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Tampa Bay's top shopping picks: Soft Surroundings is open in International Plaza, 620 Zine Fest

Based in St. Louis, luxury lifestyle women’s retail chain Soft Surroundings has launched at Tampa’s International Plaza. [Courtesy of Soft Surroundings]
Published Aug. 21

COZY CHIC: Soft Surroundings

Life is hard enough, so why not let everything that touches you be soft and comfortable? That's the philosophy behind luxury lifestyle brand Soft Surroundings. The St. Louis-based chain has opened its 80th location in International Plaza. It's like a mini department store with a mix of apparel, accessories, home goods and cosmetics. Clothing comes in super soft fabrics and the look is cozy-chic. Designs are globally inspired with ornate patterns and exotic cuts. A collection of "toppers" zhuzh up any outfit and include bolero jackets, kimonos and cardigans. Sizes range from petites to plus. The shoes are cute and won't hurt your feet. The jewelry incorporates natural elements like turquoise, shell and agate, and some items are fair-trade from India. Bedding fabrics are also plush so you can catch some serious zzzs. And skin care products and makeup items are curated from around the world. It's located on the upper level near Dillard's. 2223 N West Shore Blvd., Tampa.

ZINE SCENE: 620 Zine Fest

In this digital age, it's cool to know people are still producing zines, small-circulation, self-published works of texts and images usually made on a photocopier. There are enough local zine creators to warrant the 620 Zine Fest, happening this weekend at the Studio@620. More than 17 entities including Print St. Pete, Keep St. Pete Lit, Wordier than Thou and Recycled Hearts Records will have zines available for purchase or trade. Through art, poetry or prose, creators muse over a gamut of topics in these pieces of self-expression. Free. Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 895-6620.


It's only August, but don't be mad we're talking Halloween. This cute Booed Ghost yard sign is for a good cause. Tampa Yard Greetings has created the decoration in partnership with the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation to help fund the research to cure childhood cancer. For Anne Bloomquist, owner of Tampa Yard Greetings, the cause was personal. Her brother survived leukemia when he was a child. Bloomquist also worked at St. Jude's Hospital and saw many kids with cancer. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, so when she and her husband, Brett, were conceiving a design for fall they settled on the cute ghost as a way to extend support through October. They took the design to Good Guys Signs, which printed it on outdoor-grade corrugated plastic with UV-resistant ink. They approached the Tampa-based National Pediatric Cancer Foundation for partnership. The signs are $12 via Etsy at, and $2 from each sign will go to the foundation, which provides funds for research in 24 hospitals across the country.


  1. Boys II Men perform during at the Grammy Museum gala tribute concert in 2013 in Los Angeles. PAUL A. HEBERT  |  Invision/AP
    The Clearwater Jazz Holiday and Hillsborough County fair open, plus the Morean Arts Center presents the “Picture My Life” exhibit and silent auction.
  2. Universal Studios team members walk through the Universal Monsters haunted house at a preview of Halloween Horror Nights 2019. SEBASTIAN ROJAS  |  Courtesy of Universal Orlando
    There are lots of parties this week for both kids and adults, as well as many pumpkin patches.
  3. Hauntizaar, hosted at St. Petersburg venue the Studio@620, will feature Frank Strunk III's Little Creep series of toothy metal smiles on Saturday. Courtesy of Frank Strunk III
    Plus, Zen Glass presents Pendant Palooza and a streetwear popup shop hits Mergeculture Gallery.
  4. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77), right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) and center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrate a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during a game in Toronto this month. COLE BURSTON  |  AP
    The Bolts are home for games against the Avalanche and Penguins, plus wrestling and volleyball.
  5. From left: A scene from 1975's "Rocky Horror Picture Show," starring Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon. 20th Century Fox
    The star of ‘Rocky Horror’ will screen the movie in Tampa and other Halloween-themed fun, plus the Tattoo Arts Convention and “Brick History.”
  6. The Florida Orchestra's Pops in the Park will return to Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg and River Tower Park in Tampa this weekend. Times (2013)
    Make a picnic basket for Pops in the Park, take the kids to Marine Quest or Oktoberfest and enjoy no traffic at Open Streets St. Pete.
  7. Jeremy Piven participates in the "Wisdom of the Crowd" panel during the CBS Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at CBS Studio Center in Beverly Hills, Calif., in 2017. CHRIS PIZZELLO  |  Invision/AP
    The Emmy-winning ‘Entourage’ star will host a bash at the poolside club WTR.
  8. The new show called the Bourne Stuntacular will debut at Universal Studios Florida in the spring of 2020, the theme park has announced. AP (2015)
    The new show called the Bourne Stuntacular will debut at the Orlando theme park.
  9. Anjelah Johnson attends the launch event for Kevin Hart's new streaming video network, Laugh Out Loud, in 2017 in Beverly Hills, Calif. DANNY MOLOSHOK  |  Invision/AP
    A sold-out Tampa show from comedian Anjelah Johnson, the Sacred Heart Fall Festival in Pinellas Park and a Tampa performance by singer Bea Miller.
  10. Bratwurst will be the star of Brat Blast, replacing Ribfest as the Northeast Exchange Club of St. Petersburg's big charity fundraiser of the year. Tampa Bay Times (2014)
    Brat Blast will be the Northeast Exchange Club’s big charity fundraising party this year after the high cost of bands and security for Ribfest cut into its charitable work.