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  • Times have changed. So have the rules.

    Aug 15, 2012 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Football, LSU Football, LSU v ALABAMA football, Mississippi State, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Football, Southern Gentlemen, Tennessee Football, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football

    My dearest Gridiron Belles:

    My most sincere apologies for taking an unannounced break from the blog!  I assure you it was for good reason as I’m proud to announce, Gridiron Belles now has a sister publication, SouthernLeague Magazine.    You can imagine how my time has been eaten up!

    Alas, I would never leave you going into the anticipated season unprepared, so here is part one of the Gridiron Belles pre-season primer.

    Times have changed.  So have the rules.

    Many concerned onlookers, including retired NFL players, argue that the game of football is more dangerous than it’s ever been.   Bigger, faster, stronger players result in bigger, faster, and harder hits.

    In an attempt to protect our gridiron heroes, the NCAA has changed some rules, effective this season.


    • If a player’s helmet gets knocked off, he will be treated as an injured player and the clock will be stopped.
    • If a player’s helmet comes off for reasons other than a penalty on the opposing team, the player will sit out the following play.

    Seems there is a new trend for players not to fasten both chin straps, resulting in loose helmets.  Helmets that are there to protect players’ heads… that encase their brains… which are important for life post-gridiron.


    • The kickoff will now be from the 35 yard-line. (It was the 30.) 
      • This is to increase the likelihood of the football going to the end zone, where receiving players cannot be flattened (or even touched) once they catch it.
      • Touchbacks will now come out to the 25 yard-line. (It was the 20.)
        • This is to encourage players to take a knee after receiving a kickoff—a touchback—instead of rushing into crowds of rushing, angry, bruise-inducing opponents.
        • The kickoff team must line up between the 30 and 35 yard-lines. (They used to be able to start farther back.)
          • This prevents a “running start” and thus hitting with less velocity.

    According to Greg Johnson of, “The recommended changes came from the Football Rules Committee after that group examined NCAA data showing that injuries during kickoffs occur more often than in any other phases of the game.”  What’s the NCAA rationale behind this decision? Fewer kickoff returns should lead to fewer injuries.

    ESPN commentator and Heisman Trophy winner, Desmond Howard, who incidentally served as a kickoff and punt returner in the NFL, points out that “coaches put players back there to run the ball out of the end zone, not to take a knee.”

    Whichever argument you use, the facts remain and the rules have changed.  Store these changes in your useful-football-knowledge file and get ready for an exciting season!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh


  • Made in America

    Jul 3, 2012 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Football, Southern Gentlemen

    The fourth of July falls on a Wednesday this year leaving us two weekends to celebrate and a full week to wear red white and blue.  Why we don’t wear red everyday of the year beats the heck out of me.

    Flag etiquette says, and I fully heartedly agree, that we should always respect the flag—display it in it’s best form (no tattered edges), never touching the ground, and on and on.  However, sometimes it’s not always convenient for belles and gents to carry around full flag poles with freshly pressed stars and stripes.  So… we are going to bend the rules ever so slightly and show you some creative ways that your fellow peers are displaying their pride of our great nation.

    This, however, is not to say that we disrespect the flag, the meaning, behind it, or the lives lost to defend it. In fact, it’s just the opposite.  We are so proud of who we are as a nation, what we’ve achieve as a country, and our freedoms as citizens that we are displaying our pride in as many ways as possible.

    We hope that this year, as every year, you’ll give your thanks to our troops, you’ll truly appreciate where you live, and you’ll honorably celebrate our independence this day and always.

    God bless the USA!

    Christie Leigh

  • I Heart Athens, GA

    May 31, 2012 CATEGORIES: Athens, Atlanta, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Lilly Pulitzer and Gridiron Belles, LSU Football, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, Southern Gentlemen, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football, Uncategorized

    Gridiron Belles has a new project up its sleeve and we are itching to share it with you… but the timing isn’t right quite yet. So sit tight for just a little bit longer!

    Getting geared up for a full day of shooting

    To pique your interest, I’m sharing some photos from the new project.  Last week I was in Athens, GA with a handful of my interns, Southern-not-quite-yet-professional-models-but-close, owners of Southern companies, and drool-worthy clothes for our models (Volunteer Tradition, SouthernProper, HighCottonTies, Brier&Moss, Pennington&Bailes, Atlantic Drift, Leona, YoursTruly, Lilly Pulitzer, Old Try, Bonobos, Cordial Churchman,cheeky Peach, Mast McBride). Some of which they got to keep!

    Capturing a FL look for the first game of the season

    We were doing our fair share of glistening under the Georgia sun.  We worked hard and played hard.  Our phenomenal photographer from Back Down South captured looks and moments that epitomize the perfect Dixie experience.   Thank goodness for Photographer Caroline.

    Photographer Caroline was AMAZING. Hence why I brought her to the shoot!

    Just making sure we "nailed" the shot...

    Day one consisted of hours on North Campus in front of Magnolia trees, fountains, and the famous arch with a rushed session on the immaculately kept greens of the Georgia golf course.  Day two was a chicken biscuit breakfast and a trip down Greek lane with shots in front of the ADPi, Beta, and ATO houses that included short shorts and state flags.

    We like the SEC trend of wearing shorter shorts. Nice legs, Jordan!

    Interns Caroline and Michelle show off their Lilly sunglasses

    What I valued most was the time spent together with people I had never met.  Who were these people that showed up under The Arch at 4pm on Wednesday to help me take the next step toward a new dream?  How generous.  How admirable.  How appreciative I am.

    Chelsea from Southern Gent Gifts!

    Why not put on bow ties and loafers and practice handstands?

    I don’t know why people were so willing to help, but I’m going to give some credit to the uniting factor, Athens, GA.  There is something about that city that says “welcome, we’re here to help.”  People who have a connection to Athens tend to have a “we’re all in this together” mentality.  Georgia isn’t my team, per se, but you can guarantee that after last week, Athens has my heart.

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh


  • “I’ll Have Another….Derby”

    May 3, 2012 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Bourbon, Kentucky Derby, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Gentlemen

    It seems the South is a hot trend right now. Of course, we are already well aware just how great the South is. Frankly, we know our traditions, culture, and ways of life are no trends at all.

    Alas, said trend of being fascinated with how we Southerners have been “conducting business” since Moby Dick was a minnow, the Kentucky Derby has been the talk of the town, even down here in Texas.

    I was invited to a handful of Kentucky Derby parties that were being hosted in the Lone Star state.  I was ready to resign to a day of explaining how to properly wear a hat; how to make the perfect simple syrup; and how to box a trifecta at the betting window. I was prepared to enjoy one of the South’s greatest traditions with my Texas friends.

    Yes, this happens!

    And then it happened.  I started to receive real invitations to real Derby events being held in the real Kentucky.  One mention of a historical plantation, box seats, a new dress, and a brunch consisting of tenderloin, cheese grits, and Mint Juleps served in polished silver… well… the light went on… this Kentucky belle just couldn’t resist the trip home.  Again.

    Why I thought I would sit out this year’s run for the roses beats the heck out of me.  Some people have family reunions or family vacations— we have family days at the track– Churchill Downs to be exact— and there is no family better than the one you’re with on Derby day.

    If you’re heading to the legendary Churchill Downs or just to your neighbor’s back yard keep these tidbits in mind:

    Belles, make sure you have your hat and dress ready!  You’ll want to wear a brightly colored dress with a hat and shoes that compliment. Your hat should be worn low causing you to raise your chin to see those around you.

    KY Gents post races DERBY 137

    Gents, make sure your khaki or seersucker suit is pressed and ready to go with your pastel bow tie, white buck shoes, pocket square and cigar.

    Dr. Billy will be wearing this gem on Saturday... He's a UK fan!

    Betting. Always bring cash for betting.  It doesn’t matter if you study the odds, trainer, and winnings of a horse or if you simply like the name or the color of the jockey’s silks.  Just be sure you participate in the fun!

    Note, Win= 1st place, Place= 2nd place, and Show=3rd place.    Gridiron Belle inside tip:  I always bet “$2 across the board.” This means that the horse I choose can win place or show and I’m still considered a winner.  Not a winner of very much, but a winner all the same.  I’ll be betting on Hansen this year—the white horse favorite! But I always bet on two and the second thoroughbred that gets my money is “I’ll have another…”  the trainer is staying at my sister’s house!

    With a sprig of mint for your nose...

    Mint Juleps. Mint Juleps are the official drink of the KY Derby. These world-renowned beverages are made of crushed ice, smashed mint, simply syrup, and bourbon. You’ll enjoy them over brunch out of polished silver or at the track out of a collectable Derby glass.  If you’re in the infield you’re likely having an abbreviated version – just bourbon. Usually without ice.  And usually with blurred vision.

    Mmmm.... Heaven... "I'll Have Another"

    It’s natural to want to be Bob Baffert (a famous and successful horse trainer) after a May trip to KY.  I leave Churchill Downs every year wanting to give up football and purchase a horse farm.  The spirit in KY is just infectious.  It’s a beautiful part of the country that celebrates years of hard work while displaying its Southern roots.

    If you’ve never been, add it to your bucket list.  If you’re going for the first time this year, enjoy it.  It only takes one “call to the post” to appreciate what it means to be part of the legendary Kentucky Derby.

    Happy Derby Day!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh



  • Cooler Painting: A Southern Tradition

    Apr 24, 2012 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles Internship, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Football, Southern Gentlemen, Uncategorized

    Nothing tells his friends that he "frats hard" like a " ' Merica cooler."

    Coolers have always been a must-have for fraternity boys on game days, spring break and weekend parties at the house. It has become a Southern tradition for girls to paint their men coolers for all types of occasions, especially for formals.  And every once in a while, we paint one for ourselves!

    Your beau wear bow ties? Of course he does!

    Getting asked to a gents formal in the South is a cause for celebration. In return, for what is to be a fun-filled and ever so memorable evening of events, the belles paint their dates coolers.

    14. It makes us all proud.

    The girls take pride in their coolers, making sure their date is fully satisfied. The girls paint anything from Southern Tide and Patagonia to their date’s favorite alcohol brand and fraternity’s flag. Even though it isn’t spoken about, the girl’s compare their coolers to every other cooler they see. It’s a silent competition to see which girl went above and beyond their dates and this unique southern tradition’s expectations.

    This is the equivalent to a man's monogram. Put their name in a beer logo and you just might be asked back to next year's formal.

    Guy Harvey, Vineyard Vines, and Fraternity Letters are among the popular things painted on the guy’s coolers.

    Enough said.

    The Confederate/Fraternity Flag are also very popular on the Southern Gent’s coolers. Also putting your date’s name or fraternity’s name into a well known emblem such as alcohol, hunting and Southern clothing companies’ logos.

    For the ultimate Tweeter...? #OrMaybeHeJustParties?

    Since Old South usually lasts all weekend, you need a very large cooler!









    If the painting coolers tradition has fallen by the wayside at your school, there is no better time to bring it back!  If this tradition is running full force on your campus, use these pictures as some inspiration.  Consider this a belles “pre-thank-you-note–” because with works of art like this accompanying you and your date to formal, how could it not be a fun time that he’ll always remember?
    This post was written by Gridiron Belles intern, Caroline Whorton, from Ole Miss.

  • Why I can only date SEC fans…

    Apr 17, 2012 CATEGORIES: Football weddings, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Football, Southern Gentlemen, Uncategorized

    The dating world can be challenging, but not if you know what you want. And through trial and many errors, I know what I want. An SEC fan. No questions asked..

    My prince charming doesn’t have to cheer for my team, but he wont be MY prince charming if he doesn’t at least cheer for the Southeastern Conference.

    Let’s dissect:

    Sweatshirts and “going out tees.” Sweatshirts are reserved for the coldest of nights at home on the couch or for me to borrow during the dreaded drive home on Sundays.  Going-out-tees are only for those dwelling on the Jersey Shore, not a Saturday in Dixie.  As a Southern Belle I am innately attracted to men in shorter shorts, pastels, boat shoes and/or loafers, bow ties, rolled sleeves, and croakies… among other things


    The accent. There is something infinitely sexy about a southern drawl.  A man without a hint of one, just it’s going to work.  With A&M now a part of us, accents have gotten even thicker and my ears are ever so appreciative!

    Understanding rivals. Please don’t judge me on being selfish, but how could I care about other so-called rivalries when the SEC is overflowing with them?  I would have a hard time investing four hours on a Saturday to watch Oregon v Oregon State.  Alabama v LSU is a rivalry.  Florida v Tennessee is a rivalry.  Auburn v Georgia is a rivalry.  Ole Miss v MS State is a rivalry.  Arkansas v LSU is a rivalry.  And I’m sure Mizzou v Texas A&M is going to be a heated addition to our list. How could I date someone that doesn’t appreciate this?

    Dedication: Dedication to one team shows how much dedication the gent is capable of expressing toward me. Dedication, however, should stop short of tattoos—of his team and my name on his bicep—but not a sticker on his car or a team logo washed out on his favorite hat.  An old faded Gamecock hat is much more appealing than a straight-brimmed The Ohio State hat.  Wouldn’t you agree?

    My Stubborn Flat Screen. Despite the Geek Squad’s best efforts, my flat screen is conveniently incapable of letting a Little 12, Pac 10, or Big East game dominate the airwaves while an SEC game is on.  If my gent requests the UCLA v Cal game over the Georgia v Tennessee game, we would have more than probable cause for spending game day in two different locations.

    The Language Barrier: Perhaps I could get over this if it was really love, but why would I want to date someone who doesn’t speak the same language? 

    • “Yes ma’am”
    • “No sir”
    • “Third Saturday in October”
    • “Y’all”
    • “d’geatyet?”
    • “That’s just not right.”
    • “How’s your mama?”
    • “Third Saturday in September”
    • “Frat Beach”
    • “I loved your thank you note”

    All SEC faithful know what these mean, why waste time translating? If my beau were to ever use words like, “wicked,” “you all,”  “Go Utes,” or need to read the lyrics in order to sing the National Anthem, we’d be walking down Irreconcilable Differences Lane.

    Manners. Being chivalrous and mannerly is in a gents DNA down here. An SEC gent is considerate of the Belle he calls his—and all of her friends—as well as a stranger on the street. Even if they are displaced in New York City, a southern gent’s manners shine through.  How could I settle for anything else?  (this is not to say that I’ve never met perfect gentlemen that cheer for non-SEC teams…)

    Let’s be clear.  I don’t say this to be hurtful to all of the wonderful gents out there that may have been raised to cheer for another conference.  (My mama is likely going to find a way to black out this little post as she’ll think I’m eliminating 75% of my potential dating pool….) And I don’t say this because I think I’m some catch that all male fans are lining up to date.  I just think this is something that most Gridiron Belles can relate to. We like to share our favorite fall pastime with our gents. And our favorite fall pastime happens to revolve around Saturdays in Dixie.

    In an effort of full disclosure, I’ve tried dating Big 12 fans in particular.  It works in the spring and summer, but come the fall—we are in different worlds.  This fall, I will be practicing counting to 7 for championships and he will be practicing counting to 7 for the number of teams left in his conference.   Wouldn’t it be more fun if we were both celebrating number 7 in Miami this year?Of course, I’ll never say never, but I’m going to say that a non-SEC gent has a better chance of winning the Heisman than getting me to share the remote with him during the fall!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh


  • Battle of the Bourbon on Bourbon Street

    Mar 30, 2012 CATEGORIES: Final Four Louisville v Kentucky, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Bourbon, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Gentlemen

    The Commonwealth of Kentucky is known for horses, basketball, and bourbon.  And not necessarily in that order.

    For the first time in history both teams from the Bluegrass State, the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky, will meet in the Final Four.  This basketball match up between the CARDS and the CATS is as heated a rivalry as the football match up between Auburn and Alabama. Perhaps even more. In fact, one writer even calls it “deep fried hell.” as he depicts the history of this rivalry. 

    Just as nearly every other major sporting event finals this year, the NCAA Final Four is being played in New Orleans. (My sources say the city is currently bidding for the next Olympics and the 2013 Masters… ) In addition to the civil war that will be played on Saturday at  5:09pm CT, let us not forget about a little street that feels like home to every fan hailing from the great Commonwealth, Bourbon Street.

    Come Saturday evening, half of the Kentuckians who made the trip south will be weeping after a loss and the other half will be flamboyantly flaunting a victory. Thankfully, both fan bases will find common ground in the Big Easy where the name is all too comforting to a Kentuckian—the street of Bourbon.   What basketball divides, bourbon unites.  Wait. I actually don’t believe that at all.  That’s like saying a slab of ribs from Dreamland BBQ in Birmingham is going to be a nice band-aid post the Iron Bowl.   It’s just not going to happen.

    What is going to happen is a little bourbon showdown. Yes, I know, every team thinks they rule the roost when it comes to celebrating a win in N’awlins. And I know the locals think they’ve mastered Bourbon Street.  But as a belle who was raised on the brown drink in the Bluegrass, let me prepare you for the Commonwealth of Kentucky coming to town. Bourbon may be a street in your city, but we created it in the Commonwealth and y’all a’int seen nothing yet!

    Kentucky: Where we like our bourbon straight up with a touch of class

    Happy NCAA Final Four; go Commonwealth!


    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh


  • The Strong Belles Lenten Challenge

    Feb 21, 2012 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Football, Southern Gentlemen, Southern Women, Strong Belles Challenge

    Thanks for the love, but this doesn't help me!

    Valentine’s day was last Tuesday. I spent the weekend in NYC ordering from, indulging in wonderful Cuban food, and sipping on celebratory drinks. Fat Tuesday is today.  I tend to take this fake holiday too seriously and eat as if I simply must put every senseless calorie in my mouth. TODAY.


    Thankfully,  Lent begins tomorrow. Yes, I’ll go so far as to say I need a power bigger than myself to get me back on track!

    How convenient that Lent comes just a few months after our big self-improving New Year declarations.  Lent, thankfully, is only 46 days and that feels a little easier to manage than 365 days of commitment.

    My personal Lenten promises tend to be more about enhancing my life rather than depriving myself.  I would rather volunteer more, have lunch once a week with a new friend, or add more yoga to my day.  That’s partially because I hope that whatever I do add will take hold as habit after 46 days. And don’t they say habits are hard to break?

    So how does all of this relate to Gridiron Belles and football?

    The purpose of me writing Gridiron Belles was not only to promote the gentility and class of Southern Belles and Gents but to empower women with knowledge about an ever so popular game that nearly every Southerner obsesses over. I wanted to provide women with knowledge. Knowledge is power.

    What was once accepted and expected of Belles, to just be pretty and quiet, is no longer what makes a Belle a Belle.  Belles are not frail creatures waiting to be told who or how to be.  We don’t need to wait for direction from a man or suggestions from our families.  In my mind, a Belle is a woman who is strong, proud, capable, motivated, respectful of herself and others, goal driven, and eager to take on the challenges of life to achieve her dreams. All while being a lady.

    A Belle is nothing if she is not well-rounded  and her own biggest cheerleader.

    Still looking for the connection?

    I have found over the years that how physically fit I am directly influences how emotionally fit I am. If I’m emotionally unfit, I begin to doubt myself, my work, my purpose, etc. One quick, exhausting workout remedies the situation. SO… in an effort to further empower and encourage women to be the greatest version of themselves they can be, I am inviting you to join my Lenten promise.

    I am vowing to do 100 push-ups and 100 sit ups each day of Lent.  To make sure that my body is in as great of shape as my mind is. I want to live everyday not only as a Gridiron Belle but a strong and beautiful belle.

    Here is how it’s going to work:

    Each day, I will post on facebook when I complete my push-ups and sit-ups.  When you complete yours, just “Like” the status or comment about your sets to motivate others.  At the end of lent, there will be a Gridiron Belle prize for the Belle who completed the most days of being a strong belle.

    I”ll be posting a picture of my arms/shoulders at the beginning and at the end.(Feel free to send in pictures of you as well, but please keep them belle appropriate!)  Not only am I projecting that I will be more productive and happier but that my arms will be ready for a strapless KY Derby dress and for the upcoming season of tailgating!  Yes, I’ll still let the Gents carry the coolers and tents, but that’s not because I wont be strong enough to do it myself…

    Brandi Chastain, one of the strongest Belles out there! I want that feeling of success everyday...

    So go ahead and have that extra slice of king cake today–tomorrow we start a new challenge of making a habit out of being fabulous –everyday–inside and out!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh


  • Looking for Spring Gridiron Belles Interns!

    Jan 24, 2012 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles Internship, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Football, Southern Gentlemen, Uncategorized

    If you are a sophomore or junior at an SEC school, a member of a Greek organization and interested in an internship revolving around SEC football, Gridiron Belles has the opportunity for you!

    The next Gridiron Belles project is underway and it needs the expertise of literary, marketing and entrepreneurial SEC co-eds. Interns will work on a team of 6 students (three belles and three gents) per SEC school to write football related articles, conduct SEC fan interviews, photograph SEC traditions, create SEC fashion, contact local business,provide market research analysis pertaining to SEC students and fans, and serve as a Gridiron Belles ambassador.

    The 5-15 hr per week  internship will begin March 6 and conclude August 15, 2012 with a performance-based option to continue through the 2012 Gridiron Belles Fall Tour.

    Applicant must be:

    • Well versed in campus game day traditions
    • A talented writer
    • Able to connect with local businesses
    • Team oriented
    • Organized
    • Responsible
    • Savvy with social media

    To apply, please answer the following questions and submit your answers along with a copy of your resume to by 8pmET on Wednesday February 8, 2012.

    1.     Please describe your favorite SEC game day tradition.

    2.     What is your favorite SEC match up?

    3.     What are the most important characteristics of being a Southern Belle and a Southern Gentleman?

    4.     What are 10 local businesses near your campus that are “must-haves” for game day?  Restaurants, clothing stores, local grocery, etc.?

    5.     What are the latest fashion trends for Belles and Gents on SEC game day?

    6.     Have you read Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie?

    7.     Who do you most identify with, Warren St. John, Chad Gibbs or Clay Travis? Why?

    8.     If you had to promote a new Gridiron Belles project, what would your social media plan be?

    9.     Please describe in detail, a project you have worked on start to finish. What did you learn about yourself during this process? What lessons will you take from that project and apply to the next Gridiron Belles project?

    10.     What quote best describes you?

    Thank you for your interest in Gridiron Belles. Selected interns will be posted on Tuesday, February 28. Good luck!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh