Sunday, March 7, 2010

Don't Drink the Tea

Yesterday evening found me back at Fashion Valley, this time determined to do two things: 1) return some purchases from Anthropologie that I realized didn't really work well into my wardrobe, and 2) to buy a couple more pairs of patterned tights from Nordstrom.  I'd bought a pair the previous day, loved them, and decided I should stock up, because they're the sort that can snag and run fairly easily and also the sort that don't get stocked.

So, I did.  And after a couple hours of walking and browsing, started to feel like I could use a little something...and for the first time ever, I tried the tea.

Teavana opened a storefront at Fashion Valley sometime this past year.  It's situated near Nordstrom, so nearly everytime I'm at Fashion Valley, I walk past it, and more times than not, there's usually an employee of Teavana standing in the doorway, offering samples of their tea.  I always refuse...there's something about drinking possibly-lukewarm or cool tea from little plastic cups (the same kind they serve salsa in, at Rubio's) that just doesn't appeal to me.  Today though, there was no one in the doorway (due possibly to the crowd inside the store) and spotting the thermoses with their sample cups in easy reach, I decided, what the heck.  I'll give it a try.

I chose a chai offering, and took a sip.  Mmm, cinnamon-y.  Another sip...mmmmm...this is pretty good...certainly hits the spot...another sip...I found my feet compelled to enter the shop and look around, a little dazedly, at the colorful displays of tea sets and tea-making implements, and then the wall of oversized canisters, presumably filled with...tea?

A Teavana employee approached, chirped her welcome, asked me if I'd been in the store before (my wide-eyed survey of the shop probably gave me away as a newbie) and then proceeded to accost me with a relentlessly cheerful explanation of how purchasing tea from Teavana works - first you buy the airtight tins ($6, guaranteed to keep your loose-leaf tea fresh - indicating that it'd be beyond the pale to keep your tea in anything else) then you buy the tea by the ounce (prices vary - $4.30 for every two ounces for one type of tea, $4.60/2 oz for another, etc.) and for the chai I'd been tasting, I'd need to mix two different types of tea - she now proceeded to open the large canisters (when I say large, I mean the size of a snare drum, only deeper) and use the lids to waft the fragrance of the tea to me so that I could sniff and pretend to discern something (it smelled good...but so does potpourri, and I wouldn't steep that...).  It was endless.  I was totally bewildered.  And because she was giving me such an involved explanation and elaborate performance (the brandishing of drums of loose leaf tea!  The waving of lids!) I felt it would be churlish not to buy some tea.   Suffice it to say, I tried to buy as little tea as I could, without appearing completely foolish, and even picked up some of the german rock sugar ("natural and really healthy for you!") and stumbled out carrying $58 of tea, tea-tins, and fancy sugar!

Suffice it to say, I felt completely had, and while the tea is good, it's not $58-good!  Sigh...I should have trusted my instincts and stayed away from that store.  The more shocking thing is the evening I was in there, the store was busy, and full of people - mostly youngish (in their 20s and 30s?) buying LOTS of this expensive tea.  I watched a guy buy an extra-large tin of tea for someone as a gift, and another fellow pay $49.99 for a large glass jar of the fancy german rock sugar (I paid $8 for mine...which was already bad enough, I thought).  The worst part about this brand of buyer's remorse - you can't really take this stuff back.  Sigh...never again.

Anyway, to the good part of that trip to the mall.  While in Anthropologie to return some items, I took the opportunity to try on a few of their newer spring pieces.  Here are some, with my reviews:

First up is the Dewbud Tee, in the navy color - though to me, it seemed more of a deep purple than a true navy.  I'm wearing the XS in this photo, and it was still somewhat big on me, especially in the chest area.  I am, however, pretty flat-chested when it comes down to it, so that's not a big surprise.  At the time, in the fitting room, I felt a little overwhelmed by the soutache-like detailing.  However, in the photo, it seems not so bad, so this top remains on my list of possibilities.  One drawback - not Duckie-proof.  Despite being 100% cotton, the tag recommends dry-cleaning.

Next is this top - a gray/beige plaid version of the Ode to Spring Tank.  For some reason, I can't seem to find it online.  I tried the Ode to Spring tank on last week, and loved it.  This one, I liked a little less.  As with the Ode to Spring tank, I found the waist fitted nicely, but the chest area was way too big.  One wrong move (or yank by the baby), and I'd pretty much  Also, it's priced at $88, which is $10 more than the Ode to Spring version, and $20 more than the Storybook Tank.  A pass for me.

This is the Circled Adornments Tank, which caught my eye with all its pretty detailing and sweet pink color.  It also reminded me of the pretty ruffle-tiered tops Kim, of Anthroholic wears to such great effect. Unfortunately, this top, while lovely in and of itself, totally eclipsed my waist, leaving me feeling stocky and tree-trunk-like.  Maybe Kathryn would have more success in this top...

Here is the Buds and Bunches Tee, which is not a tee at all, but more a tank/camisole.  Beautiful detailing and nice color, but I felt it was unflattering to my small-on-top, wider-on-bottom shape.  It'd probably be okay under a cardigan or jacket, but at $58, I'd prefer it to be able to stand alone.  Pass for me.

Here's the first dress, and what a dress it is!  None other than the Drifting By Dress that's been loved, purchased and reviewed by both Kim and Tien.  Kathryn also loves this dress, though she hasn't yet purchased it, as noted in her review.  I had to see what all the fuss was about, and try it on.  And oh, dear readers, it really is lovely!  I'm short-waisted, so the bottom tier of the top part of the dress sort of cuts off my waist, but it's nothing a good belt (the Looping Lanes, anyone?) wouldn't remedy.  It's a very sweet dress, but more party-dress than day-dress, so not a practical buy for me.  Still, if I had lots of disposable income, this would be quite near the top of my list.

That's all for now - more to come later!



  1. Carol, I tried that Dewbud Tee on and LOVED it (though I'm much much bustier than you, and I liked that the elastic actually gave me a little bit of a waist), but $88? For 100% cotton w/ some embroidery? Call me cheap, but I just can't do it! Let me know if you see it on sale...

  2. Whoa, you have a blog... There's been a Teavana at the Stanford Shopping Center for years Good for free sampling of odd teas; sticker shock on all of the goods for purchase