top ten, working it edition

1. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while might know that I like to work out. I’ve been working out since I was 16, doing aerobics in front of the TV with Charlene Prickett on a very 80s show called It Figures. We’re talking leotards, belts, and leg warmers. Then it was on to a lot of step in college. Other classes in grad school. Since then I’ve been into kickboxing, boot camp, yoga, Pilates, hip-hop dance, and total body with a few trainers. Currently I’m all about the Zumba, Bodypump, and core. In over 20 years of working out at many gyms, Kara Doyle is by far the most amazing fitness instructor I’ve ever had. She is in permanent beast mode. She is dorktastic in the best possible way. She has dazzling positive energy that motivates her students to work harder and inspires us to be better. I’ve only been working out with Kara for about three years, but in that time she has shaped me into someone who, for the first time ever, might actually be in rehearsal for the gun show.

So I was bummed to see that no one’s ever buying tickets to my gun show while Jim Wittig is working it:

Susane Colasanti and Jim Wittig

Muscles much? Jim is fierce. He does not play. Actually, he does play hard after he works hard. My BF/soul mate (who is Jim’s cousin) took this photo of us at Jim’s poolside gym. At his gorgeous beach house. That sleeps 22 people. Um, yeah. Jim wins.

2. Happy 20th Anniversary to my favorite comic strip of all time, MUTTS! Patrick McDonnell does such a beautiful job of creating sweet, sensitive artwork that raises awareness of animal rights while encouraging everyone to treat the world around them with respect and admiration.

MUTTS comic, pink bubble wishes

May your pink bubble wishes for peace and harmony blossom.

3. Some of you have been asking me if the reference to Red Bedroom Records in Now and Forever is the same Red Bedroom Records from One Tree Hill. They are absolutely the same! One thing I love about writing teen novels is adding the kinds of quirky details I love reading in books. I adore making connections that resonate with me and I am thrilled when you love them, too!

4. Speaking of Now and Forever, Jean BookNerd just posted a fresh interview with me and included a giveaway of three signed copies of the book! Thanks for being so awesome, Jean.

5. I really don’t want to admit this. But. After much denial, I have to say that it’s getting kind of chilly. Like dipping down into the 50s at night. I’m doing my best not to let the end of summer get to me. We officially have one more week of summer left. The autumnal equinox is September 23 this year. And you best believe I will be working it endless summer style until then. This summer girl does not want to put her flip-flops away. No one should ever have to put their flip-flops away. Unless, you know. You love fall. If fall is your season, then yay for you! I’m sure you will be working those sweaters and scarves like nobody’s business.

6. It seems that I may have developed a slight addiction to ModCloth dresses. If by “slight,” I mean “severe.”

Susane Colasanti in ModCloth

This was my summer fave. We called it the mermaid dress. See you next summer, mermaid dress. Tear.

7. An apartment one block from my place is being sold for $16 million. Of course it is on my dream home list. Don’t get me wrong. I totally love my place. Buying and renovating my apartment was when I turned one of my biggest dreams into reality. But this is my first apartment, not my last. There will be a lot of changes in the next few years. A lot of big, exciting, groundbreaking changes. Part of my practice of creative visualization involves recording my goals for the next three months, six months, year, three years, five years, ten years, and lifetime. A penthouse apartment here in downtown Manhattan is right up there on the goals list. The epitome of working it as a New York City homeowner is scoring the type of apartment that is so you it becomes this peaceful Zen retreat. My home is like that. It is a bright, streamlined writing oasis. But this duplex penthouse at 18 Gramercy Park? Is def on my goal list as a future Zen retreat.

8. You know how the models on my book covers never show their faces? I prefer it that way. When I’m reading a book, I like to imagine the characters the way my mind shapes them as the story unfolds. At the same time, it’s always interesting to see the cover models’ faces. They never look the way I thought they would! Friendly neighbor Ronni found this interview with the boy on the cover of Something Like Fate. Thanks, Ronni! Plus you can see what the cover boy from Keep Holding On looks like and read a short interview I did with him here.

9. For the first time since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started keeping count, more than half the adult population in the United States is single. And into it. They’re the growing number of people putting their time and money into making cities vibrant. Only 22% of Americans were single in 1950. Today the number is just over 50%. One factor that’s contributing to more people staying single longer or making life changes to become single? The search for a soul mate. Refusing to settle for anything less than what your heart desires. The key to finding true happiness in a relationship is finding true happiness with yourself first. Snaps for everyone who has the confidence to work it and own it being single, confident, and happy.

10. I’ll end with this reminder:

You are of infinite worth

You are of infinite worth. Never forget that you matter, you are making a difference in this world, and you are loved <3

top ten, endless summer edition

How is it the end of August already? Seriously with this? So what you’re telling me is that it will be Thanksgiving three months from now? Directly followed by winter?

I demand a recount.

1. One of the hardest parts of leaving summer behind is saying goodbye to summer fruit. The amount of watermelon I have already eaten is extraordinary. 

I heart watermelon

Then there was the best cantaloupe I’d ever had in my entire life. We got it at a roadside farm stand in New Jersey. It tasted just like growing up in Jersey farmland. And don’t even get me started on the berries. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries. I will miss you all to pieces.

2. Fortunately for us, there are lots of other treats to savor. Like Sprinkles Ice Cream sundaes. See, first there was Sprinkles Cupcakes, which I finally got to visit for the first time when I was on book tour in Los Angeles in 2010. That was also when I got to meet Wilson from Cast Away (scroll down in the same post for documentation)! Then Sprinkles expanded into ice cream territory. A mad impressive accomplishment, especially considering that they were killing it just with the cupcakes. I like taking some of my old students out for cupcakes once a year. It’s our Friendly Neighbor Reunion. This year our FNR was held at Sprinkles Ice Cream, which is right next door to Sprinkles Cupcakes and the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM. What did I have?

Susane Colasanti with a Sprinkles Ice Cream sundae

Um, yeah. This is a Sprinkles Ice Cream sundae. It’s a cupcake bottom, then ice cream, then the cupcake top and frosting. They also have cookie sundaes and brownie sundaes. The cookies and brownies are broken up into cups. Then you add whatever ice cream and toppings you want. All I’m going to say is this: It’s a good thing Sprinkles is uptown and I live downtown. There is no way I would be able to resist a daily sundae fix if I lived closer.

3. Summer reading freaking rules. Everyone knows this. My summer reading started with Eleanor & Park. Reading that book was like a mental mashup of classic 80s movies highlights plus my most embarrassing dark secrets from high school. Rainbow Rowell’s writing is so beautiful and brilliant and true that I immediately had to go out and buy her other books. I can’t even explain to you how much fun I’m having reading Landline. It’s official. I’m a Rainbow Rowell fangirl.

4. It wouldn’t be summer without experiencing my trifecta of fave old-school down the shore activities on the Point Pleasant boardwalk: Skee-Ball, water ice, and bumper cars.

Susane Colasanti and bumper cars

Am I aware that I am a major dork? Yes. I am totally aware of that. It is ridiculous how excited I get for bumper cars. But I’m not one of those mean riders who enjoys bumping into other cars. I like to swing around the outside in a smooth circle, avoiding the pileups and staying in motion. You could say I’m a bumper car pacifist.

5. One book event highlight of the summer was Beach Bag Book Club on Long Island. This is an annual event I absolutely adore. I’m extremely fortunate to have participated in BBBC for the past few summers. This year I was on a super fun panel with these fabulous authors:

Jennifer E. Smith, Kieran Scott, Susane Colasanti, Elizabeth Eulberg, and Jen Calonita

Here I am surrounded by Jennifer E. Smith, Kieran Scott, Elizabeth Eulberg, and Jen Calonita. These ladies are beyond amazing. Their accomplishments are an inspiration to us all. If you’re looking for more summer reading, I highly recommend everything by these four adorable romance writers.

6. Speaking of book stuff, some fresh interviews were posted this summer. Author Turf interviewed me about inspiration, career building, and advice for aspiring writers. Progressive Radio Network interviewed me in the studio about my inspiration for Now and Forever, why my main motto is Dream Big, and how my personal love life influences my books. The interview starts at 32:55 of the podcast. 

7. Even more book stuff! Remember when I shared some behind-the-scenes photos from the City Love cover shoot? Here’s one more via Margot Wood, who was on the scene:

City Love by Susane Colasanti cover shoot

I heard there were way more people there. The cover shoot took place over two days on a Brooklyn rooftop to capture the dazzling New York City skyline in the background. Book one of the City Love trilogy will be out on April 21, 2015. But the cover should be revealed soon! Please stay tuned for exciting news about the reveal.

8. This summer here in New York was gorgeous. Not crazy hot and humid. August was way more tolerable than usual. That meant lots of dinners outside, epic night walks, and laying out on the sundeck. Temperatures were in the 90s for only 4 days this summer as opposed to the average 18 days. But the summer overall has been two-tenths of a degree warmer than average. Escaping a heat wave made the summer feel cooler, even though it wasn’t. Plus our last four summers ranked in the top ten of hottest summers for this past century. And the Earth experienced its highest temperatures in over a century during this May and June. This concludes the part where I geek out science teacher style. Thanks for listening.

9. Shout-out to Garrison Keillor for celebrating Prairie Home Companion’s 40th anniversary this summer! I have been a massive Prairie Home fan for…wow, almost 20 years. Snaps for Garrison preserving vintage radio show entertainment. Long live PHC.

10. Here’s to epic summer love.

All I Need by Susane Colasanti, National Book Store

 Summer is not over yet, friendly neighbors. Anything is possible <3

best version of you

A soul mate is someone who inspires you to be the best version of yourself.

Even more important? Being the best version of you for YOU.

Best version of you

When I was in high school, summer always symbolized a second chance. It was the time when I promised to reinvent myself. Every year I wanted to go back to school as a shiny new version of myself, the better and brighter version I knew I could be.

But my summers of reinvention never quite worked out. Why? Because I didn’t realize that I already had the strength, knowledge, and passion to be the best version of myself. I thought reinvention would come from outside sources. That I had to look a whole different way in order for people to see me differently. This was back when I cared way too much about what other people thought. When the end of summer came and I still pretty much looked like the same person, I was always disappointed. Then I would start looking forward to next summer…

If I could have given myself a memo, it would have said this: Don’t wait for next summer or the summer after that to be the best version of yourself. Real life doesn’t start when you graduate from high school. Real life is happening right now. This is your real life and you have the power to shape it into the life you want. True, there was a lot I couldn’t control back then. But there was also a lot I could have controlled.

Change what you can. Accept what you can’t. And strive to be the person you want to be every single day.

Hope the rest of your summer is spectacular <3

crumbs bake shop forever

I really, really don’t want to write any of this down.

Because if I write it down, then I’ll have to admit this is actually happening.

Crumbs Bake Shop has just closed all of its stores.

Sprinkle Crumbs

Heartbroken. I am just…heartbroken.

Was there advance warning? No, there was not. Which is weird. If Crumbs had announced it was closing its stores even a week ago, sales would have spiked with superfans like me scrambling to get their last Crumbs fix on. We would have snatched up all the Girl Scout Cookie cupcakes and Rainbow Cookie cupcakes and the best freaking danish in the world.

Don’t even get me started on the danish. Don’t even.

But they didn’t give us any advance warning. According to these articles in The New York Times, Time Magazine, The Daily News, and The Wall Street Journal, Crumbs announced they were shutting down all of their stores yesterday. Then every location closed last night. I can’t even rush in to my nearest Crumbs now for a last hurrah. Unless my last hurrah includes staring in the window mournfully with big, wet eyes.

This cannot be happening.

How can there never again be a new Cupcake of the Week to obsess over?

Berry Berry Crumbs Cupcake of the Week

Or special edition cupcakes like the Big Apple, circa 2010?

Big Apple Crumbs cupcake

And how are we supposed to celebrate summer without a Pina Colada cupcake? With a tropical drink umbrella and a cherry on top?

Pina Colada Crumbs cupcakes

Even in a horrible situation like this, I always try to look on the bright side. More than try. I find a bright side and try to stay focused on that. Because even in a negative situation, there is always something positive. The good news here is that we still have Sprinkles. But man…I was so proud of Crumbs branching out from their one little Upper West Side store in 2003. I remember the day I discovered Crumbs. I had a Snickers cupcake and it was the best cupcake I’d ever had in my life. More stores started appearing a few years later. A bunch of new stores came on the scene in the past few years. And now…

Maybe they shouldn’t have expanded so widely? Maybe they should have just had a few locations in New York? But no. I love that they took a chance and expanded. Crumbs became the nation’s largest cupcake chain. That is a monumental achievement. Snaps to Crumbs for being brave. Snaps to Crumbs for dreaming big and turning that big dream of national cupcake domination into reality.

Some tool quoted in this article was saying that the cupcake trend is over. He said that people can just bake cupcakes at home. How dare you, sir. There is no way the magic of a Crumbs cupcake can be replicated at home. Take the Rainbow Cookie cupcake, for example.

Rainbow Cookie Crumbs cupcake

The cake is an almost exact replica of the rainbow cookie in both taste and appearance. The cupcake has raspberry filling, just like the raspberry filling between colors of the rainbow cookie. And an actual rainbow cookie sits cheerfully on top of the chocolate-sprinkled chocolate ganache.

Let’s see Mr. Cupcake Apocalypse bake that at home.

Or wait, not even. Why don’t you bake these Crumbs Halloween cupcakes from 2008 at home?

Halloween Crumbs cupcakes

Each one is unique and beautifully decorated. But yeah, I’m sure you can dash right home and whip up a batch.

My rant seems to have disintegrated down a negative spiral again. Must identify more bright side. Here’s something positive: Crumbs will always live on in my books. Crumbs has been featured in Take Me There and So Much Closer and will continue to be featured in future books. That will be my way of preserving its memory.

Goodbye, Crumbs. You may be gone, but you will never be forgotten. I will remember your goodness fondly…and smile.

Smiley Face Crumbs cupcake

fabulous at 40

Birthday Week is a thing, right? I’ve been going with yes. My birthday is May 1, which is tomorrow. Which means my time as Fabulous at 40 will be coming to an end.

On my final day of Fabulous at 40, I’d like to share some philosophy that has inspired me. Straight up: It is outrageous that I am 40. My internal age is 16. My internal age will always be 16. Not in a creepy vampire way (although I would love to sparkle). In a way where I have a Knowing that I will be forever young. And in a way where I get super excited about funfetti cake.

Susane Colasanti's Fabulous at 40 birthday cake

This was my Fabulous at 40 birthday cake. I had been visualizing this cake for a long time. Everything from the hot pink script Fabulous to the vanilla buttercream frosting the the old-school sprinkles. And of course the cake had to be funfetti. I pictured this cake with such crystal clarity in my mind for months before the party it was like the cake already existed.

The party venue recommended a bakery. When I called that bakery to order the cake, there were some glitches with my vision. They couldn’t do hot pink icing. They didn’t have old-school sprinkles. And funfetti was not an option. Despite these inconsistencies, I ordered the alternate cake anyway. It was a good bakery. I felt bad not ordering the cake after the person helping me had been on the phone for so long. The cake would be delicious. It just wouldn’t be my vision. I told myself that was good enough.

Then I realized it wasn’t. Why should I settle for less than my heart’s desire? My heart’s desire was the cake I had been visualizing. There was no reason I couldn’t manifest that vision. So I called the bakery back and canceled the order. Later that day, my cake vision was manifested with Sugar Sweet Sunshine. I was so happy I kept searching for exactly what I was looking for. That’s the thing about creative visualization. You don’t have to settle for less than your heart’s desires. When you can imagine what you want to manifest in your life so clearly that it already feels real, when you carry that vision in your heart every single day and never let it go, you are on your way to turning your dreams into reality.

Like when I had a vision of my grownup self back when I was a teen. My biggest dream back then was to eventually be living a happy life. I wished that I would be healthy. I wished that I would be loving my career, living in my dream city, and sharing my life with the man of my dreams. Oh, and that I would be rocking a bikini when I’m 40.

Susane Colasanti, Fabulous at 40

Fabulous at 40 means being confident enough to chill infinity pool side with a fruity drink in South Beach. It means doing everything you can to make the world a better place. It means taking care of yourself so you can better take care of others. It means refusing to settle for less than your heart’s desires. Fabulous at 40 means visualizing your biggest dreams, then taking steps every day to turn those dreams into reality. These are things you can do at any age. These are things you can do starting right now.

So what’s your Fabulous at 40 cake? What vision do you want to manifest?

Imagine the type of sprinkles you want. The flavor of the frosting. What your icing will say. Who you will share it with.

Then make your vision reality.

late night with david letterman

You know how some days it seems like everyone is having a bad day? Or how other days everyone is in a good mood for no apparent reason? It’s like there’s this collective energy in the air that influences us more than we realize. Sometimes I’ll pick up on energy from my friends and just know they’re going through a hard time, even if I haven’t seen them or communicated with them in a while. That’s the kind of feeling I had on April 3. I was feeling all weird and stressed and anxious. Then I found out why.

April 3 was the day David Letterman announced his retirement.

David Letterman announcing his retirement, April 3, 2014

Am I friends with David Letterman? Tragically, no. Did I pick up on his depressing retirement announcement energy anyway? Of course I did. Dave is a lot of the reason I’m here in New York. Back in the day, I spent summers with my grandparents. They watched The Tonight Show religiously. This was the real Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Summers were awesome because I got to stay up late. I’ve always been a night person. Late night at 12 years old was rebellion and excitement and fun. One night I noticed that this show called Late Night with David Letterman was coming on after Johnny. When I asked my Gram about it, she said that David was kind of like Johnny, but zany and wacky. Zany and wacky? Dude, I was a weirdo, too! There was no way I was missing that show.

I stayed up to watch Late Night. Dave broke all sorts of boundaries. He threw pencils at the camera. He made weird faces and held them for a long time. He wore Adidas sneakers with blue patches on the side. He had the Late Night Thrill-Cam. He showed you backstage. The said the most random things like, “I’ll give you five hundred dollars if you let me take my teeth out.” And he smashed watermelons on the roof in a 90-ton hydraulic press.

David Letterman in 1982

Late Night with David Letterman was officially my favorite show.

But then summer ended. And I had to go back to school. And I wasn’t allowed to stay up until 12:30 to watch Dave anymore. We didn’t have a VHS. The Internet was not a thing yet. All I could do was look forward to next summer to be reunited with the person who was showing me my true home. You could feel the city energy radiating from the screen when Dave was on. You could feel the excitement and soul and endless possibilities. New York was where I belonged. It was my fantasy future home.

I became obsessed with New York City. I went to the library at lunch and did research. Every time we started working with a new medium in art, I would paint or sketch or sculpt the New York City skyline. This went on for years. The Twin Towers were like friends to me. I dreamed of the day when I’d be walking down 5th Avenue, the Twin Towers glowing in the distance, watching over me. That dream became reality 18 years ago when I moved here. There is no where else in the world I want to be.

Writing So Much Closer was kind of like writing a love letter to New York. It’s about a girl who grew up across the water in New Jersey, longing to live in the greatest city in the world. I dedicated the book to my beloved city of New York. I gave David Letterman an acknowledgment for sparking my passion for New York City. Even my bio was specific to Dave: As a teenage Jersey girl, Susane felt like her true home was across the water in New York City. The Knowing began when she saw Late Night with David Letterman for the first time in junior high. Even my koala bear, Chez, wears my old Late Night with David Letterman tee:

Chez in his Late Night with David Letterman tee

So yeah. I owe a lot to David Letterman for showing me the way. He opened up a world of infinite possibilities and dared me to dream big. It breaks my heart that he’s moving on. But I will never forget the way he made me feel less alone during the worst time of my life. I will never forget how he inspired me to turn my biggest dream into reality.

Happy birthday, Dave. You are, and always will be, the heart of New York.