No trip to Florida would be complete without shopping for souvenirs. Only I don't go for the hokey plastic crabs, light-up key chains, or tacky T-shirts. That is Florida for tourists. I spent thirty years growing up in Florida, I do not need anything with the famous Mouse's ears on it, or sand in a bottle. And there's no better person to shop with than Mom. My visits to Bradenton always include a stop at Crowder Brothers, which is an Ace Hardware store on one side, but a gift shop on the other side. They carry lines from my favorites, including Brighton and Vera Bradley. We stopped in to pick up a few Brighton barrettes my mom ordered for me, and while we were there we put together a Brighton charm bracelet that I will be receiving under the Christmas tree this year. I guess I'm at that age where it's easier for me to show my mom what I want for Christmas! I'm easy to buy for- Brighton, Vera, Dooney, Coach, etc. I am a slave to the brand names!!!
On Saturday afternoon, while the boys were out doing their own thing, my mom and I went to downtown Bradenton for lunch at Theresa's, which has been a staple for the working crowd since I lived there. I had a scrumptious turkey burger with all the trimmings. After lunch, we walked directly next door to The Rusty Cricket (below). It's been there a few years, but I've never ventured in, and my mom had given it a thumbs up before. They carry all sorts of cute beachy items, and a very chic clothing line upstairs (too tiny and cute for me). I was treated to the items below here- two glass ornaments for my tree, a beautiful framed vintage print of a palm tree, and a decorative coaster tile with a map of Anna Maria (one of our beaches). I could have bought one of everything in the store, they had some of the most unique things I'd ever seen.
I also always have to make a stop at the big Bealls near my parents' house. We always find good deals there, and we always shop the clearance racks. They carry brands like Gloria V, Liz, Izod, and some fun brands like Bandolino and Hearts of Palm, which make great summer/beachware. Bealls also carries nice purses- last year I picked up an Aigner on clearance for $7! Yes, you read that right. They have a great big shoe department, too, with of course lots of Crocs, and Mootsies Tootsies and my favorite, Bare Traps. I could spend a fortune in there, really I could. But if you read my blog regularly, you know I have clothes issues, as in I have way too many and need to thin out my closet desperately. But I did find a few pieces on the discount racks, including the very cute ensemble below (curious cat not included). And look at the size of the top!! In fact, two of the three tops I bought were just plain ol' larges!! It's been forever since I could wear something that didn't start with a number or an X in the size.
Lastly we went to a new store out by my mom's house, which recently opened in a renovated Eckerd's that went out of business. I stole the cute photo of the store from their website, and the store is called Pink Pineapple. If I ever own a beach house, this is where I want to buy all of my furnishings. I fell instantly and head over heels in love with this store, and I wanted to buy absolutely everything in there. Of course, it was furniture and beds and rugs and artwork, so I wouldn't have anywhere to put it all!! They have a wonderful slide show on their page of a lot of their furniture, and I walked around touching everything in the place. Of course, I couldn't afford anything in there, either, except for (barely) the really darling bag below, made out of woven cotton rugs from Dash & Albert (they have the matching rug on their website). No, I don't need a beach bag where I live, but this is too nice to take to the beach anyhow. I had to have it, the pattern called out to me, and it's about twice as big as my largest purse. I picked it up, put it down, picked it back up again, put it down. One of those moments- you girls know- you really shouldn't but you can't help yourself. I hope this store stays in business, it was rather high end merchandise, but it was beautiful. Maybe it will still be there by the time James and I retire down to Bradenton...30 years from now...
More in my next post!