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.”

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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

I knew him when

November 10th, 2013

yearbookSo I’m at the gym, faux cross country skiing to nowhere and watching MSNBC to keep it from being even more tedious than it is. The talk show host introduces one of her panelists, who turns out to be a guy I went to high school with.

Super-impressive, clearly a thoughtful and knowledgeable person who has no doubt earned his nosebleed ascent through the ranks of business reporting, including stints at the two most important newspapers in the country (yes, newspapers are still important.)

But as I listen to his commentary on the economic recovery, such as it is, all I’m thinking is, That guy told his buddies that we did things together that we didn’t when I was a freshman and he was a sophomore.

Not “the” thing but the next obvious thing, one of several that you don’t want to be famous around your school for doing with a lot of guys.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Have my people call your people

November 7th, 2013









From the Things For Which I Wish Someone Would Invent a Solution department: We need something—anything!–to make multi-person conference calls less excruciating.

I had one yesterday with Lions Gate, the studio that (yay!) has optioned My Formerly Hot Life and plans to make it a fabulous TV show that will launch a thousand catchphrases and fashion trends and eventually, after many years, have people arguing about whether or not it has jumped the shark. At which time it will be syndicated and have sent the children of all involved to college.

(If my therapist Carol is reading this, I want you to take note of my terrifically positive attitude!)

There were, like, 8 or 9 or so people scheduled to be on the call, only a few of whom I’d ever met in person. I dialed in.

[Click, blip, echo noise]. “Um, hello, this is Stephanie,” I spoke into the void.

A woman said she was Person X for Persons Y and Z at the studio.

Meaning, while I am sure her mother loves her, Person X was relatively unimportant as compared to Persons Y and Z, and so she could afford to sit and listen to me breathe.

“Hi there,” I said perkily. [Weird speakerphone pause.] “Hey,” she answered. [Awkward silence. ] To my credit, I resisted the urge to talk about the weather. There’s nothing worse than weather talk with people from L.A.

After a minute or two, a male voice, Kevin, said he was “for Rebecca and Christy,” my agents here in New York.

“Hi, Kevin, it’s Stephanie!” I said. [Weird speakerphone pause with no sound so you’re not quite sure if he said anything.] “What?” I asked.

“Hey. I said Hey!” he said.

“Oh, ok. Hey.” [Awkward silence.]

I was fast learning that only only losers make their own calls, or for that matter, speak directly into the handset, as I was doing. I should have had one of my daughters call in and announce that she was “for Stephanie” and hold the line while I sat there and read Us magazine, instead of doing it myself.

I said as much and neither of the important people surrogates laughed, or if they did it fell into the weird speakerphone pause void.

I vowed not to say another word. I sat for a few more minutes, flipping pages and hearing clicks and people going on hold and coming back. Occasionally someone called roll like in first grade, determined that all the actual important people were still not there, and then went off the line again.

Eventually Rebecca dials in,  and [click, echo, noise] announces herself. “Are we all here?” Read the rest of this entry »

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Sugar is sweet

November 4th, 2013

6292660727_9eb30762fe_nHow do you know if you just gave your kid an eating disorder? I think I may have.

So here’s what happened: A few months ago I collected an empty water cup from the shelf above one of my daughter’s loft beds.

I rarely make the climb, because I usually smack the back of my skull against the ceiling and what’s more, it’s their little tween universe up there and I feel like I’m invading their space. Rainbow Loom bracelets strangle plush toys, socks that have been kicked off collect at the foot of the bed, and gushing One Direction quizzes in fanzines cause me to briefly fear for the future of the human race, which, considering I was a Shaun Cassidy freak back in the day, makes me feel old old old.

But we were running out of cups so up I went, and I saw a bunch of candy wrappers stuffed between the wall and the bed.

Here’s where my mind went: Secret eating! Hoarding food! Turning for solace to Fun Size Snickers because she feels unloved by her mother, who despite best efforts is a stressed out single mom who sometimes uses compound curses and maybe is thinking about the dry cleaning she forgot to pick up while her daughter is confiding her innermost truths! Read the rest of this entry »

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Back from the brain dead

November 3rd, 2013

photo(65)Lemme get this out of the way:

It’s been–gasp!–over a year since I last posted, despite supportive reader/friends and editors and agents making careful and polite inquiries as to why the radio silence.

Things like, “Are you OK?” and “Um, how’s the book promotion going?” “Did the TV show ever happen?” And oh, and “WTF, Stephanie? You are squandering an audience that many authors would kill for by not keeping your brand alive!”

Yes, well. Short answer: divorce, divorce, divorce, and all the tentacles of stress and uncertainty that wrap themselves around you when your life, your children’s lives, your finances and your sense of self are radically upended in a short period of time.

Never mind that it was the right thing. Never mind that it’s what had to happen. Remember tether ball, from summer camp? I felt like the ball, smacked and kicked this way and that, all day every day, and unable to bounce away to deflate in safety.

Obviously, when you the human being are also “your brand,” it’s hard to write funny.


Three years after my split (which happened right when the book came out), and one year after the JOD arrived in the mail, my girls and I are good, and their dad and I are doing what we always did best–loving them, denying them cell phones, and making sure they’re appropriately insane 5th graders who sometimes eat green vegetables and empty their pockets of lip gloss before they put their jeans in the laundry.

In other news, My Formerly Hot Life has once again been optioned, this time by Lions Gate, who brought you Mad Men and Nashville and Orange is the New Black and lots of other freakin’ amazing shows. These people know what they’re doing. Very very beginning stages, so nothing to report other than that, but please cross everything that can be crossed.

And I’m percolating another book.

So bear with me, and if you’re still with me, send up a flare!

With love, Steph




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September 28th, 2012

5383_bb_penguin_01_1One of the reasons I haven’t been posting much lately is that I haven’t had that many Formerly Hot moments. I’ve kind of moved through the whole shock and horror at finding myself no longer young and have settled into this new, rather happy, peaceful state of being. No drama, no trauma…just an OK-with-45 mindset that is, well, not that funny.

But once in a while, as happened today, I have a good old fashioned Formerly moment I feel compelled to share.

So as my friends know, I have a bit of a clog problem. I have maybe eight or nine pairs, including two pairs of clog boots. It’s a problem mostly because there aren’t enough days of the week to wear them and I love them so much this causes me mild to moderate distress.

I think I’m attracted to them because they manage to be both cute and orthopedic at the same time. People like me, who can no longer wear heals without cursing our big, gnarled, 45-year-old feet, can be comfy in clogs. Meanwhile, cute young 20somethings doing the retro ’70s thing have made them cool again. I’m riding this wave as long as it lasts. It’s like a solar eclipse–a rare overlap between two apparent opposites that’s briefly beautiful.

I stopped by No. 6, one of my favorite clog sources, and I saw them (pictured here, except I lusted for the dark, rich, chocolately brown). It was love at first sight–like in the movies, the background fell away and it was like me and the clogs were alone in the room. I moved tentatively toward them. We were destined to be together. I was sure of it.

The groovy blonde saleswoman, 26 or 27 tops, explained that they didn’t have them in my enormous size (41 or 42) and brought me a few similar pairs to try. I tried them all on, but determined that I wasn’t ready to have her non-refundably order them for me without actually trying the precise ones I wanted, because I’ve been burned before by ill-fitting shoes I couldn’t resist. It’s heartbreaking to sell your perfect-but-for-the-fact-that-they-deforming-your-feet clogs on eBay.

“I’m confident that a 41 will be fine,” she said. I thanked her and said would just wait until she had them in to try. “I do this all day,” she said. “You’ll be fine in the 41.” I choose to believe she wasn’t pushing, but that she truly wanted me to be united with my true loves. But still, I held off, and asked her to call me when they came in again.

She shrugged, and there was something in her resignation–this middle-aged lady doesn’t know what’s good for her, fashion-wise and she chooses not to heed my excellent advice so I’m going to move on to someone in whose life I can make a real difference–that prompted what came next: I felt an uprising of older person’s Tourettes, words coming up out of my mouth seemingly without my control.

“I mean, my feet used to be a regular ten, until I had my children and now it’s like, a real problem to find shoes in my size….” I blathered on about how one foot is bigger than the other, how pregnancy screws with your feet and, like, the bones spread out, and yoga doesn’t help either, and on and on in this, honey, let me tell you kind of tone. I think a part of me wanted her to know that once, a long long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was just like her–someone who didn’t mind if my feet hurt, as long as they looked good. Someone who would put fashion before function. Someone who, well, wasn’t old. Or old-er. Or as old as I am. Which is to say, not that old!

When I finally stopped talking, I saw that my diatribe had the opposite effect. I went from potential clog buyer to weird lady who thinks fabulous, young, skinny fashionable people care about her podiatric problems!

“Wow,” she said. “That sucks.”

“Um, yeah, kinda,” I said, before showing myself out.

I told my friend Andie about this exchange and she likened it to talking to pregnant women about what it’s like to be a parent–they cannot fathom that anything will ever change. They will be exactly as they are forever, except with the adorable accessory of an infant, who will also never get older and pimply and difficult. This woman has no idea that she will ever be my age, no longer able to wear a trash bag with an obi and look fabulous, with feet issues that one earns after pounding the pavement for decades and all of that.

Well, I do hope for her sake she gets to be my age someday, because–footwear limitations notwithstanding–it beats the alternative.

Photo from No. 6, which really is an amazing store.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.


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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.

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