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My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches from Just the Other Side of Young

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When men stop making lecherous catcalls and Spanx get comfortable in your lingerie drawer, when marketers target you for Activia instead of $200 premium denim, when you have to start wearing makeup to get that “I’m not wearing any makeup” glow and are “ma’amed” outside the Deep South, it may dawn on you that somehow you have crossed an invisible line: You are not the young When men stop making lecherous catcalls and Spanx get comfortable in your lingerie drawer, when marketers target you for Activia instead of $200 premium denim, when you have to start wearing makeup to get that “I’m not wearing any makeup” glow and are “ma’amed” outside the Deep South, it may dawn on you that somehow you have crossed an invisible line: You are not the young, relevant, in-the-mix woman you used to be. But neither are you old, or even what you think of as middle-aged. You are no longer what you were, but not quite sure what you are.  Stephanie Dolgoff calls this stage of a woman’s life “Formerly,” the state of mind and body she herself is in now: Her roaring twenties are behind her, but she’s not in hot flash territory, either. My Formerly Hot Life, showcasing Dolgoff’s wacky and wise observations about this little-discussed flux time, demonstrates that becoming a Formerly is intensely poignant if you’re paying attention, and hilarious even if you’re not. From fashion to friendship, beauty to body image, married sex to single searching, mothering to careering (or both), Dolgoff reveals the upside to not being forever 21—even as you watch the things you once thought were so essential to a happy life go the way of the cassette tape. You may be formerly thin, formerly cool, formerly (seemingly) carefree, formerly cutting-edge, but in reading My Formerly Hot Life you are reminded that you are finally more comfortable in your skin (formerly obsessed with your weight), finally following your instincts (formerly ruled by the opinions of others), and finally happy with where you are (formerly focused on the guy or job you thought would take you where you thought you should be). While you may no longer be as close to the media-machine-generated idea of fabulous, you can do many, many more things fabulously. Wildly entertaining and inspiring, My Formerly Hot Life proves that once you let yourself laugh about that which is passing, life is richer, more fun, and more satisfying. Despite what you’re led to believe, growing older most certainly means growing better.  


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When men stop making lecherous catcalls and Spanx get comfortable in your lingerie drawer, when marketers target you for Activia instead of $200 premium denim, when you have to start wearing makeup to get that “I’m not wearing any makeup” glow and are “ma’amed” outside the Deep South, it may dawn on you that somehow you have crossed an invisible line: You are not the young When men stop making lecherous catcalls and Spanx get comfortable in your lingerie drawer, when marketers target you for Activia instead of $200 premium denim, when you have to start wearing makeup to get that “I’m not wearing any makeup” glow and are “ma’amed” outside the Deep South, it may dawn on you that somehow you have crossed an invisible line: You are not the young, relevant, in-the-mix woman you used to be. But neither are you old, or even what you think of as middle-aged. You are no longer what you were, but not quite sure what you are.  Stephanie Dolgoff calls this stage of a woman’s life “Formerly,” the state of mind and body she herself is in now: Her roaring twenties are behind her, but she’s not in hot flash territory, either. My Formerly Hot Life, showcasing Dolgoff’s wacky and wise observations about this little-discussed flux time, demonstrates that becoming a Formerly is intensely poignant if you’re paying attention, and hilarious even if you’re not. From fashion to friendship, beauty to body image, married sex to single searching, mothering to careering (or both), Dolgoff reveals the upside to not being forever 21—even as you watch the things you once thought were so essential to a happy life go the way of the cassette tape. You may be formerly thin, formerly cool, formerly (seemingly) carefree, formerly cutting-edge, but in reading My Formerly Hot Life you are reminded that you are finally more comfortable in your skin (formerly obsessed with your weight), finally following your instincts (formerly ruled by the opinions of others), and finally happy with where you are (formerly focused on the guy or job you thought would take you where you thought you should be). While you may no longer be as close to the media-machine-generated idea of fabulous, you can do many, many more things fabulously. Wildly entertaining and inspiring, My Formerly Hot Life proves that once you let yourself laugh about that which is passing, life is richer, more fun, and more satisfying. Despite what you’re led to believe, growing older most certainly means growing better.  

30 review for My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches from Just the Other Side of Young

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I only read maybe the first third or so. The concept of the book appealed to me when I first heard about it, but I couldn't relate. Too much "I can't wear designer jeans anymore! I'm too tired to go out drinking like I used to!" I suppose if I used to do those things, I'd lament their loss more. *shrug* To me, the book didn't read so much as an observation of transitions between stages of life (which is what I was hoping for) as it did just a series of whines about how, boo hoo, the author is no I only read maybe the first third or so. The concept of the book appealed to me when I first heard about it, but I couldn't relate. Too much "I can't wear designer jeans anymore! I'm too tired to go out drinking like I used to!" I suppose if I used to do those things, I'd lament their loss more. *shrug* To me, the book didn't read so much as an observation of transitions between stages of life (which is what I was hoping for) as it did just a series of whines about how, boo hoo, the author is now 40 and has wrinkles.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    Incredibly disappointing. The idea of exploring the transitional stage of life--neither young and hot, nor old enough to wear Sensible Shoes and Mom jeans, is intriguing. Unfortunately, this is one long, whiny collection of shallow observations and needless repetition that can be summed up easily: It bruises the ego to realize that we are no longer young beauties. First of all, the author seems shocked beyond belief that she does indeed look older, and feel older too, as a 40 something mother. O Incredibly disappointing. The idea of exploring the transitional stage of life--neither young and hot, nor old enough to wear Sensible Shoes and Mom jeans, is intriguing. Unfortunately, this is one long, whiny collection of shallow observations and needless repetition that can be summed up easily: It bruises the ego to realize that we are no longer young beauties. First of all, the author seems shocked beyond belief that she does indeed look older, and feel older too, as a 40 something mother. Okay. Do you not know any women over 40? How did this not occur to you before now? I stopped reading when she emphasized that a Formerly woman cannot be friends with someone who doesn't like her significant other, or "genuinely like your kids". Really? I guess your time isn't well spent with someone who simply likes you for who you are. Does she apply the same standard to herself? Of course not, because she is just too busy as a working mother to have time for anyone, except the one friend whose husband doesn't like her husband. I guess that's okay. The vanity and self-importance she clearly feels get old really quickly. Simply put, this would be a good 3 page magazine article. There is not enough here for a book, nor is this woman entertaining enough to justify one.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    I tried and tried to feel sympathy for her but I found myself screaming "Get over yourself!". She's 40 years old and all sorts of disgruntled about it. I'm 50 and I have two children and I still feel like I'm hot. I don't know what her problem is. Well, I do know --- she's concocted this "problem" so she could sell books. So glad I got it from the library. I tried and tried to feel sympathy for her but I found myself screaming "Get over yourself!". She's 40 years old and all sorts of disgruntled about it. I'm 50 and I have two children and I still feel like I'm hot. I don't know what her problem is. Well, I do know --- she's concocted this "problem" so she could sell books. So glad I got it from the library.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jam84

    The beauty of Dolgoff’s book is that while it speaks directly to the “formerly” demographic, its message applies and appeals to people of all ages trying to navigate the murky path between one clearly defined phase of life and the next. As someone in her mid-twenties, I continuously feel like a “tween” of sorts as well – no longer the fresh-faced recent college grad, but not quite the settled and satisfied adult I hope I’ll someday be. Not only could I relate to this aspect of the My Formerly Ho The beauty of Dolgoff’s book is that while it speaks directly to the “formerly” demographic, its message applies and appeals to people of all ages trying to navigate the murky path between one clearly defined phase of life and the next. As someone in her mid-twenties, I continuously feel like a “tween” of sorts as well – no longer the fresh-faced recent college grad, but not quite the settled and satisfied adult I hope I’ll someday be. Not only could I relate to this aspect of the My Formerly Hot Life, but I was also heartened by Dolgoff’s assurances that life is so much more satisfying on the other side of young. In a youth obsessed culture that leads one to believe that life ends at the age of 35, My Formerly Hot Life highlights the upsides of aging, while still having a laugh (or 10) at the downsides.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ira Therebel

    Getting older was always depressing for me. It was already upsetting me when I was 12. Turning 30 was scary, but then turned out it isn't that bad. Now approaching 40 the scary feeling is back. And this time I don't think that it will turn out to be not as bad as it was with 30s. Now it is really going over the cliff. I can connect with the author. I don't get how people say that things that worry her are unimportant. What else would you worry about when turning 40? I don't feel the same about no Getting older was always depressing for me. It was already upsetting me when I was 12. Turning 30 was scary, but then turned out it isn't that bad. Now approaching 40 the scary feeling is back. And this time I don't think that it will turn out to be not as bad as it was with 30s. Now it is really going over the cliff. I can connect with the author. I don't get how people say that things that worry her are unimportant. What else would you worry about when turning 40? I don't feel the same about not being in touch with pop culture and fashion because I never cared about it. When it comes to music I was out of touch in my early 20s. What feels weird to m is that characters in the movies, tv shows and books are now usually younger than me. Now that is weird! It isn't a bad book because it really talks about things that bother us about getting older. But I didn't like it too much. First it was too repetitive, it is like she just published her blog, which she most likely did. It seems to be kind of pointless besides seeing that other people feel this way too. And to be honest while it is humorous it is incredibly depressing. Maybe I chose the wrong time for me to read this and should have waited a few years. Now I just think about all the bad things that will happen that I didn't think of before!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Patti K

    My review is mixed. I liked the concept - women in this 'tween' stage of adulthood can certainly benefit from having a kindred spirit help them feel like they are not alone. On that note, I thought she made some interesting points and observations. If I were only judging based on the concept, I'd give it 5 stars. When I read a book, however, I'm not just judging it on concept, I'm judging on execution, too. That's where I felt like this lacked. Granted, I understand that there is a difficult bala My review is mixed. I liked the concept - women in this 'tween' stage of adulthood can certainly benefit from having a kindred spirit help them feel like they are not alone. On that note, I thought she made some interesting points and observations. If I were only judging based on the concept, I'd give it 5 stars. When I read a book, however, I'm not just judging it on concept, I'm judging on execution, too. That's where I felt like this lacked. Granted, I understand that there is a difficult balance to strike with a book that stems from a blog. To avoid alienating the core audience - the blog fans - the writing style can't take a big departure from the blog. Unfortunately, her blog is written in a very cavalier style. It's not that I don't like her style; I do, really. But I think reading a blog is different than reading a book. About 1/3 through the book, I thought, "Hmmm, not the best style to read in book format" and really only kept reading because I liked what she had to say. It's not a good pitch point. If you can stand to read her blog style for long periods, by all means, read this book. If you pick it up in the book store and like it, then buy it. Because you'll probably want to digest it in chapter-size segments (meaning, read a chapter, go do something else), and borrowing it from the library makes that more difficult. Despite being a very different person than the author in more ways than you can count, I still felt like what she had to say was interesting and helpful. This was a lot more straightforward than Eat, Pray, Love, but I think there is a similar message, about self-acceptance. The biggest difference is that Stephanie Dolgoff doesn't imply that you have to go through some life-altering journey in order to get to the same place. But I think they both say the same thing - just wait, whatever your journey to get there, self-acceptance will come if you let it happen. I guess I should feel lucky that it happened a lot earlier in life for me, because, apparently, that's not really the norm. Then again, when have I ever fit into 'normal'?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I loved this book.I totally related to it.I would recommend this book.I have already told my friends about it.I was laughing the whole time I read it.It makes you laugh at the reality that you are no longer young but you are not alone and to see the humor in it makes it a whole lot better.This is the perfect book for someone who is going through the change.Life is what we make it and how we look at it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Beth Kelly

    Dolgoff is such an insightful, witty writer. Her path may be different from mine (and, man, I wish I'd lived some of that New York life!), but so what? The issues resonate nonetheless for this 44-year old. I hear they're making this into a TV series and will personally look forward to checking that and future writings out. Any woman who can mock herself and wave her bat wings with abandon deserves a second look. She seems like she'd be a fun girlfriend and mom. Dolgoff is such an insightful, witty writer. Her path may be different from mine (and, man, I wish I'd lived some of that New York life!), but so what? The issues resonate nonetheless for this 44-year old. I hear they're making this into a TV series and will personally look forward to checking that and future writings out. Any woman who can mock herself and wave her bat wings with abandon deserves a second look. She seems like she'd be a fun girlfriend and mom.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This book is fan-freakin'-tastic! I know now what I am... A formerly! This is a great read for anyone 36-44 years old! I laughed out loud while reading it! Read this book! This book is fan-freakin'-tastic! I know now what I am... A formerly! This is a great read for anyone 36-44 years old! I laughed out loud while reading it! Read this book!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    I'm only finishing it b/c I'm not a quitter.. but uh... redundant drivel. (update) I lied... I can't finish this. So many other better things to do and read. I'm only finishing it b/c I'm not a quitter.. but uh... redundant drivel. (update) I lied... I can't finish this. So many other better things to do and read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Traci

    OK, full disclosure - I have never thought of myself as "hot". Cute, maybe even kind of pretty at times, but the word "hot" has never been used by myself when describing my own person. So what's a "not-now-not-ever" hot lady like myself doing with a book like this? Laughing my {bleeping} butt off, that's what. The territory here feels oh-so-familiar, as I am now in my early 40s. I totally understand where Dolgoff is coming from and feel her pain at realizing that I no longer fit in the 25-35 age OK, full disclosure - I have never thought of myself as "hot". Cute, maybe even kind of pretty at times, but the word "hot" has never been used by myself when describing my own person. So what's a "not-now-not-ever" hot lady like myself doing with a book like this? Laughing my {bleeping} butt off, that's what. The territory here feels oh-so-familiar, as I am now in my early 40s. I totally understand where Dolgoff is coming from and feel her pain at realizing that I no longer fit in the 25-35 age category on most questionnaires. Sad but true - I'm one of those middle-aged women who certainly don't feel middle-aged. The only section I didn't relate too very well was the one about parenting, but that's because my husband and I are childless by choice. The rest of it, though, could have been written by yours truly at times. For example, I love her take on all the new gadgets on the market. Like myself, she uses some of them, but isn't what you would call a "tech-geek", and for good reason. She explains: "I'm not fearful or dismissive of technology, even if I don't see it as the extension of self that younger people often do. The problem is, I am barely able to find the time and the presence of mind to learn what I need to know to make the technology I already have do the minimal things I ask it to do, let alone explore the next generation of gizmo and all of its many features..." EXACTLY! I finally broke down and bought a computer for home use, and yes, I have now had a cell phone for about 18 months, but I still don't fully embrace either one. The computer is basic and has what I need (and a lot that I don't); the phone is a pay-as-you-go not-so-smartphone that allows me to call my friends and send text messages. I think it would let me access the Internet if I could/would take the time to figure it out, but honestly, I don't care. I don't need it to take pictures, compare prices on goods, or any of the other multitude of things that others use their fancy phones to do. In fact, at one point before obtaining this model, I figured if I ever did buy one, it would be a Jitterbug model, the one designed for "older folks". The other topic she covers at length is also one I relate to quite well, the issue of body image. She talks about TBMFU, also known as The Big Metabolic F*ck You, the sad fact that your metabolism at some point will turn on you like a rabid dog and cause you to gain weight in places you didn't even know it was possible to gain weight. And while it is frustrating to realize you can no longer eat the whole pint of Ben & Jerry's without seeing it on your saddlebags post-haste, you are also at that age where you realize there are bigger concerns in your life than the size of your thighs. She talks here about hearing a comment at a party made about still-stick-thin "formerly" women; the commenter says that they are very restrictive in their calorie intake. Dolgoff later says "It takes effort to not eat when you're hungry, to constantly be figuring what you can and cannot put in your mouth based on whether or not you think it'll make you fat or what you may or may not want to eat later. Doing so takes up buckets of mental energy, which can be in short supply when you're already overextended, stressed out and multitasking." I can attest to this myself; no, I've never been one to be severely restrictive with my food, but taking the time to be "on a diet" and think about food all the time is exhausting. I'd rather just try to cut back on all my portion sizes and eat what I want, maybe take an extra walk around the block, than do the diet thing. And I know I have more important things to focus on in my life than my waist size or the number on the bathroom scale. If you're nearing your 40s, are firmly in them, or have left them behind in the dust, I highly recommend this book. It's so nice to know that there are others feeling this same way, and that we can think of ourselves as smarter, if not "hotter".

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    Judging from reviews of this book and comments on the author’s blog, the concept of fading ‘hotness’ inflames many women. They either chastise Stephanie Dolgoff for being shallow when she pseudo-mourns her thinning hair and thickening hips, or accuse her of equating youth with social value and playfully dismissing anyone old enough to remember a time before music videos. In both cases, a nerve has been touched big time. My Formerly Hot Life is Dolgoff’s tongue-in-cheek account of the changes she Judging from reviews of this book and comments on the author’s blog, the concept of fading ‘hotness’ inflames many women. They either chastise Stephanie Dolgoff for being shallow when she pseudo-mourns her thinning hair and thickening hips, or accuse her of equating youth with social value and playfully dismissing anyone old enough to remember a time before music videos. In both cases, a nerve has been touched big time. My Formerly Hot Life is Dolgoff’s tongue-in-cheek account of the changes she underwent physically, emotionally, and socially when she left her twenties behind and transitioned into marriage, motherhood, and middle age. She’s now forty-two and a confirmed ‘Formerly’- a term she created for those too old to be young but too young to be old. On the surface she appears to bewail the fact that telemarketers now try to sell her Disney family vacations instead of trendy gadgets, and when men on the subway approach her to ask the time, all they really want IS the time. But the deeper one delves into the book, the clearer it becomes that she’s active and contented as a ‘Formerly’ and has no desire to return to her twenties and their painful fashions, drinking marathons, and social dramas. Anything that smacks of regret is actually disguised irony and humor; I get the impression that Dolgoff is having some fun at the expense of those who are shallow and youth-obsessed. I enjoyed My Formerly Hot Life even if I couldn’t relate to everything in it. (I’m a Formerly, but have no children, so I don’t experience time constraints like Dolgoff does when it comes to seeing friends and keeping up with technology.) Beneath the jokey self-deprecation, the book is all about looking at what’s gained with age, instead of what’s lost.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris Ryan

    Just got this on Friday, so excited to check it out (I won an advanced copy here on Goodreads!) The preview was great, and the first chapter has definitely piqued my interest. Full review to come (when I'm done!). Alright, not done yet but I'm dying to review. First of all, I'm a guy, so this seems weird to be so excited about this book. But I'm also 39, and have "Formerly" issues of my own. I totally get this book! I'm only through the first 100 pages or so, and I relate to the changing fashion Just got this on Friday, so excited to check it out (I won an advanced copy here on Goodreads!) The preview was great, and the first chapter has definitely piqued my interest. Full review to come (when I'm done!). Alright, not done yet but I'm dying to review. First of all, I'm a guy, so this seems weird to be so excited about this book. But I'm also 39, and have "Formerly" issues of my own. I totally get this book! I'm only through the first 100 pages or so, and I relate to the changing fashion trends, the struggles to maintain a personal life when you are married and have kids, and the loss of those single life friendships. But my favorite part so far is the recognition that, when I go out, I know that I can go home (or go elsewhere) whenever I want. I no longer fear missing something. I am not worried about who thinks what about what I'm wearing, and I recognize the humor in seeing someone 20 years younger than me wearing clothes I gave to Goodwill 15 years ago like it's the new trend. Best of all, Stephanie talks about my favorite topic. When I was 18, 40 was old. No, 40 was basically dead. She talks about the positives and the negatives of that magic number. (Positive, the self confidence that comes from experience, Negative, the pants I wore in high school will never fit again...) If any of this means anything to you, READ THIS BOOK!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer W

    Just won this one from Goodreads Giveaways!! Can't wait to get it! I enjoyed this book, it was laugh out loud funny at parts. It did get a bit repetitive, though. I get it, your body, my body, everyone's bodies are not what they once were. Places where she got away from that pervasive theme, I felt, were the best parts. I loved her reactions to the 1974 American Girl. My favorite part was about how "YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL!!!" I'm going to share the disclaimer with my coworkers, because I fear we're Just won this one from Goodreads Giveaways!! Can't wait to get it! I enjoyed this book, it was laugh out loud funny at parts. It did get a bit repetitive, though. I get it, your body, my body, everyone's bodies are not what they once were. Places where she got away from that pervasive theme, I felt, were the best parts. I loved her reactions to the 1974 American Girl. My favorite part was about how "YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL!!!" I'm going to share the disclaimer with my coworkers, because I fear we're trying to have it all. As for me, I'm not quite a Formerly, but in some ways, I've been one all my life. Age wise, I'm not there just yet, but mentality wise, I've never been cool, never been the type of girl to care what things were marketed to me, never wore the 4 inch heels, because The Fashion vs. Comfort Smackdown has never been waged (Comfort all the way!) etc. Unfortunately, being a Formerly in your teens and 20s is tough, so I'm super excited that soon everyone else in my peer group will be catching up!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    As I get closer to 40, I need books that reminds me what it is to be no longer young, but not really old either, and how to deal with that feeling. I've seen some readers call this book whiny and self-indulgent. Yeah? Women are allowed to have those feelings sometimes, they're allowed to commit them to print, and they're allowed to look in the mirror and deal with aging in the way that men have always, always been allowed to do. It was refreshing to read a book that acknowledges the premium place As I get closer to 40, I need books that reminds me what it is to be no longer young, but not really old either, and how to deal with that feeling. I've seen some readers call this book whiny and self-indulgent. Yeah? Women are allowed to have those feelings sometimes, they're allowed to commit them to print, and they're allowed to look in the mirror and deal with aging in the way that men have always, always been allowed to do. It was refreshing to read a book that acknowledges the premium placed on female youth and beauty, while also detailing both the difficulties and rewards of becoming older and wiser. Self-indulgent? Sure. Why not? As if every "45 year old man somehow finds a 20 year old woman who wants to sleep with him" movie isn't self-indulgent, and yet, there are hundreds of them. Let us have this one book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    For the past several years, I've wondered about the disconnect between my mind and my body. In my head, I'm still 25, even though my body is 46. Stephanie Dolgoff knows just what that's like, and she writes about being over 40 in a humorous, ironic and intelligent fashion. Changes in metabolism ("The Big Metabolic Eff You"), body shape (and shapewear), shoes, and pretending to be something you're not are put through the wringer and come out on the other side with a smile. I thoroughly enjoyed this For the past several years, I've wondered about the disconnect between my mind and my body. In my head, I'm still 25, even though my body is 46. Stephanie Dolgoff knows just what that's like, and she writes about being over 40 in a humorous, ironic and intelligent fashion. Changes in metabolism ("The Big Metabolic Eff You"), body shape (and shapewear), shoes, and pretending to be something you're not are put through the wringer and come out on the other side with a smile. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, laughing aloud in many places and nodding my head thoughtfully in others. Highly recommended for women "of a certain age."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Potts

    I have never read a book that spoke more to my feminist self than this one. By the end I felt like Stephanie must have been my sister in another life. Funny and poignant, this book is a must read for all of you out there approaching, or just over, the hump we call midlife. Proud to be a Formerly!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    So, I guess I'm not technically "Formerly," since the author seems to put that line to cross around 40. But yet, I felt like I could relate. Even if I couldn't relate, the author drew me in with her conversational style and wit. So, yeah, if you're a mom of probably any age, you probably get feeling like a Formerly. And you'll relate to what Dolgoff has to say about it. So, I guess I'm not technically "Formerly," since the author seems to put that line to cross around 40. But yet, I felt like I could relate. Even if I couldn't relate, the author drew me in with her conversational style and wit. So, yeah, if you're a mom of probably any age, you probably get feeling like a Formerly. And you'll relate to what Dolgoff has to say about it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    Ugh. I couldn't even get through a few chapters of this book. Perhaps I'm not quite so formerly hot yet... Ugh. I couldn't even get through a few chapters of this book. Perhaps I'm not quite so formerly hot yet...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karie

    I am the perfect audience for this book – parts of it felt like it was written straight out of my life. Turning 40 is a major milestone, now more than ever, and since that event is only 4 months behind me, I can really relate to author Stephanie Dolgoff’s musings about her “Formerly Hot” life. “Over the last few years, while I’d been busy working and having twins and not sleeping and getting peed on and eating and yelling at my husband and maybe not taking such good care of myself – and oh, yes, I am the perfect audience for this book – parts of it felt like it was written straight out of my life. Turning 40 is a major milestone, now more than ever, and since that event is only 4 months behind me, I can really relate to author Stephanie Dolgoff’s musings about her “Formerly Hot” life. “Over the last few years, while I’d been busy working and having twins and not sleeping and getting peed on and eating and yelling at my husband and maybe not taking such good care of myself – and oh, yes, that pesky passage of time thing – I’d become a perfectly nice-looking 40-year-old working mom doing the best she can. Which is totally not the same as a hot chick. That in itself is not a problem. The problem was that my self-definition had yet to catch up with the reality of what the world saw when it looked at me.” I found the first third of this book hilarious and a very realistic portrayal of this time of life. “…I needed jeans, badly. The ones that fit were clearly out of style. The ones that didn’t (yeah, no, they hadn’t gotten too loose) had a nasty habit of dialing my BlackBerry whenever I carried it in my back pocket.” And when trying to arrange a night out for drinks with friends… “The day before the date, research begins in earnest as to where to go. None of us has been out with any regularity in years so it is unclear which bars/clubs/lounges are still operational, and if people our age ever go there. Slightly younger friends are consulted, half-remembered club names are Googled, nightlife reviews are dug out of the bathroom reading pile. It’s a project.” I appreciate the sentiment of this book. We “Formerlys” as a group know that we are fabulous (albeit in a different way than we once were) and in general, appreciate this time of life after the drama and chaos of our youth, we just need a bit of time to settle in. “I began to carry my new self-definition – that of Formerly – tentatively around with me like a just-in-case sweater, and threw it over my shoulders whenever I had that chilly feeling of being an adult “tween” – i.e., too old to be young but to young to be the kind of person who asks about the availability of parking at her destination before agreeing to go.” The one thing I would say about this book is that after the initial hilarity, the book gets a bit repetitive. I have no idea if this is how the book was put together, but I know the author has a blog, and the book feels like it is an assemblage of those posts. If one was reading a new one each day, they’d feel fresh, but read all in a row, the anecdotes lose a bit of their punch. I would recommend this book to other “Formerlys” I know…especially if they need a small but well-deserved break from their busy but fulfilling fabulous lives.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    3.5 - 4 stars Stephanie Dolgoff and I are roughly the same age, which makes the book topic very relatable. Given that she wrote this 8+ years ago, we have graduated into the next decade, and that makes some of the content feel a bit less relevant and relatable. The mommy natter sort of wore on me, but that is my issue. In your late 30s and early 40s, being a Formerly is still new enough and novel enough -- assuming that you weren't already invisible due to not falling within white, Western society 3.5 - 4 stars Stephanie Dolgoff and I are roughly the same age, which makes the book topic very relatable. Given that she wrote this 8+ years ago, we have graduated into the next decade, and that makes some of the content feel a bit less relevant and relatable. The mommy natter sort of wore on me, but that is my issue. In your late 30s and early 40s, being a Formerly is still new enough and novel enough -- assuming that you weren't already invisible due to not falling within white, Western society's beauty standard -- to be an interesting mix of funny and sad. In your early 50s, being a Formerly is so ingrained in your psyche that it feels silly (and a bit tragic) to continue whinging about the life you had from 22 through ~37. I believe that Dolgoff's book would have resonated more deeply had I read it closer to it's publication date. I was never "hot," but for some all you had to be was young, trim, and vibrant to turn heads and have your flirting reciprocated.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Northrup

    One of the most interesting things about this book (and, I'm told, the blog on which it is based) is how strongly some people react to it. My husband was with me when I bought this and tried to talk me out of doing so, immediately concerned that I was having a mid-life crisis with plunging self-esteem and depression. Some women are offended and insulted by the very (presumed) idea of it. But I was expecting something light and entertaining (if often ruefully familiar) and that's exactly what it One of the most interesting things about this book (and, I'm told, the blog on which it is based) is how strongly some people react to it. My husband was with me when I bought this and tried to talk me out of doing so, immediately concerned that I was having a mid-life crisis with plunging self-esteem and depression. Some women are offended and insulted by the very (presumed) idea of it. But I was expecting something light and entertaining (if often ruefully familiar) and that's exactly what it delivered. It maybe helps to think capital-H Hot. The 20-something staying out uncomfortably late at a not-fun party in incredibly painful shoes kind of Hot. The point is being no longer compelled to go through that and being thankful for it. Inevitably, part of the premise is that you're no longer going through young singleton torture due to now being happily married. Also, the stuff that gets closest to just letting yourself go is due more to motherhood than to age, especially with the author having twins. I've only been married 5 months and have never had kids, so someone else will have to speak to the realism there. Ditto in regards to mommy tracking and general career ambition. Sounded right, though. I'm four years younger than the author, so we have many cultural touchstones in common. Additionally, we share a profound disinterest in Chico's and a distaste for the whole cougar/MILF thing. I did try to diverge in noting that *I* would never wear anything "ugly but warm" before shamefully realizing that wasn't true at all. I'm totally buying a new parka now. As with other current observational memoirs, I never laughed out loud like the jacket promised, but I certainly chuckled a few times. And I really appreciated that she never got particularly snarky, self-loathing, or vulgar. Abbreviating 'formerly hot' as 'Formerly' was often confusing, especially when describing 'a Formerly friend,' and she uses 'hot mess' several times, which I inexplicably loathe. There is naturally quite a bit of space devoted to a slowing metabolism. Dolgoff takes a chance here because she used to suffer from an eating disorder and that can automatically turn away many readers, but I thought she was successful with the more universal experiences. Great observation that along with a slowing metabolism there is increased self-acceptance and simply better (or at least more) things to do with your time than monitoring everything that goes into your mouth and torturing yourself over it. And the disappointment in being unable to blame a wayward thyroid totally happens, however disgracefully. Time management also does not necessarily get any easier. All of the hard-won new opportunities for women and the cultural emphasis on choice leads to many women choosing to attempt it all. At once. Which leads to amazing stress. This is a recurring topic, but not one that has appared enough times to provide a firm conclusion. Relationship advice is simple common sense but what else is credible? She discusses the crucial difference between lowering your standards and making them reasonable, healthy kinds of compromise, and reaching the stage where you want a significant other to add something better than drama to your life. A favorite brief section was on music, especially on how there is less of a 'soundtrack of your life' at 35+ because it's simply not accompanying the same levels of drama. There are fewer flashy, shattering moments for songs to latch onto, and thank goodness. Also a big thumbs-up to her scorn for neo-Luddites. By all means disregard what doesn't interest you, but don't take pride in ignorance.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I tend to be a little wary of the New York Chick Memoir. I am generally captivated by the premise of these books. And I generally enjoy reading them. But, sometimes they are only 2 or 3 star reads for me because of the strong sense of disconnect the Glam Manhattanites seem to have...from my own smaller scale life here in the Rust Belt. The Glam Mommy books tend to contain too many anecdotes about breasts leaking at galas. (I had the leaks. Not the galas.) The Glam Aging books talk too much about I tend to be a little wary of the New York Chick Memoir. I am generally captivated by the premise of these books. And I generally enjoy reading them. But, sometimes they are only 2 or 3 star reads for me because of the strong sense of disconnect the Glam Manhattanites seem to have...from my own smaller scale life here in the Rust Belt. The Glam Mommy books tend to contain too many anecdotes about breasts leaking at galas. (I had the leaks. Not the galas.) The Glam Aging books talk too much about 'procedures' that I could never afford and therefore do not even contemplate on my bleakest "bad reflection day." So I laugh at these books. Even nod my head a few times here or there. But, eventually I must conclude that the author's life is not even close to my experience. My Formerly Hot Life is a down-to-earth exception. Yes, Stephanie Dolgoff lives in the City. Yes, she had a high profile glamarama job in fashion publishing. (Glamour Magazine, no less.) Yes, she probably has a much more exciting life than I do, at times. But I truly got the feeling that she 'gets it'. Many of her observations are similar to thoughts and feelings I have had over the years as I have 'aged out' of the desirable 18-35 year old demographic and into a more nebulous 35-50 "formerly hot" kind of limbo. Not quite ready for the Golden Age pitches...but way to out-of-it to be of any use to the taste-makers. From the creepy life insurance promos that run late night and remind those of us that: "if you were born between WWI and 1967"-- You May Qualify!!! (for a pimped out casket no doubt)-- To the sudden realization that you are now a "ma'am" in the eyes of more polite young men (and a non-entity to less polite young men) -- To the closet still stuffed with 'nostalgia clothing' that looked "really good on me in 1992! Hey, it'll come back!" Stephanie D. gets it! She really does. And thank god. Our generation needs its own canon of middle age books. It feels like the Baby Boomer version of this crisis is just not going to fit us very well. I see us less concerned with 'finding ourselves', 'running with the wolves' or aligning our balance. And more concerned with staying sane as we cope with our changing bodies, stagnant to non existent retirement accounts, our aging parents and our, in some cases, very young mid-life children. I need a more irreverent, humor laced and 'real' look at this very demanding (yet gratifying) stage in my life. It is easy to have so many pins in the air at one time that you just end up dropping the pile of them into one huge sloppy menopausal mess. With so many demands on time and resources being so limited these days it begins to feel self-indulgent to spend any time on yourself and your feelings about aging at all. But I believe the mid-life thing (crisis or no) has to be confronted head on. And if you can sit down and have a good dissection of your life with 'aging' friends from time to time, it helps. If you can't (and Stephanie does go into the myriad ways that a "Formerly" gets blocked from having a viable social life) -- reading some titles like this will provide a nice shot in the arm and help you feel like there are a legion of other women out there who feel a lot like you. So, "If you are female...and born between the years...1960 thru 1970...you may qualify! (For a funny and commiserating look at your Formerly Hot Life.)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laurel-Rain

    In this funny, hilarious, but sometimes poignant exploration of life "just over the other side of young," Stephanie Dolgoff begins her tale by identifying some of the characteristics of that phenomenon—like salespeople in trendy boutiques that no longer "swirl around me like bees over a puddle of orange soda..." In fact, these people no longer could be bothered. Another sign: being asked a question by a "hot" guy on the train, which normally might be a precursor to being "hit on," but that turns In this funny, hilarious, but sometimes poignant exploration of life "just over the other side of young," Stephanie Dolgoff begins her tale by identifying some of the characteristics of that phenomenon—like salespeople in trendy boutiques that no longer "swirl around me like bees over a puddle of orange soda..." In fact, these people no longer could be bothered. Another sign: being asked a question by a "hot" guy on the train, which normally might be a precursor to being "hit on," but that turns out just to be a question. Then there are the pores. Enlarged suddenly and sometimes with a hair or two growing out of them. Or experiencing certain unpleasant body changes that are followed by the realization that clothes that used to "work" no longer seem appropriate...Somewhere between "hot" and "old," there must be appropriate "tween" garments that work, but finding them is a whole other level of tediousness. As a working woman and mother to young twins, the author also describes the difficulties of arranging social activities amongst friends who are also parents and career people. And how other friends—those single friends not tied down by spouses or children—are no longer even part of one's life. Probably the part to which I could most relate was the chapter in which she describes TBMFU: "the big metabolic f...k you." When suddenly (or so it seems) the food and activities that never added pounds before...now do. She goes on to say that she is fortunate that TBMFU is her biggest health issue, and complaining about it seems "just a wee bit Tori Spelling (who was `only' left $800K in her rich daddy's will)"....But, she points out, it seems grossly unfair to have to work even harder to "remain in the exact same place." I laughed hardest during the parts when she describes technological advances that leave her feeling less than relevant. Just when this litany was beginning to seem just a tad bit "whiney," since she's "only" forty-something, she begins to describe some of the advances that come with age, like in one's attitude, expectations, and how, for example, being a "Formally usually means that your life experience has disabused you of any romantic fantasies of being whisked away from the icky parts of life, least of all by another person, let alone on a white steed." Nearing the end of "My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches from Just the Other Side of Young," Dolgoff describes an encounter with a twenty-something in which the young person makes a rude comment when she doesn't stop to sign a petition, and how she totally expressed her mind to this person. And how she felt afterwards. That "what has made me happiest and most unhappy in my life, no matter how old I am, is the degree to which I feel free to express what I think, without fear of other people's reactions or their withdrawing their love." Getting older, even a little bit, begins that "freeing process." This tale is a quick and thoughtful journey through one woman's realizations about the transitory nature of life and "hotness," but how freedom lives just on the other side. Because there were parts that seemed (to me) tediously superficial, although I'm sure they were supposed to be ironic, I am awarding this one four stars. Not recommended for someone a great deal older who might want to say: "just count your blessings." Which, of course, the author ends up doing.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I hate to admit it, but I enjoyed this book. Stephanie Dolgoff writes about being "Formerly Hot" with her tongue firmly planted in cheek. But, although the label is sort of a joke, her semi-shock at getting older is real. There's something about being young and generally looked at as lovely that can blind young women to the reality that they do get a lot of fussing *because* they are young and lovely. And that that's going away eventually. Dolgoff is almost exactly my age, but, while she got marrie I hate to admit it, but I enjoyed this book. Stephanie Dolgoff writes about being "Formerly Hot" with her tongue firmly planted in cheek. But, although the label is sort of a joke, her semi-shock at getting older is real. There's something about being young and generally looked at as lovely that can blind young women to the reality that they do get a lot of fussing *because* they are young and lovely. And that that's going away eventually. Dolgoff is almost exactly my age, but, while she got married at 36, I was pregnant with my fourth child at that time. Also, I've had a lot of weight fluctuations in my life. There's nothing like having your weight yo-yo a bit to realize that When You Look Better According to Society's Standards of Beauty You Are Treated Better. So, I have a certain amount of "Really?! This surprises you?" when it comes to some of her observations. But, I guess when you had a long run without a whole lot of bodily changes what happens when you have them would be that much more shocking. Dolgoff, though, is fun to read, in a dishy Glamour-magazine kind of way. Which is appropriate, since that's where she worked when she wrote the book. Some general notes on the book: 1) She talks about how friendships get less dramatic as one ages. She wrote this book when she was 42. I am wondering if she still feels that way as her friends move into menopause. There's nothing like changing hormones to bring some drama back. 2) She has a lovely chapter on her husband. I see from her website (formerlyhot.com -- really!) that she's no longer with him, unfortunately. 3) She swears like a journalist. Since I grew up around professional baseball and worked in my share of newsrooms, I can be fairly immune to that kind of thing. But I think it's worth a warning. 4) I have a certain irritation with her consistently looking for male validation. Her self-concept seems a bit bizarrely linked to getting catcalls or hit on on the train. 'Cause that kind of attention is so great, right? Maybe if it's what you've been used to for 25 years, I guess. In general, although this book is amusing, it is a bit long and repetitive, particularly considering that the basic theme of the book is this: "As you get older, even though you don't get catcalled and aren't as on top of popular culture, what seems like being 'out of it' is actually changing priorities and you're just as fabulous as ever." A tighter edit would've made it better.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    While Stephanie spent her twenties feeling all hip and relevant, climbing her way up the career ladder by day, partying at chic NY clubs at night, I was in the burbs changing diapers, chasing toddlers, and reading Goodnight Moon 20 times a day. And loving it. I think I loved that decade in a way Stephanie did not. My twenties weren't filled with angst and drama. Yet when I stumbled upon her blog, I immediately recognized what she termed her Formerly status. While I don't think anyone considered While Stephanie spent her twenties feeling all hip and relevant, climbing her way up the career ladder by day, partying at chic NY clubs at night, I was in the burbs changing diapers, chasing toddlers, and reading Goodnight Moon 20 times a day. And loving it. I think I loved that decade in a way Stephanie did not. My twenties weren't filled with angst and drama. Yet when I stumbled upon her blog, I immediately recognized what she termed her Formerly status. While I don't think anyone considered me, in my twenties, with my toddlers in tow, hot, in the way that Stephanie was perceived, I definitely feel different about myself than I did then. Formerly thin. Formerly young. Formerly shy. Formerly. Although our lives are very different, we both find ourselves at a point of redefining our self image. Although I wish she didn't use the coarse language she does, I relate to most of what she discusses about body image in her book. Tried to convince multiple doctors my thyroid is sub clinical? Check. Cannot decide whether the tourniquet called spanx is worth the emotional confidence boost of not seeing (and feeling) my own blobbing gut beneath my clothes? Yes. Alternating between feeling fine about how I look and being appalled by the sight of myself in a mirror? Uh-huh. Coming to the stunning realization that, yes, I am vain enough to be bothered by all of this, even though I never gave my appearance much thought when I was young? Sadly true, but not admitting it does not make it less true. In fact, I try to remember now that I am going to look back 20 years from now and think, "Why didn't I feel good at 43?" It's not like at 63 I'm going to be less wrinkly, more toned, and more energetic. Other chapter were not ones that reflect my own life, but they were entertaining to read, due to Stephanie's writing style.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    My Formerly Hot life is Dolgoff’s memoir on becoming a “formerly.” As author Dolgoff describes, “Formerly” is a term used for a woman “to indicate that you’re formerly what you were, but you may not be quite sure what you are yet.” She is about ten years older than me, but to me I think becoming a formerly is more to do with your stage in life (i.e. getting married and having kids) than your actual age. With chapters such as “Bitch-Slap Birthday” and “Clothing Crisis,” Dolgoff tells a personal s My Formerly Hot life is Dolgoff’s memoir on becoming a “formerly.” As author Dolgoff describes, “Formerly” is a term used for a woman “to indicate that you’re formerly what you were, but you may not be quite sure what you are yet.” She is about ten years older than me, but to me I think becoming a formerly is more to do with your stage in life (i.e. getting married and having kids) than your actual age. With chapters such as “Bitch-Slap Birthday” and “Clothing Crisis,” Dolgoff tells a personal story of finding out that you are not what you once were. If you’ve ever found yourself googling the abbreviations that young people use for texting to discover their meaning, realizing that the items in your closet are old and passed their “in style” time about a decade ago, or don’t recognize any of the music on the radio these days – this book is for you. I am at this stage in life and this book had many scenes I identified with and laughed out loud at. My book club is full of other mothers around my age and we all identified with the book and enjoyed it. Everyone seemed to have marked the book in a different spot for a particular scene that they found hilarious or identified with. I think the part I thought was especially funny was when Stephanie discovered there is an American Doll from the historical era of 1974, when she was a child. She was irked to discover she is historical. I thought it was hilarious. I was born in 1978 so the doll doesn’t affect me as much as if Penelope discovers she wants an American Doll from 1984! For the rest of my review, check out my blog at: http://lauragerold.blogspot.com/2011/...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This book started out pretty well, actually, with situations I could somewhat relate to, being 35 myself. However, the longer I read it, the more and more repetitive it became. I thought a lot of the book was Dolgoff letting us know how put-together she has become and how well she maintains her life. She brings up her twin girls a lot and shares with us what she probably views as charming and funny moments with them, but I only found them annoying. Some of what she shares of what her daughters s This book started out pretty well, actually, with situations I could somewhat relate to, being 35 myself. However, the longer I read it, the more and more repetitive it became. I thought a lot of the book was Dolgoff letting us know how put-together she has become and how well she maintains her life. She brings up her twin girls a lot and shares with us what she probably views as charming and funny moments with them, but I only found them annoying. Some of what she shares of what her daughters says to her makes me think they are the kinds of children that do not get enough discipline and are taught that whatever they say is amazing, even if hurtful. I can't stand those kinds of kids. (I'm not saying kids ARE like that. I am saying that is how they are portrayed.) Overall, I think if this book was half the length it is, it would have been fun and cute. However, as it is, I wasn't able to finish it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rob Ballister

    Stephanie Dolgoff's MY FORMERLY HOT LIFE: DISPATCHES FROM JUST THE OTHER SIDE OF YOUNG is an enjoyable read for either men or women in their late thirties and early forties. While women may be able to relate a bit more to the specifics of what Dolgoff writes about, many men will also recognize the value of the author's message, best summed up by "You are getting older; it's ok. You are still you." The book is not laugh-out loud funny. It is more a mix of genuine emotion and irreverent personal r Stephanie Dolgoff's MY FORMERLY HOT LIFE: DISPATCHES FROM JUST THE OTHER SIDE OF YOUNG is an enjoyable read for either men or women in their late thirties and early forties. While women may be able to relate a bit more to the specifics of what Dolgoff writes about, many men will also recognize the value of the author's message, best summed up by "You are getting older; it's ok. You are still you." The book is not laugh-out loud funny. It is more a mix of genuine emotion and irreverent personal reflection, but Dolgoff does a wonderful job of blending both so that the emotion is heartfelt and the humor doesn't feel forced. There's occasional profanity, but overall the book is entertaining and well written, with a good mix of long and short chapters mixed up so that there is always a decent breaking point. Guys, your wives and girlfriends will enjoy this if they are in the target age group. And when they are done, pick it up and give it a whirl.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Georgiann Hennelly

    My Formerly Hot Life tells the story of a certain stage of a womens life. - the state of her mind and body, Our twenties are behind us but we are not yet in hot flash territory- this story show cases Dolgoff,s wacky and wise observations about this little -discussed time flux our bodies go though, it demonstrates that becoming a formerly is intensely poignant if you,re not paying attencion, and hilarious even if your not. From fashion to friendship, beauty to body image, married sex to single an My Formerly Hot Life tells the story of a certain stage of a womens life. - the state of her mind and body, Our twenties are behind us but we are not yet in hot flash territory- this story show cases Dolgoff,s wacky and wise observations about this little -discussed time flux our bodies go though, it demonstrates that becoming a formerly is intensely poignant if you,re not paying attencion, and hilarious even if your not. From fashion to friendship, beauty to body image, married sex to single and dating, mothering to career or for some women both, Dolgoff reveals the upside to not being forever 21- even as you watch the things you thought were so important to having a happy life go the way of the cassette tape. You may be formerly thin, cool, carefree but in reading this book you are reminded that you are finally more comfortable in your own skin.

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