200 letters 62 years and a war

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The Best(?) of 2020

Published December 11, 2020 by Maryanne
Photo by Kelly Sikkema

If we made it through 2020 without getting covid, and worse, without dying, we are fortunate. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to live life to the fullest every day because you really don’t know what is around the corner. It was a crazy up and down year. Surprisingly, there were many outstanding moments for me, but also the most painful news–a very good friend dying on of a heart attack at the age of 56.

Pausing for a moment thinking of my dear friend Vinnie who died last April…

Yeah, 2020 definitely sucked on so many levels, but the eternal optimist in me will keep saying, this is the year to truly count our blessings.

2020 Year In Review

January – The year started off really cool. I actually saw a copy of my book, “Be (Extra)Ordinary” in Barnes & Noble bookstore! (https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/) I was ecstatic! I remember commenting that if I died at that moment, I lived the life I wanted. Little did I know, in just a few weeks I’d hear about so many dying of Covid. Just goes to show how crazy life is.

February – I was going crazy trying to score a deal on Billie Eilish tickets–and trying to decide whether to see her in NYC on a Sunday night; or New Jersey on a Monday night. Oh, the innocence of decision making prior to what was ahead. The decision was made for me…all her 2020 concerts were canceled.

March – Covid was in full force in the USA. It was weird. It was scary. But honestly, my husband and I were loving the lockdown. We took it as a time to be creative. We appreciated staying home with the kitties. We were cooperating with the law; and had a good time doing so. I thought during this time I’d write a new book; instead I focused on my singing. My husband and I made a video of us performing together, he on guitar and we on vocals and sent it to all our friends. As our friends were also sending us videos. We all did our best.

In March my clients, Domenic Lombardi passed away. I helped him and his wife write their memories: “200 Letters, 62 Years, and a War” (https://www.amazon.com/200-Letters-62-Years-War/dp/1949798453). What a loss, he was a very cool guy. Domenic and his wife Antoinette were my favorite clients ever!

In April, my book “Love Cats” which became out of print early 2020 was picked up for a second printing by Pink Flamingo Media! For the first time I used a pen name, Krystianna Mercury. Check it out: https://www.pinkflamingo.com/Love-Cats-PF3089.htm

But then, I learned that my very good friend Vinnie Bordogna died earlier that month. My heart is torn into pieces. He was truly one of my best friends. Christmas will not be the same without Vin at our party this year.

In June, there was another loss, Bob Cat. A 15-year-old ginger cat who was the star of the book, “A Street Cat Named Bob” by James Bowen. I read the book back in 2018. The book was out way before that, but it was an upbeat book that helped me get over the loss of my own ginger cat, Bennie, who had to be put down early 2018. Now to hear Bob was gone too … it was just too much. Many tears. Too many tears.

That summer, life picked up. Social distancing outdoor concerts were all the rage. Groups of friends sat on the grass in a white painted square. They were done so well and people had a great time! Drinks, food, sitting on the grass watching live music and the sun go down. Can’t beat that. It was a glimmer of hope in the midst of the madness. In addition to Covid, we had the George Floyd murder and so many terrible things going on in the news. Music kept us sane that summer, definitely.

In August, I hosted my very first ZOOM lecture for “Healthy Pasta Alternatives.” We had a blast! I had other ZOOM classes for anti-bullying, and “How to Meet Your Soul Mate.” Earlier in the year when all my live lectures were canceled, one by one, it was the biggest let down. But ZOOM saved the day with some of them, so it wasn’t a total loss.

September was a miracle! My husband and I took in a feral kitten who was abandoned by his mama and papa cats. We named him Happy Lightfoot Ferrell. Three months later, he’s adjusting beautifully! He’s my little shadow who follows me all over the house. And what a sweet cat he’s turning out to be. No more shy and hiding. Taking in a little life, giving him not only a home but a HAPPY home is the best accomplishment! I love our little new family member. He gets along so good with the other two cats, Nicholas Gray and Sammy Keane Clemmens. Happy Lightfoot Ferrell was the icing on the top of a year of madness.

I wish everyone a better 2021; we can do it!

BEST OF MUSIC 2020

Since there wasn’t nearly as much going out as usual, the list will be light this year. My husband saw about five or six outdoor social distancing concerts over the summer. Due to Covid, I think they all did an amazing job for us and unlike other years, this year I’m choosing not to pick a “best” for live music.

Favorite new songs/videos for 2020!

  1. Miley Cyrus “Midnight Sky” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aS1no1myeTM
  2. Sierra Ferrell “Jingle Bell Rock” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mWKuQDBkls
  3. Billie Eilish “Therefore I Am” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUQl6YcMalg

Since there was plenty of dining, I’ve added restaurants this year!

Best restaurants of 2020

  1. Greentruth Organic: https://www.greentruthorganic.com/
  2. Cave Bistro: https://www.cavebistro.com/
  3. Clean Plate: https://www.cleanplateclinton.com/

And since retail shopping was non-existent, I’m linking to the last post I wrote, Clothes Shopping During Covid, mentioning the top three clothing subscription box companies: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2020/11/30/clothes-shopping-during-covid/

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

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements (via ZOOM during covid). She is now coaching aspiring writers via ZOOM.

Maryanne is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

RIP Domenic Lombardi

Published March 3, 2020 by Maryanne

SAM_9246L-R, Domenic Lombardi, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, and Antoinette Lombardi

I was sad to get the phone call from Antoinette Lombardi, regarding the death of her dear husband, Domenic.

He died on Ash Wednesday. He was my client and I helped him write his memoir, “200 Letters, 62 Years, and a War” and get it published. The first printing was self published by Next Century and traditional publisher Higher Ground picked up the book for a second printing. I just spoke to his wife, Antoinette, and she told me two copies of the book are with him in the coffin. Godspeed Domenic. Thank-you for fighting for our country in the Korean War. I am so sad. He was an incredible human being. And they were amazing together.

If you’d like to read his memoir, visit: https://www.amazon.com/200-Letters-62-Years-War/dp/1949798453

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

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

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

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

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

Mention in Florham Park Eagle for Helping Senior Couple Write Book

Published March 22, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9246Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta with Domenic and Antoinette Lombardi

Last year I helped Domenic and Antoinette Lombardi write and publish their book “200 Letters, 62 Years and a War” which was their love story. Soon after they started dating, Domenic went to serve in the Korean War. During that time, he wrote Antoinette 200 love letters. The couple recently celebrated their 62nd anniversary.

I sat with them as they told me their story and I ferreted through 200 love letters Domenic wrote Antoinette, as well as his diaries. The book was published by Next Century Publishing last year, followed by their book release party, which I blogged about: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/book-party-for-antoinette-and-domenic-lombardi/

On March 17, 2016, the Florham Park Eagle published their story in print and online. I’m honored and humbled that Domenic and Antoinette gave me such a generous mention: http://www.newjerseyhills.com/florham_park_eagle/news/florham-park-couple-s-book-tells-love-story-amid-korean/article_ca1c2158-4ed1-5328-9ec1-55401512b5d1.html

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta has been helping clients write (and publish) their books since 2008. In addition to Domenic and Antoinette Lombardi, her clients include Clerks actor, Scott Schiaffo and soap opera writer, Scarlet Cassadine, to name a few. She can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Book Party for Antoinette and Domenic Lombardi

Published November 23, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_9248Congratulations to the new authors!

Yesterday was a big celebration at Hanover Manor in East Hanover, New Jersey.

My clients Domenic and Antoinette Lombardi had their book published “200 Letters, 62 Years and a War.”

From back book cover:

Domenic and Antoinette Lombardi began dating when they were teenagers. And soon afterward Domenic was called to fight in the Korean War.

During his time in combat, he wrote his love, Antoinette, over 200 letters. She saved every one of them. She also put together an all embracing photo albums that contained newspaper clippings of the war, photographs, holiday cards and other memorabilia; as well as more recent newspaper clippings of celebrations such as their anniversaries and birthdays.

Domenic also had his own collection of memories, several typed as well as handwritten notebook diaries, filled with the truth he experienced fighting for The United States.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta spent many days at the home of The Lombardis in Florham Park, New Jersey ferreting through the photo albums, love letters and notebook diaries in order to put together this wondrous memoir.

The happy couple recently celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary.

SAM_9246Domenic Lombardi, Maryanne Mistretta and Antoinette Lombardi

To purchase “200 Letters, 62 Years and a War” contact Next Century Publishing at 786-999-8550 or contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is available to help seniors write their books. Contact her directly at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com