Author Archives: nuala

About nuala

Nuala Sawyer works in Social Marketing at Tea. She enjoys bicycling, cooking with New Mexican green chiles, animals, and running through Golden Gate Park. She grew up mostly in New Mexico and Colorado, but has also lived in Belgium, England, Wales, Greece, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and now San Francisco. She has a degree in photography from Hampshire College. A few life goals include visiting the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia, biking from San Francisco to Los Angeles, owning a dog, and perfecting the art of soufflé.

September 9, 2011

Inside Studio T: Activity Book Art

Every Friday we share a weekly behind-the-scenes photo taken in our offices at Tea. This could be anything – great employee outfits, our sources of inspiration, shots from our parties, or photos of us hard at work. For more sneak peeks behind the scenes at Tea click here.

Have you ordered from Tea recently? If so, you may have received an extra little something in your package – our first ever Tea Activity Book! Entitled “Let’s Go There” it is a visual journey into the world of Modern Mexico, with word searches, puzzles, and a bounty of images to color. Some of them you may even recognize from our collection of clothing, such as our Cool Coyote.

The book above was colored in by Avalon, age 5, who did a spectacular job. Great work Avalon! You are well on your way to becoming a little artista. We’ll do our best to bring you more Tea Activity Books every season.

September 8, 2011

The Floating Soccer Field

Every once in a while I stumble across something so wonderful on the internet that I can’t help but watch it twice. This little film is one of them. Based on a true story, it chronicles the soccer team that emerged from Koh Panyee, a small floating village in southern Thailand. Enjoy!

 

September 7, 2011

Ándale Ándale!

Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing. For more Behind the Designs click here.

There are countless creative ways to get around Mexico – by truck, vespa, motorcycle, bus, tractor, and even donkey. At Tea we always love experiencing all of these different forms of transportation when we travel on our destination trips, and Mexico was no exception. Taxis come in many forms in Mexico, such as the two examples we found above. The most commonly seen taxis however, are the brightly-painted green Volkswagon beetles that zoom around the streets of Mexico City:

Our designers were so inspired by the bright green cheerful taxis that they incorporated them into our Andale Taxi Tee:

What’s your favorite way to travel in other countries?

September 2, 2011

Inside Studio T: Sample Sale in Action

Every Friday we share a weekly behind-the-scenes photo taken in our offices at Tea. This could be anything – great employee outfits, our sources of inspiration, shots from our parties, or photos of us hard at work. For more sneak peeks behind the scenes at Tea click here.

Last week we mentioned we were hosting a Sample Sale for our local Tea fans. It was a wonderful success, with crowds of people showing up at T2 in San Francisco both weekends to buy clothes from past seasons.

Tea fans braved long lines with their children, starting early in the morning before doors were even open. Over a thousand people turned out over the two weekends.

We loved the opportunity to meet our local customers face-to-face, and meet all the kids that showed up:

A big thank you to all the volunteers who helped us set up and break down our Sample Sale! We couldn’t have done it without you. And thank you to our customers, who after hours of waiting in line still greeted us with a smile when they walked in the door. You are why we love doing what we do.

September 1, 2011

Tortilla Soup

I am a soup addict. Every weekend I’ll make a huge pot and eat it for lunch throughout the week. My soup phases have become a way of marking time and seasons – last winter I made a lot of chicken noodle soup, butternut squash soup, and carrot ginger soup. Roasted red pepper soup reminds me of living in Berkeley two years ago, as the red peppers at the farmer’s market were too beautiful not to buy. This summer I’m all about zucchini green chile, cream of cauliflower, and cream of spinach soup.  Last night I made a new soup – roasted tomato and eggplant, with lots of garlic. It’s pretty good. I think I’ll add it into the regular rotation.

photo by Elise Bauer

One of my favorite soups fits perfectly into our Modern Mexico destination, and I thought I’d share my favorite version of the recipe. Tortilla Soup is one of those soups that is flexible – it has a list of ingredients, but you can add and remove things depending on what you have in the kitchen. I love the extra step of making my own tortilla chips.

This recipe is by the wonderful Elise Bauer, from her site Simply Recipes. Almost all of my soup recipes have originated from her website, though many I’ve changed slightly over time. All parentheses below are my notes.

Ingredients:

  • 6 6-inch corn tortillas, preferably a little old and dried out
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil, peanut oil, other high smoke-point oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic so usually quadruple this.)
  • 1 medium Anaheim, poblano or jalapeño chile, seeded, veins removed, chopped. (If you can find New Mexican green chiles these are my favorite. Roast them and remove the skin and seeds while wearing gloves).
  • 4 cups chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (I once tried fresh which was nice and made the soup lighter, but doesn’t haves as much flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (boil chicken until cooked, shred with fork)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (I love cilantro so I use a full cup)
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

 

1 If you are starting with somewhat old, dried out tortillas, great. If not and you are starting with relatively fresh tortillas, put them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 200°F for 10-15 minutes to dry them out a bit. It is best to start with tortillas that don’t have a lot of moisture in them. Cut tortillas in half, and then cut the halves into 1/4-inch wide strips. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 3-quart pot. Working in three batches, fry the tortilla strips in the oil, until lightly browned and crisp. Remove the tortilla strips from the pan and let drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.

2 Add the chopped onions to the pan, cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped chile and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the onions and chiles have softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the broth, tomatoes, and salt. Increase the heat to high, heat until the soup begins to boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and cook until heated through.

3 To serve, pit, peel, and cut the avocado into 1-inch pieces. Divide half of tortilla strips among 4 individual serving bowls; ladle in soup. Top with avocado and cheese; garnish with remaining tortilla strips and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Yield: Serves 4.

August 30, 2011

Pont des Arts Bridge

Every year Tea employees receive a dividend from Tea to use towards international travel. On Studio T we’ll be sharing travel stories of our employees as they travel around the world.

Earlier this month I returned from a vacation to England, Paris, and New York. I went to England to visit family (I’m English/American), Paris for my birthday, and New York to reconnect with old friends and neighborhoods where I used to live. The whole two weeks was a beautiful blur of old cities, family, English vocabulary, French language, Parisian fashion, and the bustling streets of New York.  But somehow what I have the most photos of on my camera is a bridge over the River Seine where I spent my final morning in Paris.

The Pont des Arts bridge was finished in 1804, and was the first metal bridge in Paris.  Connecting the Left Bank with the Right Bank, and leading directly to the Louvre, it gets a lot of foot traffic from visiting tourists. It has held up valiantly despite two World Wars, but succumbed to a 60 foot barge that ran into it in 1979. Now reopened and more beautiful than ever, it has become a strangely surreal landmark. The criss-crossing metal siding of the bridge has become covered with thousands of padlocks, placed there by lovers who then threw the key into the water of the Seine below. Initials of the couples and sweet notes are written on most locks. The twinkling and sparkling of these locks can be seen a block away, and one can spend hours reading the sweet inscriptions.

After spending 5 days in the city of romance, and being somewhat superstitious, I couldn’t help but want my own piece of the Pont des Arts ritual. But where to find a lock? I searched everywhere for une serrure and finally found one at the Bon Marche department store. My mother and I celebrated the end of the treasure hunt by purchasing tarts and pastries from their exquisite supermarket on the first floor, and we ate them in Luxembourg Gardens while watching little Parisian children push their sailboats around the pond.

I waited until my last morning in Paris to add my lock to the bridge.

Newspapers around the world are hinting that Paris is not such a fan of these locks – one article threatened that the city was going to remove the locks as they were defacing a public monument. The article was written in May of this year, but when I was there a few weeks ago many of the locks looked old and rusted shut, and there were so many that I couldn’t imagine they were just a summer’s worth.

What do you think? Are the locks a sparkly homage to superstitious lovers, or are they an eyesore on an old monument? I encourage you to walk along the Seine, with the morning sun casting long shadows along the cobblestones, a hot crepe wrapped in paper in your hand, and witness the bridge in person before you make a decision.