Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing.
To start off our new Behind the Design Wednesdays and to kick off our new Modern Mexico collection for girls and boys, we thought we’d post a video of footage shot while our designers were traveling around Mexico. We’ll release more of this collection in the coming weeks! We hope you feel as inspired as we do.
Today we have a guest post from Ana, who works in Graphic Design at Tea. Every year Tea employees receive a dividend from Tea to use towards international travel. On Studio T we’ll be sharing travel stories of our employees as they travel around the world.
This year my international travels took me to Paris to meet my first niece Sofia. She is a gorgeous half French half Venezuelan healthy baby girl. So for this particular visit to the City of Lights, it was all about family time and not about sightseeing. I’m excited to see her grow up in a mix of cultures, and right now I’m undecided about a little detail… do I want her to call me Tia Anita? Tante Ana? Or Auntie Ana? French and Spanish will definitely surround her, but in me she has a very American aunt! So she will have a little bit of everything I guess.
Ana and Sofia
There are different things I would love to share from this trip, and I have a hard time selecting which ones to share. But I’ll share highlights of my favorite things!
This trip was not about the Eiffel Tour or Champs Elysees; it was about spending quality time with Sofia and my family. So on a Saturday, my mom, dad and I walked to a local market: Saxe-Breteuil Market in the 7th arrondissement. It was a bit overwhelming because it was crowded and the locals have their way of navigating their way through their market… and there were so many different things that you just didn’t know where to start! From cheeses, to hand-made Italian pastas, to jewelry and hats… you could find anything you wanted. On this visit we got a variety of raviolis and fresh vegetables to make pasta for lunch, and of course a cheese platter for dessert.
One afternoon, my mom and I took a walk on Rue de Sèvres and visited the Hermes store there. Amazing. My family had told me about how beautiful it was inside and the minute I saw the window displays I knew I was in for a treat! The entrance had a flower section with orchids and mini flower arrangements on one side and on the other it was all about horses and the classic Hermes scarf. But what really drew me in was once you started walking down the stairs into the main floor this enormous three pear-shaped tee-pees made out of wood and in each of them a different theme: beach, home linen and home china. My eyes were flying all over every detail. The floors, the leather handles on the staircase with the wood… forget about the product the experience of being in the store was just perfect for inspiration! And right next to the Hermes store there is a children’s bookstore: Librairie Chantelivre that I definitely recommend checking out. We were lucky enough that a Chinese illustrator was signing his books and he didn’t just sign the books–he drew illustrations with ink and brush on the spot. I think the parents were more excited than the kids to see the man at work!
The highlight I could go on forever about is Roland Garros. My hobby is tennis. I’ve been playing since I was a kid and now in my free time I play competitively (and for fun of course). So to get to sit in the stand of Philippe Chatrier during the 40th anniversary of Roland Garros was an amazing treat. I was only able to go to one day, but the tennis I saw was amazing: defending champion Francesca Schiavone, Novak Djokovic – winning his 38th straight win in 2011! For a tennis fan this was one lucky day to get all this great tennis on the first round of the open. I wish my pictures could show how amazing the tennis was, but my main focus was to capture the tennis form of the players so that I could improve my game!
The last little thing I’d love to share is that on one of the walks to the metro to go from our place to my sister’s place, there’s a little park across the street from Le Bon Marché…as we were walking by I spotted a trailer and my mind clicked: they’re having a photo shoot at the park! I’ve been doing a little bit of photography at Tea and now I can’t help but pay more attention to photography so I had to go check it out. I’m a little bit shy so I didn’t go and talked to anyone, but I did take a minute just to see them work. I have no idea what they were shooting for; there were two very tall models that looked like they were wearing something straight out of Lagerfeld’s sketchbook:
Welcome to our Fall 2011 collection, inspired by Modern Mexico! Our designers traveled to Mexico City, Oaxaca, and San Cristobal, and immersed themselves in the culture to gather inspiration for this new line. Loving the bright vivid colors, intricate embroidery, and bustling marketplaces, they returned to San Francisco to design our latest collection. We have a small release and preview of what’s to come up on our site, so head over to check out our latest girl’s and boy’s clothes.
For the next few weeks on Studio T we’ll be wrapping up our Barcelona-inspired summer collection, and moving into the festivities of Modern Mexico. We look forward to taking this journey with you.
Kimberly Brambilla is guest posting on Studio T this week, telling the story of traveling with her three young children to Spain, Italy, and Morocco. Read parts one and two of her family’s journey!
From Morocco we took a ferry back to Spain, and hopped a bus to the city of Malaga, where we fell completely in love. Even though it’s a large city it has a small town feel. We enjoyed walking along the cobblestone streets, listening to ringing church bells, strolling past beautiful fountains and sitting at outdoor cafes. I was ready to move there! It was difficult to leave this city, but we eventually headed by train to Madrid.
In Madrid the highlights were visiting The Prado and seeing flamenco dance performance. The girls were mesmerized by the dancing, the music, and the energy of the performers. Olivia was a bit confused at first when no flamingos came on stage, but she still enjoyed the show! Afterwards we walked around the city, and the girls were thrilled to find a flamenco dress in a souvenir shop. They put on quite a few shows with that dress once we got back home. In the end, there was still so much of Spain I wanted us to see.
Was it difficult taking a trip like this with children? You better believe it! Was it worth it? Absolutely. The girls had some major meltdowns and tantrums along the way but considering all of the flights, train rides, taxis, buses, ferry ride and all of the walking we subjected them to I think they were remarkable. This experience was priceless, and I would encourage anyone who is given the opportunity to travel with their children not to pass it up.
Here are just a few tips that might be helpful if you are planning to travel with children.
*Talk to them a lot about your upcoming trip. I have always found that preparing my children for what is coming, no matter what it is helps. Get them excited by reading books & watching movies that pertain to the destination. I also talk to mine about the parts that won’t be fun – the waiting in long lines, heat/cold, tiredness, etc.
* Learn the cultural dos & don’ts with your children. By doing this, as well as learning a few words & phrases in the native language, you will be treated better & respected much more than if you assume everyone everywhere speaks your language.
*If you are a family of 5+, consider renting an apartment versus staying at a hotel. Many hotels in Europe require 2 rooms for a party of 5+. The price comes out to about the same & you have the convenience of a kitchen, washing machine & more space!
*When traveling in large cities, take a double decker style bus that drops you off and picks you up at the sites. It’s an easier way of getting around & seeing more with children.
*If you’re like me, you’ll want to see everything but that isn’t always possible with kids. It’s important to keep them happy too. In Barcelona, my kids could have stayed at Catalunya Plaza for hours, not because of the architecture or the great people watching but because of the multitude of pigeons. Stopping at a park is a great way of giving children a break from touring.
Kimberly Brambilla is guest posting on Studio T this week, telling the story of traveling with her three young children to Spain, Italy, and Morocco. Read part one of her journey here!
Chiara, Gisele, and Olivia with their cousin in Italy
From Barcelona, we flew to Italy. My husband grew up in Mezzago, a small town close to Milan. He’s from a large family so there are many aunts, uncles and cousins. It wasn’t the first time our girls had been to Italy, but it’s always a bit of a culture shock at first. They’re greeted with tanti baci (many kisses), hugs and tears. There’s a constant flow of family members and neighbors that come to see us. It can be a bit overwhelming even for an adult, but it didn’t take long for the girls to warm up. We were so proud of their willingness to communicate with the family. Their Italian is rough but they sure try. My oldest, after playing and having fun with cousins, told us “I like speaking in Italian”. That brought quite a smile to my husband’s face! It is one thing to tell the girls about their Italian heritage, but it’s another to let them experience it firsthand. It was sad to say goodbye after being smothered with much love, affection and pasta, but in the end we set off for Morocco.
Morocco is unlike any place I’ve ever been. Many of our friends and family were concerned about us traveling there, but I am so thankful we did, because we learned so much. We took a short flight from Italy to Tangier, Morocco. When the doors on the plane opened it felt like we were a million miles from home and from everything familiar. The short cab ride from the airport to the hotel confirmed for me that the world is so much larger than the small space I occupy in my little Florida town. My girls loved seeing stop signs written in Arabic, hearing Arabic on the radio and holding Moroccan coins. Upon arriving at the hotel we went to the rooftop terrace for mint tea and cookies. The girls loved this! Chiara began making plans of how she would make her own tea once we returned to Florida with mint leaves from our garden.
The next day we toured the medina (city) as well as the outskirts of Tangier with our guide Cherif. Our first visit was to a rug store where we were able to see the process of Moroccan rug-making. The girls loved the experience of being given mint tea and their own “magic carpets” to sit on. We also rode camels, an experience which my daughter Olivia had been patiently waiting for!
The next day we visited the quiet town of Assilah. In Morocco you can hire a taxi not just for one trip, but for the day. The driver will wait for you while you explore, or accompany you, but most of the drivers speak little or no English. Our driver Unes was wonderful. He showed us around Assilah, ate lunch with us, and taught the girls a few Arabic words. He even bargained for Moroccan slippers for the girls at the marketplace, and we were all a little sad to say goodbye at the end of the day! It’s amazing how quickly you can connect with people even if you don’t speak the same language. The next morning as we packed our bags to leave, Chiara sat at the window looking out onto the street. She got so excited when she spotted Unes as he picked up more tourists in his taxi, and I was thrilled when I heard her say to him “Ahlan (hello) Mr. Unes”! I knew in that moment that the goals I had set when planning this trip were becoming a reality. My kids were learning about new cultures & peoples and embracing them as well. Beautiful!
This week we’ll be featuring three posts by guest blogger Kimberly Brambilla. Last summer she and her husband took their three young daughters to 2 Continents and 3 Countries in 2 weeks! This is Part One – stay tuned for Parts Two and Three.
“Are you crazy?” I’ve become used to being asked this question as I’ve planned trips and traveled with my 3 small children. Having children doesn’t stop me from doing what I love most– in fact having children has actually made me more determined to continue traveling, so that I can share this love with them. I wish to instill in them a sense of adventure, an openness and appreciation of other peoples and their cultures and a love of exploring the world.
Chiara, Gisele, and Olivia
Last summer we embarked on a journey of a lifetime. We traveled to Spain, Italy and Morocco. I knew that traveling with a 7, 5 and 2-year old would present many challenges, but it would also undoubtedly be an incredible experience for my daughters Chiara, Olivia and Gisele. We were going to Spain to vacation, but were also headed to Italy to spend time with “la familia”. My husband’s family lives there, and the girls do not get the chance to see them often. Since Morocco is only 9 miles from Spain I couldn’t pass up the chance to expose my children to a culture very unlike their own.
To prepare and get them excited we read library books about places we would visit, looked at maps, made art projects and learned simple words and phrases in Arabic and Spanish My husband also speaks Italian with the girls, so going to Italy would be an opportunity for them to practice.
With bags and camera packed we were off, and began the adventure in the colorful and vibrant city of Barcelona. We were thoroughly exhausted after traveling by plane, train and automobile to reach our apartment rental in the city. After dropping off our luggage, we began the search for a place to eat dinner. We were so tired that we stopped at the first place we found. It didn’t look like much, but boy were we surprised! Chiara wanted to order spaghetti but we reminded her that we were going to try new food on this trip. Once the paella, green olives, manchego cheese and fresh bread arrived at the table we were 5 very happy travelers. Although the girls were a little shy about using Spanish words with the waiters, they loved their first Spanish meal.
The next couple of days we toured the city in double-decker buses, which we found was the perfect way to see a city with kids. We saw many of the famous sites such as Sagrada Familia Church, Casa Batllo, Park Guell, and also spent time at the beach. Our time in Barcelona was short but the memories we made are long lasting. Next it was time for the girls to experience and learn about their Italian heritage and roots. Italia here we come!
Last week it was too beautiful to stay inside, so a few of us snuck off for a little walk on our lunch break. It was such a nice view we asked a passer-by to take our picture. He asked us where we were visiting from. We told him we were from the bottom of the hill.
At Tea we are all about bringing the world home. Each season we visit a different global destination, and share our inspiration and the stories of our travels. We are appreciative of the beauty we find and the countries we explore. We’re cultural adventurists, apparel designers and global travelers. We believe in the journey. In discovery. In caring and connection. In diving in. In experiencing life with every bit of our souls. We go there. Across the globe. And across the street.
And now we want to hear about YOUR adventures. We’re on the hunt for three Foreign Correspondents to share their experiences with us on our blog Studio T, between now and the end of the year.
If you and your children are traveling internationally in the near future, write to us! Email email@example.com and describe the trip you’re planning on taking. Tell us:
– Where you are going, and for how long
– What the purpose of your trip is – is it to experience a specific culture, reconnect with family roots, or do community service?
– How you plan on maximizing your travel experience with your children along the way
Before you leave we’ll give you a $500 Gift Certificate to fill your suitcase with travel clothes from Tea.
Once you return, share your stories and photographs of the people you’ve met, the food you ate, the fashion you saw, and the landscapes you explored. Bring the world to us. Write five blog posts on or shortly after your trip with accompanying photos or short videos detailing your adventures. We’ll devote a week of our blog to showcasing the story of your travels.
We will review all submissions. Please recognize that we may get numerous submissions, which makes it difficult for us to respond to everyone individually. We can respond only to the submissions that we’re considering featuring. Thank you for sharing. Happy writing. And happy traveling!
Horses have been an important part of Spain’s culture, agriculture, military, and sport for hundreds of years. However Spain’s most famous breed of horse would have to be the Andalusian.
Engraving of Andalusian, 1743
The breed was developed in the Iberian Penninsula in the 15th century, and was originally used as war horses to carry warriors during battle. They were eventually replaced by sturdier, larger horses who could carry men in armor, and since then have become sport horses, doing anything from dressage to bull-fighting.