All posts for the month January, 2018

The Gypsy is Still Smiling!

Published January 15, 2018 by Maryanne

The Gypsy Smiled -- THE COVER!!

My name is Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta and I’ve been writing professionally (meaning, being paid to do so) since 1995. That was the year I stood on St. Mark’s Place, in New York City, and was thrilled to see the magazine on display at a newsstand that contained one of my articles. It was one of my life’s happiest moments.

As a writer, the thrills never stop. Your first rejection list (which means people are reading), your first article in print, your first check, your first award, the first time you get to edit someone else’s work, the first time someone asks for your writing advice, and of course your first published book.

My first two books were self-published. Then my third was picked up by a traditional publisher. I was shocked. When the publisher first contacted me, I thought it was yet another self-publishing company hawking business. But, no, it was a real publisher — and wow, just wow!

Within the year, my fictional story, “The Gypsy Smiled” was published.

“The Gypsy Smiled” is music fiction chick lit, inspired by a legendary song by the legendary Lou Christie, “The Gypsy Cried.” I loved the song — and Lou Christie — so much that my book is a tribute to him. The characters who are 1980s goths have a secret passion for the 1960s; so much so that they transform Lou’s music and make it their own.

The lead character, Lucretia, is trying to make it as a musician, but something is holding her back. Then she meets an exotic, positive woman named Gypsy who guides her.

Innocent enough, with no malicious intent.

However, sadly during my time of working out the kinks, a clueless beta who read my work was fixated on the word “gypsy” which she thought was a dig on the Romanian community. (Meanwhile, I have a few friends of Romanian descent who had NO PROBLEM AT ALL with me using the word). I fought to keep the book as is.

After the book was published, I thought my woes with the publishing company were behind me until I was passed on to a publicist who — after the book was published!!! — wanted me to change the entire book because she found it “offensive.”

Do people not get out much? Hallmark Movie Channel had a feature about a “gypsy fortuneteller” not to long ago. And there’s also a TV show called “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.”

When “politically correct” turns to “nit picky incorrect” — it’s not only dumb, but disgustingly “holier than thou”!

I took a private poll on Facebook and people I haven’t heard from in ages came to my defense. The word was used in a classic song, the book is a tribute to that song, and “gypsy” was NOT used as a slur, but in a most glorifying way. (Thus other kick ass gypsy songs like “Gypsy” by Stevie Nicks; and “King of the Gypsies” by Johnny Thunders).

Life can be so ugly when you’re falsely accused for doing wrong, when you work so hard, night and day, to make the world a better place. When I worked at Montclair Times, I made the paper the first in New Jersey to write about gay marriages, followed by the transgender community; I’ve also spent many a day in violent areas in New Jersey to report on a story about the good teens and policemen are doing for the community.

That said, the suggestion by a publicist to change the title of my book “The Gypsy Smiled” was the most asinine thing I ever heard in my life; as the word was by no means meant to be harmful!

I’m no longer going to exhaust myself being defensive to ignorant, judgmental people. Life goes on; and my life certainly isn’t one lived in vain, that’s for sure! I look in the mirror in the morning and say to myself, “I like me” as I await what the day brings. And when someone has to put others down without knowing even five percent of their personality and good doings, they must not like themselves very much.

And not wanting to work with that negative energy, I declined any help from the publicist.

As for the future of “The Gypsy Smiled” without a publicist, the book may just be cult status at best. At least I never compromised myself or my values. I kept my art true.

I refuse to be a sell-out because of someone’s minuscule opinion that is so wrong. In my heart, I feel I created a piece of art that pays homage to someone I highly admire. And that is certainly something to feel proud about.

Like my character Gypsy, I am smiling!

To purchase “The Gypsy Smiled” in Kindle or paperback, visit:

Dream of 2018, Finding My Forever Salon!

Published January 13, 2018 by Maryanne

IZOD 2013 (2)

My hair will look this good again — someday soon! 

Part of getting what you want in life is creative visualization, and putting it out there, which is why I’m writing the following blog, which is part creative visualization and part much needed venting/purging. Because it seems you gotta get haircuts from a lot of frogs before you meet the beautiful princess stylist!

As amazing as 2017 was, having good hair was a struggle. Early in the year I got a bad haircut from my former salon goddess. She had a head trauma, didn’t tell me, and fucked up my hair. We remained friends, and I would like to go back to her someday, but need a break because the trust was broken.

So, I was able to get my hair fixed — and it looked gorgeous. However, would not return to Salon #1 of 2017 because it was too gossipy; parking was a big issue and the salon didn’t have quarters for the meter; and the shampoo girl had attitude problems.

Then I found another Salon #2 of 2017 that did a fab job, but they were over a half hour ride for me, which is inconvenient for a busy person. And another reason … see #3 below under “Reasons Not to Go Back Besides a Bad Cut.”

Finally, I thought I found my “forever” salon. I got three great cuts in a row from Salon #3 of 2017. By the time of my fourth, my intuition told me not to go back. I should have listened to my gut because I got a horrible chop job.

The sad thing is, during the year when I wrote bad reviews on Yelp about Salon #1 and Salon #3, the salon owners took it incredibly personal, instead of dealing with the constructive criticism. Both salon owners taunted me on Yelp, ripping me a new asshole; and Salon #3 even went as far as having one of their friends harass me privately in an email. I actually called the salon and told them, nicely, that I didn’t appreciate the private harassing. The owner played dumb, of course.

Frustrated, I deleted my Yelp account. If I can’t be honest and warn residents in my area about bad hair salon experiences, what’s the point?

And this isn’t the first time that happened. Years ago, a stylist, who did a great job, was on the phone fighting with her husband, now ex-husband, while she was coloring my hair. It took three hours to do a foil job that normally took 45 minutes. When I wrote a bad review, the owner of the shop tracked me down and harassed me by calling my house! Scared about what she would do next, I immediately took the review down.

Before I deleted my Yelp account yesterday, I saw other people writing in the complaint area that they, too, have been stalked by places they gave bad reviews too. One wrote that she was afraid a business owner was going to follow her with an ax! I wouldn’t put it past these narcissists who live in La-La Land thinking they could do no wrong. They’ll go to any extent to get you to remove your bad review. They claim you are ruining their business with not one ounce of compassion regarding how they ruined your hair — and your time!

When I watch episodes of “Tabatha Takes Over” I want to yell at the screen, “Tabatha please come to these terrible New Jersey salons and bitch slap them all for me!” (And I say “New Jersey” because that’s where I live, but yes, I’ve had bad haircuts in NYC too!)

The good news is that over the years, I’ve gotten some of the BEST haircuts from stylists when they had to fix someone else’s mistake. (And even in my 50s, I have the face to pull off short or long hair!)

Though I’d like to point out, there are other reasons why I stop going to certain salons that don’t even involve bad hair. Read the following. Perhaps you can relate?

Reasons Not to Go Back Besides a Bad Cut:

  1. Gossip. I had this guy do amazing highlights on my hair. I never went back because he bad mouthed everyone from the salon owner (I didn’t like her either, but that’s beside the point), all his clients, and even the girl he took to the high school prom.
  2. Boredom. I had this woman who cut hair beautifully. However, she bored me to death with terrible conversation. Example: Her, “So what’s new?” Me, “I had my first book published.” Her, “So what else is new? Are you going anywhere for vacation this summer.” URGH! If someone asks me “what’s new?” and can’t be excited about something as thrilling as publishing a book, I just can’t … Which brings me to Salon #3, mentioned above, the bad cut was definitely a blessing in disguise because I needed an excuse to get away. I was so exhausted hearing about engagements and weddings — yawn! I’m a gal who eloped; so not a “Here Comes the Bride” person. Talk to me about spirituality, music, anything creative — but not a wedding. I’m kinda like a guy that way! Stylists should learn to KNOW their audiences! But then again, many of them are so self-involved, it’s beyond them.
  3. Not “getting” the client. Two stylists did amazing work, but I hesitated going back because I feared getting the same cut every time. The cut in the photo above was from a young woman who considered the cut “rock ‘n’ roll.” It was an a good cut, a great cut in fact, a cut I wouldn’t mind having again, but it was not exactly “rock ‘n’ roll.” To me, messy, edgy hair says “music lover.” I want a stylist who will give me bold colors, fringe bangs, and something that can work with my waves. I do not want to look like a school teacher. Another stylist mistakenly called me “conservative” because I didn’t have a million tattoos on my arms like their other clients. Honey, I’m anything BUT conservative. I even went there bra-less! Her comment reminded me of my teenage punk rocker days. I wore a leather jacket with a ton of buttons on it, heavy eye make-up, and magenta earrings, but that wasn’t “punk” enough for hardcore punk rock chicks and I was called a “poser.” All people, not just stylists, need to look beyond their inner circle.

I wish I could name ’em and shame ’em all, but because hairstylists are such babies who can’t take criticism; and the fact that I don’t want some crazy bitch coming after me with a knife, I won’t. Though it does feel good to get it all out there and purge. And let this also be a lesson to future salon goers everywhere — don’t trust Yelp. Stylists pay for good reviews and harass people who leave bad ones.

Finding a forever salon is a full time job. It’s like dating. Before I started dating my husband, I took all the right steps not to make the same mistakes again. Doing the same thing over and over again is the definition of insanity. I now realize 5-star Yelp reviews mean NOTHING. Also note, I am limited because I only go to salons that use products that don’t test on animals, such as Paul Mitchel and Aveda.

But prior to making my appointment, I meditated on it. What I came up with was a NEW APPROACH. Rather than going by five star Yelp reviews, I’d go by how the owner handles a bad review.

The salon I chose had one bad review. The owner reached out to the client and said she’d talk to her about it privately and resolve the issue. To me, that said CLASS. Wow, someone who actually owned up to a salon mistake!

I called the salon immediately and made an appointment with a master stylist — and requested one who is not too chatty. I had a nice conversation with the receptionist. She seemed to get a kick out of my high demands. We even had a laugh over it. My master stylist didn’t have immediate bookings, which was a good sign!

My appointment is Wednesday. Will it be my forever salon, or just a one-cut stand? Only the universe knows. But the fact that a bad review was handled with such finesse, shows me I’m on the right track, and that’s a win/win!

SHARE YOUR HAIR STORIES IN THE COMMENTS SECTION! What was your best cut? How do you choose a stylist? What makes one hairstylist better than another? I want to hear from YOU! 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is a public speaker, editor/writer of 21 newspapers in New Jersey, and three-time author. For more information and links to her books, visit the “About” section of this blog. To book one of her lectures, or to have her help you ghost write/edit your book, visit:


Charlie Fusari Recreates the Magic of Michael Jackson

Published January 10, 2018 by Maryanne

DSCF1238Charlie Fusari

Charlie Fusari is a college student and a huge Michael Jackson fan. He expresses his admiration for Jackson through song; and truly recreates Jackson’s magic!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018, Charlie was a guest of Pear Tree Enterprises, and sang Jackson’s songs for the presentation, “The Life and Music of Michael Jackson” at the Elmwood Park Public Library, Elmwood Park, New Jersey.

Prior to the performance, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, presented a bio on Michael Jackson, giving the audience the opportunity to share their Michael Jackson memories and ask questions. During the lecture, Charlie wowed the audience doing Michael Jackson’s signature dance move, “The Moonwalk.”

Jackson songs performed by Charlie included: “I’ll Be There,” “Human Nature,” and “She’s Out of My Life.” Charlie ended the show belting out a heartfelt version of “Ben.”

When the show ended, the audience wanted an encore, so Charlie Fusari performed his original, “Trying to Find My Lane.”

During the performance, Charlie was assisted on keyboards by his uncle, Rob Fusari, who is a three-time Grammy Award winning producer.

DSCF1243.JPGCharlie Fusari and Rob Fusari

To hear Charlie Fusari’s music, both originals and covers, visit SoundCloud:

And you can hear his single on iTunes:

For more information on Pear Tree’s Learn & Listen series, visit: