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All posts for the month November, 2014

Celebrate Small Business Saturday!

Published November 29, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_6393Me having fun before one of my lectures!

Happy Small Business Saturday!

I’m pleased to say I’ve had my business Pear Tree Enterprises (www.peartreeenterprises.com) since 2008. I’ve helped many people edit their books and help them get published and I’ve published my own book too earlier this year. I also present many lectures in libraries and assisted living facilities and other odd jobs. Occasionally I enjoy working as an extra too.

Contact me for: book editing, proofreading, public speaking events, extra roles, typing, etc.

Support a small business today!

You Can’t Always Fix Things

Published November 24, 2014 by Maryanne

I love this!

Positive Outlooks Blog

There’s only so many times you can allow someone to let you down before you will no longer tolerate being disappointed. When things go wrong between two people, something has got to give. You get to the point where you get tired of being the only one trying to fix things, it’s not giving up, it’s realizing you had enough. You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if it hurts. — Brigitte Nicole , Lessons Learned In Life

Man walking at sunset

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I Learned God’s Most Beautiful Gift From a Cat

Published November 24, 2014 by Maryanne

Billy in the Sky

My Late Billy Cat, 1994 to 2013

“Slow down, Maryanne.”

That’s all I used to hear from my husband, Dennis. I used to do everything fast. (I still do if I’m not careful). I write fast, I type fast (92 wpm), I’m the queen of multi-task. But in my later years, I’ve come to realize how great life is when you slow down a bit. When you take a break, stop and smell the roses, look outside the window at the birds in the feeder. That sort of thing.

But what made me realize this? My cat Billy.

Dennis and I nicknamed Billy, “The Forrest Gump of Cats” because he was a simple cat who seemed to have deep thoughts in his tiny little head. Sure, once in a blue moon Billy Cat would scatter around the room like he had an agenda, but most of the time he was just sitting or lying around, sometimes with his tongue hanging out of his mouth (as goofy cats often do) just taking it easy.

I paid more attention to Billy in his later years, as I knew he wasn’t going to be around much longer. I learned from him, how to take a deep breath and stop and smell the roses. I used to work like a fiend behind my computer, non-stop. I still do if I don’t catch myself and force myself to stop. But now, most of the time, I embrace my breaks. I love to slowly drink a glass of flavored water, or even stop the world for a cup of tea. Or not eat my lunch while I’m working.

Then it dawned on me … Even though I do things fast, I was always a bit of a late bloomer. I didn’t have my first article published until I was 32. My business at 45. Marriage at 48. And my first book at 50. Do you see a pattern? (Not to mention, the best girlfriends I have are the ones I met in my 40s and 50s).

The truth is, when you take your time with precious things in life, they tend to not only last, but be the best things life has to offer. My marriage is amazing. It’s been a blessing to make a living as a writer and to have my own business book editing and as a public speaker. And all this great stuff happened to me because I never rushed into anything. I took my time with it — and believed in it.

When something is nourished, rather than rushed, it turns into something very special and dear that will be close to your heart for a lifetime.

Now at 51, I’m starting my second business. While I can go full force — promoting all over social media and having parties left and right — I prefer to take it slow. Because it’s yet another thing I love and believe in and I want to have this business around until I die. I want don’t want to just enjoy the successes of my second business, but all stages: the beginning, the growth, the spiritual aspect of it and all the amazing people the business brings into my life along the way.

Because “slow” is the most beautiful gift from God and the universe that many people tend to over look.

the-trees-that-are-slow-to-grow-bear-the-best-fruit-quote-1

When People Really Like Each Other, They Stay in Touch

Published November 23, 2014 by Maryanne

maryanne-0812Call a friend, keep in touch!

I feel like I’m a fantastic friend because people never have to second-guess how I feel about them. I always tell my friends I love them. I make dates to see people. I call them. I email them. I let them know when I have dreams about them. In other words, I make my friends feel loved. And if I say something stupid (it happens to the best of us, dumb things just roll off our tongues) I do everything in my power to apologize to someone so they don’t feel bad.

When it comes to loved ones, I’m not of the mindset, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” but rather “out of sight, out of mind.” Why? Because if someone says they are “too busy” for you, I don’t believe them. No one is THAT busy to not pick up the phone or type an email. Even if you type with one finger, it doesn’t take that long to send an email that says, “I miss you.”

So if someone is “too busy” for me, I’m not interested in them either. It’s like the single girl who is waiting for a guy to call her. If he was really interested, he would.

If you significant other went on a business trip for several months, would it be acceptable to not hear from him/her during that time away? Of course not! So why should be expect anything less from our friends? A true friendship should not be taken for granted.

There are exceptions of course. My husband and I have friends we only see maybe once or twice a year but when we do, they make us feel like royalty and there is never a doubt in our minds that these friends love us dearly. And of course, we love them too. We know that when we see these friends it’s always a good time. We can drop in on them unexpectedly. They can call us and leave funny, lengthy messages. It’s just a given … a friendship you can depend on.

In order to get to that point though, there has to be history. A history of shared good times and bad times that builds up to a solid ground. If you have an on-again-off-again friendship since high school or are just coming into a new friendship, time together is pertinent, otherwise you stay in “acquaintance limbo” and you’re always second guessing the friendship: Did I say something wrong? Am I not fun to be around?

Now I’m not talking about being on the phone three hours a night like you’re a teenager or spending every free moment together. I’m just saying that making a lunch date every other month or so … or picking up the phone once in awhile just to let someone know you’re alive and still thinking of them.

And of course that will come naturally — not forced — if you’re really connecting with someone. There’s beautiful magic in a great connection where you feel safe. It’s the greatest feeling in the world when you can be yourself in front of someone without being judged. When you can get excited over each others happiness, laugh, exchange ideas, share, etc. When you leave someone feeling like you can’t wait to see them again! That’s what makes the difference between a friend and an acquaintance 🙂

So why choose “acquaintance” when “friend” feels so much better? 🙂

 

 

Why We’re Not “Friends” on Face Book

Published November 20, 2014 by Maryanne

face book

Unlike others who have a list of 500+ friends on Facebook, I like to keep my list very low … like under 100.

One time someone joked to me that I was acting like a judge on American Idol, eliminating contestants that didn’t make the cut. No, that’s not it. For me, it’s just keeping it real. “Less” means “more” because then I have time to read everything that people I really connect with write.

Since I was a teenager back in the 1980s, once a year I took the time to re-write a new personal phone book. I eliminated people that didn’t return my phone calls. Why would I want to keep old numbers that I don’t use? It didn’t make sense.

Fast forward to the 21st Century, it’s so much easier to delete than write an entire new phone book, though I find myself deactivating old Face Book pages and starting new ones in order to not hurt feelings. But eventually people find out. I can’t imagine what goes through their heads because those who confront me for unfriending them … damn, it’s as if I burned their house down!

But, honestly, people … can we please act a little more grown up about Face Book? I’m entitled to my Facebook policies and I think my reasons for unfriending someone are pretty reasonable.

#1. I never hear from you. I believe in being honest. I don’t use the “hide” feature. So if I’m liking and commenting on another person’s photos, updates, etc. and they’ve stopped coming to my page, I assume I’m being “hidden.” So, if someone isn’t jiving with what I’m writing, why keep them on board? It’s pointless.

#2. Your marketing techniques were too obvious. I’m a creative person, so of course I meet many creative types. I’m also self-employed and I know all the Facebook marketing tricks of friending as many people as possible to get them to “like” your business pages. I did that too at one time. It helped me sell a few books and got me a few clients. But in my spiritual growth, I realized that’s not how I want to get clients. I’d rather get them authentically, the old fashioned way — word of mouth/referrals and good ol’ Craig’s List. That’s the way I got my best clients, so I’m sticking to what works. Facebook is now, for me, more about friendship and less about marketing.

Sometimes I meet someone on an events page or a music page, etc. and they seem really nice at first. Then I realize they’re just trying to jack up business by getting someone to “like” their pages and go to their events/concerts/etc. This makes me feel more like a “fan” than a “friend.”

In my six years of being on Face Book, I have only two friends who are truly authentic in liking my business pages just as much as I honestly like theirs. And I’m fine with that. I don’t need more “likes” for my business page. My business is doing great, thank you very much!

#3. You’re of a clique mindset. I can’t deal and won’t deal with a clique mentality. I’m inspired by individuality and I seek to “friend” those who I can aspire to be like. When I see one person up another person’s ass all the time, or a certain group ignoring other friends and family members it’s a big turn off. Just remember, “To belittle is to BE LITTLE” — which means hurting people by making them feel left out doesn’t make you a big deal, it makes you small.

Some of my biggest inspirations on Facebook are people who are either individuals or community-oriented (not clique-oriented). So reach out and touch someone who is a little different than you — you’ll reap massive rewards from the universe.

#4. Instincts. You know when you get a gut feeling someone doesn’t like you? You’re usually right.

#5. You make Facebook a combat zone. I’m a live and let live type. I’m a paleo eater who has vegan friends; a Democrat with Republican friends; a spiritually open-minded person who believes in many things who has friends that are Christians and atheists; a happily married woman who has friends who are happily single … and so on … you get the picture. What never ceases to amaze me are the people who can’t wait to argue with you online and force their opinions down your throat. This is when the “ban” feature comes in handy.

#6. Tit for tat. When someone is obviously only “liking” something of mine only because I liked something of theirs. That’s so phoney and annoying. And it’s just as annoying when in a matter of seconds someone scrolls down your entire page and presses “like” five, 10, or 15 times which brings something you wrote two weeks ago to the top of the news feed.

#7 People who are ONLY around when things get rough. I’m a happy person. So happy that one of my clients nicknamed me “Happy Pants.” So when you’re happy, 95 percent of what you write in blogs or on Face Book/Twitter is HAPPY.

I’m no better than anyone else. I’m an average middle-aged woman who just happens to enjoy life and follows my dreams: as a journalist, public speaker and author. But sad to say this makes people very jealous (when they could be doing the same things, they just don’t initiate it). So of course you’ll never hear from these people. They’ll never give a compliment (and I’m not alone in this, Meryl Streep once said something about disliking women who never give compliments … I have to agree). You never hear BOO from these people … UNTIL you have that one bad day. THEN all of a sudden, they want to comfort you. That is so fake. As a parody of these types of people, I once wrote as my update: “Thanks to everyone who was there for me when things were really good.”

One person got it 🙂

 

My Cat’s Got Sunshine, On a Cloudy Day

Published November 19, 2014 by Maryanne

MareDerickMe and Derick, 2005

My husband swore to God this happened last night and wishes I was awake to see it.

Now, all pet owners know first hand how loving pets can be, to the point where they do the cutest, unbelievable things. My 18-year-old cat, Derick, has always been “Mommy’s Little Heart.” From day one, as a kitten, he rarely left my side. He follows me around the house like a shadow.

Last night my husband put on a movie about The Temptations. I love them, but I’m a bit run down and I fell asleep on the couch while the movie was on. Derick was lying next to me, facing the television.

My husband said that as soon as they started performing “My Girl,” Derick moved to face me and was staring at me during the entire song! You can’t make this stuff up! I guess I’m my cat’s sunshine on a cloudy day! (And of course Derick is right on my lap as I type this blog!)

SAM_6304October 2014, still together

Our song 🙂

Evolving Spiritually in Business

Published November 16, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_6364Cherry Hill, New Jersey

(photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

When the Universe is Perfectly Aligned

On Saturday I had the experience of being an extra in a commercial for a new health product. The shoot was on location in gorgeous Cherry Hill, New Jersey. This scenario is nothing usual for me as I’m always finding cool, creative work. I’ve been self-employed since 2008 (www.peartreeenterprises.com) and the best part of it is being able to work with the most amazing people doing things I love.

Saturday was one of many perfect fits. The acting cast and film crew were absolutely spectacular! Everyone was nice, professional and easy to work with. Our team was so together we finished an hour and a half earlier than was excepted!

When I got home, I raved to my husband about how cool everyone was and what a great time I had. Like many other instances I’ve had since being self-employed, what happened on Saturday was way too much fun to be called work. From a spiritual standpoint, when you’re in the right place things are so easy you wonder if you’re dreaming!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

Of course in business, even being self-employed, things aren’t always perfect. We know that. And of course you roll with the punches. However, when things get so hard you’re in tears, that’s a major sign that things need to change. A friend once said, “The universe doesn’t always speak softly, sometimes it shouts.”

For example, if you’re not getting along with your co-workers it means a lot more than not fitting in. Do you feel overworked, underpaid and/or not appreciated? Do you have more bad days than good? Do you hate getting up in the morning? These are major signs that you’re in the wrong place and should make a change.

How do I know? I’ve been there, many times over. Even being self-employed and loving what you do, it’s not unusual to get hooked up with the wrong clients — or outgrow clients you’ve been with for some time. Perhaps your business has outgrown what some clients are still paying you. While money isn’t everything, let’s be realistic, taking two hours out of your day to appease a client who is paying a low hourly fee is not helping your business grow.

Suppose you’ve grown as a person and now you cringe at a client’s misogynist comments you once found funny. Or maybe a client never gave you mutual respect from day one and never will. The more you hang on, the more you go backwards, over-analyzing situations and figuring out how to make it work. Frustration leads you to secretly wish certain clients didn’t need your services anymore. Unfortunately you can’t wish bad clients away. You have to do the dirty work to get from Point A to Point B.

Spiritual Evolution in Business

One of the first signs your business is evolving spiritually is when you realize there is definitely more to life than profits and business. It’s about treating your clients (and having them treat you) in a responsible, caring way. It’s more than a cash cow. It’s talking to others with respect and creating a “family” vibe.

It’s always awkward when I feel like “just a number” to a client. Brief “all business” emails weird me out, especially the single word “okay” as a response. Ew … just ew!

As a sensitive — no, make that hyper-sensitive — person, running my business in a sweet, caring manner, for the good of all, is very important. I like to get up in the morning and feel like I have a purpose in life, not just thinking about the money I am making. I want my clients to feel comfortable with me and know that I am on their team.

Each morning I say a prayer to bless the day with the highest good for all involved. And then when you put the trust in the universe, you can sit back and watch the magic happen. Because it always does. When you operate your business from a spiritual standpoint, you can kiss good-bye excess marketing on Face Book and stressing yourself out seeking clients. Because good things ALWAYS happen to good people! And oftentimes effortlessly.

Happy America Recycles Day!

Published November 15, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_6112I’m often in vintage wear

Happy America Recycles Day!

I’m sure in this day and age everyone does their best to recycle. I love shopping for vintage wear or in thrift shops because guess what? Used clothes are healthier! The clothes dye doesn’t get into your skin like new fabric does.

For those who don’t know, I’m an award winning journalist, author and public speaker. Part of my career is going to assisted living facilities and libraries speaking on various topics (for a complete list of all of them, check out my website: www.peartreeenterprises.com).

Most recently, I paired with artist and children’s yoga teacher, Bridget Briant (http://www.yogatogonj.com/)to put together a program for children “Make Art Out of Recycled Materials.” We are currently booked in several NJ libraries and are willing to travel to other areas.

This presentation is perfect for schools, libraries, parties, etc.

Here is the synopsis for our presentation:

Make Art Out of Recycled Materials

Recycling is not only good for the environment. When creative sparks fly, old junk and trash can become a child’s masterpiece!

Whether it’s making robots out of old cereal boxes, dolls out of Q-tips, puppets from old socks, or “designer” footwear from old buttons, children will have a blast at this informative, fun, inter-active class which is geared towards children ages 6 to 10.

Each class is different, according to seasons and materials available. Classes are limited to 20 children, so must have a sign-up sheet. And so that no child gets left out, we do offer discounted “back-to-back” programs.

Class is conducted by award-winning journalist, author and public speaker, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta; and artist/yoga teacher/children’s yoga teacher, Bridget Briant.

If you’re interested in booking our class, contact me at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com for pricing and availability.

Happy National Spicy Guacamole Day!

Published November 14, 2014 by Maryanne

avocadoAvocado — GOOD fat!

Today is National SPICY Guacamole Day. Wanna celebrate? I got you covered. This has been my “go to” party dish for years. I found this recipe on a raw food message board over 10 years ago. It’s very simple.

To make a small serving, blend one avocado, one banana and one clove of garlic. Yes, garlic — that’s what gives it the spicy kick! I’ve had someone tell me, “This is the best guacamole I’ve ever had!”

This recipe is not only good as a party dish, but great to pour over greens when you’re seeking something different in a dressing. It comes out thick and creamy. The fat in avocado is so good for you, I have one every day.

This recipe is suitable for paleo minded as well as vegans and raw foodists.

ENJOY!