April 28, 2010

My First Gift to My Son

Guest post by Ellen Payne
My Gift to My SonI still remember every thrill of the day my son was born:  hearing his first cry, counting his ten fingers and ten toes, watching him sleep in my arms. He slept so soundly, still unaware of the new world around him. I could hardly believe that this tiny person, whom I’d waited nine months to meet, was finally here for me to care for and protect. And when my son received his first shot of the hepatitis B vaccine, I was happy to be able to tell him: “It’s your first step toward a life without liver cancer, a life of happiness and health.”  How fortunate I was to live in a time when all newborns can be protected by the hepatitis B vaccine. How fortunate I was to know that my son will never develop liver cancer due to hepatitis B infection.

It hasn’t always been this way. Newborns started getting the hepatitis B vaccine in the United States less than 20 years ago. I got the vaccine when I started college, but it wasn’t until I was pregnant that I was actually tested and knew for sure that I was protected and hadn’t been infected from my mother prior to my vaccination. My parents never got the vaccine, and even though they’re officially at high risk of hepatitis B because they’re Asian, they never knew whether they were infected or protected until I told them they should get tested. Sadly, they have friends who weren’t as fortunate as they are, and who found out firsthand about the damage that hepatitis B can do.

It’s different for my son: he’s been protected since day one. He completed his three shots and now he’s immune to hepatitis B. He’ll go through life with one less thing—one less life-threatening disease—to worry about.

To me, it’s a no-brainer. The hepatitis B vaccine is safe and effective, whereas chronic (lifelong) hepatitis B infection has a one in four chance of causing death from liver cancer or liver failure. One in four?  If my husband and I are blessed enough to have two kids someday, that’s the same chance of our having a boy and a girl. (Or two boys. I could live with that.)  But I couldn’t live with taking that kind of risk with my son’s health. Instead, I chose to give him the peace of mind that comes with protection. I chose to stop hepatitis B on the day he was born—that amazing day that still feels like yesterday.

Will you, too, help stop hepatitis B? Tea Collection has teamed up with HepBMoms.org, a new nonprofit organization, to educate mothers about hepatitis B. This month, you can make a pledge to stop hepatitis B and win beautiful, comfortable Tea Collection clothing while you’re at it. Visit HepBMoms.org to learn more, and to join me and other moms in saying “Hep B stops with me!”

March 2, 2010

Toting a Toddler Cross Country

We live in San Francisco, while all of our family is in the Mid-West which means at least a yearly cross country trip is in store for our family, plus vacations.  I am on the constant watch for products to make traveling with our 2 year old easier while trying to downsize the amount of gear that we need to bring along. 

Jake sleepingThere are several blogs out there with great tips and ideas.  I love http://www.flyingwithkids.com/ – this site is full of tips and products to assist with traveling.   I am definately going to use the CARES Aviation Restraint System on our next flight, this way I can check the car seat which will make getting around the terminal so much easier and quicker!  Another great site is http://www.deliciousbaby.com/travel/family-travel-tips/ – lots of great tips for preparing for the trip, getting to and from your destination, and tips like baby proofing your hotel room while on vacation.

I would love to hear about any other sites that offers information for family travel as well as any great suggestions and experiences.

January 19, 2010

Children’s Clothing Through the Years

Tastes and trends in kid’s clothing are always changing, and sometimes “style” seems hard to define. At Tea, we believe in timeless, original designs that are both beautiful and incredibly wearable.

Take a look at how children’s clothing styles in America have changed over the years. We’d love to hear which decade or trend is your favorite!

(Click Image to Enlarge)

The History of Children's Clothing

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December 15, 2009

Tea Collection Brings Back Original Layette

Lotus Baby Jacket and Pant Set

Tea Collection has re-introduced their original Eternal Layette, well-known styles and prints from Tea’s first collection in 2002.

The entire Eternal Layette collection of baby clothes is now made with exceptionally soft Pima Cotton.  The Chinese sweater jacket features a distinctive piqué stitch and mother of pearl buttons. The Lotus print in pearl pink and dove gray is inspired by vintage Japanese textiles.  The Lotus collection includes a footed one-piece, a wrap jacket and pant, a baby onesie, and a swaddling baby blanket.  Prices range from $29 for the footed one piece to $145 for a six piece set, making the perfect gift for new babies.

December 3, 2009

destination: korea, our newest collection of inspired children’s clothes

For our Spring Collection, our design team set off to explore South Korea to gather our inspiration for the season. This was very exciting, as I really knew very little about this country…and South Korea didn’t disappoint. In Korea, Isabelle, Tami and I found a uniquely vibrant, energetic culture and a land of exuberant color, ornate architecture and beautiful artisanal crafts. Enjoy!

Laura Boes

VP of Design

Korean yin yang on door Korean Street Scene Dragon on roof of Korean temple

It’s hard to imagine a place that bustles more than Seoul, home to the 1988 Summer Olympics, and the fifth largest city in the world. Everyone contributes to the energy and excitement… we heard so many parents urging their little ones along with a hearty “Gaja Gaja!” (“Hurry up Hurry up!”), rushing from one place to the next. This playful saying inspired our Gaja Gaja! t-shirt.

the Kims in Korea kimchee and other Korean foods Korean temple

In Seoul, we did a lot of exploring with the Kims, Tami’s extended family. They introduced us to Kimchee, the quintessentially Korean side dish of pickled vegetables that’s eaten every day at breakfast, lunch and dinner. We love spicy food, so we fell in love with this dish and decided to honor this staple in the national cuisine with our kimchee boy’s tee.

Insadong street scene Korean masks Korean door knocker

We wandered in and out of Seoul’s distinct, charming neighborhoods with the Kims, and discovered Insadong, a traditional arts and crafts street. We found shop after shop selling traditional crafts like Hanji, handmade Korean paper, used for everything from masks to clothing to furniture. Here, Isabelle and I found the inspiration for our Hanji floral dress.

Through our wanderings, we also noticed wonderfully ornate doorknockers at the entrance of homes as well as temples. The knockers were shaped like dragons’ heads to protect against evil spirits, and we incorporated them into our Heem Dragon polo.

hanbok patchwork jogakbo shopping in Dongdaemun market

At Dongdaemun Market, the largest shopping center in South Korea, we found many examples of Hanbok, traditional curved, high-waisted dresses worn at festivals and celebrations. This iconic, elegant design inspired the proportions of many of our Spring dresses.

We were also charmed by the resourcefulness of the traditional craft of Jogakbo, the art of patching together leftover scraps of colorful fabric for everything from blankets and clothing to wedding gift wrap. Two of our favorite dresses in this Collection are inspired by this patchwork tradition.

temple doors temple stairs Gyeong ju city metal work

As we traveled throughout Korea, we climbed steep stairways to find intricate detail and beautiful colors in ornate ancient temples. In Gyeong Ju, Korea’s historical and cultural center, we were awed by Bulguksa Temple– particularly the geometry of gridded doors and the beautifully painted floral patterns, which inspired us to create textured plaids and colorful prints.

We are so pleased to share our new collection, inspired by our journey to Korea. Enjoy!

November 24, 2009

“Little Citizens of the World” Blog Contest Winners

adventures of the wonder twinsWe were thrilled with the responses we received for our Little Citizens of the World blog contest – thank you to everyone that entered.  Selecting the winners was a difficult task – we loved the different interpretations of the contest.  The blog contest entries inspired great conversations in the office – we hope it has for you as well. 

Congratulations to our First Place Winner, who will receive a $500 Tea gift certificate: Jayme at adventures of the wonder twins

2nd Place Winner, recipient of a $200 gift certificate: Annie at Milk Dreams

3rd Place Winner, recipient of a $100 gift certificate: Meg at Backpack to Buggy

All three winners will also receive the “Be My Neighbor” Book and a Little Citizens Hoodie.Kids Hoodie

We also wanted to highlight a couple Honorable Mentions:

The Cechs Nest

The Bradford Family’s Blog


One Crazy Mother

At Tea Collection, we strive to be inspired, global, warm, and mindful.  We were inspired to read how the “Little Citizens of the World” are learning these qualities too. Be sure to check out all of the contest entries when you get a chance. Congratulations again to our winners!

November 21, 2009

Baby & Me Giveaway – win $1000 for baby clothing and a maternity wardrobe

Chinese Baby JacketTea Collection and Due Maternity have teamed up this holiday season to offer moms a $1000 Baby and Me Giveaway. The lucky winner will be drawn on December 1st to win $1000 gift certificates to each www.DueMaternity.com and www.TeaCollection.com.

This amazing grand prize not only expands a mom’s maternity clothing wardrobe, it also allows baby to say “Hello, World” in luxe baby clothing – from super soft onesies, jacket & pant sets, swaddling blankets, and sweaters.

November 10, 2009

my son’s first real haircut

baby's first haircutIt took me nearly 2 1/2 years after my son was born to give him his first haircut. All along, I had cut his bangs a little, but never the back of his hair. For months, my mom had been telling me to cut his hair. Most of the time, people thought he was a girl. And, his hair was kind of wispy, not super thick. But I still saw it as my son’s precious baby hair, and it took me a long time to prepare myself to cut it.

My mom kept emphasizing that it’s good to cut hair, so that it stimulates the scalp (or something like that) and new hair will grow back thicker and stronger. Everytime we visited my grandma, she would lament after looking at his hair and say, it’s so thin. None of those reasons were good enough to me, though. I know in some cultures (including mine, Chinese), it is common to shave a baby’s head either at one month or 6 months or so, regardless of whether the baby’s a boy or girl. That way, the hair will grow back stronger.

The real reason I was motivated to cut his hair is similar to why I usually cut my hair (also rarely these days) — for a change. My son had just entered a two-week phase of being extremely whiny, demanding and tantrumy. Miraculously, he’s never gone through his “terrible twos,” at least how I imagined it, yet. But all of a sudden, in that two week span, it was really, really difficult communicating with him, and even just being around him for the entire day. I was frustrated. I wanted my child back!

I didn’t so much blame the hair, but talked to my mom about his behavior. She mentioned again that perhaps I should cut his hair; it might change his energy and give him better “qi.” There was a thought I could go with. After all, perhaps his long sideburns tickling his face (he was always pushing his hair away), his long locks rubbing his neck in the middle of summer, and his bangs were all just too much for him and added to his irritableness. I could buy that. And at that point, I was desperate for a change! It wouldn’t hurt, I thought. I had been preparing for this day for months, it seemed.

First, I looked up all the kid salons in the area. They sounded fun and great but quickly decided that I wanted to be the one to give him his first haircut. The next step was gathering all the gear (scissors, comb, spray bottle, mirror, popsicles and his favorite video).

I looked to YouTube for guidance and found an excellent video of a mom cutting her son’s hair. I followed her steps almost to the tee. Except instead of a lollipop (my son has never had candy before), I made popsicles, to make sure he’d sit still for what I expected to be a long and tedious process. Turns out I didn’t even need popsicles. My son dutifully sat for a full 30 minutes with his eyes glued to my computer screen, which was playing one of his favorite videos, Planet B-Boy. Before I put in the DVD, though, I showed him the youtube video and told him what was going on. Then i asked if he would like me to cut his hair too. He nodded enthusiastically. That was a good sign.

That made my job fairly easy. My partner documented the whole thing on video. I first put the back of his hair in a ponytail and then snipped it off. (That’s going in the scrapbook that I have yet to start on). After that, it was very easy.

I wondered what he would think, seeing himself in the mirror afterwards. He looked like a little boy now, bigger than a baby or toddler. I gave him the mirror and he just looked, and kind of gave a smile.  Then I think he forgot about it all and just started playing (as I cleaned up a mess of hair on the floor, chair, etc).

But i will say this: I believe the haircut did change his qi. He seemed a lot more pleasant overall, totally left the tantrumy phase, was just happier. And I was happier being able to see his lovely face, seeing him grow up. He looked different, for sure. It was definitely a big milestone, one that took me months to get ready for! I’ve given him one trim since then, and now he will see pics of people getting haircuts and tell me that “mama” gives him haircuts.

November 5, 2009

Shop Children’s Clothing and Give Back

Little Citizens hoodie

Little Citizens hoodie

We are thrilled to announce our annual online event contributing proceeds from sales made on www.teacollection.com to benefit our partner, The Global Fund for Children (www.globalfundforchildren.org) – an organization that works to advance the dignity of vulnerable children and youth by supporting and strengthening grass root groups and harnessing the power of books, films, and photography.

The three day event with be November 4th, 5th, and 6th.  Tea Collection will donate 15% of all sales of children’s clothing from its website to GFC.

Tea Collection also offers exclusively designed tee’s, bodysuits, and a new shoulder bag in which 50% of the proceeds from these items are donated to the GFC.