Welcome Spring & The Azalea Festival

I just got back from a brief visit to one of my other favorite Southern cities, Wilmington, NC.  I’ve written and posted a lot about Wilmington on my blog because my friend Jess James lives there and I visit her regularly – she’s my home away from home! Like Charleston, Wilmington is a charming, historic coastal city.  I also work with a great retailer in Lumina Station, out near Wrightsville Beach called Ziabird that carries my jewelry Collection – be sure to pay them a visit if you are ever there. Lynn’s store is a wonderful selection of jewelry accessories and chic coastal attire.

On this trip I also had the pleasure of attending Wilmington’s Annual Azalea Festival Garden Party.  The city, seemed like a living breathing advertisement for all things horticultural. Every flower on every bush and tree and in every garden was blooming to perfection, this was just on my walk to get coffee the first morning I was there:

A friend of Jess’s generously gave us her spare Garden Party tickets.  We went to her house to pick them up – a house that had hosted, some previous evening, the “Azalea Belles.” The stunning home was bedecked in flower arrangements as well, even a couple in the shape of gowns.  Not sure exactly how the “Belles” are selected, but they are ambassadors of sorts for the city of Wilmington. I was actually told by a woman whose daughter was a Belle this year that it was so much work, it felt like “being the mother of a bride.”

This is Dan, the charming and dapper owner of the British Taxi.  He owns a fleet of London Black Cabs that he rents out for special events and promotions.  He was nice enough to have one of his drivers chauffeur us around all afternoon, a good thing, since Garden parties and day drinking seem inextricably linked. David Beckham sat in our very same taxi just a few weeks earlier, not an unpleasant thought as we rode around : )

The Azalea Festival Garden Party itself was in a large field with bars set up on the outskirts and a BBQ tent for lunch under the live oaks.  The sun was pretty intense and I instantly regretted not wearing a huge hat like (seemingly) ever single other person there. I did made a makeshift hairpiece out of a silk flower and vintage brooch at the last minute.   They served some nice cocktails called “Azaleas” with a mix of juice and champagne, the perfect afternoon-nap inducing tonic…

My “headpiece,” above.  And below, I liked this girl’s look – kind of a “Garden Party Nymph” – with a simple flower crown:

Couldn’t resist a photo up with some other Charleston imports, a group of Citadel cadets.  Their uniforms always remind my of Marc Jacob’s great military inspired coats from the early 2000’s, do you think that was their inspiration?  Ha, just kidding.

All-in-all and extraordinarily fun and pretty much perfect afternoon. Azaleas, black taxis, hats and BBQ – and an after party on this surely-over-capacity dock!

Thanks for the ride British Taxi and for the hospitality Jess James!  I thought this photo below kind of summed up the vibe of the whole afternoon and is a perfect note to end on.  Spring is definitely here.



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