Child-Friendly Cafe du Cirque Opens in Downtown San Rafael

February 27, 2012

Kerstin Fleischer and Cafe du CirqueOne of our wonderful readers told me about the new Cafe du Cirque, a child-friendly coffee house in downtown San Rafael that opened last week, so I had to go check it out. Cafe du Cirque was opened by Marin mom Kerstin Fleischer and her husband Tom Coleman, and features food made from fresh local organic ingredients, locally roasted coffee, and a play area for little ones near the back of the cafe. Relax with a cup of coffee or tea and a salad or sandwich while your kids play safely.

Kerstin is the mom of a three-year-old, and added the play room to the cafe because she was more than aware of the need to have a space like this in Marin. The cafe itself is clean and modern and occupies a long narrow space with lots of natural light.

My children both enjoyed Cafe du Cirque's kids' hot chocolate and fresh muffins, and my daughter liked the play area. Designed for younger children, the small carpeted play area includes toys like a play kitchen, a kids' table and chairs, a chalkboard, and a soft crawling area for babies. You can sip your coffee or eat lunch or breakfast and watch the kids while they play under the play room's festive red-and-white-striped awning.

Mompreneur: Misa Phutsangdee, Miss Go To Girl

January 22, 2012

Misa PhutsangdeeWhen Marin mom Misa Phutsangdee was rejected from grad school, rather than be disappointed, she used the experience to draw on her diverse range of job experience, become a "mompreneur," and start her own business, Miss Go To Girl Enterprise. We caught up with Misa and asked her a few questions about her and her startup.

To learn more about Misa and Miss Go To Girl, visit her online.

Please tell us a little about yourself. What's your background?

I have been married to my husband, Charlee, for five years. We have the most adorable four-year-old, Micah, AKA "Misa Junior" because he is a carbon copy of his mother! I graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in communication studies as well as graduating from C.L.I.B.C. with a B.A. in family counseling. I absolutely loved the communications program and wanted to continue my learning experience at SFSU. After finishing both degrees, I applied for graduate school. Twice. After the second year of anticipating the letter, I told myself that if I read, "We regret to inform you…" one more time, then God must have better plans for me than the master's program. And so, Miss Go To Girl Enterprise began...

Mompreneur: Infant Sleep Consultant Sarah Middleton

October 17, 2011

Sarah MiddletonMompreneur Sarah Middleton turned her own challenges in the child sleep department into a career as a infant sleep consultant. She's also a birth and post partum doula and chidbirth educator, so helping families is in her nature. To learn more about Sarah and her services, visit her online.

Please tell us a little about yourself. What's your background?

I am a mother of two girls—Mira Luna is almost 4 and Luca Blue is 9 months old. I had them both at home and their birth days are by far the most powerful and wonderful days of my life. I found birth to be such a rite of passage for me, as it required me to surrender, be present, be grateful, and be courageous. I was born and raised in Hawaii and so much of my upbringing there has influenced the way in which I parent. Values like the importance of being active and healthy, and enjoying the outdoors were such cornerstones for me growing up and I try to bring that into my family life now that I am a mother.

Mompreneur: Jeanette Griffiths and Delfryn Rocking Horses

September 27, 2011

Delfryn Rocking HorsesMany mompreneurs have managed to take a hobby and turn it into a successful business. Jeanette Griffiths started carving rocking horses in Australia, and took her family and her business, Delfryn Rocking Horses, with her to Marin, where she creates one-of-a-kind, handcrafted, wooden rocking horses. Too learn more about Jeanette's heirloom rocking horses, visit

Please tell us a little about yourself. What's your background?

I was a support worker for many years in Australia working for a number of different government and public organizations, mainly involved in the support of adolescents, some with special needs, and later with kids in crisis, at risk of being runaways due to problems at home and such. I was involved in putting together school-based programs to address some of the issues that I guess the schools were not equipped to handle. It involved liaisons with other organizations and professionals that I utilized to run various parts of the program, such as drug and alcohol awareness, nutrition and right through to communication problems. About four years ago I was funded out of my position within the organization I worked for and continued to work voluntarily for about six months to finish off the program commitments I had made to the school and, most importantly, for the kids I worked with.

Mompreneur: Caroline Kandell and Real Life Films

September 13, 2011

Caroline KandellI don't know about you, but I have hours of video footage of my children from birth to the present day. The problem is, it's all lying in various places around the house on tapes, discs, and computers. Marin mompreneur Caroline Kandell created Real Life movies to solve just this problem and make something moving and beautful in the process. Caroline used her extensive experience in television production to put amazing films from your families video footage and still photos. We caught up with her to ask a few questions about herself and Real Life Films.

Please tell us a little about yourself. What’s your background?

I am married to my best friend, Andrew, who constantly keeps me laughing. I am blessed to be a mom of two sweet and crazy girls! My career began in New York City, producing TV commercials. About ten years ago, I began directing longer format programming for TV. I mostly filmed high-profile celebrities, finding unique ways to tell their stories through narrative, beauty imagery, and capturing their real-life moments.

Back to School Deals from Marin Kids and Maternity Consignment

August 17, 2011

We asked Marin Kids & Maternity Consignment's Stephanie Brandelius to tell us a little about the back-to-school bargains that can be found at their retail store on West Francisco Boulevard in San Rafael. They try to live up to their motto, "Saving the Earth, one outfit at a time" by offering a great selection of gently used (or "new-to-you") children's apparel and more, much of it perfect for back-to-school! Marin Kids & Maternity Consignment is also a great place to sell your old children's clothing and maternity wear. They're located at 814 Francisco Boulevard West and open Wednesday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm. Visit them online at

As parents of young kids, we all fall someplace on this continuum... We are so ready for school to start that we are counting the minutes to the first day, all the way to those who would give anything (short of home schooling) to get a few more long lazy days with our kids. Most of us fall some place in between as we gear up for the next academic year. Loving school, missing freedom, and (yes!) still waiting for the heat!

Mompreneur: Nicole Cibellis and Little Froglet

August 15, 2011

Nicole CibellisMarin mompreneur Nicole Cibellis turned being laid off in the economic downturn into an opportunity to design her own line of children's clothing. Her company, Little Froglet - Real Clothes for Real Kids, just launched this month, and so far her products are a hit with both parents and children. We asked Nicole to tell us a little about her and how she started her business.

Please tell us a little about yourself. What's your background?

I am a wife of a supportive and wonderful man, Evan, and a mom to a fun and rambunctious two-year-old little boy named Nolan. Nolan really has been the catalyst of all the change in my life over the past few years. Prior to him, I worked for 11 years at many different Bay Area specialty retailers in their corporate offices focusing on buying, sourcing and product development.

How did you get started creating your own line of children's activewear?

In 2008, I finally got pregnant after trying for years. Unfortunately, my employer laid me off the day after I returned from maternity leave. With the economy melting down I wasn’t sure what would happen with future employment opportunities. One day while playing with Nolan and his friends at a playground, it struck me that kids need to have a more functional jacket when it is cold. My son and his friends didn’t want to wear gloves and hats so the Ultimate Year 'Round Jacket was born and it was time

Mompreneur: Diaper Design by Adrienne

July 18, 2011

Mr. Elephant Baby Boy Diaper CakeEver since being introduced to them years ago by her sister, Marin mompreneur Adrienne Bulkley has been creating unique and charming diaper cakes for baby shower and new baby gifts. What is a diaper cake, you ask? It's diapers, toys, and other baby supplies creatively arranged in the form of a festive cake. They make a great centerpiece for a baby shower, and of course they're a gift that all new parents will end up using, too. You can view her creations on her website: Diaper Design by Adrienne.

We asked Adrienne about how she got started in this creative business.

Please tell us a little about yourself. What's your background?

I am a Crafty Marin Mom. I am also a San Francisco native, which is rare these days! I am a graduate of Parsons School of Design (The New School) which led to my editorial career in New York—but that was a lifetime ago. Now I am all about play dates and applesauce! I have two children 7 and 2, a great husband and a dog named Gus.

Mompreneur: Stylish and Practical Swimwear from Lynn Werner and Lynnina

May 9, 2011

Lynn Werner, creator of Lynnina swimwear lineEver try to find a chic swimsuit that offers coverage, comfort, versatility and style? Kind of difficult, isn't it? That's why Marin mom Lynn Werner started Lynnina, her line of stylish, comfy, and flattering mix-and-match swimwear for women of all ages. Lynnina swimwear consists of boardshorts, available in two lengths and a variety of colors and patterns, with a selection of coordinating tops, including bikini tops, tankinis, and rashguards.

Learn more about Lynnina and check out their selection of swimwear at You might find something that you'll love to wear all summer long.

Please tell us a little about yourself. What's your background, and how did you get started in your career?

I ran computer and video game sales at Disney for the west coast region until I left in 2001 to spend more time with my twin boys.  I got started in this carreer out of a need to create something that I couldn't find anywhere.

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