Month: November 2010

Frederika the Superhero


Frederika was depressed. 91 years old and a native Hungarian from Budapest, she was forced to flee her country during World War II, and now lives in France. Knowing his grandmother had a fierce sense of humor, her grandson Sacha Goldberger had the idea of creating a photographic series portraying her as a superhero, to give her something to do.


The project cheered up Frederika enormously. Now she has a huge following, including her own Myspace Page, where she receives messages saying things like: “You’re the grandmother that I have dreamed of, would you adopt me?” and ” You made my day, I hope to be like you at your age.” You can find more photos here.


Who are the superheros (real or figurative) in your life?

Holiday Picture Tips- Part 2

Just in time for holiday photos (and holiday photo cards), we have a few tips from our professional photographer friends at Wardrobe Wednesday!

Today, we finish with tips from photographers Lindsay, Rebecca, and Kelly on lighting techniques and posing strategies.

1. Find Natural Light When Shooting Indoorsby Lindsay Horn


Is it too cold to shoot outdoors? Don’t worry, you can create beautiful images using the natural light available in your house. First, turn OFF your flash. Next you will need to find the best location inside your house. When shooting indoors, I usually look for North or South facing windows (to avoid any direct light) and large openings (i.e. patio doors, bay windows, or a series of windows close together). Don’t be afraid to move furniture if necessary! Once you’ve picked your spot, make sure to turn off any artificial lighting in the area.Now it’s time to set up your subjects. Place them either directly in front of and facing the window (front lighting) or at a 45 or 90 degree angle to the window (side lighting). When using front lighting, you will position yourself near the window with your back to it, but make sure that you aren’t blocking too much of the light. When using side lighting, position yourself next to the window, shooting across the opening towards your subjects. Are your kiddos extra-wriggly? Pull over your favorite armchair or a nice dining room chair for seating, it can add a nice touch! — Lindsay, Lindsay Horn Photography

2. No Natural Light? Taking Photos in Low Light Conditions- by Rebecca Keeling

Yep, we’re all guilty of it, especially during a favorite photo op like Christmas.  You want the ambiance of your beautiful glowing tree, whether it’s for a do-it-yourself family portrait by the lights, or your kids feverishly ripping the wrapping off their gifts…pop goes the flash of your camera and it looks more like a deer-in-the-headlights nightmare rather than the fabulous image you saw in your viewfinder.  Depending on what type of camera you have, there are several ways to get around this issue.  If you have a DSLR, meaning that you can change the lens on your camera, here are a few options for you:


1.  Your flash does not have to be your enemy in situations like this.  If you prefer to keep your camera in auto mode, let your flash go to town, just tone it down a bit.  There are lots of cool little light modifiers for pop-up flashes these days, such as The Puffer by Gary Fong, or The Lightscoop; both of which help to diffuse or bounce the light from your flash, giving it a much softer appearance.  You can also go into your menu and reduce the flash output.

2.  Turn off your flash!  I know, scary thought…but that’s the beauty of your DSLR camera.  You have total control, if you want it!  One of my favorite modes to shoot in is Aperture Priority…it’s the little “Av” on your mode dial.  The great thing about this mode is that the camera sets the shutter speed for you, and you get to set the aperture.  The smaller the aperture number, like f/2.8 (also known as a large aperture…I know, kind of confusing), the more light your lens is letting into your camera.  With a little extra ambient light, you just might be able to take your Christmas photos without any flash at all!  Just make sure your shutter speed stays fast enough so that you don’t get blurry pics of the unwrapping fury.  Play with it, see what works…there’s really no “right” or “wrong” way!

For point and shoot cameras, you’ll want to be sure to shoot in portrait mode.  If you have a menu option that has something to do with flash exposure compensation, you might try dialing your flash down a bit, so it looks a little more natural.  Depending on your camera, you also might be able to set your ISO higher, set your white balance to the little light bulb symbol (incandescent), or even set your aperture, as well.  The idea is, don’t just settle on the auto mode.  Have fun, try something different…you just might create the best Christmas photos your family has ever seen!  — Rebecca, Rebecca Keeling Studios

3. Don’t Just “Say Cheese!”- by Kelly V.

When it comes to taking great photos for the holidays, take a cue from your little ones and be on the move!


It can be incredibly frustrating for mom and tot when you’re trying to get a squirmer to sit still for posed photo after posed photo. You may have a vision of your kids sitting perfectly by the tree wearing their Christmas best and smiling sweetly, but in reality, you’re more likely to have one playing with an ornament and the other inspecting the inside of her dress. And after 20 minutes of pleading, bargaining and bribes, perhaps even tears.

Instead of forcing them to “sit still and smile,” try making a game of it. Have them stand next to each other and tell them you’re going to count to three. When you get to three, see who can jump the highest. When they land, they’ll be grinning and looking to you to pronounce the winner — which is exactly what you want! You’ll have the attention of all of your kids at the same time and those natural smiles you know and love. If they need more direction such as “get closer,” say it with excitement and urgency. Then do it again. When they tire out, try having them sit. You’ll likely have a few minutes of their attention and keep it by asking them how much fun they just had.

If you have older kids who understand posing for a few minutes, take advantage by trying a few different angles. Don’t just stand in front of them, get down to their level by squatting, kneeling or even sitting. It will produce a much more natural result.

And don’t be afraid to get close! I know you want to show off those coordinated dresses and sweater sets, but mix it up by taking a few close-up shots, too. They’re so intimate and personal that they may just end up being your favorites!  — Kelly, Kelly V Photography

The Lion on Széchenyi Chain Bridge


The Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest spans the Danube river, connecting the Western and Eastern  parts of the city. Opened in 1849, the bridge is named after Count István Széchenyi, who financially and politically supported its construction. Made of beautifully intricate wrought iron, the bridge was greatly damaged during the Siege of Budapest during World War II , and was partly rebuilt.

While exploring Budapest our designers came across a magnificent lion gracing the abutments at the end of the bridge.


He is a smaller stone replica of the famous bronze Trafalgar lions, guarding Nelson’s Column in London. and was installed on the bridge in 1852. Inspired by his noble features, our designers created this stylish shirt:


Know any little lions in your life? You can find this shirt here.


School Lunch: Food for Thought

We love what we do at Tea, but first and foremost, we love being parents to our little citizens. Whenever possible, we make time in our busy workdays to help raise awareness and inspire social responsibility for our kids and communities. Tea currently supports multiple non-profit organizations, but we are always on the lookout for other non-profits that work on improving the lives of children.

A few weeks ago, a few of us started talking about the Slow Food Movement that started here in San Francisco. Founded in 1986, it is now an international movement with chapters all over the United States and across the globe. According to their website, the Slow Food Movement’s vision is to help create “a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it and good for the planet.” This inspired us to look deeper into some of the current issues that now face our kids; eventually leading us to the topic of school lunches.

With Universal Children’s Day this Saturday, November 20th, we thought it would be a perfect time to share some of what we learned and help spread awareness about children’s health & nutrition. Through our research, we found that improvements continue to be made, but that there is still an urgent need to do more.

We encourage you to share your thoughts on the topic of children’s health & nutrition with the Tea community in the comments field below or on Facebook & Twitter. Feel free to mention your favorite non-profits and child-related causes that you feel passionate about. Through your participation, you are helping spread awareness on Universal Children’s Day about issues that effect children around the world every day.

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School Lunch: Food for Thought

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Holiday Picture Tips– Part 1

Just in time for holiday photos (and holiday photo cards), we have a few tips from our professional photographer friends at Wardrobe Wednesday! Today and tomorrow, we will post five photography tips– ranging from lighting suggestions to pointers on how to get the perfect shot.

Today, we begin with tips from photographers Shannon Dodge and Morgan Dawson on what to wear and the best camera settings.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Holiday photo suggestions!

1. Figure Out What To Wear- by Shannon Dodge

♦ In addition, to a Holiday outfit from Tea [for boys or girls], Shannon recommends the following wardrobe strategies! ♦

When it comes to any family portraits, clothing and wardrobe are so important. I always tell my clients to start with one family member’s outfit (preferably a child), and then build around it. It’s so much fun to “pop” certain colors and it makes a photo more interesting. For instance, if the daughter is going to wear a red dress, you can “pop” the color red with your jewelry or shoes! Layers are also wonderful and add a bit of texture to the photo. Don’t be afraid to wear a cute sweater or jacket over your dress or shirt.  Colorful knit hats, scarves or textured leggings are all wonderful articles of clothing that help to pull a look together.  — Shannon, Shannon Dodge Photography

Wardrobe Suggestion from Shannon

2. Get Away From AUTO– by Morgan Dawson

Most people don’t realize that they can upgrade the photos they take without buying a new camera – or without spending a single additional cent.

I know this sounds like a totally boring thing to do, but consider taking a few minutes to read over your camera manual (if you can even find it!). Most people rip open the box – pop in some charged batteries – head straight to Auto mode…and never leave. Your camera – no matter how much it costs – is loaded with some high-tech Scene or Shooting modes that can make your photos that much better.

Camera Settings Manual

Don’t worry, you don’t need to try and figure out aperture, shutter speed, ISO, blah, blah, blah – just pick the mode that best matches where you are and what you’re photographing. Seriously, it’s that easy. Almost every camera has a setting for portraits, night photos, indoor pics, or shots with children and pets. You may also find options for photos in the snow, by candlelight, when you have a backlit scene, or when you have a low light area but you don’t want to use your flash (high-ISO mode).

Camera Settings

Be creative – have fun – explore your camera!  — Morgan, Morgan Dawson Photography



Words We Don’t Have in English



One of the best things about learning other languages is identifying words that don’t exist in English. My mother teaches English as a foreign language and always has fun exercises for her students on this theme.  This blog post inspired us at Tea last month to start thinking about and collecting our favorite words that exist in other languages, but that don’t have  direct English translations.

Some of our favorites:

Espirit d’escalier (French) Having the perfect comeback (too late).

Pisan zapra: (Malay) The time needed to eat a banana.

Chantepleurer (French) singing at the same time as crying.

Waldeinsamkeit (German) the feeling of being alone in the woods

Pochemuchka (Russian) a person who asks a lot of questions

Gezellig (Dutch) warm, friendly, happy, cozy, in relation to a place.

Meraki (Greek) doing something with soul, creativity, or love

Tingo (Pascuense language of Easter Island) to borrow objects one by one from a neighbour’s house until there is nothing left

Age-otori (Japanese) To look worse after a haircut.

Arigata-meiwaku (Japanese) An act someone does for you that you didn’t want to have them do and tried to avoid having them do, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favour, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude.

Nito-onna: (Japanese) for a woman so dedicated to her career that she has no time to iron blouses and so resorts to dressing only in knitted tops.

Katy has this story:

My aunt always uses the word: “genare“, an Italian word that technically means “to bring forth”. She uses it to mean “to use something for the first time.” My Italian Uncle’s family always used it that way. I always thought that was a cute word. She doesn’t like “genaring” things and lets them sit in her closet for a long time before using them.

What are your favorite words in other languages that don’t exist in English? Share in the comments below!