typo annihilator

You know how some things just annoy you so much you can’t even with them? But other people might not be bothered at all, or even notice?

Typos are like that for me.

Now and Forever typo sign 1

I mean, I cannot with this. “Your being video taped.” Seriously? And on printed signage?

Every time I see a glaring typo on a sign, I document the offense for my personal photo collection. Why? Because I’m a weirdo like that. But also because these are too good not to share. And rage/laugh/shake our heads over. Thus this overdue blog post!

Let’s revisit the time my favorite vegetarian restaurant had a new awning made, shall we?

Vegetarians Vegetarian's Paradise

So like…not only does this brand spanking new awning have a huge typo, but given its two different connotations of “vegetarians” you could say it has two. How can Vegetarians Paradise not know it is a paradise for more than one vegetarian? Hello, no wonder the singular possessive side got graffitied.

Creating a character who rages against typos was inevitable. That’s why in Now and Forever, Sterling is a typo annihilator. She whips out her black Sharpie and corrects typos on signs like an intellectual ninja. Fun fact: Sterling is Marisa’s best friend in Waiting for You. And Marisa has a cameo in Now and Forever. I’ve been bringing back previous characters from my backlist in my recent books, and will continue to have fun with this moving forward. My ultimate goal is to have all of my characters linked to one another by one degree as a statement on how we are all connected. Let’s see how it goes…

But yeah. I just can’t with this random capitalization.

Now and Forever typo sign 2

Or this.

Now and Forever typo sign 3

Because if you are on line at CVS browsing the magazines on the rack at checkout, you are only required to put one of the magazines back? You’re allowed to keep the others? I am also fascinated by the new vocabulary word “Thankyou.” I can understand its origin. The space between those words was such a hassle.

Down the block at another drug store chain, I spotted this beauty.

Now and Forever typo sign 4

So. Many. Things.

I will leave you with this gem…and best wishes for happy typo hunting!

keys

the even advisory system

One reason I love interacting with you guys on social is that some of you know the kind of quirky stuff I adore. To the point that you will send me things that are so me I can’t believe I didn’t think of them first.

A perfect example is this Even Advisory System, shared by friendly neighbor Greg H. on Twitter:

The Even Advisory System

I wrote a decent amount of “I can’t with that”, “I can’t even”, and “I can’t” into Take Me There. That was back in 2007. At the time, this slang was on the newer side. My editor and copyeditor didn’t quite know how to handle it. They were like, “Can’t with what?” and “Is there a word missing at the end?” But I stuck with this supreme slang because it was just too good not to.

It’s been eight years since I left teaching to write full-time, but I still miss geeking out over shiny new school supplies. I also miss that sense of a fresh start filled with infinite potential. It’s a transient sensation that can only be captured in September. By October, the freshness has gone stale, and the motivation you had when school started has succumbed to boredom (for students) and exhaustion (for teachers).

Even if you did not go back to school this month, you can still harness the power of that fresh start with the Even Advisory System. How? By completing each prompt to create five statements expressing how much you can’t, then identifying five solutions to mitigate their severity.

I’ll start.

  • I can’t with summer ending. Fact: There are seven days left of summer until the autumnal equinox on September 23. Solution: Enjoy the eff out of them.
  • I can’t even with the upcoming lack of summer fruit. Fact: You might find berries and melons in the winter, but they will not taste good. Solution: Inhale as many pints of berries and entire melons as I can while they are still edible.
  • I just can’t even with people who cross the street when an ambulance or fire truck is coming right at them. Fact: Sirens exist for a reason, but not everyone’s reasoning skills are sharp. Solution: Point out that an emergency vehicle is coming to people who are about to demonstrate a sad lack of awareness.
  • I cannot with people who litter. Fact: The earth is not a garbage can. Solution: Run after people who toss garbage on the sidewalk, pick up their straw wrapper / gum wrapper / napkin, hand it back to them and be like, “I think you dropped something.”
  • I literally can’t even with negative energy. Fact: Haters gonna hate, but I have no time for anyone throwing shade. Solution: Minimize exposure to negative energy just as I would with any other toxic health risk.

Feeling much better already!

Have fun working your own system, friendly neighbors 🙂

top five, nostalgia edition

Happy almost summer, friendly neighbors! The summer solstice is this Sunday, June 21. Time for flip-flops, popsicles, and lots of sunlight. I don’t know about you, but I’m already in summer mode. Here are some warm fuzzy updates for you as we say goodbye to spring and get the summer party started.

1. HarperAudio Presents did a podcast interview with me about City Love, dreaming big, and how your BF could still be a soul mate even if he doesn’t rinse the dishes. You can listen to the City Love podcast on SoundCloud or on iTunes.

2. We did a New Jersey road trip last weekend so I could sign books at the Bridgewater, North Brunswick, Springfield, and Livingston Barnes & Noble stores. For those of you in the vicinity of these stores who would like a signed copy of City Love or my backlist, here you go! You can find all of my books in the Teen Romance section with a cute shelf talker: Realistic Romance from Susane Colasanti Shout-outs to Kara at the Bridgewater Barnes & Noble and Mara at the North Brunswick Barnes & Noble for being the most amazing teen leads ever. They totally put up displays of my books when they heard I was coming. Booksellers and librarians automatically rule, but ones that go the distance to connect readers and authors get gold stars.

3. Speaking of amazing booksellers, I was at Chelsea Market the other day hunting down a Cookie Monster cupcake and was devastated to discover that the bakery had closed. These Cookie Monster cupcakes were my fave. Yes, even more than Sprinkles and Crumbs. Why? Not only were they freaking adorable, but they had that old-school frosting I haven’t been able to find anywhere else for years. Now where will I go for that rush of sweet nostalgia? Moving on (or trying to), I went into Posman Books and found this: Posman Books manifesto This manifesto speaks for itself. Well played, Posman.

4. My refrigerator might be telling me it’s already summer. Summer refrigerator There were two ginormous watermelons in my kitchen when this week began. Aaaand my grocery shopping was done for the week. Because what else do I want to eat in the summer besides summer fruit? Not a whole lot. You know it’s summer when your refrigerator is dominated by watermelon. I also enjoy living vicariously through Bubby’s foraging journal. When it comes to summer fresh produce, this girl can’t get enough.

5. Hardcore stamp collector teen me still fangirls when I see cute new stamps. Back when I collected stamps regularly in high school, I would go to the post office every month and see what new stamps they had. Things have changed a lot since then. It’s not easy being a philatelist in 2015. So when I was at the post office the other day, I was stoked to see these: From Me To You stamps Awww! Not only are these stamps totally adorbs, they come with matching stickers to put on your envelope and letter. I would love to see a resurgence of kids writing actual letters, summer camp style. Stamps like these offer some fun motivation. Yay for letter writing. Yay for stamps. Yay for books made of paper. Yay for popsicles and old-school frosting and watermelon. Yay for each and every little thing that brings a rush of nostalgia. There’s so much more to appreciate when you’re all about the little things.

I can’t wait to see what this summer brings. Wishing you a summer that is your best one ever ❤

my new bff

Meet Agulhas.

Agulhas, Jenkinsons Aquarium penguin

Agulhas is my new BFF. He is a penguin at the Point Pleasant aquarium. Penguins are my favorite and I am always most excited to see them. But I had no idea Agulhas would be there this time.

You know that intense happy feeling you get when you click with someone right away? That’s how it was with us. Agulhas was standing right near the glass like he was waiting for me. He kept looking at me the whole time. When he winked at me, I winked back. And then he winked some more.

Agulhas is my people.

That might sound like a strange thing to say about a penguin. But animals in general are my people. As my old friend Andras Forgacs said in his phenomenal TED Talk about creating animal products without the animals, slaughtering animals for decoration and sustenance is crazy. We can grow leather and meat without harming animals. We can live and let live on a global scale while feeding lots more hungry people and protecting the environment.

But back to Agulhas. Isn’t he so cute? He was named after the Agulhas Current. He has a very sweet disposition. You could tell he was really sad when we left. I started missing him right away.

If I were joining Emojli, this entire blog post would have been represented as something like: penguin heart shoe wave. Yeah…kind of liking the old-school blog better.

board game nirvana

My fellow board gaming nerds will love this big news. There’s a new Monopoly token. One of the less popular tokens was replaced with a shiny new design. The iron is out. I never really liked the iron anyway. Or the shoe. Maybe if it were a cute shoe. But the shoe was what you had to be if all the other tokens were already taken. Oh, and the thimble. Who wants to be the thimble? Get ready for this fresh choice. The shiny new token is a cat.

Monopoly cat token

That cat looks awesome. He’ll be appearing in the new edition later this year. I am going to be on that cat so fast it will make the wheelbarrow spin.

Why do I love old-school board games so much? Not just because I have serious affection for everything old-school. Board gaming has always been one of my fave activities. I grew up playing Monopoly, Sorry!, Parcheesi, Clue, and the rest of the classics with my friends. That was back in the day before we had screens to stare at other than the TV. There’s something so nostalgic and happy about playing board games. Every time I play one, that warm fuzzy feeling comes rushing back.

That’s why I’m a grownup who belongs to a board gaming group. Not just any board gaming group. My group is hardcore. These guys play games I’d never even heard of. My fave is probably Asara. You get to build castles. As a Sometimes Princess, I appreciate the castle theme. I also love Puerto Rico and Settlers of Catan. Here’s Settlers in action:

Settlers of Catan

These games take about three hours to play. Which is nothing compared to what a lot of the hardcore gamers play. They’ll spread out these elaborate boards that take up five tables with a dazzling array of pieces, cards, figures, puzzles, shards with magic powers…and one game will take like seven hours to play. These games require serious commitment. They require snack breaks. Lighting effects have even been known to occur.

So you can understand that most of these guys scoff when my friend Stephen busts out The Climbers:

The Climbers

Climbers is such a cute game. It’s not a board game, but we sneak it in before we get a group together for the main action. You have to use full blocks, half blocks, and ladders to be the highest guy standing at the end. The game ends when it’s impossible for anyone to get any higher. Of course I had to document the first time I played Climbers and won. My guy is the light blue one on the right. He is only a half block above the next highest guy. That was a tight game.

Sometimes in the park or wherever I’ll see little kids glued to their electronic devices who can’t even look up for three seconds to take in the world around them. It makes me sad. Sad that they’re not connecting with the Now. Sad that they’re missing all the real world action happening around them. It makes me sad to think that, by the time they’re teens, playing an old-school board game may be reduced to some archaic ritual their parents remember from back in the day.

I’ve made a pact with myself to do everything I can to encourage old-school activities. A winter night in playing Monopoly, drinking hot chocolate with extra marshmallows, and talking to friends in real life instead of through a screen might seem boring. But being fully present in the Now and connecting to people in an authentic way are two things we should do every day.

And if kids are reluctant to turn away from the screen? There’s always a shiny new cat token to shake things up.