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

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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

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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.

top five, good vibes edition

Yay for cooler summer breeze! Here in New York, it has been so hot and humid and rainy under this heat dome that the past two weeks haven’t been the most exciting outdoor times. But now the good vibes of summer are back with the return of sunshine and highs in the low 80s. Even more good vibes: This Saturday, August 6 I will be at the Read Up book festival in Greenville, SC. It should be a total blast. Hope to see those of you in the area there!

1. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that I am addicted to summer fruit. All the berries, melons, cherries…these are the days. So it makes sense that my refrigerator also LOVES summer. Especially since I am a vegetarian. I’ve been a vegetarian since college, for over 20 years, and it’s all about the fresh fruits and vegetables. That is why I ate an entire watermelon last week. A really big one. By myself. Addiction is a powerful thing.

Summer refrigerator

Oh how I wish my refrigerator could look like this all the time. Which just makes me enjoy this time with my fresh summer forage even more.

2. I have so much love for my readers I can’t even contain myself. But there is a special place in my heart for my boy readers. When Jenefer tweeted a photo of her student reading Something Like Fate, which was his choice bookstore purchase, it was one of the best warm fuzzies ever.

Something Like Fate summer reading

Summer reading feels!

3. Mr. Rogers was probably my earliest mentor. I remember watching him when I was little, like 3 or 4, and feeling like he was talking directly to me. I even ran over to my Gramp one time when I swore Mr. Rogers said my name to tell him that Mr. Rogers was saying hello to me! You know how I have this whole friendly neighbors thing? Well Mr. Rogers was the OFN (Original Friendly Neighbor). So naturally I am geeking out over this PBS Mr. Rogers remix.

There is also a Bob Ross remix, for all the “happy little trees” enthusiasts out there.

4. In other good vibes news, Apple is replacing their pistol emoji with a green water gun. And they are adding a pride flag. More reasons to love Shiny Happy Apple World.

5. My mantra for this week:

I choose to be happy

Choose happiness. Choose kindness. Choose love. ❤

vp v. vip

Yesterday evening I looked out my window and saw some kind of event happening at one of the brownstones across the street. Actually it was like people were setting up for a big event. There were all these guys in suits and sunglasses walking around. Big black cars were parked. A white tent was set up from the door of the brownstone leading down to the sidewalk. At first I thought it was a wedding. But then I noticed that there were only guys standing around. No women. And the guys all looked like security. Especially the one standing guard outside the front door. There were police barricades along the sidewalk. The NYPD and FDNY were here. When I left for the gym, I saw that the entire street was blocked off. I looked at the brownstone with the tent outside. Five security guys in suits and sunglasses stared back.

Joe Biden was visiting a friend.

Or a relative. My doorman wasn’t sure. But according to him, Joe Biden makes this visit across the street about once a year. The street is always blocked off. Tons of security is on the scene. And the tent is put up so that no one has an aerial view of the Vice President entering and leaving the building. Lots of windows like mine were overlooking the scene. You never know who could be behind any of those windows.

This got me thinking about the extreme measures Joe Biden takes every year to visit his friend. He goes to these extreme measures for his visit, yet I have friends who live right here in New York City with me who I don’t even see once a year. And visiting them would take a lot less effort. I thought about how easy it is to get entrenched in your routine. Creative New Yorkers, the ones who came here to make their big dreams reality, are laser focused, driven, passionate people determined to succeed. We tend to be inflexible when it comes to protecting our professional time, and personal time if we are in a relationship. Which sometimes means less time for friends.

Who are the VIPs in your life? Do you have friends nearby who you have been meaning to spend more time with? Or friends who live far away you haven’t spoken to in a while? Summer is a good time to make those plans, pick up that phone, and rekindle your most meaningful personal connections. Because if Joe Biden can block off an entire street just to see his friend, we can certainly have dinner with ours. When an old friend visited me the other day, I wanted to share some of the best parts of New York living with her. Including my fave cookie (rainbow almond) at my fave place (the High Line).

Susane Colasanti on the High Line, June 2016

The ways in which friendships change over the years fascinates me. How you can be friends with one person for 20 years and still have all the most important things in common, while you might only have another friend for a few years before you grow apart. We never know how our friendships will change. Or if they will end. Let’s cherish them while we can.

Shower the people you love with love, friendly neighbors ❤

donut throwdown

This amazing thing happened at YALLWEST. I mean, tons of amazing things happened at YALLWEST. That’s how the YALLs roll. But this amazing thing involves donuts.

When I got to my hotel in Santa Monica, I immediately bonded with the guy who checked me in. You know how sometimes you meet someone and you just click? That was me and Josh. A bunch of authors were staying at this hotel, so we were talking about the festival and Josh asked me what kinds of books I write. His eyes lit up when I told him that I write contemporary, realistic love stories. He said he loves those kinds of books. When he said he loves romance trilogies in particular, of course I gave him an extra ARC of Lost in Love I’d brought with me. He was stoked.

“I feel like I’m always lost in love,” Josh said.

Then I asked him about vegetarian restaurants nearby. We were talking about good places in Venice for green juice when I mentioned that my birthday was coming up that Sunday. I had already researched potential cake places and found a nearby donut place that looked good called DK’s Donuts.

“Shut the front door,” Josh said.

Josh called out two guys from the back who work with him. He explained that every Monday is Doughnut Monday, where they order late night donuts and kick back to get their sugar rush on. The three of them and one other girl even have an official Doughnut Club. For reals. And this guy Josh works with, Rigo, is all about the DK’s. He was mad gassed that some girl from New York City shows up in Santa Monica and even she knows DK’s.

“It was obviously the superior choice,” I said.

Or was it? Because Josh is a Donut King lova and thinks those are the best. You could tell this was a hot debate in their Doughnut Club. Rigo was taunting Josh how DK’s was getting bicoastal attention. But Josh stood by his Donut King loyalty. So Josh and Rigo made an executive decision to order donuts from both places and have me do a taste test in the lobby on my birthday after the festival events were over.

The DK’s Donuts vs. Donut King Throwdown was on.

When I showed up for the donut throwdown, I was super impressed.

Donut King and DK's Donuts, Santa Monica

Rigo had arranged donuts from both places so I couldn’t tell which came from where. I was psyched to see that some of my classic faves – rainbow sprinkle, twist, coconut – were represented. So it was Josh, Rigo, two other Doughnut Club members and their manager, all gathered with me to celebrate donut excellence.

We cut pieces for everyone. Rigo and Josh watched my face carefully as the donuts were sampled one by one. I didn’t want to know which donuts were winning, so I tried not to look at their reactions because these guys were not even trying for poker faces. This was a hardcore throwdown of epic proportions and every bite was crucial.

I gave my feedback after each sampling. The rainbow sprinkles one was adorable, but a bit on the dry side. The twist was fluffy and delicious. The bomb maple log was a fan favorite. And so on…until only two remained.

Glazed vs. Glazed

Oh yeah. It was down to Glazed vs. Glazed for the win.

The winner? Donut King! Josh was ecstatic. Ringo was all “In your FACE” when I showed up raving about DK’s and now he had to deal with his beloved bakery being bested.

As if I already wasn’t hoping to be at YALLWEST again next year, the prospect of Donut Throwdown 2 makes everything even sweeter. We have agreed to take it up a notch with more complex flavors next time. I can’t wait.

Donut Throwdown party people

Oh, and PS? I just want to say how much I freaking love people. These friendly neighbors got together to include me in a special birthday treat over our mutual love of donuts. How incredible are they? Just one more amazing thing to add to the list…

top five, fangirl edition

Exciting times, friendly neighbors! Spring flowers are in full bloom, daylight hours will keep increasing until the first day of summer, and the first good berries are right around the corner. Oh, and my new book comes out one week from today! Lost in Love will be released on May 3. Lost in Love is the second book of my City Love trilogy, and you can pre-order it now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound.

In other exciting news, some things I am fangirling over…

1. Is anyone else freaking out that Gilmore Girls and Prison Break are coming back? From our mutual fangirling on Twitter and Facebook, it sounds like you’re just as excited as I am.

Okay, keeping this a spoiler-free zone? Prison Break is coming back with all the key players, which means a certain someone is ALIVE. I cannot tell you how relieved I am to hear this. Seriously, I was bawling for days after watching the series finale. Of course they staged the grave visit for whichever bad guys were lurking in the bushes. Moving forward I should always assume something like that when my fave characters die. Believe. If you haven’t seen Prison Break, just watch the pilot and you will be hooked. Let me put it this way. Season One of Prison Break is Breaking Bad good…if not even better. Yeah, I said it!

Michael Scofield

And Gilmore Girls? I mean, I cannot even contain myself. As I am often late to the party, the Gilmore Guys podcast has only recently come to my attention. Dude. That ish is riveting. The first podcast I listened to was around three hours long. At first I was like, “Whaaaat? There’s no way I’m going to play this for three hours. That’s OD.” But it was not OD at all. Two hours in and I still wanted more. So yeah. Go listen.

2. In other fangirl obsessions, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli blew my face off so hard I had to check to make sure my nose was still on.

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon is my new role model. I love his voice so. freaking. much. I love his squad. I love his astute observations of the universal human condition. Simon made an excellent point about how we are all houses with vast rooms and tiny windows. And how there shouldn’t be a white/straight default. There shouldn’t even be a default. Shine on, Simon. Snaps for Becky Albertalli on her phenomenal debut!

3. While I was at the RT Booklovers Convention in Las Vegas, I discovered that the Serendipity 3 on the Vegas strip puts those red and blue straws in their frozen hot chocolate just like in the movie. The New York location does not. You know what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…like if a certain someone ordered two of these. Because straws.

Serendipity 3, Las Vegas frozen hot chocolate

4. The Bookish Bookkeeper was the first book blog to review Lost in Love…and gave it five stars! She said, “I can’t tell you how much I love this series and all its warm fuzzies and random acts of kindness things. This book makes me want to be a nicer, kinder, better person.” Wow. Thanks for your amazing review, BB!

5. There were SO many highlights of the Chicago Young Adult Book Festival this past weekend. Like finally meeting Emery Lord and having refreshments with John Green. They were both really chill to kick it with. Somehow C-3PO wandered into the mix…

Susane Colasanti, John Green, and Emery Lord at The Book Cellar in Chicago

Thanks to The Book Cellar for hosting this fantastic festival!

My Lost in Love tour continues this weekend in Santa Monica with YALLWest. Which is going to be amaze. It is a YALL, after all. Plus my birthday is May 1! Party on the pier, people! If you’re going to YALLWest, you can find me on April 3o at 1pm moderating the He Said, She Said, They Said panel, and signing right after at 2pm. And of course I will be at the Smackdown at 5pm. Then on May 1, I have a panel at 12pm and am signing at 3pm. And am eating birthday cake. Preferably funfetti with buttercream frosting. We’ll see what happens.

For those of you in the New York area, the Lost in Love launch event will be on Tuesday, May 3, 6-8pm at Books of Wonder. Later this summer on April 6 I will be at Read Up in Greenville, SC. Really looking forward to everything…and hope to see your smiling face!

those sex and the city feels

So here’s the thing about the City Love trilogy continuing with Lost in Love coming out on May 3. I mean, so many things, but a big one is sisterhood. When I started planning the trilogy, my goal was to bring those Sex and the City feels we all know by heart and love as much (if not more than) our sugar drug of choice. For me, that means being able to recite pretty much every line of “The Good Fight” (the one where Aidan moves in with Carrie and all holy get-your-crap-out-of-my-closet hell breaks loose) while enjoying my entertainment experience more than a big piece of funfetti cake with buttercream frosting.

Of course now I can’t stop thinking about funfetti cake with buttercream frosting.

Funfetti birthday cake

Dude. Maybe I will get very lucky and hunt down a piece of birthday cake like this at YALLWest. Because they just posted the schedule which looks AMAZE and I will be there April 30 and May 1 (aka my birthday, aka party time). This cake is possible. Anything is possible.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah. Sisterhood. See, the first City Love book only takes place over the first ten days the girls know each other. So I really loved exploring the growing friendship between Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna in Lost in Love, which becomes even stronger in book three of the trilogy. Summer, sisterhood, and self-discovery. I hope Lost in Love brings those magical feels for you.

You can find out more about the City Love trilogy in this Miss Print interview…my third one with Emma because that’s how she rolls (aka mad profesh). And you can pre-order Lost in Love on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound.

Love how I wanted to post a nostalgic SATC pic and ended up with a big piece of cake. I guess blogging can be like writing a book: sometimes the story takes over in unplanned ways.

One thing I am planning on? Having a ridiculous amount of fun on my book tour, which starts this week! SO stoked to meet readers at these amazing events. See you at RT Booklovers this week (including Teen Day on April 16), Las Vegas! And at the Chicago Young Adult Book Festival on April 23! And YALLWest in Santa Monica on April 30 and May 1! And New York City for the Lost in Love launch event on May 3! And Read Up in Greenville, SC on August 6!

Shine on, everyone 🙂