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 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.

August 26, 2011

Inside Studio T: Sample Sale

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 hosted a Tea Sample Sale at our offices to clear out stock from previous seasons. Before we opened the doors to the masses (who were lined up around the block), I took a few shots of some girl’s and women’s clothes that were hanging on the racks. I love our Sample Sales for the opportunity to see patterns and styles from past seasons that I loved, and have forgotten about.

And there’s another Sample Sale this weekend, at our offices in San Francisco! $5 entry, with all entry fees going to the Global Fund for Children. Details are as follows:

Location: 117 Wisconsin Street, San Francisco 94107

Days: Friday August 26th, 9am – 3pm and Saturday August 27th, 9am – 1pm.

August 25, 2011

Fall 2011 Stylista Contest is Open!

Our second Stylista contest of the year is officially open for submissions! Does your child love fashion? Do they enjoy creating and styling their own outfits? You may want to ask them if they’re interested in participating in our Stylista contest. Winners will receive a trip to San Francisco, and a photoshoot in Tea’s Studio. You can see photos of our last Stylista finalists here, and the winner here.

To Enter:

1.) Submit 1 photo of your child styling at least 2 pieces of our Fall 2011 collection. Have a great time with accessories and props!

2.) Visit one of our amazing participating stores for assistance with styling & photography or take your own photos and enter online.

3.) All entries must be received by Tea no later than 11:59 PT on September 30th.

Read all official rules before applying.

Enter now online, or find participating stores in your area.

 

 

August 23, 2011

Alexander McQueen at the Met

If you’ve been reading any form of fashion media in the past couple of months you may have heard about the stupendous exhibition of Alexander McQueen’s work at the Met in NYC. We at Tea love Alexander McQueen, but when I was in NYC two weeks ago the lines were too monumental to make it into the show:

line for Alexander McQueen show by Charles Kessler

Luckily Garance Dore was able to take some gorgeous pictures of the exhibition, so we can all get a taste of what was on display:

Were you able to make it to the show? What were your impressions?

August 19, 2011

Inside Studio T: The Pond

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.

We have two offices at Tea, right across the street from one other. Our home base is located at 1 Arkansas Street, where we do all our thinking, designing, marketing, merchandising, and customer care. The second, affectionately called “T2″, is used for big meetings, hosting fun events for retailers or bloggers, and photo shoots. We love that T2 is in a building that mainly caters to architects, as it includes a huge landscaped courtyard garden. And in that garden? This pond, filled with goldfish. I love walking by it when commuting from office to office. Wouldn’t you?

August 18, 2011

weeDecor’s Tea-Inspired Wall Motifs

We’re happy to announce a new partnership – with our local friends weeDECOR! weeDECOR makes wall decals for nurseries and children’s rooms. Our designers collaborated with them to create the wall decals above (clockwise:  Whimsical Birds, Origami Elephant, Tori Bird & Flower, Origami Bird).

“Tea, a leader in children’s fashion, is well known for their gorgeous and sophisticated prints and colors. We are thrilled to turn those prints into wall decals for children’s rooms”, said Pam Webber, CEO and founder of weeDECOR.  “We are especially honored to work with a fellow San Francisco company to offer parents more eco-friendly decorating solutions in the prints and palettes they have known to love from Tea.”

All weeDECOR products are made with a biodegradable fabric, and are reusable if you want to move them from room to room.

We’re totally charmed by them – arem’t you?

August 17, 2011

Tea and Google Catalogs

We love our catalogs at Tea – preparing for them, deciding on a artistic direction based off of our destination, and working with our talented team of models.  Our print catalogs have evolved hugely over the past few years, and we are now taking the next step by offering digital options. At Tea we are all about being green, and what better way to do that than offer a web-based catalog for iPad users?

So without further ado, we’re thrilled to announce our new relationship with Google Catalogs (which just launched yesterday). Google Catalogs offers an innovative new approach to exploring catalogs. You can zoom in to see products up close, create collages of your favorite items, share products with friends, and subscribe to our catalog to be the first to see what’s being newly released.

 

Are you intrigued? We are. Visit Google Catalogs to learn more, and play with our new Fall Modern Mexico catalog in a whole new way. Happy shopping!