Guest Nose: Erin Dionne

Today it’s my pleasure to introduce Erin Dionne debut author of Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies–a book that deals with body issues front and center. 

Erin says:
Celeste, my main character, is “comfortable” in her skin at the beginning of Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies–meaning that she hides in big clothes and downplays her attractiveness because of her size. She wants to blend-in to prevent being teased, so she shuts down and creeps through her days avoiding conflict. It’s a terrible way to live!
There are so many contradictory messages about beauty aimed at girls (and women) today that sap our self-esteem. We need to not only embrace our unique selves, but also support one another! Girls are the first to cut down other girls for not conforming to X beauty standard (too fat, too thin, big nose, big butt, etc). There’s room enough for everyone’s distinctive styles and body types. Let’s start focusing on the positives, mmm’kay?
More About Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies
Thirteen-year-old Celeste Harris is no string bean, but comfy sweatpants and a daily chocolate cookie suit her just fine. Her under-the-radar lifestyle could have continued too, if her aunt hadn’t entered her in the Husky Peach Modeling Challenge. To get out of it, she’s forced to launch Operation Skinny Celeste–because, after all, a thin girl can’t be a fat model! What Celeste never imagined was that losing weight would help her gain a backbone…or that all she needed to shine was a spotlight. Buy the book!
More About Erin Dionne
Erin Dionne has lived on two coasts and in four states. Her debut novel, Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies, was inspired by events that occurred in seventh grade, when she wore a scary peach bridesmaid dress in her cousin’s wedding and threw up on her gym teacher’s shoes (not at the same event). Although humiliating at the time, these experiences are working for her now. 
Erin lives outside of Boston with her husband and daughter, and a very insistent dog named Grafton. She roots for the Red Sox, teaches English at an art college, and sometimes eats chocolate cookies. Find out more about Erin at

The Padded Bra Story

So, yeah. In 7th grade my “bosom” was more Great Plains  

than Sierra Nevadas. 

I’d been visited by the pimple fairy, the curvy hips fairy, the that-time-of-the-month fairy, the BO fairy, the hairy armpits fairy, but not the boob fairy. And I had PE every day. With boys. Boys with opinions. Boys with loud, obnoxious opinions. About girls. And their boobs or not-so boobs.

So one day I was up in my grandmother’s attic, poking around all her old clothes. She’d gone to fashion design school and had tons of cool shoes, handbags, and amazing clothes. 
I opened a drawer full of lacy underthings–silky slips, weird pantyhose with hooks and straps and stuff, and bras I could only dream of wearing (the boob fairy loved my grandma). But at the bottom of the drawer was a thick padded bra. It was kind of old, maybe a tad musty, but, hey, instant cleavage!
I whipped off my shirt and put it on. Wow! I looked amazing. I couldn’t wait to show up for school on Monday with my new, improved figure. Yeah, I know, I didn’t quite think the whole thing through. Flat on Friday, mounds on Monday…
So, I’m in PE–with all those boys, but I’m feeling pretty good in my snuggish white shirt and baggy blue shorts. And we’re on the gym floor in rows doing push-ups. I hated pushups. I hate pushups even more now, but anyway…
The laughter. Big huge guffaw-ha-ha-ha-ha’s. From those boys. It took me a few more pushups to clue into the whole, the laughter is coming from behind you, thing.
After all, I had boobs now. Yeah, boobs. Flapping against my sides. My ancient, hook-in-the-front, padded bra had come undone!
“Look! She’s wearing a padded bra!” one of the louder, more obnoxious, but, yeah, cuter guys yelled.
I’ll just let you imagine the humiliation of trying to re-hook an ancient padded bra while everyone else is moving on to sit-ups. And the boys (and plenty of girls) are still laughing. And the teacher is all, “Sydney, is there a problem?”
Yeah there’s a problem!
So the boob fairy did eventually visit. But why couldn’t she have come before I found that blippety-blippin’ padded bra?

Guest Nose Stacey Jay!

Today I’d like to welcome Guest Nose, Stacey Jay, author of You Are So Undead To Me.

Stacey, do you have any embarrassing nose moments you’d like to share?
I can’t say I’ve got one super embarrassing “nose” moment. My nose and I have never been on good terms. I’ve always resented it for having a weird little bump near the top and it has issues with the perfume I’ve worn since I was twenty so…yeah. It’s kind of painful to talk about actually.
So I’ll move straight on to my most embarrassing “head” moment. In eighth grade I dressed up as an alien from the movie “Coneheads” with a latex wig cap that I stuffed with cotton so that it stood up in a big cone on top of my head. Everyone said I looked like I was wearing a condom for a hat. It was incredibly embarrassing and the worst part was that I couldn’t even take it off because I was having a REALLY bad hair day underneath that wig cap. Tragic. My rep never recovered until we graduated junior high and went on to high school.
Your main character Megan deals with a lot of zombies. Does she have any beauty/fashion tips she’d like to share?
* Wear comfortable shoes. Running in heels is for actress crime-fighter types who worry about their legs looking thinner on camera. Zombies don’t care about size. All legs are suitable for “nomming.”
* Carry a light, fruity body spray to combat the funky smell of grave dirt. (Avoid musky scents like patchouli that tend to exaggerate The Stank.)
* Ditch the sparkly earrings. You don’t want to be the one to test the “zombies are not drawn to shiny objects” theory.
* Take a moment to pull back your hair. Even in cases where protruding ears might draw the attention of flesh-hungry corpses looking for a small, cartilage-y snack, it’s still best to have your hair out of your face.
* All black, all the time. It’s slimming, blends in with the night, and can easily go from sealing graves to making boys your slaves with just a little lipgloss. (And those sparkly earrings if you can find them. Boys definitely seem to be drawn to shiny objects.)
You can find Megan’s Fashion “Do’s” in the March issue of Romantic Times Magazine.
More about You Are So Undead To Me:
Megan Berry’s social life is so dead. Literally. Fifteen-year-old Megan is a Zombie Settler by birth, which means she’s a part-time shrink to a bunch of dead people. All Megan wants is to be normal–and go to homecoming. But someone in school is using black magic to turn average, angsty Undead into flesh-eating Zombies, and it’s looking like homecoming will turn out to be a very different kind of party–the bloody kind. Buy the book here.
More about Stacey Jay:
Stacey Jay is a workaholic with three pen names, four kids, and a decidedly macabre sense of humor. She loves zombies, creepies, crawlies, blood, guts, gore, and of course, romance. You Are So Undead To Me, Stacey’s debut paranormal YA romance is published by Razorbill books. Find Stacey’s website here.
Thanks, Stacey!

Even The Pretty Ones

My teenage daughter is beautiful. Okay, yeah, I know, I’m her mother and all that blah, blah, blah. And you’re completely right. But that’s not my point.

The things is–she possesses the qualities I always wanted to have. She’s 5 foot 7, has skin that bronzes to perfection (no freckles) the first time she goes out in the sun, she’s curvy in the right place, her school pictures turn out well, and, yeah, she has a cute nose.
So why doesn’t she see herself that way? When she looks at her golden skin she sees pimples. Really, something would be wrong with the Universe if this girl didn’t have a few skin blemishes. Her height makes her feel like a giant. True, the boys haven’t caught up with her yet. But she’s 5’7″ like I always wanted to be!  And then there are the thighs.
Quick rant: Can we all just stop obsessing about thighs?!? Everyone’s thighs spread out when they sit down. That’s how they work–it’s like physics or something. And, yeah, thighs touch each other. We’re not Barbie dolls! Stop the upper leg hate, please. If it weren’t for thighs we couldn’t walk around or jump up and down when good things happen.
So, yeah, my daughter’s list of things she’d change about her looks is longer than I ever would have imagined, especially for someone who takes such great school pictures. I’ve been shocked to learn that even pretty girls spend way too much time fretting about their supposed flaws. I thought that only girls who believed their noses were too big did that.
Does that mean that every girl hates something about her looks? Going back to being a mother and all that blah, blah, blah, the whole thing makes me so sad!

True Beauty

Okay so I have to begin with a bit of a confession: I love bad television. Since I’m a bit ashamed of some of my TV watching habits, I tape certain shows and watch them while I exercise. In the basement. I’m always on the lookout for good Treadmill Television.

Recently I started taping True Beauty on ABC. It’s a beauty contest for astonishingly vain, but attractive men and women. The catch? They’re judging inner beauty too. So I’m trudging along, working up a sweat, watching good-looking people talk about how they know they’re so gorgeous. And it’s fascinating to me because I’ve never really felt that way.
And then these beauties start misbehaving–you know, nasty comments, backstabbing, lying, ignoring the plight of those around them, and all that run-of-the-mill Reality TV stuff (I really do watch my share of bad television).
But I start thinking about how I can’t separate someone’s personality from his/her looks. All my life, I’ve known people who are physically attractive, but I just couldn’t see it anymore because of the way they behave.
To protect the not-so-innocent, I’ll give a Hollywood example. I was, er, quite fond of Matthew McConaughey–I loved the Sweaty McConaughey movie (some call it A Time To Kill), the Sexy Priest movie (otherwise known at Contact), but then I saw him on Oprah. And he talked about drilling a hole in the floor of his custom van so he could pee through a funnel right onto the pavement! Um, yeah. Suddenly he just wasn’t that cute.
While it’s always fun to ogle physical beauty, I find that I just don’t want to spend time with people unless they’re attractive on the inside–interesting, intelligent, kind, curious, funny, adventurous, open-minded… My list of inner qualities is a lot longer than the basic tall, dark, and handsome stuff that you have to be born with. 
What’s on your hubba-hubba inner beauty list?

Body Worlds

Last weekend I went to the Body Worlds exhibit. See here. It’s an amazing exploration of the human body, using actual corpses that have been preserved using a process of plastination. The bodies are posed as athletes–an archer pulling back a bow and arrow, dancers mid-lift, a runner soaring over a hurdle–and show the complex muscles, nerves, organs, and veins that make our bodies work.

Stripped of the things that make up outward appearance, I was struck by the beauty of the human body. Everything works together so well! At one point, we walked through a room filled with huge barrels that represented the amount of blood our heart pumps in a day–incredible!
At the end of the exhibit there was a wall filled with “body secrets” that attendees had written anonymously on cards; people wrote stuff about hating their butts, anorexia, cutting, and drug abuse. So many heartbreaking confessions!
If only we could love the complicated inside parts of us, without allowing our complicated feelings about our outsides to get in the way, wouldn’t we all feel much happier about ourselves?

On A Seattle Bus Part One

One day, not nearly long enough ago, my brother called me to say that a friend of his had seen “his sister” on the bus. This girl had never met me or even seen a photograph, but she knew that I lived in Seattle, along with, you know, more than half-a-million other people. And she’d recognized our family resemblance on a crowded city bus.

It was me. I did exit on Broadway. I was wearing a purple sweater.
But do I really look that much like my brother? I’m almost five years older. His hair is blond, while mine, especially when I lived in Seattle, is more brownish. Our eyes are different shades of blue. But the main thing–he’s a foot taller than me, as in a dozen inches. Tall and thin to my short and curvy. So how did this stranger know that I was my brother’s sister?
It had to be the nose.

Happy New Year

Welcome to that time of year when you’re supposed to feel terrible about your appearance. The magazines at the grocery store checkout scream dozens of ways for you to lose those 5, 10, 15 holiday pounds (yeah, the same magazines that gave you the recipes for all those goodies you ate). You can’t turn on the TV without seeing advertising for various diets and exercise equipment. Perfectly muscled men and slender women fill your screen with their sweat-free pull-ups and stomach crunches. But there’s no way those people got those bodies from something that arrived on their doorsteps disassembled in a box. First they won the genetic lottery and then they worked, probably for hours and hours, with professional trainers.

But for some reason we’re all supposed to look like that?
Well, at least we’re supposed to feel bad about how we look, so, you know, we’ll buy some of those magazines, diet plans, and exercise machines (six easy payments!).
But really have you ever liked someone more because they weighed 5, 10, 15 pounds less? Having that ideal body doesn’t make you more intelligent, or charming, or fun to spend time with. Some of the most boring people I’ve met are the ones who only talk about dieting and exercise (snooze!).
So give yourself a break this New Year. If your jeans feel a bit snug, don’t think mean thoughts about yourself, remember how much fun you had making cookies with your sister, laughing with your cousins at that big family dinner… Because you’re fabulous just the way you are!

My Name Is Sydney

My name is Sydney Salter and I have a big nose. I mean, I’ve written a book called My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters, about a girl named Jory who thinks she has a big nose.

But I do have a big nose. And don’t even try to tell me that I don’t. I won’t believe you. As this blog will show–I have plenty of proof. I will render in painful detail some of my embarrassing nose moments, truly weird nose coincidences, and some possibly horrifying stuff that will have you rushing to the mirror to praise your own dear proboscis. 
As for disasters, I have plenty of those too. Just last week, I backed out of my driveway and crashed into my sister-in-law’s Subaru. Even though I knew she was there. To my credit, for 357 days a year, she parks on a small island off the coast of Washington State, but just seconds before I crashed into her, we’d been talking about where to park at the mall. So, yeah, the inspiration for Jory’s bad driving record comes from, um, me. But I bet I’m the only one who got a shiny new tail light for Christmas. Am I right?
I will also cover other aspects of truth and beauty, finding your passions (in the creative sense of the word), and writing, of course. For me it always comes back to the writing. Oh, and sometimes I will feature guest noses (please let me know if yours would like to participate).
So welcome to My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters! (I still can’t believe that I have to keep saying the phrase, “My Big Nose.” Why didn’t I write about a girl who hated her knees? Or elbows? Oh, well.) Here we go!