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.

Diving Into Life’s Unexpected Opportunities; Peru.

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 Diane (she’s pictured below – the one in the middle!), our amazing marketing manager. Today she’s sharing her most memorable day from her Peruvian vacation with us on Studio T.

I love traveling abroad because it opens my eyes to new cultures, new people, and new adventures.  I am normally an organizer; my itinerary is methodically planned and set up prior to my departure.   This time, my travel adventure started out a bit reckless for me with a spontaneous invitation from my two friends to join them in Peru.  I thought, “why not?” Sometimes, you just have to dive into life’s unexpected opportunities! How could I know that I would get so much more out of it than I could have ever planned for? Here is the story of my most memorable and authentic day in Peru. It began with a bit of intuitive trust and a desire for adventure.

When we arrived at the Puerta (port) at Lake Titicaca at 7am, we had no tour planned, no ferry scheduled, and no time to do the standard overnight tourist stay on one of the lake’s popular islands. But, we were hoping to piece together a plan and a boat tour for the day.

We approached the first man we saw on the dock… keep in mind that between the three of us girls, we speak only broken Spanish and certainly no local dialect.  The man was small in stature and seemed to be in his 50’s or 60’s.  He spoke no English and very little Spanish, so even limited communication in a common language was out of the question. His native language was Quechua – a South American ancestral language of the indigenous people.  With hand gestures and the help of some of his friends, we were able to arrange a day trip to explore Lake Titicaca by boat with this local man whose name is “Victorino.”  We were able to discern that he would take us to visit the Floating Uros Islands and Amantani Island. But, that was all we could figure out from the conversation. The rest was going to be an adventure!  So, we put our trust in this weathered but gentle man and we journeyed on.

We climbed aboard an old, rickety, double-decker ferry and set off on our adventure. The 3 hour boat ride to the Uros islands was breathtaking.  The water was crystal clear and glass-like, and the snowcapped peaks on the horizon reflected in the water like a mirror.  The sky was the bluest I have ever seen with the contrast of the spotted bright white clouds to intensify the sky blue.

Sweeping views of the 3,200 square mile lake set at 12,000 feet above see level

Victorinio steered us toward the less-explored Uros Islands – the ones that few tourists ever visit.  Here we were able to walk around the floating islands made entirely of reeds.  When I stepped on the surface of the island, the water of the lake squished under my feet like a sponge.  It was like walking on a water bed. It was amazing to think of them floating out in the middle of the lake.  We even took a little ride on a canoe that was made of the reeds.

The Uros islands are floating islands made of reeds. The inhabitants of these islands speak Quechua and they make their living selling souvenirs to the few tourists who travel off the beaten path to visit these incredible islands.

The next stop on our tour was to the island of Amantani. The vastness of this island could not be deciphered upon first glance because of the mountainous landscape. When we got off of the boat we hiked up a steep hill – behind us, a panoramic breathtaking view of the lake. We trustingly followed Victorino up cobblestone paths through a tiny village. The people who live here fully sustain themselves with resources found on the islands. It was a walk back into a simpler time. Victorino welcomed us into his own family’s home where the walls were made of adobe, and the doorways and ceilings low. One tiny room housed Victorino, his 3 children, his brother in law and his grandson. Such a simple structure with minimal comforts, but with million dollar views of the massive lake.

The view from our lunch table.

As house guests, we were seated at the brightly colored table while the rest of the family sat down on a mud bench beside us in the kitchen area. Victorinio’s daughter had prepared us a homemade feast – she presented us with a traditional quinoa soup, fried trout, root vegetables, potatoes, cucumbers and coca tea.  The soup was a meal in itself and full of flavor!

After lunch, Victorino’s son showed us around their little village – pointing out the Plaza de Armas, the school, and the quaint homes. We spent the entire afternoon sightseeing and communicating effectively without a common verbal language.

When it was time to leave and head back to the mainland, Victorino sent us off with his son-in-law who escorted us to the ferry. The ferry carried the local people of the Amantani Island to the mainland. We climbed on board, unsure of where we would end up.  We had put our trust in Victorino’s family and so we continued on with his son-in-law. When we docked, we looked around and it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere. By now the sun was on it’s way down, and we were a little uneasy about how we were going to get back to our hostel. Within a few minutes, out of what seemingly nowhere, appeared a van that would take us an hour down to the road to Puno, our final destination.  As the bus stopped to pick up locals making their way home from a long day, we imagined we looked a bit out of place with our fair skin and North American features.  We hummed along to the radio with a feeling of pure contentment from the unexpected adventure of the day.

What began as an uncertain, haphazard attempt to tour the islands turned into an unexpected, incredible, authentic, one-of-a-kind, adventure!  It was the most memorable and heartwarming day of our entire trip.  Not only did I have the opportunity to see new cultures and new people, but I experienced the local lifestyle on a personal and intimate level.  Victorino and his family will forever be etched in my heart and mind for taking us under his wing, showing us his corner of the world, and welcoming us into his home.

 

Friday Round Up

It’s Friday! Our pajamas will keep your little ones cozy no matter what day of the week it is.

Things we found and want to share from this past week:

7 Ways To Blow Better Bubbles – 7 tips you won’t want to miss by Mari Richards on Handmade Charlotte!

You could win a 6 month subscription to Kiwi + a Tea wardrobe set! Winner will be announced on Monday July 29th.

We’re dreaming of a long summer trip – Where to?

Skip take out and make this Chinese dish at home this weekend.

The Traveling Mama explains the difference between Ice Cream & Gelato


A Parisian Affair

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).

Ana, who handles all things photo, took a getaway trip to Paris!


It has become a little tradition for me to visit Paris in May! It’s my birthday month, Roland Garros happens and I get the chance to spend time with my sister and my two year old niece. Win-win all around! This year I got the chance to land in Paris on my birthday and as a special treat I got to pick up my niece at the Crèche, her day care. It was so special to see her happy face in person instead of our weekly Skype sessions. She might have had a little shock to see Tata in person and not on the computer screen.

For the first time in years, I was able to experience life more as a Parisian than a tourist. Spending Saturday morning at the park with my niece watching all of the things she can do – never taking her eye off of the Ménage, knowing it would open soon. Her and every other child in the park waited for the lady who operated it, knowing soon they’d have to run to grab their favorite seat on the merry-go-round. That afternoon we stopped by my sister’s usual spot for cheese, fruits and vegetables.

Another day we decided to venture to the Jardins des Plantes to visit the zoo. It took a little while for my niece to warm-up to the park, but the minute we bumped into the local manège she was ready to go explore! We walked around the botanical gardens and then explored the zoo. The day flew by and I missed the chance to see the exhibit of the evolution of men… But there’s always next year!

Of course, I couldn’t miss the chance to watch some tennis. So rain and all, I spent 2 days at Roland Garros watching some great tennis. This is the only grand slam I’ve ever been to so I can’t compare to the other ones, but I will say it’s a very special place to watch tennis. I always get tickets for P.Chatrier, the main court, and then spend the day watching a few matches there, then jump around the annex courts. This year I got to watch Ferrer front row on court #2 and he made it all the way to the finals. I also was able to watch Federer, my dream is to watch Nadal so I’ll just keep going back until it happens!

On my last day, I had to get a bit of fashion in so I went to explore the Paris Haute Couture exhibit at the Hôtel de Ville. From the minute I walked in until the moment I stepped out, I was completely captivated by the pieces and how the space was designed. It was amazing to see how dresses were grouped by style, not years or designers, and for the most part they looked current, not dated at all. My one regret was not bringing my sketch book, but I ended up scribbling some sketches on my exhibit guide!

 

Special discoveries on this trip:

  • Librairie Gourmande: I’m no cook but spent over an hour going through all the cookbooks!
  • Palais de Tokyo: We checked out a special Chanel No.5 exhibit one night at 10pm. It was pretty cool to be in a museum that closes at midnight and then be able to have a drink!
  • Mariage Frères: I’m don’t drink Tea, but I wanted to bring back a special tea as a gift since my sister recommended this place. The packaging is beautiful and the recipient of my gift gave it five stars!

A Moomah + Tea Collection Exclusive: DIY Panda Mask

Today’s post is one we’re so excited to share with you! It’s no secret we’re huge fans of Moomah the Magazine; their photos transport you, their recipes are delicious and their original crafts keep little ones busy for hours. We’ve teamed up with the amazing ladies at Moomah to bring you 4 exclusive activities for Destination: China and today they’re kicking off the series with this adorable panda mask. Be sure to sign up for their newsletter to receive the latest issue and if you’re on Instagram, following them is a must – their summer travels will have you packing your bags in no time. Take it away ladies!

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Earlier on this year, we were invited to view Tea’s China inspired collection preview in NYC. Though the room was filled with so many of the most adorable new looks for kids, the first item that caught our eye was the sweetest long sleeve-T, with a timid looking panda sporting a pretty pink bow behind her ear. Though that was adorable enough, we were encouraged to turn the shirt around, only to see that the T was double sided! How much cuter can a child’s panda shirt be, then one with both a panda’s front and behind on show.

We were inspired. Tea’s Back To School delivery reflects a Chinese Eastern Pop theme – their street style, pop culture, kitch icons, and modernized versions of traditional crafts. The prints on Tea’s outfits encourage bold stripes and geometric shapes, and of course, pandas! With paper cuttings being a traditional Chinese craft, we decided to modernize the idea, and intertwine it with all other design aspects of their line. The result? An adorable Panda Mask – a clear mixture of our traditionalMoomah aesthetic, mixed with Tea’s beautifully designed and inspired collection.

 

 

 

ONE.org Features Our Very Own Emily Meyer

We’re so thrilled to share with you Em’s feature on ONE.org! She put together an amazing playlist of “dreamy, hopeful music that gets toes tapping and hands clapping” so be sure to go check it out!

Things we found and want to share from this past week:

Although these videos weren’t necessarily made for little ones; The Kid Should See This, really.

We’re pretty excited about our new Destination: China collection and so happy to see others are too! Check out The Style File, Fairytales Are True, Mamages, Bunny and Dolly, Style Smaller, and She {Hearts} It to hear see what others are saying about the new styles!

Thanks to you, we have some great pictures of kids in Tea!

Looking for a great weekend dish? These Baja Fish Tacos are the perfect solution.

Finish off the week with these inspiring words.

Complete Pandemonium

China loves its pandas, and so do we, from their pretty little faces to their fuzzy little tails. Did you know that China is the only place panda bears live, and the country has 37 official panda protecting areas? In the land where this bear is a national treasure, of course we caught a case of pandemonium.

Shop our Pretty Panda Graphic Tee now!

 

Maps & City Illustrations

Maps; They get you from place to place and remind you of all of the places you’ve been. They’re both beautiful and educational. On our designer’s inspiration trips they’re constantly sketching the beautiful places around them – whether it’s a floral pattern they find in a market or a design they’ve spotted on city tiles. We thought it would be fun to round up a few of our favorite hand drawn maps and illustrations. Don’t forget to bring along a sketch book on your next trip! Have sketches from past trips? We want to see! Send images to blog@teacollection.com.

 

Clockwise [Starting at the top left corner]:

Berlin –  Die Weitwoche Stil –  Edinburgh Towers –  Jamie House Design –  Marisa Seguin –  Tim Hopgood –  Hennie Haworth