Check Out the GridIron BlogRSS
This week’s Belle in Biz is Arkansas’ very own, Amber Ham of Haute Thread Boutiques. She’s innovative, creative, a mother, a business woman and a fan! Read below to be inspired by her ambition and to see how you can win your very own Haute Threads Boutique game day dress!
Name: Amber Ham
Team: Arkansas Razorbacks
Graduated from: University of Arkansas in 2003 (Bachelors in Nutrition); Texas Tech in 2011 (Masters in Education)
Name of Your Biz: Haute Threads Boutique
Explanation of Your Biz: I convert regular college/team t-shirts into game day dresses and rompers to help each girl be the cutest girl in the stadium on game day.
How did you get your start? I had a pile of old t-shirts from college sitting in my closet and knew I needed to repurpose them so I would wear them again. I cut up a few shirts and quickly designed the dresses that I still make today! After I made a couple for myself, my friends started asking for them… and then someone pinned me on Pinterest… and it’s been an amazing ride ever since! It’s been about four years since the business really took off.
Explain your role: I’m pretty much a one-woman show. I own the business, do all of the marketing and advertising, research new trends and designs in fashion, as well as shop for all of the latest trendy fabrics. I work one-on-one with each customer so they can custom-design their own dress from beginning to end; I cut all of the dresses/rompers out myself as well.
Most challenging part of your biz?: Finding enough time in the day to get it all done. During football season, I could spend 8+ hours a day working on the business; however, that’s also the time that school—and my responsibilities as a teacher– starts back up. Making time to run my dress business on top of everyday life can be challenging some days.
Most rewarding?: When customers send me pictures of them wearing their dresses. I love seeing women enjoying my creations and feeling like they are the “belle of the ball.” The fact that it’s a custom dress that THEY got to help design really gives them ownership over it and makes them truly feel unique in their dress.
Business advice to other Belles? Don’t wait around. I read a quote from Coco Chanel right after I began my business. It said, “If you want to be original, be ready to be copied”… and that couldn’t be any more true. Get out there full force and make your dreams yours so you can be the original and people come to you first.
Favorite part about being a Razorback fan? Gameday. The feeling in the stands when everyone unites for one day to cheer on our team… it’s electric. I grew up going to Razorback football games in the same seats we’ve had since I was 3 years old. Fayetteville is an amazing place.
Favorite tailgate dish? Sausage Crescent Wraps. Ground sausage mixed with cream cheese… rolled up in a crescent roll and baked. Delish!
Game day drink of choice? If I’m tailgating, you can guarantee I’ll have a bottle of Prosecco close by!
What do you always have in your touch down purse? Business cards. You never know when someone is going to stop you and ask, “Hey, where did you get your dress?”
Who wins it all this year? We have had a few rebuilding years and I think we will do a lot better than a lot of people think we will this year… so I’m going to stay true to my roots and cheer on my Hogs for the big win!
You can win your own Haute Threads dress or romper by winning our giveaway! Simply share this link via the Gridiron Belles Facebook page , Twitter (@gridironbelles) or our Instagram (@GridironBelles) post more times than any other Gridiron Belle and you can have your very own favorite team shirt transformed into the perfect game day dress! #GBHauteThreadGiveaway
Happy shopping, Belles!
Xs and Os
The season is getting so close we can almost taste the buffalo chicken dip; we can practically smell the aroma of crisp fall air infused with bourbon hovering SEC tailgates, and what was that? You heard the collision sound of pads and helmets, too?
With 8 days left before the highly anticipated season arrives, it’s time to send fluff home and get technical about serious football.
Today we are breaking down the Xs and Os of our beloved game. In case you took the summer off, this will be your refresher course so that next Thursday, Friday and Saturday you’ll be fully primed to understand the players on the field.
8 Days and Counting,
Xs and Os,
The goal of the offense is to run, pass, or kick the ball over the end line or through the goalpost/up-rights to score points.
The goal of the defense is to tackle the man with the ball and prevent the offense from running, passing, or kicking the ball over the end line.
Offensive Linemen: The “O-Line,” consists of the players on the line of scrimmage. Their goal is to protect the ball-carrier while simultaneously creating gaps on the field where the ball-carrier can safely run through the opponent. The offensive linemen are the big guys.
The play starts with the center snapping the ball (passing the ball through his legs) to a teammate. Once he snaps the ball, he begins to hold off the oncoming opponents.
The guards do what it sounds like: They guard the quarterback, or whoever has the ball, from the opponent.
Two offensive tackles try to block the opponent before he gets to the quarterback, or the player with the ball.
Tight end is a hybrid position between offensive lineman and wide receiver who is supposed to have the dual abilities of blocking linemen and receiving passes.
A wide receiver’s primary responsibility is to catch passes. He is wide in the formation and receives the ball.
The fullback either blocks for the halfback so he can run down the field, or the fullback blocks so that the quarterback can make an uninterrupted throw down the field.
The halfback lines up in the offensive backfield behind the fullback and the quarterback. The halfback primarily runs the ball during running plays and can also be used as a wide receiver.
The quarterback takes the snap (receiving the ball from the center), and he can choose to hand the ball to the running back, pass the ball to an eligible receiver, or run the ball himself.
The defensive line consists of four linemen, two ends and two tackles, who line up directly across from the opposing O-line.
Defensive line from left to right: end, tackle, tackle, end.
End (Tight End)
The defensive end’s main purpose is to contain the running backs to the inside on running plays, or to rush the quarterback on passing plays.
Tackles are responsible for stopping the run up the middle and for engaging the offensive linemen so that the linebackers can move toward the ball without opposition.
This player is also known as the nose-tackle. Depending on the defensive scheme (line up), “odd man fronts” will have what is called a nose-guard. This player lines up directly over the football (his nose is over the ball).
Linebackers’ goal is to stop the run, defend against passes, and sometimes, to rush the QB . Linebackers are usually faster than defensive linemen and are larger than their defensive teammates.
Secondary is the area of the field deep that is off the line of scrimmage (way in the back) where defensive backs (cornerbacks and safeties) are strategically placed to defend the run and pass.
A defensive back, who is usually responsible for covering wide receivers.
A safety is the last line of defense and is extremely fast and aggressive. Safeties are found deep in the defensive secondary (way in the back) and help the cornerbacks with pass coverage.
Gridiron Belles was published because football isn’t just a guy thing. Women of all ages appreciate Saturdays in Dixie and everything it has to offer from the tailgating to the stands; from the outfits to the sidelines. Which is why we were delighted to learn of Dr. Jen Welter, who is an extraordinary Gridiron Belle… of the Ph.D-Gold-Medal-Winning-International-Federation-of-American-Football-Women’s-World-Championship-Masters-In-Sports-Psychology-Ph.D.-In-Psychology-First-Female-To-Play-A-Non-Kicking-Position-In-A-Men’s-Professional-League-First-Female-Coach-In-The-N-Freaking-F-L type of a way.
We admire smart women. We are inspired by motivated women. We are encouraged by women who achieve their dreams. We jump out of bed ready to work hard knowing of Dr. Jen Welter’s accomplishments on and off the field.
What we appreciate even more is that the Cardinals’ head coach, Bruce Arians, didn’t see her gender when hiring her, but simply someone who understood the game and could get through to the players. “Someone asked me yesterday, ‘When are we going to have female coaches?’” Arians said. “The minute they can prove they can make a player better, they’ll be hired.”
Smart man to hire a smart woman.
Dr. Welter may only be an assistant intern coach for training camp and preseason, but this is history. We tip our sunnies, to you Dr. Welter, and raise our glasses for all that you endured to get where you are. Women love football, too. All aspects of the game are now up for enjoying!
Congrats, Coach Jen!
Xs and Os,
More articles about Jen Welter:
Follow Dr. Coach Jen: @jwelter47
Alas, let me be clear: pre-season polls are just that, PRE-SEASON. Any and all of these polls below will fly out the window when the first kickoff sails over the gridiron. With every dropped ball, blocked punt or injured player, these polls change accordingly and they are never the same again.
Pre-season polls cause us much elation when our team is mentioned at the top of a list, and utter despair when it sneaks in at the bottom. Or, not at all. Each poll is based on different criteria so we’ve included a few samples for your review. Note: for the first few weeks of regular season play you will hear lots of references to the pre-season polls… but then we get real polls. Which actually matter.
Below are a few of the most visited polls. We are particularly fond of the Football Power Index (FPI) by ESPN because it considers strength of schedule. Being in the SEC, we all know that playing the best teams in the country week-in and week-out can wear on players, so we appreciate a poll’s acknowledgement for the season-long grind. But hey, who asked us?
So go ahead and peruse, but don’t memorize. This is all pre-season hype and we are counting down the days until things get real on September 3!
Xs and Os,
*More related articles for this week at bottom!
AP Top 25
“The AP Top 25 is determined by a simple points system based on how each voter ranks college football’s best teams. A team receives 25 points for each first place vote, 24 for second place and so on through to the 25th team, which receives one point. The rankings are set by listing the teams’ point totals from highest to lowest. The mathematical formula is the same as the one used for the AP Pro 32 rankings and the AP Top 25 rankings for men’s and women’s basketball.” Visit here.
1) Ohio State
5) Michigan State
6) Florida State
8) Georgia Tech
12) Arizona State
16) Boise State
17) Ole Miss
18) Kansas State
“According to sportswriter Phil Steele, the tendency is for voters to give the most weight to the makeup of returning starters, how teams did in their bowl game and where they ended last season in the rankings.” (Bleacher Report) Phil’s list can be found here.
1) Ohio State
6) Michigan State
11) UCLA Bruins
12) Ole Miss
13) Notre Dame
16) Arizona State
17) Georgia Tech
21) Mississippi State
23) Boise State
Football Power Index: FPI
“FPI is an estimate of team strength – not a ranking of who will have the highest win total (which is dependent on schedule) and not who is most likely to make the College Football Playoff. Preseason FPI is calculated using three major components for each FBS team: prior years’ offense, defense and special teams efficiencies; returning starters and head coach information; and recruiting rankings.” For more, visit here.
1) Ohio State
7) Notre Dame
8) Ole Miss
11) Texas A&M
16) Michigan State
20) Arizona State
21) Florida State
22) Mississippi State
23) Georgia Tech
*Other Football Related Articles to Read This Week:
Because the food is one of the best parts before the football, we are already getting our game day recipes together so that our in-season grocery shopping and menu planning is as easy as beating a PAC-10 team. Keep an eye out for Gridiron Belle recipes on Mondays and don’t forget to send in your favorite recipes to be shared!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwiches
By Molly Carter of Duchess of Fork as found on www.DuchessofFork.com
Originally found in Vie Magazine
….ever so slightly tweaked by the Gridiron Belles kitchen
INGREDIENTS: Gridiron Belles INGREDIENTS:
100 tiny twist pretzels 150 tiny twist pretzels
1 cup creamy peanut butter 2 cups creamy peanut butter
¾ cup brown sugar 1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup powdered sugar 1 cup powdered sugar
1 box semi-sweet baking chocolate 2 (12oz) bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix peanut butter, brown sugar, and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until ingredients are well combined. Sandwich a heaping teaspoon of peanut butter filling between two pretzels. Store sandwiches in the fridge for an hour or two. Melt semisweet chocolate according to package directions. Dip sandwiches into melted chocolate, covering only half of the sandwich. Place sandwiches on wax paper and store in fridge until chocolate hardens and you’re ready to eat. Makes 50 sandwiches—but you’ll need more! So Gridiron Belles made 75 using the list on the right.
Best if served cold and freezes well. We recommend making a large batch early in the season and freezing until you need more!
If you’ve been wondering who is the brains–and the beauty— behind the awe-inspiring entertaining blog, Pizzazzerie, look no further! We are honored to feature Ms. Courtney Whitmore in Belles in Biz as the epitome of a creative, ambitious, dedicated and oh-so-talented Belle who has been inspiring pizzazz for all occasions for over six years. We already love her–and get LOTS of ideas from her website– and we know you will too. Please, allow us to introduce and welcome, Ms. Courtney Whitmore.
Team: Vanderbilt University
Graduated from: Vanderbilt University
Name of Your Biz: Pizzazzerie
Explanation of Your Biz: I’m a food and entertaining blogger, cookbook author, and I style and create recipes and party ideas for brands!
How did you get your start? After throwing lots of dinner parties for friends, I launched a blog to share photos from the parties. A few months later, I was lucky enough to land a book deal and get noticed by Tori Spelling as well as several local news channels. From there, I left my job and gave Pizzazzerie.com my full-time focus! And I’ve never looked back!
So tell us, what exactly is your role? I’m in my 6th year with Pizzazzerie. My role is pretty much everything. I’m creating blog posts, styling and photographic shoots, prop shopping, working with clients, social media, and everything in between. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to running a site and styling.
Most challenging/rewarding part of your biz? The most challenging part of the biz is the ongoing momentum. It never ceases. There is always a holiday around the corner or more ideas to be styled. There aren’t very many lulls so it can get overwhelming. The most rewarding is seeing my creations up on the site for everyone to see. I love to get an idea, style it, photograph it, and then hit that publish button! I get such a thrill when I share ideas with readers!
What is one thing your biz would not survive without? My laptop! It goes with me everywhere I go!
What’s next? That’s a great question! This is such a fast moving industry that it’s hard to know exactly where it will go but I’d like to do another book at some point (maybe a children’s book) and continue to style for brands that I love and admire!
Work-life balance, fact or fiction? Fiction, I love my job too much!
Business advice to other Belles? For your own business to be wildly successful, you better eat, sleep, and breathe it! If you would choose that work over taking a nap or shopping at the mall, then you’re on the right track! You have to love it and have a huge passion for it because it’s a lot of work!
Favorite tailgate dish? Mini burgers!
Game day drink of choice? Tailgate punch (a beer based punch).
What do you always have in your touch down purse? My phone – so I can share pics on social media!
Coach Crush? Kliff Kingsbury
Heads or Tails? Heads
Who wins it all this year? Auburn!
Don’t miss out on any of Pizzazzerie’s latest and greatest– follow here!
If your summer reading consisted more of The One and Only than Sports Illustrated, we don’t blame you, but….we’re here to give you the quick version of what you need to know about your team before the season begins to be a well-informed belle at your first tailgate. Reminder, given the recent coaches and quarterback musical chairs the SEC has been playing, this is all subject to change– especially because “Camp” is just beginning and starting QBs are still TBD, but for now, know your team’s quick stats of who and when.
‘Tis the season!
Xs and Os
Christie LeighSEC EAST Florida Head Coach: Jim McElwain (Offensive coordinator on Alabama’s title teams in 2009 and 2011) (1st season at Florida) Offensive Coordinator: Doug Nussmeier (First Year) Defensive Coordinator: Geoff Collins (First Year) Quarterback: Treon Harris (SO) or Will Grier (FR) Opening Game: New Mexico State at home, Saturday, Sept 5m 7:00pm Georgia Head Coach: Mark Richt (14th season) Offensive Coordinator: Brian Schottenheimer (First Year) Defensive Coordinator: Jeremy Pruitt (2nd season) Quarterback: Brice Ramsey (SO) or Faton Bauta (JR) Opening Game: Louisiana Monroe at home, Saturday, September 5, 12:00pm Kentucky Head Coach: Mark Stoops (3rd Season) Offensive Coordinator: Shannon Dawson (First Year) Defensive Coordinator: D.J. Eliot (3rd season) Quarterback: Patrick Towles (JR), Drew Barker (FR) Opening Game: UL Lafayette at home, Saturday, September 5, 7:00pm Missouri Head Coach: Gary Pinkel (15th Season) Offensive Coordinator: Josh Henson (6th Season) Defensive Coordinator: Barry Odom (First Year) Quarterback: Maty Mauck (JR) Opening Game: SEMO at home, Saturday, September 5, 3:00pm South Carolina Head Coach: Steve Spurrier (11th Season) Offensive Coordinator: Shawn Elliott (6th Season) Defensive Coordinator: Lorenazo Ward (4th Season) Quarterback: Connor Mitch (SO), Perry Orth (JR), Michael Scarnecchia (FR) , Lorenzo Nunez (FR) Opening Game: University of North Carolina at Bank of America Stadium, Thursday, September 3, 6pm Tennessee Head Coach: Butch Jones (3rd Season) Offensive Coordinator: Mike DeBord (First Season) Defensive Coordinator: John Jancek (Third Season) Quarterback: Josh Dobbs(JR) Opening Game: Bowling Green at home, Saturday, September 5, 4:00pm Vanderbilt Head Coach: Derek Mason (2nd Season) Offensive Coordinator: Andy Ludwig (1st Year) Defensive Coordinator: Derek Mason Quarterback: Wade Freebeck (SO) and Johnny McCrary (SO) Opening Game: Western Kentucky at home, Thursday, September 3, 8:00pm SEC WEST Alabama Head Coach: Nick Saban (9th Season) Offensive Coordinator: Lane Kiffin (2nd Season) Defensive Coordinator: Kirby Smart (9th Season) Quarterback: Jake Coker (SR-RS) or David Cornwell (FR-RS) Opening Game: Wisconsin in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, September 5, 8:00pm Arkansas Head Coach: Bret Bielema (3rd Season) Offensive Coordinator: Dan Enos (1st Year) Defensive Coordinator: Robb Smith (2nd Season) QB: Brandon Allen (SR) Opening Game: UTEP at home, Saturday, September 5, 3:30pm Auburn Coach: Gus Malzahn (4th Season ) Offensive Coordinator: Rhett Lashlee (3rd Season) Defensive Coordinator: Will Muschamp (1st Year) Quarterback: Jeremy Johnson (JR) Opening Game: University of Louisville, in Atlanta at Chic-Fil-A Bowl, Saturday, September 5, 2:30pm LSU Head Coach: Les Miles (11th Season) Offensive Coordinator: Cam Cameron (3rd Season) Defensive Coordinator: Kevin Steele (1st Year) Quarterback: Brandon Harris (SO) Opening Game: McNeese State at home, Saturday, September 5, 7:30pm Mississippi State Head Coach: Dan Mullen (7th Season) CO-Offensive Coordinators: Billy Gonzales (3rd Season) John Hevesy (7th Season) Defensive Coordinator : Manny Diaz (1st Year) Quarterback: Dak Prescott (SR) Opening Game: At Southern Miss, Saturday, September 5, 9:00pm Ole Miss Head Coach: Hugh Freeze (4th Season) CO-Offensive Coordinators: Dan Werner (4th Season) Matt Luke (8th Season) Defensive Coordinator: Dave Womack (4th Season) Quarterback: Chad Kelly (JR) Opening Game: UT Martin at home, Saturday, September 5, 11:00am Texas A&M Head Coach: Kevin Sumlin (4th Season) Offensive Coordinator: Jake Spavital (3rd Season) Defensive Coordinator: John Chavis (1st year) Quarterback: Kyle Allen (SO)Opening Game: Arizona State at home, Saturday, Sept 5, 7:00pm
28 days…Can you feel it? College football season is just around the corner and if you are anything like the team at GB, you’re already scooping up the perfect game day outfits and accessories. It is never too early to prepare for Saturdays in Dixie!
When I saw this adorable “WDE” charm on my friend Katie’s Instagram (More about Katie below in Belles in Biz), I had to tell all of the Gridiron Belles about it. AND DO A GIVEAWAY!
Think she’ll only make these necklaces for Auburn fans? Think again! She’s a true Gridiron Belle who knows that every team should look good during football season–see your team’s options below. You have your pick of necklaces, charms and ID tags for your team and she’ll personally help you customize your order. We’ve even included other jewelry and accessory suggestions for your game day wardrobe— looks like the designers at Stella and Dot love the SEC….
How do you get your order for your team before kickoff? Head to the Gridiron Belles Trunkshow to order yours. OR, you can win our “repost competition” and receive an ID tag for free!*
Orders ship within 3-5 days so you’ll have it in time for kick off. The combinations are endless for the SEC nation, order yours today!
Xs and Os,
*Giveaway simple details:
- Be the Gridiron Belle who reposts our Instagram picture of the charms more times than anyone else (@GridironBelles) #GridironBellesGiveaway
- Or share our blog link on Facebook more times than anyone else and we’ll send your customized team ID tag.
- Be sure to submit your name and e-mail address to our “contact” page so we can get a hold of you!
- Giveaway begins Friday, August 7 and ends at midnight, August 21.
- Shop here!
Name: Katie Lewis
Team: Auburn Tigers
Graduated from: Auburn University ‘06
Biz: Independent Stylist, Stella & Dot
How did you get your start?
I read the mission of Stella and Dot after a trunk show my mama attended, “To give every woman the means to style her own life…we have a vision of the world where strong women live bold and joyful lives. They know what they want and they work for it.” I signed up the next week, no regrets.
I represent S&D’s line of jewelry and accessories, selling through in-home trunk shows and online through my personal website. I decide when and where to sell and how much time I want to invest in the business. I’m a party planner, fashion consultant and gifting guide.
Business advice to other Belles?
Dream big. Like REALLY BIG! Figure out your “why” and then pursue it fearlessly – every day. Make a plan and take action; consistency and confidence will be key to your success. Remind yourself of your “why” every morning, then live it, love it, work it until it becomes reality.
Favorite part about being an Auburn fan?
Without a doubt, our game day traditions: The eagle flying over Jordan-Hare Stadium before the game. Rolling Toomer’s Corner after a victory. Mama G’s sandwiches and sweet tea. I could go on…
Favorite tailgate dish?
Deviled eggs and pulled pork sandwiches.
What do you always have in your touch down purse?
My touchdown purse is an orange Waverly Petite from Stella and Dot… it holds all my game day essentials:
- Orange & Blue shaker
- Scarlet & Gold face tattoos
- Lip gloss
- Cell phone to Instagram my favorite moments and outfits from the day
Coach Crush? I’m on the “Gus Bus,” 100 percent. Talented, smart and confident in his signature game day attire. What’s not to love?
Shop away, Belles! We hope you’re the winner!
Xs and Os,
When the SEC helmet schedule comes out each year, my fall planning becomes complete. Finally, I can circle all of the games I am attending on the helmet grid, and at a glance, I am completely in the know of each weekend’s match ups and travel schedules.
Why all of these organized little helmets with team logos in an enlarged excel sheet get me going is beyond me. But it does, and they do. It’s one of life’s little joys that stays with me all season.
I print three copies for myself: one for my planner/calendar to have with me at all times; one for my office in clear sight during any task; one on my home fridge so I have a quick reference while testing game day recipes… and so my Alabama-loving husband can see that other teams actually do exist!
Of course, I print a handful of these handy helmet schedules, laminate them and send as treats to my SEC-adoring friends who are always quick to say yes to meeting me at games or responding to my friendly taunts, questions, or general excitement during half time. Pre-season treats are always welcomed. Heck, anything to make kickoff seem closer.
So we thank FBschedules.com for doing all of the tedious work each year to bring us so much joy and fall organization. We couldn’t be more grateful.
Here is your chance to print, hang, laminate and send, Belles. Trust me, you’ll love being in the know at a glance!
Xs and Os
What an off-season! It’s been a tremendously action packed off-season full of travels, Triple Crown winners, coaches-musical-chairs, coordinator hires, and SEC-themed weddings. Alas, it’s time to re-submerge ourselves into the glory of the fall and the highly anticipated SEC football season. This year brings new things to Gridiron Belles and we couldn’t be more excited. What you can expect on the blog this season:
MONDAYS: Outfits, Recipes and Tailgates, Oh My! You can never plan your outfit or tailgate menu too early. Mondays will give you ideas of outfit suggestions, our favorite recipes, interesting SEC sightings or recent photos of Gridiron Belles tailgating around the SEC. This gives you all week to wrangle what you need and to be inspired by what’s going on around you. If you have a favorite game day recipe you want to share, by all means, send it in and we’ll test it out! WEDNESDAYS: Serious Football. We’ll post the weekend’s match-ups, schedules and why in the world it’s important for you to watch, or not watch, the gridiron grit that weekend. FRIDAYS: Belles in Biz. We know that there is more to us Belles than being great on Saturdays. We are smart, motivated, talented and successful in a million ways outside of tailgating and being able to call plays for coaches. Here at Gridiron Belles, we celebrate strong women and want to highlight the Gridiron Belles in Business around the south. If you, or someone you know has started their own company, has made a difference in the community, or is otherwise pretty awesome, we want to hear about her! Drop us a line about her and we’ll feature her success story. Note, you want to pay attention to Fridays, because sometimes these are going to be accompanied by product giveaways! See instructions on how to win on each individual post. Xs and Os, Christie Leigh