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.

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.

top five, signs and signals edition

Here in New York, the first day of school was yesterday. Which, I mean, what? We’re actually into September already? Really? WHAT IS HAPPENING. But yes, these are the last days of summer to cherish, and yes, it is still summer. It is still summer until September 22 when it will officially become fall and don’t let anyone tell you any different. So keep working your graphic tanks and snapping those flip-flops with purpose as you walk down the street enjoying the summer breeze. Speaking of graphics…

1. You know you are dorktastic to the max when your idea of a fun night out is rocking your matching Mister Rogers and Bob Ross tees.

Mister Rogers + Bob Ross tees

We found these tees earlier in the summer and I freaked. out. My plan was to wear them to some upscale restaurant like the total dorks we are. So we went on a Citi Bike ride down the East River, chilled at Ost Cafe on the Lower East Side, rode to South Street Seaport and had dinner at Barbalu, a restaurant we discovered on a Citi Bike ride last summer that is so fantastic it will appear in Forever in Love, the final book of my City Love trilogy. But of course it was Labor Day weekend and no one was even around to notice the ironic fabulousness of our tees. What can I say? We were on fire.

2. In other Forever in Love news, I recently finished reviewing the copyedits. Which I was sort of avoiding because after copyedits there is only one step left in the publication process: looking over the first draft, a hard copy of the book’s layout. It has been really hard to say goodbye to my girls. After three books and so much more to write about, this is a difficult transition. Fortunately I am super excited about the new book I am working on!

Are you into audio books? You can listen to an audio excerpt of Lost in Love here.

3. Here’s a throwback to 9.09.09.

Susane Colasanti at Katikies in Santorini

What was I doing seven years ago today? Oh, I don’t know. Just chilling in this world famous infinity pool at Katikies in Santorini! Santorini is the most beautiful place in the world. The resort I stayed at was positioned on a steep slope on the rim of the caldera. So in this photo you are looking at me blissfully floating at the top of a volcano. How incredible is that?

4. Shout-out to my girl Andrea on Twitter for designing this:

John Mayer in Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti

If you’ve read any of my books, you might have noticed that I love including music. It makes me so happy when readers tell me they are into The Cure or R.E.M. or Paul Simon or Fleetwood Mac because they were inspired by my books. But I don’t just include old-school sound. John Mayer is a big part of Waiting for You, a story of a girl dealing with anxiety and depression, and that makes this graphic especially sweet.

5. I don’t know how long it will take for me to not burst into tears when I hear “Empire State of Mind” around September 11, but apparently it’s longer than 15 years. This Sunday, September 11 will mark the 15th anniversary of the Twin Towers attacks. I cannot believe that was 15 years ago. I remember lots of details about that day, both big and small, mostly because I have relived September 11, 2001 so many times: how perfectly blue the sky was, what I was wearing, that excitement I always felt as a teacher at the beginning of a new school year. And of course the fact that, out of all the possible days I could have gone, I had plans that day to go to the Twin Towers with my friend Stephen. We were going to meet up after school and go to the observation deck. But we didn’t because the Twin Towers were…gone. You can read archives of my past September 11 posts linked from here.

Our plan for that day was a sign. Every day since for the past 15 years, I have been grateful to simply be alive.

This September 11 I will be broadcasting my walk down to Ground Zero on Periscope. You can find me there @SusaneColasanti if you want to see the Tribute in Light. Every year when I see the Tribute in Light, I see it as a signal reminding me to be grateful for everything I have. And every day when I see One World Trade, now standing proud and tall near the footprints of where the Twin Towers once stood, I see it as a sign of better things to come.

Anything is possible. This is New York.

One World Trade

We will never forget. ❤

shelf talker feels

Anytime a bookstore closes, it breaks my heart into a million pieces. When I think about all of the amazing experiences I’ve had in bookstores over the years, especially indies where you can just feel the passion and dedication the second you walk in, it is obvious that the bookstores I have visited across the country are an indelible part of me.

So it was especially heartbreaking when the Citigroup Center Barnes & Noble closed here in New York at the end of June. That store was huge. When I was starting out as an author, they had a really big teen section with lots of room for those cardboard floor displays you don’t see anymore. I went there to take photos with my displays, and everyone was always so kind and welcoming. I was honored to moderate the very last event that store had, a teen panel that was part of B-Fest. Lots of sweet memories there.

Every negative situation has a positive side. The positive side of the Citigroup Center Barnes & Noble closing is that they let me keep my shelf talker…and also take a few faves. Shelf talkers are those labels you see under some authors’ books in Barnes & Noble stores nationwide. Here are the ones I took as mementos:

Susane Colasanti with shelf talkers by John Green, Sarah Dessen, Laurie Halse Anderson, and The Hunger Games

I am beyond grateful to have a shelf talker, and to be in such good company with these rock star authors.

Laurie Halse Anderson has been my favorite YA author since day one. Laurie is the OG of YA. Speak was the catalyst for an actual teen section, which pretty much didn’t exist until around 2000. Back in the day, there were like two shelves of teen books in the children’s section. Laurie inspired the teen section we know and love today. She is a beautiful writer. Every single page of her books resonates with truth and brilliance and emotion so strong sometimes you actually have to put the book down for a minute to get yourself together. She dropped the mic before that was even a thing. I will always be grateful to Laurie for helping me find my own voice, and will always be her #1 fangirl.

Everyone was saying I needed to read The Hunger Games. This was right before the final book came out. I was like, “No thanks, I’m all set with my TBR stack of realistic contemporary teen novels.” I am all about the realistic contemporary teen novels, which is why they are all I write. But people kept insisting. They were like, “You don’t understand.” And I was all, “No, you don’t understand. I’m not into dystopia.” But they would not shut up about how I didn’t understand. The first two books sat on my nightstand for a long time before I gave in and picked up The Hunger Games one night. Next thing I knew, I was still reading at four in the morning, eyes burning out of my head, not caring that I would be an exhausted mess the next day. Because OMG HOW GOOD WAS THAT BOOK? So yeah. Took that one.

Sarah Dessen paved the way for teen romance. She was a mentor when I was first getting started and is a friend I look up to today. I have learned so much from Sarah over the years. We have a lot in common, especially all things summer like flip-flops and long daylight time and fresh treats. Her books bring all the nostalgic feels. They have a timeless quality that feels like a dream to read. Leaving her shelf talker behind was just not an option.

There are some names that require no explanation. John Green is one of them. Enough said.

This Facebook Mentions Live video summed up my shelf talker feels:

Snaps for my readers on social who noticed the Joey + Pacey pic on my bulletin board. And yes, that is Jason Segel brushing his teeth in a scene from The Muppets!

Jason Segel in The Muppets

Fortunately our shelf talkers are in lots of Barnes & Noble stores. And B&N will be opening some new high concept stores that focus on community and ways to inspire more social interaction, bringing book lovers together in wonderful ways. I am really looking forward to seeing those.

Happy summer reading, friendly neighbors! xoxo