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.
We’re loving this Lucha Libre inspired nursery, made for little Kahlo Noel!
Kahlo’s mother Erika wanted to design a room that reflected her husband’s Mexican heritage, and that wasn’t all about animals like many nurseries. In her words “I think the hardest part, and it still is, is holding back from buying anything and everything with a luchador printed on it. I wanted the luchadores to be present in the room but not completely take over.”
Don’t you think our Lucha Libre hoodie would be the perfect match for this new little citizen?
María de los Dolores Olmedo y Patiño Suarez was a well-known Mexican businesswoman. She studied law in the early years of the 20th century, and went on to own property and factories all over Mexico. Olmedo was also a philanthropist to the arts, and was good friends with both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Diego painted several portraits of her, the most famous of which was painted in 1955 after Frida’s death:
We love her traditional embroidered top and the classic Frida-style flowers in her hair!
Her biggest life achievement was the creation of the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico City, which holds her massive art collection. Our designers visited the museum and loved the xoloitzcuintle dogs and peacocks that run wild in the gardens! To date the museum holds 145 paintings by Diego Rivera, and 25 by Frida Kahlo, as well as 6,000 pre-Hispanic figurines.
Dolores Olmedo died at the age of 93 in 2002, but her legacy of art appreciation continues. In her words “Following the example of my mother, a teacher, Prof. María Patiño Suárez widow of Olmedo, I live as she taught me: ‘share all you have with those around you’. I therefore will this house with all my collections of art, product of a lifetime’s endeavor, for the pleasure and enjoyment of the People of Mexico.” It’s worth a visit if you find yourself in Mexico City.
One of the qualities we strive to incorporate into our clothes at Tea is the ability to play. Particularly in the Back to School season, clothes need to be stylish enough for kids to want to wear, comfortable enough to encourage play, and sturdy enough to handle tree-climbing.
Our friend Candace at Mamanista composed a fantastic post truly highlighting the outfitting capabilities of our Fall 2011 collection! Discover the outfits she created and enter a great giveaway featuring Tea Collection gift certificates! Outfitted:Back to School on Mamanista
Have you ever heard of Mexican hairless dogs? The xoloitzcuintle (pronounced shoh-loyts-kwint-lee) is native to Mexico, with roots tracing back over 3,000 years, and are believed to be the first domesticated dog of the Americas.
Their hairlessness has many theories, the most popular being that it was a survival tactic in the hot tropical regions of Mexico. The Aztecs in particular were very fond of these dogs, with the belief that they were necessary to guide their owners through the underworld upon death. Xolos exude an exceptional amount of body heat and were valued during cold months as additional heat sources at night. Perhaps due to this, they also gained a reputation as being healers, and are still kept around today as superstition for fighting away sickness. Xoloitzcuintles are also appreciated for their guard-dog abilities and unwillingness to back down in a fight. They bond strongly to their owners and are a notoriously intelligent breed.
Our designers saw quite a few xoloitzcuintles on their inspiration trip to Mexico. The dogs above live in the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico city, in honor of the philanthropist’s love of the breed.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are among the most well-known fans of the xoloitzcuintle dog. Frida with two of her pets (above left), and in her self portrait with her xoloitzcuintle (above right).
What do you think of xoloitzuintles? Do you find them elegant and beautiful? Or strange and ugly? They unfortunately didn’t make the cut for any of our Tea graphics this year, but we’re still fascinated by them!
Every Monday at Studio T we showcase fashion and art projects we find inspiring. Have a look at our previous Random Acts of Inspiration here.
“Of Another Fashion” is one of my regular weekly reads these days. Created by Minh-Ha T. Pham, it’s a collection of women of color sporting fashionable outfits, from the 1920s through 1980s. In Pham’s words it is “an alternative archive of the not-quite-hidden but too often ignored fashion histories of U.S. women of color”.
Outfitting Back to School continues! Our Mexico-inspired line of clothing is all about mixing and matching, layering and accessorizing. Amy at Mom Spark shows ways to mix and match some of our boy’s clothing on her blog:
Have you heard of the Disposable Memory Project? A group of people have released 346 disposable cameras in 71 different countries for people to pass along to one another. The hope is that they will eventually be returned home with photos from all over the world. So far 99 have been found! The process of transferring cameras from person to person is really fun, and the project logs every step that they can:
Camera 146: Left in the silkscreening lab at Otis College in Los Angeles by David T.
When cameras are returned they usually have a whole range of photos taken by different people, often in different countries. Camera 159 went on a long journey – from Wales to Greenland to Antarctica to Chile, and finally ended up in Ireland before being mailed back to the Disposable Memory Project to be processed:
Camera 308‘s journey was much shorter – it was passed to a man selling juice on a beach in Gambia, and passed around the village before it was returned:
Interested in participating? Learn the steps of starting your own disposable memory camera here. We’re so inspired by this project that we’re considering sending disposable cameras with our designers on their next inspiration trip!
Our first Foreign Correspondent is here! Bijal Shah, her husband, and her two daughters spent ten days traveling around France this summer. We outfitted them with a suitcase full of Tea before they left, asking them to share their adventures with us upon their return. Below is the final part 5 of their adventure.
Finally, our journey through France was enhanced by the memories of certain wonderful and not so wonderful scents. The only Paris scent that was a little too overwhelming for my daughters was the scent of the subway. I’m sure the heat was to blame for the overpowering scents of the underground.
Lavender field near Senanque Abbey
In Provence, the smells of the lavender fields were incredible. This was the perfect time of year to visit because the fields were in full bloom and when we were standing in the middle of the fields, it smelled like a bottle of lavender perfume. Outside of Avignon, we visited Châteauneuf-du-Pape, an area that produces wines developed by the popes of Avignon centuries ago.
One night after dinner in Aix, we strolled over to the Cours Mirabeau to sit and sip coffee and hot chocolate while we people watched. The smell of the drinks was enough to relax us and get us ready for bed.
Hot chocolate in Aix ex Provence
The one scent that my girls were not too fond of, myself included, was the overpowering scent of a delicious tasting Camembert cheese that their dad had picked up at the farmer’s market in Aix en Provence. We were having a wonderful rooftop dinner on our terrace with the fruits and veggies from the market as well as some fresh tapenade and a baguette from the boulangerie downstairs. Then my husband opened the cheese. It took a few moments for my 4 year old to realize that something was not so pleasant anymore. After convincing her that the smell is not actually from the cheese but a bird sitting around the corner, she agreed to taste it and actually liked it. My seven year old was not so easily duped and decided she would agree to taste it but wouldn’t like it. Overall, we had a FANTASTIC vacation filled with so many more wonderful moments all four of us are still laughing about. As much as they love being back home, they still wish they were back at the apartment in Provence or on top of the Eiffel Tower. They can’t wait until we go on another family vacation and get to have ice cream everyday.
Our Foreign Correspondent program is ongoing. If you’re interested in sharing your family’s international adventures with us you can find out more here.
Our first Foreign Correspondent is here! Bijal Shah, her husband, and her two daughters spent ten days traveling around France this summer. We outfitted them with a suitcase full of Tea before they left, asking them to share their adventures with us upon their return. Below is Part 4 of their adventure. Stay tuned for the rest of their story this week.
Our sense of touch or feel had more to do with the hot weather than anything else. At one point as we were walking through the Greek sculpture room in the Lourve, the girls stopped walking. I realized that they had just walked on top of an air conditioning vent and were enjoying the feel of the cold air. Needless to say, we all stood on top of the vent for an extended amount of time.
Standing on the cold air vent at the Louvre
Outside of our apartment in Aix-en-Provence, there was a small waterspout type of fountain that my younger daughter made it a point to run her hands in the cool water every time we exited or entered the apartment building. As soon as she would get her hands wet she would chase after her dad to spray the water in his face. It became a daily game for her to see how quickly she could get us wet.
Sitting in the heat of the Provence sunshine
Hilltop town of Gordes, "the windy city".
Our first driving adventure in Provence was towards the hilltop town of Gordes. As soon as we got out of the car, we felt the “whoosh” of the strongest winds we had ever experienced outside of a tropical storm. I was afraid my girls, especially my four year old would be blown over the edge of the mountain…probably false paranoia on my part. We attempted to walk around town while we clung to each other and posed for pictures while hysterically laughing at how wild but kind of scary the wind was. Finally we gave up and decided to sit down at a restaurant and have dinner, but every few minutes the canopy would get pulled up by the wind and come crashing back in place making everyone except the waitresses jump.
The day that we went to Avignon, we also went to Pont du Gard to see the ancient roman aqueducts. Under the bridge is a very cool and refreshing river that people swim and kayak in. We didn’t get a chance to kayak like we wanted to but decided to get our feet wet since it was a warm sunny afternoon. The girls enjoyed splashing in the cool water and feeling the slippery rocks under their feet.