Weekend Reads #95

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Of all the doctor appointments I hate the most, it is the gynecologist. It's not the pap smear, it's not having someone manhandle my breasts while making small talk, it's everything that happens in between. I've been to a dozen different gynecologists, from fancy practices with glass walls and high-tech to state college health centers to more than one Planned Parenthood and plenty in nondescript office buildings with vinyl chairs and ads for diapers and fertility trackers. At almost all of them, I've been spoken to more than having discussions about my body and my health. So many assumptions about children, and so much discussion about my weight, either without the doctor looking at me in the eye, or looking at me as though I am a fat, clueless idiot. The only time I felt like a valued human was when I was pregnant and went to midwives. I go because I should, but I can't say I have ever had a good experience (which is why I keep bouncing around from provider to provider).

I have new insurance this year, so I needed to find a new gynecologist. I've had too many doctors feel they know what I want better than I regarding pregnancy, even after age 40, and I was over it. I went through the list of covered providers to try to find an OB/GYN or gynecologist that didn't have obstetrics as their focus. I visited practice sites, pored over doctor bios and went to websites that review doctors for additional information. And I found one that looked promising – female, focus on gynecology, and in her bio she mentioned finding the appropriate care for each woman by talking to her. I went this week and omigod, I didn't know that an annual could be so great! We talked about my IUD not as a ridiculous choice, but just noting the date for removal and how it's working for me and maybe a possible cause for my occasional spotting. She said my vitals are great and there wasn't a single mention about my weight. We discussed perimenopause, endometrial ablation, and overall well-being and how to continue it as I head towards menopause. We chatted about trendy sneakers for women over 40, I shared a podcast with her, she suggested a book and a YouTuber for me. I left on a high, like I just had a date or met a new friend.

My experience shouldn't be as rare as it is. Most women I know dread going to the doctor. We're not truly seen or heard by many of them, especially if our weight is higher than some outdated BMI chart. Our aches and issues are often dismissed and attributed to something completely unrelated, and the older we get the more educated we are about our bodies but the less we are seen and respected by our medical providers. I am lucky to live where I am, just a few miles from one metropolitan area and a half-hour from another. I know most in this country do not have such availability to hospitals, specialists, and a large choice of providers. I don't know the answer, but I do know we deserve better. And I am so glad to know that in a sea of assholes, there are still some great doctors out there that care about the whole person and truly listen.

Weekend Reads

So… a journalist found one of my previous Weekend Reads, interviewed me, and wrote about how influencing isn't as easy a job as it appears.  I've received a bit of flack for it but it's clear those who are judging haven't seen my blog or my Instagram and are just generalizing.  I have to say, this job, whether one thinks it's a “real” job or not, has taught me how to have tough skin! (Buzzfeed)

Speaking of influencers, Bryanboy was one of the first bloggers I followed, way back when he was this rainbow-clad kid in Manila. He can be very polarizing, but I love how blunt and opinionated he is, and how he continues to kill it in this game.  I really enjoyed this profile on him. (GQ)

My gynecologist suggested the YouTube channel by Dr. Barbara Taylor, better known as “Menopause Barbie.” She says a lot of the information is super simplistic, but she covers almost any topic you can think of related to menopause and is a great start if you have questions.  She says Dr. Taylor's book is also good.

Did you participate in the Pizza Hut’s BOOK IT! initiative as a kid? If so you may enjoy this story. (Food & Wine)

For those of you who like me, love the look of a classic pair of Converse “Chucks” but you find them too narrow… Converse makes wide widths!  While only available in white and black, they offer both the low-top and high-top versions on their site. Chucks are a great choice of an everyday casual sneaker and also fab for those of us who lift weights. I ordered a pair of black low-tops for Mondays at the gym (leg day) and also a lightweight trendy sneaker for spring and summer looks. 

Will the millennial aesthetic ever end? (The Cut)

A federal report says women in prison receive harsher punishments than men. (NPR)

One of my favorite celeb couples is Rick Owens and Michèle Lamy. I think they are so interesting and have so few f*cks to give and are incredibly creative. Michèle especially fascinates me, her style is incredibly unique, and this bag she carried around at Paris Fashion Week is… well it's totally unique! (Vogue)

The RealReal is a destination to get designer for less, offering items consigned by customers.  However, their business model is changing with some of the items available from the actual brands. (The Fashion Law)

If you keep your bras for an extremely long time, you're not alone. (The Cut) For me, my old reliable for a decade has been this one from Fantasie, but it has a built-in expiration by digging into my armpit and cutting at the band when it's time to be retired (6-12 months depending on how often it's worn)

The Internet finally wore me down.  I'm loving the classic chain necklace trend this season, it reminds me of high school when I used to wear my silver curb chain with my Champion sweatshirts, but grown up and sophisticated.  I got this curb chain from BaubleBar and adore it.  I kept seeing their Hera Link Necklace on social and felt I didn't need it, I didn't need it… and then I saw a similar one on Karlie Kloss and liked how it was lighter than the curb chain, a bit more dressy but still bold so I bought it.  I bet BaubleBar's $44 pricepoint is a lot lower than the price of the one Karlie was wearing!

I tried to find a picture of Karlie Kloss in the pink suit and gold chain and had no luck but I wanted to share one of my favorite resources for figuring out what individuals are wearing on TV: WornOnTV.net.  I use this all the time for shows like Blackish, Grownish, and The Bold Type when I see fab fashion and want to know who designed it! Here's the list of all the shows they track.

A peek into Stacy London's Brooklyn apartment. (The Coveteur)

See, Hear, Read

I think I'm too old to have really gotten into Jessica Simpson as a singer. However, I remember her wedding dress being THE inspiration when I was dress shopping for my own wedding, and I tried on so many strapless lace overlay fit and flare styles. My husband and I watched Newlyweds together for at least the first season, and I've owned many shoes from her fashion line. But I haven't followed her career, and when her memoir, Open Book, came out I wasn't terribly interested.  But then friend after friend raved about it so I got it to be a light read for the bus trip to and from NYC.  And I have to say it was one of the best books I've read in a while.  My nightstand and my Kindle are littered with half-read books that have been recommended for being enlightening, entertaining, or inspiring and I just can't get into them.  I was wondering if I was lacking concentration because of perimenopause, from too much time with screens, but this book made me realize I just wasn't reading anything that grabbed me.  And I can't believe it, but Jessica Simpson grabbed me.  It was written in a way that you felt you were sitting in her living room with a cup of coffee listening to her chat about life.  She delved into her early start and auditioning for The Mickey Mouse Club, body image and pressures to have a perfect body, her marriages and boyfriends, and much more. You know those parts of celeb rags where they show pictures of actors pumping gas or walking out of Trader Joe's?  Stars, they're just like us!  Well, Jessica Simpson is a billionaire; she has a successful clothing company, Top 40 hits, wrote a bestseller and more but this book makes you realize even with money and fame she's really the same as the rest of us and if anything, money made a lot of things more difficult.  And if Jessica can get over being seen by the world as stupid, washed up, fat, and “sexual napalm” and continue to be successful and find happiness, we can push through the shit going down in our lives. It's an easy read, I finished 90% of it on those two bus rides and it's the kind of book you can read while brushing your teeth or waiting at the bank and there aren't photos and such which makes it easy to read on Kindle (and when you don't have your Kindle, read it on your phone while in line). 

Sale Alert

Colleen Rothschild has a flash sale where their Discovery Collection, a toiletries bag with TSA-sized versions of their bestsellers is on sale for $69 (usually $95). I love this kit; it has some of my absolute favorites from the brand like the Radiant Cleansing Balm and Extreme Recovery Cream and almost all the containers (including the vial for the oil) are refillable. 

J. Crew has 40% off select items at this link and an additional 50% off sale items with promo code GETAWAY. I'm hot and cold with J. Crew but this season is coming in hot.  I just bought this blazer, these matching pants, and also these matching hoops and love them. From the vacation picks, I own this Breton top and these shorts in a great not frumpy yet long enough to prevent chub rub length.  I'm also pretty obsessed with this suit coverup/caftan which comes up to size XXL.

American Eagle has 20% off jeans, joggers, and shorts through the weekend.  I think AE is great for jeans even for us grown-ass women.  Good pricepoint, good fit, and a good size range (up to 24 with lengths). 

Lands' End has 40% off with promo code WARMUP. You may have caught my rant about my daughter's LE backpack not lasting through a single school year, but that doesn't mean I don't still love the retailer.  My heart especially goes towards Lands' End's swimwear, which has a great size range, styles for large busts, mastectomies, and all sorts of silhouettes and cuts for modesty, athletics, comfort, and looking chic on the beach. My top pick is their Tugless Tank which is classic, chic, flattering, and holds up through surf, chlorine, and those rough concrete sides of the pool. You can read my Lands' End Tugless Tank review here.

For Your Entertainment

Alanis Morissette is back and continues to create songs that speak of a generation – her generation, mine, and for many of you, yours.  Damn.  Like I usually write more but you likely already know who she is and this song and the video speak for themselves. So yeah, watch the video. Damn.

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. Aw thanks Chris, I found the comments relatively tame! Not every job is for everyone, they don’t need to approve of it. I really appreciate your support over all the years and I am glad to hear from you and know you are well. <3

  1. So glad you found a good doctor, in my case I have been to about 4 gyns in my life and have to admit my current one is a keeper- The others i rather not remember.

  2. You weren’t even the one who was shooting the 20 minute latte-sipping video that the Buzzfeed author was so disgusted with, but by concluding her interview with you with that “ridiculous” comment, she was dismissing you along with that other influencer and everyone else. That was one of the most closed-mind pieces I’ve read in a really long time, and I’m wondering why she even bothered to interview you when she’d already decided that influencers are silly and the hard work they do doesn’t deserve to be acknowledged.

  3. So many yesses about the doctor stuff!
    Doctors can do so much damage with judgy, critical interactions.
    So glad you found a good one finally!

  4. Hm. I have mixed feelings on this topic. It’s a difficult topic to be sure.
    Ever since they did those horrible pinching skin caliper tests on the stage in the gymnasium in full view of all my classmates in the 1980s ( my Results :borderline or overweight) , I know the sensitivity to certain topics. That said, I also take the medical advice to
    Get mammograms and not smoke. If I’m overweight,
    Which, according to all Medical Charts , I am, i would
    At least like to know it. Knowledge is power. What I do with the knowledge is my choice. being uninformed is not empowering . Being informed in the most caring, knowledgeable, humble, gentle, and professional way possible would be the ideal !

  5. So glad you found someone that really listens to you!

    I was surprised to read that women in the US might go to a gynecologist for routine annual check-ups. That is not the norm in Canada – family practice physicians provide all the care we need, often with the assistance of exceptionally well-trained nurse practitioners. (Going to a specialist in the US would cost much more than a family physician I would think – seems like a waste of health care dollars?). Please correct me if I am wrong – and I continue to be surprised and appalled at how much health care costs in the US and how little you actually may get for your $$$. And while some people seem to believe that Bernie Sanders is a socialist (actually a social democrat), his ideas about healthcare have been the norm in most Western countries since the 1960s – the US is just sooooooooooooooo far behind. Sad…..

  6. I have stopped going to doctors. I only go when I am sick, and luckily, I have not been sick in years. I get annual vaccinations at the drugstore. The last time my doc tried to do a pap smear, let’s just say that hard, cold, metal tool would not go in. At.all. So I’ve not had that kind of exam for 10 years. I don’t do blood tests. I do mammograms about every three to five years. I do colonoscopies every five years. But the rest of it, I simply do not care. I maintain a decent weight; my blood pressure is super low; I eat well; I exercise. I will be 65 in June. This works for me. I am glad others are able to do their health care as they wish. I do wish doctors would listen more to women and respect us.

  7. All female practitioners all the way. My Physician’s assistant has been doing my pap forever. My dentist and favored hygienist are female. Even my husband prefers female doctors because they are more thorough and actually LISTEN.
    Beyond that, I wonder how different the response would have been to corona if women had been in charge. Because let me tell ya, as someone living in the center of it in Seattle, it’s a clusterf***.

  8. Hi Allison or anyone else who wants to chime in…why would a bra cut in under the arm and band if its too old? I thought it would stretch out? This is exactly what my bras are doing…cutting and feeling way too tight and I just didn’t understand it and they are way too old and need to be replaced but I HATE bra shopping…I am so hard to fit,, even at Nordstrms…did not have good luck at Soma…sorry I know you love them Allison.

    1. I know I emailed you this but sharing here too in case another has the same question! The thing is the body of the bra stretches out before the straps because it is thinner, so it doesn’t provide the stability needed for the bands and straps, causing them to often fold over and dig in. Also, with washings and often due to storage, the underwires will shift and the tube of fabric holding them in place will stretch out, causing them to slide and dig into the underarms.  And I know, Soma is NOT for everyone!  I highly recommend finding a bra boutique and making an appointment.  You will get the best selection, most expert fitters, and it won’t be focused on a single bra brand or style.  I know they’re hard to find but it’s worth a drive for the experience.  Hope that helps!

  9. I‘ve been going to my family practice doctor for gynecology exams for almost 31 years. I have visited different gynecologists when I’ve needed specialized treatment, but I’ve never felt as comfortable as I do with my female family practitioner. I’m glad you finally had a good experience.

  10. We know how much time this “cushy” job, ‘you are so lucky to be your own boss” career path takes. Admiration all the way.-Laurel

  11. I ordered the Radiant Cleansing Balm when I saw it recommended on your site –I love it!! So I ordered the Discovery Collection today to try their other products. I’d love to see a blog post about how to use multiple products…what do you use first? Not just specific products, but do you “moisturize” or “treat” first. What order should you do things! Love your site and writing!!

  12. Advising patients to lose weight is a waste of time. First, most patients know they are overweight and don’t need me to tell them. Second, we really do not know why most people are obese, and we really don’t have good evidence-based advice to lose weight and keep it off.
    I tell the kids I see (with kidney disease and hypertension) to avoid empty calories (sugary drinks), make healthy choices most of the time, and stay active. If they lose weight, great. If not, after 30 years of practice and the failure of most of my own weight loss efforts, I make like Elsa and let it go.

  13. Just wanted to note that midwives see women throughout the lifespan, i.e. you can see them for annuals, etc. even when not pregnant. Also Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners are a good choice. So glad you found a provider you like!

  14. For all the reasons you describe so beautifully, I have a love/hate relationship with doctors — ALL doctors, not just ob-gyns. I did want to mention that I use my (female) family practice doctor for all gyn visits — she is personable, kind, technically savvy, and medically astute — she serves as the personal physician of many of the female doctors in my city. For routine care, a family practice doctor can be the solution.

  15. My cancer surgery put me into menopause at 39. I skipped missed out on the fun of perimenopause, The Today show did a fantastic segment on menopause a while back and they discussed the Dr issue, along with the lack of education out there for those approaching or in the midst of menopause. Two of the websites they mentioned that I have found full of useful info are Hellopause and Gennev.

  16. Believe it or not when I was in my mid 30’s my gyno who I had been seeing for years asked when I was going to have a baby? I said, “well I’m not sure that I am” he shook his head in disgust and said “oh you career women who don’t have time for babies, who do you think is going to take care of you when you get old?” I told him I certainly would t want to have a child if the only reason was for someone to take care of me. I left and I never went back to him again. I still do not have children and I am ok with that.

  17. I hear you about doctors! I usually go to a female doctor, I cannot stand men trying to understand the female body! I am over that! But at my age, which is 71, any aches or pains are : you guessed it, arthritis! They don’t seem to be able to say anything but that. it is truly frustrating!

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