You Know You're a Formerly When...
1. You've even once pulled the skin of your face back and slightly up to see what you’d look like with a facelift
2. High school kids are now wearing what you wore in high school.
3. You count calories in mixed drinks.
4. Your ass is starting to need a bra.
5. You suddenly prefer interior design magazines to fashion magazines.
6. A supermodel could give you one of her kidneys and you would still kind of hate her.
7. Whereas you used to be grossed out by obscene catcalls, you are now relieved first, grossed out second.
8. You have a doctor devoted to a single part or function of your body (your patella, your endocrine system) other than your vagina.
9. There’s a decent chance that the doctor is younger than you.
10. You need to pre-caffeinate before meeting someone for a morning coffee.
11. Your adolescent nieces and nephews are starting to regard you as a potential narc.
12. You let your mother friend you on Facebook because you have that little to hide.
13. Besides, moms is cooler than you ever gave her credit for
14. Conversations about mortgages and 401Ks, while not exactly interesting, are no longer stultifying.
15. You have heard of Death Cab for Cutie, but couldn’t ID their songs on threat of waterboarding.
16. You freeze bread. Like there won't be another loaf at the store when you need one
17. You still think “hook up” means “let's meet up for a drink”
18. You have been ma’amed outside the Deep South
19. You can't fathom why they would remake such classics as Fame and Melrose Place
20. Cosmetic surgery that you once considered deeply anti-woman is now “a woman's personal decision.”

Close it
About Formerly HotBlogWhat's Your Formerly Hot Thing?Formerly Hot News!

you know you're a formerly when...WELCOME! I started Formerly Hot after my sudden realization that I was no longer who I'd always been-a pretty girl who navigated the world partially aided by the advantage of her looks. After 30 some odd years, Spanx had found their way into my lingerie drawer, and men who asked me if I "had the time” really just wanted to know the time. Imagine!

I had crossed a line into strange, uncharted life territory, one in which I no longer felt like me. I joked to friends that I was "formerly hot," and clearly I struck a nerve. There are many women like me, bitchslapped into a new category of person: adult "tweens," not quite middle-aged, but no longer our reckless, restless, gravity-defying selves.

Thankfully, I learned life is so much more satisfying on this side of young--and I wrote a book about it, which is a NY Times national bestseller! Click here for more

Why kids need to be mortified

September 27th, 2012

Hi, all,

It has been an outrageously long time since I’ve posted. I have been crazy busy and digging out and just trying to enjoy my kiddies but if there’s anyone out there still checking in, I will be back at it at some point. Trying not to make myself nuts.

In any case, enjoy, this from LHJ’s October issue. Click HERE for the full monty.

Embarrass Your Kids, It’s Good for Them

Of course my daughters think I’m weird. But isn’t it my job to show them that being yourself is actually okay?
« Previous |  1 of 1 | Next »

Recently I was walking one of my fourth-grade daughters to school. We were holding hands, swinging them as we strode, and I was quietly singing the Bangles’ “Manic Monday.” We’d sung it together loudly many times in the car. But apparently this was neither the time nor the place for a 1980s flashback. “Mom, stop it!” she hissed as we saw a cluster of her friends up ahead. In fairness to her, I have a terrible voice, and I was fully prepared to cease and desist, but I felt like it was my job as a mother to give her a hard time first.

“But why? I’m happy. I like to sing when I’m happy.” She rolled her long-lashed blue eyes and looked at me imploringly. I saw a touch of desperation behind her cool-kid facade, so I smiled and said okay. I stopped singing and we kept walking, hand in hand.

I remember my own mother singing in the street when I was young, and me begging her to please oh please just…don’t! When she wouldn’t stop, I’d fall back and walk way behind her, trying to disappear into my Flashdance-style cropped sweatshirt. We joke about it today. But my mom, who was single and struggling to raise me and my autistic brother, was under a lot of stress. I now know that I should have encouraged any expression of joy on her part.

Rest of the article is HERE and lotsa other good stuff.

Bookmark and Share


June 17th, 2012

Confessions of a Hobby Hobo

I’m a hobby hobo. Salsa dancing, painting, jewelry making, cookie baking, photography…I’ve done it all, briefly and not particularly well. The fact that I don’t have a hobby I’m passionate about, like scrapbooking, gardening, or collecting, like that guy who has a warehouse for everything Dolly Parton has ever breathed near, is something I’ve come to accept about myself.

It wasn’t always so. I went to a college where everyone seemed to have an expertise, something tangible, like swimming or acting, which they couldn’t wait to dig into when the work of the day was done. READ MORE HERE!

Bookmark and Share


April 18th, 2012
An Office Where Funny Business Is Encouraged
By Stephanie Dolgoff

An Office Where Funny Business Is Encouraged

Why workplace teams that share laughs do better and more profitable work. (Yup, office yuks have been studied!)

One morning around a dozen years ago, I walked into the bullpen of the magazine at which I worked, and sitting in my boss’s chair was a cheap, inflatable sex doll, one of those latex ladies in a garter and panties with a startled, round-mouth expression. We all knew who put it there: the office stinker, a truly hilarious and much-loved senior person. He was one of the few who dared to joke with my boss—a notoriously talented but formidable woman who could reduce junior editors to tears—let alone in such a blatantly inappropriate way. What was particularly funny about this was that she’d recently cut her hair, and the doll’s stylized, Betty Boop bob made her and the doll look like twins.

Everyone sat there, tittering nervously, waiting for her to walk in and splash her double nonfat latté all over her Prada pencil skirt and pointy pumps. My office was in the back, but I loitered nearby—there was no way I was going to miss this. The tension was thick as Jell-o. The culprit sat coolly at his desk near hers, typing away as if nothing was amiss.

Check out the whole story at

Bookmark and Share

Shape shifters

April 14th, 2012
I didn’t take the cruise’s towel origami workshop, but I thought this little guy was cute

I’m not a bikini person.

I’ve never had a flat belly in my life, and after my twins, my norm is a not-flat belly with loose, puckered skin that flops a little over whatever waistband I wear. Even at my thinnest (see: Divorce Diet) I have always felt that my abs are better suited for a one-piece or one of those tankinis with a flap of fabric hung like a little dog door  from a bikini top.

But I just went on my first-ever cruise (the silver lining from that horrible shipwreck in Italy is that prices dropped and everyone is extra careful now) and as I was packing, I threw my bikini in. Ef it, I thought. I can’t believe I will be the only one with a postpartum belly on board, and if I am, then let it be known what we women go through for our children, damn it!

I also threw in a tankini top, fully expecting to have lost my body image bravado when faced with actually exposing my midsection.

But I didn’t! It helped that there were all body sizes and shapes on board, many in bikinis, but I also had a distinct shift in mindset. The last time I tried to wear one, back in my 20s, my attitude was, “I don’t look as good as I should in this bikini.” Looking down at my belly now that I’m almost 45, my first thought was, “I don’t look as bad as I could in this bikini,” which morphed into, “In fact, I look downright fine, and who’s looking anyway?”

Best vacation I’ve ever had. More proof of what I apparently have to learn again and again over the years: That actual looks don’t matter nearly as much as how you feel about how you look. In my experience, changing how you feel about how you look is a lot harder than slapping on some makeup or even doing 700 crunches a day, if you were so inclined. Still, I think the latter is a better investment of emotional energy.


Bookmark and Share

No comparison

March 19th, 2012

Below, my latest for You can read the whole thing HERE. Please feel free to comment here, there and everywhere!

The End of the Comparathon

Posted By Stephanie Dolgoff on March 18, 2012

Reason number 963 I’m officially glad I’m not young anymore: The comparathon is officially over.

Here’s what I mean. I had a major girl crush on a woman in college I barely knew. She seemed so at ease at the keg parties and protest meetings, emanating a cool aloofness that gave her a command of the room. When I saw her, I instantly felt like a big, cloying clown trying to make people like me through laughter. Her way seemed so much, well, better.

This obsession was but one example of the terrible habit I had when I was in my 20s—I constantly compared myself to other women, reflexively, like breathing.

The willowy woman at the next table, snarfing down a burger and fries? The mere fact of her whippet-thin body and lightening quick metabolism made me a big fat slug. That happy couple sitting across from me on the subway, gazing lovingly at each other—clearly they had a wonderful, enviable, perfect relationship, which only highlighted how mine were often hopelessly complicated. FULL ARTICLE HERE.

Bookmark and Share

When commitments conflict

March 3rd, 2012

When to Break a Commitment

Posted By Stephanie Dolgoff on February 19, 2012

I’m going through a divorce, which is hideous, as anyone who has been through one knows. Not only are you mourning the death of the family you dreamed about and worked so hard to build, but if you speak or write about it in public, as I have, you deal with people who (believe it or not) truly think that you represent all that is wrong with society: a failure to live up to commitments.

I have no Earthly idea how, if all of us in marriages that make us feel terrible about ourselves were to stay put, the world would be a better place. In some magical way, there would be no nuclear threat, everyone would have enough to eat, cancer would be as rare as leprosy and cartoon sparrows and butterflies would flutter and chirp around us like Snow White pre-apple. Oh, and weight loss would be a breeze.

Yeah, no. With the possible exception of Kim Kardashian and her ilk, most people who divorce do so only after exhausting all other means of keeping the commitment alive, and after long and painful introspection about what it means to break a commitment. This process has taught me that some commitments—ones that interfere with other, more important ones you’ve made to yourself and to others—should be broken.


Bookmark and Share

And the beat goes on

February 17th, 2012

photo12A reenactment of Viv’s expression when I told her that it was lead guitarist Charlotte Caffey of the Go-Gos, and not Disney Channel actress Debby Ryan, who wrote “We Got the Beat”. And that it came out when I was 13. And that it was better. Just sayin’.

Bookmark and Share

The perceived safety of age

February 7th, 2012

My friend Joel forwarded me this post from a blog called Finslippy–very Formerly post, and well-written to boot. I’d love your take on it…it seems the author, Alice Bradley, tried and understandably failed to find the levity in her topic. I could never make this issue funny either, and in my mission to help women laugh about the indignities of this adult tween phase of life, I glossed over it.

But I appreciate her writing it. As I’ve posted about, I, too, have braced for the catcalls I, like most young women, used to endure, and instead heard sound of cartoon crickets chirping. Over time, and now that I am 44, that has become a relief, and I have certainly never missed feeling at the mercy of sweaty catcalling guys drinking 40s on milk crates in front of the corner bodega. When I was a teenager, I felt assaulted by the attention, that my body was not my own, that every stare or grope or subway masturbator took a piece of it with him, so there hardly anything left of me. I’m pretty sure the crappy body image and eating disorder I dealt with back then was a direct result of feeling like there were no boundaries to protect me. This is a young woman thing for sure–it has nothing to do with how “hot” you were. Read the rest of this entry »

Bookmark and Share

Breathe, Demi, breathe

February 6th, 2012

Lest anyone poo-pooh the plight of the Formerly, we have Demi Moore’s recent collapse to illustrate that bending like the proverbial tree in the wind is pretty much the way to go. The alternative, snapping in half, clearly doesn’t work no matter how good you look.

In case you’ve not devoured People and US and every other tabloid in the last week or so, the near-50-year-old Moore is in some kind of rehab, supposedly because she’s not dealing well with the fact that her skank of a husband cheated on her so publicly. But many sources–which, granted, tend to repeat what the others say–seem to think she is age-obsessed and bugging out mainly because she is not 21 anymore. The video above pretty much sums it up.

Now, I came down on her a couple of years back for not owning her surgery, and thus making the rest of us feel like if we only exercised more and used the right $240 per ounce night cream we would look as good as she does. (My wee bloggy self coming down on anyone is like a light tap on the shoulder, but still). To me, not admitting the truth was just unkind to women who are already inclined to be hard on themselves.

But now I feel for her. Clearly, laughing at herself for her concerns about aging–which is the main way I like to keep perspective about it, along with Laura Mercier undereye concealer–either didn’t work or wasn’t available to her as an option. My hunch is that she never allowed herself to feel her way through the awkward transition from young to old(er) that we all inevitably experience. Instead, she tamped it down with surgery and procedures and lap dances and young husbands and tweeting snapshots of herself looking incredible in a bikini.

In my experience and opinion, the only way to get through something difficult is to go THROUGH, not around, no matter whether it’s divorce (my latest drama), disappointment or the passage of time.

Memo to Demi: It’s really fine and sometimes quite awesome over here on the other side of young. When you’re ready, I’ll be here, anyway, for a cup of coffee and a laugh.

Bookmark and Share

Help finding the bright side

February 6th, 2012


As many of you have read, nothing makes me grumpier than the Pollyanna Industrial Complex–the “just slap on a smile!” fake-it-til-you-make-it school of silly psychology that tries to convince us that if you’re not happy 24/7 that you’ve failed somehow in taking care of yourself. Barbara Ehrenreich wrote about this more eloquently than I can in Bright-Sided–highly recommended if you’ve felt like there’s something wrong with you for not simply visualizing your own Lotto-winning future.

No, the state of happiness is not something you can simply cross your arms and blink yourself over to, but you do have the ability to re-frame your pre-existing life in order to appreciate it more. That’s the thesis of my friend Amy Spencer’s new book, Bright Side Up. What I love about it and Amy, who is positive but human and realistic, is the idea that you can conceptualize your own well-being your way, like the multifaceted, imperfect and occasionally surly Formerly you no doubt are. She’s guest-blogging here, so you can get a little taste. The book comes out tomorrow, and I’m so excited for her.

I was watching The Bachelor the other day (sorry, I’m obsessed) when I was struck with some Formerly thoughts—mostly “Formerly could wear a bikini without sucking in my gut” ones. But then one of the bachelorettes started sharing some emotional insecurity that only stifles the very young and I thought, Man, I’ll take my gut over that any day. Because during the years I’ve gained these pounds, I’ve also gained invaluable life experience and a self-confidence we Formerlies can only get by living, loving, making mistakes and learning from them.

That’s basically how I roll with my down moments: I do my best to flip my perspective to the positive side. And in case you could use some help finding the good stuff sometimes, I wanted to share five ways looking on the bright side works for me:

1. Say “The Good News Is…” Like my reality TV reality check, there is good news if you choose to find it. Yes, your car broke down, but the good news is…you weren’t stuck in a snowstorm at midnight when it did. Yes, you have the flu, but the good news is…you haven’t wanted to eat an entire bag of Flavor Blast Fritos today. Yet.

2. Put a bow on it for your future self. You know that awful, very bad, annoying thing you’re going through? Well, your future self called and left a message: “Thank you.” Because if you can’t see a benefit in the present, then you’re probably you’re giving a present to your future. Rough patches and lost jobs and broken hearts may break us in the moment, but they make our future selves so much wiser, stronger, more empathetic and happier. So take it in and whisper, “You’re welcome.”

3. Lower your standards, sort of. There are so many things I don’t do because I don’t want to do them badly. (Hello, still-don’t-have-a-headboard-because-I-keep-intending-to-build-my-own.) My latest idea: We should lower our standards. At least, lower them for starting. If you’re “Formerly frozen by your To Do list,” start tackling it with some averagely okay starts and see how much happier you feel getting things done.

4. Recognize your new route is better. Ever get lost and end up discovering a short cut or a pretty road you forgot was even there? That’s how we can look at life when it sticks a roadblock in our path, too. Have faith that the detour life has put us on will actually turn out to be a better path then the path we had planned.

5. Take the tourist’s point of view. Like the Eiffel Tower to Parisians, what might seem like no big deal in your life is a Kodak moment to someone else. So look at your life the way a tourist might. Your small home may be four times the size that some people can afford, and the kids that drive you crazy may be the family one person dreams of. Think about what you have that, to some of life’s “tourists,” is worth showing off.

Those are just a few ideas to get you started. Maybe one or two will work for you and turn one of those “Formerly having a bad day” moments into having a pretty great one.

Bookmark and Share