Weekend Reads #57

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weekend reads by wardrobe oxygen
Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

It was a tough week, and I realize one reason it was so tough was because I now don't have normal periods but perimenopause periods.  Women over 40, you know what I mean.  It's something no one talks about but it suuuuucks.  It's like I'm 13 again.  My period comes late, it comes early, it comes like a monsoon, it ends after three days then returns three days later, or it lasts for two weeks, or it acts normal then decides to show up randomly two weeks later at perfect times like when wearing white jeans or having an intimate moment with your partner. And the PMS… woah Nellie.  It makes me miss the years of cramps and moodiness.  Now it's full-blown anxiety attacks, almost-migraine headaches, and feeling as though my world is falling apart.  I went to the doctor, guess what she told me, guess what she told me.  She girl you better get used to it because it's perimenopause, it sucks, and there is no cure except for a hysterectomy. So I'm taking my health into my own hands (okay, along with the hands of my doctor).  I've recommended the book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause before, but TBH it dropped off my radar so I dropped it onto my nightstand to re-read and bought another tube of Pro-Gest to start up after Aunt Flo has left the building.  Thanks to many of your suggestions in my Instagram DMs, I also purchased Womancode and am slowly going through it, taking copious notes.  I think the best self-care is going to the doctor and getting a professional's opinion (no, Google is not a professional) but I also believe in taking your health into your own hands.  I also believe that we women should be more open about what we deal with regarding our bodies, our cycles, and our changes. It's so easy to think we're damaged, there's something wrong, when actually what we're going through is perfectly normal it's just that no one told us that they too went through it. So I'm going to be the change I want to see in the world and will be sharing my experiences from time to time and encourage you to continue the discussion in the comments.

Sale Alert

Chico's is offering 40% off your purchase with promo code 43847. This is a great sale to get basics fro Chico's. While their style may not be for all, their basics are really well-fitting and usually high quality. I have Chico's pieces that are years old that still look new and fit great.  My picks:

Lands' End is offering 40% off full-price styles with promo code YELLOW and PIN 4263. This is a great sale to snag a swimsuit; their selection is fantastic. I am a fan of their banded waist fit and flare dress, it's been a summer staple of mine for years. And there's no better bag for weekend getaways, groceries, the beach, and more than their canvas totes.  I also find them to be a great graduation or shower gift – have it monogrammed and stuff with dorm supplies, baby supplies, or kitchen supplies for a gift they'll be raving over!

This weekend LOFT has 40% off your entire purchase with promo code NEWNOW. I love this lightweight summer sweater with its stripes and sunny message, my favorite felt fedora is from LOFT so I'm considering buying this straw one, this navy dress is the perfect item in your closet for every occasion (and comes in petite and plus options), I totally ordered these wide leg cropped pants, and this leopard skirt (regular, petite, and plus) would look great with a black cami and sandals for a night out, a silk shirt for work, or a graphic tee and sneakers for the weekend. Oh, and don't sleep on this super flattering one-and-done knit dress for everyday.

J.Jill has 30% off your entire purchase with promo code SUMMER19. This linen shirtdress is so breezy easy, just add a straw market bag, fedora, and Birks! I love the cut (and the raving reviews) of these stretch cotton pants, and this is the perfect tank for palazzo pants, slim cropped pants, and tucking into maxi skirts.

Weekend Reads

Have any undeveloped canisters of film collecting dust in your home?  This piece shares where you can still get it developed. (Lifehacker)

The fabulous Jonathan Van Ness of “Queer Eye” fame came out as nonbinary. (Out) For those who are still unsure what this means, this page from the National Center for Transgender Equality is quite informative, and this piece from a nonbinary person is also great. (Minus18)

Grab your Kleenex, step away from the Xerox machine and take a break from Photoshopping your selfie, athletic-y sandals with straps and foamy soles… okay fine, Teva-like sandals are hot this season and it's bringing up lots of issues regarding trademarks. (The Fashion Law)

When my mom downsized to her current home, one thing she had to give up was our piano.  A gorgeous upright with elaborate carvings, I desperately wanted to take it but could not find a single place in my house either.  We were lucky, dear friends of ours bought it so we can visit it any time.  But when old pianos have to go, it's usually not that easy. (The Washington Post)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (AKA SNAP and FKA food stamps) has been something several administrations have wanted to overhaul and update.  The current administration wishes to charge retailers that accept SNAP. Not a big deal for major players like Walmart, but this is going to cause smaller businesses like bodegas, independent groceries, and farmers markets to have to stop accepting this form of payment, causing even more food deserts. (CNBC)

A look back at MTV's House of Style on its 30th anniversary. (CR Fashion Book)

Not a fan of calling these characters schlubs, but this piece delves into something I was thinking about after seeing Always Be My Maybe – how the tide is turning for couples in rom-coms. I appreciate seeing strong women in movies and them finding love with someone who isn't always competing but finds love can be holding her purse. (Buzzfeed)

“If we really want to give every American child an honest and equal opportunity to succeed, we must do much more than extend a ladder of opportunity—we must also narrow the distance between the ladder’s rungs.” A thought-provoking opinion piece on the educationism of America. (The Atlantic)

Whether you love Eileen Fisher or not, this piece will make you appreciate this unique brand and may have you considering adding the line to your wardrobe. (Vogue)

“People purchase art to put on their walls,” Ms. Dixon said. “Nails are bringing art to everyday people. It’s art that you can attain.” An interview with Morgan Dixon, the woman behind the fabulous nails on the show Claws (so excited it's back, one of my favorite summer shows!). (New York Times)

Want to feel inspired?  Enjoy this collection of stories of women who achieved their dreams after the age of 50. (The Washington Post)

For Your Entertainment

I joke that Karl is my personal DJ, he's always introducing me to new bands.  His new fave is Royal Republic, a Swedish band that has been around over a decade but has a new album out this year.  This song should be added to your workout playlist, though watching the video is also ridiculous fun. I warn you in advance of getting this wacky earworm stuck in your head all week!

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. Those banded waist Lands End dresses are flattering AF! They’re a heavier jersey so they don’t feel flimsy, but still summer appropriate. They travel great too! I currently have 2, but am always tempted by new patterns and colors!

  2. Please read this article on Medium about the link between menopause and Alzheimer’s–especially the part about the uptick they see in Alzheimer’s in women who have hysterectomies. (I got PO’d reading about that and then also about how in a test study, when women used Viagra, it took care of menstrual cramps with zero side effects–yet, is it prescribed for this?)

    I have several female friends reading Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, which is mentioned in it, and it’s been suggested that if you borrow it from the library, you will need to replace it (because of the sheer rage it induces).

    1. This got caught up in the spam filter so it was later, but you weren’t the first one to recommend this article. And thank you for the book recommendation!

  3. From my first period at age 12, I’ve been regular- only got to skip them during pregnancy & breastfeeding. After the birth of my second/final child, it was like a crime scene every month. I muddled through for a few years and then my midwife recommended a Mirena (I’d had one once before) which I still have, but not sure what I will do when it’s time is up. Meanwhile, I do notice my PMS mood is pretty awful and also I always seem to have some ailment right before my period: often a migraine or almost-migraine, an upset stomach, etc. as if its not inconvenient enough to have your period & backache, cramps now I get to feel ill as well! So I’ll definitely be paying attention to what you share.

    1. I had 3-day periods that paused overnight. I was freaking BLESSED. And then I got an IUD and my cycle changed dramatically. And then when it leveled out, premenopause arrived. Whew, you’d think it would get easier with time!

  4. Just want to say how much I enjoy/appreciate your Weekend Reads. I inevitably discover something in your weekend reads that is intriguing or shocking or just informative. Thanks so much for doing this! And the perimenopause discussion is so important. I had a complete hysterectomy at 35 for advanced endometriosis, and the ensuing hormone dance has been a challenge. So many variations on hormone issues and solutions. Thanks for the being so honest and real.

  5. A a couple days ago I spent 30 minutes listening to different versions of Nothing Compares 2 U back to back to back and heard your sentence in my head Sinead O’Connor’s voice and cadence before I identified where it was from.

  6. I agree with having the endometrial ablation. It was an out-patient procedure which greatly reduced my menstrual cramps and heavy, clotty bleeding. Unfortunately, I was one of those people who continued having monthly periods after the surgery, but it was light and no more cramping. I would recommend it as a way to reduce pain and bleeding.

    Please keep an eye on your dense, fibrous breasts! I went through a similar experience and had to push doctors when they asked me to “wait for a couple of months.” Nothing works like an MRI to point out cancerous breast tissue.

    1. Agree on the breasts, my mom has the same breasts and ended up having breast cancer last year. I often have sonograms along with my mammograms to double-check things and will keep MRIs in mind. Thank you!

  7. I’m so glad you’re posting about pre-menopause! When I turned 43, I began experiencing symptoms like weight gain, mood imbalances, anxiety and extreme fatigue. I began working hard on nutrition and fitness through the FASTer Way to Fat Loss where I learned a lot about hormone health. By 43 1/2 I was in the best health of my life, but still having anxiety, mood swings and terrible trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. So I met with my general practitioner and my gynecologist but both had no help to offer . My gynecologist suggested hormone birth control only exacerbating the problem because (as I learned later) I already had too much estrogen and the estrogen birth control was actually a very dangerous move. This led me to finding a hormone specialist who is a nurse practitioner with 20 years experience in all things hormones for women and men of all ages. With my hormone specialist, I had my thyroid function tested (blood work) and my hormone levels checked (saliva and dried urine strip testing are available) and learned what hormones my body needed. As is typical of most women 35 and over (until menopause) my body had stopped making enough progesterone to balance the estrogen, so I had become “estrogen dominant”. I now I use a bio identical progesterone cream and I take it in physiologically appropriate amounts only during certain days in my cycle . My cycles are now regular, my “estrogen rage” is gone, my moods are balanced, my energy has retuned, and I fall asleep and stay asleep well. I learned that it’s not only uncomfortable to suffer through pre-menopause, it’s actually also dangerous. As Ali mentioned, too much estrogen in your body can lead to being in danger for heart issues and cancers. I share with all my friends and family, please seek out a hormone specialist and have your thyroid and hormones tested. Our bodies need hormones in the right amount to be healthy.

    1. Yep, Chico’s, Soma, and White House Black Market are all the same company! You’d be surprised how many brands are all under the same parent company; Chico’s FAS is pretty transparent about their family and I love how especially Soma and Chico’s sell pieces from one another’s brands.

  8. I really recommend getting real linen top sheets to help with bedtime hot flashes. Also sleep on your side, it is cooler that way. We hear your distress, I am sorry. It will get better.

  9. If you are having crazy bleeding, a hyst isn’t the only answer. You can have an endometrial ablation. I just had one last fall. No more periods and no major surgery! Mine was done in the office. I still get migraines, but I can live with that thanks to Imitrex. You don’t want your uterus out too early unless you really have to. It increases your risk of Alzheimer’s.

    1. Thank you for this! The bleeding is intermittent, for example this month I only had my period for 4 days and it was a very ordinary flow. I don’t know if I’m a candidate but will bring it up with my gynecologist. I appreciate you providing me this info!

  10. Hi Alison – I feel like I went through a very similar journey – same visit to an ob with the same advice, then buying the Progest and the same books. Progest worked a little bit but then didn’t. I ended up going to a different ob-gyn who specializes in menopause and getting a lot more help and much more knowledgeable information. (In my situation I ended up with hormonal birth control – she said women in their 40s usually don’t end up with the side effects they had when younger and it’s been true for me – for the crazy periods and Evening Primrose Oil for intense breast pain.) I’m hoping to ride this out this way until my periods actually stop and then we’ll consider HRT if needed. My ob is Kathryn Marko at GW Faculty Associates in Bethesda.

  11. Oh my god, I hear you on perimenopause. Cycle ranges from 19 to 40 days, the hormonal headaches and mood swings are just the icing on the cake. Ready to be done!

  12. Hi Alison! Happy out of school June weekend number one! Enjoy! The links for the J Jill items only take you to their main page. Just letting you know.

    1. I have no idea why it’s doing that, when you click on it you can see the item and then it redirects to the main page. I keep updating the link and it keeps doing that. ARGH! The links below are stripped of any affiliate cookie, that seems to be what is causing the links to redirect and from what it looks like J.Jill is the one causing that to happen which is really a strange choice on their part.
      The dress: https://www.jjill.com/product/linen-button-front-shirtdress?color=CVY
      The pants: https://www.jjill.com/product/essential-cotton-stretch-pants-134251-1?color=2LQ
      The tank: https://www.jjill.com/product/pima-v-neck-sleeveless-tunic?color=CVY

      I hope doing it here will not make them break and redirect and at least the links here show the description so you can search if it breaks again.

      1. Thank you for adding these links, I ran into same issue. Glad I clicked, I got the shirt dress in white!

  13. Alison, I started HRT at 52, after suffering through two full years of anxiety-laden hot flashes (20-30 in 24 hours) night sweats (=sleepless nights) and general tiredness, all while enduring the emotional roller coaster of my 3 sons heading off to college and entering high school. Talk about an emotional roller coaster. Then my dear neighbor told me, Elizabeth…you don’t have to SUFFER… and she gave me the name of her trusted Gyn (mine was retiring and was of absolutely no help). This woman changed my life with her wisdom and coaching, for HRT. A low dosage has transformed me into Happy Me again. I’m my old self again. I still get a few hot flashes, but my word, my life has improved so much! Be proactive!!! PS I love this blog! It’s my happy place every morning:)

    1. I know so many women who have benefitted from HRT, I am so glad it has been great for you! My mom had breast cancer at the end of last year and they said that it was because of the years of HRT, she had a papilloma that was made cancerous from the estrogen and she had to go off HRT and take an estrogen blocker. My gynecologist said that considering I have fibrous breasts and have had to have sonograms to check on mammograms that had strange things that ended up only being cysts or my fibrous breasts looking weird that HRT may be a risk for me for the same reason as my mom. So I am looking for natural alternatives first. But HRT is a lifesaver for many! And I am so glad you like the blog, that makes me so happy! 🙂

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