Monthly Archives: February 2012

February 29, 2012

Behind the Design: Tiger Jungle Tee

Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing. Explore all of our Behind the Design posts.

bali jungle tiger boys shirt

For our Tiger Jungle Shirt, I imagined a time where the Balinese jungles were filled with tigers. I drew the design in a very primitive hand & then carved it out of a linoleum block to create a tribal look.

Sadly, in our time, we will never see even a single tiger in the Balinese forests. This is the only picture you will ever see of the Balinese Tiger. The last tiger in Bali was shot and killed in 1937 and the subspecies went extinct. The drawing below by Russian artist, Evgenia Barinova recapturing that sad event.

While this seems a little more somber than our regular “behind the design” posts, I feel its extremely important to teach our children to protect our fragile wildlife. There is still hope for the last of 3 subspecies of Tiger in Indonesia – the Sumatran Tiger. Their population is frightening small, estimated at less than 300 individuals. The best way to help is to pass this knowledge to our children and raise a generation of mindful, passionate little citizens who want to protect all the creatures of this beautiful planet.

“Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, we will help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.” – Jane Gooodall

National Geographic is currently running an amazing campaign, Cause an Uproar, to help with big cat conservation. They have a great kid’s section to get children involved in the conservation efforts.

How do you teach your little citizens about wildlife preservation? Share with us in the comments section below.

February 27, 2012

Celebrating What We Wear

Today we’re thrilled feature an interview with Maya Ajmera, the founder of The Global Fund for Children and co-author of What We Wear: Dressing Up Around the World , a children’s book that uncovers significance and connections through global clothing.  A portion of the proceeds from each book sale supports The Global Fund for Children’s grantmaking program.

children's book

What inspired you to write a book about children’s clothing?

As a child of South Asian descent growing up in the US, I loved when we had dress up day at school. I would dress up in a Salwar Kameez from India—a long tunic with pants underneath. It was very colorful and fun, but it was also very different from the really nice Easter dresses that the other girls were wearing. Growing up in the South at that time, I didn’t know a lot of children who were different culturally. This book hits home for me—it explores and celebrates those differences.

school house children in Cambodia

Kindergarten students at the Self Help Community Center in Cambodia show off their new school uniforms.

How does the book relate to your work with The Global Fund for Children?

Throughout the world we support children in various circumstances, and even if the children are poor, they always have something nice to wear set aside. It could be a good pair of shoes, or a nice top, a school uniform—but it’s something that a child or family holds onto very dearly, often for celebrations.

I think about our work with indigenous groups in Guatemala and their traditional woven clothing. Or the Self Help Community Centre in Cambodia; these children are extremely poor, but they have brightly colored uniforms that they love—those uniforms mean a lot, and those colors mean a lot. It’s about dignity and identity.

Guatemalan Girl

This young Guatemalan girl wears a dress traditional to the indigenous Ixil Maya. A beneficiary of GFC grantee partner Asociación para el Desarrollo Integral y Multidisciplinario APPEDIBIMI, she is also featured on the back cover of What We Wear: Dressing Up Around the World.

What do you hope children will get out of reading this book?

I hope children will recognize the many things they have in common in how they dress up. But I hope they also notice and enjoy the many differences in color and style. Everything from sports uniforms to beadwork to face paint—it’s all dressing up and it’s all fun.

What’s up next for Global Fund for Children Books?

We’re finishing up a book about global health called Healthy Kids. It explores the things all children need to be safe and healthy. And part of being healthy is the clothing you wear—clothing in many ways is about identity, but it also provides protection and helps you stay healthy!

Be sure to enter the “What We Wear” photo contest by submitting a photo of your child in their favorite outfit to globalfundforchildren@gmail.com for your chance to win a copy of the “What we Wear” book and a $100 Tea gift certificate. Find the official entry rules here: http://bit.ly/AAa1XB.

 

February 25, 2012

Souvenir Shopping in Mexico

Our third Foreign Correspondent has returned from her travels! Mary, her husband, and her two children traveled to Mexico this winter. We outfitted them with a suitcase full of Tea before they left, asking them to share their adventures with us upon their return. Below is part four of their adventure. To learn more about her family’s adventures, check out her The World is a Book blog.

Mexico Souvenir Shop

While souvenirs are mostly associated with trinkets, I’d rather like to think of its other Spanish meaning of “recuerdo” – a memory.  This is how we want to look at souvenirs – tangible memories of a wonderful family vacation. It was quite appropriate since our family visited predominantly Spanish speaking countries of Mexico, Belize and Honduras. My 9-year old daughter says a souvenir is special because “it helps me remember where I’ve been”.

Mexico was a treasure trove of souvenirs for all of us. We were a little bit more restrained in Belize and Honduras as our time was limited and shopping wasn’t as abundant compared to Mexico. Imagine the excitement with the variety of maracas they could play with and the number of sombreros they could try on.

Maracas in Mexico

So, what were the most popular souvenirs for kids when we visited Mexico? The typical maracas, small guitars, marionettes and sombreros were everywhere. But, the one with the most appeal to children, especially boys, were the Lucha Libre masks. These were the colorful masks of animals, heroes or pop culture items that Mexican wrestlers wore.

Luche Libre masks

Souvenirs are not only about the shopping experience but also the cultural association with a place. Over the years, we’ve bought dolls and beanie babies representing each country or city visited. We’ve probably collected enough to assemble our own United Nations parade. My daughter found more dolls from three new countries during this trip, each wearing their traditional native costumes to add to her collection.  I’m glad she’s still young enough to enjoy them. It’s a simple connection she has to a country and a culture.

Guitars in Mexico

Interacting with the vendors and practicing friendly phrases in the local language is among the joys of shopping in a foreign country for us. Our kids loved saying ‘Hola’, ‘Gracias’ and ‘Adios’.  They enjoyed saying the minimal Spanish they knew and the vendors were more than happy responding with big smiles on their faces for attempting to talk in the native tongue. We’ve found through the years that a simple hello and thank you to vendors in their local language goes a long way while traveling.

Talavera Shop

When the vacation is over and as they go on their daily lives, souvenirs can transport the kids back to that special time and place.  Souvenirs can represent the local people they met, the areas they explored and their experiences during the visit.


 

February 24, 2012

Animal Encounters in Central America

Our third Foreign Correspondent has returned from her travels! Mary, her husband, and her two children traveled to Central America this winter. We outfitted them with a suitcase full of Tea before they left, asking them to share their adventures with us upon their return. Below is part three of their adventure. To learn more about her family’s adventures, check out her The World is a Book blog.

Family Trip to Mexico

During our excursion, we visited the country’s only zoo despite our limited time in Belize.   The Belize Zoo was established in 1983 as a haven for animals used in a forest documentary.   In time, it became a refuge for animals that have been orphaned, rescued, or donated from private owners.

This is unlike any zoo we’ve ever visited.   It currently houses over 150 different animals all native to Belize. Animals lived in thick landscapes much like their natural habitat instead of concrete cages.  The enclosure fences were shorter.  We were able to see most of the animals up close. On some exhibits, we could have reached in and touched them.  Of course we were tempted, but didn’t.

Family trip to Mexico

The zoo was so large, we had to come back a second day to see the rest of the animals. There were no giraffes or elephants here – much to my kids’ disappointment at first.  Instead, we were instead treated to animals we have never heard of or seen before. Ever heard of a tapir (Belize’s national animal that looks like an anteater), a Jabiru stork, a quash (racoon relative) or a motmot (bird)?

Family Trip to Mexico

We also had the opportunity to visit a monkey exhibit in Roatan, Honduras during this trip. I was particularly nervous of letting my kids step inside but was assured the monkeys were safe.  Once inside, the monkeys instantly clamored to find the nearest arm or shoulder to climb on.

Family Trip to Mexico

These animal encounters were one of the trip highlights for our kids.  They were introduced to new animals and learned about the importance of their native habitat.  These were memorable experiences that certainly fostered their love and appreciation for animals.

Visit our Studio T blog tomorrow to learn about the family’s experience in Mexican markets.

February 23, 2012

The Temple of Masks

Our third Foreign Correspondent has returned from her travels! Mary, her husband, and her two children traveled to Central America this winter. We outfitted them with a suitcase full of Tea before they left, asking them to share their adventures with us upon their return. Below is part two of their adventure. To learn more about her family’s adventures, check out her The World is a Book blog.

Masks in Mexico

In Kohunlich, the most impressive site was the pyramid-like Temple of the Masks. The center stairs were flanked on each side by three levels of sculpted stucco masks at about 6-8 feet high each.  They were believed to represent the Maya Sun God “Kinich Ahau”.  The diverse faces were also thought to represent ancient Kohunlich rulers.

The giant masks were magnificent and remarkably preserved considering they were built around 500 AD.  Some of them still had hints of their original color.  The faces were the only three-dimensional areas.  There were many symbolic messages on the masks with many different interpretations.   We saw the masks up close by climbing the steep staircase.  It was worth the climb to the top for some spectacular views of the forest canopy.

 

View in Mexico

In order to keep up our kids’ spirit of exploration, we engaged them in some activities. We asked them to identify items they saw around the masks and what its meaning could be. Travel after all is a learning experience.

Masks in Mexico

My husband and I knew that visiting the ruins would be a challenge to hold our kids’ interest. They kept themselves occupied by looking for animals and exploring hidden corners.  Sometimes, kids have more important things to discover.

Visit our Studio T blog tomorrow to learn about the family’s animal encounters in Central America.


February 22, 2012

Exploring Mayan Ruins and Temples

Our third Foreign Correspondent has returned from her travels! Mary, her husband, and her two children traveled to Mexico this winter. We outfitted them with a suitcase full of Tea before they left, asking them to share their adventures with us upon their return. Below is the first part of their adventure. To learn more about her family’s adventures, check out her The World is a Book blog.

Mexico is expecting a record number of tourists in 2012. This is due to the myth of the December 21 apocalypse prophecy based on an ancient Maya calendar.  While we’re not one of the doomsday tourists, our family did visit Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and the Maya ruins on a recent trip.


Family Trip to Mexico

We chose the Kohunlich (pronounced KOE•HOON•LEECH) archaeological zone to explore.  It was located near the town of Chetumal, about five hours from Cancun and two hours from Costa Maya.

To get there, we took a long tour bus ride that went through many small towns.  Our guide pointed out schools and churches along the way.  We also saw kids selling items on the streets.  It was a good eye opener for our kids, at ages 6 and 9, to see how kids their age lived in this part of the world even if it was only a glimpse.

When we finally arrived, Kohunlich felt mystical and offered some of the region’s best preserved ruins. It was completely surrounded by a lush, tropical jungle where it was eerily quiet at times.  It was remote enough that it wasn’t swarming with tourists.  Its name was adapted from the name “Cohoon Ridge” after the abundance of Cohoon palms throughout the area.

Trip to Mexico with Kids

The ancient city was full of fascinating religious and residential structures to explore – a sunken palace, an acropolis, a ball court, courtyards, temples and expansive plazas.  Archaeologists believed this used to be a regional trading center between 300 – 1200 AD.

Family Trip to Mexico

Kohunlich was elaborately planned with stuccoed buildings mostly painted in red.  It was amazing to see how large they were and the effort it took to build them during their time.  Even with trees and plants enveloping crevices of the structures, we could still envision the grandeur.

We also did an interesting exercise with our guide.  He asked us to close our eyes and imagine being transported back to when this ancient city was thriving with life and visualize their daily routines.  He then played instruments that imitated bird and animal sounds of the jungle.  It provided a different perspective to experience the ruins.

While these ruins involved a lot of walking, the plaza was perfect for kids to run around in!

Family Trip To Mexico

Visit our Studio T blog tomorrow to hear about the family’s adventures in the Temple of Masks.


February 21, 2012

Tea’s Top 5 Favorite Styles to Buy on Sale

At Tea, we’re passionate about design and style. We get excited to create new collections and to see our hard work come to fruition.  Though we love what each unique items brings to our collection, we’d be lying if we didn’t admit we have some favorites.

Right now, we’re offering an extra 30% off sale, and we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss out on the best deals.  Below is a list of the top 5 staff picks from our Tea sale.

girls dress

1) Paso del Tiempo Dress- Easter is just around the corner, does your little girl have dress yet? We recommend our Paso del Tiempo Dress in Cornflower. This sweet style will only put you back $17, who could resist?

sneaker

2) Simple Sneakers- Truly a timeless sneaker in 4 different styles and colors.  At originally over $40 a pair, you can now get these hot kicks for less than $20 a pair during our extra 30% sale.  Stock up for summer and back-to-school, because let’s face it, your kids will always need sneakers.

boy's wardrobe set sale

3) Caballo Y 62 5-Piece Set- We currently have 3 boys wardrobe sets on sale.  With the extra 30% off discount, you and get these sets for about $60 each! Buy all three for next fall and have your son set for back-to-school in style.

women's sweater sale

4) Las Casa Cardi- If you walk into our Tea Studio on any given day, at least one person (if not more) is wearing our Las Casa Cardi.  This sweater looks luxurious enough to wear out to a party but is comfy enough you’ll want to wear it around the house.  Either way you wear it, you’ll be sure to fall in love with it.  And marked down from$220 to less than $80, this sweater is a steal!

girls sale poncho

5) Dulce Sarape Poncho- This style is multi-season and can be worn during Spring, Fall, and Winter.  Fashion it with short sleeved tops or long-sleeve turtle-necks- it can be worn whenever your little citizen is looking to make a statement.  At $37, this deal cannot be passed up.

Whatever you decide to purchase, be sure to act fast! Inventory is selling out quickly. Use promo code EXTRA30YAY in order to get an additional 30% off sale items. This offer expires Thursday at 11:59 pm PT. No adjustments on previous purchases. Explore our sale for girls: http://bit.ly/uWjrRV and boys: http://bit.ly/sB9xMf.

Share your all-time favorite Tea items in the comments section below.