The Saturday I became a Southern Belle

Imagine my delight: on Saturday, I got to pretend I was at the Kentucky Derby, smack in the middle of Phoenix.

I was a guest at Derby Affair, a racing-themed charity bash that benefits Homeward Bound held on the lawn of the drive that leads to the Biltmore. We ate fried green tomatoes, sipped mint juleps, and paid absolutely no attention to the actual Kentucky Derby being broadcast on screens all over the lawn. It’s a brilliant event — my favorite of the year — because we got to wear hats.

(From left: Angela Karp, Marissa Kline, Maggie Key, Shauna Kupetz.)

Giant hats.

(Yours truly, with Patrick Greenwood and Dave Dodge.)

Hats with a vintage anchor and sea fan sewed on, courtesy my mother, who indulged all my Southern belle and nautical fantasies in one beribboned swoop.

Hats that got nominated for contests, which required their presence on stage.

(Actual words coming out of my mouth: Angela, darling, do you feel as stupid up here as I do? Great.)

(Congratulations, Mom, your hat won. You have a waiting list building for next year, should you wish to set aside the masters degree and take up with hot glue on a permanent basis.)

The decor was heaven: saddles and racing numbers and hats made out of cake.

Angela and Mark (of Angelic Grove) did a gorgeous job with the flowers, featuring wheat grass and trophies.

And, oh, the fashion! Why is it that a hat makes everything more glorious? Why don’t we wear hats everyday? My picks for best dressed:

Yowza. And I thought Heidi Lisherness’ hot pink Donna Karan dress pretty much stole the show:

(Heidi, Mark, Angela, Sandy — get a look at her Valentino bag! Sigh.)

Speaking of bags:

And shoes:

I’ve been wondering where all the fashionable men in Phoenix have been hiding. Kentucky, apparently. The gents looked spectacular in seersucker, linen, and fedoras galore.

Brenda Howard and George Abrams, whose hat I wanted to steal:

In the end, we left happy, with smiles and flowers for Maggie. 

(And for me, a secret plan to move to the South post-haste.)

Thanks, Mom, for the late-night hat session and glamazon fun.  I am the luckiest wannabe ever.