For the Love of Slob, Stop Heckling.

When my mom was up against the toughest battle of her life after being diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer on her birthday last year, these are the pants she wore:Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 2.56.12 PM

I’d recognize them in my sleep. There was always at least one pair in every load of laundry, and every mall trip included a stop at Eddie Bauer for another pair. She lived in these sweat pants for the last 6-months of her life. They kept her tiny, shrinking, body warm and the draw string enabled enough flexibility to still fit the next week. So, it was the memory of these sweatpants that sparked my unease with an article I read yesterday.

It was written by one of my favorite writers, John Jannuzzi, who wrote his post after reading a rant post in the NY Post, by Elisabeth Vincentelli (who’s maybe one of his favorite writers?! Thus, completing the circle of life!) This chain may sound confusing. Basically, both writers post pros of dressing for success in order to be taken seriously, (because this is such a new thing!) I respect these two writers immensely, and they make lots of valid points… But… I have a big BUT and I cannot lie: their words read like those belonging to v. fabulous New York City people, who’ve never set foot in a small-town suburb and walked among its native people. Most definitely, the writers have never once braved the glorious lands of the netherworld, aka WalMart. (The prices there amaze me!) It’s not a bad thing.

I’m not here to tell anyone right from wrong, shame the fashion elite, or try a dramatic appeal to their emotions. I’m smart enough not to give myself authority where I haven’t earned it. But. Really, y’all?  Your standards for dress are a galaxy far, far away from what is most important on the list of priorities many people carry with them every day.

My mom, while wearing saggy sweatpants, was facing a 5 percent chance she would be alive beyond a year. And, despite these impossible odds, as well as her oncologist’s too honest prognosis of 6-months, she 100 percent had not “given up” on herself.

In fact, she was overly positive, and I still sob every time I go back and read her last Tweet.

Never give up. You don’t know what’s right around the corner.”

Her Eddie Bauer sweatpants were worn to as many places possible: dark movie theaters, the mall, neighborhood parties, the cancer hospital, visits with family, Christmas dinner, and even church. It was a blessing when a day arrived where she physically could leave the house, sweatpants or *not. (*It was v. much encouraged by my family that she wear pants.)

Plus, do you know how not fun it is shopping for a cute chemo outfit? It’s not fun. My mom and I tried before her first treatment to find a great new “power outfit” that really set the tone (for a miracle) because, as Jannuzzi writes, “Those who look their parts and places project authority, confidence, and an undeniable sense of self-awareness.”

The truth is, though, there are some heartbreaks in life that squash us no matter what we wear or will buy, how much money we have, if we’re attractive or not, or whether we are super successful and always look our part in the world.

I’m sure both writers would argue they, of course, weren’t suggesting sick people need to dress better– but they don’t know that. One quick and dirty glance isn’t enough to know what someone’s got going on beneath sweatpants, pjs and cargo shorts– even, if you’re wearing Google glasses, you still can’t tell. It could be a really, super bad day. It could be a big deal someone got out of bed. It could be the nicest clothing that person owns… Something you can learn by shopping at WalMart: the majority of people in our country are just trying to pay bills, stay healthy (enough), love their kids (enough), make a living, and be happy (again, enough.)

The crowd of unsuspecting people who’re standing outside a theater in the creepy picture used by the NY Post, well, maybe they’re just really happy and thankful to be seeing exciting, live theater in NYC. And, maybe despite, Vincentelli’s disgust, the men running around with their jiggly man boobs flapping in the wind are just plain happy as can be. Maybe these “slobs” are happier than the people who judge them. There are days since my mom’s death where I fight every demon to feel happy. So, if “happy” is setting the bar too low, well, sorry.

After reading the articles I did think, well, maybe I do need to dress nicer because I don’t have cancer. I want to honor my mom’s memory, not look like I’ve given up on life. Before her cancer, my mom dressed extremely well– stylish and age-appropriate — and sweats never, ever, left the house. Her visits to my college attracted tons of gushing sorority sisters, all saying how gorgeous she was and they’ll dress ‘just like her’ later in life, (when they’re old.) But despite my genetics for shopping, I’ll be damned if the way I honor my mom is with how I dress… this woman went a month without food and over 15-days without water before she had finally “given up.” That’s some rad shit.

I understand I do need to be realistic about how the world works because there are different types of people. Some types can be super snobby and judge you harshly. I usually don’t notice it while I’m bopping in my stretchy yoga pants listening to Weezer and daydreaming about WalMart, but it happens. Maybe my opinion on dressing will evolve with maturity, like my music taste, or maybe I’ll forever dress and act like a child, as Vincentelli says. I gotta say, though, after being her caregiver, kissing her when she died, planning her funeral and then burying my mom, I don’t feel very childish in anything I wear.

I’d be careful what you label people, esp. if using Grandpa Jannuzzi’s term, “subhuman.” Think about what defines people. And, if there truly is a need for better dress… then there’s a need for better understanding, too.

I (Almost) Auditioned To Be On The Voice Today

This morning I almost competed on the preliminary tryouts of The Voice. This sounds like very exciting news but it’s actually not. In fact, my almost audition caused me to almost miss my Megabus ride.

Believe it or not, I was not trying to become America’s next big singing talent at 5:45am this morning… I was just standing in the wrong line for a very long time.

I’d like to blame the early hour for my prolonged confusion… because, I stayed in line for The Voice tryouts for over 20 minutes. It was long enough for me along with my fellow contestants to be led by an official-looking cowherd around the corner, then separated into a groups of four, and almost to the convention center’s doors.

Yes, it all seemed a bit odd to me. But I haven’t ridden a Megabus except once junior year of college and I’m very unfamiliar with its ways. All I thought was: I hope we all fit on the bus!

It seemed like A LOT of people to all fit onto one bus headed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That was one of the reason I first started to feel nervous early on while waiting in line. It also seemed a bit much how everyone’s family and friends was waiting in line with them to a certain point and then hugging and kissing them goodbye… waving furiously as they left. I was like, come on, people this isn’t the Titanic… I mean I know buses can be a bit rough but this is a little much. (Alright, maybe I was just a little jealous!) However, what I wasn’t feeling was any nervousness that I had mistakenly stepped in line to audition for a national singing competition on a live TV show. I have LOTS of natural anxiety and would definitely coin myself as a worrier, but this isn’t one the fears that commonly crosses my mind.

But now, I will definitely be adding it to my list of SHIT THAT COULD TOTALLY HAPPEN.

I did, instead, grow super stressed because no one else in line had luggage with them. I was the ONLY PERSON with a rolling suitcase… Everyone else had a purse or a small backpack, and one lady had a fanny-pack a purse but that was the most I saw anyone else carrying. Except for the handful of people, mostly all guys, who carried GIANT acoustic guitar cases. So naturally, my first thoughts after processing this:

Omg, they must only allow one carryon item no bigger than a small personal belonging such as a purse, backpack or fanny-pack per person, or guitar cases are allowed as the exception.

I began thinking up some casual, yet dramatic, excuses as to why I needed to bring my rolling suitcase along (i.e., special assistance needs, or I’m on my way to a friend’s or better yet my cousin’s sister’s my wedding and my gown is stuffed inside my suitcase… No, no, don’t worry about finding hanging space. I’ll have my bridesmaids steam it once I arrive at the ceremony’s location in Pittsburgh via a Megabus. Bride on a budget, #amIright?) Also, I was mad-dogging it & gearing up to fight the Man, aka the Megasbus crew. If an acoustic guitar case is allowed it’s only fair if my same-sized suitcase is allowed onboard. I even brainstormed maneuvers to stuff my designer Rebecca Minkoff handbag into it to condense.

It was finally when the security guys started yelling at our group, I knew I had real worries. ”

Okay, if you’re in this line it’s because your reservation ticket says 7am, ONLY! No one else should be in this line!” I panicked. I turned to the mom and her son in line behind me.

I said: Wait, did he say 7am? My ticket’s for departure at 6:10am!

And, The Mom said: Huh?! No sweetie, he said they’re gonna open the doors for us at 8am.

Me: Wait, really? Then why does my Megabus ticket say 6:10am. What does yours say?

The Mom: Oh. This ISN’T the Megabus line! This is the line for The Voice.

Me: Wait, what?! Really. Omg. I’m looking for the bus!

The Mom: You need to be across the street then… and you better RUN!

It was now 6:10.

I took off– whoosh– hustling and rolling past the crowd behind us. A younger girl stopped me while I was running back up the hill (cursing & praying the bus hadn’t left yet! PLEASE, by the grace of God!) She nicely asked if they were letting people in who hadn’t reserved an audition spot, (which ironically I was almost one of those people!) I yelled to her as I ran:

I’M NOT ONE OF YOU.

So, basically: if my running out of the line with my wheeling suitcase to stop the Megabus, which hadn’t even started boarding yet, didn’t draw some eyes, then my yelling at the poor girl like she was an X-Men definitely got me noticed. And yet, I am still waiting for the producers of The Voice to call me up and make me a big star… I’m sure I left the audience of my fellow contestants thinking, who’s that girl.

And, if any of you future Britneys, Christinas or JT’s auditioning at The Voice in NYC today, really, totally, embarrassingly blow it… just remember, it could’ve been worse.

You could’ve been that girl who thought she was waiting in line for the Megabus.

P.S. Here’s a baller chocolate chip cookie recipe.

RT Worthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

This recipe is from memory… so Teddy Graham (bear) w/ me:

1/2 Cup Butter

1/2 Cup Crisco *I swear using half butter and half crisco makes for the most fattening, chewy delicious cookies ever to grace your cookie monster lips

1 Cup Brown sugar

1/2 Cup White sugar

2 Egg Yolks

1 Tbsp. Vanilla

1 (ish) Tbsp. Maple Syrup

3 cups flour

1 1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder

1 Tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 Tsp. Kosher Salt

1/2 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon

1 cup chocolate chips (any kind your little heart desires!)

1 cup chopped chocolate bars OR another cup of chocolate chips… (I like to chop up nice big chunks of both white and dark chocolate bars to keep things interesting)

Directions: Cream the butter and Crisco (ohhhh baybee!) and add both sugars… cream together on high (get it!), add the eggs yolks, mix, add the vanilla and maple syrup; meanwhile, in a neighboring & separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients (no, this does not mean all ingredients not containing alcohol… speaking of, you can for reals add a little tsp. or so of Brandy to the batch for extra flavor. Martha does it all the time, I swear!), slowly add the dry to the wet in three additions & mix that shit well after adding each, then finally, add the goods (chocolate chips & chunks) mixing either by hand or on a low speed.

Bake ’em nice and big at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until set. For good lookin’ cookies chill the dough prior to baking (for overnight or at least 2 hours) or place the cookies on the baking sheets and then into the freezer for 15 (ish) minutes before baking.

Here’s some other choco-chip-inspo recipes to try! Plus follow ThisBabeBakes via Pinterest for tons more recipes… get yo’ yummy on!