harriet the spy

Happy 50th Anniversary to my most beloved middle grade book, Harriet the Spy!

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, 50th Anniversary edition

I was obsessed with this book in 4th grade. So obsessed that I had my own spy route. My spy route came complete with a spy outfit, mainly consisting of a fanny pack containing a flashlight, pen, and lipstick (my disguise). My spy notebook was a marbled black-and-white composition notebook just like Harriet’s. Occasionally when there was a snack available, I even had a snack before my spy route just like Harriet did (Entenmann’s marble cake with milk). My BFF and I developed our own spy code. We even had spy code names. Mine was H.5K-21½Q-3. Each part of that code had epic meaning at the time.

A spy route is not the easiest thing to pull off when you live in Middle of Nowhere, NJ. The houses in my area were really far apart. People tend to see you coming when you’re dashing across their huge front lawn with no cover. But I did not care. I wanted to be like Harriet. And if I got caught in the process, I would maintain my dignity just as Harriet would.

I read Harriet the Spy so many times my book fell apart. The thought of never hearing about Harriet and her world ever again was unbearable. Which is why I busted out the most spastic happy dance ever when I discovered The Long Secret. Sequel heaven up in Water Mill, yo!

The Long Secret by Louise Fitzhugh

Happy big five-oh, HMW. Catch you on the Upper West.

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the new resolution

I started working out when I was 16. I could not have possibly hated gym class more (see my detailed rant on gym in When It Happens), but I liked my dance lessons and badminton and the idea that I could do things that were actually fun for exercise. We only had a few TV channels in Middle of Nowhere, New Jersey. Channel 13 was PBS. Channel 13 ruled for two reasons: Degrassi Junior High and these random 15-minute science shows that came on in the morning. Oh, and The Write Channel, this instructional writing show for kids. Check out this ep for some 1978 flavor. I obsessed over those shows whenever I was home weekday mornings. The next channel after 13 was 52. Channel 52 was a bootleg public broadcasting station that had an aerobics show called It Figures. I forget if it was on after school or if I taped it on the Betamax (you read that right – no fancy VHS for us!), but that’s when I started working out on my own. Pounding around in my leotard in front of our little TV.

After I left for college, I started taking gym classes that were awesome. And by awesome, I mean classes in which dodge balls were not maliciously whipped at me. I took step when step was hot. I joined a gym when I was 20 and have had gym memberships continuously ever since. Which means for the past 20 years, I’ve been a dedicated gym member. And for the past 20 years, I’ve observed the same phenomenon every January. Right on schedule the first week of January, the gym gets packed. So packed I can barely find a space if I don’t get to class super early. The gym is back to normal by March. Because March is when people usually give up on their new year’s resolution to work out more.

New year’s resolutions come with a lot of pressure. You want to make your life better. You’re riding on that renewed surge of energy the first few weeks of January. But by the middle of February, we’re all dragging. February is gross. Of course you’re craving pasta and nights in snuggled up with a mug of tea and a good book. Those new year’s resolutions are more daunting than ever now. Especially if you got smacked down with that nasty cold everybody had where all you want to do is sleep and watch Felicity for two weeks. You know, The Worst Cold Ever? The one I caught when I was saying how everybody had it? Getting sick or being otherwise impaired right when you’re starting to make a change in your life is depressing. I don’t want you to be depressed. There’s a way to achieve your goals without confining your efforts to a small section of the calendar.

For those of you who are still sticking to your new year’s resolutions, congrats! You go with your fine self. But for those of you who are having a hard time, I want to offer some inspiration in the form of a new resolution. This kind of resolution involves a change in lifestyle. The premise is that, rather than being chained to the calendar or only motivated to make positive changes every January 1, you can take steps to improve your life every single day of the year. You can start anytime you want. Like right now.

My biggest challenge is finding balance. For example:

Christmas cookies before

These are some of the 300 Christmas cookies I baked in December. It took me a total of 13 hours to bake and decorate the cookies. Which, don’t get me wrong, I love doing. Most of my friends aren’t into baking. They really appreciate the love that goes into these cookies. I don’t usually make such a large amount. The increase is to include my BF/soul mate and instafam. Will I bake 300 Christmas cookies next year? Will I be up all night decorating them again?

Christmas cookies after

I don’t know. This is all part of the balance thing. Baking Christmas cookies is something I absolutely love doing. Maybe I’ll decide that I want to keep this tradition alive. Or maybe I’ll decide that 150 cookies is enough. Time will tell. In the meantime, I will be working on achieving balance every day. I will be mindful of times when I should say no. Saying no is really hard for me. I want to accommodate everyone’s wishes. But I have to accept that it’s just not possible to say yes to everything. I have my priorities and those are the things I need to make sure receive the most time and attention. Balance is something I must be aware of every time I make a decision. Once I get used to that routine on a daily basis, my lifestyle will include a better sense of balance.

When we work towards achieving our most important goals every day, we are creating a permanent lifestyle. A lifestyle in which there is no need for resolutions.

Every single day is a new opportunity for change. Screwing up is okay. Don’t be discouraged by a bad day. One step backward today can easily be erased by two steps forward tomorrow. The key is to make positive choices in the Now that will shape your ideal future. Visualize the life you want. Then take steps every day to move toward achieving your goals. That is the way to turn dreams into reality.

You can do this thing. And if you get sidetracked? Today is just as good a time as January 1 to try again.

You always have the power of today.
You always have the power to change your life.
You are the architect of your own destiny.

Let the change begin.

random acts of kindness giveaway

Random Acts of Kindness Week is on! I love this week so much. Celebrating a week that encourages everyone to reach out to people with kindness in big and small ways makes February more tolerable. We have the power to make the world a better place by radiating positive energy. Let’s go for it.

I’m kicking things off by giving away a signed ARC of Now and Forever, coming out on May 20.

Now and Forever by Susane Colasanti

Chez wanted to be in the picture. Chez always wants to be in the picture. That koala is such a ham.

We’ll do this one over on my Facebook page!

To enter:

1. Like my Facebook page.

2. Comment on the FB giveaway post with one thing you will do for Random Acts of Kindness Week.

Giveaway rules:

1. Comments must be submitted by February 17 at 11:11 pm.

2. The winner will be messaged on Facebook and announced on my page.

3. This giveaway is open to US residents only. However, if you live abroad and have a contact in the States who can receive the prize for you, it can be sent to their address.

Be kind and spread the love ❤

scrapbooking frenzy

You know that upcoming trilogy I’m writing? Well, I’ve turned in the first draft of book one. Which means I have a few days off. When was the last time I had a few days off? I mean real days off, without a schedule to follow and laundry to do and errands to run and racing with the clock? A few days restricted to only fun activities?

I can’t even remember.

So I’m taking these days. A few days to do the things I love. One of my fave activities is archival scrapbooking. I became obsessed with scrapbooking after my Gram died. I was going through her things and discovered that she hardly had any photos of herself. There weren’t many tangible pieces of her history left behind. That’s when I decided I was going to document my life.

Here’s my current scrapbook:

Susane Colasanti's scrapbook, Summer 2008

 

Right now I’m finishing up some older pages (like this layout from Summer 2008). Then I’ll be designing and creating pages for a pile of memorabilia that’s been collecting over the last couple of years. After I’m done with this scrapbook, I’m moving on to Smash Books. I already have a heap of Smash Books and adorable paraphernalia ready to roll.

So yeah. The scrapbooking frenzy is on. Wishing you a weekend filled with creative energy!

nyc teen author festival

Yeah, February. I see you. I see you and I raise you 45 days until spring. In your FACE.

My dislike of February as the coldest, dreariest month is not something I sugar coat. Getting through February takes serious commitment. There’s the wearing of three scarves just to go around the corner for bread. There’s the eating of way too much bread (preferably warm with whipped butter). And despite increasing daylight time, there’s still too much darkness. Which means I just have to work harder to find more shiny happy sparkly things to focus on. Challenge accepted.

First up: Congrats to the winner of my Now and Forever ARC giveaway, Danielle M.! Please stay tuned for more advance copy giveaways to come leading up to the May 20 pub date.

Those of you in the New York City area will be psyched to know that the NYC Teen Author Festival schedule is live! David Levithan has outdone himself yet again in all of his event planning magnificence. A bunch of spectacular authors are lined up during the week of March 17 for various funtivities. You can see the complete listing of authors and events here. Where can you find me? I’ll be at these two events:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 – 7:30 pm
The Mutual Admiration Society Reading

WORD Jersey City
123 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, NJ  07302
Phone: 201.763.6611

Sunday, March 23, 2014 – 1:00-1:45 pm
Ginormous Annual Signing

Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street
New York, NY  10011
Phone: 212.989.3270

Hope to see you at the festival!