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  • Serious Football: Week VII

    Oct 16, 2015 CATEGORIES: Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Serious Football, Vanderbilt

    The arrival of fall is evident thanks to cooler temperatures,coaches retiring mid-season and the all-season-telling pumpkin craze.  Here at Gridiron Belles, each indicator is welcomed with open arms, especially weekends chock-full of gridiron battles that have grave post-season impacts.

    In case you haven’t decided what to wear this weekend, I’ll venture to say this is one of the last weekends where long sleeves will suffice. But be warned, layering is just around the corner.  In honor of the Head Ball Coach (Steve Spurrier) retiring from South Carolina, the game of the week is Vanderbilt at South Carolina. And in case you haven’t planned the rest of your Saturday activities, I have your full schedule for tomorrow, too!  

    Go ahead and suit up in your game day best, this is what we live for!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

    Photo Cred @SEC on Instagram

  • SERIOUS FOOTBALL: Week II

    Sep 11, 2015 CATEGORIES: Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Mississippi State, Serious Football, Starkville, Tennessee Football, UGA, Vanderbilt

     

    All finally felt right in the world last Saturday as Week-1 of college football resumed. Traditionally, the first three weeks of football season are full of Power Team v Cupcake Team  match-ups and leave us viewers unimpressed and still longing for real football.  This season, the excitement is here on Week-2 and I don’t want anyone to miss it.

    Our favorites:

    Kentucky and head coach Mark Stoops head to South Carolina on Saturday. But that’s not the only Stoops brother who will be in the SEC this weekend.  Mark Stoop’s brother, Bob Stoops, who is the head coach of Oklahoma, is coming to Knoxville in an attempt to get an SEC win on his schedule. Both Stoops brothers are great guys and daggum good football coaches, but we only hope one of them wins.

    #14 LSU is making the trip to Starkville for their “first game of the season” to line up against #25 MS State. The cowbells will be ringing for this early season SEC West matchup.  Could we be more excited?

    #10 Georgia @ Vanderbilt is high on our interest list for two reasons:  1) Vandy always shocks someone each season and I’m wondering if it isn’t SEC-East-Predicted-Winner Georgia; 2) Gridiron Belles is heading to Nashville for the game to tailgate and to take Vandy and UGA photos for the next book.  Be sure to let me know where you’ll be tailgating so I can stop by!

    Any way you slice it, it’s Week-2.  Summer is over. It’s time to dedicate your Saturdays to the Gridiron.  Here is your schedule for Saturday.

    11:00 AM

    Auburn v Jacksonville State 

    2:30 PM

    Georgia #10 @ Vanderbilt

    Fresno State @  #17 Ole Miss

    3:00 PM

    Middle Tennessee @ #2 Alabama

    Toledo @ # 18 Arkansas

    5:00 PM

    #19 Oklahoma @ #23 Tennessee

    6:00 PM

    Ball State @ #16 Texas A&M

    #21 Missouri @ Arkansas State

    East Carolina @ Florida

    6:30 PM

    Kentucky @ South Carolina

    8:15 PM

    #14 LSU @ #25  MS STATE

    More articles

    ESPN Week Two Game Breakdown

    Auburn develops a way for players to stay cool

    Early Morning Kickoffs Call for This

  • Belles In Biz: Meet the Belle Behind PIZZAZZERIE!

    Aug 14, 2015 CATEGORIES: Belles in Biz, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Southern Tailgating, Vanderbilt



    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.

    Name: 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 part about being a Commodores fan? I love my alma mater! We’re a small but mighty group and my favorite part is our location (right here in Nashville, TN) and our colors (black and gold)!

    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!

    Website, Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest, Twitter

     

  • Quarterback Cram

    Aug 29, 2012 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Arkansas, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Kentucky Football, LSU Football, Mississippi State, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, Southern Football, Tennessee Football, Texas A&M and Mizzou SEC Football, Vanderbilt

    No, the quarterback cram isn’t a new play, although it could be, it’s just time to cram for our QB knowledge!

    As we went on with our lives once we calmed down after the first BCS National Championship between two SEC teams, the college football world stayed working.

    Coaches changed roles, players were recruited, and we took a little break to stock up on the necessary energy it takes to be an SEC fan. Not to mention, we needed some time to find the perfect game day outfits and tailgate accessories for the 2012 season.

    If you’re anything like me, you’re practically drooling over the upcoming season but have had too much going on to actually realize that there is a whole new lineup coming out for kickoff. Which is TOMORROW, so we need to cram!

    Part two of the pre-season primer is a study guide for you to learn about your team’s play-makers and the coaches.  Don’t stop at this information—there is a whole chapter about this in the book— but use this as a base for the entire season!

    Alabama:

    Coach: Nick Saban

    Quarterback: A.J. McCarron (JR)

    Arkansas:

    Coach: John L. Smith

    Quarterback: Tyler Wilson (SR)

    Auburn:

    Coach: Gene Chizik

    Quarterback: Kiehl Frazier (SO)

    Florida:

    Coach: Will Muschamp

    Quarterback: Jeff Driskel (SO) and Jacaoby Brissett (SO)

    Georgia:

    Coach: Mark Richt

    Quarterback: Aaron Murray (JR)

    Kentucky:

    Coach: Joker Phillips

    Quarterback: Maxwell Smith (SO)

    LSU:

    Coach: Les Miles

    Quarterback: Zach Mettenberger (JR)

    Mississippi State:

    Coach:  Dan Mullen

    Quarterback:  Tyler Russell (JR)

    Missouri:

    Coach: Gary Pinkel

    Quarterback: James Franklin (JR)

    Ole Miss:

    Coach: Hugh Freeze

    Quarterback: Barry Brunetti (JR) or Randall Mackey (SO)

    South Carolina:

    Coach: Steve Spurrier

    Quarterback: Connor Shaw (JR)

    Tennessee:

    Coach: Derek Dooley

    Quarterback:  Tyler Bray (JR)

    Texas A&M:

    Coach: Kevin Sumlin

    Quarterback: Johnny Manziel (FR)

    Vanderbilt:

    Coach: James Franklin

    Quarterback: Jordan Rodgers (SR)

    Happy Season!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

  • A Thousand Thank-Yous

    Jan 17, 2012 CATEGORIES: Alabama SEC Football, Athens, Auburn, Florida, Georgia Football, Gridiron Belles Tour, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, LSU Football, LSU v ALABAMA football, Ole Miss Football, SEC Football, South Carolina, Tennessee Football, Uncategorized, Vanderbilt

    "Real Belles Watch Football"--and have chandeliers at their South Carolina tailgate!

    "Real Belles Watch Football"--and have chandeliers at their South Carolina tailgate!

    These Bengel Belles had quite the story to share- Thanks for all being Gridiron Belles!

    All season I’ve preached about the importance of thank you notes.  Thank you notes for your tailgate hosts, thank you notes for the people who get you tickets, thank you notes for the people who have you over to watch a game. (We really all should be writing thank you notes to our team’s players…)  All season, I’ve received some ever so kind thank you notes myself from fans I’ve met along the way. So, it’s only fitting that I thank YOU for all that you have inadvertently done for me this season.

    Aimee introduced me to Chimes and hosted me at her competition ready tailgate

    For the past 5 years I have expressed my obsession with SEC football with anyone who would listen.  For research purposes, I have talked unceasingly about traditions, clothing styles, tailgate menus as well as players and coaches on the field.  Then, I started asking for help.   I started asking the Belles and Gents that I had met along the way to reach out to their friends to help me. I needed pictures, quotes and stories and boy did I get them!

    Lesson learned: never go to a game in the Swamp before November!

    If you’ve ever written your own book, you know that the chronic nerves that surface once the book is at the printer requires more support than anyone anticipates. For those of you, strangers and friends alike, that offered your calming words via calls e-mails, posts, and tweets of encouragement, a thousand thank-yous.

    The Grove is the perfect place to display your Pink and Proper Lilly purchases! Thanks, P&P!

    Ready or not September 3, 2011 came around and it was time for the rubber to meet the road.  From the first game of the season to the last, strangers–now friends– took me under their wings.  Generous fans invited me to lavish tailgates, allowed me to stay in their homes and graciously promoted my book to their friends.  People I didn’t even know were inviting me to special events and treating me like kin.   Southern hospitality at it’s finest.

    My new friend, Kelly, took me on the field in Neyland Stadium... wow!

    Thanks, Vandy Belles, for all of your support and enthusiasm!

    Even those fervent SEC fans, that maybe didn’t love everything I wrote about their team, taught me something.  They thickened my skin. Taught me to be more open-minded. Encouraged me to look at all sides.  They reminded me that Belles are courageous and tough.

    The most supportive parents in the world. Also the most excited to be at the historical BAMA v LSU game.

    Without tearing up the way I do while watching Steel Magnolias, I’ll keep it short and sweet. It was because of YOU that my 2011 Gridiron Belles tour was a success.  It is because of YOU that I was able to fulfill my dreams of being an author. My career for the past 4 months has been tailgating.  And because of YOU, Gridiron Belles worked.

    These UGA Belles told me that the sky was the limit-- thank you!

    Thank you, from the bottom of my Southern Belle heart, for being such hospitable, generous and devoted fans of your team.  It is the spirit and excitement that y’all displayed that kept me going on the road for 93 days straight without a break from the South’s greatest pastime. It is people like YOU that make Southern football the living legend that it is.

    The savvy mama, Doran, thanks for having me on your wonderful show!

    Thank you all. For everything.

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

     

     

  • Vanderbilt Moves Up In the Gridiron Belles Rankings

    Nov 1, 2011 CATEGORIES: Arkansas, Gridiron Belles Tour, SEC Football, SEC Stadium Tour, Southern Belles, Uncategorized, Vanderbilt

    It’s official, Vanderbilt was one of my favorite stops of the tour!

    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.

    The wonderful Vandy KD ladies!

    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.

    Not exactly a packed house of Vandy fans, but it sure was different inside!

    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.

    This puppy got hot right after the game

    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!

    Beautiful Arkansas Belles on a Saturday in Dixie

    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.

    Halloween Tailgaters

    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,

    Christie Leigh

     

  • Two words: Emotional Phenomenon

    Oct 15, 2010 CATEGORIES: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, SEC, South Carolina, Vanderbilt

    Thanks to my new Alabama friend, Warren, the Emotional Phenomenon of the SEC has been brought to my attention.

    An emotional phenomenon occurs when all common sense flies out the window and emotions allow individuals and entire fandoms to act illogically.  Ie: Florida fans cheering vehemently for a Gamecocks victory over Alabama.

    Florida fans, naturally still grieving their castration from Alabama the previous week, were grieved stricken. Severely. We call this post stress disorder; Warren calls it an Emotional Phenomenon.

    To avoid falling victim to the foolish spectacle of the Emotional Phenomenon, read about your team below to see who you should and should NOT be cheering for this weekend.

    Vandy (SAT scores don’t count) at Georgia

    Vandy Fan: You likely thinking this a chance to secure an SEC win. The dawgs from Athens aren’t exactly putting up an aggressive fight this season. You are cheering for the Vols to lose out. Which, might not require too much effort on your part. But don’t worry, if you took a big study break and headed to Athens at least you’ll learn how to tailgate and show school spirit.

    Georgia Fan: Bring on the protein enriched kibbles and bits, this is your big chance to take down the lone private school team in the league AND make it look like Coach Richt should keep his job. Which, may not make you smarter, but it should help your ranks.

    Cheer for Old Rocky Top to win out. Yikes.

    Arkansas(12) v Auburn (7)

    Auburn Fan: You are hoping that the Tigers seal the deal early and that Cam can keep up his half-season-long-endurance of carrying most of the team. But, you’re actually a bit nervous because Arkansas gave those other Alabama kids a good run for their money. Alas, you’re not just farm and agg kids, you can beat Arkansas and BAMA any day, right? Auburn’s been scraping by—cross your fingers, wear your lucky underwear, follow every superstition. You’re cheering for someone to win at the UK v USC game… you’ve beaten both, it doesn’t matter. And, of course, you’re always cheering for a BAMA loss.

    Arkansas Fan: You’re ready for revenge against anyone playing football in the state of Alabama AND you know this is your best ranking/season in a long time. Do the razors on the back of the hogs prevent a Heisman hopeful carry all of the pressure? You think so. You’ve got the whole package this year. This is the new Arkansas v BAMA game… But now you’re cheering for BAMA to win ( against Ole Miss).

    McNeese State(who?) at LSU (10)

    *Probably scheduled years ago to give LSU a mid season boost because let’s face it, no one thought LSU was going to be undefeated this far into the season this year. Not even Lucky-Les.

    LSU Fan: You are following suit and making deals with the devil that every other SEC team loses, especially Auburn, South Carolina and Alabama. Florida, you actually want to win now. I know, it’s crazy, but each team is selfish until we all gather and chant S-E-C …

    McNeese State Fan: You’re just glad your school’s name was finally posted on espn.com

    South Carolina (10) at Kentucky (basketball rankings don’t come out until later)

    South Carolina Fan: The Cocks are fired up and they need to be. Kentucky almost tasted victory last week against USC rival (and victor) Auburn and they are itching for more. Alas, Spurrier has his boys right where they need to be—playing a basketball team coming off his biggest win with South Carolina. South Carolina needs Alabama AND Auburn to keep winning—ultimately one of them will lose in the Iron Bowl and South Carolina wants to be the next best thing.

    Kentucky Fan: You’re hoping your Wildcats are still hungry for a win on the gridiron and not just at the racetrack before the game. It’s time to let go of the wins over cardinals and hill topers, these Cocks and the SEC play real football. Focus on football for 6 more weeks, I promise basketball season is coming and the bad dream will soon be over. Oh, and by the way, you need Ole Miss to win out to help you. Sorry, Charlie Cats.

    Mississippi State at Florida (22)

    Mississippi State Fan: You can taste a huge SEC victory. But this is more than the players on the field, this is Mullen v Meyer. Coach Mullen, as nice of a guy that he is, is going to have to pull out all the stops to prove to his mentor ( Mullen coached with Meyer at Bowling Green and Florida) that he was taught well. Beware bulldogs, they don’t bite, they chomp. You need to cheer for yourselves… !!

    Mississippi (Ha!) at Alabama (8):

    BAMA Fan: You’ve never been happier to be playing some preps from the Delta. You are about to get out all of your frustration on kids that go to college just to dress up and party. As a BAMA fan, you can relate to the dress up and party part but your bragging rights come from actually winning on the football field. Do not, under any circumstances, lose this game. For the sake of the prestige of SEC football and any hopes of turning 13 into 14 (EVER), do NOT lose this game. Cheer for Auburn to win so you can have a shot to redeem yourself when you play the #1 SEC team at the Iron Bowl.

    Ole Miss Fan: Let’s face it, you came to tailgate with Alabama. You’ve heard The Quad rivals The Grove and you want to see what it’s all about. This football thing is just to pass the time before all of the pretty Greek co-eds head to Galettes. Go ahead, skip the kool-aid, drink a Yellow Hammer, you know you just watched one of the best football teams in the country and probably sang along during “Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer.”