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.
Each month Studio T features one of our retailers. This month we caught up with Rebecca and Brea, the amazing duo behind Little Star in Franklin, Tennessee.
Have you always lived in Franklin?
Rebecca: I’ve lived here for 21 years. Grew up in Tampa. Ended up back in Nashville because I love the people, the scenery and the pace of life here.
Brea: I have lived in the area for almost 13 years now. I married a musician and we followed the music here from Kansas where I grew up! And now it’s just home, we love it and can’t imagine living anywhere else.
How was your business born?
Rebecca: We saw a need in the area for a modern contemporary baby and kids store. We were both new moms and didn’t feel the traditional southern style fit our families!
Brea: Rebecca and I have been in business together for almost 8 years. We originally owned a maternity store and then opened our kids store, Little Star, next door to it 4 years ago.
Tell us a little about your family history.
Rebecca: 4th generation Irish/German and I love all German food. I love traveling and exploring my roots. My Grandmother was an amazing cook. Favorite recipe passed down would be homemade noodles.
Brea: I’m a farm girl from Western Kansas where I learned a lot about hard work and making business go through growing up on a 3rd generation farm as one of six kids. My mom and all of my aunts were the best cooks and were always so resourceful. They could make anything work, I have definitely picked that up from them! My favorite recipe is from my full German Aunt, everything she makes is divine, but she taught me to make her homemade sauerkraut, it is unlike any other… So, so good!
Where is the last place you traveled?
Rebecca: Our last family trip was to Disney World and it was amazing! Wonderful time of wonder with our kids, Samantha, 6 and Mack, 5. Next big trip on the radar – Penang, Malaysia to visit dear friends that are missionaries there.
Brea: My last big trip was to Napa Valley California with my husband and our 6 month old little girl! It was for “Live in the Vineyard” which is a music festival and wine tasting experience weekend all together and it was dreamy! I know that doesn’t sound dreamy to most, but when you have 3 kids only taking the smallest and easiest one is delightful and quite easy, really!
Your best friend is visiting your city for the first time and only has 24 hours to explore—what would you tell them to do?
Definitely take them to the Frothy Monkey in downtown Franklin, love the local food and the people watching! Then I would take them shopping downtown Franklin, stop in to Savory Spice Shop which is a fun, everything-you-need spice shop. Then I would recommend a Nashville must see, Loveless Cafe, their biscuits and preserves are amazing! After lunch, I would bring them over to McEwen South for great local boutique shopping. For dinner, I would head into downtown Nashville to stop at Patterson House for a unique drink. And lastly, of course down to Broadway to see some good ole fashion Honkey Tonks or the Bluegrass Inn to catch a songwriters round and hear the amazing musicians that write the hits you hear on the radio, share the story behind their songs.
What advice do you have for local mothers?
My nugget of wisdom is find a friend who is going through what you are going through, it makes it so much better! Comparing stories, giving advice, love on each other – we are not alone! Also, there are so many resources for events for moms to get involved in and honestly that can get a little overwhelming, my advice is to try to get time to yourself everyday, it makes you a better mommy!
What types of events and promotions do you run in your boutique?
We are about to start a regular mom’s night out event! Mom’s desperately need breaks and time with girlfriends so we are thinking we will have wine and cheese and different events going on! We also love to keep in touch with our moms over Facebook, it’s easy for them and for us! Facebook is also a place moms can ask us questions and we can help them before they even make it into the store!!
What is one thing your customers would be surprised to learn about you?
Brea: Most people don’t know that I used to travel around in a bus as a “roadie” for my husband’s band, for years! I did everything from book shows, manage merchandise, load and unload gear, make food, do accounting and a million other things! We traveled all over the U.S., it was such an adventure to say the least! It was truly the hardest and most fun job ever, besides being a mom!
We asked you to use #teacollection in your Instagram photos and we were so excited to find that you did! Each month we’ll round up 12 of our favorites and share them with you here. Now, it’s possible that your #teacollection photos may end up be on teacollection.com, so show us how your little citizen’s wear Tea and don’t forget to use our hashtag! See our new gallery here: http://www.teacollection.com/static/tealook.html
We’ve heard that three of the best Moroccan cities for street food are Fes, Marrakech and Essaouria (pronounced es-uh-weer-uh); coincidentally, we visited all three during our stay in Morocco. The best time to visit the food souks? Between 6 and 8 PM – this is the time Moroccans stroll and snack, before heading home for dinner around 10.
Rghaif is a flaky, layered flat bread that’s common throughout these souks. Although the dough may be stuffed with a variety of fillings before it’s folded and fried, plain rghaif are most popular served simply with honey or syrup made from butter. With only 4 ingredients, you can easily make this Moroccan flat bread at home!
What you’ll need:
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm water
white cheese (preferably a bit salty) – optional for filling
How to make:
Combine flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl. Add water slowly and knead mixture for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth.
Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and lightly coat with olive oil, set aside for 10 minutes.
While your dough balls are resting, warm a cast iron skillet (or similarly heavy pan) to medium heat.
On a clean surface, roll each dough ball out as thin as you possibly can. Get started with a rolling pin and then carefully lift and stretch the dough by hand. The thinner, the better.
If you’d like to fill your flat bread, now is the time to do so! Once you’ve placed your filling in the center of the dough, fold the dough into a rectangle or square and place in the heated pan that’s been lightly coated with olive oil.
Cook for a total of 6 minutes, flipping the bread every minute or so – making sure each one is cooked evenly.
Best served warm with your favorite jelly or honey. Add a side of sliced meats and enjoy!
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!
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!
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.
(We decided to also cut the hem off, so both sides would be even)
Place one end over the other…
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!
Take a picture of your child’s completed Tea Collection activity book picture and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Activity Book Entry” in the subject line. We pick one winner each month to receive a $100 Tea gift certificate.
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!