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Sep 4, 2013 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Atlanta, Auburn v Georgia, BCS Championship Game, Football weddings, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles Tour, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Heisman Trophy, Lilly Pulitzer and Gridiron Belles, LSU Football, LSU v ALABAMA football, Mississippi State, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, SEC Stadium Tour, Southern Football, Southern Tailgating, Southern Women, Tailgating, Tennessee Football, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football
Football season has arrived and with impeccable timing, we just launched our highly-anticipated campaign for the 2nd edition of Gridiron Belles! ( You can go ahead and back the project here.)
With an overdue welcome to Mizzou and TX A&M to the SEC, I needed to add their chapters and some photos of their tailgates and traditions. While I was at it––to keep it a second edition and not an entirely new book–– I went ahead and added new belle photos, quotes, outfit suggestions and updated some unique tailgate ideas among other things. (It’s easy to pre-order, here, now)
So here is how this works: This kickstarter campaign is the only way for you to get a copy of the new book. If this isn’t a success, no one gets a copy, so be sure to spread the word. We recommend telling all of your sorority sisters, bridesmaids, boyfriends, friends you tailgate with and gridiron-loving family members. Heck, go ahead and order a few for yourself so you have hostess gifts on stand-by. Either way, y’all asked for more books, so here they are! You’ll be the first to have a copy of the fall’s must-reads and I guarantee you’ll understand the game of football when you’re finished reading!
Thanks in advance for your support; can’t wait to see you at the next tailgate!
Xs and Os,
What you need to know about this weekend in Tuscaloosa (Click above for a to-the-second-countdown-to-madness)
1) Swoozies is hosting a Gridiron Belles book signing on Thursday, Nov 3 at their Birmingham location in the Summit. They will be offering two prizes for RSVPing to RSVP@swoozies.com and attending–a signed copy of Gridiron Belles and a personalized Tailgate Party Pack! Be sure to get your name in the drawing by coming by, I’d love to meet you!
Plus! There is a competition between Auburn and Alabama fans to send in the most responses… I have to dress in the winning team’s colors!
2) Gridiron Belles is kicking off the Alabama week with a Friday morning appearance on Birmingham’s CBS 42 “Wake Up Alabama” at 6:00AM. If for some reason you are already up, tune in!
3) I’ll be heading to Tuscaloosa early on Friday morning to stop by Buffalo Phil’s, Dreamland BBQ and Rama Jama. Please send in info if I should be going anywhere else? I’ll be tailgate hopping around the Quad on Saturday so let me know where you’ll be so I can come visit and take pictures for the next book!
4) Just to get you excited, here are some articles that people have sent in about this weekend’s historical matchup. My feet keep dancing and my head wont stop signing a special combined rendition of “Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer” and “Hey Fightin’ Tigers.”
Articles to read:
See you in Tuscaloosa!
Xs and Os,
PS- I can’t really endorse the foul mouthed commentary on the YouTube Honey Badger video, but if you happened to find it, it may help you make the connection about a honey badger and Mr. Matieu
Monday night, I was welcomed at the Vanderbilt KD house by an eager audience of fellow KD ladies. Twenty minutes later, I was out in the dining room signing books for some of the most wonderful women I have met this fall.
These women were kind, genuine and excited to read about their school and it’s place in the world of SEC football. These KDs were asking questions about pass interference, how to improve their tailgates, how quickly thank you notes should be sent and how to land a post graduation job in Washington, D.C. .
This stop at Vanderbilt was exactly what I hoped my tour would be, a chance to reach out to young women and help motivate them to follow their dreams the way I have followed mine.
Fast forward to Friday at the You’re Invited book signing. What a huge success! Anna, the owner, was generous enough to lend me her adorable tailgate items so I could display them on Talk of the Town, a local variety show. You’re Invited has everything a Gridiron Belle needs for hosting a tailgate and stocking up on hostess gifts. I did some shopping myself and checked off my hostess gifts for my last 5 games of the tour!
Saturday morning was a beautiful day for a football game, and almost the perfect day for an upset. However, an early morning text from my favorite KD, Hali, assured me that hell had not frozen over and in fact, it was eerily quiet on fraternity row just two hours before kickoff.
Because I needed to know for myself, I headed to campus anyway to gather what material I could. Sure enough it was a ghost town. I saw tumbleweeds in the road, empty lawns and grills still covered without hot charcoal.
Arkansas on the other hand, had arrived early and was collapsing on the stadium in large numbers. I was impressed by the Arkansas faithful and the outfits of their Belles!
A slow start in the Greek world, however, did not influence the speed of the Commodores on the field. The Vandy football team dominated the entire game against the 10th ranked Razborbacks and started to show the SEC world just how much potential the ‘Dores have.
I scooted out of town before I was able to see the post almost-biggest-win-of-the-season festivities but I heard the celebrating was in full effect. No fear, pictures have been sent and clearly indicate those Commodore students know how to party… they just get a little bit of a late start.
Vanderbilt moved up in the Gridiron Belles rankings. I loved the people, the town and the tenancity that the team played with on the field. I’m looking forward to my next visit and a chance to wear black and gold again!
Thank you Kappa Deltas, Hali, and You’re Invited, you made my trip so very memorable.
Xs and Os,
My opportunity clock (alarm clock to the non optimist) sounded precisely at 7:15am. By 7:45am, I had received a text from “Jim the LSU Tailgater” (as he is identified in my phone) that he and his crew would be arriving at their tailgate within the hour.
A text at 7:55am from “Mystery LSU Guy” (as he is identified in my phone), told me that not only was the mystery LSU guy (see blog post from the LSU v Oregon game) getting an early start at redeeming himself, but that LSU fans, no matter how late they were out the night before, get out early for every game in Baton Rouge.
My lovely host, Patti, dropped me off at the Parade Grounds around 9 am and set me loose on a self-guided tour through the sporadically placed tiger dens, also known as LSU tailgates.
I found my way to the famous Indian Mounds and “Jim the LSU Tailgater’s” primo tailgate spot a first down away from the Indian Mounds and directly next to the circle where the team is let off the buses. This is also where the parade of Golden Girls and both Mike the Tigers make their game day debut.
This is where the fun began.
I filled up on Boudin balls (thank you for not telling me about these before Saturday…my waist line is now in trouble), met up with my best friend from college (Lauren) and her generous LSU family, chatted with some new media friends and finally, met up with Mr. Mystery Man.
Mystery Man was accompanied by Larry, Curly and Mo. My first ab workout, from laughter, of many was completed as we parted ways for more tailgate hopping.
Lauren and I walked down the hill for a quick visit with Ms. Aimee, a competitive tailgater. Yes, that’s right, she enters her tailgates into contest because she’s that good.
To wrap up our LSU tailgate tour, Lauren and I share an authentic LSU plate of fried catfish, an Abita beer and a shocking 17 point lead Ole Miss has over Arkansas with the lovely Adams family in the parking lot surrounding the stadium.
It became apparent rather quickly that “Touchdown Tigers!” did not necessarily mean the Auburn Tigers. (I do wish the announcer had been a bit more specific about his calls.) Posters of “WE WANT BAMA” began to surface in the second half and the crowd in Tiger Stadium grew more subdued than I thought possible. Pretty sure everyone was saving their energy for the other team from Alabama.
Four quarters later and day dreams of more boudin balls, I’ll admit I was considering calling it an early night. Thankfully, I recalled my promise of meeting Mystery Man, Larry, Curly and Mo at Mike the Tiger’s humble abode before they were going to take me to my first Walk On’s experience.
Wait, do you really think those four guys waited at Mike’s house? Not even close.
More exploring of LSU’s gorgeous oak-covered campus led me to find the members of the peanut gallery dancing to Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is yoooooou”.” I suppose Christmas is going to come early (Nov 5th) this year.
What a place to let my hair down. An open dance floor and promise of a phenomenal 80s cover band coming on at any second, I could hardly stand the wait. Plus, I have a soft spot for establishments that give you take-home-cups.
I don’t know the name of the band that covered songs from Purple Rain to Courtesy of the Red White and Blue and every hit in between. But I do know that thanks to my host Patti, Jim the LSU Tailgater, Lauren and her family, Mystery Man, Larry, Curly and Mo and the unforgettable hot pink leg warmers on stage, the Gridiron Belles trip to Baton Rouge was more than complete.
Since there is never a chance for rain in Tiger Stadium, I’ll be back—because my new favorite place for Saturday nights is Louisiana.
Xs and Os,
If there was a way to bottle up the feel good effect of being in M S McClellans and sell it, I’d be a very wealthy woman!
M.S. McClellans, a men’s clothier and a Knoxville tradition since 1966, is a family owned and operated establishment based on high standards of quality and service. Such is evident when you first step over the threshold and into a fairytale land of top of the line mens (and women’s) clothes and a warm welcome from the McClellan staff. If you’re lucky, there is even a bloody Mary waiting for you!
The team at McClellan’s was wonderful to work with and ever so helpful in setting up my signing. I felt right at home—a very lavish, cozy, hunting-styled home—from the beginning.
If anyone told you McClellan’s was just a clothing store, they were sorely mistaken. McClellan’s is an unspoken social hotspot. Friends and fans alike come in for a last minute game day outfit, belt or simply a bloody Mary and a seat on the edge of the pool table to watch the early game. If only every morning was as lovely as game day morning at McClellan’s…
In addition to tailored jackets and suits, they also carry the preppy line of Volunteer Traditions. I had the honor of meeting the founder of the company, Mason, at McClellan’s. Was Mason there doing business? Not particularly. He was simply stopping by to say “hello” to Bob and gang and a few other passer bys that knew him by name and recognized him by style.
Currently, Volunteer Traditions does not have a line for Belles. Looks like for now, us Belles will just have to settle with dating Gents that wear Volunteer Tradition—this way we’ll know immediately that they have impeccable taste and style.
Right when I thought my morning with Bob and Mason couldn’t get much better, one of my best friends from college surprised me with a visit. My apologies to any patrons in the store that heard me shriek with joy when Nick (nicknamed “Sweet Thang”) walked into my line of vision unannounced!
Nick was on a guys trip with three other UGA fans while their wives went on a girls trip. We were able to catch up, a few of the Gents were smart enough to buy a present in the form of a book for their wives and they were exposed to the greatness that is McClellan’s and Volunteer Tradition.
After a full morning of selling and signing I had a new found appreciation for spending time surrounded by well dressed Volunteer fans. A special thanks to the Belles in the back that kept me company and the Gents in the front that kept a bloody Mary in my hand.
If you are ever in Knoxville and are craving a quality ensemble for men or women, I assure you McClellan’s will take care of you. I know I’ll be finding every possible excuse to get back to the clothing King of Knoxville.
Xs and Os,
How can I put so much fun into just one blog? I can’t, so stay tuned for more stories from my trip to Knoxville throughout the week. For now, let’s just say that I’m glad there is a second book in the works; I have gathered a plethora of information for UT’s second chapter in book two!
Let’s start with downtown Knoxville. Sure, an SEC is centered around the university, the available tailgate spots and legendary stadium– but there is so much more.
I arrived on Friday afternoon to Market Square in the heart of downtown Knoxville. I met with a sweet UT reporter, Laura, at Café 4 and then shimmied over to be a part of “Live at 5 at 4” before picking up the prefect hostess gift at Bliss Boutique. Just a brisk walk two blocks over I set up for a signing at Mast General Store. Market Square was another side of Knoxville I had never seen. It was full of lively and kind people out enjoying their Friday night before enjoying their Tennessee Saturday.
Saturday morning started off with a run with my host, Molly, with a Smokey Mountain backdrop before heading to a signing at M.S. McClellans. ( I’ll be doing a full spot on McClellans later this week because that place is AMAZING). After a successful signing at McClellan’s, Swoozies and I met up to hit the tailgating scenes on UT’s campus.
What a perfect day for college football. Not a cloud in the sky and a delightful 79 degrees made our tailgate hopping a cinch without a single threat of a glisten. We stopped by Volunteer Village, walked through Circle Park, ran into some KD Ladies on the sidewalk and visited fans in the 23B lot off of Andy Holt Boulevard. How very hospitable Darsi and her friends were! Not to mention, Mr. UT made the best French fries I’ve ever tasted. Now that’s skill to do at a tailgate!
I was eager to get down to the River. Last time I was in town, the VOL Navy was disappointingly out of town. This time, I was determined to hang out at Calhouns and see some of the water mansions decked out in checkered orange. But not before stopping by Figi Island where Amy and I were offered, and accepted, the most delicious grilled bologna sandwiched with cole slaw. Can you say “entry” for the Gridiron Belle cookbook due out soon?
It’s a good thing campus is covered with hills because after French fries and bbq’d bologna (I promise it was DELICIOUS!), I needed some cardio on our way to the South’s most perfect deck overlooking the Tennessee River . What a sight!
Short on time and koozies from Swoozies, we climbed another hill, through the G10 lot and to the entrance of Neyland Stadium. What happened next will be another entry for another day, but let’s just say, thanks to a well connected KD, Molly and I were able to see Neyland Stadium from the field!
It wasn’t exactly a pretty game for the VOLS but it sure was a beautiful day of being a part of Tennessee football.
Stay tuned for more stories about wearing orange…
Xs and Os,
PS- this is possibly my favorite photo of the season so far. Rivalries start young… really young.
There is something to be said about tailgating in a parking lot.
Fortunate to have friends with a pass in the Red lot, Gridiron Belles was able to set up shop 4 cars away from the entrance to Commonwealth Stadium. Of course, the short walk into our seats was a huge plus, but what I learned to appreciate more was the ability to pack our car full of tables, platters, delicacies, chairs and people and unload right at our spot. No lugging from miles away. No drop off and pick up systems. No glistening from manual labor in a sundress. Could this be my new favorite way to tailgate?
It could be possible that I am slightly biased toward my Old Kentucky Home, but after an afternoon relaxing with CAT fans I’m realizing it may not be all bad to be a Kentucky fan. Unless of course, you like winning.
Top 5 must haves for a Kentucky Tailgate:
- Parking spot in the Blue or Red Lot
- Ale 8 ( A Kentucky brewed ginerale)
- Bourbon Brownies (KY people will put bourbon in anything)
- A bright blue “CATS” t-shirt (Unless you’re with the fraternities and then a dress is required)
- Hope… hope that basketball season will hurry up and get here!
Thanks, Kentucky for a great week of signings, tailgates and hype about basketball season. It was so lovely to be home!
Xs and Os,
When I initially put the LSU v Oregon game on my schedule I thought I maybe made the wrong decision by not kicking off my tour in an SEC town. However, Arlington, TX—“Jerry World” no less—proved to be the perfect backdrop for and early start to duck hunting season as the LSU Tigers defeated the Oregon Ducks 40-27.
The LSU faithful didn’t mind if they were missing a quarterback or a few other starters. The purple and gold diehards didn’t mind that they were in Big 12 country. The fans of the fighting tigers were jubilant about debuting their purple and gold for the season opener and the victory on the field was second only to the victory at the tailgates.
A few examples:
Ben, from New Orleans, was exactly what you expect an LSU fan from New Orleans to be. Up early, heavily influenced by bourbon, wearing gold and proclaiming a season of victory by his team, all while being a perfect gentleman and hosting the Swoozies and Gridiron Belles. The Gridiron Tour team had never been more entertained. I think he even sold a few books for us!
Jim, a LSU extraordinaire from Pensacola, FL and Julee a LSU fan from Dallas, hosted a tailgate of 500 plus people in the middle of a field. Surrounded by fencing. Protected by security. Yes, law enforcement was needed to protect the perfectly cooked jambalaya and copious amounts of free flowing purple and gold Budweiser.
I was assured time and time again that this particular displaced tailgate was calm and that if I wanted to really be wowed, I needed to find Jim and his 500 friends again near the Mounds in Baton Rouge. If this was tame, I suppose the SWAT team will be in Baton Rouge.
Then there was Jason. The blind date from Atlanta. Our mutual friends told us about one another and it was clearly romantic destiny if we were both in Texas for the LSU game. E-mails and numbers were exchanged ahead of time. Facebook pages were stalked. We were going to meet up to express our love for college football. A marriage engagement was clearly pending. And then it happened. Cell phone service went iffy at best. Texts went unanswered. Time was slipping away.
Finally, an update from Jason. “ We are now in Lot 5 right near the stadium. Next to some boisterous LSU fans. I’m wearing purple.” Ahhh, his usage of the adjective “boisterous” tells me he’s smart, but his overall message tells me the common sense wagon passed him by… Being near the stadium, next to drunk and loud LSU fans while wearing purple was the same situation for 93,164 people that day! How was I supposed to find prince charming with those directions? And before the National Anthem!? Again, I am promised a better time and “first date” in Baton Rouge for the Auburn game. I hope he makes it easier next time and tells me he’s “ wearing an LSU hat and taunting Auburn fans.”
A full day of tailgating with (and without) some of the most enthusiastic fans in the land challenged my endurance. However, one sound of the band, one cheer of the crowd and the first National Anthem of the season, kickoff had never felt so rich as I got comfortable in my seat and ready to watch the Fighting Tigers of the SEC start and end duck season.
Xs and Os,
Two years ago, my dear friend and loyal Southerner, Lauren Bordelon, recommended that I submit “my story” to Swoozies. Having never steered me wrong before, I listened to Lauren and submitted my story about my love of tailgating to Swoozies to be on the cover of their fall catalogue. Lucky for me, I was chosen!
Swoozies treated me to a weekend in Atlanta, a photo shoot with photographer Margaret Lemke and a tour of their anchor store in Buckhead. For those of you unfamiliar with Swoozies, it’s a Southern Belle’s dream come true. From theme party decor and ideas to delicate and timeless stationary, Swoozies has all of your needs covered for being the proper-theme-party-socialite you are!
Fast forward two years and one completed book later and voila! Swoozies and Gridiron Belles are teaming up to hit the road this fall.
Learn more about on the latest Swoozies blog and keep an eye out for their feature article about Gridiron Belles next week. Because, if we didn’t already tell you, we really want to see you at our tailgates this fall!
Xs and Os,
Dear fellow SEC fans,
I’m falling short of finding the appropriate words that adequately express my perpetual gratitude for your support.
This book has been a dream come true for me. A lifetime of aspirations have come together in this 200 page hardback.But what has made me even more proud than this book, is the village it took to complete it. How very telling of the South.
Each team inspired me and contributed in its own unique way. Despite team allegiances, each fan base had their input. Each town across Dixie was warm and genuine in encouraging me to finish this product, not only for me, but for the gents and above all–the belles of Dixie.
If the cover was larger, I would put the names of all of the people that have contributed to the books completion. You’ve certainly earned a spot on the front as much as I have.
After all, wasn’t most of this book based the SEC community as a whole? It was and it is. As I flip through the pages, I see faces and stories that represent nostalgic and novice fans alike. Sure, Saturdays are a little more enjoyable with a win for our respective team, but football down South has always been about who is cheering and tailgating next to you.
So thank you to each and everyone one of you for contributing to my lifelong dream coming true. No gesture went unnoticed. All efforts big and small were appreciated. To all of you who responded to my urgent pleads for pictures, thank you. To all of you who gave me ideas, story lines and inspiration without knowing it, you’re my saving graces. To all of you who promised to buy a book just because you are my friend, thank you.
It is without further ado, I present to you, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, officially available for your enjoyment.
With my deepest appreciation,