Author Archives: Jessie

About Jessie

Jessie tweets & chats her days away working in the social media and public relations departments of Tea. Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Jessie moved to New York after college to work in the fashion industry. Still new to San Francisco, she's constantly discovering new sushi spots and hidden boutiques. She's still dreaming of her last trip to the Caribbean and hopes one day soon she can play on the beaches of Thailand.

March 6, 2014

Leigh’s Family Is Traveling to Asia, Share Your Tips!

What Should We See & Do in Thailand and China?

I fell in love with Thailand nearly 15 years ago. My husband and I had a six week trip bopping around Southeast Asia & the South Pacific the summer before we started business school. We visited Buddhist temples and rode elephants and ate our way through the country.

And now we return… with our kids!  Maybe it won’t be as romantic, but I have a feeling there will be a ton of falling in love. This time we’ll get to see the Buddhist temples, elephants, and delicious food through the eyes of our 5 & 7 year old boys.

After a week in Bangkok and Hua Hin, we’re heading to China!  We’ll visit Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Yangshuo — and we want advice! We have our flights and hotels booked, plus lots of time planned with our beloved Tea vendors. But there is a lot of open time for sight-seeing and digging deeper into the culture.

So please share any must-see sights or must-do activities!  I have loved reading through advice on Oh Happy Day and Design Sponge — what other blogs are out there with insider tips, especially with perspective on family travel?

 

 

Preparing The Kids For The Experience

I think a lot about preparing my kids for life. Education, manners, planning ahead, keeping an attitude of gratitude, etc, etc. Of course I like to think that I have a huge impact on their lives through all of the thoughtful preparation, but sometimes I admit to myself that I am just here for the ride. Every day is a new world and new discovery for a kid.

I remember my first trip to Manhattan. I arrived via the train, then transferred to the subway with a friend from Long Island. We came up the subway escalator and I just kept looking up and up and up. I was in college and I had seen a thousand pictures of New York, but when I came out of that subway station, I FELT it.  I felt the height, the energy, and the life of New York. I was in love to the bone.

So, no matter how many maps and documentaries we show our boys, I have a feeling that I can never fully prepare them for the size, energy, and life of Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

Of course I still have to try.  So here is the plan (and I welcome your feedback)…

  • We have a huge world map on the wall in the boys’ room. That helps a little with the context. At least I think so!
  • David found a great documentary from 2008 about China. It is certainly dated and the population numbers are probably 20% higher now, but it is well done and riveting for all four of us. I keep wondering if it is stealing the power of the first impression…. and then I remember my escalator ride up from the subway in NY for the first time.
  • Adam takes Mandarin at school four days/week. We are trying to use common phrases for familiarity:  thank you, hello, and my name is…
  • We order in Thai food regularly. Does that count?
  • I’m researching ways the kids can take pictures & blog on their own. Maybe Kidblog.org? I would love to see what pictures and captions they would post. Plus, their friends could write questions and comments, which could create a fun conversation.
  • Of course we have to expedite passport renewals. You can see from these pictures that not only are the passports expiring, but the photos are a little out of date!

 

 

Traveling with Kids Overseas 

I have been asking globetrotting families for advice about the travel itself. Here are the tips I have received so far:

  • iPads. How did parents travel before Apple? The trick is that the kids really like to stream videos on Netflix, which won’t be possible for much of our trip. So I need tips on apps–both educational and entertainment. I am just not sure Star Wars Angry Birds will get us from SFO to BKK!
  • Adjust clocks when you board the first flight. Easier said than done of course. We depart at 1:45pm which is 4:45am in Bangkok. So do we get on the plane and I try to convince the kids to sleep??  When I fly to Asia each year for work, I usually try to sleep as little as possible so that when I arrive at midnight at the hotel in Bangkok, I can crash — even though my body will think it is 4pm the next day. I’m hoping those iPads are REALLY entertaining.
  • Snacks. Snacks are actually the cure to many problems wherever we are! I’ve heard Clif Bars, Tic Tacs, and soy sauce packets have gotten many families through China. Rice is available almost anywhere and with soy sauce, we should be okay.

What else should I keep in mind?
Leave a comment below — I welcome all feedback & suggestions and can’t wait to hear from you!

March 4, 2014

DIY Head Turban

No-Sew Turban

Our spring catalog was filled with bright colors, bold patterns and tons of accessories. Many of you wrote in about the head turbans and tassel necklaces wondering where you could buy them. Unfortunately, they’re not available for purchase as they were handmade by our talented stylists, but we thought this would be the perfect opportunity for a couple of DIYs. Grab an old shirt or dress and a pair of scissors, with a few twists you’ll have your very own head turban in no time!

Head Turban by Tea Collection

Really, all you need is an old dress or tee shirt and a pair of scissors. About 5 inches above the hem of the dress or shirt cut across the garment.

Head Turban by Tea Collection

(We decided to also cut the hem off, so both sides would be even)

Head Turban by Tea Collection

Twist once…

DIY Head Turban by Tea Collection

Twist twice…

DIY Head Turban by Tea Collection

Place one end over the other…

DIY Head Turban by Tea Collection

And you have yourself a DIY head turban!

Want to dress it up like we did in our spring catalog? You can find beaded headbands such as this and this to layer on top. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

February 27, 2014

Shades of Jardin Bleu

Jardin Bleu

Shades of blue are found all throughout Morocco. We found this bold, cobalt color in tiles, walls, doorways – even orange stands! We’ve come to call this particular shade Majorelle Blue, and we think it’s perfect for spring. With so many styles, it’s easy to mix and match all sorts of prints and patterns for fresh outfits all season long!

Majorelle BluesShop these styles:

Majorelle Flutter Dress // Majorelle Stripe Tee // Swiss Dot Flutter Sleeve Top // Dot Print Layering Tee // Soludos Original Canvas Dali // Blue Chameleon Raglan Tee // Dot Print Capri Leggings // Patagonia Trucker Hat // Majorelle Garden Twirl Skort // Delta Runner Graphic Tee //  End-on-End Stripe Hoodie

February 20, 2014

New Arrivals: Jardin Bleu

Tea Collection Destination Morocco

 In the middle of Marrakech, there is a magic garden. With walls of brilliant blue and tiled pathways that meander through statuesque palms and sculptural cacti, the Majorelle Garden (Jardin Majorelle) is one of the most-visited sites in all of Morocco. French painter Jacques Majorelle spent 40 years of his life creating this enchanting oasis. The clothes in this catalog are inspired by the garden’s signature cobalt shade, by it’s peaceful pools and twittering birds, by luxurious blooms and the creeping chameleons, too.

Come explore the Jardin Bleu.

New Arrivals

 

 

February 18, 2014

Guest Post: Raising A Child In Morocco

Raising Kids in Morocco via Tea Collection

There is no denying that packing up a household and a family and transporting them across the world is a hardship… but when the destination is Morocco, and you have the good fortune to not just visit but live in this vibrant country there are many more delights than difficulties.

Many people asked us how we would manage with a young toddler in Morocco. It’s true that the usual protections you become used to in the United States (rubber playground floors, clean organic vegetables, etc.) are conspicuously absent in Morocco. But the warmth of the people, towards children in particular, and the wide array of experiences you can expose your child to more than make up for it.

There is so much to choose from… ancient buildings, bustling markets, tanneries, cafes, beaches and more.  Here are some of our favorites for kids from our year in Morocco.

Raising Kids in Morocco via Tea Collection

The Majorelle Gardens: Marrakech

Marrakech isn’t hot year round, however, the summer is particularly brutal. But even when the thermostat hits 105 in the busy media, the Majorelle Gardens beckon with a promise of cool shade and lots of running space!

When you visit Morocco with a child, particularly a toddler, keeping them off the ground is key given the number of mopeds, donkeys and carts that are competing for the limited alleyway real estate. But in the Majorelle Gardens, it is strictly pedestrians only.

The Gardens were designed by a french expatriate and were loved and owned by famous designer Yves Saint Laurent. It houses various species of plants and birds as well as a museum of Berber Culture. It is a beautiful introduction to Morocco for all ages and a welcome oasis of calm.

Raising Kids in Morocco via Tea Collection

The Old Kasbah: Aït Benhaddou

If you want to get up close to the Morocco of legend, then you have to head to Aït Benhaddou. There is something for children of all ages. The little ones will love the (mostly) empty, winding alleys up to the fortress and older ones will be thrilled to know they are standing where the stars have stood since films and series from Gladiator and Game of Thrones have come here for the ancient backdrop. You can even stay in an 11th century mud brick Kasbah (watch out though… no electricity!).  The best part of our little one? Your baggage porter is your local obliging donkey. We named him Hercules.

Raising Kids in Morocco via Tea Collection

The Clock Cafe: Fes

There is of course no better way to get to know a country than through its cuisine. If you have an opportunity to visit a Moroccan restaurant near you, be sure to indulge in a fragrant Tagine (pressure-cooked, spiced meat dish) and any of the sweets on offer.  In Morocco, the best food is to be found in a family home. But one restaurant that came close for us, was the Clock Cafe, deep in the Fes Medina. The Clock has reinvented many traditional dishes and offers menu choices like a camel burger, which is sure to thrill your adventurous eater.

Raising Kids in Morocco via Tea Collection

For the more squeamish, there is delicious almond milk, Moroccan salads and other delicacies! Don’t miss out.

 

Natalia Rankine-Galloway is the founder of CultureBaby; seeking out new global products and hearing from mothers worldwide about how they celebrate culture with their kids. You can read more about her personal adventures at The Culture Mum Chronicles.

February 14, 2014

The Global Fund for Children – Giveback Day

GFC GivebackHave you heard?

We’re donating $5 of every order placed today to The Global Fund for Children. Use code FALLINLOVE on your order of $150+ to save $25 and receive free shipping. Shop now.

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

A Moroccan Msemen (pancake) recipe that pairs perfectly with butter and jam.

Can’t make it to the Exploratorium? Try this online exhibit!

We love this Danish heart pouch DIY via The House That Lars Built.

Design Mom is offering her readers 15% off our womens collection! Find the code here.

Kelle Hamptons post: Square Pegs, Round Holes and the Infinite Possibilities of Loving Your Child.

February 12, 2014

Conversations With Filmmakers + Enter to Win!

NYICFFThe New York International Children’s Film Festival is an annual Oscar-qualifying event that seeks to “promote intelligent, passionate, provocative cinematic works for ages 3-18 and help define a more compelling film for kids.” Each year the festival presents 100 animated, live action and experimental shorts and features from around the world. Since 2000, all screenings have sold out in advance and we’re giving you the chance to win 4 tickets to the opening and closing nights in New York City + 6 DVDs of past films. Scroll down to enter!

Exclusive for Tea Collection fans: use the code TEA14 when ordering online to receive $2 each ticket!

We were lucky enough to hear from two filmmakers who will be part of this year’s festival. Anina is a film by Alfredo Soderguit out of Uruguay featuring a bright ruddy red haired little girl. Rabbit and Deer is a short out of Hungary by Peter Vacz. This animation features a rabbit and a deer living in a 2D world, until one day everything changes.

NYICFF Map

Peter Vacz // Rabbit and Deer

Tea: When did you know you wanted to be in the film industry?

Peter Vacz: Quite late actually… I was 19 when I started to study animation. Before that I wasn’t really into filmmaking. As a child my first real passion was playing the cello, which I still do. In secondary school I studied graphic design but in the meantime I also tried out many other things like sewing clothes, making street art, design objects and I was interested in doing animation. I continued my graphic design studies at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design but less inspired. In my second year I designed a puppet with a set for an animated film idea. It made me very excited and I realized that animation and storytelling is the combination of all the things I love doing. I immediately changed to the Faculty of Animation and fell in love with it. It is a magical profession.

T: What was the inspiration behind this project?

PV: I tried to make a personal film that people can relate to and I hoped that it’ll give a unique experience to the audiences. The strongest inspiration a previous love relationship, with all the good experiences and hard times that we shared together. The other thing that really inspired me was the magic of exploring storytelling through different animation techniques… or maybe the other way around.

T: If children take only one message away from this film, what would you like the lesson to be?

PV: Sometimes we change and drift apart from the people who we love, and then sometimes we can become very different people but still remain fundamentally close to the ones we love.

Either way the essence remains the same; we should try to care more about the people around us, because the little things that we experience in relationships are what makes life to live for. 

T: Do you have any advice for kids who want to be filmmakers?

PV: Be passionate. Once you have a passion for something you should listen carefully to the people who inspire you because you might learn some great things from them – but don’t be afraid to express your own thoughts in the meantime. We are all unique and even though we do similar things in life we’ll always experince them differently from the others. I believe that the uniqueness is not in the subject you talk about, but the way you talk about it. (As the quote says: ‘the devil is in the detail’.)

T: What film do you remember most from your childhood? 

PV: As a child I’ve seen some great Hungarian animated films like The Little Fox (Vuk, 1981) by Attila Dargay and the Cat City (Macskafogó, 1986) by Béla Ternovszky. But my first biggest cinema experience was The Lion King. I was 6 years old and I remember crying over the dramatic death of Mufasa. I was really hooked by the characters and their story. I still think it’s one of the most brilliant films.

Alfredo Soderguit // Anina

Tea:  When did you know you wanted to be in the film industry?

Alfredo Soderguit: I use to illustrate books and work as an art director and production designer. Just because I love to draw, paint, build, love to see films and love good stories. I like to do my work as a representation of my own feelings and thoughts. Then I found a beautiful story and just wanted to make a movie.

T: What was the inspiration behind this project?

AS: The book talks about very deep and important things. It is very humanistic, not only the contents but the way to tell the story. You can feel the characters as real people. Any time I read the book it is like a trip direct to my own childhood, the questions, the sensations, and the way to feel the world around you as a big mystery.

T: If children take only one message away from this film, what would you like the lesson to be?

AS: I don´t want to spread any specific lesson, but I think that the most important is something like: Be ready to learn in freedom, learn about friendship, be brave and face every kind of fear. Don´t let anyone scare you and refuse any kind of authoritarianism.

T: Do you have any advice for kids who want to be filmmakers?

AS: Be open to see different kind of films (beauty can be found anywhere), look for those that represent your feelings, learn the language and tell your story in a free and creative way.

T: What film do you remember most from your childhood?

AS: “Neverending story” and later “Labyrinth”. I love films with real physical puppets.

<< ENTER TO WIN >>

What you’ll win…

  • Four (4) Tickets to Opening Night Screening of Amazonia + After Party
    • March 7, 6:00pm - DGA Theater (110 W 57th St)
    • Recommended ages 5 to adult
  • Four (4) Tickets to Awards Ceremony/Best of Fest Screening + After Party
    • March 30, 5:00pm - DGA Theater
    • Recommended all ages
  • Six (6) DVDs
    • A Cat in Paris - France; Oscar Nominee, Recommended ages 6 to adult
    • Tales of the Night - France, Recommended ages 5 to adult
    • From Up on Poppy Hill - Japan, Recommended ages 9 to adult
    • The Painting - France, Recommended ages 7 to adult
    • The Secret of Kells - Ireland; Oscar Nominee, Recommended ages 6 to adult
    • Mia and the Migoo - France, Recommended ages 6 to adult