Eat Soup, Get a Bowl, Help Kids!

November 4, 2009

The bowl that keeps feedingTwo Marin-based and mom-run businesses—Studio 4 Art and What's Cooking—have teamed together to present Soup—The Bowl that Keeps Feeding, a benefit to help fight childhood hunger in our community. The event takes place Sunday, November 15, 2009, from 11 am to 2 pm, at Fresh Starts Cooking School, located at 1385 N. Hamilton Parkway in Novato.

Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, and include a meal of soup and bread as well as the bowl of your choice. All proceeds from Soup—The Bowl that Keeps Feeding will be donated to Homeward Bound of Marin's Emergency Family Shelter.

One of the unique features of this event has been the way it's gotten children involved in their community. The soup will be prepared by children from local schools under the guidance of What's Cooking, and the hand-thrown bowls have also been created by kids at Studio 4 Art.

Capturing the Moment with Mompreneur Shannon Chiminiello

September 14, 2009

mom and babyMarin mompreneur Shannon Chiminiello has channeled her creativity to become a sought-after photographer for children and families throughout Marin. Her personal, photojournalistic style makes her subjects feel at ease and allows her to capture their natural emotions and personalities, creating not just a photograph, but the record of a real life moment, too. You can see more of her work at

We asked her a few questions about her background, her work, and why she loves taking photos of families.

Q: Please tell us about you and your background.

A: I grew up in Marin and went to college in Northern California where I earned my BA in psychology. In my previous life (before kids!) I was a human resources manager for two major pharmaceutical companies. I live in Novato, am married and the mother of two children, ages 2 and 4. After my first child was born I decided it was time to do something I loved that would allow a more flexible schedule. My business was born out of creativity, passion and hard work. I love what I do and I feel blessed to do be able to do it everyday! Really!

Mompreneur and Attorney Thea Beatie Eliot: Helping Families Protect What They Love

May 6, 2009

Marin attorney and mompreneur Thea Beatie Eliot has been practicing law since 1995, and is familiar to many in the area who have used her services or attended one of her workshops. Thea's speciality is estate planning for families, keeping the needs of parents with minor children in the household in mind. We asked Thea a few questions about herself and her services and what makes living in Marin special for her. For more information about Thea Beatie Eliot and her practice, go to

Please tell us about you and your background.

I’ve been an estate planning attorney since 1995.  I went into estate planning to meet two needs:  On the one hand, I have a strong nerdy side and the substantive law of estate planning comes from medieval English times so it’s very appealing if you like history.   And it goes without saying that tax law, which is a large part of estate planning, is a nerd’s dream.  On the other hand, I have a very strong social side and I wanted my life’s work to help people by counseling families to avoid problems, as opposed to creating or exacerbating them, which is the typical lawyer stereotype.

Saving the Earth, One Outfit at a Time with Marin Kids and Maternity Consignment

April 21, 2009

Marin Kids and Maternity Consigment storefront in San RafaelIn this special "Earth Week" guest post, Melissa Hereford, Marin mompreneur and owner of Marin Kids and Maternity Consignment in San Rafael, offers a few reasons why buying gently used items (and selling or donating yours) is good not only for the wallet but for the environment, too.

Her motto is "Saving the earth, one outfit at a time," and she takes the idea seriously!

As we approach another Earth Day, we find ourselves focusing more and more on the recycling movement with our children, the future of the planet, and the limited space in our landfills in mind! Buying gently worn and gently used items is not only about saving money. That is a wonderful aspect of the practice, but it seems to be ever more important to reduce all the waste inherent in both manufacturing and retail. For example, when you buy gently used items, you:

Room Re-dos by Mompreneur Andi Carvalho

March 2, 2009

Andi CarvalhoOne of the most rewarding entrepeneurial experiences is to be able to harness your creativity, get paid for doing it, and make people happy along the way! Marin mompreneur Andi Carvalho has carved out a niche for herself doing room re-dos for local clients. Sort of a less formal version of interior decorating, her room re-dos make use of the homeowner's existing furniture, art, and decor, all skillfully and creatively rearranged to give the room in question a whole new look. Andi also tackles more traditional interior design and home staging. If you're interested in her services, she can be reached at (510) 418-7202. Local references are available upon request.

We caught up with Andi and asked her a few questions about herself and her business as part of our ongoing "mompreneur" series.

Express Your Feelings with Kimochis (and Enter to Win One in a Giveaway!)

December 13, 2008

Kimochis, Toys with Feelings insideSometimes getting kids to communicate their feelings can be difficult, but Kimochis, a new line of stuffed toys created by a group of Marin mompreneurs in San Anselmo, are here to help. Kimochi (which means "feeling" in Japanese) toys are cute and huggable characters that come with a set of feelings inside—little dolls that represent feelings like jealous, grateful, shy, happy, and brave. These feelings and the Kimochi characters assist children, parents, and teachers in discussing their feelings, becoming better communicators, and cultivating confidence and character.

Our Kimochi, Bug (an adorable caterpillar with a hidden pair of butterfly wings), was an instant hit with our three-year-old daughter, who insists on carrying it with her just about every place. The different feelings that came with Bug all store in a handy pouch on his tummy, where they can be stored and then pulled out to play with and of course communicate about the feelings they represent. Overall it's a really appealing and well made toy. We're definitely happy to make room for Bug in our home!

Farewell, Playdate Café?

December 8, 2008

Playdate Cafe in San AnselmoSadly, we received an email today from San Anselmo's Playdate Café stating that they are closing indefinitely. Another victim of the credit crunch and economic downturn, their doors are shutting as of today, December 8, 2008. Their website will remain up and running at

We'll definitely miss Playdate Café and all the great events they hosted for families. This past November saw the closing of another mom-run small business and similar indoor playspace, Playtime Safari in Novato. It's a shame, because both of these businesses were great resources for Bay Area parents and children. We're sorry to see them go. There's the possibility that Playdate Café may only close temporarily, so we certainly would love to see them open again soon.

Marin Mompreneur and Life Coach Johanna Beyer

November 24, 2008

Johanna BeyerMarin mompreneur Johanna Beyer helps individuals live up to their full potential with her business as a life coach. With a bachelor's from UCLA and a master's in Organizational Development from California Institute of Integral Studies, Johanna has transitioned from working as a high-level management consultant to a on-on-one coach for individuals, using many of the techniques that she applied to Fortune 500 companies.

In the past six years, Johanna has been privileged to work with individuals to help them move past their fears so that they can make contact with the creativity and gifts that are inside. We all have dreams and talents within that are waiting to be acknowledged, released and acted on. By using different tools and processes, Johanna helps people to think about their inner values, purpose and vision.

Johanna lives in Mill Valley with her husband and two sons. You can visit her online and learn more about her business at

As part of our ongoing "mompreneur" series, we asked Johanna a few questions about her, her business, and living in Marin County.

Please tell us about you and your background.

Waste-Free Fundraisers with What's Cooking and Fabkins

October 29, 2008

Fabkins cloth kids' napkinsTwo Marin companies, both started by mompreneurs, have partnered to help your school become waste-free and raise money at the same time. What's Cooking and Fabkins will bring a variety of waste-free products, such as SIGG bottles, Klean Kanteens, wrap-n-mats, lunch totes, BYO Bags and Fabkins kids' cloth napkins, and sell them at your San Francisco Bay Area school during drop-off, pick up, or anytime convenient for you.  They will donate a percentage of the total pre-tax revenue from the sale. You can also extend the sale to families online for a limited time.

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