Pretty Southern

What does it mean to be a Southerner in the 21st century?

Split Allegiances

 I am the only Hokie in a family of Tar Heels. I was born and raised wearing that beautiful hue of Carolina blue, and in college traded most of it for the unique but equally beautiful palette of Chicago maroon and burnt orange. Explaining my allegiances to the Hokies and the Tar Heels always garners some confused facial expressions the inevitable question, “So what do you do when they play each other?”


My “TarHokie” Family

The question wasn’t always met without hesitation, especially in my younger Hokie days. I essentially had to learn how to cheer for another team. But now, I don’t even think twice, especially regarding football.

For the last several years, my family has attended the VT-UNC football games, in both Chapel Hill and Blacksburg. Games in Chapel Hill are like homecomings for my parents, and memories of my childhood in Carolina blue become suddenly vibrant. I see kids dressed in full UNC gear; the little girls in UNC cheerleader outfits remind me of myself at that age. I look at them and think, “I remember when I had an outfit like that.”

Then I see a Hokie family with their kids rocking the maroon and orange, Hokie Bird hats and Hokie cheerleader outfits, and I think, “That will be my kids one day.”

A few weekends ago, we went to the UNC-VT football game in Chapel Hill; my cousin Alexis, also a UNC alumna, joined us. I was outnumbered three to one, but I like to think my Hokie spirit made up for the numbers. When we got to our seats in Kenan Memorial Stadium, I added a dash of maroon and orange amidst the sea of Carolina Blue. A few other Hokies were seated nearby, so I waved to them and flashed my best VT hand signal. We high-fived after touchdowns and made sure we sang “Tech Triumph” extra loudly when appropriate.

One time, I might have yelled, “Get him!” a little too loudly on a Hokie defensive play, and an older lady a couple rows down turned around and gave me a stink eye. Naturally, I yelled even louder on the next play. Even my parents and Alexis laughed.


Hark the sound of Hokie victory

The game ended in the Hokies’ favor with a 34-17 victory. As is tradition, the UNC band and spirit squads led the remaining Tar Heel fans with the singing of “Hark the Sound” and “I’m a Tar Heel Born.” I hummed along to the tune I’d heard since birth; even as a Hokie, I couldn’t resist the melody. For a small moment, it felt like I was turning on my Hokie allegiance. But that feeling faded quickly. Yelling, “Go to hell, Duke!” feels good no matter what colors I wear. Everyone hates Duke.

Mom always says that, when it comes to these games, “Our family can’t lose,” and she’s right. Since I became a Hokie in 2010, my allegiance spread to them, and they cheer for the Hokies almost as much as their alma mater. Our allegiances aren’t really split. They’re just varied. Besides, maroon, orange, and Carolina blue don’t look so bad all together.

And maybe next time, I can introduce Alexis to football weekends in Blacksburg.

Kate RobertsonKate Robertson is a features writer for Pretty Southern, a Virginia Tech alumna, and a current graduate student at Elon University in North Carolina. She’s working toward her MA in Interactive Media, and afterwards hopes to further her career as a kick-ass writer.

Originally from Atlanta, Kate enjoys exploring the Piedmont region of North Carolina, especially its wide offerings of wineries. Follow her on Twitter @kate3robertson and check out her blog, A Thought and a Half.


Taste of Atlanta 2014 – Restaurant Lineup

Taste of Atlanta

Taste of Atlanta at Tech Square in Midtown.

More than 90 of Atlanta’s most notable and on-the-rise restaurants have signed on to participate in Taste of Atlanta 2014, which will take place Oct. 24 to 26 in Midtown at Tech Square. Festival-goers will be able to savor truly authentic flavors that represent every corner of the city. “I think people will be hard pressed to find more culinary variety in one place,” said Chef and Restaurateur Ron Eyester of Top Chef and local Atlanta establishments Rosebud, The Family Dog, Timone’s and his latest concept, Diner.

With every signature taste, the festival showcases just how diverse and progressive our city’s dining scene really is. I welcome any opportunity to support my fellow chefs and our local food landscape, and that is exactly what Taste of Atlanta brings to the table!”


Glory, Glory to Ole Georgia

R.I.P Larry Munson (pictured with Katy Ruth Camp)

Katy Ruth Camp with Larry Munson.

On the night of Nov. 12, 2005, under the lights of Sanford Stadium that suddenly seemed so harsh and glaring, I punched an Auburn fan.

OK, not really. I mean, no one really believes that, right? I’m 5’2” on a good day and have tiny hands that can’t cover the laces of a football – not to mention I was barely 21 and looked like I was 18. But I did give him a good, scary, Southern girl earful. You see, on that night, after the Deep South’s oldest rivalry ended with Auburn beating Georgia 31-30, this Auburn coed (as my beloved Loran Smith calls students) was happily, drunkenly and brutally kicking the beautiful green hedges lining our beloved field as I walked by.

No one kicks our hedges. No one. And he was no longer kicking them after that talking-to, either.

Bellwoods Social House – Atlanta

Bellwoods Social House Punch

Bellwoods Punch

Bellwoods Social House is a much needed addition to Atlanta’s Westside. At the intersection of Howell Mill and Marietta Street (literally next door to 5 Seasons Brewery) this new meeting place has such promise! The patio is perfect for people watching. Pretty Southern was privileged to be invited to friends and family night, thanks to our pal & head mixologist at Bellwoods – Arianne Fielder. Arianne’s signature cocktails can be found on the menus of many of Atlanta’s leading establishments, such as the 75 South – with Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka, bubbly, fresh strawberry and lemon. The Bellwoods signature punch is the perfect sipper with Cathead Vodka, Merlet Creme de Frambroise, fresh lemon, cane sugar, bubbles & berries. Ari’s “torched” Old Fashioned is arguably one of the best in the South.

Bellwoods Social House

“Torched” Old Fashioned at Bellwoods Social House


Other Southern inspired cocktails include the Kentucky Sundress with Woodford Reserve and strawberries, The Primrose, Ashville Smash, plus a bevy of shot options. Local brews include Monday Night Brewing’s Fu Man Brew, and a stellar wine list with something for every palette. The food here is top notch. The culinary team includes Leif Johnson, proprietor & chef of Bite Bistro & Bar in Alpharetta, and Jason Morgan – former sous-chef at Bite. We sampled the potato skins with bacon and tahini sauce, several flavors of hot wings, “street corn on the cob”, and pizza with bacon & prosciutto.

Bellwoods full menu includes heavy appetizers, tacos, burgers, sandwiches, salads, shrimp & grits, large plate options, and a forthcoming killer brunch menu. Bellwoods Social House opens to the public on Thursday, Aug. 28. For more information, follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

bellwoods social house

Saucy and savory chicken wings are available in multiple flavors

Bellwoods social house

Corn on the cob…and a stick!

bellwoods social house

Gimme pizza! With bacon, prosciutto, and tasty veggies.

Who else has checked out Bellwoods Social House? What did y’all love? Let us know in the comments section below!

pretty southern girl lauren patrick

Cheers y’all!


Lauren Patrick is the editor of Pretty A native Southerner, UGA graduate, and Georgia Bulldogs fan, y’all can find her writing, wining, and dining in Atlanta. Keep up with her & Pretty Southern on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.