The Flowers of Romance

Published February 9, 2016 by Maryanne

Flowers of RomanceVintage photo swiped from Google

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and like every year, here come the haters ruining it for the rest of us with their anti-Valentine’s Day rants.

So, once again, I say, get over yourselves, Dear Joy Killers.

Yeah, we don’t need a special holiday to dictate how we feel, but don’t forget St. Valentine was a cool saint, number one, and number two, whenever a whole slew of people are on the same vibe/wavelength, it promotes incredible energy from the universe. So if couples are getting engaged, married or just celebrating their first Valentine’s Day together, it’s a euphoric thrill to bask on that cool/crazy energy. Valentine’s Day isn’t until Sunday, but I’m feeling the groove already.

But haters prevail. Just as we flipped the calendar to read “February” — and so began the “me-me-me” tirades.

As if women aren’t ungrateful enough for the kind things their boyfriends/husbands will do for them, now the latest in Valentine’s hating is the newest generation of feminists dissing on flowers.

And so they moan:

“They’re too expensive.”

“They die.”

“I’d rather have a dinosaur bouquet.” (An ugly dust collector made of polyester — toxic for the environment. And at $39.99, you can definitely get a cheaper flower bouquet).

Then, the most ridiculous reason of all — “Giving flowers means he’s apologizing for doing something bad.”

Give me a break! Just because giving flowers could be a beautiful peace treaty, don’t insult the intelligence and kindness of a good man who gives flowers “just because.”

Just a mere 13 years ago I was still single (and still working in an office) and my boyfriend at the time unexpectedly sent a bouquet to my office — for no reason at all. I was thrilled.

A co-worker saw them and commented, “Was he bad?”

I didn’t know what she meant by that. I thought she was making an S&M reference, so I said, “yeah” and winked at her. Not realizing, at the time, she was making a catty remark; that a guy wouldn’t do such a nice thing. Then it dawned on me later. I could never look that woman in the eye again. That kind of negativity towards men is not for me.

I feel so sorry for those types of women — the man haters, the feminists, and the distrusting who always think a nice gesture has an an ulterior motive. These women will never be happy in the romance department. And the sad thing is, I’m sure many of them are hooked up with poor slobs who will never be appreciated; the kind of guys who can’t do enough for them.

But, I’m an old-fashioned kind of girl who loves flowers! My husband and I often give each other flowers “just because.” They’re pretty. They make the house smell nice. And, yes, they die, but that’s symbolic of the circle of life.

Last fall I treated myself and put a bouquet of flowers in my home office. When they dried out, I left them because they still looked pretty. Then my husband surprised me with new “winter style” bouquet. And then after that a brighter one, as we were enjoying a very mild New Jersey winter so the bright flowers looked absolutely gorgeous as the sun beat through the window.

After four years of marriage, and 10 years together, I am still madly in love with my husband; and incredibly happy for everyone around me who is madly in love with their significant others. (And appreciates old fashioned romantic gestures). <3

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” (where the lead character, Beck, is a GREAT GUY!) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513

“Falsely” Body-Shamed Through the Decades

Published February 6, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_58941980s, in my 20s — at 115 pounds and 34-24-34; a girlfriend said I was “fat”

Body image is something many women relate to struggling with. While some blame the media or men, I have to say, that’s not what failed me. My issues haunted me in the worst way … blatantly in my face. Not even behind my back, but stabbed right through my heart. And always by a so-called “friend.”

Writing this brought tears to my eyes. But this is what writers do. We embarrass ourselves. We share personal things. We let it all hang out. Because when that one person thanks you for sharing their story, it’s all worth it.

So here goes … the most honest thing I ever wrote in my life.

Back in the 1980s we didn’t have access to health info on the internet. When I became a woman, the only way I knew how to keep my weight down was to eat less. That was a struggle when you come from an Italian family and your Grandmother made the best linguine with clam sauce — soaking the Italian bread in that sauce was heaven on earth. I’d only eat fruit during the day so I could come home from school and have that clam sauce — with not one, not two, but three slices of Italian bread.

My sister and I were always complimented on what healthy appetites we had. The fact that I didn’t eat much as a child and was way too thin made me proud of myself that I was now eating with gusto. Nevertheless, I stayed at 115 pounds by taking dance classes three times a week.

When I was 23, I was invited by a friend to perform on stage as part of his band’s show. I didn’t have to do much, just walk across the stage and hand the guitarist his guitar — while wearing a bikini.

I was thrilled. It was something fun and creative. Back then 25 was considered “old” so it was exciting to do something sexy like that, while I was “still young.” Eventually girls tried to be my friend (to get close to the band). Being naive, I fell for it. But being more naive, I was so stupid to consider this one girl a “friend.” She was the first women who ever remarked, right to my face, that I didn’t match up.

“You look like you put on weight,” she said with a big smile on her face. She was so proud that she thought she had one up on me.

Her words cut like a knife. And actually when she said it, I had lost weight, so obviously her biting words were said out of spite — not out of concern. This was my first taste of experiencing jealousy coming from another woman. And it didn’t feel too good. This girl, who I always thought was pretty, turned ugly right before my eyes — like the wicked witch melting into a puddle. It was so surreal. Her fake eyelashes looked like spiders. Her long nose looked like an anteater’s. Her bad ’80s teased hair looked like that of a dead black poodle. I could have thrown up looking at her. It was like the “Shallow Hal” movie — I saw her “ugly” on the inside transform to the outside. This person was not my friend. And now I had the upper hand because I “ghosted” her: avoided her phone calls like the plague. Who has the “one-up” now, bitch?

From that point on, I avoided getting too close to women. Like The Cramps song said, “All Women Are Bad.”

SAM_2786Modeling in my late 20s … Friend-Free, but Fat-Free

I went through my entire 20s and 30s without a real girlfriend. I couldn’t bear being falsely scrutinized like that again. Why do women do that to each other? I wasn’t raised that way. I’m not a jealous person. I see the good in everyone. While my faults are many, being an ugly person isn’t one of them. I don’t need to insult someone to feel better about myself. Instead, giving a sincere compliment makes me feel really good!

I’m the one who sees beauty in everyone. I’m always the first to give a compliment — to notice a new hairstyle, a new dress, or a new piece of jewelry. I’m not bragging, I’m enlightening … this is a great way to be. But sadly, many women don’t tap into that mindset. It seems some live to be bitches, literally, as some are so good at it, they territorial sprinkle their piss on others ever so delicately so that when you call them on their shit, they’ll poo-poo it off as a “joke” or insist you took it the wrong way.

In my 20s and 30s I had a lot of boyfriends and not one complained about my weight — ever! In fact, one told me I was “too thin” and that he preferred women who weighed at least 15 pounds more than me. It could have been so easy to gain weight to make that cute guy happy — but I couldn’t do it. Too many catty women were watching on the sidelines, waiting for me to fail. And here I was, just an average young person … I couldn’t even imagine what kind of scrutiny women in the public eye had to deal with!

With so much pressure — from other women — I would rather have died than gain one pound! I was in the gym three times a week. And even though anyone with half a brain knows that muscle weighs more than fat, I admit I only had half a brain back then because if I didn’t like what the scale said, I’d obsessively do an additional work-out.

Even when I was in the best shape of my life, I’ve had female co-workers tell me I was “fat”; I looked “short” and even overheard one tell a guy not to compliment me so much because it would go to my head. How could it go to my head when women all around me were trashing me; trying to make me feel bad? Nothing went to my head. Women did a number on me. I rarely thought I was much to look at — and always saw myself as “fat” when I obviously wasn’t. Any ounce of confidence I had was FAKE.

SAM_376730s, 113 lbs,  34-24-34, & a jealous girlfriend compared my body to Mama Cass

In my late 30s I met a woman I once looked up to. She was a lot older than me and incredibly stylish; always wearing designer clothing. She resembled Angie Bowie. At first we got along beautifully. Then she started taking cheap shots at me: My body was the same size at “Mama” Cass Elliot … I was “fat” (and she put her hand to her face and giggled like a child as she said it) … and my hair was too long, it needed to be cut, but when I did, it wasn’t cut right — it only looked good the first time I had it cut.

This was not constructive criticism. It was verbal abuse.

I did everything with this person: dinner, concert, museums … but then I found myself avoiding her because I didn’t enjoy her company. Having to worry about whether or not someone is going to insult you is not fun.

Before my disappearance act, I tried confronting her. She confessed that she had a problem with body image and said, “Don’t take my remarks too seriously. You’re beautiful.” But the damage was done. Once someone hurts you like that, it’s hard to get past it. You can’t be friends with someone who makes you feel self-conscious or inferior.

maryanne & artIn my 40s, as good as it ever got — now all I heard was “too thin”

When you go through your life hearing that you’re “fat” you would think someone telling you that you’re “thin” would be a compliment. No … it’s worse.

In my late 30s I started having sugar handling and thyroid issues. From 2003 to 2006 I struggled terribly to try to keep weight on. I got down to 105 pounds and barely fit into size 3 jeans. During this time, I had three cancer scares and was in and out of hospitals for tests. I was working at a newspaper as an editorial assistant … and not one day went by that a catty female co-worker didn’t bitch about how thin I was. And the bizarre thing was, I was eating more than I ever did in my life. Because of my health issues, I became a raw foodist, hoping that would magically make everything better. I was burning calories like crazy — without doing much. One of my boyfriends nicknamed me “metab” for “fast metabolism.” He was amazed and said, “It’s not like you’re on the treadmill every night.”

I wasn’t. It was because of my hyper-thyroid issue, but also because not all calories are created equal. If you eat food in its natural unprocessed state, you will lose weight.

Health practitioners were worried that I was losing bone mass because of my hyper-thyroid. Some begged me to gain weight while others asked what my “secret” was. I was more insecure and confused than ever. Now I wasn’t “fat.” I wasn’t thin either. I was “too thin.” How do you fix that? Would there ever be a happy medium? Actually I was “medium” — that was the problem. There’s nothing wrong with “medium” so unhappy people have to find something wrong with it and turn it to “fat” or “thin.” People are fucking WEIRD!

So when the editor of the newspaper overhead me talking on the telephone to a doctor he went ballistic on me. I wasn’t allowed to let anyone in the newsroom know I had health problems. So I suffered in secret while I heard all these bitchy comments …

“The girl who eats all day!” (It was announced like I was a circus freak!)

“Raw foods — the diet where you eat appetizers and never get to the main course!”

“Do you go to the bathroom and make yourself throw-up? How could you eat so much and not gain weight?” (This one should have been reported to Human Resources, but I let it slide and called her a “cunt” under my breath).

I tracked my calories on FitDay dot com — I was eating over 4000 calories per day and struggling to keep my weight ON!

Several months before the last test confirmed I did NOT have cancer, I met my super amazing husband. For the first few years he put up with my raw food obsession (that I thought was helping me, but really wasn’t). He never commented that I was “too thin.” He always made me feel amazing.

Eventually I gave up the raw foods and weaned myself back on to healthy cooked foods. And of course continued to exercise. I was effortlessly thin for many years and happy with my body — thanks to my supportive husband.

Then I hit 50 and something happened that never happened before. I let the numbers of the scale go up. I couldn’t fight it anymore. It never bothered me — or my husband. We loved my new curves! Of course I never stopped exercising, so my butt remained hard as a rock — like it’s always been.

One of my favorite people in the world is a younger girl I became friends with a few years ago who is curvy and confident. So when I gained weight, I smiled to myself thinking of how pretty she was and how she rocked her weight. The kid was a goddess!

And of course I was thrilled when my cup size went from B to DD! I felt empowered. Plus, I got to buy all new clothes. I embraced the “new me.” Middle-age is an amazing place to be. You don’t have to prove anything anymore. There’s a beautiful peace and content inside you (if you’re lucky to accept this growth and not pine for your youth).

The bad news is, I mistakenly thought that now that I was middle-aged and had a little gut, women wouldn’t feel threatened by me anymore. I imagined I could be in the company of any woman and it would be okay. We could have lunch and tea and shop and chat and bond. Well, in many cases, that did happen. In middle-age I have some of the best girlfriends in the world. My “picker” is finally working and I know quality people when I meet them. Not everyone is perfect and I’ve learned that when a woman, who is normally a decent person, starts going through a bitchy period, RUN. You could always come back when (or if) she comes back to her senses.

So, who am I avoiding these days?

  • The woman who told me that if I took my dream job as managing editor for DiningOut magazine I’d get fat from eating at all those restaurants. (Should I have told her she’d go blind from all the art work she does?)
  • The woman who asked me how my husband felt about my weight gain. (The answer — He ADORES me! MEOW — you catty bitch!)
  • ANYONE who judges a woman’s merit by her looks. After three years I dropped a client who tried to fat-shame me in front of other people saying, “Show me your ass!” Had this been in a corporate situation, this dumb fuck’s sorry butt would be in Human Resources faster than a greased rat’s ass. And THIS from a bloke who won’t splurge for a pair of new shoes and walks around with a shoe that has the sole separated from the actual shoe.

Seriously, if it wasn’t for amazing people like my husband, my sister, and some really cool friends, it would be so easy to let this nasty shit get to me. It’s nothing new. For four decades I’ve heard more people lash out ugly than I’ve heard good. So I cherish all the nice things I’m told because those heartfelt compliments are few and far between. But it’s not just me … it’s everybody. People always share stories about the mean things others say to them. Where do people get their nerve? Like my sister said on the phone this morning, “We were raised good. We’d never hurt people on purpose.”

It’s natural for people to want to feel good about themselves; and it’s natural to work at it. But sometimes whether we’ve gained weight or lost too much, it’s no one’s business and people should learn once and for all to keep their big mouths shut! You don’t know why someone gained weight — or why they lost it. A real cool, together person recognizes the fact that women can be beautiful no matter what she is going through. We have all these brave, fascinating women with bald heads battling cancer cheering each other on via magazines and internet. But let’s not stop there. Let’s celebrate women for their every day battles. There’s need for bad mouthing someone’s looks — EVER! Cheap people take cheap shots. And to belittle is to BE LITTLE.

Before you start shooting your mouth off about someone’s weight gain or weight loss, THINK …

If she’s a little chunky, bless her, for she may have a grandmother around who is cooking for her. (I miss mine terribly and would LOVE gain weight because of her good sauce!).

If she’s too thin, maybe she has health issues or is going through a divorce/break-up. Bless her for her strength. Don’t accuse her of having an eating disorder — that is just plain cruel!

If someone is over 50, weight gain could be unavoidable as hormones start to change. Bless her for going with it — for not obsessing over something that really doesn’t matter in the long run.

People gain weight. People get old. People get sick. People get thin. So shame on anyone who doesn’t look at the body part that’s really important — THE HEART. <3

SAM_79272015, 52-years-old and 130 pounds (with natural Double Ds!)

I’m so blessed to have an adoring husband who tells me every day I’m “gorgeous.” But even more blessed that I’ve accepted myself for who I am. The scale can go up and down and up again, but my soul will always be a stable one — a GOOD one!

Looking back, I should have never put so much emphasis on my weight (or lack of). Ladies, don’t let one or two bad experiences with other women scare you from seeking good friends. They are out there! Find a girlfriend who will support you, not scrutinize you. And most important of all, love your body no matter what — it’s the only one you have, and damn, it’s gorgeous! <3

Side note: I’m now under the care of an awesome nutritionist and my thyroid and sugar handling issues are resolved!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is a public speaker and lectures through-out New Jersey. For pricing and availability, contact: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Pear Tree’s “Learn & Listen” Series Now Has Bowie & Lennon Tributes!

Published February 5, 2016 by Maryanne
GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Musician, Keith Beck

Maryanne Christiano Mistretta, of Pear Tree Enterprises (https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/) is proud to add two new programs to the “Learn and Listen” series, available to libraries, senior centers, assisted living facilities, rotary clubs, Jewish Community Centers, etc.

Now on board with Pear Tree, Keith Beck brings his talent to the stage featuring the music of John Lennon and David Bowie.

“Learn and Listen: The Life and Music of John Lennon” and “Learn and Listen: The Life and Music of David Bowie” are two separate one-hour presentations, with Maryanne Mistretta sharing the biography of the the artists, followed by a half hour of acoustic music, featuring Keith Beck (http://www.zigmanbird.com/music) performing his interpretations of the music of John Lennon and David Bowie.

UPCOMING DATES!

Check out this amazing new addition to the Pear Tree “Learn & Listen” repertoire at The Boonton Library, 621 Main St., Boonton, New Jersey, on Friday, May 6, 2016, 6:30 p.m. (“The Life and Music of John Lennon”) and Friday, June 3, 2016 p.m. (“The Life and Music of David Bowie”). Both shows are outdoors! Thanks so much to Stephanie Gableman for having this fab series for the second year in a row.

Those who came to The Boonton Library last year will fondly remember what a blast we had presenting “The Life and Music of Elvis Presley” featuring Ruben Castillo (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2015/06/06/pear-tree-presents-elvis-show-at-boonton-library/)

Don’t miss out on the fun! Book us today!

The “Learn & Listen” series features the following acts: David Bowie, John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra.

To find out more dates, please follow Pear Tree at:  https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/

Pear Tree Enterprises is updated monthly — so mark your calendars! All events are FREE!

For rates and availability, please contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: 908-276-1514 during business hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or email: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

 

Your Own Personal Caring Ministry

Published February 3, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9489Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

This morning in my moment of prayer, I was looking back to a few years ago when I spent more time at church. I really wanted to be a part of something special, for God, and was trying to get involved in everything. I voluntarily wrote for their newsletter. I participated in activities. And I even volunteered to be on the Caring Ministry, where I’d go to the homes of those who were bedridden and give them communion.

Then things just didn’t work out. No one’s fault, but that’s just how life happens. New people came on board. I wasn’t asked to write anymore. The woman who was supposed to train me for the Caring Ministry wasn’t available to train when I was available.

So, time went on … a lot of time. Then one of my favorite people in the church passed away and I couldn’t bring myself to go back as often as I once did. It was too painful. I remember driving to church, then feeling so uncomfortable that I turned around and came right back home.

While some die-hard Christians may suggest Satan was keeping me out of church; I have to disagree. There’s a saying, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” I was always of the mindset that when something is right for you, you know it. And what has been right for me was going to church less often, because I felt so much more comfortable (and right with God) by practicing at home — every single morning. I’ve been reading the Bible more and working consciously on my well-being by praying for opportunities to help others.

Then it dawned on me … God is using me, via my business. I’m a full-time, self-employed author and journalist. I am also a ghost writer and book editor. I’ve helped countless people get their books written and published. I make dreams come true — and everyone needs a dream.

Another way I make a living is by public speaking. Two years ago, I started a library series called “Learn and Listen.” I present a half-hour biography on a famous musician, followed by live entertainment by local musicians. Through this series, I am helping to employ musicians — excellent musicians who are top of the line. Being a musician is a tough, competitive business and via this series, I am helping the ones I employ get more work. I’ve also helped an artist friend get work when I created a children’s recycling series. Getting work for people and helping them is what I do best, so that’s the way God uses me. I’m excellent at booking gigs, follow-up calls, organizing dates, and so on … That’s what I’m good at.

But what I’m not so good at …

Though I’m a very good listener, I can’t listen to people’s problems without feeling drained and depressed myself. Some people have the gift of resolving other people’s problems by listening to them complain. I do not have that gift. Nor do I have the gift of singing in a choir. Or counting money for a church. Or organizing big events. These are talents other people are so much better at.

While I was more than willing to let the church dictate how God would use me, I feel God went directly to me. Because these are the people who relate to me — the creative types, the musicians, the writers, the artists …

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop and I’ve been so incredibly busy these days; business is the best it’s ever been. Today is the first day I was able to take a breather and write a blog in a over a week. And to think, I used to write in my blog every single day — sometimes twice a day.

So when I take such joy in my career, I’m also taking joy in the fact that it’s not just about me. We’re all part of this great big chain connecting each other, working together, inspiring, and forging ahead, using our God given talents. Every day is beautiful and meaningful.

God knows where to place us. You’ll know when He’s there because, while it may not always be easy, you’ll just have that gut feeling of “This is where I belong … and who I belong with.” And you will feel God’s presence.

What is your Caring Ministry? Share your stories! Post them here, or email me directly. 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Her “Learn & Listen” series is available to libraries, churches, assisted living facilities, Jewish Community Centers, Rotary Clubs, and senior centers. “Learn & Listen” features the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, David Bowie, John Lennon, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.

Stinky Smokers

Published January 24, 2016 by Maryanne

Stinky smokingSmoking = a stinky, nasty habit

Last weekend my husband and I went away for a few days. Once again we were upgraded to a suite in the hotel because we weren’t even there one second when I noticed that the patrons before us were smoking. Mind you, it was a supposed to be a non-smoking hotel. But what really got me is that it was also a no-pet hotel. We could have easily been sneaky and brought our cat in and no one would have been the wiser. Yeah, some pet owners don’t clean up after their animals and they could be destructive, but for the most part, pet owners are clean people and control their pets. You can’t say the same about smokers. The nicotine fit kicks in and the cigarettes are whipped out faster than a greased rat’s ass. Smokers have zero control over this nasty habit and leave their disgusting butts all over the place.

What makes someone smoke is beyond me. Cigarettes smell and leave a stench that lasts for eternity. When I was a little girl, my grandmother would have several cigarettes lit at one time. I’d go around, ashtray to ashtray and put them all out. She’d get mad at me, but that never stopped me from doing it again. And again and again. Later on in life, cigarette smoking attributed to her diabetes complications and Grandma had her leg amputated. There are television commercials that illustrate this, yet people continue to smoke like chimneys. Some women use smoking as a weight loss tool, with no regard for what could happen to them down the line. Just another sad illustration of how we live in a world where people are ruled by selfish instant gratification.

As a young girl, I once asked a male friend what is the biggest turn off. Without hesitation, he said, “A woman who smokes. That is not sexy.”

I have to agree with him. All the years of seeing so many of my favorite actors or rock stars with a cigarette dangling from their mouth, I felt incredibly disappointed. A pretty boy can turn real ugly with one of those dreadful things coming out of his lips. Ew.

But aside from the stench, aside from the fact that it’s totally disgusting, and aside from the fact that smoking is a health crisis, what bothers me most about smokers is, as I said above, how inconsiderate they are. When I was still single and living in an apartment complex, the couple below me smoked like chimneys. They had a bucket near their door filled with sand and cigarette butts. Just looking at that turned my stomach. Once they moved in, I could no longer sit outside on the back porch. The smell made me gag. When I complained to the supervisor, those tools retaliated and said that I made too much noise. Note, I was in that apartment from 1991 to 2005 and none of the other couples below me complained. But try to come between a smoker and his/her cigarettes and it’s like trying to pry food out of a Pitbull’s mouth … it just ain’t happening.

And I don’t know what’s worse: the blatant in-your-face smokers who shamelessly light up with no regard to who they are annoying. Or the sneaky ones who lie about it. The episodes of “Sex and the City” where Aidan wanted Carrie to quit smoking was so on the money. I worked with women who were engaged and lied to their fiances about smoking.

One day years before I became self-employed, I was working for a publishing company in Hoboken. Hoboken, New Jersey was a great place to work in the late 1990s. There were health food stores, indie bookstores, and indie record shops before corporate Hipsterville took over and homogenized it. But, yeah, back in the day, I’d freely roam the streets and even though Hoboken is like a little Manhattan, you could easily jaywalk from side to side. That’s exactly what I did if a smoker was approaching me. I’d simply cross to the other side of the street so I didn’t have to smell his/her stench.

Anyway, I worked with one of those lying smokers. I’ll never forget, it was either spring or fall — one of those seasons where you either need a jacket, or you don’t. I made the mistake of asking a smoker, “When you went out for your cigarette, how was the weather?”

She didn’t hear the “how was the weather?” part — only the part about “cigarette.” The woman went into a ballistic rage about how she DOESN’T SMOKE! She was yelling at me, embarrassing herself, for at least seven minutes straight. Then she didn’t talk to me anymore after that.

Did I deserve that? Not at all. Yet other smokers defended her and said I should have asked her about the weather without saying, “when you went out for your cigarette.” That is the smoking mentality … people who smoke make no sense. It’s okay that their smoking offends everyone, but not okay if someone speaks up about it.

Isn’t it my right to live in a world with clean, fresh air? Why do I have to suffer for your nasty, stinky habit that you obviously have no control over? Why is it okay for smokers to brazenly light up in a hotel room (and get away with it) when a pet owner would never dare bring a pet into a hotel that says “no pets”?

After three days, when my husband and I came home and opened the door to our house, it smelled SO GOOD. Was it because even after a hotel upgrade, I still had smoke on the brain? Maybe. Once that smell gets up your nose (and into your lungs) it’s a helluva gross thing to forget.

I took a great big whiff of our non-smoking house and then picked up my cat and gave him a big hug, taking in a big whiff of his natural, beautiful kitty smell! If I have to be addicted to something, I’m so glad it’s my cat! <3

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback versions: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513

Thou Shalt Not Covet

Published January 23, 2016 by Maryanne

Grass always greenerThe Grass is Always Greener on My Side

When I drew the above photo 10 years ago, it wasn’t meant to be cocky, it was meant to illustrate that it’s best to appreciate all you have in life. And, God knows I do.

Appreciate what you have and be supportive of the successes of others too. That is why we are on earth. God wants us to have good things in life, so live it to the fullest.

Like many people, I’ve had a rough start, only to excel in my 40s and 50s. I’ve been bullied relentlessly as a child and a teen. My heart was broken when my grandmother, who raised me, developed diabetes and died way too young. Then I had a series of health scares, when doctors said it could have been cancer (it wasn’t!) and I was in and out of hospitals for tests from 2003 to 2005. And not to mention all the fake friends, failed romances, and bad career moves (and of course jealousy along the way; it’s never really the job, it’s always the people, right?)

While life may never be 100 percent perfect (though sometimes it is for a short time), I’m thrilled to say, as a late bloomer, I became self employed in my 40s, married the love of my life, raised two beautiful cats, and am healthy!

To get to this point is a lot of work, I will not lie. However, once you are there, it’s pretty easy to have life fall into place, or get back into place when you get off track. It’s incredible and magical. Who wouldn’t want to be so happy, right?

One of the biggest tragedies in a woman’s life is when people are jealous of her. Jealousy is an ugly disease. Even if you’re an atheist or a satanist, you can’t deny that God’s words “Thou shalt not covet” is damn good advice. It just makes life so free and easy when you live out of love and not envy.

It rips my soul apart when people insinuate that I only have good health because it’s genes and that I didn’t work hard for it. That is so catty and so untrue. Even when I shared with people that my grandmother died of diabetes; and that my mother has heart disease, I didn’t get much compassion. And it hurt.

People have also been resentful that I love my career. They focus only on what they don’t have instead of what they COULD have! Now listen … when I was 18, my first job was for Scribner Book Company as a shipping clerk. I loved that job and would have stayed there for the rest of my life, had they not merged with another company. Over the years, jobs came and went and I always loved to work. But many of us know, work places are full of catty women (and men too!) By the age of 45, I couldn’t take any more office politics, gossip, and stress.

Before you resent someone for starting their own business (and succeeding) ask yourself … do you know what it’s like to leave your desk several times a day, crying in the bathroom because of a company that has poor management and hasn’t trained you to do your job properly; or because of women saying nasty things to you? Stress in the workplace is the most horrible thing ever. If you have an abusive boyfriend, you can leave him without a setback — you are free! But people need to work! And stress can kill you. When you’re at the age where you can be prone to stress related diseases such as shingles — is job aggravation really worth it?

THAT mindset is what pushed me to start my own business. I took all those lemons as a voice from the universe that I am not a team player and need to work for myself. And, yes, I am proud of how far I’ve come. So, please do not covet me for my successes in life. I deserve all the happiness I have. I embrace life and have a helluva lot of fun. People who resent others for what they have should really be ashamed of themselves.

When someone is as positive as I am, that’s the kind of person you should want on YOUR side. Pissing someone like me off, is not in your favor. Happy people live to make other people happy — that’s what we do best. But it has to be a group effort. I can’t flog a dead horse if someone wants to remain in the same place, day after day, year after year. You can only grow if you are willing to take the chance and break out from Point A to Point B. And you don’t get there by giving others people the evil eye if they have what you don’t. You get there by embracing other people and praising them for their hard work. Instead of gossiping, try to say, “Wow, I’d like to be like her/him!”

If you want to be in a happy relationship, hang out with others in happy relationships and someday that will be you. If you want a career, hang out with others who have good careers and your turn will come. There is no need to covet — ever!

If someone can be a friend to me, I’ll be a friend double/triple to them. I’m the one who is always giving compliments, looking on the bright side, helping others with their problems, dropping everything if someone calls for advice. I’m the first to acknowledge the success of others. The first to congratulate someone on their engagement. The one who thinks about people’s kids. And the friend who will always answer emails.

So next time you want to hate someone because you THINK they have more than you do, please DON’T. You do not know a person’s  story and how hard their lives were (or are). Happy people get there from hard work — it doesn’t happen overnight. Your negativity may hurt someone, but it will also inspire them to write a blog (such as this) which will inspire others in years to come. How do I know this? Because some of my most inspiring blogs, written over three years ago, are still getting the highest stats.

Happiness is a choice — one I’ll always chose! (As I type with a pretty cat sitting on my lap!)

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

 

Aubrey Organics Raspberry Honey Shaving Cream

Published January 20, 2016 by Maryanne

Aubrey Raspberry HoneyNew product from Aubrey Organics

I’ve been using cruelty free products since 1996 and was excited to try Aubrey Organics Raspberry Honey shaving cream.

I was a lucky winner via their Facebook page.

This shaving cream smells absolutely delicious and it makes my legs feel so soft and smooth, even in the dead of a New Jersey winter! I never realized shaving your legs could be so much fun! <3

For more information on their fine products, please visit: http://www.aubrey-organics.com/

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback versions: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513

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