5 Ways to Show Your Spirit… No Tshirt Required

“It’s football time in Tennessee!” Those are sacred words in Knoxville. SEC fans marvel at the empty seats we see on television in stadiums in other parts of the country; it just doesn’t happen around here. In the South, football fandom is more of a lifestyle than 2 days on Saturday. So today, I have 5 ways to show your spirit (in style, of course!).

Contrary to popular belief, I really do enjoy football. Only for me, it’s more about the experience—the tailgate, the campus covered in orange and white, the band… THE BAND (Jake Blues voice please)!

And when in the stadium, I sometimes get distracted. Like a couple of weeks ago when I thought the sky was more entertaining than the play.

5 Ways to Root for Your Team Without Wearing a Tshirt | Hannah & Husband

Surely I’m not the only one this happens too. So the other day, I came across this Big Orange pennant from The Old Try, and I decided we should talk about sports accoutrements that go beyond the orange Tshirt.

Disclaimer: There’s nothing wrong with a Tshirt. In fact, my friend, Beverly, has taken crafting her own Vol tees to a level that puts all others to shame. But there are at least 12 times to show off your team’s colors… maybe we should mix it up a little.

5 Ways to Root for Your Team Without Wearing a Tshirt | Hannah & Husband

Sources: You can filter The Old Try’s fab goods by state here! Vintage thermos of every color can be found on Etsy. / Also found on Etsy: that 1930s quilt I’m now convinced I need. (Attn: Lish) / Hook + Albert lapel flower / Local mens’ shops always have some version of team dress shirts. If you’re in East Tennessee, the orange & white cuffed shirt came from our friend Bill at Boyd Thomas. / Boden cardigan / Wood boxer briefs / lingerie set / Cole Haan oxfords / Dooney & Bourke bag 

Southern Living Takes It to the Tailgate

A few weeks ago when Husband and I visited Middleton Place, we also had the opportunity to attend The Southern Living Taste of Charleston event to top off our weekend. Southern Living was nice enough to invite us, and when I saw that they were doing a special demonstration for the new Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook, I knew we had to attend.

Football is like a religion of sorts here in the South and, regardless of my personal interest in the sport, tailgating is an art form that most Southern Belles need to learn early. From decking out your tailgating space to preparing food that will still look tasty 3 hours after you arrive is really something. Luckily, this book is full of really great recipes… as if we ever expect anything less from Southern Living, right? A few that we got to try at the event: Buttermilk Chess Tarts, Deviled Eggs (a particular hit with Husband), and these amazing little Mini Bourbon-and-Cola Bundt Cakes…

The unexpected treat of the day? Meeting Southern Living Test Kitchen director Rebecca Gordon, an Alabama girl who was cute as a peach! In fact, she even has a tailgating blog, Tidefan Fare, where she shares stories, recipes, as well as a few Q&As with SEC heroes. (For Tennessee fans like us, here are a couple Tennessee parents you may be interested in: this Q&A with Barbara Dooley or this one with Archie Manning.)

I couldn’t post about the book without giving you a little sample of the goodness, so I asked if I could share a recipe. This one was an obvious choice; what belle doesn’t need a little more bourbon in her dessert library? Enjoy!

Mini Bourbon-and-Cola Bundt Cakes

Makes 3 dozen


  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cola soft drink
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Bourbon-and-Cola Glaze (Recipe below…)
– – – – – – – – –
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar; beat until blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat at low speed until blended.
  2. 2. Stir together cola, buttermilk, and bourbon in a small bowl. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in another bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with cola mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition, stopping to scrape bowl as needed. Pour batter into 3 lightly greased 12-cup Bundt brownie pans, filling each three-fourths full.
  3. 3. Bake at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool 30 minutes. Drizzle warm Bourbon-and-Cola Glaze over cakes.
  4. Go Big: Batter can be poured into 1 greased and floured 15-cup Bundt pan. Bake at 350° for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Bourbon-and-Cola Glaze

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons cola soft drink
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
– – – – – – – – –
Cook first 3 ingredients in a 2- qt. saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until butter melts. Remove from heat; stir in bourbon. Beat in powdered sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
© Southern Living 2012 The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook

Rocky Top in the Big Apple

I was born in Tennessee, but, for the first few years of my life, my family didn’t actually live here. Then, when I was 9, we moved to East Tennessee. I was less then thrilled at my new surroundings, and this was only exacerbated when, on the 1st day of school, I was shoved into a large group of singing 4th graders. They had just burst into a song about a girl that was ‘half bear the other half cat’ and something called ‘corn from a jar.’ I was appalled.

Husband and I in 2005. We actually used this picture for the ‘guest book’ at our wedding, and it now hangs in our bedroom.

Fast forward 18 years and my husband & I are both UT graduates, two of our best friends actually said their wedding vows on that ‘hallowed hill in Tennessee,’ I have been known to partake of ‘corn from a jar,’ and I have seen for myself the original written lyrics of “Rocky Top” hanging in the home of the esteemed former Pride of the Southland director WJ Julian. (For the record, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant literally crossed a few other animals off the list before deciding she would be ‘wild as a mink but sweet as a soda pop.’)

Now, I will be the first to tell you that football is not my thing. Sure, I love picking out a cute outfit and tailgating for a couple of hours up the hill from Neyland stadium. I appreciate the spirit & talent of the SEC, but the main reason I go to football games is to see the band form the Power T. I am known to leave football games after the halftime show because, by that time, I have usually lost interest whatever it is those boys are doing on the field.

However, today, football may have been just what I needed. Around 4, Husband and I made our way to a bar in Midtown Manhattan called Traffic and watched the game with a room full of other Big Orange fans dressed, of course, in orange and singing “Rocky Top” loud and proud. In a week full of high fashion, busy streets, and hot subway rides, it was exactly what I needed. New York City is fun, but it can get overwhelming and make a southern girl like me feel very alone. Isn’t it funny how a song that at one point in my life I found so alienating can now make me feel so at home.