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2019 – Year in Review!

Published December 20, 2019 by Maryanne

Hustle2019 — The Hustle was real! 

Wow, when I look back at 2019, I have a huge smile on my face! I mean, I am glowing! It was filled with lots of love and stellar career moments. I am forever grateful that it happened. Below, I share just some of the highlights–after all, a girl’s gotta be private about some things!

January 2019 

My year started off on the most amazing note. I was only in Toastmasters a few months and I won “Best Speaker” for my deliverance of a David Bowie Tribute I wrote, which I gave on January 10, 2019 — three years after his sad death.

February 2019 

This was the only month of the year that sucked. We had to put down our beloved Bennie cat. He was a feral who was only 3-years-old. We took him in the summer of 2018. The vet checked him out and we were told he had FIV and wouldn’t live long. Sure enough, a few months later he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It broke our hearts; my husband and I were devastated to lose such a sweet, loving cat.

Shortly afterwards, a few friends passed away too. It was a bad, bad month for so many.

SAM_3266 (1)Bennie Hemingway, Rest in Peace little angel

March 2019 

It’s always a blessing to have great friends around to cheer you up!

Jayne - NYC Cher ShowMaryanne and Jayne (aka Romy & Michele) in NYC! 

April 2019

I was so honored to be a part of an anti-bulling club! Sara Liptack of the Little Free Library, Westfield, New Jersey, invited me to her home to discuss my book, “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” with young readers in the Westfield neighborhood.

IMG_20190406_172624_591 (1)Say “yes” to acai bowls and “no” to bullying! (Photo by Sara Liptack)

May 2019

During the month of May, my husband and I welcomed our newest family member, Sammy! I adopted him from St. Hubert’s in Madison, New Jersey. Sammy is 9-years-old and he spent most of his life in a shelter. We are honored to have him in our family, he’s a perfect little angel and we love him to pieces!

DSCF3932Sammy, our dear little angel! 

May was also significant because I was extremely honored to present my workshop “Be Your Own Hero” for Toastmasters District 83 Spring Conference. It was an excellent turn out and extremely well received. (Note, The “Be Your Own Hero” workshop was based on my book, “Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” which was published later in the year by KiCam). 

DSCF3631Be Your Own Hero

June 2019 

June was super cool because my book, “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” became available on audio! You can get all versions here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

July 2019 

My husband and I were thrilled to take some much needed private down-time, both by ourselves and with very dear friends. Hashtag GRATEFUL!

Facetune (4)Dennis and Maryanne (Photo by Jayne DiGregorio) 

August 2019

August is my birthday month. And I do mean “month” because it takes a whole month and then some to get together with everyone who is important to me. So, I say to all of you, Thank you for the LOVE!

DSCF4045I love you! 

September 2019 

Once again, getting away and spending time with our super awesome friends! Hashtag HAPPINESS!

DSCF4128 Dennis and Maryanne

October 2019 

This month was a double whammy of greatness! If it wasn’t cool enough that my book, “Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” (https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227) was released, my fictional book, “Love Cats” which was out of print, got picked up by Pink Flamingo Media! (https://www.pinkflamingo.com/). So look forward to a second printing of “Love Cats” in 2020!

Love Cats front and back cover

First printing of “Love Cats” now out of print. Second edition to be published in 2020 by Pink Flamingo Media!! 

During the month of October, I completed writing the play, “Ain’t Life a Beach” for actor, Jesse Walker! It will be presented during the summer of 2020. Jesse Walker was also the first person to interview me to promote “Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero.” Check out the interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7_O5ZdsVNo

November 2019 

I was honored to perform my poetry at Neighborhood House Association. “All About Eve” was well received! You can view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyLorsfQig4

December 2019

While many people get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s actually a wind-down time for me. I stay at home, sipping keto cocoa drinks and working on my next projects. I have some great ideas in the works…as well as some super cool surprises for 2020 which involve writing, speaking, and poetry!

I wish everyone a very happy, blessed, and prosperous 2020! 

BEST OF 2019

My husband and I do so much and see so much, it’s hard to keep up. I used to write about all the shows we saw in this blog, but it’s time-consuming especially when I also keep private journals. However, the following are truly stand-outs for 2019.

BEST NEW ARTIST – SIERRA FERRELL

Well, I’ve been picking winners since I was a little girl. I’d watch the Miss America contest with my grandmother and right from the beginning I’d say who was going to win. When I accidentally came across the music of young artist, Sierra Ferrell, my mind was blown. She is truly the bomb! (Do people still say that? Well I do!)

When I first heard her song “Jeremiah” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEYSUpPirJM) I knew she was something special. I spent two hours watching her videos on You Tube (the perks of being self-employed). And, by chance, she happened to be performing, just an hour away from us in upstate New York.

For a mere $10, it was a kick ass show. I got to meet Sierra too, and she’s a little sweetheart. The punchline is, two weeks later, she was signed to Rounder Records! Hell, yeah! Now we can look forward to some new music from her in 2020.

DSCF3957Sierra Ferrell and Maryanne 

BEST NEW ARTIST RUNNER UP – BILLIE EILISH 

Not that I’m going to run out and buy tickets to her show … but then again, never say never … I do have her CDs. Wow, I’m just so impressed with her cool, catchy, innovative, strong-spirited songs. I love Billie Eilish! Thank you for existing!

BEST LIVE SHOW – PETER MURPHY, (le) Poisson Rouge, NYC

Last August Peter Murphy did a ton of shows, performing full solo albums and a few Bowie tributes. I had tickets to see the “Deep” show (and one of the David Bowie tributes, but it was canceled because Murphy had a heart attack — he’s okay now and performing again). Anyway “Deep” was one of my favorite Murphy albums and to see it performed live was nothing short of euphoric. My friend Jayne and I got close to the front and Mr. Murphy was so on the money; always a class act entertainer. As an encore, he did “His Circle and Hers Meet” from “Love Hysteria” — and wow, that just blew me over the top! This was truly the show of the year! I was so bummed that the Bowie tribute was canceled, but a taste of Murphy is better than none at all!

BEST PLAY – THE CHER SHOW BROADWAY

I’m so glad I caught this earlier this year because it ended this summer. It was very cool. There were three Chers (my favorite vocal — and look — was the young Cher, Babe), a Sonny, and even a Greg Allman. It was a fun-filled musical time-line of Cher’s life.

BEST MOVIE – “BLINDED BY THE LIGHT”

I like Bruce Springsteen, but having just one CD, I wouldn’t call myself a fan. But this movie totally spoke to me because it was about a writer who was inspired by music. (I’ve often been judged by  intellectual types who shunned me for being a writer inspired by music not necessarily other writers, so watching this movie it was like, “Ha-ha, fuck you!”)

There were so many moments I related to, especially the frustrations and ripping up your own work and throwing it out the window.

In the movie, there’s a scene where the main character’s father rips up his Bruce Springsteen tickets. Parents in my generation, Generation X, rarely understood their kid’s dreams. Generation gaps were huge and parents didn’t make an effort to know their kids like young parents today do.

I still cringe when I look back at the day my mother got mad at me, jumped on my bed, and tore all my Queen posters off the walls. Queen was the band that inspired me to write and be more creative.

So, this movie isn’t just for Bruce fans, it’s for any Generation Xer who had communication problems with their parents.

Rest in Peace

February was just horrible with one death after another. Our dear Bennie cat, our dear friend Daniel Popp, and WFMU radio icon, X-Ray Burns. Whew, it was a terrible, terrible month. May all these young souls rest in peace.

And of course we lose so many celebrities throughout the year, but the one that hit the worst was Ric Ocasek, who died on September 15. I was a Cars fan when I was just 15 and had their first album. I never saw them perform live, but my husband and I went to one of his art gallery shows.  As we were leaving, my husband said, “Wave to him.” We did, and he smiled and waved back. God bless his soul, he was an original.

DSCF3060RIP, Ric Ocasek (Photo courtesy of Maryanne and Dennis Mistretta)

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

 

 

 

 

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

USA and Denmark Friends Unite Over Love for Animals

Published April 9, 2017 by Maryanne

Her photoIben (left) and Maryanne at Mundo Vegan in Montclair, NJ 

Yesterday was an incredibly special, happy day. I finally got to meet my lovely friend Iben, who is visiting the USA, from Denmark. And her 14-year-old son, Mads, who is wise beyond his years and an all-around great kid.

Two years ago, Iben and I bonded online, over our love for animals. Cecil the lion was just killed and, of course it bothered us both terribly.

This was the summer of 2015. A short time later, Iben told me she’d be visiting the USA in 2017, so we planned to set a date to meet.

Yesterday I met Iben and Mads for the first time at a train station in Cranford, New Jersey. They’ve been staying in NYC, enjoying their holiday.

After two days of rain, we lucked out with a warm, windy day, perfect spring day. First stop was Montclair. We first went to an indie bookstore, then enjoyed a fabulous lunch at Mundo Vegan: http://www.mundovegannj.com/

We couldn’t rave enough about how great the meal was. I had organic quinoa salad and pumpkin “cheese” cake for dessert (made with tofu, almond crust, pumpkin and cashews). Delicious!

Afterwards we did some shopping in Montclair, then went for a walk around the gorgeous Verona Park. There, we coincidentally started a conversation with a woman who was from Denmark, living in the United States for 60 years! What are the chances of that?! And her brother lives in the same town as Iben.

And why did we start talking to the woman to being with? Because she had two cute dogs! It’s always hard to resist stopping to meet dogs, especially in a park.

We all ended our beautiful day with a last stop to my house so Iben and Mads could meet my kitty Nicholas. Nicholas is definitely a “people kitty.” Nicholas loved my new friends and did his “Circus flips” for them (which my husband taught him).

I’ve been so high since yesterday, meeting two incredible people. Fresh air, good food, and great conversation. So much fun!

I wish Iben and Mads a beautiful, safe trip while they continue their visit in the USA. And thanks to Facebook, we’ll be in touch, ’til we meet again! ❤

Montclair - MadsMaryanne and Mads, Montclair, NJ 

Verona ParkVerona Park (Photo by Iben) 

Friends

Published November 20, 2016 by Maryanne

sam_1613

With my friend Joan (left). 

“The greatest gift in life is friendship, and I have received it.” — Hubert H. Humphrey 

In New Jersey, when the weather is getting colder and the days shorter, there’s nothing like having a night out with great friends and our hubbies to warm the spirit.

It’s always nice to see our friends Joan and Peter, have a bite, some drinks, laughs and great conversation.

Make a play date with a friend today!

sam_1612

From left, Peter & Joan, Me & Dennis ❤ 

And on the 8th Day God Created Friendships!

Published August 15, 2016 by Maryanne

 

SAM_0898Joan, Me, Darlene 

Friends are such a blessing and I never take any of mine for granted.

August is my birthday month and this lunch date was the kick-off of many celebrations to come — including two other lunch dates with friends, celebrations with my husband, and celebrations with my husband’s family.

Over the weekend it was an honor to spend time with two of my closest friends Joan and Darlene. It was extra special because it was the first time they got to meet each other!

I met Darlene shortly after I started dating my husband, as she’s the long-term girlfriend of my husband’s cousin Tommy. Darlene and I hit it off immediately. Like two peas in a pod, we’re both into music, health, and animals. She’s like a sister to me. ❤

I’ve known Joan since high school. We can’t remember exactly how we met, but it seems like we’ve always been in each others lives. She made my teenage years incredible. We went to so many concerts and dance clubs together. One of my greatest “Joan” memories is dancing with her to “Hang On To Yourself” by David Bowie at the now defunct Aldo’s Hideaway, in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. That is our song. ❤

I love both of my ladies very much! ❤

This weekend Joan surprised me with a beautiful poem she wrote about our friendship. She gave me the A-OK to type it up into this blog.

ENJOY!

Dear Maryanne,

A friendship’s memories are like the waves of the ocean coming in and washing over you.

The thoughts of innocent times, dancing and listening to music from so long ago seem like a dream.

Yearning to spend every moment with each other was the most important thing.

Not knowing what life had in store allowed us to be free, excited and limitless.

If I could go back in time and be that 17-year-old girl again, I would want it to be with you.

Happy Blessed Birthday my Friend

Love, Joan

 

 

 

 

Girls Afternoon Out!

Published May 30, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_7526Vegan deliciousness from Loving Hut, Matawan, New Jersey

It was super awesome spending an afternoon out with my friend Linda J., one of my favorite people! (Her boyfriend and my husband are great friends). Linda is vegan and I was dying for her to come to Loving Hut in Matawan, New Jersey (http://lovinghut.us/matawan_01/). The great thing about Loving Hut as opposed to other vegan restaurants is that it’s not just about fake meat, it’s about freshness!

We shared the spring rolls (above). The sauce was peanut mixed with Hoison. These wraps were so fabulous. They had mint leaves inside them!

We both had a kale salad mixed with dried cranberries and sunflower seeds and chickpea soup with straw mushrooms.

I had a raw vegan coconut macaroon for dessert.

After that we went shopping: health food store shopping, fine wine shopping and finally clothes shopping.

Then nothing beats walking into a store and hearing your favorite band HIM doing “The Sacrament”! ❤ With all the garbage you hear when you’re in stores, this was a super refreshing treat! I almost died of happiness overkill!!

I just love spending my Saturdays with girlfriends! It’s such a blessing!

SAM_5880From last summer: Left to right, Darlene, me and Linda

Nicola’s Ristorante, Totowa, New Jersey

Published May 3, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_4145Me and Janet

This Saturday, I enjoyed a wonderful meal with my friend Janet, who I knew since the early 1980s — we took a jazz dance class together and have been friends ever since. We’ve gone to many concerts and even vacationed together in Maine.

Nicolas Ristorante, 650 Union Blvd. is a fabulous place for a good meal.

We both started off with oysters.

SAM_4143Oysters!

SAM_4147Sea bass, asparagus and potatoes

I had a lovely sea bass dish in a fresh, lite tomato mushroom sauce with asparagus and potatoes.

Great atmosphere, cozy, and excellent service!

For more information, visit: http://nicolasristorante.net/index.htm

Keep Positive!

Published April 19, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_4011Me and my friend Sam Popp

Sam and I had an excellent vegan lunch today at Loving Hut in Matawan, New Jersey (http://lovinghut.us/matawan_01/)

Of course I wanted to document the occasion with a photograph. Sam noticed this amazing quote on the wall, so we decided to pose there. And it was so relevant because we’re both such happy, positive, determined people who believe in creating our own destiny!

Meet Darlene Foster: “On the Guest List” Cover Designer!

Published March 29, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_3813Artist Darlene Foster

I was honored to have lunch with Darlene Foster today! Not only is she the cover designer for my book, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” she’s also a very good friend!

Last fall when I was nearing the finishing stages of my book (which is now available from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X) I gave Darlene a photo of me taken in the mid-1990s by my friend Ed O’Brien at a club called Cake in NYC. I felt the photo truly represented what the book was about, being on the guest list in the punk rock circles. And Darlene truly nailed it — where I was coming from and where I wanted to go with the cover — which received tons of compliments!

Cover proof 4“On the Guest List” cover design by Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster also designed the back cover which includes endorsements for the book and a recent photo of me, taken by my husband last June.

back cover proof 2“On the Guest List” back cover

I’m now writing my second book, which is my first attempt at fiction. And of course I’m going with Darlene once again to do the job! You can check out more of her work here: http://www.darlenefoster.com/

And for all you foodies out there, you can check out the menu of Toast in Montclair: http://toastmontclair.com/

It was absolutely delicious! I had the homemade veggie burger, sweet potato fries and a red velvet cupcake for dessert!

Spring Celebrating!

Published March 22, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_3786Yay, spring! Bring out the short sleeves!

It was in the 60s today in New Jersey! Spring is my second favorite season, after Autumn and we really deserve some good weather. I normally don’t mind winter, but this year it was way too long and too cold.

I went to lunch with my great friends Nick and Vinnie. We favor “It’s Greek to Me” where the service is excellent (they let you hang long after you’ve finished your dishes) and the food is very fresh!

Afterwards I went shopping for some sunglasses. I found three pair I loved!

SAM_3788Me, Nick and Vinnie