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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. softsurroundings.com.

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. thestudioat620.org.

GHOULED CAUSE: Booed Ghost

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 etsy.com/shop/thankfultimessigns, and $2 from each sign will go to the foundation, which provides funds for research in 24 hospitals across the country.

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