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Darling is a curated boutique offering women’s consignment and handmade local artisan goods, with new arrivals every week.

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The Darling Blog

Welcome to The Darling Blog, a life and style blog by the owner of Darling Boutique, Linnea White. Darling is passionate about empowering women and inspiring strength through fashion to restore dignity and true beauty. Enjoy outfit inspiration and style tips, featured #darlingfinds, local collaborations, and so much more. Live the Darling lifestyle - an altogether beautiful life.

Filtering by Tag: local collaboration

Meet Afton Mountain Vineyard | Darling on the Trail

Linnea White

"Everyone knows that Pinot Noir and turkey have been happy together on the Thanksgiving table for many years - but how about cranberry sauce and Pinot?!" Elizabeth Smith, General Manager of Afton Mountain Vineyards, is certainly in the holiday spirit - and so are we! For our latest Darling on the Trail collaboration with the Monticello Wine Trail, we made our way up Afton Mountain for a beautiful November afternoon at the vineyard. With 360 degree views of the mountains, this Tuscany-inspired villa winery is truly a relaxing retreat.

In the words of Elizabeth, Afton Mountain wines are "reflective of the boundless beauty in which they are born and raised." We couldn't agree more. The Festa di Bacco is a wine rich in heritage, and the perfect red wine for those cold nights ahead. It warmed our bodies on the day of the chilly shoot, and the rich, red color paired perfectly with the autumnal tones of our styled looks.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post to see how we styled our outfits for this autumnal afternoon in the mountains of Afton! Today, meet Afton Mountain, from the vineyard's rich history to the breathtaking scenery.

Q&A with Elizabeth Smith

You and your husband have personal roots here in the Charlottesville area. Give us a brief history of Afton Mountain Vineyards.

The first vines were planted in 1978 here at Afton Mountain Vineyards. At that time it was called Bacchanal Vineyards; we have a wine now (Festa di Bacco) that is an homage to the original vineyard [see the picture below].

The only wines commercially produced here have been Afton Mountain Vineyards. The tasting room opened in 1990 and the 2014 wines that we are currently pouring are our 25th vintage.

Photo by Megan Tiernan

When and why did you decide to found a winery here in Virginia? What about Cville and the surrounding area makes it ideal for wine-makers?

Tony and I purchased the existing vineyard and winery facility in 2009. We are both originally from the Cville area. We were looking into planting grapes on land that we already owned; realized that our land was not suitable for the type of grapes that we wanted to grow and so started the search for the best vineyard site, which led us to AMV.

Our rolling hills of the Piedmont and Blue Ridge are similar in many aspects to some of the great wine-growing regions of the world. Add in a little humidity and tropical storms just to keep us on our toes, and there you go.

Working together as a local wine community, we all share our knowledge of best practices in the vineyard and the winery, with the goal of creating the best wine not just for Virginia, but to compete at an international level as well.

Let's talk Afton Mountain wine. Describe the types of varietals grown and the winemaking philosophy.

We grow 11 varieties of grapes for 16 total wine styles produced. We have the usual Bordeaux grapes such as Cab Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot; we have some less common varieties for Virginia such as Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Albarino and Cabernet Sauvignon. Our philosophy is driven by our vineyard. We spend huge amounts of time in the vineyard, hand-working the vines to produce the highest-quality juice possible. We focus on premium dry red wines, along with Chardonnay and the few white wines we produce.

Photo by Megan TiernanIn 10 words or less, describe Afton Mountain wine. Be creative!

Handcrafted, elegant, and refined. Lovingly produced by a very small number of hands, which manage the wine all the way from baby vine to ripe fruit, and from sticky, sweet juice to nuanced finished wine. Wines reflective of the boundless beauty in which they are born and raised.

What are 5 things people don’t know about the wine-making process?

  1. First and foremost, we are a working farm. Though our surrounding scenery is breathtakingly beautiful, we grow our own grapes and make our wine right here on the property.
  2. Winemaking is both art and chemistry. You can’t have one without the other.
  3. Quality wine starts in the vineyard. If you don’t have good grapes, it’s a real struggle to make good wine.
  4. There’s a lot of manual labor involved in running a small-production, high-quality winery. This is not an automated process.
  5. The smell of the winery during crush is a beautiful thing.

How have you seen the local wine scene grow over the past years?

Not only does the Monticello AVA produce the best quality wine in the state, wineries outside of our region that buy grapes from this area also produce award-winning wines. The “local” movement that Charlottesville supports so well is the perfect fit for our locally produced wines. Our proximity to the major metropolitan areas of Richmond, DC and Tidewater give us great access to folks who want to enjoy our beautiful bucolic scenery while enjoying delicious wine.

As an AVA (American Viticultural Area) the Monticello AVA is hugely collaborative, supporting winemaking trials in various wineries, roundtables for discussion of industry issues and generally providing the communication among its members as we work towards making our quality wines known to all.

Talk about the concept that "grapes don't grow in ugly places." (We agree!)

We trademarked that phrase in 2009. If you’ve been to visit us you’ll know why. But as you travel the world of wine, there are so many different and yet uniquely beautiful settings that are conducive to grape-growing. It’s a phrase that we hope encourages people to not only visit us, but to think about their wine experiences and appreciate the beauty that comes with winegrape growing regions of the world.

Photo by Megan Tiernan

What is your most popular wine? Why?

It depends on the season. Our Gewurz is a year-round favorite, perfect for Thanksgiving, and yet we’ll sell out of it before then. Rose’ is a summer favorite. Our most popular wine year-round is the Festa di Bacco, a super-Tuscan red blend of Sangiovese, Cab Sauv, Merlot and Petit Verdot. It’s very versatile and food-friendly, medium-bodied with bright acidity that makes it easy to pair with a meal or enjoy on its own.

Suggest one of your wines for the Fall season ahead. What makes it perfect for the changing seasons?

We just released our 2014 Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. These are the “big reds” of our fabulous 2014 vintage. They are full-bodied, smooth and rich. Perfect for chilly weather and good friends.

Share a recipe or favorite dish to pair with one of your wines.

Everybody knows that Pinot Noir and turkey have been happy together on the Thanksgiving table for many years - but how about cranberry sauce and Pinot?! Check out this recipe for a new twist on an old favorite.

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“Darling on the Trail” is a series in collaboration with the Monticello Wine Trail and the many amazing local wineries. Expect styled shoots on location and feature interviews with the wineries. All photography by Megan Tiernan and shoots styled by Linnea White, unless otherwise stated.

Kerrie Pierce of Kitsune's Closet | Our Darlings

Linnea White

Our latest local collaboration is just darling. Kerrie Pierce is the owner and creator behind Kitsune's Closet, a locally made, small batch cosmetics and home goods brand. Her love of vintage is evident in the art decco branding and packaging, and in her own retro personal style. Her balms and lipsticks are currently selling like hot cakes in the shop - especially the Noir Red, a deep, burgundy color perfect for Fall. In this darling shoot with Megan behind the camera, Kerrie is wearing the custom-made "Darling Red" lipstick, coming soon to Darling Boutique! Come shop Coral, Decco Red, and Noir Red, and, coming soon, Poppy Red and our very own Darling Red. Stay tuned for even more of her cosmetics, bath, and body products coming to the shop later this month. The perfect gifts for the holiday season ahead!

Meet Kerrie and find out more about her products in the Q&A below!

Q&A with Kerrie Pierce, Owner & Creator

Photo by Megan TiernanTell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? If not the Charlottesville area, what brought you here?

Originally I’m from Maine. I ended up in Richmond after college (Hollins) and met my husband through mutual friends. We first came to Charlottesville just so he could go back to UVA and finish his engineering degree. We always talked about where we would go after he finished, but we had made some wonderful friends and decided instead of searching for a new city, to search for a home. We live in Belmont now, and are restoring a little bungalow from the early 1920s.

Describe what you do in town.

By day I work at a printing and engraving shop. We engrave and print everything from glassware to i-pads. I work with an engineer so we’re a great balance of left and right brain thinkers. By night and days off I work on goodies for Kitsune’s Closet. I also squeeze in time for knitting, learning cello and practicing yoga. I get twitchy when my hands aren’t busy creating something!

How did you get into the makeup/cosmetology business?

Like many other people doing handmade goods, I got started making things for myself and for friends. Lip balm was the very first product I made for Christmas presents one year. It was a big hit, so I started researching every related topic, ingredients, essential oils, aromatherapy, natural perfumery, when I am interested in a subject I dive in completely!

In 10 words or less, describe Kitsune's Closet... Be creative!

natural ingredients, vintage inspired, one small batch at a time

It's storytime. Talk about your collaboration with Darling Boutique.

I’ve been in Darling many times and always loved the shop (one of my favorite jackets is from there!) and we both happened to be at Fleaville one weekend, across the aisle from each other. We got chatting in between customers about my lip balm and how it might be fun to have it available in the shop. They are genuinely friendly, lovely people, and I admire their aesthetic and support of local artisans. I’m so flattered and excited for my products to be joining their wonderful shop!

How do you stay on top of the latest trends, ingredients, techniques, and products in your trade?

Honestly, the internet! Ingredient supply sites and blogs have endless amounts of information. For inspiration I collect vintage cosmetic ads. I have a great nail polish ad from the 1940’s showing the whole line available at the time, and it has black, yellow, blue and green as well as a huge variety of red, pinks and plums!

Photo by Megan TiernanWhat inspires your products and/or your process?

I love vintage clothing, and when I do dress in vintage I love to have hair and makeup that complete the look! So my cosmetics are vintage inspired with colors popular from the 1920’s through the 1950’s. I have sensitive skin, so my goals are for simple, effective formulas that are as natural as possible and make your skin look and feel great. I also make sure my ingredients are from sources that don’t test on animals.

What are some Fall/Winter makeup products/styles our darlings should know about? Suggest some of your own products for the changing weather.

As fall and winter weather approach humidity levels drop and our skin can start to feel dry. My lip balm and my Rosewater & Aloe or Lavender & Aloe lotion both have oils and butters that help keep skin soft and smooth. You can even start keeping winter skin at bay in the tub with my bath bombs, which also contain skin softening oils for a soothing soak.

What item of Kitsune's Closet makeup can you not leave the house without?

My petal finishing powder. I’m not a morning person and am usually rushing out the door, and a quick dusting makes me feel more ready for the day. I always have a tube or tin of lip balm in my bag.

What's your go-to hairstyle?

My go-to hairstyle is a quick bun, usually with a headband to keep short ends at bay.

How would you describe your personal style?

I would describe my personal style as I guess, eclectic vintage nerd? I love funky frames for my glasses, an endless supply of quirky t-shirts, cardigans, jeans and converse sneakers. I also have an affinity for brightly striped socks.When I have the chance to wear vintage I love seamed stockings, an awesome dress, a piece of vintage jewelry and some actual vintage or reproduction vintage heels.

Any products (your own or other) you swear by?

Special Effects hair dye. I can’t have my signature pink streaks without it! It comes in an amazing selection of crazy colors and stays bright for ages.

Where can someone find your products (besides Darling Boutique!)?

etsy.com/shop/kitsunescloset or facebook.com/kitsunescloset

Any exciting projects/collaborations coming up?

I just finished some really fun lipsticks and nail polishes for Halloween! I have an eye shadow collection in the works, and am always plotting more colors for lipsticks and nail polishes.

 

Mrs. R Robes for Ladies | Our Darlings

Linnea White

Luxurious. Effortless. Stylish.  We're excited to introduce our latest local collaboration with Gabriela Zabalúa. This Darling collaboration comes to you by way of a special pop up shop event at the boutique this weekend only.

This Saturday, October 10, from 6-9pm, enjoy an evening at Darling Boutique shopping the beautiful robes by Mrs. R, made in Argentina and each piece uniquely fabulous. Ladies, bring a friend and pamper yourselves by donning a luxurious Mrs. R robe or cover-up! Come ready to play dress up! The purchase of any Mrs. R product results in 20% off any regular price consignment item in the shop.

See how we styled one of the gorgeous robes and find out more about this local collaboration in the Q&A with Gabriela below.

Photo by Megan Tiernan

Mrs. R robe made in Argentina, $98 / J. Brand black pants, $64 / J.G. Hook black top, $12 / Pip's & Co brown leather & feather necklace, $16 / Owl Ridge Farmstead feather studs, $28 / J. Crew booties (Linnea’s own)

Shop these items and more at Darling, located on Charlottesville’s downtown mall!

Styled by Linnea White / Photography by Megan Tiernan

Photo by Megan Tiernan

http://wp.me/p5T4V6-IL

Photo by Megan Tiernan

Photo by Megan Tiernan

Photo by Megan Tiernan

 

Q&A with Gabriela Zabalúa

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? If not the Charlottesville area, what brought you here?

I am from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Was born there and raised between US and Argentina. My father was at the Embassy and as a diplomat, we traveled around. After 11 years as editor in chief of a magazine for AARP, I decided to start my own communications company. Looking for a more peaceful and slower paced life, I moved to Charlottesville from DC in February, where I met John Ince, Charlottesville Country Properties (Nest). I have since been enjoying my life between the city and the farm, were we have horse, dogs, a cat and 6 chickens.

Talk about your collaboration with Darling Boutique.

Darling gets it. They totally related to the look and feel of the robes and understood their originality and versatility. I don’t know about you, but, I need clothing that adapts to my mood and that I can style in different ways to get me through the day. These robes are exquisite as such, but they can also be dressed up with some jewelry and heels and worn as a wrap dress to “flow” around in the city at night. Or, belted on top of a pair of skinny jeans. Wear them any way you want, and you will feel fabulous. When the partners at Darling saw the robes, they immediately started brainstorming to make their introduction to Charlottesville a successful one.

Share the story behind Mrs. R. What inspired the pieces?

Two dear childhood friends from Argentina design these. They travel a great deal and like to collect fabrics from major cities and remote places around the world. They don’t work outside of the home, but felt the need to look and feel luxurious and put together without having to “dress up.”

Describe Mrs. R robes in 10 words or less.

Scarlett O’Hara goes Urban Chic

Owl Ridge Farmstead | Our Darlings

Linnea White

When we met Maggie and Cody Sedelmeyer at Fleaville in July, we couldn't get over how cool they were - seriously. We were immediately drawn to their aesthetic - beautiful handcrafted boho, rustic goods - and their calm confidence in their products. We asked them that very day to come visit the shop and become one of our local artisans. The craftsmanship and authenticity of Owl Ridge Farmstead's products is the perfect pairing to our shop's aesthetic and mission. We've featured them in just a few shoots for the blog (here and here most recently), proving their pieces are versatile and easily styled. Last week, we restocked with more goodies by the Sedelmeyers, including handmade knit scarves in a variety of styles and colors. Come shop Owl Ridge Farmstead at Darling Boutique, and meet the duo in the Q&A below!

Q&A with Cody & Maggie Sedelmeyer

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? If not the Charlottesville area, what brought you here?

Cody and I (Maggie) are originally from North Carolina, and moved here about two years ago. We were drawn here by the beautiful farmland and the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was important for us to be able to raise our family in a place where they could explore and appreciate nature. Here in Sedalia, Virginia, we have begun to grow our family, our business, and our farm with the support of community.

Photo by Megan Tiernan

As a local artisan, describe what you do in town.

Having learned a different aspects of our craft from family, we have continued to developed our skills over the past few years. Our goal is to create quality, handmade goods, using more natural materials. We strive to produce products that are fashionable and functional.

It's story time. Talk about your collaboration with Darling Boutique.

We were lucky enough to be located beside these two incredible ladies at Fleaville [in July]. It was our first experience in Charlottesville, and Darling Boutique made us feel quite welcome. It has been a wonderful experience, and such a blessing to be able to share our products with a new community and expand our relationship with fellow Virginians.

Describe Owl Ridge Farmstead in 10 words or less.

Using our farm and homestead as inspiration for our products.

Photo by Megan TiernanWhere do you go to be creative?

Most of our inspiration comes from the need or desire of a certain product in our everyday life. Creativity is inspired by doing farm chores, playing with our kids, or just walking through the fields. Anywhere your mind can stop running and start observing.

What aspects of life excite you, stir your affections, fuel your passions, inspire your art?

Living in a place where you can walk outside and see the shadowing outline of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is incredibly inspiring. It is so incredible to be able to watch our family learn from nature and creature everyday. There is so much beauty around us and it is a wonderful way to stay passionate and motivated to create.

When and why did you become an artisan? / How did you get into this business?

We started about five years ago, producing all natural soap. It was our way of connecting to our dream of a homestead, while working and living in the city. Once we finalized our move, we were allowed much more free time to work on other products and tune our skills.

What are you working on right now?

The biggest project right now is our knitwear line. It is always hard to strike the right balance and predict how much inventory will be needed, since it is such a limited season. However, I am really excited about the styles we have available this year. We will be incorporating two of my favorite mediums, leather and fiber.

Where can someone find your products (other than Darling Boutique)?

www.owlridge.etsy.com

Brittany Fan | Our Darlings

Linnea White

Many of our local artisans featured in the shop began with a chance meeting and led to a beautiful collaboration. Our most recent collaboration with local artisan Brittany Fan is one filled with beauty and joy. Her artistic talents are blessing our little shop's walls, adding color and life to our space. Not to mention the blessing of a fun card design collaboration with Brittany - a whole line of Darling inspired greeting cards are in the works! Shop Brittany's original paintings and cards at Darling! And meet the artist in the Q&A below.

Q&A with Brittany Fan

As a local artisan, describe what you do in town.

I am a painter, illustrator, photographer, and graphic designer. During the week, I work as a graphic designer at Journey Group, a wonderful design firm near the downtown mall. In my free time, I do portrait and event photography, ranging from family sessions to weddings. I also do film photography as an art practice, and have hung several shows in local coffee shops featuring prints of images I've produced. In addition, I paint and have a downtown exhibition this November through New City Arts, and run an Etsy shop through which I sell hand lettering prints and greeting cards. Photo courtesy of Brittany Fan

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? If not the Charlottesville area, what brought you here?

I lived in 3 countries and 5 states growing up, but spent my pre-college years in Blacksburg, Virginia. I attended the University of Virginia, where I earned an interdisciplinary degree in Studio Art, Art History, and Arts Administration, along with a Masters in Elementary Education. Having graduated in May 2015, I am now working as a design assistant at Journey Group, a local design firm, and will be beginning a year-long fellowship through the Trinity Fellows Program in August 2015.

It's story time. Talk about your collaboration with Darling Boutique.

I met Megan one day when I came into the store, and we ended up having a great conversation that led to a discussion about my work as an painter and photographer, in addition to my recent exploration of card making as a creative outlet. Megan and Linnea had talked about wanting to have more art and carry greeting cards, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a collaboration. You can now find some of my original paintings and cards at Darling.

Photo courtesy of Brittany Fan

I'm thrilled to be partnering with these awesome women, because conscious style and cultivating a healthy, fair economy is something else that I am deeply passionate about. I personally love thrifting, reusing, and repurposing things. It gives an individual the opportunity to really define their own unique character and style, while also gives new life to material goods and supporting a local economy. The fashion industry is one of the many global economies where social injustice and poor work condition is rampant, and although it is hard to break the larger cycle on an individual scale, our efforts to steward our material goods well can begin a movement toward style that empowers those who make it possible.

Describe Brittany Fan Art & Photography in 10 words or less.

Harnessing inspiration to cultivate joy and beauty, however I can.

Where do you go to be creative?

I could probably find inspiration in any place or any thing. I do have a tremendous love for nature, and much of my work is inspired by what I see in the natural world. I love to go hiking, grow flowers and plants, explore the outdoors, and go on road trips. As I mentioned before, I also find the kitchen to be a place of creativity, which my friends often benefit from, given the edible nature of what is produced in that scenario.

Photo courtesy of Brittany Fan

What aspects of life excite you, stir your affections, fuel your passions, inspire your art?

Photo courtesy of Brittany FanMy faith background definitely impacts my work, in ways that are subtle in the finished product but is integral to my though process and mission as an artist. I am drawn to the natural world, to the theme of hope and renewal, and to the need to love and care for the world and those around you. These are all things that have become integral to my mindset as a result of my upbringing as a Christian, and I am reminded of them on a daily basis through the beautiful landscape around us and the incredible people in my life. I think the notion that we as individuals, imperfect and fragile as we are, have the capacity to do good and to make something of the world is incredible, and that inspires me more than anything else.

When and why did you become an artisan?

I see the world through a lens of creative opportunity, and have cultivated a personal vision to bring attention to beauty and goodness. As an artist, I found myself not drawn to one particular medium, but rather to every avenue of expression as a different tool for sharing this vision with others. This is not only true of the visual arts--I also love the culinary arts, and see that as another way of producing goodness and sharing it with those around me. So I don't think I ever pursued a particular trajectory toward where I am now--I simply ended up here because I saw opportunities to use art in a positive way, and stepped into those opportunities when they arose. I do the work that I do because I love it and it inspires me, and I hope to inspire others with it.

What are you working on right now?

Right now, I am working on several paintings for the show in November, which will be at the Radio IQ/WTVF Gallery. There will be a gallery opening on First Friday in November, so feel free come by to see the work and eat good food that evening! There will be more details on https://newcityarts.org in the upcoming months.

Where can someone find your products, outside of Darling Boutique?

www.etsy.com/shop/ThoughtsAndInklings and brittanyfan.net