Category Archives: Our Destinations

October 12, 2011

Honor Día de los Muertos with A Fun Puzzle

Behind the Design Bonus: Día de los Muertos Downloadable Puzzle

A little while back, we wrote about how much we enjoyed our trip to Mexico City. We had a particularly fun day on a colorful boat made even more memorable by the mariachi band that played for us from their very own boat. We took that fabuloso experience and gave it a little Day of the Dead twist by turning our band into a trio of skeletons on the Mariachi en Barco Tee.

On November 2nd (not coincidentally close to Halloween), the Día de los Muertos holiday is celebrated throughout Mexico and in many Latino communities around the world (and here in San Francisco).

On the San Francisco site, I learned that “Dia de los Muertos is a traditional Meso-American holiday dedicated to our honoring our ancestors. In Mexico, neighbors gather in local cemeteries to share food, music, and fun with their extended community, both living and departed. The celebration acknowledges that we still have a relationship with our ancestors and loved ones that have passed away.

In San Francisco, Day of the Dead has been celebrated in the Mission district since the early 70s with art, music, performances and a walking procession.”

Help your kids learn about and honor their own ancestors with this Día de los Muertos puzzle from our Modern Mexico Activity Book. Just click on the image below and print it out at your favorite size.

I’ll be thinking about my loved ones too – especially my grandmother Mabel, who passed away 2 years ago at the age of 97 in Tucson, Arizona, very close to the time of the Day of the Dead.

October 10, 2011

Jess’s Adventures in Bali [Part 1]

To help everyone at Tea go there, we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world).

Welcome to part 1 of Jess’s Bali adventures. Let’s go there!

Whenever I travel, I really enjoy going on runs as a way to explore a new place and orient myself. My trip to Bali, Indonesia was no different. After arriving at the beautiful Villa Santai where I would stay while in Tenah Merah, Ubud, I put on my running shoes and left to go check out some nearby villages. I had no idea that a casual run would turn into such an adventure.

I started uphill through a village filled with temples, homes, and snack stands.

There were also a few stray dogs lining the streets. I had been warned about Balinese stray dogs and the recent case of rabies that had been reported on the island. I had been advised to carry a stone or stick with me to throw at them, as this would surely scare them away. Although I try to avoid confrontations with animals, especially stray, untrained ones, I thought it best to carry a little stick with me just in case.

As I made my way uphill, I pondered how beautiful the day was. The sun was shining on the rice fields on either side of me.

The hot, tropical air felt lovely as I ran past. I waved hello to a group of children, smiled at the lady running the snack stand, and greeted an old man passing by with “Selamat Pagi!” (Good Morning).

Then, in the next moment, I came across a large pack of dogs in the path ahead of me. Instantly, I thought to myself, remain calm, no worries. Sing ken ken! But then I noticed a few ears perk up and several heads rise. A couple of them stood up and faced me.

Now I’m scared. They started to approach. I glanced around at the villagers, with a worried, helpless look on my face. That’s when they started to bark at me. At this point, I realized that I had completely stopped moving. I swatted my lame little stick around a few times, accomplishing nothing.

Finally, a little old lady came up to me and scared the pack of dogs off with a shout and a few swoops of her hand. She then came upto me and took the little stick from my hand. She chuckled, mumbled something at me in Balinese, trying to communicate that if I swat at the dogs, they grow more aggressive, thinking I am trying to attack them. She patted me on the back and sent me off, meanwhile still warding off the dogs for me as I made my way through the village. I thanked her, “Terri makahse bankyak!”, and carried on uphill, away from the village.

I would learn later that the Balinese believe stray dogs are re-incarnated ancestors and family members who have behaved badly. That is why they are treated so poorly by the locals.

As I continued up the road, I heard a big commotion. I noticed a little soccer field, so I made my way toward the voices to see what was happening there. I saw a few kids playing soccer, but looking beyond, I noticed a large group of people gathered. I made my way there, curious to see what was taking place. As I got closer, I saw it was a rooster fight. Even though I am vegetarian and also dislike violence between animals, especially for sport, I decided to put judgment aside and check out the tournament. What I saw was better than what I had anticipated. It seemed like every man in the village had joined.

Each male had a pet fighting rooster. They’d wait around, and then enter their rooster into the main fight. There were a few little kids there with their dads, but no women. I was the only woman there, dressed in a pair of running shoes, shorts, a workout shirt and an iPod. I thought they would shoo/send me away, but they were quite welcoming.

After a little while, I moved on and continued my run, only to encounter even more dogs. This time, my village lady friend was not there to help me. I panicked a little until I saw a group of bicyclists approaching. They saw the look of terror on my face and said, “Run with us!” So I started running and they surrounded me in a protective circle of bicycles as we passed by the rabid dogs. It was fun!

The return trip was no less exciting. The locals were burning their fields, blocking the road with dense smoke. Fortunately, a number of them helped me around the smoke by showing me where I could run through some rice fields.

I also managed to dart into a few homes whose owners had left the front door open. Balinese homes tend to be a collection of smaller buildings in a courtyard. There are living quarters along with a small open-air temple people build in their homes. I got a few laughs from some of the women and kids, smiled, and continued my adventure.

At one point, I started missing the bicycle gang. Instead, a man from the village had me run alongside him as he made his way through the dog packs on his scooter. That resulted in a good workout. Again I thanked him, and he responded “sama-sama” (you’re welcome).

When I returned to the villa, my friends asked me how my run was. I replied simply, “It was good!” . . .And jumped straight into the pool.

August 31, 2011

Día de los Muertos Tee

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.

Here are some of our favorite festive sculls from our Mexico trip. It’s kind of funny because right before we decided on Destination Mexico I read a trend report saying how skulls were the huge t-shirt graphic trend for the year.  I thought “gross, we’ll never do skulls.” Well here you are!  I hope its a little more fun and festive than other skull tees.

Tea’s Día de los Muertos Tee

August 24, 2011

Behind the Design: Taco Trucks

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.

In Mexico we mostly saw taco carts (below), but back here in San Francisco we see more taco trucks.  We love all food trucks so much so that we even  have huge events that center around them.

The Sanguchon Peruvian Sandwich Truck (above) recently moved into our neighborhood and is a huge hit amongst Tea employees.

For our Taco t-shirt (below), we decided to draw and create our own taco truck, and pay tribute to taco carts of Mexico by referencing their fonts, style and colors.

super tacos truck shirt

Now for the never-ending question – which San Francisco food truck will I eat lunch at today?

August 11, 2011

Dolores Olmedo

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.

August 10, 2011

Mariachi in Mexico City

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.

We loved the vibrant patterns and fun designs of these Mexico City boats. We couldn’t resist going on a boat ride and we obviously had to hire our own mariachi band. We requested a female singer, which is less common (pictured above). A good time was had by all! This experience inspired our Mariachi en Barco Tee.  We hope you enjoy!

Outfitted: Back to School Continues!

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

 

August 9, 2011

Xoloitzcuintle

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!