at home, watching all the K-dramas, doing all the homework (for her English degree & Korean studies), and drinking all the coffee. Sometimes she cooks and does laundry too.

Daniella Horne


Daniella was born and raised in Peru and lived in Florida before joining the Military where she met her husband while stationed in Japan. She is a Veteran and Military Spouse and their new home is Ventura County where they are ready to explore and create new memories. Daniella was chosen as the 2022 Armed Forces Insurance Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Military Spouse of the Year while her family was stationed in Hawaii for her work in the Military community. She is a blogger, freelancer, loves photography, crafting and volunteering. She is a foodie, loves great coffee shops, farmer markets and loves keeping a positive attitude and grateful heart.

Claudia Lam


Claudia loves having adventures and being a mom in sunny California. She is grateful to be raising a bicultural child with her funny and loving husband. As the Family Cultural Attaché, Claudia likes to explore an eclectic array of music, food, and entertainment. You can always find her learning something new, reading a page-turner, or making plans for her family. She has lived in Southern California most of her life but has also lived in Mexico and France.

Jennifer Mustin

Social Media Contributor

Jenny was born in Santa Monica, California. The majority of her childhood years were spent being raised in Thousand Oaks. Jenny and her husband Trevor had known each other since high school. It wasn’t until much later that they became inseparable. Jenny and Trevor were both working in Santa Monica when they crossed paths again. Jenny was a single mom and Trevor is a firefighter... now the rest is history. Together they have three wild boys and one bonus daughter. With a blended family and wanting to bring a new level of simplicity to their lives, Jenny and Trevor moved back to Ventura Country and bought a little piece of land in Simi Valley. They are the type of people who raise chickens, alpacas, donkeys, and lambs in their backyard. They build fences and fix what’s broken. Their goal is to be self sufficient, sustainable, and waste free as much as possible. Jenny homeschools their children and helps run their neighborhood Co Op preschool all while working part time. Jenny is best known for brining in any animal that needs help (even when her husband has no idea about it until after). Jenny loves being in her garden, it's where she becomes grounded and reclaims her calmness. She is the type of person that always chooses to see the best in everything, she truly loves living life to the fullest. Jenny believes at the end of the day, hands should be dirty, hair should be messy, and hearts should be full.

Melissa Ploesch


Melissa is a proud mommy to three beautiful children and wife to her high school sweetheart husband of almost 23 years. Melissa grew up in the San Fernando Valley and has now lived in Simi Valley for over 10 years. Her biggest passion is being a mom and finding fun ways to help other moms or tips and tricks to share. She has found a true love for her community and enjoys supporting local businesses and local mom bosses. She has been writing and blogging for many years for websites like, her own blog, and thought there was no better way to connect with her local community than joining the Ventura County Mom Collective as a contributor. She is currently Girl Scout troop leader for her youngest daughter's troop, cookie chair for her oldest daughter's troop, team manager for both the girls' soccer teams, The Mommy Blogger Tribe member, and PTA volunteer. Melissa is a former educator turned business owner tech guru. Before she became a stay-at-home mom, she taught Science and Social Studies for over 10 years at the middle school level. Now, she owns AMP Virtual Solutions where she builds websites, helps others to create systems in their business that make things work smoothly, helps host virtual events, creates social media content, and connects sponsorships and vendors to events. Her main goal is to support one another and bring a sense of fun and kindness to the local mom world. She's always up for a coffee chat, to help out, volunteer, and bring her crazy family everywhere!