Author: Tea Collection

Jessie tweets & chats her days away working in the social media and public relations departments of Tea. Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Jessie moved to New York after college to work in the fashion industry. Still new to San Francisco, she's constantly discovering new sushi spots and hidden boutiques. She's still dreaming of her last trip to the Caribbean and hopes one day soon she can play on the beaches of Thailand.

Exploring Spain And The French Riviera

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).

Meet Tara, she’s part of our merchandising team. Today she’s sharing a piece of her trip to Spain and the French Riviera with us.

The last couple of years I have made international travel a must – This past summer I visited Spain and the French Riviera!! I started my trip in San Sebastian. It was a cute, beach town in northern part of Spain. The beaches were beautiful, the food amazing and the people know how to party and have a good time. On a Saturday night streets were filled with music, drinking and laugher until 6 in the morning. After getting a taste of the Basque Country, I took a 6-hour train ride, enjoying the breath taking Spanish countryside, down to Barcelona. There was so much to explore in the city. From all the amazing works of Gaudi, great neighborhoods to the beautiful coastline, I definitely will need to go back to see it all. Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia were by far my favorites. At Park Guell I felt transported into a different land with beautiful structures and was able to see the entire city from above. At La Sagrada Familia I stood in awe of the beauty of the light shining through the stain glass and the massive structure. I learned every part had been carefully thought out and designed down to every last detail. So incredible!!

I also enjoyed watching a futbol match, Barcelona vs. Brazil, in a local sports bar. It was interesting to find more Brazil fans than Barcelona in Spain! The energy while watching was unbelievable.  The food continued to be amazing, I was stuffed at every meal! After exploring for a few days, I continued my trip to Cannes, France to experience the French Riviera. It was a great place to end my trip; the last of my days were spent laying on the beach looking out into the Mediterranean, taking a break only to walk the adorable streets filled with shops. I made sure to enjoy a bite to eat at a quant beach café.

My last night there they had the festival of fire works and the sky was filled with light and music filled the air. It was the best firework show I have ever seen! I had so much fun and saw so many wonderful places. I absolutely love to travel and explore new things and I cannot wait until my next adventure!!

 

Music From Around The World

Laura Phelan, lifelong writer and travel junkie, reports directly each morning to her daughters, Annie (5) and Maggie (3). She purposely lives in Atlanta, Georgia so she can hop a non-stop flight to anywhere from the world’s busiest airport. Today Laura is with us on Studio T to remind us that not all summer camps are just about canoeing and campfires!

Summer time in my household means many things. Bare feet, long days at the pool, a trip to the beach, and camps. My two young girls, ages five and three, helped pick the camps they would attend this year. The unanimous vote was princess camp, something they did together. One chose tennis camp, the other school camp with her best friend.

I myself am a self-proclaimed travel junkie. I’d go virtually anywhere at any moment given the opportunity. For the second year in a row, I spent part of my summer helping lead a group of teenagers on a trip to a developing country. My girls are now well aware of how Mommy leaves to go somewhere far away, helps people, and then comes home with exciting stories and exotic gifts. The girls know they are too young to go, but I look for every opportunity to share with them my love of travel. So before we jump back into a new school year, we all signed up to attend an ”Around the World” music camp.

My daughters may not have proper travel docs or the required immunizations for a global adventure, but don’t tell them that. They now have their own passports from the week. Each day, the campers “toured” a different place in the world, by way of music and art. The children learned what instruments are common in each country or region, and sang songs originating there. Then they created homemade instruments and other art projects. I was happy to serve as a volunteer and was able to travel right along with them. Like any good mom, I also snapped some pictures along the way.

From the African savannah to Japan, down to Latin America and back home again, we all learned some things. Mostly, the children learned that music is a central part of every culture. After each session in the music or art room, they received a stamp in their passport. This gave me the opportunity to share with them my own passport, and talk about where the stamps are from.

A poignant moment of camp came when my oldest turned to me nervously and said  “Mommy, are we really going to Africa?”

I laughed. “Not today, baby.” I replied. “We’re just pretending.”

But one day, my girl, we’ll go.

 

 

Laura recently starting blogging about her parenting adventures at littlepilgrimsblog.com. Say hello!


July Instagram Round Up

We asked you to use #teacollection in your Instagram photos and we were so excited to find that you did! Each month we’ll round up 12 of our favorites and share them with you here on Studio T.

row 1 (left to right): @ngstew, @agoldenafternoon, @saartje410

row 2: @pekechikpr, @embeerich, @beknitpicky

row 3: @rossila49, @chelseypaul, @briana_mcdonell

row 4: @dawnmg, @ambernge, @ariedeman

July’s Activity Book Winner

July 2013 Activity Book Winner

Take a picture of your child’s completed Tea Collection activity book picture and send it to us at blog@teacollection.com with “Activity Book Entry” in the subject line.  We pick one winner each month to receive a $100 Tea gift certificate.

Download a few of our activity book pages by visiting our Inspiration page.

“We Go There, Too!” with Sarah Tucker

We go there – we explore and dig deep into other cultures. We know you go there too. This new series will feature stories from world travelers; they’ve taken their first flight over seas with little ones, they’ve traveled back to their native country to introduce their children to grandparents, they’ve packed up only their necessities and traveled to developing countries. Here, you will find their stories and learn about how they’re going there too.

We’re so excited to have Sarah Tucker from Fairytales Are True with us today on Studio T! After learning she took her six month old across the great big sea for a family vacation, we were eager to hear how things went. Thanks for sharing a little piece of your trip with us Sarah!

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Before his half birthday Tuck had already made his way to four countries. My husband and I lived abroad as newlyweds and that opportunity afforded us many opportunities to travel to places I never imagined I would. When we had our son we wanted to share all of the rich insights and experiences travel gives, and raise a “little citizen of the world”.  Fortunately,  having a baby did not mean the end to our adventures, just different kind of adventures altogether.  Traveling with a baby allows you to see things through their eyes; which are always filled with amazement.  It’s true you have to go slow, but it’s a welcomed pace from trying to cram in all the sights all of the time. Most recently this past summer we took off overseas to introduce our baby to our newlywed hometown of Basel, Switzerland.  There we visited old friends, introduced him to swiss german, and wandered the cobblestone streets.  It was fun taking him to old haunts.  Of course no trip to Basel would be complete without getting a cheeseboard at Consum!  Surprisingly enough tea at the famous Les Trois Rois (Napolean once stayed here, as did the Rolling Stones) was a great spot with babies.  My friend who has also become a new mom, another old friend, and I enjoyed a long leisurely lunch with our babies.  We visited markets, smelled swiss peonies, and strolled along Spalenberg which has houses dating back to the 1200’s.

After that fun swiss holiday we headed down to Sicily!  We took a day to visit Mt. Etna and finished with a wine tour and “light lunch” at Murgo Winery. The light lunch was an eight course meal.  We we’re stuffed, but it was all so good. We ate at some amazing restaurants, and pretty much all of Italy is kid friendly.  They love babies and are incredibly accommodating.  We ate at Sea Sound one night, and Casa Grugno another.  Both beautiful Michelin rated restaurants you can take kids to.
Though he may not remember it, we will!  And I will always enjoy exposing my kids to different cultures, languages, and food. Love raising him to be a little citizen of the world!

Passport to Pacifier

Wing and Jon opened Pacifier‘s doors in 2004 after trying to find a hip gift for their niece. We are sure the stylish babies of Minneapolis owe much thanks to this niece for needing a present!  Since then, three Pacifier locations have opened their doors and lucky for us, two of them happen to be Tea Collection destination stores!  We encourage you to stop in and chat with the friendly staff who always go above and beyond for their customers.

Tea: How did you decide to take the leap and open your own store? How long has your store been in business?

Wing: I had had a job with a terrible boss, and I decided I couldn’t work for anyone else but myself. We’ve been in business now for just over nine years. I really need to go back and thank that boss.

Tea: All of our retailers are so different! Tell us what makes your store unique?

Wing: We have three stores and all have a very unique look. The main store in N.E. Minneapolis is our original one and the largest; it’s bright, colorful and a bit more quirky-looking. Our downtown Minneapolis store in the skyway is painted dark grey and caters to busy executives and office folks looking for a quick gift. Our newest location in the 50th & France neighborhood of Edina, has more muted and refined colors. They all carry many of the same products, but we’ve made an effort to tailor each one to the neighborhood it’s in.

Tea: What is your favorite part of the day in the store?

Wing: Opening boxes of new deliveries, especially clothing. It’s so fun because most of the time I’ve forgotten what we ordered months ago.

Tea: What’s the trendy thing right now in kid’s fashion now?

Wing: What are people coming in for? Mustaches on everything, still, and chevron.

Tea: What do you do in your “spare” time? Laughable right?

Wing: I’ve been lucky to have an amazing staff that allowed me to take my first full 2 week vacation in years. We took a road trip out east to visit family and it was a blast. I was worried about my 4 year old melting down, but he did great. I’ve also had time this summer to work on a little Japanese-style garden in my backyard.

Tea: How do you balance it all? Do you have any tricks for the rest of us?

Wing: With work and family, there’s always something to be done. I’ve come to accept that I can’t do it all, it won’t always be perfect, and I try not to let that stress me out anymore. My trick: try to schedule as many date nights and girls nights out as possible! For me, it’s the one thing that always falls to the bottom of the list, so I have to always remind myself to do this.