It’s a Spring Thing: What to Wear and Where to Go This Spring Season
When it comes to this spring season’s fashion trends, thankfully, most of the styles saturating the runways are quite wearable. No skimpy shorts for the men, no lace leggings for the women. Finally local fashionistas — both men and women — can bring a little New York style straight to the Brunswick beaches and actually look cool, not kooky.
Looks for the Ladies
~ Spring is all about bright, blooming flowers and brilliant sunshine, so why not carry the season’s colors over to your closet? One of the hottest trends this spring is color-blocking. Bold, multi-colored designs are being seen on everything from skirts to suits. Stylists suggest a maximum of three colors in order to avoid bringing your glam to gag.
~ Cool colors for the ladies this season include oranges and tangerines as well as the Easter-appropriate pastels. According to Pantone, the color-expert corporation that releases a color palette prediction for every season, Tangerine Tango would be the hot hue of spring. And they were right. Tangerine and other spectacular shades of orange are all over the runways, promising that ladies will look citrusy chic in the spring sunshine.
Other popular choices of color this season are sorbet-inspired shades, from light minty green to sweet and subtle blues. Whether you choose to go bold and bright or low-key and ladylike, spring offers fun colors to get you in the mood to shine.
Must-Haves for the Men
~ Fashion-forward men of Brunswick County, prepare yourself for daring color combinations and updated work-wear that will keep you comfortable, classy and downright cool. As for colors, try to step it up a notch this season by adding oranges, mustards, greens and blues to your style repertoire — and you’re not doing anything special by adding a conservative blue tie to your grey pantsuit here. We’re saying strut your stuff in green pants and a half-tucked white dress shirt under a black blazer to really capture your inner David Beckham.
~ Let’s assume that you’ll truly embrace our advice and bring a little extra fashion oomph to the office; that you’ll agree to show Harris Teeter a little taste of Hollywood. Let’s go all out, Brunswick County. Choose to brave the hues mentioned above or stick with traditional shades of office life, either way the baggy pant trend is a must-try. Pair some oversized pants with a cool set of suspenders, a suit jacket or simply a tee for those sweltering spring afternoons. Top off the trend with accessories like a ritzy watch, a colorful scarf and fun sunglasses. Look out ladies of Leland — who needs Ryan Gosling or Johnny Depp when our very own men bring vogue to Village Road?
What to Make
With the onset of beautiful spring weather comes one scrumptious benefit: fresh produce. Sometimes called “the season of rebirth,” spring brings several new fruits and vegetables to our farmers’ markets and to our tables. Asparagus and artichokes, strawberries and scallions are just a few of the tasty benefits of spring in Brunswick County. See below for a must-make dish and a drink to enjoy as you slap on the flip-flops and soak in the return of 70-degree weather.
Asparagus Spears with Phyllo and Proscuitto
24 asparagus spears, wood ends trimmed
6 sheets frozen phyllo, thawed
3-4 tablespoons melted butter (and/or Pam cooking spray)
12 thin slices prosciutto (about 6 ounces), cut in half crosswise
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or more)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Steam asparagus in a steamer basket set over 1-inch of boiling water just until bright green, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a colander to cool. Place 1 sheet of phyllo on a work surface (cover the remaining phyllo with a damp clean towel). Brush lightly with butter. Cut into 4 rectangular pieces. Cut the asparagus spears down to 4-inch lengths.
Place 1 piece of prosciutto on each phyllo rectangle, lining up along 1 short edge. Arrange an asparagus spear over the prosciutto, letting the tip lay beyond the top edge of the phyllo. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Roll up and secure the edge of the phyllo with butter, if necessary. When rolling, leave the asparagus tip unwrapped about one inch. Wrap foil around the exposed asparagus tip so it doesn’t burn. Arrange on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Bake until phyllo is golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade
For the strawberry syrup:
1 heaping cup chopped strawberries
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. cold water
Pinch of salt
For the lemonade:
1 cup very hot water
2/3 cup sugar
1¼ cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
4½ cups cold sparkling water or seltzer
To make the strawberry syrup, combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, water and salt in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds, pressing down to extract as much liquid as possible.
To make the lemonade, combine the hot water and sugar in a pitcher. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Mix in the lemon juice and water. Stir in the strawberry puree.
To serve, rub a wedge of lemon or one of the spent lemon halves around the rim of a glass and then dip in sugar. Fill with ice, if desired, and then lemonade. Garnish with sliced lemon or strawberries. Serve immediately.
What to Do
Whether you get the itch to purge your garage or power wash your house, go on nature walks or take up birding, lounge in the warm sun or jog in the spring showers, most people have one thing in common when it comes to springtime activities: they like to get. OUT.
Let’s face it, we’ve been cooped up inside for the majority of winter – and, yes we know that Brunswick County endures anything but a brutal winter, but those few chilly days do put a big damper on the spirit. Now, it’s time to enjoy the fresh air of the new season. Here are a few of our favorite outdoor activities, as inspired by Pinterest (see page 44 for more information on this awesome and addictive resource).
For the kids: Play
Gather several fun and colorful toys, throw them in a plastic tub, cover with water and freeze. Voila, a wonderful way to keep little ones busy for hours on a warm day!
The idea is to allow kids to “excavate” the small items from the ice, even experimenting with different methods — a play hammer, paintbrush, spatula, warm water, salt or sugar — to achieve success. This outdoor activity is great for a range of ages, with the little ones mesmerized by the fun shapes and colors trapped in the tub and the older children experimenting with the science behind melting the ice.
For the grown-ups: Relax
The hot trend of 2012 is reuse, recycle and repurpose. Let’s take that concept to the outdoors and apply it to the much-desired deed of … napping. Of course we can buy a new hammock at the local home store, even spend a very pretty penny while we’re at it. Or, we can use what we have (say, a trampoline) to make what we want (an oversized and oh-so-welcoming patio bed). Some call it earth friendly and budget-conscious, we call it brilliant.
For the pets: Explore
You’re not the only one that had the cold weather blues; poor Spot felt the effects of the sad, sunshine-lacking days, too. Now that spring is here, it’s time to let the furry friends out to smell the flowers, roll in the warm grass and get a peek at the foxy Fido next door. Offered by quirky gift site, OpulentItems.com, a pet porthole for the fence is the perfect product for your four-legged friend to enjoy the sights of the season.
Where to Go
Spring is the season to try new things, to get outdoors, to go fun places. And with all of the offerings of the Cape Fear area, you can do just that. From garden clubs to greenhouse tours, dog parties in the park to waterfront explorations by boat, there are dozens of activities that allow you get out and enjoy the sunshine in your hometown.
Here’s one must-attend festival that you’ll find on the calendars of most folks this season. The North Carolina Azalea Festival has made our area famous for 64 years; clearly it’s worth checking out. (For a full listing of area events, see our What’s Happening section on page 30.)
North Carolina Azalea Festival April 11 – 15
The North Carolina Azalea Festival, held annually across the bridge in Wilmington, has been drawing crowds of 200,000 from all over the world for more than six decades. The multi-day event features celebrity appearances and superstar concerts, a home tour and art show, sporting exhibitions and galas, parades and pageants, street fairs and, of course, countless parties celebrating the area’s history and beautiful blooming azaleas.
Each year, the Azalea Festival attracts celebrities and other honorable guests to its events. Ericka Dunlap, Miss America 2004 and finalist on CBS’s “Amazing Race 15,” has been announced as the 2012 Azalea Festival Queen. Other celebrities expected to attend the festival include Hailey Best, Miss North Carolina 2011; Jerry Ross, Colonel U.S. Air Force (retired) and former NASA Astronaut; Major General James E. Livingston, U.S. Marine Corps. (retired); Hugh Conlon, U.S. Army; and Ashley Spivey from ABC’s “The Bachelor.” North Carolina’s own Scotty McCreery, winner of Fox’s 10th season of “American Idol,” will headline the 2012 entertainment line-up with a performance on April 13.
Stars line the streets of Wilmington that week, sure, but the event is truly about celebrating the rich history of our area. Showcasing our natural beauty through more than 50 fun events has made the North Carolina Azalea Festival the largest festival of its kind in the state. Big-name celebrities, excellent entertainment, local pride, family-friendly events, beautiful gardens and fabulous festival food — no matter your motivation to attend, the Azalea Festival always delivers as a must-go springtime event.