the love of your life

Happy NewYorkiversary to me! Nineteen years ago today, I moved to New York City to start a shiny new life, build my dream career, and find love. Not just any love. True love. The love of my life. I’d always had a Knowing that soul mates were real and I was determined to find mine. New York City was actually my first true love and the inspiration for my upcoming City Love trilogy. All these years later, I still feel the city love every single day.

Tribeca rooftop, New York City

Growing up across the water in New Jersey, I knew New York City was my true home. I could feel the pull of this magical kingdom even before my first visit. New York is a place where everyone is free to be exactly who they are. No more feeling like an outsider. No more feeling like I needed to escape. When I finally turned this big dream into reality, I knew my whole life would feel completely different in a way I’d always hoped it would. I practiced a lot of creative visualization: imagining my ideal life, writing out my goals, and taking steps every day to turn my dreams into reality. When you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, it’s easier to recognize once you find it. And having that calm clarity allows the things you want to manifest.

Back in my teens and early 20s, I thought that once certain things changed in my life I would finally be happy. I really believed those things had to happen first before I could find happiness. These were some of the big ones:

  • When I get married, I will be happy.
  • When I find an apartment in the West Village, I will be happy.
  • When I finish paying off my student loans, I will be happy.
  • When I reach my fitness goals, I will be happy.
  • When my first book gets published, I will be happy.

But I was wrong. I had it backwards. It wasn’t that those things had to happen first and then I would be happy. I had to be happy first and then those things would happen. I had to build my own internal happiness, to love myself for exactly who I was, to allow those external things to happen. When you are at peace with yourself, you are able to attract the positive energy necessary to turn your dreams into reality.

When I  am happy, things will change.

Ever notice that negative people who are constantly complaining about their life never seem to get what they want? Negative energy attracts negative energy. You get what you give. If someone is spewing a lot of negative energy out into the Universe, that is exactly what they will get back. Being happy first is key to achieving your goals…and then your happiness grows even larger once those goals are achieved.

How can you be happy when there are so many goals you want to achieve? By appreciating what you do have instead of fixating on what you don’t. The decisions that you make earlier in life shape your future. Being the best version of yourself ensures that you are creating the best possible future for yourself and your loved ones. Being on your game as often as possible opens so many doors of opportunity for you. Everything from recommendations to internships/jobs to special favors someone in power decides to do for you because you are so sweet/awesome/intelligent. The possibilities are endless. Including the possibility of finding a soul mate.

I refused to settle for less than finding the love of my life. Even when people told me that I needed to settle if I ever wanted to get married because I was in my late 30s and this is New York City where the probability of a woman getting married over 40 is smaller than the probability of being struck by lightning while simultaneously having a piano dropped on your head. Even when people told me I was being unrealistic, that the total package didn’t exist, that true love was a myth, I had a Knowing that the love of my life was out there. I allowed myself to find him by never giving up.

How do you know when you’ve found the person you’re meant to be with? You have this feeling of clarity you’ve never had before. The feeling is undeniable. The feeling tells you the search is over. Of course there are more specific details that are evident to the whole world. One way you know you’ve found a soul mate? Is when you get each other the same holiday card. Like these adorable Papyrus cards my BF/soul mate and I got each other this Christmas:

Soul mate holiday cards

To clarify, finding the love of your life does not mean finding a perfect person. No one is perfect. It’s just that the love of your life is perfect for you. Soul mates have flaws just like the rest of us. The love of my life doesn’t rinse the dishes before he puts them in the dishwasher. He struggles to maintain the closet organization systems I have established at his place. Sometimes he doesn’t read emails carefully and misses important information. But so what? If I listed all of my flaws, there would not be any more room on WordPress for anyone to blog about anything else. So please don’t misinterpret “soul mate” to mean “perfect person.” Soul mates are real, just like anyone else.

You can find the love of your life. Love yourself first. Build your own happiness. And refuse to settle for less than what your heart desires. Your dreams deserve to become reality. You deserve as much happiness as your heart can hold.

Here’s to infinite possibilities in 2015!

 

serendipity day

Happy Serendipity Day! Here’s my annual Serendipity Day post to celebrate the magic of this auspicious day with you. Yay for soul mates, positive energy, and following your heart.

*

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

You probably want 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. Even if you did see it, you probably didn’t pick up on the fact that Jonathan and Sara meet on December 20. I’m obsessive about those sorts of details, so I totally did. Then I immediately made a note 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 and watch the glittery skyline and send positive energy out into the Universe.

Sara Thomas and Jonathan Trager at Wollman Rink in Central Park

Then 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 and found out that they don’t have those anymore. Which is fine because those frozen hot chocolates are 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 them 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 took action to create more possibility for finding true love. New York City is magic. This city makes magical things happen.

Sara Thomas and Jonathan Trager, reunited

So. How can you celebrate Do Da Day if you’re not here in New York? Well, if you’re 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 things will help you get closer to turning your big dream into reality.

Oh, and PS? Serendipity 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 23K edible gold leaf. Just in case you weren’t sure what to order.

Golden Opulence Sundae at Serendipity

Happy Serendipity Day, friendly neighbors! Let’s make magic happen.

look up – free public baths

There are so many spectacular look up moments to have in New York City I can’t even remember all the ones I’ve had in my nearly 19 years here. Or even most of them. Research shows that we tend to remember the experiences we have alone more vividly than experiences we have with other people. A lot of my look up moments have happened alone. They are burned into my brain like a kind of creative fuel I run on. But I had a recent look up moment with someone that I want to share with you.

We were walking around the East Village on a spontaneous cookie crawl. We hit up DeRobertis (good thing since it tragically closed a few weeks later after 110 years) (and don’t even get me started on Bruno closing after 40 years) (and Gobo closing! How can my favorite vegetarian restaurant be closed?!), Veniero’s, and Insomnia Cookies. Skittering around on a sugar high, I looked up and saw this:

Free Public Baths of the City of New York

The old-school etching above the doorways said Free Public Baths of the City of New York. The building was massive. What was it now? Upon further inspection at the open gated entrance, we discovered the building is now an upscale photography studio. But what did it used to be? We researched and found out something really cool. There was a whole public bath movement in New York City back in the 1840s. People who lived in the old East Village tenements didn’t have access to bathtubs or showers in their apartments. They came to the Free Public Baths, which had seven bathtubs and 94 showers. After bathrooms became standard in apartment buildings, the Free Public Baths closed in 1958. Then it was used as a garage/warehouse until 1995, when it became the photography studio it is today.

How fascinating is that? I never even knew about the public bath movement. And I probably never would have discovered this important part of New York’s history if I hadn’t looked up as we walked by.

In a city where old-school institutions are closing due to skyrocketing outrageous rents, it’s reassuring to look up and see that the historical flavor of New York City is still all around. I will continue to look up…and learn way more about my city love.

top ten, working it edition

1. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while might know that I like to work out. I’ve been working out since I was 16, doing aerobics in front of the TV with Charlene Prickett on a very 80s show called It Figures. We’re talking leotards, belts, and leg warmers. Then it was on to a lot of step in college. Other classes in grad school. Since then I’ve been into kickboxing, boot camp, yoga, Pilates, hip-hop dance, and total body with a few trainers. Currently I’m all about the Zumba, Bodypump, and core. In over 20 years of working out at many gyms, Kara Doyle is by far the most amazing fitness instructor I’ve ever had. She is in permanent beast mode. She is dorktastic in the best possible way. She has dazzling positive energy that motivates her students to work harder and inspires us to be better. I’ve only been working out with Kara for about three years, but in that time she has shaped me into someone who, for the first time ever, might actually be in rehearsal for the gun show.

So I was bummed to see that no one’s ever buying tickets to my gun show while Jim Wittig is working it:

Susane Colasanti and Jim Wittig

Muscles much? Jim is fierce. He does not play. Actually, he does play hard after he works hard. My BF/soul mate (who is Jim’s cousin) took this photo of us at Jim’s poolside gym. At his gorgeous beach house. That sleeps 22 people. Um, yeah. Jim wins.

2. Happy 20th Anniversary to my favorite comic strip of all time, MUTTS! Patrick McDonnell does such a beautiful job of creating sweet, sensitive artwork that raises awareness of animal rights while encouraging everyone to treat the world around them with respect and admiration.

MUTTS comic, pink bubble wishes

May your pink bubble wishes for peace and harmony blossom.

3. Some of you have been asking me if the reference to Red Bedroom Records in Now and Forever is the same Red Bedroom Records from One Tree Hill. They are absolutely the same! One thing I love about writing teen novels is adding the kinds of quirky details I love reading in books. I adore making connections that resonate with me and I am thrilled when you love them, too!

4. Speaking of Now and Forever, Jean BookNerd just posted a fresh interview with me and included a giveaway of three signed copies of the book! Thanks for being so awesome, Jean.

5. I really don’t want to admit this. But. After much denial, I have to say that it’s getting kind of chilly. Like dipping down into the 50s at night. I’m doing my best not to let the end of summer get to me. We officially have one more week of summer left. The autumnal equinox is September 23 this year. And you best believe I will be working it endless summer style until then. This summer girl does not want to put her flip-flops away. No one should ever have to put their flip-flops away. Unless, you know. You love fall. If fall is your season, then yay for you! I’m sure you will be working those sweaters and scarves like nobody’s business.

6. It seems that I may have developed a slight addiction to ModCloth dresses. If by “slight,” I mean “severe.”

Susane Colasanti in ModCloth

This was my summer fave. We called it the mermaid dress. See you next summer, mermaid dress. Tear.

7. An apartment one block from my place is being sold for $16 million. Of course it is on my dream home list. Don’t get me wrong. I totally love my place. Buying and renovating my apartment was when I turned one of my biggest dreams into reality. But this is my first apartment, not my last. There will be a lot of changes in the next few years. A lot of big, exciting, groundbreaking changes. Part of my practice of creative visualization involves recording my goals for the next three months, six months, year, three years, five years, ten years, and lifetime. A penthouse apartment here in downtown Manhattan is right up there on the goals list. The epitome of working it as a New York City homeowner is scoring the type of apartment that is so you it becomes this peaceful Zen retreat. My home is like that. It is a bright, streamlined writing oasis. But this duplex penthouse at 18 Gramercy Park? Is def on my goal list as a future Zen retreat.

8. You know how the models on my book covers never show their faces? I prefer it that way. When I’m reading a book, I like to imagine the characters the way my mind shapes them as the story unfolds. At the same time, it’s always interesting to see the cover models’ faces. They never look the way I thought they would! Friendly neighbor Ronni found this interview with the boy on the cover of Something Like Fate. Thanks, Ronni! Plus you can see what the cover boy from Keep Holding On looks like and read a short interview I did with him here.

9. For the first time since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started keeping count, more than half the adult population in the United States is single. And into it. They’re the growing number of people putting their time and money into making cities vibrant. Only 22% of Americans were single in 1950. Today the number is just over 50%. One factor that’s contributing to more people staying single longer or making life changes to become single? The search for a soul mate. Refusing to settle for anything less than what your heart desires. The key to finding true happiness in a relationship is finding true happiness with yourself first. Snaps for everyone who has the confidence to work it and own it being single, confident, and happy.

10. I’ll end with this reminder:

You are of infinite worth

You are of infinite worth. Never forget that you matter, you are making a difference in this world, and you are loved <3

top ten, endless summer edition

How is it the end of August already? Seriously with this? So what you’re telling me is that it will be Thanksgiving three months from now? Directly followed by winter?

I demand a recount.

1. One of the hardest parts of leaving summer behind is saying goodbye to summer fruit. The amount of watermelon I have already eaten is extraordinary. 

I heart watermelon

Then there was the best cantaloupe I’d ever had in my entire life. We got it at a roadside farm stand in New Jersey. It tasted just like growing up in Jersey farmland. And don’t even get me started on the berries. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries. I will miss you all to pieces.

2. Fortunately for us, there are lots of other treats to savor. Like Sprinkles Ice Cream sundaes. See, first there was Sprinkles Cupcakes, which I finally got to visit for the first time when I was on book tour in Los Angeles in 2010. That was also when I got to meet Wilson from Cast Away (scroll down in the same post for documentation)! Then Sprinkles expanded into ice cream territory. A mad impressive accomplishment, especially considering that they were killing it just with the cupcakes. I like taking some of my old students out for cupcakes once a year. It’s our Friendly Neighbor Reunion. This year our FNR was held at Sprinkles Ice Cream, which is right next door to Sprinkles Cupcakes and the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM. What did I have?

Susane Colasanti with a Sprinkles Ice Cream sundae

Um, yeah. This is a Sprinkles Ice Cream sundae. It’s a cupcake bottom, then ice cream, then the cupcake top and frosting. They also have cookie sundaes and brownie sundaes. The cookies and brownies are broken up into cups. Then you add whatever ice cream and toppings you want. All I’m going to say is this: It’s a good thing Sprinkles is uptown and I live downtown. There is no way I would be able to resist a daily sundae fix if I lived closer.

3. Summer reading freaking rules. Everyone knows this. My summer reading started with Eleanor & Park. Reading that book was like a mental mashup of classic 80s movies highlights plus my most embarrassing dark secrets from high school. Rainbow Rowell’s writing is so beautiful and brilliant and true that I immediately had to go out and buy her other books. I can’t even explain to you how much fun I’m having reading Landline. It’s official. I’m a Rainbow Rowell fangirl.

4. It wouldn’t be summer without experiencing my trifecta of fave old-school down the shore activities on the Point Pleasant boardwalk: Skee-Ball, water ice, and bumper cars.

Susane Colasanti and bumper cars

Am I aware that I am a major dork? Yes. I am totally aware of that. It is ridiculous how excited I get for bumper cars. But I’m not one of those mean riders who enjoys bumping into other cars. I like to swing around the outside in a smooth circle, avoiding the pileups and staying in motion. You could say I’m a bumper car pacifist.

5. One book event highlight of the summer was Beach Bag Book Club on Long Island. This is an annual event I absolutely adore. I’m extremely fortunate to have participated in BBBC for the past few summers. This year I was on a super fun panel with these fabulous authors:

Jennifer E. Smith, Kieran Scott, Susane Colasanti, Elizabeth Eulberg, and Jen Calonita

Here I am surrounded by Jennifer E. Smith, Kieran Scott, Elizabeth Eulberg, and Jen Calonita. These ladies are beyond amazing. Their accomplishments are an inspiration to us all. If you’re looking for more summer reading, I highly recommend everything by these four adorable romance writers.

6. Speaking of book stuff, some fresh interviews were posted this summer. Author Turf interviewed me about inspiration, career building, and advice for aspiring writers. Progressive Radio Network interviewed me in the studio about my inspiration for Now and Forever, why my main motto is Dream Big, and how my personal love life influences my books. The interview starts at 32:55 of the podcast. 

7. Even more book stuff! Remember when I shared some behind-the-scenes photos from the City Love cover shoot? Here’s one more via Margot Wood, who was on the scene:

City Love by Susane Colasanti cover shoot

I heard there were way more people there. The cover shoot took place over two days on a Brooklyn rooftop to capture the dazzling New York City skyline in the background. Book one of the City Love trilogy will be out on April 21, 2015. But the cover should be revealed soon! Please stay tuned for exciting news about the reveal.

8. This summer here in New York was gorgeous. Not crazy hot and humid. August was way more tolerable than usual. That meant lots of dinners outside, epic night walks, and laying out on the sundeck. Temperatures were in the 90s for only 4 days this summer as opposed to the average 18 days. But the summer overall has been two-tenths of a degree warmer than average. Escaping a heat wave made the summer feel cooler, even though it wasn’t. Plus our last four summers ranked in the top ten of hottest summers for this past century. And the Earth experienced its highest temperatures in over a century during this May and June. This concludes the part where I geek out science teacher style. Thanks for listening.

9. Shout-out to Garrison Keillor for celebrating Prairie Home Companion’s 40th anniversary this summer! I have been a massive Prairie Home fan for…wow, almost 20 years. Snaps for Garrison preserving vintage radio show entertainment. Long live PHC.

10. Here’s to epic summer love.

All I Need by Susane Colasanti, National Book Store

 Summer is not over yet, friendly neighbors. Anything is possible <3

best version of you

A soul mate is someone who inspires you to be the best version of yourself.

Even more important? Being the best version of you for YOU.

Best version of you

When I was in high school, summer always symbolized a second chance. It was the time when I promised to reinvent myself. Every year I wanted to go back to school as a shiny new version of myself, the better and brighter version I knew I could be.

But my summers of reinvention never quite worked out. Why? Because I didn’t realize that I already had the strength, knowledge, and passion to be the best version of myself. I thought reinvention would come from outside sources. That I had to look a whole different way in order for people to see me differently. This was back when I cared way too much about what other people thought. When the end of summer came and I still pretty much looked like the same person, I was always disappointed. Then I would start looking forward to next summer…

If I could have given myself a memo, it would have said this: Don’t wait for next summer or the summer after that to be the best version of yourself. Real life doesn’t start when you graduate from high school. Real life is happening right now. This is your real life and you have the power to shape it into the life you want. True, there was a lot I couldn’t control back then. But there was also a lot I could have controlled.

Change what you can. Accept what you can’t. And strive to be the person you want to be every single day.

Hope the rest of your summer is spectacular <3