So I am a co-founder of a Silicon Valley startup

Mayma Raphael and Eric Xu Konstella co-founders
Mayma Raphael and Eric Xu Konstella



I am now co-founder of a Silicon Valley startup.


Since moving to Palo Alto, I have been approached by a few companies to work as a consultant and advisor, and another mom and ex-googler approached me to join her as a co-founder of a Pinterest-like app for secondhand items. These other experiences were wonderful, but nothing ever clicked as this great opportunity.

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Please don’t call my preschooler a Stanford guinea pig: Here is why we love Bing Nursery School


bing nursery school 9a


So, last Fall we were at a family dinner party, and my husband and I were conversing with this other couple we had previously met but had not gotten the chance to chat with. When the topic of where our kids went to school came up, we told them where our older children went, and when we mentioned that our little guy is at Bing, the husband all of a sudden started making one comment after another as he tried to paint a very negative picture of Bing. He told us that our son is just a guinea pig, that he is being used as a lab rat by Stanford, that all they really do is get dirty playing in mud.  Then adding that he is happy that his daughter’s name never got off the Bing wait list. We felt that the gentleman totally disqualified our Bing experience, making it hard for us to have a dialogue on the topic, and try to explain why we think that Bing is a fantastic nursery school.

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Goodbye summer, hello first day of school


summer stanford 2


As our family bids adieu to an exuberating  summer, this week, we welcome the school year with anticipation, reasonable expectation and the feeling of accomplishment.   We were afforded with so many highs throughout the summer, and just in case there were any lows, they  were stifled  by all the amazing experiences we shared.

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Ten best places for kids in the San Francisco Bay Area that grown ups will enjoy

10 best places for kids in the Bay Area


The Bay Area is an oasis of wonderful places for kids to see and experience.  Surprisingly, grown ups will enjoy these places just as much as the kids. This summer is the perfect opportunity to do some fun family sight seeing and exploring.  For some of us, with guest visiting from out of town, it is a great time to check out the Bay Area and beyond.

Here are quite a few of our favorites that we have visited and totally love.


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Coloma is not only for fourth graders

coloma CODS
Our group camped in bunkhouses at Coloma Resort


I recently returned from a fourth grade, two day trip to Coloma, California, as a parent chaperone, and this was one of the most amazing experiences that I have had. Who would have thought that being in the presence of 72 4th graders, 3 teachers, 5 naturalists, and 14 other parent chaperones would have brought this immense excitement? Continue reading

Ten reasons why Palo Alto home owners and renters should vote Yes on Measure A



By now most of you have seen the lawn signs, and some of you may have even gotten a call or an email from someone asking whether you will support Measure A, or the parcel tax proposition.  This may be new or even confusing to many, as this is not something that is voted on every general, state or county or city level elections, and there are no polling booths or fancy politicians campaigning.  However, the people behind the movement are parents like most of you, who live in Palo Alto and came here for the schools, and advocating for the support of Palo Alto Schools.  Many here are happy to reap the benefits of rising property value, one of the best districts in the state of California, and the synonymous view that Palo Alto equals education, and we can all thank the parcel tax for helping to maintain this type of branding.  Continue reading

Academic redshirting your child: Is it a good or bad thing

Kindergarten children sitting at desk and writing in classroom


While picking out a kindergarten for your child remains a nerve-racking process, yet another decision that us parents have to think deeply about is the age at which our babies should start going to school. There have been a lot of debate on this, and I for one see nothing wrong with the idea of redshirting especially for the social adjustment of children.  I do not support it as a means to giving children an edge, which many parents are guilty of doing.  For those of you unfamiliar with this term, redshirting is the concept of delaying school admissions by a year beyond the age of entrance eligibility. This is especially considered for children who have birthdays in the latter half of the year. Instead of joining school at age 5, parents are holding back their children until age 6. Continue reading

NASA’s manned mission to Mars a success: Three women at the helm of this scientific breakthrough

Woman astronaut


This is definitely wishful thinking, but it could certainly be a reality.  By the year 2035 NASA wants to have its first manned mission to Mars, and we could have three female astronauts at the helm of this scientific revolution and even more women spearheading the mission.

As we celebrate Women’s Day 2015, I feel that our focus should fully embrace the push for more women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.  This shift may not totally eliminate the wage gap, but would give women a better chance of becoming innovators, and helping to not only change their trajectory, but change technology.   Continue reading