billie eilish

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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

A Shout Out to Musicians For Live Streaming

Published March 30, 2020 by Maryanne

DSC_0012

My husband and I put this home photography collaboration together earlier today. I’m modeling with his B.C. Rich Warlock. My boots are Katy Perry.

I wanted to get dressed up today because social distancing and staying in isn’t very glamorous. Then I got the idea, hey, so many musicians are putting their work out there to entertain us, why not do a tribute for them.

Billie Eilish and Finneas, in my opinion, were the best part of the iHeart Living Room Concert for America last night. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mQB5s7uvZs

This one is very funny (but not kid-friendly, so proceed with caution): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0-2XxgHIXk&feature=youtu.be

I’m also digging the COVID-19 parodies that are circulating on You Tube. Stayin’ Inside, a parody on Stayin’ Alive is my favorite, because it’s not only hilarious, it’s a great performance; truly genius: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmUXntGlqFI

And last, but not least, I want to share a video of the late Alan Merrill, the man who wrote “I Love Rock and Roll.” He died yesterday due to COVID-19 complications. Godspeed to this legend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AT_Pbtyid0

Are you a musician who is streaming your music for us? Or are you a fan who is turning to music during these hard times? Share your thoughts, videos, etc. below. We are all in this together.

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

Don’t Worry Gen X’er, it’s OK to be in your 50s and love Billie Eilish

Published February 16, 2020 by Maryanne

Billie Eilish albums

I love Billie Eilish. (And I’m in my 50s).

Right now my favorite song of hers is “I Wish You Were Gay” but as all music fans know, as you embrace an artist, the more you listen to the records/CDs your favorites flow from one to another, like the waves in the ocean.

When I discover an artist, I have a pattern. First I go on a You Tube binge of their music. When I get to the point of “Wow, I like every single song…” that’s when I go out and buy whatever music is available so I can listen more authentically, in my house or in a car, and not in my home office on a computer screen. And then make it a mission to go see this artist perform live.

Yeah, I admit it. I’d love to go see Billie Eilish perform, even though I’m old enough to be her grandmother.

And I’m not the only one who feels that way. I recently saw a few comments on social media. People in their 50s, 40s, 30s, and even early 20s saying they feel weird that they are enjoying the music of a teenager.

I say, WHY NOT? We were all teenagers once ourselves. Though, depending on when you were born, not always having the music of other teenagers to enjoy. When I was a teenager, there were no teenagers making music for me. When the Stones were teenagers, I was a baby. When I was 13, my favorite band Queen were already in their 30s; even The Bay City Rollers were in their 20s when I was 13.

Then I discovered The Runaways. They were older teenagers when I was 13. By the time I got to see Joan Jett, when I was 17, The Runaways already broke up. By now Joan Jett was already in her 20s.  Nevertheless, I was right in front of the stage when I saw her perform and she put her guitar right in front of my. I strummed it and she smiled at me. That was thrilling!

Throughout my teens and 20s, I never thought about my age when I went to shows because all the bands I resonated had a good five years or more on me. (Some musicians were my mom’s age and I never even realized it until they died and you learn their age — like Lux Interior of The Cramps).

All the bands I loved and went to see were older — Blondie, The Cure, The Psychedelic Furs, The Pixies, Cher… the list goes on and on. To this day, the oldest artist I saw perform, bless his soul, was Les Paul.

Of course time goes on, and you’re going to get older. If you’re a die hard music fan, and still exploring new tunes, well, it’s inevitable at some point you’re going to be older than the bands you go to see. For example, I was 30 when I got hooked on D-Generation. The lead singer, Jesse Malin was five years younger than me. It was the first time I felt “old” even though I didn’t look or feel it.

Then, in my early 40s, I discovered the music of HIM. I have a good 14 years on the lead singer Ville Valo. At the age of 42, I was hesitant to go see them in concert because I thought I’d be the oldest one there, assuming everyone in the audience was going to be the band’s age or younger (at the time most members were in their late 20s). I wrote, anonymously, on a HIM message board, “How would you feel if you saw someone in the audience, around your mom’s age, wearing a HIM t-shirt.”

Oh my goodness, I received so much support from the younger generation, saying how cool it was that I was in my 40s and I liked HIM. Then when I went to see them for the first time, I saw so many young women, paired with their moms, singing song lyrics together, arm in arm. It was beautiful — mothers and daughters connecting over live music.

I think it will totally be the same way if and when I go see Billie Eilish live. People will be connecting over the music, irregardless of ages.

Thinking back to when I was a teenager, I wanted attention from adults. Teenagers today are no different. When I see teenagers in the streets, I’ll smile and they are very quick to smile back. Some even say “Hi” or compliment me on my pinkish hair.

Generation gaps are closing in. It’s not the 1950s anymore; hell, it’s not even the 1990s anymore. We’re living in an amazing time where people of all ages are relating to each other better than ever. (Or maybe I’m delusional because I’m not a parent, just a cool aunt?) Who knows for sure, but I truly believe there’s only a generation gap if we allow there to be one. Always keep your eyes/ears out for game-changing new artists, because that’s something that will go on in time until we die. Thank God for that!

 

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