Month: November 2010

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!

And the Winner Is….

Congratulations to Stacey Brown– she is the winner of the eBags Holiday Travel Giveaway! She is the recipient of the Caribbean Joe 3 piece hardside luggage set from

Caribbean Joe Malibu Luggage Set

When asked what bag, backpack, or piece of luggage was her favorite, Stacey responded:

“The Mother Lode mini-wheeled duffel is my favorite. With a toddler on my hip, I can’t balance a backpack, and this duffel holds everything I need to have within easy reach on a flight. LOVE IT!!”

Thanks to everyone for sharing your favorite eBags products with us!

Holiday Travel Giveaway from eBags!

It’s time to start thinking about Holiday travel! To make it a little easier (and more fun) our good friends at eBags are giving one lucky Tea fan a Caribbean Joe 3 piece hardside luggage set – perfect to take you to family gatherings throughout the season (and beyond).

Caribbean Joe Malibu Luggage Set

Caribbean Joe Malibu Luggage Set

The Caribbean Joe Malibu 3 Piece Hardside Luggage Set protects your belongings with the enhanced durability of the 4-corner riveted protective shells.  The set includes 20”, 24” and 28” cases made from flexible ABS composite material in eye-popping colors.  The 4 wheel spinner system provides the smoothest and most effortless movement for your life on the go.

To enter, please share your favorite bag, backpack, or piece of luggage as a comment on this contest post. Be sure to tell us why you love it and include the link to your favorite item in your blog comment. The contest runs for two days–from 11/10-11/11. The randomly selected winner will be announced on Friday morning.


The Paintings of Emerik Feješ


Emerik Fejes was a Serbo-Croatian painter well known for his simplistic depictions of architecture and cities. Part of the “naive art” movement, Fejes’s work is almost childish in nature, using bold colors and thick solid lines. Unconventional in his techniques, he chose to use matchsticks to paint instead of paintbrushes.



A button and comb maker, Fejes didn’t start painting until later in life, and drew much of his inspiration from postcards. When visiting Hungary you can apparently find many of his works in miniature, on postcards themselves! I really enjoy his work, and his use of cheerful colors and warped depths of field. Obviously slightly eccentric, he is also rumored to paint with a cat under one arm.  I love that when researching him, the only biographical photo I could find of the artist is this one below :


The Maramures

Maramures is an old county in Northwestern Romania. Largely rural and agricultural, Maramures has held onto traditional farming and lifestyle methods, choosing to use manual labor to plow their fields and harvest their crops. Fine detailed handiwork is valued – and results in stunning embroidered fabrics, beadwork, carpet weaving and wood carvings. The cultural traditions of the Maramures region date back to before the Renaissance era, and have been carefully nurtured and preserved, and handed down through generations.

This season our designers were greatly influenced by a common item of traditional dress worn by Maramurian women and girls – a traditional red and black striped dress or skirt.


Honored as traditional garb for girls and women of all ages, you will still find variations on this style and pattern across the region.


This season our designers took a modern approach to this inspiration, and created our Maramures Dress:



With its bold black and red stripes, and its ability to be layered with warm leggings and cozy mocknecks, this dress is perfect for the winter and holiday season.


Great Week for Conservation

Today is the first day of Orangutan Awareness week and next Saturday is it the first ever International Red Panda Day!  These two animals are very dear to me.  I spent 2 months volunteering with orphaned orangutans in Malaysian Borneo and since moving to the Bay Area I often volunteer with the Red Panda Network.  And seriously, have you ever seen an animal cuter than these two little orange beauties?


The top photo is of Walter, the first red panda I ever saw.  He lives at the Bronx Zoo. (Photo by my lovely sister Laura).  That little guy on the bottom is Sen, he was only a five months old when I first went to Borneo, I fed him his first banana.  He is very special.  I miss that little sucker. (Photo by Beddy Tiun, a Ranger at Sabah Wildlife Department).

It’s a great opportunity to teach your children about wildlife and what we can do to protect them.

Here’s a list of some things you can do:

1.  Download the Red Panda Activity pack and help your child become a Red Panda Ranger:  Download here

2.  Visit your local zoo. Follow these links to find a zoo near you with Red Pandas.

3.  Have your family wear orange on Wednesday November 10th, 2010 for ORANGE FOR ORANGUTANS.  If you don’t have any orange Tea can help with that:  Motoring Graphic Tee, Bicycle Tee, Bandana Lace Print Dress, Autumn Leaves Banded Dress.

4.  I put together some “Orangutan Facts for Kids” after doing a presentation for my sisters second grade class. There’s lots of good information about what candy to avoid and FAQ’s from then 2nd graders.

5.  Adopt a Red Panda or an Orangutan.  Its a great way to support a good cause and fun to get letters and updates on the animal you are helping.   The orangutan link I included is to adopt Sen (pictured above).

Let us know what activities you decide to do with your kids!