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 ❤

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20th new yorkiversary

I’m just going to say it.

2016 sucked every which way a year could possibly suck. Seriously with that ish? What even was that? You know it’s not a good year when you set your alarm clock to NPR every morning at the start of a major news hour so that the second you wake up you can find out where a shooting was and/or who died. I mean…I cannot EVEN.

Focusing on good things helps. One good thing about 2016 (that automatically included lots of other good things) is that January 6 was my 20th New Yorkiversary. I moved to New York City for grad school on January 6, 1996 in a blizzard with no money, no friends, and no job, just big dreams I was determined to make reality. So all this year I have been celebrating 20 years in my dream city, the city that makes me feel alive every day. Even when I woke up day after day to horrifying news, I was grateful to live in the city where I belong. And right now I am relieved that, as of December 22, daylight time is increasing a little every day. That is a very good thing.

Winter solstice

Some good things that happened in 2016? I got engaged. A scene from City Love manifested with Claire Danes on the street. The second book of my City Love trilogy, Lost in Love, came out and Epic Reads did an author fun facts video to celebrate. I got to be Maddy from Nicola Yoon’s spectacular Everything, Everything. I went to YALLWEST and chilled with author rock stars and fangirled all over the place. I made some dorktastic YouTube videos. I shared one of my favorite hidden West Village areas with you. And every day, no matter what sad things were happening in the world, I was feeling the city love. The past 20 years have been filled with magical New York City moments that have shaped the person I am today. I am forever in love with my home and the infinite possibilities it brings.

Something tells me you are looking forward to 2017 as much as I am, if not more. I am here to tell you this: You can turn your big dreams into reality in 2017. How do I know? Because dude. I went from having 73 cents in my bank account in college to becoming a homeowner in downtown Manhattan. With enough kitchen counter space to bake my annual 200+ Christmas cookies.

Christmas cookies by Susane Colasanti

That journey was not an easy one. Anything worth achieving requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and the passion to keep going when it feels like everything is falling apart. And I have to say, time is a wild thing. You are just living your life one day at a time. The next thing you know, 20 years have suddenly gone by. 20 years.

Where do you want to be in 20 years? 10 years? 5 years? 2017?

One technique I have used since I moved here is creative visualization. I picture my goals with clarity, then take steps every day towards achieving them. Try writing down your biggest goals for whatever timeframe you choose. Then write down one thing you can realistically do every day to take steps closer to achieving each of them. This process, the passionate dedication of working hard to achieve your goals, is how big dreams become reality. It worked for me. And if I could do it, you definitely can.

Happy New Year, friendly neighbors! Much love to you from New York City. xoxo

Empire State Building at Christmas

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

help wanted 5 – fear

TGIM! Here’s some Monday Motivation from me to you.

Is there a big dream you want to make reality, but fear is stopping you from following your heart? Do you want to break out of a bad situation you’re stuck in, a negative group of friends, a job you don’t like, or habits that make you feel worse about yourself? My Help Wanted 5 video is all about overcoming fear to create your dream life.

Fear is like an indicator pointing you toward a better life. Breaking out of your comfort zone will allow you to make the big changes necessary to improve your life immensely. Here’s how you can start turning your dreams into reality right now!


Stay gold, friendly neighbors ❤

rock the vote

I want to tell you about my first time.

My first time had issues with mechanics. I didn’t really know how anything worked. But there were instructions in explicit detail. So those helped.

There was too much background noise. It was hard to concentrate. Climate control was a problem. It was too hot…or maybe I was just nervous.

As part of the YA community’s #firstvote16 initiative, I made a video telling you all about my first time…VOTING.


Thanks to E. Lockhart and team
for organizing this fantastic Rock the Vote campaign! You can register to vote here and join the convo about your first time on Twitter with #firstvote16.

Do it. Share how you feel about someone special…with the whole world!

legally blonde non-coincidence

TGIM! To keep this Monday Motivation train zipping along on a gray day, I thought I would share a non-coincidence with you that, at least to me, speaks to the power of positive energy.

You might be wondering what a non-coincidence is. Excellent question. A non-coincidence is an example of awesomeness in the universe I wrote about in Something Like Fate. I was writing about the concept of fate and to what degree we are the architects of our own destiny. And about other fascinating things we can’t explain. Like this one time when I had a dream about two people I had not spoken to in years, and the next day they both called me. Or how I was taking a subway line I never take at a time of day I never ride the subway and looked up from my book at this one stop for some reason…and a friend I hadn’t seen in forever got on who didn’t even live here. These are non-coincidences. Why do I call them that? One of the quotes I included in Something Like Fate is by David Life: If you believe in coincidence, you aren’t paying attention.

Do I think everything happens for a reason? I do. Do I think that if you live your life in positive energy and work toward your goals with determination and dedication, everything will unfold as it should? No doubt. And do I think that non-coincidences can enrich our lives if we are paying attention? Absolutely.

Here’s a recent example of a fun non-coincidence. I have this DVD of Legally Blonde. When I first got it over ten years ago, it played like a DVD should. No problems at all. Then one day, it stopped playing. Just gave up and called it quits. Given how much I enjoy that movie, I was understandably a bit devastated. I thought about mailing it to the manufacturer to request an exchange. Or just going out and buying a new one. But something kept stopping me. Every time I was like, “I am going to send Legally Blonde back today!” I never did. Which is really unlike me. When I say I am going to do something, I freaking do it. I can’t explain why I held onto this busted DVD.

Legally Blonde

So my Legally Blonde DVD would not play for years. Years, people. At least five, probably more like seven. I tried to get it to play so many times, hoping each time would be different and it would magically play despite the ever increasing evidence to the contrary.

Of course it never played.

Then it was May 11, 2016. I had recently turned Fabulous at 43. And I woke up that morning determined to make some changes. Things I had been working on for years suddenly were DONE. I was done entertaining negative energy in my life. All negative energy had to go, as I was a positive energy only zone. I decided in that moment that my word for Fab at 43 would be STRONG. I called my crazy busy doctor who I could never get on the phone and insisted on speaking to her directly after several attempted distractions by her intimidating staff, who usually wore me down so much I gave up trying. I spoke to her, then found a new doctor because no patient should be treated like that. I threw down a schedule that would protect my workout time. I shimmered in my Knowing that the new book I was working on chose me to write it. Positive energy was abundant…and powerful.

It was the perfect time to try playing Legally Blonde again.

But this time, I made an executive decision. If it didn’t play (as it hadn’t for the past 32 times I tried over 5+ years), I would toss it and order a new one. That was it. I was DONE.

Guess what happened?

The DVD played.

To me, this non-coincidence reinforced the power of positive energy. I believe that our energy not only affects other people, but also affects every living thing. And even, in mysterious ways, inanimate objects. I know how wild that sounds. But I’ve seen enough evidence in my lifetime to know that the energy we radiate can change the entire world. Including everything in it.

Whatever you want to achieve, whomever you want to become, whichever path you choose to follow, remember this: Positive energy is the key to creating your dream life. This was just a fun non-coincidence I shared, but positive energy is a catalyst for epic non-coincidences on a much larger scale that can change your entire life.

Embrace the power of positive energy. Then go out there and get your DVD to play.

happy winter solstice

Happy winter solstice, friendly neighbors! You might be wondering why I am wishing you a happy first day of winter, which is my least favorite season (i.e. I don’t do winter). I am trying to focus less on the fact that it is now winter and more on the fact that daylight time will now start increasing by about two minutes per day. More daylight time in dreary winter is a very good thing. Bring on the light!

In case you didn’t know how hardcore a science nerd I am, I wanted to share with you how I celebrated the solstice tonight. The Museum of Mathematics hosted a solstice celebration across from the Flatiron Building in the plaza at 23rd Street. Math and science enthusiasts showed up to create a seven-pointed star, live streamed from a camera on the top floor of the Flatiron Building. We all gathered along the lines of a star that was measured with a giant protractor, drawn in chalk on the ground. Here’s the MoMath top math dude dropping some solstice knowledge on the crowd with his giant protractor:

Museum of Mathematics Solstice Stars 2015

Then we held foam glow sticks horizontally so they were touching end-to-end to form the sides of the star. The star looks like this without people:

Museum of Mathematics Solstice Star

Why did the star have seven points? The outer angle of each triangle measured approximately 26 degrees, which is the highest altitude of the Sun in New York City on the winter solstice (at noon). Starting tomorrow, daylight time will gradually increase by about two minutes per day as the Sun’s noon altitude increases a little bit each day, up until the summer solstice. Since the Sun has a longer apparent path to follow during the day, it takes a longer time to do so (as the Earth rotates on its axis 15 degrees per hour, which is the actual motion that makes the Sun appear to move throughout the day), resulting in more daylight time. I cannot. freaking. wait. for more light.

Nerdy enough? Heck yeah it was. Hope your solstice was on point, too!