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  • The Higher the Hair, the Closer to God

    Sep 20, 2012 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Football, Southern Women

    In honor of the Aggies joining the SEC and Ole Miss vs. Texas last weekend we should stop and consider something that is very close to every southern ladies’ heart: big ole’ Texas hair.  Hearing adages growing up like “if you say you can get ready to leave the house in 30 minutes maybe you shouldn’t be leaving the house at all…” and “the higher the hair, the closer to God,” you have to recognize that Southern women take pride in their appearance. Lots of pride.

    Big hair requires time, poise, and a whole lot of unfaltering attitude. One just doesn’t wake up with gorgeous hair that defies gravity, it takes cans of liquid polymer and taking a back comb straight to the roots.  There’s a reason only the best women achieve it; hair the size of Texas is not for the faint of heart.

    Wearing big hair means that you don’t slouch, you walk tall and proudly and ideally in heels. It goes perfectly along with winged out liner and big pouty lips. This makes you the biggest girl in the room but in all the right places. High hair forces you to hold your head high, throw your shoulders back and face the world head on and hair forward.

    So go ahead, tease your hair a little longer and spray a little more extra hold. As a Southern woman you’ve got a world to run and this world requires big ol’ hair!

    “The Higher the Hair, the Closer to God “was written by Gridiron Belle and SouthernLeague intern, Brittany Frederic from Ole Miss

  • If the (good looking game day) shoe fits…

    Sep 4, 2012 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Football, Southern Women

    The perfect Tide fan sandal by Diana Kelly

    When it comes to affairs of the feet, we all know how difficult gamedays can be. From the tailgate to the game to the band party to the after party, it’s a full day event.

    As much as the practical part of me screams “comfort is key!” that’s quickly muffled by my obvious truth: gamedays are made for showcasing your true style. With all the cheesy fashion, tied-up jerseys, jorts and team colors gone awry, it’s imperative to standout in a good way.

    Tory is so good at making comfortable game day shoes, we are convinced she's a Gridiron Belle

    So where were we? Oh, that’s right, feet first.

    War Eagle? Go Gators? Comfortable sandal by Francesca Joy

    The two best options on a gameday are either a sandal or a wedge. Either shoe can take you from day to night in style. Some of my favorite sandals come from Diana Kelly, Inc. and Francesca Joy Palm Beach. Their shoes are very unique, and unlike Rainbow sandals, you won’t find them on every single girl in the stadium.

    The most sensible shoe of the (early part of) season, by Tory Burch

    You also can’t go wrong with a nice neutral. Tory Burch and Michael Kors have great options that can subtly complement any outfit. I like to think that the shoes you wear on Saturdays shouldn’t be for Saturday only. You should, hypothetically, be able to wear them any other day. If your team colors aren’t flattering, opt for the neutral shoe. It’ll help you in the long run.

    Nearly every color available- take your pick for comfort! Shoe by J.Crew

    Black, navy, red, orange, blue and gold can all be acceptable, if it’s the right shoe. A nice patent or leather sandal, a woven wedge with an espadrille heel – these would work for gameday and beyond! J. Crew ballet flats are timeless and there’s even a Steven Madden slingback sandal I don’t hate!

    The ever-reliable Steve Madden classic

    Don’t let a budget scare you, there are acceptable options for any price. If you’re like me, however, you’ll want to splurge on something nice! After all, for an SEC girl, the concrete sidewalk leading up the stadium might as well be a runway. We’re not just dressing for any game. It’s an SEC game.

     

    Blog post written by University of Florida student, Lauren Gonzalez, courtesy of SouthernLeague Magazine (www.SouthernLeagueMagazine.com)

  • The little word EXTRA

    Aug 22, 2012 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Southern Women, Uncategorized

    One of the earliest lessons I recall from my childhood was that “the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the little word extra.”  A little extra work, a little extra hustle, a little extra creativity, a little extra passion was all it took to be extraordinary in a world of ordinary.

    As I grew up, I realized how much I enjoyed the extra—mile, risk, and excitement.   What I didn’t realize was how uncommon it is to find a man who appreciates a woman with constant, extra motivation.

    To keep things simple, we’ll say I used to date a guy who told me Dagny Taggert, from Atlas Shrugged, was his fantasy woman:  A woman who was smart, hard working, could put up with men’s BS yet never stopped being feminine.

    Little did this tough, extremely attractive, dangerously charming and all too unobtainable man know, Dagny Taggert was and is also my hero.  For the exact same reasons.  Mutual appreciation for strong women was certainly a benefit in our relationship. Until it wasn’t.

    Why it didn’t it work between two Dagny Taggert enthusiasts is a whole other article that would cover topics of timing, communication skills, Mars and Venus excuses, egos, and stubbornness.  All of which I’m sure you can relate to. For now, we’ll say that it was a glimpse into what could be. What it can feel like when a man doesn’t run the other way when a successful woman makes him think.

    It seems the lesson here is never to sacrifice your intensity for anyone who doesn’t realize how extraordinary you are.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I really wanted that one to work out.  Or at least I thought I did.  I thought I wanted to be a part of a relationship that consisted of two strong individuals uniting as one—to be extraordinary.   Life apparently had a different plan; one to let me take an extra lap, one of me becoming extra clear on what I truly want, one of being extra focused on building my business.

    I have realized there are plenty of gentlemen who appreciate strong women.  It’s just going to take a little extra time, a little extra patience, and a little extra faith to find that someone who knows about the little word extra.

     

     

  • My Mama’s bracket is looking gooooood

    Mar 20, 2012 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Women

    After an exhausting work week, I resigned to my favorite chair, remote in hand, to be entertained by all of the upsets in the NCAA  tournament.   One after the other, top ranked teams were falling from glory and Cinderella teams were trying on their glass slippers.

    I’ll admit, there was a large part of me that wondered if I would be able to stomach a similar scenario if football was being played in a single-elimination-post-season-tournament. Then I realized that almost every weekend is single elimination in college football and I seem to handle it rather well. But I digress…

    Almost on cue, my mama called just as I was growing wearing of temporarily training my brain to extend both arms in the air over my head for a 3 point shot… which most certainly went through no uprights that I could see.

    My mama, being the tireless athletic supporter of almost every sport, called to discuss brackets and upsets. Once we had reviewed all of the games, I could tell my mama was trying to get off the phone.  “Well, I’ve got to go fill in my bracket” she said.  I pulled the phone away from my ear to make sure it was working. “What do you mean? Isn’t your bracket already filled out?” I asked incredulously.  “Well, it is… up until tonight’s games.  I like to keep track of the games…”  she trailed off as she realized just what this might sound like.

    “Mama, you’re telling me that you fill in your bracket after the games are won?  So you have a perfect bracket??” I could hardly get the words out through my laughter.  “Well,” she started “it is looking pretty good. And no, I don’t fill them all out after the games. I filled out all the teams/games that I knew were going to win before the tournament started. But I just didn’t know how they would all turn out.”  At this point all I could do was smile in appreciation of mama.

    See, my mama is one of the biggest sports fans I know.  She also happens to be the most organized and meticulous woman I’ve ever met.  So it almost didn’t surprise me that she wanted her bracket to be as neat, clean, and orderly as the home I grew up in.  This of course, leaves no room for mistakes and messy lines from crossing out teams that couldn’t make it to the next week.   No team was going to create disorder on her bracket.

    “Just to be clear, Mama, you’re winning.  Your bracket is beating… everybody’s…“

    “Well, when you put it that way,” she delighted, “it is looking preeeetttyyy gooooodddd.”

    Love you, mama!

    XOXO

    Christie Leigh

     

  • Just Keep the Chains Moving

    Mar 6, 2012 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Heisman Trophy, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Football, Southern Women

    This morning, while heading for my morning jog around the lake, I heard something inspiring from the voices coming from ESPN radio.

    Amongst the chatter about spring practices, these radio hosts were analyzing a sophomore running back’s ability to “keep the chains moving.”   They said this 19 yr old kid has gotten stronger, developed more muscle, and gained speed during the brief off-season.  “He may not be a Heisman this year, but he’s going to keep the chains moving.” Isn’t that all any coach can dream of? Someone who is persistent and keeps the team moving down the field toward the larger goal?

    This idea struck me as something we should all strive to be—a chain mover.  Everyday we wake up and have the opportunity to punt, or move the chains.

    • We could be lazy at work and play on facebook all day. Or we could be proactive and impress our bosses.
    • We could watch The Bachelor instead of being on the treadmill. Or we could DVR The Bachelor  for post-gym entertainment and do our sit ups and push-ups during commercials.
    • We could be too busy when a friend calls. Or we could take the extra step and call someone we know needs extra support.
    • We could let life run us. Or we could run our lives.

    Either way, we have the choice. Every second of every day.  Do we punt or move the chains down the field of our lives?  One loses championships; the other puts banners on the stadium.

    Set a goal.  Be who you want to be. Make a difference. We don’t have to win the Heisman everyday; we just have to keep the chains moving.

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

    Start practicing this pose, you'll get there soon enough!

  • 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 seamless.com, 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

     

  • Dip, baby, dip!

    Jan 31, 2012 CATEGORIES: Food, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, LSU Football, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Women, Super Bowl Dip Recipes

    Super Bowl Sunday is all about the dips.

    At least  that’s what my grandmother, the woman who taught me all about football, told me yesterday. “We’re having a Super Bowl party at my house. I’m fixing two types of chili and a lot of dips. You know, the Super Bowl is all about dips, sweetheart.”

    And so it is; the big game for NFL fans is all about dips.  We SEC fans know that every game is a game started with a full spread of decadent dips. Thankfully, during this season’s tour, I’ve had the opportunity to taste my fair share of the talented chefs across Dixie!

    This week, I’ll be posting some of the dips that you have graciously sent my way for my next project. Before they are printed, however, I’ll need them tested and rated– which is where you come in!  Please try out the recipes that I post this week and let me know what you think (Is it tasty? Was it easy? Is it a crowd pleaser? Would you give it to another Gridiron Belle?).

    If you have any recipes that you want tested or used in the next Gridiron Belles project, please send them in and I’ll try out your recipe at my Super Bowl dip party!

    Thanks for all of your helps, I’m looking forward to receiving all of your gridiron masterpieces!

    Xs and Os

    Christie Leigh

    Nanette’s (LSU) Tiger Corn Dip:

    3 (11 ounce) cans Mexican-style corn, drained

    1 cup mayonnaise

    1 cup sour cream

    1 bunch green onions, chopped

    1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

    1 pound Cheddar cheese, shredded

    1 pack taco seasoning

    1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste 1 pinch salt

    Directions

    In a large serving bowl, stir together the corn, mayonnaise, sour cream, green onions, cilantro, Cheddar cheese and lime juice. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper and salt. Stir to blend in seasonings, then refrigerate until chilled before serving.

    We always share this dip with fans from opposing schools in an effort to help soothe their impending loss! We’ve met more fun people from other schools over food and drinks. Some have even returned each year to tailgate with us!

     

     

  • At Least She’s Going to Look Like Scarlett

    Jan 19, 2012 CATEGORIES: Football weddings, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Football, Southern Women

    What do you do when your best friend gets engaged?  You let out a girly scream, throw your hands to your face, jump up and down and pop open the bubbly!

    The HUGE bottle of Korbel we used to celebrate the big day!

     

    What do you do when said best friend calls to tell you that her wedding date is set for September 15th???  Let out a Gridiron Belle scream, throw your hands to your face in disbelief, stomp on the ground and open a bottle. (Bubbles not required for this one).

    At least, I’m pretty sure that’s how it went down when the Belle-I’ve-called-my-best-friend-since-we-were-12 told me she picked the third week of football season to tie the knot…

    Beautiful ring... but do you have to get married during football season???

    Before she put the date in stone I was already booking my schedule for next fall. Having a sneaky suspicion that I wasn’t going to have my (wedding) cake and eat it too, I needed to triple check. Here is how the text conversation went down:

    Christie Leigh: Did you pick a date yet? Trying to lock down my tour schedule for next season…And I’m willing to give you a football weekend, I’m just not sure which one I’m willing to give up…

    Non-Football-Loving-Best-Friend: Haha, thanks, that’s awfully big of you. Yes, September 15th!!!!

    Christie Leigh: And you are SURE????

    NFLBF: Yep, pretty positive…

    Christie Leigh: I love you more than football. I love you more than football. I love you more than football. I love you more than football.

    NFLBF: Haha—be nice!  What game is Sept 15th?

    Christie Leigh: BAMA at Ark.  (She has no idea about the upset possibilities of that game)

    Christie Leigh: OMG, and the TX at Ole Miss game!!!  (She probably thinks that is normal conference play…)

    NFLBF: Ohhhh, u love me!

    Christie Leigh: Yes, I do. But, I’m going to curse this date for a verrrrry long time. Know that whatever you hear me complain about, I still love you. And I think I’ll still come.

    NFLBF:  You’re crazy!  Please don’t curse my date!  Please…

    (No response. I didn’t have the heart to make a promise I can’t keep.)

    Three days later, this is the picture I receive from the NFLBF in LA trying on dresses.

    A Southern Belle after all... looks like she's getting married at Tara

    My response?

    Christie Leigh: I may be peeved that you’re getting married during football season, but at least you’re going to look like Scarlett!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

    PS-   If you’re a belle that is getting married during football season, please don’t take offense to this.  My NFLBF knows how much football means to me. She also knows that I wouldn’t miss her wedding or actually damn her wedding date even if it was during another LSU v BAMA match up. But, she WILL be implementing the suggestions from my book about how to make a fall wedding enjoyable for the football-loving and the football-loathing guests alike!  Congratulations, Mars– can’t wait to stand by your side as you marry the gent of your dreams!

     

  • Are you Ready? Ole Miss is a Must See

    Nov 23, 2011 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, LSU Fans, LSU Football, MS, Ole Miss, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, Southern Belles, Southern Women, Uncategorized

    Where all the fancy traditions began...

    A weekend in Oxford leaves a grown Belle wishing for more time in undergrad and more time to shop for the perfect game day outfit.  If you’ve never been to Ole Miss, below is what you’ll expect.  Go a head and add it to your list, it’s one SEC sight you wont want to miss!

     

    Silver. A typical tailgate in the Grove has more silver than a Southern Belle’s wedding registry.  From chaffing dishes to chandeliers and every candelabra in between, no tailgate in the Grove is complete without something worth shining!

    The Grove Country Club. GCC T-shirts anyone?

    Place holder. This is different than the place kicker found on the field. The place holder in the Grove is the designated member of your group, or a hired local or college student, to head to the Grove on Friday night and wait. And wait. And wait until the regulations are lifted and tents can be put up for Saturday’s game. This duty is not taken lightly. With only 10 acres for tailgating, getting a primo spot is as important as shining the silver.

    Booming economy. The beauty of a seven PM game is the full day you have to be at the historic square in Oxford.  The beautiful courthouse centered in downtown Oxford creates a Southern feel for shopping, eating and people watching.  With the standard of wardrobes in line with Milly, Tory Burch and Lily Pulitzer, it appears that Oxford, MS has gone unscathed by any economic turmoil!

    Looks like we all can just get along

    Crazy LSU Fans. Would an LSU away game be the same without crazy fans that travel with the team?  Nope, of course not!  As expected, the fans in purple and gold showed up in droves and provided plenty of entertainment.  Honey Badger anyone?  Purple and gold headgear at a cocktail party on game day-eve?

    Jim the Tailgater and Stan the Man meet again. This time, with Colonel Red as a generous host!

    Teaching the young gents how to become rabid, I mean avid fans!

    A half time mass exodus. The upside of having the number one team in the country come to your field is that you don’t have to travel to be a part of history. The downside to having the number one team in the country come to your stadium is the likelihood that they are going to have significantly more points than your team.  In which case, a mass exodus at half time is required in order to get to your tailgate or the hot spots in the square.

    Self explanatory. I would agree that the Grove was more fun at this point as well...

    Greatest gameday outfits in the south. As part of the admissions application process at Ole Miss, university administrators do a thorough background check into your style and fashion sense. Hence, why every belle that attends the University of Mississippi is dressed for a runway. On game day. It truly is a sea of beautiful belles showing off their respect for the team by well coordinated outfits.  What’s more is that visiting belles also step up their wardrobe game—if it’s going to be a rivalry, let’s make it a good looking rivalry!

    All colors and styles of wardrobes wanted in The Grove!

    Thanks for showing this Gridiron Belle a great time, Oxford.  Hotty Toddy!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

    PS- While everyone at the LSU v Ole Miss game was worried about game day outfits and leaving the stadium at half time, there were some major upsets going on around the country.  Belles, be sure to check out the BCS standings and how the SEC now has spots 1, 2, and 3!

  • Georgia Football-A Southern Experience

    Nov 15, 2011 CATEGORIES: Auburn v Georgia, GA, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Southern Football, Southern Women, UGA, Uncategorized

    Here is what I found as tailgating must haves during my second trip to Athens:

    Russ the bulldog and Ms. Seiler in the "Uga Suite"

    A bulldog. If tents are a tailgate staple at every other SEC tailgate, bulldogs are the staple at a University of Georgia tailgate.  “Russ” is the interim bulldog mascot and nearly every tailgate on campus had a cousin, friend, or distant relative of “Russ” or “Uga” to help entertain fans before the game.  (A Full story about “Uga’s Suite” will be out Thursday)

    I'm more of a yellow lab lover, but this Russ was pretty darn irresistible!

    Chick-Fil-A. Why make fried chicken from scratch when the delicious Chick-fil-a is a hometown staple? UGA fans need not worry that they can’t order a chicken biscuit on Sunday, they’ve had more than their fill from tailgating in Athens on Saturday.

    The ever so hospitable UGA coeds

    Black and red wardrobe. I haven’t decided which team has the best team colors for successful fashionable game day outfits, but black and red is certainly at the top of the list. The belles and gents in Athens are something to write home about. Or at least a reason for me to consider going to grad school with gentlemen DAWGS fans and for Georgia belles to contend for The Belles of the SEC.

    Talented leaders of spirit: After chatting with the Mama’s club of the cheerleading teams and some of the Dawgettes, I realized that leading the school and UGA fans in spirit is a full time job! Between appearances, game performances and in general looking like the perfect UGA ambassador, these students earn my respect of loving the game and their school!

    Goooo DAWGS! Sic'em!

    Ambitious KD ladies: If I had half of the gumption in college that the UGA KDs do, I would be running the White House right now!  I was so impressed by Christie E., a journalism major, who works for the local UGA news channel and is giving up her Christmas break to get more time in a studio in Tampa. She interviewed me Friday and then brought a camera crew to follow me around on Saturday.  Additionally, Ashlee Nicole, the VP of Operations, who so generously invited to attend the game with her family, knows every bit of UGA history from being an Admissions Office Orientation Leader and is a biological science major.  To top it off, there was a line of brilliant women waiting to talk to me at the house on Monday—all motivated, all dedicated to their dreams, all big fans of their DAWGS!

    Christie was all business as she captured the UGA game day traditions and happenings pre and post kickoff!

    Battle Hymn of the Republic. Perhaps the biggest pre-game concern for a Georgia fan is making it into Sanford stadium in time to hear the lone trumpeter play the opening notes of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Of course, the hedges add a generous dose of Southern nostalgia, but  there is no feeling more bone chilling and pride filling than the sound of that trumpeter on Saturdays in Dixie. 

    The perfect bark. I would be remiss if I directed you toward Athens for a football game and forgot to instruct you to practice your bark! Georgia fans’ barks are much bigger than their bites—but with 90, 000 plus barking at once, it’s enough to scare a tiger!

    Thank you for your hospitality, Athens!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

     

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