Monthly Archives: May 2011

May 31, 2011

Paper Clothes

Today we have a guest post by Lydia, who works in wholesale customer care at Tea.

Walking into the Legion of Honor special exhibit “Pulp Fashion: The Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave”, I did not know what to expect. I had only heard that she crafted costumes entirely out of paper. Naturally I was curious. Well, my curiosity was rewarded with rooms filled with meticulously crafted, historically rich paper costumes, garments more beautiful than anything I had ever seen before in real life.

Lengths of paper are elaborately painted with patterns and carefully sculpted into garments that mirror those found in paintings hanging in museums all over the world.

Isabelle de Borchgrave working in her studio

At the Legion of Honor, each room represented a certain period in time and fashion, and I was transported into the world of the Medici family during the Renaissance, then surrounded by the fantastical and exotic designs of the eccentric 20th century designer, Mariano Fortuny.

Accompanying the paper creations were beautiful tapestries and lengths of lace. Often I could not tell the difference between de Borchgrave’s paper copy and the real thing!

After visiting this exhibit, my mind was racing with ideas for crafting my own paper creation! If you’re in San Francisco between now and the 12th of June, this exhibit is definitely worth a visit.

(all photos courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

May 26, 2011

2 Continents, 3 Countries, 2 Weeks, 3 Children (Part Three)

Kimberly Brambilla is guest posting on Studio T this week, telling the story of traveling with her three young children to Spain, Italy, and Morocco. Read parts one and two of her family’s journey!

From Morocco we took a ferry back to Spain, and hopped a bus to the city of Malaga, where we fell completely in love.  Even though it’s a large city it has a small town feel.  We enjoyed walking along the cobblestone streets, listening to ringing church bells, strolling past beautiful fountains and sitting at outdoor cafes.  I was ready to move there!   It was difficult to leave this city, but we eventually headed by train to Madrid.

In Madrid the highlights were visiting The Prado and seeing flamenco dance performance.  The girls were mesmerized by the dancing, the music, and the energy of the performers.   Olivia was a bit confused at first when no flamingos came on stage, but she still enjoyed the show! Afterwards we walked around the city, and the girls were thrilled to find a flamenco dress in a souvenir shop. They put on quite a few shows with that dress once we got back home.  In the end, there was still so much of Spain I wanted us to see.

Was it difficult taking a trip like this with children? You better believe it! Was it worth it?  Absolutely.  The girls had some major meltdowns and tantrums along the way but considering all of the flights, train rides, taxis, buses, ferry ride and all of the walking we subjected them to I think they were remarkable.  This experience was priceless, and I would encourage anyone who is given the opportunity to travel with their children not to pass it up.

Here are just a few tips that might be helpful if you are planning to travel with children.

*Talk to them a lot about your upcoming trip.  I have always found that preparing my children for what is coming, no matter what it is helps.  Get them excited by reading books & watching movies that pertain to the destination.  I also talk to mine about the parts that won’t be fun – the waiting in long lines, heat/cold, tiredness, etc.

* Learn the cultural dos & don’ts with your children. By doing this, as well as learning a few words & phrases in the native language, you will be treated better & respected much more than if you assume everyone everywhere speaks your language.

*If you are a family of 5+, consider renting an apartment versus staying at a hotel. Many hotels in Europe require 2 rooms for a party of 5+.  The price comes out to about the same & you have the convenience of a kitchen, washing machine & more space!

*When traveling in large cities, take a double decker style bus that drops you off and picks you up at the sites.  It’s an easier way of getting around & seeing more with children.

*If you’re like me, you’ll want to see everything but that isn’t always possible with kids.  It’s important to keep them happy too.  In Barcelona, my kids could have stayed at Catalunya Plaza for hours, not because of the architecture or the great people watching but because of the multitude of pigeons. Stopping at a park is a great way of giving children a break from touring.

May 25, 2011

2 Continents, 3 Countries, 2 Weeks, 3 Children (Part Two)

Kimberly Brambilla is guest posting on Studio T this week, telling the story of traveling with her three young children to Spain, Italy, and Morocco. Read part one of her journey here!

Chiara, Gisele, and Olivia with their cousin in Italy

From Barcelona, we flew to Italy.  My husband grew up in Mezzago, a small town close to Milan.  He’s from a large family so there are many aunts, uncles and cousins.  It wasn’t the first time our girls had been to Italy, but it’s always a bit of a culture shock at first. They’re greeted with tanti baci (many kisses), hugs and tears.  There’s a constant flow of family members and neighbors that come to see us.  It can be a bit overwhelming even for an adult, but it didn’t take long for the girls to warm up. We were so proud of their willingness to communicate with the family. Their Italian is rough but they sure try. My oldest, after playing and having fun with cousins, told us “I like speaking in Italian”.  That brought quite a smile to my husband’s face!  It is one thing to tell the girls about their Italian heritage, but it’s another to let them experience it firsthand.  It was sad to say goodbye after being smothered with much love, affection and pasta, but in the end we set off for Morocco.

Morocco is unlike any place I’ve ever been.  Many of our friends and family were concerned about us traveling there, but I am so thankful we did, because we learned so much.  We took a short flight from Italy to Tangier, Morocco.  When the doors on the plane opened it felt like we were a million miles from home and from everything familiar.  The short cab ride from the airport to the hotel confirmed for me that the world is so much larger than the small space I occupy in my little Florida town.  My girls loved  seeing stop signs written in Arabic, hearing Arabic on the radio and holding Moroccan coins.  Upon arriving at the hotel we went to the rooftop terrace for mint tea and cookies.  The girls loved this!  Chiara began making plans of how she would make her own tea once we returned to Florida with mint leaves from our garden.

The next day we toured the medina (city) as well as the outskirts of Tangier with our guide Cherif. Our first visit was to a rug store where we were able to see the process of Moroccan rug-making.  The girls loved the experience of being given mint tea and their own “magic carpets” to sit on.  We also rode camels, an experience which my daughter Olivia had been patiently waiting for!

The next day we visited the quiet town of Assilah.  In Morocco you can hire a taxi not just for one trip, but for the day.  The driver will wait for you while you explore, or accompany you, but most of the drivers speak little or no English.  Our driver Unes was wonderful.  He showed us around Assilah, ate lunch with us, and taught the girls a few Arabic words. He even bargained for Moroccan slippers for the girls at the marketplace, and we were all a little sad to say goodbye at the end of the day! It’s amazing how quickly you can connect with people even if you don’t speak the same language.   The next morning as we packed our bags to leave, Chiara sat at the window looking out onto the street.  She got so excited when she spotted Unes as he picked up more tourists in his taxi, and I was thrilled when I heard her say to him “Ahlan (hello) Mr. Unes”!  I knew in that moment that the goals I had set when planning this trip were becoming a reality.  My kids were learning about new cultures & peoples and embracing them as well.  Beautiful!

May 24, 2011

2 Continents, 3 Countries, 2 Weeks, 3 Children (Part One)

This week we’ll be featuring three posts by guest blogger Kimberly Brambilla. Last summer she and her husband took their three young daughters to 2 Continents and 3 Countries in 2 weeks! This is Part One – stay tuned for Parts Two and Three.

“Are you crazy?” I’ve become used to being asked this question as I’ve planned trips and traveled with my 3 small children.  Having children doesn’t stop me from doing what I love most– in fact having children has actually made me more determined to continue traveling, so that I can share this love with them.  I wish to instill in them a sense of adventure, an openness and appreciation of other peoples and their cultures and a love of exploring the world.

Chiara, Gisele, and Olivia

Last summer we embarked on a journey of a lifetime.  We traveled to Spain, Italy and Morocco.  I knew that traveling with a 7, 5 and 2-year old would present many challenges, but it would also undoubtedly be an incredible experience for my daughters Chiara, Olivia and Gisele.  We were going to Spain to vacation, but were also headed to Italy to spend time with “la familia”.  My husband’s family lives there, and the girls do not get the chance to see them often.  Since Morocco is only 9 miles from Spain I couldn’t pass up the chance to expose my children to a culture very unlike their own.

To prepare and get them excited we read library books about places we would visit, looked at maps, made art projects and learned simple words and phrases in Arabic and Spanish My husband also speaks Italian with the girls, so going to Italy would be an opportunity for them to practice.

With bags and camera packed we were off, and began the adventure in the colorful and vibrant city of Barcelona.  We were thoroughly exhausted after traveling by plane, train and automobile to reach our apartment rental in the city.  After dropping off our luggage, we began the search for a place to eat dinner.  We were so tired that we stopped at the first place we found.  It didn’t look like much, but boy were we surprised!  Chiara wanted to order spaghetti but we reminded her that we were going to try new food on this trip.  Once the paella, green olives, manchego cheese and fresh bread arrived at the table we were 5 very happy travelers.  Although the girls were a little shy about using Spanish words with the waiters, they loved their first Spanish meal.

The next couple of days we toured the city in double-decker buses, which we found was the perfect way to see a city with kids. We saw many of the famous sites such as Sagrada Familia Church, Casa Batllo, Park Guell, and also spent time at the beach.  Our time in Barcelona was short but the memories we made are long lasting.  Next it was time for the girls to experience and learn about their Italian heritage and roots.  Italia here we come!

May 23, 2011

Being a Mother

For our recent Vosges/Tea Sweepstakes we asked the question “What do you love about being a mom?”. Although an answer wasn’t required to enter the contest, over 2/3 of the participants chose to share their stories. The responses were funny, touching, and sweet and we wanted to share some of our favorites here.

I love that in my boys’ eyes I am the one with the answers, they look to me to show & tell them about everything from a tiny little frog in our backyard to how to write their names! Every day is a new adventure with them & I wouldn’t change that for anything. - Shannon G.

One of my very favorite things about being momma to Lucy (age 3) is that I get to raise my child in the greatest city in the world – New York.  I relish the joy that our city adventures bring us! - Ashley D.

I love watching my daughter become her own person. Seeing her figure things out, express herself, and develop her personality brings me great joy. - Wendy W.

Everything! My favorite is waking up next to my daughter on our days off and laying in bed laughing and talking. -Christina B.

I am holding my new baby, so at the moment I love everything about it. - Vilfreda C.

Feeling those tiny little arms give me a big hug, even if the hug is around my leg! – Jessica R.

I love seeing my daughter become the clever, level-headed little comedian I recognized the moment the doctor laid her on my chest. – Karen S.

I love the way my kids have reminded me what is so wonderful about life. It’s not just a walk to the grocery store; it’s a treasure hunt. It’s not just popping in a DVD; it’s hosting a full-fledged movie night. It’s not just baking a cake to satiate a sweet tooth; it suddenly becomes the best un-birthday cake ever made! - Yen R.

The moments when my little guy puts his head down on my shoulder and snuggles into me. – Candace B.

The chance to raise socially aware children who are not just focused on themselves but give back to help their neighbors and community. – Faith K.

On a daily basis my view of the world, how it works, and what words we use to explain it are questioned by the comments or observations my children make. – Heather C.

It is the most challenging thing I have done.  I have traveled the world, rafted many rivers and being a mom is much harder and rewarding then all those things.  But I can’t wait to show my girls the world and teach them how to kayak and all the other adventures out there. - Tracy D.

I love the simple, everyday moments that sometimes go unnoticed or undocumented.  I love the “it’s morning” shouts from down the hall, the little snuggles before bedtime, the kisses that make boo-boos all better…and so much more.  Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life, we forget to enjoy life’s simple moments!- Melissa S.

Being a mom is like having a second childhood- it’s discovering the world around you with an enthusiastic partner! – Christi S.

And this one – not by a mom, but representing the Grandparents of the world:

Being a Grandpa, not a Mom, is awesome. You get to spoil the kids, watch them grow, and still get sleep at night. I wish I could put into words the desire to live longer so you might be at their College graduation, Marriage, and birth of their children. Power to Grandparents! – Mark D.

May 20, 2011

Tea’s Own Little Citizens

Here at Tea, we love the excitement of welcoming new little citizens into the world. With our 9th Birthday happening this week we also wanted to say Happy Birthday to all of the Tea babies born in the past five years- and there are quite a few of them!

2011:

Cristina in Tech Design welcomed Tallulah

 

2010:

Emily, our Chief Creative Officer, welcomed Georgia James

 

Jeff in Marketing welcomed Christian


Leah in Finance had Clara Ilo

 

Elisabeth in Marketing Operations welcomed Sean Elliot

 

Brooke in Wholesale Marketing welcomed Lucy

 

2009:

Cindy in Tech Design had Weston

Lauren in Merchandising welcomed Lauchlin

Tim. the VP of Sales, had Ty

 

2008:

Leigh, our CEO, had Matthew

Emily, our Chief Creative Officer, had Clement Osceola

 

Krista in PR welcomed Harrison Jake


Cindy in Tech Design had Madelyn

Kristine on our Wholesale Sales team had Maisie

 

2007:

Tracy in Product Development had Nicholas

 

2006:

Leigh, Tea's CEO, had Adam

Laura, our VP of Finance and Operations, welcomed Max

2005:

Sarah, a Wholesale Rep, had twins Maya and Sasha.

 

We feel so lucky to have so many cute (and well-dressed) babies at Tea!

May 19, 2011

Inspiration via the Sartorialist

At Tea we read a lot of blogs – design blogs, parenting blogs, travel blogs, mommy blogs, and fashion blogs. One of our collective favorites is the Sartorialist.  His work appears on our inspiration boards, design walls, and we look to his ability to capture contemporary trends for daily aesthetic enjoyment (along with his 70,000 other daily readers). This video does an excellent job of showcasing his photographic process.

 

May 18, 2011

The History of Tea’s Kimono Robe

When Tea was started 9 years ago it was with a few baby sweaters. One of these is still in production and is a Tea favorite – the Kimono Robe, now in sizes 6-12 months through 12 years! In the words of Emily, our Chief Creative Officer:

“The Kimono Robe was inspired by the distinctive lapels and minimal construction of a Japanese Kimono.  The pure function of this traditional garment is modern in principle – efficient use of materials and timeless, elegant styling.

This cardigan represents the values that Tea was created on – an interpretation of the beauty found in cultures around the globe.  Japanese aesthetics have always been highly inspiring to us – in shapes, prints and colors.  We brought it back over the last couple of years because it can be easily worn with anything, and almost any time of year (at least here in the SF climate!).

And I love that it is a bit of accessible luxury for a child’s wardrobe – cozy soft and machine washable, elevates any jeans outfit.”

We currently have the Kimono robe in Prune, Walnut, and Indigo. Summer is coming but warm layers are always needed for nights around the campfire, or on rainy afternoons!

May 17, 2011

Tea’s Stylista Winner!

We are thrilled to announce our Stylista Winner for Spring/Summer 2011. Congratulations to…

We loved Anjelica’s layering of items and her innate ability to play with color! In regards to her own sense of style, Anjelica says:

“I would describe my style as “Funky”.  I like to add little extensions of color or feathers to my hair.  I love to add elements of earthiness into my style to even it out (something my mother taught me).  My favorite accessories are beanies #1.  Earrings definitely dress up a look,  and I love tons of bracelets.  Finger cut gloves from time to time is also something I will do.  As far as icons or influences,  I will go with Angela and Vannessa Simmons of Pastry shoes and I also notice I pull things from Willow Smith.”

Anjelica will be coming to San Francisco later this summer for a photoshoot and a behind-the-scenes visit to Tea’s headquarters. We can’t wait to meet her!

Anjelica is rocking Tea’s Marisol Hoodie, El Palau Tile Shift Dress, and the Stripe Skinny Capri Leggings in Gumdrop.

Thank you again to all our contestants and retailers. Don’t forget to check out our Stylista finalists here.  And stay tuned for the Stylista Fall 2011 contest, details coming soon!