Groovy, Baby

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I love Richmond, VA. Between its affordable cost of living, quaint neighborhoods, and growing food & beverage scene, it’s at the top of my list for the next move we make. In addition to its restaurant offerings, RVA is also chock-full of independent boutiques and I love going shopping in Carrytown when I go visit friends.

I love shopping at boutiques for a variety of reasons — they’re usually small, woman-owned businesses (an instant gold star in my book) and I love that each piece was hand-selected by someone whose heart and soul has been poured into the shop. Because boutique pieces are so carefully curated, I love knowing that there aren’t hundreds of the same item easily accessible and it makes the pieces I pick up feel extra special. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mass fast fashion retailers, but it just feels good to support smaller stores.

I’d been following Mod&Soul for awhile so I jumped at the chance to collaborate with them when they reached out. I instantly added these orange flares to my cart and since Richmond is so close, had them within just a few days. I’d been wanting to try the flares trend for awhile, but just hadn’t bit the bullet, so I’m so glad I did! I think this outfit is SO fun, and I can’t wait to style these pants with a black bodysuit and even possibly a crop top. The high waist and a cropped top is key so that your legs look longer and help accentuate your waist with so much volume on the bottom.

These pants are a litttle big on me, but I still love them. I’m wearing a size Small for reference, and am hoping a little time in the dryer will shrink them. I’m about 5’4.5″ on a good day and I’m wearing 4 inch heels in these pictures, so these are probably best for a taller gal. They do come in a size XS too!

Shop My Look

Pants | Mod&Soul

Turtleneck Crop Top | Vestique (similar)

Booties | LuLu*s (similar)

Jacket | Thrifted, but it’s Forever21 (similar)

Boutique Black Friday Sales

Shop My Look

Dress | Ivy Rowe (different pattern)

Boots | Steve Madden

Earrings | Red Dress Boutique

This may come as a shock, but I’ve never been a big Black Friday shopping person. One year in high school I stood in line with my friend, waiting for Target to open so we could get a highly coveted hot pink digital camera, and last year I picked up a few items online for Gerald’s holiday gifts, but this year I did my homework!

There are a ton of big brand deals out there today, but I love supporting small and woman-owned businesses, so instead of giving you a list of the specials you already know about, here are the deals my favorite boutiques are having for Black Friday. Each features unique items that are perfect for treating yourself, a friend, or even a fashion forward relative. I’ve had wonderful experiences with each of these small businesses, and I hope you do too!

Ivy Rowe

  • Spend up to $75 get 30% off
  • Spend $75-$150 Get 40% off
  • Spend $150+ get 50% off

Discount will automatically apply at checkout.

I discovered this Charleston boutique on Instagram when I spotted the dress featured in this post on a girl I used to work with and was able to buy it directly through Instagram messaging from the store! The dress wasn’t available online, but they invoiced me for it on the spot, helped me figure out my size, and even sent me a complimentary koozie with my package. That’s what I call customer service, and you won’t find that at big retailers!

Vestique

  • 30% off site wide till Friday
  • 20% off Friday until midnight
  • All lux brands, Spanx, and Show Me Your Mumu brands will be 20% off all weekend

If you don’t have a pair of Spanx leggings, RUN to your computer and get a pair now. They are the best investment to your fall and winter wardrobe that you will ever make and they rarely go on sale. I have both the plain and moto styles and would wear them every day if I could. Vestique also features a ton of on trend items, but sometimes sizing can run a little small (think like teen sizing) so definitely be sure to double check the sizing charts on each item!

Punch!

  • 15% off all day Friday, in-store and online
  • 25-50% off in-store on Saturday when you pick a spot off their “Dalmatian wall”
  • 15% off all day Monday online

This brand new DC store is so freaking adorable and the owner and on-site team could not be nicer. The store has a TON of amazing stocking stuffers in addition to trendy and extremely affordable pieces. It’s also right on 14th Street so you don’t have to schlep to Georgetown with all of the other holiday shoppers! Oh, and there’s champagne on tap, enough said.

Ivy Wild Beauty

  • 15% off all foundations and concealers through 11/30

Ivy Wild is a new, all natural skincare and makeup shop in the Manhattan Laundry building and I absolutely love their products and the knowledgeable gals who run (and own!) the store. (Read all about my love for the store here.)They changed my life by showing me my Saint Cosmetics foundation and I highly recommended trying it for yourself at the discounted rate! If you’re not local, you can call up the shop and they’ll happily take orders over the phone and ship it to you.

Red Dress Boutique

  • 30% off site wide

Another boutique with southern roots, this is where I got the striped dress as an option for my bachelorette party that you all loved! The shop has a huge selection of items online, all at affordable prices, and free shipping over $50.

Blast From the Past | My New Favorite Spot for Casual Tops

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Shop My Look

Top | American Eagle (on sale for $23)

Jeans | Madewell (on sale for $70!)

Shoes | Nordstrom (on sale for $50)

The secret’s out, I’ve been shopping at my high school retailer again, and no it’s not Abercrombie — I’ve been loving American Eagle lately. I’ve always been a fan of aerie, but stopped shopping at their sister store once I went to college. After I started hitting up Pentagon City Mall, aka The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, this year, I’ve been gravitating towards the store for its super soft tees and fun printed blouses.

I work in a very casual office — ripped jeans and Converse are the norm — so I’m able to get away with wearing pretty much anything I want. American Eagle’s fabrics hold up better than my beloved fast fashion retailer brands’, and I like that not everyone in my office or on my Instagram feed is wearing the same pieces I’ve bought from there! AE’s tops are perfect for work too because they come in fun patterns with interesting details, like the smocked detailing and square neckline on my top in this post, but they aren’t revealing.

I’ve been living in a camo t-shirt I got it this summer, pictured in green below, and even got a camo tee in a long sleeve thermal version. 

I also picked up this black floral print blouse at the start of fall and a navy printed, boho-y blouse, similar to the one below. They’re super easy to wear and look great paired with jeans without any extra styling, perfect for pulling together an outfit when I’m running out the door to work.

The retailer has tons of flash sales, all of these blouses are under $30 and if you choose to shop online you can order items from both aerie and AE in one fell swoop. Now that I’ve rediscovered my high school retailer, I don’t think I’ll be stopping shopping there any time soon.

Formulate Giveaway + The Perfect Friendsgiving Sweater

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Enter the giveaway here! 

If you’ve ever had trouble finding a shampoo that works for you, you’re not alone. Standing in the shampoo aisle can be overwhelming — there are so many options! Labels tout promises to make your hair more voluminous or shinier, but it seems that each bottle only has one purpose. I want a shampoo that volumizes, heals my split ends, and reduces frizz, but I’ve never been able to I’ve never been able to find one that does all it. Enter Formlate.

Formulate is a “chemist-to-consumer” company that works with you to create your own custom formula of shampoo and conditioner, factoring in your hair color, type, length, and even your zip code. You take a fun interactive quiz to let the company know your hair type, then pick “hair goals” — things you’d like your hair products to accomplish — and even get to pick your scent and how strong you want the scent to be! For my hair goals, I selected anti-frizz, mend split ends, oil control, lengthen, and volumize. I was skeptical that the shampoo would deliver on all of the above — after all, it was a pretty tall order — but was pleasantly surprised that it checked most of the boxes! I got a haircut halfway into my trial, so I’m not sure how the lengthening will pan out and my split ends were pretty un-mendable before the cut, but I’ve definitely noticed a significant reduction in frizz, volume, and oil control in the two 1/2 weeks I’ve been using the product.

I’m partnering with Formulate to give away one own custom set of shampoo and conditioner — basically all you have to do is submit your name! You get one extra entry for following them on IG 😉 You have until December 1 to enter! Enter here.

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This post is a bit of a double whammy, but this look was too good not to share the links to my outfit! My sweater is from Amazon and is a major steal at under $15. The cute boutiques I’ve seen with similar styles are selling them for about $60! The quality is pretty on par with what I was expecting for the price, but it’s held up well in the wash and for such a trendy piece (will distressed still even be in next year?) it’s worth sacrificing super high-quality material for the price! Unfortunately, it’s not eligible for Amazon Prime, but this cardigan comes in the same color scheme if you want instant gratification.

Shop My Look

Sweater | Amazon

Leggings | Spanx (read why I love them here!)

Booties | Steve Madden 

#CollieDogUnleashed | My Bachelorette Party

Shop my Look

Dress | Vici

Boots | Steve Madden

Bride Tattoo | Amazon (lol)

I’m still on cloud nine from my bachelorette party last weekend! If people say your wedding day is your best day ever I can’t even believe it because I truly think last Saturday was my best day ever.

I’m lucky enough to have two amazing Maids of Honor — Shivonne, my meatball and business fraternity brother from JMU, and Sharlene, my first roommate from DC and fellow dog lover — and they planned the most amazing weekend to celebrate.

With people coming in from out of town, I was being a diva and didn’t want to stay in my own apartment so they found an airbnb in Shaw that would sleep the people overnighting it in DC. They picked me up from my apartment Friday night and when I walked into our basecamp for the weekend, they had it completely decked out with engagement ring and champagne balloons! I kept them all and have been grinning at them like a lunatic in the corner of my apartment for the past week. They had also prepared “Bride Tribe” bags with cute hair ties, nail polish, Advil, light up rings, tattoos, and granola bars to hand out to all my gals the next day. I’m not into the over-the-too branded bride stuff, so the balloons and bags were tastefully perfect! They did however, insist on penis straws, but I let that one slide. The funniest thing was the life-size images of Gerald printed out and taped on popsicle sticks! Let’s just say things got weird in the limo with those.

The three of us had a pretty chill night on Friday that consisted of wine, sweetgreen, Moana, and Queer Eye, which was perfect because I’d had a super stressful week and didn’t want to be hungover for the festivities the next day. My childhood bestie Victoria rolled in at 2 am that night, and the rest of the gals showed up bright and early for breakfast (thanks for the spread, Jules!).

I love going to wineries, but since most of them are pretty far from DC, it’s hard to go visit them because you have to have a DD and rideshares out to Leesburg can get pretty pricey. I knew immediately when it came to planning that I wanted to do a winery tour and my MOHs chose Stone Tower and Bluemont for our destinations! They ordered a SUV limo to pick us up from the airbnb and we set off to meet my mom at Stone Tower.

While Stone Tower is arguably one of the prettiest wineries in Virginia, we had a bit of a snafu and almost left because the “bouncer” at the door wouldn’t let us in. Shar had emailed confirming we didn’t need a reservation, but the security guard literally had his arms up, barring us from entering, even after she showed him the email. (Note, we weren’t drunk and didn’t even have any bachelorette paraphernalia with us when this happened.) We eventually found the team member she had been emailing and things were sorted out, but the lack of hospitality was pretty jarring. It makes me sad to say this, especially since I had my engagement photos taken at the property, but after the way the treated us, I don’t think I’ll be back. Aside from that, we posted up with pizzas and a few bottles and had so much fun taking pictures and chatting with my mom.

We said bye to my mom and headed to the gorgeous Bluemont Vineyard about 30 minutes away, which is situated on top of a hill with stunning views. There were a ton of pups and while things started to get a little fuzzy for me around this time, we had perfect weather and loved petting all the dogs and lounging on the patio.

In the most anti-climatic bachelorette fashion ever, we headed back to the airbnb, changed into our comfies, and spent the rest of the night watching Carpool Karaoke and Crosswalk Musicals, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was actually quite amazing to wake up the next morning and not be hungover!

True to my personal brand, we headed to Mission the next day for brunch and margaritas and ended the festivities with rooftop drinks. It was the most perfect weekend ever and I can’t thank my girls enough for throwing such an epic party! I’m so lucky to have such wonderful humans in my life and I’ll forever remember the weekend as one of the best times of my life. Love you all!

Books To Put on Your Reading List

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Growing up, I loved to read. I’d devour books on our summer reading list and could tear through assigned readings in half the time allotted, and I’m so happy it’s something I never outgrew. Gerald is also an avid reader, so we’re constantly comparing reads and always make a point to find a bookstore to stop into while traveling. I alternate between buying physical books, checking them out at the public library, and downloading novels on my iPad, and even did Book of the Month club for a few months!

Below are some of the most recent books I’ve read and recommend checking out or buying yourself!

Shop My Look:

Top | Amazon 

Shorts | H&M

Socks | American Eagle (similar)

Sweetbitter: I’m a stickler about reading books before a TV show or movie comes out, so I picked up a copy of Sweetbitter on our latest trip to Seaside. I usually like the book move than the film adaptation, and the novel didn’t disappoint. I caught myself giggling while reading the pretty relatable book, and highly recommend picking it up before you tune into the Starz show. I’d even consider it my favorite book I’ve read this year!

Desperate Girls: I love a good dark murder book, and Desperate Girls was such a good read that I finished it within 48 hours. The book definitely reads like it could be a TV show, but the lead character is a super strong and smart female and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t develop a crush on the male lead. This is a great pool or beach read!

Along The Infinite Sea: Gerald’s mom actually recommended this book to me and I even passed it along to my mom! It’s a beautifully written story that combines romance with historical fiction, set in the French Rivera during World War 2. I really couldn’t put this one down either.

The Secret Life of Violet Grant: a sister novel to Along The Infinite Sea, I think I fell in love with the firecracker female lead even more than her sister in the first novel. Also a mix of historical fiction and romance, this read is a bit Gossip Girl meets the academic bit  of Hidden Figures.

Every Man A Menace: I picked this up during a book swap at work and it was a welcome refresher from all of the romance novels I’d been reading. Recapping a massive drug raid told from different characters’ perspectives, this is a must-read for Breaking Bad fans. Gerald also gives it a thumbs up!

Wettest County in The World: based on a true story, this novel follows moonshine makers in rural Virginia and the drama that unfolds from being part of an illegal business. While this is definitely more of a masculine read, it’s still pretty good and exposes you to what risky business making alcohol was during Prohibition.

Emma In The Night: another dark murder mystery, this twisted story is a will have you guessing “who done it” throughout the entire book as you follow Emma and her sisters’ disappearance and escape from their kidnappers.

Fall Bucket List

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I cannot believe it’s fall again — it feels like just yesterday we were returning from our trip to Asheville! Although this fall is packed — G and I both have our bachelorette and bachelor parties, we’re doing holidays together for the first time, and really starting to crack down on wedding planning — I still wanted to make a bucket list of things I would like to do this season. Since our schedules are already filling up fast with wedding-related shenanigans, I’ve sneakily been planning my weekends around things that I knew would make it on the list! Read on for my fall bucket list.

  • Go on a hike – as a James Madison Alum and a Northern Virginia local, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never hiked the Shenandoah mountains — my only real hikes have been in other states! Surprisingly, there are tons of places close to DC where you can get some fresh air and take in the foliage. This weekend, one of my besties and I are taking her pup to hike the Billy Goat Trail, which allows dogs on sections B and C. She’s just scooping me from the McLean metro stop and it’s only a 10 minute drive from there! Of course there’s always Harper’s Ferry, the C&O Canal Trail, and Rock Creek Park.

 

  • Visit a winery: I’m lucking out with this item because my Bach party is actually taking a bus out to two wineries! We’re hitting up Stone Tower Winery and Bluemont Vineyard, but I’m also hoping to stop into Veritas in Charlottesville when we go see Gerald’s family at Thanksgiving

 

  • DIY Halloween costumes: Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, blame it on growing up as a dancer, but I love dressing up and thinking of creative costume ideas. I spent way too long making Gerald’s Dalmatian costume last year so it’s definitely being repurposed in a fun way this year, and I found a pair of shorts while rummaging through my dresser that are going to make the perfect tribute to my current favorite Netflix show.

 

  • Get into yoga: I’ll be honest, yoga isn’t my favorite way to exercise but whenever I take a class I always feel so much calmer and dare I say, centered? As shit gets real with the wedding planning chaos, I want to commit to going to a class once a week to help with the stress.

 

  • Catch a live show: It’s been a hot sec since I went to a live music show — I honestly can’t even remember the last concert I saw! I’ve been itching to get to The Anthem, but also love the traditional venues like 9:30 club and Rock N’ Roll Hotel.

 

  • Closet Clean Out: as always, I’m planning to purge my closet when I swap out my summer items for fall clothes. I got $55 off of my last ThredUp bag! Not too shabby. I’m also trying to tackle changing all of Gerald’s wire hangers out for nice space saving velvet ones. Wish me luck!

Shop My Look: 

Top: Forever21 (similar & similar)

Pants: TopShop

Shoes: LuLus

Transitional Dress from Amazon

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There’s a reason you’ve probably seen this button down, ruffle dress in your Instagram feeds already, it’s the perfect transitional piece for fall!

In DC, the changing of the seasons is pretty bonkers. It’s October 10 and as I’m writing this I’m sitting in the Metro sweating from running around Bethesda trying to find a clients’ office — things that should not be happening when we’re busy buying pumpkins and planning our Halloween costumes. I can’t remember who posted this on Instagram the other day, but they captured it perfectly — fall in DC means a sweater in the morning and sweat on your upper lip come noon.

I digress. As you guys know, I’ve been loving shopping on Amazon lately. (You can catch some of my favorite finds here and here.) I had seen this dress on the site a few times but didn’t bite the bullet until I saw it on Jenn Rog’s Instagram, but as soon as she vouched for it I clicked “make purchase” in my cart. As a blogger, I’ve come to truly value my peer’s opinions when it comes to making purchases and they’re always willing to answer any questions I might have about a product or piece of clothing! If you ever have a question about something I’m sharing, I’m always happy to give a candid and honest opinion, whether it’s something on stories or featured in a post!

This dress is great because it’s super lightweight and while it looks short in the pictures, it’s actually totally appropriate for work and passes the fingertip test. You will likely have to steam or iron the heck out of it when it arrives, but that’s expected when you receive inexpensive clothes in the mail. It didn’t wash as well as I had hoped (I shot this when it was my second time wearing it) and I had tried to iron out the wrinkles, but I think a steamer would do a much better job. Ashlee from Cobalt Chronicles also has it in the orange/red color and as she pointed it, it does have functioning buttons!

Shop My Look:

Dress | Amazon 

Booties | Vestique (similar)

Clutch | South Moon Under (similar)

Date Night in the District

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Shop My Look: 

Pants | TopShop

Shoes | LuLus

Top | Similar 

I am two things — extremely type A and a creature of habit. While I love trying and experiencing new things, it’s hard not to stick to places we already know and love when it comes to planning a date night. To inspire us to get out of our comfort zone and venture somewhere other than our tired and true spots, the control freak in me made a Google Doc with all of the places I want to try in the city, complete with the type of cuisine the restaurant serves and down-to-the-minute details of how long it would take to get there from our apartment — both in terms of walking and hailing a ride share. Like I said, I’m a control freak.

The doc has come in handy quite a few times when trying to figure out where to go with friends, which is exactly how we ended up at District Winery for our latest double date. I just sent the doc to our friends and had them pick since I knew I’d be happy with any of the choices!

If you don’t have a dining bucket list, consider this your jumping off point and start your own! Below are some of our favorite spots to go, and you can always check out my main DC Dining Guide for more inspiration!

If You’re Feeling “Sceney” | District Winery

Situated in Navy Yard,  the winery has a tasting bar and full-service restaurant and doubles as an event venue. We kicked off the evening with a wine tasting (orange wine is actually amazing!) and then had a great meal at their restaurant Ana. Head over to Bluejacket Brewery after dinner if you want to continue your evening!

If You’re Too Tired To Go Out | Beau Thai + Netflix

I knew I had a problem when I added Beau Thai as a contact in my phone. Gerald and I order from here at least once a week — usually right before we settle in for a few episodes of whatever show we’re watching (this month, it’s Ozark Season 2). We’re lucky enough to live right around the corner from the traditional Thai spot, but they also have a location in Mount Pleasant and deliver! I always go for the Pad Pik King Tofu and G alternates between the Pad Thai and Drunken Noodles.

If You Want a Traditional Date Night | Ghibellina + a movie

While we love our Netflix shows, we actually prefer to go to the movies! I got us MoviePasses in the spring and one of our favorite things to do is hit up Ghibellina’s happy hour and then walk it off by catching a flick at E Street Cinema or Atlantic Plumbing. Ghibellina has happy hour every day and they have pizzas on their happy hour! We both can eat a lot, so we usually order our own pizzas, but the walk to the movie theater (about a mile each way) helps us feel less guilty.

For When You Want a Good Meal and Solid Service | Red Hen

Red Hen is one of my top three favorite restaurants in the city and we love bringing our friends here. My dad is a super picky eater and even he loved it! Red Hen’s menu changes seasonally and I’ve never tried something I didn’t like there. They always have one vegetarian pasta on the menu (obvi my order) and the burratta appetizer is always the first thing we ask for.

If you want to relive my birthday for the last three years 😊| Lauriol Plaza + happy hour at The Riggsby

I know it’s not chic or forward-thinking, but Lauriol Plaza is seriously my favorite restaurant in the city. Every year for my birthday I ask that Gerald takes me to happy hour at The Riggsby (a 1960s-inspired supper club in Dupont Circle) and then we walk over to Lauriol Plaza for dinner and a pitcher of margs. The Riggsby’s happy hour is on point — I literally think about their gimlets on the regular — and it has a fun yet intimate vibe despite being in a hotel.

Fall Ready Event | Fashion Centre at Pentagon City

I am a summer girl through and through, but I have to admit, I do get excited about fall because the changing of the seasons is a great excuse to fuel my shopping addictions. While I default to the fast-fashion shops around Metro Center when I need a quick retail therapy fix, nothing beats a full mall shopping experience. Sure, the crowds can be overwhelming, but having a plethora of shops, brands, and food all in the same space is actually quite the treat.

You’ve heard me talk about how I grew up going to the Pentagon City Mall, now dubbed the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, and I truly mean it when I say that it’s a serious gem that Washingtonians need to take advantage of. Even though the Fashion Centre is across state lines, once you hop on the yellow or blue line it’s an insanely easy Metro ride — and parts of it are even above ground! (Looking at you coworkers who are scared of the underground.) I left my office on Pennsylvania Ave last night at 5:50 pm and was walking into Matchbox for the Fall Ready event at the mall by 6:12 pm — even with a 6-minute Metro wait.

If you’re like me and you’re looking for an excuse to shop, or even want to switch up your beauty routine, Saturday, September 22 is your day. Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is hosting their Fall Ready Event from 1 – 5 pm and it’s full of amazing perks! Stop by the mall for complementary makeovers, fall fashion previews, and more. The best part is that any shoppers who spend $150 or more at any store in the mall will receive a complimentary tote filled with giveaways! Just swing by Guest Services next to Sephora to claim it. Read on for a sneak peek of some fall highlights from some of the Centre’s top retailers.

The Body Shop | Did you know that The Body Shop was the first beauty shop to stand against product testing on animals? They’ve been around for eons but they were truly a leader in sustainable beauty! Gerald’s been struggling with a bit of skin inflammation and my cal Elisabeth of District of Chic recommended The Body Shop’s shaving cream for mens’ sensitive skin. I can’t wait to pick a can up for him on my next trip to the mall.

Kate Spade | Is there anything this brand can’t make fashionable? Their new fall line features a super sassy line of handbags and accessories with foxes and couldn’t be cuter.

L’OCCITANE| I actually didn’t know that L’OCCITANE products are organic! I’m on a bit of a natural skincare kick and I was so excited to learn that they use organic ingredients. The beauty shop recently launched a new Reboost product that’s meant to revitalize your skin after traveling and I’m so excited to try it out. Stay tuned for a review on stories!

TUMI| First let me start by saying, the store manager at TUMI is such a doll. She’s so passionate about the products TUMI creates that I was sold the second she told us that the brand is creating five new collections made just for women. The new collections are seriously chic, and I’m hoping I can somehow wrangle their suitcase and weekender bag into my wedding registry…

COACH | I NEED THIS DINKY BAG IN MY LIFE. I am utterly obsessed with this bag, and the whole Coach fall line is gorgeous — think western-inspired styles and hand-painted prints.