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Trash Talk: Wear the Leopard Print Coat

by Trash Sandwiches

“Trash Talk” is a monthly column about life, the lessons learned along the way and some goofy connections between that and fantasy football. Entering her first season of fantasy football writing, Trash Sandwiches talks about being bold in your personal style and in some NFL prop bets for Week 16.

Real Talk

The Leopard Print Coat

We all have at least one item in our wardrobe that we love but never really wear, right?

Maybe it feels too special, and you’re saving it for the right occasion. Maybe it feels too “out there” or too far off from your usual style. Maybe you just don’t want to deal with the extra attention you’d get from wearing it.

I have a lot of pieces like this (one might say too many), but the one that immediately comes to mind is a leopard print coat. It’s soft, cozy and absolutely fabulous. I got this $20 steal a couple of years ago, and I’ve worn it a handful of times, but frankly, I haven’t worn it enough.

The reasons for why not are pretty much the ones I listed above. But I’ll be the first one to admit that those are dumb reasons.

A Broad & Deep Love

My love for clothes is both broad and deep. Since I was a little kid, I’ve always enjoyed using clothing as a form of self-expression. My parents were of the “let the kids pick out their clothes” mindset, which means that I’m dressed in a ridiculous outfit in pretty much all childhood pictures.

Me wearing my beloved coat on a night out.

And no, it did not stop when I reached middle school or high school or other times when people typically give in to social pressures of how their peers think they “should” dress. Now, I’m not saying I wore weird outfits all the time, but I was never afraid to go all out for an occasion, even if the occasion was just a random school day when I was feelin’ myself.

I started going to thrift shops way before 2012, when Macklemore made it “cool” (shoutout to the one in my hometown, where my sister and I would spend hours perusing every item on every rack).

Naturally, this paired well with my love of sewing, a skill that my mother taught me at a very young age, and it meant that I was doing “thrift flips,” alterations and other Do It Yourself (DIY) projects since middle school.

That was also when I joined my school’s theater department. After a very brief foray on stage, I became a member of the costume crew.

Even at age 6, I was never one to shy away from a bold pattern.

OK, technically, I never made it onto the stage. It was a minute-long scene down the aisle and into the pit, where I had a non-speaking role as a deer. But I fell in love with the costume side of things. I got to create outfits, style characters and spend hours poring through the extensive closets (confession: I still have a couple of pieces in my wardrobe that I borrowed and never returned). 

And beyond style or construction, my love for clothes is intellectual. I’m fascinated by the history of dress and how what we wear has always been intrinsically linked to culture, politics and even technology.

I can, and do, spend hours listening to my favorite podcasts on the subject or watching documentaries (I am once again asking the universe for more documentaries on the topic).

Getting Dressed Up vs. Playing Dress Up

But somewhere along the way, the personal style side of things got a little lost.

I got a little lost.

It happened over time, and I didn’t necessarily notice it during, but now I can see where and how it got chipped away. Living in small towns where people give you looks if you dress outside the “norm.” Pressure from a partner to not draw any attention. Years of lecherous stares on my body. Even just shifting towards more remote work.

Over a decade before the leopard print coat, there was this cheetah print vest.

While my passion for self-expression through clothing remained, it shifted from dressing up as I pleased, whatever the occasion, to more like playing dress up in my own home. I would put together countless outfits (clothes, shoes, accessories, sometimes even hair) just for the sake of it, or maybe to snap a quick pic in case I wanted some inspiration at a later date. And while I still have so much fun doing that, it’s frankly a shame to put together all these outfits I love that never make it beyond my living room.

I have a closet and dressers full of those pieces that I love but never wear. The are enough animal prints to outfit the Cheetah Girls. I have three weeks worth of dresses with no repeats. I own two overflowing shoe racks. Plus, I have sparkly shirts and velvet pants and an evening gown that could probably pass on the red carpet.

And yet, most days, I leave the house in the same couple pairs of jeans and cozy sweaters or flannels.

Wear the “Special Occasion” Pieces

One day, my then-boss came into work wearing a gorgeous scarf, this jacquard fabric in navy blue with gold threads interwoven. Naturally, I complimented her on it. (Side note: I highly recommend giving out compliments to people wearing a statement piece, you are pretty much guaranteed to make their day and put a big smile on their faces).

She shared that the inspiration for wearing it came from an NPR story, the big takeaway of which was:  “Don’t wait for a special occasion to wear those ‘special occasion’ pieces. Just wear them!”

That idea stuck in my brain, reminding me that I used to live and dress by a similar philosophy. But even though I had that conversation a year ago, and it continuously bounced around my brain, I still didn’t find myself always living by it.

The reasons vary. Sometimes it’s still those same fears of being too “out there” or drawing unwanted attention. Sometimes it’s just because joggers are comfy, and going to the grocery store is enough of a feat on its own.

But something clicked in my brain recently: it doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing approach. It’s OK to wear your leopard print coat out for errands (the cashier at Joann Fabrics once told me I look like a “cool aunt,” which I took as the highest compliment). It’s also alright to just dress for comfort or function. It’s OK for your personal style to evolve and change, whether that’s over a long period of time or throughout the day.

A New Year’s Resolution

I’m not a big New Year’s resolution person. I can’t remember the last time I even made one, let alone stuck with one. But going into this new year, and after an indescribable amount of personal growth during the past one, I am making one.

I am resolving to wear those pieces of clothing that I love, to be fearless and shameless in how I dress, to empower myself when I’m feeling it, and to give myself permission to wear my coziest sweats when I’m not. I am resolving to wear my leopard print coat!

Fantasy Talk

Fashioning NFL Prop Bets

Along the note of doing things fearlessly, I’m going to do something a little different this month and share some player props rather than more traditional fantasy football advice. Props and parlays are something I’ve gotten much more into as the season progressed, and it gives me a clearer rooting interest in certain players.

With about a dozen leagues (one might say too many), it feels like I’m simultaneously rooting for and against every single player, depending on whether they’re on my team or my opponent’s in each league. Plus, it’s fun to put a few bucks on the games and get some more-or-less instantaneous wins rather than hoping for a payoff after 17 weeks of rollercoaster emotions, injuries and waiver wire steals.

And since we’re rushing towards the end of the fantasy season and the new year, I decided to fashion you some rushing NFL prop bets on Underdog Fantasy that I like for a parlay this week. 

Dalvin Cook Over 76.5 Rushing Yards

This feels just about as close to a guaranteed win as you can get in sports betting. Dalvin Cook has averaged 74.6 rushing yards per game this season, and he’s gotten more than 72 yards in 10 out of 14 games. The ones where he was under that amount were against some of the stingier rushing defenses in the NFL; the New York Giants are not one of them.

The Giants allow 150.4 rushing yards per game, which is the third-most in the NFL. Cook has racked up more than 78% of the Vikings’ rush yards this season, and that share of the work isn’t likely to change this week. It’s also predicted to be one of the highest-scoring games this week, bolstered by the controlled environment rather than the wacky weather happening across the country, so he shouldn’t have any problems hitting the over in this game.

Taysom Hill Over 35.5 Rushing Yards

Yet another juicy rushing matchup this week is Taysom Hill against the Browns. The forecast in Cleveland is predicted to be in the teens with 25-35 mph winds. The Saints will be playing without their top two wide receivers, Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry, so New Orleans is likely to lean on the run game, where the Browns have been exploitable.

Alvin Kamara has the team’s second-highest target share for the season (19.6%, behind only Olave’s 24.7%). While he’ll still get some carries, he’s almost a lock to take over as the Saints’ leading receiver this week. This further clears the way for Hill to lead the rushing attack. He’s averaged 34.5 yards per game on the ground this season, and he’s been the team’s clear No. 2 rusher. I hate to get too reductive about it, but the Saints just don’t have any other options. With the Browns allowing more than 133 rushing yards per game, it’s a safe bet that Hill will hit the over.

Isiah Pacheco Over 70.5 Rushing Yards

Remember how I said the Giants are third-worst against the run? Seattle is even worse, allowing 161.5 yards per game, which is second to only the Texans. Jerick McKinnon may have turned some heads after racking up 34.2 PPR points in Week 15, but a good chunk of those points came from his receiving work. Even his rushing work (10 attempts for 52 yards) was double his average in both of those categories over the past six weeks. During that same time period, Isiah Pacheco was the clear backfield leader, averaging 80 yards and almost 16 attempts per game. Even if McKinnon gets a decent chunk of the carries, Pacheco should be able to clear this mark against the Seahawks’ soft run defense.

Whether you’re looking for some bets to fill the football void after you’ve been knocked out of the playoffs or want to make a few extra bucks this week, these NFL prop bets have a good chance of getting an easy win.

Thanks for reading! If you like my kind of trash, you can read more here and follow me on Twitter @trashsandwiches.

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