Tag Archives: celebrations

February 28, 2013

Fun in the sun (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).
Emilynne, our excel whiz , traveled to her home away from home to the sunny and humid group of islands in the Pacific.

Last October/November I took a short hike halfway across the world to visit my sister for her semester break in the Philippines. A lot of the school holidays in the Philippines do fall,slightly suspiciously, during major Catholic Feast Days. This means that the Triduum of All Hallows, Christmas, and Holy Week are all holidays that the children may observe with family.

Traveling pictures in the airport.

Look at the handwritten plane ticket.

Once I heard about this break, I jumped at the opportunity to visit my mom and my sister, travel a bit of my parents’ home-country, and (most importantly) soak in some sun and warmth!

We did a small amount of traveling, but kept it relatively simple for this go-around as two of my friends (pretty much my sisters by everything but blood) were flying in and out of Manila via slightly different itineraries. My friend Radhika and I got in one evening and our first stop was Taal Vista Resort in Tagaytay, about an hour south of Manila. The resort has a stunning view of the Taal Volcano.

Taal Volcano in the distance

Look closely and Taal Volcano is the island in the middle of the lake.

Yes, that is an active volcano. In fact, people are not allowed to settle on the island, and even the resort we were staying in is technically within the danger zone. It’s hard to believe that this is an active volcano, which had quite a bit of activity as recently as July 2011, when you look at all the lush foliage surrounding it.

January 25, 2013

The best sights to see in London and Wales

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).

Sandra, our data guru, shares her travel highlights in the unexplored parts of London and Wales.

Stonehenge

L- R. Stonehenge, the White Hare in Llandudno, Titern Abbey, and Bath.

My brother and I traveled to the UK at the end of December to sight-see and visit our grandma and
uncle in the south of Wales. Since we’ve both been to London before, we skipped the standard tourist
stuff and took a lot of day trips before heading to Wales. Here are a few highlights from our trip:

London. Royal Ballet, one of the top ballet companies in the world, is a must see if you’re a ballet fan
or appreciate grace mixed with athleticism. Try to catch a performance with principal dancer Alina
Cojocaru.

Sightseeing tip: If you’ve been to London before and London Pass isn’t economical, Days Out Guide
offers 2 for 1 promotions with a valid travelcard from a rail station (must have the National Rail logo;
travelcards from London Underground won’t work) and it includes some attractions, such as the London
Eye, that aren’t covered by London Pass: http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/2for1-london

Stonehenge. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and on my bucket list of things to see. The henge is roped
off so you can’t touch or wander among the stones unless you sign up for a special dawn/dusk viewing.
It was very cold and windy there so make sure to wear lots of layers if you visit in the winter!

Bath. Who doesn’t want to see the city where Jane Austen’s characters go to recuperate? Ok maybe
just me. The city of Bath is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has the only hot springs in the UK.
We took a tour of the Bath Abbey Towers (hilarious yet informative tour of the history of the abbey),
explored the Roman Baths, sampled the spring water at the Pump Room (tastes like warm iron, gross),
and ended the day soaking in the thermal waters at Thermae Bath Spa.

Tintern Abbey. Tintern Abbey is the first Cisterian monestary in Wales and inspired William
Wordsworth’s poem “Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey” and Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s
poem “Tears, Idle Tears.” The surrounding Wye Valley has beautiful scenic walks along the River Wye; a
perfect diversion while waiting for the next bus back to Chepstow!

Llandudno. Llandudno is the largest seaside resort in Wales and has a Victorian promenade and the
longest pier in Wales. The town has loose ties to Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland as Alice Liddell, the
“real Alice,” spent her summers there. Most attractions are closed in the winter, so after walking along
the promenade and pier, we searched for Alice in Wonderland statues scattered around the town (there
are four: Alice, White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, and Queen of Hearts).

January 21, 2013

A Call to Serve

Martin Luther King Jr and his daughter.

A softer side of MLK Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr once proclaimed, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?”  So, how are your honoring MLK Jr and his legacy?  Twenty-seven years ago President Reagan signed MLK Jr Day into existence and catapulted a ‘can do’ and ‘will help’ attitude into the American radar.  This willingness to lend a hand has been celebrated in South Africa for many decades, centuries even.  Ubuntu is the idea that we are all interconnected and what happens to you happens to me.  Desmond Tutu defined it as when a human knows “that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated… the essence of being human.” We can’t live without each other and we need to help one another out.

The idea of generosity and the call to serve has struck a special chord in Tadatoshi Akiba’s heart (Mayor of Hiroshima from 1999-2011).  He loved the call to action so much that he declared MLK Jr Day a holiday.  This really is a global celebration.  How will your honor MLK Jr?  Share with us on Facebook.  Remember every day can be a day of service to your community.

Check out Tea School Days- a no brainer to raise money for your child’s school.

*Image courtesy of Family Goes Strong.

December 26, 2012

DIY: NYE Mini Party Hats

2012 has been a whirlwind year filled with laughter, joy, celebrations for us at Tea!  We hope your year has been memorable as well.  What better way to say goodbye to 2012 and welcome 2013 than with mini party hats!

supplies for diy nye hat

Supplies for your own NYE mini party hat.

1. Download your free Mini Party Hat Printable.  Print it on heavy weight paper like cardstock.
2. Cut out your mini hat template.  Score the 3 lines to create slits for putting it together.  It’s best to leave this task for the parents as it does require sharp scissors or an Exacto knife.
3. Now time for the fun stuff.  Roll out whatever crepe paper streamers you want to use. Cut several 12 inch sections, we had about 4- 12 inch sections in varying colors.

Crepe paper streamers rolled out.

Step 3

4. Get your safety scissors ready and start creating the fringe!  Fold the streamer in half lengthwise (hot dog style).  We cut 1/2 and 2/3  way up the streamer to give it a varying look.  Then cut the long strand into 2 or 3 inch pieces for easy application onto the hat.

Pink and purple fringed streamers.

Start your fringing engines.

5. Dot the non- fringed part of the streamer with liquid glue.  Then apply the strands in a desirable pattern around the hat.  The more layers of fringe the better.  Naturally, you’ll want to overlap the layers of fringe.

Small dots of Elmer's glue.

Several dots of glue will do the trick to keep your fringe from flying away.

Half-way through fringing.

Partially done fringing.

6. Top off your hat with something festive and a smile!  Then attach your hat onto the headband or ribbon.

Mini party hats for all!

Happy new year!

December 20, 2012

Discover the World Tree of Hope

The World Tree of Hope decorates San Francisco’s City Hall.  Since 2006, the Rainbow World Fund (RWF) has encouraged individuals to inscribe wishes of peace and hope on 7,000 paper cranes that adorn a 25 foot tree.  Over the years, the tree has come to symbolize hope for the future.  It has evolved into a global symbol that has come to represent different cultures, sexual orientations, spiritual beliefs, and points of view.  If you could wish for something, what would you wish for?  Share with us on Tea’s Facebook.

San Francisco's World Tree of Hope

What’s your wish this year?

Cranes inscribed with wishes for a brighter future.

Closeup of the cranes.

Images courtesy of My Modern Met.

 

December 16, 2012

DIY: Holiday Gift Wrapping

We are well into the holiday season and it’s finally time to wrap some gifts.  Tired of the same old printed paper? Why not make your own?  You can purchase plain brown paper or even go green and use the inside of a brown paper bag.

Reasons we liked brown wrap paper:

1)  Your creativity can run wild- stamps, glitter, markers and more! You have a blank canvas to create.
2) You can personalize each gift.
3) It’s good for every occasion (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries etc)

Below are some ways we wrapped up our holiday gifts using, neon yarn, letter stamps, a brown paper bag, glittered pine cones, and of course glitter!

Neon string wrapped package.

Who doesn’t love a monogrammed present?

Show some color this holiday season.

Why not give them a sneak peek of the gift?

A fancy brown bag present with glitter and a snowflake.

A spruced up brown paper bag is an easy way to wrap a small gift.

Monochrome and monogram an instant classic.

Any budding fashionista will love the on-trend monochrome look.

Share this post with your friends.  Tis the season of giving. Happy wrapping!

 

December 6, 2012

diy: How to glitter acorns

Here is a fresh new center piece that you and your kids can make together!  We think there can never be too much enthusiasm for glitter especially during the holidays.

Elmer's glue, paint brush, loose glitter, and eucalyptus acorns.

All you need to create a festive holiday centerpiece!

When taking a walk one day, I realized how pretty these little eucalyptus acorns can be.  I thought to myself, there must be some craft that I could do.  Lo and behold there was! Glittered acorns.  Take a walk and gather some acorns with your kids, don’t forget to bundle up in your favorite Tea sweater first.  After you get home, shake out all the loose dirt, nobody wants dirt in their Christmas centerpiece.

Step 1: In many craft sessions, I have learned that it’s best to squeeze liquid glue into a paper plate or bowl so it’s easy for you to dip your paint brush into. Next, cover your entire acorn in glue. The more the better!

Step 1: cover your acorn in glue.

Step 1: Cover the entire acorn in glue.

Step 2: Next, sprinkle your choice of colored glitter all over the acorn.  Tap the acorn to rid of excess glitter.  It’s best to glitter over a newspapered surface for easy clean-up and recycling of glitter.  Shake and repeat the steps for as many acorns as you have.

Step 3: We let our acorn sticks dry standing upright in potted plants.  The dirt keeps the sticks and acorns from touching any clean surfaces.  Let it dry overnight and you’ll have centerpieces by the morning.  Santa did really come to town!

Glittered eucalyptus acorns.

Add some sparkle to your holiday party!

December 1, 2012

Passport to Cotton Tails

Each month Studio T will feature one of our retailers.  This month we are getting a glimpse into the mind of Miki, founder of Cotton Tails in Memphis, TN.  Learn about her store philosophy here.

Miki as a little girl at her first Ikebana lesson.

Miki at her first Ikebana lesson.

Tea: How did you decide to take the leap and open your own store?
Miki:
When my oldest daughter was born, I used to frequent a children’s store.  Every time I would walk in, I was completely ignored. I would find things on my own and would ask if someone would please ring me up! It was so frustrating but it was the only place to shop. When the opportunity arose, I felt I could start my own children’s store but have wonderful customer service. I don’t think Cotton Tails would be here today for 24 years if they had only treated me nicely at that store!

Tea: We know how special and unique all of our stores are, what makes your store unique?
Miki:
We do Saturday arts and crafts for the children every weekend. We do an annual Sidewalk Sale that people arrange their vacations around. Twice a year we have a calendar sale with a different category on sale every day of the month. We do seasonal events, like Mrs. Santa, silhouette artists, frozen yogurt treats during the summer and anything else we can think of!

Tea Collection display at Cotton-Tails

Our 2012 Nordic Holiday Collection at Cotton-Tails.

Tea: At Tea, we “Go There”, how do you share in that mission at your store and/or in your life?
Miki:
I’ve ‘Been There!’ My mother is Japanese, and I was born and spent my early years in Japan. I have been very fortunate to be able to instill my mother’s heritage and customs into my life.  It has given me a better understanding of working with people from different nationalities and backgrounds.

Tea: How do you balance it at all? What tricks can you offer us?
Miki:
I do a daily list of what needs to be done at the store and check off accordingly.  I try to just put the top ten.

Tea: What do you do in your “spare” time?
Miki:
I love to cook and have friends and family over.

Tea: What is something that your customers would be surprised to learn about you?
Mikie:
I LOVE to dance! Really!

Leigh Rawdon and Miki in Cotton-Tails.

Leigh and Miki at the Tea Time event.

 

November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I am thankfulWe wish everyone a joyous and laughter-filled Thanksgiving.  Today is the day to tell your loved ones just how much they mean to you.  Better yet show them.  Share a hug and a smile with everyone you see today.  We are thankful for the chance to share our world with you.  Thank you for welcoming us into your lives.  What you are thankful for today and everyday? Share with us on Facebook.

November 2, 2012

Inspiring Mom Awards: Mompreneur

 

Inspiring Mom Awards- vote today

Polls for the Inspiring Mom Awards are open!  Take a look at our candidates and cast your ballot for the mother you think best embodies the globetrotting, mompreneur, and making a difference qualities.  Today, you can meet two of our mompreneur model citizens- Ali Wing and Liz Gumbinner.

Ali Wing of GiggleAli Wing is the guru behind Giggle- the one stop shop for mothers and fathers to be.  Need tips on potty training?   Want educational toys?  Ali and her team have got you covered.  In her spare time (if she has any), she wrote the Giggle Guide to Baby Gear and a column in The Bump.  Check out Ali’s empire here: http://www.giggle.com/

Read Ali’s answers below:

1. How do you maintain a healthy work and home life balance?
I’m not sure I do!  But the key for me is what I call the “bookends.”  My morning routine is work out, shower & then have breakfast with and walk my son to school. I also end each day w/  family dinner at 7 pm and then reading time with my son.  Starting and stopping each day as “mom” gives me – and my son – our balance.

2. What’s your favorite aspect about being a mom?
I like who I am as a mom compared to who I was before. I have more patience & acceptance, and credit my son for those improved qualities.

3. Do you have a piece of advice for moms everywhere?
Have fun with it!  It goes SOOOO fast.  “giggle” was named with that motto in mind; kids make you smile. Don’t miss out on it by focusing on laundry or clean-up!

4. What’s one thing you can’t live without?
Other than my son & husband?  They top my list.  But right behind them are my Cole Haan Aviators. I don’t sleep enough, and am thankful for my weekend uniform at soccer games with coffee – and sunglasses (ha).

5. Who inspires you?
My father does – and even gone, still does, every day. He was a kind, gentle, hardworking, dedicated man –and he made the most of every day.  I wake up each morning with the goal of trying to be as good a person as he was.

 

Liz Gumbinner of Mom 101.

Liz Gumbinner, a mother of two girls, started her empire by blogging.  She is the Editor-in-Chief, co- founder of Mom- 101, and co founder of Cool Mom Picks.  She’s a parenting expert but she doesn’t take herself too seriously.   Many have called Cool Mom Picks the “arbiter of cool for the swingset crowd” (Parents Magazine).  Discover some of Liz’s musings here: http://www.mom-101.com/ or here http://coolmompicks.com/

1. How do you maintain a healthy work and home life balance?
I think the idea of working parent “balance” is a bit of a myth. I don’t know if working mothers ever feel entirely balanced; we just do the best we can, switching priorities from day to day as we need to.
Barring emergencies, I make myself unplug after work until the kids go to bed.  It’s a special time together even if it means staying up late to catch up on other responsibilities. But most importantly, I have the help of amazingly supportive family members, caregivers, friends and colleagues. I am so fortunate to have a strong village to lean on.

2. What’s your favorite aspect about being a mom?

The idea of living for something greater than yourself.

3. Do you have a piece of advice for moms everywhere?
The best advice I ever got is from my own mother: Accept that every decision you make as a parent is right, and that every decision you make as a parent is wrong.

4. What’s one thing you can’t live without?
Good cheese.   Seriously, it’s a problem.

5. Who inspires you?
I don’t believe you have to do something grand or heroic or world-changing to be inspiring. Having recently returned from a trip to Ethiopia I greatly admired the mothers dedicated to raising healthy, educated children regardless of the obstacle they face. Like walking 8 miles, barefoot, to get their babies immunized. Or working all day in the fields with their babies on their backs so they can afford to send them to school later. It puts a lot in perspective.
I’m inspired by any mother who leads by positive example for her children, and is helping ensure the next generation is inspiring too. After all, we’re counting on them!