Monthly Archives: June 2013

June 27, 2013

Passport to Tiny Toes

If you’re ever in Maryland, hop into Tiny Toes.  This delightful store will keep you entertained for hours with their array of children’s goods. Find out more about Tiny Toes as from our chat with co-owner, Karen!

 

How did you decide to take the leap and open your own store? How long has your store been in business?

We are just about to celebrate our 7th anniversary.  We (mom and I) opened the store almost a year to date after my son was born. I was ready for a career change after being part of an exciting internet start-up experience and I couldn’t find any local options for great children’s clothing. Mom was a willing partner and brought some retail experience to the table which was wonderful since I had none (unless you count shopping).

What is something that your customers would be surprised to learn about you?

While it is obvious to everyone who meets her that Mom is amazing with the customers, most would be surprised to learn that I would be much happier crunching numbers on a excel spreadsheet than re-dressing the face outs. Merchandising makes me break out in a cold sweat. Luckily we have some great employees who love merchandising.  Everyone bring something to the table.

What is your favorite part of your day at the store?

Mornings are always the best.  Everything in its place, the anticipation of fun deliveries that might be arriving and the possibility of great day filled with favorite customers. We’re also very fond of happy hour around here.

We know how special and unique all of our stores are, what makes your store unique?

We’re a neighborhood store and most of our customers are locals.  We work really hard to remember names, favorite colors, sizes, recent purchases, etc.  We want to make the shopping experience as easy and fun as it can be. It can mean pulling up all the past purchases of three sisters so that grandma doesn’t give a repeat gift or stocking gluten-free snacks for a customers child who can’t eat wheat…we want to be that place that goes the extra mile. We want our customers to feel like they are visiting friends when they come here.

At Tea, we “Go There”, how do you share in that mission at your store and/or in your life?

My kids have had frequent flyer numbers since they were born.  While we have yet to venture internationally they have been criss-crossing the country since birth.  They love exploring new places (and revisiting family favorites). Travel with kids forces you to come up with activities to keep them engaged which is great because it means you get out and explore your destination. No vegging by the pool for a week… that said, my husband and I just returned from a vacation in the south of France and vegging by the pool (or the beach) with good friends is not the least bit over-rated.

What is the biggest trend you see right now in either shopping or kid’s fashion? What are people coming in for?

“Practically fun” is what our customer shops for these days.  They want clothing that they can wear day in day out.  That means quality and durability are paramount.  But they don’t want to sacrifice style.  Clothing still needs to have a special detail, a fun print etc but customers aren’t looking for that one time wear, special occasion outfit anymore.

What do you do in your “spare” time? Laughable right?

That is laughable. Between the store and two little ones at home spare time is definitely at a premium.  Luckily, Mom’s favorite past time is hanging with grandkids… which means occasionally there is time for reading a book or going for a run.

How do you balance it all? What tricks can you offer us?

Hire amazing people!  We are so fortunate to have an amazing staff, most of whom have been with us for years.  They love the store like it is their own and there is nothing they won’t do to help us out.  It allows both Mom and me to take time off (even at the same time) and not worry about how things are being handled back at the store. Without them I’m really not sure how we would pull it all together!

 

June 26, 2013

What to Pack

Whether you’re sending your little ones off to sleep away camp for the first time or the fifth time, it’s never easy. Well, the packing isn’t ever easy. We know it’s almost impossible to not forget something, but we’re hoping this list will help make sure you remember the essentials – sheets and fan not included.

1. Pull out the iron on labels and grab a Rub-A-Dub marker. Many camps require that all clothing and equipment is marked with your child’s name, but it’s a good idea to label regardless of what’s asked. Send a marker along with your child to make sure the counselor can help with anything that was overlooked.

2. We understand that a monogrammed laundry bag probably isn’t required, but we suggest you take that extra step. Having a bag that’s unique and personal will make laundry pick up a little easier and drop off a little more fun.

3. Shoes. Slip on sneakers and a solid pair of sandals are an absolute must. Although they’ll come back worn and tattered, they’ll keep your little one covered and comfortable every step of the way!

4. Easy tanks and tees for everyday wear. Packing tops and bottoms that can be easily mixed and matched are ideal for summer camp outfitting. By sending basics, morning dressing won’t be hard on anyone.

5. Flashlights are helpful for the post campfire walk back to the cabin. This lantern/flashlight lights the way and will easily hang under bunks for late night letter writing.

6. Don’t forget the nice outfits! Dances and closing ceremonies usually call for dressier attire – A cotton dress and polo are easy solutions.

7. The days will be hot but the nights may be cold. It’s important to remember long sleeves, rain boots, and a lightweight jacket for maximum comfort.

8. Swimsuits! Splashing and diving could easily be an everyday occurrence, packing extras is a must.

9. Since they’ll be splashing and diving more often than not, make sure they’re covered with long lasting sunscreen. Wipes and mists seem to work best for kids.

10. Towels are important, but knowing which towel is yours is even more crucial. Having your child’s name marked very clearly makes it easy – and towel wraps are a necessity for crowded summer camp cabins!

Don’t forget to check with your local retailer to find perfect packing pieces!

June 21, 2013

Educate Your Heart

Things we found and want to share from this past week:

Eliza Domestica’s homemade French baguette recipe has us dreaming of a trip to Paris!

Have you been to Kansas City? We love this city guide on Design Sponge.

The Little Style File’s summer floral roundup will brighten your day.

Are your cords this pretty?

These abstract paintings by Laurie Close would look great on any wall!

 

June 19, 2013

Celebrate The Fourth In Style!

Looking for red, white and blue options for the fourth? We’ve got you covered with tops, bottoms, dresses and  more! Be sure to claim our free shipping over $50 offer on Facebook – the sooner you order the sooner you’ll be able to focus on parade fun and backyard BBQ’s!

Start shopping now:

  1. Venda Stripe Pocket Tee $19.50
  2. Baobab Blossom Wrap-Neck Dress $15.50
  3. Coastal Stripe Tee $19.50
  4. Sea Gypsy-Wrap Neck Tank Dress $22.50
  5. Venda Strappy Mini Dress $24.50
  6. Venda Stripe Twirl Top $14.50
  7. Coastal Stripe Flutter Tee $19.50
  8. Terrific Tank $16.50
  9. Umuzi Playshorts $15.50
  10. Sea Gypsy Halter Dress $22.50
  11. Venda Twirl Skort $22.50

 

Don’t forget to check with your local retailer to see what styles they carry! Find where your nearest retailer is here: http://bit.ly/VvddfE

June 18, 2013

‘Across the Street, Across the Globe’ with Andrea Howe of ForTheLoveOf.net

Today Andrea Howe from For The Love Of, is sharing one of her favorite spots in Los Angeles – Olvera Street. Be sure to follow along Andrea’s SoCal adventures on Facebook and Twitter! Thank you Andrea for spending the day with Studio T!

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I was lucky enough to be born and raised in Southern California, and feel fortunate to be able to raise my own kids in such a beautiful, interesting and culturally diverse part of the country. While Southern California may be known for its palm trees, lovely weather and laid back lifestyle, I’m happy to say that we also are rich with history and amazing cultural experiences. Growing up, one of my favorite places to go was Olvera Street, a Mexican marketplace located in the birthplace of Los Angeles.

Set on a small street in the oldest part of Downtown Los Angeles, Olvera Street is surrounded by historical buildings, beautiful adobes and Grand Central Station. The last time we visited, we took the Metro from our home about 15 miles outside of the city, into Grand Central Station. While we weren’t as adventurous this time around, being that we had an extra travel companion by way of a young baby, we can’t wait to take the train in again. Public transportation is a way of life for many different cities around the country, but for us Southern Californians, we rarely travel outside of our car. It’s a worthwhile experience to offer the kids though, even if it’s only intermittently.

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Olvera Street offers visitors shopping, dining and entertainment experiences rich with Latino and Mexican culture and traditions, and I grew up going there on school field trips and occasional shopping excursions with my mom. We took our kids there a couple of weeks ago and I had the best time showing them around, talking to them about my experiences going there as a child, and giving them a bit of a history lesson.We shopped a little, listened to mariachis, and practiced a bit of our Spanish with the vendors. As native Southern Californians, it’s essential to at least know some basics in Spanish, including gracias, de nada, and come estas. The kids can also count to twenty, and eventually we’ll get them to 100.

While we live just outside of LA, our central location to both Los Angeles and Orange County, make short trips into the city easy and always a good experience. Our trip was only about 3 hours long from door to door, but we were able to introduce the kids to a plethora of sensory experiences they wouldn’t normally get if we just stayed in our neighborhood. On the way to Olvera Street we pass the tall skyscrapers of Downtown LA and the architectural marvel that is the Walt Disney Concert Hall. We can point out the transportation hub of the city; Grand Central Station, and the original Postal Headquarters, just across the street.

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Once we’re at our destination, they smelled the warm scents of fresh homemade tortillas cooking, heard a different language, listened to music they don’t normally hear, and saw the representation of a culture in its purest form. I am truly grateful that we can offer these experiences to our children such a short stop from home.

We finished off our trip by introducing them to horchata, a sweet beverage made of water, sugar and ground almonds, and taquitos from Olvera Street’s oldest taquito street vendor. The thing I love most about coming to Olvera Street, and now taking my kids there, is that things don’t really ever change and the same restaurants, vendors and trinkets and toys they sold when I was a kid, are still around and for sale now. There’s something so comforting and nostalgic about that. On one particular trip to Olvera Street when I was about 13, my mom and I visited a candle shop, the only one at the time, to carry sheets of beeswax. We were making our own homemade candles to give as Christmas gifts. That shop is still there, over 20 years later.

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If you’re visiting Los Angeles, or are a local but have never been, I can’t recommend taking a trip to Olvera Street enough. It’s fun for the kids and the grown ups, and gives you a rich experience in history, tradition, and culture.

Our top 3 places to visit in Los Angeles for a rich cultural and historical experience include:

Los Angeles County Museum Of Art (LACMA) – LACMA is devoted to collecting art from around the globe and focuses on pieces that will represent LA’s unique cultural diversity. There are so many great kid friendly exhibits that you can stay and visit all day without the kids ever feeling like they’re in a stuffy museum. It’s a favorite of ours.

La Brea Tarpits – located right next to LACMA, the La Brea tarpits is a museum that displays ancient treasures right where they were discovered and is a fascinating place for kids to explore the results of years of excavations.

Natural History Museum Of LA – From the brand new dinosaur exhibit to the dark halls displaying animals from around the world, the Natural History Museum is a vast museum offering many exhibits to explore but in a very achievable and manageable way to do as a family.

 

[Shop the look: Lychee Twirl DressTutu Print PoloUbuntu Stripe Hooded Romper]

 

June 17, 2013

Dresses + Leggings

June 14, 2013

Tea Collection + Barefoot Books Giveaway!

We’re kicking off summer with a giveaway you won’t want to miss! By answering one simple question, “Which Tea destination has been your favorite?” you’ll be entered to win a Tea wardrobe set and a collection of travel the world Barefoot Books. With only one day to enter, enter the Tea Collection + Barefoot Books giveaway as soon as you can!

 

Things we found and want to share from this past week:

These Austrian spinning tops are absolutely gorgeous and will keep your children entertained for hours!

Raising a traveling tribe can be difficult, we love hearing how Traveling Mama is teaching new languages to her little ones.

Looking for some new tunes? Don’t miss our playlist we posted earlier this week – it’s filled with music from around the world!

These herb-infused olive oils are easy to put together, perfect for yourself or gifts.

We think these painted leaves would be a great summer project… cheap entertainment for all!

Don’t forget to see just how low our semi-annual sale prices are! Girls dresses for less than $20, girls leggings starting at $12.50, boys tops less than $15 – shopping for yourself? Women’s tops are marked down to $38.50 and women’s dresses are as low as $43.50!

UPDATE: Sale and Giveaway are officially over.

June 13, 2013

#teacollection Instagram Round Up + Semi-Annual Sale!

Last week we asked you to tag your tea pictures with #teacollection and what great pictures you’ve shared! We absolutely love seeing tea in action – keep tagging your photos and we’ll continue to share them on Studio T.

We’re so excited to announce today that our Semi-Annual Sale is on! Save up to 50% off all spring items. Remember, sizes are limited and pieces are selling out quickly, if you see something you like – be sure to grab it while you can. Girls dresses can be found for less than $20 and boys tops are as low as $12.50!

Happy Shopping!

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June 12, 2013

Two Minutes With Tea: Kristin Lindsey, CEO of The Global Fund for Children

The mission of The Global Fund for Children is to advance the dignity of children and youth around the world. Since 1997, GFC has given more than $25.6 million in grants to 500 community-based organizations in 78 countries worldwide. Their impact means thousands of children are going to school instead of to work. Thousands more are protecting themselves from HIV, escaping the bonds of slavery, and getting the childhood they deserve.

Since partnering with The Global Fund for Children in 2006, we’ve raised more than $240,000 to support vulnerable children worldwide. Our support for GFC takes many forms. Each fall we design the Little Citizens Give Back Collection-donating all proceeds directly to GFC and three times a year, we hold GFC days, donating a portion of all online sales to the organization. In honor of today’s GFC giveback initiative on teacollection.com ($5 per order!), we have CEO Kristin Lindsey, here on Studio T answering a few questions.

What does it mean to “advance the dignity of children and youth around the world”?

Advancing dignity is about breaking down barriers for all children.  We think all children come into this world with talent, with something important to do with their life.   Dignity means every child gets the opportunity to strive for their potential, no matter their circumstances, economics, gender, nationality, etc.  It means no limits!

How do you find and choose which grassroots organizations to work with?

Our program officers are regional experts who spend countless hours networking and searching for innovative organizations that serve the most marginalized children in the world. We select true grassroots groups with local leadership, community and youth involvement, creativity, and sustainability.

How do you ensure that your investment is wisely spent?

Our program team visits about 150 promising organizations each year, then selects 50 new partners to work with.  Over the course of three to six years, we help them grow and thrive using flexible, strategic investments of money and technical expertise.  We stay in touch, closely tracking their development.  Our giving goes way beyond grants – we hold regional conferences to build networks, we leverage other funding, awards and news coverage, and we aim to be a true partner.  All this means that their work and our investments can grow and last.

Is there one partner organization that touches you in particular?

Kliptown Youth Program (KYP) in Soweto, South Africa is a great example of the power and potential grassroots groups have to transform communities. KYP provides academic support, recreational activities, meals, as well as financial support for school fees and materials, for more than 400 children.  Nearly 40,000 people live in the Kliptown slum, where the community suffers from high rates of unemployment, crime and school dropouts.

KYP has been a GFC grantee partner since 2010 and we were so proud to see KYP’s director, Thulani Madondo, honored as a Top 10 CNN Hero last year. See the video here: CNN Hero

Which issue is the most urgent to you right now?

I think a lot about kids exposed to conflict and war.  It’s hard not to.  Nearly a billion children live in places where there is armed conflict. That means families and children leave everything that’s familiar, live with ever-present fear and chaos, and for children, the vulnerability and upheaval is really traumatizing.   We invest in a lot of groups that are protecting and healing children and families in conflict-affected areas, creating comfort, stability and places to learn.

Which region do you find particularly vulnerable?

Since the Arab Spring that began in 2010, we’ve looked a lot at the Middle East and North Africa and we’re expanding our work in Egypt, Tunisia and Lebanon.  While it is a region marked by conflict, it also has emerging civil society and a chance to partner with local community members to make a difference.  Ten years from now, it will really matter if we rise to the opportunity of investing in the dignity, learning, safety and positive pathways for children here.

 

We absolutely love the newest GFC book, Global Baby Girls! Could you explain why little girls need particular attention?

Girls can be powerful agents of change in their communities.  They have the ability to solve some of society’s toughest challenges because they are the fabric that holds families together. The possibilities are limitless for what girls can do today. We owe it to them to make sure they are equipped with what they need to go out into the world and shine.

Where do you see The Global Fund for Children five years from now?

Five years from now, we hope GFC will be top of mind for everyone when they think about how to make the most powerful impact in vulnerable children’s lives. Since 1997, we have touched the lives of nearly 8 million children.  With continued support from generous donors, key partners, companies and students, we expect that number to grow to 10 million by 2015.

Other than donating money through the GFC website, how can we help support The Global Fund for Children?

We love hearing from students because it will be up to them to transform the future of little citizens around the globe.  We encourage schools and universities to contact us to learn more about ways they can help us help other kids around the world.  We’ve had some great fundraising events and speaking engagements with students!

You can also show some love by spreading the word about our work on Facebook and Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you!  AND when you shop Tea Collection, keep us in mind! There’s a donation at check-out option – and any amount goes a long way!

 

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