Meet the #SCBDTeam!


Sara Monica, CEO, Founder, & Head Editor

At the young age of 23, Sara is the founder and head editor of aka #SCBD. Sara is a Jersey Girl raised by the shore, currently residing in Northern New Jersey. When she is not working, she is finding something new to post and share with her readers whether it be a new food product, recipe, restaurant review or another interview. Read her full bio, here. Read the full story behind #SCBD, here.  When she is not writing for #SCBD she also contributes to Jersey Bites, Carter Int’l ConciergeManhattan with a Twist & Forkology. Follow her @SmChickBigDeals!

Amanda Mactas, Food & Nightlife Writer

Amanda Mactas is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Manhattan with a Twist. She originally hails from Connecticut, but has lived in the Big Apple for over two years now. She has since scoured the boroughs for the best of the city’s food, cocktails, nightlife, and fashion. Amanda is also a contributor to Shecky’sShecky’s NightlifeJoonbugSocietePerrierForkology, and SmallChickBigDeals. When she is not exploring the city, she can be found reading a good book, cheering for the Yankees, partying with her friends and always quoting Harry Potter. Follow her @ManhattanTwist!!

Antoinette Miles, South Jersey Food Writer & Restaurant Reviewer

552403_10150657637188277_1817197321_nI’m Antoinette, also known as Toni, and I reside in South Jersey. I consider myself a jack of all trades, having interests in graphic design, politics, writing and now, cooking! I love to cook with fresh ingredients and discover new techniques and flavor combinations right in my kitchen. My love for cooking comes from my grandmother who has passed on many southern traditions from growing up in Virginia. When I am not working in politics or designing on my computer, I am usually browsing all things nerdy, from comic books and technology to video games and Japanese animation. Follow me on Twitter @ayylookitstoni!

Arlene Gaona, Food Writer & Restaurant Reviewer

215194_10151366704482238_392385867_nI’m Arlene Gaona. I like to call myself the Empty Nester of Small Chick Big Deals. I am a very Jersey girl. Grew up in Bergen County, went to college in Gloucester County and have lived in Monmouth County for the past 30 years.  I have been a high school Special Ed teacher since 1980, teaching various subjects, this year it is Spanish. I have 2 daughters who are establishing themselves in the work world and am ever so proud of them.

When I am not working I like flea markets, the beach and meeting people from different countries. All this travel in state or out of the country often finds me in a restaurant. Although I’ve been told I’m a very good cook, after a tough week, or even a tough day, I like to be taken care of at a restaurant that will give me good food for a good price. Sometimes, it is the happy hour with ½ price apps, or a nice meal at a place a bit pricier for something in particular they serve. To me, a good deal can be a bargain meal or a pricier meal that gives you just what you’re craving at the moment.

Dawnmarie Birch Trani, Brooklyn Based Food Writer

Dawn is a 37 year old, dedicated mother and lover of all things food related. She spends most nights home cooking with her husband, Pat, who is known best for mastering the art of Pizza on their little charcoal barbeque. Spoiled by her Grandma Anna’s amazing cooking, she searches for the complete experience: high energy, just the right amount of noise, great food, and a good price.Dawn is determined to venture out and have at least one successful dining experience a week with her three and half year old son, Christian, in tow. Her main goal is to expose her son to the many culinary delights that Brooklyn has to offer without breaking the bank. And maybe a splurge or three along the way… Follow her @DawnmarieB1103!

Elizabeth Palmer Starnes, Chef and Food Writer

elizabeth palmer starnes

Elizabeth graduated from Hamilton College with a bachelors degree in history and a minor in art history. After a semester studying at Stockholm University in Sweden, Elizabeth set her sights on New York City. Cooking has always been her passion, and she jumped at the opportunity to refine and broaden her skills in culinary school. Elizabeth studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York City, cultivating her palate and learning all the classic techniques of French cooking from a group of amazing chefs. After graduating with a degree in classic culinary arts, Elizabeth devoted herself to food writing for several publications, with her newly trained palate as her guide. Elizabeth loves traveling, writing, cooking, eating, throwing dinner parties, and all things culinary. Check out her website, here.

Fay Schwartz, Health & Fitness Writer

Fay SchwartzFay Schwartz is a born and raised Jersey girl with a huge passion for health and fitness. In 2010 she lost 68 pounds by redoing her diet and finding healthy food alternatives to her not so healthy favorites. Since then Fay has started Curvy is Bella, a Facebook community where girls with a “figure” can get healthy recipes, tips, tricks and the motivation they need to get fit and love their bodies! Fay currently resides in Burlington New Jersey with her boyfriend of four years and two pups Twiggy and Kiwi. Her hobbies include graphic design, working out, jewelry making, performing and helping others reach their weight loss goals! You can follow her on twitter @L0LAbunny!

Jessica Williams, Vegetarian Writer

jessica williamsHi!  My name is Jess Williams and I’m from Sussex county, NJ.  I obtained my Bachelors in Business Administration from William Paterson University and a Masters in Information Systems from Marist College.  I work in the human resources software industry configuring systems.  My interests are web design, social media, marketing/public relations, photography/photo editing, graphic design, and of course food and cooking!  Six years ago I made the decision to become vegetarian.  Since then, I’ve been on the look out for restaurants providing great vegetarian options.  I’m looking forward to taking you on those adventures with me and sharing what I have discovered!  It’s always daunting to try out meat and dairy substitutes, so I hope I can answer some of your questions when I test out new products in my own kitchen.  If you know of any great vegetarian spots, or are interested in reading about a particular topic, feel free to let me know so I can share it with our readers!

Jill Rosenfeld, Pescatarian Writer

 Hi readers, I am Jillian Rosenfeld. I grew up in Central New Jersey, and I am currently a sophomore at SUNY Albany, where I am majoring in journalism and minoring in communications and educations. Like most people I enjoy a night out with my friends and boyfriend where we try out local restaurants and cafes. I love trying out new places and finding pescatarian friendly places. Since I have stopped eating meat almost 5 years ago, I love finding restaurants with good, fresh fish and of course pasta! So, I hope I can find places for other vegetarian and pescatarians out there, aimed in the Albany, NYC, and central NJ area (all the places I am the most)!

Julianna Bilton, Food Writer

 I am currently a junior at Manhattan College.  My major is Communication with a concentration in public relations. I love everything music related.  I am helping spread the word about the importance of doing an internship, as a campus ambassador for the Intern Queen.  I love finding new places to eat and hang out in NYC. You can follow her @julibilton!

Katrina Musto, Food Writer & Editor

senior dinner danceKatrina Musto graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a B.A. in Communications and a minor in Women’s Studies. Known to family and friends as “The Coupon Queen,” she loves getting the satisfaction of purchasing a $330 designer gown for $17 and boxes of brand-name cereal for 40 cents. Living life frugally does not mean wearing or eating garbage! When she is not scouring the Sunday newspaper for coupons, she enjoys playing tennis, hiking, and cooking and baking for her loves ones. The journalist and editor also loves to interview everyone from New York Times best-selling authors to local owners of mom and pop-shops on how they got their start in the industry.

Kelsey Jelling, Chef & Food Writer

Hey everyone, my name is Kelsey Jelling. Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a huge passion for food and cooking. Seeing and helping my grandmas cook and bake made me realize that this is what I want to do with my life. So after high school I obtained my Associates Degree in Applied science and my culinary certificate at Brookdale Community College’s Culinary Education center in Asbury Park, NJ.

Since then I have become a Cook’s Assistant at a retirement center in freehold. I’m still trying to pinpoint exactly how I would like to pursue my passion and love but in meantime I will share some experiences and recipes with you. Hope you enjoy!  “Learn how to cook — try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun.” -Julia Child

Lauren Stern, Gluten-Free Food Writer

laurensternLauren Stern is a born and raised Jersey girl with a huge passion for music. She recently graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies and Philosophy. When she is not contributing the best gluten-free products, recipes, and restaurants for SCBD, she is either writing for various entertainment publications or at the Jersey shore promoting Townsquare Media’s radio stations. You can follow her on twitter @laurenpstern!

Lia Giachino, Food Writer

Hi I’m Lia and I’m a born and raised Jersey Girl from Bergen County. I come from an Italian family, where food is everything, and have been a food lover ever since my first visit to Il Mulino in NYC when I was a mere two months old. My whole life I’ve frequented restaurants in the North Jersey area as well as in Manhattan. I have always enjoyed cooking myself trying recipes passed down from my Nana and mother as well as my own new creations. I recently graduated from the University of Rhode Island with my B.A in Communications/Public Relations with a focus on Social Media Marketing. I have experience in sales and marketing for the food service industry, hotel and hospitality public relations as well as social media marketing and public relations for start-up companies and someday hope to own my own boutique PR firm. When I’m not working I’m usually out in NYC visiting family or on adventures with friends. I love taking pictures, am very passionate about music and often go to live shows, I try to travel when I can and am a huge make-up junkie! Follow me on Twitter @lmgiachino! 

Marysa Miller, So-Cal Food Writer

Marysa MillerMarysa is a Southern California girl born and raised.  Now, she’s a recent college graduate who is now navigating the real world and working in Social Media.  Marysa loves many things but some of her favorites include going to concerts, spontaneous adventures and mini “day”cations, ice hockey, spicy food, and Sex and The City.  She also loves to hangout in the kitchen & can’t wait to share her simple, budget friendly, absolutely delicious recipes with you!  Follow Marysa’s personal adventures on her blog & tweet her @marysa_miller!

Michael Pecci, Restaurant Reviewer

michaelMichael is a Communications Consultant and Event Planning Specialist with a Master’s in Corporate and Organizational Communication. He’s had a passion for eating and critiquing food for as long as he can remember (ever since the mushed peas). When not at work or out and about, Michael can be found keeping it classy with a glass of wine, brushing up on his sarcasm, or planning his next travel adventure. He believes in carpe diem, not “yolo”, and will always be ready to correct YOUR grammar whenever YOU’RE wrong (he’s got your back!)

Stephanie Porter, Beer Writer

882794_10200505068165423_1440001178_oStephanie Porter is a senior arts administration major at Wagner College. She has a passion for entertainment, art production, and painting nails. She is also published photographer on She enjoys an ice cold beer, and absolutely loves finding deliciously brewed treasures hidden on the store shelves! Drink Up C; Follow her on Twitter @Stephaniirosee!


Tiffany Salisha, Food Writer

Tiffany is a born and raised true New Yorker. Having lived in 3 of the 5 boroughs, her taste for NYC life includes both the social energy of the city as well as the amazing eateries she can stumble upon. Her grandmother, who is a native to Puerto Rico, instilled her passion for food and boy was she sure to bring the flavor with her. Through the years, she has expanded her food horizons & has grown an appreciation for all shapes, sizes, & tastes of food allowing her to self-proclaim herself a “foodie”. Follow her @atiffanything!

3 thoughts on “Meet the #SCBDTeam!

  1. Pingback: What the #SCBDTeam is Thankful for… | smallchickbigdeals

  2. Pingback: Happy 1st Anniversary Small Chick Big Deals! | smallchickbigdeals

  3. Pingback: The #SCBDAnniversary Dinner at Sotto 13, NYC | smallchickbigdeals

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