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Dream Board Manifest! One Year Later!

Published June 9, 2019 by Maryanne

Dream Board June 2018My Dream Board, June 9, 2018

One year ago today, I created this Dream Board. And it’s astonishing how things manifested.

First, look close, you will see that animals are a priority in my life. Since this dream board, my husband Dennis and I were able to save a feral cat, Bennie, and take care of him for the rest of his months. He was already sick when we took him in with FIV. But we loved him with all our hearts and gave him the best care we could. Five months later, he had to be put down. I collapsed in my husband’s arms. We were both heart-broken. Our vet told us, “He came to you to live out the rest of his life.”

One month later, we took in Sammy. I adopted him from St. Hubert’s Animal Shelter in Madison, New Jersey. Sammy was considered a senior cat, at age 9, but he’s tiny and very kitten-like. He’s a little doll and fits in beautifully with the family. He’s best buddies with our kitty Nicholas, who is now 6 (and came into our lives on this day three years ago!)

At the beginning of 2019, I created a giving journal, keeping track of all the places I give donations to each week. Many of them involve giving to animals, especially cat rescues. Do you see the word “FREE“? I’m always winning things–and I do mean ALWAYS! One of the things I won since creating the dream board was a certificate for a tattoo — I got a cat silhouette on my inner arm.

See “Power of Positive Speaking“? (Upper middle?) THAT is my next biggest goal, to become a motivational speaker. I joined Toastmasters right after my “Best Girlfriend Getaway” (see lower right corner) in October (to “Summit of Greatness” in Columbus, Ohio). Three days of nothing but motivational speakers, including Jay Shetty, Lewis Howes, Amy Purdy, Lindsey Stirling,  and so much more.

And greatness was indeed achieved! Just a few months after joining Toastmasters, I excelled winning “Best Speaker” for a speech on David Bowie. Then I auditioned to do a workshop, “Be Your Own Hero” which was based on my upcoming book, “Be Extra-Ordinary: 10 Ways To Become Your Own Hero.”

Unexpectedly, I’ve also made a few friends at Toastmasters, that I go to lunch with; and some who have come see me speak!

Which brings me to ….

Dreams, Friends, and Love are right at the top … I’m always counting my blessings for the amazing friends that come into my life; especially those that I grow closer to each year. That goes for my husband too. My BEST friend ever — the person I want to spend time with more than anyone else. I’m so blessed to have people in my life I can share my dreams with. People I can cheer on too and watch them grow. My tribe. My high-five tribe!

Which brings me to …

Do you see Bright Ideas? Oh, I have many! Many which didn’t work out — yet. But it’s so fun throwing them out there to friends who believe in you. Going for lunch meetings with minds of greatness. These are my PEERS! I can’t believe it. Sometimes I have to ask myself, “Am I dreaming?”

Do you see the rainbow? Just a few days ago, I saw the first FULL rainbow I ever saw in my life. People hate NJ because of all the rain. But I LOVE it! As a writer, I love spending time inside, writing during a storm. One night after a storm, around dusk, the time I love best. My husband and I were taking a walk — and there it was, a full rainbow! It took my breath away.

The other stuff you see in the dream board is more vague and personal. Some day I may speak about it, but most likely won’t. As honest and open as I am, there’s a side to me that’s insanely mysterious that people will never find out about.

That said, I’m thrilled that I’ve grown so much in my spiritual journey — and have a long way to go; which is why I am pro-aging and you’ll NEVER hear me longing for youth. I’m having such a beautiful love affair with my aging self!

LIFE IS AMAZING. I AM BLESSED! ❤

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

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Beware of So-Called Health Joints

Published May 29, 2019 by Maryanne

Fresh Pressed JuiceCan you trust this dish? 

Health-conscious people already know this, but if you’re just starting out on your journey to health, I’m here to tell you BEWARE when you order food at your local juice place.

Here’s a little story about why I won’t support a certain juice place in Cranford, New Jersey.

When I recently ordered an acai bowl, I was told that there was no sugar in the granola. If I don’t want sugar in granola, it would make sense I’d want the unsweetened acai, right? Well, they give me the SWEETENED acai. When I told them I didn’t want sweetened, they insisted I pay for it!

I was dumbstruck! I was forced to pay for something I didn’t order. Then they said they would make another but I’d have to pay for it. I was in tears because I felt defeated. I never heard of treating a customer like that. So, begrudgingly, I handed over $36 for an acai bowl I didn’t want, a salad, and a juice.

Like the nice person I am, I gave my bowl away to another customer and walked out.

I know this company has another store in Bernardsville, New Jersey, so I called hoping the owner was there. She was. I complained and she got very defensive. She took my complaint personally, which was bizarre. But in the end, she did say she’d give me another free. She called the Cranford store to tell them to make me another. Mind you, I’m self employed and all this running back and forth took so much out of my busy day, but it’s the principal, right? And that’s why you do take out, to save time from cooking, right? Well, not today.

When I got back to the Cranford store, the two workers gave me the dirtiest looks! When one of them handed me the unsweetened acai bowl, she looked like she was handing over her car keys to a parent who punished her. If looks could kill I would have been DOA! WOW.

To lighten the mood I asked jokingly, “Did you spit in it?”

She didn’t get the joke.

“No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” she squealed like a pig in heat. Meanwhile a customer standing by with a stick up her arse gave me a nasty look too.

(This is where you want to scream, “Eat a hamburger! Your vegan diet is making you cray-cray!)

I walked out with my mind made up, I will never go there again. I do not like nasty people who can’t own up to the fact that THEY messed up!

The real kicker was, while complaining to the owner, I had a quick conversation about health with her (which ended shortly because she was totally clueless). She insisted that cane sugar is HEALTHIER than fresh fruit! Unbelievable.

The moral of the story is, you can’t trust places that claim they are healthy. Unless you are on top of them, asking to read every ingredient, you most likely will end up with sugar in your meal. If you’re a vegan, or just someone concerned about your health,  honestly, you are better off going to White Castle for an Impossible Burger. At least you know it’s junk food and it’s not disguised as “health” food.

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

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

The Happy Writer!

Published May 20, 2019 by Maryanne

IMG_8614

Putting down an author just because they are not YET a “best-selling” author is a poor man’s mindset. It’s those who do not give up who win. Even if they don’t become best-selling authors, sustainability accounts for something too. Royalty checks, book signing events, and interviews on radio shows all add up. Getting offers to write blogs from all over the world and helping people write books to make their dreams come true is a blessing. It’s super fun earning money while you sleep too!
I’m living the dream and have been earning a living as a writer since 1995! I’ve been in magazines all over the world. I’ve interviewed some of the most incredible people including Henry Winkler, Tommy James, and Peter Murphy. 
I’ve had free meals in restaurants all over New York City. I’ve been on the guest list at countless concerts. And best of all, it doesn’t feel like WORK because I LOVE what I do.
Unstoppable with no plans of retiring! Because if I stop living my dream, I will DIE inside! 
So, when you meet a writer, do not ask them if they are a Best-selling author. A better question is “Are you happy?” And be prepared for an answer that will give you the greatest contact high ever!

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

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books (which both mention how she was inspired by Freddie Mercury): 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Lyrics From Queen’s First Album Manifested in The Band’s History!

Published May 19, 2019 by Maryanne

Queen album coverQueen’s Debut Album

While many people jumped on the Queen band wagon after seeing the film “Bohemian Rhapsody,” I was a fan since 1975, just after their album “A Night At The Opera” came out. I loved the music so much, I went backwards and got their prior albums, “Queen” and “Sheer Heart Attack.” Note that it took me some time before I found “Queen II” because back then you couldn’t order from Amazon. You physically had to go to a record store. Each week, I’d got to Korvettes and actively seek Queen II.  I was thrilled when I found it and FINALLY had the complete set of Queen albums. To this day, almost 45 years later, I favor Queen’s first five albums.

In the late 1990s I was writing for several NYC news publications, mainly The Westsider and The Chelsea Clinton News (which covered the Chelsea and Clinton areas of NYC).

When I reviewed the play, “Mercury: Life of a Rock God” it dawned on me … lyrics in the song “Great King Rat,” written by Freddie Mercury were a foreshadowing of what was to come with Freddie’s failing health, and eventually death. I had to write that in my article because it was something a true Queen fan couldn’t overlook.

Check out Freddie Mercury’s lyric in “Great King Rat” …

“Great King Rat died today
Born on the twenty first of May
Died syphilis forty four on his birthday.” 

Both syphilis and AIDS are transmitted by unprotected sex. And Freddie Mercury died at the age of 45, one year older than his Great King Rat character. It truly is a bizarre coincidence. And a sad one. But Freddie Mercury wouldn’t want to be remembered with pity. Far from a “rat” — he truly is the Great King (make that the Great Queen!) Let’s remember him that way!

After the success of the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” it dawned on me how sustainable Queen has been in their career. I think back to the 1970s when I was a kid and recall how hard it was to find a Queen record or a poster. Now there’s Queen memorabilia everywhere. I recently got a Freddie Mercury Bobblehead doll. Just Goggle “Queen” and you will not come up empty handed at all. Collector’s rejoice! Thanks to the overwhelming success of Queen, if you want something, you got it.

While it was Freddie Mercury who said, “I’m not gonna be a star, I’m gonna be a legend,” it was actually Roger Taylor who predicted the band’s success with his lyric in “Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll” …

Everybody in this bum sucking world
Gonna know just who you are

It’s pretty safe to say that Queen is now a household name. But back in 1973, when Queen’s first album debuted, who would have known? In the song “Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll” Taylor could have been talking about any band or any rock star, but it was his band Queen that manifested the magic of the song and made it way over the top!

Freaky, right? Keep reading …

“The Night Comes Down” also on Queen’s debut was written by Brian May in 1970 shortly after Queen formed, following his break-up with Smile. Brian May admitted to being a Beatles fan, and there seems to be a nod to The Beatles and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” in the song with the following lyric:

When I was young it came to me; And I could see the sun breaking; Lucy was high and so was I…

In the past year, due to all the success of “Bohemian Rhapsody” there was a Lucy who was high, right along with Brian May. That would be Lucy Boynton who played Mary Austin in the film. How crazy is that? What are the chances of an actress playing Mary Austin having the same first name as someone written in a song by Brian May 50 years ago?!

Lucy-Boynton-and-Brian-May-Fox-party-e1551134444579

Lucy Boynton and Brian May riding high on the success of “Bohemian Rhapsody”

There is one more crazy Queen coincidence that I can’t take credit for, but other Queen fans will appreciate if they have all the albums. I saw this in a letter in Circus magazine after “A Night at the Opera” came out. I am so sorry I can not remember the letter writer’s name, but this is something incredible he figured out. If you count all the Queen songs, in order, from the first Queen album to “A Night at the Opera” you will discover that Brian May’s song “39” is the 39th song recorded.

You can not make this stuff up!

Queen fans, comment below … Are there any more coincidences you’ve noticed Queen’s career that manifested from their lyrics?

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

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books (which both mention how she was inspired by Freddie Mercury): 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Friendships Need Attention Too

Published May 14, 2019 by Maryanne

IMG_8542Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

I’m one of the happiest people on the planet. I married a man I adore, and who adores me. I love my career. And I have amazing friendships.

The friendships I love best are the ones you don’t have to second guess. My best friendships are the ones that make a plan to get together. No “pencil in” plans — real plans that pan out. From lunch dates to afternoon Broadway play dates to double-dates with our significant others to spa days. It’s all good!

Everyone is so busy, including myself. In my case, it’s career. In the cases of others, it’s most likely family. And in some both.

I’m by no means a “needy” person, but like romantic relationships, friendships need attention too. There are my “top” friends I see several times a year — usually to celebrate our birthdays. Those same friends I can call if I need a shoulder to cry on. Then there are other friends I see from time to time. Or call on the phone to chat because we don’t see each other as much. Then there are the friends who I don’t see much, or even talk on the phone too, but they all support me on Facebook (there are quite a few I can count on to press the “like” button if I’m promoting an event or a book). Those friends are the ones who actually take the time to read my blogs and my books! (That’s quite extraordinary in this day and age when no one seems to read). They’ll never realize how happy they make my mornings when I log on to Facebook.

But then there are those who seem to be neglectful. You can’t really call them friends because they don’t act like friends. They don’t answer emails. They don’t return phone calls. They just don’t go out of their way for you in general.

They may give you a random “like” on Facebook, but only after you’ve “liked” something on their page. You support their events, but they never show up at yours. You send them cards for holidays, yet never get one back.

It may feel like you are chasing a person. You may wonder what you’ve  done wrong. Why is everything else so important in their lives than answering a quick email?

If someone doesn’t tend to their friendship, it’s a way of saying, “I don’t care.” People prioritize their jobs, their families, and their children, and put friendships on the low priority list. Or maybe just YOUR friendship because they seem to get along wonderfully with other people.

How many times do you continue to reach out or overlook? Do you bring it to their attention? I wouldn’t. Here’s why …

In the past I did. I’ve noticed a trend that people who are neglectful in friendships have another major flaw … they don’t like hearing that they are neglectful. They get defensive, or worse, downright nasty. Perhaps they were looking for a fight by ignoring you in the first place? That’s not friendship. That’s being manipulating. By making you feel wrong for questioning the friendship and making you feel like you’re needy and expect too much … that’s called gas lighting.

This taught me to take “neglect” as a red flag. If someone isn’t paying attention to you, it’s because they don’t care about you. Friendships are a lot like dating. Read the old classic, “Maybe He Just Isn’t Into You.”

So, do what you have to. Whether it’s friends or even relatives, if friendships are not nurtured, you can’t call them friendships. It’s a team effort and no fun to play by yourself.

Cut ties with those who don’t care. And don’t feel bad about it. Because they sure don’t. (Until you bring it to their attention. Then all hell will break loose).

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

She is available for motivational speaking engagements and is the author of the following books: 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Welcome to the Family, Sammy!

Published May 14, 2019 by Maryanne

DSCF3551.JPGOur little Sammy

One month ago today, I brought 9-year-old Sammy into our family.

I went to St. Hubert’s Animal Shelter (https://www.sthuberts.org/animals-available-for-adoption) with a different intention. They were hosting a spring shopping event, but nothing struck me. Since St. Hubert’s is a half hour from where I live, I wasn’t ready to drive home yet so I asked to see the cats that were up for adoption.

At home was another cat named Nicholas. He was a stray that my husband and I took in about a month after my second cat Derick had to be put down, at the ripe old age of 19.

Nicholas is a dream. He’s smart, cuddly, and loves to play. So I needed a cat that also liked to play and wouldn’t be taken advantage of by Nicholas. Nicholas wasn’t good with our beautiful feral Bennie who recently had to be put down because of a brain tumor. We ended up having to separate them, with Bennie upstairs, Nicholas downstairs, and a gate between them at the top of the stairs. Bennie was too passive, and Nicholas too dominant and possessive. It was heartbreaking. My husband and I wanted a house of peace and harmony. When I met him, I had Billy Cat and Derick. They were 7 and 9 at the time and both lived to 19. They were like brothers. They’d have occasional fights, but they were always together.

So, at St. Hubert’s, I straight out said, “I need a cat that won’t take shit from another cat.”

I was there for hours before I saw Sammy (then named Simba). He had confidence and swagger. Small at 11 pounds, compared to Nicholas at 14. He was not skittish. He was comfortable with being held and kissed.

Sammy was in the shelter — on and off — since he was a kitten. Two people brought him back because he had accidents outside the litter box. Looking back, so did Billy and Derick, so I knew what I was getting into.

St. Hubert’s offered a trial period of a week or two. After week two, I was so proud to officially adopt Sammy!

It was great because he got along with Nicholas from the start! I didn’t have to separate them. One month later, they are buddies and do everything together. Nicholas never used his cat bed, until Sammy started using it. Now the two sleep in their cat beds side by side. They eat together, sleep together, play together. And they both love to cuddle with Mommy and Daddy.

As for the litter box issue. Once or twice Sammy did have an accident. Once we moved the litter box away from the wall and gave it more of a center spot, he was fine. Cats are particular. You have to experiment with them.

All animals have their unique personalities. You have to work with them–what they like, what they don’t like, how you can pet them, how they like to be held. They are more than animals, they are little souls! When you figure them out, you have a friend for life. Sammy is a perfect little angel and we love him so much! ❤

Welcome to your FUREVER home Sammy!

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

She is available for motivational speaking engagements and is the author of the following books: 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Bennie: A Cat Worthy of a Radiant Diamond

Published May 13, 2019 by Maryanne

SAM_3266 (1)Rest in Peace Bennie Cat

It’s been almost three months since my husband and I had to put down our beloved Bennie. And it still hurts us.

Several weeks ago, the burden was lifted a bit. I adopted a 9-year-old “senior” cat from St. Hubert’s Animal Shelter, Madison, New Jersey. A little doll of a cat. A small 11-pounder that came with the name Simba (which we changed to Sammy). Sammy is a perfect angel; very kitten-like, which is why I put the word “senior” in quotes. He gets along beautifully with our Nicholas, who is 6. They play together, eat together, sleep together. It’s an absolute joy to have a household with two healthy cats living in harmony. The first time since 2014 when my Billy Cat and Derick, who both lived to 19, were still alive.

Bennie came into our lives last summer. He was a feral turned friendly. Together, my husband and I made the decision to bring him in. At the time he seemed healthy. We got a check from our vet. He had FIV, a feline auto-immune disorder, but the vet reassured us Bennie could live a long life. She said he was 3.

We were ecstatic to take in this cat who was not only gorgeous, but the best cat I ever had in my life. He just loved to be pet and snuggle. He preferred strokes along his back over food. He’s stop eating to look up to us as if to say, “Pet me.”

The thing is, it wasn’t harmonious with Nicholas around. Because Bennie was sick, he didn’t want to play with Nicholas. He actually hid from him. We had to separate them, giving Bennie one of the larger bedrooms upstairs as a comfort zone, and gated our upstairs so Nicholas couldn’t fight with him.

It was rough. But what was even rougher was watching Bennie’s health quickly go down hill. We took him to three different vets. He ate but kept losing weight. Then he lost his eyesight and started having tremors. The result was Bennie had a brain tumor and we put him down.

I was incredibly hard because he was young and there was no emotional preparation for this. After we was put down, I collapsed into my husband’s arms. And then I got really sick. I’ll spare my readers the gory details, but I learned the hard way, I needed to manage stress better. With the help of my nutritionist, I am back on track.

Nevertheless, my husband and I still think about how much we loved Bennie. Even with Nicholas and Sammy around to love and entertain us, we miss Bennie terribly. We fell asleep in each others arms last night thinking of Bennie.

This morning I woke up earlier than usual — in fact, I woke up because Nicholas was on my side of the bed purring loudly as he snuggled against me. It must have been fate because I used my extra time to do some enjoyable internet surfing, instead of the usual promoting my work on Facebook and Linked In.

I was THRILLED to come across this site, with examples of diamonds made from cat ashes: https://www.heart-in-diamond.com/pet-ashes-to-diamond/cat.html

I never knew that cat ashes could be made into diamonds! AND according to the color of the cat! Bennie was the only cat my husband and I had that was orange/yellow. It wasn’t planned that way, it just happened that way.

Heart in Diamond has the perfect orange/yellow Radiant cremation diamond, which will represent Bennie perfectly, as he always was our sunshine cat. (Coincidentally, the room we had him in was carpeted orange/yellow — the room that had the best sunlight!)

Heart in Diamond offers an authenticity check and an affordable payment plan, without interest. You can order more than one diamond, also. Why not? There are so many cuts to choose from, for both men and women.

No disrespect to the crematory who put together Bennie’s ashes in a most beautiful box, but getting a cremation diamond necklace made from Bennie’s ashes will always keep him close to my heart. Bennie deserves it! In his short time here on earth, he taught me — and my husband — an incredible lesson. The lesson was no matter what life throws your way, keep fighting. Bennie was our little fighter. And in both life and death, he is an inspiration.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and ashes to diamonds. For our Bennie Cat, a true diamond in every sense of the word!

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

She is available for motivational speaking engagements and is the author of the following books: 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261