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.
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 3 of their adventure. Stay tuned for the rest of their story this week!
The memories that come to mind about the interesting sounds of Paris and Provence are ones that my girls found the most unusual, exciting or soothing. In Paris, they loved hearing the sirens of the emergency vehicles by and the music of the merry go round. At the train station, they learned to anticipate the whistle blowing and would prepare by covering their ears.
Draing the scene outside the apartment window while listening to the street sounds.
But it was in Provence that sounds began to really become a part of the experience. My older daughter and I snuck up to the terrace and discovered a flock of “crazy birds,” screeching and flying by the dozens over the rooftops with no purpose or pattern. We sat there mesmerized by the sound of the chaotic birds.
View from the terrace, where the "crazy birds" were seen.
During the day, we heard the church bells chime on the hour and half hour. Hearing the bells was a new experience for the girls, and they enjoyed counting the rings to determine what time it was. As we left the city of Aix en Provence, we could hear the hum of the cicadas that populate Provence in the summertime.
Listening to cicadas outside the Chateau de Lourmarin
Towards the end of our trip to Provence we drove to Avignon, the site of the papal palace. We ate gelato, people watched, and listened to French folk music while my younger daughter danced. This was a moment that we will not soon forget; it touched all of our senses.
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 2 of their adventure. Stay tuned for the rest of their story this week.
Our surroundings in France were incredible. The most amazing moment we had, the one that made both of my daughters’ jaws drop, was seeing the Eiffel Tower change from a lit up tower to a sparkling beauty. We knew that it would light up at night but all of a sudden, while we were on our night boat cruise it began to sparkle and continued to sparkle for five minutes. This was their single most memorable moment.
Right outside our hotel was the beautiful and peaceful Tuileries Garden. This garden was our direct path to the Louvre, which held the Mona Lisa, my older daughter’s favorite painting. At the Louvre, my daughters used their sense of sight to match the famous paintings they were seeing with the ones on their Louvre Bingo card that I had created at home, with the pictures of the most famous pieces of artwork at the museum. The bingo game was perfect for keeping their attention (at least an hour) at the museum. On our third day in Paris, we headed to Versailles to see the Sun King’s palace. Here we once again used our sense of sight to count the number of sun symbols we saw in each room that we visited…another tactic to keep the girls excited and looking around at the beautiful decor in the heat and crowd of people. The favorite room for both girls was the Queen’s bedroom with the pink and flowery motif and total number of symbols counted was over 100.
Playing Picture Bingo at the Louvre
After Paris we headed to Provence, where we had rented a car and were able to tour on our own. We drove to a 12th century working abbey called Senanque Abbey that was located in a valley outside of the hilltop village of Gordes. It is impossible to put in words how beautiful the ancient Abbey looked surrounded by the hills and purple lavender fields.
Senanque Abbey outside of Gordes
On a whim, we decided to drive to the town of Lourmarin where we happened to come across an old chateau that was open to tours. The Chateau de Lourmarin was a beautifully restored chateau from the 15th century with amazing views. The restored kitchen inside the chateau was the favorite all around.
Chateau du Lourmarin
The next day we drove to the French Riviera coast. As we approached the coast we caught glimpses of the sapphire blue waters peaking out in between the hills. We drove to a picturesque coastal town called Sanary-sur-Mer. It had a marina full of sailboats and a little boardwalk with cute shops and cafes. We were even able to take a dip in the ocean at a nearby beach. All of the natural beauty in Provence was a stark contrast to the metropolitan beauty of Paris, but both were a feast for the eyes.
Outfitting Back to School continues! More than ever before, our Mexico-inspired line of clothing is about mixing and matching, layering and accessorizing. Jennifer James of the Mom Bloggers Club wrote a fantastic blog post showcasing our latest collection. Some outfits are already on our website, and some aren’t even out yet, so if you want a sneak peek of what’s in store head on over! In the meantime, here’s some photos of her gorgeous daughters modeling Tea:
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 1 of their adventure. Stay tuned for the rest of their story this week!
The Shah family outside the Palace of Versailles
Our family vacation to France was full of so many incredible experiences which left our daughters, ages 7 and 4 wanting to come back one day and experience it all again. This week I will re-live our journey our taste buds experienced.
On our first day in Paris we came across a gelato shop on our walk back from the Eiffel tower. After a long wait and using the minimal French my husband knew, we finally sat down with our refreshing gelato. The strawberry and cantaloupe sorbets tasted just like fresh ice-cold fruit that was picked at the peak of ripeness! The wonderfully cold gelato was a truly delicious and much needed reprieve in the hot Paris afternoon.
After a few days in Paris, we took the train to Aix-en-Provence, a small town in the south of France As a promise to the girls, we woke up early and headed to an outdoor farmer’s market with stalls of produce, meats, cheeses. The first things we bought were a bag of beautiful dark cherries and a basket of strawberries. The cherries were the sweetest we had ever tasted. We couldn’t help but exclaim “wow” after the first bite of a fresh cherry. While walking back to the apartment, we nearly devoured all the strawberries.
Each morning in the apartment we would have breakfast consisting of fresh fruit and warm croissants. Directly next door to the apartment building was a family owned Boulangerie (bakery). Every morning my husband would run downstairs and buy some hot croissants and deliver them for breakfast. We would sit on our rooftop terrace, eating our warm, melt-in-your-mouth croissants, juicy sweet fruits and enjoy the view of the orange tiled rooftops, church steeples and Mount St. Victoire in the background. The food in Paris was fun for the girls, as was the experience of sitting in the outdoor cafés, but the farm fresh foods in Provence are the ones that still get their taste buds tingling.
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.
Amber on the design team brought this zapatista doll back from Mexico. Zapatistas are a leftist revolutionary group based out of Chiapas, and their fashion is a huge part of identifying who is participating in the movement. We’ll be writing more about them later! This little doll sits on the windowsill in the design department watching the daily hustle and bustle. We brought him downstairs to show him off in front of our large map of the world.
Menzel traveled around the world to shop, cook, and eat with families in their homes, taking note of each and every piece of food consumed during a week. Each image in the book describes a little bit about the family featured, and outlines the average cost of weekly groceries. Above, the Aboubakar family in Chad.
The Ahmad family of Cairo
The Batsuuli family of Mongolia
The Casales family of Mexico
I’s interesting noticing how much food that can be grown regionally plays a part in people’s meals. Some families eat mainly grains, others eat a lot of fruit. The families above seem to consume very little packaged food, in comparison to the average American family. To see more photos click here. What would a photo of your family’s weekly groceries look like?
This season we are all about outfitting! More than ever before, our Mexico-inspired line of clothing is about mixing and matching, layering, and accessorizing. This concept is great for back to school. In August the weather may still be warm, so short-sleeved shirts and dresses are in demand. As fall sets in and the weather gets cooler, layering a long-sleeve tee underneath short-sleeve items adds a layer of warmth. And as winter approaches throw on some thick cotton leggings, legwarmers, and a hat and you’ve got an outfit that is good for playing regardless of the weather.
And what better way to demonstrate this than through our customers? We’ve asked a few of our blogger friends to showcase our Back to School Fall 2011 collection, and highlight their favorite outfits. Over the next few weeks we’ll be featuring a few of these posts on Studio T.
The first blogger we talked to about this was Amy Turner of Mom Central. Her 3 year-old daughter Brooke is just starting to assert herself in regards to fashion, and has some pretty strong opinions about how she’d like to dress herself. In Amy’s words “She insists on picking out her own clothes and getting dressed all by herself, even if that means stripes matching up with polka dots and pink matching up with orange. And what gets me is her determination and strong voice. When I gently suggest a different option that may match better, she insists what she’s picked out is perfect and dismisses my opinion. Who can argue with that passion for flair?” Luckily with Tea Amy and Brooke were able to come to a happy medium – everything is made to mix and match, so there’s no clashing of colors and patterns. And hopefully those future conversations about clothes can be on hold until Brooke’s a teenager…
Christian Cota is a Mexican fashion designer and up and coming star in the fashion world. Born in Mexico City, Cota studied painting in Paris, before moving to New York to study fashion at Parsons.
Cota’s aesthetic often references nature, and many are calling his Fall 2011 line “haute hiking”. Inspired by seventies rock climbers, Alpine ski trips, and traditional Tibetan garb, Cota’s recent collection is constructed of earthy tones, thick furs, and loosely draped linens. About his new line, Cota tells a story: “A couple years ago I went to Mount Etna in Sicily. The temperature is so extreme at the top of the volcano and there’s a real spiritual aspect to dressing”.
To contrast with his earthy colors and to complement his spiritual Himalayan theme, Costa also introduced bright reds into his latest collection:
To see more of his collection, check out Christian Cota’s website.
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.
Growing up is hard. With all of the freedoms that we earn – staying out late, eating what we want, making decisions about our own lives and futures, life’s realities often replace playful imagination. What is it about kids and their imaginary worlds that is so innate? And why do we let go of it when we become adults? Let’s take their imagination as inspiration to reignite our own.