city love twitter giveaways

Happy Random Acts of Kindness Week! What better way to balance the negative energy of harsh February than with a flood of positive energy in the form of kindness? Sadie from City Love (and So Much Closer) adores this week. As a member of her local Random Acts of Kindness group, Sadie is all about spreading the #citylove with warm fuzzies and being the first to step up when she sees someone who needs help.

To celebrate this wonderful week, I’m giving away three advance copies of City Love on Twitter!

City Love by Susane Colasanti

City Love is sort of a love letter to New York City. But City Love is also a love letter to your city. It’s about the infinite possibilities all around us. It’s about the people who make a city what it is, people who help improve their communities with kindness. For this week’s giveaway, I’m asking everyone to share their photos, artwork, images, quotes, and any other inspiration that shows how we can give back to our community by spreading the love. Spread the #citylove and show your #citylove to enter the giveaway. Everyone who posts inspiration for kindness with the #citylove hashtag and follows @susanecolasanti on Twitter during Random Acts of Kindness Week will be entered to win. And yay, this giveaway is international 🙂

How to enter the giveaway:

1. Follow me on Twitter.

2. Show your #citylove by tweeting inspiration for kindness. This can be a photo of an act of kindness you do or see in your city. It can be an act of kindness from another community. It can be your own words of wisdom, encouragement, or motivation to inspire others to be kind. It can be your original artwork or an existing image that inspires kindness. Or even an inspirational quote that will encourage everyone to spread the #citylove. Any example of kindness is welcome.

3. Your entry MUST include the #citylove hashtag and @susanecolasanti to be counted.

Giveaway rules:

1. All entries must be tweeted during Random Acts of Kindness Week, February 9-15, 2015. Entries must include both the #citylove hashtag and @susanecolasanti.

2. Three winners will be announced on Twitter on February 16, 2015.

3. Each winner will have until February 23, 2015 to email me their full name and mailing address. My email is susanecolasanti at gmail.

4. This giveaway is international. Anyone may enter.

5. Entries to this giveaway are unlimited. You may enter as many times as you’d like.

Show your #citylove, friendly neighbors!

so much german

How adorable is the cover of the So Much Closer German edition?

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti, German edition


In other So Much Closer news, Sadie will be returning as a main character in City Love. Which might not be news if you’ve already read the City Love synopsis. But yeah. I’m bringing Sadie back with her random acts of kindness and warm fuzzies, like the ones I posted on City Love trilogy’s Instagram. So get ready for some fun throwback moments!

ultimate office throwdown

Think about the things you’re obsessed with. Now narrow them down into categories (books, music, shows, movies). What’s your #1 show? For me, it’s The Office. I should note that My So-Called Life, Freaks and Geeks, and Dawson’s Creek are included when it comes to my hardcore fangirl obsessions. I should also note that I ranked #1 in the Dawson’s Creek Trivia Challenge back in the early days of Facebook. Okay, I was only #1 for like a day (this Australian girl was always beating me with her scary knowledge of everyone’s license plate numbers and birthdays). But still. My obsessions don’t play.

You know how you feel a sense of ownership with your fave show? Like no one could possibly know anywhere near as much as you do about it, including those super obscure details you only know because you froze the screen to read that address/note/flyer? That’s totally me when it comes to The Office. Which is why, when Carmen and Layla were visiting this summer with their incredibly cool parents, I challenged them to the Ultimate Office Throwdown.

Ultimate Office Throwdown participants

We immediately bonded over our love for all things Office the second we met. We spent hours tossing around quotes, reenacting scenes and cracking up over the kind of inside jokes only hardcore Office freaks like us would understand. I would have been impressed with anyone who could match my Office skills like they did. But Carmen and Layla are in middle school. That made them way more impressive. Could I let some middle school boy best me in the world of Jam? It was time to throw down, girl power style.

Carmen and I wrote 20 questions each (Layla also wrote some good ones!). We were not allowed to consult the show or anything online. Our questions and answers were strictly from memory. We had the option of challenging if we didn’t agree with an answer. But please. We’re so hardcore the answers had been burned into our brains long ago. If you think we tossed out easy stuff like What does Dwight grow on his farm?, think again. We didn’t call it the Ultimate Office Throwdown for nothing.

Here is a sampling of my trivia questions. These were the hardest ones I could think of with answers on the spot. If you love The Office, you might want to challenge yourself with these. The answers are listed at the end of this post.

Ultimate Office Throwdown Questions

1. How many words per minute do Pam and Jim type?

2. What is the street address of Dunder Mifflin?

3. When Michael wants to do Yankee Swap at the Christmas party, what does Jim say Yankee Swap is called? What does Pam say they call Yankee Swap in her family?

4. When Michael cooks his foot on the George Foreman Grill, what does he ask Ryan to get at the gas station that they didn’t have? Which town is the gas station in?

5. At Pam’s art show, what does Michael have in his pocket?

6. How much did Michael pay for the iPod he gave Ryan for Secret Santa?

7. At Dwight’s wedding, what is the first thing Dwight says when he sees Michael? What is Michael’s response?

8. When Dwight meets with Jan secretly trying to steal Michael’s managing job, near which outlet do they meet?

9. What new nickname does Andy give Jim the morning of Jim’s job interview in New York?

10. What is the name of Jim’s avatar in Second Second Life? What does Pam call his avatar?

11. When Dwight is taken to the hospital for a concussion, what does he tell Michael his middle name is?

12. What are Michael and Jim’s final lunch orders when Michael takes Jim to Hooters?

13. What time is Michael’s birth moment?

Dude, Carmen was crazy good at answering these. The throwdown was a tie! And we had the best non-coincidence after. We all went to Central Park. The kids were climbing a tall boulder. This couple walking by looked up at the kids on the boulder and said, “Hardcore parkour!” No one jumped into a Vance Refrigeration box, though.

Ready for the answers?

Ultimate Office Throwdown Answers

1. Pam – 90 wpm. Jim – 65 wpm.

2. 1725 Slough Avenue

3. Jim – Nasty Christmas. Pam – White Elephant.

4. Yams. Carbondale.

5. A Chunky bar

6. $400

7. Dwight: Michael. I can’t believe you came. Michael: That’s what she said.

8. Liz Claiborne

9. Big Haircut

10. Jim Samtanko. Philly Jim.

11. Danger

12. Michael – Gourmet hotdog. Jim – Ham and cheese sandwich.

13. 11:23 am

So. How did you do?!

look up

Sometimes I forget to look up. Which is a travesty here in New York. There is so much to notice when you look up in this city. Gorgeous architecture, skywriting, elaborate apartments, a bunch of red balloons floating away, rooftop gardens, intricate details on buildings like tiling and etching…the list is endless. That’s why John in So Much Closer is always trying to get Brooke to look up more.

The other thing about looking up is that you get captured in the Now. The tons of people I pass on the street every day with their eyes glued to their phone is beyond depressing. That’s how you’re walking around one of the most captivating cities in the world? Staring at a screen? I can’t with that.

Remembering the importance of looking up, I just noticed this beautiful top of a building only a few blocks from my place:

Look Up, New York City style

This design is a good example of the elaborate, unique quality of so many New York City buildings. The building is actually pretty average when you see it at street level. You have to look up to see the good stuff. How sweet is that one round window at the top? How cool is it that those four rows of windows all have different designs? Buildings with dazzling tops fascinate me. This building with its array of ornate details dazzles along with the best of them.

Even though I look up and notice beauty like this a lot, I felt compelled to document the moment to share with you. I’ve been thinking about doing a series of Look Up posts featuring these images for a while. Maybe it’s time to start.

John Dalton would approve.

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

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.