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Well. It’s been a nice, long break since my Christmas Day post. And now it’s time to get back into the swing of blogging. This time, I’m writing from sunny Bradenton, Florida. Back home, my husband tells me that the olive oil is coagulating in the cupboard.


Traveling and hanging out with my two best buds (Mom & Dad) for the past two weeks has been the purest joy. It has restructured my life somewhat, as well as a few molecules in my brain, but no more so than spotting Valentine chocolates in a Walmart on a balmy 77-degree day and thinking, “What’s up with that? Oh, yeah. It’s January.” (That sight was the rough equivalent of how you’d feel if you saw 4th of July decorations set out near Thanksgiving Day. #JustNotRight)

Meanwhile, in Bradenton, there’s a terrible internal conflict welling up inside me. If you’re a friend or follower, you’ve witnessed my frequent minimalist/tiny house leanings. I packed for this trip ever so lightly, as did Mom. We’re both reveling in the simplicity and freedom of having fewer material things to fuss over.

Saturday night, we sat down together to explore how we could lighten our possessions when we get home. “Let’s start with your closet first,” I suggested. (See how sincere I am?) When Sunday’s sermon dealt with materialism, we both wondered if the Holy Spirit might be giving our impulses a nudge.

Here’s the sad reality. Two days earlier, I was operating with just the opposite intention. Call me fickle. On a field trip to find a post office, I passed Retro Rosie’s, a vintage store in the old part of Bradenton. Naturally, I couldn’t resist. I reasoned that I was merely conducting research. Before I stepped inside, I reminded myself that I was looking—not buying.

Kris Bloom

While browsing, I overheard the owner say she was from Indiana. Kris Bloom is a Greenwood, Indiana transplant who began working in the store and eventually took over as the founding owners retired.

Don’t do Bradenton without a visit to Retro Rosie’s.

Retro Rosie’s is an exceptional store with an arty environment and an amazing collection of true vintage clothes and antiques. Bloom says photography students often visit from nearby Ringling College of Art and Design because it’s such a photogenic background for taking pictures. After looking at my own randomly taken photos, I get that.

She also confirmed a long-held theory of mine. Old ladies do move to Florida and die, leaving behind a vast collection of fabulous clothes from different eras. That is exactly why vintage shopping in Florida is among the best.

Beyond vintage clothes and antiques, Bloom and her sidekicks at Retro Rosie’s are begining a smart endeavor in 2015—classes for people who are interested in refashioning and repurposing old clothes and furniture.

By now, you’ve probably deduced that I wasn’t capable of leaving Retro Rosie’s without a purchase. For now, I just want you to meet Kris Bloom and see why it was so difficult to leave her nest empty handed. I’m hoping to circle back and share more of what I learned from our tête-à-tête.

Beaded bag Flappers cocktail bridal gown mandarin broacade button 1940s coat mink coat trim Store scene1

The day before I left Indiana for my month-long Florida sojourn, I delivered a large garbage bag of clothing discards to Goodwill. Do I have the nerve to cull more when I get home? Do you? What’s your ideal number of garments? Shall I keep duplicates of the same type—yes or no?

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.