pick up the flippin bananas

Do you know anyone like this?

Mutts by Patrick McDonnell

Well this week is the opposite of greedy, so get your altruism on. Yay for Random Acts of Kindness Week, February 12-18! I am a huge Random Acts of Kindness Foundation fangirl and look forward to this week all year. The RAK Foundation has given you some kindness ideas for inspo. They would love for you to share any acts of kindness on your socials with #RAKWeek2017.

If you’re reading my City Love trilogy, you know that Sadie is all about the random acts of kindness and warm fuzzies and making the world a better place. I have so much love for her. As someone who was bullied and abused in my teens, kindness is close to my heart. That’s why I am a RAKtivist with the RAK Foundation. As a RAKtivist, I practice daily kindness, help when I see someone in need, share knowledge, and lead by example. You can become a RAKtivist too!

Sometimes it surprises me when I meet people who have not seen many acts of kindness in action. Like the other day at Trader Joe’s. I usually start my TJ’s shopping by getting a few bananas because they’re right near the door. If you don’t have a plan of attack for those TJ’s aisles, you risk drowning in a flood of aimless wanderers. Even on a Wednesday afternoon. So I was getting some bananas from the big bin when a lady next to me dropped the bunch of bananas she was inspecting. I reached down to the floor to pick them up for her.

“Those are MINE!” she yelled at me.

“I know,” I said, handing them back to her. “I saw you drop them.”

“You picked them up for me?”

“Of course.”

She couldn’t believe it. Like, she straight-up could not believe a total stranger would pick something up for her that she dropped. But then I couldn’t believe that she couldn’t believe it. She was so unaccustomed to people helping her or seeing people help other people that she seriously thought I was stealing her bananas. Off the floor. When I was standing in front of a huge bin with hundreds of bananas.

That was not okay.

For Random Acts of Kindness Week (and, um, every day), let’s commit to helping those around us. Hold the door open for the person behind you. Let someone go ahead of you in line if they look desperate. Give careful directions when someone asks. And pick up the flippin bananas. Because if more people had done acts of kindness for that lady in TJ’s, she wouldn’t have been surprised by mine at all.

And that’s exactly how it should be.

big talk

Small talk has never been my thing. Before I forced myself to get better at it so I wouldn’t die of boredom at cocktail parties where I didn’t know anyone, I totally dreaded any situation that would require the meaningless fluff and filler of small talk.

I swore that if one more person asked me the top two small talk questions:

“What do you do?”
“Where are you from?”

I would retaliate with questions that were meaningful and actually interesting to explore, thus encouraging some kind of genuine connection between us, like one of these:

“What’s your biggest dream?”
“On a scale of 1 to 10, how has your week been and why?”

These deeper questions aren’t serious enough to make people run screaming from me at parties, but are authentic enough to actually inspire a real conversation that isn’t a complete waste of time.

I didn’t want to make small talk anymore. I wanted to make big talk. But I didn’t know what to call it until Kalina Silverman gave a super impressive TED Talk. Kalina wanted to go out of her way to meet new people and skip the small talk, to have deeper conversations, and make more meaningful connections with them. So she created Big Talk, an initiative that inspires people to focus on what matters in this world. For her Big Talk video, Kalina asked strangers these big talk questions:

“What do you want to do before you die?”
“What would you do today if you knew you were going to die tomorrow?”

The results were magnificent.

Spread the big talk love, friendly neighbors ❤

serendipity day

Happy Serendipity Day! Every year on December 20, I repost my annual Serendipity Day reflections to celebrate the power of this auspicious day with you. Here’s to positive energy, following your heart, and the magic of soul mates. Much love xoxo

*

Today is Serendipity Day, aka Serendipity Do Da, aka Do Da Day.

You would probably like an explanation.

If you didn’t see the movie Serendipity, then not to be bossy? But you really need to go ahead and do that. It’s all about fate and destiny and positive energy and has some amazing New York City scenes. Films like Serendipity take city love to a whole other level. But even if you did see it, you probably didn’t pick up on the fact that Jonathan and Sara meet on December 20. Being obsessive about those kinds of details, I totally did. Then I immediately made an executive decision that December 20 will always and forever be known as Serendipity Day.

When they meet, Jonathan and Sara are in Bloomingdale’s trying to grab the same pair of gloves. You know how sometimes you meet someone and there’s this instant intense connection? That’s what happens to them. So of course they can’t just go their separate ways. They have to go to Serendipity 3 (which is only a few blocks away – love the accuracy) for frozen hot chocolates. And then they go ice skating in Central Park. It’s one of those magical New York nights, filled with excitement and possibility.

Sara Thomas and Jonathan Trager at Serendipity

But then.

When Jonathan writes down his number for Sara, the wind blows it away. She thinks it’s a sign that they’re not meant to be together. Or at least, not right now. She’s all about fate and destiny. So she makes him write his name and number on the back of a five-dollar bill, which she immediately uses to buy mints. Sara’s idea is that if the five-dollar bill makes its way back to her, then they’re meant to be together.

Good, right?

If you’ve read Something Like Fate, you can understand why I love this movie. I love it so much that my friend Joe and I used to celebrate Serendipity Day by reenacting the original Serendipity Day’s events. First, we put our names in at Serendipity. There’s usually a three-hour wait for a table around the holidays. I am not exaggerating. Serendipity is a gorgeous winter wonderland right now, all sparkly lights and trees and tinsel. Everyone wants in. But it was perfect because we needed those three hours to reenact scenes from the movie. We would head over to Bloomingdale’s, where we both grabbed a pair of gloves at the same glove counter. That counter doesn’t have gloves anymore so we had to bring the gloves over from the gloves section, but it still counted. Then it was off to Wollman Rink in Central Park. It was always the Coldest Night Ever when we did this. I don’t know how to ice skate, so we would kind of just stand there shivering and watching the glittery skyline and sending positive energy out into the Universe.

Sara Thomas and Jonathan Trager at Wollman Rink in Central Park

 

Then our table was ready at Serendipity 3 and it was frozen hot chocolate time! In the movie, Jonathan and Sara get red and blue straws in theirs. But we always got regular straws. So I asked about the red and blue ones. I was monumentally disappointed to discover that they don’t have those red and blue straws anymore. But then I got over myself because their frozen hot chocolate is the best in the world, regardless of straw color.

If Joe and I were at a point in our lives where we were single, we would each take out a five-dollar bill and write our name and number on the back (in red pen for accuracy). Then we’d give the bills to the waiter as part of his tip. Not that anyone ever called us. But that’s not the point. The point is that we put positive energy out there. We made a choice to create more possibility for finding true love. Anything is possible here in New York. This city makes magical things happen when you take action to work towards your goals.

Sara Thomas and Jonathan Trager, reunited

How can you celebrate Serendipity Day if you’re not here in New York? Well, if you are already with your soul mate you can make frozen hot chocolates and call it a day. But if you are still searching, send positive energy out into the Universe today. Take some time to write down your goals. Visualize what you want your love life to be like. Then make a plan to take steps every day towards finding your person. All of these actions will help you get closer to turning your big dream into reality.

Oh, and PS? Serendipity 3 is also home of the $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae, served in a Baccarat crystal goblet (which you get to take home), made with the world’s most expensive chocolate, and covered in 23-carat edible gold leaf. Just in case you weren’t sure what to order.

Golden Opulence Sundae at Serendipity

Happy Serendipity Day, friendly neighbors! Go make magic happen.

grand foyer

So the holiday season is here. For some of you, this is a fun time with friends and family, days off, and general cheer. But for others, the holidays are the most difficult time of year to endure.

I was one of those others.

If you have separated from your family as a survival tactic or don’t have a family to be with, I feel you. You are definitely not alone. I am sending you sparkly positive energy right this second. And also, I hope, sharing some inspiration that might help make the holiday season more bearable. This post also applies to anyone who has big dreams, who is working on achieving goals, or wants to make changes in your life. So, you know. Everyone.

Here in New York City, closet space is treasured even more than an amazing view. Ripping out a closet is unheard of. People buy apartments and build more closets. But after I bought my apartment and was planning a gut renovation, my architect wanted to do something outrageous. Something no one ever does. He wanted to remove a closet by the front door. At first I was waiting for the punchline. Because of course he must have been joking. But he wasn’t joking. He wanted to take out the closet and create a foyer. Note that pretty much anywhere else, a foyer is a large entryway area, measuring about 40 square feet. In downtown Manhattan, an entry space that’s like 2 square feet is considered large enough to be classified as a foyer.

By ripping out this closet, I wouldn’t just be gaining a foyer. I would have a grand foyer. Because there were about 10 square feet to work with.

Here’s what the entryway looked like before renovations.

Grand foyer before

That open door was to the closet my architect wanted to remove. Those slatted doors were to another closet which I kept (but of course had nicer doors made), so I wouldn’t be missing out on a front closet for coats and things. I decided to go for it.

Letting go of something you thought was essential to make room for something even more amazing is a vital part of evolution as an artist. You have to take risks. No matter what you are creating – music, photography, film, books – you have to challenge yourself to grow. To reach the next level in your journey. To keep things fresh and relevant.

I saw the bright potential in destroying that dark space. It was an unthinkable change. But. Look what it allowed me to create.

Grand foyer after

My grand foyer! And it makes me so. freaking. happy.

To make this holiday season more tolerable, perhaps even enjoyable, why not make a change you would have never considered before? Maybe something you desperately want to accomplish that everyone says would be crazy. Maybe something that scares you. Maybe something that you know will be a lot of work and have been putting off taking that first step. When you follow your heart instead of the discouragement of others, you can manifest your dream life. You can create impossible beauty. You can transform darkness into a bright place.

This holiday season I am working on the second draft of a new book. Writing is my happy place. It’s my way of focusing the swirl that could potentially erupt into a downward spiral into a productive activity I love doing that will help me grow as an author. I am feeling all sorts of revitalized, fresh energy with my writing, and am super excited to see where this journey leads. For now, I am enjoying the process of getting there.

Where is your happy place? Where is the darkness you can transform into light?

What is your grand foyer?

Wishing you a productive, exciting journey this holiday season! Much love xoxo

top five, good vibes edition

Happy November! For those of you participating in NaNoWriMo, I wish you much happiness and progress in your novel writing journey. As I am also working on a first draft this month, there is nothing but good vibes up in here. Writing a first draft is the most difficult part of the process for me. So I am surrounding myself with positive energy and warm fuzzies as motivation. Keep going even when things get rough (and know that they will)! The key to reaching your goal is to never give up.

1. I am sort of still dragging after Halloween. It was a wild day of trick-or-treating, then walking in the NYC Halloween Parade. Walking in the parade is so freaking fun I can’t even tell you. For nine years I watched the parade pass by right near where I lived in the West Village, wondering what it would be like to actually be in the parade instead of watch it. So I was stoked to walk for our fourth consecutive year. My fiance got to pick our costumes this year (we alternate back and forth). Perhaps you recognize us.

The Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood

When you walk in the parade, you never know who you’ll get to see walking along beside you. I saw Harry’s Styles, six friends who dressed up as Harry in different stages of his style evolution. I saw a Nasty Woman with a Bad Hombre. There was a huge inflated dinosaur bouncing along. Sometimes we were walking next to him and sometimes we weren’t. He kept fluctuating in and out of our area, which I adored. But when I saw these two guys, I lost my ish:

Michael Jackson and Prince in the NYC Halloween Parade 2016

2. It has come to my attention that there is a Love Wall here in New York. How City Love is that?!

Love Wall NYC

I will not rest until I kiss it. Obvs.

3. Speaking of kisses, Jay Asher’s new book What Light is out in the world. As you can see, I am a major fangirl.

Susane Colasanti and Jay Asher with What Light

You know how some people are not only outstanding at what they do, they are genuinely good, caring, altruistic people? That’s Jay Asher. Congrats on another super successful book launch, Jay!

4. October was National Bullying Prevention Month. As someone who was bullied all through junior high and high school, I feel the pain of each and every one of you who has been mistreated, ostracized, or abused. My book Keep Holding On was inspired by my experiences being bullied and is dedicated to Tyler Clementi. So when the Tyler Clementi Foundation asked me to write a guest blog post, I was honored. This piece I wrote is all about survival and the importance of staying strong. You are the change you’ve been waiting for.

Tyler Clementi Foundation + Susane Colasanti

5. When I turned 40, I decided that this decade was going to be fabulous. Every year I’ve been posting a Fabulous at 4_ photo to document. It’s a good way to keep me on point. Especially when I am very interested in cake. This is Fabulous at 43.

Susane Colasanti, Fabulous at 43

Stay strong, friendly neighbors! xoxo

sit with us

October is National Bullying Prevention Month.

This is important.

My National Bullying Prevention Month hero this year is Natalie Hampton. She created an app called Sit With Us. Sit With Us helps you find people in the cafeteria you can sit with so you don’t have to sit alone at lunch.

This is outstanding.

Sit With Us by Natalie Hampton

As someone who endured the horror of sitting alone at lunch in high school, I know how devastating sitting alone is…and how the trauma of this harsh ostracism can affect you for many years.

Sit With Us is improving lives everyday. It even has the potential to save lives.

This is phenomenal.

Sit With Us is on Twitter @nobodyeatsalone. Connect with them.

For those of you in school, please be aware of anyone sitting alone in the cafeteria who would be immensely grateful to sit with you. Be an Upstander and invite them over to your table! You have the power to save lives too.