Big Blue Dallas: Our Trip to the Final Four

The second the buzzer sounded after Aaron Harrison's spectacular game winning shot against Michigan to reach the Final Four, my husband said, "We have to go." Within a few hours, we had made travel arrangements, hotel reservations, found tickets, and made sure my mom could fly over and stay with our younger boys.

By Friday, I had gotten a Big Blue pedicure, packed my lucky sweater, and rounded up all of my eldest son's Kentucky gear. I put on my lucky blue earrings (which were, oddly enough, given to me by my very dear friend who just happens to be the biggest Gator I know).

Had John known Russell Wilson's collegiate loyalties, he would have left the Seahawks lid at home, I'm sure.
This guy was on our flight. Proud to say I successfully controlled my tripping foot.

Yes, there is something Big and Blue happening in Dallas!

Pre-gaming at Bracket Town

I was so excited to run into my Transylvania University friend, classmate, and sorority sister, Lisa Ezell Allen!
This was definitely good luck. 

Almost beat his old man in Pop-a- Shot!

This IS the year of the UK tattoo, right?
See below.

Unfortunately, they didn't have this one available.



Before leaving Bracket Town to make the drive to AT&T Stadium, we picked up some official Final Four merchandise. We are so nice, we even picked up some Gator gear for our sweet friends.
SEC love, y'all.

Absolutely thrilled to share this time with my favorite ten year old Wildcat!

I really wanted to see an All-SEC final. Boo.

There was some foreshadowing.

That many people and very little traffic control. It was a late night, but we didn't mind. Why? 

Because this happened!

Then THIS happened!

An unbelievable finish!

Best Night Ever

When the game ended, we hugged strangers and didn't care at all. More than one Cat fan was overheard saying, "I'm so happy, I don't even know what to do!" Then there was more hugging, because that's what you do when you are so happy you don't know what to do.

Here I sit on Monday, back at my house in North Carolina, a decision made in favor of school and work, and one I knew we would regret. I desperately want to be back there in Dallas, or at least somewhere on Limestone. I feel as antsy as you probably do, but don't worry y'all. I have my lucky earrings.


A New Generation of CATS Fans: Baby's First Final Four

Hi, everyone! My name is Lilly, and I blog at Pancakes and Beet Juice. I was born in Dallas, Texas, where I live today, but have plenty Bluegrass in my blood from my Dad and living in Western Kentucky for four years growing up. One thing I've known my whole life is that there is nothing more exciting than Kentucky playing in the March Madness tournament!



This year's tournament has been special for two reasons. First of all, it is the first time to share our love for UK with our three month old daughter and my parent's first grand-baby, Heidi. It has also been so fun to root for the Cats to play their way into our own backyard with the Final Four and National Championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington! When we won our Elite Eight game, it was a mix of jumping up and down and calling family and friends to see how we could be a part of the welcome wagon to Texas.

The University of Kentucky Alum Association had a great pre-game party on Saturday by the stadium. We got to see the Kentucky band, meet other alum families and, most importantly, show Heidi the award winning Kentucky cheerleaders! She loved all of the attention. It was a rainy afternoon, but nothing could dampen the spirits of these diehard fans.




The best part of the game being in Dallas was we were home for game time. Heidi loved showing off the moves she learned from the cheerleaders before she tucked in to bed.



I'm excited to have a new generation of Dallas-bred Kentucky girls in the house and to share this fun family tradition with her! Tonight we're cheering for title number nine!

Celebrate April Fools' Day with Kentucky-themed Tervis Tumblers!

So, April Fools' Day isn't my favorite.

My humor has never run toward pranks, puns, and cheap jokes. Plus, it's April 1st -- that means my total attention is turned toward sports. The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is wrapping up. Keeneland's Opening Day is mere moments away. And, a whole lot of my friends are starting to focus on baseball. I can barely let real life intrude on my thoughts, let alone silly jokes. (Unless it's DeMarcus's CD, natch...)

I do want to let y'all know about an April Fools' event that is no joke. Today only, you can use the code APRILFOOLS on all Tervis Tumbler online orders to receive 20% off your purchase. Since I never, ever have enough Tervises, this is an offer I take pretty seriously.

Here are a few fun Tervis Tumbler Kentucky designs y'all will love!

It's a UK wine glass, y'all. Kind of perfect for when the Wildcats take on Bucky Badger this weekend.


This Derby mug would be perfect for any Kentuckian's office!


The Cardinals fans in my neighborhood have been proudly wearing their red all weekend. I LOVE team loyalty after a close defeat! This U of L Tervis lets you go L's up in style.


 This year's Derby design reminds you that we're only about a month away from the most exciting two minutes in sports!


This UK water bottle is on my short list of upcoming splurge purchases!


And what Kentucky girl doesn't need a pink UK Tervis?


Head over to Tervis today and take advantage of these serious savings!

{This post contains affiliate links.}

Tradition



{Photo by Heather C. Watson; graphic by Glenda McCoy}

Don't you need a new Tervis?

I always tell myself that I have plenty of Tervis Tumblers.

We have beach designs, equestrian themes, and plenty that share our team pride. I always think we have enough. I mean, we can only drink out of one at a time, right?

Then, last night, my beau and I walked through the cutest little store in Oxmoor Center, and we ran across all kinds of fun new UK designs. A few more wouldn't hurt, especially since we're right in the heart of Cardinal country...

I love this chenille design. It looks like the lettering on my dad's high school letter jacket. Such a fun little nostalgic touch!

And these two neon designs? I think I need them, y'all!

I can never get enough Tervis Tumblers. Do y'all collect them too?

Click below to get free shipping on orders over $75.

Free Shipping on orders over $75 at www.tervis.com

{Disclaimer: This is an affilliate-sponsored post. A small percentage of purchases made through affiliate hyperlinks will be given to HerKentucky.)

The Gifts Every Kentucky Fan Needs

We all know that most of the people in this state are crazy for the color blue, right? We all know that some of the women that write for this site could be in the top ten for that crazy, too, right?

Because of all that, I wanted to make sure we've all got some options to give to the crazy Kentucky fan in our life - whether that be someone in your family or just a gift for yourself!

Some people like to bring you Kentucky news "in the most ridiculous manner possible." Let me continue the Transy tradition and give you some of the most ridiculous UK stocking stuffers possible.

UK "Duck" Tape

Let's ignore the fact that this isn't properly named "duct" tape and just carry on with the idea that if duct tape can fix anything, try to imagine what UK duct tape can do!

Gotta have it.

$6.67 @ Amazon for 10 yards. You could use it as Christmas tree garland!


Tire valve stem covers
You've seen all the bumper stickers, all the car magnets, all the window flags and license plate covers.

Show that you're a true blue fan with tire valve stem colors - because it's the smallest place on your car where you can still show your loyalty. Better yet? Take your car for a rotation and alignment in Louisville and laugh at the Cards fan who grimaces when he's removing these.

$10.26 @ Amazon for 4 OR buy five sets and be a total boss and trick out your 18-wheeler and have two left for your bicycle!


Silver Toned Stretch Band Ring
This might just be the perfect stocking stuffer for that Phi Mu lady/Wildcat fan in your life.

The ring, with that high-dollar stretch band that I'm sure wouldn't turn your finger green, is almost the perfect marriage of a quatrefoil and the UK logo.

I think the women of Rho Iota could all use one of these!

$10.95 @ Amazon


Wildcats Piggy Bank
All I'm going to say is that I hope Cal's former Cats have a lot of these - because those guys are making bank. This little guy even looks as sweet as a John Wall smile.

$13.37 @ Amazon





Nothing says a cozy winter night by the fire like UK blue hot chocolate - especially when the tin says, "Real Wildcats Drink Blue."

I actually really want this. I'm looking at you, family readers!

$18.44 for a pack of 3 - Okay, so it's really special hot chocolate!



 
UK Ceiling Fan

Pimp out your Person Cave (in our house, we don't subscribe to the more popular, sexist name for the sports/TV/beer drinking room) with a UK ceiling fan.

$359.00 @ Amazon (Note to family: DO NOT buy this for me. Seriously.)




Rubbermaid 32-gallon Can
I am not going to say that this would be the perfect dorm room accessory. It would not be the perfect beer keg holder or be a perfect mixing place for grain alcohol concoctions involving sliced fruit. I'm just not going to say it, but wouldn't your trash look classy in this?


$56.17 @ Amazon





Kentucky Fan Gnome Bench
Now, maybe these little gnome guys spelling "C-A-T-S" might actually be cute by my new front door. Maybe.

Ok. I've looked at too much ridiculousness if this is starting to look cute!

$24.95 @ Amazon




UK gift tags
Of course, you can't give any of these gifts without wrapping them nicely and attaching these UK gift tags.

$2.49 @ Amazon for a sheet of 10







Quick note: All the image links are affiliate links to Amazon.com

What's the most ridiculous sports-themed gift you've ever given or received? 

What Cheerleading Camp and Sorority Rush Can Teach Kentucky Fans

I wrote this post for The Kentucky Girls blog last year, after a particularly ugly loss to Florida. It seems apropos for Wildcat football fans this season as well. Go 'Cats. -- HCW
 
We smiled, but we weren't cheering for a winning team.
If I ever have a kid, I'm going to insist that she become both a cheerleader and a sorority girl. Now, I'm fully aware that I've just articulated the most ridiculous, outdated Southern cliché that one can imagine. The thing is, I'm not claiming that my hypothetical future daughter's most important life goals should be back handsprings or paint-pen crafts.  But, I certainly believe that this tried-and-true path to Southern womanhood taught me a few important lessons.  Lessons that extended to my professional and social well-being. Lessons that, if you'll kindly indulge me a few moments' explanation,could most assuredly be passed along to the Big Blue Nation right about now.  
  • Keep smiling. My tiny Eastern Kentucky high school wasn't exactly known for its football program. In fact, my sophomore year was the first winning season in the football team's history. But, no matter how mediocre our game, my job as a cheerleader was to smile. And provide encouragement. Because I loved our team.   You keep smiling.  You work out your differences in private. And you strengthen your organization without presenting outward displays of strife for the entire world.  As fans, we need to keep smiling-- we need to support the players we have and support the organization we love while acknowledging that there's plenty of room for improvement. 
  • Remember that you're here because you want to be.  Whenever I got discouraged about any aspect of cheering or sorority life, my mama was always quick to remind me that I chose to be there. In fact, I was spending plenty of money for the privilege to be there.  We're Kentucky fans.  We always have been.  We're paying for the privilege of football tickets.  We'll pay for the privilege of tickets to what promises to be an incredible basketball season.  Because we want to wear Kentucky Blue.
  • You don't always like everyone. Get over it. I spent four years as a part of a hundred-or-so-member sorority. I'd spent the previous decade on ten-to-fifteen member cheerleading squads. (For that matter, I've sat on more Junior League committees than I can begin to count...) There were enough in-fights, infidelities and intrigues to provide the CW with a year's worth of new material. Of course I didn't like all the girls involved. Some, I outright loathed. But I learned to keep it to myself, because the greater good of the group was more important. Maybe you don't like Joker's style of coaching.  Maybe you think that your quarterback should put in more than two or three stellar minutes of play.  While there are certainly adjustments to be made, at some point, we need to realize that this is the lineup we have for the year.
  • Sorority Bid Day.
  • Maybe it was better in the past. That's kind of immaterial to the present. Some years, my cheer squad found ourselves undermanned and rudderless after a talented group of seniors graduated. Sometimes, my sorority suffered a lackluster rush and subsequently recruited a small pledge class. Sometimes, the football team for whom I was cheering did not replicate the storied First Winning Season that we enjoyed in 1991. These things happen. We miss Randall a whole lot right now.  Hartline -- 'stache or no-- sure does sound good.  They aren't coming back.
These lessons from the land of hairbows and ribbon belts served me well as I entered the real world.  They taught me to accept situations that I wish were otherwise.  They taught me to adjust my attitude toward crappy situations.  And, well, they're lessons that a whole lot of Wildcats fans would be well-advised to learn this year.

via AJ's Casuals.
Every early indicator tells us that this is going to be an ugly, ugly football season. We've logged two back-to-back losses that have left many of us wondering whether any of the remaining 8 games can be won. It's an exhausting, frustrating thing to be a Kentucky football fan right now-- all we can do, it seems, is count the days until Keeneland and basketball. But, the thing is, we don't stop being Kentucky fans when the team sucks. No matter how disgusting Saturday's game was, I doubt any of you burned your Wildcat gear and started making that Gator-chomp thing. (If you did, then this blog probably isn't for you...) If the next few games play out as badly as I fear (it's gonna take a lot of bourbon to get through the LSU game...), then we need to keep smiling, sorority girl-style, and maintain a little grace and decorum until the post-season.  It just seems the proper thing to do...